The book creaked.
It was a strange sound for a book to make, Meredy reflected upon opening the small silver tome she'd discovered among Keele's old things. But, she supposed, since moving his things here to Celestia, she'd seen a lot of stranger items among his possessions. This was an oddity, though. Books usually made more of a rustle, or a thud when their hard covers slapped the thin pages between them in a sudden shutting. A creak was unusual, to say the least. Meredy spent a moment more studying the odd piece of literature, examining its secrets with a careful eye. She quickly discovered the cause of its creaking: along the spine of the book were some rusty bindings. When the book's covers were spread, the bindings groaned out in protest. The unusual thing was that the bindings didn't seem like they were needed to hold the book together; the spine looked perfectly functional.
Meredy opened the book twice more. Creak. Creak.
Creak. "Baiba!" the girl exclaimed. The third creak had come not from her, but from the stairs leading up to the room she was in. The door was still closed, but Meredy was suddenly and inexplicably overcome with a strange feeling that she shouldn't be intruding on this mysterious tome. The feeling was fleeting and unusual, but she had long since learned to listen to her sudden urges. Meredy whistled lowly for Quickie. The blue animal bounded to her side quickly from his resting place atop a stack of scrolls. The scrolls rustled messily to the floor in its wake. Meredy gave him the book, and Quickie hurriedly bounded out of the room through a low window, scurrying to a nearby tree branch and waiting out of sight.
Meredy made herself look busy by rearranging the scrolls that had scattered. Keele opened the door to find her knelt on the floor, working almost stiffly. "Meredy?" Keele asked. "Is something the matter?"
She raised herself slowly and smiled at him. "Nothing is the matter, Keele," she replied slowly, her accent drifting unnoticed through the room. "Unless something is the matter with Keele...?"
"N-no," Keele said suddenly, and Meredy could swear she saw a slight tinge of blush on his cheeks. "It's nothing important."
"Keele seems strange today," she pressed, stepping a little closer. "Should Meredy be worried?"
"Of course not!" he came back quickly. "It's really nothing very important. I just... um..." He spoke quieter, as though almost embarrassed to admit something. "I just thought I'd heard... something and got worried."
"Keele did worry!" Meredy answered. "Why?"
"It's really nothing to be concerned over!" he said, snapping a little quicker than she thought he would. "Don't worry about it." He turned out of the room and let the door close swiftly behind him.
"Keele..." she sighed, leaving the scrolls in a haphazard mess on the floor. Whatever had happened, she felt compelled to help him, and that strange feeling she had led her to believe that whatever that book was, it might help her figure out what. Sometimes, she just had a second sense about him, and so felt obliged to do something. She went to the window and whistled to summon Quickie and the book back to her. A moment later, the furry blue animal didn't come back. Two moments later, more of the same. Three moments later, Meredy frowned again. And four moments later, Meredy decided that she should, momentarily, go out to find the little thing.
Five moments later, she was already sprinting downstairs and entirely tired of counting moments.
"Quickie!" she called when she was out of earshot of the house. She figured that Quickie would be too far to hear her summons from the house, and neither did she want Keele to hear her in case Quickie came back in his presence with the book in tow. She whistled again, then added, "Come!" When the animal didn't reply, she briskly walked further down the paths of Luishka, the rebuilt city where she and Keele had taken up residence. She knew the rebuilt city's multiple pathways, like the back of her hand, and so she made a quick list of all the places the minute creature could be hiding. After verifying he wasn't hiding in the first two (a broken barrel by the inn and a large tree near the item shop), she whistled near her third choice, and the furry animal scurried out from a crevice in the deck of a house.
Quickie squeaked cutely as it leaped up onto her shoulders, the book held securely against his back by the creature's powerful tail. Meredy bristled at it as she took the book deftly.
"Quickie naughty," she mused at him, though not angrily. "Quickie should not take Keele's things!"
"Neither should Meredy," Keele sighed, walking up to her and smiling slightly.
"Baiba!" Meredy yelped. "Meredy... Meredy not see Keele there!"
"I didn't think you would," he said gently. "I don't suppose you'll give me that book back, will you?"
"Meredy will!" she said quickly, but added, "But Meredy curious what it is."
Keele held a long breath in, releasing it slowly. "It's a... very old, personal text."
"Personal to Keele, or personal to someone Keele knew?" she asked cleverly.
"Oh, it's personal to me," he said, trying to keep his voice casual. "It's a... um..." He stopped, as though waiting for something deep within him to push the words out his mouth, but in the end, nothing came, so he had to let them out voluntarily. "It's a journal."
"Oh," Meredy said, now becoming even more interested. "Keele's journal of scientific data?"
"No," the scholar replied, now blushing. "It's a... personal journal."
"Oh!" she suddenly exclaimed, understanding. "Keele's diary!"
"It's not a diary!" Keele said suddenly. "It's just... a... collection of my thoughts when I was little."
"Meredy not understand," she blinked. "Is this not a diary?"
"I... That..." he stuttered back. "I guess you could call it that."
She decided a slight change of subject was in order. He was getting flustered again. "Keele's book has strange bindings," Meredy noted, tracing her finger along the rusted metal fixed to the spine.
He gently took the book from her, opening and closing the covers. It squeaked fairly loudly. "When I was little, I attached these old, rusty bindings to the book. I'd hoped that if Reid ever found the book and started reading it, I'd hear him opening the book and could stop him." He flushed a little, but she only looked enthusiastic at the ingenuity of his youth. "Of course, it's more likely he'd have gotten Farah to read it to him, and that wouldn't really have been acceptable either..."
"Young Keele had very good ideas!" she laughed, clapping once or twice in pleasure.
He looked away. "It's nothing special."
Meredy shook her head vehemently, her light hair bobbing with every turn. "No! Special to Keele, is it not?"
He smiled a little before simply answering, "Very."
"Kwee kwee?" Quickie chirped before making another jump for the tiny book. Keele snatched it away before the animal could lay another paw on it.
"Meredy sorry for almost losing Keele's diary," she said sullenly. "Meredy know its importance, now. Won't try to read it anymore."
Keele looked hesitant for a moment, wavering on his feet ever so slightly. "Meredy... If you really want to read it," he finally muttered, "you... I mean, you're not Reid or anything, so... I..."
"...Keele is sure?" she asked, resting her hand on his, not on the book.
"I trust you, Meredy," he said at length, offering her the journal.
The Celestian took it in one hand, but kept her other hand on Keele's. "Meredy will read on one condition."
"Keele will read book with Meredy!" she had said, and so Keele, comfortable and leaning back against his sofa, watched as Meredy held the book out before the two of them, turning pages slowly, leaning against his frail form. Quickie, in turn, was curled up in her lap. Eventually, Meredy handed it to him and let him turn the pages for them, and he did so, reliving old memories and letting her soak up his mythology. It was only after half an hour of his turning the pages that he'd noticed she'd fallen asleep against him. He closed the book, lowering it and letting it drop to the floor with a silent thud, which stirred not even Quickie. He wrapped his arms warmly around Meredy from behind, and joined her in blissful slumber.