"Come on, Ash, hurry up!" The young girl called across the harbor to her friend. A small flock of Starly soared overhead as she spoke, chirping enthusiastically.
"He definitely seems to be on the slow side this morning…which is kind of weird, considering…" Her other companion, another boy, who was a few years older than her, remarked.
The girl waited a moment longer before calling after Ash again. "Ash, if you don't get over here right now, I'll - !"
"All right, all right, I'm coming, okay?!" Ash called back frantically, dashing across the harbor in an attempt to avoid another of his frequent arguments with his friend.
"Pika, pi!" Pikachu added, from its ever-constant position on Ash's shoulder.
"Wow, good job, Dawn. There's not many people that Ash is afraid of arguing with."
"Oh, Brock, stop it." Dawn said jokingly, waving her hand toward him as Ash came running up to rejoin the two of them. "About time you got here."
"I still don't get why it matters if I'm here or not." Ash grumbled. "There's some cool Pokemon stuff in that market – "
"I'll tell you why it matters." Dawn said suddenly, cutting him off matter-of-factly. "I want to see if Brock's stories about you are really true."
"Not that again…" Ash grunted. "I already told you, I don't know what he's talking about."
Brock merely chuckled. "Whatever you say, Ash."
The trio continued waiting around the harbor for the next few minutes until, finally, a large boat began to come into view on the horizon line, prompting Brock and Dawn to run forward for a better view.
"Yep, that looks like the one." Brock declared knowingly.
They headed over to the loading area and waited for the ship to come into port, a strange sensation slowly arising in Ash's chest all the while. They continued milling around until the passengers began unloading, and they took to watching them as they went by, one by one, until at last Brock spotted the telltale Poke Ball-emblazoned bandana he was searching for.
"Hey! Hey, May!" Brock called out happily, waving towards her in greeting.
She looked over at the familiar voice and smiled when she saw who it was. "Hi, Brock! It's good to see you!" She remarked enthusiastically, running over to the three of them.
"You…you're really May! Wow!" Dawn exclaimed. "I can't believe the Princess of Hoenn is actually standing here in front of me!"
"Oh, don't call me that." May replied, blushing at the title. "I'm just May. You must be Dawn, right? Brock's told me a lot about you!"
"Yep, that's right! I hope you're ready to compete against me in the Wallace Cup!"
"Oh, don't worry!" May shot back playfully. Her eyes then drifted over to Ash, and she stopped dead, her cheerful expression falling at once, though she wasn't sure why.
Ash was experiencing as similar sensation; from the moment he'd seen her approaching them, his mind had frozen in place and he'd been unable to perform any kind of complex action at all, much less think straight. For some reason, when he looked at her, it stirred something deep inside of him, something he wasn't even aware existed.
Brock and Dawn noticed their inability to speak, and Dawn looked over at Brock, who was merely smirking. He'd told Dawn a long time ago about Ash's old relationship with May, and how they had seemingly broken it off with each other and gone their separate ways while in Sinnoh, presumably explaining why Ash was on his own when Dawn had originally met him. What he'd always found strange about it was how Ash had gone further than simply denying their relationship had happened; he had claimed he didn't even know who May was.
Ash blinked after what seemed like forever, and, slowly, awkwardly, he extended a hand out toward her. "I…I'm Ash."
May blinked as well, managing to look down as his outstretched hand strangely. After a moment, she reached her own hand out as well, grasping his in the most awkward handshake either of them had ever experienced. "Hi…I'm May."
An instant later, as they both looked into each other's eyes, something triggered deep within the two of them, causing a rush of long-forgotten feelings and emotions to come surging back to the surface.
Ash continued to hold her gaze, then broke into a smile a moment later, prompting her to do the same. "Hi, May. I think we've got some catching up to do."
Far beneath their feet, deep below the surface of the planet, a small hibernation crystal sat undisturbed, housing a certain Pokemon for its thousand-year slumber. However, as Ash and May's hands met far on the surface above, the crystal lit up for a brief second, and Jirachi twitched violently in its slumber.
And there you are, guys!
I just want to close out by thanking everyone who's actually still reading this after all this time, and all of the newer readers too, of course. This took me way longer than I expected to finish, but I was determined to still get it done one day, even after all the hiatuses and stuff. So thank you all for reading, reviewing, and sticking around, and I hope you enjoyed reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!