Pairing: WataShi (Lance x Ash)
Theme: #11, Sin
Disclaimer: Pokemon belongs to Nintendo and Shogakukan Comics. This non-profit, non-copyright infringing fanfiction belongs to me under international copyright laws and taking it is plagiarism. Thank you. *Phantomness bows*
Notes: for telepathy, ** for thoughts, italics if a pokemon talks
Warnings: Het, adultery, anti-Palletshipping, fanon aspects, angst
They're still in bed when she returns, curled around one another like children. She says nothing, staring for a moment, seeing messy black locks interspersed with spiky brown. She shuts the door behind them with nary a sound, before closing her eyes and leaning against the wall for support. She takes one breath, two, and then she fancies she can feel her heart splintering into a thousand shards. Her fangs cut into her lower lip, but the pain is a welcome distraction from the image seared into his memory, and she leaves, silently.
She should have known.
In all honesty, she would have preferred to remain ignorant. She trusted Ash! She trusted the boy… she trusted her husband.
Her trust was misplaced, and she curses her foolishness for opening her heart. Her nails dig into her palms, and she forces her hands to unclench, as she steps out of the house, the door shutting behind her with a soft click.
Morning finds Lance at the Plateau, dry-eyed, the half empty pill bottle on her nightstand the only evidence of her emotions. She's perfectly calm and polite by the time Ash and Gary show up, and as Ash hugs her and mentions that he missed her, thank goodness she's returned from his month-long trip to Cosmos, how was it? She gives no outward indication that anything has changed.
She says that the negotiations went fine, that Charlotte was a charming hostess, and that she's sorry but she has to get to work now, they can chat more later.
Ash beams and nods, and Lance pretends not to notice the way Gary follows him outside with a peculiar possessiveness in his eyes. She turns to the next sheaf of paper, picks up her pen, and gets to work.
She idly wonders how long it will take Ash to notice.
"So how do you think we should break the news to her?" Ash asks Gary.
Gary shrugs. "I thought you didn't want to tell."
"But I feel bad lying to her." They are married, after all.
Gary blinks. "Whatever."
Something in that tone sounds like a dismissal, but Ash ignores it. He grins. "Don't worry, Gary. We're friends now, and I'm sure Lance will love you too!"
Gary goggles at Ash, who skips off. He is feeling more than slightly confused. A threesome really won't solve anything, after all.
Somehow, he doesn't think Lance will take this well at all. He has to admit he's jealous of the Dragon Master, but something strikes this situation as not quite right. It's not the sex – it was great, but…
Could he feel guilty? Fuck it all, Lance was gone and Ash needed a good lay, and he's sure he's better than a woman could ever be. Plus, Ash obviously loves him more.
So why does he feel apprehensive?
That's ridiculous. He isn't nervous at all. He's sure Ash will choose him over Lance any day, anyways.
The Dragon Master glances up, as Ash bounces through the doorway. "Yes?"
"Did I tell you that Gary and I are friends again?" Ash grins. "It's great!"
"I see." She says. "Congratulations." She moves to the next paragraph. Ash isn't deterred. He was never one to pick up on subtleties anyhow.
"Yeah! It was wonderful! And he's really good! I mean, you know, he's all nice and soft and stuff, and…" Ash trails off as he notices his wife has gone very, very still. "Lance? Are you all right? Because I wondered if, you know, since you're back, we could spend the night together, and I'm sure you'll like Gary."
Silence. Then the Dragon Master stands and her eyes are strangely unfocused. She brushes past Ash, and leaves the room.
Ash blinks, and runs after her. "Lance? Is something wrong?"
Lance turns around so quickly Ash almost runs into her, and says nothing, before she takes his hands, and kisses them. That surprises him, but he eagerly accepts. He closes his eyes, which is why he doesn't notice when Lance lets go of him and practically bolts down the hall.
She makes it outside the Plateau before Ash realizes she's gone, and she releases Ptera with a harsh command, not caring where she takes her as long as it is far, far away from this place.
"I thought I could handle it." Lance snarls, not caring who hears her. "I thought that as long as I took the pills, it would be all right. But such a blatant invitation – I can't ignore it. And he doesn't even feel guilty! He flaunts it!"
What kind of man would willingly share his wife with another?
Does he think her mere property or a whore?
So these are Ashton's true colors…
There is no answer, but Lance doesn't expect one. She almost – almost wishes she could cry, but it was something he gave up when she became Dragon Master and she's never regretted it much.
"I should have never allowed it. I was foolish to think there could have been anything between us. Of course I'm foolish." Lance sighed, before she turned to Ptera.
"… I should have brought my pills at least." But it would be all right. Eventually the pain would be too much to bear and she could succumb.
It was January. She had plenty of time before the Dragon Ceremony next December… and her Father would understand. Father always did.
Maybe she'll go to Cosmos for real this time, and visit Charlotte.
Ash is confused.
He's not sure why Lance left at all, because she was really nice to him, but he vaguely remembers Lance's hands shaking when he was being kissed.
She was never so nervous before, not even the first time they were together. It was so hard to seduce her, but he managed in the end, and now they're friends.
Lance is plain weird sometimes, but Ash doesn't mind.
Maybe Lance just had something else to do?
It sounds simple, but it's awfully hard to convince himself of that fact.
If only Ash wasn't so bloody affectionate! Lance hated her self, hated her weakness, hated these useless emotions, and hated needing to feel loved, to feel wanted.
But she knew Ash didn't want her anymore, so why did the damned boy persist on faking it?
Who did he think he was fooling?
She stroked her fingers across Ptera's crest, and tried to still the shaking in her fingertips. It was all right. She would be all right…
She stood, before she nodded to her Aerodactyl. "We're going to Cosmos."
Ptera nodded, and they took off.
Charlotte said nothing when she showed up on her doorstep, simply showed her to a guest room and made her tea. She didn't speak. They didn't need to.
She most likely knew why she was here, but she wouldn't press. That was good. She wished for silence, to force her traitorous thoughts away from Ash and his new lover.
Actually, she wished for more than that, but she wouldn't take it. No, not yet.
Two months passed. Ash was confused. Ash was very confused. He didn't know why Lance was missing and Gary had been very closed-mouthed on the subject. Whenever Ash tried to bring it up Gary would kiss him and that would get his mind off Lance really fast. But…. But…
It just wasn't the same!
Finally, he received a curt email from the Cosmos Island Champion reminding him that the Regional Champion's meeting was coming up, and this time it was being held in Moonstone City. Ash sent his RSVP letter back, and wondered if he would meet Lance there.
Where was Lance, anyways?
Unfortunately, Ash hadn't been able to spare any time to search for her – he was busy doing his Champion duties and having fun with Gary, so he decided that after this meeting, he would go out and do something.
After all, he was starting to miss Lance, though he didn't know why. Gary was better, wasn't he?
The meeting went off without a hitch; Ash was pleased to say. He left Wallace and Cynthia sipping tea and discussing pokemon legends, and sure enough, he'd seen Lance again. After all, Lance was still Johto Champion. Ash was Kanto Champion now, in addition to Orange…
It was nice to see Lance again, but she seemed to be ignoring him. Ash didn't know why, so he decided to ask afterwards. Charlotte had gone into the kitchen to bring out another plate of refreshments, and Lance was leaving the table. Ash hastily got up, not wanting her to run away again.
But that was ridiculous. Lance wasn't running away from anything, was she?
"Champion." Lance greeted Ash cordially, inclining her head in a brief nod. Ash copied the gesture, wondering why Lance was being so formal. They were already friends, after all!
"I missed you." He said, grinning.
"I thought that you and Gary were keeping each other entertained." Lance's tone was dry, and Ash shrugged.
"But it's not the same. I don't know why."
"Obviously, you enjoy his ministrations more. There is no need for my presence." There was… something in Lance's voice, but Ash didn't catch it.
"That doesn't mean I don't miss you! Honestly though, Lance, I'd like it if you came home."
She felt her lips pressing together in a thin line, and took a breath to fortify herself. It was simple, it was quick, and now all ties could be cut.
"I am afraid the Plateau is no longer my home, Champion. Good day."
She stepped past Ash, preparing to make his exit, but Ash grabbed her arm.
"What do you mean it's no longer your home, Lance? I want you to come back! Please come back…"
They were still married, weren't they?
Ash was startled, blinking as the words slipped out. Why was he acting like that? Lance lived in the Plateau, after all! She would always come back, wouldn't she?
The Dragon Master could feel her control slipping beneath her veneer of cool civility. She could feel rage begin to bubble in her mind, but suppressed it. "No."
She casually twisted her arm out from Ash's grip, and continued down the stairs.
Ash stared after her in shock, before he ran after her. "Why not?"
What was wrong with the idiot? Was he truly that dense? Lance hissed, eyes narrowing to mere slits of golden flame as she chose her next words carefully.
"I will not stay true to one who does not stay true to me. I have no intention to engage in a three way with your new lover, so kindly discontinue pressing the issue."
Ash blinked, before he frowned. "I do love you!"
"No, you do not." Lance said. "But lest I shatter any more of your precious illusions, let me be perfectly frank with you. What I desire in love is exclusivity. What you desire is copulation. The two are mutually incompatible. I am certain Gary will be perfectly adequate for you."
It took Ash a few minutes to figure out what Lance was saying, before he figured it out. "You're mad I had sex with Gary?"
Lance did not answer, but Ash saw her hands fist and begin to twist the folds of her cloak in a savage rhythm.
Why was Lance so mad? It was just sex…
"But its just sex!"
As soon as the words had left his mouth, Ash realized that that had been the wrong thing to say.
If it was just sex, then the marriage certificate and wedding-rings could be tossed aside just as easily, couldn't they?
"Yes," Lance agreed, and her voice was hard. "Our relationship was just sex too, wasn't it, Champion?"
"Um…" Ash blinked. Should he say yes? He was pretty sure they had done other things too, so he should probably say no…
What he blurted out was "Does this mean we're just friends now?"
The look she gave him could have frozen lava. Ash shivered. He'd seen Lance angry before, but not at him – never at him. It frightened him.
"Friends? Hardly. We are acquaintances, nothing more."
Ash stared in shock as Lance moved past him again, before his brain caught up with him. "Lance! Wait!"
Lance did not stop. Ash hesitated, before releasing his pokemon. He ordered a Vine Whip from Bulbasaur, only to prevent Lance from getting away, really, but the Dragon Master's eyes were strangely blank as Ash pushed her against a convenient wall.
"Resorting to rape now, are we, Champion? How like a man you are. Does it make you feel better?" She hissed.
"No! Nothing like that!" Ash was horrified to realize that tears were starting to roll down his cheeks. "Lance, why are you being so mean?"
"Cruel is the word you are searching for, Champion. And any cruelty I show today I learned from you."
"Did you enjoy sleeping with him, Champion?" Lance hissed. "Did you enjoy violating the sanctity of our bed? How long did you wait before you let him take you? The night after I left, perhaps?"
Ash gaped at her, seeing golden eyes blaze in anger. "I…"
"Did you think you could conceal it forever, Champion? Did you really think I wouldn't find out?"
"Y-You saw us?" He gasped.
"Pity I came home early, wasn't it?" She asked almost conversationally. "Yes, I did. And what of it? Your feelings on the matter are quite clear."
"I didn't lie to you!" Ash burst out.
"No, you did not." She agreed, too calmly. "You told me the truth. At least you were honest after the fact."
"No more words, Champion." Lance warned him. That was when Ash kissed her.
Ash was startled when Lance shoved him off. If possible, she looked even angrier. "You little slut," She hissed. "That's your solution to everything, isn't it? Bed it and fix it! Well, I'm sorry to inform you, but I'm beyond your pathetic fixes, and I wouldn't want them anyway. I'll let you contact my lawyer for a divorce. Good day."
The Champion stared after Lance's retreating figure. Hitting the ground had hurt, but not as much as he was screaming inside.
What was he doing wrong? Didn't Lance like him any more?
Why didn't Lance like him?
He slowly got up, and walked back to his hotel, his mind awhirl of questions. He poured a soda, took a drink, and sat down on the pastel coverlet.
Lance was being so mean! This time, he really did cry, and he sobbed into a pillow, not knowing how to stop.
Lance… Lance really hated him, didn't he?
It wasn't fair! If she was going to be this way, he was better off with Gary! Really! Hadn't she said so herself?
But… but it hurt. It hurt so much. His chest ached horribly, and he wasn't sure how to make it stop.
He knew he was in love, he knew it! So why didn't Lance see it? Couldn't he love two people?
What was wrong with that?
Maybe he should just go home and never speak to Lance again, but somehow, he knew that if he did that, it wouldn't make the problem go away.
He drew his legs up to his chest, finally releasing the pillow, and tried to sort out his tangled thoughts. Kissing Lance had been nice, awfully nice, and to never do that again…
No! That was sex, or close enough to it that it didn't matter, and Lance didn't like sex, did he? But all she'd said was… was… she wanted more than just sex. Or she hadn't said it, but she'd implied it, hadn't she?
That was why they had wed in secret. That was why he was still technically her husband. Was that why he didn't want her to leave?
Ash was bad at implications.
He rocked slowly, trying to think. So Lance wanted Ash to be in love with her, and Ash was, but she didn't want Gary there, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that. He sighed and swung his legs off the bed. He needed more soda.
Maybe he should go talk to Gary. It wouldn't take long to teleport back to Indigo Plateau. He released Espeon and teleported back to his quarters.
The scene was not what he expected. Gary and Koga glanced up at him, before Gary smirked.
"Hey, Ash! Want to join in?"
Ash stared at the scene before him in mute horror, before he ran out the door. He was sitting listlessly at his desk, not seeing the paperwork spread before him, when Gary walked in a few hours later, stretching.
"Man; that was exhausting…"
"… Why?" Ash asked; his voice shaky.
"Why did I sleep with him? Oh come on, Ash. I was lonely. You weren't around and he was hot…what's wrong with that?"
Logically, he knew it was just sex. That didn't stop him from feeling hurt, worse than the hurt when Lance had talked to him.
He released Espeon, who obligingly took him back to Cosmos.
Ash was very quiet at the next few meetings. No one seemed to notice, and that made him wither inside. Maybe he really wasn't important. No one liked him…
But he was a horrible person, wasn't he? Mew, what had he done to Lance? No wonder the other Champion was being so cold! But at least she was still polite…
Was that all he would ever receive?
No! He wanted… he wanted her back.
* I want my wife back… *
When Ash missed two meetings in a row without any warning, Lance grew concerned. Of course, she would never admit it, but the part of her that still – traitorously – cared for the boy, wanted to make sure he wasn't dead. That was all.
He had probably caught some cold or another. Well, if she had nothing better to do, she would check in on him.
It was deceptively easy to access the trainer database with her clearance level, and sure enough, she easily found Ash's location. She let herself in, and found the trainer in bed, fitfully asleep. A quick check confirmed that the Champion had a raging fever, and Lance fought with her feelings for a few moments before deciding that Ash would be unconscious and never know he had been here, and anyways, he might die if left unattended. Or something to that extent, and leaving him would be callous.
She filled a basin with cold water, carried it over to the bedside, and laid a cool towel on Ash's forehead. The boy stirred, but did not wake, for which Lance was inordinately grateful.
"I'm such a sentimental idiot." The Dragon Master sighed. "It's not like he'll know and appreciate I'm doing this for him anyway." She turned to the small kitchenette in the suite and began to make soup. He would want something to eat when he awoke – if he woke, but by then Lance would be long gone. Perhaps she could leave a suitably fangirlish note to throw off any suspicion…
When she returned, she found to her horror that Ash had awakened. However, seeing the slightly glazed look in those brown eyes reassured her that Ash was still delirious and probably wouldn't remember what was happening anyways, so it was safe for a while longer.
She sat down next to the boy, propped him up on the pillows, and began to spoon-feed him. Ash did not protest, too weak to hold the bowl and spoon himself. Only after the soup was gone did he attempt to speak.
Lance did not reply. Ash took a deep breath, and began to speak, though his eyes remained slightly unfocused.
"W-Why are you here? I thought you h-hated me…"
She moved quietly, collecting the tray and moving to the kitchen. When she returned, Ash smiled.
"A-Am I in heaven?" The silence continued, which prompted Ash to speak. "I-I guess I'm dreaming then. I wish you'd talk to me, Lance. I miss you."
Ash continued speaking, his words soft but still understandable. "G-Gary left. I mean I left. He didn't love me." He sighed. "I-I know you're right now. Sex isn't love, and sex isn't marriage. But I want more than sex…."
He cut himself off, shaking his head. "Y-You're just a dream. I guess I can tell you. I'm sorry." Tears were running down his cheeks now, though he didn't notice. "I-I'm so sorry…"
Lance watched, impassively, as the boy's sobs slowly quieted, and before long, he was once again asleep. The Dragon Master switched the cool cloth for a fresh one; her hands steady, betraying not an iota of the conflict raging in her heart.
Did Ash realize what he had just confessed? Of course he didn't, but Lugia, the boy had sounded so… broken.
And he sounded so truthful…
The Elite Trainer shook her head. She couldn't. She couldn't love again. She had already made her choice. Ash was an adulterer. He deserved to suffer for his sins! She should never have come. Damn her sentimentality!
She didn't want to hear it. She didn't want… she realized numbly that her hands were shaking again, as she studied the sleeping Champion.
Ash looked so young, so vulnerable. Lance wanted to protect him and hold him and keep him safe, but that was no longer her duty, was it?
But oh, she wanted it…
Enough! She violently tore herself away from those thoughts, and went to the kitchen. She washed the dishes and dried them, and she was back in her own room with a glass of wine and the Daily Kantonian on her lap when she realized to her horror that she had forgotten to remove the cool cloths. Fuck. Maybe Ash wouldn't notice?
When Ash woke up the next morning, he was startled to note that he felt a lot better. He attributed it to a good night's sleep, but when he sat up, a cool cloth fell into his lap.
Someone had been in the room with him? He certainly couldn't remember putting it on himself, but he'd been pretty out of it… dreaming that Lance had come and taken care of him? Yeah right. But! But…
There was still a basin half-full of water next to him, and Ash blinked. That was definite proof. Nonetheless, if Lance had been here…
Ash colored. Did that mean… she had heard everything then, hadn't she? The thought sent a jolt of electricity through his veins, and he felt more awake. If that were the case then, would his wife forgive him now?
He hoped so.
He dressed quickly, a quick look at the clock showed him there was an hour before the next Champion's meeting, so he ran off to find Lance.
It was surprisingly easy to find the Johto Champion – almost as though she wanted to be found. Lance glanced up briefly as Ash walked up to her, before returning to the perusal of her newspaper.
"Champion," She acquiesced, with a polite nod.
"Would you quit doing that?" Ash frowned, sitting on the bench next to Lance. "You do know my name. And after everything that happened yesterday, you'd think we were past these formalities!"
Lance stiffened slightly, and Ash knew he'd hit the mark. "I apologize."
"What?" Of all the things he had been expecting, that was not it.
"I should not have intruded upon your privacy. After all, we are no longer married. Forgive me." Lance wouldn't meet his eyes, and that made Ash frown more.
"There's nothing to forgive!" He burst out. "I feel a lot better now!"
"I'm glad." She folded her newspaper neatly, stood. Something cold and hard slid into the pit of Ash's stomach.
"As you are quite recovered, you have no further need of my assistance." Lance turned to leave, and something in him snapped.
"Why are you always running away from me?"
"Because you do not want me," She replied, quietly. "And I do not wish to impose my feelings on you."
"Damn it, Lance, you aren't imposing anything! I like you! Scratch that, I love you! You heard what I said yesterday! Do you still hate me that much?"
"Hate you?" Lance's voice was hollow. "I never hated you. I only hated myself for loving you, for forcing my love upon you, for forcing you to marry me when you clearly did not want any of that. That is all."
"But you're not forcing anything!" Ash protested. "I love you back! And I want to love you, and keep on loving you, and… stay together." He finished, lamely.
"Do you?" Lance asked, frowning. "As in, you wish for us to be husband and wife, with only the two of us? There are no outsiders, no threesomes, and no more cheating on me?"
"Only the two of us," He agreed. * Please work… *
For a split second, Lance stared at him, and then the Dragon Master's hands were on his shoulders and Ash winced but that was nothing because Lance was kissing him and oh Mew he had missed this so much…
And then she was pulling away, and she looked frightened, but Ash wasn't going to let her run any more, so he grabbed the cords on Lance's cloak and tugged her back down, and kissed her back, and wound his arms securely around her waist because he was never going to let go of her again, never, and finally, he felt her sigh and relax against him.
And it was perfect, like he was whole again, truly whole.
They never did make it to that meeting.
I hate allergies and I hate being listless…and I consider cheating in a relationship to be a sin. *Shrug* especially when Ash cheats on Lance, and he was married! And NO, I will NEVER write a yaoi or a yuri threesome. *Shudders*
And Ash is dense. Incredibly, totally, dense, but my beta reader said he was IC… and since I was begged for a happy ending, I tried. *Eyes clock* Why do I always write my best angst in the wee hours of the morning?