I'd been meaning to write an Advanceshipping fic for some time and after the successful debut of my Chikoshipping fic I decided now was as good a time as any. This is rated PG-13 for mild innuendo, violence, peril and maybe a bit of suggested nudity. Who knows, most of this is still up in the air right now.
I have no set plans for an update schedule - Advanceshipping is my most loved 'ship and so I want to make this fic as good as I can. It'll be chaptered and the shippiness will slowly grow as time progresses. This fic takes place just after Floarama Town during the Diamond and Pearl anime series, so all ages given are relative.
Advanceshipping is the primary basis of this fic, though other 'ships will be referenced as time goes on. Please let me know what you think, as I'm eager to hear any input you may have. Please feel free to reply and ask to be put on a PM list if you'd like to get regular updates.
So enough delaying already - let's get to the shippy stuff!
Official PM List:
Chapter One: The Carnival Rolls Into Town
Chapter Two: Coordinators: Assemble!
Chapter Three: The Reunion
Chapter Four: The Teams Are Set
Chapter Five: Round Three Rumble
Chapter Six: Kisses and Roses
Chapter Seven: May's Confession
Chapter Eight: Nico's Decision
Chapter Nine: May vs Drew? Decisive Battle!! (Part One)
Chapter Nine: May vs Drew? Decisive Battle!! (Part Two)
Chapter Ten: Winding Threads
Chapter Eleven: Precursor to a Change
Chapter Twelve: Team Rocket: Surrounded?
The Carnival Rolls Into Town
It was yet another beautiful day in the Sinnoh region, just east of Floarama Town, and Ash, Brock, Dawn and Pikachu were all making their way towards Ash's next Gym battle in Eterna City. In order to get there, however, they would need to go through Eterna Forest, which was still several miles north of their current location. Brock thoroughly checked the region map which lay spread out in his hands as they continued along the path towards Eterna, occasionally flipping it by ninety degrees just in case he had forgotten which way north was.
"Pikachu..." the small mouse commented, poking Ash on the ear nervously.
"Heh, yeah, I know, Pikachu..." Ash whispered back. "Don't worry; Brock's gotten better at reading directions." He then paused for a moment. "Um... I think."
"Pikachu..." the Electric-type groaned back, slumping forward on its trainer's shoulder.
Dawn, meanwhile, was not in the least bit worried about Brock's lack of map-reading skills. The girl with the navy blue hair and white bobble hat simply stared wide-eyed at the orange ribbon in her possession, her eyes sparkling like gemstones as she savoured the delicious taste of victory that had come with her first ever win at a Pokemon contest.
"Heh, you're still pretty excited about your first ever contest win, huh, Dawn?" Ash remarked, slowing down his pace slightly so that he was walking beside the girl.
"It's just..." Dawn muttered, still unable to remove the enormous grin from her face. "It's just such a great feeling! As much as I've dreamt of this, it's still kind of hard to accept it all!"
"Hey, trust me, I know just how you feel!" Ash explained, looking up towards the sky as he spoke. "I still feel that way every time I win a new badge. And that's why I can't wait to get to Eterna city and win my second Sinnoh Gym battle!"
"And I'll be ready to add to my ribbon collection, too!" Dawn giggled, finally returning her contest trophy to its case and placing it in her backpack. "I'm sure you'll do great, Ash!"
"Thanks, Dawn." Ash replied confidently as Pikachu hopped onto his cap for a better view of the hill they were now descending. "I also can't wait to see even more Pokemon from the Sinnoh region!"
The group's attention soon shifted from their conversation as they heard the sound of laughter and cheering from further down the hill. There was a small trail leading off of the main road and into the gates of what appeared to be a large carnival. The gates were decorated with banners and balloons, each masterfully crafted with beautiful and vibrant images of Pokemon.
Beside the gates were two men in clown-like outfits with large flares on their sleeves and ankles, all completely coloured in bright yellow. They were happily handing out fliers to visitors before ushering them into the carnival grounds.
"Oh wow!" Dawn exclaimed excitedly, immediately dashing towards the gate to get a closer look at the action.
"Hey, Dawn!" Ash called out after the girl. "Wait up! Let's go, Brock!"
Brock groaned slightly at this, but nevertheless packed the map into his bag and chased after his two younger companions as they rushed towards the trail which led to the gates.
Sure enough it was a carnival, and from the looks of it quite a large one, as well. Just beyond the white metal gates was what looked like a veritable metropolis of rides and attractions, and hundreds upon hundreds of people were casually wandering between the stalls. In the sky there were numerous Drifloon floating above the proceedings, mingling with balloons and keeping visitors on the ferris wheel entertained.
"I absolutely love carnivals, you guys!" Dawn cried, her excitement impossible to contain. "Can we go in? Come on, please!?"
"Dawn, you know we don't have any money..." Brock sighed.
"That's not a problem!" came the voice of a tall young woman - looking no older than eighteen - with jet black hair and bright, hazel eyes. She was wearing a light-grey business suit and tall high-heeled shoes as well as oval-shaped glasses which glistened in the afternoon sun. "It's free admission for everyone today. The only things that cost money are the attractions."
"Urk!" Brock stammered, before leaping onto his knee and grabbing the woman by the hand. "My dear, do not fear, for no amount of money would ever keep me from gracing your wonderful establishment! Your sheer beauty is worth more than any mere bank note could possibly convey! Men with determination far less than mine have travelled the world, crossed raging seas and walked across bone-dry deserts to find the true definition of beauty, and yet I have found it here, right in the middle of route 205!"
There was an awkward silence at this point, the wind picking up and rushing through the valley as Ash, Dawn and the woman all watched Brock in confusion.
"If it's free I don't see why we can't spend a little time here to rest up," Ash began, walking up towards the young woman, "and besides, it'd probably do us all good to let off some stress from the journey, right?"
"Ash, you're the best!" Dawn exclaimed happily, jumping up and down on the spot. "I'm gonna get some cotton candy, and then I'm gonna try the coconut shy, and then I'll ride in the ferris wheel, and then-"
"Woah, calm down there, missy." the woman laughed casually. "My name's Alisa and this is my carnival. Well, it's my father's, but I help run the attractions."
"It's great to meet you, Alisa." Ash introduced himself as he shook her hand. "My name's Ash, and these are my friends Brock, Dawn and Pikachu."
"Pikachu!" Pikachu greeted the human cheerily as Dawn managed to compose herself, waving to Alisa. Brock meanwhile, was unable to do anything but stare awkwardly.
"It's great to meet you guys, too!" Alisa chuckled, handing each of them a flier. "Our carnival's only in this area for the weekend and there's a lot for you to see, so I'll be sure not to hold you up! If you need anything I'm always inside the main tent. Just tell the guys outside your names and I'll be happy to help you out!"
The group then proceeded to thank Alisa before heading through the gates and into the chaos of the carnival, soon mingling and vanishing together into the crowd.
The carnival grounds were as bustling as any major city in the Sinnoh region; visitors of all ages were happily browsing open-air stalls and lining up for amusement rides. Several street performers were displaying magic tricks and other acts of wonder with the help of their Pokemon, and large tents of every colour adorned the grounds, giving the impression of a thriving, mobile city.
"I wonder if they have any rare Pokemon on display!" Ash thought out loud as the trio continued to make their way deeper into the fairgrounds.
"Pikachu Pika!" Pikachu added excitedly from atop Ash's head.
"I'm gonna go look around by myself, if that's okay with you guys." Dawn suggested, her eyes already drawn to numerous gift stores and souvenir items that they had passed. "Why don't we meet up later?"
"That sounds like a great idea, Dawn!" Ash chuckled. "I can't think of anything worse than having to go follow a girl around a carnival."
"What do you mean by that!?" Dawn growled, almost offended by the naive boy's words.
"Uh, I just mean," Ash mumbled nervously in his defence, "I was just saying that I'd rather go check out other trainer's Pokemon, is all. I'll bet there's tonnes of powerful trainers here, too; just look at all these people!"
"And tonnes of beautiful girls, too!" Brock added, his grin stretching from ear to ear as he stared at the many young ladies passing by.
"Don't worry, Dawn," Ash laughed, "you go off and have fun. We'll meet up with you later."
"Pikachu!" Pikachu squeaked as both it and Ash waved goodbye to the young girl.
Ash then proceeded to grab Brock by the arm, dragging him down yet another path which led deeper into the carnival grounds.
Dawn was positively overwhelmed by the sheer volume of selection the carnival had on offer as she browsed through the many stalls which lined the dusty roads to and from each tent. There were stuffed dolls and commemorative Pokeballs on sale in one store, cotton candy and chocolate Bunearys in another. It was truly enough to make a young girl's head spin.
After finally willing herself away from the many temptations on sale Dawn decided that the best way to make use of her time here was to see some of the many attractions on display. One tent in particular seemed to call out to her as she wandered further into the carnival: it was coloured a deep, dark red and covered an enormous radius - roughly the same size as a football field - and its front entrance had a curiously short line trailing from it.
Dawn's curiosity was instantly peaked and she decided to get a closer look at the action. There were several trainers outside with their Pokemon, all of them seemingly locked in deep concentration with their chosen partners.
"Must be some kind of battle tournament going on..." Dawn mused out loud as she glanced at all of the trainers before walking into a young lady standing directly in her path.
"Ah!" Dawn yelped in surprise before immediately bowing her head and apologising profusely. "I'm so sorry, I really need to watch where I'm going before I-"
"It's no problem at all, young lady!" came a soft, gentle voice which Dawn had become all too familiar with since she left from her home in Twinleaf Town to start her Pokemon journey just a month or so ago.
Dawn looked up at the woman, who had vivid, pink hair tied up in two buns on either side of her head and was clad entirely in a nurse's outfit. It was none other than nurse Joy - or one of her numerous cousins, at least.
"Nurse Joy!" Dawn greeted, putting a smile on her face as she realised she was in friendly company. "What are you doing here? Are you helping to run the Pokemon Centre here or something?"
"Well, there is that," Joy replied, smiling her typically endearing smile as she spoke, "but I've also been asked to be on the panel of judges for the carnival's Pokemon contest later today."
"Pokemon contest!?" Dawn exclaimed in a mixture of both surprise and excitement.
"Why yes," Joy continued, "that's what all these Pokemon coordinators are training so hard for. It'll be held at three o'clock in this tent, so everyone's putting in as much last-minute training as they can."
"Oh, wow!" Dawn squealed happily, quickly rummaging through her backpack to find her Pokeballs. "So that means if I can win this I'll only need three more ribbons to enter the Sinnoh Grand Festival!"
"Ah..." nurse Joy mumbled, interrupting the rather overly excited trainer that was standing in front of her. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but this is only an exhibition contest. The ribbon prize isn't a part of the official Pokemon Contest League ribbons."
"Oh..." Dawn sighed, though she quickly brightened up once again. "Well, that's okay! A ribbon is a ribbon and I never say no to a practice contest!"
"That's the spirit!" Joy laughed, entertained by the girl's bubbly attitude. "You just need to register inside the tent. Most coordinators have already registered so the line is pretty short; I'm sure it won't take you too long."
"Thanks, nurse Joy!" Dawn giggled, rushing over to join the back of the line where she opened up one of the Pokeballs she had taken from her bag. "Come on out, Piplup!"
A dim flash of light appeared from the girl's capsule, revealing a small blue baby Pokemon which resembled a penguin. The Pokemon stared up at its trainer curiously, wondering what all the big fuss was about.
"Piplup!" Dawn explained happily, kneeling down next to the Water-type Pokemon and grinning, causing Piplup to nervously back away. "We're gonna enter another Pokemon contest! And we're gonna win another ribbon!"
"Lup?" Piplup enquired, waddling closer to its trainer. "Piplup Piplup!"
"That's the spirit!" Dawn encouraged the small creature eagerly. "We'll prove to everyone why we won the Floarama Town ribbon!"
"Pip-lup!" Piplup added confidently.
Sure enough, as nurse Joy had predicted the registration line quickly dissipated and soon Dawn and Piplup were both standing proudly before the registration counter where a young girl with navy blue hair and thick, round glasses was taking down applicant details.
"Name?" the girl asked with a sigh in her voice. She seemed to be completely bored out of her mind, though Dawn was so confident of her upcoming victory that she paid it no heed.
"Dawn Hikari!" Dawn answered, placing Piplup onto the counter where it stood proudly, pretending to be a famous statue. "And this is my partner, Piplup!"
"Okay." the girl continued, unfazed. "Will that be your battle Pokemon or your appeal Pokemon?"
"Ah, I think I'll have Piplup battle again..." Dawn considered out loud, her grin quickly returning to a more normal smile as she began to contemplate her choices for the appeal round. "Ah, well, I guess I'll enter Buneary for the appeals, too."
"Alright." the girl responded, jotting down some notes on a piece of paper in front of her. "So that's Dawn Hikari, entering with Buneary in the appeal stage and Piplup in the battle stage. Sign here, please."
"Thanks!" Dawn said, quickly jotting down her name and contact details on the contest application form before handing it back to the girl.
"Piplup!" Piplup added, struggling slightly as its trainer picked it back up and placed it on the ground by her feet once again.
"Alright, you're registered." the receptionist explained. "The contest begins at three o'clock, but you should stay around here just in case we need to call you up early."
Dawn nodded happily, accepting her temporary contestant card and placing it around her neck before heading over to the far corner of the tent to formulate her strategy. Casually the young girl placed her backpack on the floor and began to rummage through the pocket which contained her Pokeballs, eventually withdrawing Buneary's and releasing the small, Normal-type Pokemon with the brown fur and large ears out into the open.
Buneary was a small and short Pokemon which vaguely resembled a tame rabbit; it stood on its large, powerful hind legs and stared up at its trainer with its shimmering black eyes. It didn't seem particularly phased by the hustle and bustle of the other trainers who were busy practicing in the tent, and instead simply waited for its orders.
"Alright you guys, listen up!" Dawn announced, kneeling down so that she was at the same eye-level as her Pokemon as they listened intently to her plans for the upcoming contest. "We've gotta pull out all the stops for this contest! It may just be an exhibition match, but that's no reason to slack! Buneary, how about trying out your Ice Beam?"
"Buneary!" the small Pokemon cried out, shooting forth an icy cold ray of blue energy up towards the ceiling of the tent, stopping narrowly before it managed to cause any damage.
"Wow, awesome job, Buneary!" Dawn applauded the creature, who happily hopped to and fro. "You're learning to really control that attack good! Now, Piplup... Huh?"
Dawn's train of thought was broken when she heard another young girl's voice calling out to her own Pokemon. Dawn wasn't quite certain, but there was something about the tone of this voice... The way that she commanded her Pokemon's full attention so completely, yet with such style and grace...
The young coordinator looked over towards the source of the voice to see another young girl, roughly two or so years older than herself, dressed in a light, red jacket and tight black shorts, her brunette hair tied together underneath a vivid red bandana with a white Pokeball marking on the side. She had bright, sapphire-blue eyes that seemed to absorb all the light in the tent, and a fair complexion which was filled with vibrance and energy.
The girl gracefully caught a red plastic disc which came flying into her hand, shortly followed by the girl's Pokemon, a vividly colourful Beautifly that stretched out its wings happily as it landed on its trainer's arm.
"Your Silver Wind has really improved, Beautifly." the girl complimented her Pokemon, feeding it a small purple cube which the creature eagerly lapped up, flapping its wings happily.
"Oh, wow!" Dawn exclaimed as she approached the coordinator, admiring her Pokemon. "That's your Beautifly?"
"Yep, this is Beautifly." the stranger responded, smiling warmly. "It's actually the first Pokemon I ever caught back in Hoenn."
"Oh, so you're from Hoenn?" Dawn echoed, her tone of voice showing how impressed she was. "That explains the clothes. Sinnoh's a lot colder, just to warn you!"
"Heh, thanks." the girl chuckled, allowing her Beautifly to take flight back into the air where it began to shadow-tackle, prepping itself for the upcoming contest. "I've only been here for a little while. This is actually my first contest in this region. My name's May."
May extended her hand warmly, which Dawn eagerly shook.
"Nice to meet you, May." she greeted. "My name's Dawn. So I guess you and I will be facing off in the contest, huh?"
"I'd like that, Dawn!" May laughed, smiling as she did so. "I'm really excited to see all the different kinds of Pokemon that the coordinators here use!"
"Oh, right!" Dawn agreed, before turning to make way for Buneary and Piplup, who were standing by her feet listening to the two coordinators talk. "Well then let me be the first to introduce you to Piplup and Buneary. They're both from Sinnoh, born and raised!"
"Piplup!" the small blue Pokemon greeted May.
"Bun!" Buneary added.
"Aww, they're adorable!" May exclaimed, kneeling down and fondly scratching the Pokemon underneath their chins, causing both to openly blush. "I'll bet they're really strong, too, huh?"
"Heh, you seem to have quite a way with Pokemon, May." Dawn commented as the other girl got to her feet, returning her Beautifly into its Pokeball.
"I don't know if I'd say that..." May answered nervously, rubbing the back of her head with her hand. "I guess I've just been around Pokemon for such a long time now that they're no different than humans in my eyes."
"Huh..." Dawn mused, watching the girl as she returned Beautifly's Pokeball back into the Pokeball compartment on her fanny pack.
"Attention coordinators!" came the voice of nurse Joy over a system loudspeaker which echoed throughout the entirety of the contest tent. "Please enter backstage to begin judging preparations for the first round of the contest!"
"Well... I guess the show's about to begin..." Dawn mused, staring up towards the ceiling of the tent in an attempt to locate the nearest loudspeaker.
"Let's go together, Dawn!" May suggested. "I'd feel a lot happier entering the contest with a friendly face than all by myself."
"Oh, sure!" Dawn agreed. "Me too!"
Dawn quickly recalled her Pokemon into their Pokeballs and with that the two coordinators headed towards the backstage of the tent, where already a sizeable queue of hopeful contestants had formed.