A/N: Just a little FYI for Pokeville readers: There's a poll on my profile page where you can vote for your favorite major character of the story. If you haven't already, then go ahead and check it out! Oh, and I also was thinking about introducing one or two new characters to the story. If you have any personal favorite Pokemon, from any generation, then I may consider them if you make a review with your suggestion! Minor characters are also open to suggestion. I have ideas myself, but I think I'd like to see what you folks think. :)
Inside the Mini-Golf place (which according to a sign was called the "Putt-A-Mon Center", for lack of a better pun), Pikachu bumped into the group, who all seemed like they were waiting for him. "Where WERE you, Pikachu?" Piplup demanded, "Something hold you up? We were waiting for what must've been 5 minutes!"
"Eh... Sorry... Got caught up talking with... someone," Pikachu said, scratching behind his ear.
Piplup didn't seem very happy about nearly losing him. "Oh... We were wondering where you were! Was it really that important?"
"...Not really, but I'm here now, so why are you complaining?"
"I'm not, I'm just... Ugh, whatever... Just hurry up! We've already got the putters and golf balls, so go and get yours already!"
Pikachu was not one to argue. He quickly hurried to the front desk, where he received his tools from the Pansage clerk: A yellow-handled putter and a yellow golf ball, obviously to match his own coloring. "Ya'll take care now, and have fun!" the clerk said cheerfully. Pikachu thanked the clerk and walked back to the group, putter and ball in both paws. "Alright, I'm game! Where do we start?"
"Haha... 'Hole 1' obviously! Come on you guys!" Piplup led the whole group, now with Pikachu, towards the first hole (the first 'course' for those not familiar with golf lingo). A rather basic setup, really. The course went straight for several feet, leading to the actual hole in the ground - about two inches across - where the golf ball must be hit into. Pikachu watched on as Piplup started first.
She aligned herself at the starting point, setting the ball on the ground, then focused up a shot. Pulling the putter back just a bit, she then gave the ball a fairly forceful hit, sending it rolling along the green felt until at last reaching the hole - falling inside with a hollow "thunk!"
"Oh yes!" Piplup bragged, "Hole in one! Woo!"
Oshawott came up beside her, and laughed weakly. "Heh, um... Great shot, Piplup. Excellent actually. As usual, I guess."
The penguin Pokemon smirked. "Of course, I can be so fabulous sometimes! Aren't I not?"
"Oh! Ummm... W-w-well..." Oshawott stammered, starting to visibly sweat, "O-of course! Y-y-you always a-are! H-Heh..."
Pikachu sighed, and shook his head. Minun did the same. Obviously, the otter was quite jittery when in such close proximity to his love interest. Only natural, of course, but Piplup didn't seem to notice at all. "Yes, yes... I AM pretty great... Oh, it's your turn next, Oshy."
"M-Me? Oh, right..." Oshawott went to take his shot, in a similar setup and stance to Piplup, only he had problems the moment he tried to swing the club. SMACK! He had overpowered the actual swing a tad much, since the ball went flying off the course and into a nearby decorative pond. "Ohhh... Again..." he said, briefly downcast, then for some reason brightened up, "Well, looks like I went and screwed up again! Hahaha! Oh well, there's always next time!"
Talk about a good sport, even if he does suck... Pikachu thought.
"There's been a million 'next times'..." Plusle said under his breath, which Piplup responded to by briefly firing him a nagging look.
Oshawott was more than happy about fetching his ball from the pond (since he can swim, no duh), and momentarily popped out of the water after diving in seconds ago. "Found it! Wow, and guess what? There's a surprising number of seashells down here!
"Really? !" Minun squealed, suddenly excited, and rushed to the side of the pond while Oshawott shoveled out pawloads of the calcium-formed clam carapaces. After a nice pile was made, the two of them began sorting through them like lightning, but the rest of the group hardly paid any attention. Soon, they were finished, a new bucket commandeered to carry the shells, leaving a very happy duo of collectors.
Pikachu watched on as Torchic, Plusle, and Minun each took their turns (earning stroke points of 2, 3, and 5 respectively), then it was finally his own turn. As he came up to the starting mat and set down his ball, he suddenly recalled a touching memory, dating back a few years... to when he still knew his love...
...Hey! Pichu, no fair! You cheated!
Heehee! Not my fault that this game is so easy!
Easy my butt! It's hard! I can't make the ball go where I want it to!
Tammy, you're doing it wrong. Here, let me show you...
Okay... So... You hold it like this?
Exactly. Hold the putter really tight, or you might throw it again!
I didn't mean to hit that statue! It was in the way!
Okay, okay... It was an accident. Now, just pull the club back ever-so-slightly...
And then, look where you want it to go...
And look at the ball again, then pull back just a teensy further and... hit it! Not too hard, not too soft.
Oh! Look! It actually went to the hole!
What'd I tell you-
WOW! I got a hole in one! My first ever hole in one!
Hahaha, and who was it that helped you?
Oh, Pichu... You did.
But it was your ball, so... Technically you did it.
Aww, thanks Pichi!
I thought I said never to call me that, didn't I?
But it's soooo cute! Come on, pleeeeeease?
Oh okay, fine. Pichi it is.
Heehee... Pichi... I love you...
...I do too. I love you too. I really do...
... ... ...
...Memories like these would bug Pikachu often. That old nickname Tammy used to call him, "Pichi"... He thought it was silly, but accepted it anyway since he liked her so much. Nay, Pikachu LOVED Tammy, and she loved him back. How could he ever forget times or moments like that? But given that he was separated from her long ago... Well, Pikachu believed Tammy was out there, somewhere. Exactly where never did occur to him. And he would likely never know.
"...Pikachu? Pikachu? Pikachu!" Piplup suddenly shouted, startling Pikachu from his trance, "Wake up! Are you just dozing off on us again?"
"Huh? Oh! Umm... I was just... recalling something..."
"Really? What is it?"
"Eh... Not really important, but... It doesn't matter anyhow."
"Hmm, well, okay then... So, are you gonna putt or what? Heh, rhyme..."
"Um, oh... Yeah... I'll get right on that."
Wasting no time, Pikachu repositioned himself on the mat and fixed his eyes on the golf ball set at his feet. Pulling back the putter a bit, still eyeing the ball, he gave it a hard whack - but not as hard as Oshawott did - and that sent the small yellow ball rolling across the green at very high speed. It clattered and clacked as it struck one wall, then another, and another still as the ball bounced around the course like a pinball machine.
"Er... Oops?" Pikachu stammered nervously, watching the yellow ball - missile is a more proper word - as it clattered around.
Piplup started howling with laughter while the others tried to train their eyes on the ball's path without success. "Hah! That's hilarious! Look at it! It's just bouncing and rolling around hopelessly! Wow Pikachu, you must really su-" Her sentence was cut short by an all-too-familiar sound.
Cling clang! Plop!
Against all odds, the ball somehow shot right into the hole. It was almost in slow-motion: The ball ricocheted off one wall, and crashed into another, sending it into the air in the opposite direction, before the yellow projectile dove right into the hole. Pikachu's immediate response was "Whoa!", followed by the others - sans Piplup - cheering.
"How did you DO that!" Plusle squealed, suddenly excited. His brother Minun also chipped in with, "Holy hermitcrab! That was so COOL!"
Torchic and Oshawott seemed very impressed - stunned, even - with the sudden miracle, but Piplup merely waved it off with little regard. "Meh, beginner's luck. It'll be different next time, I'm sure."
Pikachu just shrugged, trying to hold back a desire to brag. He knew that shot was an accident, but he DID just get lucky. I'll have to focus next time. Pikachu thought, I can't rely on dumb luck on every chance I have.
And so, it was on to Hole 2. This one was a bit trickier, but still not particularly different, since it only contained one ninety degree turn (there was a panel in place at forty-five degrees of angle, to aid in getting a good shot).
Like before, Piplup went first - as she got a hole-in-one last course. And also like before, she was able to hit the ball with precision, causing it to roll into the hole after bouncing off the turning angle. "Mmm-hm! That's how it's done!" she said boastfully, "Okay Pikachu, you got a hole-in-one too, so you're next."
Pikachu slowly strolled up to the starting mat, set down his golf ball, and took a ready position. This time, he tightened his focus even more, staring intently at the ball. He then trailed his gaze along a line toward his target - which was the spot on the angled panel that would bounce the ball towards the hole, hopefully sinking it. Grasping the putter tightly, Pikachu gently pulled it back... and with a Clack! the ball was launched away from its original position, and moments later struck the corner angle.
Holding his breath, Pikachu watched with dread and then sudden relief as the ball rolled in a near perfectly straight line towards the hole, and plopped into it. Clunk! Once again, he got a hole-in-one. Everyone besides Piplup started cheering, but like before she wasn't really mindful of it.
"Yeah yeah yeah... You got lucky, buddy, onceagain," Piplup said, waving her flipper dismissively, "Next is... Torchic!"
And so, Torchic proceeded to take his turn, followed by everyone else - Plusle, Minun, and Oshawott. Speaking of whom, the otter Pokemon once again put on a fantastic display of failure. THIS time, he accidentally shot the golf ball at a nearby light fixture, but it missed and instead struck Plusle in the stomach. "Oooof!"
"Eeep! Oh clams! Plusle are you okay?" Oshawott exclaimed.
"Nrrgh..." Plusle grumbled, pulling himself off the ground, "Thanks a lot... Hotshot..."
Torchic couldn't help but pipe up. "Nice shootin, Tex!" he chirped, and everyone glared at him. "Umm... Bad?"
Piplup sighed, and face-slapped. "Oshy... Really... This is getting out of hand... Be careful, okay?"
"S-sorry... I'm sorry... I... lost control there..." Oshawott said, hanging his head.
"I'll say you have!" Plusle whined, clutching his stomach in pain.
Pikachu groaned. What a day... he thought, Is there no end to someone getting hurt every couple days? Oshy really IS bad at this game...
Oshawott wiped away a bead of sweat, both feeling bad and quite embarrassed. "But I really am sorry..."
Despite the occurrence, everyone soon calmed down and proceeded on with the game. Plusle and Oshawott avoided eye contact with each other a lot - the former often scowling in his direction and the latter feeling sorry for himself. Nevertheless, they all continued with the game. The result was pretty much the same every time. Pikachu and Piplup got either hole-in-ones (or hole-in-twos, for lack of a better term), Torchic would always make the par limit, and Plusle and Minun lagged behind with bogie after bogie - and maybe the odd par. Oshawott did terribly, as could be expected, always shooting out-of-bounds or many strokes past the limit.
But no matter what, the otter would always try and smile, seeing as how he wanted to put on a good image for Piplup. Funnily enough, it never occured to Oshawott that failing constantly made him look like an idiot. Whatever he had in mind, it never mattered to anyone else. Practice makes perfect... he kept telling himself, Even if the perfect isn't what others'd expect.
On the 7th hole, Pikachu finally approached Oshawott and quietly asked, "Why do you try? Do you really care about Piplup that much?"
"Of course I do," he whispered back, "She likes golf, so I figure me trying to get good at it is the key to her heart! Then I can ask her out!"
"Um... Golf may be the key, but your golfing skills are the worst... They're so... I don't wanna go there. It's just- Wait, you never told her how you feel?"
Oshawott bit his lip. "...Not yet. I'm way too nervous, okay?"
"Sigh... Face it, at this rate... You'll be lucky if she'll even talk to you after this. The incident with Plusle didn't make it any better."
"The point is, you need help. One way or another."
"Look! I don't need help, okay? I can figure it out myself!"
"I already said no! Sure, it's nice that I can talk with you about this, but now? I have business to do."
With that, Oshawott gave Pikachu a tiny shove to push him away, and proceeded to take his shot. Like before, it failed miserably; the light blue ball flew off towards the Pansage at the front desk (whom had decided to take a little nap) and nearly hit him. The resulting racket startled him awake, and he flashed an angry gaze towards them. "Hey!" he shouted to the group, "Watch where yer hittin' them things!"
"Sorry!" Pikachu said on behalf of Oshawott, who was looking at the floor despondently.
"...I really suck," he said quietly, rubbing his head with embarrassment.
Pikachu had enough. He didn't care if Oshawott wanted help or not, he wasn't going to sit around and watch that poor thing make a fool out of himself in front of everyone (Pikachu noted that if Shinx were here, he'd be rolling on the floor with laughter, ESPECIALLY since Plusle got hit in the stomach by a golf ball).
Stepping up to him, Pikachu grabbed Oshawott by the shoulders and spoke right into his face, in order to make his point clear. "Oshy! Seriously, you need help. This is craziness!"
"I said I needed not help- I mean, I don't need help!"
"You hit Plusle with a rogue ball, and nearly hit that clerk! You DO need help - whether you think you need it or not!"
"I second that!" the Pansage clerk called from afar. Plusle and Minun were quick to agree as well (the former giving Oshawott the most soul-piercing stare he could manage). Piplup simply nodded gently.
Oshawott sighed. "Oh... Okay... Fine. Help me if you want, just promise me you won't make me look bad," he whispered.
"You don't need my help doing that," Pikachu joked, chuckling, "But seriously, I'll help you out. Just like I did with 'You-know-who.'"
"No. I meant... my old... friend. Yeah."
"Oh, I see... Well..."
"Let's get started then, okay? We'll redo your shot on this hole. Just stand on the mat and show me how you prepare to hit the ball."
"Um... Okay." Oshawott waddled into place at the start of the hole, and prepped the ball and putter before getting into a poor stance.
Pikachu shook his head. "No no no, you gotta stand straight up, and hold the club really tight."
"Ohh, sorry..." He shifted into a different position. "Better?"
"Almost. A little bit more to the side... and... great. Now, next thing to keep in mind: look right at the ball."
"...I've been doing that for the last two minutes."
"Are you focusing on the ball? If not, then it's pointless. Just imagine how you want the ball to roll."
"Ooookay... Focusiiiiing... Or at trying toooo..."
"Ugh. Let's move on... Do you see the hole?"
"Uh... Oh, yeah, it's right over there. There's a few rocks jutting out of the mat that are in the way though..."
"Forget about them. Focus on the green path. Green means go, right? Anyway, just think of a path the ball should take."
"Well, it could pass between those rocks-"
"Don't tell me. Tell yourself."
"...Sure. ...Uh-huh... Oh... Okay! Got it!"
"Well, that was quick. Now, just gently pull back the putter, like this-" Pikachu took a light hold of the putter to guide Oshawott along. "-And then look again where you want it to go."
"Okay, I see it..."
"Look back at the ball, and... give that ball a GENTLE little tap."
"...That was SO amazing. Just look at the distance it went. Cough cough."
"Okay, you can hit it a fair bit harder than that. I figured you always hit golf balls into the stratosphere, so a gentle hit for you would be a strong hit for anyone else."
"...Jokes aside, just hit it like-" Clack! "-That!"
"Mollusks above! Did I... do that?"
"Wanna see a replay?"
"We have one?"
It was truly a miracle for the otter Pokemon. Though he required a little last-minute tutoring from Pikachu, Oshawott somehow pulled off - drum roll please - a hole-in-one!
Everyone gasped. "Whoa! Oshy really did it he did!" Torchic chirped. "T-that was awesome! Go go Oshy-Watt! Woooo!" Minun cheered, while his brother simply grumbled and rubbed his stomach while muttering, "Yeah yeah, whoop-dee-doo..." Despite everything, Piplup was actually impressed at Oshawott's success! "Nice going, Oshy! Your first hole-in-one! First time you ever actually sunk a golf ball at all actually!"
Oshawott blushed intensely. "Tee-hee... Uh, yeah... I guess it was. I am pretty great-"
"-And I helped," Pikachu cut in, "But yes, Oshawott... Er, Oshy managed it. All I did was show him how it's done." He patted him on the back and laughed. "You think you can manage the next hole?"
"Well, I'm not sure... But... Oh, what the hey, sure I can!"
Pikachu smiled. "That's the spirit. Now let's get going!"
It seemed like vigor and happiness was sparked again, thanks to Pikachu. On the next hole (one of those courses with multiple turns), everyone played out their turn, with the usual and expected results. Since Oshawott got a hole-in-one last time too, he went right after Pikachu and Piplup. Other than some encouragement and reminders, Pikachu didn't directly assist him - purely because he wanted to see if his skill improved any. Granted, Pikachu didn't expect Oshawott to catch on right away to the game without help, but he hoped for the best. (But just to be safe, he took shelter behind a nearby statue.)
Though tense, the otter managed to steel himself and remembered everything Pikachu told him. Let's see... Stand up straight... Doing that... Hold club tightly, check. Look where the ball should go... Check. Focus on the ball... Ooookay... Now I... What was the next- Oh, right! Gently pull back... and... Smack! Do that!
Now, Oshawott might just be one of the luckiest of his kind. The ball shot straight forward, and hit the first corner, sending it reeling into the next corner, and the next, and the next... On and on it went. The ball didn't quitemake it all the way to the hole, but it was pretty darn close - at roughly a few inches. All he had to do at that point was walk up to the ball, give it a very gentle tap with his putter, and it went in. All of his friends, Pikachu included, started cheering. This was the first time he played a hole by himself, and didn't screw up terribly.
"Yes!" he cheered, "I did it! I actually played a course by myself!" Oshawott turned to his mentor. "And I owe it all to you... sensei. Heheheh..."
Pikachu chuckled. "Please, I was just trying to help. You REALLY needed it."
"I suppose I did... Thanks Pikachu, for what you did. I'm sorry I wasn't very willing to take your help earlier... It's a pride thing, really. But now I feel like an idiot..."
"You were actinglike one," Piplup suddenly interrupted, "But that doesn't mean you are one."
Oshawott looked pretty surprised. "P-Piplup, I..."
"You don't need to apologize to me at all. In fact, I should be apologizing to you. If you needed help that much, then I really should've helped you out... Which begs the question: Why didn't you ever ask ME for help?"
"Uhmm... I... Er... You see... I was... too nervous to... ask..."
"Why? I don't bite."
"Much,"Plusle whispered, giggling to himself and Minun.
Piplup ignored them. "Seriously though, why?"
"Because... I just like hanging around here... With you specifically." Oshawott knew he was digging pretty deep, but knew he had to say something.
"...Well, that's flattering and all, but can't you say why?"
"I... can say it like this: watashi wa anata o aishite."
"Eh...? And... what does that mean?"
"It's Japanese. As in Japan. It's where I used to live, but I'm sure you already know that." He took a deep breath. Here goes nothing. "That phrase means, quite simply, in a sense, 'I love you.' I do. There, I admit it..."
Piplup looked very bewildered. "Whaaaa... You..."
"Ugh, I know, I'm hopeless aren't I? I swear to Mew... I can't even admit that I'm totally into you until now..."
Silence reigned for the longest time.
Pikachu coughed. "Well, this is... awkward." Minun facepawed. Plusle just stood there, eyes widened. Torchic casted nervous glances from side to side. Piplup didn't say a word. Oshawott's face had become very red with embarrassment, and he hung his head and backed away a couple steps. "...Yeah. I know. It's quite a shock... But... If you don't feel that way about me then it's okay, I'll just... Go walk over here..."
The otter Pokemon turned and walked away, not stopping until reaching the exit door. He took one last look at the group, then sighed and pushed the door open, and stepped outside. Silence continued.
"Uhh... Fellas?" a voice said, and the group turned to the source. It was the Pansage. "Fergive me fer prying an' proddin', but... Ah seen you had a little problem."
Pikachu sighed. "We did, unfortunately. To be honest, I knew all about that situation before it began. Minun did too."
"Don't drag me into this!" Minun protested, but Pikachu ignored him.
"The point is," he continued, turning to Piplup, "Oshawott liked you for the longest while now. He still likes you. Heck, he loves you! You couldn't tell that he was at least interested in you?"
Though at first silent, Piplup responded, "Well... He IS my friend... We hang out sometimes... Okay, a lot of times. But, I never would have thought that he..." She trailed off.
"...C'mon Pip - I know you don't like being called that, but I need you to work with me here - can't you see? He's totally into you. He told me himself just days ago. If he is your friend... Why don't you just give him a chance?"
"But, Pikachu... I don't think I... Er... What does he see in me anyway?"
"Heck if I know. But I doknow that Oshy's fallen for you. And he looked so upset... Can't you at least talk to him?"
"Talk to him... I dunno..."
Pansage cleared his throat loudly. "Ah'd say that'd be best. Go get 'im, then!"
"...Okay, I'll see what I can do."
Piplup walked out the door, to follow Oshawott, leaving everyone else behind.
Plusle shot Minun a look. "You knew that Oshy like Pip and you told me! I'm your brother!"
"B-but," Minun sputtered, "He swore me to secrecy! He would've chopped me in half! Half! With a shell!"
"So what? What could he do?"
"You didn't see... the log..."
Pikachu weakly laughed. "Yeah... Oshy sliced apart a big chunk of wood... like it was jello."
Plusle's mouth dropped open, and Pikachu nodded slowly.
"Exactly. You shoulda seen it, really."
"Okay, now I'm interested," Torchic piped up, "What was said and what was done?"
The Pansage spoke again. "Hey, ah want in on this too."
Looking around the group, Pikachu heaved a sigh. "Okay, okay. It's no secret anymore, so it went like this..."
Oshawott slowly walked down the sidewalk. How did things degrade so fast? All it began with was Piplup asking why he never asked for help with golfing... Really, how did it? Sighing miserably, he stopped and looked up into the sky. Just like him, the sky seemed to be clouding over. It was getting a bit chilly too. Thank goodness for him that he was well-insulated. How could he swim in cold water otherwise? Regardless, he did feel a bit liberated from getting that confession off his chest, even if it was unfounded.
No matter how hard he tried, Oshawott found it difficult to not cry. No WAY would he be seen on the streets of Pokeville crying like a... like a... baby, or whatever. He took deep breaths to calm himself, and found a mail box to lean on for a rest. Casually wiping away a tear that he accidentally let slip, Oshawott heard a voice that made him jump. "Oshy?"
"Wah!" Oshawott would've jumped out of his pants if he even wore any, since the voice belonged to the last Pokemon he'd expect. "P-P-Piplup!"
The penguin Pokemon nodded. "Yeah, it's me. Look, Oshy... I'm sorry if you felt embarassed back there... I just wanted to know what was bugging you. Didn't quite expect... THAT response though."
"Err... Sorry about making you feel embarrassed, but... You did pressure me..."
"I... I didn't mean that! Come on, hear me out for a second."
"Okay, okay. What is it?"
"Pikachu talked to me about how he knew about you... Well... You know, 'love' me, so I gave it some thought..."
"If you're going to say 'no', then stop right now, I don't even want to hear it."
"...I knew it. You WERE going to reject me. Sigh... Typical... But... we'd still be friends, right?"
"Of course we would! So what if we have little... problems like this?"
"Whoa, I... I didn't... I thought before that if I admitted I liked you, then you wouldn't think of me as a friend anymore..."
"Now that's just crazy! What would give you that idea?"
"I... have no idea."
"But seriously, won't you come back and play with us? You are better at it after all!"
"I guess I am! Plus I have nothing better to do anyway..."
"No one ever does... Well, come on then."
"...Oh, I never got to say what I was thinking about before."
"But... You were going to turn me down, right? You never said anything, and I said not to say anything if you were going to say no!"
"Actually, I wasn't going to say no. I was just trying to work up the guts to say it."
"W-what? Are you saying... You'll..."
"I'll give you a chance. A date, you might say."
"But... but why?"
"Why not? If you really do love me, then you should be showing, right?"
"Good point, but how?"
"You can start now, if you want."
"...Can I tell you something?"
"I love you."
"Do you really?"
"Aww, come on!"
"Teehee, only kidding!"
A/N: And there you have it. Their little golfing escapade led to Oshawott exposing his feelings to Piplup, then one thing led to another and... bang! Though not officially a 'couple' (yet), things may be in store. Next up: both where Shinx and Chikorita ended up going, and the cultural performance at Opal Theater. :) And will Plusle and Minun ever end up watching that movie and/or be forced to watch that performance? Stay tuned! And please review! :D I PROMISE it won't take forever again! D: (so long as the chapter uploader stops being difficult :P)
From everyone this side of the cosmos, We say fare thee well!