Late Night Conversations

Now ordinarily, the idea of writing a Contestshipping one-shot would have never crossed my mind; not that I like it, but I love writing the more volatile relationships, simply because of the chemistry and just, juicy stuff one can do with it. But, this suddenly popped into my head, with the bunnies demanding—WRITE NAOZ, and so, I did.

Disclaimer: Most assuredly not mine. Do I look Japanese to you?

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The Pokecenter was cloaked with silence, as if someone had put a muffler on the place, where even the slightest sound sounded like a firecracker in the empty silence. May sighed gustily to herself as she flopped down on one of the couches, sinking into the material. She closed her eyes as she tried to once more fall asleep, but as it had been only a few minutes ago, her mind was racing, constantly churning, and thus, was forced to stay awake, at least until her mind came to a slow. Despite the muggy summer temperatures outside that night, she was comfortably cool, dressed in a red tank top and a pair of blue pajama bottoms, covered in pokeballs.

The day had been long and tiresome, with the young coordinator competing in Goldenrod's Contest. She made it to he finals—beating Drew in the semi-finals—but was defeated by Harley and his Banette. It had been a long day, with the preparations, the constant waiting, and those few minutes when everything flew at a breakneck pace, when even the most miniscule mistake could cost you. May tried to force her mind to a stopping point, but it refused. Instead, the mind went down a path that was completely unexpected, one that she didn't wish to go on.

The human mind is a fascinating piece of work, making decisions in instants, changing courses in a heartbeat, down ways that one does not expect, nor might not want to, for it brings up uncomfortable topics that one does not wish to delve into, as is the case here. May shook her head, trying to shake away the thoughts, as one shakes away cobwebs; however, they were resilient and refused to budge. She didn't want to think about him though.

Drew.

It was a habit, one that just wouldn't go away. Whenever she had a quiet moment to herself, which didn't happen very often, she always ended up—without fail—thinking about him, her rival. She had managed to defeat him in the semi-finals, after a long and drawn out battle. She waited on the sidelines, for reasons she wasn't quite sure of, but Drew had hurried out of the stadium, without a word to her. She didn't see him the rest of the afternoon.

She frowned as she pictured the scene in her mind, every moment in perfect clarity. How he looked, how he moved, how he reacted, everything. "Arrogant, rich cocky son of a-"

"You know May, I would have never expected those words to come out of your mouth." May spun her head around to find Soledad standing a few feet away, a bemused, almost smug expression on her face. "Drew perhaps, maybe even Harley, but not you." The older woman was clad in a set of matching sky blue pajamas, her hair slightly mussed, but her eyes were as awake as ever. Maybe she couldn't sleep either.

May flushed maroon and she clamped a hand over her mouth, as if to prevent the words from tumbling out further. "Sorry," she apologized profusely, chagrined by her actions.

Soledad chuckled at May's reaction. "No need to apologize. I've most certainly cursed a time or two, especially around Grand Festival time. You can ask Harley."

"I've never heard you curse."

"That's because you've never been around me when I have. Trust me, I can curse with the best of them." Soledad sat down next to May. "So, what's keeping you awake?"

May shrugged. "My body wants to sleep, but my mind won't let me."

"Ah, the internal struggle." Soledad leaned into the back of the couch, her salmon hued hair falling back like a satin waterfall. "What are you thinking about?"

"Stuff. I can't really describe it."

"Because you can't, or you don't want to describe it?" Soledad asked. When she received silence as an answer, Soledad continued. "Is it about today's Contest?"

"Sort of."

Soledad nodded; Soledad didn't make it into the semi-finals, much to the surprise of everyone, but they soon learned that she had only been a half point from making it. If she had, as many proclaimed, she probably would have swept it. "Guess you can't win them all," she thought to herself. As her mind replayed that day's events, something popped out at her, possibly explaining May's mood and why she couldn't sleep, but Soledad couldn't let it out yet; she would have to probe around. "That battle was pretty intense between you and Drew, huh?"

May nodded again, silent. Soledad wondered if she was falling asleep, but the alertness in her blue eyes belied her tired state. Soledad turned to face May. "Alright, what's eating you up?"

"Nothing is, I just can't sleep, that's all."

Soledad cocked one eyebrow. "Somehow, I highly doubt that." It was time to move in for the kill, so to speak. "You know, I noticed something unusual today."

"What was that?"

"After your battle with Drew, he just left. No handshake, no words of congratulations, and," she paused. "No roses." Soledad snapped her fingers, like she had discovered the truth, but she already knew it. "You're upset because you didn't get any flowers!"

May gaped at Soledad in mild shock and quickly turned away, suddenly becoming interested in the pile of outdated magazines that were laying on the end table next to the couch. She bit the inside of her cheek, rapidly trying to find some sort of explanation, or excuse. Even if she hadn't realized it earlier, now she did, Soledad's words hitting her like a sledgehammer to a nail. "I'm not that upset about it," she blustered, knowing that full well, that Soledad saw right through it.

And she did. "May, you act like a kid who got Christmas early every time Drew gives you a rose. You're giddy and bouncing off the wall when you get one; when you don't, you silent and 'emo-tastic', to put it in Harley's words." Seeing the look on May's face, Soledad decided to unleash the coup-de-gras. "Admit it, you like the attention he lavishes on you with the roses. In fact, I think you like him."

If it were psychically possible for May to be even redder than she was at that moment, she would have. "Well I, I mean, he and I-"

Soledad nodded sagely. "Remember that conversation we had after the Kanto Grand Festival, a few years ago? How I made the prediction that Drew has feelings for you?"

The memory came back to May, as Soledad's words from all those years ago rushed to the forefront of her mind. "But we were what, twelve? Even if, if he had feelings for me then, how could we have dealt with them? We were not even teenagers then."

"But you aren't twelve now, and he still carried those feelings for you. If you were just some passing fancy, a crush, wouldn't he have moved on and given those roses to another girl." May was silent and Soledad took it as a good sign. "We all much older and wiser now, much more adept to handling those 'feelings'. If you do feel the same way, why don't you go talk to him? Explain it to him, or, if you can't explain it, then ask why he gives you the roses still. They can't all possibly be just for your pokemon. Your Wartortle sneezes every time he's within a fifteen foot radius of a dandelion." May giggled at the sight. It was true, her Wartortle had a horrible allergy to flowers, discovered at the Ecruteak City Contest, when Drew had given her another rose to her collection with Wartortle still on the field. The pokemon went into such a sneezing fit, May had to rush it to the Pokecenter, to give it an antihistamine pill to combat the onset.

May got up from her couch seat, feeling like a heavy was lifted from her shoulders. "Thanks Soledad." She yawned mightily. "I guess my mind caught up to my body now."

Soledad smiled. "You know, I think I saw the light in Drew's room still on. Maybe he's awake. If he is, why don't you go talk to him now? I'm sure that he wouldn't mind the company. I think everyone's still buzzed from today."

Thanks Soledad. I think I might. Good Night."

"Night May." Soledad watched as the younger girl's bare feet padded softly on the linoleum of the Pokecenter. She settled into the couch cushion, feeling smug and triumphant. She picked up a breeding magazine from the table in front of her and flipped through the pages, looking for an interesting article, despite that it was horribly outdated. She finally settled on an article and was just about to begin reading it when-

"Soledad hun, what are you doing up still?"

Soledad popped her head up, to discover Harley standing there, like he had been dragged out of bed, forcibly. Dark bags were under his eyes and his wavy violet hair was unruly and tangled. "I could say the same thing for you."

"Well, there's been racket in front of my bedroom door the whole night. People going back and forth and talking and goodness knows what else. Wait, scratch that, I don't want to know what else has been going on."

Soledad smiled and lifted one of her feet, wiggling her toes. "Wasn't me. See? I was barefooted."

Harley shook his head; Soledad always acted, different whenever she stayed up late, intentional or otherwise. Not that he disliked it or anything, he always enjoyed the late night conversations the pair had, even if they had been odd on occasion.

But that was how all late night conversations went, for those fleeting hours and minutes, you learned more about those you cared about than you ever could within the span of daylight.

However, Harley was left with the nagging feeling that Soledad was planning something. He plopped himself down beside her and studied her for a few moments, watching intently as she flipped back through the pages of the magazine, as if he wasn't there. He reached over with his long slender fingers and deftly plucked the magazine out from her grasp, tossing it on the coffee table. "Alright hun, what are you planning?"

"What makes you think I planning something?" Soledad gasped innocently.

"Because I've known you for a very long time and I've learned to read you like a book. Spill it."

Soledad reached for the magazine again. "Conspiring."

"What?"

"To get your two most hated rivals together."

It took a few heartbeats for Harley to grasp it. He cocked a violet tinged eyebrow. "Drew?"

Soledad nodded.

"And May?"

Another nod.

"What for?"

"To topple your mighty reign of terror," Soledad kidded.

Harley harrumphed. "Well, not 'terror' per say."

"Pretty close."

Harley dramatically placed a hand on his forehead. "Oh why Soledad? Why have you betrayed me?" he bemoaned theatrically.

"Well, it's painfully obvious that they liked each other, so somebody had to get them together, eventually."

"Was that all the racket that was going on?"

"Drew was already awake, so I went to talk to him about May. He doesn't respond well to threats, I learned."

"You threatened him?"

"In order for him to ask May out. Desperate times call for desperate measures."

"Soledad, what am I going to do with you?"

"I dunno."

Harley sighed. Soledad must have barely gotten any sleep tonight, he determined. "Why Soledad?"

"I already said-"

"No really hun, 'why'? They're nearly adults, they can sort out their feelings without the need for a babysitter or matchmaker."

Soledad threw him a funny look, unsure how exactly to answer his question. Both May and Drew, while they were her competition, they were also her friends, and she wanted to help them, because while Harley didn't see it as she did, it was the right thing to do in her mind. But there was something else, a more driving force behind her decision-

"Love."

"Love?"

"Yeah." Soledad got up from the couch, stretching. Her body and mind had finally caught up with her and she was extremely tired all of the sudden, but not an achy tired feeling, but a natural weariness that came with long days. And nights. In a surprising move, she suddenly bent over and gave Harley a kiss on the cheek. "Good night Harley. See you in the morning." She left the room, enveloping the Pokecenter with silence once again. Harley watched Soledad leave, as his hand went instinctively went to his cheek, where she kissed him. His eyes softened as he gazed at her.

Maybe, just maybe, this was the best conversation he had with his friend yet.

Whoa! My first Contest story, with a little side dish of Harley/Soledad...does that pairing even have a name? Anywhos, I usually focus on Pokeshipping, with Contest and other pairings on the side, so this was a nice change I'll admit. And remember, always tip the authoress on the way out!

~Gwen