Author's Note: It's been awhile, but I'm back with another batch of drabbles. Once again, these drabbles were written on dares, so the pairings (and sometimes other elements) were decided by the people who dared me. So there's no point in complaining to me if I've written for a pairing you don't like. I hope you can find something to enjoy here :)

The pairings I've written for here (in alphabetical order):

BassGuitarShipping (Nate/Roxie)
FurtherShipping (Ash/Leaf)
JetlagShipping (Cress/Skyla)
KravitzShipping (Bianca/Skyla)
LoganberryShipping (Stephan/Georgia)
MiakaneShipping (Jasmine/Whitney)
RocketShipping (Jessie/James)
SaintlyDevilShipping (Ghetsis/Georgia)
WhiteKnightShipping (Lucas/Hilda)

All's Fair in Love and War. RocketShipping – Jessie/James.

"What were you doing with him?!" James asked—it was a question long pent-up and he was unable to stop his whispering voice from breaking as he asked.

Jessie's magenta eyebrows drew together irritably as she adjusted the straps of her low-cut dress to hide the miniature radio taped to her chest just below the clavicle. "I'd think you're old enough to figure that out by now," she snapped, taking a drink off the tray of a passing waiter.

"But… I thought… I thought we…" he trailed off, hurt.

"Look," she said bluntly, "in case you've forgotten, we have a mission to complete here and we need information." She tilted her head to the side indifferently. "So we'll get it—no matter what methods we have to use."

He wanted to speak, but it was as though all his words had dropped into the churning depths of his stomach. "But… to do something like that…" he began, his voice aching with the pain of betrayal.

"All's fair in love and war," she reminded him with utter certainty. "And we are at war. So be a good soldier and just deal with it."

He took a step backwards. Deal with it? Could she honestly expect him to do that? To stand by and let her behave that way, even if it was only to a cynical end, even if her heart wasn't in it, without eating his heart out with jealousy?

Deal with it? He couldn't!

…But to refuse to deal with it… to walk away from the friendship that she and he had formed across the many years they had been together? To stop fighting the good fight they'd fought for so long? Could he deal with that? Could he ever?

All's fair in love and war… but this was both and it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair at all. How could she ask that of him? How could she expect him to soldier on against the pain her false advances would cause him?

"James?" she asked, her voice for the first time heightening with worry as he turned around and began to walk away. "What are you doing?"

"Deserting my post," he answered her bitterly without turning around.

Appetizers. MiakaneShipping – Jasmine/Whitney.

A plastic platter with nothing but a greasy paper towel to separate it from the food that was piled on it was placed on the counter in front of Jasmine. The contents of the tray featured a veritable cornucopia of breaded and deep fried foods. There were onion rings, there were chicken wings slathered with tangy buffalo sauce, there were mozzarella wedges with cheese oozing out from gaps in the breading, there were fried pickles, fried mushroom bites, and bacon-encrusted potato wedges. Her hands twitched as the smell made her mouth involuntarily start to water.

She stopped her hand before it could grasp onto any of the savory treats. She looked around at her seat-mates, embarrassed that they might've seen her about to lunge for the platter. She'd hate for them to think that she ate too much… and besides that, it would be rude to take a lot—the platter was for them all to share.

Lyra didn't seem to notice—she was too busy dipping her mozzarella wedge into the generous cup of marinara sauce. But of course she wasn't being shy about it. She was ravenous when she met up with Jasmine and Whitney—being on the road a long time without a good meal can do that to a person. So they'd gone down to Olivine Café to get a good meal in her before she caught the boat to Cianwood City and before Whitney had to go on her way too.

Whitney… now she was looking at Jasmine as though she'd noticed something. Jasmine froze, hoping that her fellow gym leader hadn't noticed her barely checked food frenzy. Whitney would probably have noticed the signs a lot more easily. They ran into each other pretty frequently since Whitney ended up in the area whenever she visited the MooMoo Farm.

Oh no, Jasmine panicked. What if she was in town and she saw me in the window of the café eating one of these samplers all by myself?! She must think I'm a pig!

"Hey Jazzy," Whitney said, munching on an onion ring, "why aren't you eating?"

Jasmine could barely find her voice. "I… I…" She looked at her hands. "I just want to make sure that there's enough for everyone."

"Aw, come on! There's plenty here!" Whitney answered. "Go on and eat as much as you want—if we need to then we can always order more."

Jasmine wanted to hide her face in her hands. "I couldn't possibly…"

"Sure you could!" Whitney insisted. "You just need to let yourself go and have a little fun. In fact…" She rapped on the table until she got the waitress's attention. "Get us a round of something mind-numbingly alcoholic with a bunch of fruit tossed into it," she said, then, as an afterthought, added, "and little umbrellas in 'em too!"

"Really, I don't think I should—" Jasmine tried.

"Don't worry so much about everything!" Whitney countered with a grin. "Let's just have fun!"

"…Fun?" Jasmine repeated weakly.

"Yeah, fun!" Whitney affirmed. "So go on and eat as much as you want because we're gonna—" she cut herself off as she stared at the suddenly empty platter.

Both Jasmine and Whitney numbly turned their gazes to Lyra whose mouth was full and whose hat, which she'd placed in front of her, was fuller. Hanging out of the brim of the hat was half an onion ring sitting on a pile of potato wedges and chicken wings.

Lyra swallowed the fried food in her mouth hurriedly and looked slightly embarrassed. "You know… I just wanted to save some food for later, that's all," she said, grinning as she blushed.

Details, Schmetails. LoganberryShipping – Stephan/Georgia.

"Ow!" Iris cried as a boot clomped down on her shoe.

Georgia stumbled as she lost her balance on the uneven surface that was another human being's foot. She barely righted herself in time to avoid falling over. "Geez, watch where you're going. Are all dragon-type trainers that clumsy or are you just the odd clod out?"

"Excuse me, but you walked into me!" Iris shouted back, incensed.

Georgia ignored this comment and began brushing herself off, though she hadn't actually fallen on the ground. She looked up in time to see someone's eyes on her. "What are you looking at?" she asked with eyes narrowed.

Stephan froze for just a moment in the face of this accusatory tone, but shrugged a second later. "There's no law against looking at someone, is there?"

Georgia crossed her arms. "That depends," she said shortly. "If you're doing it from outside someone's window, then—"

Stephan stared at her, nonplussed. "…How do you go from me just glancing at you to stalking you?"

Iris clenched her fists and glared at Georgia. "Why do you always have to treat people like that? You know he's not the kind of person who'd do something like that."

Georgia shrugged. "Maybe. I don't really know him, so he might."

Iris exploded as Stephan's mouth hung open in annoyed surprise. "Are you kidding me?! Are you saying you don't even remember him from the tournament?"

"Of course I do," Georgia answered in a superior tone. "He's…"

Stephan tensed up as he always did whenever someone was about to say his name. Sure he seemed to be cursed pronunciation-wise, but Georgia had a good eye for detail so certainly she would…

"…Dave, right?" Georgia finished.

Iris went limp and Stephan literally fell to the ground, tears of frustration streaming down his cheeks.

"That's not even close!" Iris yelled. "It's Steven!"

"Whatever," Georgia said with a shrug.

Stephan very slowly hoisted himself off the ground by his arms. Yes, he was used to people getting his name wrong, but for some reason… this last instance from Georgia hit harder than any other time.

"My name… is… STEPHAN!" he shouted to the heavens.

Dull Drifting, Full Throttle. KravitzShipping – Bianca/Skyla.

Skyla held the burner control valve in her gloved and exceptionally steady hand. She adjusted the propane release valve with precision to give the balloon just enough height not to snag on the trees below, but not so much that their flight was out of control. She stared out at the skies in front of her with an uncharacteristic look of boredom written all over her features. She sighed hugely.

Bianca turned around from the edge of the basket which she'd been peering beyond with spirited curiosity (so much spirited curiosity, in fact, that she'd nearly turned over the basket several times). She didn't know what Skyla's problem was. She'd seemed so excited earlier when they'd heard about the balloon festival and she'd said she'd always wanted to fly one. No surprise that a flying type gym leader and a pilot at that would fangirl over untapped modes of aviation. But even in Bianca's tizzy over the new experience, she'd noticed that before too long her companion's spirits had started flagging.

And honestly, Bianca didn't know what the deal was. They were up in the air! That was supposed to be Skyla's thing! And anyway, who could possibly complain? Not only was the view absolutely gorgeous with the entire festival below them visible in perfect miniature, but they'd gotten a Munna-shaped balloon. Just how adorable could you get?!

"I thought you liked flying," Bianca said to Skyla, giving words to her line of thought. "What's wrong now?"

Skyla looked one lip quiver short of a pout, but didn't seem to know quite how to put her disappointment into words. "I just… well, I do like flying… in planes! With the wind whipping at my hair! Racing through clouds! Outflying the sun! …That kind of thing. This…" she gestured at the leisurely flight path of their rented balloon, "this drifting is just so… boring!"

Bianca crossed her arms. "Well, maybe you're just not doing it right," she pointed out, moving forward. "Here," she said, taking the controls from the gym leader before she could protest otherwise. "We've just got to go full throttle," she said, tugging at the line.

With that dangerous sentence the little flame on the burner went fwoosh and towered to impressive new heights. It nearly threatened to leave its enclosure and singe their Munna-shape balloon, which would've been admittedly less adorable on fire.

"See!" Bianca yelled over the wind rushing at their little basket as the balloon rocketed jerkily upward. "This is how you fly a hot air balloon!" Skyla didn't respond, instead she just hung onto the edge of the basket and wished that she hadn't left her parachute in her other outfit.

Suddenly Bianca's laughter was a very lonely sound as the propane tanks went out and the roaring flame extinguished itself. They hung there in the air for a moment, suspended almost cartoon-style, as they watched the sad huff of smoke blow to the winds. "Whoopsies," Bianca said.

And then they plummeted earthward.

When they stopped falling they found that the balloon had been caught in a tree and hung upside down. Skyla and Bianca were tangled in the strings that attached the balloon. They swung awkward several feet in the air for a time, Bianca energetically trying to disentangle herself and Skyla swinging back and forth with her eyes closed.

Bianca gave up the fight to untie herself. Instead she eyed Skyla. "Soo… that was more fun, right?" she tried.

Skyla was silent for a moment. Then opened her eyes, held out her hand and gave a thumbs up, replying: "ABSOLUTELY!"

Liberation. SaintlyDevilShipping- Ghetsis/Georgia.

"Cast off the chains of oppression!" I cried, waving my arms expansively toward the crowd. "How can you look at yourselves and see anything but slave holders?"

I'd given this speech yesterday and the day before and the day before in different towns and the faces looked much the same. Most were confused, some were angry, and others… others had expressions of guilt. The words wore on them. Words, of course, would come first. Where words failed, action would win. But for now… for now it was about the words.

"The time has come," I declared solemnly, hoping to work the crowd into a frenzy, "for Pokemon liberation!"

"Geesh, what a nutbar," a voice said from the crowd, completely destroying the dramatic atmosphere that I had been building.

I searched for the source of the rude voice and found it in the form of a young girl. I gave her a careful looking over, from her shoes and all the way up into a striking pair of eyes made all the more piercing by their contrast with her red hair that looked at me with a mixture of disgust and disdain.

"And what, my dear," I said, sweeping toward her, "do you have against liberation?"

"Nothing," she said, puffing out her chest proudly. "I'm pretty liberated myself."

I eyed her once more. "I can see that," I said quietly. In a more audible voice I added, "Don't you think your Pokemon crave that freedom that you so enjoy?"

"My Pokemon know better than to listen to some whackjob who probably has some kind of sleazy ulterior motive," she countered, leaning forward with her arms crossed.

Disquiet slithered through my mind. I had to tread carefully. After all, this was just a girl—the crowd wouldn't take her seriously if I managed my reaction.

I gave her a pious look. "My motives are completely pure," I assured her.

She gave a very unladylike snort. "Yeah, right," she said, before turning to leave.

"You guys can listen to this weirdo if you want," she announced, walking the other way, "but I'm leaving before he starts passing around poisoned Kool-Aid or something."

I watched her as she disappeared into the distance with a frown. Someone like her in a crowd was… troublesome. It made the people less pliable, less naïve. It had surely muddled my attempts at persuasion. It would be better not to meet such a person again.

…But still, I couldn't quite regret the encounter. Perhaps it was because she was so… bold. Yes, there was just something about her.

"Liberated, are you?" I said very quietly. "Well, you enjoy that freedom… who knows how long you may have it?"

Mind Reading. Mira/Alakazam.

Alakazam stared across the table to Mira, who was engrossed in her math homework. She tapped her pencil against her forehead as though the action could somehow dislodge the answer she was seeking from her mind. Alakazam followed the rhythm of that pencil tapping for a moment with his spoons, but then grew idle. He peered at Mira, a shy curiosity in his eyes, before he choose to act. He focused his mind wholly on Mira, his eyes tinged a phosphorescent cyan.

So, I did the parenthesis first and those are taken care of, the voice of Mira filled his mind. Now I can add 17 to both sides and then… Wait. That's not right at all, is it?

Mira looked up, as though somehow feeling the intrusion in her mind. Alakazam turned away sheepishly.

"Kazam," he said, by way of an apology.

To Alakazam's surprise, Mira laugh. He turned to see her smile at him. "It doesn't bother me if you read my mind, Alakazam," she said. "You'll never find anything bad about you in there." She pointed to her own head. "Don't believe me? Just look and see."

Alakazam hesitated, unsure whether he should act or not. Then his eyes glowed once more and he listened into her mind.

He smiled.

"You see?" Mira asked cheerfully.

No Place Like… FurtherShipping – Ash/Leaf.

"There's no place like Kanto."

The words drifted through the autumn wind to Leaf's ears. There was a murmured warmth to them—as though they hadn't been so much spoken, but felt. It was an overflow of emotion, of nostalgia. She turned to the source of those words—to Ash, standing under the tree, being showered lightly with her falling namesakes.

She smiled, unable to keep the mischievous spark from her eyes. "Shouldn't you be clicking a pair of ruby slippers together when you say that?"

He straightened his hat as though to deflect embarrassment. "C'mon, Leaf, you know what I mean."

"I thought you liked traveling?" she ribbed further, leaning toward him and fixing him with a very definite look.

"It's the best," he answered. "But…" he cast his eyes toward the sleepy town square, dotted with the occasional cottage or garden. "…Well, this is good too."

She stretched, giving that unphilosophical statement some thought. "Yeah, it is," she finally agreed. "For the longest time I wanted to get away from here but… every so often it's good to come back."

"No place like home," Ash murmured again.

"No place like Pallet," Leaf specified, grinning at him.

R.I.P. Chivalry. WhiteKnightShipping – Lucas/Hilda.

Hilda popped open the top of her Red Bull, looking over the hissing, bubbling can in an expression that was more tired than annoyed at her traveling companion. "You know, you don't have to keep trying to rescue me, Lucas."

The younger boy turned from his wary surveillance of the bar. "But those guys were hassling you. I couldn't just sit there and let it happen. I had to defend you!"

Hilda pinched the bridge of her nose wearily. "Come on, Lucas. Don't you think I can handle myself? After all, I like the sound of knocking heads together. But you never let me fight my own battles."

"But you're—"

"Anyway," Hilda said, sitting up and looking rather tense, "how am I supposed to deal with my stress if you keep trying to take care of people who make me mad?" She pursed her lips. "That's not remotely satisfying."

"But… that's what I'm supposed to do, isn't it?" Lucas asked, almost uncertainly. "Fight your battles for you?" Not that he was terribly good at it, when you got right down to it, but well… weren't there certain standards that had to be upheld?

Hilda sighed. "I know you're only doing it because you care, but whenever you interfere like that it always… well, it always feels like you really care for some… weepy, wilting flower. Some kind of damsel-type character that is…" she shook her head. "Just… not me at all. I can defend myself just fine. So when you're trying to defend me you're really just caring about someone you think I should be."

Lucas stared at her. It all seemed so… backwards. But yet, wasn't Hilda's strength one of the things that had drawn him to her in the first place?

A meaty hand slammed down on the table before them. They both looked up into the drink-addled face of a man whose skin was as leathery as his wardrobe. He leered at Hilda. "Hey there, babe," was his eloquent introduction. "You're so hot you're on fire." He raised one pierced eyebrow. "Wanna stop, drop, and roll together?"

Hilda's nostrils flared, taking in the man's sour breath. "You have got to be kidding me," she said, unimpressed.

"Aww, come on, baby," the biker continued, hunkering down so as to look at her eye to eye.

"Hey," Lucas said harshly, addressing a man twice his size. "Leave her alone."

The biker blearily turned toward Lucas, seemingly having trouble focusing on him. "What're you going to do about it if I don't?"

Lucas's shoulders bunched together angrily. "I'll…" Well, he'd probably get the snot beat out of him if he tried anything, but before he could launch into an actual threat he heard a cough from Hilda's direction.

He looked at her. He looked back at the biker. He sighed and then… he let go.

"He's all yours, Hilda," he said meekly.

"Alright," Hilda said with a grin, cracking her knuckles.

The biker raised his eyebrows at the slender girl. "Wha… so I'm all yours?" He grinned stupidly. "Then you can have me!"

"Here's the only chance you're going to get," Hilda said, deciding to be fair. "Why don't you just forget you saw me and go pawn your disgustingness off somewhere else? Drunken morons aren't my type. So get lost before you get hurt."

The biker laughed. "What… so the little girl is going to beat me up now? I'd like to see you try!"

Hilda stood up, cracking her back as she rose. "You shouldn't mess with me," she warned. "After all, I have a record."

"You?" The man snorted. "What'd you do? Shoplift some gum?"

"Actually…" she trailed off slowly.

Then she jettisoned her leg upward where it connected painfully with the biker's crotch. The man slumped to the ground, sending a ripple of dust into the air as he hit the floor.

Hilda stepped over the prone figure and took a celebratory swig of her drink. She winked at Lucas. "I killed chivalry."

Science Project. JetlagShipping – Cress/Skyla.

"Please, Cress?"

Cress looked up worriedly at the figure sitting at the table across from him. Skyla was too unaccustomed to the school library to bother whispering and his interest in the plans in front of him had done nothing to dissuade her from the same line of inquiry she'd taken up since ambushing him at the lunch table earlier that afternoon.

"Wouldn't you learn more from doing it yourself?" Cress asked.

It wasn't that he was unwilling to help other students her were having trouble with their assignments. Normally it was something he would've done for anyone and especially someone like Skyla—a girl a few years older than him and incredibly interesting. She was the kind of girl that didn't fit into any school clique. She was easily as beautiful as Elesa, but didn't hang out with the popular kids in drama club. She always wore a bomber jacket over her powder blue school uniform, to an effect that clashed so much that he doubted the fashionistas would've accepted her into their circle even if she'd been interested. For a brief while, the school's tiny contingent of steampunk enthusiasts thought they'd found a friend in her, but that was before they learned that she wore goggles everyday so she could fly home by plane, not to make a statement.

Skyla rolled her eyes. "I'd learn more if I didn't have to do this project at all and could use the extra time for flying."

To Skyla, the science project was a pointless hurdle, but for Cress it was an opportunity to compete with his brothers and win. Chili's project shouldn't be too hard to beat, he'd concluded. Baking soda volcanos made for a fun spectacle, obviously, but they were a little too "elementary school" to take the top prize at the fair. Cilan would be a more difficult opponent. His project concerning the psychology of primitive plants sounded interesting, and you could count on Cilan to really do his research and present a convincing scientific argument. Cress only hoped that his hydroelectricity project was ambitious enough to top Cilan's work, but not so ambitious that it would be too much to complete.

But he knew there was no way he could beat out his brothers if he had to split his attention between his own project and someone else's. But Skyla…

…Well, it's never a nice feeling to have to say no to someone. And she was giving him a look. It wasn't a baby, blue-eyed look, no. Certainly not a pathetic "Pwease help me!" gaze. There was a glimmer there. It was determination. It was the sense that this school project was nothing more than a gnat on her windshield. Beyond the self-fulfilling world of academia there was… adventure. And she intended to spend her time in the world of endless skies and exploration, not books and a small-fry competition.

He wondered what it was like for her. He was too young to get his license, so he looked on anyone who had a car with a sense of envy. They had freedom—real freedom at their disposal. Skyla didn't have a car; she had a plane. Perhaps she was the freest of all.

"Alright," Cress relented against the look. "I won't do it for you, but I'll help you."

"Yes!" Skyla cheered, pumping her fists. She froze amid a celebratory pirouette. "…But what should we do the project on?"

Cress got up and strode over to the window—a thin rectangle of light that shown in the dank and dark library. It was small, but he could see blue sky and clouds.

"I'm thinking… aeronautics," he said with a smile.

This One Goes Out To… BassGuitarShipping – Nate/Roxie.


Nate still couldn't believe his luck, even amidst the hyped-up chants of Roxie's many fans. He'd never expected when he defeated Roxie in a gym battle that she'd actually give him a ticket to her concert. And a backstage pass too! He'd been worried she might've soured on him when her last Pokemon went down, but Roxie wasn't like that. When she'd given him the ticket he'd been so psyched to see her play, and even more just to see her again at all. He hadn't intended on staying in Virbank that long after getting his badge but… now it was starting to seem like an attractive idea.

His view of the stage was great—only occasionally encumbered by one of Roxie's fans jumping up wildly and flailing their arms. The speakers blasted pristine sound over his eardrums and the crowd was going wild.

As the current song closed, Roxie tilted her microphone upward to address the audience before the next song. "Thank you all for coming out here for the show!"

The crowd roared its equivalent of "you're welcome!"

"This next song I'd like to dedicate to…" Roxie trailed off. "Well, let's just say it's inspiring to meet such a great trainer and a great guy." She grinned. "Hopefully he knows who he is and decides to stick around so I can get to know him better."

Nate's mouth fell open as she played the opening notes.

Did she really mean…