Kathy: Hey guys! I'm still alive! It's been so long since I've been here.

Gary: Yeah, a REAL long time.

Kathy: *glares at him* Whatever. Wait…what are you doing here? You're not even in this story!

Gary: *smirks* I can go wherever I want to.

Kathy: *rolls her eyes* Well, anyway, I'm planning for this fanfic to be a [PEARLSHIPPING] multi-chaptered fanfic. I'm going to use this story to try to get over my stupid writer's block…and, to take a short break from the other stories I've written. I will update them, but not right now. In time, I will. But for now…at least I'm back!

Gary: No one cares.

Kathy: *glares at him again* Don't make me throw a brick at you!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. Period.

Chapter One: Thinking About Things

It's been awhile since I've last seen him. Two years to be exact.

I was fifteen then, and now I'm seventeen. He was sixteen then, and now he's eighteen.

And it's been two years since I've seen him.

I sighed. That reminiscent yet lonesome feeling started filling me up again, the one that always filled me up whenever I thought about those days; those days when I traveled with him, those days when I trained with him, those days when I talked with him, those days when I laughed with him…those days when I did everything with him.

Now he's gone. And now…

…I have nothing.

Sure, I had Piplup, my Pokémon, co-ordinating, my mom, Zoey, Kenny, Leona, and everyone else back here in Sinnoh.

But…it just didn't feel the same without him.

Nothing felt the same without him here.

After he left, everything…just everything started going wrong for me.

I started to lose my touch in co-ordinating. I could barely stay focused whenever I was training, or up on stage. And whenever I tried my best to keep a hold of that focus, I just couldn't. Without him there to encourage me when things started going wrong, without him there to support me when I was falling down…I just couldn't do it anymore. Everything just started getting worse and worse. Little by little, my strength went downward.

And eventually, everything just crashed.

And I fell down. Hard.

So, after that, I decided to take a short break from traveling and co-ordinating.

I left May and Zoey in Hoenn, and went back home to Sinnoh. They begged me to stay, they said they could help me come back up again…but I refused. I don't know why I did, but now that I look back at it…it was foolish to. I should've let them help me. I should've let them help me build myself back up.

But I didn't.

That was stupid.

I bet if I stayed with them, I wouldn't be such a mess right now. I wouldn't be the depressed, sad little girl I was right now.

But no, I had to let thoughts about a guy I'll never see for the rest of my life get in the way!

My eyes watered, a tear streamed down my cheek.

"Oh well," I breathed out. "What's happened has happened." I sat down in the lush green grass below me, too tired to stand any longer.

"…And I can't do anything about it."

The wind blew, playing around with my midnight blue hair. The weather was perfect today. The sun was shining down on everything below it, causing buildings and rooftops in the far off distance to glisten. Puffy white clouds hovered in the sky as well, limiting the sunlight's reach at times. A light cool breeze blew around about every few minutes.

It was a beautiful day, and everyone in the park I was in was having an extraordinary time. Little kids ran around, playing silly little games or playing around with their Pokémon. Romantic couples, from young to old, were walking around, enjoying the nice weather. Wild yet friendly Pokémon scurried around, running and chirping about. It seemed as if everyone but me was having an enjoyable day.

…Well, actually, I was okay today. Better than most days. I actually smiled when my mom greeted me this morning instead of grumbling back at her like I've usually done in the past year. But still. I wasn't feeling as happy and confident as I did before.

I guess I was just still thrown off by how my "short break" from co-ordinating became a long break. It's been almost more than a year since I've been in a contest. And, I think I was even more thrown off because of the fact that I haven't seen Ash in two years, and I haven't talked to him in about a year.

I frowned at the thought of this, and threw a rock at the pond in front of me.

We did keep in touch, during the first couple months after he left for the Unova region. We'd write letters, we'd talk on the phone; the usual. He'd tell me how great everything was in Unova, show me all the new Pokémon he'd caught, and he even introduced me to Iris and Cilan. It was nice meeting his new traveling partners, his new friends. But, I felt sort of…funny— I guess that's the way to say it— when I talked with them, and especially with Iris.

There was nothing wrong with them though, they're perfectly fine!

But…I don't know.

…Maybe it's just the jealous feeling of being…replaced by her.

Immediately denying this, I shook my head. 'I am not jealous! Ash would never replace me!'

Anyway, back to the main point.

I kept in touch with him as much as I could. But, after the first couple months…I don't know. We started to talk less and less the more time passed by, and the worse my little depressing "co-ordinating situation" got. And then, it became that we didn't talk to each other at all.

I missed talking to him.

He was one of my best friends.

No, he was my best friend.

In my heart, he'll always be. But in reality…I don't even know what we are now. I don't even know if a "we" still exists for me and him. …Does he even still remember me? Does he still remember everything we've been through? Does he still remember all the moments we've shared?

Does he even miss me?

I mentally slapped myself. "Oh, just push it aside, Dawn!" I screamed. "Ugh!" I threw another rock into the pond, another result of my frustration.

"Just push 'what' aside?"

I jumped up, startled by the sudden sound. I quickly turned around, and noticed a boy about my age with black hair with a dark blue tinge to it and dark blue-gray eyes who wore a red beret cap with a Pokémon symbol embroidered on it, a distinctive red scarf, a black vest over a light blue shirt, denim jeans, and red sneakers.

I stared at him for few seconds before actually recognizing who he was.

My eyes widened in realization, and my mouth formed into a small smile. "Lucas!" I exclaimed. I ran up to him and practically glopped him, giving him a hug.

Lucas was one of my childhood friends. I've known him since I was a little girl, and we've been like brother and sister ever since. I see him every now and then, and he's one of the only friends I still see often after I started taking a break from traveling. And, I'm thankful that I still get to see him almost every day. I'm thankful that I still have some friends here with me, even if it's just a few.

You see, Lucas is one of Professor Rowan's assistants. They both live in Sandgem Town and Professor Rowan's lab is in Sandgem Town. And, Sandgem Town is just a ten-minute walk away from Twinleaf Town! So, you see how it works.

I visit Sandgem Town a couple times a week to keep myself busy. I help around in the Professor's lab, I talk with Professor Rowan and Lucas, I visit Lucas's house and talk to his mom sometimes, I go to the beach there, the park, and a lot of other things. Doing all those things helps me forget about Ash and the rest of my problems.

"It's nice to see you too!" Lucas beamed, hugging me back.

We pulled away, smiles on both of our faces.

"So, why were you yelling at yourself?" he asked me.

The smile on my face turned into a thin line. "…Oh, it's nothing," I replied. I turned away from him, my voice quieting down. "I was just thinking about things."

"Oh," he breathed out.

He knew what I was talking about, and he knew not to get too touchy with those subjects. He learned that the hard way. One time, probably about a year ago, he talked about co-ordinating, and Ash, and the rest of that stuff too much. So much that I got so angry/depressed at him, and almost blew up right in his face.

So yeah, he learned not to bring up those topics too much.

"…Well," he started, breaking the silence, "do you want to come to the lab with me? I just finished writing my daily observations of Pokémon here in the park, and I'm about to head back and hand them in to the Professor."

I grinned. "Sure! That'd be great," I said.

We began to walk down the sidewalk that led out of the park and back into the central region of the town. Sandgem Town was more of a small town than a big city like Jublife City. It was full of friendly and nice people. And besides the sounds of various vehicles, machines, and background chattering of people, it was a fairly peaceful town. And, most of the buildings were just a walking distance away from each other, so it was easy to get around the town.

While Lucas and I walked to the lab, we passed by many houses and stores. People waved and greeted us with a smile, and we'd greet them back with a smile as well. They were all familiar to me, since almost the same people as before waved to us. I saw them on a weekly basis, so how would we not recognize each other?

That's what I liked about small towns like Sandgem and Twinleaf; everyone knew each other, and it was easy to keep in touch with them.

"The weather's nice today," Lucas said, looking up at the sun in the sky, almost as if he were smiling at it.

I smiled a small smile, mindlessly playing around with the ends of my yellow T-shirt. "Yeah, it's beautiful," I replied, not even paying attention to what I was saying.

He grinned and nodded. "It's a perfect day to be outside!" he cheered. "Maybe we could go to the beach or something after I hand in these papers."

I chuckled. "Yeah, that sounds fun! It's not like I have any plans or anything," I joked around. It was true though; I didn't have any plans. I never did. I was always wasting my time around doing things at spontaneous times. It's been like that for the past year.

"And, maybe we could even invite some people, like Barry, Leona, and Kenny!" I added, fantasizing about it as I did. I could see it in my mind; all of us at the beach, just hanging out and having a fun time, throwing our cares in the air, not worrying about a single thing.

He sighed. "Yeah, that'd be awesome."


A silence came over us as we continued to walk. It wasn't awkward though, no. It never is awkward between me and Lucas. Because I've known him since we were little, we've grown used to each other. Even if one word wasn't said between us, we'd still be okay with each other. Just the feeling of having someone with you there was comforting.

"Dawn?" Lucas called out, interrupting my thoughts.


He hesitated. "Do…Do you still train, or even play with your Pokémon?"

I paused for a bit. It's been awhile since I've last trained with them.

Well…I did play with them the day before yesterday. It's not like I've completely put them off to the side. I could never do that. They mean a lot to me, and especially Piplup. I still play with them. I still care for them. I still love them. But, it has been a little while since I've actually done some "realtraining" with them.

"Yes, of course I do!" I answered. I decided to be truthful with him. "…Not all the time, but I still do."

I turned my head to look at him, curiosity building up in me. "…Why do you ask?"

He let out a deep breath, scratching the back of his head. "Well, it's just that…" He paused, as if he were contemplating how to put his thoughts into words.

He finally started speaking again. "…sometimes I worry about you. Co-ordinating was something you were very good at. You…you were an amazing co-ordinator, Dawn," he emphasized. He then turned to me, and smiled. "Don't you know that, Dawn? You were one of the best. You were incredible out there."

A weak smile came upon my face. Memories of the high points of my co-ordinating career so far flashed through my mind.

"Yeah, I know," I breathed out.

He chuckled, mixed feelings in his laugh. "See?" he said. "But then…all of a sudden, you stopped." He frowned at the thought of this.

He frowned even more as he continued to talk. "And it was all because of Ash."

I grimaced once he brought him into this. "Lucas, it's not his fault—"

He didn't hear me, and just kept going on, frustration beginning to boil in his voice. "You gave up your dreams, your hard work, your talent…because he caused you to get distracted! And—"

"Lucas, I didn't give it up!" I shouted, interrupting him and his rant.

I couldn't take it any longer; I just had to stop him. Why was he so mad? It's not even his problem! It was mine. Mine and mine alone. I'm the one who has to deal with it, and I'm the one who knows all the details and the backstory behind it. Not him.

He stopped talking, and he froze, the energy in him slowly going down. He looked at me as I started to talk.

"I didn't give up co-ordinating, Lucas," I said softly, my voice starting to break. "I didn't. It's what I love to do. I could never stop co-ordinating. Never." I gave him a look, showing him that I was serious, and that I meant every word that came out of my mouth.

"I'm just on a break, remember?" I reminded him, a weak smile coming upon my face. "And, it's not his fault. Please don't think it is, Lucas. It's not his."

I saw him try to protest against that, his mouth opening, words about to come out of him. But then, he stopped himself from going any further. He stopped himself from protesting. …I think he reminded himself not to go too far again.

I sighed, trying to get that choking feeling away— that feeling you get when you're about to cry. "…If it's anyone's fault, it's mine. I let myself get to this."

I turned to him, putting my hand on his shoulder. "So please, Lucas. Don't bring Ash into this. It's not his fault. It's not."

He looked into my eyes, his eyes boring into mine. I could see worry, a huge amount of it, in those blue-gray orbs.

He finally sighed, and nodded his head, a somewhat understanding expression on his face. "…Okay. I…I just get worried about my sister sometimes, that's all," he laughed slowly, ruffling the top of my head.

I couldn't help but let out a small giggle. "Yeah, and sometimes you get too worried," I suggested to him, a mocking tone in my voice. "You know you don't have to be so overprotective!" I smiled as he blushed at my remark.

He laughed nervously. "Hahaha, I know," he said. "I…I just think Ash is sort of stupid sometimes."

I raised an eyebrow. Why was he bringing him into this again?

"Why?" I asked him.

He smiled, and finally answered,

"…Because he left you."

I…I was taken aback. I flushed, and a huge grin formed at my lips. That was just…sweet. That was one of the sweetest things that someone has ever told me! Now I was extremely thankful to have a friend like him around, really.

But, if I did let him know how much he meant to me…I bet he'd tease me for the rest of my life.

"What's…What's that supposed to mean?" I jokingly asked, acting as if I didn't know that was a compliment.

"Oh great, now you're acting like him too!" he joked back.

I laughed and rolled my eyes. "Whatever," I said.

And then, I started to run as fast as I could. Everything I passed by became a blur as my speed increased. I turned my head around and looked back at him, and yelled, "Last one to the lab's a big fat Slowpoke!"

His eyes widened at the sudden challenge.

He began to chase after me, panting heavily as he did. "Hey! That's no fair! You got a head-start!" he shouted, a couple feet away from me.

I just laughed, and continued to run even faster. "Whatever!" I screamed.

This was going to be a good day.

Kathy: Well, that's it! I know it's a bit short, but I wanted to get this up as soon as I could. I promise the next one will be longer though! Hopefully…

Gary: No one cares.

Kathy: *glares at him* GO AWAY, GARY.
Now anyway, please review this fanfic! Just click the button thingymajigger right under this sentence. (: