Now, honestly, HOW I got this idea was…unknown. XD But I like it. So I'm gonna write it. Hope you all like it! And yes, I'm now a small fan of Pearlshipping. XD Only small, though. I still like Pokéshipping and Hoennshipping WAY more! But anyways, I'm dawdling. READ!
Disclaimer: I don't own ze Pokémon, ya hear?
Dedication: Guess it's goin' to Endless-Summer181, both for requesting I do this fic (with great fervor), and for letting me use her drawings. =D
"Ash, honey, I'm so glad you're home!"
A huge bear hug wasn't what Ash expected when he stepped through his front door, but it was what he received nonetheless. His arms flailed about wildly, his pleas for freedom muffled. Momentarily forgetting that she had her son in a miniature body lock, Delia smiled at the other two guests to the Ketchum household. "Hello, Brock, it's wonderful to see you again. And you must be Dawn."
"Hello, ma'am, it's nice to meet you." Dawn's hands clasped together in front of her, bowing her head respectfully.
Delia smiled kindly. "It's very nice to meet you too, Dawn. Why don't you three come inside? I've just finished making a batch of cookies."
Ash's eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning, escaping his mom's grasp in a flash and darting into the house. This left a sweatdropping Dawn and a grinning Brock standing outside the door. Delia's eyes followed her son as he sped into the kitchen, and a joyful cheer erupted from within.
Dawn blinked, still exasperated. "What just happened?"
"Dawn here has never tried your cookies, Ms. Ketchum." Brock informed the older woman.
"Well, if you're anything like my son, I'm sure you'll love them." Delia walked in, gesturing the two to do the same. The moment she entered the house, the aroma wafted into her nose, melting her heart. The smell was SO appetizingly sweet; so much so, in fact, that Dawn's cheeks actually grew pink at how good it was.
"Wow, is that smell your cookies?" Dawn chimed airily.
"It sure is. Would you like some?" With a kind gesture, Delia led the way to the kitchen, with Dawn antsy in anticipation. What they saw when they arrived, however, left them speechless. Animalistic did not do Ash justice as he mauled the large pile of cookies, stopping occasionally to take a swig of milk and swallow. Pikachu was right beside him, devouring at a much slower rate but with all the same enthusiasm. They halted, however, when they noticed the small group staring at them incredulously.
Ash made a noise of guilt, glancing back and forth between the plate and his friends. Gently, he slid the plate slowly across the table towards them. "Cookie?" He asked with his mouth still slightly stuff of the treat.
"Ash, don't be such a pig!" Dawn chastised, walking towards the table with her hands on her hips.
The raven-haired boy pounded his chest as he swallowed hard, reaching for another one. "I'm not being a pig. These are just really good. Right, Pikachu?" Ash asked his little partner.
"Pika!" The electric mouse pumped his little fist in the air with glee, before resuming to snack on his share of the treasure.
"Well, at least save some for us, y'know." Dawn grumbled with irritably closed eyes as she took one in hand. Vigorously, she popped it into her mouth. Instantaneously, her eyes shot open.
What happened next is an ancient rumor that is heard throughout Pallet Town, even most of Kanto, to this day.
"THESE ARE SOOO GOOOOD!!!" Dawn danced about the kitchen as if it were the sole reason of her existence. "It's so warm, and chewy, and it just melts in your mouth!" Her eyes shone with a light neither Ash, Brock, or Pikachu had seen before. She leapt, she bounced, she even slid across the floor, her taste buds in heavenly bliss. Before they could respond, the girl was attacking the plate, nearly as viciously as Ash had moments ago.
Delia could only smile sheepishly. "My, it seems you DO like them just as much as Ash." Unfortunately, Dawn, and Ash and Pikachu once more, was too busy into the plate of the pastries to hear her. "Now don't eat them too fast or-" Unfortunately, she was unable to finish her message in time. Ash and Dawn sat in the kitchen chairs, holding their full stomachs contently. Pikachu lay atop the now empty place, cooing softly in enjoyment.
Brock laughed heartily, holding his hand to his head. "I suppose there's no coming between them and a plate full of cookies."
"Oh, dear, it looks like I'll have to make some more!" Delia smiled enthusiastically.
Recovering from his fullness in abnormal speed, Ash grinned ecstatically. "That'd be great, mom!"
Although joyful as well as the prospect of more cookies, Dawn found herself drawn to Ash. Besides Pokémon training, she rarely saw him get so excited about something before. And in truth, she liked seeing that. She blushed gently, but took a sip of her milk to cover up her face.
"So, Ash, what else do you have planned for today?" Brock asked, pulling out a bag of flour as he prepared to help Delia bake a fresh batch.
Ash leaned back in his chair, allowing Pikachu to climb aboard his shoulder. "Well, I was gonna go visit Professor Oak and see how all my other Pokémon are doing."
"That's a good idea. I bet they all miss you over there." Brock grinned.
"Pikachu!" Pikachu exclaimed excitedly.
"Pikachu thinks it's a good idea, too." Delia smiled, reaching over and stroking the little mouse's fur. He purred slightly in pleasure, his eyes closed joyfully.
"What about you, Dawn?" Brock asked, ripping the bag open.
"I think I'll take a look around Pallet Town. I wanna see what it's like." The girl replied, hopping up from her seat.
"Sounds good. These cookies will probably take a while, so take your time." Brock advised warmly.
"I will." And with that, Dawn took off, with Ash and Pikachu right behind her. Outside, the two parted ways, before taking off in different directions.
A small gust blew from behind Dawn as she walked, sending several strands of her sapphire hair over her shoulders. The breeze died down, leaving the strands hanging over her chest. She grabbed at the tips of her tresses, twirling them gently. She smiled; she loved how soft it felt. She made a very big effort to keep her hair in top shape for contests, so it remained perfectly blue and silky smooth. In that moment, she wondered if Ash liked her hair, too.
Her pace slowed, allowing all of her thoughts to shift and form into a figure with black hair and brown eyes. She couldn't help it as her mind took off, focusing on her walk. Truth be told, she wanted to walk so she had time to herself. She wanted to think about her crush on Ash.
Yes, she could admit it; she had feelings for Ash Ketchum. She had for some time now. Thankfully, it didn't appear that he or anyone else had caught on. Not that she would have cared, anyway. Ash was going to discover how she felt at him sooner or later, whether she told him or someone else did. She just preferred that he learned the truth from HER and by no other means. It was a mildly mature thought, but after spending plenty of time traveling with him and seeing the world, she'd learned a lot. Still, nothing got her heart racing quite like seeing Ash celebrate after winning a battle.
Suddenly, she halted, her gaze turning back to the Ketchum household. She'd only been walking for ten minutes, so the building was still very visible. The image of Ash's excitement at the delight of his mother's cookies sent a warm shiver though her body, feeling the familiar tingle of a blush crawl to her cheeks. She'd love more than anything to be able to make Ash smile the way he did. Then, a light bulb popped up in her head. She shifted her body around, sprinting towards the house. Just maybe…
Brock could be seen leaving the house as she approached it, secretly making Dawn joyful. Her plan would be a little less awkward to execute with Brock out of the way. Hiding behind the house, she peeked around the corner, watching Brock as he left. When she was sure he was clear out of sight, she moved into the home.
The shuffling sound of Ms. Ketchum preparing to cook another batch rang through the sapphire-eyed beauty's ears as she entered the kitchen. The woman turned to look at the girl, smiling warmly. "Is there something you wanted, Dawn?"
"Erm, kinda." The girl smiled sheepishly, swaying side to side with her hands behind her back. "But, where'd Brock go?"
"I sent him to get some more ingredients for the cookies." Delia answered as she began kneading the dough. "I thought it would be a good idea to make some chocolate chip cookies this time, don't you think?" Ms. Ketchum smiled kindly.
"Yeah, you bet." Dawn replied, moving next to the woman. Her eyes locked with the dough as Delia bundled and pressed at it. It intrigued her, and this interest caught Delia's attention.
"Would you like to help?" The mother's question caught Dawn by surprise, making her heart jump lightly.
Amazingly, Delia had hit the mark on Dawn's plan: she wanted to learn to make cookies like Ash's mom, hoping that it would impress Ash. However… "Er, I'm not really all that good at baking." The girl waved her hands coyly, sweatdropping.
"It's very easy. Wash your hands and I'll let you try." Even with Delia's words, Dawn still felt shy about how well she would. Removing her trusty hat, she moved to the sink, putting her hands under the flowing water. She'd never before put much effort into learning any culinary skills. She'd always been focused on her appearance, as contests were her only interest. Drying her hands, she moved to the table, where Delia had set aside some dough ingredients. "Now, I'll start making some, and you try to follow me, okay?"
Dawn nodded, and watched as Delia proceeded to add the ingredients together, eventually creating the dough. The girl took curious note as Delia gently but firmly pressed and squeezed the dough. It seemed easy enough, and eyed back and forth between Delia and her near-complete pastry.
With one final knead, Delia's dough was done. "Okay, Dawn, now you try."
"Yes, ma'am." Dawn nodded, before taking the ingredients in hand. The next five minutes could only be described as a monsoon of ingredients. The end result left flour and scattered dough throughout, with Dawn covered with a thin sheet of the white cooking substance. She blinked a few times, a blank expression on her face. Then her nose wrinkled, her eyes narrowed, and she sneezed.
"Bless you." Delia offered, handing Dawn a small napkin. The girl accepted it gratefully, quickly wiping her face of flour. She didn't know what exactly she had done wrong, but it obviously wasn't any kind of good.
"Aw, how'd I mess up so fast?" The blue-haired girl sighed, sweatdropping.
"Now, now, don't feel too bad. We all make mistakes at first. Here, let me show you how to do it." And with the second attempt that was aided by Delia, Dawn set back to work. Her dough didn't turn out as great as Delia's dough had, but at least she hadn't turned the kitchen into a winter land imitation. Her third attempt left it much too soft, her fourth was much too sticky, and her fifth was too thick. At this point, Dawn was exasperated. Surely it couldn't be THIS hard to make cookies, could it?
"Ms. Ketchum, HOW do you do it?" Dawn laid her body against the table, emotionally spent at her works of disaster.
"Well, dear, I've been making these cookies for Ash ever since he was old enough to walk on his own." A melancholic smile graced the mother's lips, memories of her child as an infant flashing through her mind. "So, of course, I've had plenty of practice making them. But I'm positive you can learn how to make them, too, Dawn." Delia smiled confidently at the girl.
Dawn forced a weak smile, but then turned back to her dough. Her heart sunk as she stared at her creation, which was unable to be baked in its current form. Sighing to herself, she slumped against the table. "I didn't think it would take so long just to make cookies."
"Well, making regular cookies isn't hard at all. But to make delicious cookies, you put your heart into it, and give it all you've got." Ms. Ketchum smiled vigorously. Dawn sweatdropped. Ash's mom certainly was passionate about it, to be sure. Although, what she said made sense, looking to the counter where the ingredients were. If she tried her very hardest, she was sure to be able to make cookies that would win Ash's heart. The idea sent a blush to her cheeks, one that Delia noticed easily. The mother grinned knowingly. "Dawn, may I ask what caused your sudden interest in baking?"
Delia's question fanned the flames in Dawn's cheeks all that much brighter. "Um…I just really liked your cookies, and I thought I'd try to learn how to make them!" The girl defended sheepishly, laughing nervously. Feeling her blush grow all the more at Delia's knowing gaze upon her, Dawn lowered her expression. "And…I thought Ash would like it, too…" She bit her bottom lip, smiling lightly. Her hands were clasped together bashfully in front her, swinging left to right.
Ms. Ketchum responded with a soft pat on the head. "I'm sure he'd be very excited to hear about it." Her voice was gentle, and surprisingly put her at ease. It reminded her of her own mom's tone whenever she was calming her down. Dawn looked up at her cutely, still feeling shy. Delia comforted her with a smile. "Don't you worry, it'll be our little secret." The statement stirred another blush in the young coordinator's cheeks. Wordlessly, she nodded, and together, the two resumed baking.
An hour passed, and Delia glanced at the clock. "I wonder where Brock is? He should have gotten the ingredients by now." She pouted her lips, wracking her brain for any ideas as to what may have become of the breeder.
- - - - -
Over at the store…
- - - - -
"How about your phone number?"
A thoroughly enamored Brock pleaded to a young woman outside the store. The girl shot him a disgusted look, raising her nose up at him and walking away. His gaze followed her meekly for a few seconds, before dropping discouragingly. No matter where he went, his luck was always the same.
Looking around, a single question popped into his mind. "What was I here for again?"
- - - - -
Back at the Ketchum household…
- - - - -
"Maybe he got lost?" Dawn suggested.
Unfortunately, the older woman didn't buy it. "I'm going to go see if I can find him." She headed for the door, but stopped at the entryway of the kitchen, turning back to Dawn. "Just keep practicing. I'm sure you'll be doing great in no time." With one final encouraging smile, Delia headed off.
Dawn sighed, sitting in a chair and nesting her chin in one of her hands. She had no idea how the day would work out, but she was hoping that she'd improve at least a LITTLE more throughout her attempts. Nonetheless, she poked and prodded at her hardened rock of dough mindlessly, the minutes ticking by slowly. Her eyes wandered to it, taking it in. A light brown, bulky and difficult to mold. Almost like clay that was starting to harden. It made her eye twitch; staring at it for some time was slowly giving her the impression that the dough itself was sending an unspoken, incredulous message of hatred to the girl. She pouted her lips solemnly, pressing her finger deeper into it. Hopefully, Delia and Brock would be back soon, she could continue with learning how to make cookies, and everything would be alright. She would spend the rest of the day practicing if she had to; heck, she'd even stay up all night, even 'til the break of-
Startled, the girl jumped at her name being called. She blinked to see Ash at the doorway. His hand was on the inside of the walkway as he gazed at her with a look of puzzlement.
"A-Ash? What are you doing here?" The blue-haired beauty asked, her heart rate returning to normal rapidly.
"Professor Oak wanted to know if Brock wanted to help him with some Pokémon breeding." Ash then cocked his head sideways. "What's that?"
Dawn was momentarily confused, before she connected his gaze to the monstrous wad of deformed dough she was currently attacking with her finger. Her heart began to race once more, quickly grabbing it and hiding it behind her back. "Oh, it's nothing! Nothing at all!"
Her nervous laugh would have given her away to any other person, but thankfully, Ash was convinced that she meant well, whatever she was doing. He simply smiled innocently at her. "Well, do you know where Brock is?" He asked.
"Um, he went to the store with your mom. They went to get more cookie ingredients." Almost instantly, a pleasant, almost adoring grin spread across Ash's cheeks. The look made her heart pump faster, sending an ample amount of blood to her cheeks. It was an adorable expression, one that she would love to compliment the boy on, but chose otherwise.
"Well, when he gets back, could you let him know we're waiting for him?" Ash asked in a moment out of his reverie.
"Sure." Dawn smiled. Ash returned the gesture, before heading out once more.
Dawn's sapphire eyes were pinned on him as he left, until the last strand of his jet black hair vanished around the corner. She rested her palm over her left breast, hoping that placing her hand on her heart would soothe it. It helped, but not by much, as she felt the beat slowly dwindle down to normal intervals. With her crush no longer in the room, she returned her disheveled creation to the table. She gazed at it once more, inwardly praying for it to become remotely appetizing. Sadly, she had no such luck, as dough wasn't known for getting up and making itself into cookies.
She groaned, slumping against the table. She was left with nothing but extra dough ingredients, which she was too scared to touch without Delia's supervision. Still, the image of Ash's grin continually flashed through her head, bringing to her lips a smile of her own. Her gaze slid sideways, to the dough ingredients. To see that look on Ash's face again…unconsciously, her hands moved over to the food supplies. Wait…Delia wasn't here. She couldn't bring herself to do it…could she?
- - - - -
Late evening had set as the Ketchum doorway swung open, revealing a bag-carrying Delia. She'd found Brock, who had apparently gotten a little distracted. Before she could scold him, however, her son had stopped by, saying that Professor Oak was asking for the breeder. Relief had washed over Brock's face, but nonetheless, the mother had given him a warning to not skip out on any more favors, lest he would sleep outside.
Closing the door with her foot, she walked towards the kitchen, suddenly aware of the sounds coming from it. Peeking inside, she was startled at the sight. Her kitchen table was messy beyond belief. Dawn sat in the chair, her blue hair covering her face as she rested it on the table, pillowing her head with her crossed arms. Her low breathing indicated sleep, one which Delia was hesitant to wake her from. Leaving her in that position, however, wouldn't exactly do wonders for her back.
Delia walked over to the girl, placing a hand on her shoulder and shaking gently. "Dawn…"
Her caring, motherly voice was more than enough to wake the girl from her slumber. "Huh…" Dawn blinked, before looking up to see Ash's mother. The girl jumped. "Oh! Ms. Ketchum!" Her glance then shakily turned to the table, guilt tugging at her. "I'm sorry! I was just trying to make some on my own, but then I got tired, and…" Her small explanation was halted by a soft pat on the head, courtesy of Ms. Ketchum.
"Help me clean some of this mess up, then head to bed. You seem awfully tired."
Delia's words brought warmth to Dawn's sleepy body, nodding as she began to help cleaning up the effects of her cooking. Supplies were put away, dishes were washed, and the table was wiped clean as the two females tidied up. As she put the last dirty spatula into its drawer, Dawn was fighting to keep her eyes open. A day of non-stop cooking, combined with cleaning up, had taken its toll on her. "I'm ready to pass out." The girl yawned, stretching her arms in the air.
"There's a free room across from Ash's room. It's upstairs on the left." Delia guided the girl to the stairs.
"Okay, thank you. Good night, Ms. Ketchum." Dawn smiled droopily as she headed to her room.
"Good night, Dawn." Delia smiled, watching the girl walk. When she heard the door close, she returned to the kitchen. It was just that time for her nightly cup of honey tea. Taking a small packet and a cup of hot water, she moved over to and opened the microwave. However, what she found was a surprise. "Why, these are…" A gentle smile graced Delia's lips.
Just then, the front door opened, and an exhausted Ash and Brock walked through. "Mom, is it okay if we go to sleep right now?" Ash mumbled. Breeding help, Professor Oak had said? More like breeding labor.
"Of course, dear. Just be sure to change your you-know-whats!" A grumble and a soft snicker accompanied Ash and Brock as they marched upstairs, heading for Ash's room.
Delia turned back to the item she'd found. With a smile, she removed the plate, as well as the small item next to it, from the microwave and placed them on the table. In minutes, her tea was made, her mind was relaxed, and she moved upstairs to her room, preparing for a wonderful sleep.
- - - - -
Clad in only a white shirt and boxer shorts, with his hair messy and disheveled from sleep, Ash walked the down the steps to the kitchen. He lightly rubbed his grumbling stomach as it cried out for sustenance. His droopy gaze scanned the kitchen, searching for anything to quench his appetite. His eyes eventually landed on the plate of cookies on the table. He smiled, stepping forward with his hand outstretched. Taking a cookie in hand, he quickly popped it into his mouth. He let out a sigh of contentment upon swallowing, taking a few more in hand. With that, he returned upstairs. They didn't taste exactly like his mom's cookies, but they were still very delicious.
In his drowsiness, however, he failed to see the little slip of paper next to the plate. On it were a few simple words.
Hope you liked! Now please excuse me while I run off to get some cookies…