Kathy: Hey guys! Here's the next chapter! Sorry for the super late update, but hey— at least I finally updated!

Gary: No one c—

Kathy: SHUT UP.

Gary: *sighs* Okay, FINE.

Kathy: *smiles* Thank you. Here's the disclaimer thingamajigger thing!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon.

Chapter 3: A Bittersweet Reunion

I…I couldn't breathe.

I couldn't process what was going on.

'Ash is here, Ash is the certain someone,' my mind repeatedly thought. 'Why does he have to be here? Why why why?'

I couldn't think straight. I mean, I saw it with my own eyes; Ash Ketchum was in Twinleaf Town. Ash Ketchum was in my house. Ash, Ash, Ash, Ash. My heart kept racing every time I realized he was back. But my mind couldn't believe it. And my heart couldn't handle it.

"Dawn, wait!" I heard him call out, his voice nearing me. Part of me wanted to turn around, but part of me wanted to run away.

I chose to run away.

Unfortunately…it didn't work.

Ten seconds after I started running, my wrist was caught. I knew it was Ash who caught me, but I didn't want to turn and see. I didn't want him to see me in the messed up state I was in.

I was gasping for air, sweating. I didn't know whether it was from me being exhausted from running, or me being anxious around Ash. "Oh-Oh boy," I managed to breathe out.

I heard Ash sigh. "Dawn…it's me." He stayed quiet after that. Was…was he expecting a reply?

"I…I know it's you!" I snapped at him, still not turning to look at him. I sighed, and then said it again, softly. "I know it's you, Ash." My heart skipped a beat once I said his name. It's been awhile since I've said his name to him.

I don't know why, but this caused him to chuckle a little bit. "Then, why won't you look at me?"

"I…I just can't," I replied, a frantic tone in my voice. "I don't want you to see me like this! I'm a mess right now." It was true. I could feel some of the strands of my midnight blue hair standing up. My face was sweaty. My cheeks were flushed from running and all the nervousness aroused within me. My eyes were watery.

He chuckled even more. Why was he even laughing? "I don't care if you're a mess right now. It all looks the same to me."

What? When I'm a mess, I still look the same to him? Of course; he was still the same dense boy from when we were traveling together.

"UNBELIEVABLE!" I yelled, subconsciously turning to look at him and slap him for saying something so ignorant.

But before I slapped him, he decided to be a smart-aleck. "See? You can look at me," he beamed. "No need to worry."

I was shocked; he caught me, with my own catchphrase too.

Hesitantly, I took a look at his face…and he had that friendly, grinning expression he always had. His caring brown eyes bore into mine. His mouth was formed into a closed smile. His face was shining. I remembered he was handsome in his own way, but it was too overwhelming to see it again after a long time.

I…I just couldn't handle it. I covered my eyes with my free hand. "It's too much," I breathed out.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, clueless. "Why'd you cover your eyes?" I felt his fingers reach for the hand covering my eyes, and slowly, he removed my hand from my face, and he looked into my eyes again.

I couldn't help but blush. "Why…do you want me to look at you so badly?" I asked him. "Why did you come back?"

He started to blush along with me as he prepped to answer me. "Because…I wanted to see you."

Now I started to blush even more.

Was he actually serious? He wanted to see me? After that long period of time when we didn't talk to each other, he still wanted to see me?

"HEY DAWN! Your lunch is getting cold! If you don't come back in, I'm gonna eat all your food!" Lucas abruptly called from my house's backdoor, interrupting my little moment with Ash.

I sighed in relief. 'THANK YOU, LUCAS,' I thought to myself. Because he interrupted, I wouldn't be stuck in that awkward moment with Ash.

I started to walk back to my house, but then I was stopped by Ash's grip on my wrist. I blushed again; I forgot he was still holding on to me. "Um, A-Ash…" I really needed to get used to saying his name. "…Could you let go of my wrist now?"

He flushed, realizing his hand was still holding my wrist. He quickly let go and started to walk back to my house as well, muttering some stuff to himself in an annoyed tone. Was he annoyed that Lucas ruined the moment?

I shrugged off the idea and followed him back into my house. That didn't really matter to me at the moment. My head was still spinning from what just happened and what was about to happen. My heart was still racing; it seemed like it'd beat that way forever, as long as Ash was here.

All I could process in that moment was that Ash was back, and that he was here to see me.

I hadn't spoken a word to Ash since that little moment in Mom's garden.

After I hastily ate lunch, I ran off to my room and hid there, waiting for Ash to leave the house. I still couldn't process everything after that moment, especially since he sat beside me while I ate my lunch.

I couldn't process the fact that he came back to see me.

I just couldn't.

Knock knock.

I froze.

What if it was Ash? What if he wanted to talk to me again? My head started spinning again. I started to panic. I wouldn't know what to say to him. What are you supposed to say to a person you haven't seen in two years— especially if it's a person you have strong feelings for?

I dropped my head into my hands. 'I'm such a wreck,' I thought to myself. 'I'm such a coward.'

"Relax, it's Lucas," the person at the other side of the door said.

Relief came back to me as I walked to the door and slightly opened it, peeking through the crack at Lucas. "Is…is he still here?" I whispered.

Lucas shook his head, knowing I was talking about Ash. "Nah. He and Gary walked back to their rental house," he replied. "It's just a few blocks down from here."

I sighed in relief. "Okay," I breathed out. I fully opened the door to let Lucas come in. After he did, we both sat on my bed. We sat there in silence for a little while, probably because we were both trying to process what just happened in the past two hours.

"I can't believe he's back," I breathed out.

Lucas let out a small, forced laugh. "Yeah, and we were just talking about him earlier too."

I turned to look at him. His blue-grey eyes looked darker than before. His facial expression looked like he'd just heard some bad news. I knew it; he didn't like the fact that Ash was back. But, didn't he know that Ash was coming? After all, hadn't he seen him earlier in the morning?

"Did you know he was coming?" I asked Lucas.

He shook his head. "No," he replied. "Even though I saw him this morning, he left too fast for me to even recognize him." He turned to look at me. "Guess he was too excited to see you again."

I felt my cheeks heating up. "I wanted to see you." That's what Ash told me in Mom's garden, the reason why he came back. "He told me that's the reason why he came back," I said, still unable to comprehend everything. "To see me."

"Oh, that little incident," Lucas recalled. "When you ran out the house, I sort of got scared." He chuckled, but I could tell he was really worried.

I let out a small laugh as well, slightly amused at how he was always worried about me. "Well, I'm fine now, I guess," I reassured him.

"But are you fine that Ash is back?" he asked me, locking his eyes with mine.

I never realized until now how close we were sitting together, and how close his face was. But…shouldn't this be normal for childhood friends to act like this around each other? Is it normal?

"I…" I started, then turned away from him, "…I actually don't know what to think of it."

I looked up at the ceiling, as if I'd find the answer up there. "I mean— I guess…part of me is really happy that he's back, since I haven't seen him in so long. I've missed him a lot," I explained. My heart raced when I thought about that raven-haired boy. "But, the other part of me…isn't."

I ran a hand through my hair, still trying to scramble my feelings together. "It's probably because…I didn't want him to see me like this; the messed up co-ordinator I am right now," I breathed out.

I could feel my eyes watering, and my throat tightening up. "And…I don't want to get too attached to him again. The whole reason why I messed up in co-ordinating was because I depended on him to be there for me," I managed to choke out. It was starting to get difficult for me to speak. I felt a tear stream down my face.

Why do I always have to cry? I hated crying in front of people.

But I couldn't help it.

With Ash back, those feelings that I've kept inside for so long were starting to come back again.

I shook my head, refusing to let them come back. "Why am I crying?" I choked out. "I didn't want to cry." I tried laughing, to make myself calm down…but it turned into crying. I stifled those cries; I really didn't want to cry.

Soon enough, I felt Lucas's arms wrap around me.

"It's okay, Dawn," he soothed. "Just let it all out."

I nodded, and began to cry into his shirt. All these uncontrollable feelings that I didn't know I had within me, I let them out. I felt my tears slowly turn into sobs. I was such a wreck. I hated it; I've become the opposite of what I was before Ash left.

And it's all because Ash came back.

Why did he have such a big influence over me?

Why did I ever become so attached to him?

I was so confused.

I didn't know what to think of him coming back. I didn't know whether I should be happy or sad. I didn't know how to speak to him or what to say to him. I didn't even know how to look at him.

And he's staying in Twinleaf Town for the next two weeks.

There was no doubt that he'd try to come and visit me tonight, or tomorrow morning, if he was still the determined guy I remembered him to be.

And I wouldn't know how to face him.

I just wasn't ready.

'These next two weeks are going to be difficult.'

Kathy: And there you go! It was sort of short...and I'm not sure if I kept the characters in character since I haven't written for soooo long. But, I hope you liked it!

Gary: *complains* Why wasn't I in the chapter this time?

Kathy: *ignores him* …Did you hear something? Anyway, please review! Hopefully, I'll get the next chapter up before the year ends, HAHA.