A/N: A birthday fic for 'I am Lu'! Everyone should go and wish her a happy birthday! Her profile is a treasure trove of great fics, including the famous, 'The Ash Connection' which is probably the best written Pokemon fic in existence. Happy Birthday, Lu! My first contestshipping fic goes to you!
Disclaimer: I do not own pokemon, any affiliated characters or properties, or any references in this work of fiction.
"Really? Here, May?"
"Yes! Here, Drew!"
"You know what kind of place this is right?"
"Of course! Why else would we be here?"
"I mean..." Drew sighed as he trailed off, his point clearly lost on the young lady at his side.
The dusk-ridden skies of the city were being slowly wrapped in the amber glow of Lumiose's plethora of lights. The result was a curtain of effervescence that seemed to bring the city alive in the growing hours of night. It was enough to captivate any of its residents and visitors, no matter from how far or near they had travelled.
All but one at least.
Only one light mattered to Drew Hayden, and it was the one standing at his side. Of course, that light was insisting that they choose to enter this establishment.
"What?" May whined, gesturing to the doors enthusiastically, "The guide says this place serves some of the best food in Lumiose, or at least the best without having to book a reservation two months in advance..."
May's eyes positively glistened at the sight of the prestigious restaurant before them. Its red brick walls and opulent blue awning trimmed in gold were a sight to behold. But the smell wafting from its windows was what really drew May in. She caught the scent of the confections beyond, and was subsequently rendered powerless against its temptation. Drew could only eye her with amusement as she drew in a deep breath and sighed contentedly. The sight of her so enamoured with her food was an odd one to behold at first, but he had grown to love seeing her so taken with something. He could only wait for the day when that look was bestowed upon-
"Come on already!" May jerked at his arm, shaking him from his reverie. The grass-haired coordinator blinked away his confusion, realizing that he had let his stare linger too long. Not that she had any real concerns about him looking at her, thankfully. Unfortunately, it was unproductive in her current goal: Getting them to a table with some food in front of them.
With his return to reality, his reasoning came with it, and he protested verbally, though not physically, "May... did you read that whole leaflet through? This restaurant isn't just about... you know... food."
"Umm..." May pondered his comment for a moment, allowing him to recover his footing from her forced motions on him, "What else do you do at restaurants?"
Drew let a low hum of contemplation, trying to figure out the most delicate way of broaching the topic, "One of the reasons this restaurant is so popular is because it's a restaurant for couples. You know... having an intimate evening out and all that. It's going to be a very romantic setting..." Drew's voice hitched slightly as he realized what he was trying to talk himself out of; a romantic dinner with May. To that point, all of their meals had been pretty casual. Pokemon Centers' Cafeterias, grease joints, noodle houses, maybe a decent booth in a country cafe once in a while. But a fancy and certainly intimate setting had never been a possibility before. He'd never considered it, but lately had thought of it. May certainly hadn't. All her choices were based on what struck her palette on a given day.
Drew wasn't the only one to react to this revelation, however, as May's features blanked momentarily, as though something assaulted her mind that she wouldn't have considered before. Whatever force managed to accomplish this feat was short-lived it seemed, as a growl from her stomach quickly turned her thoughts back to what she deemed most important: Nourishment.
"Well... whatever the case, I hear their pasta is absolutely the best thing in all of Kalos! So what if we have a candle with our dinner, I can live with a little fanciness in our meal!" May resumed her overly excitedly towing of Drew up the steps beneath the awning and burst into the restaurant. Naturally, her ruckus caused quite a few heads of the numerous couples to raise as their newest arrivals broke the soft murmur of the restaurant's decorum.
"May I help you, young sir and madam?" the greeter, a thin and very well-dressed man, acknowledged their very unsubtle entrance.
"Hi! I'd like a table, please!" May requested in her higher-pitched and excitable voice.
"Ah, another young couple for the evening. Yes come, I have a perfect spot for the two of you!" the man jovially responded, motioning in gentleman-like fashion for them to follow.
"Oh, they're so polite here!" May gushed. She apparently made nothing of the server's 'couple' comment, but Drew had to suppress a blush at being addressed as such in her presence.
"We should come to places like this more often!" she added, almost skipping behind their guide. Intentional or not, Drew was growing a tad flustered. He was not averse to the idea of taking May to romantically themed restaurants on future occasions. But the context of being there tonight was less than desirable to him. Usually, places like this were designed to inflame emotions of the two participants. Unfortunately, May's so called 'fire' burned only for food at the moment; not quite the partner he wanted her passions dedicated to.
Regardless, any time spent with May was always time well-spent to him. He was glad to have it, and during their trip to Kalos, he had it in spades. Or at least he would, but their plans would soon cause her time to be divided between him and a certain person she came to visit.
They were shown to their table, and Drew, the gentleman that he was – and he wouldn't dream of acting otherwise in an environment such as this – pulled May's chair out for her so she could sit. Drew took his seat second, and they were jointly granted their menus.
"So... I'm guessing you're getting that spaghetti that you were going on and on about? Why bother looking at the menu?" Drew commented slyly, as May immediately buried her nose in the ornate booklet filled with mouth-watering options.
"Just because I said I wanted it doesn't mean that there might be something I missed!" May shot back.
"I'm pretty sure you went over that guide twenty times. I doubt that you'll find anything that you haven't seen already," Drew dryly reminded her.
"And how would you know! Do you run this restaurant? What if they have a special? What if they have a soup of the day!? What if they had to substitute something!?" May's rant grew in volume, and Drew immediately felt the stares of nearly all the patrons on his back. May seemed oblivious as she settled back into her seat, feeling her point was proven. Drew peered around, and relaxed as he saw the disturbed couples in the restaurant returning to their conversations and meals.
How could he be so stupid? Drew realized he had forgotten the cardinal rule in spending time with May: Never, ever, ever, trying to out-reason her on the topic of food. He learned the lesson long ago, but occasionally, it slipped his mind.
Their waiter returned shortly thereafter, allowing them to make the order. Naturally, despite her earlier protests, and even with a one-person conversation with herself weighing the merits of the different dishes available to her, she did finally decide to go for the pasta. A lot of the pasta. Three dishes of it in fact. As Drew was making his order, he was badgered into order a fourth helping for himself, rather than his own preference.
"I know you'll love it!" she had said, eyeing him with a confident certainty, "And if you don't, the meal's on me!"
That had raised his eyebrow. Sure, May had pestered him into trying foods she liked that he had nary considered before, but rarely did she add that last part. Perhaps it was because of how determined he was in his objections. But in the end, he relented, adding after the waiter left, "At the very least, you can have fourth portion if I don't like it." This had earned a happy little squeal from her at the very prospect. For her, this was a win-win. If he liked it, she was right. If he didn't, she got more. Drew gazed on her with a look that conveyed some semblance of annoyance, but was truly laced with respect. She didn't outwit him like that very often. He was proud of her actually. But of course, she had done it when food was in question. He never doubted she could do anything when that was the topic at hand. The only other thing that had ever managed to turn those hidden gears in her head was coordinating.
May noticed he was staring at her as she returned her eyes to the table. It was a puzzling look to her. Between his intense gaze, and the flickers of light from the candle dancing on his face, she couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking.
"Drew? You ok?"
The top coordinator cursed himself internally, shaking himself from the second lull his mind had allowed himself to become trapped in that evening. More and more lately, he found that he was entranced by her. Every facet of her intrigued him. How? How had this ditzy girl he found on the beach in Slateport City gone from some random stranger who he could easily best rise to such power and grace? How could she have done that, yet retained this strange, beautiful innocence that she had possessed on the day he met her? Her growth as a person and a coordinator was one of the most tremendous he had ever seen in a person, yet she still had the girl-next-door charm that she wielded on the day he met her. Despite seeming so simple a girl, she was strangely complex. It was hard to for him to figure her out.
He realized that again, he drifted –three times in one night, a record for sure! – and he saw that May awaited his response with a concerned look. He offered a gentle smile, and reassured her, "I'm fine May, just thinking about... everything."
It was everything, she was everything. Or at least she was tied to everything. Coordinating had become his life since he left home. He wanted to become great on his own, and outside the parameters his father set for him. Coordinating was the goal. Showing the elegance of his Pokémon was the goal. There was nothing else; until she threw that damn Frisbee on the beach. Ever since then, his rival became a source of strength to him. He had something to measure himself against, just as she did him. She grew, quickly. Too quickly. It had actually worried him. She was catching up.
And ever since the Johto Grand Festival, she had become even more involved in his life. It had grown beyond the association of rivals in coordinating. She had done what only Solidad had managed to do –and more – in the years since he began his journey. She became personally important to him. He was no longer just invested in her success as a rival. He was invested in her a person. He was interested in what she was feeling. How she was feeling. Where those feelings were directed. And with that came a hope for him. A hope that she might come to care about him much as he did her.
"I can't wait to see Ash!" May suddenly spoke, breaking the silence as well as Drew's cohesive thoughts. There was a sudden surge of disappointment. She spoke excitedly of him at times. He was glad of that, but there was always a certain giddiness in her voice when she mentioned Ash. He had learned to quiet the thoughts of jealousy and suspicion whenever the subject came up. He used his well-trained and logical mind to remind himself that she and Ash had travelled together for over a year. They had been barely travelling together for a few months. He needed to give their bond time to reach that level. He was patient. Patience was a virtue in both battle and life. He had to exercise it here too.
"Yeah, it'll be good," Drew agreed, trying to muster some enthusiasm in his voice. He was rather apathetic to Ash. He was a good trainer, no doubt, but he had little in common with the Pallet-native. But, whatever good feelings he had about Ash were always centered on May. He was glad that Ash was such a source of happiness to her. It was this reason that Drew was able to smile for her whenever the subject of Ash was brought up. If something made May happy, he was happy too. It was why he agreed to accompany her on this trip to come to Kalos and see him.
"I'll bet he's got a bunch of new Kalos Pokémon to show me! Maybe I'll catch one on the way and show him too! We can battle and see how much stronger we've both gotten! Won't that be great!" May's voice pitched up in excitement as the prospective scenario formed in her mind. However, an even greater source of joy grabbed her attention as the food was finally brought to the table. Four plates of spaghetti, with a majority placed on May's side, were delivered with a wish of a good meal and left for them to devour.
Of course, May made good on that notion, immediately diving in and wolfing down the food like it was going to get up and walk away if it weren't consumed fast enough. Drew was no stranger to this behaviour, despite being the exact opposite and eating quietly and calmly. Yet, there was a strange compulsion for Drew to act on this. Especially since this was his first time having May in a restaurant with this kind of mood. May was all but destroying said atmosphere with the way she was inhaling her meal.
"You know, it's not a competition of who can finish first?" Drew reminded her teasingly.
May paused only briefly to counter, "Why? Afraid to lose to me, Drew?"
"Please," Drew scoffed, "I don't have to worry about losing to you. After all, you're talking to the man who won the Johto Grand Festival."
"Remember who beat you in the Kanto Grand Festival!" May retorted.
"Remember which one was more recent."
"Remember who ordered the bigger meal!"
"I didn't realize skills as a coordinator included who could pack away more food..." Drew drawled.
"This whole thing started about food!" May exclaimed, growing flustered and annoyed at Drew's constant one-upmanship.
"So food is more important than coordinating to you?" Drew steered the conversation back his way again.
"I- What? N-no!" May grew confused and angry as she clenched her firsts, her knuckles growing white as her grip tightened around her utensils.
Drew let out a short laugh and raised a hand gently, "Relax, May. I know you love coordinating. And food. Both are important to you. I get that."
"Yeah, let's see what you think is more important than coordinating to you, Drew!" May grit, vaulting back into the argument, looking to get her revenge on Drew for even this small slight on her interests.
She didn't have to say another word, as the ones she already spoke hit the right note in Drew's mind. He was stunned into silence by the prospect that she was going to try and pry loose the one thing he wanted to speak frankly with her about, but couldn't find the ability. The fear of it coming out between them, the consequences either way, was terrifying to him.
Regaining his composure out of a determined necessity at the realization, he made a gesture of peace-making and told her gently, "Ok, ok! Calm down. You're right. Food and coordinating can both be important. I'm just teasing. You know me, May."
"Hmph," May grunted, dissatisfied that he backed out so readily when she was raring to go, "I guess I do know you. A little too well, Drew."
Drew winced slightly at her comment. He was a little hurt, both by the fact she had said it with such force, and by the irony of how little she actually knew of his feelings. He knew she meant nothing by it, but it seemed to make Drew just want to get it all out in the open faster. Yet, he knew that something like that couldn't be rushed. It had to have appropriate timing, and mutual appreciation. He wasn't sure if May was at that stage yet. Given time, she might be. He'd seen signs that hinted at the development of such reciprocations.
But patience was required on his part. May was worth the wait. She always was. She always would be.
"Waiter! I need another plate!" May shouted to the distant server, shaking Drew from his fourth contemplative state that evening. She turned her coveting stare on Drew's barely touched food and cheekily inquired, "Unless, you're willing to part with yours, Drew."
Drew shook his head, though a smile spread wide across his face. Typical May. He would be patient for her, but Arceus knew, May herself wasn't the patient type.
A/N: Thank you for taking the time read this story! I hope you all enjoyed my first attempt at contestshipping writing. I had a high standard to maintain for it, considering for whom I wrote it. It might've been a little lacking in any real progression or development, but maybe in future contestshipping one-shots, I'll advance their relationship a bit more. For now, I was content to simply write a humourous look into their daily lives.
Thanks, and Happy Reading,