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Thread: Good Love Charm (Advanceshipping, PG-13)

  1. #26

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    I've always liked Advancedshipping stories that take place in Sinnoh, maybe because I think Dawn and May would make the best team and pair of friends, ever. X3

    I really like the fic, and everything. When are May and Ash going to reunite?! >.<

    Anyways, update soon, pretty please?

    (Belleshipping sounds interesting, though I'm thinking it's going to be Ikarishipping, with how popular it is now...)

    -Atsuko
    Also found at: DeviantArt - LiveJournal - FanFiction.net - Tumblr
    ~Vulpixi Misa

  2. #27
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    Feb 2006
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    Hey guys - first up, I wanna apologise for the delay in getting this chapter up due to some serious issues that arose over the last couple of months. Fortunately that's all sorted now and I bring you this chapter, which is fairly hefty, so it should prove to be an interesting read.

    Thanks also to everyone who expressed their interest in the fic and didn't assume I abandoned it. Would I do that to you guys? :b

    Chapter Three:
    The Reunion

    "Oh!" came the voice of Alisa, who was busy excitedly commenting on the progress of yet another contest battle over the tent's loudspeaker. "What an incredibly stunning attack! And Cacturne is the winner! Jaina Rondache moves on to the next round!"

    The audience let out another roar as the match came to its end and the victorious trainer and her Pokemon gave a bow in the centre of the stage. Ash, Brock and Pikachu all applauded loudly, whilst Paul simply sat there, his arms folded, a look in his eyes which almost made him seem to be waiting for something to happen.

    "And so our next match-up is ready to get under way!" Alisa continued to announce. "Ladies and gentlemen, don't leave your seats, because this next battle between Dawn Hikari and Andy Sains promises to be one heated battle!"

    "Alright!" Ash exclaimed upon hearing his friend's name. "Dawn's up next! Come on, Dawn, you can do it!"

    A shower of red confetti covered the stage as the two coordinators rushed out, both waving eagerly to the crowd which was cheering with fevered excitement.

    "Just listen to the roar of that crowd!" Alisa commented as the two trainers took their positions on opposite sides of the stage and the huge television monitor which hung over their heads had its scoreboard reset. "I can tell that you're just as excited as I am to see yet another incredible contest battle! So, coordinators... On your marks... Get set... Release your Pokemon!"

    "Alright Piplup, let's do this!" Dawn yelled, hurling her Pokeball into the centre of the stage and causing it to snap open, leaving a shower of white sparks and stars as Piplup appeared, punching its wings in anticipation of the battle.

    "You too, Tangela!" her opponent, Andy, countered, releasing his own Pokeball onto the stage and revealing a Pokemon that could only be described as a mass of tangled green vines with two small feet and a pair of large, white eyes.

    "Tangela, huh?" Dawn chuckled to herself, removing her Pokedex from her side and reading up on the creature's attributes as she stood there, contemplating the best strategy to begin the fight with. "Grass-type... Dang... But we're not scared, right, Piplup?"

    "Piplup!" the small, penguin-like Pokemon chirped in agreement, frowning at its opponent, who seemed rather unfazed by the occasion.

    "Alright then, Piplup!" Dawn called out, her voice booming with confidence as she pointed her finger towards the enemy and issued her command. "Looks like we're going to be the ones to get the ball rolling! Attack and use Bubblebeam!"

    "Tangela, Ingrain, now!" Andy returned, causing the Grass-type Pokemon to swiftly obey its master's command, closing its eyes and lashing several vines down into the stage floor. After a few moments the grass which covered the Pokemon's body began to glow as it slowly absorbed nutrients with its roots and causing the vast tide of translucent bubbles that Dawn's Piplup had fired to slide off the creature's body without leaving so much as a scratch.

    "Ugh, fine, whatever!" Dawn complained, stamping her foot impatiently. "In that case, Piplup, get in close and use Peck on that heap of grass!"

    Piplup squealed in agreement, quickly landing from its previous attack and rolling to the side before dashing towards the Tangela with surprising speed and agility.

    "What an incredibly graceful Piplup!" Alisa's voice commented over the loudspeaker. "Its evasions flow seamlessly from defence to offence without a moment's hesitation! Will the stalwart Tangela be able to fend off a super-effective hit?"

    "Tangela, Solarbeam now!" Andy yelled, prompting Tangela to glare at its opponent and begin to charge a bright, green energy which seemed to slowly liquify in midair before launching into a powerful, concentrated beam of energy which struck Piplup directly above the Grass-type.

    "Piplup!!!" Piplup squealed in pain as the attack met its mark, thrusting the small blue penguin up high above the stage and allowing its limp body to crash with a thud.

    "Piplup, no!!" Dawn exclaimed as she watched her Pokemon slowly get back onto its trembling feet. "Are you okay!?"

    "Pip!" Piplup growled, glaring at its enemy defiantly.

    "That attack means that Piplup and Dawn have just lost a lot of points!" Alisa continued her commentary. "Yet meanwhile Andy's Tangela continues to grow more and more powerful by the second thanks to the effects of Ingrain! What will happen next folks?"

    "Piplup, try another Peck attack!" Dawn instructed.

    Piplup reacted almost instantaneously, charging straight towards the Tangela, who began to charge another Solarbeam immediately in reaction.

    "Dawn, watch out!" Ash called from the stands, getting to his feet with Pikachu standing up atop his hat. "He's using another Solarbeam!"

    "Pikachu Pi!!" Pikachu added with concern.

    "Your friend isn't very smart, is she?" Paul groaned as he watched the Water-type make its second head-on charge.

    'C'mon Dawn...' Ash thought to himself as he watched the action unfold. 'You can do this... Don't get overconfident from your first ribbon... Not like May was...'

    "Now dodge and use Whirlpool, Piplup!" Dawn called.

    "Pip!" Piplup agreed, suddenly dashing to the side and leaping high into the air, spouting a huge swirl of water from its mouth which collided with the Tangela, engulfing it completely in a torrent of crystal blue.

    "What!?" Andy cried in disbelief. "No way! Tangela, use Synthesis!"

    There was a moment of awkward silence as the watery vortex continued to spin, slowly pressing down against its opponent with immense pressure until finally the water subsided, leaving an unconscious Tangela lying on the floor.

    "And Dawn and Piplup cruise through to the next round!" Alisa congratulated the duo over the megaphone. "Congratulations you two! Now get some well-earned rest before round two begins!"

    "Alright!" Dawn squealed with excitement, pumping her fist in the air as she hopped on the spot, causing her Pokemon to do the same. "We did it! Awesome job, Piplup! You're the best!"

    "Pip-lup!" Piplup agreed, unable to stop itself from dancing.

    "Phew..." Ash breathed a sigh of relief as both he and Pikachu returned to their seats, Ash slumping down low in his chair before smiling at Paul. "See, Paul? Dawn knows what she's doing."

    "Yeah, barely." Paul retorted, shuffling in his seat as he waited for the next match to start.

    "I was worried that Dawn's first ribbon would have gone to her head," Brock explained, smiling to himself as he watched the next two contestants head out onto the stage - a boy with jet black hair and a light-grey jacket, and another boy with light-brown hair and a red t-shirt, "but she did really well to keep it together against an opponent with a sizable type advantage."

    "And now ladies and gentlemen," Alisa continued, "we bring you what is sure to be a stunning match... Please welcome Nico Cyrax and Jose Gellipe!"

    The audience burst into applause once again as the two coordinators confidently threw their respective Pokeballs into the arena, showering the stage with brilliant sparks of light.

    "Let's go, Glalie." Nico chuckled, eying his opponent with a hint of arrogance as the huge form of an icy, levitating head with bright blue eyes and enormous, sharp fangs appeared before him. "Crush this loser. We've got bigger targets to take care of."

    "You can do it, Altaria!" Jose told his Pokemon, an elegant, blue bird Pokemon with large, fluffy white wings which seemed to have the texture of cotton. Altaria flapped its wings high above the stage as it watched the enemy from afar.

    "Huh, another favourable type match-up." Brock noted. "Both those Pokemon look tough; this could go either way."

    "Heh, reminds me of my Glalie." Ash commented, causing Paul to take notice of him again.

    "You mean to tell me you actually have an evolved Pokemon?" he mocked. "I thought you only liked weak ones."

    "Chu..." Pikachu glared at the boy, though Ash seemed to ignore him as the battle began to start down below.

    ~*~*~

    "Dawn, congratulations!" May's voice greeted the young Pokemon coordinator, who smiled in slight embarrassment, rubbing the back of her neck as she turned a light shade of pink. "You were awesome out there! And so were you, Piplup!"

    "Piplup Pip!" Piplup thanked the girl, blushing itself as May scooped the Pokemon up into her arms and cradled it fondly.

    "Aww, thanks, May!" Dawn smiled happily. "Good luck when you get out there - you're up soon, right?"

    "Yeah, I'm one of the last performers." May replied as Piplup happily rocked itself in her arms. "It's been a while since I last performed in front of a big crowd... I hope I haven't lost my touch!"

    "I'm sure you'll be fine - your Beautifly was looking awesome during its appeal." Dawn giggled. "I can't wait to see your battle Pokemon! I'll bet its even prettier, right?"

    "Hehe," May chuckled as she thought of the next Pokemon she would use in the contest, "you'll just have to wait and see, Dawn."

    The sound of a large explosion rocked the television set of the waiting room, prompting both of the girls to look up towards the screen with interest. They were both surprised to find that Nico had already won his match, soundly defeating his opponent's Altaria with a powerful Ice Beam.

    "Wow..." Dawn muttered nervously. "He's better than I thought he'd be... He was barely even out there for a minute!"

    "Hm..." May mumbled, slowly losing herself amid her thoughts once again.

    'He's not the one I'm worried about, Dawn...' she thought to herself cautiously.

    ~*~*~

    "One potato, two potato..." James muttered to himself as he and the other members of Team Rocket continued to remove Pokeballs one by one from the numerous boxes and shelves which lined the carnival's storage room. Slowly, with his arms full, he eventually got to his feet and began to move towards their storage trolley where the already stolen Pokeballs were being kept, when he stumbled unwittingly into something soft and immobile.

    "Wobbuffet." came the reply from the blue Pokemon, as it used its free arm to slap its forehead, the other filled with Pokeballs.

    "Ugh, Wobbuffet!" James scolded disdainfully. "Watch where you're standing!"

    "Wobbuffet..." the Pokemon sighed.

    Suddenly the door to the main tent was opened and a tall man in an impressive-looking suit strode in, causing Jessie, James, Cassidy, Butch and Meowth to jump in surprise.

    "Don't worry; it's only me." the stranger said, raising his hand to signal his innocence. He was of average height and build, with dark brown hair and a matching beard and mustache. In his right hand he held a jet-black cane which matched his suit and top-hat perfectly, though he appeared to be in his late forties at most so Jessie, James and Meowth were all a little dubious as to why he would need a walking stick.

    "It's good to see you officer Kendrick," Cassidy greeted the man as she hoisted another armful of Pokeballs into their cart, "but as you can see we're a little busy here."

    "Yes, so I see..." Kendrick replied, before removing four Pokeballs from his suit pocket. "Actually I just came to give you these. They were delivered from your head office in Kanto just this morning." Kendrick smiled at this. "Your boss works fast... I'd like to meet him someday; he seems like a pleasure to do business with."

    "That he is, officer." Cassidy said as she accepted the Pokeballs in her traditionally gracious way, frowning slightly as she examined them closely, before proceeding to hand one to each of the human members of Team Rocket. "And how goes the lock-down of the carnival?"

    "As expected, most every visitor has decided to attend the contest;" Kendrick began, unable to help himself chuckle as he spoke, "any stragglers have been ejected from the premises. No-one suspects a thing."

    "Perfect..." Cassidy purred, a wry smile forming on her lips. "Give us another half hour and all of these Pokeballs will be accounted for."

    "You're going to have to move fast, Cassidy." Kendrick explained, adjusting his tie anxiously. "There are only a few more contest battles left before the first round is over, and it will be difficult to hide our actions from the public for too long."

    "Trust me," Cassidy sneered, "with these new Pokemon Giovanni sent us there's nothing any of these pathetic coordinators can do to stop us..."

    ~*~*~

    The roar of a defeated Ursaring rang through the tent as yet another contest battle came to an end. Ash, Paul, Brock and Pikachu had all been sitting watching the battles unfold for some time now, and now there were only two matches left to be decided.

    "Man, there sure are a lot of entries in this contest..." Ash sighed, shuffling awkwardly in his seat and causing Pikachu to hang onto his hat precariously.

    "Well, it's clearly not a part of official Sinnoh Contest rules, so anything the carnival administration says, goes." Brock noted, his arms folded as he quietly surveyed the local women on display a few rows down from where they were seated.

    "Alright ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience!" Alisa's voice boomed over the megaphone once again. "We are now down to the last two matches, the first of which will be between Mark Philanthra and Drew Blackthorne!"

    "Alright!" Ash exclaimed excitedly, watching as the two coordinators made their way onto the stage. "I wonder what kinds of Pokemon these two trainers will have!"

    Brock, meanwhile, frowned to himself as his thoughts began to echo through his mind.

    'Drew...?' he wondered. 'No, it couldn't be...'

    Sure enough, there on the left-hand side of the contest stage, was the familiar face of their dear friend May's rival during her Hoenn and Kanto contest circuit - Drew Blackthorne.

    "Huh...?" Ash stammered as both he and Pikachu leaned over the edge of the seats in front of them to get a better view. "Is that... Drew...?"

    He was dressed as he always was - purple pants with a matching jacket and that same, familiar lime-green hair was recognizable anywhere. He stood with his hands in his pockets as he brushed aside some stray strands of hair - his usual, confident smile hadn't changed one bit as he casually readied his choice of Pokeball.

    Drew's opponent, however, was clearly not impressed by the boy's lack of respect, and so immediately sent his Pokeball flying towards the centre of the stage.

    "Roserade, come on out!" Mark announced; the crowd watching in silence as the Pokeball split in half and revealed the short, humanoid Pokemon with an enchanting, leaf-green body and colourful bouquets of blooming roses sprouting from each hand.

    "Rose..." the Pokemon growled, glaring at Drew.

    "Let's do this, Absol." Drew muttered, flicking a Pokeball up into the air and watching idly as it opened up, releasing a bright white light which slowly transformed into the image of a large, intimidating Pokemon with long, glossy fur as white as snow and soft, velvety skin which shared the same shade as the dark, navy blue of midnight. Sprouting from the top of the Dark-type's head was a long, curved horn which bore the same shape as a scimitar's blade and looked almost as sharp as the vicious claws which extruded from each of its four feet.

    "Absol..." the creature whispered back, almost as if it was uninterested in the opponent and saw it as no real danger to its chances of victory.

    "Huh..." Paul commented out loud to himself. "An Absol... Haven't seen one of those in a while."

    Ash, Brock and Pikachu all remained silent as they watched the competitors closely. Both Mark and Drew said nothing, but the looks in their eyes spoke volumes.

    "It's amazing..." Brock acknowledged. "Drew's Absol has taken on the characteristics of its trainer down to a tee. Neither of them even look fazed by that Roserade. And I'm no expert on Grass-type Pokemon, but that looks to me like one powerful opponent."

    "Yeah, you're right, Brock..." Ash agreed. "But what's Drew doing here in Sinnoh? I thought he had gone to compete with May and Harley over in the Johto circuit?"

    "Pika..." Pikachu added.

    "So you guys know this clown?" Paul asked, curious.

    "Yeah." Ash replied, unable to take his eyes off Absol as the two Pokemon began to exchange blows and the battle timer was started on the main screen. "He was a coordinator rival of one of our friends back on our adventures through Hoenn. But we thought that they had gone to Johto together, and that was only a few months ago..."

    "Hm..." Paul muttered, his focus turning back towards the battle that was raging down below.

    "Razor Wind!" Drew commanded.

    "Magical Leaf!" Mark yelled.

    Both Pokemon leapt back several feet towards their respective trainers before slowly charging their attacks - Roserade's bouquets glowed an eery yellow whilst Absol was slowly engulfed by a torrent of vicious, twisting winds. It wasn't long until both the attacks were complete and tore towards their targets, colliding in an explosion of colour and noise in the centre of the contest stage and leaving the audience breathless. The competitors seemed evenly matched.

    "Roserade, use Solarbeam!" Mark ordered, pointing his finger directly towards Absol.

    "Heh, amateur..." Drew whispered, smiling. "Absol, use Flash, then get in close and finish this off early!"

    "Sol!" the creature agreed, snarling and blasting forth an intense flash of white light from the blade-like protrusion on its head whilst Mark's Roserade attempted to gather as much sunlight as possible.

    "Ooh, looks like a tactical oversight may have cost Mark and Roserade this match," Alisa announced over the loudspeaker as Absol rushed towards its target, its claws reflecting the steadily growing light of Roserade's oncoming attack, "as Solarbeam requires a long time to charge, especially in an arena as dark as this!"

    "Oh no, cancel, Roserade!" Mark stammered, but it was already too late - Roserade felt the sharp sting of Absol's claws rend into its leafy body before it was sent spinning across the stage, eventually landing in an unconscious heap. "Uh-oh..."

    "And with that, we have our winner!" Alisa cheered as confetti began to fall from the stage, signaling the end of yet another contest battle. "Ladies and gentlemen please give it up for Drew Blackthorne! I for one am looking forward to seeing him and that Absol in action again!"

    "Hmph." Drew sniffed, recalling Absol into its Pokeball and glaring at it before walking off the stage as Mark continued to cradle his Roserade in despair. "I can see you need more training..."

    "Wow." Brock muttered, clearly impressed by Drew's performance. "Looks like he hasn't lost his edge at all."

    Ash remained silent, staring down towards the stage as his mind raced with questions regarding Drew's appearance in Sinnoh, and just as important - what had happened to May?

    "And now it's time for the last of our first round match-ups!" Alisa continued as the confetti was hurriedly swept away by numerous carnival employees and Mark and Roserade were ushered off the stage. "We've all been waiting for it, so please give a warm welcome to two fine young coordinators - Samantha Applejay and May Maple!"

    Ash immediately bolted upright in his seat at the sound of this last coordinator's name. Could it really be her?

    "Brock, did you...?" he stuttered.

    "Pika...!" Pikachu squeaked in disbelief.

    "I can't be hearing things..." Brock stammered. "...Can I?"

    Sure enough, there, down on the stage before them, came the now too-unfamiliar sight of their close friend May, wearing her usual red outfit and matching bandana. She confidently jogged out onto the stage in her usual, happy-go-lucky way, smiling that same smile that Ash, Brock and Pikachu had come to love after so many months of traveling through Hoenn and Kanto. Eventually she arrived at the foot of the stage and gave a bow to the cheering audience, and her opponent on the other side of the arena.

    "Well no sense just sitting here not doing anything!" Ash laughed, getting to his feet and applauding loudly. "Go May! You can do it!!"

    Brock and Pikachu both paused for a moment's thought, then swiftly joined in with Ash and applauded and cheered as loud as they possibly could. Though they knew May probably couldn't tell them apart from the rest of the crowd's roars, they at least hoped that the extra boost they provided in volume would help spur her on to an impressive victory.

    Paul, however, simply looked at his two companions awkwardly, and secretly hoped that no-one would realise they were together.

    "Let's go, Poliwrath!" Samantha yelled, hurling a Pokeball into the centre of the stage with a vigorous spin of her body. "I need you!"

    "Blaziken!" May announced, twirling on the spot as she threw her own Pokeball directly towards her opponent. "Take the stage!"

    The two Pokeballs released their respective Pokemon in an explosion of light and colour, revealing two large, humanoid Pokemon in the centre of the stage. Towards Samantha stood the burly form of her Poliwrath, a Water-type Pokemon with a navy-blue body and a pearl-white stomach, its muscular arms and legs bulging with power. On May's side stood her trusty Blaziken, her starter Pokemon and first friend on her journey all the way from Littleroot Town in Hoenn. The flames on its tall, red body ignited, making the creature's figure markedly taller than its opponent and no less intimidating. Blaziken clenched its fists tightly and glared down with its sharp, blue eyes, gently shifting its weight into its back leg and assuming a fighting stance.

    "Woah..." Dawn gasped from inside the waiting room at the sight of May's Blaziken. "May has a... Blaziken?"

    "Fire-type, eh?" Samantha chuckled, licking her lips with glee. "That makes things a lot easier." She suddenly launched her hand towards the stage, pointing her finger directly towards May's Blaziken as she issued her first command. "Poliwrath, Rain Dance!"

    "Wrath!" the Pokemon croaked its reply, pointing its arms towards the ceiling of the tent and launching a huge torrent of water up into the air which began to quickly disperse and fall back down to the ground as a quick, harsh rain, causing Blaziken to tense up and lose its footing.

    "So she's trying to keep the battle going on for a while, huh?" May spoke under her breath, her nerves not allowing her to smile and enjoy the moment - she always got tense during a contest match, even an unofficial one. Especially when she knew that Drew was watching... "Blaziken, Quick Attack!"

    "Ken!" Blaziken replied, leaping up from its position and striking a clean jab straight into the Poliwrath's gut before retreating back to where it once stood.

    "Follow it up with Sky Uppercut!" May exclaimed as Poliwrath struggled to maintain its balance after the surprisingly fierce punch. "Let's end this quickly!"

    "Oh no you don't!" Samantha growled. "Poliwrath, Counter!"

    The two battlers roared against the crash of rain as it came tumbling down and splashing over the stage, cascading in miniature waves down towards where the audience was seated with bated breath. May couldn't help but wince as she watched Blaziken launch a Sky Uppercut towards the enemy, only to watch its wrist be grabbed, the intense fire of her Pokemon's skin unable to even graze the Water-type. Poliwrath appeared to smirk slightly as it twisted Blaziken's wrist into a lock before launching it into the air with a quick spin of its powerful, bulky arms.

    "Blaziken, no!" May called whilst Blaziken fell back onto the stage with an enormous crunch, the impact reverberating around the tent. "Are you okay!?"

    "Blaziken!" the Pokemon roared as it sprang back onto its feet. "Ken!"

    "That poor landing cost May and Blaziken a lot of points," Alisa commented over the thundering rain which continued to pour down upon the contenders, "but it seems like Blaziken is raring to go another round. We're approaching the one-minute mark, folks!"

    "Looks like this match-up could've been better for your friend." Paul noted, his arms still folded as he watched the two Pokemon launch into close combat once again. "Blaziken's at a severe disadvantage right now."

    Brock nodded sagely.

    "Right." he answered, scratching his chin. "Normally May's Blaziken would be able to use its Fighting-type knowledge to work around its weakness to water Pokemon, but since Poliwrath is also a Fighting-type that makes things complicated."

    "Come on, Blaziken!" Ash yelled, his face revealing his intense nerves. It was strange and only now that he realised... He never felt this nervous during any of Dawn's contests. Regardless, that simply meant he had to cheer louder than ever. "You can do it!! Come on!!"

    "Quick Attack!" May called.

    "Submission!" Samantha retaliated.

    Once again Blaziken's wrist was gripped tightly by the Poliwrath and soon the Water-type was crushing its body against May's Pokemon, its strong, powerful arms coming close to snapping the creature in two.

    "Uh-oh!" Alisa's commentary continued. "Could this be the end for Blaziken? May's points are taking a serious tumble!"

    It was only then that the rain suddenly died down, causing Blaziken's flames to ignite brightly once more. Poliwrath continued to apply pressure to its enemy, despite the intense heat which was now burning against its chest with unrelenting power.

    "Keep up the pressure, Poliwrath!" Samantha urged, smiling confidently. "Their time's almost up..."

    "Now, Blaziken!" May boomed suddenly. "Use Overheat!"

    "What!?" Samantha gasped in surprise.

    "Ken!!" Blaziken roared, the flames which covered its body now engulfing the entirety of the Pokemon's figure and causing Poliwrath to yelp in pain, signaling an end to its attack as it quickly backed away. Soon Blaziken was a walking inferno and it rushed towards its enemy with unrelenting vigor, punching it up into the air.

    "Now Fire Spin into Mega Kick!" May continued.

    Blaziken let out another cry before leaping up into the air and blasting the scarred Poliwrath with another volley of fire which wrapped around the creature's body, creating patterns and flashes of orange light which illuminated the tent in stunning fashion. The audience had no time to enjoy the stunning light display, however, as Blaziken followed up with a powerful kick from its enormous foot, driving Poliwrath into the hard surface of the contest stage and remaining silent as its enemy quickly slipped out of consciousness.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!" Alisa exclaimed excitedly as the spotlight fell over May and her Blaziken. "May's extraordinary comeback had both power and style and it was enough to knock out Poliwrath and put the young coordinator through to the second round!"

    The audience cheered and Ash found himself on his feet applauding as loud as he possibly could. Both Paul and Brock eyed him curiously, but Pikachu was more than happy to join in, hopping up and down on the chair, sparks flickering from its red cheeks. May simply waved towards the crowd, smiling happily as her Blaziken returned to her side before the two of them walked backstage together.

    "Now folks we will take a quick break before moving onto the second round!" Alisa explained over the megaphone. "Please feel free to grab some refreshments just outside the seating area. I promise you that we won't be long!"

    ~*~*~

    Making her way towards the waiting room May took a moment to stop and take a deep breath before continuing. Her heart was still pounding after such a fierce battle and it had been so long since she had last competed in a contest with such strong coordinators she was worried that she had lost her edge. Fortunately her Blaziken had come through for her as it always did - it was by far her most reliable team member and she was always so grateful for its strength and commitment to her coordinating career. Slowly she removed its Pokeball from her fanny pack and smiled down at it.

    "Thank you, Blaziken..." she whispered. "I could never have gotten this far without your help."

    "Hey!" came a familiar voice from behind the girl, causing her to turn and see the face of Samantha, her previous opponent in the contest. "May, right?"

    "Uhm, yeah!" May replied quickly, a little shocked to have suddenly been disturbed. "It's Samantha, isn't it?"

    "That's right." the girl replied, nodding happily as she adjusted the collar of her cardigan, creating a pleasing contrast between its striking white colour and her golden blonde hair. "Hey I just wanted to say that that was a really great battle. I've never fought a Blaziken before!"

    Samantha was a strikingly pretty girl who was quite a few years older than May - certainly approaching her late teens at least - and exuded an air of confidence about her. She wore black, loose-fitting jeans with a brown leather belt and off-white boots, whilst her eyes were coloured a brilliant, emerald green and her hair flowed down to just above the small of her back.

    "Oh, thanks!" May replied, her face flushing a slight red at the compliment. "Your Poliwrath was awesome, too; you had me really worried there for a while."

    "Heh," Samantha chuckled in response, flicking her long hair back as she did so, "well it seems we still have a lot to learn. I just wanted to say thanks for such a great match. Well, that and I'm a total Hoenn-phile. I'm actually hoping to go and compete over there during the next contest season."

    "Oh, that's awesome!" May squealed excitedly. "I've lived in Hoenn my whole life so if you want to know where the best beaches are just let me know!"

    Samantha and May both laughed as they began to walk towards the contest waiting room, all the while discussing the different aspects of their coordinating careers and all the different regions in which they had traveled to take part in contest circuits.

    The waiting room was a lot quieter when the two coordinators entered, as much of the competition had been thinned from the first round and now only a few trainers remained to compete. Sixty-four competitors had been quickly stripped down to thirty-two within a matter of hours and soon round two would thin the ranks even further. May eyed the clock in the centre of the room nervously but tried not to let her feelings show as she noticed Drew standing directly underneath it, staring at the ground in his typically aloof manner.

    "May!!" came a girlish scream of excitement from across the room and before May realised what was happening Dawn was standing square in front of her, hopping up and down on the spot with intense fervour.

    "Hey, Dawn!" May greeted the girl happily, unable to help a grin form on her face in response to the younger trainer's infectiously peppy attitude.

    "You did it!" Dawn squealed. "You won! Oh my gosh, Blaziken was so awesome!! Is it yours? Well, I mean, of course it's yours, but oh my goodness it was so strong and graceful and elegant and dignified and I've never even seen one before and-"

    "Woah, calm down there, Dawn!" came a familiar gruff voice from behind the coordinator, causing Dawn to turn and see her friends Ash and Brock, with Ash's rival Paul skulking close behind. "Save some energy for the tournament!"

    May's eyes widened as she suddenly realised who it was that the voice belonged to. There, standing before her after all these months of absence, were her two friends: Brock and... Ash. It had been so long and all she desperately wanted in the entire world right now was to run up to him and wrap her arms around her very best friend with the Pikachu sitting on his shoulder as always. She could feel tears of joy beginning to slowly well up inside of her but she gritted her teeth and kept them from forming; the last thing she wanted to appear as was weak in front of her two friends. She needed to prove to both them and herself that she was a stronger person now and that she could cope with the pressures of journeying alone, with nobody but her Pokemon to rely upon.

    "Brock!" Dawn gasped, taken by surprise. "And Ash! And... What's HE doing here?"

    The girl cast a glare at Paul, who continued to ignore her, staring up at the waiting room's television monitor which was currently displaying the half-empty contest hall as spectators moved back and forth from the food stalls to the seating area and back again.

    "Ah, we met at the carnival and Paul decided to tag along with us..." Brock explained uncertainly, as he wasn't entirely sure of the circumstances behind his presence himself. "When we saw that there was a contest going on we figured we'd find you here... And you've made your way through to the second round, too. Very impressive!"

    "Heh, thanks Brock." Dawn giggled, quickly turning to the side to introduce her new friend. "You guys, I'd like you to meet May. She and I met during the appeal rounds. She's come all the way from Hoenn!"

    "May..." Ash muttered, uncertain of what to say, though her very presence made any expression other than a smile an impossibility for him. "It's been so long..."

    "Y-yeah..." May stammered, unsure of what to say as she continued to fight back the tears that she so desperately wanted to cry.

    "But I thought you were traveling through Johto to compete against Drew and Harley in the Grand Festival there?" Brock enquired with curiosity evident in his voice.

    "Wait, what?" Dawn managed, shocked at what she was hearing. "You mean you guys KNOW each other? Like... From before I introduced you?"

    "Heh, that's right, Dawn!" Ash laughed, May's very presence beginning to invigorate him as it always had during their adventures together. It felt strange to return to such a familiar, yet now uncommon emotion after so long. "May traveled with Brock and me during our adventures in Hoenn and Kanto! We're friends!"

    'We are...' May reassured herself in her mind.

    "And not only that," Brock continued, "but May is one of the best Pokemon coordinators you're ever likely to meet! She even came in the top four of the last Kanto Grand Festival with that very same Blaziken you just saw!"

    "You're kidding!" Samantha gasped in response. "No wonder me and Poliwrath never stood a chance!"

    "That's sweet of you to say, Brock!" May laughed, the encouraging words of her friends rousing her from her uncertain state of mind in no time at all. "But I'm far from the best coordinator you're likely to meet, Dawn!"

    "Don't be modest, May!" Ash insisted, pumping his fist. "You were awesome out there! Your training in Johto has paid off in leaps and bounds!"

    "Pika!" Pikachu added from atop Ash's shoulder.

    "Um, well, I..." May coughed nervously, her face turning a bright shade of red as she looked down towards her feet in embarrassment.

    There was silence for a moment before Brock quickly spoke up once more.

    "So how come you're not in Johto?" he asked. "There's no way the Grand Festival circuit there could have ended this quickly; it's only been a few months."

    "Well, I-" May began, but was quickly interrupted by yet another familiar voice.

    "It's a long story, right May?" Drew cut in, frowning at the group of reunited friends from a few feet away.

    "Ah, that's right;" Brock recalled out loud, turning to face the newcomer, "Drew's here, too."

    An awkward silence filled the air as Drew and May stared at each other for a moment, neither saying a word.

    "But that just makes this whole situation even stranger..." Brock continued, his tone of voice accentuating his obvious confusion. "Would you guys mind explaining what happened?"

    "Whatever." Drew replied, suddenly turning his back on the group and walking away calmly. "It's none of your business anyway."

    Paul watched the scene out of the corner of his eye as it continued to unfold, but took no action; instead deciding to remain a few feet away and out of direct association with the rest of the group.

    "Well it's nice to see that his attitude hasn't changed one bit..." Brock commented under his breath as the young coordinator made his way back to the wall to await the beginning of the second round. "So May, are you going to elaborate for us?"

    "Um..." May began slowly, when suddenly a voice boomed over the megaphone once again.

    "Alright ladies and gentlemen, the second round will be underway very shortly!" Alisa declared, her voice echoing throughout the tent as the audience hurriedly attempted to return to their seats. "But we have a special surprise for all of you, as the next round will be fought using double battle rules!"

    "What!?" Dawn exclaimed in shock. "Double battles!?"

    Ash, Brock and May all frowned at this announcement, knowing that such a change of pace would prove difficult to manage for inexperienced coordinators and that the ranks of the contestants would be very quickly thinned out as a result. The group continued to listen intently, interested to know how such a rule would be implemented.

    "To keep things fair our computer will now randomize the team selection and partner up our coordinators!" Alisa explained. "Are we all ready for this?"

    Every head in the waiting room turned to check on the television monitor which was displaying the main screen above the contest stage as it shuffled what appeared to be a virtual deck of cards.

    "Well, good luck, May." Samantha said as she turned to exit the waiting room. "It was an honour battling you."

    "Oh, you too, Samantha!" May replied happily, waving as her former opponent headed out the door. "I hope we can do it again some time!"

    Soon enough the cards had been shuffled sufficiently and slowly the computer revealed pairs of coordinators who would be teamed up for the next round whilst Alisa confirmed their names audibly.

    "...Drew Blackthorne and Dawn Hikari will be up against..." came the announcement, causing everyone to pause for a moment.

    "Uh-oh..." Dawn groaned. "Talk about irony..."

    May chuckled nervously at this revelation, but her attention soon shifted back onto the announcements as she heard her name being spoken above the loudspeaker.

    "And after that match-up our next team will be May Maple and Nico Cyrax up against..."

    "What!?" Dawn and May both gasped simultaneously.

    "Not that guy!" Dawn sighed. "I'm sorry, May."

    "Ah, don't worry about it, Dawn!" May coughed, her eyes searching the waiting room for any signs of her sudden partner. "I'll just have to try my best, right?"

    "Yeah, I guess so..." Dawn agreed, her eyes trailing down to the floor. "But man, we really got some rotten luck on those draws..."

    "Why?" Ash asked, puzzled by their reactions. "What's so bad about that Nico guy?"

    "He's a total jerk, Ash!" Dawn explained angrily, her voice suddenly taking on a tone usually reserved for teachers disciplining their students. "We met him during the appeal stage and he was showing off about his Pokemon and stuff. I don't like his attitude one single bit!"

    "Oh." Ash answered blankly.

    "Well we'd better head back to the stands to watch." Brock suggested. "Good luck you two; we'll be rooting for you!"

    Brock began to make his way out of the waiting room, at which point Paul quickly exited and headed back to his seat. Brock paused, however, when he noticed that Ash hadn't moved from his spot. Quickly he grabbed the boy's arm in an attempt to awaken him from his daydream.

    "Uh, Ash?"

    "Oh, right!" Ash exclaimed suddenly, quickly coming to his senses. "Good luck May! Uh, you too, Dawn!"

    "Thanks you guys!" Dawn squeaked excitedly.

    "Oh, and um, May?" Ash coughed, his heart suddenly heating up inside of his chest as he contemplated a few simple words to say while May looked towards him curiously. "Uh, it's great to see you again."

    May smiled, her face flushing another shade of pink, though she made no effort to try and hide it.

    "Thanks, Ash..." she replied.

    With that, Ash, Brock and Pikachu headed back out towards the contest hall to take their seats as Dawn and May began to prepare for their upcoming battles. Drew watched the two from afar, smiling to himself at this latest development, while on the other side of the room stood the young coordinator, Nico.

    'Not bad...' the boy thought to himself, his eyes admiring May's legs from afar, a grin appearing on his face as he did so. 'At least I'll have some eye-candy to admire during the battle...'
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  3. #28

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    I've been waiting a long time for this~! As usual, your character interpretations are dead on and well thought out. You really know how to do battles very well if I haven't mention that before. You also did a good job on all the character interactions, especially Paul and Dawn, I thought that was so brilliant! Your OCs are also pretty well done, including Nico, he's got quite the spunk, might I say and I would say a pretty good taste in women.

    The relation between Dawn and May is really cute, I like how you write them. Also, the reunion seemed to flowed in naturally, so it didn't seem awkward at the very least. Hehe, and Drew seems to be interesting in here as well. Oh and your writing of Team Rocket, top notch I would say.

    Hehe, I'm extremely curious and excited on how chapter 4 turns out. The wait was long for this one, but I'm sure no matter how long you take, chapter 4 would come out fabulous like this chapter.

    PS, More Spotlight on Nico. XD
    I waste my life away on Nico Nico Douga.

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    I second pretty much everything buster_wolf said. I am quite curious as to what happened in Johto, as well as the natures of Nico and Kendrick, and how the contest will unfold with the apparent scheming going on. You're a very talented writer, and so I hope you can get the next chapter up soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by buster_wolf View Post
    Also, the reunion seemed to flowed in naturally, so it didn't seem awkward at the very least.
    Thanks, that was definitely the part I dreaded writing the most and I think it came off quite pleasantly, especially considering how many people were involved. Thanks for your comments, and I agree, more Nico! I didn't get to write as much of him as I had hoped, but perhaps next chapter... I already have quite a few ideas for it.

    Hurrah, GrizzlyB is still lurking! You're awesome, dude! Thanks for your comments, they're really appreciated and I'm glad people haven't forgotten about this fic quite yet ^^;

    Oh, as a side note for anyone interested, I'm also planning a Christmas Advanceshipping one-shot. It's completely unrelated to this but be sure to keep a look out - I'm planning to get it up before the big day.

    Thanks as always for the reviews, guys!
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  6. #31
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    Hey man, glad to see a new chapter up

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Your friend isn't very smart, is she?" Paul groaned as he watched the Water-type make its second head-on charge.
    hehe, she's just like Ash, so passionnate

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    'C'mon Dawn...' Ash thought to himself as he watched the action unfold. 'You can do this... Don't get overconfident from your first ribbon... Not like May was...'
    Yeah, I remember that phase...man, she got brought back to earth the hard way...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    There was a moment of awkward silence as the watery vortex continued to spin, slowly pressing down against its opponent with immense pressure until finally the water subsided, leaving an unconscious Tangela lying on the floor.
    You've gotta be kidding me -_-
    There's just no way

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Heh, reminds me of my Glalie." Ash commented, causing Paul to take notice of him again.

    "You mean to tell me you actually have an evolved Pokemon?" he mocked. "I thought you only liked weak ones."
    Such a low blow
    Though I bet Ash could wipe the floor with him if he made something of an all star team from his journeys xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Don't worry; it's only me." the stranger said, raising his hand to signal his innocence. He was of average height and build, with dark brown hair and a matching beard and mustache. In his right hand he held a jet-black cane which matched his suit and top-hat perfectly, though he appeared to be in his late forties at most so Jessie, James and Meowth were all a little dubious as to why he would need a walking stick.

    "It's good to see you officer Kendrick," Cassidy greeted the man as she hoisted another armful of Pokeballs into their cart, "but as you can see we're a little busy here."

    "Yes, so I see..." Kendrick replied, before removing four Pokeballs from his suit pocket. "Actually I just came to give you these. They were delivered from your head office in Kanto just this morning." Kendrick smiled at this. "Your boss works fast... I'd like to meet him someday; he seems like a pleasure to do business with."
    I love the corrupt cop idea ^_^'

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Let's do this, Absol." Drew muttered, flicking a Pokeball up into the air and watching idly as it opened up, releasing a bright white light which slowly transformed into the image of a large, intimidating Pokemon with long, glossy fur as white as snow and soft, velvety skin which shared the same shade as the dark, navy blue of midnight. Sprouting from the top of the Dark-type's head was a long, curved horn which bore the same shape as a scimitar's blade and looked almost as sharp as the vicious claws which extruded from each of its four feet.
    Great description here

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Huh..." Paul commented out loud to himself. "An Absol... Haven't seen one of those in a while."
    Oh yeah, some interrest from Paul's side ? xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Paul, however, simply looked at his two companions awkwardly, and secretly hoped that no-one would realise they were together.
    of course, the "I don't know those guys..." thing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    The audience cheered and Ash found himself on his feet applauding as loud as he possibly could. Both Paul and Brock eyed him curiously, but Pikachu was more than happy to join in, hopping up and down on the chair, sparks flickering from its red cheeks.
    AdvanceChuShipping ftw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "May!!" came a girlish scream of excitement from across the room and before May realised what was happening Dawn was standing square in front of her, hopping up and down on the spot with intense fervour.

    "Hey, Dawn!" May greeted the girl happily, unable to help a grin form on her face in response to the younger trainer's infectiously peppy attitude.
    I somehow thought, that if they ever met, Dawn would absolutely be all fangirlish over May, and Drew by the way : she'd just idolise them both And this part reflects that

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "May traveled with Brock and me during our adventures in Hoenn and Kanto! We're friends!"

    'We are...' May reassured herself in her mind.
    And let's see how you change that

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Whatever." Drew replied, suddenly turning his back on the group and walking away calmly. "It's none of your business anyway."
    I sense bitterness...tell us what happened in Johto ! Pleeease...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "...Drew Blackthorne and Dawn Hikari will be up against..." came the announcement, causing everyone to pause for a moment.

    "Uh-oh..." Dawn groaned. "Talk about irony..."
    Awwww !! Please don't make him treat her like dirt !! :'(
    Let some BelleShipping take place

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "And after that match-up our next team will be May Maple and Nico Cyrax up against..."

    "What!?" Dawn and May both gasped simultaneously.
    Now that's Irony ^_^

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Drew watched the two from afar, smiling to himself at this latest development, while on the other side of the room stood the young coordinator, Nico.

    'Not bad...' the boy thought to himself, his eyes admiring May's legs from afar, a grin appearing on his face as he did so. 'At least I'll have some eye-candy to admire during the battle...'
    Oh yeah, Drew and Nico are my favourite characters so far, but I'd have Drew a little less condescending :/
    And yes, Nico does roxx

    I really liked all the small thoughts you placed, shipping wise, AdvanceShippy from Ash's side, then from May's as well some ContestShipping from May's side (imo...)

    This is very good ! Really nothing to say, perfect length, and the plot gets thicker and thicker, makes me waiting impatiently ^_^

    Keep up the brilliant work
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  7. #32
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    GAZMOF! You are in such big trouble! Naughtly little boy; posting while the a_f-chan was on holidays! ><...you will face the wrath of--

    lol kidding! Your great chapter contemplated for your sin ;P

    Gawd, do you know how long I've been waiting for this chapter? DO YOU? ...Well, to be honest, I don't know myself! XD

    Anyways, back to replying ..hehe ^^;;;

    I love this chapter! I probably have said this about all of your chapters; but hey, a great fic deserves a lot of applause! Description, well, you know that I would say that it is great as always - which it is; don't get me wrong. The punctuation, vocab, grammar etc is practically flawless from the eye can see, and oh my friggin gawd I LOVE NICO! XD *faints*

    It's intriguing how you described Ash in this, like...I kinda don't know how to explain this - but I'll try my best :S
    ---Like, in your fic, he's described so perfectly as if the chapter is an actual episode. But, usually I hate Ash altogether in the anime...and somehow - you made me root him on all the time when he's out there thinking of May.

    Gah! I don't know...I guess what I'm trying to say is that you make Ash (though what I'm going to say is quite unorthodox as I say this only a tad bit) actually enjoyable. And for you, you should be flattered at this statement because, well, I despise of Ash

    Nico, you know I love him. He's like the new and improved version of Drew And Paul - though he does annoy me tad a bit in the anime - I love him in your fic. He's so enjoyable to watch, all grumpy and sulking in the corner. Hm...who else??

    Oh, Dawn is so cute when she flatters May. But as soon as Paul arrives the scene she's like - WTF are you doing here??! XD lol Just like in the anime. Though to really make me crack up, would be if you do the 'don't you remember me?' thing like in the anime.

    I have a LOT more to type about in this chapter -- but I'm running out of time 'cause I need to log off soon. So bye for now and not forever,

    Your ever so faithful fan,

    a_f and Keep Smiling!

    P.S Be back to edit this later if I can
    Last edited by anime_aficionada; 21st December 2007 at 8:35 AM.

  8. #33
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    'Not bad...' the boy thought to himself, his eyes admiring May's legs from afar, a grin appearing on his face as he did so. 'At least I'll have some eye-candy to admire during the battle...'
    Oh no, don't you even think about it Nico or you're going to heck early. Nice job with your fic. It's also a good thing to have a insensitif stupid jerk in a fic. Can I be in your PM list?
    I am a....    Spoiler:

    Diamond Friend Code: Ames 1375-5797-3140
    I'm also a special shipper.http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=285430
    One of the proud members of Anti Cloning Club.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...=183232&page=1
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    [IMG]http://*******.com/jh6fzk.png[/IMG](credits to Avegaille)

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    lol, thanks for the reviews, guys, and to Don for keeping my fic alive You're on the list, thanks

    Chapter Four:
    The Teams Are Set

    Alisa sighed as she made her way back towards the commentary box, preparing herself for the first round of contest double-battles which were due to get underway at any given moment. The inside of the carnival's contest tent was like a maze - numerous corridors and dimly-lit hallways littered the backstage and she was secretly embarrassed by the poor standards the coordinators had to deal with - she had always admired Pokemon coordinators and if truth be told she often wished she could join them up there on the big stage with Pokemon of her own.

    Alisa's eyes trailed the floor as she turned another corner and opened up the door to the small commentary room, seating herself in the chair in front of the audio desk and taking a sip of the glass of water which lay idly before her.

    That was all in the past now, and she had a good life; she was happy to be a part of her father's carnival and to enrich so many people's lives of all ages. And she got to work with a lot of Pokemon at the carnival too, so she didn't feel at a complete loss.

    Just then the sound of a door opening behind her startled her out of her daydream. She was quickly put to rest, however, when she saw her father, officer Kendrick, standing in the doorway.

    "Dad!" she exclaimed. "How's the security going? All the coordinators are being well looked after, right?"

    "Yes, no troubles to report." Alisa's father replied. "Everyone who was attending the carnival has decided to watch the contest battles."

    The man smiled as he spoke, adjusting his top-hat slightly.

    "I have to hand it to you, Alisa; this contest tournament was a great idea. It's really bringing in some much-needed revenue for the carnival."

    "That's great, Dad." Alisa giggled, smiling to herself as she did so. "Oh but I've really got to go - the next round is due to start any second now!"

    "Right..." Kendrick agreed, nodding as he bowed and exited the room, closing the door behind him. "Good luck!"

    The man grinned as he set off back down the hallway to enact the final phase of his plan.

    'Yes, Alisa...' he thought to himself. 'Some much-needed revenue, indeed...'

    ~*~*~

    It was time to begin the next phase of the contest and Dawn watched nervously as the rest of the coordinators all met up with their respective partners. Nico had happily taken May by the hand and led her to one of the unoccupied corners of the room to discuss their strategy and soon came the moment that Dawn had been dreading ever since the announcement of who her partner would be: introducing herself to Drew. Slowly she sighed and summed up the courage to walk towards him as he continued to stand uninterested, leaning against the waiting room wall.

    The young coordinator was unable to help but admire the boy, who was a few years older than her, though not by much. He was everything her mother had always told her to look for in a boyfriend: good-looking, confident, talented, intelligent and - presumably, judging from his demeanour - rather rich. She would be lying if she claimed to not be interested in him, despite the way he had snapped at her friends earlier. There was something about him that was undeniably intriguing and secretly, though she feared May's reaction, she was looking forward to battling with him.

    "H-hi Drew!" she stammered slightly upon her final approach, causing Drew to open one eye and watch her lazily. "I'm Dawn... I'm gonna be your partner in the next round and-"

    Drew smiled to himself as he watched her and a plot began to develop in his head. From the other side of the room he could see Nico and May planning their strategy. Every second that a lesser man even breathed the same air as her made his blood boil with rage. Nico had no idea who he was dealing with.

    "Hey Dawn!" Drew replied with a cheerful tone, prompting the young girl's eyes to widen in slight shock. "I was gonna come over and meet you myself but I was a little nervous. I saw you with May and the others earlier and I watched your last battle with..." He paused for a moment, unable to help a grin from forming on his face. "Piplup, wasn't it? You were really awesome out there!"

    "Oh..." Dawn murmured, her face flushing a bright red and her eyes drifting down towards her feet as she flexed her fingers nervously. "You... You really think so?"

    "Absolutely!" Drew returned, running his fingers through his lime-green hair and flashing her a delightful smile. "It'll be an honour to battle alongside you in the next round! Don't worry; I'll make sure Absol performs the best it can. After all, I don't want to make you look bad!"

    Dawn was speechless as she gawked at the boy, unable to force her blushing to fade. She stared into his bright green eyes and watched them shimmer, feeling her heart jump a little as she did so.

    "Then again..." Drew chuckled, closing his eyes again and leaning back against the wall. "It would be impossible to make YOU look bad."

    Dawn had to forcibly stop herself from emitting a loud squeal of delight upon hearing these words. Was this really happening? Was the legendary coordinator Drew Blackthorne flirting with her? Maybe she was just imagining it... Yes, that's right! There was no way such a prestigious and powerful coordinator like him could be interested in a relative nobody like her... Was there?

    Dawn had little time to discuss strategy with her new partner as suddenly the loudspeaker began to announce the first of the double-battle rounds.

    "Alright ladies and gentlemen! The time for the second round match-ups has begun!" Alisa explained. "First up in our coordinating double-battle is the team of Nico Cyrax and May Maple up against Jaina Rondache and Hal Corner! Please give them a round of applause as they take the stage with their Pokemon!"

    The audience could be heard erupting into cheers and Dawn and Drew both stared after May as she and Nico exited the waiting room and headed down the long hallway towards the contest stage where they would be battling.

    "Um, Drew..." Dawn began, feeling her heart beat a little faster as she spoke his name. "About the battle..."

    "Don't worry about it, Dawn." Drew answered eagerly, adjusting his hair idly with his right hand. "It'll be like a ballroom dance - just follow my lead and everything will be fine."

    He then proceeded to flash the young girl a wink, causing her face to flush an even deeper shade of red than it was before. Dawn was unable to help but smile to herself as she thought of their upcoming battle together. Her Mom would be delighted to see this...

    ~*~*~

    The outermost corridor of the contest tent was once again empty as the entirety of the crowd and audience had now returned to their seats in excited anticipation of the next round of contest battles. In fact the woman who was attending the sole entrance desk of the tent was the only other person in sight. Samantha was pleased that she had some breathing space, as she tended to do her best when she avoided large crowds in small, cramped spaces.

    "Hi." the young coordinator greeted as she approached the woman with shiny, golden hair which was tied into two long pigtails that curved down to the small of her back. "I'm Samantha Applejay, I'm here to reclaim my Pokemon."

    "Oh, leaving so soon?" the receptionist replied with a bored tone to her voice.

    "Well I got knocked out of the last round, so it makes no sense to just sit around and wait." Samantha chuckled, trying hard to suppress a sigh of disappointment. "I just want to get back out there and start training again."

    "That's cute, kid." the woman answered, feigning a smile as she did so. "I'll just need you to fill out this form and sign and date here, here and here..."

    Samantha silently accepted the ball-point pen which was offered to her and began reading over the details of the Pokemon release form. She hadn't been surprised when she first entered into the contest and discovered she had to submit all of her four other Pokemon to be looked after backstage - it was a common practice amongst official contest circuits. She did not, however, appreciate the receptionist's aloof attitude. Perhaps it had been a long day.

    Eventually the girl finished writing her details down and handed the form to the receptionist, who quickly snatched it away from her before looking it over with a critical eye.

    "Alright then, Miss Applejay," the woman began as she rose to her feet and walked towards the inside of the hallway, "please follow me and we'll retrieve your Pokemon."

    Samantha nodded and began to follow the receptionist through the corridor towards where the contest Pokemon were being kept unable to take her eyes off her pink, triangle-shaped earrings which glittered underneath the faint lighting of the carnival tent. She could hear their footsteps echoing throughout the tent, though this sound was no match for the sheer volume of the crowd's constant cheering from inside the stage area.

    Soon the two of them reached a small door which led to a secluded room towards the rear of the tent and the receptionist began to slowly turn the handle. Samantha felt a little hesitant - this part of the tent had been cordoned off for coordinators and members of the public alike and the ill-lighting certainly didn't feel very welcoming. She secretly apologised to her Pokemon for having to leave them in such a dark and uninviting place.

    "They're just in here!" the receptionist suddenly spoke up, snapping the young coordinator out of her train of thought. "Please, go right on in!"

    "Right, thanks, I-" Samantha began, but her voice quickly trailed off as she saw several coordinators bound and gagged inside the small room, all seemingly knocked unconscious for good measure. "What the? Hey! Let go of me!"

    The girl began kicking and screaming as she felt the receptionist grab onto her shoulders from behind and begin to apply a cloth to her mouth.

    "Just hold still and be quiet, it'll be easier that way!" the receptionist snarled as she fought to hold the girl in place.

    "Elekid, Thunder!" a voice barked, quickly followed by a flash of electricity which forced the receptionist to release the girl and duck for cover.

    "What the hell!?" the receptionist snarled, getting slowly to her feet as a man in black uniform with jade-green hair and a bright red "R" emblazoned on his shirt dashed out of the small storage room, Pokeball in hand.

    "Need some help here, Cassidy?" the man asked, scowling at the boy whose Elekid had just launched the Thunder attack.

    "Heh, perfect..." Paul chuckled, clenching his fists in anticipation of an interesting battle. "I knew if I tailed that girl long enough I'd find out what was going on here."

    "Big mistake, kid..." the receptionist snarled, removing her lab coat and revealing a black uniform which matched that of her partner. "Nobody messes with Team Rocket and gets away with it."

    "Please, don't make me laugh." Paul retorted snidely. "Elekid, get ready. Looks like this contest thing won't be a complete waste of time for us after all."

    ~*~*~

    Meanwhile in the centre of the tent May and Nico's battle had begun and the crowd was roaring with excitement. Blaziken and Glalie squared off against Granbull and Torkoal, and it all promised to be a truly exciting match-up.

    "May!" Nico called over towards his partner as the battle got underway. "You take the Torkoal and I'll handle the Granbull. Got it?"

    "Right!" May agreed. Though she knew Blaziken had a sizable type advantage against Granbull, she knew that in order to win a double battle she would have to cover up her opponent's weakness to fire, and that meant keeping the enemy's Torkoal occupied for as long as possible. "Blaziken, Sky Uppercut on Torkoal!"

    "Glalie, Ice Beam on Granbull!" Nico added.

    The audience oohed and ahed as they watched the battle unfold, beams of ice and fire blasting into the air with intense power as the four Pokemon collided against each other. Ash, Brock and Pikachu sat riveted as the battle continued, none of them able to take their eyes off the match for even a second.

    "Hey, Brock..." Ash managed to turn to face his friend during a brief stalemate between Blaziken and Torkoal. "Do you know where Paul went? I haven't seen him since the start of the battle."

    "Pika?" Pikachu questioned.

    "Hm," Brock considered, "now that you mention it he didn't say where he was going. Maybe he just left?"

    "Why would he do that?" Ash wondered out loud, his eyes drifting up towards the ceiling of the tent which was being illuminated by flashes of deep red and pale blue. "These are some of the most awesome contest battles I've ever seen!"

    "Pikachu!" Pikachu agreed, adjusting its footing on top of its trainer's hat in order to watch the spectacle in a more comfortable position.

    An explosion of fire and ice drew the spectator's attention back to the battle, where Nico's Glalie had managed to narrowly avoid damage from an Overheat attack by the enemy Torkoal by using Protect.

    "Dammit, May!" Nico cursed just loud enough for his partner to hear. "You're supposed to be diverting its attention away from me!"

    "I'm not gonna sacrifice my Blaziken just to keep your Glalie safe!" May protested. "Besides, we're doing the best we can!"

    "Well do it better!" Nico growled before turning back to his own Pokemon and issuing some new orders. "Glalie, Double Team!"

    The floating head of ice roared in agreement, closing its eyes and focusing as its entire form vanished briefly, before reappearing as several shadowy duplicates which circled the entire stage.

    "Now's your chance, Blaziken!" May exclaimed. "Use Overheat on Torkoal!"

    "Ken!" Blaziken agreed, clenching its fists tightly as the flames around its wrists ignited with fury. The creature's entire body began to glow a molten red and before either Torkoal or its trainer could react Blaziken had cupped its hands together and generated an enormous fireball which washed over almost half of the stage, engulfing the fire tortoise completely.

    "Wha!?" Hal cried, falling to his knees as the flames began to die down and Torkoal was revealed to have been knocked unconscious. "Torkoal, no!"

    "Oh, and it looks like that last Overheat was just too hot for Hal's Torkoal to handle, ladies and gentlemen!" Alisa commented over the loudspeaker as the entire audience cheered in excitement. "Such incredible strength, yet both May and Blaziken seem to command it so elegantly! And now it's two Pokemon against one! Can Jaina and her Granbull make a spectacular recovery?"

    "No way!" Nico laughed. "Glalie, close in and use Crunch!"

    "Glalie!" the Pokemon snarled, rushing towards the enemy and clamping over its hands with its enormous fangs which glistened like crystal. May couldn't help but wince a little as she watched the Granbull roar in pain.

    "Now finish it off with Ice Beam and send it out of the ring!" Nico continued.

    The Ice-type Pokemon glared into its opponent's eyes and even the towering form of Granbull seemed powerless to stop the creature as it was sent high into the air by an enormous Ice Beam which seemed to generate falling drops of snow with every passing moment the target was airborne. Soon Granbull plummeted back down, landing in the centre of the stage with a loud thud, completely unconscious.

    "And we have our first winning team, ladies and gentlemen!" Alisa squealed, excited as a schoolgirl who had just been awarded her Pokemon trainer's license. "It was looking bad for a moment as their points were dropping due to a lack of teamwork, but May and Nico have pulled through and are heading into the next round!"

    Both Nico and May met in the centre of the stage and gave a bow to all sides of the audience before returning their Pokemon to their Pokeballs and walking off the stage together, surrounded by cheers and applause.

    "It seems like May's really improved." Brock commented as he continued to clap along with the rest of the audience. "And that Nico guy isn't too bad, either."

    "Yeah." Ash agreed. "And according to the scoreboard Dawn and Drew are gonna be on right after this next match."

    The boy paused for a moment as he considered something.

    "Heh, seeing all these battles makes me want to get out there and do some training myself, don't you think, Pikachu?"

    "Pikachu Pika!" Pikachu nodded, hopping down into its trainer's lap, who happily scratched underneath the creature's ear affectionately.

    "Dawn and Drew, huh?" Brock wondered out loud. "Why do I not have a good feeling about that pairing?"

    ~*~*~

    "Ha!" Paul laughed as his Elekid effortlessly dodged another attack from the Rocket grunt's Sableye's attack. The dark, shadowy Pokemon snarled and continued to lunge after its enemy, which responded by sending forth another powerful Thunder attack. "You morons are completely incompetent! And you actually thought you'd be able to get away with stealing all these people's Pokemon right under their noses? Pathetic!"

    "This kid is really starting to get on my nerves!" Butch commented, growling as he watched both his Mightyena and Cassidy's Sableye regroup near their feet, preparing themselves for another electric attack from Paul's Elekid. "Mightyena, use Shadow Ball!"

    "You too, Sableye!" Cassidy added, clenching her fists as she watched the two Team Rocket Pokemon charge towards their opponent; dark, shadowy orbs slowly shifting and forming in front of them as they readied their attacks.

    "Heh, bring it on..." Paul chuckled. "Elekid, finish them off with a-"

    There was a loud thud and Paul's voice became cut off, causing his Pokemon to turn in surprise. During this moment of weakness Sableye and Mightyena's attacks collided into the back of the Electric-Pokemon, sending it flying into a heap where Paul now lay, knocking it unconscious.

    Butch and Cassidy both looked up, curious to know what had happened, but everything soon became clear once they saw their ally, officer Kendrick, standing above the bodies of the boy and his Pokemon, gently polishing the side of his walking stick innocently with a handkerchief.

    "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt anything," Kendrick smirked, "but I was afraid that all that ruckus might have attracted some... Unwanted attention."

    "Well, it's appreciated officer," Cassidy began, recalling her Sableye back into its Pokeball, "but I can assure you that we had everything under control."

    "Hm," Kendrick mumbled under stifled laughter, "I can see that."

    There was a pause before the man turned and headed off in the opposite direction.

    "Make sure you throw him in the room with the others." Kendrick explained as he began to walk away. "We just need a few more hours and then all those Pokemon will be ours."

    ~*~*~

    "And here are Dawn Hikari and Drew Blackthorne!" Alisa's voice boomed as both Dawn and Drew entered the main contest hall and made their way up to the front of the stage, opposite their two rivals, a young boy with spiky blond hair and a girl with a bundle of brunette hair hidden beneath a large, furry cap. "They're facing off against Lee Gondola and Felicia Raquele in a battle that's sure to burn hotter than the brightest Solarbeam! I can't wait to see what's going to happen - our competitors had better be ready for anything! Let's start the countdown!"

    "You're not nervous, are you Dawn?" Drew asked the girl standing beside him in a reassuring tone, causing her to blush a light shade of pink before stammering her answer.

    "Um..." she replied awkwardly as she tried to avoid eye contact with the boy. "I am a little, I guess..."

    "Don't be." Drew answered, his voice soft like the fluffiest pillow of Torchic down as he reached to her side and gently squeezed her hand, causing her blush to intensify beyond measure. "I'm here for you."

    "And get set!" Alisa's voice slowly reappeared inside Dawn's field of perception as she gradually came back to her senses. "Coordinators! Unleash your Pokemon! The match clock has started!"

    "Go, Absol!" Drew lead the way, throwing his Pokeball down into the centre of the stage and revealing the ominous figure of his Dark-type Pokemon, Absol, which glared apathetically towards the opposite side of the contest hall.

    "Right!" Dawn added, throwing her own Pokeball down into the arena. "Piplup, you're up!"

    "Piplup!" Dawn's tiny penguin Pokemon chirped as its form slowly escaped the red-and-white sphere that the girl had thrown and took its place confidently beside the towering black-and-white Pokemon which was its partner.

    Drew and Dawn both watched as their opponents threw down their choice of Pokemon. The girl, Felicia, had sent out her Camerupt - a Fire and Ground-type Pokemon whose body was covered with menacing craters that steamed with heat. It was a Pokemon that was native to Hoenn, so Dawn was confident that Drew would know its strengths and weaknesses well, since he also hailed from the same region. The boy, Lee, had another Fire-type Pokemon - this time a Magcargo, a fiery, snail-like creature with an intensely hot, rocky shell which gave it the benefit of the Rock-type as well. The four Pokemon all watched each other closely as they waited for their trainers to make a move.

    "Two Fire-types, huh?" Dawn reassured herself as she smiled confidently. "That means Piplup's got a great advantage!"

    "In that case, I'll let you concentrate on attacking them, Dawn." Drew suggested, winking as he spoke to the girl and causing her heart to flutter as if it were a butterfly caught in a gentle breeze. "Absol and I will distract them and draw their attention."

    "Right!" Dawn agreed, brimming with anticipation as she pointed towards the Camerupt on the right-hand side of the field. "Okay Piplup, attack Camerupt with Whirlpool, but keep your distance!"

    "Lup!" Piplup responded, leaping into the air and blasting the quadrupedal Pokemon with a torrent of bubbles which quickly spun and contorted the battlefield into a giant vortex whose immense pressure pounded down on Camerupt like a tonne of bricks.

    "Oh and it looks like Dawn and Drew have an early advantage as that Whirlpool traps Camerupt helplessly in a cyclone of water!" Alisa commented excitedly whilst Drew simply smirked to himself at the girl's power. "Such beautiful grace and power! Piplup may be small but don't let its size fool you - this little penguin packs quite a punch!"

    "Right!" Dawn cheered, jumping on the spot as she watched her Pokemon continue its attack. "Keep it up, Piplup! Drew's counting on us!"

    "Wow, Dawn's really in sync with Drew!" Brock exclaimed, though he wasn't sure whether he should be happy about that or not. "It's as if she almost doesn't want to let him down."

    "Nah, you must be imagining it!" Ash assured his friend as Pikachu watched from atop his cap, glued to the on-stage action. "I think Dawn just doesn't wanna let Piplup down - look how hard it's trying out there!"

    Ash paused for a moment before he clapped his hands together loudly.

    "You can do it, Dawn!" he yelled. "Keep on attacking and you'll win this match in no time!"

    "Hm..." Brock considered under his breath as he listened to his friend's fevered cheering. "I'm not so sure about that, Ash..."

    "I'm not going to let this little girl dictate the playing field all day!" Dawn's male opponent, Lee, exclaimed in retaliation. "Magcargo! Launch a Flamethrower attack at that pipsqueak, now!"

    "Heh," Dawn chuckled, smiling confidently to herself, "every trainer should know a Flamethrower's not gonna do much damage to a Water-type... Piplup, keep at that Whirlpool!"

    "Absol, dive in front of that Flamethrower!" Drew commanded, prompting an immediate response from his Pokemon. Dawn's eyes widened in shock as she watched the Dark-type dash in front of the oncoming inferno without a second thought, its glossy white coat quickly becoming enveloped in flames.

    "Wow!" Alisa's commentary continued over the loudspeaker, awe evident in every syllable she spoke. "What an astounding sacrifice! Drew and Absol - despite the dangers involved - have just risked everything to keep Dawn's Piplup safe! This couple are in perfect harmony!"

    "What!?" Dawn gasped, and even Piplup was shocked by the Pokemon's selfless - though somewhat reckless - move. "But Drew, you-"

    Dawn quickly felt the warmth of the coordinator's hand against hers as he gripped it reassuringly.

    "Don't worry." he whispered into her ear softly. "I won't let anything happen to your Piplup."

    "But..." Dawn mumbled, staring at the intense fireball which continued to burn just inches away from her Piplup. "But Absol must be hurt..."

    "Absol's fine." Drew insisted. "Right, Absol?"

    "Sol!" came the voice of Drew's Pokemon as the flames finally extinguished and its figure slowly came back into view amidst the smoke and ash that Lee's attack had created. Its white fur was badly singed a light-grey and what patches of skin were visible were covered in savage marks and bruises where the flames of Magcargo's attack had cut into it. It panted heavily, but refused to show any sign of weakness to its trainer, growling intimidatingly at its opponent.

    "Now, Dawn..." Drew continued, turning to the girl and smiling. "Let's finish this. Together."

    ~*~*~

    "Drew..." May whispered to herself as she watched the contest battle unfold on the television screen inside the waiting room.

    She was sitting alone in one corner of the room, Blaziken's Pokeball in her hand. She was so grateful for everything it had done for her, and whilst she had no doubt of its abilities, she did have doubts about her own - particularly with regards to how her emotions might affect an eventual showdown against her long-time rival, Drew.

    Of course she had battled Drew numerous times before, but not since she had left Johto after that incident. She was worried that she might not be able to pull through if her emotions were cloudy. Drew was always so strong and never showed any signs of weakness, yet she... She was different. She knew she was a great coordinator and her results spoke louder than words ever could, but she still felt like she was missing something. She hated being alone, and perhaps that was why she now harboured so much ill-will towards Johto and her time there. She knew she didn't need anyone to help her, so why did she always feel so helpless whenever her friends weren't around?

    "Penny for your thoughts." came a voice from behind the girl, causing her to jolt upwards in surprise and turn to see who it belonged to.

    Her partner, Nico, stood above her, his expression as blank as always. Silently he took a seat next to her on the waiting room bench and looked up towards the television monitor, where Absol continued to staunchly fend off any attacks which were targeted at Piplup.

    "Ah," May stammered in reply, turning her gaze back down to the Pokeball that lay idly in her hands, "I was just thinking about my next match, is all."

    "You know you're a terrible liar, right?" Nico answered bluntly, not taking his eyes away from the television monitor which was hanging above them. "You and him used to have something, didn't you?"

    "Wh-what!?" May exclaimed suddenly, backing away from the boy. "N-no! I mean, uh... I'd rather not talk about it, if that's okay with you."

    "Well you can deny it all you want, but it's so painfully obvious to me." Nico explained, leaning back and stretching his body out of boredom. "Well I'm glad you left him, anyway. He doesn't deserve a girl like you."

    "Wh-what do you mean?" May mumbled, slumping her shoulders in a depressed state.

    "I know exactly the kind of guy he is." Nico continued, his mouth curving into a slight smile as he spoke. "Rich, good-looking, talented, well-respected... He could have any woman he wants - you know that as well as I do, I'm sure."

    May was silent as Nico's words seemed to penetrate through her like a nail being hammered into a wall. She didn't know why she was letting him speak to her like this - she barely even knew the boy - but for some reason she just didn't have the energy to protest as he continued his hypothesis.

    "Which is exactly why he doesn't deserve you." Nico said, his eyes idly tracing the action on the screen above them as Magcargo went down to a powerful Water Pulse attack from Drew's Absol. "I'll bet it took him a long time to win you over, huh? Didn't you ever think it was strange?"

    "...I don't know what you're talking about." May lied, turning her gaze the other way.

    "A good-looking girl like you deserves a guy who's gonna treat you with respect." Nico pressed, his words wrapping around May's emotions like a Seviper slowly choking its prey. "You're just a trophy to Drew, and you know it."

    May began to feel tears well up in the back of her eyes and she quickly stood up and dashed towards the exit, mumbling some excuse as she went. She didn't know where she needed to go, but she just couldn't sit there listening to Nico's words any longer; she had to get some air.

    Just as May entered the main corridor to head to the restrooms she heard a roar from the crowd and looked up towards the television monitor where Dawn and Drew had just won their contest match. The camera gave a close-up view of the two coordinator's faces; Dawn was wearing an enormous grin, whilst Drew simply smiled in his typically subdued manner.

    "Congratulations to our winners!" Alisa's voice boomed throughout the arena, coming through loud and clear on the television set. "What a perfectly matched duo! It's as if they were made for each other!"

    "Made..." May repeated, sniffing as tears started falling down her face. "For each other?"

    Just then the crowd roared even more as Drew embraced his partner in a powerful hug, which she eagerly returned, and May felt her heart slowly and painfully break inside of her chest. Bursting into tears she sprinted into the restroom and locked the door, falling to her knees and sobbing desperately.
    Last edited by Gazmof; 28th January 2008 at 12:18 AM.
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  10. #35
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    "What the hell!?" the receptionist snarled, getting slowly to her feet as a man in black uniform with jade-green hair and a bright red "R" emblazoned on his shirt dashed out of the small storage room, Pokeball in hand.
    LOL, some of the first swear I recall from a fic.
    "Drew..." May whispered to herself as she watched the contest battle unfold on the television screen inside the waiting room.
    She was sitting alone in one corner of the room, Blaziken's Pokeball in her hand. She was so grateful for everything it had done for her, and whilst she had no doubt of its abilities, she did have doubts about her own - particularly with regards to how her emotions might affect an eventual showdown against her long-time rival, Drew.
    Of course she had battled Drew numerous times before, but not since she had left Johto after that incident. She was worried that she might not be able to pull through if her emotions were cloudy. Drew was always so strong and never showed any signs of weakness, yet she... She was different. She knew she was a great coordinator and her results spoke louder than words ever could, but she still felt like she was missing something. She hated being alone, and perhaps that was why she now harboured so much ill-will towards Johto and her time there. She knew she didn't need anyone to help her, so why did she always feel so helpless whenever her friends weren't around?
    "Penny for your thoughts." came a voice from behind the girl, causing her to jolt upwards in surprise and turn to see who it belonged to.
    Her partner, Nico, stood above her, his expression as blank as always. Silently he took a seat next to her on the waiting room bench and looked up towards the television monitor, where Absol continued to staunchly fend off any attacks which were targeted at Piplup.
    "Ah," May stammered in reply, turning her gaze back down to the Pokeball that lay idly in her hands, "I was just thinking about my next match, is all."
    "You know you're a terrible liar, right?" Nico answered bluntly, not taking his eyes away from the television monitor which was hanging above them. "You and him used to have something, didn't you?"
    "Wh-what!?" May exclaimed suddenly, backing away from the boy. "N-no! I mean, uh... I'd rather not talk about it, if that's okay with you."
    "Well you can deny it all you want, but it's so painfully obvious to me." Nico explained, leaning back and stretching his body out of boredom. "Well I'm glad you left him, anyway. He doesn't deserve a girl like you."
    "Wh-what do you mean?" May mumbled, slumping her shoulders in a depressed state.
    "I know exactly the kind of guy he is." Nico continued, his mouth curving into a slight smile as he spoke. "Rich, good-looking, talented, well-respected... He could have any woman he wants - you know that as well as I do, I'm sure."
    May was silent as Nico's words seemed to penetrate through her like a nail being hammered into a wall. She didn't know why she was letting him speak to her like this - she barely even knew the boy - but for some reason she just didn't have the energy to protest as he continued his hypothesis.
    "Which is exactly why he doesn't deserve you." Nico said, his eyes idly tracing the action on the screen above them as Magcargo went down to a powerful Water Pulse attack from Drew's Absol. "I'll bet it took him a long time to win you over, huh? Didn't you ever think it was strange?"
    "...I don't know what you're talking about." May lied, turning her gaze the other way.
    "A good-looking girl like you deserves a guy who's gonna treat you with respect." Nico pressed, his words wrapping around May's emotions like a Seviper slowly choking its prey. "You're just a trophy to Drew, and you know it."
    May began to feel tears well up in the back of her eyes and she quickly stood up and dashed towards the exit, mumbling some excuse as she went. She didn't know where she needed to go, but she just couldn't sit there listening to Nico's words any longer; she had to get some air.
    Just as May entered the main corridor to head to the restrooms she heard a roar from the crowd and looked up towards the television monitor where Dawn and Drew had just won their contest match. The camera gave a close-up view of the two coordinator's faces; Dawn was wearing an enormous grin, whilst Drew simply smiled in his typically subdued manner.
    "Congratulations to our winners!" Alisa's voice boomed throughout the arena, coming through loud and clear on the television set. "What a perfectly matched duo! It's as if they were made for each other!"
    "Made..." May repeated, sniffing as tears started falling down her face. "For each other?"
    Just then the crowd roared even more as Drew embraced his partner in a powerful hug, which she eagerly returned, and May felt her heart slowly and painfully break inside of her chest. Bursting into tears she sprinted into the restroom and locked the door, falling to her knees and sobbing desperately.
    Poor May, tortured by an insensitif jerkfuc*er. But still, Drew and Dawn, at least Drew and Dawn are occupied. May is still confused who she loves and seeing Drew and Dawn which is some of the reason her heart is sobbing. It's a Advanceshipping fic but you put some little Contestshipping(<<I can't believe I'm typing this word out) you able to make this fic emotional, that's what I expected from a fic, I'll give you MAXIMUM IMPRESIVE for this fic you wrote.
    I am a....    Spoiler:

    Diamond Friend Code: Ames 1375-5797-3140
    I'm also a special shipper.http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthread.php?t=285430
    One of the proud members of Anti Cloning Club.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...=183232&page=1
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...=148137&page=1<<<<<Save the Japenese Language Club!
    [IMG]http://*******.com/jh6fzk.png[/IMG](credits to Avegaille)

  11. #36
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    Butch and Cassidy both looked up, curious to know what had happened, but everything soon became clear once they saw their ally, officer Kendrick, standing above the bodies of the boy and his Pokemon, gently polishing the side of his walking stick innocently with a handkerchief.
    Paul is going to be so p**sed when he wakes up...
    "I have to hand it to you, Alisa; this contest tournament was a great idea. It's really bringing in some much-needed revenue for the carnival."

    "That's great, Dad." Alisa giggled, smiling to herself as she did so. "Oh but I've really got to go - the next round is due to start any second now!"

    "Right..." Kendrick agreed, nodding as he bowed and exited the room, closing the door behind him. "Good luck!"

    The man grinned as he set off back down the hallway to enact the final phase of his plan.

    'Yes, Alisa...' he thought to himself. 'Some much-needed revenue, indeed...'
    Poor Alisa... an innocent idea gone so very wrong...

  12. #37
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    If Paul wakes up he's gonna slowly murder the guy who knocked him out and mutiliate him so bad.

    Gosh, Nico's an a**hole. And what incident? You're a pro at cliffies like this.

    This is the start of a brand new journey...

    FF.Net +
    PB + DA + Blog

  13. #38
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    Belleshipping, Contestshipping, Advanceshipping. Nice collection.

    Loved the chapter here. The person who knocked Paul out is going do pay dearly for his endeavor.

    Nico...nasty character you have that. He's one of the most inconsiderate persons ever: and May can be quite sensitive sometimes: I wonder what happened to her and Drew? Dawn was acting like a real fangirl there - but I think I echo Brock's opinion on that attitude (Ash being clueless as usual).

    "Made..." May repeated, sniffing as tears started falling down her face. "For each other?"
    Drew's plotting a nasty plot. Good emotional overcharge - the balance is quite right in that respect. I hope you'll deepen Nico character gradually: there's a real scope in nasty characterization for that person.

    Ride ahead then!

  14. #39
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    Yay, I do love waking up in the morning and seeing reviews have been posted. And four whole ones, too! Awesome

    Don:
    It's a Advanceshipping fic but you put some little Contestshipping
    I know, and trust me, it was difficult to do ^^;;; But I think it's unavoidable considering the strong hinting towards the end of the BF... But hey, don't worry, I tagged this as an Advanceshipping fic for a reason and I hope you'll stick around to see it through the good times and the bad ^^;

    Ariel: Haha, yeah, as much as I love Paul it's just too early for him to be meddling just yet. We'll see what happens...

    Also, yay, I'm glad people don't hate Alisa. I think she's just been caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time, so-to-speak.

    Kawaii Serebii: Haha, thanks for the compliment The incident? Well, let's just say it'll be revealed in due time...

    Earthborn: Ah, it's good to see some regulars of the Advanceshipping thread like my story and you and Kawaii Serebii fit the bill. This chapter was both difficult and fun to write in equal measure (I think my favourite part was writing the whole Drew/Dawn battle, surprisingly) and I hope you'll stick around to see what happens.

    I hope you'll deepen Nico character gradually: there's a real scope in nasty characterization for that person.
    Haha, thanks, I always appreciate getting feedback on my original characters. I don't want to give away too much, of course, but I plan on having Nico around for a little bit longer, so you'll see some more development in future chapters.

    Well, thanks for the reviews everyone and stay tuned!
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  15. #40
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    Yeah, well, I'd have reviewed sooner, if the forums would have alowed me xDD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    'Yes, Alisa...' he thought to himself. 'Some much-needed revenue, indeed...'
    I just thought the same thing, the poor girl doesn't suspect a thing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Every second that a lesser man even breathed the same air as her made his blood boil with rage.
    Be afraid...be very afraid...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Um, Drew..." Dawn began, feeling her heart beat a little faster as she spoke his name. "About the battle..."

    "Don't worry about it, Dawn." Drew answered eagerly, adjusting his hair idly with his right hand. "It'll be like a ballroom dance - just follow my lead and everything will be fine."
    Wow ! I mean that is one genius comparison

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    He then proceeded to flash the young girl a wink, causing her face to flush an even deeper shade of red than it was before. Dawn was unable to help but smile to herself as she thought of their upcoming battle together. Her Mom would be delighted to see this...
    Please, I'm begging you, don't make him destroy her heart in cold blood...At least make their relationship work out at the end !! *pleads*

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Elekid, Thunder!" a voice barked, quickly followed by a flash of electricity which forced the receptionist to release the girl and duck for cover.

    "What the hell!?" the receptionist snarled, getting slowly to her feet as a man in black uniform with jade-green hair and a bright red "R" emblazoned on his shirt dashed out of the small storage room, Pokeball in hand.

    "Need some help here, Cassidy?" the man asked, scowling at the boy whose Elekid had just launched the Thunder attack.

    "Heh, perfect..." Paul chuckled, clenching his fists in anticipation of an interesting battle. "I knew if I tailed that girl long enough I'd find out what was going on here."
    Yeah, he knew this would happen...now let's see what he decides to do ! ;D

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Dawn and Drew, huh?" Brock wondered out loud. "Why do I not have a good feeling about that pairing?"
    I don't know...I still try and keep the faith and hope, but it's really Gazmof who decides

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    May was silent as Nico's words seemed to penetrate through her like a nail being hammered into a wall. She didn't know why she was letting him speak to her like this - she barely even knew the boy - but for some reason she just didn't have the energy to protest as he continued his hypothesis.
    aka. The Truth

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Just then the crowd roared even more as Drew embraced his partner in a powerful hug, which she eagerly returned, and May felt her heart slowly and painfully break inside of her chest. Bursting into tears she sprinted into the restroom and locked the door, falling to her knees and sobbing desperately.
    Great...now I feel terrible for her :/

    You know, I'm always angsty when reading this fic, because at anytime, you might place a huge bomb for me as a ContestShipper, with May being in a certain state of mind, with Drew not caring at all...

    I don't pretty much care about AdvanceShipping, it's just that whether or not it makes Drew and CS look bad ^^'

    Besides my pov shipping wise, I enjoyed it, as usual
    Keep it up, and...well...yeah, I'll (fearfuly) see what Drew does next time

    Bye !
    Last edited by shadow_shipper; 28th January 2008 at 8:56 PM. Reason: Damn mistakes -_-'
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  16. #41

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    Nice chapter as usual, I like how you build up the drama for everything. Yay for lots of drama. XD Anyway, hopefully the chapters keep on getting better and better like like you normally dish it out. =P


    Anyway, I like how interesting your "contestshipping" perception is... hehehehehehe. I definitely approve of this. >=P
    I waste my life away on Nico Nico Douga.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_shipper View Post
    You know, I'm always angsty when reading this fic, because at anytime, you might place a huge bomb for me as a ContestShipper, with May being in a certain state of mind, with Drew not caring at all...

    I don't pretty much care about AdvanceShipping, it's just that whether or not it makes Drew and CS look bad ^^'
    Muwahahaha! Your fate is in my hands, shadow_shipper

    Quote Originally Posted by buster_wolf View Post
    Anyway, I like how interesting your "contestshipping" perception is... hehehehehehe. I definitely approve of this. >=P
    Yeah, it's becoming like a soap opera, isn't it? And the reasons behind my "Contestshipping" perception should be revealed shortly.

    Thanks for the reviews, everyone ^^
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  18. #43
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    sweet
    just sweet
    i'm not good in giving compliments but this surely is good
    keep up the good work please

  19. #44
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    Thanks solidsnake ^^

    Sorry this is kind of late... But, eh, please enjoy anyways ^^;;

    Chapter Five:
    Round Three Rumble

    The hallway of the contest tent was deserted as usual, the echoing footsteps and blunt roar of the crowd from the main stage the only sounds which pierced the somewhat gloomy silence. Drew stood with his back against the tent wall, eying the red-and-white sphere in his hand. Absol had done its job, yes, but it still wasn't at the peak of perfection that Drew demanded from all of his other Pokemon.

    Drew considered his course of action carefully for a moment. The battle had gone almost flawlessly and Dawn seemed to fall for him quickly - much quicker than most other coordinators, it had to be said. Drew chuckled to himself as he thought of the girl with the navy-blue hair and innocent, happy-go-lucky smile, pleased to know that he hadn't lost his touch.

    Dawn was without a doubt a very pretty young girl, though her bubbly attitude was a little annoying at times, but such a personality was to be expected from a rookie coordinator such as herself. Drew certainly had to admit that he was enjoying her reactions a lot more than he would have done with most women, and he hoped that the double battle system of the tournament would continue for a little longer so that he might enjoy watching them even more. She almost reminded him somewhat of May.

    Drew's eyes eventually returned their gaze on the Pokeball in his hand and his smile vanished as he released the Pokemon that lay waiting inside of it, causing a flash of light to illuminate the corridor and the elegant, white form of his Absol to appear before him.

    The Pokemon watched its trainer closely, with eyes that tried not to show too much defiance. It was difficult for a Dark-type not to come across as arrogant at times, but Absol knew that arrogance was one personality trait this coordinator didn't like.

    "What are you thinking, Absol?" Drew snarled with a hushed voice, prompting the Pokemon to hang its head in shame. "I thought you had learnt your lesson from the Kanto Grand Festival! You know I don't tolerate anything less than one-hundred percent from my Pokemon!"

    Absol said nothing and simply continued to look at the floor in dismay.

    "You should have been prepared for that Flamethrower attack a lot sooner than you were!" Drew continued, adjusting his hair idly as he spoke. "I'm just thankful that we weren't against any Fighting-type Pokemon. The last thing I need is for you to make me look bad!"

    Absol's eyes trailed the ground and it stared down the far end of the corridor as its trainer spoke.

    "Don't make me regret using you for the battle rounds, Absol..." Drew whispered, raising the creature's Pokeball again and retracting it back inside the sphere. "I don't care about this contest. I'm here to bring her back."

    ~*~*~

    Dawn sat in the waiting room, eagerly swinging her legs back and forth underneath the bench as she rewound the events of the battle with Drew back and forth in her mind, unable to remove a constant grin that was permanently stuck to her face. Piplup watched its trainer curiously as she continued to giggle to herself, unaware of the world around her.

    "Piplup?" the small penguin asked, nudging the girl's leg with one of its tiny blue wings in order to attract her attention.

    "Hm?" she queried, then grinned again as she saw the small Pokemon looking up at her with its round, endearing eyes.

    "Oh, Piplup!" she cooed, sweeping the creature up into her arms and cradling it lovingly. "You were amazing out there! I'm just so happy right now I swear I could burst!"

    "Piplup Lup!" Piplup squealed in response.

    "And you know, Piplup..." the girl added, looking up towards the television monitors where the final match of the second round of battles was just wrapping up. "You weren't the only amazing one out there today."

    "Pip?" Piplup wondered out loud.

    "Drew was simply incredible!" Dawn whispered, a deep blush emerging on her face as she scanned the room to make sure nobody was watching. "I still can't believe he even thinks I'm worthy of battling alongside him!"

    The girl paused as her heart began to race a little bit faster and she glanced down towards her right hand, her blush intensifying further.

    "And..." she stammered under her breath. "I can't believe he... He held my hand..."

    "Piplup..." Piplup sighed, not entirely certain of why its trainer was acting so ludicrously. She was beginning to remind it of a certain other Pokemon on her team whenever it came into close contact with Ash's Pikachu...

    "Oh, Piplup!" Dawn squealed once again, hugging the Water-type Pokemon even tighter in her arms. "Do you think he likes me? Do you really think an amazing coordinator like him really... Likes me?"

    A look of sudden worry struck her face, causing Piplup's eyes to widen.

    "Oh no!" she gasped. "Was my hair okay? I didn't mess it up, did I? I just got so excited and I wanna look my best for him and-"

    "Hey, Dawn!"

    The voice of Ash suddenly jolted Dawn away from her worries and caused her to immediately jump to her feet, turning to face her friend, who was standing behind her along with Brock and Pikachu.

    "Pika!" Pikachu congratulated the small penguin in Dawn's arms, who quickly blushed in response.

    "Piplup Pip..." it chuckled, rubbing the back of its head with its wing.

    "Oh, Ash! Brock!" Dawn coughed, trying to get her bearings and wipe away the blush that had invaded her face. "Wh-what are you doing here?"

    "Uh..." Ash mumbled, uncertain of why the girl had such an unusual demeanour. "Well, don't we always come and see you during a break in your contests?"

    "Oh, right, of course!" Dawn replied, obviously flustered. "Um, I was just thinking of the strategy for my next match, that's all!"

    "You were really awesome out there!" Ash complimented, pumping his fist with excitement. "I mean you and Drew were in perfect harmony the whole time! It was like you guys had battled a million times before!"

    "Well, I was just following his lead..." Dawn muttered, her blush quickly reappearing on her face. "I still have a lot to learn..."

    "Aw, don't be so modest, Dawn!" came a familiar voice from behind the girl, prompting everyone in the group to look up and see Drew making his way towards them. "You're just a natural! It took me years to become as proficient as you are in contests. I guess you were just born talented."

    "Drew!" Dawn gushed, unable to contain her excitement of seeing the boy once again as she fought the overwhelming urge to leap into his arms.

    "Well, that and beautiful, too..." Drew added, flashing a smile towards the girl, who swallowed nervously, her face now entirely painted red.

    "Piplup..." Piplup glared at the boy, obviously not convinced by his words.

    "You've certainly improved from the last time I saw you, Drew." Brock commented, watching the boy closely. "How many contests did you win while you were in Johto? You couldn't have been there that long."

    "Long enough." Drew replied, brushing his fingers through his hair as he spoke. "I got plenty of ribbons while I was in Johto. I'll admit it was interesting to see the different battling styles another region has to offer, but for the most part the contest circuit there bored me."

    Brock said nothing, refusing to take his eyes off the boy while he cited his explanation. There was something Drew wasn't telling them and Brock was determined to find out what it was.

    "Oh, hey, have you guys seen May?" Ash asked, breaking the silence and immediately snapping Dawn out of her daydream. "I've been looking around ever since we walked in and I haven't seen any sign of her."

    The mention of May's name suddenly caused a burst of guilt to explode inside Dawn's mind and her eyes widened as she realised what she had done. She knew that May and Drew had history, and whilst neither of them had yet admitted to it being a relationship, it had become pretty obvious to her that it was. How could she have just continued to let him flirt with her? And the television monitors had been sending it all back to the waiting room for her to see! Would May ever forgive her?

    "I should go and find her!" the girl suddenly spoke, kneeling down and scooping up Piplup in her arms.

    "Woah, hey, Dawn, wait-" Ash began to protest but was quickly cut off by an announcement from the overhead speakers.

    "Attention everybody!" Alisa's voice boomed. "Now that we have concluded the second round there are only sixteen coordinators left in the draw! Time is not on our side and so we are now beginning the third round immediately!"

    "What?" Dawn wondered, stopping in her tracks and looking up towards the television monitor where the contest stage was being prepped for another battle. "So soon?"

    "The third round will continue to use the double battle system which we had set up in the second." Alisa explained. "Our first match will be Ken Marx and Maria Hawke against the team of Drew Blackthorne and Dawn Hikari. Okay, Ken, Maria, Drew and Dawn - please make your way to the contest hall immediately!"

    "But..." Dawn sighed. "May..."

    "Come on, Dawn." Drew suggested, offering his hand towards the girl. "We can't keep them waiting."

    "Right..." Dawn groaned, walking past Drew with Piplup in her arms.

    'I'm sorry, May...' her thoughts spoke inside her mind as her guilt continued to slowly eat at her from inside. 'Please don't be mad at me...'

    Ash, Brock and Pikachu all watched the couple leave the waiting room, along with two other coordinators who were presumably their opponents in the next round.

    The waiting room was almost entirely empty in comparison to how it had been earlier and Brock stared up at the clock on the far side of the room. Alisa was right about time not being on their side - it was slowly approaching four o'clock and Brock was beginning to feel as though he had forgotten what the light of day looked like. However, the contest was continuing to excite the huge crowd of spectators more and more as the rounds progressed and he was certain that they didn't mind sacrificing a bit of time in the name of entertainment - this was, after all, a carnival.

    "Well Ash, we'd better head back to the hall and grab some good seats again." Brock said, causing Ash to nod.

    "Yeah, I guess..." the boy sighed. "I just wanted to wish her luck in the next battle, is all..."

    "Don't worry, Ash," Brock comforted his friend as they made their way towards the front-stage exit so as not to interfere with the coordinators backstage, "May knows you'd be rooting for her no matter what."

    "Yeah, but still..." Ash mumbled under his breath, his eyes trailing the floor which passed beneath his feet as they walked. "I want her to hear me say it..."

    Just then Ash felt himself hit something in front of him. Immediately his thoughts disappeared and he looked up, quickly apologising to whomever it was that he had collided with.

    "Ah, I'm sorry, I-" both he and May said in unison before pausing as they realised who they had bumped into.

    "May!" Ash exclaimed, happy to see his friend again. He still couldn't believe quite how long it had been since they first parted ways in Kanto.

    "Pichu Ka!" Pikachu greeted, happily waving towards the girl from the safety of Ash's cap.

    "Oh, Ash..." May replied, stammering as she tried to cover her face in as inconspicuous a way as possible. "I'm sorry, I was just-"

    "Hey, are you okay, May?" Ash asked, suddenly noticing her bloodshot eyes and her reddened cheeks. "Did you get some dirt in your eyes or something?"

    "Um, y-yeah, that's it..." May lied hesitantly, her finger moving towards her eye as if trying to remove a stray eyelash. "It... It must have happened during the battle and it was really bugging me so I went to try and fix it..."

    "Well they've already started the third round so you'd better get ready!" Ash explained. "I'm glad I got to see you to wish you good luck!"

    "Thanks, Ash, I heard it on the loudspeaker." May replied. "And that's sweet of you, thanks."

    "Just make sure you win for me!" Ash laughed, pumping his fist as Pikachu did the same.

    "Uh, I'll try!" May agreed, her depressed tone of voice slowly becoming more optimistic as the boy's infectious attitude began to spread to her. "Thanks Ash, I really appreciate it!"

    "It's obvious you've really improved since we last saw you, May." Brock added. "Don't worry, we'll all be rooting for you from the stands."

    "Thanks, Brock." May smiled as she spoke now, which was always a welcome change. Ash was always amazed at how May's smile would seem to brighten up the colour of the world all around him; even now the waiting room suddenly seemed so much more vivid and alive than it had before she walked in and spoke with that angelic voice of hers.

    "Right, see ya!" Ash said as he and Brock exited the waiting room and headed towards the stands, Pikachu waving from atop Ash's cap. "Good luck again!"

    'Thanks, Ash...' May thought to herself, her smile having now completely replaced her former frown. 'You're the best friend a girl could ever hope for...'

    ~*~*~

    "Now, let's once again give a warm round of applause to our next two coordinating teams! Ladies and gentlemen it's Ken Marx and Maria Hawke up against Dawn Hikari and Drew Blackthorne! Are you all up and ready for this!?"

    "Alright, Dawn!" Ash yelled from the stands, clapping loudly amongst the blur that was the rest of the audience. "You can do it!"

    "Pika!" Pikachu squeaked in agreement, static flying gently from its cheeks as it hopped up and down on Ash's lap.

    "Contestants, please release your Pokemon!" Alisa continued, marking the official start of the third round of contest battles.

    "Alright, then come on out, Absol!" Drew began, launching a Pokeball into the centre of the stage where the familiar figure of Absol appeared.

    "You too, Piplup!" Dawn added, motioning for the small penguin Pokemon to make its way up onto the stage beside Absol, which it eagerly did.

    Dawn and Drew's opponents, Ken and Maria, began to release their Pokemon also, and Dawn took this opportunity to analyze them as best she could. The boy, Ken, was in his late twenties and had long, blond hair which was left to hang loose around the side of his neck. He wore a dull, brown leather jacket and black pants and had a moth-eaten backpack slung over his shoulder. From the tattered appearance of his clothes and the obvious layer of stubble covering his chin he was a hiker who had just been traveling through these parts, presumably on his way to some faraway contest.

    The girl, Maria, however, clearly took much more pride in her appearance. She looked to be in her early twenties and wore a pink uniform which seemed like it would normally be worn by laboratory workers and scientists; it had the same body and definition of a lab coat aside from its rather unusual colour and was adorned in several black-and-yellow emblems which Dawn didn't recognise. Underneath this jacket she continued to wear a dull pink on all of her clothes - even down to her shoes and the sunshades which rested on top of her head, nestled just above her fiery red hair. Dawn was curious how much of Maria's wardrobe didn't contain the colour pink, and made a mental note to ask the girl what stores she shopped at - in Dawn's mind, pink was a colour that could never go out of style.

    "Come on out, Rhydon!" Ken roared as the enormous figure of his chosen Rock-type Pokemon emerged onto the centre of the stage, directly opposite Drew's Absol. "It's time to wipe the floor with these guys!"

    Dawn swallowed nervously as she sized up the competition. Rhydon was an enormous creature, standing at almost six feet tall even when hunched over. Its entire body was covered in grey, stone plating which resembled armour and at the centre of its forehead a horn as sharp as a digger's drill protruded from its body, reflecting the intense lighting of the contest hall intimidatingly.

    "Okay, Phanpy, I choose you!" Maria declared as her Pokeball split in half and ejected the form of a small, elephant-like Pokemon with a long trunk and a pastel-blue body. The creature snorted with pride at its trainer's decision and began to bounce up and down on the spot eagerly.

    "Oh my gosh!!" Dawn squealed, prompting Drew to stare at her awkwardly. "That is just the most adorable little thing!!"

    "Aww, thanks!" Maria giggled from the other side of the stage. "Your Piplup is cute, too!"

    Both Drew and Ken were silent for a moment as the two females began to exchange stories about their Pokemon, acting as if they were oblivious to the enormous crowd which surrounded them.

    "Uh, Dawn..." Drew began hesitantly. "Perhaps we should stay focused on the battle?"

    "Oh, right!" Dawn agreed, quickly snapping out of her infatuation with her opponent's Pokemon and deciding on her first move. "Piplup, use Whirlpool on Phanpy!"

    "Lup!" Piplup chirped, leaping forward and spewing a torrent of blue bubbles from its beak, which crashed into the awaiting Pokemon.

    "Phanpy, Defence Curl!" Maria commanded, watching as her Ground-type Pokemon curled itself into a tight ball and did its best to deflect the crushing power of the watery vortex which continued to crash down onto it.

    "Rhydon, use Hammer Arm on that little squirt!" Ken ordered, pointing towards Dawn's Piplup, which continued to blast Phanpy with a Whirlpool attack.

    "Oh no you don't!" Drew interrupted. "Absol, dive in front of that attack!"

    "Ab!" Absol snarled, coiling its hind legs against the floor before launching itself in front of Piplup, shielding the tiny penguin Pokemon from harm.

    "Another selfless act of defence from Drew and his Absol!" Alisa commented, almost breathless at the display. "Now that's dedication, folks! But Absol won't be able to shrug that blow off easily - Hammer Arm is super-effective against a Dark-type and though it may have saved Piplup, it's also cost Drew and Dawn an awful lot of points! Was it worth it, I wonder?"

    Both Ash and Brock were unable to help but flinch as they watched Drew's Absol continue to be attacked by Ken's Rhydon, the Rock-type Pokemon effortlessly pounding its enemy into the ground with its frighteningly powerful arms.

    "Drew, you've got to do something!" Dawn gasped as Absol made no attempt to retaliate at all. "Absol looks like it's in so much pain!"

    "Absol's used to it." Drew replied coldly, his eyes scanning the fight for any signs of weakness from either combatant.

    Dawn paused for a moment, shocked that she could hear such a thing from a coordinator as high-ranking and respected as Drew.

    "How can you say that!?" Dawn exclaimed suddenly, glaring at the boy with piercing, accusative eyes. "Absol's your Pokemon! You can't possibly feel nothing when you watch it getting hurt out there, can you!?"

    "I do what I have to do, Dawn!" Drew snapped back, suddenly turning his gaze onto his partner and looking her straight in the eyes. "And so does Absol."

    Dawn was silent, Drew's words echoing in her mind, causing her to analyze them over and over again. Though the moment only lasted for a few seconds, it felt like an eternity to Dawn - it was as if she was six years old again, being scolded by her mother. She could remember staring at her feet nervously in the kitchen, her heart pounding, her mother's voice reprimanding her for her clumsiness. All the feelings suddenly rushed into her head and she felt her eyes twitch as she fought back some tears.

    "Now hurry up and finish off that Phanpy!" Drew yelled, snapping the girl back into reality. "I can't hold off this guy much longer!"

    "B-but I..." Dawn mumbled, her eyes slowly moving back to where Piplup continued to attack with Whirlpool.

    "Heh, not so fast..." Ken chuckled. "Rhydon, use Earthquake!"

    "Dammit!" Drew cursed loudly, pointing straight at Rhydon. "Absol, jump onto Rhydon and avoid that attack!"

    "Wh-what!?" Ken stammered, unable to do anything but watch the ensuing carnage as Rhydon stamped its feet into the ground, causing an enormous tremor which split through the stadium, throwing both Phanpy and Piplup out of the ring, unconscious. Absol managed to avoid the full brunt of the attack, teetering precariously on top of Rhydon's head as it tried to avoid a swift stab from the creature's drill-like horn.

    "Now use Water Pulse!" Drew shouted. "Full power!"

    "Sol!" Absol growled, leaping away from the Rock-type and flicking its head back, a large wave of water emerging from the blade-like protrusion on the side of its head. The wave crashed into Ken's Rhydon with astonishing force, completely submerging the creature. The entire hall was silent with anticipation until finally the water receded and Rhydon's unconscious body was left lying in the centre of the soaking stage.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, Dawn Hikari and Drew Blackthorne are through to the fourth round!" Alisa's voice boomed, followed by an enormous roar of excitement from the crowd. "What an incredible match! Is there nothing these two coordinators can't accomplish when they're together?"

    ~*~*~

    The echoing sounds of roaring crowds and fevered commentary could be heard rumbling through the thin walls of the carnival tent, where inside the second storage room the four members of Team Rocket; Jessie, James, Meowth and Wobbuffet, all continued their organisation of the competitor's Pokeballs into carts with which to easily haul their contents off to the boss. Much of the noise in the room, however, was being emitted from the television monitor that was hooked up to the main viewing system in the rest of the tent, giving the team an insight into how the competition was progressing.

    "Y'know as much as I hate to admit it I gotta hand it to those clowns Botch and Cassidy." Meowth spoke up as he continued to pour a number of Pokeballs into a nearby cart. "This plan is going so smooth I don't think it'd be possible for even the three of us to mess it up!"

    "Wobbuffet." Jessie's blue Pokemon agreed.

    James smiled at the thought of finally being able to complete a job well done - it would be an enormous weight off his shoulders and his dignity if they could walk into Team Rocket's Kanto headquarters with a sack of rare and powerful Pokemon slung over their shoulders. Jessie, however, simply sighed as she sat huddled in a corner on the floor, her eyes fixed to the television monitor which was blasting images of another fierce Pokemon contest her way.

    "Say Jessie," James spoke up, wandering over to his partner of many years who looked positively miserable, "something the matter?"

    "Yes, James..." she muttered, dismay hanging off every syllable she spoke. "This... This whole thing... I shouldn't be stealing Pokemon in a seedy storage room like a tramp searching for scraps! I should be out there!"

    She pointed to the television monitor where an electric attack had just engulfed the stage.

    "Competing in Pokemon contests like the beautiful and talented maiden I am!" she exclaimed. "I'm sick of this, James! Aren't you? Don't you want something more from life?"

    "Something..." James echoed uncertainly as he looked into her eyes. "More?"

    "Yes!" Jessie continued, getting to her feet and clasping her hands over his. "I could have everything we've ever dreamed of! I could travel the world entering contests and signing fabulous modeling contracts! You could be my agent and make all the phone calls!"

    "And..." James stammered uneasily. "What about Meowth?"

    "Meowth?" Jessie repeated, her gaze moving slowly over towards where the small feline Pokemon was standing next to Wobbuffet, both of them continuing to sort through the Pokeballs they had discovered. "He can be my mascot. Him and Wobbuffet."

    Suddenly the voice of the announcer spoke up from the television monitor once again, causing Jessie to return her attention to the contest.

    "And now ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for the return of Nico Cyrax and May Maple!" Alisa's voice cheered excitedly, prompting the crowd to roar in eager anticipation of yet another enticing match-up. "Their opponents in this round are the fearsome Shizuka Tamaki and Nami Robbin!"

    Jessie's eyes widened as the monitor's camera zoomed in on the faces of each competitor one by one, and she could swear that she recognised one of them.

    "Wait, hold on just a second!" Jessie exclaimed, grabbing the attention of her colleagues in the storage room. "Isn't that the old female twerp?"

    "You mean the one from Hoenn?" James double-checked as Jessie nodded her confirmation. Sure enough the girl on the television screen did indeed look strikingly similar, even down to the same red outfit and matching bandana she wore over her brunette hair. "But why would she be here?"

    "Argh, alright, that does it!" Jessie yelled, suddenly pumping her clenched fist into the air, her temperament flaring up so intensely that James was certain he could see fire igniting from all over her body. "I'm getting out of here! I can't just skulk around in the shadows while there's a contest going on! I need to be out there where people can marvel at my beauty and accept me as their true mistress!"

    "But Jessie!" James protested nervously - he was always sure to be as cautious as possible when his partner reacted like this. "The cutoff point for registering in the contests is over! You can't compete!"

    "Who said anything about competing, James?" Jessie purred, a familiar look of desire flashing in her eyes as she spoke. "I have a plan..."
    Last edited by Gazmof; 27th February 2008 at 2:33 PM.
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  20. #45
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    wah, can't believe we're already to the 5th chapter ^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Drew certainly had to admit that he was enjoying her reactions a lot more than he would have done most women
    I believe there's a "with" missing there...otherwise it gives a new meaning to the sentance

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    Drew whispered, raising the creature's Pokeball again and retracting it back inside the sphere. "I don't care about this contest. I'm here to bring her back."
    We all have our plans in mind...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Oh no!" she gasped. "Was my hair okay? I didn't mess it up, did I? I just got so excited and I wanna look my best for him and-"
    Yeah...Dawn pictured to the extreme, I love it :d

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Oh my gosh!!" Dawn squealed, prompting Drew to stare at her awkwardly. "That is just the most adorable little thing!!"

    "Aww, thanks!" Maria giggled from the other side of the stage. "Your Piplup is cute, too!"

    Both Drew and Ken were silent for a moment as the two females began to exchange stories about their Pokemon, acting as if they were oblivious to the enormous crowd which surrounded them.
    I can absolutely immagine them sweatdropping in a situation like that xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof View Post
    "Who said anything about competing, James?" Jessie purred, a familiar look of desire flashing in her eyes as she spoke. "I have a plan..."
    Yes, for you guys, it's always possible to mess things up ^^'

    And Drew seems to be losing his temper...I wonder how he became how he is now ?...

    I just need to say this : I love where this is going.
    Plot is excellent, writing is also excellent, very enjoyable length per chapter, what more can you ask for ? One of the best AS fics that came out recently, imo (yes, I do check on everything that gets posted here...) and I'd definately support this for a shipping oscar, but let's wait and see

    Yeah, I see no reason why I shouldn't rate this five stars...good job mate ^^
    Untill next time, or on the BeaconShipping thread xD
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  21. #46
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    Hey, nice to have an update!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gazmof
    "Hey, are you okay, May?" Ash asked, suddenly noticing her bloodshot eyes and her reddened cheeks. "Did you get some dirt in your eyes or something?"
    I suspect this to be a clear reference to the Cafe episode in DP.

    'Thanks, Ash...' May thought to herself, her smile having now completely replaced her former frown. 'You're the best friend a girl could ever hope for...'
    Yup, this is a very believable statement; it's mutual as both are symbiotic in a way.
    Poor May, though, she was insulted badly earlier.

    "Oh my gosh!!" Dawn squealed, prompting Drew to stare at her awkwardly. "That is just the most adorable little thing!!"
    That is SO Dawn. She's probably the most girly of the three main females we've had so far...she would do something like this in a contest; no doubt about that!

    "Ladies and gentlemen, Dawn Hikari and Drew Blackthorne are through to the fourth round!" Alisa's voice boomed, followed by an enormous roar of excitement from the crowd. "What an incredible match! Is there nothing these two coordinators can't accomplish when they're together?"
    In truth, Dawn didn't do much at all. The important thing is that she has begun to see through our green-haired friend, and is reconsidering his ethical stance.
    Yes, something else that Dawn would do. Yay for in-characterness.

    "Who said anything about competing, James?" Jessie purred, a familiar look of desire flashing in her eyes as she spoke. "I have a plan..."
    No denying that Jessie LOVES contests now,
        Spoiler:- Spoiler:

    but I sense another failure from the trio...you can trust them to mess up the operation.

  22. #47
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    I just started on this fic, but from what I've read I can say I like it.

    Better, more detailed comments will come in the future. Keep up the good work, good writing and advanceshipping is always appreciated.
    Bring Back The Golden Age


  23. #48
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    Dang, Ariel's post got deleted, but... Yes, that was a reference to Gundam SEED - glad someone caught it

    Okay, answer time.

    Shadow: Oh snap, I didn't notice that mistake @_@;; I'd better go edit that, thanks ^^;;

    I just need to say this : I love where this is going.
    Plot is excellent, writing is also excellent, very enjoyable length per chapter, what more can you ask for ? One of the best AS fics that came out recently, imo (yes, I do check on everything that gets posted here...) and I'd definately support this for a shipping oscar, but let's wait and see
    Aww, that's very flattering ^^;;; Especially coming from a Contestshipper :O But yes, I will do my best to continue and finish this fic to the degree you expect ^^;

    Earthborn: Yep, references all around. Plus the anti-Pearlshipper in me just couldn't resist taking a jab at that episode -;

    Hunter: Good to have another regular Advanceshipper reading the fic ^^

    The comments I most enjoy receiving from you guys are the claims that I'm keeping the characters... Well, in-character. That's always my biggest fear with writing fanfictions, so it's nice to hear I'm doing a good job in that department ^^;

    Chapter six is well underway and I'll post it as soon as it's ready. Thanks for all the reviews, people!
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

  24. #49
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    Hi, awesome chapter as always. Nice to know chapter 6 is well on its way =DDDD

    You have nothing to fear, you work is rather steady, and has its own chapter magic (unlike mine which doesn't even have a title =x)

    This is the start of a brand new journey...

    FF.Net +
    PB + DA + Blog

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by kawaii serebii View Post
    You have nothing to fear, you work is rather steady, and has its own chapter magic
    Heh, well I've seen worse, but y'know, some people get mad if there isn't a new chapter up every week or something like that ^^;; Glad you're enjoying it though, and thanks for the comment ^^

    Anyways, I have a special surprise for all of you... Chapter six :O Two chapters in one week? No way! Yep, it's true... Well, enjoy ^^ I had a lot of fun writing this one

    Chapter Six:
    Kisses and Roses

    May felt a trickle of sweat roll down her forehead as her eyes scanned the battlefield determinedly. There were only a few minutes left on the match's clock timer and the entire battle had been a difficult standstill. Nami's Golbat, a blue-coloured, bat-like creature with a gaping maw flapped its wings energetically, just a few feet in front of Nico's Glalie whilst Shizuka's Pokemon levitated directly opposite May's Blaziken; it was a Claydol - a part-Psychic, part-Ground-type Pokemon which brought back bad memories of her journey through Hoenn with Ash, Brock and Max when they were chased by a gigantic version of the creature.

    May smiled to herself as she recalled the day in her mind. She had to admit that it had been fun dressing up in a nurse's uniform to try and lure the Claydol away from a village that was in dire trouble, though she wished that Ash had paid perhaps a little more attention to her when she was wearing it.

    'Ugh,' her thoughts spoke to her, 'why do you have to be so naive, Ash Ketchum?'

    Both girls on the opposing side of the contest stage were in their early-to-mid twenties and seemed to be contest veterans. Their Pokemon were both well-trained and seemed to be as strong and as graceful as one would find in any official contest hall throughout the region.

    Nami had short, auburn hair tied into a bun and dark, hazel eyes, almost the colour of chocolate. She stood around five feet tall and wore a black, Chinese-style dress which hugged her slender figure and was decorated with a white dragon pattern. Her partner, Shizuka, was slightly taller and had long, jade-green hair down to her shoulders and a much less formal wardrobe. Her sweater was as fluffy as a Mareep's wool and as white as a cloud, and from the waist-down she wore jet-black jeans and a pair of leather boots.

    "Claydol, Earthquake!" Shizuka commanded, prompting the tall, black statue's several red eyes to glow a deep crimson, its short, arm-like protrusions temporarily detaching from its clay body and hovering in a hypnotic fashion a few inches from the ground as a tremor began to slowly grow in power beneath the contestant's feet.

    "Blaziken!" May called in retaliation. "Jump into the air and use Sky Uppercut on Claydol!"

    "Oh no you don't!" Nami exclaimed. "Golbat, Aerial Ace on Blaziken, now!"

    May flinched, closing her eyes as she watched her Blaziken launch itself into the air, narrowly avoiding the heavy quake which tore through the contest stage. The Fire-type Pokemon continued its climb towards the waiting Psychic-type, readying its fist for a powerful attack, when Nami's Golbat began to swoop down for an attack of its own with the edges of its razor-sharp wings. There was a sudden blast of white air and the bat let out a cry of anguish as it felt a wave of ice crashing into its side, burying the creature in snow and slush on the other side of the stage.

    "Golbat, no!" Nami called out, watching helplessly as her Pokemon lay trapped in a block of snow.

    May smiled to herself as she watched her partner's Glalie hover a short distance behind Blaziken, protecting the Pokemon from any impending signs of attack from either of their opponents. Shizuka's Claydol braced itself before feeling the powerful impact of Blaziken's red-hot fist and was soon sent plummeting into the ground.

    "Ladies and gentlemen it's another win for May Maple and Nico Cyrax!" Alisa exclaimed as the dust began to settle from the battle, leaving only Blaziken and Glalie still conscious. "Congratulations, you two! You're both through to the quarter-finals! What a spectacular battle!"

    The crowd let out a huge cheer as confetti began to float down towards the main stage where the clean-up crew had already begun tidying up the mess from the battle in the hopes of getting the stage ready for the next match. As May recalled Blaziken into its Pokeball she smiled to herself, sliding the ball into her fanny pack and casting a glance towards her partner, Nico.

    "Thanks for the help out there." she mused, nodding towards the boy who quickly grinned back.

    "Heh, anytime." he replied, his eyes covertly trailing the girl as she walked past, zooming in towards her behind. "Anytime at all..."

    ~*~*~

    "Oh my, what a dazzling display of spunky young Pokemon coordinators we have here!" the familiar voice of a woman with long, red hair spoke into a makeshift microphone that was clasped tightly in her hand. "Of course some of their wardrobes leave something to be desired, but-"

    "Wobbuffet!!" the short blue Pokemon at the woman's side yelled, slapping its forehead loudly with its free hand whilst the other attempted to keep the light stand in its possession as stable as possible.

    "Will you be quiet, Wobbuffet?" the woman snapped impatiently, shoving her face directly into Wobbuffet's and glaring at the creature intimidatingly. "How am I supposed to be a great news reporter with you interrupting me all the time!?"

    "Wobbuffet..." the creature replied wearily.

    The man with the light-blue hair and a heavy video camera in his hands sighed, turning to face his short companion - a Meowth wearing a green baseball cap and matching jacket and pants, along with a thick pair of black sunglasses.

    "I hate when she gets like this..." he groaned.

    "Aww, relax, Jimmy-boy." Meowth replied. "After working with you two for so long I figured out that you shouldn't argue with Jessie no matter how stupid she's being."

    James groaned once again, heaving slightly as he lifted the camera back up to point towards the disguised Jessie, who was smiling as innocently as she possibly could, her free hand using Wobbuffet's head as a bench with which to lean on.

    It hadn't taken long for Jessie to order the rest of the members of Team Rocket to comply with her plans and soon they had each found themselves wearing yet another ridiculous disguise with which to fool the unsuspecting members of the public. Jessie wore large, round glasses and had fashioned her hair into two long pigtails. On her feet were black, high-heeled shoes and from her neck down she wore a figure-hugging red dress that seemed to accentuate every curve on her body. She had insisted on cutting the length of the dress as short as she possibly could and James was beginning to wonder how long it would take for carnival security to eject her from the premises for indecent exposure. In stark contrast, James wore an outfit which was almost identical to Meowth's, save for the fact that he lacked the sunglasses his shorter counterpart possessed.

    "Oh, and here come the winners of the last match!" Jessie declared, rushing over towards the backstage entrance of the tent's waiting room and greeting May and Nico abruptly. "Well well well, if it isn't Twer-uh, I mean May Maple and Nico Cyrax!"

    Both May and Nico responded with rather vacant stares at the woman, a moment of silence slowly passing like a tumbleweed drifting through an old ghost town in the desert.

    "Uh..." Nico broke the silence uncertainly, glaring at Jessie. "Who are you...?"

    "Why I'm none other than the beautiful and glamorous Jessica Roquet; world-famous Pokemon coordinator and top model!" Jessie lied, clearly enjoying every moment as she spoke her words. "But that's not important - you two are the stars of this show today! And what an amazing battle that was!"

    "Wobbuffet!" Wobbuffet agreed, then quickly hung its head low when Jessie directed a sharp glare towards it in response.

    "Heh, yeah, well," Nico smirked, "I guess we were pretty impressive out there..."

    "Hey, May!" Ash's voice called from the other side of the waiting room as he, Brock and Pikachu all entered and dashed towards the young Pokemon coordinator, Ash showing particular enthusiasm.

    "Ash!" the girl replied, smiling. She was always happy to see the boy and she felt her heart flutter slightly whenever he called her name. As she smiled back at the boy, Nico scowled a little from her side.

    "You were so great out there!" Ash continued, pumping his fist excitedly. "You've trained Blaziken to be so strong; you've done such a great job!"

    "Oh, Ash..." May mumbled, a blush quickly making itself known as it spread across her cheeks and she glanced down towards the floor. "Blaziken was the one who did all the work, not me..."

    Jessie, James, Meowth and Wobbuffet stood in shock for a moment as they watched Ash and May's conversation unfold in front of their eyes, as if this was a day no different from the days they spent chasing the group around in Hoenn, desperately trying to capture Pikachu. As Ash continued to compliment his blushing friend, James leaned in closely towards Meowth, his hand covering his mouth so that only his intended target could hear what he was about to say.

    "Say, Meowth," he whispered cautiously, "this looks like a regular twerp convention, don't you think?"

    "I'll say..." Meowth stammered in reply.

    "Wobbuffet!" Wobbuffet added, helpfully.

    "Say, you guys look kind of familiar..." Brock wondered out loud, his eyes carefully examining the film crew. "Do I know you from somewhere?"

    "Aha, my friend!" Jessie exclaimed suddenly, grabbing Brock by the arm and causing him to jerk forward in surprise. "The question to be asked is not if you know us but if you know this girl right here!"

    Her finger then proceeded to point accusatively towards May, who was still recovering from a large bout of blushing received from Ash's compliments.

    "It seems that your friend with the Pikachu here is taking a larger-than-usual interest in this young coordinator!" Jessie continued, adjusting her glasses knowingly. "Does the budding couple have any words to say to our loyal viewers?"

    "C-couple!?" May repeated, gasping as her face began to turn an even brighter shade of red than she thought was humanly possible. "We're not, um, I mean, that is to say, I-"

    "Couple?" Ash stammered uncertainly. "You mean like a double-battle partner or something?"

    A large thud could be heard as everyone around the boy tried to stop themselves from falling to the ground in a heap. Even Pikachu seemed to teeter dizzily from atop the boy's cap upon hearing his words.

    "Ash, she means-" Brock began, but was quickly cut off by Nico as the boy reached a hand around May's waist, his fingers beginning to stray underneath the fanny back she wore.

    "I'm pretty sure a girl like May needs a real man to keep her satisfied." he chuckled, flashing a challenging grin towards Ash.

    Upon feeling the boy's roaming fingers on her body May jolted out of his reach and rushed over to where Ash and Brock were standing, turning and glaring at her former partner with a look of extreme anger in her eyes.

    "What do you think you're doing, Nico!?" she yelled, her hands instinctively reaching to Ash's arm and gripping it tightly for reassurance.

    "Just what you've been wanting me to do this whole time, that's all." Nico answered bluntly, his eyes taking in a good look at the girl's figure. She was by no means stunning or unique - in fact she was rather plain; the 'girl next door' kind of look - but this only served to enhance her impressive physique and soft, pretty facial features. It simply made him want her all the more intensely.

    "Don't even think about touching her again!" Ash growled, suddenly taking a step towards the boy and clenching his fist menacingly, causing Brock, May, Pikachu and Team Rocket to all widen their eyes in surprise.

    "Heh," Nico laughed in reply, running his fingers through his black hair idly, "tough words for a boy and his Pikachu."

    He then shoved past Ash and took one final glance at a defiant May before walking towards the main entrance of the waiting room.

    "Oh, and by the way, May..." he added, turning and admiring her blue eyes which glared back towards him. "By the time this contest is over you'll be begging to be with me."

    ~*~*~

    "Piplup?" the small, blue penguin chirped as it stared up towards its trainer, who wore a disappointed frown on her face.

    "I'm sorry, Piplup..." Dawn sighed, kneeling down and patting the Water-type Pokemon on the head affectionately. "I'm just beginning to feel useless from that last battle, is all."

    "Piplup!" Piplup snapped, turning its beak away from the girl defiantly.

    "Oh, hey, I didn't mean it like that!" Dawn quickly stammered, waving her hands as if to push away the negative aura her Pokemon was now emanating. "You were great Piplup, just like always!"

    "Lup." Piplup agreed, its beak curving into an undeniable smile as it patted the girl's hand with its wing reassuringly. "Piplup Pip!"

    "I was just saying..." Dawn groaned, looking up towards the ceiling of the tent's outer corridor from the backstage area. It was quiet here, far from the hustle and bustle of the spectating areas and the waiting room where all of the coordinators eagerly anticipated their next match. "I just froze when I saw Absol getting attacked... I completely forgot about winning the match... If it hadn't been for Drew's quick thinking, then you could've been seriously hurt, Piplup..."

    "Pip..." Piplup said half-heartedly. The small penguin Pokemon had a stubborn pride but even it had to admit that without Absol's quick defence there would have been almost no way of winning that match. Truly, it seemed as though the coordinator known as Drew was as on-the-ball as ever and had kept a cool and level head at all times throughout the match.

    Dawn was startled by the sudden sound of footsteps approaching from behind her and she quickly got to her feet, turning to see her partner, Drew, clipping a Pokeball to his belt. He had just returned from healing his Pokemon in the backstage Pokemon Centre and looked as serious as always.

    "Ah, Drew!" Dawn greeted the boy hesitantly, then peered over at his waist where the Pokeball now lay. "Is... Is Absol okay?"

    "We've been through worse." Drew replied bluntly, then began to make his way towards the waiting room when Dawn stopped him.

    "Um!" she began nervously, her eyes examining the floor as she spoke. "I, uh, I... I want to apologise about the match..."

    Drew was silent as he stood there, waiting for Dawn to finish. This caused the girl to become flustered and she hurriedly began to form a sentence which she hoped would make sense.

    "I mean, well," she murmured uneasily, "you were right to yell at me. I should've been more focused on the match, and... Yeah... I'm sorry."

    Drew proceeded to turn and face the girl once more, approaching her, his expression blank and lifeless with every step he took. Eventually he reached the girl and gently placed his arms on her shoulders, causing her to blush a little, surprised at his touch.

    "No," he began, his voice as soft as velvet as he whispered to her, causing her heartbeat to quicken, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at you. You were just worried about my Pokemon and I got nervous. I thought we'd lose the match."

    Dawn remained silent, her pulse racing as she stared into his eyes and felt herself being pulled towards him as their embrace continued.

    "Drew, I..." she mumbled, her arms moving up and wrapping around the coordinator's torso as if by instinct. She could feel his gentle breath pressing against her skin and soon their faces were mere inches apart and she continued to feel like lifeless putty in the boy's hands - it was a strange sensation, but one that Dawn just couldn't get enough of.

    "But when I look into your eyes, Dawn..." he breathed ever-so softly as the girl's blush intensified. "I just feel so calm..."

    Dawn's eyes instinctively closed as Drew pressed his lips against hers and she began to lose herself in his embrace. She could hear Piplup loudly protesting by her feet, yet somehow the Pokemon seemed to be worlds away from the girl and all she could see was Drew and herself embracing in a field of beautiful stars.

    It felt so strange... This was a first for her in so many ways. Her first kiss, the first boy who had ever shown interest in her in such a way and the first time she had ever felt those emotions in return. Her fingers gripped the boy's shirt and glided up and down his back, not wanting the moment to end. But soon a wave of guilt hit her as she thought of her new friend May and the kiss was soon brought to a close as Drew pulled away slowly.

    "Drew..." she murmured, her face an undeniably bright shade of red.

    "Piplup Piplup Piplup Piplup!!!!" the Water-type Pokemon squealed furiously from beside her ankle, jumping up and down and shaking its wings at the couple in anger.

    Dawn watched Drew closely as he fumbled with the Pokeballs on his belt and opened one up, causing a brief flash of white light to fill the corridor and his trademark plant Pokemon Roselia to appear beside them.

    "Rose?" it questioned, looking over towards its trailer, who leaned over and patted the creature gently on its head.

    "Roselia." Drew began, smiling at his prized Pokemon as he always did. "May I please have one of your roses?"

    Roselia smiled back and stretched out its arms, both of which were overflowing bouquets of brightly-coloured roses - one red, one blue. Drew gently picked one of the flowers from the creature's left arm and presented it to the female coordinator standing beside him.

    "A beautiful lady should have a flower as beautiful as she is." Drew suggested, taking the girl's hand and passing the flower into her grasp. "It's almost as pretty as your eyes."

    It was then that the voice of Alisa began to echo through the carnival tent once again, announcing the start of the quarter-final rounds. A nearby television monitor could be seen, showing eight Pokemon coordinator's faces, four on the left side and four on the right, both sides divided by a single white line in the middle.

    "Alright then, ladies, gentlemen and coordinators!" Alisa declared. "The quarter-finals are about to get underway! Our double-battle system is now being scrapped in favour of some intense one-on-one Pokemon action! Our final eight coordinators will now be randomly assigned an opponent by our tournament computer! Get ready folks, because it's just going to get even more exciting from here-on-in!"

    Drew, Dawn and Piplup all watched with interest as the faces of the final eight competitors were shuffled within their respective brackets and then lined up side-by-side with their opponents.

    Dawn couldn't believe who she had been paired up against.

    "Sorry, Dawn." Drew sighed, moving away from the girl and releasing his grip on her hand gently. "It looks like we're rivals from now on."

    With that the young coordinator flicked his fingers through his lime-green hair and turned to walk away, Roselia swiftly following, leaving Dawn and Piplup to watch them leave.

    "Drew..." she whispered underneath her breath, her eyes glancing down to the single, blue rose in her hand.

    ~*~*~

    Blurs of colour and flashing lights swirled in front of Paul as he slowly opened his eyes. His head was pounding and it took a few moments for his vision to adjust, slowly allowing the ceiling of one of the carnival tent's storage rooms to come into view. He was too groggy to move and didn't make a noise for a moment, instead choosing to continue lying in a heap on the floor, feeling the weight of a nervous group of people on either side of his body, all of them bound and gagged.

    Suddenly Paul heard the hissing of a radio's static and glanced to his right, where he saw the familiar face of the Team Rocket grunt with the green hair pacing up and down. He quickly squinted his eyes in an effort to appear asleep in the most natural-looking way possible whilst still allowing him the opportunity to watch what the man was doing.

    "Butch?" the radio spoke fuzzily. "Butch, can you hear me?"

    Butch moved over to the small, wooden table where the device was located and snatched it into his hand, pressing it against his ear and flipping a dial on the box to allow him to return a message.

    "Yeah, what?" he asked.

    "It's already five; we should've been out of this dump by now!" the voice of the female Team Rocket member, Cassidy, replied through the radio's tired speakers. "Where are those bumbling clowns Jessie and James?"

    "I thought you told them to come meet me once they'd finished packing up all of the Pokemon!" Butch answered, planting his face into his palm. "Don't tell me they managed to screw even that job up?"

    "Ugh, probably." Cassidy groaned back. "That Jessie never was any good at housework. What about the coordinators?"

    "They're all tied up nice and tight." Butch smirked, a smug smile appearing on his face as he glanced down at the angry faces which stared defiantly up at him from every side of the room. "They aren't going anywhere soon."

    "Then I guess it can't be helped." Cassidy sighed. "Butch, go and check in the other storage room." She paused, then added something. "And make sure you lock the door after you."

    "Hey, give me a little credit!" Butch protested.

    "Whatever." Cassidy returned, followed by a hiss of static that indicated she had terminated the call.

    Butch idly threw the radio back onto the table, reaching his hand into his pants pocket and removing a large set of silver keys which jangled loudly in his grasp. Paul opened one eye, snatching a brief glimpse of the man as he turned and walked out of the room, slamming it shut behind him, the sound of a lock slowly turning from behind its meagre frame.

    It was now that Paul could finally attempt to sit up, though this was difficult as he soon realised that both his hands and feet had been tied together with rope and his mouth was covered by a tight band of cloth. He eventually struggled to press himself against the back wall, grinding against it before looking around the room.

    It was a very small area, with nothing of much interest to note aside from the wooden table and a single chair where Butch had been talking. Directly opposite Paul was a single, locked door, and in the far corner was a cart of Pokeballs ready to be hauled off.

    Paul instinctively glanced down to his belt where he kept his Pokeballs, only to find that they were missing.

    'Dammit!' he thought to himself, his eyes glued to the cart. 'They must've taken my Pokemon, too!'

    All around Paul were the rest of the coordinators. Some were still unconscious, others were awake and seemed both scared and angry. They were so close to the Pokeballs and yet there was nothing they could do - they were powerless to stop the thieves. And if there was one thing Paul hated feeling, it was powerless.

    'Whoever knocked me out back there is going to pay dearly for this...' he thought, snarling from underneath the gag.

    ~*~*~

    "And Nico Cyrax wins his way into the semi-finals with some help from his very impressive Glalie!" Alisa declared, her voice bouncing throughout the carnival tent's contest hall where Nico recalled his Pokemon into its Pokeball before walking confidently from the main stage.

    The crowd erupted into cheers and applause as the loser of the match was ushered off the stage in order to prepare for the next contest battle. The digital clock display which hung over the battlefield was quickly reset and the names of the coordinators due on in the next match began to scroll across the screen.

    Ash, however, refused to applaud; instead staring down towards the back of the stage where Nico disappeared like a Buneary into its burrow. Brock noticed this, then nudged his friend gently.

    "Are you still thinking about what happened between him and May?" the breeder asked, causing Ash to groan and stretch out his arms idly.

    Truth be told, Ash wasn't entirely sure why he had gotten angry at the boy. Yes, he knew that you were never supposed to touch a woman in a certain way, though he had no real clue why. But it wasn't so much the fact that Nico had tried to touch May, but more the fact that May seemed so angered by it. And whenever May felt angry, Ash felt that way too. It was almost as if it was an indescribable connection between the two of them.

    Ash wondered for a moment if he would have reacted the same if it had happened to one of his other friends, like Dawn or Misty. Whilst he had no doubt that he would be the first one to jump up and defend a friend in need, would he really have been so volatile about it?

    Come to think of it, Misty was probably more than capable of defending herself.

    Ash glanced down to his right hand; the same hand which had clenched into a fist during the incident. The same hand which he had to stop from launching into Nico's face by summoning every ounce of his willpower. Ash had almost scared himself by being so angry - never in his life had he felt such an overwhelming urge to harm someone, with no regards for the consequences it may have brought upon him.

    But he knew, deep down inside, that no matter how angry May had been at the boy, she wouldn't have wanted that to happen.

    Ash leaned back in his chair and smiled to himself.

    Perhaps it was her touch that had calmed him down.

    "Nah." Ash replied, leaning his head against his arms as he sank deeper into his chair. "I was just angry, that's all. It's over now."

    "I'd be more worried about Drew, myself." Brock suggested, causing Ash to raise an eyebrow curiously.

    "Drew?" he repeated.

    "Pika?" Pikachu squeaked an echo from its position on Ash's lap.

    "Yeah." Brock continued, folding his arms as he always did when he was about to discuss something serious. "The way he's been acting with Dawn since they got teamed up together in the second round... It's had me worried."

    "Worried?" Ash questioned, not entirely certain of what Brock was getting at.

    "Right." Brock nodded. "I think Dawn's starting to get way too excited about him."

    "Well, it's always good to make new friends, right?" Ash concluded, causing Brock to groan in exasperation.

    "Ash, you're missing my point." Brock attempted to explain to the clueless boy. "I think that Dawn wants to be MORE than just friends with Drew."

    "What, you mean like..." Ash began uncertainly. "Like... A girlfriend?"

    "Right!" Brock exclaimed, his inner-self jumping for joy to celebrate the fact that he may have finally penetrated the young Pokemon trainer's thick skull. "And I think that's bad news because Drew and May have history together."

    There was a pause before Brock spoke up again.

    "I'm certain of it."

    Ash stared at his friend for a moment, somewhat puzzled. History? That didn't make any sense. Of course May had history with Drew, just like Ash had history with Gary. They were rivals, after all. It only made sense that they would both be an important part of each other's lives.

    "I..." Ash stammered. "I don't get it."

    Brock groaned once again, slumping down into his chair. Trying to explain romantic relationships to Ash was more difficult than trying to activate a Pokemon Gym's emergency water sprinkler in order to defeat an Onix with a Pikachu.

    But then again, Ash had somehow managed to do that long ago.

    "What I mean, Ash," Brock reasoned, sitting back up in his chair and resuming his serious expression, "is that I think May and Drew used to date."

    Ash's pupils dilated a little as he heard this theory and he quickly turned away from Brock, lowering the peak of his cap to cover his forehead. He stared down at his feet and began to make small circles with his toes as he analysed the words which echoed through his brain. Used to date? They couldn't... May wouldn't!

    But then again, towards the end of their journeys together in Kanto, May always did seem distracted by the young coordinator whenever he appeared. Even after May finally earned her first victory against her rival he still seemed to have a mental hold over her which she just couldn't shake away.

    Was it because... She liked him?

    Ash frowned, feeling his heart tighten like a knot as he continued to think about the girl. He felt like dashing out of the hall for a moment to get a breath of fresh air, but he didn't want to explain his reasoning to Brock or Pikachu. Heck, he didn't even understand it himself, but he just felt so... Betrayed. And he had no idea why.

    Suddenly a pair of shiny black eyes appeared in front of his own.

    "Pika Pi?" Pikachu spoke softly, worried that something was wrong with its trainer. It lightly reached up with its right paw and patted the boy on the cheek, worry in its eyes.

    "Pikachu..." Ash sniffed a little, as if he could feel tears welling up inside of him. "Uh, I... I'm fine, buddy."

    "Pika?" Pikachu seemed less than convinced.

    "Ah, yeah, I, um," Ash mumbled, lifting up his cap and smiling nervously towards Brock, "I'm just... Hungry... That's all, heh."

    "I'm still not sure I trust Drew's intentions for Dawn." Brock considered out loud, scratching his chin as he thought of the numerous possibilities the situation could give rise to. "I mean they've barely known each other for a day and already Dawn seems ready to head off and marry the guy."

    'I wish I could have that effect on women...' Brock's thoughts added, bitterly.

    Ash remained silent, hardly hearing a word that Brock said as the noise all around him seemed to dissipate and replace itself with his thoughts and worries. Just what had happened between May and Drew during their adventures in Johto? Why had she come back so soon? He still wasn't certain of exactly how he felt about May and Drew being an item, but something inside of him seemed to sting every time he thought of the possibility. Brock was right; something had happened between the two of them and he was determined to find out what it was.

    Suddenly Ash began to get to his feet and Pikachu leapt from his lap and onto the arm of the chair he had been sitting in. Ash felt the strong grip of Brock's hand on his wrist and he turned to face the breeder.

    "I've just gotta go talk to May real quick." Ash explained.

    "But Ash," his friend protested, "Dawn's battle is just about to start."

    Ash turned to face the stage where Dawn began to walk out, Piplup marching confidently beside her. Her hair had now been put up into a bun, and what appeared to be a deep, blue flower had been set into it to hold it in place, whilst her face seemed solemn and her expression was a serious, almost depressed one.

    Ash then looked up at the main screen above the stage, where he saw the faces of the coordinators who would be battling each other in this match. He couldn't quite believe what he saw.

    "And now, ladies and gentlemen!" Alisa announced eagerly. "It's time for our last quarter-final match between former teammates Dawn Hikari and Drew Blackthorne! Coordinators, please have your Pokemon take the stage! On your marks... Get ready, and... Battle!"

    ~*~*~

    At last! Some shippiness

    Just wanted to take this moment to thank shadow_shipper and sp1derp1g for them nominating for this as the best Advanceshipping fic and me as the best Advanceshipping author in the Shipping Oscars 07/08 ^^; It's really flattering, so thanks a lot you guys, I've never been nominated in anything like that before so I'm really grateful; it made my day ^^ Thanks also for the nomination for Bayleef-tan, Shadow ^^

    As always, I'd love to hear what you guys think and I'll begin work on chapter 7 as soon as I can ^^
    Good Love Charm
    *COMPLETE*

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