Disclaimer: Pokémon belongs to Satoshi Tajiri and Nintendo.
Synopsis: Paul is used to traveling alone but when Dawn asks him why he prefers solitude, she opens up an opportunity that he doesn't want to refuse—and the hot chocolate she gives him only sweetens the deal.
Pairing: Paul/Dawn (Ikarishipping)
Company and Chocolate
Even as the storm continued to bring its barrage of rain and wind, they were sheltered inside the Pokémon Center. The safe haven offered them warmth from the cold, but for some reason, Paul and Dawn knew they would find more comfort in one another.
He was only slightly surprised to find her at the steps of his lodging room that night, just as he was getting ready to retire to bed. She too, looked ready for a good night's rest before heading on another adventure with his two friends. Naturally, if it had been anyone else, Paul would have quickly told them to leave him be and shut the door as soon as they turned their face, but there was something about the way that Dawn smiled and the manner in which she held two cups of steaming cocoa shyly in her hands that persuaded him to allow her entry into the room.
"I bought you some hot chocolate," Dawn said. She closed the door behind her with an elbow and offered the cup out to him.
"Thanks," he muttered awkwardly, confused as to why she would do so. He sank down onto the bottom bunk of the bed and stared at the adjacent wall. "What are you doing here? It's late."
"I just thought I'd bring something to warm you up," she explained as if expecting him to already know the answer. She came up to the bunk bed and sat down next to him. "Your jacket isn't enough for this weather. Aren't you going to drink your cocoa?"
Paul glanced at her from his peripheral and slowly began to drain the sweet, hot drink. It tasted nice, warm, reminding him of the winters at home when he was younger. But he quickly shook off the nostalgia and turned to the girl next to him.
"Shouldn't you be more worried about Ash and the Breeder?" he was careful in choosing his words. The last time he verbally antagonized the girl, she looked as if she could have skinned him alive.
Dawn took a sip of her hot drink before answering. "Aw, they're both fine. Actually, I'd say they're probably already asleep by now." She covered her lips as she giggled but Paul interrupts her moment of joy.
"Shouldn't you be doing the same?" He raised an eyebrow, studying her.
"Mm… I should. But there's something I wanted to ask you."
"What is it?" his voice never steered clear of its usual demeanor.
Dawn looked down at her slippers and tapped her toes together timidly. Paul could have sworn his saw her cheeks burn red when she bit her lower lip and glanced over at him. In truth, her behavior made him uneasy and he wished she would just get on with the question and let the both of them get their rest. Although, the cocoa was a nice treat.
"Do you," Dawn said, "ever got lonely when you're traveling by yourself?"
"No," his answer was precise and steadfast. Taking one last gulp, he finished his drink; he had hoped to finish with their conversation soon as well. They both had long days ahead. "Is that all?"
"Pretty much," Dawn replied and drained her hot chocolate as well.
"If that's all, then you should be heading back." Paul took the plastic cup from her hand and tossed both of theirs into the bin at the foot of the bed. "Thanks for the drink, but it's getting late."
Dawn nodded at him, almost half-heartedly and stood up.
"What is it now?" The trainer picked up his backpack and began rummaging into it for nothing in particular. He glanced over at the girl and wondered when she'd be taking her leave. He needed his sleep to ensure that he can make a whole day's worth of progress.
"Have you ever thought of traveling with someone else? Even once?"
"I won't travel with you if Ash is going to be there," Paul answered.
"Wha—what makes you think I'm asking you to travel with me?" Dawn inquired gracelessly, waving her hands in defense, and Paul knew he had hit a weak point.
"You don't have to lie," he said, stowing away his pack beneath the bed. "I can tell what you're hinting at by your voice."
"Well I—" Dawn murmured and fell into silence as he glanced at the ground.
For a moment, Paul eyed her curiously, wondering when or if she would get the message.
That didn't take as long as he thought.
She held out her hand towards him with another one of her sweet smiles.
"I don't know how long my journey with Ash will last, but if our paths don't cross after the Sinnoh League than I'd like someone to travel with. And you can bet I'm not going to end my adventures anytime soon."
Paul gave her a signature smirk and took her hand firmly. He noticed how Dawn seemed to react in surprise when he had done so, but chose to ignore it.
"So," Dawn announced. "Our next journey, let's make sure we're traveling partners then, okay?"
"Whatever," Paul said, casually. "But just don't drag me down or I'll end up leaving you behind."
"Nice threat but you can be assured that I'll keep up," the coordinator promised with a wink.
Paul gave a single chuckle and tugged on Dawn's hand lightly toward him. He then gave her a quick, chaste kiss on her finger tips. A mischievous smile appear on his lips when he saw her gasp and blush at the simple gesture. When he released her hand, she slowly brought it towards her chest.
"Well then," she said, face red and smiling. "Good night."
"Night," Paul nodded towards her.
Once Dawn left the room, Paul almost couldn't hold in a laugh. He had no idea what was getting to him but there was something about that girl that was off, something was different but he had a feeling that his next journey may be more fruitful. He had always expected the unexpected, while traveling and during battles, but this was quite a new feat. Dawn's visit was surely something uncalled for but the hot chocolate was a nice touch. Yet, her invitation was even sweeter.
This is my very first shot at writing an Ikarishipping fic. I hope that Paul and Dawn aren't OOC. I've been reading at lot of stories with these two and I just thought I'd write one of my own. These two are just too adorable and I had to write something just as sweet as them. I hope you'll enjoy it. Please leave any thoughts or critiques! They're all much appreciated.