The Bad Habit

With the completion of Life as a King just around the corner and in celebration of Advanceshipping Day (Which I forgot about, silly me), I present a new fic: The Bad Habit. Hope you guys enjoy.

I don't own Pokémon.

Chapter 1: What If?

It was the perfect day for a crime.

The perfect day indeed.

Charles Twinthorn whistled a merry little tune as he strolled off to his shop, his keys jingling in his hands.

He was a shorter man, and not known for staying in shape. He wore a bowl hat to cover his bald head and had a white beard that could even put Santa Claus's to shame.

It was early morning, and the sun had yet to rise. Above, a few dotted stars twinkled, and the crescent moon hung in the sky. A cool morning breeze blew through the air, rustling the tree leaves that were wet with dew.

Mr. Twinthorn finished his tune and stuck his keys into the doorknob of a small thrift store. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was "his baby" and he handled the business with wisdom and care.

He probably should have paid for a better security system though.

With a click, the door unlocked, and he pushed it open. His eyes widened in shock to see a shadowy figure standing behind the desk, two fist full of money in its hands. The cash register was on the counter, busted open. Coins and dollar bills were scattered around.

"What are you doing here?!" was Twinthorn's first question, "And how did you get inside!?"

He began to stomp toward the figure, his hand in his pocket, where he could easily withdraw his pocket knife if needed. The figure jumped over the counter making a dash for the door, shoving Twinthorn out of its way.

"Stop! Thief!" He called out, clumsily rising to his feet and dashing from his store. "I've been robbed!" He exclaimed, but no one was around, it was too early in the morning. He had no choice but to helplessly watch the crook get away with his money.

Young Ash Ketchum sat outside on the main deck of a large ferry, which was just arriving in Hoenn. Typically he would be excited to be arriving in a new region, but now he was worried.

"Pika," the small Pikachu in his arms said weakly.

"It's gonna be okay, Pikachu." Ash said, watching his Pokémon worriedly.

"The ferry will be arriving shortly," a feminine voice said through the speakers.

Ash looked down with an encouraging smile. "Hear that? We'll be in town soon, and I'll take you to the nearest Pokémon Center," he promised his mouse.

"Pika pika..." Pikachu muttered weakly, a little electricity emanating from the red pouches on his cheeks.

Ash got up from his seat on the deck, and walked to the side of the ship where they would be let off.

"Come on... Come on..." Ash muttered, as if saying it would make the ship dock any faster.

The ship finally came to a halt alongside the dock, and a few minutes later, the railing was lowered so the passengers could exit.

Ash raced down to the dock and dashed away from the port, looking around for the closest Pokémon Center.

"Excuse me," Ash began stopping a man who was walking down the road. "My Pikachu is badly hurt. Do you know where the Pokémon Center of this town is?"

"You're out of luck, kid," the man replied, not stopping his steady pace. "There's no Pokémon Center here."

Ash's eyes widened, "Wha?" he began, "No Pokémon Center!" He looked around and saw a phone booth. He dashed inside and quickly called up Professor Oak.

The screen on the television phone lit up as the famous professor appeared on the screen. "Professor Oak!" Ash exclaimed in relief.

"Ash? Why hello," Oak said with a smile. "Is there a problem?"

Ash looked down at Pikachu, "It's Pikachu," he said, the mouse was wriggling around in his arms. "He's hurt, but there's no Pokémon Center nearby."

Professor Oak glanced at Pikachu on his screen and scratched his chin. "This looks serious." he said. Suddenly his face brightened as an idea came to mind. "You should call up my friend Professor Birch. He's the professor of the Hoenn region and his lab is close by. Give him a call."

After giving Ash Birch's number, Professor Oak signed off. Ash didn't hesitate to punch in the nine digit phone number.

The screen lit up with an unfamiliar face: a man with longer brown hair and a brown beard.

"Hello? This is Professor Birch." the man said. Ash let out a sigh of relief.

"Professor Birch, this is Ash Ketchum. I'm a friend of Professor Oak." he said quickly.

Birch's face brightened with a smile. "Ah yes, Oak told me you might be stopping by." he said.

"I'm in a serious situation," Ash said, once again looking down at Pikachu, "My Pikachu is hurt, and there's no Pokémon Center in this town."

Birch looked at the Pikachu, and his brow furrowed. "Oh my, this doesn't look good," he said, "Hold on, I'll be right over!"

The professor dashed away from his phone, leaving Ash to hang up. "Um... Hello?... Professor Birch?" Ash asked, but got no reply. He shrugged and left the phone booth.

May Maple rang the small bell on her bike, waving to some people she passed by on the narrow dirt trail. Today she would receive her first Pokémon from Professor Birch.

She rose over a hill at top speed, gaining a little air on her bike, and hitting the ground with an 'oof'. She had a bright smile on her face as she thought about getting her new Pokémon, and traveling around with it.


May glanced to her right, and jumped when she saw a strange looking ghost Pokémon looking her in the eye. She swerved and went off the path, rolling down the hill, unable to stop until she crashed, face planting into a tree.

"Ow..." May said before falling off her bike and onto the ground.

She shook her head and rubbed her scalp, which was covered by her red bandana. "Stupid Pokémon," she whined, she picked up her bike and began to work her way up the hill back to the trail.

She got back on her bike, looking around for the ghost that scared her before continuing down the path towards Birch's lab.

Soon, the familiar building came into view. She had reached the lab. She stopped in front of the door and parked her bike, kicking down the stand so her bike would stay up.

She got off and walked into the lab. "Professor Birch!" May called out. "It's May! I'm here for my first Pokémon!"

A young man with glasses and a long white lab coat stepped into the room. "Oh, hello, May," he said with a smile.

May smiled brightly. "Hello, is Professor Birch here?" she asked, looking around the room. It was full of strange equipment and utensils.

"I'm sorry, but the professor just left. He said it was urgent." the young man said, "He said that you should wait for him to return."

"Where did he go?" May asked, already walking out the door to go find him.

"The pier," the lab assistant replied.

May stopped and stiffened. "But that's quite a ways away." she said, turning around. "Maybe I'll just wait for him."

"Well, feel free to have a look around the lab while you wait." the man said with a smile, gesturing around the room.

A sly grin grew across May's face. "Will do."

Birch was quick to arrive and pick up Ash and Pikachu, and after slamming down on the gas, they drove away from the pier at blinding speed.

"Your Pikachu appears to be overloaded with energy!" Birch exclaimed, trying to shout over the rushing wind. "Tell me, was he exposed to powerful magnets in the last few days?"

Ash's eyes widened as he recalled his last run through with Team Rocket. "Yeah! He did!" he said, Pikachu was sparking a little more than before.

"Well we need to get him to my lab and hook him up to our machine there. It'll absorb the electricity," Birch said, "If we don't hurry, Pikachu could explode!"

Ash eyes widened. "We got to hurry!" he said.

Birch took a sharp turn and pulled up in front of his lab, almost running into May's bike. "Come inside quickly!" he said, rushing out of his car with Ash.

They burst into the lab, causing Birch's assistant to turn and look at them. "Sir, you've returned with the Pikachu." he said, rushing over.

Birch nodded, he took Pikachu from Ash's arms and laid the rodent on a machine. "Yes, Joshua, we have to hurry and absorb an overload of electricity from him." Birch said, attaching two cords to Pikachu's cheeks. His assistant was already flipping switches and pressing buttons on the device.

"By the way, sir, May arrived earlier. She's around here somewhere." he said.

Birch nodded. "No time for her right now, the Pikachu is our top priority." he said. "Is everything set?"

His assistant nodded. "It's all ready."

Birch quickly scanned over the computer monitor, checking all the stats. "Alright, turn it on." he said. The power button was pressed, and the cords lit up as they absorbed tons of electricity.

"Hey, what's going on?"

Everyone turned to the door to see May walk in, stepping up to the machine.

Suddenly, a ringing noise came from the machine. Birch looked down at the monitor. "What?! Impossible!" he exclaimed. "The machine can't possibly be over loaded with electricity already! The Thunder Stone inside should be taking it all in!"

May stiffened. "Thunder Stone?" she asked.

"Yes, it's right in-" Birch opened up a hatch to the machine and stopped short. "I-it's gone!"

Everyone peered into the cubbyhole in the machine to see there was no Thunder Stone in sight.

"It's been removed!" Birch exclaimed, running his hand through his hair in frustration.

"Sir, the machine!" The assistant said.

The machine suddenly stopped, and the lights on the device began to flicker. With a loud crash, the machine exploded, causing everyone to fall to their seats.

"Pi pika!" Pikachu exclaimed. He ran around the room blindly, bumping into things and knocking things over.

"Pikachu!" Ash exclaimed, trying to grab his Pokémon as he ran by. He missed, and rodent jumped on May's head, jumping off her and out the window.

"Pikachu! No!" Ash exclaimed, dashing out the front entrance to find his friend.

May scratched her head and looked around at the now messy room. "What was wrong with that Pikachu?" she asked.

"He's overcharged with electricity, he could explode at any moment." Birch said.

May gasped, putting her gloved hand over her mouth. "That's horrible!" she exclaimed.

Birch nodded, standing up and prepared to leave, grabbing some rope and a bag. "Indeed, that machine would have saved him, but the Thunder Stone that absorbs electricity has gone missing."

May twitched. "That's... Inconvenient," she said.

Birch made his way to the exit as well. "I hate to say it, but you'll have to wait to get your Pokémon. This is urgent." he said before pushing open the door and leaving

May stood up and followed after Birch. "Wait! I want to come with you!" She exclaimed, running out as well.


Joshua looked around at the mess Pikachu had made while running around, and sighed. "Better grab the broom..."

"Gah!" Ash exclaimed as Pikachu threw a Thunder Bolt at him, shocking him with electricity. "Pikachu! It's me! Ash!" he tried to say, but Pikachu wouldn't listen. He lunged for his Pokémon, wrapping his arms around him and holding onto him tightly. Pikachu released another powerful blast of electricity and bit down on Ash's arm.

"Ow!" Ash exclaimed, loosening his grip a little. Pikachu used the opportunity to escape his trainers grasp and run. He was delusional. Ash appeared to be a big shadowy monster. He couldn't see clearly, causing him to run right off the ledge of a large cliff.

"Pikachu, no!" Ash exclaimed, dashing over the edge of the cliff himself. As he fell, he grabbed Pikachu and grabbed hold of a nearby root sticking out of the cliff. He shouted in pain as his body slammed against the side of the cliff.

He had stopped the fall and saved Pikachu, but now he was stuck, hanging from the side of the cliff.

Pikachu continued to squirm in Ash's arms, releasing more electricity and biting down on his arm again. Ash shouted in pain, but didn't let go.

His cry of pain did catch the attention of May and Birch, though. The two exchanged glances and dashed off in the direction of the noise.

"Ash!" Birch exclaimed as they reached the cliff.

Ash looked up and was relieved to see two familiar faces. "Professor Birch!" He called up.

"Don't worry, Ash!" Birch shouted, "I brought a rope." he grabbed the rope he had slung over his shoulder and threw it down the cliff. Ash let go of the branch and quickly grabbed the rope.

"I got it!" He exclaimed. Suddenly, Pikachu lit up in sparks again, electrifying Ash.

"Alright, May, we've got to pull!" Birch said. May nodded and grabbed the rope, and together, they began to pull Ash up the cliff.

"Pikachu! Settle down!" Ash exclaimed while Pikachu wriggled around in his grip. "It's me! Ash!"

The electricity stopped, Ash looked down to see Pikachu looking up at him.

"Pika Pi?" Pikachu asked.

Ash smiled with relief. "It's okay, Pikachu, I've got you," he said. Pikachu's ears drooped with guilt as he realized what he had done, and he began to lick the bite marks he had given Ash.

Birch and May soon pulled Ash and Pikachu up. They all collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily.

"Now..." Professor Birch panted, "We need to quickly find the Thunder Stone and-"

But he was interrupted when a large claw grabbed Pikachu, causing everyone to gasp. A pair of evil laughs could be heard, which came from a large robot that had snuck up on them. It looked similar to a large battery.

"Team Rocket!" Ash exclaimed, standing up to face the robot.

"Who are they?" Birch asked, rising to his feet with May.

Ash turned to them briefly before looking back at the robot. "A bunch of no good crooks who've been trying to take Pikachu!" Ash exclaimed.

"Behold! Our greatest robot yet!" The familiar voice of Meowth said through some speakers. "Dis baby will suck the electricity right outta Pikachu, and power our robot, leaving him helpless!"

Two plates connected to wires were placed on Pikachu, and the electricity began to be absorbed.

"Pikachu! No!" Ash exclaimed, only able to watch helplessly from the sidelines.

"Um, guys, Pikachu is getting stronger," Jessie said, pointing to the yellow mouse.

"Huh?" James and Meowth asked, glancing out the window at him.

A grin grew on Pikachu's face. "Pika pika!" He exclaimed, holding his hands up, "CHUUUUUUU!" He released tons of energy, sending thousands of volts into the robot. Bolts of electricity flew everywhere, causing Ash to fall to his stomach to avoid the bolts, and May to hide behind Birch. With a loud boom, the robot blew up, sending Team Rocket blasting off.

Pikachu landed in the grass, glaring at Team Rocket as they flew away. Suddenly, his legs wobbled and gave in, he fell over, passing out.

"Good news, everyone," Professor Birch said, "It looks like Pikachu is recovering."

The four had returned to the lab, and Birch quickly checked on Pikachu's electricity levels. "It looks like that robot absorbed all his excess electricity," he explained.

Ash stroked the knocked out Pikachu's fur. "So will he be okay?" He asked, looking at the professor hopefully.

Birch smiled and nodded. "He just needs to rest, and then he'll be in tip top shape," He announced. Ash let out a sigh of relief. The boy turned around to see the familiar brunette with a red bandana, tampering with a device on the other side of the room.

"Hey, I never got your name," Ash said, causing the girl to jump and stop messing around with what she was touching. She put on a toothy grin and held her hands behind her back.

"Oh, um... It's May." She stammered.

"Oh, nice to meet you." Ash said, smiling and holding up his hand for a handshake. May looked at the hand hesitantly before removing one from her back and shaking it.

"Ah, that reminds me, May, you still need to get your first Pokémon," Birch said, rubbing his hands together and walking across the room. He opened a drawer and pulled out three Pokéballs. He opened the three balls, releasing the Pokémon inside. "May, I'd like for you to meet Mudkip, Treecko, and Torchic."

"Oh wow, those are so cool," Ash said, bending forward and setting his hands on his knees.

May shifted a little away from the small green Pokémon on the ground. "That one's creepy," she said, pointing to Treecko. The grass type slumped a bit at being rejected.

"Aww, don't be like that, May." Ash said, kneeling next to the Treecko and stroking it's head, "It's a cool Pokémon." Ash's comment caused Treecko to stand up straight again.

"This one is really cute," May said, kneeling down next to Mudkip, patting its head like Ash did to Treecko.

"Torchic!" The last Pokémon chirped, angry that it had yet to be noticed. It hopped over to May and began to nuzzle its head into her leg.

"Aww, this one is adorable." May said, turning her attention away from Mudkip, and picking up Torchic. "You'd be a great partner in crime!"

Ash and Birch looked at her oddly as she said that. "Oh, I'm just joking!" May explained, waving them off.

"So you want Torchic, May?" Birch asked, picking up the three Pokéballs from earlier.

May looked down at the Mudkip and then back at Torchic. She thought for a moment before a sly grin grew across her face.

"Yes, I want Torchic." she said. Birch smiled and handed her Torchic's Pokéball. As he returned Mudkip, May winked at the small blue Pokémon.

"Treecko!" Treecko exclaimed, using his speed and agility to dodge the red ray sent to return him. He swung around and hid behind Ash.

"Treecko? What's wrong?" Birch asked, kneeling down next to the Pokémon. Treecko spoke a few words before Birch stood up. "I think Treecko is growing fond of you, Ash." he explained.

"What?" Ash asked with surprise.

Birch gestured down to Treecko, "Well, when May rejected Treecko, you took immediate action to comfort it." Birch said. "It's simple acts of kindness that will cause a connection to form."

May glanced around briefly before speaking up. "Um, so I got my Pokémon, is that all?" She asked.

Birch thought for a moment before walking over to a cabinet and pulling out two red devices. "Here is your Pokédex," he said, handing one device to May and the other to Ash. "That's all I have to give you, May. You're free to go."

May bowed politely and turned away to leave. As Birch turned back to Ash, she slowly reached out for Mudkip's Pokéball.

"Hey, May," Ash said. May stiffened and drew her hand back. "It was nice meeting you." he said.

May relaxed a little and nodded. "Nice meeting you as well," she said. With that, she swiped the Pokéball while no one was looking and hurried out.

Birch handed Treecko's Pokéball to Ash before stepping back and smiling. "I'm giving Treecko to you." he said.

"What?!" Ash said in surprised. "Professor Birch... Are you sure?" he asked, slowly holding up the ball the Treecko called home.

Birch nodded. "It's like I said, Treecko has come to like you." he said. "I get a feeling you two will become great friends."

Ash knelt down on the ground before Treecko, looking the Pokémon in its large eyes. "Is that true, Treecko?" Ash asked. "Do you really want to come with me?"

Treecko's eyes brightened and it nodded. A smile grew across Ash's face. "Well if you don't object, neither do I!" he exclaimed.

Professor Birch's grin grew and he turned to put away Mudkip's Pokéball, when he realized it was gone. "Joshua... Did you put away Mudkip's Pokéball?" he called out.

"I haven't touched it, sir!" Joshua called out from another room. He quickly came into the room upon the professor's call.

Birch let out a frustrated sigh and ran his hand through his hair. "Well, I don't see it around here... Where did I put it?" he thought aloud. His gaze crossed the unconscious Pikachu, who was still hooked up to his machine.

"Ash, you and Pikachu go rest." Birch said, picking up the Pikachu and carrying him over to Ash. "Joshua and I will continue to look for Mudkip's Pokéball."

Joshua gestured for Ash to follow him before walking out of the room. "I'll show you to a bed room." he said.

The dark room was quiet. Not a sound could be heard aside from the faint snoring of the sleeping boy, who sat on the edge of the bed, his head resting on the mattress. In the bed, his Pikachu laid asleep, occasionally mumbling a "Pika" or two.

Except for the faint light bleeding through the shade over the window, the room was dark. The entrance to the room was closed and the lights were off.

There was a click, and the doorknob jiggled as it slowly turned. The knob fully turned, the door was slowly pushed open, causing the aged hinges to whine and creak as the gap between the door and the doorframe widened. A shadowy figure squeezed through the slim gap and crept further into the room. It glanced at the sleeping Ash and Pikachu before glancing around at the surroundings.

The room was filled with lab equipment, similar to that in a Pokémon Center. It was obvious that it was all used to heal badly hurt Pokémon. What caught the shadowy figure's eye was the backpack placed on the ground. With a smirk, it quietly unzipped the backpack, and began to rummage through the contents inside. There were Pokéballs, medicine for minor injuries, soap, extra underwear, Ash's Pokédex, but nothing of value.

"Hrmmm," Ash groaned. He began to stir, and a few seconds later, his eyes fluttered open. He detected movement in the dark room, and heard shuffling. In a quick motion, he reached out and turned on the lamp on the bed stand.

With another click, he turned on the lamp, and was surprised to see May sitting in a seat across the room. "M-May?" he stammered sleepily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he sat up straight.

May jumped a little and glanced at the door before putting her finger to her lips. "Shh..." She hushed.

Ash looked at her in confusion. "Professor Birch can't know I- I mean- I don't want to wake up Pikachu," she whispered.

"Oh..." Ash said, lowering his voice. "So what are you doing here? I thought you left..."

May glanced at his backpack and then at Pikachu. "I just wanted to check up on Pikachu." she said quietly. "The poor thing..."

Ash smiled and nodded. "That's really thoughtful of you, thanks." he told her. He motioned for her to scoot the chair over next to him.

May frowned, glancing at the door once again. She held back a sigh and stood up, lifting her chair and carrying it over next to Pikachu's bedside.

Ash sat back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest. "So are you going to start challenging gyms?" he asked, he reached out and grabbed his cap off the bed stand, putting it on his head.

"Um..." May began, looking up at the ceiling as she thought. "I um... Just plan on traveling." she said.

Ash raised a brow, "But you just got your first Pokémon." he said. "You should collect gym badges. It's really fun."

"Are they of any value?" May asked, leaning towards Ash.

Ash shrugged. "You can't sell them... But they're your ticket into the league." he explained.

"Oh..." May sighed in disappointment, "I think I'll just travel... I have... Things I want to see."

"Like what?" Ash asked in confusion.

May twiddled her thumbs and looked down at the floor. "Diamonds... Emeralds... Crystals..." May listed. "Priceless valuables, things of great value."

Ash squinted at her. "How come? It doesn't sound very fulfilling." he said, scratching his head.

May sighed dreamily as she thought about it. "They fascinate me." she said.

Ash snapped his fingers and his face brightened. "Hey! We could travel together," he suggested, "I have my gym battles and we'll see all sorts of cool things."




"Nah, we'd slow each other down." May said, looking away from the boy. He seemed nice. She didn't want him to get caught in her lifestyle.

Ash sweat dropped, "Uh... What?" he asked, wondering what she meant.

May stood up and walked over to the window, she tugged at the string that controlled the position of the blind and opened the window, letting light come in. "I'm traveling by bike," she explained, pointing to her bicycle. "Plus, I wouldn't want to hinder you from getting gym badges because of my interests."

Ash sighed and nodded. "I guess you're right." he agreed. "It was just a suggestion."

With light now flowing into the room, Pikachu's eyes opened, stirring from the open window. "Pika pika?" he asked.

"Hey, buddy," Ash said, picking up the mouse from his bed and holding him in his lap. "You're looking good as new!"

"Pika!" Pikachu chirped happily.

May smiled and walked over to the mouse, ruffling the fur on his forehead. "Well, now that I see Pikachu is better, I'm going to head out." she said.

"For real this time?" Ash asked jokingly.

May laughed and nodded. "Yeah, for real," she chuckled, "Nice meeting you."

Ash smiled and nodded. "Yeah, nice meeting you as well."

Ash watched May ride away on her bike before walking back into the lab. Birch and his assistant were still looking for Mudkip's Pokéball. "It's simply nowhere to be found." Birch said in amazement. "I wonder if it escaped out of its Pokéball and ran out of the lab," he pondered.

"Well we better get out there and look for it, then." his assistant said, taking off his lab coat.

"Do you need my help, Professor?" Ash asked, walking into the room.

Professor Birch shook his head. "No, it's got to be around here somewhere." Birch said. "Don't worry, we'll find him. Go ahead and head on to Petalburg City, that's the closest city nearby," he said.

Ash nodded and thanked the professor before heading out of the lab. "Alright Hoenn," he said enthusiastically, "look out, because Ash Ketchum is here!"

This is one of those "What if?" kind of fics. In this case "What if May had a bad habit of stealing things when she met Ash?" It's an interesting concept that I've been wanting to write forever. So it begins! I hope you guys are as excited about this fic as I am! :D

The plan for this story is to focus less on action and Pokémon battles and rather on the relationship Ash and May develop. It'll be interesting to see how it goes.

~The Shiny Gengar