Pairing: Hoennshipping (Brendan/Yuuki x May/Haruka)
Combining information from the games, manga and anime, this is the story of Brendan's quest and May's woes, and how they both go through them. Based upon my own personal love story.
Although here I am Asuka Darina Arukiwa, I am known as Tiakaneko everywhere else, including Twitter, Facebook, DeviantArt, Blogspot and Fanfiction.net. Therefore, I claim that I am the rightful author of this fanfiction. This is just to clarify that I am not plagiarizing other people's work.
Now, please enjoy reading the story. ^^
Chapter 1 - Damsel in Distress
She had been avoiding him for months. She did not think she could do it, but she did. Not perfectly, of course, but she managed to do it, nevertheless. Sometimes, she would falter for a bit and start thinking about him again, melting her heart, as it always does whenever she thinks about him, sees him or hears him. Then, though, she remembers what he had done to her, that left her hurt and broken, and set her mind to hating him again, pushing thoughts of him out of her straggling mind. Only then would she regain stability.
Until that one particular Thursday night, that is. It was New Year's Eve day.
-31 December 2009-
May was in her room, checking her reflection in a mirror. She was wearing a black tank top underneath her deep red parka, lined with a lighter shade of red fake fur and a white short skirt. A yellow belt holding 6 Poké Balls hung at her waist. She adjusted her parka and smoothed her chestnut-brown hair for the last time. Then, she grabbed a pair of red and yellow fur-lined boots that lay by the door and left the room, going downstairs.
In the kitchen, her mother, Caroline, was brewing a cup of tea for herself and her husband. May told her that she and Max were going out to the lake, where everyone else in the city would gather, to watch the display of fireworks. Caroline gave them permission to leave the house, though not without warning her to be careful with the people of Petalburg, who have a tendency to fawn over her and her brother –a bit too much– because of their father, Norman. He is the gym leader of the city and is greatly revered by its people due to his outstanding battling skills. Posters and merchandises featuring him could be found all over the city. Their home itself is actually the official Gym, too, housing their family, their Gym assistant Kenny and some Pokémon in their greenhouse.
May groaned. The people of Petalburg really tire her out most of the time.
Upstairs, a door was heard closing. Then, down the steps, came May's little brother, Max, garbed in green parka, almost like May's, and a pair of dark brown-colored long pants. White socks were worn over his feet and a pair of black and green sneakers was in his hand.
"Hey, sis. Ready to go?" he said.
"Yeah, let's go," she replied.
They both said goodbye to their mother, who would be waiting for their father to return from his training area soon. They would then join their children at the festivities. May and Max proceeded to put on the footwear before going out the front door, having to pass through the main battlefield of the Gym before so.
As they walked down the steps outside their home, they noticed a group of citizens waiting for them in front of their house, carrying a large railed platform, decorated with lighted lanterns bearing the shapes of the Balance Badge of the Petalburg Gym. It was usually used to carry them and their family members around, even when they do not want it. May and Max knew that the people were expecting to be able to serve them by carrying them to where the festivities were held tonight, as it was obvious everyone was going to watch the fireworks on New Year's Day. Even after years of living in Petalburg City, one would think the siblings had gotten used to the extreme obsession of the people, but they had not, in fact. They still find it slightly unnerving and awkward at certain times.
So, not for the first time, they declined their offer to transport them to the lake. And, not for the first time, the determined citizens still insisted on letting them carry them. May knew how persistent they can be, and finally allowed them to take her at least half the way there. The obsessed fans happily obliged and so the 17-year-old brunette stepped onto the platform with her brother.
They sat on the platform with their arms crossed on the railings and their heads on top, looking bored. The people also started to sing and recite poetry, telling about the first things in a new year, such as the first sunrise, first tea drink, first dream, first love, first smile and many more. May flinched at the mention of love. They passed through many houses, where lots of people were still getting ready to go out to the local lake. Many of them waved at the siblings, who could not help but wave back.
Halfway there, as promised, May told them to stop and let her down. Reluctantly, the group did so. But Max did not get down.
"I'm going ahead to the lake first, if you don't mind. I might as well just let them carry me," said Max, the future successor of the Petalburg Gym.
"Well, okay then. I'll see you there!" May replied.
With that, off the fans went with Max to the lake. May was dropped off in front of the local Pokémon Center. She thought that it had been a while since her Pokémon had their regular check-ups, so she entered the Pokémon Center through its automatic sliding door. At the main counter, Nurse Joy was in charge, as always. They greeted each other with a smile.
"Good evening, May. How may I help you?" the nurse asked sweetly.
"Hello, Nurse Joy. Not much, just a basic check-up on my team, that's all," May replied in an equally sweet tone.
"Okay, let's take a look at them here..." she said as she proceeded to take all the Poké Balls May handed to her. "This will only take a moment."
May nodded and went off to sit at one of the available seats made for the Pokémon Center's users. She rested her head back and her eyes started to wander around the big space in the Pokémon Center. She could not help but notice that, aside from herself and Nurse Joy, there were only two other people there with them. One burly man was napping on several seats, probably waiting for his Pokémon in care, while the other man, tall, with a snow cap, kept staring at the line of books assembled on the bookshelf at one corner of the Center. Everyone else was outside, obviously, waiting for the moment of a new year. She paid no attention to the men and turned her head sideways. The PC was left unused and unattended. She automatically thought of her Pokémon left in the PC Box. Next, she stared up at the ceiling, only to notice that it was indeed very high.
She came back to her senses when she heard Nurse Joy's voice calling her.
"May, here are your Pokémon again."
May got up at went over to the counter again. Her Poké Balls were placed in a tray, all six of them, and pushed towards her. She clipped all of them back onto her belt and thanked Nurse Joy.
"Thank you, please come again next year," joked Nurse Joy.
May chuckled and said, "Okay, I will. Have a happy new year."
With that, she exited the Pokémon Center and saw the blue-black sky blanketing above her head again. It was dotted with millions of twinkling white stars. May could imagine the array of different colored fireworks shaped into different Pokémon in the sky later that night. She could not wait to witness it, as she does every year. Accidentally, she remembered again. He was there with her when they celebrated the previous New Year's Day. She did not expect him.
The girl touched her lips with two slender fingers subconsciously.
"He kissed me... that time..."
A few moments later, she snapped back to reality and did not want to think of that person again, especially not on such a festive night as tonight. She began walking down the snowy streets of Petalburg City. She had declined to be carried because she wanted to enjoy the walk. But now she was beginning to regret that decision. First of all, she did not enjoy the walk, as it did not clear her mind as she thought it would. And secondly, she had noticed another group of fans marching towards her. They were her fan boys. They had never stopped in their advances of trying to get her out on a date with them.
She usually got away by saying that her boyfriend would not like it.
But even they noticed that that boyfriend of hers was always not around her, when she needed him the most.
It was true, but May kept on pretending as though everything between them were happy and dandy; just to get them to give up on her. She was not especially interested in any of the obsessive fan boys. Yet she knew that she could not keep on pretending that she was still together with him, because in actuality, she was the one who asked for a break-up. The fan boys did not know that.
"May! Oh, dear May!" cried one boy.
"Look, May, we've come for you!"
"May, will you sit by me at the lake later?" another one suggested.
"How about me, huh, May?"
Their voices overlapped and sounded just like a buzzing noise in May's ears, as everyone was babbling their own words. She rubbed her temple with one hand, and then put on a fake happy face.
"I'm terribly sorry, boys. But as you know, he will be celebrating with me alone tonight," she tried to fool them. She could not stop the nagging voice inside of her head that asked her whether she was trying to fool them or herself.
"He's not coming, you know that..." said the solemn voice in her head.
"He's not coming, you know that, May," said several of the fan boys simultaneously.
"Huh?" May blinked. "Wh-what are you talking about?" she continued, trying to cover her brief solemn expression with another fake smile. "He'll come. Remember last year? You guys thought he wouldn't show up either, and he did come. My dear love is so full of wonderful surprises!"
May tried her best to sound smitten and cheerful. She did not actually enjoy him coming to surprise her with a kiss that she did not even want.
Apparently, it worked on the boys. Or maybe it was because they pitied her and allowed her to have it her way. Either way, they all dropped their heads at the same time and gave up this time.
"Okay then, May..."
"If you say so..."
"But know that we'll still be here for you!" said one of the very persistent fans.
With that final remark, the boys marched past her down to the lake, waving cheery goodbyes to her. May stared weirdly at those who had tears in their eyes.
"We'll see you there!" they cried together.
The brown-haired Pokémon Coordinator shrugged and continued walking at a slow pace. Hung above several shops along the way were banners and posters related to the upcoming New Year. Some showed illustrations of rice cakes and sushi. She thought of earlier today, when she and her brother helped their mother making the rice cakes.
May patted the boiled sticky rice with water, in a shallow wooden bucket, while her 14-year-old brother pounds it with a large wooden mallet. After a few hits, their father, who had been watching from the sides, fidgeting, finally went over to help Max, who apparently did not pound hard enough. He, after all, was still small and skinny, preferring to read books rather than engage in actual training with his father at the Gym, which he does at times, when he wants to, with the determination of becoming a great battler such as Norman himself.
She smirked a little.
Max had always wanted to inherit the Gym and become the next leader, even though May was supposed to be first in line. She, for one, did not want to trouble herself with such bothers. Her initial reason when she became a Pokémon Trainer in the first place was because she wanted to travel around, not because she had wanted to follow in her father's footsteps, as everyone had expected to do. She was glad to say that now Max is a Pokémon Trainer, her father could concentrate on working on him to become the next Gym Leader, leaving her to her dreams of travelling and becoming a great Pokémon Coordinator. She had had amazing adventures of her own after all these years and she was quite satisfied with her life.
Except for one part; her 'mysterious' lover.
To her, he was supposed to be perfect. He had astounding good looks, he had an amazing family, and he was very skilled in battling. He was Brendan, the son of the famed Professor Birch, and had recently earned the title of the Champion of Hoenn Pokémon League a couple of years back.
-16th April 2006-
He became her friend when they first met each other on Route 101 by accident. May was 13 years old then, having just recently completed her travel around Johto. Wearing a black-collared orange dress-like outfit over a pair of black biker shorts, she was walking cheerfully down the usually peaceful route. She also wore a green bandanna and matching green, black and white full-fingered gloves with orange and white shoes. She was on her way to visit the Professor and tell him about her experience back in Johto, when a Pokémon suddenly dropped from a tree, right in front of her. Poor May had quite a scare and fell down on her bottom.
The Pokémon then laughed and held out a hand to her, to help her get up. May rubbed her hip and looked up to see that it was a boy, not a Pokémon that had scared her out of her wits. His silver-white hair was slightly long and styled messy, partly covered with a black headband with a red Poké Ball design, while underneath the white hair was short black hair. His chest was bared, with his black and red-colored long-sleeved shirt tied around his waist. He wore black long pants with yellow coloring the ends of his pants, which were tucked inside his red and black running shoes. She glared at him but accepted his help anyway. His hands were fitted with fingerless yellow gloves. Once she was up, she placed her hands on her hips and glared even more at him.
"Hey, missy! Sorry I scared you like that. I was just getting down from this tree here," he said, pointing back to a tree with his thumb, "... because I was done with my observation for today already. And now I've got to get back to the lab."
"The lab? But that's where I'm headed too," May remarked.
"Oh? Come on then. You can follow me," he said with a smile. "I'm Brendan, by the way. The Professor's son," he said with a hint of pride.
May glanced at him, and said, "My name's May. The Gym Leader of Petalburg is my father."
"You're my dad's friend's daughter? Hey, nice to finally meet you! You know, we never actually got to meet each other because I had set out on my journey as a Pokémon Trainer earlier than you by a year!" He leaned in close to May, who turned stiff. "You know, I actually assumed the Gym leader's kid would be a guy!" he said with a laugh.
"Wow..." she said in realization. "If it weren't for our age difference, we might have met earlier, due to our fathers being friends."
"Yep! I was finished with my travels and had returned home to help my dad with his researches for the time being. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do next." Brendan hesitated, and then said, "I actually wanted to enter the Pokémon League again, but I just felt that I'm not ready yet... I just recently lost there... I need a good place to train."
"Oh, sorry to hear that. I just got back from travelling, too. I guess I just need to rest at home for a while before setting out somewhere again."
They continued to talk until they had reached the laboratory. Brendan quickly sent his reports to his father, who was in the lab at the time, a rare occasion. He greeted May and noticed that she and his son had become acquainted, so he sent them out to allow them to get to know each other more. It was time the two of them met.
Brendan took her out on a walk around the small town of Littleroot while they talked and talked. For a month and a half straight, they had been spending time with each other whenever they could. May felt bored if she had stayed home in Petalburg anyway, since her brother was on his own journey as a Pokémon Trainer then. Brendan and May would occasionally battle and show off each other's Pokémon's skills. Sometimes, they would just walk in the woods or around town, talking. May would also follow and help Brendan and his father with their Pokémon research at times. Both their families grew closer and would have dinners together.
But after that one month and a half, Brendan received an invitation from a man called Scott, who is the owner and operator of the battle facilities in Kanto, the Battle Frontier. Being the battle-crazed Trainer that he was, he immediately accepted the offer and got prepared to set off to Kanto, leaving his family and May behind. Then, May, with nothing else to do in Hoenn, set out on a new journey in Sinnoh.
After about a year of Sinnoh-travelling, May returned to her home region and continued her career as a Pokémon Coordinator by participating in Hoenn's Contests again. At 15, she won the Grand Festival, garnering first place this time, beating her old rivals Solidad and Drew. She became more thoroughly known then. Max, who had returned home from his journey, and her parents were extremely proud of her achievement. She had become a celebrity of her own.
During that same year, Brendan had returned from training in Kanto and had entered the Victory Tournament at the Pokémon League in Ever Grande City.
-19th August 2007-
As daughter of the Petalburg Gym Leader, Norman, and as the current first-place winner of the Grand Festival of Hoenn, May was one of the special guests to appear during the final rounds of the Victory Tournament in which Brendan won. Other special guests included the President of the Pokémon League, Charles Goodshow, Professor Birch himself with his wife, the previous Champions, Tyson, Wallace and Steven, all the Gym Leaders of the Hoenn region, and previous holders of the Hoenn Ribbon Cup of the Grand Festivals, Doctor Abby, Yuma, Robert and Drew.
She remembered the look of joy and excitement on Brendan's face when he was announced the winner against Drake, the final Elite Four member. He jumped and punched a fist into the air before going over to hug his Pokémon, Swampert, who was equally proud as his Trainer over their victory. Cameras flashed to snap pictures of him, horns were blared and the spectators were cheering their wildest. The special guests stood up to congratulate Brendan with a handshake or a pat on the back, while his parents embraced him tightly. May waited patiently as she waited for the others to clear a way for her to get to Brendan.
Brendan noticed her and walked over to her calmly.
"So... You're the current holder of the Ribbon Cup now," he said to her with a crooked smile carved on his lips.
"And you're the Hoenn Champion now," May replied easily.
"Haven't met you a long time, May."
"I know... I kind of missed you," May said in a low voice.
"Pleasure to finally meet you again," he said and extended a hand to her. She was not sure whether he heard her last remark or not.
May gripped his right hand with hers and they shook hands. "Nice to meet you again too, Brendan Birch."
Suddenly, a female reporter named Gabby and her cameraman, Ty, came to them and started filming and asking Brendan some questions.
"So, Brendan, how does it feel to be the new Champion of Hoenn?" asked Gabby.
After all the hustle and bustle of interviews and announcements and official ceremonies, there was a grand feast held for Brendan's winning. It was nighttime, Brendan and all the special guests were in a big mess hall situated in the Pokémon League building. It had always been used to celebrate the winning of a new Champion. Everyone was enjoying themselves and having loud conversations amongst each other. May was seated quite a ways from Brendan, who was too busy talking to the other guests anyway. Norman sat next to his daughter and he noticed her quietness.
"He's very popular now," he had said.
May turned to face her father. "Huh?"
"A few years ago I could see you two had become good friends. Then he left for training, and now you two could meet each other again after a long while," Norman stated matter-of-factly. "So why aren't you as thrilled as I thought you would be? Shouldn't you be talking to him right now?"
"Dad, come on. He's busy talking to others. I just don't want to interrupt," May replied, trying to sound as normal as possible.
Norman raised an eyebrow at his daughter. He had thought that she liked his friend's boy.
"Well, you're right anyway. Come, eat your dinner," he said to May.
Later that night, some of the Gym Leaders decided to return to their Gyms, but those who had wanted to stay in Ever Grande City for a while longer were given special suites in the Pokémon League. After dinner, Winona, Roxanne, Wattson and Flannery left Ever Grande City back to their own respective cities and town. The others had come outside to see them off.
Seeing as it was already late, the rest of them bade each other goodbye and went to their own suites, congratulating Brendan for the last time. Only Norman's and the Professor's families were left. Norman and Professor Birch and his wife went and talked for a bit more, leaving their teenagers together.
"Hi, Brendan. Some night, huh? How're you coping with your new form of popularity?" May asked him.
"Oh, well, tiring, you know. But I'm enjoying every last bit of it. I'm so proud of my Pokémon. They were the ones who helped me win," he said, holding one of his Poké Balls in one hand.
May only smiled at him, and they were stuck in an awkward silence.
Suddenly, Brendan grabbed her hand and called out to his parents, "Mom, Dad! May and I are going out for a little stroll! We'll be back at the suites by eleven!"
The three adults nodded their approval.
Brendan threw the Poké Ball he had in his other hand up into the air and called out his Arcanine. He swung a leg over the large Legendary Pokémon's back and, still holding May's hand, pulled her up so that she sat behind him.
"Hold on... real tight!" Brendan warned her with a smirk.
"You have an Arcani-" her question was cut short when Arcanine began to speed away. She gasped in shock at the amazing speed and hugged Brendan's waist very tightly.
Brendan chuckled when she did so. The wind whipped their faces hard and threatened to knock Brendan's headband and May's bandana off. After a while of speeding around, Brendan commanded Arcanine to slow down to a respectable pace. He turned his head around to look at May, who looked rather impressed.
"Y-you have an Arcanine now, Brendan?" May asked him, her voice slightly shaky from travelling too fast.
"Yep, I caught this amazing guy back when I was training in Kanto, on the way to the Battle Arena facility," he explained, patting the Arcanine's shoulder at the same time.
It gave him a low, affectionate growl in reply. May went in front of it to stroke its head and admire its beauty. The Arcanine's eyes widened when it saw her and started to make many cute, short whining sounds, letting its tongue hang out. Then it gave her a short lick on the face and nudged her with its head. Brendan was surprised, and curious, of his Arcanine's reaction towards May.
"Huh? It seems that my Arcanine recognizes you or something," he pointed out, baffled.
May looked into Arcanine's eyes, previously fierce and proud, now playful, and a memory flashed into her mind. Several years ago, when she was travelling Kanto with Max, Ash and Brock, she had met an Arcanine and had wished to capture it to use it in her Pokémon Contests, but finally cancelled her desire when she found that it had a litter of three Growlithe puppies to take care of. The whole family had once been captured by the villainous Team Rocket, and May and Drew were the ones who successfully saved them.
"Are you... maybe... one of the Growlithe puppies that we saved a few years ago? The same one?"
The Arcanine gladly nodded its head when May recognized it and went on to nudge her again.
"Wow, you're all grown up! You're so cute!" She giggled and hugged it.
Brendan, who stood by their sides, watched the scene that unfolded before his eyes.
"Wait, you two really know each other? It's kismet!" he said, amazed. "How?"
As they walked around the lake that surrounded the Pokémon League battle stadium, May told Brendan everything about the story of how she met up with this Arcanine as a Growlithe and how she saved its family. The many streetlights flanking the path they were on were dimly lit and created a mild glittering effect on the surface of the lake water as it reflected the light. The moon itself made a large reflection on the water.
May had just finished telling her story when a bench came into sight. They had walked for quite a while, so they sat down to rest their tired legs. It had been a long day for them, anyway. Arcanine, who had been loyally following them also sat down on his haunches, next to them. The two Trainers were quiet again. May glanced just a little, and could not help but notice the beauty of Brendan's white hair shining like silver under the moonlight.
Brendan spoke up. "You know... I was thinking... of giving you my Arcanine. I know how much you wanted one before and how you two have gone way back."
May gave an ever-so slight gasp.
"So... Arcanine," he continued. "Would you like to have May as your new Trainer?"
The black-striped orange and cream-colored Pokémon stood still. It had enjoyed its time with Brendan, but it owed May its life. Finally, seeing that Brendan was willing to let it go, it decided to go with May. It went over to Brendan and pushed its large head towards his chest, who gave it a pat on the head with a small smile. Then it turned to May, and bowed to her, signifying his loyalty to her now. Brendan took out its Poké Ball and called it back inside. He took May's hand gently and placed the Poké Ball in her hand. She closed her fingers in on the red and white Pokémon containment device.
She faced her male friend. "Are you... sure about this?"
Brendan stared at her intently for a couple of seconds, and then moved in to lock his lips with hers. May was completely caught by surprise, but she soon realized how good Brendan's skin felt against her own. She touched Brendan's cheek with her fingers and returned the kiss. The two of them were enjoying their act of love too much that their kisses were getting more frequent and violent. Both of them released each other soon though, gasping for air, as they were feeling suffocated from kissing too hard. May leaned in for more, but Brendan had gotten up.
"It's nearly eleven o'clock. We should get back," he said, in a tone that May had thought sounded indifferent.
She replied with an embarrassed 'um'.
Arcanine was called out again, to bring them back to their suites this time. Brendan's room was the most special, now that he was the Hoenn Pokémon Champion. He said a short goodbye and goodnight to May, and she walked back to her room alone, her face still flushed pink. She had a hard time going to sleep, because all she did was think of him.
The day after, May and her father returned to Petalburg City, while Brendan and his parents went back to Littleroot Town. May stayed inside her house, half expecting Brendan to come, and half expecting him not to come. But of course, he did the latter. She could not decide whether to be disappointed or not. Just when she had made up her mind to go visit him herself, she arrived at his house to learn that he and Professor Birch had long gone on a road trip around Hoenn, to study the behavior of various Pokémon in the region. His mother stayed behind because she wanted to take care of the house. She was the one who told May that.
"Why, I'm surprised you didn't know that, May. I thought Brendan would have told you, or your father," she said.
"I was... sick. I laid in bed all day," May gave an excuse.
"Oh, I see. You poor thing, how are you feeling today? Fine? I'm sure you are, or else you wouldn't have walked all the way here," the woman went on.
May would sometimes visit Brendan's mother and talk over tea. At other times, she went off to Pokémon Contests and trained her Pokémon for the upcoming Grand Festival, determined to protect her title.
-31st December 2009-
May was still on her way to the lake. While memories of her and Brendan flashed through her mind, she could not help but slow down her steps. Fearing Max would get worried over her, she stopped her reminisces and began to walk quickly. In her rush, she bumped into a man in front of her, who grabbed both her hands and prevented her from getting to her Poké Balls. She realized that he was the tall stranger in a snow cap that she saw in the Pokémon Center earlier. She was even more desperate in her struggle to break free when he brought her to a secluded alley next to a sushi restaurant. He pulled her by the wrists with one large hand with a strong grip, without looking back and without a word.
"Hey, you! Did you follow me or something? Erkh, let me... go!" May tried to scream, but her voice came out as a helpless squeak. "D-do you know who my father is?"
The man finally stopped. He gave a small chuckle, and turned to face the frightened girl with a smile carved on his lips.
She stopped struggling, and her muscles instinctively relaxed.
"You! How could you-! You never-! I can't believe you're-!" she spluttered.
Brendan smirked. "Are you going to finish your sentences or what?"
May hung her head. For a long time, she did not move or say anything. Brendan raised his other hand and was about to place it on her shoulder, when she suddenly jerked her hands away from his grip, which he never released since just now. She had an angry look on her face, while Brendan's expression was that of a shocked one.
With a trembling voice, she said, "I waited for you... I hoped for you... But you let me down... everytime. Everytime, Brendan, you would fail me, leaving an unflattering impression of yourself on me. I hated you, I told you that, but you keep coming back..." May placed both her hands on her head and shut her eyes tight. "I was always so confused with you! Why are you doing this to me?" she raised her voice.
Brendan stood unmoving. He was at a loss for words. He did not expect her to still react like so. His eyes showed sadness for a brief moment, and then, slowly, he said, "May, do you remember that day when you declared that you don't love me anymore?"
She glared at him through the corner of her eyes and retaliated violently, "Of course I do! How could I forget such an event?"
About a year ago, she was training her Pokémon by entering them in the Fallarbor Town Pokémon Contest, which she won easily now that she's an expert in becoming a Pokémon Coordinator. She had just walked out of the hexagon-shaped building when someone bumped into her. The person was running really hard and the impact they both received was so immense, both of them fell down on the ground.
"Ouch!" cried the two of them in unison.
May felt the throbbing pain on her right shoulder, where the person's arm hit her. She massaged it with her left hand and looked at the person who collided with her. She could not believe her eyes and even considered that she was dreaming. It was Brendan, staring back at her. He was wearing a tight-fitting black and orange shirt that complimented his body build and a pair of black and gray shorts worn over gray long pants. His shoes and gloves included colorations of green, orange and black and white. His green and white headband that was used to keep his hair out of his eyes had now been flopped to one side, covering his left eye.
"Brendan..? What in the world are you doing here?" May asked him, completely surprised by their encounter.
He got up, adjusted his headband back in place, pushing his hair back and offered a hand to help her up.
"I-I was... I'm here with my Dad, studying the behaviors of Pokémon in a habitat polluted with volcanic ash," he said, panting slightly from the running he did just now.
May got up, thanks to Brendan's helping hand.
Fallarbor Town was situated near the large Mount Chimney, a volcanic mountain that constantly spouts black volcanic ash in areas around it. Professor Birch presumed that the heat and the limited vision in areas such as those must have left an impact on the local Pokémon.
"Oh, right... Your mother did tell me you were helping out your Dad in his researches..." May said with a hint of sadness, "That's why you went away... without even tellin-"
Brendan interrupted her. "And anyway, why are you here?"
May pushed her hair behind one ear, looked away, and said, "I was here for the Pokémon Contest."
Brendan nodded and shifted into a jogging stance. "Oh, I see. Well, May, nice to see you again. I think I have to go now. Bye, take care," he said, patted her shoulder with one hand, and continued his run.
Again, May felt betrayed. Every time she thought that he was going to give in to love her as she did with him, he transforms into a personality that seemed not to care about her at all. She wondered if he had a problem with himself sometimes. She tried to shrug it off and proceeded with her training. Later that night, after training so hard with her Pokémon, she was so tired that she immediately fell asleep on the comfortable seats in the Fallarbor Pokémon Center when she was supposed to go to her own room that she booked for the night earlier.
Sometime before dawn arrived, she awoke because she thought that she felt something brushing against her arm. She opened her eyes to see a teenage boy leaning over her, their faces too close together for comfort. She had wanted to scream, but he muffled her voice by clamping his hand over her mouth.
He released her and she growled a whisper, "Brendan! What were you thinking?"
"I just wanted to see you, May... I was surprised myself to see you sleeping out here. Don't they have rooms for lodging in the Pokémon Center?" he whispered back.
"They do, but I was so tired I flopped down over here. I didn't want to walk all the way to my room."
Without warning, Brendan pressed his lips against hers; kissing her like he never did before. In between the kisses, he stopped and asked her, "Do you miss me?"
May blushed hard. "Of-of course I do..."
Brendan was about to start kissing her again, but she pushed him away with both hands.
He looked at her questioningly. "What's the matter?"
"I... I don't know what I'm doing actually," she said truthfully. "But I think I can't handle all this confusion anymore."
"What do you mean?"
"What is it with you?" she said, almost in disgust. "Can't you see that you're hurting me? Sometimes, it's like you want me, and sometimes you act like you don't want me at all! It's killing me on the inside, Brendan!"
"No! I can't take it anymore! I have to stop loving you! I hate you, Brendan! I hate you for hurting me all this time and not knowing it!"
She stood up, turned her back on Brendan and grabbed her fanny pack. She ran out of the Pokémon Center with tears in her eyes, her beautiful brown hair flowing behind her. She immediately left back to Petalburg City that very night.
"Well, trust me, dear; I had a reason for doing this to you..." the 18-year-old male Trainer said to her, keeping his voice low in the darkness of the alley they were in.
"That's what you say every time. It doesn't help. I told you, I don't want to see you anymore," said May, who crossed her arms and turned away from Brendan. Whenever he tried to place his hand on her shoulder, she would avoid and turn away again. He knew that she was beginning to cry already.
"I'm sorry, May..."
"You always say that..." she said slowly and began to soften up again. "But I always get the feeling that you're not. Brendan, I love you. Is it so hard to love me back? I thought you do love me too... I always thought I might be wrong and that I was just embarrassing myself every time I made a romantic move on you."
"...So you still love me even after that night?" he wanted to make sure.
"Of course I do! It's so difficult to let these feelings go, even after I tried so hard..."
"May, you have to understand... I do love you. It's not that I don't want you... It's just that... I can't have you," he said gravely.
She was silent for a while, before asking, "Why?"
"I... I don't feel comfortable telling you, May. You might be in danger," he answered seriously. "This is something I must do alone."
May turned around, flung her arms around him and buried her face in his chest. "Brendan, I'm willing to sacrifice myself for love! Please, let me be with you. Lovers are supposed to face hardships together! You can trust me, Brendan; I love you with all my life. I will be by your side always..."
Brendan looked down at May with great sadness. But then he realized that she was right. He could not keep lying to her anyway. He should have known that. He stroked her hair with one hand, while the other hand was placed on her waist. He lifted her chin with a finger and bent his neck to softly kiss her forehead. Then he released her, and stepped back.
He raised his hand to his snow cap and pulled it off.
Two brutal scars that looked like claw marks were visible on his right temple. May gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. Her eyes began to produce tears again.