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Now for the reason your all here...
Chapter 2: In our Pallet Town...
Ash and May walked down the path, truly alone together for the first time since they decided to become boyfriend and girlfriend. Without Max always watching them to make sure they cut out the ‘mushy stuff’, nor Brock to keep them on track, they didn’t really know what to do with themselves. Ash and May walked in silence.
Ash felt a tension between them. He had to break it. “So…” he began. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been in Pallet, huh?”
“Yeah,” May replied, seeming distracted. “I wonder how your mother’s doing. The last time we saw her was in Cerulean during the ‘incident’.”
“I’m sure she’s doing fine,” Ash told her. “I can’t wait for a home cooked meal.”
“Your mom is a good cook,” May remembered the meal she ate there before Ash began his tour of the Battle Frontier. “I’m getting hungry already, and it hasn’t been an hour since we left Brock.”
“How can you tell?” Ash asked her. “Max took the PokéNav with him to Hoenn, remember?”
May sighed. “Oh, yeah… I hope we don’t get lost. Without a map, who knows where we’d end up?”
“Don’t worry, I remember this road,” he told her. “And if I remember correctly…” he said as the reached the top of a hill, “Pallet Town is just over there!” He shouted as they stood above his hometown. Ash was happy to come home every time between adventures. His warm bed waited for him, as did his mother, Professor Oak, and most of all, the Pokémon he left there. “I can’t wait to get there!” Ash grinned. “C’mon, May! Let’s race to my house!”
“Wait, Ash!” she called. “Can’t we just walk together like a regular couple?” But it was too late to reach him as he bolted towards his house. Grudgingly, May began to chase after him, ready to give him a piece of her mind when she caught up with him.
Ash waited for the winded May as she staggered into Ash’s front lawn. “Wh… wh… why didn’t you wait up for me?” she asked, panting.
“I told you it was a race,” Ash sneered at her, proud of his accomplishment. “And I won, too!”
“Well, whoop-dee-do,” May spun her index finger in the air. “I’m bushed. Let’s get inside so I can rest.”
Ash knocked on the door before opening it. He and May stepped inside, slipping off their shoes and stepping into the house. “Mom!” Ash called out. “We’re home!” No sounds, however, came from the building. “I wonder where she went…” Ash pondered.
“Well, why don’t we wait here for a bit to see if she comes back, and if not,” May suggested, “we’ll check at Professor Oak’s Laboratory when we go to let our Pokémon rest in his ranch.”
“That sounds good,” Ash smiled. “Hey, why don’t we go up to my room? You’ve never seen it, have you?”
“Oh Ash,” May fluttered her eyelids, “I didn’t know you wanted to go all the way so soon.”
Ash turned bright red. “I didn’t mean like that!” he shouted, flustered.
May giggled and waved him down. “Calm down, I was just kidding. Let’s go upstairs then.”
Grumbling at his girlfriend’s sense of humor, Ash led May up the stairs in his house to his room. A single bed sat in the corner, the window positioned so that the morning sun would shine on whomever was sleeping there. Across the room, on the wall, hung Ash’s official Pokémon League hat, next to his older vest. Surprisingly to May, Ash had a study desk. Upon closer examination, however, she realized that the desk wasn’t used for studying.
On the wall above the desk hung three moderately sized picture frames, with a smaller frame under the middle frame. May looked at the frames and saw that each of them had eight Gym Badges inside the glass. She recognized which set was the Kanto Badges by comparing the Cascade Badge that she got from Misty to the ones that Ash won. Next to the frame containing the Kanto Badges was a picture of Ash, Pikachu, and 5 of his other Pokémon, along with the trophy that, after looking down, sat on his desk under a layer of dust. In the picture frame under the framed picture there were four badges that May couldn’t identify from where they came from. The set of unidentifiable badges she saw to the left of the seashell badges must have been from Johto, seeing as she’s never seen a Johto Gym Badge.
On the desk, sitting out in the open and also becoming dusty, were Ash’s eight Hoenn Gym Badges. Ash opened his pack and sat his Frontier Victory Plaque next to it. “I guess my mom hasn’t framed my Hoenn League Badges yet,” he laughed.
May had never taken the time to look at Ash’s Badges (especially considering how protective the boy was of them when he needed them to enter the Hoenn League), but now, seeing them all here, she found them rather pretty. Almost like a jewelry collection, she joked to herself. “I never noticed before, but your Gym Badges are all really pretty.”
“You think so?” Ash said. May picked up the Badge Case and rolled the chair at the desk over into the sunlight. She saw that a fine layer of dust had settled on them. Reaching into her fanny-pack, she pulled a small cloth out and wiped the dust off of them.
She smiled as the silver Balance Badge shined to her. It was her father’s Gym Badge. The one Ash had won back in Hoenn. She closed her eyes and remembered the battle. She also remembered taking Ash’s side in the Gym Battle, even though Brock warned her to be neutral. I’m glad I took Ash’s side, she smiled at the boy as he relaxed with Pikachu on the bed. “I might have to compete in the next league we go to if the badges are all so pretty,” May joked to Ash while shining the Balance Badge further.
“Heh, yeah, and I’ll do Pokémon Contests,” Ash laughed back at her. “Pikachu and I can go winning ribbons.”
“Hey, you weren’t too bad at that contest we were in recently,” she winked at him. “You did manage to tie against a coordinator who’s gotten to the top four of her second Grand Festival.”
“Well, in that case,” Ash added, “you should enter the next league, since you tied with a trainer who just beat the Battle Frontier.”
The couple had a good laugh. May smiled at the boy, his dark hair tossed about his head. “Are you gonna get a new hat, since you gave your old one to Max?” she asked.
Ash pondered for a moment. “Well, I have my old Pokémon League hat. I guess I could wear that.”
May stepped over to him and ran her hand through his hair. “I don’t think you should. I kinda like your hair without a hat,” she smiled.
Ash blushed slightly. “Y-you think so?” he looked up to her. She smiled and nodded, messing up his always tangled hair. “I guess I could go without a hat for a while.”
May giggled. “I just hope I don’t get the urge to comb it for you. If I do, you might start to look less like the Ash I love so much.” She pecked his hair with her lips, causing Ash to turn a little more crimson.
“Oh, Ash-honey!” they heard Ash’s mother from downstairs calling. “I see your shoes are here. I hope you’re not doing anything in your room that you’re not supposed to.”
“Oh, Ash!” May called out, her voice dripping in sarcasm. “Help me get my clothes on!”
Ash’s face became red and angry as May darted out of the room, giggling like a school girl. “We’re not doing anything, Mom! Don’t listen to May!” he called out to the woman downstairs. Ash calmed himself down and took Pikachu to his shoulder before leaving the room. He stepped down the stairs to see his mother, dressed in her requisite pink blouse and blue skirt, giggling along side May, who held her sides, chuckling. “What’s so funny?” Ash belted out, irritated.
“Oh, honey,” Ash’s mother, caught her breath. “May and I were just having a laugh at that joke she shouted.”
“Yeah…” Ash smiled through gritted teeth. “A real great joke.”
“Oh, come on, Ash,” May stepped over to him, grinning widely. “You know I was just kidding, right?”
“Well, I didn’t think it was very funny!” Ash spat.
Ash’s mother’s eyes widened. “I… think I have some things to put in the cabinets,” she muttered, stepping out of the room quickly.
“Did… did you really get that hurt by my joke?” May’s voice held raised concern. She sat down on the couch and beckoned him to sit with her.
“Y-yeah…” Ash said under his breath, dissatisfied with himself for raising his voice at May as he sat next to the brunette. “I guess I don’t think it’s so funny to joke about that kind of thing.”
May took his hand in one of hers and stroked the back of it with her other. “I’m sorry, Ash,” she smiled at him, regret shining forth from her eyes. “I didn’t mean to offend you with it.”
“That’s alright,” Ash took the hand May was stroking his hand with in his other hand. “Just don’t do it again, okay?”
“You can count on it,” she smiled. She planted a small peck on his cheek. “Well, now that your mom’s back, why don’t we go do something in town?” she suggested.
“Well, why don’t we head down to Professor Oak’s Lab and drop off our Pokémon,” Ash suggested. “I’m sure they’d like the time to be outside their Pokéballs.”
“That sounds like a good idea, Ash,” May said, putting her finger to her chin, “and do you think after that we could go do something together?”
“Sure,” Ash grinned. “I don’t see why not.”
Ash and May bid his mother goodbye before they set down the road to Professor Oak’s Lab. May had almost forgotten the large staircase leading to the esteemed researcher’s home before now. Sighing as Ash lead the charge up the stone steps, May grudgingly followed up them, keeping up with the boy on whom Pikachu hung. Ash hurriedly knocked on the door, hopping up and down from excitement. May wiped the sweat form her forehead. Ash had seemingly a bottomless well of energy from which he drew during moments of extreme enthusiasm. While May herself was in better shape since she began her Pokémon Journey, she still didn’t like walking too far without taking a rest. She sighed, supposing that perhaps she was too pampered by her father.
An old man opened the door, grinning happily. “Ash! May! It’s great to see you!” he said. “I didn’t know that you two were back in town!”
“We just got back recently, Professor Oak,” Ash said, hopping uncontrollably. “We wanted to leave our Pokémon with you while we stayed in Pallet.”
“Well, by all means,” the famous Pokémon Professor stepped out of their way as Ash zipped into the building past him. May walked in a bit more calmly than her boyfriend.
By the time May had stepped into Oak’s immense back yard, Ash had already found many of his Pokémon. A small blue crocodile hopped joyfully around the trainer’s feet while a tired looking echidna yawned and nuzzled his leg. A large, icy Pokémon that looked like a floating head moved close to his master. An obedient orange tortoise smiled and shed tears of joy as he rejoined his beloved trainer. May smiled at the sighed, not without feeling a tiny pang in her own heart. Ash and his Pokémon will always be close, I guess, she thought. I love him, but I guess I’ll have to learn to live with this.
May reached into her pack and pulled out her five Pokéballs. “C’mon out, everyone!” she tossed them into the air, causing them to snap open, revealing her Pokémon. Blaziken stood tall and stretched outside of the Pokéball as her team mates appeared around her. The pink kitten Pokémon began running immediately into the grasses close by, followed by the curious brown canine. Her butterfly zoomed into the sky, to find a flower garden to relax in, while the ever-hungry Pokémon began to search for a new meal. “Now Skitty, Eevee, you two be careful!” she called to them as they ran away. She looked to the sky and shouted, “Have fun, Beautifly!” Her gaze then turned to the Pokémon who tried to infiltrate her pack. “No, Munchlax. You’ll eat when the Professor feeds you.”
As Munchlax let out a sigh, Ash turned to his Professor. “Hey, Professor, where’s Tracey?” he asked.
“Tracey went to visit Misty in Cerulean City,” Oak told him, stepping out into the sun. “He’s been visiting up there more recently, I’ve noticed,” he had a mischievous look in his eyes. “He’s also been spending time with Cyndi while he’s been up there.”
Ash and May recalled the rambunctious girl they had met in Cerulean during the ‘incident.’ After Misty (under Harley’s bad influence) had made them veritable felons, the small, blue haired Cyndi convinced her mother to let Ash and May stay in their home. Of course the older woman couldn’t turn them down; Ash was Cyndi’s idol, after all. During their stay, the couple learned that not only was the girl an aspiring artist, but she also had developed a soft spot for May’s brother, Max. What they didn’t know (and never were able to learn before he left for Hoenn) was whether or not he felt the same for her.
The tranquility was interrupted as Ash let out his five Pokémon, keeping Pikachu on his shoulder. The powerful Grass-type Sceptile placed a twig in his mouth and grinned over at Blaziken, hoping to have a sparring partner in the Fire-Fighting type. A large, bird Pokémon came out and immediately took off into the sky, seeming ot follow May’s Beautifly. Also appearing were the small Water-Type crustacean Corphish, who was greeted by the dancing crocodile, Donphan, who reintroduced himself to the echidna after evolving while traveling with Ash, and the small, purple monkey known as Aipom, who hopped on to Ash’s shoulder opposite Pikachu.
May grinned and stepped closer to him. “You’re just a king among Pokémon, aren’t you?”
“I guess I am,” he laughed. “But I guess that makes you their queen.”
Ash and May had a laugh at that while Pikachu leapt from the boy’s shoulder and began calling his comrades around to tell them of the adventure of the Battle Frontier, as well as Ash and May’s new relationship.
One of Ash’s Pokémon, however, had seen more than enough.
Her red eyes were narrowed at the girl her trainer was laughing with. She dug one of her feet against the ground threatening to charge. When no one noticed her, she growled. The grass-type began charging at May, fury inside her heart.
May was completely caught off guard as the saurian Pokémon tackled her away from Ash. That wasn’t good enough for her, though, so she reached for May with vines that extended from around her neck.
“Ash!” May leapt out of the way, “what’s up with your Bayleef?”
“Bayleef!” Ash called to her, “cut it out!” However, the stubborn Pokémon refused to listen and reached for May again. Ash knew he had to take action. “Cyndaquil!” he called to the echidna at his feet, “use Flamethrower on Bayleef’s vines!”
The sleepy Fire-type stepped up and flexed his back, causing a fire to start upon it. Channeling this heat and energy through his body, he launched a stream of fire at Bayleef’s vines that chased May about the area, causing the Grass Pokémon to turn her gaze at the traitorous Fire Mouse. She began charging at Cyndaquil, but the nimble Fire-type leapt above Bayleef’s head, causing her to careen into the crocodile. The Water-type became angry and shot a powerful blast of water from his mouth at Bayleef.
“Totodile, calm down!” Ash tried to ease the tensions. But the Big Jaw Pokémon wouldn’t listen and continued to attack Bayleef.
Four vines shot out between all of the warring factions, causing trainer and Pokémon alike to look to where it came from. Two small blue Pokémon stepped closer, each with two vines extended. Both had a large, green plant bulb on their backs, but had different patterns across their bodies.
“Bulb a saur!” the larger of the two Pokémon said, approaching the battlers. He held a stern look in his eyes.
“Bulba!” the smaller of the two chimed in, sticking close to the larger one.
Grunting, Bayleef stopped her attack, and backed away from May, jealousy in her eyes. Cyndaquil yawned and let his fire sputter out, and Totodile just fell backwards on the ground, tired from the battle.
“Thanks, Bulbasaur,” Ash sighed with relief. “That was getting pretty dicey.”
“Bulba!” the Grass-and-Poison Pokémon smiled from the praise.
May stepped over to the Bulbasaur. “Well, isn’t my little Bulbasaur being so brave!” she praised her Pokémon, rubbing the back of her neck.
“Babulba,” May’s Bulbasaur smiled and swayed slightly.
“Professor,” Ash said as he and May picked up their respective Bulbasaur, “why was Bayleef acting so funny?”
Oak put his hand to his chin and thought. “I believe Bayleef is jealous of May,” he said.
“Huh?” Ash blinked at the implication.
“It means that Bayleef has a crush on you, Ash,” May giggled. Bayleef, blushing with embarrassment, fled away from Ash and the rest of the Pokémon.
“Bayleef, wait!” Ash called to her as she ran.
Oak stepped up behind him. “No, Ash, I’ll deal with her. I’ll get her acting like her old self again.”
Ash looked glum. “Thanks, Professor,” he sighed.
“I’ve missed you, Bulbasaur,” May smiled to her Grass-type. “Have you had fun here with Ash’s Bulbasaur?”
May’s Bulbasaur blushed in her trainer’s arms and sighed, turning to look at Ash and his Bulbasaur. Uttering only a single, “Bulb,” May’s Bulbasaur stared dreamily at Ash’s, while the boy’s Pokémon conversed with his trainer, causing them both to laugh.
“I bet you like Ash’s Bulbasaur, huh?” May grinned to the Bulbasaur she held. The Pokémon blushed, and looked away from May. “I can tell, I was like that, too, recently. Take it at your own pace, Bulbasaur. I’m sure he likes you, too.”
With that, May sat her Bulbsaur back into the grass. Ash finished his conversation with his Bulbasaur and set him down as well. The boy then took Aipom off his shoulder and placed her down next to Pikachu. The monkey Pokémon seemed confused as to why her trainer removed her from his shoulder. “You stay here with the rest of the Pokémon and have fun, Aipom. May and I are gonna go spend some time in town together.”
May’s eyes lit up. “You really mean it, Ash?” she asked, her voice giddy with excitement.
“Yeah, I said I would, didn’t I?” he reminded her.
“Yay!” she cheered. “Thank you, Ash!”
“We’ll see you later, Professor,” Ash told him as they began to leave. He turned to Pikachu. “You have fun with the other Pokémon, okay Pikachu?”
“Pika!” he smiled to his trainer. Pikachu then darted off to play with his friends that had been staying at the lab. Ash and May then turned and left the ranch, and subsequently the lab. Aipom, however, just watched Ash and May leave, paying no attention to the other Pokémon. She sat and thought for a moment, then, grinning in her trademark style, darted off into the trees.
To Be Continued...