A/N: Sorry for the long await of this chapter, but make sure to check the author's note at the bottom for more info...I guess. D:


Chapter 6

Even MORE Waiting?

"Good morning!"

Ash cracked open an eye. He was still sleepy and tired from all the sightseeing he went through the day before. Even pikachu was still sleeping through the wake-up call.

"…Ugh…Dawn…it's ten in the A.M! Why do we have to wake up so early…?" he asked groggily. Just as he finished his sentence, his head fell back onto his inviting pillow and started snoozing again.

"Well then, Ash, I guess you don't want to get your seal now, do you?" she queried. She smirked as Ash bolted up from his bed in alarm. He immediately jumped out of bed and pulled his pants and sweater on, slipped into his running shoes, jammed his cap onto his head, and quickly picked up pikachu, who was still curled up, asleep.

"Why didn't you wake me up earlier?" he yelled as he grabbed hold of Dawn's hand subconsciously and started to pull her along. She halted to a stop before they reached the door and yanked her hand away, glaring back at him.

"Well, excuse me mister 'I-like-to-sleep-in'! I DID try to wake you up, but all you said, and I quote—" she put up her fingers in a quotation gesture "—was, 'Five more minutes, mom…' and you waved me away as if it was nothing!" she yelled back. She then softened up and tilted her head down, whispering, "…Besides, you looked...cute and relaxed sleeping the way you did; I couldn't wake you up…"

Ash's cheeks reddened a little, and he placed his hand behind his head bashfully, embarrassed.

"…R-really…?" he asked quietly. He looked up and saw her nodding slightly. He smiled; 'She looks very cute herself when she does that… Wait...what?' He shook his head to rid of his thoughts and started marching out of the Pokémon Center, his face as red as tomato sauce.

"Huh? Ash, wait up!" Dawn called out before collecting her items and Poké Balls. She jogged faster, falling into step with him with Piplup behind her, confused by what happened.

After a while of walking, the pair and their Pokémon had reached the prestigious building. It was still early for trainers to come around, but they had a planned schedule. They entered the large castle and head to the receptionist to start the match.

"Whaddya mean 'somebody got here first'?" Ash exclaimed, frustrated. The woman smiled sadly.

"Well, a trainer requested a battle—in which the brain accepted—a few moments before you two showed up. They're about to partake in their battle right now, actually." Ash's face fell, and Dawn was in deep thought.

"Is it at least okay for us to watch the battle? I mean, as an audience," Dawn asked. The woman smiled again and nodded, opening the small gate to let them through.

"Right this way!" She led them to the field they were in the day before, showing them the way to the same seats Ash and Pikachu sat in. Dawn searched the field, hoping to spot the challenger, only to freeze in place as her eyes met the cool gaze of a person they haven't spoken to since the Pokémon League finals—Paul.

"Is... is that Paul?" Dawn gasped. Ash followed her line of sight and frowned as he saw his former rival standing on the field with his ever-present scowl. Even after beating him in the League, Paul still kept his cruel and jerk-like personality. Dawn, however, was panicking a little. She remembers back when they first started traveling, she had harbored a minuscule crush on the cold boy. After many failed attempts at getting him to notice her, she realized that he wasn't meant to be her "number one" and gave up on him, her attention turning to her dark-haired traveling companion who made her stomach flip in many ways imaginable. But now...as he gave her his uncomfortable stare...she was starting to feel nervous.

"...Dawn? Hey, Daaaaaawn! Are you home?" Ash waved and hand in front of her face, snapping her out of deep thought. She only smiled at him and waved it off, giving her signature phrase, "No need to worry!" Ash still looked unsure, but accepted it anyway; he made it upon himself to ask her about it later.

"Can't believe Paul's here, huh?" Dawn asked nobody in particular. Ash nodded, realizing that it was because of Paul that his morning battle had been delayed. His frown deepened.

"He's still a cold, heartless jerk who only cares about his Pokémon's power..." he grumbled.

"Well... let's see how his battle turns out, okay?" Dawn persisted. 'Maybe he's changed at least a little bit...'

Paul noticed Ash's presence, and his expression morphed into noticeable distaste. 'Scratch that last thought...' Dawn thought, sweatdropping.


A/N: Um... Sorry for this extremely short chapter, but I wanted to upload SOMETHING after so many months of not touching this fic. I hope to continue writing this, as I still want to go through with the whole plot and such. Uh, also, I probably won't be updating any of my other fics for a while. Check my bio for more details about my writing Hiatus and why I haven't been writing as often. :X

~Patori-san