Saved by a Lucario chapter 1
Based on characters owned by Lucariossweetheart
Written in collaboration with @crudrifter
Nycteus wiped the sweat off of his brow. A box sat at his feet, almost taunting him to try picking it up again. He had been at it for a good five minutes, but the box proved to be too heavy for his petite frame. Stubborn as he was, though, he kept at it.
"Are you alright?" An old woman called from above. Nycteus turned his gaze upward to the second floor of the building. Mrs. Sunflower, known for her rosy cheeks and kind smile, seemed unaffected by the weight of the boxes. "Thanks again for helping me with these, is that one too much?"
"No, I've got it," Nycteus tried to even out his breathing. "Besides, it's the least I can do."
She smiled warmly. Nycteus' past left the days of the 19 year old's life shaken without many places he liked to stay. However Mrs. Sunflowers place had become a second home for him, as he often stayed for dinner. Mrs. Sunflower imagined that the boy felt he had a debt to repay. She didn't mind, of course, but... She worried that he felt obligated to help, being her friend. "Well, I believe in you, love."
They'd been at it all day. Last month, Mrs. Sunflower was permitted a new home to live in, as her old one became too unstable for residents, yet it was only this week that a house was decided on. A quaint little place perfect for two. Not that Mrs. Sunflower had anyone else in mind, but she enjoyed the space. Nycteus had agreed to help her move in. Together, they'd spend the day sweeping, organizing, and moving boxes.
Nycteus shot Mrs. Sunflower a thumbs up before rubbing his hands together for another go. He felt the ache in his bones, but he didn't want to give up. It was only a few meters or so- from the entrance to the basement door. Plus, it was looking to be the last box he had to move today. He got this.
Lower your knees. Grab by the bottom... shift into place... lift! Lift with your knees! Come on!!! Nycteus thought.
Nycteus never put so much effort into anything in his entire life. The box raised off the ground slowly but steadily. He could feel the sweat dripping down his back under his shirt, but he was determined, and by everything holy, was he going to move this darn box. As soon as he got it to waist-level, he began moving- excruiatingly slow steps, but steps nonetheless. Baby steps, even! One foot after the other, the boy brought his cargo to the basement door. As soon as he got near the door, he lowered the god-forsaken box to the floor, taking care to avoid hitting his toes. He stretched his shaky arms to the ceiling. He did it!
"Got it all done, dear?" Mrs. Sunflower called out from behind him. He turned to see her standing at the bottom of the staircase, box at her hip, amused expression on her face.
"Yep!" He half-heartedly nudged the box with his foot so it was flush against the wall. "Or, well, I hope so, anyway..."
She laughed. "Yes, dear. That's the last of 'em down here."
He let out a breath of relief as Mrs. Sunflower set her box on the table. That was when Nycteus noticed two glasses filled with lemonade next to it. Mrs. Sunflower caught his wandering gaze and smiled. An invitation to drink up. And drink he did.
The soothing chill of the lemonade calmed Nycteus, and after a few more gulps he felt right as rain, if not sweatier than normal.
"This is really good!" Nycteus exclaimed. "It's sour, but it's got this sweet aftertaste that just makes you want more... thank you, Mrs. Sunflower!"
"Any time," she smiled in response. "Come as often as you'd like. My doors are open, dear, and I always appreciate your help."
"Sure thing!" Nycteus took that as a sign that his work was done for the day. "Have a good night, Mrs. Sunflower!"
She returned the farewell- "Help yourself to anything in the garden on your way home, dear!"- and in due time Nycteus was out of the house and on the road again, basket of fruit in hand.
His house wasn't too far from Mrs. Sunflower's new home, but he still had a bit of hiking to do through the forest. Not that he minded, really. The trees tended to be beautiful in its way, canopy casting a cool layer of shade that Nycteus normally appreciated. However, today was a little different: clouds had been swirling overhead ever since noon, and now they hung heavy and dark in the air, crawling across the sky and threatening to upend its load upon the earth. At least the rain would help the crops grow. It would suck to be under it while it does, though. Nycteus put a pep in his step as he started to feel the sprinkle of rain.
It looked like a bad storm, but he knew Unova would weather it. It was a good town, with plenty of people and Pokemon living their days in harmony. If anything were to happen to it, he knew there would be a task force ready to fix it. Unova was just that kind of town: productive, yet peaceful. Nycteus had just moved here and was now living on his own. Though he was nineteen, he was dedicated to keeping his little cottage clean and fixed up. Folks around here liked that about him.
He missed his cottage. His warm, toasty cottage that didn't threaten to kill him of cold every passing second. The winds only seemed to get worse, and the sky wasn't getting any lighter. Still, Nycteus was stubborn, and there weren't any pit stops on the way. He'd have to tough it out. Even if the rain began falling harder and pelted him with seething chills.
He regretted dressing for nicer weather.
A swarm of leaves spun in the air and landed on Nycteus' face. As he tried to swat them away, he tripped over a branch that had been swept up by the wind.
"Ah!" Nycteus fell to the ground with a heavy thud, dropping his basket of goodies. His entire body was swathed in pain. He breathed in sharply through his teeth.
As he lay in the dirt recovering, a flash of lightning shot across the sky, blinding those below. It struck a tree, and, having already been battered by the ceaseless winds, began careening towards Nycteus' prone form. He had only enough time to see the bark close in on him, and in that second he thought: I don't want to die today. He shut his eyes and braced for impact.
... an impact that never came.
He heard a grunt from above, and whipped his head to see what had happened.
A toned blue form stood over Nycteus, watching the tree that had almost at will changed its trajectory to land away from Nycteus instead of on him. The resounding crash was almost deafening, even with the rain.
The Pokemon- for it was a Pokemon, surely- turned its eyes to Nycteus. "Are you okay?"
Then it clicked.
Lucario. Nycteus had only seen the blue creature once or twice, and both times were when Lucario was helping someone out. The first had been saving a Skitty from a tree and the second Nycteus thought of fondly. He was walking home from Mrs. Sunflower's restauraunt when he noticed the Lucario helping an old man carry his groceries. It was only one bag, sure, but it looked too heavy for the man to carry anyway. As he and Lucario stopped at his home, Nycteus passed by, gazing idly at the duo with a smile. The Lucario, done with his work, turned around looked back. They locked eyes for the briefest of moments. Blue into red. And Nycteus swore the Lucario waved.
So basically, Nycteus was obsessed. When he (very casually) asked around for information, the gist was that this Lucario guy was a nomadic soul. He wandered from town to town and in his stead left only works of love. He helped a town's people as much as they needed before inevitably moving on to the next. One girl- a baker with a lovely wife- even said he performed "miracles," and that he was a true hero. Nycteus wasn't sure about that, but he was certain this Lucario would be wonderful to befriend.
Well, here he was, in the flesh, and he was looking at Nycteus with the oddest expression... oh, right.
"I-I'm fine," he stuttered. "But- Lucario, right? What..."
Lucario pulled the human up. The warmth of his paws was... a lot, to say the least. "Yes, I am Lucario..." The deep timbre of his voice rumbled in his chest. "...but more importantly: you're sopping wet! We need to get you out of the cold and to shelter. You could get pneumonia, or something worse, and that wouldn't be any good!"
Nycteus was smitten.
"Lucario, um..." Nycteus pulled himself together, grabbing his (thankfully) intact basket from the ground. "Thank you, first of all, for worrying over me. Second, though it's a bit far, my house is the closest shelter I can think of. I can lead you to it, if you want?" Nycteus shrugged. "It's better than being stuck out here."
The Lucario looked to the dark sky above, then turned his gaze back to Nycteus and nodded. "Alright. Lead the way."
"Thank you again for saving me, Mr. Lucario," Nycteus began treading the dirt path, which was swiftly becoming mud in the rain. "I don't know what I would've done if you hadn't shown up."
"What're you doing out in this, anyway?" The Lucario walked beside Nycteus, determined to stick with him until they were both out of this nasty weather. "Is it not storm season?"
Nycteus wracked his brain. "Is... it?" He had no clue. He had lived here how long and he didn't even know something simple like that. One of his best friends was a gardener, even! He must look real stupid. "Gods above, I'm so sorry for missing something like that! If I hadn't been so stupid, you wouldn't have needed to save me at all. Really, I..."
"It's alright." Lucario placed a paw on Nycteus' shoulder. "People make mistakes all the time. How they learn from them is the important part."
Nycteus looked into Lucario's eyes and saw only warmth in them. He wasn't sure why, but... he knew he could trust him. This must've been what his baker friend meant. Miracles, huh? Maybe he could believe that, just this once.
His mind was so focused on his own thoughts that he didn't register Lucario's nudging until they were almost to the place the Lucario wanted to point out: a small cave, sheltered from the wind and rain. Huh. Speaking of miracles... Nycteus never noticed that before. Without words, they both decided to wait the storm out here.
"Mr. Lucario," Nycteus propped himself up against the wall on the far end of the cave. Lucario, for the most part, stayed near the opening. "Would you like a treat? I figure it's the least I can do for you saving my life."
"Won't it be drenched?" The Lucario's smile crinkled his eyes. So he teased too, huh? "I would love to. It's probably been a day since I've eaten, actually..."
As Nycteus hunched over his basket, he couldn't help but run that line over and over in his head. It felt so... somber. Surely he's fed well, helping so many folks? Nycteus settled on a few peppers and other vegetables and pulled them out for Lucario.
"Peppers, huh?" The Lucario gently took them from Nycteus. "Thank you."
"No problem." That line was still caught in his head. Nycteus could hardly imagine anyone going hungry around here; he himself cooked for anyone who came by, and Mrs. Sunflower's restauraunt was open for all to enjoy its pleasures. To put it shortly: there was no reason Lucario should go hungry, ever.
"Lucario," Nycteus shifted in his spot. "I did have a question..."
"One moment, if I may?" The human nodded. "I never got your name."
"Oh! It's Nycteus. Sorry for not telling you sooner, but-"
The Lucario only laughed. "No worries. And thank you for the meal, it's delicious."
"You should come by Mrs. Sunflower's place more often, then!" Nycteus was starting to feel somewhat warmer, but the cold cave wall only served to maintain his chills, if anything. "She's got the best food around."
Something in the Lucario seemed to shift, then. Like he was... uncomfortable? But then he went right back to being jovial. "I'd love to," Lucario said.
This was going to bug him if he didn't ask.
"Lucario, do you... do you not eat?"
Bingo. Lucario rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "I was raised to do as much good as I can, and never take anything for granted."
"So you don't take anything." Nycteus had heard that, too: no matter how often the Lucario helped, he refused any reward offered to him. At the time, Nycteus just took it as typical hero stuff, but he guessed it went a little deeper than he expected.
"It's easier that way." Another line that would surely stay in Nycteus' head, rent-free.
There was a small silence that passed where Lucario finished his food as the wind outside raged. Then another question popped into Nycteus' head.
"I don't mean to be rude- thank you again, truly- but... how did you move that tree?"
"I punched it," Lucario responded without hesitation.
Nycteus gaped at his companion.
He... punched it. Just like that?
"Just like..." Lucario punched the air in front of him with such force that the air around his fist shot off and softly hit the wall opposite him. "Just like that."
"Ah. Right." Nycteus wasn't sure what he was expecting. That definitely wasn't it.
It must be tiring, being so strong.
Nycteus thought. Having such a reputation as Lucario did, he probably always had folks asking for his help. Nycteus wouldn't be surprised if the Lucario never slept. That... was kind of sad. Maybe he was never offered before? Just to rest?
A plan started hatching in Nycteus' head. A plan with gratitude in its heart.
"Say, Lucario..." Nycteus fiddled with his basket. Was it nerves or the chill that kept sending shivers up his spine? "I don't know if you would be fine with this, so please say so, but in my cottage, I have an extra bed you could use, should you need to?" He was rambling. "I mean, with it being so cold, and all, and my house is kind of far from Unova... well, that's all to say, really-"
"Nycteus." Lucario stopped him in his tracks. "Nycteus, right?" He nodded. There was something tender in that. "Nycteus. I wouldn't mind that at all."
Oh. Oh, okay.
"Right." Nycteus didn't think that would actually work. "Okay! Trust me, you won't regret it."
"I don't plan to." That smile again. Nycteus didn't think he would get tired of it. "Oh." Lucario's ear flicked. "Looks like it's cleared up a bit."
One look outside confirmed it: when they weren't looking, heavy rain had turned to gentle sprinkle once more. The winds, too, died down from gusts to tickles on the skin. Nycteus got up, basket in hand, and cautiously walked to the entrance to peek at the sky. Not quite clear, but a much less ominous grey than before. He could definitely work with this.
"Alright!" Nycteus couldn't help but smile. "It's not too far from here. Let's go!"
"Lead the way," Lucario smiled back.