Author's Note: The Daigo/Haruka (Steven/May) pairing has devoured me completely. D: I should be writing for NaNoWriMo, or at least working on the next chapter to my Fixed Star fic (what's with the star theme here?), but this came to me and just would not leave me alone.

So, here we go. A random, fluffy DaiHaru one-shot. (There aren't enough of them.) Unbetaed, but I'll probably make edits shortly if anything is found less than decent. Based on Emerald, but Daigo is still Champion because otherwise this fic wouldn't have the same effect. XD;

...By the way, I'm using the Japanese names for the characters simply because I like them better. (Mikuri, who is mentioned in passing, is Wallace.) I'm keeping English names for cities/Pokemon/items, though, just because that's how I do things.

Now, onwards. :D

Disclaimer: Pokemon ≠ mine.

Rising Star

The sun beat down on Haruka's face, the warmth offering a pleasant contrast to the cool breeze on the water. She sighed as she draped her arm over her eyes, turning the insides of her eyelids from red to black.

"I have to make a decision soon, Zuuga," she murmured. Her Swampert, on whose back she was reclined, only blew bubbles just under the water's surface in response.

Haruka was silent a while until she got bored of mulling over her uncertainties and took out her PokeNav. She accessed the Town Map function to regain her bearings. "Let's see... we're approaching Mossdeep City. That's where Daigo-san lives."

It took a moment for the meaning of her own words to sink in, and when they did Haruka sat up so suddenly that she nearly lost her balance and fell into the sea. "That's where Daigo-san lives!" she cried, a light blush beginning to color her cheeks at the thought of the older man. "Maybe I could ask him for advice! What do you think, Zuuga?"

True to his Quiet nature, Zuuga didn't respond, concentrating instead on his Surfing.

"Though I don't know how experienced as a trainer he is," Haruka continued to herself. "I think he's more of a rock collector than a trainer. But he seemed pretty strong when we fought Team Magma together, right?" Not waiting for a potential response from her Pokemon, she smiled softly. "And even if he doesn't have an answer for me, it'd be nice just to see him. It's been a while."

She paused a beat, then turned the conversation towards her Swampert. "Zuuga, you're not even listening to me, are you?!" She noogied his head playfully, and in response Zuuga rocked back and forth, threatening to knock her off. Haruka shrieked and grabbed her Pokemon around the neck, which got her arms wet. "Oh, stop that! I'm sorry!" she laughed, and the rocking ceased.

Haruka leaned forward on Zuuga's head, resting her chin on her soaking wet arms. Mossdeep was beginning to come into view, and approaching too slow for her tastes, but there was nothing she could do about that. Zuuga wasn't renowned for his Speed, after all.

Absently she noted the irony in the fact that just a few minutes earlier she had been dreading reaching the end of her journey, but at the thought of meeting Daigo again, arriving at the next city didn't seem so bad.


Within fifteen minutes, Zuuga had arrived on land, and after thanking him for his work, Haruka returned him to his Pokeball. The surf lapped at her tennis shoes as she surveyed the city briefly before climbing up the hill to higher, drier ground.

She located Daigo's house fairly easily—it was, after all, the only house in the city she had visited more than once—and gathered up all her courage to knock on the door.

For a minute there was no answer, and what little courage Haruka had left quickly turned into disappointment. I guess he's not at home, she thought. He's usually pretty busy, after all.

Just as she was about to turn away, the door suddenly opened and in front of her stood Daigo just as she remembered him, sans his signature jacket and scarf.

"Haruka-chan," he said, looking slightly shocked. "Well, this is a surprise."

She blushed slightly. "I-I'm sorry Daigo-san, am I bothering you?" she stuttered. "I can leave if you're busy, I should have called beforehand anyway..."

Daigo smiled, one of those warm smiles that made Haruka's knees become weak. "Not at all, Haruka-chan. It's a pleasure to see you again. Would you like to come in?" He stood aside, gesturing for the brunette to enter. She bowed slightly as she crossed the threshold, muttering a soft "sorry to intrude."

The tall man offered Haruka a seat in his living room before making his way to the small kitchenette. "I'll put on some tea," he called back, "but I'm afraid I'm not very good at brewing it."

"That's okay," she answered. She sat silently as she waited for Daigo to return, gazing about the small house. Lining the walls were bookcases, a few paintings, and, of course, display cases filled with rocks of all shapes and colors. The more lustrous specimens glowed in the evening light filtering through the windows.

Haruka then turned her attention to the coffee table before her, and among the papers scattered about the surface she spotted a turquoise stone about the size of her fist. Carefully, she picked it up to get a closer look. She held it in her fingertips, slowly turning it so that it caught the light. It shone a mesmerizing aquamarine color, and Haruka noticed a pale starburst in the center of the stone. With treasures such as these, she could understand why Daigo loved rocks so much.

"You like that?" She gazed up at Daigo, who had returned with the tea.

"It's beautiful," Haruka breathed. "What kind of stone is it?"

Daigo sat himself in a chair across the table from her and began pouring the tea. "I haven't a clue, actually. It was sent to me by a colleague the other day, but I haven't seen a stone like it before. Here."

Haruka set down the stone and took the offered tea, thanking him. She took a tentative sip and had to fight down a grimace. Daigo was right; he wasn't very good at brewing tea.

"So what brings you to visit?" Daigo took a sip from his own cup, and seemed to find it unsatisfactory as he set it aside and didn't touch it again.

Shyly, Haruka stared down into her cup, rolling it between her palms. "Well, I was just in the area, so I thought I'd see if you were around..."

Daigo smiled, leaning on the armrest of his chair and propping his cheek on his knuckles. Haruka could feel his steely eyes boring through her, and couldn't find the nerve to raise her head. "It's been about two months since you won your last badge from Mikuri," he said. "But you haven't challenged the Pokemon League yet, have you?"

She shook her head and her chestnut bangs brushed against her cheeks. "No, I've been going around Hoenn again to train. I didn't think I was ready to face the League right away."

"Are you ready now?"

Haruka paused, then finally set down her cup and looked straight into his eyes. "I don't know if I want to challenge the Pokemon League."

Silver eyebrows were raised quizzically, and Daigo sat up straight again. "Why not? You have such great potential, Haruka-chan."

"M-maybe..." Haruka fidgeted with her gloves nervously. "But even so, I don't know if that's what I want to do. If I happen to become the Pokemon League Champion, where will that put me?" She took a deep breath, and then everything she had been worried about came pouring out. "Papa is always at the Gym training and is rarely home or even gets a chance to be anywhere else. But while that's what he enjoys, my favorite part about being a trainer is traveling around, meeting and battling all sorts of people. I thought that I'd give myself some time to think about it by traveling through the entire region again, but now I'm even more unsure. I got to battle all sorts of new people, and I reunited with others that I had battled before, and I loved it. I don't think I'd be able to give that up, and if I were Champion, would I have to? Or would I just have to stay at the League all the time, waiting for trainers to come challenge me?"

To her surprise, and her chagrin, Daigo was holding a fist in front of his mouth, attempting to suppress his chuckles.

"What?!" Haruka pouted, her face reddening again. "It's not funny! I'm being serious!"

"N-no, it's not that, Haruka-chan, I just..." Daigo took a breath to calm himself, cleared his throat, and continued. "I don't think you'll have to worry about that. I'm sure you'll be given the freedom to do as you like."

She still looked uncertain though. "How can you be sure?"

Daigo only smiled enigmatically, closing his eyes and folding his hands in his lap. Haruka got the distinct impression that the conversation was over, and she wasn't the least bit satisfied.

She hung her head and sighed, but looked up again when Daigo got to his feet and offered her his hand. "What...?"

"It's getting a bit stuffy in here. Why don't we go outside?" He gave her another warm smile, and Haruka just couldn't refuse. She gently placed her hand in his—vehemently telling herself that he was just being polite, and it meant nothing more—and followed him outside.

Instantly she was glad that he had suggested the scenery change. "Wow! What a beautiful sunset!" she gasped, her features brightening.

He gave her a half-smile, and then sat down on the hill sloping down towards the beach. "Sit down, Haruka-chan. I think I should tell you something."

Haruka obeyed, tentatively seating herself next to him, and secretly glad that he didn't try to widen the space between them. She waited for Daigo to start talking, but when he didn't, she looked up at him. His eyes were closed, a serene smile gracing his face. She didn't think she had ever seen him look so relaxed. His silver hair glowed a tantalizing orange in the sunset, and she had to force back the desire to reach out and touch it.

His eyes opened, and he smirked at her. Flustered, Haruka turned away, fixing her gaze on the red sun beginning to dip beneath the cityscape of Lilycove in the west. She hoped that the glow of the sunset would camouflage her blush.

"About becoming the Champion," Daigo started finally. "I don't think you have any reason to worry."

"Y-yeah?" Haruka wanted to kick herself for not being able to supply a more intelligent response.

"I hear that the current Champion spends a lot of time traveling around and indulging in his own hobbies." Haruka glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, and noted that he was grinning oddly. "Trainers don't often manage to beat all of the Elite Four, after all. And apparently when one does, there's usually a bit of a wait for the Champion to return."

Haruka cocked an eyebrow curiously. "Really?"

"Well, that's what I've heard."

"Hmm..." She pondered that for a moment, taking in the rich colors of the sunset. The sky in the west was dyed a brilliant red, reflecting onto the sea, and gradually faded into coral pink, and then turquoise—the same hue as the stone she had seen in Daigo's house. From there, high in the sky, it melted into a dark navy blue, as night began to creep in from the east horizon.

Daigo was speaking again. "Of course, I'm sure that there are banquets and ceremonies that the Champion is required to attend, but I'm sure that still leaves plenty of time for recreation."

"You think so?"

"I'm fairly positive."

Haruka drew her knees to her chest, hugging them close. "If what you say is true, Daigo-san, then I guess being Champion would be okay. That's if I were to become Champion, that is." She laughed softly. "Imagine me doing all this worrying, but then I just end up losing in the end, anyway."

With a light chuckle, Daigo placed his hand on her head, patting it affectionately. "I'm sure you'll do just fine, Haruka-chan."

"Mm." Haruka closed her eyes and sighed. She could feel Daigo's rings pressing into her scalp through her green bandana, but it wasn't an unpleasant sensation. She relished the feel of Daigo's touch, but at the same time was slightly disappointed with the gesture. I guess he thinks of me as a child after all.

The two sat in comfortable silence for a long time. Haruka wasn't sure how much time had passed, but before she knew it, the sun had vanished from the horizon, and the sky was completely dark.

Knowing that she'd have to continue on, she mustered up all her courage and made a decision. "Okay!" she said, standing up confidently.

Daigo gazed up at her quizzically. "Yes?"

"I've decided that I'm going to challenge the Pokemon League!" she declared to the night sky, and then turned to smile at the man she admired. "Thank you so much for your help, Daigo-san."

Smiling back, Daigo stood up and answered, "It was my pleasure."

Haruka grinned brightly, then fished out a Pokeball, releasing a Flygon. She patted its neck as she said, "I'm going to be heading to Evergrande City now, then. I should get there before the Pokemon Center's main lobby closes for the night." She climbed upon the Pokemon's back, feeling refreshed. "And tomorrow, I'm going to battle, and fight my way to the top."

"Well then, I wish you the best of luck."

Haruka took one last look at Daigo, and then patted her Flygon encouragingly. "Come on Rai, we're going to Evergrande City." Without having to be told twice, the dragon Pokemon took to the air and flew into the night.

Daigo waved them off until they were out of sight, and when they had vanished, he stuffed his hands in the pockets of his trousers, gazing up at the sky, where the stars were starting to come out.

"I'll be waiting."

I imagine Daigo as being incompetent when it comes to such tasks as brewing tea or making cup ramen. XD I don't know why.

The stone on Daigo's table was an Awakening Stone, which is from Shinou. I didn't really have any reason for including it; its sole function was to give me more words to write. Seriously.

I MIGHT write a kind-of-sequel in Daigo's POV, of the resulting battle and such. But that depends on whether or not people are interested, whether I feel confident enough in writing a battle, and/or whether I can come up with something less vague than "they have a battle." :P

Anyway, if you've read this, and I assume you have if you're reading this last line, I'd love to know what you thought, so review, if it pleases you. :3