This is a fun story I've thought up and I hope that you can all enjoy it with me. It is my first Amourshipping story after having previously been a diehard Pokeshipper, but I think it will turn out well.
NOTE: This takes place sometime between either XY104 (Party Dancecapades) and XY108 or immediately after XY109. I'm not sure yet, but spoilers for one or two evolutions…that aren't really spoilers in my opinion. This will make it AU, pretty much, diverging from that point in canon.
Rating: K Plus for slight violence, maybe some language
Pairings: Amourshipping, naturally.
DISCLAIMER: Of course, I don't own Pokémon. Why would one even ask that?
Love in the Time of Teamwork
An Amourshipping Pokémon Story
"A tournament?' Ash asked, his mouth stuffed to the brim with Clemont's latest meal. Said blond-haired boy moved his plate to avoid some of the food that flew from Ash's mouth. He wasn't entirely sure how successful he was. Seeming to notice just what he had done to his friend, Ash smiled sheepishly and finished swallowing his food before continuing with his question. "Where is it? What's it like?"
"I thought that would get you excited," Serena giggled from behind her napkin. Next to Serena, Bonnie rolled her eyes and continued to cautiously separate her carrots. Serena briefly observed the air of the table around her, especially the raven-haired trainer in front of her who was looking like Christmas had come early. Well…Christmas always came early for Ash; that was Serena's impression, at least. Ever since she'd joined up with the boy some months ago, she noticed that anytime something new was offered, Ash would light up and immediately want to take part in it. That was one of the things she admired about him.
"I'm rather intrigued, myself," Clemont said, placing his plate back onto the table. Serena tipped her head towards him in interest. It was actually quite rare to hear Clemont sound interested in taking part in a battle. Sure, he was a fan of group activities, and as a gym leader he always loved a good battle, but he was never quite as enthusiastic as Ash. His sister on the other hand…
"That sounds like a lot of fun! If only I could train Pokémon. Do you think they'd let Dedenne participate?" Bonnie asked sweetly. Serena once more turned her head, a smile playing on her lips. She loved Bonnie and her never-ending enthusiasm for Pokémon. It really reminded her of what Ash was like back when they first met as children at Professor Oak's summer camp. Maybe that was why she was so taken with the little girl and viewed her like a sister. Serena would have spent more time contemplating those memories and ruminations but, realizing she was the one who brought the topic up, she decided to abandon it for another time.
"I'm sure if Clemont wanted to use Dedenne…" Serena said, trailing the conversation to lead back to the older of the Lumiose siblings. Clemont nearly choked on a piece of bread.
"I'm…not so sure that's a good idea…"
"Aw, why not?" Bonnie pouted.
"Nene!" Dedenne argued as well, though none of the humans fully understood what it meant by that. Before the two siblings could get into a pointless fight, Ash intervened with a well-timed question. Serena was more than happy to have her attention return to him. It wasn't that she didn't like either Clemont or Bonnie; she adored them in a way that she adored having a big brother or a little sister. After being an only child her whole life, they infused her travels with even more zest than she would have thought. Ash, however, inspired her. And for once, she was glad that her information was inspiring him.
"So, what's this tournament about, Serena?" the raven-haired trainer asked, scratching behind Pikachu's ears as he cooed contentedly. Serena continued smiling as she dug into her bag and pulled out her map, bringing up the information on the screen.
"Ta-dah!" she announced, and Clemont and Bonnie stopped their bickering to turn to look at it. "It's called the Kalos Team Tournament. I don't know the rules but it takes place in Ancien City in just a couple days. If we travel at a decent pace tomorrow, we could get there before it started."
"The Kalos Team Tournament, huh?" Clemont questioned, adjusting his glasses a little. "I've heard of that one. It's real famous around the region because it only takes place once every seven years, right?"
"That's right!" Serena confirmed for her friend. "It's supposed to be the greatest tournament in the Kalos region besides the League Conference because it instills a strong relationship between people and Pokémon from all over the region."
"Sounds like a lot of fun, don't you think, buddy?" Ash asked, turning to Pikachu with a look of glee.
"Pika pika!" Pikachu cheered. Serena continued smiling, happy that she had managed to put a smile on Ash's face with what she said (although, it wasn't that hard to do so, considering he could get excited at everything). She cleared her throat, too, hoping to continue talking about the subject further before Ash could get too carried away…like always.
"So, the information here says it takes place over the course of a week. I hope you don't mind putting off our journey to Snowbelle City for that time," she said, making sure that Ash understood just what participating in the tournament meant.
"A week, huh?" Ash mused thoughtfully. He had finished scratching Pikachu and was now thinking intently. Clemont was the one to jump into the conversation while Ash was busy utilizing his brain cells.
"I think it'd be a great opportunity for all of us to improve our skills as trainers," he inserted in. "I mean, the Kalos League isn't going anywhere and Ash has been on top of his game for a while now."
"I don't know about that. We could always use more training, right, Pikachu?"
"Pika!" Pikachu cried emphatically, fist-pumping alongside his trainer. Ash had briefly stood from his chair but sat after making his triumphant statement.
"I'm surprised a tournament would last a whole week," he said, reaching over for a macaron that Serena had left on the table for dessert. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Chespin's vines coming to grab a couple before Clemont swatted it away irritably. She resisted the urge to giggle uncontrollably. "Most of the tournaments I've been in were usually a day or two. A week is pretty extensive."
"Well, apparently, it's more than just a tournament," Serena explained, pulling up the information even further to show to Ash once again. He appeared to not be interested in actually reading it, choosing to listen to Serena dole the information out instead. "Like I said, I don't know how the tournament is structured, but apparently at the end of each night there's a little festival to celebrate the day's events."
"Oh, so it's like a weeklong festival with a competition thrown in?" Clemont asked, himself actually choosing to peruse the information that his female traveling companion had provided. Serena briefly flitted her eyes over to him before going back to Ash, whose eyes were shining with excitement.
"That's so cool!" Bonnie insisted, hugging both Dedenne and Squishy close to her. Serena raised an eyebrow; while Dedenne seemed okay with it, Squishy looked like it was about to burst. "I bet we'll be able to see a lot of cute Pokémon. This'll be really fun!"
"Yeah, I think so, too!" Serena insisted heartily. "I've never taken part in an actual tournament before, so it'll be a whole new experience for us. Right, Braixen, Pancham and Sylveon?" Her Pokémon all cheered out loudly, alongside Ash's who seemed to be excited the moment they'd seen their trainer get fired up about entering said tournament in the first place. Like trainer, like Pokémon, Serena thought to herself.
"Well, I can always give you some pointers if you'd like, Serena?" Ash suggested harmlessly. Not that Serena fully took it as that. She realized that Ash always spoke his mind in the most innocent of ways (not to mention heartfelt) but the innocent obliviousness of his offer didn't stop the blush from rising on Serena's face.
"No. No, that's okay, Ash. I'm sure we'll be fine." Ash shrugged like it didn't matter and Serena sighed gratefully. There was a slight snickering heard from next to her, but when Serena looked over at Bonnie she found the blonde-haired girl happily feeding Dedenne a macaron. "Anyway, I think it'll be fun, especially with all the different festivals. According to this, the whole tournament closes off with a dance. That's exciting, right, A…?"
"Too late," Bonnie commented. Serena had already realized that with a mighty pout. She was no stranger to Ash and his Pokémon rushing off to train after a hearty meal, but it had been too inappropriately timed in that instance. Serena puffed her cheeks and swiped a macaron for herself. Ash would always be Ash, and that was one of the things she loved about him.
"All right, guys, let's train for this tournament and our Snowbelle gym battle!" Ash cried. His Pokémon heartily agreed and even Clemont dashed off to join him for the training session. This left Serena and Bonnie to clean up the dishes.
While she did so, Serena reflected just a little on her journey so far. Simple steps, that was what Serena had taken; just like picking up dishes was a simple step in cleaning, she had taken a simple step every day. This tournament was just another simple step on her road forward. A breeze blew across the area and Serena took a quick glance at the duo of battling males. Simple steps…like the simple step of journeying to meet Ash. Of deciding to become a Pokémon Performer. Okay, maybe they weren't all "simple" per se, but they were steps. Serena also liked to think she was taking steps forward in her relationship with Ash, one bit at a time, even if Ash Ketchum seemed to be an oblivious rock when it came to her affections.
Serena let a brief sigh escape her lips as she handed the plates to Pancham to clean them off. The Playful Pokémon took them with great cheer and began scrubbing them down. It was such a mindless activity that Serena, inevitably, found her thoughts drifting further into thinking about either her next performance or Ash. There was no denying (and, in fact, many had suspected) that Serena was hopelessly head over heels in love with Ash. Well, "love" may have been a strong term, but it accurately summed up her feelings. She loved the way his eyes lit up every time he met a new Pokémon. She loved his ferocity in the midst of an intense battle. She loved the way he encouraged everyone around him, herself especially. Most of all, she loved that he never gave up. Not that she'd voice this to him, at all. She could hardly voice it to herself, and she trusted herself more than anyone besides her Pokémon. No, Serena realized that Ash was probably always going to be someone to admire from afar.
Although, in the deepest corners of her mind, Serena could admit that she had hoped this tournament would change that. Maybe, if she showed Ash what a competent battler she could be, he would acknowledge her as being more than the "fun and caring traveling companion" like so many of the other girls from his travels. Maybe, if she could manage to snag one dance from Ash at the end of this tournament, then he'd see her in a different light. These were all fantasies, and none that Serena had the actual courage to act out…she'd had plenty of opportunities to already, and she kept pushing them off. "After I win the next showcase," or "after I make it to Master Class". Her best one yet was "After I become Kalos Queen". Pfft, like that'll happen so easily, Serena thought darkly, her face taking on the same kind of countenance. No, stop thinking that way. I will become Kalos Queen, because I won't give up. Another sigh escaped her lips nonetheless.
"What're you thinking about, Serena?" Bonnie asked innocently. Serena turned to look at the younger girl and noticed Bonnie wearing a rather devious smirk, like she'd just caught Serena with her hand in the cookie jar.
"N-nothing…" the honey-blonde insisted, turning defiantly to her dishes. She tried to think of a way to distract Bonnie but Dedenne was too busy chasing Squishy around the field they were camped out on, leaving the younger girl's attention on her.
"Oh, brother, you're as transparent as Ash is dense," Bonnie exhaled with a shrug of her arms.
"What does that mean?" Serena asked indignantly. She was not transparent.
"He'll never figure it out unless you tell him," Bonnie said simply. Serena's mouth hung open, and she almost dropped the dish in her hands, only for Sylveon's feelers to catch it and hand it gracefully off to Pancham. The dumbfounded expression lasted a moment longer.
"I-I have no idea what you're t-talking about," she stammered back to the girl. Bonnie was too smart for her own good, sometimes. Said girl shrugged, like it wasn't any of her business and skipped off to watch Ash and Clemont battle each other. One more sigh left Serena.
"What do you think I should do, guys?" she asked quietly so her other companions couldn't hear her. Pancham, too invested in cleaning dishes, ignored her while Braixen and Sylveon tried to reassure her. None of it settled anything in Serena's mind. However, when all the dishes were done, she sat back in her chair and looked up at the sky. Seeing a flock of Fletchling fly by, Serena smiled to herself.
"Well…let's just see how this week goes, huh? Maybe…maybe something will happen that will be really different."
Yes…Serena realized to herself. Just one step at a time.
The journey to Ancien City took the better part of the next two days, during which the traveling companions continued to engage one another in conversation as Pikachu and Dedenne consistently ran ahead. Ash, for his part, seemed to grow more and more excited the further they traveled. At one point, he stopped near the top of a hill and spread his arms wide, yelling, "I can't wait until we get there."
"I've never seen Ash so excited for something beyond a gym battle," Serena giggled out. The raven-haired trainer appeared to hear her comment because he turned back with a wide and unabashed grin on his face.
"Of course I am!" he said. "I haven't been in a tournament since Unova."
"Are tournaments really all that exciting?" Bonnie questioned. Serena was slightly inclined to agree with the inquiry, but didn't voice it. She, herself, hadn't always seen the appeal in Pokémon battling…at least until seeing some of the intense gym battles Ash had gone through. Granted, she still wasn't a major battler herself as it never really appealed to her, but she could see why people like Ash and Clemont enjoyed it so much. However, like Bonnie, she couldn't understand the appeal of a tournament over a straight up gym battle.
"They are," Clemont answered. "Tournaments are a lot like roulette. Unlike a gym battle, which tends to focus on a single typing, you never know what the opposing trainer will pull out."
"It's super exciting!" Ash proclaimed. Pikachu hopped on his shoulder to agree wholeheartedly with his trainer. "You can meet all sorts of people and depending on how the tournament's set up, there's lots of different experiences you can have."
"I take it you've been in a lot of them, then?" Serena asked, picking her stride up just a little to walk alongside Ash. "Have you won any?"
"Sure have. Pokeringer, a major tag battle competition in Sinnoh, and a few others. Not that I've won a league yet, but the experiences you can have doing other tournaments is amazing." Serena certainly thought it sounded impressive as she grinned at Ash. He turned to her and seemed to notice. "What's up?"
"What do you mean?" Serena asked, blinking at the question.
"You're just grinning at me, Serena," he said. A new flush rose on Serena's face at the observation. Since when did Ash notice stuff like that? She must have thrown countless grins at him that he'd never commented on before.
"It just struck me what an impressive trainer you are. So many competitions…" Ash chuckled and rubbed his nose.
"Nah, I'm nothing special. I think people like you and my friends May and Dawn are the impressive ones. I tried my hand at stuff like that when I took part in Pokémon contests, but everyone totally outshone me. Battles are my thing, not flashy moves." Serena was about to comment that it wasn't necessarily true when Bonnie suddenly raced ahead of the group.
"We're here! We're here!" she cried out as she reached an upcoming crest of the hill. Ash's smile grew larger and he surged forward to reach the same place that Bonnie was at. Serena wasn't far behind (though Clemont was) and before long they stood at the small outcropping, overlooking Ancien City. It was hard to tell the details from such a distance, but the city looked like an odd blend of old and new. The most prominent features, from what Serena could tell, were what looked to be a castle in the distance and a rather large stadium near the edge of the city. Ash pumped his fist in excitement and began running down the hill, evidently eager to reach the town. Serena stayed for a moment, looking at the layout from up above and feeling excitement bubble in her chest. Knowing that the excitement was about to burst, she took off after Ash down the slope. Bonnie was right alongside her. Clemont, naturally, huffed and puffed along after them.
They reached the city in mere minutes, Ash well ahead of them and busy asking a nearby florist for information on how to register for the tournament.
"You'll need to go to the stadium," she said kindly, her Flabebe handing her a lovely arrangement of tulips. "That's where you register. Just follow the main road and you'll come to it. You may want to hurry. Registration closes this evening."
"Thanks. Let's go, guys!" Ash called to his now approaching companions. He waved to them a final time and set off down the main road. Serena would have wanted to stop and admire the city, but concluded that since they were going to be here for a week, she'd have plenty of time to do so. For now, Ash's impulsivity was more pressing.
"Hurry up, Clemont! We can't wait around forever!" Bonnie called after her brother impatiently.
"But…you all…run so…fast…" Clemont wheezed out. Serena, taking pity on the older brother, slowed down to match pace with him.
"Bonnie, go on ahead with Ash. We'll meet you at the stadium," she said sweetly. Bonnie nodded enthusiastically and took off after the leader of their little troupe. Serena stopped walking and waited for Clemont to catch his breath along with a sip of water. While he did so, Serena watched the milling crowds of the city. Despite not being anywhere near the size of a place like Lumiose, or even other gym cities, the place was positively swarming with residents and trainers. It was obvious just how huge the Kalos Team Tournament was to these people.
"Thanks, Serena…" Clemont gasped out gratefully. Serena smiled down at him.
"Anything for a friend," she said, the two setting off at a much easier pace than the others had. Sneaking a glance at Clemont's sweaty complexion, the girl wondered just how he'd ended up with such a hyperactive little sister like Bonnie. After all, other than their looks, they were like night and day. Not that Serena minded; Clemont was a well-needed oasis of sanity when compared to the ever-inspired Ash and the ever-hyper Bonnie. She loved them all dearly, but sometimes she liked the quiet that Clemont provided, when he wasn't blowing things up. Speaking of, "Why don't you ever just build some sort of rocket shoes that could help you keep pace with us?"
"I tried that once…I slammed into a wall and they flew off my feet and into a ceiling where they exploded," Clemont commented. That seemed typical and Serena laughed at her imagining of the occurrence while they got closer and closer to the stadium. "I'm just not cut out for physical exertion. No wonder Chespin and I are a good fit."
"Chespin's just a big eater," Serena reminded him as the two reached the final stairs that ascended into the stadium. Bonnie was waiting at the top.
"Clemont, you take too long! Ash is already inside," Bonnie pouted. Serena laughed aloud again and took Bonnie into a very small hug. Bonnie had no response and allowed the older girl to lead her inside the reception area of the stadium.
The first thing that struck Serena was how impressive the setup was. It was all old-fashioned, like a coliseum of ancient times. Numerous statues dotted the pillars that seemed to be supporting the ceiling (which, admittedly, looked a little modern). All of them were adorned with Pokémon, mostly dragon types. Serena could see a statue of a Goodra and a Noivern, even some legendary Pokémon from other regions like Zekrom and Reshiram. The most daunting statue was a giant bronze one of Rayquaza that sat behind the reception desk where Ash was. Off to the sides were corridors that likely led off to where the teams would have their waiting rooms. Closer to the receptionist were other corridors that seemed to lead to the audience seating, although it was barred off for the moment. Various security guards were around as well, along with groups of trainers that had their Pokémon out. It seemed to Serena that most of the groups didn't seem to know each other.
"This is my Pokémon, Growlithe. Say hi to our new friends, Growlithe," said a younger trainer in a group.
"Nice to meet you, Peter and Growlithe!" chimed the other trainers in the group. Serena shrugged and continued to meet up with Ash when he gave an unexpected outburst.
"I can't register? !" he said while furiously rubbing at his head with both hands. Pikachu mimicked him.
"What's going on?" Clemont asked and Ash turned to his friends with frustration written all over his face.
"I guess when they say 'team tournament' they mean it," Ash told them dejectedly. "We need to form a team in order to participate."
"Well, that's no problem," Serena pointed out kindly. "We're a team, right? The three of us can register together." Bonnie tried to pipe up that she could take part too, but she was largely ignored.
"Sorry, miss, but teams must register in groups of five. No more and no less," the receptionist said in such a matter-of-fact tone that it caused Ash to despair all over again.
"Can't we register now and come back with a team?' Ash asked desperately but the receptionist smiled and shook her head. Ash sighed again. Clemont put his thumb on his chin and appeared to be thinking. Serena, herself, was thinking about how they could remedy their situation. Ash had been so looking forward to the tournament, but because she had been running on incomplete information, it was looking like they were running out of time to even register and take part at all. She could have kicked herself. How were they going to get two people to join with them in a team, much less help them to win it? Ash may have befriended a number of random people on his journeys, and, judging from the group earlier, people may have just randomly teamed up with one another, but how could that guarantee they'd work well together?
"I've got an idea. Why don't we all split up and go into town to find some new teammates?" Clemont suddenly suggested. Ash looked up at him with hope in his eyes.
"We recommend that," the receptionist finally spoke up, drawing the attention back on her. "We don't normally find teams of trainers that know each other. In fact, only one other group that has registered thus far seemed to display that."
"Well, all right, then! Great idea, Clemont!" Ash cheered emphatically.
"Heh heh, of course! And I have the perfect thing to help me with my search. After all, the future is now thanks to science! Clemontic Gear, on!" From Clemont's backpack, he whipped out what looked to be a scanning device. "With this, Bonnie and I can track down trainers in the northern part of this city that are compatible with our battling styles. I call it the Track Down Similar Trainers Device!"
"That's inventive…" Bonnie drawled. "And I have no idea how that would work."
"Well then, come with me Bonnie and I'll show you!" Bonnie less agreed and was more actually dragged off by her brother towards the entrance to the coliseum.
"Science is so amazing…" Ash breathed out. "Well, let's go buddy. We'll search the square!"
"Pika!" Ash took off once more and Serena realized she was about to stand there all alone. She was about to take off after Ash when she realized a rather unfortunate fact. Knowing so, she took her eyes away from Ash (who was about to run headlong into a teenaged girl) and turned to the receptionist.
"Do you know of a good hotel we could stay at or where the Pokémon Center is?" she asked frantically, not wanting to lose sight of her friends.
"The Pokémon Center is probably filled. However, the Ancien Grand Hotel has plenty of rooms open for trainers along with a state-of-the-art healing facility. You may want to hurry. Most spaces are filling up," the receptionist told her. Serena thanked her gratefully and tore off after Ash and Clemont, hoping to tell them where to meet up before they got too far. As she did so, she didn't look where she was going and almost bumped into the very same trainer that Ash had nearly run into.
"Sorry. I didn't look at where I was going. In a hurry," Serena apologized quickly. The girl stopped and turned to look at her, her short black hair moving along with her brown cloak. There was a brief shimmer underneath the traveling cloak, but it was gone as soon as Serena could set her eyes on it.
"Not a problem," the girl responded coolly. "Good luck in the tournament."
"Yeah…you too, I guess," Serena garbled out. Quickly realizing she had to get moving, Serena bid the girl a hasty farewell and set off after the others, suddenly getting the feeling that this tournament was going to be one to remember.
Author's Note: It's been a long time since I wrote for the Pokémon fandom, and it feels just a little like a breath of fresh air to return to it. So, please forgive me for this rather lengthy author's note.
The last you may have known of me, I wrote THE CHOSEN TRILOGY, a rather epic story which included Pokeshipping that in my maturity I realize sucked horribly. However, I keep it up to serve as a reminder of how much I think I've improved since then. Since then, I've delved into Fullmetal Alchemist and Fairy Tail primarily, which is where you'll find most of my stories. I never once thought I'd come back into this. Then I saw XY…and I fell in love. The animation, the storytelling, the characters…Ash's competency level. After BW nearly killed my love for the anime (and, indeed, any interest) XY brought it back. Most particularly, I love Serena; her character design (both of them), her character evolution, and her canonical crush on Ash. It's fanfic fuel right there. So, I shifted to Amourshipping very quickly. Pokeshipping still holds a place in my heart, but I'm not dumb enough to think it will ever be a reality when said girl in question hasn't shown up for over 300 episodes.
Anyway, all of this gave birth to this story: an Amourshipping story that involved the Kalos Team Tournament. This, too, requires some explanation. Once upon a time, here meaning when Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire came out, I had this brilliant idea of an original Pokémon story which would follow entirely new characters born in Johto and span ten generations of Pokémon in an interconnecting and serious plot. It was going to be epic…and totally impossible to complete in my lifetime. Amongst this great idea was the Kalos Team Tournament, which was to take place in Laverre City and sponsored by the Poke Ball Factory. It was an arc in a larger story. Since that didn't happen, but I really liked my idea (which, you may notice further down the line, bears similarities to another series' tournament) so I transferred it to here and made some changes but otherwise kept it all intact.
That said (shut up, you're probably thinking by this point) I melded it into an Amourshipping story that I will probably be very happy with when all is said and done. There will be some old characters returning (but not Misty) both from XY and previous generations, but the focus will be on the XY crew. There will also be some OCs, simply because I didn't want the old characters to feel shoehorned in. Lastly, there will be battles. Lots and lots of battles…This may be my most kid-friendly story to date, but that doesn't mean there won't be fighting. (What's a story without conflict, after all?) I've been told I write action well, and I hope that bleeds through into this story.
Now that I've said all that and talked your ear off, I want you to know that unlike my other stories, this one will not be on a schedule, but as I have it all planned out and I finish all of my stories, no need to worry about waiting months for a single update. Having told you all this, my next chapter's author's note won't be nearly as long. In any case, thanks for reading this far, I hope you enjoyed and will stick around for the following chapters of this Amourshipping fanfic. In the meantime, please leave a Review so I know just what all your lovely (or even not-so-lovely) thoughts are, and remember, Dare to Be Silly.