Pairing: DynaShipping (Ash/Skyla)
A/N: I'm... a little trepiditious about posting this. This is for a dare that Pearlmasterking gave me in the Shippers' Truth or Dare thread and it was supposed to be just for a drabble, but I've gone over the limit of a drabble and it really ended up being more of a short oneshot. The thing of it is, I watch the dub so I haven't actually seen the anime episodes with Skyla in them yet, so I can only act on her game personality and what I've heard about the episodes. As such, there might be things in here that wind up being inconsistent with her anime appearance. When I finally see the episodes I might go back and change some things here to make them flow better, but then again since I don't know all the details I might just not be able to make things consistent after the fact. Ah well, it is what it is.
That said, I hope you enjoy this little thing.
Need a Lift?
Water. Nothing but boundless water in one direction. The still high sun glimmered off the droplets of water as a Basculin leapt from beneath the surface to give a disapproving look at the three humans on the shore before splashing back into its watery habitat. Some unidentifiable bug types sang and whined from the reeds just off shore. Maybe, just maybe, if a person squinted he could see a vague indication of land on the other side of the mass of water, but that was probably just wishful thinking. No amount of wishful thinking, however, could make a bridge or a boat appear on the waters.
“So… what do we do now?” Ash said slowly as he stared out into the endless lake that lay before him and his friends.
Cilan looked grimly at the screen in front of him, enlarging the map with a flick of his fingers. “It looks like there isn’t a crossing anywhere… and the ferry is closed for repairs.” He sighed. “Much as I hate to say it, we’re just going to have to go around it.”
“But that’ll take forever!” Iris pointed out, peering at the map over his shoulders.
“We could always swim,” Ash suggested weakly. Pikachu, from his perch on his shoulders, did not seem overly thrilled with the idea.
Iris glared at him. “Are you kidding me?”
“Yeah…” Ash said dully, putting his hands in his pockets as he stared at the water once more. “Sorry.”
“Sorry?” Iris repeated. “Geez. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the kid is kidding.”
As Ash tried to think of an unkidlike retort and Iris looked proud of her rather basic wordplay, Cilan peered up at the sky.
“Hey…” he said, killing an argument before it had properly started, “…do you hear that?”
“Huh?” Ash and Iris looked up at the sky. Yes… there was definitely something… a low groan in the distance, and just the slightest scent of burning oil.
But before too long, there was no question of not hearing it. The roar of propellers from behind them was nearly deafening. They turned around and looked up to see a mid-size grey plane with a row of murderous looking propellers. Out of the window and coming more clearly into view, they saw a dot that mostly looked red and light blue from the distance. As the plane flew closer, the dot clarified itself into a female figure. It waved at them.
“Hey you three!” the figure shouted over the thundering engines.
“Hey, it’s Skyla!” Ash exclaimed, recognizing her.
The plane swooped toward them, careening to the side and gliding to the ground on the sand several yards away from them. The wind from the propellers stung their eyes, but they were still able to see the flying type gym leader dive out of the cockpit, somersault midair, and stick her landing with a jaunty salute.
“Need a lift?” she asked in a way that conveyed that seemingly choreographed acrobatics just came naturally to her.
“Oh wow, you mean we can really fly with you?” Ash asked, not bothering to contain his excitement.
“Well sure,” Skyla said with a smile. “I mean, I normally don’t take people in my cargo plane, but I think I can make an exception for you three.”
“That would really help us out a lot. Thanks Skyla!” Iris said, happy at the prospect of neither walking nor swimming several miles out of their way.
“Hey Ash,” Skyla said, turning to wink at him. “Do you want to ride in the cockpit with me?”
“Would I?” Ash said, fists clenched enthusiastically. “That’d be awesome!”
“That is, if you two don’t mind riding in the cargo section,” Skyla said, turning an apologetic look toward Cilan and Iris. “It’s just that there’s only one copilot chair.”
“It would be our pleasure,” the ever-obliging Cilan said with a bow, before the not-always-obliging Iris could get a word in edgewise.
“Great!” Skyla said brightly. “Then let’s get going!”
Before long, Cilan had helped Iris (who didn’t really need the help, but accepted it just the same) into the cargo section and Ash and Skyla were strapping in for the flight ahead. Skyla knocked on the door to the cargo section. “Everyone ready for take-off back there?” she asked.
“Yes!” Cilan and Iris chorused from the echoic chamber.
“I don’t need to be told twice!” Skyla said with a grin as she threw some switches and gripped the control column.
The whole plane filled with vibrations as the propellers beat into action. Ash felt his ears pop as the plane lifted off the ground and sliced into the air. Pikachu peered out the window with interest.
Suddenly the radio crackled into life. “Base to Wingwalker. Base to Wingwalker,” it said. “You all on track for delivery, Skyla? You’re quite a bit off course.”
Skyla picked up the transmitter and spoke into it. “Wingwalker to base, I’ve got a little side errand I’ve got to do first. I’ll be a little late on delivery.”
“Skyla, late?” the man at base ribbed. “I never thought I’d see the day.”
“Only fashionably late,” Skyla teased back. “Don’t worry, base, you’ll get your payload.”
“10-4, Skyla. You know your business,” was the response.
“I certainly do,” Skyla answered. “Over and out,” she said, setting the transmitter down.
Ash stared up at her. “I didn’t know we were making you late,” he said, concerned. “Are you sure this is okay?”
“Sure I’m sure,” Skyla said, nodding vigorously. “I feel like I owe you guys after everything that happened at the gym and how I behaved and all. Anyway,” she said, turning to give him an appreciative and highly reflective look, “I like you a lot, Ash, so I don’t mind doing you a favor at all. Battling you taught me a lot, and you’re so determined and enthusiastic.” Her fond look transformed into a bit of a sulk. “And you don’t make ‘mile-high club’ jokes like all the other boys.”
“Mile-high wha…?” Ash asked, mystified.
“Nevermind,” Skyla said quickly. “Anyway, how are you enjoying the flight?” she asked to change the subject.
“It’s great!” Ash enthused. “I’ve flown with flying Pokemon, but steering a plane like this must be the nearest thing to actually being a flying Pokemon.”
Skyla laughed. “Oh, it’s even better with the open cockpit at high speeds, just feeling the G-force rush over your face ‘til you can barely…” she trailed off. “Well, I guess I should be careful how much I do that,” she amended. “After all, it can cause some major wrinkles.”
Ash peered at her still flawless complexion. “I don’t see any winkles,” he said. “I don’t think you have to worry about that at all—you’ve got great skin.”
Skyla smiled. Perhaps the force of the compliment made her make her next unwise suggestion, but perhaps she would’ve made it anyway. “Hey Ash… you ever want to try flying for yourself?”
Ash’s jaw dropped. Pikachu looked uncertain. “Could I? Would that really be okay?” Ash asked.
“Sure,” Skyla said, “as long as I’m here anyway. Grab the controls and give it a try.”
Ash hesitantly reached out and grasped the control column. Skyla put her hands over his and guided him gently. “See?” she said. “This controls the direction we take, and this controls our altitude.” She took her hands away and let him hold up the plane all on his own. “See?” she said. “You’re doing fine.”
Ash turned to smile at her. “I played a video game like this once,” he said. Pikachu looked worriedly at the controls.
Unfortunately, video game experience does not quite equal actual pilot training, and taking his eyes off the skies was not the wisest thing Ash could do. Ash lost his grip on the column and the plane veered uncontrollably upward until the body of the plane spun in the air and began to dive. Pikachu fell to the floor and scrambled in an effort to get back onto the seat with Ash. Thumping sounds rang from the rest of the plane as it tossed and turned.
“Get back up toward the skies!” Skyla ordered.
“I’m trying!” Ash said as he steered with all his might.
“Wrong way!” Skyla shouted, taking the controls back and steering in the opposite direction.
The plane stabilized and the two of them struggled to catch their breath. Pikachu crawled back up on Ash’s shoulder and clung there. “What… what happened?” Ash said. “I thought I was flying toward the sky but…”
“You probably got disoriented when the plane flipped,” Skyla explained, flipping some switches. “It’s easy to lose track of which way is up and when the sky is blue and the water is blue… well…”
“I’m so sorry,” Ash apologized. “I didn’t mean to…”
“No, you’re okay,” Skyla said with a reassuring smile. “That kind of thing happens a lot when you’re just starting. You were doing really well before that.” She gave him an appraising look. “I bet I could make a pilot of you yet,” she said.
“Do you really mean it?” Ash asked.
“Of course, Ash,” Skyla said warmly. “I could give you flying lessons if you want. And then you could be my co-pilot any day.”
Ash was cheered, but suddenly a thought struck him that wiped the smile off his face. “Say… Skyla?” he asked tentatively.
“Yes, Ash?” Skyla answered, eyes back on the skies.
“What uh… just out of curiosity, what kind of cargo were you carrying?” he asked.
“Oh, just a couple hundred pounds of bird seed,” Skyla answered nonchalantly. “Why?”
They both jumped as they heard a metallic banging on the cabin door, punctuated by the sound of incensed screeching that probably belonged to Iris.
“Only that maybe the next time we have flying lessons… we should leave Iris and Cilan on the ground,” Ash said weakly.
Skyla flashed him a nervous smile as though she’d forgotten about her other passengers. “Probably a good idea,” she agreed.