This occurs sometime after Ash battles Candice but deviates away from the line afterwards. So, Paul doesn't battle Brandon. This was also written way before the Snowpoint episodes were shown in English, so I kind of had to guess on how Candice had to do her catchphrase. I hate writing characters with catchphrases. Bleh.
I'd like to thank my hasukerz nee-chan for beta-ing this.
Pokemon and all characters belong to Nintendo and Pokemon USA. (Random receptionist Meg is made up. She belongs to nobody.)
Arriving at Snowpoint City, Ash, Dawn and Brock were reunited with their friend Zoey, who just happened to be good friends with the city's gym leader, Candice. After winning the four on four battle against Candice, Ash received the Icicle badge. Before departing Snowpoint for the next gym at Sunyshore, Candice suggested a small hot spring hotel near the edge of Snowpoint City.
"It's been a while since I've relaxed there, and after today's tough battle, I feel like unwinding. Gotta recharge all that spent energy! Plus, I'll get to catch up on all the things I missed on Zoe's adventure."
Zoey just rolled her eyes at her senpai as her older friend dragged her towards the direction of the hotel. Dawn and Brock eagerly followed the two, while Ash trudged behind, a little disappointed that he wouldn't be getting a head start to his final badge.
Arriving at the entrance of the hotel, Dawn marveled at the huge gate that was notably larger than her friend Leona's hotel. She silently apologized to her childhood friend in her mind before the whole group entered the hotel. Brock was a little bit too excited to go in, though no one really noticed.
The reception behind the main desk was grumbling under her breath and looked not to be in a very good mood. Upon spotting Candice as the leader of the group, the young woman immediately put on a smile and waved to the gym leader.
Before Candice could even speak, Brock immediately jumped to the front of the group and grabbed the hand of the receptionist. He put on his best "handsome, charming gentleman" face but was instantly forced to the ground when a Poison Jab made contact with his lower back. Croagunk dragged its trainer away while Brock wailed about not having even spoken to the girl yet. The receptionist quickly dismissed the two and turned her attention back to Candice.
"Hey Meg, got any open rooms? I'm paying." The gym leader winked.
"Sure thing, Candice! Anything for the best gym leader in all of Sinnoh. How many guests you got?"
"Well, there's me and Zoe, which makes two and including Zoe's friends we have five. And Meg, do you think we can have that room? I want to try again."
"Sorry Candice, I actually just gave away the room right before you came in. If that's okay, you can still have the room next door."
"Darn. Oh well, any room is great Meg, thanks."
The receptionist thanked her guests and led them to the room they would be staying in.
"Candice? What did you mean by 'that' room?" Dawn asked as she set her things down.
"Huh? Oh, well, I don't know if it's some old story that Meg and her folks created to get more customers but she told me that in a specific room at a specific time at night, it was possible to see a legendary pokemon outside! I've never been able to get a hold of the room, so I can't be too sure if it's true or not."
"Wow, I would have loved to see that! A legendary pokemon…" Ash spouted, his disappointment dispelled.
"Yeah, that would have been nice, but we're here for some hot springs! Time to enjoy the heat after all this cold air!" Candice reminded them gleefully.
"What's wrong, Brock? You look a little gloomy."
"Hm…?" The raven-haired trainer cocked his head to the side as he took a step into the hot water.
It was like any other hot spring hotel with its stone flooring and properly placed smooth rocks. Water was leaking out of a Sneasel-shaped statue holding a jar of water. It was relatively misty from all the hot water combining with the cold atmosphere.
Pikachu had already scrubbed up and hit the warm waters. Ash wasn't sure if the hotel allowed pokemon into their waters, but he figured one pokemon would be okay. He'd let the rest of his team out later. Brock continued to mope while he lathered himself and rinsed.
"I don't see why you're so upset, Brock. This place is pretty cool."
"You won't understand, Ash. Maybe when you're older."
Giggles resonated in the girls' side of the hot spring. Dawn, Zoey and Candice sat in nothing but their towels in the warm waters with the natural flowing foams.
"Aw man, that hits the spot. It's been too long since I've been to a hot spring." Zoey sighed contently while leaning back against some smooth rocks.
"This is really nice. Thank you for bringing us here, Candice."
"No prob guys, it's the best I could do for Zoe and her friends."
"Hey Dawn, is Piplup okay? He looks a little red."
The coordinator took a while to locate her pokemon through the mist but Zoey was right, he did appear a little red. She got on her feet, the water going up to her upper thigh as she sloshed across the natural jacuzzi to reach her Piplup. She took a hold of the little blue penguin, startling him a little. He had his fins held over his eyes and expressed shyness.
"You okay Piplup? You're kind of red. Is the heat to much?"
"Piplup..." The pokemon chirped tiredly. He just shook his head and laid against Dawn's body for support. She left him in her arms while she carried him back over to the other girls.
Just as she was going to sit back down, the girls heard a startled yelp come from the other side.
"That sounds like Ash." Zoey pointed out.
"Do you think he's okay?" Candice wondered.
"Hm, Ash is always getting himself into trouble. Don't worry about it. Brock and Pikachu are there with him anyway."
The raven-haired trainer had been relaxing in the sauna for quite a while after Brock joined him. He noticed in the distant fog that there were some wild Mankeys and Aipoms lounging in the natural hot springs. Pikachu had swam over to one of the monkey pokemon to greet them, they chatted over something before resuming their basking in the water.
The door that led to the inside of the hotel slid open. Ash and Brock twisted over to see what other guest would be accompanying them in the hot springs. The mist made it a little hard to see but even so, Ash could distinguish the purple hair and the glaring expression from anywhere.
"Paul? You're staying here too?"
The Veilstone trainer appeared to have recognized Ash's voice and spotted his rival settling in the water. The scowl on his face became even more annoyed as he took a seat by the shower heads, pretending that the other two trainers were not there.
Ash swam up to the side of the hot spring where Paul was rinsing his hair off. He was quite curious about why his rival took this hotel of all the places to occupy. He wondered if it was for the same reason Candice brought them here. Speaking of Candice, he recalled that Paul never did battle with the gym leader. He kicked his feet in the water lightly. He wondered if he would be able to stick around long enough to see his rival fight the ice type leader. He really wanted to watch them!
"Hey Paul, how long will you be in SnowPoint? Are you going to challenge Candice any time soon?"
His rival wordlessly scrubbed his hair with shampoo. Ash put on a pout, still not used to being ignored. After Paul lathered himself and rinsed off, he turned towards the edge of the hot spring where he felt the other trainer's eyes on him. He made sure to enter the pool in a spot far away from the other bunch.
"Ash, maybe you should leave him alone. Take your mind off battling and pokemon for once."
"But what else is there to think about other than that, Brock?" Ash asked, turning away from where his rival sat.
"Pikapi, Pikachu pika." Pikachu muttered as he floated on his back past his trainer.
The raven-haired trainer sighed. Even Pikachu was telling him to leave the grumpy trainer alone. It wasn't like he was annoying Paul, was it? Ash just liked making friends with everyone and making sure they know he's a nice guy. That was why he always approached his rival with a smile. He took one last glance at the Veilstone trainer before sinking under the water.
"Hey, Ash! Wake up!"
"Haha, guess he couldn't handle the heat, eh? I'm used to Ice but even against heat I'm not that bad."
Ash didn't know what happened but his head was really warm and there was a very small breeze that helped to cool him down. He opened his eyes to see his friends hovering over him. Pikachu was by his head with a paper fan.
"Ah… What happened?"
"You were under the water for too long Ash. You kind of passed out from the heat." Brock volunteered, handing him a bottle of cool milk, which he gratefully received. Ash handed back the empty bottle with a thanks after downing the liquid, feeling more refreshed. He noticed they had moved to a different room, where he was laying on a bench. In the center of the room was a ping pong table.
"But besides Ash's botch, I had such a rejuvenating bath. Thanks for bringing us here Candice!" Dawn smiled, clapping her hands together.
"No problem, guys! The night is still young, how about a game of ping-pong?" The gym leader challenged, pulling out a paddle from seemingly nowhere.
"Alright! I'm up! Pikachu, let's tag!" Ash shot up at the mention of a challenge.
"Okay then, I get Zoe as a partner then! Get your energy on Ash!" Candice grabbed her lower classman's arm.
"Yes yes, senpai."
It turns out that Candice was actually really good at table tennis and with Zoey as her partner, Ash and Pikachu didn't stand a chance. The last play had them at 9 to 3.
"Okay, I'm definitely going to hit this one!" Ash yelled, determined as ever. He served the plastic ball, which Candice easily countered back. Pikachu swatted the ball back with his tail, which Zoey then returned. Ash maneuvered a relatively strong back hand swing, which sent the ball flying over the net and off the table.
"Another point for Team Candice! Ash, you're not really good at this are you?" Dawn laughed.
"Hey! I'm pretty good! It's just that Candice is better!" Ash pouted.
"Ash, I think you lost the ball…" Brock pointed out.
"Oh shoot. I'll go find it, guys. I think it might have rolled out the door."
Ash peeped his head out the door and spotted the small white ball right away. As he went to retrieve the piece of plastic, he heard the light padding of footsteps draw closer. He looked down the hallways and saw that it was Paul, dressed in robes and a towel draped over his head. From what Ash could conclude, he just came out of the hot spring.
"What do you want?"
"Geez, you don't have to be so mean. I was going to ask you if you wanted to play ping pong with us."
With the way Paul was staring at him, it was as if Ash randomly grew an extra head. He toyed with the tiny ball in his hand as he waited for an answer. Instead, his rival just rolled his eyes and shuffled past him.
"I don't have time to play your silly games."
"Oh, please. You've got to relax once in a while. Maybe that's why you're always so grumpy." Ash sighed.
"What would you know? Maybe 'relaxing once in a while' is the reason why you can never win against me." Paul growled.
It didn't take too much to set Ash off and that was definitely a trigger for his anger. He had enough restraint to keep himself from physically harming the other but the words that cut him deeply and he still wanted to retaliate. His grip on the plastic ball tightened and feeling something round in his hand sparked a reflex in him.
The next thing he knew, Ash had thrown the circular object at Paul. The ball bounced off his rival's head and rolled to his feet. The two were speechless for a moment.
"…Did you just throw a ping pong ball at me?"
"Uh…" Ash blinked when he realized what he had just done. His face flushed for not being able to control his actions and he had half a mind to apologize but Ash still remembered what Paul had said to him not too long ago.
"Ash?" Dawn poked her head out from the game room. "How long does it take for you to find a ping pong ball? Oh… It's Paul…"
"Ah, the ball, it's…" Ash trailed off, his gaze went over to the other trainer, who picked up the tiny ball from the floor.
"If it's this you want, you can have it back." The purple haired trainer tossed the white sphere at Ash. "I'm out of here."
Ash swallowed a lump in his throat as he caught the ball. The retreating figure of his rival stirred something in him.
"Paul! I challenge you to a game of ping pong!"
"Eh? Ash, why?" Dawn shrieked. This drew the attention of the other occupants in the room. Brock, Zoey and Candice were now standing by the entrance of the room, wondering what the commotion was about.
"…Are you serious?" Paul asked over his shoulder.
The raven-haired trainer bit his lip but held his stance. "Yes! I challenge you to a ping pong match!"
"Why don't you take his challenge, Paul? I know it's not pokemon but it does build your stamina and coordination. And since you're here anyway, what do you have to lose?"
Paul thought about Brock's words and finally, he turned to face the group.
"Fine. But one game only."
The two trainers glared at each other from across the table. Paul had the first serve. As the two swatted the tiny ball back and forth, the rest were sitting on the side observing.
"Why did you let Paul play with us? I mean, you know, it's Paul…" Dawn whispered.
"Well, mostly because Ash wanted to but also to let Paul see that it's not always about battles and training. I think he can learn a lot from Ash, when it comes to things other than pokemon." Brock explained.
"Ash actually isn't too bad at this. Neither is his challenger. I think they might be on par in this. The two have so much energy!" Candice chuckled.
Zoey just nodded, taking another sip of milk from the bottle. Watching the two, she couldn't help but be intimidated by the tension the two boys held. An idea hit her and she leaned over Dawn's shoulder to whisper an idea she thought of.
"Eh? Why?" The coordinator exclaimed, not entirely fond of the idea.
"The atmosphere is too heavy. Let's loosen it up!" Zoey winked.
Pikachu was keeping score while rooting his trainer on. It seemed to work because the score sat at 10 to 9.
"Pi, Pikachu Pikapi!"
"Yes!" Ash threw his arms up in the air and yelled at the top of his lungs as Paul missed the last ball, which made him the winner of the game.
"Hmph." Paul grunted, putting the paddle back on the table and making to leave.
"Hold it right there, Paul." Zoey got up from her seat, followed by Dawn. "I'd like to challenge you as well."
"…You have got to be kidding me." The Veilstone trainer thought.
"Nope, no joke. And I want to make this more interesting, I'm tagging with Dawn. So Paul, you'll need a partner."
"No thank you."
"What, are you scared of losing to me?" The coordinator taunted.
Zoey smirked when she saw that Paul had stopped. She knew guys like him, they were so predictable. Crossing her arms over her chest, she asked again.
"So what will it be, Paul? Play a tag match against me or back out like a sore loser?"
"…Fine, but you'll let me leave after this."
"Sure thing. Oh, and Ash is your partner."
"What? Why me?" Ash gaped. He had already experienced working together with his rival and it didn't end very well despite them winning at the end.
"Because Zoey said so." Dawn giggled, making her way next to Zoey on their side of the table.
Paul silently picked up his paddle again. Ash groaned and took his place next to Paul. The raven-haired trainer threw a frustrated glare at the girls and then glanced at his rival to see what he thought of the situation. From what Ash could tell, Paul was more focused on beating the challengers and less on working with Ash. He sighed and readied himself for the onslaught of speeding white balls.
Candice's grin was wider than ever and Brock noticed it. He laughed lightly to himself. Having fun like this, he thought, is good for everyone.
Pikachu and Piplup were in charge of score keeping. The first move went to the team of Coordinators. And so, the game began.
The girls were synchronized with one another that the team of trainers had difficulty keeping up. There were also complications in the process, in which the boys would bump into one another due to poor correspondence. The boys didn't mesh well but they were both determined to win and that was the only thing keeping them strong.
"That one is yours." Paul commanded, which Ash responded to.
"Come on, Zoey! We can totally beat those two!" Dawn encouraged and repelled Ash's attack.
The two pokemon watched the ball bounce back and forth, changing the score every now and then.
"Ah!" Ash yelled, after missing the ball.
"How did you manage to miss that one? It was such an easy hit. You are so useless." Paul grumbled.
Ash opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by Zoey, who told the trainer to calm down.
"It's just a game. We're supposed to be having fun. Stop taking things so seriously."
"Yeah! You need to chill out, Paul!" Dawn chirped. "Come on, Ash. Serve the next one."
The Pallet town trainer nodded and tossed the ball. He took a small glance over at his rival, who was so reserved, as usual. He wondered if Paul was actually really angry at the game and it made him a little sad just thinking that his rival was always so rigid. He wasn't paying too much attention because the ball unexpectedly hit him between the eyes and his vision turned white for a moment.
"Oh gosh! I'm so sorry, Ash!" Dawn gasped with her hands over her mouth. "I thought you would have been able to hit that one!"
"I'm… I'm fine." The trainer managed as he rubbed at the sore spot. He laughed a little and put on a smile to reassure the apologetic coordinator. "Really, I'm all right. Let's continue, shall we?"
"Here." Paul muttered, handing Ash his paddle that he had dropped when the ball had hit him. "We better win this. You already cost us a few points."
"Thanks, Paul." Ash genuinely grinned and took the equipment. Paul didn't say anything more but he couldn't help focusing on the smile on the other's face.
The game proceeded in a very close tie. Though no verbal communication was done, the two trainers were able to learn a little about the pattern of his partner's movements. They learned how to cover for the other when one missed. However, the Coordinators already flowed well which made them hard to fool.
In the end, the boys lost to the girls by two points. Ash didn't think it was fair and demanded a rematch. Zoey raised an eyebrow and nodded at Paul.
"Well, what about you Paul? How about another match? Your partner is asking but I think you should have some say in it."
"No thank you. I'm done for the night." Paul refused and placed the paddle down.
"Aw, come on, Paul! I'm sure we can beat them this time!"
The Veilstone trainer frowned at his rival. "You promised me one game. I stayed for two. I think you already asked enough from me. Good night."
"Ah, what a party pooper." Candice laughed as Paul left the room. "Don't worry, Ash. I'll play with you. I'm on your team this time, so we've got plenty of energy."
Ash moaned a little. Things were going fairly well near the end of the game. It wasn't too bad having Paul as a partner once he got used to having orders barked at him. The two were not horrible at the sport and the game psyched him up.
"Ah, so I'm up against senpai! This will be amusing!"
"Brock, switch with me! I want to watch!"
"Ah! That was so much fun!" Dawn cried out as she let her head hit the pillows and futon.
"Wasn't it?" Zoey agreed, folding out the blankets of her futon before slipping into the covers. "Senpai is a force to be reckoned with; not only on the battle field but also in table tennis!"
"Hah, well, it comes with practice and experience and lots of energy!"
The girls all laughed at their corner of the room while Ash, Brock and Pikachu were setting up their own futons. Brock noticed how Ash was uncharacteristically silent.
"Something on your mind Ash? You've been quiet ever since Paul left."
"Huh? Oh, it's nothing. I was just thinking about Paul and today. I wonder if he does anything like that with other people. I mean, he's not the most open person I know. I'm curious to know if he has any other friends."
"That's so like you, Ash. Always concerned about others." Brock chuckled. "But I don't think you have to worry too much. If you had fun today, I'm sure everyone else feels the same. Including Paul."
"If you think so, Brock."
"Come on, let's get to sleep. I'm tired!" Ash started, falling back on his futon and barely squishing Pikachu in the process.
Ash was pretty sure he was tired but several hours had passed and he was still wide awake. He could hear the snores and soft breathing of the other occupants in the room, which meant that everyone else had already fallen asleep. He sighed. Why couldn't he sleep? He rolled over on the mattress and closed his eyes again. Maybe his conscious will slip off if he didn't pay too much attention to it.
The trainer was just about to doze off when he heard something that sounded like the sliding of a paper door. His eye lids opened half way to scan his surroundings. It was nothing in the current room that made the mysterious sound. Ash sat up and listened again for any other kind of noise. Soft shuffling came from outside the hotel window and it made him suspicious. He tip-toed his way over to the paper windows and shifted it open a tad.
A cool breeze entered the room from outside which made Ash sigh. It was a pleasant night out, despite it being in Snowpoint City. It must have been the location the hotel was built upon because it was not all too cold outside. Sliding the rest of the window open, he saw that even though he was on the second floor of the hotel, the awning of the first floor extended quite a bit. The awning was made of the same material as the roof shingles, so it was possible for guests to step out to gaze at the sky.
There was nothing out of place from his view through the window. He put a careful step out the window. One bare foot touched the awning's cold surface followed by the other and then he was outside. The heavens were clear and dotted with a sea of stars. Ash gaped at the view. It wasn't like it was the first time he had seen a starry night. He has camped out enough to know what it looked like and many times he had counted stars to fall asleep.
"What are you doing out here?"
Ash almost slipped and fell after catching himself from not yelling at the top of his lungs. He turned to the source of the voice and pulled his hands away from his mouth.
"Paul? You're still up?"
His rival sat on the awning not too far from where Ash was standing. Ash noticed the opened window behind Paul, which he assumed lead to Paul's room.
"So are you. Are you going to answer my question?"
"Uh… I heard something, so I thought I'd take a look. I didn't know there was such a nice view out here. Maybe I should wake the others, they should really see this."
"Please don't. You already ruined the moment by being here."
"…Well, I'm sorry." Ash grumbled with sarcasm. He thought it would have been nice to share it with the rest, but whatever.
"So what about you? Why are you out here?"
The Pallet trainer felt a vein pop. What is with this guy, Ash thought, it's okay for him to ask me things but not the other way around? Instead of voicing his thoughts, the boy just sat down and stared at the endless purple canvas.
It was really quiet for a long time.
"… Uh…" Ash hesitated.
"What?" His rival repeated with a little less tolerance.
"Um… I was just going to ask if you had fun today. That's all." Ash blushed after realizing what he actually asked. He knew it wasn't really something he would talk about with his rival unless he wanted to be laughed at.
As he thought, Paul was not going to answer something so trivial. And he was totally grateful that he wasn't calling him stupid or anything. Or, at least he hadn't yet.
Just then, something in the high distance caught his eye.
"Ah! A shooting star!" Ash pointed out. "Quick! Make a wish!" He clasped his hands together and thought of something to wish for.
"…You're so childish." Ash heard his rival mutter, but he didn't say anything while he wished.
When he was done, he glanced over to Paul, who was focused on him.
"Did you wish for anything Paul?"
"No. Wishes are for fools who don't work. If you want something, you have to go and get it yourself."
What a killjoy, Ash thought. He half thought about going back into his room to sleep but it was so nice out and Paul's company made him want to stay a while longer. It wasn't too often he had a chance to converse with the other in a civil manner.
"So why did you decide to stay at this hotel anyway, Paul? There's a pokemon center here, I'm sure they still had room."
"…You didn't hear about the rumor of this place?" His rival finally answered.
"Rumor? What kind of rumor?" Ash's thought suddenly went ominous. Was the hotel haunted or something?
"So useless." Paul sighed under his breath. "The rumor goes that in room 215 of this hotel, at 2:15 in the morning, a legendary pokemon will show up."
"Oh… Oh! That rumor!" Ash got excited. "Are you staying at 215 Paul?" He got up on his feet and sat next to his rival. "I want to see this legendary pokemon! What do you think it is?"
If it bothered him, Paul didn't say anything about how close the other was sitting. He just made a face that showed that Ash should maybe shut up or else the pokemon might not show. The other trainer got the hint and hushed himself.
It was quiet again, save for the rustle of the bushes made by wild pokemon at night or the cries of Snover in the far distance. Paul didn't know exactly where this legendary pokemon would appear, or if it would even show up, but he still waited patiently. He wasn't entirely sure about which pokemon it was either, but he had his theories.
He could hear the soft breathing of the other trainer as he stared up at the sky for any signs. The soft breathing soon turned into light snores and Paul knew that Ash had fallen asleep. He rolled his eyes and kept vigilance. A weight landed on his shoulder which made the purple hair trainer flinch but then he realized it was just the idiot trainer. He made a move to push the other off but he found he couldn't do it. Instead, he sat there making grumpy faces to nobody in particular.
"I wish…" Ash whispered in his sleep. "I wish… for…"
"Be quiet, you fool. If you say your wish out loud, it'll never come true." Paul murmured to the sleeping figure.
"Paul… Friends… Nnn…"
The Veilstone trainer froze. He didn't know what to think about how the other was dreaming about it. He partially wanted to hear more but it was kind of embarrassing to think that Ash had Paul on his mind while sleeping.
Then it happened. Another light in the sky drew the trainer's attention from the unconscious body. It was not another shooting star or anything. Paul could say for sure that it appeared to be in motion. He shifted from his spot to get a closer look. From the lack of support, Ash jolted awake at the feeling of falling. He caught himself before he hit the stone surface too hard. Suddenly aware that Paul was not there, a quick observation by Ash found that his rival had moved away from him with his attention drawn upwards.
Silence settled upon the two once more as they watched the mysterious light in the sky dance in unpredictable patterns. The light flew in a little closer and the two were able to identify the legendary pokemon they were waiting for.
The lunar pokemon whirled around for a few more seconds before she jetted away, with shining particles trailing her. The two pokemon trainers stood in awe for the longest time. Neither of them moved from the spot, for fear of breaking the dream-like moment and returning them to reality.
"Pikapi…?" A sleepy cry emitted from the open window.
"Pikachu! Aw man! You just missed it!" Ash whispered excitedly to his friend. "You can't believe what we just saw! It was so amazing!"
"Piiika…" Pikachu yawned and motioned for Ash to get back in the room. "Pikachu pika pika…"
"Okay buddy, I'll be right back." Ash turned to his rival. "Thanks a lot, Paul! If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have been able to see Cresselia tonight! So, thank you and good night. I'm heading back now."
Paul didn't say anything when the other boy padded back to his room. He stood outside for a moment staring at Ash's retreating figure before returning to his own room.
"Man! That was a good sleep!" Ash yawned as he sat up from his futon.
He had a dream that he had seen Cresselia outside. And Paul was there. And he wasn't being mean either. Ash rubbed at his eyes. At least he was sure it was a dream.
Then he realized that no one else was in the room. Not even Pikachu.
"Did they all leave without me? Ah! I hope they didn't eat all the breakfast! Why didn't anybody wake me up?"
Ash struggled to throw on the rest of his clothes and made his way downstairs, nearly slipping and rolling down the stairs. He scanned for signs of his friends as he headed to the dining hall.
"Oof!" He ran into someone who was just leaving the cafeteria.
"Watch where you're going."
"Oh, Paul. Sorry about that." Ash mumbled and walked past him. He stopped to take a peek behind his shoulder at the memory of his dream. Shaking his head, he headed inside to the smell of food.
His friends were already seated at a table and were eating already. The pokemon were also being fed which made Ash feel really left out.
"You guys are so mean. Why didn't you wake me up for food?"
"We did, Ash. Several times, in fact. You just didn't get up." Zoey said as she bit off a piece of the bread she was eating.
"Pikachu pika Pikachu Pikapi." Pikachu chimed with a bottle of ketchup in his face. He didn't want to wake up his friend since he knew that Ash had slept quite late the night before.
"Don't worry about it, Ash. There's still food left." Dawn mentioned. "Take a seat, help yourself."
The group packed up and headed to the lobby so Candice was able to check them out.
"Thanks for the room, Meg! I just love staying here! I just hope I can get that room next time. I really want to see that legendary pokemon."
"We'll see about that, Candice. Thank you for staying here! I'll see you around!"
"Legendary pokemon… Cresselia?" Ash thought. "Nah, I'm pretty sure that was just a dream…"
Candice whipped her head to the trainer so fast she might have slapped someone with her braids.
"Ash! Are you telling me that you saw the legendary pokemon?"
"Huh? I- I don't know. Maybe?" Ash sweated a little at Candice's overly eager face.
The gym leader sighed. "How can you 'maybe' see it? You either saw it or you didn't. Man, I never thought the pokemon would be Cresselia… Now I really want that room!" Candice ranted to herself, totally pumped.
"Wait a minute…" Zoey interrupted her senpai's excitement. "I thought you could only see the pokemon in a certain room. Ash was with us, weren't you Ash? Shouldn't we have all seen Cresselia then as well?"
"Zoey is right. Ash, are you sure you saw it?" Dawn asked.
"Like I said, I'm not too sure myself! Maybe I really did dream the whole thing up…"
Ash was just about to pass it off as a dream when someone else came to check out of the hotel. Paul made his way past the group and handed his room key with a curt "thank you" to the receptionist. He made eye contact with Ash one last time before heading for the door.
"Paul!" The raven-haired trainer paused, unsure as to why he called out his rival's name. "Uh… Good luck with your gym battle!"
"…" Paul didn't say anything but he gave a nod of affirmation before exiting the sliding doors.
Ash liked to believe that the night before actually did happen, but he had no physical proof or evidence that it did. Paul was the only other witness to the event and he was probably not going to talk about something like that with Ash anyway. The Lunar Pokemon was known to create beautiful dreams for those who slept under its presence, so it made sense that maybe Ash dreamt up the whole thing. However, there was something ticking in the back of his mind.
"Ah, so that's my next challenger! He looks intimidating, but I'm full of energy, so he's going to have a hard time!" Candice spouted, breaking Ash from his contemplation.
The group headed out the hot spring hotel. Candice and Zoey said their goodbyes and good lucks to Ash, Dawn and Brock. The two planned to train to help Zoey get her fifth ribbon so she could compete in the Grand Festival. Ash's group's next destination was Sunyshore, so they headed to Snowpoint's port to catch the next ferry.
The raven-haired trainer took one last glimpse at the hotel. Whether the whole Cresselia and Paul scene actually happened or not, Ash was sure to treasure that thought for the rest of his days. Ash knew he made a wish (shooting star or just internal longing), and although it was a little childish, the events gave him some hope that it might come true in the end.
"Ash, come on! You're awfully slow today!" Dawn called out. "What happened to all your excitement about the next gym battle?"
"Huh? Oh yeah! I'm totally pumped again!" Ash answered, throwing a fist in the air.
AND THAT'S ALL YOU GET. I'm sorry but I suck at conclusions. I'll write something focusing on Paul's perspective some time in my life, but for now, it's all just a mystery, leaving many things unsaid and incomplete and stuff.
Who cares if this still seems friendshippy? That's how I write my romance; on levels where it's border line general and friendship. I'm so lame.
I know Snowpoint doesn't have any hotsprings. I'm not even sure why I chose Snowpoint City as the location and time. And originally, the legendary pokemon was supposed to be Jirachi but I changed it last minute to Cresselia to match the region.
So… yeah. I don't remember when I started this but it has been sitting in my files for a long time until I was looking over my annual update fic. I don't know why I started it up again but I'm glad I was able to get something complete.
If anyone else wants, I wrote some more Comashippy things that can be found on my Livejournal. The link is on my profile page, just click the appropriate tags and you'll find it...