Island Wolf: Gah I am soooo sorry for not updating! I've just been so busy getting ready for my final exams (most of mine are worth 50% of my grade) but I wanted to pump out at least one more chapter before I confine myself to my studies, so here we go! Enjoy! :)
Maxie spent the majority of the day trying to avoid speaking to May as much as possible, though that did not deter the young woman in the slightest. He'd long since given up trying to convince her to leave – she was far to stubborn to admit defeat to him; again both an endearing and frustrating trait. She'd insisted on making both lunch and supper and while he was forced to admit she was rather talented in the kitchen, he maintained his cold air of indifference around her. Late evening found both of them in the living room bathed in the golden glow of a crackling fire. Maxie was sitting in his usual chair, newspaper in hand whilst May was curled up on the couch book in hand and while she looked a great deal more human then she had, the trainer had ironically selected the exact same spot at the edge of the couch next to the window to nestle herself in.
The chime of the old grandfather clock caused the young woman to glance up and upon seeing the time she abruptly closed her book with a crisp snap causing the man sitting across the room to look up at her with a mildly annoyed expression. May ignored his obvious displeasure and sat up straight, stretching herself out before looking at him expectantly. He arched an slender eyebrow in response, at a loss as to what she was waiting for.
"Its May," She reiterated as she had done many times that day, "Its time to change your dressings."
Maxie made something akin to a cross between a bark of incredulously laughter and a strangled choke of surprise as he dropped his paper and looked at her with a dubious expression.
"I beg your pardon!"
"Doctor's orders Mr. Asher," She quipped teasingly with a mischievous expression that he decidedly did not like...at least not in this context, "Those bandages have to be changed every night and the wounds properly cleaned for the first few days at home to stave off infection."
"I assure you I'm quite capable of doing that myself," He said brusquely, "If you're insinuating that I need any assistance."
"Oh yes because you certainly capable of dislocating your limbs on command so as to reach the injuries on your back!" May retorted, every syllable dripping with sarcasm, "Stop being so damn stubborn, I'm sure your dignity can take this tiny little blow even if your ego can't."
"Now see here -"
"Don't make me use force!"
"As if you could!" Maxie shot back with a rather smug expression. May stood, hands on her hips and cobalt eyes blazing. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small red and white orb. The former criminal CEO looked up at her with disbelief, "You wouldn't dare!
"Blaziken I choose you!"
Maxie swallowed thickly as an all too familiar shape emerged before him in a flash of light. The crimson and white plumed fighting type looked down at him with what could've been described as an avian smirk before he reached down and pulled the man up, trapping him in the fighting bird's strong arms. Maxie looked positively livid as he glared daggers at the smirking brunette standing in front of him with a satisfied smile.
"Oh please, I merely changed the rules to suit my game," May laughed as she patted her pokémon's arm, "Let's go."
The large fighting type growled and nodded before following his trainer upstairs whilst Maxie snarled obscenities for the duration of the short trip to the upstairs bathroom. Blaziken deposited the fuming man none too gently before retreating into his pokéball. May quickly shut the door and locked it, leaning against the wood with a devious grin.
"You might as well comply or I'll just call out the Calvary again."
Maxie, despite his mounting anger, was hard-pressed not to smirk when the image of him pinning May to the door she was oh so vulnerably leaning against, flitted across his mind but he quickly banished the thought – it wasn't worth getting killed for by an overprotective pokémon or an incensed Champion. Seeing no other option he sighed and proceeded to remove his shirt as expected of him. May swallowed her own hidden trepidation and proceeded to do as Dr. Strickland had instructed her to...but damn the man was very fit for his age. She fought valiantly to keep her composure as she unwrapped the bandages winding around his torso and plastered over his shoulder. As she had already noted he was very in shape for a man his age. He clearly kept himself active, his sculpted torso said that much, but it wasn't overly muscled – just a nice balance that seemed to fit him. She was surprised at the number of scars that marred the pale flesh of his chest and somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered about their origins as she soaked a washcloth in warm water and thoroughly cleaned the injuries before wrapping them up again as fast as she could without being negligent. As soon as she had finished Maxie abruptly stood and snatched up his shirt, slipping it back on. He muttered a quiet thank-you before beating a hasty retreat to what she presumed was his bedroom leaving the trainer alone to collect her thoughts. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror and was aghast to find that her cheeks had taken on a crimson colour. She swore and turned on the tap, splashing cold water into her face in an attempt to force the blush from her cheeks.
There was no denying she was attracted to the man, despite how wrong it might seem to others...she would've said the same, but after their imprisonment and his aid in her rehabilitation she could no longer see the monster she had feared when she was twelve. The young woman groaned and pressed her forehead against the cool surface of the mirror.
The next morning Maxie woke with a start, sitting up with such speed and force that its sent a warning ripple of pain rushing up his side reminding him that he was far from fully healed. He growled and placed the heel of his hand against his forehead. His sleep had been anything but restful – namely because he couldn't rid himself of the feeling of having May's hands touching his bare skin. He growled and threw off the bed-covers. He needed a shower and more importantly he needed some time alone. He briefly ventured out into the hallway and upon hearing noise downstairs accompanied by the smell of toast he assumed May was already awake and making herself breakfast. He shrugged and proceeded to undress; at least if the girl was preoccupied she wouldn't walk in on him just getting out of the shower...again.
Thank the fickle gods for towels.
May munched on a slice of buttered toast and gingerly sipped at a cup of tea. She halted mid-bite when she suddenly heard the water being turned on upstairs but swiftly dismissed it as Maxie taking a shower. The trainer blushed when she remembered walking in on him just short weeks ago. Still it could've been a lot worse all things considering; he could've not reached the towel in time, or worse she could've been in a non-lobotomized state and promptly jumped his bones. The young woman nearly choked on her tea as the unbidden thought raced across her mind accompanied by a series of less then proper images. The shrill ring of the telephone caught her by surprise and it took her a few seconds to collect herself and snatch it up.
"May? Its Steven."
"Steven! How are things on your end? Have you heard anything about David yet?" She babbled excitedly, "Have you found Cipher's main base yet?"
"Whoa May, one thing at a time," Steven gently chided her from the other end, "David's back – he's managed to catch a remarkable amount of pokémon; including your Miloitic and Tropius and all of Maxie's team were recovered except his Ninetails. As for the whereabouts of the main base that is still a mystery but we're getting closer. We managed to retrieve a little data from their computers before they manually crashed the system. Its heavily encrypted but we're working on it.
"That's excellent Steven!" She said, noting that the water upstairs had stopped running before a marked amount a regret entered her voice, "I wish I could do more to help but – I don't think I'm ready to go up against Cipher or Shadow Pokémon just yet."
"And understandably so! May you've done all anybody could've asked for, there's no need to berate yourself. Speaking of berating, how is your patient doing?"
"Stubborn as a damn Stantler."
"I figured as much," The Champion sniggered, "I don't have much more to tell you at the moment, but I'll keep you updated. If anything big happens you'll be the first to know."
"Thanks Steven – bye!"
May sighed and hung up the phone before turning with the intention of returning to her quiet breakfast but found her way blocked by something very solid. May yelped and instinctively jumped back only to have her back slam against the wall with a painful smack. Maxie, hair still damp from his shower rolled his eyes and sat down at the kitchen table, ignoring his unwanted companion's cobalt glare. He picked up her cup and glanced over at her with a marked amount of surprise.
"I didn't figure you to be the Earl Grey type."
"Its the only type I like actually," She shrugged as she snatched up her remaining piece of toast and leaning against the counter, "That was Steven if you're wondering. David and Eldes just got back – they've dismantled the outpost and they think they've managed to get a lead concerning the location of the main base. As a bonus they've recovered two more of my team and...almost all of yours."
"Almost...Ninetails is still missing."
It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes," May sighed, looking at the crimson haired man with genuine sympathy, "I'm sorry Maxie."
"Don't worry about it – I'm am glad some of your pokémon have been rescued."
"Yeah," She said quietly. It suddenly hit her very hard that two of her pokémon were still missing – Shadows...and that one of her pokémon would never be coming home at all. Her beloved Mightyena was gone forever. She felt tears pricking her eyes and hastily blinked them away, "Erm your pokémon can be retrieved at the Lilycove centre whenever you feel up to it."
"Yes, later," He muttered. He caught a glimpse of the unshed tears in her eyes and it didn't take much to realize that she was probably thinking of the pokémon she would never get back...the Mightyena she had killed under Cipher's control. In that moment the crafty ex-criminal resolved to lessen her guilt. If he could make her happy...it would be well worth it, "We can go later this afternoon."
"Well alright if you feel up to it -"
"Oh and Miss Maple; I will be driving."
May rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest. She kept quiet and decided not to argue; the steely glint in Maxie's dark brown eyes told her that there would be no point in arguing with the man and she didn't have the threat of the nursing staff to back her up this time.
"Fine," She sighed, giving him a rueful smile, "Tea?"
"If you would be so kind."
Early afternoon found both of them cruising into Lilycove. The sun had decided to come out, brightening the atmosphere of the cold winter day. Maxie managed to squeeze his truck into the crowded parking lot of the pokémon centre and threw the hulking vehicle into park after a little creative manoeuvring.
"Look why don't you go do a bit of shopping – we're getting low on supplies, I won't be all the long here." He suggested. May arched a slender eyebrow, clearly dubious but complied with his request nonetheless. The petite young woman hopped out of the truck and went on her way, leaving Maxie alone to limp into the bustling pokémon centre. He waited patiently at the front desk, but found himself being approached by someone other then Nurse Joy.
"How's it going Boss?"
"Tabitha?" Maxie gaped, "What are you doing here?"
"Steven told me to wait here until you came for your pokémon," The younger man grinned as he shoved a small bundle into Maxie's hands. The former Admin looked at his employer and friend with real concern, "How are you holding up?"
"Fine," He sighed, "I can't really complain about the care I'm receiving."
"Who would?" Tabitha chuckled, "A lucky man you are Maxie."
"A tempted man would be more accurate," Maxie retorted, before his expression softened, "How have you been?"
"Alright; we managed to evacuate all the outposts and wipe the databanks. I've got the only copy. We're all holding up just fine as civilians."
"Then perhaps that's the way it should stay," Maxie said quietly, "Is there any real point in reestablishing Team Magma, or should we just let it die quietly?"
"I won't lie, its nice being out of uniform," Tabitha admitted, "I don't think returning to civilian life is all that undesirable...the others feel the same way."
"Then I have my answer," Maxie said. He placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder and smiled, "Listen Tabitha if you ever need anything -"
"Yeah I know," He grinned, "The goes double for you. Take care of yourself Boss and for the love of Groudon let yourself be happy. That girl's not going to wait forever you know."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Of course you don't," Tabitha chuckled, "By the way, we've got a couple eyes and ears monitoring the woods around your place...just in case. See you around Maxie."
The former master criminal watched his ex-employee walk out of the centre before he returned his attention to the bundle in his hands. Quickly unwrapping it he clipped the five red and white orbs to his belt before heading outside with a grim expression. He didn't return to his truck, instead he went down the street, heading towards a tall grey structure. He might as well get a little 'insurance' while he was here. His run in with Cipher on the highway had caused more then a little paranoia and hell be damned if he was going to be caught off guard again.
May shouldered her grocery bag and attempted to balance the supplies in her arms as she tried to open the truck door. She'd spent the entire afternoon stocking up on much needed supplies – they were almost out of Earl Grey after all, and lord only knew when they'd get back into town again. She hardly had anytime to drop by the pokémon centre and retrieve her purified pokémon plus filling the gaps in her team. The trainer glared at the man sitting in the driver's seat as she finally managed to wrench the back door open and placed the bags in the backseat before moving into the passenger seat.
"You could've helped me you know!" She grumbled as she buckled her seat belt. The smirking man sitting next to her threw the truck in drive and pulled out of the parking lot, glancing at her over the rims of his tinted sunglasses.
"Yes, but its much more amusing to watch you struggle," Maxie snickered, earning him an icy glare from his companion and a sharp slap on the arm, "Hey no abusing the driver!"
"Oh I'll show you abuse!" She growled, folding her arms over her chest, "You're lucky Doctor Strickland gave me strict order to not kill you."
"Yes because you're an oh so threatening 5'3 of feminine fury."
"Maximilian Asher are you mocking me?"
"That would be a yes."
"Oh Miss Maple that hurt."
Oh please like that would injure your heart of stone," May shot back teasingly. When her companion failed to reply she felt a slight pang of guilt, fearing that she may have actually offended him, "Hey I was just kidding, I'm sorry."
"I know," Maxie replied, glancing at her with a devious smile, "I just wanted to make you say it."
"Why thank-you Miss Maple."
By the time they returned home it was already late evening and May had chosen to retire early, mumbling something about a headache before disappearing upstairs. Maxie found himself in the living room sitting in front of the fire holding a pokéball in his hand. After about an hour of contemplation he pressed the button and enlarged it before calling out the pokémon slumbering inside.
"Mightyena," He called quietly. The large lupine pokémon emerged in a flash of light, large crimson eyes curious. Maxie smiled and stroked the beast's shaggy black fur, "Listen, I have a very big favour to ask of you..."
May's early slumber was anything but restful. She was plagued by the same strange dreams that she had experienced at the Team Magma base and she'd awoken, drenched in a cold sweat and breathing heard, tears running down her face. She let out a shuddering sigh and pressed the heel of her palm against her forehead. Kyogre was still reaching out to her, but she was helpless to do anything – she didn't even know where the poor legendary was. The soft creak of the door opening drew her attention. She looked up but could see no one in the room. Without warning something large and dark jumped onto the bed, eliciting a startled cry from May but she calmed when she felt something cold and wet nuzzle her palm.
"Wh-What the-" She stammered, reaching over to flick on the bedside lamp to illuminate a familiar figure. The Mightyena let out a playful bark, tail wagging as he nuzzled her chest and licked her cheek. May wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry at the unexpected visitor and ended up settling for wrapping her arms around its neck trying to contain her sobs. The canine pokémon whined and licked her cheek again in a comforting manner as she stroked his head and scratched behind his ears.
"Sorry about that...I think my Mightyena's quite taken with you."
May looked up at Maxie with a surprised expression as the former criminal sat on the edge of the bed and petted the pokémon's head. He gave May a small smile.
"He-he's yours?" The trainer asked shyly, after receiving a nod she continued, "He's a lot...friendlier then the last time we met...but then again so are you."
"Yes well...you know the whole story behind that," Maxie said, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. He attempted to change the subject by focusing on his Mightyena again who was now contentedly curled up on May's lap, said trainer stroking his velvety fur, "He seems very fond of you."
"Yeah, he's a lot like - him."
"Why don't you go back to sleep? You look like you could use it."
"But what about changing your dressings?"
"I can manage for one night Miss Maple," Maxie smirked, "Now get some sleep."
"I would if I could," May muttered. Upon catching his confused expression she sighed, "I've been dreaming again – about Kyogre. Its still calling out for help...its in so much pain."
"I see...and Groudon?"
"He's still safe," May said quietly, placing a hand over her heart, "I can feel it."
"There's nothing we can do about it right at the moment," He said, "Just try to sleep alright?"
Maxie smiled and stood, pausing for the briefest of moments before leaving the room and closing the door behind him. Mightyena, however remained behind, now curled up on the bed next to May and slipping into his own doze. May yawned and prepared to lay down again when a glint on the bedside table caught her eye.
It didn't take long for the cobalt eyed trainer to put two and two together and she smiled as she turned out the light.
"Thank you Maxie."
The next morning May awoke feeling a great deal better then she had last night. Her slumber had been mercifully dreamless and the sight of two adoring crimson eyes looking up at her made her laugh. It was still relatively early and when May went downstairs, Mightyena following close behind, she swiftly deduced that Maxie had yet to awaken. Feeling surprisingly energetic she skipped breakfast and pulled on her coat and boots. She was going to get cabin fever if she didn't try to change the pace every now and again and a walk with her new 'friend.' would do her good. The canine pokémon seemed only too happy do go out for a walk in the snow and May giggled as he barked at Zigzagoons and rolled about in the snowdrifts like a hyper puppy. It was very hard to picture this creature as the snarling beast that was once under Maxie's command.
The trainer wandered through the snow covered forest, losing track of all time. She didn't really know where she was going, she just felt the need to keep on walking. A loud snap caused her to freeze and like a frightened deer she glanced around, ears perked and eyes peeled for any sign of a threat. Mightyena stayed close to her, hackles raised and mane bristling as he bared his teeth and growled. May's breath came out in fast pants, creating little clouds of mist in the frigid winter air as she turned around, trying to locate the source of the noise.
"I-Is somebody there?"
Pure instinct caused the young woman to sidestep as a muffled pop echoed from the treeline and something hot zipped by her face, embedding itself in the trunk of a tree with a splintering crack. May did the only thing she could think of.
Maxie awoke to an oddly quiet house and slowly set about dressing himself. From the lack of noise or smell of cooking from downstairs he assumed that May was still asleep. Without warning the phone shrill electronic cry echoed through the house. He snatched up the device from its cradle with a half stifled yawn.
"Tabitha?" Maxie said, senses immediately sharpening at the frantic tone in the younger man's voice, "What's going on?"
"My eyes in the forest spotted movement near Crooked Lake and we just picked up a gunshot -"
Maxie didn't even wait for Tabitha to finish. He dropped the phone and grabbed his coat and boots but not before running upstairs to his bedroom. Wrenching open the closet door he removed a black case. Flipping open the latches he pulled up the lid to reveal a sleek Beretta Px4 Storm. He snatched up the semi-automatic pistol and deftly slid in the magazine before bolting out of the house. He unclipped a pokéball from his belt and tossed it skywards.
The purple bat pokémon emerged with a shrill cry and hovered in front of his master, waiting patiently for its orders.
"Find May as quick as you can and lead me to her; go!"
Crobat chirped an affirmative before flapping his powerful wings and disappeared into the trees. Maxie flicked off the safety on his gun and began his own swift run into the trees, using the set of tracks – one human one canine – that led into the woods. The former criminal's earthen eyes smoldered with a dark light. He was more then ready to repay Cipher for the bullet they had given him and if they even dared to touch May...
There would be Hell to pay.
Island Wolf: Yes I realize I'm very, very evil for leaving it as a cliff hanger buuuuut :P tough luck haha I'll try to update as soon as I can, but I've really got to hit the books and get my university applications settled away, case I am graduating this year! :D -does the happy dance- until next time my dear readers ;)
IMPORTANT NOTE: THERE WILL BE SOME ROMANCE COMING UP IN THE NEXT CHAPTER! :) Just to make the wait all the more terrible haha -gets shot-
May:...was that really neccessary?
Maxie: -holsters Beretta- completely
May: -pokes Island Wolf with a stick- Wow...I actually think you might've killed her
Maxie: No, she's like a cockroach, she'll be back...at least we have some free time now,
May: To do what?
Maxie: -smirks- anything you like.
May: -shrugs- if you say so. -glomps Maxie-
Island Wolf: X_X