I'm so sorry for the long wait for this update! There's been a lot of shit going on lately, a bit too personal to post on here, but it's kind of taken my mind off of writing for the last few weeks.

On other, more happier notes, I got my pottermore letter! I'm a proud Hufflepuff and my wand is Rowan with Unicorn hair, eleven and a half inches and springy! My usernames AsphodelLumos45 if any of you want to add me. Sadly, I'm having trouble accepting friend requests because they keep on freezing!

For reviews, though:

IcecreamNuke: Yeah, I know it's kind of unexpected and random, but you are right about it being important to the plot. And Wendy isn't actually a very important character, you can forget about her if you want :P

Splitheart: I can bet you aren't pleased with this development ;) No worries, it won't last long, their relationship!

Sapphiet: I haven't quite decided on Ho-oh yet ;D and swearing does, in that family at least! I should probably stop writing it like that… but hey, it IS rated mature :P And that was me saying sorry. Anything in bold is something I'm saying :) and I meant to say 'told', not took. My mistake.

FluffyMareep: It'll be back! I promise! AND OMG REALLY YAY DID YOU GET YOUR WELCOME EMAIL?

Mijumaruwott: It will be.

Anyway. I still hate writing this story, and editing it. Hope you enjoy the chapter.

Disclaimer: I do not own pokemon.

Chapter 12

The light streaming through the window burned as I came awake, and I squinted, rising up one badly aching arm to block it out. Sunlight was a horrible thing; it always woke you up when you didn't want it to.

I went to roll over, and froze when an arm stopped me.

And the whole night came rushing back to me.

Blood rushed to my face, and I reached up a hand to clap it to my mouth. Ethan's sleeping face was turned towards me, and suddenly the aching down lower made sense. I didn't regret it, but embarrassment and terror made me start to hyperventilate.

We'd had sex. I'd had sex with Ethan Gold. We were both laying naked in my bed, and the clock read eleven o'clock, meaning Lance would be here in an hour. I started to move Ethan's arm, planning on crawling away without going unnoticed, but he jerked away. He wasn't a heavy sleeper.

Ethan's eyes stared into mine, and for a minute we just stared at each other.

Then Ethan gave an impish smile, "Aw… hey."

That was seriously the best he could come up with. I wasn't feeling much more intelligent, and all I could come up with was, "Oh… my… god."

Ethan instantly looked horrified, as if he hadn't thought that maybe I hadn't been in my right mind last night, "Holy shit, Lyra! I'm so sor-"

I slammed my hand over his mouth. No gentle fingers pressing against his lips for him, "Don't apologize, because I love you to, I don't regret anything, but Lance is going to be in here in an hour."

The worry slowly drained my Ethan's face, and I removed my hand, still weary, "You… you love me?"

Maybe that had been drastic, but there was no going back on it now, so I nodded. Ethan grabbed my face, dragging me in for a kiss. My lips were still sore from last night, but I didn't care. I just kissed him back.

When we pulled apart, I rose into a sit, "I need to shower, and you need to leave, or something."

Ethan watched me in amusement, "Either way the guards are going to tell Lance that I was here last night."

"Oh my god, I'm so screwed!" I leaped to my feet, rushing towards my dresser and pulling out a loose sundress. I couldn't wear pants over the bandages, so I suspected there would be a lot of skirts and dresses in my near future.

Turning around, I clutched the clothes to my bare chest. Ethan had risen into a sitting position, and I tried not to blush brightly as my blanket fell off of him and onto the floor, "Y-you get dressed, and then head back. I-I'll think of something to tell Lance. I'm going to shower!"

I rushed out of the room and down the hall, straight into the bathroom. Once the door at been slammed behind me, I took a deep breath and slid onto the floor, staring at the window, high up on the wall, in shock. My hand came up to rest on my throat, fingers clutching the skin there.

"What… does this mean?"

Rising to my feet shakily, I began to unravel my bandages, wincing every time a gruesome wound was revealed, but I needed a shower, badly. I felt dirty, and I'm sure I smelled like smoke, and some of me was smudged with soot. Plus… other things.

Fighting with mixed emotions, I made my way into the shower. The hot water did wonders for my sore muscles, loosening up everything, but it could only do so much for my hair. The ends remained frayed and dry, burnt and shrivelled up. I did shampoo it a lot, though and that helped to clean out the junk, soot and dirt, that was in it . I couldn't have been very seductive last night.

Oh god, last night.

Once out of the shower, I dried off and yanked on the sundress, which had a pattern of flowers on it, then picked up a pair of scissors. I knew that if I cut off to much of my hair Wendy would have my head. I'd like to just have a short, spiky due, Wendy would rip me to pieces, and so short hair was out. Instead, I just put the next few minutes into chopping off the ends, watching with detached interest as the frayed ends fell into the sink.

Once done, my hair looked choppy and uneven, but at least all the gross burnt stuff was gone. Wendy was going to have her work cut out for her, making this rag on my head look good.

Blow drying it, I fluffed it up around my head and smiled charmingly, but with the cuts around my face and a bruise that I hadn't noticed before starting to appear, although only lightly, on my left cheek, I couldn't pass as charming if that was my name.

I sat down on the toilet and redid my bandages as best as I could, pulling my dress almost over my head to do my chest. It was a sloppy job, but if I was going to the hospital than it didn't matter anyway. By the time I was done, the clock in the bathroom said eleven fifty. Lance would be here soon.

I charged out of the bathroom, expecting an empty house, and instead found Ethan sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper that got delivered daily to my house.

My eyes must have nearly bugged out of my head, because Ethan set the paper down and started to stand. I pointed at him dramatically, "What are you doing here! I told you to leave!"

I walked over to him and gave him a shove, as forceful as I could, and almost sent him onto the floor, but he caught himself, only to get shoved again. He stumbled towards the door, saying, "Hey!"

"Lance is going to be here any minute!" I gave him another push but he turned around and grabbed my wrists, effectively stopping me.

"I think Lance will understand your new boyfriend being here."

"We did not agree on being boyfriend and girlfriend!"

"So now we're just friends with benefits?"

I flushed brightly and tried to jerk my hands away from him, but he stepped closer, backing me up until I was against the counter. He leaned in close and whispered in my ear, "While that sounds fun, I'm looking for something a little more serious."

I gasped, "And this is serious?"

"It could be," Ethan's mouth roamed closer to mine, and our breath mingled. I twisted my fingers into his shirt automatically. Lance's shirt, I took note. At least Ethan was dressed. I wouldn't have put it past him for him to have sat out here naked.

"This… doesn't… feel serious," I held myself back from kissing him hungrily, instead trying to slide sideways and get away. I almost succeeded to, but he grabbed me around the waist and pinned me with his hips. I blushed bright red, thinking how this would look to anyone who happened to glance in the window at that very moment.

And then… I didn't care, because Ethan kissed me, and my thoughts rode away on a little cloud of lust.

"Oh dear Arceus," I hadn't even heard the door open and when my eyes popped open, I saw Lance standing in the open doorway, cape swirling out around him. Me and Ethan had both been getting pretty rowdy, and his shirt was almost off.

I jerked away, pushing Ethan away. He jumped back, but not nearly fast enough, so I skidded a few steps along the counter.

Lance walked farther into the room, closing the door behind him. His hair was spiked again, and he wore a slightly amused and a slightly disgusted expression on his face, "I have nothing wrong with you two doing… that, but at least bother to wear your own clothes, Ethan."

Ethan glanced down at his outfit, then smiled sheepishly, "Ah… sorry, Lance. My own stuff was in the dryer."

Lance turned to look at me, smirking, "So… either one of your Pokémon sprayed Ethan or he was out in the rain last night, am I right?" I didn't say anything, just getting redder and redder, "I'm guessing the latter."

"Shut up, Lance!" God, he was worse than a brother. I straightened my shirt and walked around the table, putting it between both of the boys, "Can we just head to the hospital, please?"

Lance laughed, then nodded, "Of course, can't have you late for your check-up. I've scheduled a haircut as well."

"Wendy's actually letting me get a haircut? With someone that's not her?" Wendy always did my haircuts, as cheesy as that sounds. She did a good job, to, but usually made it a little too extravagant for my tastes. This was like a dream come true.

He smirked, "She'll be supervising, and I'm sure that was paparazzi will be there to, but don't you worry, you won't have to say a thing. We're going with the excuse that you inhaled too much smoke and can't talk."

Oh Lance, always saving my ass. I don't know what I'd do without him. On the other hand… "You had better be gone when I get back tonight. This isn't going to be some relationship where you practically move in!" I pointed at Ethan, and Lance chuckled.

Ethan just smirked, "You might say that now, but I know you're going to depend on me!"

I sighed, "Do something productive, why don't you?"

I turned and walked towards the door, slipping on the sandals that were sitting on the matt, along with at least three pairs of sneakers and heels. They probably hadn't been touched since I'd gone missing.

Lance opened the door for me, and I waved a hand at Ethan, who returned it with a little wave of his own. Instead of Lance's dragonite today, we had another limo. I gave a little thank you to Arceus, sliding into the back seat and resting against the soft leather.

Sliding in beside me, Lance ran a hand up his spikes, causing one to stick to the side. I reached out a hand to fix it, but then Lance knocked my hand away. He was such a little boy when he wanted to be. I almost laughed.

Lance sneered at me, "So. I guess you won't need me to stay the night and watch over you anymore."

I restrained myself from reaching over and pushing him, "Let not talk about it."

"Come on, Lyra. Give me the juicy details. I know you'll tell Wendy about everything you two di-"

"Arceus, Lance!"

Lance cackled, "I'm just messing with you. I have no desire to know anything. Keep it all to yourself and I'll be happy forever."

I stared out the window anyway, "I'm not talking to you."



We both fell silent after that, just staring out opposite windows. I watched the rocky walls that surrounded the path all the way to Blackthorn cruise by with a detached interest. My thoughts kept wandering back to the night before, and every once in a while I'd flush again.

Lance hadn't been exaggerating when he said that there was going to be a lot of Paparazzi. Blackthorn was packed, and as soon as they saw my limo manoeuvring through the roads, they began taking pictures, and all started to migrate towards the hospital. Everyone wanted to see the 'not-so-dead' champion.

Recognizing my unease, Lance placed a hand on my shoulder, "Remember, you don't have to say anything. You aren't supposed to be able to talk because you might damage your voice more than it already is."

I gave a nod, and then we were pulling up to the hospital, the cameras flashing. I clutched the handle of the door, waiting impatiently as Lance walked around to open it for me. The champion always had to remain formal in public. It's what the media expected.

The amount of people yelling outside was louder than I had ever imagined, and my eyes burned with the flashes of cameras. I wanted to shield them with my hands, but instead I just bit my tongue and walked down the roped off area, Lance taking my arm and giving it a squeeze in comfort. Even though it had been announced that I wasn't 'able to talk', I still had to listen to a barrage of questions. Everyone wanted to know where I had been, about Ho-oh, things about me and Ethan. Like always, it stressed me out.

The hospital was a respite, the walls blocking out the noise from outside and I just stood there for a second, revelling in the silence, before letting Lance lead me over to the receptionists desk.

Lance leaned over the counter, saying, "Lyra Kotone here for an inspection."

The receptionist nodded, then tossed her head towards the hallway, "Head down there and take a seat. You'll be seen in a few minutes."

Following Lance down the hallway, I whispered in his ear, "Can I talk here, and aren't we supposed to give information and crap in there?"

Lance shook his head, "I already did it before hand, and don't talk around anyone besides close friends and relatives. We don't want you frigging up the media by saying the wrong thing."

I frowned, but Lance just smiled brightly, nodding at a nurse that hurried by. Grumbling under my breath, we reached the waiting room and I plopped down into a chair, glaring at the wall and probably freaking out the few other people that were also waiting.

It didn't surprise me when five minutes later we were called in, the doctor a middle aged man with a balding head. He gave a kind smile, the crow's feet at the corners of his eyes deepening, "Hello, Miss Kotone. I'll be your doctor for today. My names Mr. Ramsay."

I tried not to glare at the guy, just nodding my head and pretending that I couldn't talk.

We got led into a large, pure white room, and I took a seat on the bed.

I didn't like hospitals. They were filled with too much trauma. It had nothing to do with the smell of sick people. It just seemed like every time I entered a hospital something bad happened. Kris had too much bleeding in her pregnancy, even if she was fine in the long run. Mom's heart problems took a turn for the worse. Everything usually turned out fine, but I couldn't help being paranoid.

The doctor seemed unnerved by the glare I was giving him, and Lance stared at the side of my head with a judging look. I could hear the unease in the doctors' voice, "I'm just going to remove the bandages and check your injuries, then we'll assign you with any medicines we think necessary and give you clean bandages, plus enough to change every two days."

Despite my worries, everything went fine, and I walked out of the hospital without a broken leg or without Lance on his death bed. The paparazzi hadn't cleared off, and I squinted my eyes against the flashes of cameras, zoning out and not listening to the questions.

One step at a time. To the limo I go.

Sitting in the limo, Lance inspected the salve the doctor had given me, "It says to apply it to the wounds every morning and night. Rub in thoroughly. For deeper wounds, only apply to the edg-"

"I can read the instructions on my own, Lance."

Lance looked up at me with a glare, "No use sounding like a brat, Lyra. I'm only trying to help you, make this easier on you, take some of the weight off your shoulders."

"I'm not acting like a brat!"

"Then stop being so damn cranky!"

I glared out the window. At least our argument was getting my mind off of Ethan. Or at least it had been…

Would I see him again tonight? Did I actually love him? It was true that I felt something for him, but I'd never experienced anything like it, so I couldn't actually say. This wasn't the passionate crush I'd had for Silver all through my journey, or the slight liking I had for Ethan back when we were only teenagers. This felt… serious.

I just… I needed to talk to someone about it. Not Lance, because he was a guy. Instantly I thought Wendy, but I didn't think she'd actually provide me with any advice. She'd more smile and gush over how awesome it was for me to maybe be in love, then point out all the ways that he was in love with me.

I didn't need to hear that right now, so I made a mental note to go and see Kris. If anyone could give me advice on this kind of thing, it was Kris. I can still remember how conflicted she used to be over Morty, how she wasn't sure if they were meant to be, then how distraught she'd been to find she was pregnant. Mom hadn't been helpful than. She still didn't get along with Kris very long, though she was immature and a stupid little girl.

But I knew that she knew what love was like.

I sighed heavily, then, to get my mind off of everything again, I turned back to Lance, "How are you and Wendy?"

Lance winced, "Ah… that's hard to say."

Instantly, my eye twitched, "What'd you do?"

"It wasn't me! Arceus, don't jump to conclusions, Lyra. After you disappeared, she got angry at me for not watching you closer. She hasn't let it go since."

Well, that sure made it sound like Wendy's fault, and I knew that she would overreact like that, "Oh… I'll talk to her."

A look of relief appeared on Lance's face, "Thanks. I really like her, and I don't want to frig this u-"

"After you apologize to her."


I smiled smugly, leaning back and crossing my arms, "She's still going to be pissed off afterwards, she'll probably slap you, actually, which will be funny, but I'm not doing anything until you put in an extra effort to fix it."

Lance groaned, "But Lyra, she's scar-"

"And I'm not?"

After looking at me for a minute, Lance grimaced, "Right."

Smiling brightly, I watched as the limo pulled up to the hairdressers. This hadn't been as advertised, so there were only a few lone reporters, following a piece of gossip. When I stepped out, they instantly trotted over, taking pictures and spitting out questions, but Lance stopped them with a hand and a sweep of his cloak.

"The champion is unable to answer questions at this time. Her throat has been injured please step aside," Reluctantly the reporters moved aside, and I trotted along happily behind Lance, only remembering at the last minute to look tired and worn out instead of spritely and amused.

Wendy stood waiting at the door of the hairdressers. Lance reached out a hand, as if to take hers or pull her in for a hug, but she deftly avoided it and wrapped an arm around my waist, taking no mind of my injuries, "Lyra! You're… hair," She glared daggers at my head, but I just smiled. I was unable to talk at the moment.

With Wendy grumbling behind me and Lance holding the door, I walked into the hair dressers, instantly coughing as the smell of hair spray tickled my still slightly raw throat. Wendy patted me on the back and I swatted away her hand.

"Oh goodie! You're here!" A flamboyant woman with… blue hair appeared, grabbing my hands and clutching them, her well-manicured fingers digging into my skin, "We've been waiting all day! Every ones so excited to see the champion! It's such a shame that you can't talk, the gossip we could of heard."

I loved Lance and his lie more and more. Smiling kindly at the woman, I shrugged my shoulders and let her drag me towards a chair, which I got shoved into and spun around in front of a mirror. They must have thought I was a mess, with my scratched up face and messy hair. I felt extra ugly with my hairdressers beautiful face hovering beside mine.

She pinched my cheek, not noticing as I flinched, "My names Kailey, sweetie. You wouldn't mind with I called you Lyra, would you?" I shook my hand and she squealed, making me flinch again, "Great! I promise I'll make you beautiful, Lyra!"

Kailey fluffed up my hair, looking at it critically in the mirror, "It's pretty thin now that it's all damaged, but I should be able to manage. I'll add some layers here, then cut it slanted. You know, so it's longer in the front and shorter in the back?"

I nodded, but at the same time my heart was aching. No more ponytails or pigtails. I felt like a little piece of my childhood was getting ripped out of me, "Great! No need to wash it since you already did, and you cutting off those damaged ends Wendy was chattering about makes things a lot of quicker, though it's quite… choppily done…"

I shrugged my shoulders again, and Kailey grinned, "Doesn't matter! Doesn't make my job any harder! Let's get you a cover!"

My new pink haired 'friend' pranced away, and I leaned forward, eye twitching. I'd never met someone quite so cheery. Even Wendy couldn't match her, and Wendy could get really enthusiastic when she wanted to.

The next hour was filled with me listening to that girl chattering in my ear, the other hair dressers coming and going and squealing over how my hair was turning out, and me watching my hair fall away in heavy locks, especially near the back. The front got left long, but the back kept getting shorter and shorter.

Finally, Kailey stepped back, "All done!"

I stared at myself in the mirror, not sure if I liked it or not. My hair moved up in a slant, and when I reached back to feel the back of my head, there wasn't much to grab. It wasn't short and spiky, but it wasn't long either.

Kailey suddenly looked worried, "Do you like it? I thought it was what you'd want-"

I turned in the chair and smiled at Kailey, and she beamed brilliantly, reaching forward to give me a hug, "I'll take that as an 'I love it!' Arceus, I've never been so worried in my life! This was the most suspenseful haircut I've ever done!"

I held back a laugh with a cough, and Kailey looked worried again, "All that hairspray must have irritated your lungs! Let's get you out so you can meet up with Lance and Wendy!" I let Kailey take my hands and help me to my feet, feeling a little weak from sitting down for so long.

Lance had already paid, and I found my two friends standing at the door, arguing in hushed voice. From the look Lance gave me, I guessed that he had took my advice, but when he saw my hair he straightened up, "Geeze, you don't look half bad."

I glared at him, not saying anything since Kailey was still there. Wendy squealed loudly, rushing over and lightly playing with the ends of the longer pieces, "It's perfect! Just how I imagined it! You'll be the talk of Johto! I bet we'll find a bunch of people walking around with this hair style by tomorrow!"

I smiled weakly at Wendy, then gave Kailey a hug in thanks. Lance led me out of the shop by the elbow, and the paparazzi had doubled.

Once in the limo, Wendy on one side and Lance on the other, I said, "I miss long hair already."

Lance laughed, but Wendy just shushed me, "I've been telling you for years that you'd look good with short hair. I'm just happy I finally got my wish."

I look at her from the corner of my eye, "Just don't come after me with a charizard when I get it grown out again."

"Please leave it short, Lyra! You look amazing with short ha-"

"I don't like short hair, so it's decided."

Lance had closed his eyes and was leaning back, and Wendy gave a huff and stared out the window, and before long the tension between the two began to crackle. It was as if without me talking to fill up the silence, the two were hyper aware of each other. Lance sat stiff and silent, still with his eyes closed beside me, and Wendy kept clenching her hands into fists, like she wanted to hit something.

I sighed irritably, "Will you guys just drop it and make out already? I know you want to!"

Wendy coughed violently and Lance shoved me on the shoulder lightly, flushing bright red. It was funny, because I didn't usually see Lance blush. Then, they both exclaimed, "Lyra!"

I laughed.