Pairing: Ash/Paul, one-sided Ash/Drew
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing! D:
Genre: Romance, little AUish
Summary: Paul works as a waiter in the local cafe and notices this strange young man that always takes the same seat next to the window and keeps staring outside...
A/N: I can't remember where I got this idea, it just came to me when I was sick last week. And world needs more Comashipping of course! And a warning, this hasn't been beta-ed, since I don't have a beta and I'm too shy to ask anyone (if anyone wants to proof-read these and just correct my typing + grammar mistakes, let me know) and I'm pretty sure it's full of errors. I feel like my English is just getting worse, but since nobody reads Pokémon fic in Finnish... Anyway, try no to let them bother too much. ^^' This was going to be a long one-shot first, but then decided to cut it in to 2 or 3 chapters.
To be honest, at first I didn't even notice him sitting there.
Our cafe has lots of customers this time of year. Maybe it's the coldness of the autumn and the pre-winter breeze that chases people to warm places that have warm drinks to offer. I was a waiter of said place and my job wasn't to get friendly with the customers, or even remember them. Some other waiters had their favorite frequent customers, whom they liked to chat with, but I wasn't like that. I was more this silent, bored type, who only did this job for money, not because I had some strange obsessions for serving people and socializing with them. My job was only to serve them some hot coffee if they wanted so. And maybe throw a fake smile or two and "welcome again" catchphrase in to the mix too sometimes.
I knew life had more to offer than this job, but I had yet to find it. I wasn't some poor student trying to raise some money by doing this kind of part time job. I was already 21-years-old, school days long behind me. Or more like, they hadn't even started for me yet. It wasn't like I was too stupid for further education. I was actually pretty clever, sharp tongued, good at reading people at the most of the time. I just still didn't know what I wanted from the rest of my life. So I had moved from my hometown to the Unova region, to this Castelia City. They said this was a place for opportunities, that you could find your dreams here, no matter what they were. To me, it had revealed to be just another disappointing place, with disappointing people. This city was filled with office people, always working and walking with their suits on, talking to their cellphones. Or then there were these bored youngsters, who didn't want to do anything but to get high. You did see Pokémon trainers here too, of course, since the City had the gym, but they didn't usually stay too long. This city had hardly any wild Pokémon to offer, so they just went straight to the gym, and then continued their journey to the next route and to the desert area.
I had once beaten this gym too, it had been almost too easy with my trustworthy new fire-type Pokémon. But those days were long behind me now. I didn't regret them, but it's not like I really wanted them back either. I guess Pokémon weren't really my thing after all. And I guess that's why I was stuck to this waiter's job in this Pokémon crazed world. Yes, I could have moved to another city or town since I was so bored here, but I didn't think it would get better by just doing that. And I kinda liked my apartment here; it had a sea-view and everything.
But that's enough of me, lets go back to him. I had just recently started to notice him. He always sat in the same corner, next to the window, always gazing out from it. He usually ordered the same thing too, normal black coffee, with some sugar in it. Never anything else, just the damn coffee. By the time he usually finished his cup I assumed the coffee was already pretty cold and undrinkable. Yes, he always sat there about on hour and then he just left, not saying anything to anyone. The days he came to cafe were always the same too. He came every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, exactly 4.15. pm. It was so weird, and maybe that's why I finally really noticed him.
It was Monday noon right now, and he was sitting at his usual spot. I was behind the desk ready to take the orders when the customers came. But at the moment, I had none which is why I found myself left free to observe him. He had no idea I studied him, as he kept staring out of the window. I couldn't see it clearly, but I felt like he was always staring the same spot, something across the street. The mysterious guy was wearing a black suit and obviously was one of those office workers who had too tiny working rooms and too low salary. He had this black hair that looked like it had once been much longer and spikier, but was now just... short. His smile was a little sad, but more like dreamy, lovestruck kind (of course, there's no way I'd really know, since I've never been in love before). From time to time, he took little sips from his coffee cup (but not ever lowering his gaze from the window) and finished the last of it just as the clock hit five, and walked out of the cafe.
So I was more than little interested in his strange behavior. Of course, he might just been a fan of our cafe and liked that seat very much, or it was just a pure habit for him to come here (after his work, before going home?), but something was telling me that there was something more to it. So under the excuse of cleaning up the table he left, I sat on his place for a second and gazed outside of the window. What was he always watching? There wasn't anything particularly interesting to be seen. Across the street there was a clothing shop for women and I strongly doubted that he was always gazing at that. Unless he was some kind of cross-dressing pervert, of course. That wouldn't be new for this city. The people here, seriously, some of them were just crazy. Then on the right of the cloth-store, there was a bookstore, but you couldn't even see inside of it, because the windows were full of piled books. There were no apartments you could stalk, so it left only one opinion; the building left to the store. It had big visible windows that showed some kind of gym or studio or something. It was empty at the moment but if I remembered right, it held dancing lessons for middle-aged women. I had seen them "dancing" (yeah, more like sweating their fat-asses off) when I was coming to work the other day.
So that guy was only stalking those dancing women?
How boring was that? I took his mug, cleaned the rest of the table and left for my duties. I don't know what I was expecting, maybe something more exciting or strange, but that guy was only a peeping tom, how sad.
And he came again the next day, I was behind the desk when he ordered his usual black coffee. His voice wasn't very deep, it had more like this boyish tone in it. He didn't even look at me, only ordering fast and then taking the usual seat next to the window. It was like rest of the customers knew it was his seat since nobody else ever dared to sit there. I took his coffee to him and got muttered "thanks" (and again, he didn't even look at me) which I barely heard. For a moment I played with the thought about saying something about his dirty habit, but finally decided to keep my mouth shut and leave for good. After all, who was I telling him what to do or what to not? It wasn't like I was better person than him, probably I was even worse. But at least my taste wasn't even near those fat middle aged women he was staring with such an intensity. I had taken myself an extra floor cleaning duty just behind his seat and could now clearly see that he was watching the dancing ladies. Maybe he got some weird kicks from it, I didn't know. I mean, he looked like an okay guy, a normal guy to be precise. But hey, aren't they always the psychopaths in the horror movies, anyway? Always the plain looking guys no one suspects... But I had cracked his secret, as I watched him finishing up his coffee just when the dancing lesson was over. The mystery was solved completely. He only came to stare one of those women (or all of them) while they were practicing dancing, always leaving right after they had left the studio.
Expect he wasn't leaving now. The studio across the street was already women-less, but he was still sitting still, gazing outside of the window a small smile on his lips. I raised an eyebrow, what was he waiting for, didn't all the women already left? I peeked out of the window too, (pretending to clean up the imaginary stain it had) there was still one person in the studio; the teacher. He was a pretty young looking guy, with green hair, wearing too thigh black pants for his own good and too gay looking purple shirt. In fact the teacher was just taking his shirt off (after the hard sweaty practice, I assumed) and I could hear the not-so-mystery customer sighing at the sight of it in front of me. So it wasn't the women he was staring at, it was the good looking teacher.
I didn't know was it more or less pathetic as I watched him leaving right after the teacher had left his studio. I cleaned his table and took his cup putting it in the dishwasher. So he was just gay, not really a peeping tom. I decided to forgot all about him and leave him in the shadows as the mystery was now truly solved. I shouldn't have let him have interest in me in the first place.
Well, that was the great plan anyway. I didn't know why I still kept watching him over the weeks. Maybe I felt sorry for the guy (which was strange, because I wasn't the type for feeling sorry for anyone, let alone complete strangers) or maybe studying him had just became a habit of mine over the weeks. He just kept staring out of the window rather than obviously doing something for the situation. I never saw him with anybody, nobody called him during his time in the cafe and I deeply wondered did the poor guy had any friends at all. Yeah, I did pity him sometimes, but other times he just got my anger boiling. He was so pathetic! There were million of guys in the world, why did he had to waste his time obsessing over somebody he probably didn't know personally and who probably didn't even know he existed. He was clearly being an idiot, wasting his life and ending up to be all alone in the life. A little like me, but not exactly. I didn't mind being single but he seemed like the type that needed other people to his side (yeah, didn't I say I was pretty good at reading people). I was pretty sure he was feeling empty and alone inside even when he didn't look like that on the outside.
...And I really needed to stop over-analyzing strangers! Especially that one.
It was only to easy my mind, I kept telling myself as I approached him with his black coffee. I didn't really want to chat with him, or get to know him. I just needed to clear my mind and get him off there. I needed to tell him that he was acting like a loser. Yes, that could cost us a customer, but I doubt one mattered that much. Insulting the customer could always make me lose my job too, but I was ready for the change if that would be the case after this. I just needed him to wake up to the reality; daydreaming about the guy wouldn't take him anywhere.
So I was basically doing the nice thing for him, how unexpected of me!
I hand down his coffee cup and waited instead of just walking away for other duties. He didn't seem to even notice I had stayed! Ugh, he was so annoying and pathetic and just about everything I didn't stand. I could almost hear his silent cries of help and I needed to answer for them. Before his stupid acting would drive me crazy.
"You know, it's not probably worth it", there, I had finally said it.
For the first time in about five months he seemed to snap out of his fantasy land turning his gaze away from the window and looking at me with his coffee brown eyes: "Excuse me?"
I nodded to the studio's direction, where I could see the green haired teacher. "I said it's not worth it. I think you are just wasting your time only staring him like that."
He didn't grab his coffee mug, but kept staring at me a faint blush on his face instead. I knew I had been right, his expression told me everything. He looked like a Zangoose who had just been caught making out with a Seviper.
"I-I don't know what you are talking about."
"I think you do. But have a nice day anyway", I gave him a meaningful look as saying I'd be watching him and I would know if he continued staring the guy. And then I went back for my duties, not looking back at all. I could feel his surprised gaze following me, and I kinda enjoyed the feeling. I had interfered and I had gotten the last word too. Now he knew his doings weren't such a secret anymore and he would need to stop it. He would get another guy and I would get my mental peace back for not needing to watch him being such a loser anymore. Everybody win. Back at the desk I secretly glanced at him, but he was nowhere to be seen anymore. Only his untouched steaming cup of coffee was on the table, but there was no sight of him. Apparently I had hit the soft spot and chased him away, at least for now.
But he was back at Thursday. I kinda knew he would. He also seemed like the type that only needed to come up with the strategy in peace and then attack, not just give up that easily. When I once again gave him his coffee (it was something that other waiters' could have done too, but since I wanted to see his mortified face when he'd see me, I took care of it) he turned his head to face me, looking angry. His cheeks were already pink, which didn't really fit in with the whole black suit imago of his. He kept staring me under his eyebrows and for a second I thought he wasn't going to say anything after all and just ignore Tuesday's accusations, but luckily, I was wrong this time. When I was about to turn away, he coughed making me head my attention to him.
"Just to let you know, I'm not staring at him like you accused me yesterday. Got it?" He said with the challenging voice which I only found funny.
"And I think you're a terrible liar. Got it?" I leered at him before nodding the goodbye, since I got a job to do, leaving him mouth open, still looking angry and embarrassed at the same time. I somehow enjoyed torturing this poor guy and seeing him getting frustrated. I guess others had fun time with their hobbies or TV and I had this.
I didn't serve his coffee next Monday since I was doing the dishes while he was fantasying about his hot dance teacher. But he confronted me already on next Tuesday. And oh boy, didn't he look pissed off.
"Fine! So what if I like to look at him? You got a problem with it?" he hissed me at the disk while trying to casually order his coffee and not making a scene.
"I never said I had a problem with it. But you know it's not probably worth it", I answered taking his money and giving him exchange.
"Argh! You're such a jerk! It's not like you know the half of it!" He shout angrily at me getting the attention of half of our customers at us. So much of not making a scene...
I could only shrug my shoulders, "well why don't you tell me the rest of it? You're already pretty talkative today. Comparing to the times, when all you do is silently drool over that guy"
"I just... argh! Just give me the damn coffee now and stop fucking around!"
I smiled at him evilly, "Oh wouldn't you wish for that", and then thanked him from coming our cafe and gave him his coffee instead of taking it to his table. Maybe I had tortured him enough of one day. He swallowed his anger and forced a tiny smile on to his face as he thanked me for the coffee before taking his usual seat and looking as pissed off as ever. Oddly, I was enjoying the sight. Starting to tease him had been one of the better decisions in my life. The time I spent in this cafe wasn't looking so boring anymore as he was here to spice things up. But at the same time, something really bothered me – he looked so familiar, like I had seen him somewhere before... I just couldn't remember where it was.
So we had a pretty rocky start, (mostly thanks to me of course, since he was such a wimp sometimes when it came to actually socializing with other people in the cafe) we were basically insulting each others every day he came to buy his coffee. He knew I knew about his secret, but that didn't seem to keep him away from the cafe. Maybe he just really needed to see that guy... And of course it wasn't like I wanted to befriend with him, he just gave some enjoyment for my boring days. But strangely, we also got to know each others more and when the time passed by the insults more or less transformed into small talk. Of course our small talk was pretty much just witty remarks or sarcastic comments at first, but I did get "better" from there over the weeks. I guess we both (well, he more of course) were in the need of somebody to talk. Or maybe we were just both pretty bored. Anyway, we became more or less... I don't want to say friends as I don't even know his name, but more like two people who tolerated each others company.
"So you actually know that guy? I always thought he was just some stranger to you", I asked when he had just revealed this brand new peace of information to me. We were both staring across the street and I tried to zoom my gaze for the millionth time, but it was pretty useless. Unless that teacher ever came to cafe I doubt I'd see what did he exactly look like. I didn't even know why the hell I was staring at him with him (god, I really needed to ask his name soon, all this "him" stuff was driving me insane). Like I had said previously, we got along better nowadays and since most of my co-workers annoyed me (well technically he did too, but not as much and I kinda liked the annoyance he caused) and I didn't feel the urge to chat with them. He usually didn't want to talk about his target of obsession too much or reveal anything that had to do anything with him, but for some reason today was different. I had asked the question and he had actually answered it. Maybe it was the spring-time, causing this all. Or maybe he just "trusted" me enough already and knew I wouldn't blackmail him or rob his apartment or do anything else that stupid.
He took a sip from his mug and looked at me with funny face. "Well of course I know him! Did you think I'd just choose some random stranger on the street and decide to fall in... well stalk him?"
"In this city everyone is more or less strangers to others, even friends", I nodded and played with the hem of my apron. It was true, everyone seemed so busy nowadays, not really having enough time to get to together with their friends. Even my brother was busy; he hadn't called me in a month and I hadn't called him. It wasn't that I missed him, but it was nice to have somebody to tell how things were in Sinnoh. But as I said, he was pretty busy. Not only raising and taking care of Pokémon (some of my old Pokémon still stayed with him) but being father and everything. And by everything I mostly mean having a pleasant family life with Maylene, the local gymleader.
"Whoa, you're saying some deep stuff today", he joked and made me remember where I was again. This was not the time to get emotional over my home region. I glared at him thinking should I be offended or not by his remark. I decided not to do it this time; I was too tired to start another "fight" today. He only smiled at my leering and focused his gaze to the teacher again (who was doing some pretty gay looking stretches at the moment) and then added, "but yeah, I know him... we met back in Hoenn when I was still a Pokémon trainer..."
I was surprised by this information too. He had been a Pokémon trainer too? Maybe that's why he looked so familiar, maybe I had met him somewhere. Maybe even battled against him? He looked about the same age as me... And I was sure I had seen him somewhere. I wasn't sure where he was from, but he had talked about Hoenn just a second ago. Was it there that I had met him? Hoenn had been the second region I had traveled. The first one with all on my own, without Reggie by my side. Or more like without me being on his side. Originally I was just going to keep him company when he took the Battle Frontier -challenge in Kanto region, but Reggie had advised I should try taking the Kanto gym -challenges at the same time. I already had my Elekid with me, but I had never seriously battled with him. Taking my brother's advice I had begun to conquer the gyms at the same time he fought with the Frontier Brains. And as the result... Well, it didn't go too well for either of us. Reggie had never defeated the head-brain; Brandon and I had got to know this while I was participating the Indigo Plateau Conference. No need to say I had got trashed pretty bad. It wasn't like I had been so weak or anything, after all, I had defeated all the 8 gyms at Kanto. But I had been completely shocked by the news that my brother had actually lost. He had been my role-model, I had learned how to battle with his guidance, he had taught me strategies. And then he had just gone and lost! What had been even worse, he told me he had been wrong, that his battle style hadn't been the right one. Since my battle style had been pretty much the same he had, it only drove me to one conclusion: I sucked too. I had lost all my confidence to my skills and my Pokémon in seconds just before I had my first preliminary round battle. And it could not have gone any worse. I had got beaten by this young arrogant boy, about my age. His Nidoking had beat all my Pokémon without even looking tired at all. But at the time I couldn't have cared less if I lost to some famous Professor's annoying grandson or not. My mind had been only focused on my brother's loss.
The lost battle against Brandon had changed Reggie. He just hadn't been the same anymore. He had used to talk about strength and how strong Pokémon were the right answer. But after the loss all he ever cared about was loving and taking care of Pokémon, strong or not. And I couldn't take it. He might have been able to change his ideals just like that but that hadn't been the case with me. I had still wanted to believe what he had previously taught me. I didn't want to care about weak Pokémon. I had wanted to win things with strong Pokémon and prove Reggie that he hadn't been wrong. Brandon had and not my brother. So we traveled back to Sinnoh, both feeling pretty defeated, where Reggie had decided to became a breeder. I had hung around for a while but then decided to travel alone to the Hoenn region when I just couldn't take my brother's new wimpy attitude (which very much reminded me of his attitude, now I that I think about it) anymore. I had swear I'd win the league with strong Pokémon...
So, had I met him during my trip to Hoenn? I watched him and his dark, almost black hair, those tiny z-marks under his cheeks, his dark brown eyes. He seemed so familiar, but then again I couldn't recall a single memory about meeting him or battling against him. Only black haired kid I had met (and remembered) and battled against had been that Brendan boy. Another kid who had family ties with the region's professor. Maybe I was destined to always battle with them... Of course I had only been something like 12-years-old when I had traveled through Hoenn, so I guess I could have just forgotten about him. It had been 9 years since then anyway.
I sighed and pretended to clean up the table next to him, as I knew my boss wouldn't like it if I just stayed chitchatting with a customer without doing any real work. No matter how few customers we had today.
"So you were a Pokémon trainer? Were you any good?" I asked him while changing tablets for the table and picking up the trashes.
He shrugged his shoulders, "I guess I was... but hey, were you a trainer too? From which region? From here?" He suddenly looked full of life when Pokémon were the topic. I guess he's one those Pokémon freaks that just can't let go of their youth and traveling days.
"I was and-" but I never got to finish that sentence when one of my co-workers yelled me to come help with the broken dishwasher. I rolled my eyes, other people just couldn't fix anything by themselves. "Sorry, gotta go and actually earn this money", I smirked at him and waved goodbyes but before being able to take even one step, he suddenly grabbed me by my arm.
"Wait, I was supposed to ask your name today! We've known each others months already and I feel stupid of not knowing it yet."
I gave him my best "are you serious" look and then tapped the little plate that was on my shirt over my chest. "It has said it in this plate since the beginning, you know. Not too hard to notice. But it's okay, since I know where your eyes always are."
He looked pretty embarrassed and let go of my arm, "heh, of course... well lets see. Paul, huh?"
"Exactly, now if you excuse me, I got work to do", and with that I finally turned round leaving him finish his coffee alone and check that green haired guy's ass once more (I knew he wasn't gonna miss it, not when the dance -teacher was doing stretches like that). But I did hear his, "I'm Ash by the way! Just to let you know", and I have to admit, it made me smile a little. So his name was Ash... There was something familiar about it too.
A/N: Thanks for reading! I try to correct most of the mistakes as soon as my eye catches them. And write the second chapter soon too (even when nobody's reading this)! :D