So, I'm The Shiny Gengar, and I wrote most of this chapter.
And I'm going to say this now, don't be scared away by this chapter, Pearlshippers. You'll get plenty of Dawn and Ash action next chapter, Pichu and I will be sure to even it out with the Advanceshipping.
Ash's hand twitched, his face twisted into a cringe. Though his eyes were closed, he heard a gasp and movement. Subconsciously, he let out a soft groan, he felt as if every muscle in his body was on fire.
"Ash?" a soft, feminine voice whispered, sending a chill down his spine.
Ash swallowed and took a deep breath, forcing his eyes open a little. His vision was extremely blurry, and the harsh light virtually blinded him. He glanced to his left and noticed a slender figure bending over him. His vision was too blurry to see its face, but it appeared to have a white hat and long blue hair.
He felt something grasp his hand, causing him to glance down. He saw the figure was gently holding onto it. When he looked back up, the figure had on a green hat, and had long brown hair.
"Ash?" the voice asked again, squeezing his hand a little. He enjoyed the warm touch. Ash finally opened his eyes enough to see clearly, blinking several times to clear his vision.
"Ash!" The voice said joyfully.
Suddenly he felt weight against his body, and two arms wrap around his torso. He glanced down and saw a familiar green bandana.
"M-May?" Ash stammered. He once again felt the warmth of her body, which seemed to sooth the pain burning inside him. But the brown haired girl didn't answer Ash. She hugged him tightly, crying softly as she buried her face in his chest.
"Hey, it's okay," Ash said. He found the strength in his arms enough to hug the female, intertwining his fingers as his arms wrapped around her thin frame. He held onto her as she continued to cry, he could feel her tears dampening the hospital robe covering his body.
"You jerk..." May said, her voice muffled. "I thought I was going to lose you." She hugged him tighter.
"I-I'm sorry May," Ash stammered. "But... Um... What happened?"
May finally let go of the teen and stood up straight.
"Do you not remember?" She asked, sniffing and wiping her damp eyes with the back of her hand. "You ran out onto the field and were hit by Pikachu's Thunderbolt."
Ash's eyes widened at the mention of his beloved partner.
"Pikachu!" he exclaimed. He planted his hands onto the bed and tried to push himself up. His arms failed him and he fell backward onto his back.
"Calm down," May said gently, her wave of emotion seemed to have passed. "You're still weak, you have to rest and recover your strength."
Ash took a deep breath. "Pikachu..." he said again, "Is he okay?"
May nodded, "He's fine, he's out with Brock," she told him. Ash let out a sigh of relief.
"How long have I been out?" Ash asked, glancing around the room, looking for a clock.
May stepped over to a wooden chair sitting in a dark corner and pulled it to Ash's bedside.
"Less than a day," She said, sitting down in the chair she had pulled up. "It's early morning right now."
Ash scratched his forehead; he could feel a light tingling sensation within his skull. "And my battle?" he asked.
May shook her head. "Pikachu's attack hit you, so you were disqualified," she said sadly, once again grasping his hand and giving it a light squeeze.
"Oh," Ash said, his expression falling to disappointment. He had failed.
May saw the disappointment on his face. She smiled sadly and leaned over the bed, their lips coming into contact. They stayed like that for a few seconds before parting. May then took a deep breath.
"I'm just glad you're okay," she whispered, squeezing his hand comfortingly again.
The door clicked and a young nurse peeked into the room.
"Mr. Ketchum, I see you're awake," She said with a smile. "You have a visitor."
Ash and May exchanged glances. Ash nodded his head.
"Send him in," May said, twisting around to see who it was. The light tapping of footsteps could be heard as a young purple haired trainer stepped in, his hands in his pockets.
"Paul?" Ash asked, "What are you doing here?"
Paul stepped up to the bedside and sighed. "Well you kind of blacked out during our battle," he said, "Even a cold hearted guy like me can be a little concerned."
Ash grinned a little.
"Thanks," He said gratefully. "Say, when's your next battle?"
Paul dug through his pocket and pulled out a Pokédex. He flipped it open, causing the screen to light up. He glanced at the time in the corner of the screen before flipping the Pokédex shut. "About an hour," he said. "Come and watch it if you can."
With that, Paul turned around walked out of the room, his footsteps progressively softened as his distance grew.
"What's gotten into him?" Ash asked, "He's actually a little caring at the moment..."
May giggled. "He's not the same Paul you battled in the Lily of the Valley Conference."
Ash took a deep breath.
"I guess so," He sighed. He planted his hands firmly on the bed and once again tried to sit up, but May laid a hand on his chest and gently pushed him back down.
"You need to take it easy," She told him, keeping her hand on him.
"But Paul's battle..." Ash grumbled urgently. "I want to watch it."
May glanced over at the door before turning her attention back to Ash.
"Well, we'll see what the nurse says when she comes back," She said with a sigh. "If she gives the okay, we'll go."
Ash huffed and his brow furrowed, "Yes, mother."
May scowled and crossed her arms.
"I'm just worried!" She exclaimed.
Ash put on a comforting smile.
"Calm down," he said, grabbing her hand, "I've been hit by Pikachu's Thunder Bolts before."
May remained silent for a moment, gasping Ash's hand. "Well, this one was different," she said, "It was far more powerful than any attack he's hit you with before."
"Pika?" They suddenly heard a high-pitched voice squeak.
May twisted around and glanced at the door.
"Well speak of the devil," she said with a grin, seeing Brock and Pikachu standing in the door.
"Pikapi!" Pikachu exclaimed, racing across the room and leaping up onto Ash's bed.
"Pikachu!" Ash exclaimed happily, hugging his Pokémon.
"Well would you look at who's finally up," Brock said as he stepped over to the bed next to May. He put his hands on his hips and grinned. "How are you feeling Ash?"
Ash took a deep breath. "I've been better," he said, "But I don't feel terrible."
Brock folded his arms across his chest similar to May. "Well that's good, you took a pretty bad hit from Pikachu's Thunderbolt attack," he said.
Pikachu's ears drooped and he averted his gaze downward. "Pika-pika," he apologized sadly.
Ash hugged his Pokémon.
"It's fine Pikachu," he said reassuringly. "I'm just glad you're okay."
As he ruffled the yellow fur on Pikachu's forehead, a nurse popped her head through the door. "Mr. Ketchum? I see you're finally awake."
Ash gave her a thumbs-up and a wide grin that came naturally to him.
"Yeah, and I think I'm ready to leave too," he tried to push himself back up; bust failed, and fell back down.
"I see," The nurse said with a snicker as she studied some notes on a clip board she was holding. "We'll have to run a more few tests, but you'll probably be good to go."
"I'm so glad I'm out of there," Ash said gratefully. He and his friends were just leaving the hospital. He was sitting in a wheelchair with Pikachu in his lap.
"I don't think they would have let you out if you had stopped begging," May said, she was behind the wheelchair, pushing it away from the large hospital that towered over them,
"Yeah, and if you just relax, you'll be out of that wheelchair in no time," Brock said with a smile, walking alongside the two teens.
Ash craned his next to look over at the girl behind him.
"Hey, May, you didn't tell me how the Grand Festival went," He said, remembering that she had forgotten to tell him the night before the accident.
May inhaled and was about to speak, but a tall man wearing glasses interrupted.
"Hey, Ash!" The man said. He had midnight green hair that ran down over his ears, and wore a green shirt with a green vest. On his face was the familiar stalker like smirk Ash had grown familiar to.
"Hey, Conway," Ash said, shifting uncomfortably in his wheelchair. "What brings you here?"
Conway's smirk grew and he crossed his arms.
"This is a Pokémon league for ultimate trainers," he said, "And of course..."
He readjusted his glasses, causing the sun to reflect off them so they glowed in an eerie way, "... I am an ultimate trainer."
A shiver ran down May's spine as Conway spoke, catching the male's attention.
"And who is this?" He asked. "I don't believe we've met."
Ash gestured to May and said, "Conway, this is May. My girlfriend."
Conway gasped, but his smirk quickly returned to his face.
"I never knew ol' Ash had it in him," He said, "I always thought he would end up with Dawn."
"My name is Conway," he said, bowing slightly before offering his hand to May. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
May looked at the hand for a few seconds before slowly grabbing it, in which Conway vigorously shook.
"I-i-it's n-i-i-i-ce to-o-o me-e-e-et y-y-o-ou," May said as Conway shook her hand.
Conway let go of May, much to the girl's relief, and he turned his attention back to Ash.
"I saw what happened with Pikachu yesterday, Ash," Conway said, he closed his eyes and patted his heart, "That was a real tear breaker, what you selflessly did out there."
Ash exchanged glances with May and Brock. "Thanks... Conway..." he said.
"Anywhos," Conway continued, "It's a cryin' shame you were disqualified because of it. I was hoping to get my battle with you for first time since the Lily of the Valley conference."
Ash raised a brow.
"Well, it doesn't matter, winning this thing will be victory enough," Conway said smugly, flicking his hair from his face, "Of course, I've come up with the ultimate strategy, so I'll be unstoppable!"
"Who are up against?" Brock asked, tilting his head in curiosity.
"Ah, another one of Ash's friends," Conway said, "The infamous Paul!"
"Pika-pika?" Pikachu asked
"I think infamous is a bit of an exaggeration," Ash said with a shrug, but a smile came to his face, "But it'll be cool seeing you battle with Paul!"
"Yeah, I'm sure it'll be a great battle," Brock said, a smile also on his face "It's a good thing we'll be there to watch it."
"Paul is a tough opponent, though," May said, "Aren't you a little worried."
Conway tapped the side of his head, "I wouldn't worry too much, babe, I've got a plan."
"Babe?" May muttered quietly, a scowl now on her face.
"Well, I gotta pep talk my team now," Conway said, readjusted his glasses and reflecting the sun again. "Toodles, everyone."
"He's a strange one," May said, shivering again, "He kind of reminds me of Harley."
Ash took a deep breath, "That's Conway for you..."
"Pika-pikachu..." Pikachu agreed.
"Hello, everyone! And welcome to the second round on the red field!" the announcer shouted into a microphone, her voice blasting across the field.
On one end of the field stood Paul, who casually stood with his hands in his pockets. While on the other end, Conway stood, arms crossed and a familiar smug look on his face.
"Both of them seem pretty confident," Brock said as he observed the scene. "Who are you rooting for?"
"Paul," May said, without even the slightest bit of hesitance. "That Conway guy is creepy." As she spoke, another shiver ran her spine.
Ash chuckled and stroked Pikachu's fur. "Yeah, Conway is a bit of an oddball," he said.
"This will be a two on two double battle between the two contestants," the referee said, "The battler to knock out all of his opponent's Pokémon first will be declared the winner. Are both trainers ready?"
Paul and Conway nodded in sync. "Ready," They said together.
Conway pulled out two Pokéballs and threw them into the air. "Shuckle! Dusknoir! Go!"
"Ninjask! Drapion! I need your assistance!" Paul exclaimed as he also released his Pokémon.
The four Pokémon appeared onto the field, all taking a battle stance. On Conway's side, an eerie grey ghost type floated over the ground, while sitting next to it, a red shell sat. On the shell were white spots each with a hole. The shell shook a little before a yellow head and a set of four limbs popped out of the shell.
On the opposite side, a bug type flew above the ground, zipping around his team mate, a large Purple Pokémon. It had long arms, and a scorpion like figure. Four short legs kept it balanced and its tail swung menacingly. The intimidating look on its face was just asking for a fight.
"Perfect," Conway said, he intertwined his fingers and stretched his arms forward, cracking his knuckles. "Dusknoir! Trick Room!"
A large glowing box surrounded the entire field, letting out a low hum.
"Hey, looks like Conway is using the same strategy he used on you in the Lily of the Valley conference," Brock said, crossing his arms over his chest. "This isn't good for Paul."
"Ninjask! Use X-Scissor!" Paul exclaimed.
But Ninjask was having trouble. The wings on its back began to slow, and it fell to the ground. "Ninjask!" Paul exclaimed.
"Shuckle! Rollout!" Conway exclaimed.
In blinding speed, Shuckle shot across the field and rammed into Ninjask, sending the bug type flying.
"Wow," Brock said, his eye almost widening. "This really isn't good for Paul."
"What's wrong with Ninjask?" May asked, scratching her head.
"Trick Room manipulates speed," Brock explained, "It makes fast Pokémon go slow and slow Pokémon go fast."
"But why can't Ninjask fly?" Ash asked, watching the battle intently.
Brock took a deep breath. "Ninjask is one of the fastest known Pokémon," Brock said, "Trick Room brought its speed down so drastically, it can't flap its wings fast enough to fly and carry its own weight."
May gasped and stood up. "Come on Ninjask!" she exclaimed, "You gotta beat Conway!"
"What can Paul do?" Ash asked, adjusting his position in his wheelchair.
Brock shrugged in indifference.
"I don't know. Ninjask rely on their ability to fly," He said, deep in thought. "Plus, Shuckle is one of the slowest known Pokémon, so it'll be deadly fast."
"Wow, talk about how tides can turn," Ash said.
"Pika-pika," Pikachu agreed.
"Ninjask! Double Team! Drapion, Poison Spikes!" Paul exclaimed.
Drapion nodded and swung his tail, sending poisonous ninja stars at the ground on Conway's side of the field.
"Shuckle! Rollout!" Conway said, "Dusknoir, Fire Punch!"
Shuckle once again retreated into his shell and dashed at Ninjask, in the process running over a few poison spikes. It slammed into Ninjask again, and popped out of its shell, it didn't look like it felt very good. Dusknoir charged at Ninjask as well, with Trick Room in effect, it was able to move much faster. Its fist burst into flames, and it slammed it into Ninjask, but the bug type simply disappeared, it had already performed Double Team, several Ninjask clones appeared on the field.
In the process of trying to attack Ninjask with Fire Punch, Dusknoir came into contact with one of Drapion's toxic spikes, and was poisoned as well.
"Paul gained a little bit of an edge," Brock said, "Conway's Pokémon will be weakened a little while they're poisoned."
"Ninjask! Sand Attack!" Paul said.
One of the duplicate Ninjask shot sand in Shuckle's face, causing the poisoned Pokémon to cry out in pain.
"Dusknoir! Hit that one with Fire Punch!" Conway said, pointing to the Ninjask who had attacked. Dusknoir's fist once again burst into flames, and he threw a punch at the Ninjask that had used Sand Attack. The fist and the Pokémon collided, sending Ninjask into the sky, so high that it flew out the Trick Room box surrounding the field.
"Hey, look!" May exclaimed, pointing up at Ninjask, its wings once again began to flutter, faster and faster.
"Now that Ninjask out of the Trick Room box, it's not affected by it," Brock said in surprise. "He might be able to attack from afar."
"Ninjask! Stay up there and use Shadow Ball!" Paul exclaimed, pointing at Dusknoir, "Drapion, Bind on Shuckle!"
"Dodge it with Roll Out!" Conway exclaimed. Shuckle retreated into his shell and shot forward, dodging the Shadow Ball and evading Drapion's grasp. "Dusknoir, send Shuckle at Ninjask!"
Shuckle flew at Dusknoir, whose hand was balled up into a fist; it performed an uppercut on Shuckle, sending the speedy rock type into the sky.
"Nin!" Ninjask exclaimed right before being nailed by Shuckle. It lost its flight and tumbled back into the Trick Room box with Shuckle.
Returning to the ground, the Trick Room took effect again, and Ninjask was unable to fly.
"Drapion! Throw Ninjask back into the sky!" Paul ordered.
"Shuckle! Roll out again! Dusknoir! Stop Drapion with Fire Punch!" Conway said.
As Drapion approached Ninjask, also slowed down by Trick Room, Dusknoir appeared next to it and slugged him with the fire type attack. Shuckle rolled towards Ninjask and once again hit the bug type.
Ninjask flew across the field, and landed with a boom, swirls over its eyes.
"Ninjask is unable to battle!" The referee announced. A few fans of Conway began to cheer.
"BOOOO!" May shouted, managing to overpower the crowd. Ash and Pikachu, who were right next to her, jumped and covered their ears.
"Things aren't looking good," Ash said, "Paul's behind."
"Not necessarily," Brock said, smile and sitting back in his chair, "Don't forget. Toxic Spikes and Poison have been eating away at Shuckle and Dusknoir's health."
Indeed, Dusknoir and Shuckle were breathing heavily. "Shuckle Roll Out!" Conway said for the umpteenth time.
"Send it at Dusknoir!" Paul said.
Luckily, Drapion had enough time to swing is arm and send Shuckle flying into Dusknoir.
Suddenly, the glowing box disappeared.
"Looks like Trick Room finally wore off," Brock observed.
"Drapion! Now's our chance!" Paul exclaimed, "Crunch on Dusknoir!"
Conway pointed out into the field, the smirk and confidence on his face has disappeared and was replaced with determination. "Shuckle, Stop Drapion! Dusknoir, use Trick Room!"
Time seemed to move slow as Dusknoir prepared to put up Trick Room again. Drapion shot forward, leaping over Shuckle as it attempted to attack. It landed again and bit down on Dusknoir, fling it into the air and slamming it into the ground. When the dust around Dusknoir disappeared, everyone could see the swirls over the ghost type's eyes.
"Dusknoir is unable to battle!" The referee exclaimed. The people who were rooting for Paul burst into roars of cheers and applause.
"Paul's back in the game," Ash said.
"Take that, Conway!" May shouted.
Ash and Brock grimaced. "You really don't like Conway, do you," Ash shouted, trying to overpower the roaring crowd.
"Yeah, because he's a creep!" May shouted, "Besides, isn't Paul in a rel- Oh look at that!" She broke off in mid-sentence, pointing at the field.
"Drapion! Giga Impact!" Paul ordered. Drapion shot forward and rammed into Shuckle hard. The impact was so strong; Ash could have sworn he heard something crack. Shuckle was sent flying backwards and into the wall, knocked out.
"Shuckle is unable to battle!" The referee said, "Paul and his team of Drapion and Ninjask are the winners!"
May stood up from her seat clapping and cheering for Paul with the rest of the crowd. Conway sighed and walked over to Shuckle, when he saw it; he panicked and quickly returned the Pokémon, rushing off out of the field.
"Hey, I think something is wrong with Conway and Shuckle," Ash said as he observed the man running out of site. Paul simply returned Drapion and walked off the field, paying no heed to the cheering crowd.
"I want to go check on Conway," Ash said, trying to move his wheelchair around. "He seemed to be concerned about something."
May frowned, but when she looked at Brock, the man nodded.
"Okay," she sighed, grabbing the wheelchair's handles, "Let's go."
When they reached the stadium's Pokémon Center, they were surprised to see Paul casually leaning against the wall, checking the door to the emergency room every now and then.
"Paul? Did one of your Pokémon get badly hurt?" Ash asked.
The trainer shook his head, pointing his thumb to the door.
"It's Shuckle..." He said simply.
Conway stepped out of the door, a bit of concern on his face.
"Conway, what happened?" Ash asked, grabbing a hold of the wheels on the wheel chair and rolling over to him.
"That last attack, the Giga Impact," Conway began, rubbing his rubbing the back of his neck with his right hand. "It hurt Shuckle pretty badly, there's a crack in his shell and everything."
May gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. "The poor thing," she said, concern in her eyes.
Conway glared at her with a look of intense dislike.
"What would you care? You were cheering against me the whole time," he said, distaste in his voice, "I heard all your shouts."
"Told you that you were loud," Ash mumbled under his breath.
May was speechless she didn't know what to say. Luckily, Paul saved her and broke the silence.
"I'm sorry about what happened to Shuckle, Conway," Paul said, arms folded across his chest, "I didn't think Giga Impact would hurt it so badly."
Conway sighed and turned to Paul. May silently backed up, standing beside Ash. She grabbed his hand and held onto it, guilt was written across her face.
"Yeah, it's fine," Conway said, gesturing to Paul's Pokéballs, "Your Drapion must have been really well trained to get pasted Shuckle's defense like that."
Paul smirked and looked down at the Poison/Dark-type's Pokéball.
"Oh yeah, it's the best," He said confidently.
The day had gone by fairly quickly for Ash. He sighed as he watched the sun setting in the distance.
He glanced over at his girlfriend, who was sitting across a small, dirty table. They were sitting outside of an ice cream shop; each had a cone in hand while Pikachu ate from a bowl on the table. Brock had gone off somewhere, leaving Ash, May, and Pikachu to themselves.
"May, you've been really quiet lately," Ash said before licking his cone, "Is something the matter?"
May, who had her head resting in her hand, smiled wearily. "Oh, I just feel bad," she said, slowly licking her cone.
"Conway?" Ash asked. She nodded, sniffing a little. He figured it would be best to change the subject; a smile grew on his face. "Hey, how did the Grand Festival go?" Ash asked.
May's expression didn't change. "Um... It was interesting..." she told him.
Ash laughed. "I know that already," He said, "how'd you do?"
"May?" Ash asked, concern laced in his voice when she didn't respond. She didn't look him in the eye, and rather focused on her ice cream.
"I don't want to talk about it right now," she said, blinking several times.
Ash reached out and grabbed her hand; he had noticed she had reached for his hand several times throughout the day as a source of comfort.
"Hey," he said, looking at the girl, "it doesn't matter how far you got, I'm still really proud of you..."
May wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "I-I know," she said, smile at him sadly, "It's just with Conway and all... I don't feel like talking about it..."
Ash exchanged glances with Pikachu. It was obvious she hadn't won, but it sounded like there was more to it than that.
"I understand," Ash said, putting a comforting smile on his face.
May smiled and took a deep breath before licking her cone again.
"So how about you?" she asked, "You seem to be taking your loss fine."
"Pika-pika," Pikachu sighed, ears drooping.
"Um... Yeah..." Ash muttered quietly, a frown growing on his face as he turned his gaze to the ground, "I would have liked to have gotten farther..."
Now it was May's turned to grab Ash's hand.
"Hey," She said with a caring smile. "It's alright; you don't have to be a Pokémon Master today, just be Ash."
Ash raised a brow. "What do you mean?" he asked.
May smirked, "What would the real Ash do about this?"
May stood up leaned across the table, the smirk growing into a genuine smile.
"The real Ash would get over his loss, and kiss me," she said coyly.
Before Ash could respond, May leaned forward, locking their lips together. Ash could taste the strawberry ice cream on her lips. He hated strawberry ice cream, but it didn't matter this time.
When they broke apart, May smiled comfortingly at him. "I feel better already," Ash said with a grin.
"Pika," Pikachu huffed, crossing his arms.
"Aww, would you like a kiss too?" May asked, reaching towards the electric mouse.
"Chu!" Pikachu exclaimed as his eyes grew wide. He hopped off the table and ran away, leaving Ash and May to laugh together.
Ash sat quietly at the edge of his bed with Pikachu, the sun had lowered behind the many buildings and the star lit up the sky.
"It's been a crazy day," May said as she stepped into the room. She sat down next to Ash, careful not to accidentally sit on Pikachu. "To think this morning you... You were..."
Ash wrapped a comforting arm around May's shoulders, causing her to lean towards him, laying her head on his shoulder.
"Don't do that again," she told him. "I was really scared."
"Just don't think about it," Ash told her. The three sat there quietly for several minutes until Ash let out a yawn. May smiled at him and stood up.
"You've had a long day," May said, "Get some rest." She gently kissed him on the forehead before walking out of the room, turning off the light for the young trainer.
Although his eyes were still adjusting to the dark, Ash smiled down at Pikachu, who was already cuddling up into his bed.
With a sigh, Ash did the same, falling to sleep merely seconds after his head hit the pillow.
"The boy lives."
"Indeed, it wasn't easy, but preparation for fully restoring his mind has begun"
"I want to see how he reacts to what's about to occur, it will mess with his very sanity."
"How will he hold on?"
"The females... they are his only handle."
I promise you this, things will only get more confusing next chapter. XD