I wrote this for a contest on deviantART, and I decided to get some more FanFiction kudos by posting it here as well. g96b10, Fluffy's Lady (coalwhite on DA,) and Darkness Shade do it, Hell, even my own sister, TemariTrainer, does it, so why can't I?
P.S. The Secret World of Arrietty (Kari-gurashi no Arrietti) (C) 2011-2012 Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miazaki, not JeremyX.
Watching a Friend for a Friend
By JeremyX (JeremyX2000 on deviantART)
Based on "Arrietty 5 Years Later" by cewilson5on deviantART
I really hate seeing her sad. Maybe it's because I hate seeing her sad so much that I took one of the biggest risks of my life. Now, I've taken a lot of humongous risks before, but this one would probably top them all. It was bad enough I've been spotted, or seen as my people call it, by human beans a few times in the past, but never did I willingly venture out to actually see them before. I knew that her father would immediately disapprove of this and scold me for being so unbelievably foolish for breaking the code of our people, but if it would help ease the pain in her heart, then I was more than willing to do whatever it took. I knew that she loved him more than her parents wished she loved me, and that they disapproved of her feelings for him, but I know that love like that cannot be broken or by parental will, nor is it hindered by a small difference between the lovers. No pun intended, by the way.
In case you, the reader, don't know who I am, my name is Spiller, and what I am is a Borrower. We are much similar to you human beans, in terms of proportions and intelligence, but if you have ever seen a Borrower, then you will immediately notice the most obvious difference between the two of us: the fact that we measure a mere ten centimeters tall when compared to you gargantuan beans. For this reason, as well as our innate fear of what your kind is capable of doing to our race, we stay out of your sight and take small things from you that you don't need or will miss, and that we do need and rely on to survive. Soap, tissue paper, sugar, sewing pins, you name it, one or another of us has borrowed it. The only reason why we do this is because we can't find these things just lying around outside, and technically speaking, we're people too. Likewise, the reason we stay away from your kind is that some of you, and I don't name names but you know who you are, would not let your curiosity about us be satisfied until you knew all that you could know about how we are what we are. You would catch us, trap us, test on us, and even dissect us like frogs if you could. Now some of you who are reading this will say, "Now that's just sick and cruel! Why would we ever do that?" Well, I will admit that there are good ones among you beans, but just as there are bad Borrowers, there are bad beans, and you know it as well.
Most of you have heard of my friend Arrietty's adventure with a teenage boy of a human bean named Shawn that resulted in her family leaving the house of Shawn's Aunt Jessica with me in search of the Borrower community I spoke of to them. For those of you who haven't, Arrietty Clock, which is her full name, lived with her parents, Pod and Homily, under the floorboards of the house of Shawn's Aunt Jessica for quite a while. One day, Shawn was sent there for a week of rest before an operation was to be performed on his fragile heart. It amazed me that someone so big and strong looking was really as weak as he would most likely make us out to be. When he arrived, he noticed my friend coming home from an excursion to a large bay tree in the house's backyard garden. He thought he had imagined it, but his suspicions were confirmed to be true when he spotted her during her first borrowing that night. She was naturally afraid of him, a creature several times her size, but he was pained by this fact. I could tell that he did not want to bring harm to Arrietty. In fact, Shawn wanted nothing more than to protect her from those who would seek to exploit her, like his aunt's sneaky and all-too-nosy maid, Hara. She had heard of Borrowers from Shawn's grandparents, who had seen a pair of Borrowers in the past who lived in the same house. Like Shawn they did not intend to hurt their new guests, and in fact, Shawn's grandfather had an intricate little house made just for them, so they could have a nice place to live. However, they did not have a Borrower's thinking in mind, and the family left the house and never came back. Pod believed that this move was totally justified, but Arrietty and Shawn didn't know why either one of their kind, bean or Borrower, couldn't just get along. Hara, however, sought out to exploit the knowledge of our race's existence. She had seen our race in the past as well, but did not share the same thoughts as Shawn's grandparents or even Shawn himself. Not only did she not have our best interest in mind, but she would trap us like animals or pests just because we were smaller than her, and brand us as common thieves! We do take some things from you, beans, but only the things we truly need to survive in your giant world!
I believe you know more than I do of what happened after all of that mayhem that first night. They meet in the garden, Arrietty announces their move, much to Shawn's disappointment, Hara captures Homily whilst all of this is going on, Shawn and Arrietty team up to save her, and then despite everything that has happened, Arrietty and her family moves out of the house and finds me by the river, ready to take them to my village and to more Borrowers. However, the family cat, Nina, shows Shawn the way to find her, so that he could wish her luck with her new home. She in turn wished him luck for his operation that would occur the following day, and she even gave him her orange plastic hair clip as a good luck charm. She then grabbed the end of his middle finger in both her hands, and touched the tip of it to her forehead, crying softly. That was probably the saddest I'd ever seen her before, and I had no desire to see her that way again. However, she greatly improved after that, and in time became a very skilled and, if I may say so, a very beautiful Borrower. In the end, though, she could never forget her feelings for the boy who had seen her, the one who had wanted to protect her so badly. It was sad for him as well. All his life, people had been passing over him like he was a baby. He had been told that he was going to die ever since he came into this world, and he resigned to it, as if he was accepting what he conceived to be the inevitable. But Arrietty, even though she was much different from him, made him reconsider this approach to his fate. It was as if her words had reignited his spark to live, and though the two had only just met, they had felt so close, especially Arrietty.
That had all happened yesterday. Now we were in a new village about a kilometer or two down the stream, and in a thick forest that surprisingly contained little to no animals of any kind. This was partly because we borrowers, despite our size, are very good hunters. Today marked the day that I would try my "crazy but worth it for Arrietty" idea of searching for Shawn. But I needed a solid alibi before I could just go off into the wild world of you human beans, so I went to Pod to present my "story".
"Pod, I have to go out and scout out for more Borrowers." I said, looking at him directly in the face so that he would be convinced. "I probably won't be back for a few weeks, so if you need anything, just ask the neighbors in the village. They will be more than willing to help a fellow Borrower."
I thought for a second, from the way he stared at me, that Pod was trying to see if I was lying or not. However, I kept my face and body still, and he smiled.
"Of course, my friend." He said after a while. "Do whatever you need to do. I just want you to know that I am extremely grateful for all that you have done for me and my family." He placed his hand on my shoulder and grinned widely. "You have my sincere and unequivocal gratitude, my boy. Now go."
I nodded and headed out from the village. As soon as I exited, I took a deep breath. Whew. Pod bought the story hook, line, and sinker. Now here came the hard part: actually finding the boy. Well, it actually would be harder for Arrietty that it would be for me, considering that I could fly. Well, sort of, I really could more like glide than actually fly. Regardless, I climbed atop a large tree, and in case you're wondering I mean tall for you beans as well as tall for us Borrowers. Having reached the top, I spread out my animal-skin sail and glided like a bird over the vast expanse of the small park at the edge of the forest. It only took me about a minute to get to my first stopping point, which was about a whole kilometer away from the village. I was surprised myself at the great distance the wind had carried me. It was as if I this was a sign that I was meant to embark on this voyage for Arrietty. I took a deep breath and continued gliding up the river towards the peaceful looking cottage that my friend left behind.
When I got to the house, not surprisingly, the first thing I noticed was the boy, Shawn, resting out in the garden. To be more specific, he was lying on his back with his head resting on a rock, the very same place where he finally met Arrietty face to face. He was slightly asleep, though, and the cat, Nina, was nowhere to be seen. Just then, a voice called out from the house.
"Shawn?" It was his Aunt Jessica. "Where are you? It's time to go."
The boy breathed deeply and got to his feet. "It's time," he said to himself. "I'll be strong… for me… and for you."
I held in my breath as my eyes widened. He remembered Arrietty. I was further surprised when he reached into his shirt and pulled out a small chain, which seemed to be made of pure silver. On the chain hung a small orange object that served as the reason to make me gape all the more. It was Arrietty's hair clip. He held it in his huge fingers for about a minute, and then tucked it back under his shirt. "Here goes nothing," he said, and turned to go back inside. I followed him to the door, making absolutely sure he didn't notice me, as I had no desire to be seen by him, at least not yet. He entered the house, and a few minutes later I heard the door on the other side opening. I realized he had come out the other side, and flew over the roof to investigate. Sure enough, the front door to the house had been opened, and Shawn came out with an elderly woman, clearly in her late sixties, with a pink coat over a white shirt with a deep blue cravat that had a turquoise set in the knot. I soon saw that this was Shawn's Aunt Jessica. Her expression was a mix of compassion for this poor sick boy, as well as sorrow for him. Because of that, I now began to take in the severity of this boy's situation. His parents had sent him to his aunt's house because they could not be bothered to do their job as parents and take care of him. They sent him away because their jobs at their places of work were more important to them than their only son. No wonder he was so down about his life. For the first time in a long while, I felt sorry for a bean. I lost my parents when I was very young, and I miss them every day. Shawn still had both of his parents, but they never paid any attention to him. It appeared as if he seemed little more to them than a useless burden, a doomed patient just waiting for his final agony.
"Are you ready, Shawn?" The voice of Shawn's Aunt Jessica jolted me out of my thoughts long enough to see that they had stopped at the doors to Jessica's car.
Shawn did not move or speak for a long while, but then nodded. "Yes, Aunt Jessica. I'm ready."
She smiled at her nephew, and they both entered the vehicle, and drove away. I decided it would be best to follow them, to ensure that his condition would improve, so I could tell Arrietty the good news. I glided down to the ground and hitched myself to the bottom of the car. Fortunately for me, this was the part that was very easy to hook onto, and that didn't pose a danger to me in any way. It was a long while before we came up to a large building with a lot of vehicles parked near it, most of them emblazoned with red crosses. There was also a large red cross in front of the building. I soon realized that this was the hospital. This was Shawn's destination. I unhooked myself from the bottom of the car and peeked out from underneath just enough to see Shawn and his aunt proceed into the hospital. I followed closely, but quietly, like an expert Borrower should. I wasn't sure, but I felt like it was my duty to observe Shawn's operation to learn more about this boy and about the human beans in general. Not to mention I had to tell Arrietty if he would be okay or not. I noticed a man with neck-length bluish black hair and a woman with long blond hair in a very fancy looking business suit standing next to the entrance. I guessed that these were his parents, and I can't say I blame Shawn for his feelings towards them. I could just tell from their faces that they weren't concerned in the least about this boy. Not because they were confident of his success, but because they simply didn't care one way or the other. At least his mother looked that way. His father was trying to avoid eye contact because of the look of shame on his face. He was his father, and he was failing in his duty to his son.
Just then, a man in a large white cloak came down the hallway and stood before the group. I could tell from his attire that he was the doctor. I had been to a hospital before, but I won't tell you the details. He came up to the boy and paused for a moment.
"Shawn," he said after a while, "We're ready for you."
Shawn got to hid feet, with a firm expression on his face. "Alright, Doctor Honda, let's do this."
The doctor paused, grinned at the boy for his courage, and led him and his aunt down the hall to the surgery room. I followed as stealthily as ever, and as we approached the door, Shawn looked slightly scared, but also looked brave and ready for what was about to befall him. The doctor gave a slight nod, led him through the door, followed him inside, and closed the door behind him. Aunt Jessica, left outside, put her hand to her chest and gave a sigh. The operation had begun.
I almost forgot how agonizing hospital visits are. Waiting… waiting… it seemed like an eternity was passing when it was only a few hours. A whole twelve hours went by before the doctor, Honda, if I'm right, emerged from the room with an expression of shock, surprise, amazement, and wonder all at the same time.
"Miss Jessica?" the doctor said.
"Yes?" she answered shakily.
The doctor stopped for a minute, shaken by whatever happened to him, and then spoke up.
"This is probably the most extraordinary case I have ever seen in my entire medical career," he said, breathlessly. "Not only is he in a very stable condition, but it's almost like his body was waiting and preparing for this. The heart was such a perfect match for him that his system is responding to it much better and faster than his old heart. He has already gained consciousness and is perfectly fine. He should be able to be released by tomorrow, if all goes well."
I was just as surprised as Shawn's aunt was, but when she heard this, she nearly collapsed as she fell back into the chair. The movement was so abrupt that the doctor could not help but jump.
"Are you all right, madam?" he asked, worried that she was not well.
She placed her hand over her chest and sighed peacefully. "He's going to be okay. Thank God."
"You can see him now, if you want," Doctor Honda said, "just don't get him too excited."
She nodded happily, and he led her inside the operation room. I took this as my opportunity to take my leave, and flew out the window, and made my way to a nearby tree to take a rest for a while. At least I could tell Arrietty that he was still alive, but to what end? Would she seek him out again? Would he seek her out? And, if so, how far would either one go for the other? I decided I would tell her when the time was right.
I took my time, and the whole three days before Shawn's release from the hospital came and went in the blink of an eye. All the while, everyone in the hospital, doctors, patients, and visitors alike had heard of the incredible story of the twelve year old boy with the lifelong heart failure, who had seemed to have everything stacked against him in his impending operation. Yet, against all odds, this amazing soul pulled through and not only gained a new and stronger heart, but came through the operation faster and in even better shape than the best doctors could have ever conceived. Everyone wondered where he got this new strength. For his case, it was almost like a miracle. While I was watching this all unfold, I kept it to myself that I knew the reason for this. The reason was Arrietty. Her bravery inspired Shawn to face his fears. She gave him a reason to live again, when everyone else said he would die. I decided to go in and see him off. When he came from the hospital, I saw his father come up to him, slowly, then patted his shoulder, whispered something, and wrapped his arms around his son, and I could hear him crying softly. Shawn smiled and hugged his father back.
"Mom, Dad," he said after a while, "there's something I want to tell you."
I gasped. Did this mean that he was going to tell them about us? Shawn's parents pulled away, and I started to move away from the tree I was hiding in.
"I want to get back to school first thing tomorrow," he said. I exhaled deeply.
"Why?" his parents asked.
"Now that my heart is strong, I want to become strong," he replied. "That involves getting smarter so that I can graduate from school, go to college, and get a good job, a good house, and a good life."
His parents were slightly taken aback by this statement, particularly his mother, but his father gave a big grin.
"Sure thing, son," he said. "You can do whatever you want. Your mother and I will make sure you have the best life you can afford."
Shawn smiled. "Thank you so much, my father."
I took this as my cue to leave. I could tell that he wanted to see her again, but there were things he needed to do before that could happen, so I would leave him be. I also would not tell Arrietty about Shawn's success, because she would only try and find him, and he'd end up trying to get her back home. He wanted them to be together, but not yet. There was a time and place for everything, as the psalm goes, and the time for Arrietty and Shawn's reunion was not to come, at least not yet. With that in mind, I picked myself up, and flew back towards the forest, promising myself that I would check back on him within a few years, for Arrietty's sake.
FIVE YEARS LATER…
It had been a long time since I had checked on Shawn's conditions, so I flew back to the city, leaving behind yet another alibi for Pod. This time I convinced him with the old bean trick of going fishing. I got to hand it to those beans; they come up with good ways to get you out of a jam. I glided out over to the cottage, since I had no clue where he actually lived, and noticed an unusually large crowd assembled there. As I backed up to avoid being seen, I noticed they were all dressed in black colored garments. Also, there was a lot whispering and hushed conversation going on. People were saying things like, "I'm so sorry for your loss," and, "Your family has my deepest sympathies."
I couldn't even breathe for a second. They were talking about someone who had died. This was a funeral party! What if the deceased was Shawn? What would I tell Arrietty then, if that was so? But before I could think of that situation any further, I heard another voice, a soft male voice, speak out:
"Thank you all. I'm sure she would be… very happy indeed."
I exhaled, relieved. The voice belonged, thankfully, to Shawn. But it was shaky and rather upset. I took a look at him, and gasped in surprise. He had become much taller than when I last saw him, and his hair was now the length of his chin. I then took a closer look at the party, and noticed an ornate picture frame in a shrine in the garden. The picture was of the same old woman I saw with Shawn the day of his operation. I assumed that Shawn's Aunt Jessica couldn't have died of old age, and sure enough, she had fallen down the stairs and hit her head on the floor. Though I never met her, I felt sad. Probably because she was just a lonely elderly lady who had only wanted to help her nephew, and fulfilled that purpose. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I felt sorry for that poor bean. His aunt was the only family who ever truly cared for him, and now she was gone. For the next few hours, all sorts of people pawed over Shawn and expressed their sorrow for him. I then noticed everyone pack up and leave, but Shawn and his parents leave for a large and expensive looking car parked outside the house. They all climbed inside, and Shawn's mother said;
"Well, time to see what my dear sister left for me."
I could hear Shawn's father saying, "How can you say that about your own sister, Sophie? She's dead and all you can think about is her money?"
"I'm worried about her house," I heard Shawn say quietly. "I hope we can keep it. I loved it."
I furrowed my brow. Obviously, Shawn was a much more respectable bean than I had already thought. I decided to follow them to hear about this "will" of Miss Jessica's, and I jumped out of the bush, blending in with the dirt road, and rushed to the underside of the vehicle. I jumped up onto the back, and held on as it sped off to its destination. The car stopped at the office of what they called a lawyer, which I knew enough was someone that beans hired to sort out issues concerning their laws.
"To my family, I leave all of my earthly belongings, as they will serve me no more in my new heavenly home," the black-suited man read from the paper he was holding in front of him. Shawn still looked very sad, his dad looked sorry for his son, but his mother looked impatient with a sort of "when is this going to be over" look. The man paused for a second.
"Go on," his dad said.
"As the sole act of my will, I leave my house and all of my possessions to… my wonderful nephew, Shawn." The lawyer concluded, putting the paper down.
Shawn jolted in complete astonishment, his dad's eyes widened, and his mother turned very red, the sort of red when you are about to blow your top.
"Me?" Shawn gasped. "Are you sure?"
"That's what the paper says," the lawyer said, "so yes."
Shawn was frozen for a while, and then smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Katsuya."
The lawyer nodded and shook Shawn's hand. "I'm just doing my job, sir."
The family got up from the couch and left the office. The next day, I ventured by the house, and heard a very distressed woman shouting from the front door. I took a look form the roof, and saw that it was coming from Jessica's maid, Hara. She was standing out of the door and she looked like the house burned down.
"Why?" she cried. "Why would you fire me? I've spent most of my whole life here! Why would you take that away from me?"
Shawn, who was standing in the doorway, looked around, and glared at Hara.
"You know why," he said, "so don't play dumb, Hara."
"What?" she gasped.
"You were the one who made them move away!" he shouted at her. I gasped, realizing that he was talking about Arrietty and her family. Hara gasped as well, but then glowered at him.
"So it was you who undid my work, wasn't it, boy?" she growled. "You let those little thieves get away!"
"Yes." He stared defiantly at her. "You had no right to do that to Arrietty's mother in the first place, nor any other Borrower."
"Borrower?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.
"That's what the 'little people' call themselves because that's what they are. They're not pests, they're not toys, and they are not thieves!"
"But why would you cast me out now?" she shrieked. "And who is this Arrietty?"
"She's my friend," he barked. "And because of you, she had to leave me. I will never forgive you for that. That is why I'm firing and evicting you. This is my house now, and what I say goes. Now get out before I call the police and have them arrest you for trespassing."
For a long time, Hara didn't move, but then slowly got into her red car and drove away, never to be seen again. Shawn took a deep breath, and I went back to the village, satisfied for now. But when I turned to leave, I heard him say:
"Arrietty, I'm going to find you again. If I have to search throughout the whole world, I will."
I gasped. This was his intention all along. He gained the house, and made it so that everyone would leave him alone. The time was right to tell Arrietty about this whole adventure. I made my way back to the village, put on my best "I can't believe that one got away" face for Pod, so he would believe my fishing fib, and asked Arrietty if I could speak with her alone.
"Okay, Spiller," she said. "Sure thing."
With that, I led her out to a soft spot of grass, far away enough from her house so Pod wouldn't hear what I was going to say, but close enough so she could still be seen by her parents. I stopped for a while and looked at her before I thought about what I was going to say. Arrietty looked at me worriedly.
"What is it?" she asked. "What's wrong?"
"There's nothing wrong," I blurted out, and then sighed. Here goes, I thought to myself.
Five words. That's all it took to turn my best friend's world upside down.
"Arrietty, I've seen Shawn today."
You want to what happens next? Well, look up cewilson5 deviantart and read the series for yourself! This one is already in two groups after less than a week on DA! By the way... I hope he doesn't kill me for this, but I used Dr. Honda from "Doctor" by TheNextSunrise on FanFiction. If you're reading this, man, I gave you credit in my DA entry, and please don't kill me!
- JeremyX signing off!