Hiya. Since some of you may be in quarantine/lockdown or otherwise just trying to stay at home as much as possible, I figured it was time to release another chapter, even if it's not the best (I literally just rewrote part of it, like, 15 minutes ago, so who knows what it looks like). But anything to improve anyone's day even slightly in this sucky time! Hope you all stay safe.

Chapter 29: Where Meteors Fall

"We're sorry, but the person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at the moment."

May shoved her Pokenav back into her pocket. Of all the times for Brendan to not have service, of course it was now. She'd been texting him just a few hours ago, so he obviously had to have moved deeper into the cave.

Unless… No She couldn't consider that she was too late, and something had already happened.

She hardly noticed her shoulder jarring someone else's before a screech of "Watch it! I had this dress dry-cleaned!" echoed in her ears. The coordinator she'd bumped was barreling towards the contest hall, like she was running late.

May weaved away from the other girl and shot the back of her blonde head a halfhearted glare. If only her problems were that simple.

A crushing pain jarred her toes when she made to turn around, and a child scrambled out of her path, having stomped into her feet. Finally, she realized she needed to stop her mad dash to Arceus knows where to just think for a moment before she downright plowed someone over. She paused, biting her lip.

She'd kept her eyes peeled, but so far, she hadn't caught the slightest glimpse of any cross bone bandanas. That meant that they had probably already reached their destination. What if they had come in the house on Sarah? She could be surrounded by Team Aqua with nothing but little Nova for protection right at that very moment, and she was certainly in a more vulnerable position than Brendan.

May didn't know what to do. Her last encounter with Team Aqua had resulted in her being pinned against the wall of a dark alley, and she'd barely made it out. Just the memory nearly brought a shudder to her spine.

The last thing she wanted to do was confront them alone.

She gritted her teeth. No. I have to make sure Sarah's okay, no matter what.

She wouldn't let this group of criminals turn her into such a coward that she left an innocent person at risk, but she also wasn't about to barge in on them when she was really alone.

May snatched a pokeball off of her belt, and then Soren was standing at her side. He blinked, looking slightly tired, but then he took in her expression and stood on immediate alert.


He slunk along by her side as effortlessly as a shadow while she explained what was going on to him in a hushed voice. Within a couple of minutes, they'd neared the edge of town, and the Cozmos' tiny home was in sight.

May hovered near the corn stalks growing several meters from the porch, squinting her eyes up at the house. The lights were on inside, and she could see shadows moving about in the windows, but no screams or otherwise desperate cries for help could be heard.

Soren shuffled impatiently next to her, and she exchanged an uncertain glance with him. She didn't want to barge into blind danger again, but she also couldn't see Sarah to make sure she was okay…

The front door cracked open. Before May fully realized what she was doing, she'd dove into the corn, looping her elbow over Soren's neck to drag him with her.

He hissed in protest, but she shushed him by capping her palm over his beak.

Two people in Team Aqua uniforms had slumped out onto the porch, one man and one woman. May fell to her hands and knees, peering out at them from amidst the tall stalks. Her nose itched from the smell of damp earth and corn, but her racing heart overpowered all of her other senses.

She wasn't sure if it was driven by fear, frustration, or just plain anger at this point.

"Damn Shelly," the male grunt cursed, and his voice carried through the light breeze. To May's relief, neither of them looked familiar, so maybe they wouldn't recognize her right off the bat. She strained to see how many pokeballs they had with them, if any, but she couldn't quite make it out. "This is boring as hell. I want some action."

Well, you might be about to get your wish, bub, May thought. Soren's cool breath fanned out against her palm, as he was clearly thinking along the same lines. He wiggled out of her grip, "accidentally" pinching her finger in the process.

They needed to move, soon. Neither of the grunts appeared to be particularly competent, judging by their vacant expressions and slumped posture, but who was inside? She had complete faith in her pokemon's abilities, yet she didn't want to put them in jeopardy again without knowing what she was up against.

Maybe, if she could just have Gunner paralyze the two outside—

"Damn Magmas," the girl corrected, flipping her short bob and sending May's mind into a whirl.

"I don't get why we're wasting our time chasing their tails," the guy said, scowling. "We got our own problems."

Magmas? Wait, what? May thought, confused. Were they not looking for her?

"They're way too interested in this space rock, if you ask me," the female Aqua quipped. "It's got Archie worried, so we'd better be worried about it too, numbskull."

May's hands fisted into the ground. If Archie was here… She didn't know what she was going to do. Would she even stand a chance against him? He had to be powerful to be so confident, not to mention to hold so much respect among his brutish underlings.

There was also the fact that he terrified her quite unlike anyone else she'd encountered.

And if by space rock, they meant the meteorite that Brendan and Professor Cozmo had been searching for, did that mean they wanted to know something more about mega evolution, too? Whatever it was they wanted, May knew it couldn't be good.

Soren's clawed hand rested on her shoulder, and she leaned into him gratefully. They'd figure it out. Together.

The door was pulled open for a second time, and May was half expecting to see the flutter of Archie's wetsuit. Instead, a curvaceous figure topped with a mane of ebony tresses and sultry, metallic eye shadow sashayed outside. Her full lips were pulled into a displeased pout.

Immediately, May was struck by a crazy sense of familiarity. She had seen this woman before, she knew it.

Sarah's trembling figure lingered in the doorway behind her. "Good afternoon," she stuttered. To May's immense relief, she looked shaken, but unharmed.

"Oh, you'd better hope it is," the striking woman said.

As soon as May heard her voice, all husky and seductive, she knew. She was the one from Granite Cave. The one who'd so fiercely battled against Tabitha, and the one who she'd had to help free Tessa from.

Sarah visibly gulped before slamming the door shut.

"What'd she say, Shelly?"

"What are we going to do now?"

Shelly stomped down the porch steps, head held high, and her underlings scrambled after her. May sunk closer to the ground, praying they didn't see her even though it had long since been made clear that their mission in Fallarbor wasn't concerned with her.

"Magma could already be in Meteor Falls retrieving their little rock. We're going to meet up with Archie, pronto."

"But I thought he wanted to lay low after Slateport—"

"He'll want to come out for this," Shelly cut across him.

So Archie was nearby. Whatever they were up to, it couldn't be anything good, and May found herself growing very scared for Brendan and Professor Cozmo. Somehow, Aqua and Magma appeared to have found out about their research, and she had a horrible hunch that they didn't care who they had to hurt to get whatever it was that they wanted.

She stayed hunkered down in the dirt next to Soren until Team Aqua's voices became inaudible. His smooth scales brushed up against her arm as he shifted to see if he could still see them.

"Gro," he barked, inclining his head.

"Yeah, I think they're gone. Let's go."

They raced out of the corn, and within seconds, May was banging on the Cozmos' front door. After a few moments of no response, she saw the blinds shifting behind the nearby window.

"Sarah, it's okay. It's May!"

Sarah threw open the door. "Oh, thank Rayquaza! I thought you were those people again—I'm afraid they've gone to hurt my husband's sponsors, but then they tried to tell me that the sponsors were going to hurt him and I just don't know what to believe—"

"You have to calm down," May half snapped. The tears welling in Sarah's eyes were scaring her even more than Team Aqua already had, but she knew one thing: they didn't have time to stand there and freak out about it. With effort to sound more soothing, she asked, "What did they say?"

"You're right, you're right." Sarah sniffled once more before taking a deep breath. "My husband's sponsors came by earlier today, while you were training. They wanted to know where he was, so of course I let them know! But then those people in bandanas came by and told me I'd made a terrible mistake and that the sponsors are only going to hurt Takao, and oh. I'll never forgive myself if someone gets hurt!"

"Sarah," May said, apprehension brewing within. Brendan was out there, too… "Who exactly is sponsoring Professor Cozmo?"

"Some place called Magma?"

Sarah continued on about how gracious they'd been, about how Professor Cozmo had never had someone else show so much interest in his hard work, but May could only halfway pay attention.

If she'd been scared before, now she was terrified out of her mind. Professor Cozmo, and by extension, Brendan, was about to get thrown right in the middle of some conflict between Team Aqua and Team Magma. May had experienced it back in Dewford. She knew, first hand, just how deadly they could be.

She didn't care that she'd seen Team Aqua do so many more bad things. She hadn't forgotten the feel of Tabitha's houndoom breathing down her throat, and she wasn't about to any time soon. As far as she was concerned, neither organization was trustworthy, period.

May then decided on something that she'd never fallen back on before, and had hoped she'd never have to.

"We have to get the police," she blurted. "Now."

Sarah looked like she was about to burst into tears at any moment. "What? They'll all be at the contest. Nothing ever happens here, and it'll take forever to get a hold of someone—"

May tried desperately to tame the panic thrashing about in her chest. Not even considering where Team Magma might be, Team Aqua would probably head straight for Professor Cozmo and Brendan once they met up with Archie. They couldn't risk them getting to Meteor Falls first.

Soren hissed, and May met his gaze. He held his razor-sharp leaves up and at the ready, nodding. His unwavering confidence calmed her, but only slightly.

She squeezed her eyes shut. "You go get the police then. I'm going to try to warn them about Team Aqua."

Brendan struggled not to pace as he waited for Neptune to return from his dive into the seemingly tiny pond. He was already a little on edge from having only two pokeballs strapped to his belt. Even though he'd spent many hours without the others over the past couple of weeks, he still felt as though he were missing an arm or leg.

The way Professor Cozmo was eagerly breathing down his neck didn't help matters. "Do you mind?" he couldn't help but snap.

"Oh, not at all!" Cozmo said, adjusting his crooked glasses. "I'm sure your golduck is swimming as quickly as he can."

Brendan thought he might've finally cracked and strangled someone (Whether it be himself or Professor Cozmo) had Neptune's sleek form not burst through the top of the pond at that very moment.

"Duckduck!" He nodded to Brendan, sounding pleased with himself.

"I knew it!" Brendan cracked a grin for what was probably the first time in days. This was by far the most optimistic he'd felt since joining Professor Cozmo's study. "There's an air cavern connected to this pond. That's got to be where it's at."

"Excellent!" Cozmo exclaimed, nearly flinging off his glasses in his excitement. "Er. How exactly do we—oh, um, okay then."

Cozmo stared, taken aback as Brendan stripped off first his socks and shoes, followed quickly by the rest of his clothing so that he was dressed in just his gym shorts. He carefully folded Iris's pokeball into his hat before setting it aside with everything else; he was taking no chances of losing it from his belt with her inside it.

He left his Pokenav and Pokedex buried within his backpack, unchecked. His reception had flickered out hours ago, but his parents and May would live without calling him for a few more minutes.

Brendan stuck one toe experimentally inside the pond and winced. He'd almost forgotten that the water within the cave was several degrees cooler than most found in the tropical Hoenn region.

"Um, well, good luck! I'll keep searching while you're gone…"

He raised an eyebrow at the professor. "Neptune is strong enough to bring two."

Cozmo laughed uncomfortably. "The water would destroy my scanner. Besides, I should probably go call and tell my sponsors we have a new lead. They're getting a bit impatient…"

"I'm sure," Brendan said, before turning to Neptune. His golduck was treading the water, red irises sparkling. They hadn't done anything like this in quite a while. "Ready?"

Neptune nodded, and Brendan slid into the water. The slight chill nipped at his skin only briefly before his body began adjusting to the temperature. He wrapped both of his hands around Neptune's muscular shoulders and took one deep, long breath.

He'd barely closed his mouth before his pokemon plunged downwards with impossible speed. His webbed claws carried them through the water effortlessly, and within seconds, the light from above had grown so dim that Brendan couldn't see anything other than Neptune's blue feathers right in front of his face. If he kicked his legs out the tiniest bit they scraped rock above them, letting him know that they'd entered some sort of underwater tunnel.

This stupid rock had better not be in this pond, he thought. They'd probably never find it if it was in the darkness of this water.

Just when his lungs were started to tighten in need for oxygen, a light peeked through from above, and just as quickly, they'd broken through the surface. Brendan gasped for breath, droplets of water rolling down his face.

"Trying to drown me?"

"Duck, golduck." Neptune looked unapologetic, but Brendan wasn't really annoyed. He knew Neptune would never take him under longer than he could safely hold his breath. Instead of retorting, he swam over to the edge of the water to climb out of the pond, which was only marginally wider on this side of the wall.

This cavern was dimmer than the one they'd come from, as only a few streams of light were able to filter in from above, yet he could still see relatively clearly. The cavern was only a few meters wide on either side, and there was no form of life in sight. It was just him, Neptune, and the constant drip-drop of water in the background.

Brendan hadn't even had time to look for any odd looking rocks before Neptune let out an amazed caw. He was standing a foot or so away, bending over something.

"What is it?" Brendan asked, frowning as he approached his pokemon. He didn't have to wonder for long.

It was meteorite not entirely unlike the one Professor Cozmo had found earlier that day, but there seemed to be a strange, mystical glimmer radiating off of it. Brendan kneeled beside Neptune to pick it up, and the rock was warm, rather than cool, against his fingers.

Almost like a mega stone or key stone.

He wasn't sure if it was that or Neptune's odd behavior that perplexed him the most. Pokemon tended to recognize their mega stones, for sure, but he'd never seen one act quite like this over something. Plus, he was almost positive it couldn't be because Neptune was connected to it particularly, as golduck had no known mega evolution.

It had to be due to the ridiculously high-energy waves that Cozmo's scanner had been picking up from the meteorite.

Brendan couldn't wait for someone to get it into a lab. He was assuming Cozmo would send it to his father, but either way, his part of the research study was almost complete. All he had to do now was make initial observations to report back to Littleroot, and then he and May could move on to Lavaridge.

"Let's get back," he said, standing and moving towards the water, meteorite safely in hand.

Neptune shook his head, breaking out of his odd enchantment to leap back into the pond. Water splashed around wildly, and Brendan would've complained had he not had to get into it anyway.

"Careful this time," he warned.

Brendan definitely didn't want to drop the meteorite now that he finally had it, especially not into the dark abyss that was the pond. He held it tightly in the crook of his arm, bracing himself especially for when Neptune took his initial dive.

Now that he knew what to expect, the second time through the tunnel seemed to go a lot faster. As they neared the fresh air above, Brendan could make out a fuzzy silhouette bending over near the water.

If he hadn't been submerged, he would've rolled his eyes. Professor Cozmo was probably going to wet himself with excitement when he saw that Brendan had found the meteorite.

The closer they got, however, the more confused Brendan grew. He couldn't remember the professor being quite so bulky, but perhaps the water was disfiguring his shape…

When they emerged, however, two menacing reddish eyes met his.

"Have a nice swim, boy?"

Vague shouts sounded in the background, but all Brendan could do was stare into the face that he had most definitely seen on the news. The face that he knew for a fact had terrorized May, and most likely others.

"You," he growled, rubbing water out of his face with his wrist.

Neptune shifted from beneath him, sensing his trainer's change in mood. Brendan went to reach for another pokeball, but then he remembered that the only other one he even had with him was ashore, far out of his reach.

Tabitha's eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. "I don't think so! Golbat!"

A monstrous golbat dropped from the ceiling, eyes zoned in on Neptune and shining an eerie blue. Brendan averted his gaze away from the pokemon's, hands reaching out towards the rock lining the edge of the water. As if he'd be put to sleep that easily.

"Hydro pump!"

He heard Tabitha's yelp of surprise when Neptune gritted his beak through the hypnosis and leapt out of the pool like a torpedo, a massive torrent of water spilling from his mouth. Golbat was swept away like a magikarp in a tidal wave and into a far away wall, which he splattered up against and fell straight to the ground.

Brendan had himself half-pulled out of the water, and Neptune was closing in on Tabitha, whose Magma coat was now sopping wet from the blast, when the admin scowled.

"I despise resorting to uncivilized means like those idiot Aquas, but if we must..."

A sharp pang wracked the back of Brendan's skull, and he didn't even see stars before everything faded to black.

The muscles in May's legs were screaming in protest, and she propped a hand up against the cliff side to steady herself. Her breaths were coming out in short, desperate gasps, partly due to the fact that she'd just run faster than she'd ever had in her life and partly due to the full blown panic attack pricking at the edges of her mind.

Get it together, idiot. Brendan needs you, she thought furiously.

May hated herself for not making at least one measly trip with Brendan and Professor Cozmo to Meteor Falls since they'd been in Fallarbor. She'd sprinted with everything she had out towards the cavern, just praying that, by some miracle, she could beat Team Aqua there. But now she'd gotten herself turned around along the rising cliffs, and if she couldn't get a grip, none of her other effort would matter because Team Aqua would get to Meteor Falls first regardless.

A tiny form fluttered into her vision, which caused her to start in her on-edge state.

May did a double take, the miniscule body and cottony wings slowly clicking into place in her brain. There was a swablu, of all things, perched on the rock near her. It stared at her with large, impossibly intelligent eyes of liquid gold.

"Um… Excuse me…."

It blinked gravely, and an odd feeling surfaced in the back of May's mind.

After several moment of intense eye contact, the swablu flapped its wings, floating over May and deeper into the mountains. She turned her head to follow its progress, but it had already faded from view, leaving her attention smack dab on something else. Her mouth fell open.

There, just below her and cradled in a corner, was a gaping hole in the earth.

Meteor Falls.

A jolt of fear flashed through her as she looked at it, but she clenched her fists over her pokeball belt. She could do this. No, she had to do this. Whoever was in there, if anyone, she was going to make sure they didn't hurt Brendan like they'd tried to hurt her.

May slid clumsily over a rock to reach the entrance, and with renewed determination surging in her veins, she stepped inside.

If she hadn't been worried out of her mind, the beauty of Meteor Falls would've taken her breath away. Unlike the other caves she'd been in, the gaps in the ceiling allowed streams of shining sunlight to pour in, which cast the entire cavern into clear visibility. Light, creamy rock ran up the walls to form massive stalactites, and the soil beneath her sneakers glittered with some otherworldly mineral. At the center for all to see stood a magnificent waterfall whose echo roared throughout the cave.

Hesitantly, May moved forward, eyes darting around in search of Brendan or Professor Cozmo. The cavern was enormous, and she could see numerous openings into separate chambers scattered around. Distracted, she half-tripped over the edge of what she realized to be a massive crater.

In any other circumstance, the fact that there was a crater right in front of her would've thrilled her, but she didn't have time to be in awe over her surroundings.

She had to find Brendan and the professor, now.

Just when she was contemplating which direction would be best to search first, human voices rebounded off the walls of a tunnel to her left. They were indistinguishable, but it didn't sound like Brendan.

Whatever it was, it was the only clue she had.

May headed down the tunnel, trying her best not to let her footsteps carry throughout the eerily silent air. If it wasn't an ally, she definitely didn't want to chance alerting them of her presence. Part of her wished she had brought out one of her pokemon again, just to be safe, but it was too late now. Whoever the voices belonged to would see the flash of the pokeball immediately.

May had crossed a narrow, rickety bridge over a stream of cool water before the tunnel opened up to another large chamber. She faltered at what she saw, and it took everything in her not to cry out.

Brendan was sprawled out on his stomach near a dark gathering of water, his shirt off, and his eyes closed. She could see his things spread out across the ground a few feet away, as if they had been carelessly ravaged through.

Her terrified gaze lingered on her friend for a long moment before it finally flickered to the scene further away. Professor Cozmo was facing her, his skin pale with terror and a large rock clasped in his quivering hands. Two red-coated men, undeniably from Team Magma, had him cornered.

May twitched to run forward, but she froze in her tracks when the rounder of the Magmas turned his head to shoot a glance at Brendan. Her fingers grasped against the rippling cavern wall.

It was Tabitha.

"Hurry up, Cozmo," he snapped, eyes wary as he observed Brendan.

"I thought you knew about this kind of crap, Tabitha?" the second Magma complained, scowling down at Cozmo. The professor still hadn't spotted May, too busy quaking in fear of the two other men.

May wondered with horror what he'd seen that had left him in such a state.

"I worked for Devon, not Mossdeep Space Center." Tabitha's attention turned from Brendan back to Cozmo and the grunt beside him. He shuffled, and May realized that he was anxious about something. "Well?"

"I-I told y-you, this has got t-t-to be it…."

"See? He's sure. Let's go already," the grunt urged.

Tabitha remained silent for several seconds, thinking. "We'd better take him with us just to be sure. Maxie won't tolerate a screw up, and I'd rather him hear it than me," he said, and Cozmo whimpered. "Listen here. If you cooperate, no one will be hurt."

"O-okay… But please, Brendan—"

"We're not taking him," Tabitha barked. "He'll wake up on his own. Probably."

May's heart leapt into her throat. OhLatiasOhLatias….

If Brendan wasn't okay, she didn't know what she'd do.

To her disbelief, the grunt let out a low chuckle. "Won't be anytime soon. I knocked the little punk a good one."

He held up two pokeballs, tossing one up and down like a bouncy ball. "Whaddya think, Tabitha? I hate water types, but this golduck's too powerful to pass up. If I hadn't stepped in and threatened the kid, it woulda' drowned us both. I wonder what this other one is…"

Hot, boiling anger rose up in May when she realized what was going on. He had Brendan's pokemon. Not only had he knocked Brendan out, but then he'd went and taken his pokemon.

She knew Iris was in the second pokeball. She'd love to see him just try to mess with her.

The grunt tossed Brendan's pokeballs around carelessly again, and May took a step forward, fully prepared to run out there and teach the idiot a lesson.

To her great surprise, it was Tabitha's words that stopped her.

"Don't open that, you idiot! They're too well trained. They won't obey you," he said, disgusted. "And I'm not having Team Magma build a reputation off of stealing teenagers' pokemon."

His comment relaxed May ever so slightly, but that relaxation was short lived. Tabitha went to turn his back, and the grunt scoffed to himself, the hand with Neptune and Iris's pokeballs drifting towards his coat pockets…

May blindly yanked a pokeball off of her belt and charged forward, skittering to a stop near Brendan. The three men gaped at the sight of her, but she couldn't even take pleasure at catching them off guard.

She gestured threateningly with her pokeball hand, glowering at the grunt. "Put. Those. Back. Now."

"Just how many children are there running around this place?" Tabitha cried, pulling out a pokeball of his own. May's furious expression wavered at the appearance of the device.

She just knew it contained Tabitha's houndoom. The houndoom that had batted both of her pokemon aside as easily as newborn skitty. If Steven hadn't been there…

May straightened her spine back to her full height. No. She was stronger now, a lot stronger. She raised her pokeball. It was Gunner's, she realized, hazily.

"You sure you want to battle me?" she asked, trying to project an intimidating voice. She was fairly certain that she failed, but she saw the grunt waver out of the corner of her eye.

Tabitha stilled. His face was a strange cross between bewildered and angry. He doesn't recognize me, May realized. That meant he wouldn't know that it was her who'd stolen his key stone.

"You're just a child."

What would Brendan do? What would Brendan do?!

May forced herself not to swallow. "S-so's he." She nodded down to Brendan, biting her lip when she noticed the large bruise blooming across his temple. She forced herself to raise her eyes back to Tabitha.

It struck her very abruptly that they had no idea what was in her pokeball. They didn't know anything about her.

"You never would've beaten him if you hadn't snuck up on him. What makes you think you can beat me?" she bluffed.

Tabitha lowered his pokeball, but only a fraction. He was inspecting her with new eyes. Calculating eyes.

"How amusing. You think you're the one in charge, here. Step aside, or this little professor will end up worse off that your friend there."

May's eyes shot to Professor Cozmo, widening against her will. He trembled, but he shook his head at her all the same. The grunt elbowed him, and he clutched the meteorite in his arms protectively against his chest.

"You need him, though," she said, praying that she hadn't overestimated the professor's worth to Tabitha.

Luckily, she hadn't.

"Give back the pokemon," Tabitha demanded. The grunt slumped forward, watching May warily as he dropped both of the pokeballs back into Brendan's bag.

The tense atmosphere transformed into all out pandemonium very quickly.

Professor Cozmo twitched, and Tabitha caught the movement in his peripheral. His pokeball flew through the air, releasing the massive black form of Houndoom. Acting on pure instinct, May's opposite hand shot down to tap Demi's pokeball, throwing her marill into the mayhem simultaneously with Gunner.

"May!" Cozmo screamed, and suddenly a rock was sailing over Tabitha's head and straight towards her. The admin let out an angry clamor, while Gunner launched himself at the much larger Houndoom in a flash of lightening and fangs.

May lunged forwards, the cool surface of the meteorite crashing onto the tips of her fingers. Unfortunately, the Magma grunt had grabbed for it at the same moment. He latched onto it, scowling furiously at her.

"Don't let them have it don't let them have it!" Cozmo was yelling in the background, barely audible over the fierce snarls of the pokemon.

The man's superior strength quickly began to win out. Hardly thinking, May gave a sharp tug on the rock, throwing her elbows towards him for better force. A hair-raising crunch echoed throughout the cave, and she was able to fully pull the meteorite into her arms as the grunt flinched away, clutching at his nose.

"Shit!" he cursed, as blood flowed between his fingers. "You little bitch—"

He started towards her, but his progress was impeded by a forceful jet of water that smacked him right in the face. He went reeling backwards.

"Marill." Demi glared at him, ears twitching.

"Good girl." She couldn't help the feeling of triumph at the new crook across the man's nose, which was so prominent it was obvious even through his ugly expression.

Her brief moment of victory was harshly interrupted when Gunner rolled to a stop at her feet, fur singed. Houndoom slunk towards them, crouched down and ready to pounce. His crimson eyes seemed to stare strait into May's soul.

She hesitated for a fraction of a second; Tabitha might not recognize her, but his pokemon most certainly did.

Flames licked at the corners of his mouth, and May shook out of her daze and shouted, "Water gun!"

Demi leapt in front of Gunner, spewing a wide wave of liquid straight for Houndoom. The canine dropped open his maw, releasing a trickle of fire as if May were merely wasting his time.

The water struck the fire, and with a hiss, it swept straight through it and splattered onto Houndoom's chest. The pokemon baulked, and Tabitha cried, "What are you doing? Stop fooling around and use a real flamethrower!"

"Or…." a new voice said, and it sent a terrified tremor across May's skin. As if she could forget that voice. "You could surrender now, while I'm feeling generous."

AN: My mind keeps accidentally reading the last sentence as, "Surrender now, or prepare to fight" and now I kind of want to bang my head against the wall if I've resorted to stealing lines from the anime.

If you guys are looking for more of my writing, I published a new Hoennshipping oneshot few months ago you might like!

Also, someone asked me to list out May and Brendan's pokemon, which is perfectly understandable, so here they are:

May: Soren (Grovyle), Demi (Marill), Ezra (Meditite), Gunner (Electrike)

Brendan: Orion (Blaziken), Iris (Shelgon), Neptune (Golduck), Knox (Dusknoir), Acumi (Tropius), Sirius (Mightyena, deceased)