This was interesting to write, learned a chapter and a half worth of Japanese culture studying to write this fiction.
In order to keep the desired feel of the story, I decided to give the characters their Japanese names. I tried writing it with the English dub names but it didn't feel right, being that so much of the story has Japanese culture in it.
So here are the Japanese names for all the characters and a thing or two.
Ash - Satoshi
May - Haruka
Pikachu - Pikachu
Max - Masato
Brock - Takeshi
The Milky Way - Silver River
Altaria - Tyltalis
Rayquaza - Rayquaza
Gengar - Gangar
It was the perfect day, the sun was shining brightly, and not a cloud as in the sky. A cool breeze blew through the crisp air and the morning dew was just beginning to dry.
"Sendai City should be right over this hill," Masato said, punching a few buttons on his PokéNav. The map reflected off his polished glasses as he held the lit up screen to his face.
"All right!" Satoshi said excitedly, throwing his fist into the air, "Hey Haruka, race you to the top!" And with that, he broke into a run, Pikachu clinging to his shoulder tightly.
Haruka laughed and chased after him. The four, along with the breeder in the making, Takeshi, had woken up early that morning to start making their way to Sendai City, which was famous for its Tanabata festivals, which would begin that day.
Satoshi laughed and smiled as he saw the city came into view. "Whoa..." he said in awe, "Haruka! You got to see this!"
"W-what?" Haruka panted as she slugged up the rest of the slope, running uphill had never been her thing. She gasped and fell to the ground, her legs now aching.
"Come on, Haruka," Satoshi said, bending down the give his friend a hand, "Check this out."
He helped the brunette to her feet and faced back to the city. Haruka gasped as she saw the festive city. "It's beautiful," she said, the colorful city was covered with so many streamers, lanterns, and flags, Satoshi, Haruka, and Pikachu could see it all from the top of the hill. All three took deep breaths and sighed, the smell of delicious food lingered in the air.
"This is going to be awesome," Satoshi said, happily exchanging glances with Pikachu.
"Yeah, I can't wait!" Haruka said, her energy seeming to have returned, "Masato! Takeshi! Hurry up!"
The two trainers waited impatiently as their companions climbed up the hill. "Wow, Haruka," Takeshi said, finally reaching the top of the hill, "I haven't seen you in such a hurry since you were running late for that contest."
"Yeah, well can you smell that food?" Haruka asked, taking in another deep breath.
"Yeah! Let's go!" Satoshi shouted. The two trainers once again broke into a run, leaving Masato and Takeshi in their dust.
"When will they ever learn?" Takeshi asked with a smirk, shaking his head. With that, he and Masato chased after them.
"This is amazing!" Haruka said, her mouth full of food. She was sitting next to Satoshi on a bench, munching on a large cookie. "It tastes like happiness!"
Satoshi smiled and raised a brow, breaking a piece of his cookie off and handing it to Pikachu. "I didn't know happiness could have a taste," he said.
Haruka thought for a minute, blinking a few times. "Well... If it did, it would taste like this," she said, happily taking another bite of her cookie.
Satoshi let out a chuckle and took the first bite of his cookie. "It does taste really good!" he said with a smile. "Definitely what happiness tastes like."
Haruka giggled and nodded in agreement. She glanced left and right, looking around. The road they sat before was bustling with activity. Tourists, sales people, and Pokémon were walking up and down a road, marveling at the brightly colored decorations. On the sides of the roads, in front of large, towering buildings, were stands where people were selling jewelry, food, and souvenirs. The sales people in the stands were shouting and trying to get people's attention.
"I wonder where Takeshi and Masato went," she said, "I hope they're all right..."
Satoshi nodded. "I'm sure they're fine, Takeshi knows what he's doing, and Masato will keep him in check," he said, causing the two to laugh.
Haruka's eyes widened when she saw a man and a woman stepping out of a store sporting long shiny robes. The woman's was pink with yellow blossoms on it and a large yellow obi around her stomach, while the man's was completely black with a yellow belt around his waist.
A grin grew across Haruka's face. Satoshi eyed her and followed the gaze, seeing the couple walk away with the beautiful robes on.
"Come on, Satoshi," Haruka said cheerfully, standing up, "let's get a yukata for the festival!"
Satoshi cringed. "Um, but we already have clothes, we don't need-" but he was cut short when Haruka reached out and pulled him to his feet, almost causing him to drop his cookie.
"Don't be silly, we're at a festival! Let's have fun!" Haruka said as she excitedly pulled Satoshi towards the store. "I'll even buy you one!" She pushed open the door to the shop, causing the bell above it to jingle. Haruka squealed happily as she looked around at all the different outfits, Satoshi could tell they were going to be there for a while.
"Have a look around," An elderly lady behind the counter said. She had eyes like Takeshi, a wrinkled face, and her white hair was pulled back in a bun, she had on a purple yukata.
Haruka walked up to the counter, "We're looking for yukata, we just saw a man and a woman walk out wearing some lovely ones," she said politely.
The older woman smiled kindly and pointed towards the back corner. "You'll find all our yukata over there," she said, "If you have a question, just give me a shout. My name is Tomoyo by the way."
Haruka bowed politely and grinned. "Thank you," she said, she began to walk in the direction the woman had pointed, "This way, Satoshi." Satoshi exchanged glances with Pikachu and shrugged, following after Haruka.
"How do I look in this one?" Haruka asked as she twirled around in a red yukata with a shiny white obi, winking as she came to a stop. She had been trying on different colors for about thirty minutes.
Satoshi glanced at Haruka and smiled. "You look good in that one, Haruka," he said, although he lacked enthusiasm in his voice, he adjusted his position in his seat. He had already picked out his yukata, or rather, Haruka had. It was black with blue trimming and a blue belt.
Haruka frowned and walked up to Satoshi, kneeling down in front of him. "You're not yourself, Satoshi," she said, "Did I do something wrong?"
Satoshi shook his head. "No, you didn't do anything, Haruka. This just wasn't how I wanted to spend our time at the festival," he said, scratching Pikachu's head. Haruka had picked out a yukata for the electric mouse as well, who wore a small black and blue one like Satoshi.
Haruka smiled sadly. "I'm sorry," she said rising back to her feet, "I'll get this one, let's go."
Satoshi smiled, excited that they finally got to continue with the festival. They walked up to the counter, where Haruka purchased the clothing.
"You two seem excited about the festival," Tomoyo said as she scanned the price tags of their yukata.
"Yes, very!" Haruka exclaimed.
"Do you know what it's all about?" Tomoyo asked with a knowing look on her face.
Haruka and Satoshi exchanged glances. "No," Satoshi admitted.
Tomoyo smiled and gestured for them to sit, standing up and walking around the counter. "Well then sit, sit! You should know the tale," she said. Satoshi and Haruka sat down next to each other with their legs crossed while the elderly woman sat across from them.
"Have either of you heard the story 'The Princess and the Cowherd'?" Tomoyo asked. Satoshi and Haruka shook their heads. "Well we'll have to start from the beginning, then."
Once upon a time, a Cowherd named Niu Lang was told that a group of angelic women would descend from heaven and bathe in a cool lake by the mountains. Legend said that if a man were to take the red cloth from the collection of clothes they left behind, that he would be married to the owner of the cloth.
Niu Lang was very lonely, and wanted to be wed. He did as the legend told, and he fell in love with the owner of the red cloth, a girl named Zhinü, who was known up in heaven as Weaver Girl or Weaving Princess. She wove the most beautiful clothes in the universe.
Zhinü's red cloth was magic, and allowed her to fly back up to the heavens after she descended from it, but with it in the possession of Niu Lang, she was unable to return home.
Niu Lang took Zhinü to his home and the two began to fall deeply in love. The two were wed, and lived many, many happy years together. Zhinü bore two children, whom she and Niu Lang both loved very much.
But time passed, and Zhinü grew homesick. She longed to go back and see her family back up in the heavens. One day, she found the magic red cloth that Niu Lang had hidden from her, and planned to briefly return home to see her family.
But when she did, her father, the Jade Emperor, was enraged. He was not happy that his beloved daughter had been parted from him for so long. When Zhinü tried to return, he summoned the Silver River, which would forever part Zhinü from Niu Lang and her children.
The four were very sad, they cried so heavily, the Jade Emperor took pity upon them. He permitted that they could meet once a year on the seventh day of the seven month…
"And so, on the seventh day of the seventh month each year, the day Sendai City holds the Tanabata festival, Zhinü and her family are briefly reunited," Tomoyo said, "They use Tyltalis to cross the Silver River which separates them from each other."
Haruka wiped her eyes, which were watering. "It's so sad..." she said, sniffling a little, "It doesn't seem fair."
Satoshi smiled gently and rubbed Haruka's back, Pikachu patted her shoulder. "It's okay, Haruka," he assured her, "Because they get to see each other again today, right, Tomoyo?"
Tomoyo smiled and nodded. "Yes, indeed," she said. Haruka smiled hopefully and wiped her eyes the sleeve of her Yukata, "But it's said that if it rains on the day of the festival, it is a sign that the Tyltalis did not arrive to reunite the family that year, and that Niu Lang and Zhinü were not reunited."
Haruka's eyes widened. "Let's hope that it doesn't rain today then," She said.
"Ah, speaking of which..." Tomoyo said, rising to her feet. She went behind the counter again and pulled out two slips of paper that had strings attached to them. "... I want you two to have these."
Satoshi and Haruka took the pieces of paper. "What is it?" Satoshi asked, inspecting the slip of paper.
"It's a tradition to make a wish during the Tanabata festival," Tomoyo said, also handing the trainers a pair of wooden pencils. "You write your wish down on a piece of paper, and hang it from a stalk of bamboo. During the night of the festival, the bamboo with the wishes are chopped down and burned. They say it's good luck and that your wish could become true."
Haruka smiled widely and squealed. "So it's like a free shooting star?" she asked.
Tomoyo nodded. "Yes," she said, "The bamboo that everyone is hanging their wishes on is at the center of town at the plaza."
Haruka stood up; dragging Satoshi up with her, excitement sparkled in her eyes. "Let's go, Satoshi!" and with that, they dashed out of the store.
Tomoyo chuckled as she watched them leave. "Youth..." she said with a sigh.
"So what are you wishing about?" Satoshi asked, glancing over at Haruka. The two had reached the plaza and were sitting on the sidewalk, writing their wishes down. They could see the large patches of bamboo from where they sat.
Haruka retracted and hid her paper from Satoshi's view. "I can't tell you, or it won't come true!" She said.
Satoshi chuckled and finished writing his wish. "I bet you're making a wish about Zhinü and Niu Lang," he said, nudging her, "That they could be reunited forever."
"No!" Haruka said. She finished writing her wish.
"That it doesn't rain today?" Satoshi asked.
Haruka shook her head. "Nope," she said, "Now stop guessing!"
Satoshi pouted. "It's fun to guess," He said, "You try it."
"Pika pika!" Pikachu agreed.
Haruka sighed and smiled at Satoshi. "You wished you would become a Pokémon Master," she said.
"Ha! I knew it!" Haruka said triumphantly.
"Hey! Now that you know mine, you have to tell me yours!" Satoshi said, pointing at Haruka's paper "That way it's fair!"
Haruka glanced at her paper and blushed. "Um... No." she said, turning her face away from Satoshi.
"Aw, come on!" Satoshi exclaimed.
"I-I can't tell you," Haruka said, standing up and brushing her yukata off. "It's personal."
Satoshi exchanged glances with Pikachu. "Fine," he sighed, he looked disappointed though. He too stood up and also brushed off his yukata. "Alright, let's go hang these up," he said. He and Haruka walked over to a stalk of Bamboo and hung their papers with their wishes on it.
Satoshi glanced up at the sky. "Looks like some clouds are starting to billow up," he said, looking towards the north.
Haruka followed Satoshi's gaze and saw that there were indeed clouds billowing. "Oh no..." She said, "I hope it doesn't rain." The two and the Pikachu stood on the sidewalk, looking up at the ominous clouds. The billowing mass was large and dark enough to intimidate even a Gangar.
"Hey! Satoshi! Haruka! There you guys are!" they heard a young voice shout. They turned around and saw Masato and Takeshi running over to them. Masato's eyes widened when he saw what they were wearing.
"Getting into the festive mood, eh?" Takeshi asked, gesturing to Satoshi and Haruka's yukata.
"Yeah," Haruka smiled, giggling.
"Aw, I want one!" Masato pouted, "Where did you get them?"
Haruka pointed down the road towards the shop where Tomoyo worked. "Down there, across from the cookie stand," she said.
Masato began to jump up and down. "Let's go Takeshi!" Masato exclaimed already running down the road.
Takeshi turned to Haruka and Satoshi. "Before I head off, take this," he handed Satoshi a long card, and broke into a run, heading after Masato. "We'll catch up with you three later!" he shouted.
"So what is it, Satoshi?" Haruka asked, peaking over Satoshi's shoulder.
"It looks like a brochure," he said, flipping the card like paper over so that it was right side up. "It has the all the events of the festival."
"Oh! Let me see!" Haruka exclaimed, snatching the card from Satoshi's hand. She began to scan it over. "Wow... There's so much going on," She said, "There's a parade, fireworks, shows, the burning of the bamboo with our wishes..."
"Let's do it all!" Haruka squealed, throwing her hands into the air. Satoshi and Pikachu both sweat dropped.
"Whoa! Haruka! Look at that dragon!" Satoshi said, a large, manmade dragon resembling Rayquaza slithered down the road at the parade. It was obviously fake, but it still looked cool.
"Pika pika!" Pikachu exclaimed happily as well.
Haruka smiled as they watched the large float pass by. "That's amazing," she said, "How could anyone make that?"
Satoshi shrugged. "I don't know."
"Oh! Satoshi, look at those dancers!" Haruka exclaimed as she tugged on Satoshi's arm and pointed in the direction of the dancers. Satoshi glanced over and smiled as he saw women in long sleeves perform a dance.
"That's cool," he said.
Haruka's eyes glimmered dreamily. "They're all so beautiful..." she said, continuing the watch them "I hope I can dance in a parade like that someday."
Satoshi glanced at Haruka, and then at the dancers, and then at Pikachu. He smiled, "Why wait?" he asked. He grabbed Haruka by the sleeve of her yukata, and pulled her out of the crowd and away from the parade.
"S-Satoshi!" Haruka stammered.
Satoshi stopped and turned to face Haruka. "Come on, let's dance!" he said, "Just like those girls in the parade."
Haruka blushed and looked around. "B-but there are people around..." she said shyly.
Satoshi laughed and shrugged. "Who cares?" he said with a goofy grin on his face. Haruka looked up into Satoshi's eyes, seeing them full of energy and excitement; he had a charming smile on his face. Satoshi was serious about this. "Come on, Pikachu," he said.
"Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed, jumping to the ground. He and Satoshi stuck a pose and began to try to slowly dance like the people in the parade. Haruka giggled as she watched the two spin around and swing their arms.
"It does look like fun..." Haruka murmured. She closed her eyes and ignored the people around her. The memory of the dancers playing in her mind, she began to replicate their movements. She spun around and took two steps to her left, moving her hands around in the air like the dancers had.
"Oh-!" She bumped into someone and opened her eyes, finding herself face to face with Satoshi.
"You're doing great!" He said, his smile never leaving his face, "Come on!" Haruka continued the dance, a smile slowly growing on her face as she saw Satoshi clumsily attempt to mirror her movements. She laughed when he tripped over his own feet during the spin; Haruka bent over and helped him back to feet.
She froze when she heard clapping and cheering, and turned around to see a small crowd had formed around them while they had danced, she hadn't even noticed. She blushed and turned back to Satoshi, who had the same goofy grin on his face as before. He grabbed Haruka's hand, raised it into the air, and they took a bow.
"I didn't know you could dance so well," Satoshi said with a grin.
Haruka giggled. "I didn't know you couldn't," she said. The two laughed, she gave Satoshi a playful push.
"Thanks for dancing with me, Haruka," Satoshi said, Pikachu climbing back up onto his shoulder.
Haruka laughed cheerfully. "Yeah, it was fun!" she said.
Pikachu's ears perked up, he began to sniff around. "Pika?" he asked.
Satoshi took a whiff of the air. "Do you smell that, Haruka?" he asked.
Haruka closed her eyes and sniffed at the air as well, the undeniable aroma of food was once again wafting through the air. "Something smells good," she said, rubbing her stomach. She glanced around and saw a noodle shop nearby.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Satoshi asked, glancing at Haruka.
"Are you thinking noodles?" Haruka replied. Satoshi just smiled before breaking into a run towards the noodle shop. Haruka grinned as well and chased after him.
"... Satoshi..." Haruka asked, glancing out the window, seeing the skies were mostly overcast now, dark grey clouds had blanketed the sky. "Do you think it'll rain?"
Satoshi exchanged glances with Pikachu. He knew how much the story of the The Princess and the Cowherd had meant to her, and how much she didn't want it to rain. "Just because it's cloudy doesn't mean it will rain," Satoshi said, hoping to cheer her up.
Haruka smiled, but she still appeared to be worried. "You're right, Satoshi," she said. "It won't-"
Suddenly, they began to hear the noisy pitter-patter of rain outside.
"-... Rain." Haruka finished, her smiled disappearing.
Satoshi looked outside the window sadly, watching the rain fall from the sky and splatter on the street. Outside, people were bustling about, trying to find some place dry or pulling out an umbrella. Glancing around the noodle shop, many other people solemnly watched it rain.
"H-Haruka..." Satoshi stammered, glancing at the sad brunette. The girl silently stood up from the table, and began to walk away. Satoshi exchanged glances with Pikachu before quickly getting up as well. "Haruka!" he called after her.
The girl sadly stepped out into the rain, looking up at the sky. Satoshi stopped under the arch over the front door to the noodle shop. "Haruka! Come back! You might catch a cold!" Satoshi shouted.
Haruka turned to him and looked at him sadly. "The story..." she began, her voice cracking "The story gives us hope... Two people, desperately in love... But fate parted them..."
"Haruka, please! Let's talk about this inside!" Satoshi called out.
"They get to see each other one day out of an entire year... Only one day..." she continued, her eyes watering "Unless the Tyltalis don't come..."
"Why didn't the Tyltalis come, Satoshi?" she asked, a tear falling down her cheek, but it just mixed in with the rain. "A poor woman just wants to see her husband and kids again..." She began to cry, burying her face in her hands. Forgetting about getting wet, Satoshi ran out into the rain and ran up to Haruka, hugging her tightly when he reached her. Pikachu was left under the arch to observe.
"How can I expect my wish to ever come true, if a wish as simple as Zhinü's can't?" she cried, resting her head on Satoshi's shoulder, "Where's the hope?"
Satoshi rubbed Haruka's back, their Yukata now soaking wet. "I don't know, Haruka," he said gently, "I don't know."
Satoshi patted Haruka's back and brought her back to the arch, where Pikachu had been patiently waiting. He scurried over to Haruka and was quick to begin comforting her.
"Don't worry, Haruka," Satoshi said comfortingly, "There's always next year for them."
Haruka nodded and wiped her eyes. She took a few deep breaths as she began to calm down.
"And don't worry about your wish," Satoshi added, putting a smile on his face, "I'm sure it'll come true."
Haruka smiled sadly and leaned against Satoshi. "Thanks, Satoshi," she said.
The smell of smoke filled the air, and the crackling of a large fire could be heard. Satoshi and Haruka sat before a stack of bamboo that was burning. They were tired, Haruka had her head resting on Satoshi's shoulder and Satoshi was resting his head on hers. Most of the people who had been watching the fire earlier had left, even Masato and Takeshi had gone to the local Pokémon Center with Pikachu. Satoshi and Haruka were virtually by themselves.
Satoshi was struggling to stay awake, the warm fire had dried their yukata, after the rain fell, and was quite comfortable, and the starry sky above them only made him feel sleepier. "Hey Satoshi..." Haruka began, letting out a yawn.
"Yeah, Haruka?" he asked, his gaze glued to the burning bamboo.
"I had fun today," she said, "Eating food, buying yukata, listening to stories, watching the parade... Dancing..."
Haruka sighed and smiled. "... I really enjoyed dancing with you..."
Satoshi smiled, "I enjoyed dancing with you too, Haruka."
He lifted up his head as Haruka looked up at him. "You want to dance again?" she asked in a whisper, a twinkle in her eye.
Satoshi yawned. "I don't know... I'm tired..." he said.
Haruka stopped leaning against Satoshi and stood up. "It won't be a fast one, I want to teach you a new dance," she said quietly, reaching down to take Satoshi's hand. Wordlessly, Satoshi took her hand and was pulled to his feet.
"Put your hands down here," Haruka said, gently placing Satoshi's hands on her hips. "And I put my hands here," she placed her hands on his shoulders.
"Now what?" Satoshi asked, tilting his head.
Haruka smiled. "Now we just pretend a slow song is playing, and rotate," she said, she showed Satoshi the steps so that he understood the basics of what to do.
The two began to perform the simple dance in the light of the fire. Their foreheads touched as their heads leaned against each other.
"Did you have a good time?" Haruka asked, taking in the moment. She didn't know if she would ever get Satoshi to do this again.
"Yeah, I had a lot of fun," Satoshi said as they continued the dance, "Too bad it rained though..."
Haruka nodded. "Yeah... But it's okay, Zhinü and Niu Lang will get their wish next year," she said.
Satoshi smiled, looking Haruka in the eyes. "That's right," he said, the fire light was reflecting in his eyes as they slowly rotated.
Haruka gently smiled as she looked into Satoshi's auburn eyes, mesmerized by them as they were lit up by the fire light. "Speaking of wishes," she began slowly, "You never guessed my wish."
Satoshi raised a brow. "Oh yeah," he said with a slight chuckle, "What was it?"
Haruka smiled and tilted her head, her lips coming into contact with Satoshi's. She parted her lips as she began to taste Satoshi's, which still had the sugary sweetness from a pastry he had eaten earlier.
She parted their lips and smirked as she looked at his flabbergasted expression. "It doesn't matter," was Haruka's answer to his question, "I just got it."
I was listening to Dementia by Owl City in a continuous loop the entire time I wrote that. That's not weird, is it?
The Shiny Gangar