Thoughts That Run Away. Requested by Inkorporated.

"It was a close battle for sure, but it looks like the winner is Jamie and his Monferno!"

Cheers erupted from the audience and the victor sighed and grinned, relieved. His opponent, however, looked completely crushed. Drew was sitting quite a bit away from her, but he could see the depressed look in her big, blue eyes. He pressed his clenched fist against his mouth and breathed out in a sort of frustrated manner.

Well. That was that.

This was the last contest before the Grand Festival, and she had lost. It was upsetting, certainly (moreso for her than it was for him, of course, but that was beside the point), but he knew something like this would happen eventually. For the past four years in a row, ever since her coordinating career had begun, May always received her fifth ribbon at the final contest of the season. It wasn't something she intended to happen, it just always worked out that way. It was only a matter of time before she eventually fell short.

He rose from his seat and edged his way around and through the jubilant fans. The contest technically hadn't closed yet because Jamie had yet to be presented his ribbon, but May had already shaken hands with him and left the field. Drew was hoping he could intercept her backstage before things got hectic.

She wasn't in the coordinator's lounge, which worried him. Had she already left? No, she couldn't have possibly gathered all her things together quickly enough to already be gone. It had barely taken him two minutes to get there, and May was rather slow-moving when she was disconsolate. He was usually the one who wanted to get out of a situation as quickly as possible when he was upset.

Then it hit him: slow-moving. He whipped his head around and headed out the door that led to the stage. He was lucky there was no security around, otherwise he could actually get in trouble for moving about freely when he wasn't registered in this contest.

He found her meandering the hallway back to the lounge at an unsurprisingly Slowpoke-like pace. She looked up when he approached, and pressed her lips tightly together.

"If you're here to make fun of me, don't," she spat out, though he could hear her voice crack. He stopped in front of her.

"I'm not."

That was when the tears started to come, and Drew inwardly groaned.

"May, don't cry," he admonished, glancing over her shoulder, toward the stage. "Someone will be here soon, and you don't want them to see you like this." He didn't mean to sound harsh, but it came out that way. He was merely looking out for her best interests, and it certainly wouldn't be in her "best interest" if that Jamie kid came skipping down the way and saw her crying her eyes out.

She didn't stop, though; she couldn't. Drew sighed with an edge of irritation riding on his breath and examined his surroundings. There was a door, which probably led to a broom closet of some sort. He reached out and checked if it was unlocked. It was, and he pulled her inside while silently thinking whoever managed this contest hall needed to be doing a better job.

"All right, May, here's the deal," he began as he closed to door behind him and turned to face her. "I want to help you. But I can't do the crying."

"Oh, what can you do?" she sneered, hastily wiping away her tears, though they were quickly replaced as soon as they were gone. "That was my last chance. I'm not going to the Grand Festival this year." Drew was mentally coaching himself not to snap or get angry at her for being so snide with him, especially when all he wanted to do was comfort her.

"It's not the end of the world," he said, his voice even.

"Easy for you to say. You've had your five ribbons for months now." May shook her head. "I feel like such an idiot... I should've won this! I should've picked Wartortle to face that Monferno instead of Glaceon."

"Stop dwelling. It's done, so don't do this to yourself," he ordered. May paused and looked up at him, folding her arms protectively across her chest. Her tears were finally starting to slow.

"Why are you even talking to me?" she asked. "I'm not even a worthy rival of you anymore, not if I can't at least compete in the Grand Festival."

He scoffed.

"Please, you'll always be my rival," he insisted, though his voice was dripping with sarcasm. "At least, you will be for as long as I enjoy crushing you. Which I imagine will never get old."

He didn't understand why, but for whatever reason, she smiled. Nothing huge, but it was a like a peek of sunshine through dark clouds on a rainy day. It caught him off guard, and broke down his defenses. He wouldn't admit it out loud, but he had always thought she had just about the prettiest smile in the world. Especially now. Such was not an appropriate line of thinking for someone who was supposed to be her rival, but he couldn't help it. He was regimented, but even he couldn't control his thoughts all the time. They were always running away to her.

"If anything else, you're still my friend," he said, taking a step closer to her and brushing a stray tear away with her thumb. She blushed from his touch, which he absolutely loved. It was strange; there were plenty of girls who swooned at the mere sight of him, but that was more annoying to him than anything. Whenever he managed to charm May, however (and it had been happening a lot more recently), it actually meant something to him.

Because she meant something to him.

Much more than just a rival.

Or even a friend.

"This is just one year, May. There will be plenty of other Grand Festivals after this one. Maybe you can use this as an opportunity to do some extra training."

She sniffled.

"Yeah," she seemed to agree. His hand had lingered on her cheek for a moment longer than it should have before dropping to his side.

"Feel better?" he asked.

"No, I still feel awful," she answered truthfully. He sighed.

"Just forget about it. Go home, get some ice cream, whatever you need to do to keep your mind off of things. Things'll look better tomorrow." He then did something he shouldn't have, and he knew in the back of his mind that he shouldn't have done it the moment it happened. He supposed it had to do with that whole deal of his thoughts getting away from him whenever she was around.

He pecked her on the lips. It was short, sweet, affectionate...

... and a mistake. A big mistake.

OK, so he'd always wanted to kiss her. He'd wanted to for a long time now. But he knew he couldn't have picked a worse time. He wanted her to be in her right mind, at a time when she wasn't vulnerable. At a time when she wouldn't possibly do something she would regret later, if only because she was hungry for approval since she felt like a failure.

She was surprised, but she didn't move. Neither did he. Eventually, she took a step closer to him and kissed him again with a lot more feeling. And then again. At first, he welcomed it. Again, his thoughts were getting away from him. Well, sort of. This was a little different. It was more along the lines of that his thoughts were growing fuzzy, because he'd always wanted this, and now that it was happening, it was surreal.

He was jolted back into reality, however, when her delicate fingers moved up and nimbly undid the first button on his shirt.

"May..." He broke away from her. "What are you... ?" He didn't finish the question; he didn't have to. She shrunk back, though she still clung to him, as if he would disappear or simply leave if she let go.

"I don't know," she answered feebly, her bottom lip trembling. She slowly brought her eyes, still red and glossy with tears, up to his. "Forgetting, I suppose."

His could see it in her expression: She'd never been with someone before. Although he didn't have much time to think about it, it surprised him. She certainly wasn't a drop-dead gorgeous woman, but she had a pretty face and the most beautiful blue eyes one could ever imagine. He'd never really noticed that until now, when he was so close to her that he could see the unshed teardrops caught in her eyelashes. Any man would be lucky to have her, and not just because she was attractive.

He cupped her face and moved his lips down to her neck. He felt the muscles in her throat tighten, but he knew she approved from the way she clutched the fabric on his shirt.

If she wanted to forget, fine. He could make that happen. All she had to do was drown herself in him, and he would make the world vanish for an hour, maybe more. He would make her thoughts would run away, too.

"So what are you planning to do now?" He posed the question gently, knowing this was probably the last thing she wanted to talk about now, but he couldn't help but be curious.

They were sitting in a restaurant, which at the moment was relatively empty. The dinner rush had already passed, and there were only a couple of other patrons scattered about the dining room. He'd invited her here so they could talk more in a place that wasn't a dusty old broom closet.

"I'm not sure," she confessed, flicking her eyes over to his. Her hair was mussed up and her mascara had smeared from all her crying, but he couldn't help but think in the instant their gazes connected that she was breathtakingly beautiful. Maybe it was because the person he saw before him was the real May Maple; she had no walls to duck behind. Neither did he, really. They couldn't hide from each other much longer, because they'd already seen everything.

The waitress came by and delivered their food. May had ordered a simple soup, and for a couple of minutes, she simply stared at it, stirring her spoon in the reddened liquid absentmindedly. Drew watched her carefully as she did this, and barely touched his own food himself.

"I think..." she began tepidly, "... I think I might go back to Petalburg for a little bit. Spend some time with my family, get to work on training..."

"Not a bad idea," he mused. She glanced up at him, looking a little resolute.

"I'll come back, though," she said.

"Hm?" he intoned.

"I'll come back for the Grand Festival," she clarified. "To see you compete."

"Oh..." The thought hadn't even crossed his mind, but he was happy to have her support. He reminded himself, however, that this could merely be her way of paying back her debt: He had been there for her when she needed it, and she would be there for him when he did. Drew then inwardly chuckled at the thought. Debt? What debt? He'd wanted it just as much as she apparently had.

"You have to win though, now that I'm not competing," she added with a hint of a smirk on her face. He rolled his eyes.

"Of course I'm going to win," he mocked. "That was going to happen whether you entered or not." She forced out a laugh, but it quickly died as her expression deadpanned.

"Drew..." She hesitated. "I just wanted to say... thank you."

He raised his eyebrows.

"For what?"

She shrugged.

"I don't know, for ... tonight."

Tonight was a loaded word. The overarching meaning was for being a source of comfort during a tough time, but what exactly did her thanks include? And in what context? As her rival, or as her lover? It could have been both, though he knew which he preferred.

He lowered his fork, letting it clatter against the ceramic plate.

"May, I..."

No. He couldn't say that. This time, he wasn't going to let himself get caught up in his uncharacteristically wistful thoughts.

"You're welcome," he amended. Her gaze fell and she looked... disappointed?

"It's getting late," she said. "I probably should get back to the Pokémon Center before it closes." She stood up and pushed in her chair. Then came a surprise: She bent down and, clutching Drew's shoulder, brushed her lips gently against his.

"See you soon?" she asked tentatively. Her hand had trailed down his backside before dropping off completely.

"Yeah..." He nodded.

She left shortly thereafter, and took much more than just his thoughts with her.


A/N: I screwed this up. Drew was supposed to be all seductive and amorous and like, "Just try to resist me" to May and instead he ended up being all tender and lovesick. Close enough, right? No? OK.