Author's Notes: Hey everyone! I'm...not sure where this story came from. I guess this is what I get for spending a lot of time playing pokemon and reading about them on bulbapedia repeatedly. To be honest, I've been completely swept up in this pairing. It's somewhat obscure from what I can tell, but this is my first stab at the pokemon fanfiction universe, so who knows. XD

This is just a little ficlet with no particular time frame. It could really happen anywhere, but I imagine it takes place somewhere within HeartGold and SoulSilver. I just wanted some fluff with my new favorite pairing. :P

Please review-I'm curious to know how many other Volkner/Morty shippers there are out there. :) Enjoy!

-MYSTERY GIFT-

Morty's birthday has never been a particularly special day to him. This has always stricken his friends as strange. Despite this, they still shower him with gifts and special treatment. Although he always takes their kindness with a smile on his face, there's really only one thing he usually wants. Well, one person, more specifically.

Volkner.

This year, it seems to be the same thing all over again. His friends and fellow gym leaders Whitney and Jasmine have thrown him a party and invited numerous people he knows, including his students and other leaders from around Johto and the other regions. Morty, of course, tries to find Volkner among the crowd, but it's no use. He's nowhere to be found. He tries not to show his disappointment; after all, Sinnoh is far away and traveling to Johto can take quite some time. Plus, Volkner not only runs the gym in Sunyshore City, he also helps to maintain the electrical grid that powers it. He's a busy man who doesn't care much for large gatherings. He's much more private.

Still, he can't help but feel a little down. They don't see much of each other nowadays. Not like they used to.

The party continues well into the evening. Morty's Gengar plays hide-and-seek with his students while his group of Gastly streak through the sky, creating the illusion of fireworks. It's a big event for Ecruteak—Morty has lived here for years and has done much to help the community grow.

But the party has to end eventually. As the day winds down, the crowd of people outside the Ecruteak Gym begins to dwindle. Slowly but surely each and every guest takes their leave, until the only two left are Whitney and Morty. He's always considered her to be like the little sister he never had—the only family he has left, so to speak.

"Did you have a good time?" Whitney asks him, tugging on his arm as they wander back inside the gym.

Morty gives a genuine smile. "Yes. The cake this year was a nice touch. You learned from before."

"No more lemon cake for us," she says with a firm shake of her head. "Who knew it could be so sour?"

Morty and Whitney continue on into Morty's living quarters on the second level of the gym. He notices the lights are on, which is strange. He distinctly remembers turning them off earlier this afternoon. Though he can't see it, he soon senses a presence nearby. Its energy is familiar—warm, almost electrifying. Whitney's words begin to slowly fade out of his head as he moves through the entryway and into the living area, approaching the source of the energy.

Sitting there on the couch is Volkner, back hunched and hands propping up his chin. He turns and faces Morty and Whitney, a sideways smirk upon his face.

"There you are, Mister Popular. I wondered when you would be done."

Whitney quickly lets go of Morty's arm, giving him a knowing grin. She pats him on the shoulder. "Well, I'm glad you had a good time today. Happy birthday again, Morty! Um, come see me in Goldenrod sometime, huh? I feel like I'm always coming to Ecruteak nowadays…"

She slips out of the room, but before closing the door completely she says in an endearing tone, "Bye Morty!"

The door shuts behind her with a squeak and a slam. Morty turns back to Volkner, who's now moved to stand. The tall blond man approaches the other, his hands in his pockets.

"Happy birthday," he says.

Morty can't help but smile. "Thank you."

"I got something for you, but we have to go outside for me to show you. Come on."

Volkner pulls one of his hands out of his pockets and offers it to Morty, who takes it happily. The two gym leaders travel back down to the main floor of the gym and right out the back door, into the courtyard. The sky above is dotted with glittering stars, and the full moon casts a brilliant white glow over the grounds.

Volkner pulls away from Morty just long enough to reveal what's in his other pocket: a pokéball.

"What's that?" Morty asks curiously.

"Your present."

Volkner waits for the pokéball to grow before he throws it into the air. It pops open and soon the pokémon inside takes form. It's a Drifloon, and its dark eyes light up at the sight of him. It puffs up with air and shakes for a moment, wire-thin arms wriggling.

Morty realizes after a moment that his mouth is partially agape. He closes it, cheeks flushing pink.

"For me?" he asks.

Volkner nods. "It's a Drifloon. I found it hanging around my gym a while ago. I knew your birthday was coming up, so I caught it for you." He hands the pokéball to Morty, fingers lingering briefly upon the other's. "He's young. And one of a kind in Johto, I imagine."

"Won't Fantina be upset you didn't consider her?" Morty asks in concern.

"She has plenty of ghost pokémon. And her birthday isn't for months."

Morty grins. He feels a flutter in his chest as he eyes the Drifloon floating there comfortably in the air. He turns to Volkner, expression softening. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Pokéball in hand, Morty says, "Return!" and the Drifloon dematerializes, disappearing from sight. The pokéball shrinks and he latches it to his belt buckle. With Gastly, Haunter, Gengar, Misdreavus and now Drifloon, his team is nearly six—almost full. "How exciting!"

Volkner laughs. He moves closer to Morty, putting his hands on either side of the other man's waist. He leans in and rests their foreheads against one another. He takes in a deep breath, sighs, and then pulls slightly back.

"When do you leave?"

"Not until tomorrow night."

"Stay here. You always do."

"I thought you'd never ask."

Morty takes Volkner's hand and leads him back into the Ecruteak gym's second level.

While their time together is short, this time he will have a loving souvenir of Volkner's visit, something to remember him by. And he couldn't be happier.


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