Welcome to the sequel of 'The Adventure Continues!' I am pleased to announce that I have returned to keep the legacy that Bolt has created alive, and I plan on doing that with 'Decoded'. As you all know, Bolt was called to perform a mission with 'The Phantom Five', and the mission went well for all who were involved; safe for a few minor mishaps here and there. Now, things are working out great for the shepherd back home… or so we think. Welcome to 'Decoded', and enjoy yourselves!
A/N: I do not own Bolt or any of its character. All characters are the property of Disney and its subsidiaries.
The Days of In-Between
A week had passed since Bolt and Mittens returned home to Penny and her mom, and all was working out much better than they had anticipated: Nova was still too small to walk or open her eyes, but that just made the family love her cuteness even more; the same went for Seth, as he was too young to see or hear as well; Bolt and Mittens were enjoying every minute of their new lives as mates, and now… parents, and Penny was back to her old self, and happy to have her family back together and even bigger than before.
Bolt pushed the door to Penny's room open with his nose, and jumped onto her bed, where she welcomed him with a neck scratch. As she pulled the headphones from her ears, having been listening to her iPod, she turned Bolt's collar on, allowing the two of them to speak English.
"What's up, buddy?" Penny asked
"Not much, just a little worried." Bolt responded slapping a smile on his face to hide his uneasiness.
"What's wrong?" Penny asked again.
"Well… Eli and Beverly will be here in a couple of hours to see us, and I've been having some thoughts about Nova."
"What kind of thoughts?"
"I'm wondering if she should know about her genetic abilities. I know she's still too young to know that she has them, but I'm just not sure she should know at all."
"Well, it's gonna be sort of hard to explain to her that her parents are a dog and cat. In reality, that's well… impossible."
That's just it! We aren't her real parents, and I'm starting to worry about how Eli and Beverly are gonna respond to this. They said it themselves that they wanted a normal life for their pups, and I wanna keep that belief as alive and well as possible."
"Well, run it by them and see what they think. Maybe you guys can find a compromise somewhere in-between."
Bolt and Penny looked at each other for about another 10 seconds before Bolt sunk his head into Penny's bed cover and groaned, overcome with frustration. Penny scooted closer to her dog, laying her head on top of his and stroking his back fur gently.
"I love seeing how much you care. It's probably one of the reasons Mittens loves you so much too." Penny said comforting Bolt as best she could. The shepherd pulled his head out from the comforter and looked up at Penny, smiling at her kind words.
"Thanks Penny! There's one more thing I want you to do."
"You name it!"
"If Eli and Beverly agree to this, I need to you put this collar away. When Nova begins seeing and hearing, I want make sure no talking animals live in the house." Bolt said reluctantly, knowing she wouldn't like the idea. Penny closed her eyes and lowered her head a little, somewhat upset that she couldn't talk to Bolt anymore.
"I know you didn't wanna hear that, but I need you to do this for me. You don't have to get rid of it, just because I may use it again someday; just put it in the attic or the garage, where only you can find it." Bolt said
"Okay! I'll do it!" Penny said in a heart-broken tone, which Bolt couldn't help but notice. Bolt and Penny soon had tears coming their eyes as they gently hugged.
"This isn't a sure thing, Penny. I just wanted to give you a heads-up, just in case." Bolt said
"I know, even though I'm already pretty sure that they'll agree with you." Penny said before shutting off his collar, and Bolt got up and walked out of her room, just as saddened as she was. As he made it to the bottom step, Bolt looked up to see Mittens lying on the couch, with Seth and Nova not far from her sight at the other end of the sofa.
"How did it go?" Mittens asked her mate. Bolt looked back at her for a few seconds before looking down at the floor, obviously upset, which was all the answer she needed. As Bolt jumped onto the couch cushion, he laid his head down gently, where he could finally let it out, as tears began flowing from his eyes once again. His silent breaths made Mittens feel nothing but remorse for Bolt, and what he had to be feeling. She gently climbed onto him, laying the front half of her body on his shoulders, massaging the back of his neck.
"I'm sorry, Bolt!" Mittens whispered into his ear as she brought her paws around his shoulders.
"It's not your fault!" Bolt said as he continued to lay with Mittens on the couch, lost in thought.
(2 hours later)
Bolt had ceased his sobbing, and had since turned his collar back on as he waited for Eli and Beverly to arrive, but still sat on the couch as he watched Catherine feed Nova, while Mittens lay on the cushion in-between each of them, while Seth got his fill. Rhino walked into the room from the kitchen and sat down on the arm of the couch, but decided to leave the TV off, which left Bolt a little awestruck.
"Since when do you leave the TV off?" Bolt asked the hamster.
Since the real thing will be here any minute." Rhino said sarcastically, to which Bolt couldn't help but laugh at. A brief knock came at the door, and Penny was quick to answer it.
"Hey guys!" Eli said as he and Beverly made their way through the front door.
"Hey!" Penny said welcoming the two of them in.
"It's nice to officially meet you guys." Penny said
"Yeah, I know! The last time I was here, I was dognapping him." Beverly said as she waved her paw over at Bolt, who walked up to them both and hugged them.
"It's only been about a week, but it feels like so much longer." Beverly said as she released the hug.
"No kidding! So where are the pups?" Bolt asked
"Oh there back in Bakersfield! Our new owner is watching them. The day after you guys left, we were introduced to this lady that used to work with Gracin, and the moment she saw the pups and us, she asked if we wanted to come with her back home."
"Wow! You've been busy!" Rhino said as he ran to the dogs. Beverly and Eli were happy to return the hugs, even if he was extremely small and easily crushable.
"Yeah we have! How have you guys been?"
"See for yourself!" Bolt said as he led Eli and Beverly over to see Nova, who had fallen asleep soon after being fed. Eli instantly began to tear up, seeing his daughter sleeping soundly.
"She looks so much like Seth." Eli said happily.
"I know!" Beverly responded.
"I want you to meet someone else too." Bolt said leading them over to Mittens. Beverly's mouth opened some as she stared at the kitten.
"Oh he is so cute! Where did you guys get him?" Beverly asked
"I brought him home!" Penny said jumping in.
"You sure picked a cute one!" Beverly said to Penny.
"Thank you!" Penny said with pride, happy with her decision to bring him home.
"What did you guys name him?" Eli asked as he joined the group. Bolt looked over at Mittens, who instantly smiled, knowing that they would be blown away by the name choice. Penny smiled as well, even if it did go unnoticed.
"Seth!" Bolt said simply. Beverly's smile turned back into a wide open mouth, and within seconds, her eyes swelled up with tears.
"Wh…" Beverly began, but was unable to speak. Bolt just nodded as he knew what she was trying to say. Beverly then looked back at Seth, and instantly began letting the tears flow. Bolt walked up to her and pulled her into his shoulder, letting her cry away.
"You didn't have to!" Beverly whispered beneath his shoulder.
"Yeah I did!" Bolt said, only causing her to cry more. After about another five minutes, Beverly was able to stop balling, and the group talked for what seemed like hours, but was really only about 45 minutes. They talked about everything from the food dispensers being installed in the house to how much bigger Nova would be than Mittens when she was fully grown. Bolt knew he was getting close to proposing his idea to Eli and Beverly, and every second that passed only made him tenser.
"Well, before you guys head for home, I wanted to talk to you about something." Bolt began hoping everything would go well.
"What's up?" Eli asked
"Well, I'm beginning to worry a little about Nova's genetic enhancement, and how it's going to play out when she gets older." Bolt started what he knew would be a long conversation. Eli and Beverly were trying to comprehend what he was trying to tell them, still lost in the translation.
"What do you mean?" Eli asked once more.
"Well, we aren't her real parents, and sooner or later, she's gonna figure that out. I'm just not sure if we should mention that she has these powers." Bolt continued. Beverly then realized what he was trying to say.
"So you're gonna keep it a secret from her?" Beverly asked hoping she had found the right question.
"You said it yourself that you wanted a normal life for you pups, and if she never finds out about her powers, then that would be one less thing for you to worry about. We could tell her that she was adopted, which is technically true and she wouldn't have to constantly ask herself who her parents are." Bolt said. Eli and Beverly looked at each other before Eli spoke.
"If we were in your position, we'd probably do the same thing."
"We wish we could think of a better solution, but there are just too many hoops to jump through that neither you guys nor we have the time or patience for."
The more Bolt was saying, the more Beverly wanted to say that he was wrong; however, she knew that he had his reasons for wanting to keep Nova's abilities a secret.
"It's for the best!" Beverly said feeling somewhat defeated. Bolt could see that she wasn't happy with the outcome, because neither was he.
"I'm sorry Beverly! I really am!" Bolt apologized
"Bolt, don't be! You're looking out for her, and I'm so thankful that she has you as a father to raise her as normal as she can be. We're still not sure what's gonna happen when our pups are told the story about 'The Phantom Five'." Beverly said laughing a little, trying to keep her spirits up.
"We still want you guys to be a part of her life." Mittens said getting on the conversation.
"How do you want us to do that?" Eli asked
"Do you have any more of those digital picture frames, like the one you sent home with Bolt and Mittens?" Penny asked the pair.
"There might still be a few back at the warehouse." Beverly said
"If you can send us another one, then we could take pictures or videos and send them back on the frame to you guys in Bakersfield. I have a lot of cameras, and almost all of them can post pictures on a computer or frame." Penny suggested. Eli looked at Beverly wondering what she thought of the idea.
"That's a really good idea!" Beverly said feeling a little better about being in her daughter's life. Bolt smiled, happy that they could find some common ground.
"Well, we'll send you guys another frame." Beverly said happily.
"Great!" Bolt said smiling.
"Well, I guess we'd better get going. Our ride just pulled up." Eli said looking out the window. Bolt, Mittens, Rhino and Penny joined him at the window, where they saw the same van that dropped them off the week before. Rhino gasped as he saw the only piece of technology that might mean more to him than the TV, which Bolt couldn't help but smile at.
"I think Rhino's love has returned to him." Bolt said laughing.
"No kidding!" Mittens said smiling at the remark.
"Well, we'll hopefully see you guys soon. I don't want the picture frame to be the only way we see each other." Bolt said as he walked up to Beverly and gave her a tight hug.
"Neither do I!" Beverly said as she released the hug. Eli was just finishing his hug with Mittens, when he walked to Bolt one last time.
"We need to do this more often, but I know we can't… Please keep in touch! You're like a brother to me!" Eli said. Bolt nodded as he pulled the Ridgeback in for a hug.
"I plan on it!" Bolt said smiling, happy that the phrase they had grown to use so much was used even more than before. Eli and Beverly said their good-byes to Nova and Seth and walked out the front door, heading for the van. The two dogs looked back once more and waved at the group, who was still standing on the front porch waving right back, safe for Rhino who let out a salute. The door to the van shut, and they were off and heading back to Bakersfield, while Bolt, Mittens, Rhino and Penny walked back inside the house, where Catherine was setting Nova back in her bed. Bolt looked up at Penny and motioned her to follow him, as she followed him up the stairs to the attic entrance. Bolt sat down at the pull-down door to the attic, and Penny looked down at him, understanding what he was up to.
As they entered the attic, Penny opened a cardboard box right next to the door, and began to take Bolt's collar off, but stopped as she looked into Bolt's amber eyes, still saddened by his decision.
"I know you're upset!" Bolt said
"Well, yeah! But I know it's for the best." Penny said
"I'm sorry, Penny!" Bolt said just as heart-broken as she was.
"You ARE a great father!" Penny said smiling, which made Bolt smile in return.
I love you, Penny! Thank you!" Bolt said one last time before Penny shut the collar off, loosened it from Bolt's neck and placed it in the box. As she closed the box, and slid it back where it sat before, she looked over at Bolt and smiled; a stray tear falling down her cheek. The shepherd walked to Penny, and let her embrace him in a hug, as he rested his head against her chest.
"Hopefully, this isn't the last time we'll be seeing that collar." Penny said as she made her way down the attic steps, with Bolt in her arms. As their feet met the floor, Penny reached up and closed the door to the attic, and the two walked back to the first floor to continue on with their day.
**End of Chapter**
You can now breathe! I have returned to the house of Bolt, and brought the gift of a sequel. If it weren't for the numerous reviews from numerous fans, I wouldn't be writing this story. I love how many ideas were sent into me for this new chapter, so sit back and enjoy the ride, because this… is just the beginning. Let's get 'Decoded!'