Chapter 4: Friendly
"Nosepass is unable to battle! The victory goes to Ash and Treecko!"
Ash's eyes brightened with excitement as he realized he had won his first gym battle against the rock type gym leader, Roxanne. Although she lost, the woman had a smile on her face as she returned her fallen Nosepass, thanking the Pokémon for its efforts.
Ash returned Treecko for a rest, and the two battlers stuck their Pokéballs in their pockets and began to walk across the field towards each other. The battlefield had lost the smooth surface that it had before the match. Dirt had been uplifted and craters in the ground scattered the area.
Roxanne and Ash met in the middle of the field. She congratulated him before dropping his first Hoenn badge into his hands.
From the sidelines, May watched with Pikachu as Ash excitedly celebrated his victory. Pikachu had stayed on her shoulder the entire time, making sure she didn't make any attempt to escape.
Ash walked over to where May was sitting and showed her his badge. "See? This is what you win. Isn't it cool?" he asked.
May looked at it closely. "That's it?" she asked, sounding a bit disappointed. "Nothing too fancy."
Ash looked down at his badge before shrugging and placing it in his case. Maybe May didn't care for them, but to him, badges seemed like priceless treasure. Each and every one represented a memory of when he and his Pokémon had earned a great victory over a powerful opponent.
"Can we go now? I'm hungry." May whined. Ash looked up at her with annoyance. The girl noticed and quickly put her hands up. "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude!" she said, frantically waving her hands back and forth. Last thing she wanted was Ash to get mad at her and turn her in. The boy sighed and stuck his badge case in his backpack.
"It's fine. Let's go." he said. Still a little worried, May silently got up and followed Ash out. The boy said goodbye to Roxanne one last time before they left the gym. Outside, the shining sun beamed down on them, but it wasn't enough to keep them warm from the chilly wind blowing by. They shivered and rubbed their arms with their hands.
"Where do you want to eat? It doesn't really matter to me." Ash said, making sure to keep a close eye on the girl.
May looked upward as she thought about what might meet her fancy. "I could go for some noodles." she admitted.
Ash nodded and the two began to look around the city for a noodle shop. After grabbing a map at the visitor center, they easily found a place and went to the location. It was a small, humble shack, but the smell radiating from the building was enough to almost make Ash and May drool.
The two anxiously stepped inside, Pikachu still riding on May's shoulder to make sure she behaved. The restaurant was clean but lacked space, having only a few small tables to sit at. Before the door was an older woman holding a few menus.
"How many?" she asked with a small but cheerful smile on her face. May held up two fingers.
Ash noticed a newspaper on the newspaper stand, and found the headline was about the break in at the museum. As May and the woman walked over to their table he grabbed the paper and followed after them.
The women pulled out their squeaky seats before the two sat down and they took two menus from her before she walked away. May awkwardly twiddled her thumbs as Ash laid out the newspaper and began to read through the article on the front.
"This is the thief I chased." he told May, tapping the paper twice. Ash read a little further down the article before a confused expression appeared on his face. "Hm... It says the thief only stole the Ruby and the Emerald." he said, bringing his face closer to the text to make sure he was reading it correctly. "The sapphire was left untouched."
Ash looked up at May, who had been quietly staring at him. "Are sapphires not valuable or something?" he asked her.
The girl shook her head. "No, they're just as valuable." she told him, she seemed to be very uneasy about the subject.
Ash gave her a questioning look. "Are you okay?" he asked. "You sound a little strange."
Before May could answer, a waitress came up to take their orders.
"Two checks?" the woman asked, asking if she was supposed to split the bill.
"Ye-" Ash began, but was cut short when May kicked his leg gently from under the table. He looked over at her and saw her shake her head to him. "No." he answered. The waitress smiled and thanked the two for coming before walking away.
Ash turned back to May. "You seriously have no money?" he asked, clearly frustrated.
"Well... Why else did you think I was trying to steal that man's wallet?" She asked, but quickly covered her mouth. "I-I'm sorry. That was rude." she said, her voice muffled by her hands.
Ash sighed and looked at her sadly. She was trying hard not to tick him off, probably out of fear that he'd lose his patience and bad things would follow.
Their food came soon after and they ate quietly. Ash would glance over at May occasionally to make sure she wasn't about to stab him with her fork.
No, idiot, she may be a crook, but she can't be violent .Ash thought to himself, shaking away the thoughts. He did notice that May refused to look at him, and kept her focus fully on her food. From her shoulder, Pikachu sipped some bright red ketchup.
Ash couldn't help but think she was so different now compared to the time they had met in Petalburg City. She had become timid and quiet ever since Ash had agreed to drag her around Hoenn with him. Before she was talkative and even a flirt, but now she rarely spoke, and when she did she would often quickly apologize afterwards.
Weird... was what crossed Ash's mind as he thought about it. I hope she doesn't stay quiet and will warm up to me.
After the meal, the two trainers retreated to the Pokémon Center. Ash had to change out of his one bed bedroom to a two bed one. Nurse Joy agreed to the arrangement and gave Ash a new key.
"Now don't go out and do something reckless again tonight." Nurse Joy told him. "We can't have you going around with two black eyes."
Ash chuckled gently and thanked the lady before May quickly rushed over to him and hid behind him. "Hide me! Quick!" she said.
Ash looked around the room with confusion. "Huh? Why?" he asked.
"That man," May said as she pointed to a middle aged man. He had tired, brown eyes and messy brown hair, wore a business suit and had a thin pair of glasses on. She gasped when she saw the man was walking towards them. She quickly took Ash's cap off his head and put it on her own, pulling the brim down so it blocked her eyes.
"Oh, excuse me." the man said, stepping up to the desk and talking to Nurse Joy. "Would you be so kind as to rent me a room for the night?"
The woman smiled and nodded. "Of course." she chirped cheerfully.
As she worked on getting the man a room, Ash and May stood close by. Ash was confused, unsure of why May seemed to be afraid of the man. The girl remained silent with her head bowed, Ash's cap blocking out most of her face.
"Thank you so much." the man said gratefully as Nurse Joy handed him a room key, her bright smile never disappearing from her face. The man stuck the key in his pocket before looking around. When he saw Ash and May he smiled and began to walk over to them.
Ash could almost feel panic emitting from May as she stood silently beside him.
"Excuse me." The man said, stopping before the two. To Ash, he seemed nice enough. "I'm a professor looking for the school connected to the city's gym. Would you happen to know where the gym is?"
Ash smiled. "Oh, yeah." he said. He then proceeded to give the man directions to the gym he and May had been to earlier.
"Oh, thank you so much." the man said with a bow. He then hurried out of the Pokémon Center.
May let out an exasperated sigh of relief before taking off Ash's cap and giving it back, placing it on his head.
"Care to explain?" Ash asked, adjusting his cap. He couldn't help but notice May's guilt ridden face.
"Um..." May said, twiddling her thumbs. "I pick pocketed that guy a while ago, and he saw me."
Ash sighed before taking off his cap and running his hand through his hair. "Okay." he said.
"If it makes you feel any better," May began, turning her gaze to the ground. "I dropped the wallet while I was making an escape."
Ash found himself in his room, sitting in his bed with his back up against the wall. On the other side of the room, May was asleep, curled up under the covers. It was late. The sun had gone down hours ago and only the moon and stars lit up the sky.
Ash watched May silently, unsure if she was pretending to be asleep or actually out. He didn't want to give her any sort of opening to escape, not willing to take any risks.
This can't go on forever. he thought. I can't watch her all the time forever...
So what could he do? The only options seemed to be either let May go again or take her in. Neither which he wanted to do for the girl's sake.
This needs to stop. Ash thought. I need to find a way to change her heart and make her realize that she can't keep stealing, for my own good and hers.
After encountering the man, May begged Ash to hide away in their rented Pokémon Center room. She told him she wasn't one to hang around in public during the day. She would only go out shortly in the day and then come out at night. She was afraid the world was out to get her, and she was kind if right, but it was her own fault.
Either way, Ash had decided he needed to buy ferry tickets to get to Dewford Island. So he, May, and Pikachu had gone out to get them. May had insisted on wearing his cap the whole time, and would hide behind Ash every time they walked past a police officer, security guard, and even a mall cop.
Then when they got to the stand to buy the tickets, May wouldn't stop staring at the cash register. Luckily the cashier never noticed.
It's become a habit. It's become a bad habit. Ash thought. She can't make herself stop. She is constantly thinking about stealing things. It's always on her mind.
Ash had noticed while they were out that May's eyes would always lock onto purses, necklaces, earrings, and others things of value as people who had them would stroll past. She had even began to reach out and grab a purse on a bench next to a woman, but a light zap from Pikachu had stopped her and made her retract her hand.
She hated being under Ash's thumb like she was. He knew she did, but she obviously hated the idea of prison more and put up with him. How could he get her to be more cooperative and willing to break this bad habit so he wouldn't have to control her like this?
I need to be friendlier. Ash concluded. We need to be closer if I want to understand her and help her.
He needed to become a friend.
Ash awoke to find himself still in the sitting position he had been in before. His eyes widened when he realized he had nodded off and frantically looked around to see if May was still there.
He sighed in relief when he found May was sitting in her bed with Mudkip crawling all over her while Torchic snuggled in her lap. He tilted his head when he heard the girl laugh at Mudkip's antics. He had never heard her genuine laugh before. He couldn't help but smile at the sound.
"Good morning, May." he said, stretching out his arms and yawned.
"Good morning." she replied, picking up Mudkip and holding the water type out before her.
Ash watched as Mudkip happily squirmed around in May's hands. Originally he had been planning on making May return the Pokémon to Birch, but the two seemed to becoming quite attached to each other.
It would be a crimeto separate them now.
"Sleep well?" The girl asked jokingly. "I almost escaped, but Pikachu stopped me."
"Pika." Pikachu said proudly, nodding his head.
Ash sighed and scratched the back of his head. We need to come up with a better system for this. Next time we might not be so lucky.He couldn't lock the rented room's door because it didn't require a key from the inside to unlock. Plus May could escape through the window even if it did.
Ugh, this isn't going to be easy. Ash thought. He pulled out two Pokéballs and released Taillow and Treecko. "You guys help Pikachu watch May while I take a shower." he told them, gesturing to the girl before stepping into the bathroom.
May crossed her arms and pouted after Ash closed the bathroom door. "I don't need to be babysat by Pokémon. I'm not four years old." she grumbled, glaring at Ash's Pokémon. She sighed and returned both Torchic and Mudkip before hearing familiar voices outside her door.
The voices grabbed her attention, and she walked over to the door.
"Piiiii," Pikachu threatened, his cheeks sparking.
"I'm just listening. Take a chill pill." May told him, pressing her ear against the door.
"Speaking of Norman, did you read the paper about his break in at the museum?" she heard one man say. He sounded like an old friend of her father's.
Then another man spoke up. "Oh yeah, he was actually telling me about that yesterday. He said he was planning on heading to Dewford and lying low for a while."
May gasped and backed up from the door, her hands over her mouth. Him? Heading to Dewford Island? She thought. That's where we're going!
"Pika?" Pikachu asked, tilting his head in confusion, wondering about May's strange behavior.
The brunette walked over to her bed and fell down onto it. "I'm so screwed." she said.
Ash came out of the bathroom clean and with a fresh set of clothes on, a damp towel slung over his shoulder. He looked around the room to see May sitting at the edge of her bed, watching him as he walked across the room.
"Say, Ash, you know what I've been thinking?" May began. Ash glanced over at her as he put a few things in his backpack to acknowledge he was listening. "Maybe we shouldn't go to Dewford Island yet."
Ash raised a brow. "Why?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know." May said, pulling up her legs onto the bed and wrapping her arms around them. "There's just so much we still haven't done here!"
"Uh..." May thought, tapping her chin as her mind drew a blank. "Err..."
"I already bought the tickets for the ferry that takes us there." Ash said, sitting down on his bed and slinging his backpack over his shoulders. "They were expensive too."
"Well..." May said uneasily, rocking back and forth, making the bed squeak. "What is there even to do in Dewford?"
Ash looked at her oddly, wondering what was going on. "There's another gym there." he said. "Plus we have to stop there to take the ferry to Slateport City."
"Oh." May sighed. Knowing that there was a gym there, she knew she would never convince Ash of changing his mind.
Ash continued to watch the girl as she fell silent. "May? Are you okay?" he asked. "Is there something I should know."
"What? Oh no! Nothing to worry about!" May said bashfully, scoffing and putting on an innocent smile.
Ash let out a sigh, knowing that prying wouldn't help at all. "Alright, then." he said, putting a cheerful smile on his face. He glanced up at the clock on the wall to see the time. "Oh snap, we need to get going!" he said, hopping to his feet. Pikachu climbed onto May's shoulder as Ash returned Taillow and Treecko. With that, the they left their room. Ash returned the room key to Nurse Joy before taking off out of the Pokémon Center and in the direction of the ferry.
"Ash, Slow down! I can't keep running like this!" May panted as they raced down the sidewalk.
"If we slow down we'll miss the ferry!" Ash told her.
That's the point! May thought.
To May's dismay, they made it to the ferry with several minutes to spare. Although it upset her, she figured it was probably for the better that they didn't miss it. Ash would have been pretty ticked if they had.
Wait... What if Dad is on this ferry?! May thought. It took all her self control not to immediately latch onto Ash for protection.
"May, are you coming?" Ash asked, already on the ramp up to the boat. May snapped from her thoughts and hurried over to him. As they boarded, May frantically was looking all around.
"How long will it take us to get to Dewford?" she asked, keeping close to Ash as he began to walk around the ship. The boy shrugged.
"Probably a few hours." he told her. May let out a groan in response. Ash looked at her again. "What's wrong?" he asked.
May stiffened and began to fidget around. "Err... It's... Um... Just such a long trip!" she exclaimed. Her voice was unnecessarily high and she had a guilt ridden expression across her face.
"Okay." Ash said, and with that he began to walk down the deck. May stood still for a few moments, her mind processing his response before shaking her head and snapping back to reality. She quickly followed after.
She found herself on the main deck, where a few people here and there were chatting amongst themselves. Looking around carefully, she scanned the crowds to see if any familiar figure or face could be seen amongst them. Not recognizing anyone or seeing her father, she let out a sigh of relief. But it wasn't enough to let her guard down. She followed Ash to the side of the boat, by the railings.
She checked around again as she laid her hands down on the cold metal railing. She held down her bandana as a salty breeze blew by, making her hair fly around wildly. She looked over at Ash who was taking a deep breath of the fresh air with a smile on his face.
"Isn't this great?" He asked, stretching his arms out.
"No. Let's go inside."
Ash looked at May as she continued to carefully watch the people on the main deck. Her sapphire eyes darted back and forth as people brushed by.
"W-why?" Ash asked, a bit taken aback by her blunt and abrupt answer. The cool ocean air was perfect to him, he couldn't have asked for better weather.
"Someone out here might recognize me." May said, her eyes never leaving the crowd.
Ash sighed before smiling sadly. Remember, I've got to be friendly. Ash thought. "Alright, let's head inside."
May looked at the boy with surprise, eyes wide. "R-really?" she asked in disbelief. She had almost been sure he wanted her to feel insecure all the time.
Ash smiled wider. "Yeah, let's go."
The hours on the ferry wore on slowly. Dewford Island was far off the coast, so getting there wasn't short and simple. After a few long and boring hours in the musty halls inside the ferry, Ash and May stepped back outside onto the main deck to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. The evening air was much cooler than before and the setting sun only lit the sky with a dark orange tint. Most of the passengers had retreated inside to avoid the cold breeze that gave them the shivers.
May sneezed as she, Ash, and Pikachu stood at the side of the boat overlooking the ocean. "Bless you," Ash said with a grin.
"Ugh, thanks." May said with a sniff, rubbing her bare arms with her gloved hands. She let out another sneeze.
"Cold?" Ash asked. The girl nodded silently, not looking over at him. He grinned and pulled at his sleeveless jacket, taking it off and holding it out for May. The girl looked at the jacket with surprise, before glancing up at Ash. "Go ahead. take it. I'm fine." he said, despite the goose bumps already appearing on his arms.
May slowly reached out and took the jacket. Pikachu crawled up onto May's head as she wrapped the warm vest around herself, and came back down to his perch on her shoulder when she was done.
"T-thanks," May muttered, averting her gaze away from Ash.
"Anytime, it's no problem." Ash replied, silently shivering. He was trying not to show that he was cold, but May couldn't help but notice.
What's wrong with him? May thought, her grip on the railing tightened. I've been nothing but a pain in the butt since we met and yet he treats me nicely?
She let out a sigh. She could clearly see her breath as it left her mouth and went into the cool air. She had spent many years in Hoenn, and she had never experienced such cold weather. Why has it been so cold? she asked herself. Luckily for her, the warm vest she was now wearing protected her from the cold wind.
Ash on the other hand, was not so warm.
May looked over at the poor boy and watched in pity as he tried to stop his teeth from chattering.
"Do you want your jacket back?" May asked, already beginning to take it off.
"N-no." was Ash's shaky answer.
"Do you want to go back inside?" she asked.
"I-I'm fine." he replied.
Pikachu watched with worry as his trainer shivered. Ash let out another sneeze. His entire body was now shaking. "Let's go inside." May said, grabbing Ash and dragging him away from the side of the boat.
Ash let out yet another sneeze.
"I swear, if you catch a cold..." May began, but never finished. She and Ash were now inside the ferry in some sort of sitting area. May had given Ash his jacket back.
"I think I'll be fine." Ash assured her, giving her a warm smile.
When was the last time someone ever smiled at her like that? Before Dad took me away. May thought, her mind beginning to flood with memories. Mom would... She looked away from Ash, her eyes, slowly building up tears. She took a deep breath as she attempted to keep her emotions in check.
"Hm?" the girl asked, wiping her eyes and looking back at Ash.
"Are you crying?" he asked.
May quickly shook her head. "N-no." she stammered, her eyes watering again.
Ash watched her sadly, wondering what could possibly be going on in her head. He smiled gently and scooted closer to her, putting his left arm around the delicate girl's shoulders. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.
The girl sniffed and wiped her eyes before shaking her head. Ash sighed and patted her back before removing his arm. "Well if you ever want to, I'm all ears." he assured her.
May nodded in acknowledgement. Her shoulders now feeling cold, the warmth of his body heat gone. She almost wanted to lift his arm up and put it back. It was as if his arms were made perfectly to be wrapped around her.
May shook her head and snapped out of her thoughts. She looked over at Ash to see he was still looking at her. He was now laying back in his seat. "So tell me a bit about your past." he said. "Did you have any good friends?"
May laid her hands down on her knees, straightening her arms as her eyes were fixed on the ground.
"No." was her answer. "Not even one."
So I have a Tumblr now. Civil War was supposedly deleted because I interact with the readers too much. But I really do want to interact with you guys. So for all the tumbly tumblr people out there, You can follow my blog and I might follow yours and we'll have fun.
I plan to do lots of Advanceshipping related stuff on there and other cool things. Like I was thinking I'd look back at my previous stories and talk about how they came to being and fun facts about them and junk. And I'll be posting my drabbles there. Plus I want to rewrite Fiercer Than a Legendary soon and I figured we could all discuss what would be good to fix and what to keep. Yeah, I'm gonna hopefully have you guys influence the rewrite of that fic a bit. :D
But I can't post a link to the blog here because Fanfiction is a dumb when it comes to links, but if you go to my profile page, a link to it will be right at the top there. You can't miss it.
So yeah, enough self promoting xD
~The Shiny Gengar