Author's Note: Hey everyone. I hope you enjoy this one-shot. I tried a lot harder to keep Paul in character. Tell me what you think and review!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon and its characters. If I did there would be a lot more comashipping moments.


I Can't Keep Smiling

"I don't care for the weak," Paul turned away and stalked off, hands jammed into the front of his pockets.

Ash could almost feel the tears threatening to escape his eyes. He blinked them back for a moment.

"So get stronger. Then…." However he was already gone.

---

Ash grimaced. The sound of banging pots was most likely made by Brock. He hated mornings. He hated them especially when Dawn would complain about her – "My hair!"

Sighing and rubbing his bleary eyes with the back of his hands, Ash put on his jacket and cap. Pikachu clearly was not in the tent, she was most likely being fed by Brock already. Unzipping the tent flap, ash walked out and greeted both his friends.

Throwing the rest of his poke-balls into the air, the rest of his pokemon ran off to eat. Settling down at the wooden table with the rest of them to eat, he could still hear the sound of his and his companions' pokemon munching, rustling behind him.

"Thanks Brock, it's delicious." Ash grinned and Brock smiled back, nodding his head. This always happened. While eating Ash's mood would always brighten. After that the group packed everything up and set off back on their journey. They wandered through the woods only straying off the path to retrieve berries nearby for a snack.

"Are we almost at Sunnyshore city?" Dawn asked, perplexed.

Brock brought his map out, shifting through the pages he finally shook his head. "Nope, I don't think we'll make it today. We still have not seen the resort."

Dawn whined and pouted, "I guess we should just camp here then?"

Everyone agreed and began setting up their tents. They all fell asleep within the hour.

---

On the road again, they chuckled together. "We're almost at the resort guys," Brock called out.

Dawn gave a yip of joy and ran ahead. She yelled back, "We'll stay there for the night! So hurry up,"

Both boys shook their heads, a grin never left their lips as they ran to catch up with her. It was only mid-day, the sun still high up in the sky. "It's such a good day," Brock nodded and Pikachu voiced out her agreement.

Brock brought his hands behind his head, "And better yet. We haven't seen Team Rocket in awhile," He said jokingly.

Ash agreed in silence. Dawn was still a few yards ahead of them, Piplup waddling by her side.

"Paul!" Ash and Brock glanced at Dawn quickly. Paul had appeared up ahead. His signature frowns and furrowed eyebrows still intact. Brock hurried over to dawn and Ash followed suit. Ash did not want to face the mauve-haired boy right now. The pain was still present, he could already feel his chest tighten.

Paul shuffled forward as Ash and Brock arrived closer. "I've come to battle," His glare focused on Ash as he said it and continued on. The black-haired boy glared back. "Fine!"

"So Ash are you still pathetic?"

He continued to glare at Paul, "No, of course not! I'll beat you this time." He heaved. "And you'll see, you'll see. You'll-you'll have to acknowledge me this time." The words left Ash's mouth in confidence, but he knew he was not ready yet. His chest tightened a bit more. He would lose. He had not trained hard enough.

And somehow Paul knew that too. He looked past it and smirked. "I see,"

Dawn cheered in the background.

Paul made a motion to retrieve a poke-ball. Ash still did not know that Paul could see past his façade.

"I don't care for the weak."

Ash's eyes began to sting. He felt a hand on his shoulder. "Ash?" It was Dawn. Ash bowed his head, glancing at the ground. He knew Paul was still there, he could feel the vibe that he always thought would suffocate him one day.

He shrugged Dawn's hand off his shoulder albeit more roughly than he wanted. "I know you like him too. So don't… please." Dawn's eyes widened.

Ash turned his back towards Paul and started to walk away, tears already falling. The last thing he heard was Paul's voice, "I'll keep waiting. Pathetic boys can only stay pathetic for so long. Besides, I don't care for girls either."