"NEXT TIME, DON'T."
Dawn and Lucas had heard of a contest for charity that was taking place in Pal Park. They were currently on Route 220, not more than a day and a half away from reaching their target.
Lucas's cheek was red, though not from the chilly weather. Rather, Dawn's hand had gone clear across it. With a huff, she put her arms back around Shaymin, the quietest member of the group, and continued walking.
Lucas stood still for a moment, recovering from the shock of being slapped by his best friend. Though occasionally losing her temper, he'd never seen Dawn resort to physical harm to get her point across. It took looking at Shaymin's tiny eyes that were peeking out from the side of Dawn to snap the boy out of his stupor. He ran forward until he was walking next to the girl again. "It was an accident! Dangit, Dawn, there's three feet of snow out here! How was I supposed to see the stupid Buneary?"
She was tempted to create and hurl a snowball at him. "Lucas, you kicked it in the head! How do you not see a brown rabbit in a field full of snow? Dangit, Lucas, you made it cry! The thing couldn't have been more than a month old and you roundhouse kick it in the back of the head!"
"All right, let's keep this straight." Another one of Lucas's gloved fingers was lowered with each count he made. "One, it wasn't a roundhouse kick. I was bringing my leg up to keep walking. Two, the stupid thing was buried up to its mouth in snow. It was hardly out in the open. And three, I didn't know I had to watch out for rabbits in the middle of winter!"
"Ugh, your heart's as cold as your head is thick..."
Lucas was ready to explode with a counterattack, but froze. Instead, he breathed in a chilling breath of air, then exhaled. Though still irritated, his anger was smothered. He didn't say anything.
Moments passed by. It was exactly thirty seconds until Dawn jerked her head toward him and snarled. "What, now you're not talking to me?!"
She unknowingly increased the tension on her arms. The hugged Shaymin was sandwiched between Dawn's red-coat-covered stomach and arms. "Shay--" she choked, hardly getting that out.
Lucas kept his eyes forward. "Of course I am. I just have nothing to say."
"Well, find something then! It's freaking cold out here! If your source of amusement is hitting rabbits, atleast make yourself not completely dead weight and keep my mind on something else besides the freaking cold!"
"Here's two things to ponder. One, that sentence made little to no sense. Two, please stop choking my Shaymin."
Dawn looked down to see the Gratitude Pokémon struggling to breathe. She loosened her grip, freeing Shaymin's lungs. "Pffft. Now you're getting possessive?"
Again, silence filled the air. Besides Shaymin's heavy gasping to recover her previous breathing regimen, nothing but the wind could be heard. The quietness, however, didn't last for as long as it did last time.
"I asked you a question, Lucas!" shouted Dawn.
Lucas rubbed his eyes. "Yes. My role model is the Grinch."
"Do you really think I feel like putting up with your sarcasm right now?!"
"Who's being sarcastic?"
The boy sighed. "...I'm hungry. Let's just stop for lunch."
Dawn groaned. "Oh, you're hungry? That's something new! We just had breakfast twenty minutes ago, but let's stuff our faces a little bit more! Why not?"
Lucas checked his watch. It read that it was two in the afternoon, meaning that they haven't had anything to eat in six hours. He sighed a second time before removing his backpack and rummaging for food.
The afternoon passed by, and then the night. Morning was nearly finished as well. The scene constantly played time and time again, not different from a broken record. Dawn still got frustrated to the point of screaming over the most insignificant things. Shaymin got choked another four times. Lucas stayed as quiet as possible, which generally only angered Dawn more, which was the cause of Shaymin getting choked three out of four of those times.
"Ugh! How much longer?! Dangit, Lucas, you said that we'd be there by noon! What is it, like, one by now?!"
Lucas glanced at his watch. "...Half past ten."
Dawn's head dropped. "Ugh..."
For once in almost twenty-four hours, Lucas found the boldness to start a conversation. "So, um...Who are you going to use for the contest?"
"Idiot! Torterra's my best contest Pokémon. If there's no limitations, doesn't it make sense that I'm going to use him?"
Lucas rolled his fingers. The final straw had been shot at. "Hey, Dawn," he began, trying to keep his voice as cool as possible. "Could I take Shaymin for right now?"
Not surprisingly, the request earned him a fatal glare. "And now you're not trusting me with your stupid Pokémon?"
The fifteen-year old boy didn't speak a word. When he held his hand out, Shaymin wiggled herself free of Dawn's clutches and leaped over to her actual trainer gratefully. She turned her head to eye Dawn, scared that she'd go on a physical abuse rampage.
"Here..." Lucas lifted Shaymin up to his shoulder. When his hands were free, he stopped walking and put one hand on either of Dawn's arms.
"Don't touch me!" she cried, attempting and failing to get free.
"Dawn, I'm going to do something, but before I do it, I want to remind you how much I love you, okay?"
She frowned. "Don't bother with rape, there's nothing to see. My mother gave all the genes to my stupid sis--"
Lucas shut her up by returning her slap from the other day. His gloves were a bit more cushioned than Dawn's, so it didn't hurt as much, but it got what Lucas was getting at across.
Shaymin covered her mouth in a horrible attempt to hide her giggling.
The two trainers stayed like that for what seemed like minutes. Dawn's head was still turned in the direction she was slapped in, and Lucas's hand didn't move much either. When the latter finally lowered his arm back to his side, Dawn's head also craned back around.
Shocking no one, her eyes could have easily been mistaken for actually being on fire. "Do that to me again and you won't even have enough time to regret the day you were born."
"Dawn, c'mon..." Attempting to throw sand on the flames, Lucas ran his hand through Dawn's waist-long black hair. "You've almost killed Shaymin several times in a single day, and I'm starting to develop self-worth issues. Will you please tell me what's bothering you?"
"Preferably not, stupid prick!"
The girl barely reached the end of her sentence before Lucas suddenly leaned forward and kissed her on the lips. The sudden movement shook Shaymin from her perch. She managed to save herself by throwing a pair of paws on Dawn's shoulder as well, though she was now trapped between the two.
Silently noticing this, Lucas grabbed a hold of Shaymin in his hand before releasing his hold on Dawn's lips. Holding her in one hand, and rubbing Dawn's arm with the other, Lucas kept the warmest expression that he possibly could. "Now will you please tell me what's bothering you?"
Dawn threw on another upside-down smile. "Fine. Do you have to know what's bugging me? It's the end of the sentence!"
Lucas blinked at her. "...I'm sorry?"
"UGH." Dawn's neck and shoulders sagged forward. She found the strength to lift her head up and shoot her partner with yet another leer. "It's woman things, Lucas! Woman things!"
Once again he blinked, though for a slightly different reason. "...Oh."
"Yeah! 'Oh!' The most intelligent thing you've said all day." The two had a staring contest. Being in an impatient mood, Dawn broke it first. "What are you staring at?"
Lucas let out a gradually growing grin. "...I, just...Even though you've been pissed off for the past twenty-four hours straight, I never realized how cute you are when you're angry."
Dawn's face flushed red. She took a step back. "...Wh-What? What do you..."
"Yeah. The way your eyebrows furrow, and that semi-snarl that you have...It's just cute. I've never noticed it before."
"Um..." Dawn gulped. "...Th-Thank you?"
With a silent smile, Lucas offered Shaymin back to Dawn. She stared at the Pokémon for a moment before looking back up to Lucas. Finally, for once in an entire day, Dawn genuinely smiled and took a gentle hold of a somewhat nervous Shaymin. After moving it into its normal hugged position, Dawn put her head on Lucas's shoulder. He wrapped his arm around her back and massaged her shoulder softly. Together, they continued walking toward their destination.
Dawn coughed innocently. "...About what I said earlier..."
Her head fidgeted on his shoulder. "...It's not like I'm not packing anything."
Lucas slapped himself in the face. "...Yeah. I--"
"I mean, sure, my sister got most of it, but--"
"But I don't--"
"Let's just...Let's just keep walking."
"Oh..." She began petting Shaymin. "I just don't want you to think that I'm trying to hustle you or something, that's all."
"I-I'm sure you're not. So about the contest, I was thinking of using M--"
"At the same time, I don't want you to be disappointed or anything...I mean, I wouldn't want..."
"Ugh..." Lucas thought to himself, trying to tune Dawn out the best he could. "I think I'd rather have her angry."
They continued pressing on, their boots crushing the snow on their feet. Pal Park couldn't possibly be close enough.