After the decision was made, Hugh and I headed back to bed. I took Owen with me this time - it seemed so strange to be leaving him alone in the dark, cold kitchen when he was awake rather than asleep. Owen showed no signs of shivering or teeth-chattering, which was good, but he also showed no signs of sleepiness. He bounced around like a mad thing, squeaking for all he was worth.
"Just stay quiet for a while, okay? Hugh and Lottie still need to sleep even if you don't," I said.
The message seemed to sink in. Owen jumped onto the pillow and curled up, keeping his little mouth shut. I could still see the excitement shining in his eyes, and it was clear he was having difficulty staying still. I ran my hand through the longer fur on his back, and he made a noise similar to the purring of a cat, his eyes slowly closing.
It was then I realized that without returning home, the journey around Unova was pretty much impossible. It was still late at night, and my mother never locked the door, so I could easily sneak into the house, grab what I would need for the trip and come back without her ever knowing I was there. Owen's eyes were still closed, so with any luck I could get out of here without him realizing I was going.
I didn't take into account that the door of Hugh's parent's room was very creaky. I should have remembered that from my trip to the kitchen. It swung open with a loud squeak, and Owen raised his head instantly. He looked at me and squeaked, as if to say "Where d'you think you're going?" I sighed.
"I'm not leaving you here, don't worry. I'll be back," I said, stepping out of the room. Owen squeaked again and jumped off the bed. "Stay here!" I said. But Owen completely ignored me. He ran over to me, squeaking loudly.
"Shush!" I said, picking him up and carrying him back to the bed. "Stay. There," I told him. The Oshawott still acted as if I hadn't said anything. He jumped onto the floor and scampered over to the door. I grabbed him again and placed him back on the bed. "Stay. There," I repeated, a little firmer this time. Owen shook his head and jumped onto my shoulder. "Fine," I sighed, giving in to the little Pokemon, "You can come as long as you promise not to squeak," Owen squeaked quietly as if to make that promise, and he kept to it. Not a single sound came out of the Oshawott's mouth until the next morning.
We crept along the hallway and down the stairs. Owen soon got bored of riding around my neck, so he jumped to the ground and skipped on ahead. Quiet as mice, the two of us sneaked outside and across the silent town. The icy, snow covered ground was far colder than Hugh's kitchen floor, and I instantly regretted not putting anything on my feet. Owen didn't seem bothered by the freezing cold ground. I guess having your feet covered in fur is pretty nice in the winter. I can't imagine having all that hair on my body in the summer, though.
Inside the house, it was pitch black. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. Owen jumped back onto my shoulder, and I could feel his little body quivering in fear.
"It's okay, Owen, it's not that dark," I said. My eyes were already adjusting to the lack of light in the room. I could see enough to walk in a straight line without bumping into anything, at least. I headed slowly for the stairs, reaching a hand in front of me to check there were no hidden obstacles.
Eventually, we made it to my room. Owen shivered again, this time not from fear of the dark, but fear of my mother.
"She won't get you, Owen, I promise," I assured the Oshawott. He didn't look convinced, but he didn't move again. It was like he was sure that if he stayed completely still, he would disappear completely and be safe.
I sneaked into the room and grabbed my bag, a black shoulder bag with a large heart on each side, filled with silver leopard print and a few things; Owen's Pokeball that I had forgotten to come back for in my worry for him, my portable CD player and its headphones, a few CDs and the tattered copies of my favourite books.
"C'mon, buddy, let's get out of here," I told Owen. He nodded and jumped to the floor, scampering out of the door and down the stairs. He sat at the bottom of the staircase, eyes bright and tail wagging, waiting loyally for me. I followed him, much more slowly for fear of my extra weight creating a creak and waking up my mother.
We walked outside, and I shivered. If I thought it had been cold before, I was wrong. The temperature had dropped drastically, and a strong, icy wind had picked up, tugging at my hair and clothes. Owen whimpered and jumped back onto my shoulder. I took hold of the Oshawott and cuddled him close to my chest, and headed back to Hugh's house. Before long, cold, white flakes began to fall from the cloud-cloaked sky. One landed on Owen's nose, and he sneezed. I smiled. He was so cute. I didn't know what I would do without him.
I bent my head to keep the snow, now falling much quicker and thicker than just a moment ago, out of my eyes. I've never been happier to see something than in the moment when I reached Hugh's door. Owen and I quickly dashed inside, up the stairs and into the room of Hugh's parents. Sleep came easily for what was left of that night. And tomorrow, Owen and I would embark on our quest around Unova. Little did we know, a bloody, dangerous time was about to start for us.