Disclaimer – I don't own Pokemon, its characters, or plots. I'm just stealing 'em for awhile. Believe me, it should be worth it.
Notes – Oh, well, I guess I'd just like to warn everyone that this is my first-ever Contestshipping-centered fic, and because I like to get a good feel for the characters, it will be a one-shot. Perhaps later on I'll be brave enough to write something better (because "Fighting the Fates" doesn't count), longer, whatever, but – until then – you'll just have to stick with this. So sorry.
Author – Chibi / Warlordess
Title – Satisfaction Guaranteed
Summary – It's May's birthday, but everyone's too caught up in their own interests to really pay attention. Just when she's settling herself down with the thought that maybe her friends don't take such holidays seriously on the road, she runs into the one person in the world who could only make it worse. Contestshippy.
Characters / Ages –
Ash / 15
Brock / 18
Max / 9
May / 11 (her eleventh birthday, anyway)
Drew / 12
When she rose from her covers in the bed she had occupied at the Slateport City Pokemon Center, it was to be seen that May was only too eager to grace the world with her smile. She hopped out of bed and made for the bathroom, dragging her things with her and giggling almost madly when Brock made a snort with Officer Jenny's name lingering on his lips.
Who really had time to care about what embarrassing spectacle he was to put on today, though? May was going to be eleven years old as of that evening (for those who wanted to get technical about it)! She didn't have time to waste! It was her day, after all, and she could hardly wait to rub it in her brother's face, and then there were the gifts and the cake – which Brock would probably make from scratch, seeing as he was such a master chef. . .
The thought of her guaranteed-to-be-a-good-day made her squeal lightly as she showered and by the time she'd dressed, combed out her hair, and placed her bandanna on her head, she'd managed to hum "Happy Birthday" to herself twelve times.
Skipping out of the bathroom about forty-five minutes after waking, she realized that the other beds were empty. Everyone was probably waiting to greet her in the cafeteria with a whole party and everything. There was no other reason they'd leave her behind without wishing her good tidings on her special day. . .
So, her slight frown disappearing quite suddenly, she snapped the youngster lock on her sunshine-colored fanny-pack and ran out the door, closing and locking it swiftly behind her. She made it to the lobby and Nurse Joy confirmed her suspicions with a nod towards the dining hall. Ash, Max, Brock, and Pikachu were in there, obviously awaiting her presence. . . And, boy, was she going to give them one. . . !
"Good morning, guys!" She said with a nonchalant stretch, but she winked intentionally at Brock, who was busy seasoning his boxed egg accordingly so that it didn't end up making him want to faint.
"And why are you so happy? It's barely nine in the morning," he said, glancing at Ash, who was face-down at the table, snoring intently with about twelve empty dishes in front of him. Max sat beside him with his fourth cup of caffeinated tea and was bouncing around as he toyed with the many compartments of his PokeNav. When Brock looked back at May, she could clearly distinguish a red handprint on his cheek.
"Mm; Nurse Joy?" She took enough time to ask, pointing at it, "Anyway, why shouldn't I be so happy? Today's just a perfect day!" She said, twirling on the sport and ignoring a sudden rumbling of thunder that came from outside, which awoke Ash, who managed to grumble a response.
"And what makes it so perfect? I mean, the food was cold this morning, it's supposed to rain today, and I just found out that the gym is closed!" He whined. A lethargic Pikachu gave a weak "Pi pi!" in agreement with her trainer.
"You mean. . . you really don't know?" She asked them, turning somberly modest.
"I do!" Ah, thank goodness for little brothers, who were forced to live in the same house as their older sisters for more than eight years at a time! "I mean, I wouldn't have remembered, but, thankfully, my Nav reminded me." Max finished with a flash of his glasses, and May facefaulted. "Happy birthday; that's what you wanted to hear, right?" He looked down at her twitching form on the ground, his wide grin fading, "You know, girls take these things way too seriously; I doubt it's healthy." He turned his nose up at her and reclaimed his seat.
"Oh, so it's your birthday? Well, have a happy one. Since Ash couldn't have his battle, why not go to the mall for a bit; have a good time." Brock told her, and, peeling herself up from the floor, May gave a newly rejuvenated cheery laugh and slapped him on the back.
"I knew I could count on you guys!" She said.
"What's that mean?" Ash yawned, "Oh, and happy birthday." He added as an afterthought.
"It means that I may be new to this group, but I'm not stupid. First you pretended that you didn't know it was my birthday but you cancelled your gym battle, then you offered me sometime to myself at the mall while you guys got everything ready for me. And I'm oh-so sure that you won't be rewarding me with a surprise party tonight, right?" She inquired.
Her two friends and the three-point-five-foot-tall pile of geekiness that called itself her brother stared at her in shock and amazement and, for five glorious seconds, she was positive that she was right.
"Like I said. . . girls take these things way too seriously." Max told an affirmatively nodding Brock, and May facefaulted again. Ash sighed and lifted her back up onto her feet.
"But it's gotta be true! C'mon guys, really!" She begged them, but they just stared at her so innocently and confusedly that she knew it couldn't have been rehearsed.
"Listen, May. . ." Ash started, "Something you gotta know about me is that I would never cancel my gym match with anyone; I'd have thought it was sort of obvious. As for your birthday, well, you may find this disappointing, but we've never really paid much attention to them while we were traveling. . ."
"You're joking, right? But you've been on the road for more than five years, haven't you? Never once have you bothered to sit down, relax, and throw a party?"
"May, it's just not the point of a journey, lounging around, blowing up balloons, eating cake. . ." Ash coughed wistfully in remembrance of his missing cake, "We're journeying to train and build up the strengths and relationships we have with our Pokemon partners," he gave Pikachu a quick, friendly smile. "Birthdays come and go, but really, they're kind of a distraction. You shouldn't be thinking of how great today is; you should be remembering the people and adventures and lessons that got you here in the first place."
May turned away from her friends, towards the lobby, "And you should know that a birthday is there to celebrate the lessons you've learned." She gave one last glance at them and walked towards the front entrance, past the sliding double doors, and stopped at the path leading into town, hoping to drown her sorrows in a lonesome trip to the mall.
Almost as soon as she'd made her first step outside, however, there was a flash of lightning and the rain started to fall from the clouds. She sighed and hurriedly removed a compact umbrella from her fanny-pack, opening it up, placing it above her head, and muttering about how quickly her "perfect day" had gone awry.
At a run, it took her fifteen minutes to reach her destination before the puddles had caused a nasty splattering on her clothes. She walked inside and shook herself as dry as possible from the waist – up – grumbling as she ambled up the steps and to the second floor.
"Probably the best thing about today. . ." She continued to mutter as she grudgingly entered the bookstore and found the newest issue of 'Coordinators Monthly' on the magazine rack. She spent the next ten minutes running through the pages and columns and browsing the stats. . . "What the heck?" She sputtered.
There was Drew's arrogant face staring back at her from under a headline reading, "Future Contenders in the Ever Grande Coordinating Festival", and there was a rather large article describing his number of ribbons, his scores from former contests, and a long list of compliments made by different critics, judges, and fans. . . It was all placed in a rather flattering way for him, too. . .
"Great!" May scoffed, throwing the magazine back onto the rack, "That's exactly what I want to see!" She crossed her arms and turned away so that she could be angry in peace, although a certain part of her was very proud of her rival's accomplishments. Thanks to the not-so-wonderful way everything else was turning out, however, she wouldn't allow herself to see that in a positive way.
She left the store without buying anything and went next-door where a sign in the window said that all shoes were twenty-to-forty percent off. After buying a new pair of stylish leather rain boots, she checked the clock at the front of the hall. It was almost noon and by now, she was in the mood to splurge on some lunch since she hadn't eaten any breakfast at the Pokemon Center this morning, having been in such a mood.
Sitting in the food court after buying a hamburger, May caught sight of a bakery and sweets shop near the center. She finished up her 'meal' and ran to a pharmacy / convenience store and found a small set of cake candles and then she managed her way back to the baked goods vendor and bought a single piece of chocolate cake.
Hoping to erase the worst birthday morning she'd ever had from her memory, she lit the single candle that was able to fit on the pitiful-looking baked good and sung "Happy Birthday" to herself under her breath before blowing it out.
She had two seconds to spend smiling at the thought that her day might just be turning around, when there was the loudest clash of thunder and lightning yet and she went completely blind.
Or, rather, the entire mall went dark.
"Oh, man!" May moaned, turning around in her seat and jumping up at the sound of many other people shouting and crying out suddenly in fear and frustration, "Now what could be going on. . . ?"
There was a droning from the walls and the lights of the food court flickered back into faint life thanks to the backup generators. Then there was a click from the intercoms and Officer Jenny's voice rung out from beyond them, calling for everyone's attention.
"Excuse me, occupants of the Slateport City Shopping Center; we are sorry to inform you that the entire area is under the effect of a hurricane advisory watch. Would everyone please report to the first-floor food court and take a seat. When we are alerted to the end of the advisory, we will inform you and allow you to leave the vicinity. Until then, please bear with us and wait patiently in the lighted area. Thank you." There was another click and the intercoms started playing some very annoying elevator music, under the impression that it would calm all of the consumers' nerves.
"Just – great." May muttered as everyone started crowding around her, and she flicked at the icing of her cake in aggravation, "This is just so perfect!" She finished sarcastically, stuffing the plastic fork full of icing into her mouth, accidentally stabbing her tongue, ". . . Ow--!"
"Well, if it isn't May. . ." Came a familiar voice, and she rolled her eyes and got up from her seat, realizing who it was before even seeing his face, "Imagine meeting you here."
"Oh, hello, Drew. . ." She sighed, automatically regaining her seat and hoping that he might not speak to her for long, "It's actually not that shocking to see me here, believe it or not, as often as we meet each other in any other city holding a Coordinating Contest. . ." She blinked as he came into her line of vision and then gave him a slightly attentive sideways glance.
"So, where are your friends?" He asked her, taking the seat across from her as though he knew that his presence was upsetting her, ". . . And why would you be eating cake when it's barely noon? Aren't you worried about your health?" He quirked an eyebrow at her in question and she shrugged.
". . . Not really, mom." She smiled innocently at his lightly affronted expression, "My friends are at the Center and, if you must know, it's my birthday. I'm treating myself because Ash and Brock don't, you know, do birthdays. It's kind of sad, actually. . ."
"Geez, May, I knew you were an amateur Trainer and Coordinator but I'd have thought you'd at least be able to recognize the importance of your training over a stupid birthday. That's disappointing. . ." He took out one of his brilliantly red roses from nowhere and twirled it between his fingers, his other hand holding his face as he leant against the table.
May couldn't help following the roses progress with her eyes, under the brief impression that he was going to throw another one of the flowers in her face, like he always seemed to do. Then, catching his eye, she turned slightly red and averted her gaze back to her cake, taking another bite. Remembering suddenly that he'd insulted her, she put on an angry, aggressive tone and stuck her tongue out at him.
"What's disappointing is your attitude. How wrong is it to want to enjoy the anniversary of the day you were born? No one else seems to care. . . ! The least you could do, if not wish me a happy birthday and stop treating me like an unworthy Coordinator and rival, is leave me alone. I never asked you to sit with me and make me feel worse than I already do." She waited for him to leave but he didn't get up. For a split second, she actually considered that he might've liked to share her company, but then she remembered that it was so crowded around them that he probably wouldn't have been able to get very far no matter how he tried.
For the next few minutes, the two of them sat in absolute silence and May finished her dessert, staring forcibly at the table and wondering if Drew was maybe keeping his gaze on her, but she wasn't brave enough to look up and see for herself. Just when the mood seemed to be so nice and quiet and. . . well, almost friendly. . . Drew cleared his throat and spoke again.
"Have you seen the newest issue of 'Coordinators Monthly'?" He spoke in a very pleased tone, and the rose he'd been holding before disappeared and was replaced almost instantly with the very magazine he'd spoken of two seconds before, "There's a very interesting article in here about Ever Grande City. . . And, you know, the Coordinating Championships, the first-choice contenders. . ." He smirked at her as he held the thick color-booklet forward, but her expression of great dislike made him falter, "I take it that you haven't?"
"Oh, no, I have; and I'm just oh-so happy for you." She forced through gritted teeth.
"Really? Well, thanks; it's only natural that they'd want me in there. Though I'd have thought you'd be a bit more proud of yourself and a bit less vindictive about things to do with me."
"What are you talking about?" She asked confusedly.
Drew sighed in a humorous way, as though he expected this of her, and flipped through the pages until he found the article he was looking for.
"This is me. . ." He said in a tone as though he were talking to a child of no more than three years of age, and then, as May stuck her tongue out again, he turned the page one more time and showed it to her again, "And this is you. . ." He finished and, in shock of seeing her own picture staring back at her, May got up from her seat, leapt at him, and grabbed the magazine from his hands.
"Oh my gosh! It's me. . . !" She stated in a strangely dreamy tone, and then she squealed excitedly, "They describe me as 'up-and-coming'! And 'prodigious'! And a trainer of 'unbelievably unforeseen talent'! Oh. . . yes!" She jumped up from her seat again and, in the process of cheering for herself, stepped on a couple of peoples' feet, "Ah, sorry. . . ! Ack, I'm sorry to you, too! Oh, no, please forgive me. . . !" She bowed repeatedly and sat down again, turning red at the sound of Drew's laughter.
"Not such a bad day after all, is it?" He asked confidently, taking the issue back from her and shoving it out of sight. There was another mad flash of lightning and thunder from outside the entrance to the mall but it didn't seem to affect her anymore.
"No, I guess not. . ." She managed, "Of course, I'm not exactly happy with having to stay here with you. . ." She gave him a smile that was finally free of any anger to show him that she was joking and, for once, it was his turn to gulp inconspicuously from a sudden bout of anxiety, "But I suppose it could be worse. I wish the weather would clear up, though. I don't want to be stuck here all day."
It was as though her wish had been granted. Suddenly, the areas of the mall that had been left in total darkness for the past couple of hours flickered back into life and the people filtered a little further than the boundaries they'd been given from before. A crackling was heard again from the intercoms in the ceiling and Officer Jenny's voice was heard in surround-sound.
"We're pleased to announce that the power has been restored and the hurricane advisory watch has been cancelled for the region. You may now resume your shopping or leave the mall and return home. Please remember that it's still rather wet outside, everyone, so if you've got to travel far, then you should make contact with some form of transportation. The security station on the first floor, vicinity 'C', will be more than happy to assist anyone who needs it. Thank you for making it through this without any problems and have an excellent day!" A final crackling and the food court was suddenly full of loud voices as all of the cramped shoppers made their way to the nearest vendors or exits.
"Well, guess I'd better go. Max is probably worried sick for me," May said, although she did somewhat doubt it, "or, at least everyone else should be. But, you know, thanks for the company. It was nice not being alone through all that."
"Huh; well, it's natural to appreciate my association," Drew told her with a cocky smirk, "but I see what you mean. It's good to get to know your rival a little better before the final competition."
". . . Wait; that's not what I meant at all!" She countered, clenching her fists angrily, "Look, if you think I just sat with you back there to listen to you talk and act just to see if you'd say anything useful for the competition then you're wrong! I. . . I liked spending that time with you!" She caught her breath, glowed red, and continued, "You know, as friends. . ."
"Hmph. . ." Drew said in reply, and he turned to leave the building. May followed him outside; intent on finishing the conversation she'd started. How dare he undermine her like that? And he treated her like she was so insignificant compared to him. . .
"Well, haven't you got anything else to say?" She asked, somehow very irritated that he couldn't even say thanks for the compliment she'd given him. And then her sight was obscured by something violet-red being thrust into her face, "What's this. . . ?"
Of course, she didn't have to ask, really. It was obvious that it was another one of his roses.
"It's not much, but it's all I have on me. Consider it a birthday gift." He shrugged nonchalantly as though he didn't care, but she saw him waiting for her reaction out of the corner of his eye, "And a congrats on becoming strong enough for the 'Coordinators Monthly'. Now I might just have to train harder to beat you."
"Uh. . ." She faltered but then smiled brightly, holding the rose he'd given her tightly in her hand, "Alright! But I'm going to train twice as hard!"
"Well, then, we'll just have to wait until next time to see whose grown the most with their Pokemon." Finally outside, Drew turned to head in the direction opposite the Pokemon Center and she knew that it was time to go their separate ways once again, "I guess that I'll see you then." And he walked away, leaving May to herself.
She grabbed a firm hold on her bag – the rain boots still tucked safely inside – and skipped her way carefully back to the Center, in a much more pleased mood than when she'd left this morning. Drew's rose was still clasped tightly in her other hand, however, when she walked through the front entrance and saw her friends sitting and waiting for her return in the lobby, she couldn't help by want to hold the flowering bud out of sight, whether it was out of embarrassment or selfishness.
"Oh, there she is. . . !" Max cried out, being the first to leap forward, "May, you're back! We were actually starting to wor. . . never mind." He coughed and refrained from looking her in the eyes, aware that, as the younger sibling, he was strictly obligated to keep himself from showing any form of concern towards her.
"Well, if nothing else, we were afraid that you were going to run away or something like that; we're just glad you're not that crazy." Ash grinned jokingly at her.
"And we realized something after you left, and that was that these birthdays mean a lot to you," Brock was interrupted by Ash clearing his throat, "Okay, two things; it's also now blatantly apparent that Ash misses his cake. So, well, it's getting a little late now, but if you still want us to do something for your birthday, as long as it's within the confines of reality, we're all for it. What do you say. . . ?"
None of them noticed the hand behind her back, the one holding the rose Drew had given her. . .
Putting on a bright smile and not letting on to anything specific, May replied, "No, thanks, guys! It's okay, really. . . ! Besides, I think I've got everything I need!" And she marched off to their room, leaving the rest of them completely oblivious as to how her mood could have changed so drastically in only a few hours.
Notes – Okay, to tell you all the truth, I wrote this thing last year, around my birthday, because I was maybe-possibly feeling a bit down from spending it alone, and I was just beginning to blossom into my fandom for Contestshipping. . . Kinda. Yea. I don't know if that means anything to you, but also, just so you know, I used "Slateport City" because, according to the online mapping guide for the Ruby / Sapphire versions of Pokemon on Gameboy, it features both a gym and a contest, and I wanted to use both of those for Ash and May. . . Not like it matters much, but I needed the dialogue, and to get May on her own. So, yea, I don't know if it's different in the anime or not, but I used the game's version that I found online; just so you know.
So, I hope that everyone was relatively in-character, and that you all won't mind leaving a lil' comment or two for meh! Chibi needs 'em!