A/N:
Hoping that everyone has a fantastic New Year, cheers for the coming 2010! And Flint hijack ftw?

World - Game
Characters – Volkner, Jasmine (Alexandrianshipping)
Genres – Romance, Humour
Note(s) – Requested by Snoaz


Storm : Volkner and Jasmine

Jasmine tilted her chin and thoroughly took in the feeling of the salty sea air caressing her face. Warm sand collected in between the toes that were barely shielded by her simple white sandals. She glanced sideways at the tall lighthouse of the city, painted in red and white, knowing that it would begin operation at exactly seven-thirty every night, and earlier on stormy days. As a passing ship cleaved the sea, it sounded its horn. At the low bellow, she cupped her hands in front of her, and it almost felt like she was home again.

But she wasn't done here just yet; it would be too soon to leave. She'd like to stay here for awhile longer – the people were generally Samaritans, if just reserved as compared to the outgoing folks of Johto. It was fine with her since she rarely liked talking anyway. The contests, no, super contests, held here were fascinating, most particularly in the dancing segments. For the Steel-type gym leader, it seemed so innovative, and she was inwardly brimming with pride from the outstanding performance of Rusty. The Steelix could never let her down, neither in battles nor contests.

Jasmine breathed out a barely audible sigh, remembering the unmistakable thrill of a gym match.

A nervous cough caused her to cautiously look over her shoulder, homesickness still lingering over her frame. The young man standing a polite distance away from her held his fist to his mouth as he cleared his throat, his gaze lowered and somewhat nonchalant. She took in his blonde hair and navy blue jacket, recognizing that he was the gym leader of Sunnyshore. An expert with Electric-type Pokémon, she strained to recall. Was he looking at her? Jasmine scanned the vicinity for another more likely candidate for the gym leader's attention, but strangely enough, all the frolicking children and loving teenage couples were absent from the beach today. She hadn't really noticed up till now.

"Miss?" the man spoke this time. Jasmine flinched slightly as she was addressed. Why was he talking to her? Was she doing something wrong? She began to self-consciously examine herself, straightening the skirt of her sundress before raising her worried eyes to meet with the solid gaze of the blonde.

"Um… yes?" she squeaked.

"A storm might be approaching soon. You should go to the Pokémon Centre for shelter," he informed her, an absent tone thick in his voice as he tucked his hands into the pockets of his dark pants. He nodded his head lazily towards the sky.

Jasmine held a fist to her chest and turned in the direction he had gestured. She blinked as she realised that there were indeed, crowds of darkened black clouds gathering just in front of the grey horizon. The sea was also starting to churn, producing choppier waves, and the tide was rising, her feet were now fully drenched. She chewed her lower lip sheepishly as she stepped back from the shoreline, the other beach goers must have noticed the changing weather while she was daydreaming.

"Yes… I will. Thank you for your concern." Jasmine bowed gratefully at the man.

"It's my job, and a more interesting highlight, considering the weak trainers that have been coming to the gym nowadays," he lamented, his bored voice emphasizing on how genuinely dull he felt. The gym leader raised one hand to scratch the back of his head, before stiffly jutting out his free arm it the direction of the city, as if he was unfamiliar with escorting someone. Wait, was he escorting her? Usually the policemen in Olvine handled crowd safety during storms.

Jasmine dipped her head in embarrassment as she walked first and the man followed behind her, the lacklustre look ever present in his unblinking eyes. She racked her brains for something to heal the unnerving silence as they ascended the small flight of stairs leading up to the cemented pavements of the city, leaving behind the warmness of the wet sand.

"Um... weak trainers?" she said faintly, hoping that he would be willing to push the conversation along.

"Yes, I've been renovating the Sunnyshore gym just to ease the boredom really." The man gave a muted sigh.

"I-I'm sure that there will be strong trainers who will challenge you soon, Sir." Jasmine tried her best to sound encouraging, her wavering voice causing her attempt to fall short of the mark.

"Sir? I don't look any older than you." The blonde gave a weak chuckle.

"Everyone here calls me Volkner," he carried on to tell her, quickening his pace so that he was walking at her side as they passed the Sunnyshore market. It reminded her that she had to check the stalls out for new pokéball seals to purchase for Rusty.

"V-Volkner, I see," she nodded with understanding.

The blonde raised an eyebrow at this, "You're not from around here, are you?"

"… I came from very far away because I wanted to get stronger. On the way, I met all sorts of people with their Pokémon. They all looked like they were having fun." Jasmine found herself smiling, even as the winds picked up and thunder boomed in the background. She used one hand to tame her mess of flying chestnut hair.

"I felt happy seeing it," she said with sincerity.

Volkner laughed, seemingly amused. His eyes did not look as cold and as unfeeling as before. "More than anything, I just want battles that can thrill me again. That's what'll make me happy. I mean, what's the point of being the toughest gym leader in Sinnoh if you aren't approached by a capable challenger now and then?"

Jasmine found herself nodding with agreement as they rounded a bend at the city's Poké Mart. At least she could understand him better now, as a gym leader, one hoped to be given the toughest challengers as possible. They were what truly tested one's ability. And yet, strong challengers weren't the only one who could benefit you.

"I-It's good to have compassionate challengers as well, the trainers who are kind and understanding to Pokémon," she found herself saying as her hand closed around a dear Poké Ball clasped onto the waistline of her sundress. Her thoughts drifted to the kind boy who had helped her in Olvine. Only after a few seconds did she realise that what she was saying was probably confusing Volkner. It was a relief that the Pokémon Center was just one street away; she was never good with talking to new people. They always made her feel uneasy. Pokémon were so much easier to understand.

But as she risked a glance to her side, she saw that Volkner was giving her a look. Though his mouth remained just a thin, tight line on his face, his gaze was surprisingly alive and keen. Interest flashed across his otherwise stony face. And she took notice of how blue his eyes were, so purely blue, like the colour of the sea. Then, realisation surfaced on his face.

"Are you a gy-" Volkner was cut short as a drop of rain landed squarely on his nose, followed by many more pellets of water as the drizzle began to shower from the dark clouds now looming above. The blonde curved his hand around her back, taking care not to touch her by accident as he proceeded to lead her towards the shelter of the Pokécenter.

Jasmine was relieved that she hadn't gotten too wet, tugging subtly at the parts of the dress that were sticking to her body. Volkner abruptly turned away as he combed a hand through his hair, spraying a wave of rain onto the ground. He readjusted his jacket and brushed off any traces of raindrops before starting to speak.

"I wanted to ask if you're a gym-"

Beep.

Beep.

BEEP.

Jasmine tucked a wet strand of hair behind her ear as she heard a whispered swear and saw Volkner fumbling with the left pocket of his jacket. He pulled out a dark black cellphone and edged over to a corner to answer the call. She stood there; folding her hands behind her back as others came running under the roof of the Pokémon Center, sheltering themselves from the drizzle. A group of children pointed and chattered animatedly amongst themselves, tossing Volkner amazed and respectful looks as they huddled past him and into the building.

When the blonde tucked the phone back into his jacket, he walked over to her with an apologetic countenance.

"I've got to go now, there's a challenger at the gym," he explained unhappily, beginning to take off his jacket to use as a makeshift umbrella.

"G-Good luck then!" Jasmine piped up in a quick, jittery response, and found it odd when she realised that she didn't want him to go just yet. However, the gym leader was already strolling out into the weak rain.

Then, he turned around.

"But could you at least tell me your name?" Volkner asked.

"J-Jasmine… You can call me Jasmine. And I'll go back to the beach once the storm rolls over," she told him meekly, unsure how or why she had decided to add in the last part. He had just asked for her name.

"I see. Then maybe we'll see each other again," Volkner said, his lips curling slightly.

It was far from being considered a real smile, but it was a good start, Jasmine thought. With one final wave, the man departed and she was left standing outside the entrance of the Pokécenter alone. As he walked up a flight of stairs leading to the solar-panelled streets stretching out over her head, she pulled out a shining disc from the pocket of her white dress. She twirled the rare HM in her small hands and decided that she would give the disc to someone who was truly deserving of it. Someone who was strong enough to satisfy Volkner… yes, that was a good criterion.

She tucked the HM away as she watched him stroll overhead; she smiled softly as he tossed her one final friendly glance.

Then out of nowhere, a blur of red and yellow pounced out of hiding on the walkways. Volkner's jacket flew dramatically in the air, and he was nonchalant no more as a horrified expression instantaneously etched itself on his face. The second party stood at an angle that disallowed Jasmine to see his face. As the faint drizzle started to pour down into a heavier rain, the two men began to run towards the Sunnyshore gym, Volkner being forcibly lugged along by the mysterious person. She could only cock her head to the side, finding that head of crimson red hair very familiar as mocking laughs echoed in the air, overpowering even the howling winds.