A/N: This is set in between the end of Syren and the beginning of Darke, as I have not read Darke yet, and something might have changed. Anyway, I've always loved Petroc Trelawney, and was really irritated that Jenna loses him; so whilst I was re-reading the series (so when I get round to ordering Darke from Amazon I'll remember the previous stuff) the story just... came to me. It's a little weird and a lot random, but I hope whoever bothers to read this enjoys it! :D
The Return of Petroc Trelawney
Jenna sat, a little bored by the side of the Moat, her feet dangling lazily in. It was a hot, dusty day in summer and she was mentally counting down the days until Midsummer's day, and daydreaming of what she would say to her boat. Her beautiful Dragon Boat still would not speak to Jenna unless absolutely necessary; and even then her normally powerful voice was weak and strained, and near broke her heart to hear. However the young princess hoped that by some miracle, come Midsummer's day, her beloved boat would find the strength to speak to Jenna as they once had. But so far the Dragon Boat had showed no sign of a miraculous recovery, and Jenna knew it was a long shot.
She sighed and leant back, splashing her bare toes in the slightly murky water. Some stones bit into her palms where her hands rested outstretched behind her, and she twisted round to move them out the way. Just as she had picked them up, however, she thought better of it, and turned her mind back to the previous day. Jenna had been out with Beetle, Septimus and Nicko, and they had all decided to row over to Sam's fishing beach and swim in the noticeably cleaner water. There was also the hope of bumping into one of the Camp Heap boys, most likely Sam. As it happens, that was exactly what had happened. It had been a most enjoyable day for them all. Beetle – who still fancied himself a fishermen after their time on the Isles of Syren – spent the day beside Sam, chuckling and attempting to catch fish, although failing as Sam seemed to steal all the catches.
Jen, Nik and Sep had spent the time swimming and splashing each other, laughing good naturedly as Sam yelled at them for scaring away all the fish. Beetle, who would never, ever yell at Jenna in a million years, remained silent, a small smile playing on his lips as he watched her. As fun as it was, the day had taken an irritating twist when the light began to slowly ebb away and they sat together on the beach – for the boys started skipping stones, and Jenna found that she simply couldn't make her stone do the same. Her stone would fly out her hand, and she would ready a satisfied smirk for she was sure she'd done it this time, but instead of bouncing again and again on the gold-and-red water, it had sunk like, well, like a stone. When she had announced this, annoyed, Septimus had promptly told her,
"Well of course you can't skip stones, Jen, you're a girl. Girls can't skip stones."
She had been highly insulted, and told him he was talking utter rubbish, but Sam had chimed in with,
" 'S true, Jen. It's a well known fact that girls can't skip stones. They just… can't." He had followed this remark with an expertly thrown skip, which bounced nine times. The other boys whistled in appreciation.
"Nice one, Sam." Nicko complemented, and threw his own which bounced a measly three. "See, Jenna? We boys just have a knack for it, I guess."
Jenna had looked at Beetle, hoping for an ally. He had blushed and shook his head. "Everyone knows it. Sorry." At her frown he had quickly stuttered out, "B-but, if any girl could skip stones, it'd be y-you, Jenna."
Septimus and Nicko had snorted. Jenna glared at them, determined to skip a stone. But no matter how hard she threw, with whichever tactic she tried and rock shape she chose, she could not skip a single one.
So as she sat beside the Moat the following day, a bunch of pebbles sitting in her hand, she decided to practice until she could do it. That'd show them. She chose what she deemed was a suitable stone, and flicked her wrist towards the water. With a 'plop!' it sank into the water. Frustrated, she tried another… and another… and another… and…
The pebble had opened its eyes. Startled, Jenna had let lose a shout and the pebble had flown out of her hand, to fall into the Moat with a small splash.
"No!" She shrieked, and plunged her hand in after it, watching the poor – living – rock sink slowly down. Frantically she reached down further, fingers grabbing wildly but finding nothing. She leaned so close to the water her nose almost touched the surface and her fingertips brushed the stone. Squinting to make it out, she stretched her arm more and – yes! – she seized it, and, triumphant, fell into the water.
An explosion of white momentarily blinded her as a mass of bubbles shot towards the air, and then it was replaced by the browny-green colour of the Moat. Jenna sank deep into the muddy water, before she recovered from the shock enough to kick upwards, creating a mushroom cloud of silt from the bottom of the river. Her head erupted upwards, spraying water-droplets everywhere, and she took in great lungfuls of clean air, clutching the edge of the pathway. Before she pulled herself up she checked that her golden circlet was still safe on her head, and thankfully it was. Once out of the cold Moat water, she uncurled her fist to reveal the living pebble, which made no sign of being alive.
She tickled its chin (or what she thought looked like it could be a chin), but nothing happened. She tried again, but still no eyes flickered open. Jenna had just begun to wonder whether she'd imagined the whole thing, and fallen into the Moat for nothing, when what she could only assume was the rock version of coughing happened, and it spat out a load of dirty water onto Jenna's hand. Caught between how gross that was and relief that it was still alive, Jenna could only stare at it.
Petroc Trelawney – for of course it was him – opened his eyes and stared at her reproachfully. She had thrown him into the Moat. Petroc Trelawney didn't like being thrown into water, for like all rocks he was far too heavy to swim, and he shared his species' natural fear of deep water. When you're a pebble, there is not much water which isn't classified as deep, so he tried his best to steer clear of water. Pebbles don't need as much water as other creatures do to survive, so they rarely drink any. Most of them take all their moisture through food, and when it rains, their [skin?] soaks up enough to last a year and a day, which is why they survive well in almost every climate.
Petroc Trelawney lifted his gaze to stare at the giant, sopping wet girl who was holding him, and wondered if he could trust her. She had thrown him into the Moat, which was not good, but she had saved him from drowning, which was very good indeed. What's more she had thrown herself in to do so, and Petroc Trelawney had a great respect for creatures who would risk their life to save others. Especially around water. He decided she could be trusted, and stuck out his four, stubby little legs so he could stand up. Once up, he began to ponder how this human knew his name, for what she had said had only just registered – pebbles being naturally slow creatures, of course. As he peered closer, he realised the human looked a whole lot like his Owner. In fact, he was almost certain it was his Owner. She had the same violet eyes, same long dark hair and the same stubborn mouth.
"Petroc, is that you?"
Petroc Trelawney blinked sleepily, and yawned. Then, incredibly slowly, he nodded.
Or, Jenna thought he nodded. It was more of an odd, bobbly movement that could have been him stretching, or turning to look at his feet, or perhaps he really needed the loo. As the last thought passed through her mind, Jenna promptly took him off her hand and placed him gently on the ground. She certainly didn't want that on her hand. Yuck.
"Oh Petroc! I'm so glad I found you!" She cried happily. "But… how did you get here?"
This reminded him of how tired he was, and Petroc Trelawney collapsed, his four stubby legs spread-eagled comically on the ground. It had been a long journey to find his Owner, especially for a pebble. Pebbles don't generally move much, and when they do they move very slowly. Petroc Trelawney had had to walk for months, attempting to be speedy. His Owner had no idea of the horror a pebble felt when he saw a huge river, and knew that somehow he had to cross that to find her. Petroc Trelawney still shuddered at the thought. He was only thankful nothing ate rocks – although he had nearly been carried off by creatures building nests a few times. That had not been fun.
Pebbles are naturally solitary creatures, but when they are taken into captivity they become attached to their Owners, as Petroc Trelawney had become attached to Jenna. When they are separated, they feel a faint, nagging pull towards their Owners – not unlike the pull Spit Fyre felt when he was Seeking Septimus. The pull had been most confusing for Petroc Trelawney, changing direction wildly and – at one point – becoming so faint Petroc Trelawney had feared his Owner had died. So, actually, Jenna had not found Petroc Trelawney, Petroc Trelawney had found Jenna.
Jenna looked sympathetically at him. "It must have been a long walk." She stroked the exhausted pebble. "You must be so very tired…" She mused.
Petroc Trelawney gave Jenna a look that clearly said 'You have no idea.' before falling fast asleep. At long last, he was home.
A/N: It's always annoyed me that my brothers can skip stones but I can't, and how they always told me it was 'Because I was a girl' so that's why that whole thing was in there. Also it helped the story progress, so... yeah.