Vin N'attend Personne - Wine Waits for No One
A/N: So this was only supposed to be a Sommeliershipping romance.
(And by romance I mean smut but I also mean romance) But, it ballooned so that it's now got a whole lot of Pearlshipping and some heavily tilted Bustershipping and some one-sided Negaishipping. It takes place directly after the Junior Cup tournament/sort of AUs off from there, and I started writing it before the tournament was over so one or two references to who beat who might be off still.
The first two chapters of this are more of a Teen rating, with most of that rating being from Burgundy's constant bilingual potty-mouth. Since there will be lemons in chapters 3 and beyond, the characters are aged up by a few years – honestly, I generally age them up regardless because they just don't feel 10, but... You get my point. I really do feel like I've done my best to put plot into this, not just smut, so I feel like you can skip over those parts once they've been finished and posted if that's not your thing. I suppose a warning for underage drinking should go here too, now that I think about it.
Without further rambling, the story.
Vin N'attend Personne
There was no simpler description for that asshole of a gym leader, that poor excuse for a sommelier, that creep, that cad, that phony, that pervert, than Life Ruiner.
Burgundy considered this fact, along with as many other insults she could come up with for him, as she stared at Cilan across the room over her glass of wine.
Even her unrefined tastes were enough to tell her how lousy the wine was. Even Cilan, as pathetic as he was, could probably tell it too.
Georgia didn't know it was bad though, and she was sitting directly to Burgundy's left, with her own glass turned upside down as she tried to coax the last drops out of it. She was a good three glasses past Burgundy's own impressive number, and it was making her bitching louder by the moment.
Just as well. Listening to Georgia complain about Iris, even if she was just tuning most of it out, made her feel less alone in her tribulations. She didn't know whether to commiserate properly or just mock her temporary companion, however - after all, Iris was so much less than Cilan's already pathetic status. Cilan had a title, and a rank, and some measure of respect in the world, however undeserved it was. All Iris had was a relatively famous birthplace, and an extremely stupid goal.
The fact that Georgia's own goal amounted to little more than defeating Iris was mock-worthy in its own right. At least Burgundy's defeat of Cilan would mean something in life. Becoming an A-class - no, surely, before she was through, she'd be an S-class - sommelier would make her world famous, and rich to boot. Not to mention the pleasure of ruining Cilan on her path to stardom. Maybe she'd even get to close down his precious gym, though maybe, just maybe, she'd leave it to his jokes of brothers instead, since neither of them was particularly good at defeating challengers anyway.
"...Just look at her, standing over there like she owns the place, just because she has a Dragonite now. The damned thing doesn't even like her. Sure, it's strong, but it just proves how much of a joke she is. That Dragonite never would have defeated me if it had actually listened to her. She didn't defeat me, it did. What a joke. She's such a fucking child."
Burgundy was almost sorry she'd let Georgia's words call her attention again. She sounded so whiny right now, though cheap wine had that effect on a person.
She sighed to herself, feeling incredibly grateful she didn't sound as foolish as the half-rate trainer she was rooming with.
"Your glass is empty, non?" she asked, and Georgia blinked as though she hadn't realized this fact, even though she'd tipped the empty chalice upside down at least four times by now. "Can you get me more, too?"
"Get it yourself," Georgia snapped, shoving Burgundy's hand back out of her face.
Already a glass or so beyond the ability to react quickly, the motion caught the sommelier off guard and the glass tumbled out of her hand, landing in her lap and splashing the last dregs across the ruffles of her dress.
"You!" she screamed, barely thinking to snatch the stemware and save it from certain death before standing up and fuming at the Dragon Buster. "Careless putain! My dress!"
"Yeah well it was ugly anyway," Georgia sighed, completely unconcerned with her roommate's anger. Naturally, this only upset the sommelier more, and she muttered to herself in French for several seconds before snatching the redhead's glass from her and storming toward the buffet table.
"It's no wonder someone classless like you can't even defeat a child," she snarled as she left. Her words had no effect on Georgia, who watched her retreat with a smirk. Insults meant nothing to her when they didn't come from a dragon trainer; anyone else was too weak to be worth her time by default, and Burgundy took a lower spot still on her list for her sheer idiocy, despite their circumstantial friendship. She was, of course, still glad her eardrums had survived the incident, but her mind was too muddied by alcohol for even that thought to form fully.
Instead, she just enjoyed the view as Burgundy tripped over her needlessly long gown, attempting to take another sip from a glass that was no longer in her hand as she watched.
Burgundy got all the way back to the buffet table before she remembered the subject of her distress and sought him out again, picking his spring green hair out from the crowd easily.
The Life Ruiner.
She snarled openly, startling someone beside her at the table, who dropped a pair of tongs upon deciding another hot wing was not worth finding out what had the purple-haired girl so annoyed. She barely noticed the random passerby, instead focusing on refilling her and Georgia's glasses while willing Cilan to die by focusing all of her energy through her eyes at him. It was a small miracle she didn't spill more wine on her dress in the process, since she was paying far more attention to him than the bottle or the fullness of her glass.
The tournament had provided more than enough to go around, at least. That fact brought a little smile to her face as she watched him try, in vain, to convince his idiot companions to try a sip of his own glass in proper wine tasting style. Neither Ash nor Iris - how she remembered their names, she wasn't sure, because they were even less worth her time than Cilan - was of drinking age, if she remembered right. That other, pretty girl hanging around with them wasn't either. Of course, she had a year to go herself, but no one was checking IDs here, and an event like the World Cup was hardly an occasion to debate over little things like 16, 18, or 21, especially when there was surely a few people in the room from lands with no drinking age.
She took a sip from her glass, discouraged to find it as bitter as ever, then took a gulp for good measure, before finally deciding that maybe, instead of spending the evening focusing on what a Life Ruiner Cilan was, she should browse through this multicultural buffet for someone who would treat a lady like herself properly. Indeed, that was the proper way to use such an opportunity, and she mentally scolded herself for not realizing it until now, before congratulating herself for coming up with such a brilliant plan.
Yes, she'd find someone quite handsome, and she'd parade around the room with him, and trade bold kisses with them on the dance floor, and then Cilan would see what he was miss-
"Oh my, Burgundy. Two glasses? No wonder you tripped and soiled your beautiful gown."
Her tormenter's voice rang out from beside her, loud and clear and just a little more smug than usual, and she felt any desire to find a one night stand instead of publicly humiliating the sommelier fizzle out like a thunderbolt hitting a palpitoad.
"For your information, bête, one of them is for Georgia, and she's the one who spilled on me as well. As if I would ever be so clumsy as to spill on myself! A sommelier must have poise."
"They must," he agreed, reaching out and taking Georgia's glass with his free hand and - before she could object - setting it back on the table. "But you still lack it. Hurry and finish your glass, then go change before the stain sets," he commanded.
For several seconds she stood off-balance, too overwhelmed to comprehend whether he was insulting her or sincerely offering help. Of course, there was no way - none in the world - that Cilan could be attempting to be nice to her. He was simply too much of a pain, so clearly he was just trying to remove her from the room, but why?
"...Don't think you can keep this whole crowd to yourself," she scolded, swatting the hand that was creeping toward her side away. "They deserve better than the half-rate evaluation of a fraud sommelier like yourself. Don't think for a minute you can impress anyone here. They're world class, and you're just a host who pretends to be a gym leader. Your taste will fall flat compared to their experience."
His face wavered at her ranting, concern flashing across his eyes as he carefully took her arm. "Perhaps you've had a bit much to drink. You're speaking nonsense-"
"You're nonsense," she snapped, pushing his arm away. "I will ruin you, you joke of a sommelier. I will ruin you the way you ruined my life!" she announced, pushing him away and striding off, leaving him to contemplate her drunkenness and his own empty glass.
With a disdained sigh, he poured himself another glassful, checking the year on the bottle before he did. The tournament had certainly skimped on the quality of the beverages, in his own opinion, but with half the competitors under the legal age of 18 it was entirely understandable. Better to serve something cheap that would turn the non-drinkers off to the flavor, and would feed the alcoholics at a reasonable price, unless they wanted the trouble of hiring a barkeeper and having a full service. Careful surveying had revealed that a few years of the wine were actually worthy of his pallet, however, and he made sure he had chosen one of the best bottles before refilling his glass and stashing the bottle behind the others.
Burgundy reappeared just as he was about to turn back to his companions, fire in her eyes as she snatched the glass he'd take before back off the table.
"This was Georgia's, not mine, so if you did anything weird to it, you're going to be disappointed, you filthy pervert," she spat, lips curling with every syllable as she clutched the glasses to her chest. She backed away several paces before finally throwing her head back and breaking eye contact with him, leaving him bewildered.
He'd chalk her unnecessary behavior up to drunkenness, but Burgundy always treated him like this, rain or shine, sober or, as he'd found out for the first time tonight, not. Her crush on him was distressingly obvious and frustratingly juvenile, driving him to the point of agitation on a regular basis. And surely it was a crush - he knew no other term to describe it when one obsessed over another on this level. Perhaps "stalker", but that seemed too harsh for someone who could be soft and friendly when coaxed out of her harping.
Indeed, when she smiled and kept her volume down to a respectable level, Burgundy was someone Cilan was happy to call a friend and maybe even a rival, though he considered that term more appropriate to those who were on a similar level, the way Ash was with Trip and Iris was with Georgia. It wasn't that Burgundy lacked potential, either; the fact she'd even passed the sommelier training exams showed she had talent buried behind that bullheaded nature. It was just that she was so distracted by her quest to defeat him that she hadn't allowed herself a chance to develop her talents properly.
Lost in thought, Cilan had managed to drain his glass again without taking a single step back toward Ash or the girls.
He had barely allowed himself a drink since setting out from Striaton, but any trouble those three could get into at the hotel overnight was trouble he was likely to encourage at best and want to forget at worse. Deciding he had no good reason to remain sober, he topped off his glass and headed back to his companions to celebrate Ash's victory a while longer.
When he glanced back at Burgundy, she was still fixated on him, despite the fact Georgia now seemed determined to drag her from her chair.
"The way you ruined my life."
As he considered the words, he rubbed his the bridge of his nose and shook his head. Burgundy was her own unique blend, that was for sure - he just wished she would replace a little of the vengefulness with practice and wisdom. He didn't really want her words to bother him, but they were nagging at him just the same. It seemed highly unlikely one defeat, no matter how crushing it was, had affected her to this extent - so what was it that made her obsess over defeating him so?
He wanted to make the obvious assumption - especially from the rare moments where she softened and even smiled to him - but believing she had a crush on him felt a little egotistical in his own mind. After all, not even infatuation would drive a person to change their life course as she had, would it?
Cilan gave a glance back over his shoulder, and found her gaze still fixated on him. The moment their eyes connected, the fury in her face tripled, and he grimaced, averting his eyes to Georgia instead.
He couldn't hear her from this distance, but Georgia's lips were quite animated, her sentences punctuated by gulps of wine and licks of her lips. All the while, her eyes were trained on one spot and one spot only, and instinctively he knew where her line of sight would lead even before he followed it.
Their encounters always had the flavor of a fight for dominance that rose above a simple rivalry, and alcohol had a reputation as a truth serum. He wasn't sure whether to feel amusement or concern at the way this revelation confirmed his suspicions; the latter arose because he wasn't sure the dragon trainer shared in her rival's intentions. Rather, Iris's attention was fixated in the same place it always seemed to be - one tournament finalist Ash Ketchum - though even without drinking tonight, her eyes flitted occasionally in Cynthia's direction, as though she was scared the champion might vanish if she didn't keep track of her. He smiled to himself at both thoughts, taking another sip from his glass.
Before he could look to Burgundy again, there was a bump against his shoulder, and he found a hand clutched to his elbow for stability. "Sorry," Dawn squeaked, balance wavering for a second more before she finally managed a firm breath. He glanced down to where her ankles were wobbling, just slightly, atop three-inch high-heeled sandals. Piplup clutched her other leg the best his flippers could, concern in his round eyes, and as Cilan looked back up, he understood why.
Ash and Iris had turned down his earlier offer to get them a glass of wine - Iris had taken a sip and cringed, Ash had just outright refused - but Dawn had accepted sheepishly. Right now her glass was definitely fuller than he remembered it being before, which made him suspect she'd slipped away for a refill, and between her age and slight frame there it was no wonder she was a little tipsy now.
"Wine and high heels aren't the best marriage," he warned gently, letting his arm link with hers.
"I-it's okay, really," she murmured, though she gripped his arm rather tightly. "I just tripped a little."
"Perhaps we should find you a chair? Just for a few minutes?" She shook her head, so he added, "The coat check accepts shoes as well. You'd hardly be the only one here to shed their heels; they're not exactly designed with comfort in mind."
She frowned, sighing heavily, and continuing the night's hobby of following gazes Cilan traced hers back to Ash, who was still talking enthusiastically with another competitor, Iris standing only inches from his side. He could barely contain his smile as he looked back to the coordinator, only to find her studying the way her wine swirled in its glass rather intently.
"Maybe I should take them off," she conceded. "I didn't really have a chance to break them in before tonight."
"Resting a moment will make you feel much better," he assured her. "Lead the way."
He barely noticed the heavy footsteps approaching them from behind, and paid no mind to them until they turned around and found Burgundy was only two strides away.
"Débauché!" Her voice was raised enough to call attention from at least a quarter of the room - though her stomping across the room had already alerted plenty of others. "Qu'elle est trop jeune! I know you like to prey on young girls, but this is beyond shameless!"
Cilan cringed. He was inebriated enough himself to find her tirade even more obnoxious than usual, and the subject matter made it worse. The urge to tell her to shut up rose in his throat.
Then Dawn spoke before he had a chance to, though her words were half drowned in a fit of giggles. "Cilan? A pervert?" She knew only the barest of French, most of it fashion-related, but Burgundy's meaning was obvious from the redness of her face and the rage in her voice. "He's a perfect gentleman. You're the shameless one - you can't even hide your jealousy long enough to introduce yourself!"
"J-jealousy?! Certes, c'est une farce. This excuse for a sommelier is nothing to be jealous over. I'm merely trying to protect an innocent little girl from his wiles."
The gym leader found his arm empty as Dawn pulled free, an unexpected fire in her spirit as she strutted toward Burgundy. Even in heels, she was still shorter than the sommelier but that didn't stop Dawn from giving her a piece of her mind. "I'm hardly a little girl, and I can protect myself, thank you very much. You can't even protect your clothes from your drink!" It was an odd insult, but it seemed to work, leaving the purple-haired girl speechless just long enough for Dawn to brush past her. "Come on Piplup!" she called behind her, and her partner gave Burgundy one last evil eye before following after her.
Burgundy was positively boiling by the time she looked back at her rival, lips curled into a snarl. "I'm not jealous!" she snapped. "There is nothing about any of you heathens I'd ever be jealous over."
Cilan was beyond tired of her ranting, but he simply scowled down at her, waiting for her to dig her own grave before listing off his own disapproval.
"You're all horrible, awful people! Especially you! You're a complete monster, bossing me around like you know better than me! And your sense as a sommelier is a joke! Une fraude! You wouldn't know a good combination if your life depended on it! And I'm tired of you following me everywhere and ruining my life!"
"Are you quite done?" His voice had gone cold, his eyes narrowing as he considered where to start in his lecture. He took a step forward, closing the space between them; her needlessly flouncy skirt flared enough to fill the remaining inches. Whether she genuinely expected to best him or this was an immature infatuation was beside the point by now; she was no longer just insulting him and his skills, but his friends as well, and he was no longer in a mood to play nice with her. "Because from what I've seen, you're the one following me everywhere, throwing tantrums like a love-struck grade schooler."
Her lavender eyes trembled, darting between both of his several times. Cilan could see her teeth grinding as she weighed his accusation, as though she needed to manually crank the gears in her alcohol-clouded mind in order to come up with a proper retort.
Her chest rose as she took a deep breath, and he smirked, expecting her to start screaming again.
Then, before he could process the action, the rest of her rose too, her fingers suddenly pulling at the top of his vest to drag him to her as she lunged onto her toes...
And kissed him.
For several bewildered seconds he felt her lips pressed to his, so firmly he feared one of them would wind up bruised. Her chest and the arm trapped between them trembled against him. Her lips shifted, tilting just slightly, and they felt warm and slick against his for the last second before she pulled away again.
Just as suddenly as she'd grabbed him, she pushed him away, stumbling back a step and sneering at him all over again.
There was a loud crack as her open palm found Cilan's cheek, and the room seemed to fall silent as the slap echoed across it, everyone slowly turning to see what the commotion was.
She was shaking as she stared at him, her still-stinging hand rising quickly to cover her mouth. As he slowly turned to face her again, his rage barely contained, he thought he saw remorse flash across her eyes for just a split second - but for which part of her actions?
"...Evaluate that, s'il vous plaît," she snarled, giving the barest of curtseys before turning away and pushing her way through the gawking crowd.
Thank you, and I hope you had as much fun reading the first chapter as I had writing it. Chapter 2 is done already, but I'm a little stalled out on Chapter 3, so I probably won't post 2 until I'm almost ready with it.
Re: Vin N'attend Personne - Wine Waits for No One
A/N: So this is me finally getting around to posting the second chapter here. I've had it done for a while, and actually am working on chapter 4 right now but... I guess I've just been both writer's blocked and bad at being around forums.
This chapter is still not smutty. It also gets convoluted, pairing-wise, but at least gets things off the ground finally.
There's a couple more notes at the end, that I'm not putting here because they're spoilers for the story itself.
Georgia watched the commotion from a comfortable distance, not bothering to get up from her chair.
She had to admit, she was a little impressed at Burgundy's nerve. She had expected her roommate to cause trouble when she'd jumped up, referring to both Cilan and Dawn as several French terms she didn't understand but assumed weren't remotely polite. She hadn't expected her to kiss him, of all things – but of course, Burgundy was an idiot, and she'd fucked it up by slapping him right after.
The dragon buster leaned back, resting her elbows on the table behind her, and barely noticed that the red and blue blur scurrying past her was one of Cilan's companions. She was that new one – the pretty one who put too much flare into everything she did, but in a way that didn't piss her off like the sommeliers' stupid metaphors did. She had her shoes in one hand and her Piplup fast on her heels as she raced to Cilan's side.
Ash and Iris were already there. Their reactions had been delayed slightly, probably out of disbelief that any of it had even happened, but they'd been barely five feet away so they were on him already. She couldn't hear them – she didn't particularly want to, honestly – but she saw the concern in their faces, the frustration in Cilan's, and the way he kept glancing toward the door Burgundy had stormed out through.
The look of determination on his face, the desire to follow the source of his annoyance, was uncomfortably familiar, and Georgia sighed, suddenly wondering if she'd be welcome back to the room she'd paid for that night.
No sooner did Dawn reach Cilan than she had her hand cupped on his hurt cheek, and he shook her touch away. When she tried to replace it, he gently pulled her arm away. "I'm fine," he assured her.
He was still watching the door she'd left through, but why, he couldn't be sure. Was he giving her a head start? Giving himself a moment to calm his anger? Or just hoping this was a ruse and she'd reappear, sheepishly, any moment?
He saw Ash from the corner of his eye, and the way his attention had suddenly left Cilan and moved to where he was still holding onto Dawn's arm. He looked uncharacteristically stiff, and with a frustrated sigh at how high emotions were running tonight, he dropped her hand, taking a step toward the door.
Iris shoved past him, suddenly roaring about how childish Burgundy was, and Cilan had to grab her instead, though he was not as gentle or patient with her.
He appreciated his friends' concern, he really did, but the three of them clearly had their own issues to work out, and he didn't feel like tolerating any of it at the moment.
"I can handle this. Thank you, but stay put," he said. His voice was so stoic, so uncharacteristically serious that it halted Iris's squirming without further action on his part, and when she gave a soft nod, he finally let go. He glanced between his three charges, trying not to let his anger show. "I'll be back."
They gave weak nods, gathering together, Ash and Dawn each taking one of Iris's hands as if to hold her back, or perhaps just to huddle together for safety. Indeed, their pokemon were gathered together at their feet, Pikachu and Piplup huddled around the sobbing Axew, and between the six of them, all but Pikachu were staring at him like lost children.
He gave one more long breath, surveying the room, trying to clear his brain and create a plan – was following her even the right course of action? Unexpectedly his eyes found Georgia, who gave him an unimpressed wave, looking just as annoyed as he felt. When he raised his eyebrow at her, she pointed upward – upstairs – and then flashed three fingers. The third floor.
Of course. She and Burgundy were rooming together, so she'd know where his rival had run.
He gave a slight nod, mentally noting to thank her later, whether this turned out to be a good idea or not. Georgia was over the top, but less so compared to Burgundy, and her intentions were more genuine.
Intentions. Cilan barely knew what his own were anymore, as he left his friends and the ballroom behind and found his way to the elevator. He'd expected his and Burgundy's rivalry to crescendo into either a kiss or, given her feisty nature, a slap, but not both, and certainly not on the same night. When she'd kissed him, he'd felt a sense of relief wash over him – both that his sense had been correct, and that she had made a move on him at last. He couldn't deny that his affection for her had grown over the last months, but he had pushed it from his mind, prioritizing his own journey over possible romance.
The slap had only re-complicated matters, frustrating him in a way his intoxicated mind couldn't fully express. He was less annoyed at the actual attack, and more at the way she seemed to be fighting the inevitable.
The door dinged back open on the third floor. Before he even stepped out of the elevator, Cilan could hear Burgundy's voice from down the hall, and he followed it, rounding a corner past the ice machine before she came into view.
She was pressed to her door, swiping the keycard repeatedly and swearing up a storm under her breath. No matter how furiously she jiggled the handle, the door wouldn't budge, and as amused as he suddenly felt at her predicament, he also said a silent thanks to whoever had invented hotel locks for making them so temperamental. It was only this delay that had let him catch up to her.
"Non, non, NON!" she snapped, stepping back and kicking hard enough that the door shook on its hinges loudly. "Si emmerdant!"
In her fussing, she didn't notice him approaching.
When she grabbed at the handle again, Cilan's hand pressed to the door on one side of her, the other grabbing the knob before she could yank on it. She let out a yelp, recoiling her hands to her chest.
With a smug smirk, he pulled the keycard from Burgundy's clasped fingers, swiped it precisely, and once it beeped, he pressed the handle carefully, letting the door unlatch and swing open its first few inches.
He saw her swallow hard, could hear her breathing in the sudden silence of the hallway in the wake of her anger. She was pinned between him and the door, but not trapped. At any second she could duck beneath his arm, begin another round of insults, or even just break eye contact with him, and he would walk away and let that be that.
But she stayed, and she stared, and each time it looked like she might speak – her lips kept twitching, forming the edges of words and snarls – no sound came out.
He lowered his head gradually, holding her gaze captive with his, until they were eye to eye and he could feel her shallow, heated breaths across his face.
When he claimed her lips, it was slow and deliberate, almost demanding. His mouth dragged across hers wetly, pulling gently at each of her lips in turn.
The noise she made as he pulled away was soft and helpless, the squeak of someone who could hold their breath no longer. Coming from Burgundy, someone who normally had no shortage of words to shout, it was unexpected and oddly refreshing. He stayed poised in front of her, face to face, waiting for a response, whatever it might be.
Her expression had softened, her scowl gone and her lips left in an almost forlorn pout at the loss of his. She watched them, momentarily fixated and seeming to expect their return...
As soon as Cilan's face betrayed the smallest of smiles, loud Burgundy returned, and her angry sneer with it. "What do you think you're doing?!" she demanded, though she made no attempt to escape.
"My apologies," he answered, slowly letting go of the door, releasing her and letting it swing open behind her. "I was only returning the one you'd loaned me in the ballroom."
She stared for several long seconds, frozen aside from the steady panting of her chest.
"You think he's going to be okay?"
"Yeah, he'll be fine. That was really rude of her, but Cilan's face looked okay. She didn't hit him that hard."
Iris and Dawn both gawked at Ash, dumbfounded.
"You're such a kid..."
His face twisted into a slight pout. Iris's habit of teasing him had been frustrating on its own, but now she had the otherwise sweet Dawn doing it too. For some reason the taunt annoyed him a little more each time they said it, bringing him down in a way no one but Gary had ever been able to before. By now, Ash had resigned himself to the fact it was probably because he actually cared what that short list of people thought of him, but it hurt the most coming from Dawn.
"I'm worried about him too," he muttered, feeling the edge of his ears heat with embarrassment that he didn't know what he was being childish about this time.
"She's pretty crazy, but it's obvious Burgundy likes Cilan. And I think he kind of likes her too," Iris explained.
The three of them had chosen one of the dining tables to gather at in an effort to avoid the attention of the crowd. Cilan and Burgundy's outburst had quickly become the subject of gossip for the entire room, and Dawn's feet were far too tired for her to stand there while they were questioned. She had settled into one chair with her feet up on another to stretch out. Iris was sitting on the table itself, her feet on the same chair, to give her a higher vantage point as she munched away at plate of desserts from the buffet. Ash was standing more or less between the two, with his back to the crowd, and he was pulling at the cuffs of his suit as it started to overheat him. All three of their pokemon had curled up together sleepily under the table, and from her few brief appearances throughout the noisy evening, they suspected Meloetta would either join them soon, or had already taken shelter back in the boys' room.
"I got that feeling off her too. She just seemed really, really jealous." Like Kenny was, she mentally added, glancing up at Ash.
"I just thought she was cranky," he admitted when he noticed Dawn's attention.
"Some people act like that when they're in love," Iris shrugged, taking another bite of cake. "Especially if it's someone they're not supposed to like, or who they think doesn't like them."
Dawn sighed, trying not to let the frustration come through her voice. "Ash doesn't get it because he's never liked anyone."
"I have too!" he snapped defensively, crossing his arms.
"Really?" both girls answered a little too quickly.
"..Who?" Iris added skeptically.
He suddenly seemed unnaturally interested in the far wall. "J-just someone, okay," he stammered, ears tinting again.
Dawn flashed a small smile, then looked down at her lap, twisting a handful of her dress nervously.
Oblivious to Dawn's reaction, Iris gave a loud giggle, smiling widely as she continued on her cake. She was now certain of what she'd suspected for some time: Ash Ketchum had a crush on her, just as she did on him. Now she just had to find the opportunity to use this information, and with the crowd – both of their friends, and in the ballroom – thinning, she was sure that opportunity would come soon.
"I- I want some dessert, too," Dawn announced, filling the awkward silence that settled between the three. She stood up, smoothing the spot where her nervousness had crumpled her dress. "Do you guys want anything?"
"I'm stuffed. Thanks though," Ash smiled, giving his belly a pat. Iris just held up her plate, which was still fairly full, and shook her head.
Setting her empty glass on the table, Dawn scurried off toward the buffet, smoothing her hair as she went. She was a nervous wreck from the conversation, and what little alcohol she'd had, unfortunately, was not enough to calm her. There was a continuous heaviness on her chest, in fact, which she worried was from that very wine she'd drank in hopes it would stand up to its title of liquid courage.
A couple of cookies and a glass of regular punch would, hopefully, be enough to take the edge back off.
As soon as her back was turned, Iris hopped off the table, adjusting the ruffled sleeves of her own dress. Ash was watching Dawn as she walked away, but Iris didn't let that faze her – of course he was just concerned, because their friend had been drinking, he didn't want her to fall flat on her face as Burgundy had done earlier.
"Hey Ash~," she cooed, a grin spread across her face. She couldn't believe they were alone already; she had barely had time to put her plan together, and already she was getting to enact it.
"Hmm?" Ash looked back at her, jumping slightly from her sudden proximity. "What's up, Iris?"
"Your crush. It's not on someone I know, is it?" Iris did her best to make her voice sound as playful as possible, instead of just coy. The trainer was always one to buckle under teasing, and this was her opportunity to use that knowledge for her advantage.
"I-I..." he stammered, trying not to look at her. "Don't worry about it," he muttered, not quite looking at her fully. Iris couldn't help but smile as his blush spread, and she took a step closer to him.
"It's not me, is it?" she teased, leaning up slightly so their faces were closer together.
He stared at her, eyes wide, and the split second of hesitation was all the confirmation she needed.
She rose to her toes, kissing him, the way she'd debated doing repeatedly since meeting him. For one instant, his amber-brown eyes were impossibly close to hers, and then his lips were right there, softer than she'd ever imagined. She closed her eyes, smiling to herself over her accomplishment – finally, she'd made a move on Ash, and from the looks of things, her hunch had been right.
Her smile broadened when his head tilted, ever so slightly, against hers, and she threw her arms around his neck, making the kiss firmer and letting out a satisfied sigh against him. When one of his hands rose to rest on her back, she leaned into him slightly, letting him support her weight, and the thought that this was only the first of thousands of kisses rose to fill her heart.
How they noticed the clatter of a single fork over the din of the ballroom was a miracle in of itself, but there was a slight silence that followed, as people turned to stare at the girl who'd dropped it. Feeling Ash's face tilt away from hers, barely pulling from her lips, Iris opened her eyes to see what was so important.
Dawn was standing a few feet away, her mouth agape, her eyes pooled with tears just shy of overflowing, as she stared back at Iris and Ash. The fork had fallen from her plate, and from the way it tilted, the contents of her plate were soon to follow, if not the entire dish.
Ash pulled away just in time to call for Dawn as she turned and ran.
It was only then that Iris realized that the tilt of his head and the press of his hand had been his way of trying to coax her away, not him urging her on.
He ducked under her arms as easily and casually as he would a branch, starting through the crowd after Dawn.
"Ash!" Iris yelled after him, reaching to grab him even once he was out of reach.
"I'll be back!" he called back to her. "Watch Pikachu and Piplup for me!"
He vanished from the ballroom no differently than Cilan had; hot on the trail of a girl he didn't know he wanted, and leaving behind those that needed him the most.
It took over a minute before Iris finally collapsed into the closest chair, her eyes unmoving from the doorway, wondering when she'd lost.
No amount of pressing the button could make the elevator doors close fast enough, and Dawn barely remembered to press the button to take her to the right floor. Leaning her forehead to the wall above the buttons, she let out a dry sob, still trying to hold back any actual tears. She'd get into the room, curl up in bed, and cry herself to sleep. If Iris showed up before she was asleep, she'd just pretend she already was.
The fact she'd left Piplup downstairs was the only flaw she could see in her plans. He was asleep though, and there was no sense making him worry – he worried more about her already than she really felt was right. Trainers were supposed to take care of their pokemon, not the other way around, no matter how proud and overprotective those pokemon were.
He'd find his way back upstairs with Pikachu later, she was sure. Then in the morning they could pack and-
The door opening to the fourth floor saved her from her train of thought and the tears that came with it. Carefully wiping only the tears that had already managed to spill, Dawn peeked out of the elevator, then dashed down the hall to her room. The rough carpet under her bare feet reminded her that she'd left her shoes at the coat check, and while the knowledge that she'd have to retrieve them tomorrow was just one more annoyance, she was still glad, because escape would have been much more difficult in them.
She heard the heavy clunk of a door bursting open down the hall behind her. It had the unmistakable metal echo of the emergency staircase, and she knew only one person could have taken four flights that quickly.
At the sound of Ash's voice, she froze, hugging herself in lieu of her missing partner. "Why did you follow me," she whispered to herself. He'd looked so happy wrapped up in Iris's arms. Why had he chased her?
She heard him running closer, then his voice again – this time, he'd spotted her. "Dawn!"
The coordinator didn't turn to look at him, didn't give any indication she'd even heard him, even after his footsteps stopped right behind her. "Dawn... Are- are you okay?" He was panting from running up four flights in a suit, and leaned against the wall as he tried to catch his breath. "What's wrong?"
Dawn nearly laughed from the shock of being asked what, to her, was an incredibly stupid question. Was even Ash honestly thick enough to not know what was wrong? She took a deep breath, shaking her head. "I'm just really tired," she lied, barely hiding a sniffle.
"I'm sorry about Iris... I don't know why she-"
"No, it's okay. That's between you guys, I didn't want to interrupt."
Then his hand reached her shoulder, and any ability to hold back her tears vanished.
"I'm sorry," she choked. "I think I'm just still jet lagged... I'm so tired..."
He nodded slowly, frowning at her crying but trying his best to believe her. "If you need to sleep, that's okay. Just don't run off without saying goodnight... you kinda scared me..."
The last of the dam broke, and Dawn threw herself against Ash's chest, clinging to him and sobbing wordlessly. Some of the sounds sounded like an attempt at "goodnight" but the rest were variations of "sorry".
Then he tried to hug her in an effort help her calm down, and just as suddenly she let go, standing rigid. "I'm okay," she tried to assure him. "I just... It's probably the wine. Really. It was dumb of me."
He gave a weak nod, worry hanging heavy on his face. Dawn was one of the happiest people he knew, and the whole last two days she had been more upset than he'd ever seen her before. Not even her worst losing streak, or the day he'd left back to Kanto, had been this bad.
Carefully she pulled her keycard from her dress's sash, moving to her door. "I'll be okay in the morning," she promised quietly. "You should get back to Ir- to the others, before they worry. But thank you for worrying." She flashed him a strained smile as the door clicked open.
He nodded again, managing his own small smile at the sight of hers. "Okay. Goodnight, then?"
She lowered her head, biting her lip, not pushing the door any further.
Ash sighed, confused and a little frustrated at his friend's sorrow. "Dawn... you know you can talk to me if something's wrong, right? I know I'm bad at advice, but I can try to listen..."
Dawn pushed the door open slowly, but she still didn't look back up at him. She kept close to the door, propping it open with her back and leaving space for him to pass her. He walked in quietly, carefully stepping over Iris's bag where it rested at the foot of the girls' shared bed, and waited for her.
She let the door slip shut and sat down on the edge of the bed, then gently patted the bed beside her, inviting him to take a seat.
"So... what's wrong?" he asked as he sat, wincing at the bluntness of his own voice.
"Look... I just..." she reached up and rubbed her eyes again, then almost automatically, rubbed them with the back of her thumbs. Ash thought the motion odd, but managed to register what she was doing when he saw the dark smudge on her hands – a few months of modeling had already gotten her into the habit of wiping away her mascara when it ran. "I missed you. I missed you every day."
The pained expression on her face was too much to bear. Ash reached for her hand, wrapping it around the back of hers, and tried to look her in the eye, but she turned her head away. "I missed you too," he whispered, surprised at the tearful crack in his own voice.
"Every day," she repeated, more insistently. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think of you."
He nodded slowly, squeezing her hand again, leaning just a little closer.
"...When I got the chance to come Unova... I knew you were here and... I just got so excited. I got so excited, but I couldn't even bear to call you."
Ash's breath caught, and he barely managed to ask, "W-why?"
"I... Because I knew you had new friends. Because I knew you had friends before me. Because I got scared..." Her fingers curled under his, digging into her thigh through her dress. "I got so scared... That I didn't mean as much to you, as you mean to me..."
"Dawn..." He felt his heart sink into his stomach, the desire to hug her tight and make her stop crying filling the emptiness it left behind. He scooted closer, closing the last inch between their knees.
"Then I got to see you again anyway... Like it was fate. And this whole week has just been... so perfect." Shaky gasps broke her words apart as she tried to keep from outright sobbing, but the tears were already trickling down her cheeks again. "I kept thinking... tonight I'll tell him... tonight... every night... and tonight I thought, maybe the wine will help me tell him. But you kept looking at her. Like I wasn't even there..."
She pulled her hand back from him suddenly, hugging it to her chest with her other hand and letting out a loud sob, her tears back in full force.
"And she kissed... you kissed... I..."
Her head jerked back up as a hand rested on hers again, gently squeezing her wrist, and she met his face again with a whimper.
"I missed you every day, too," he offered, eyes shimmering with tears of his own. Slowly he let go of her wrist, reaching up to brush his fingers across her cheek and dry her tears. "Please... Dawn, don't cry... It hurts to see you crying."
He inhaled sharply, drawing in his courage, and then closed the gap between them, pressing a soft kiss to Dawn's lips.
Pikachu had spent a few minutes following Ash's departure sitting on Iris's lap, trying to make sense of the situation unsuccessfully. Even less successful had been his attempts to calm her down as she rotated between worried, angry, and defeated – so eventually he gave her a solemn pat on the arm, then retreated to resume babysitting under the table, since that was his specialty.
Iris didn't mind the pokemon giving up on her – she knew she was being difficult, and the last thing she honestly wanted now was someone's sympathy.
So when Georgia suddenly appeared at her table, as annoyed as she was with the prospect of dealing with her drunken rival, she was also a little thankful. Georgia would give her someone to direct her frustration toward, and was the one person she knew who wouldn't try to make her feel better.
"What do you want?"
"Well, I was going to just come keep you company, seeing as we've both been ditched. But if you're going to be a bitch, I'll just stand here and laugh at you for getting rejected."
The dragon trainer sneered, sinking lower in her chair. She hadn't realized that anyone else had seen what happened, least of all Georgia. In this case, mockery was the one fate worse than sympathy.
"Maybe if your hair wasn't so crazy you would have stood a chance."
Iris shot out of her chair, getting right into Georgia's face. "You don't have the brains to appreciate a traditional style like this... You're too lazy to even do anything with your hair! It looks worse than normal, without a hat to hide it."
Surprisingly, the dragon buster didn't shout back. Instead, she stared at Iris for several long seconds, going so far as to lean down toward her, narrowing her eyes skeptically as she studied her face. Just as Iris was starting to lean back from the invasion of personal space, Georgia clicked her tongue and stood back up, taking a long draw from her glass.
"What was that?!" she demanded, trying not to sound shaken.
"Hmm?" Georgia blinked down at her, then shook her head and sighed. "I thought you'd been crying, that's all. Your eyes are all puffy, and I thought a baby like you might have cried over something stupid like this."
"I'm not – you're the – why would I cry over this? That really would be childish." She let out a harrumph, crossing her arms.
Georgia shrugged, dragging a chair over with her free hand and slumping into it. Her limbs hung limp from the combination of fatigue, boredom, and inebriation, even if she had cut back on the last since Burgundy had left before. Iris re-opened one eye to glare down at her, waiting to see if Georgia was planning to extend the argument.
"You two and the boys had separate rooms, right?" Georgia asked, staring absently into the crowd.
Iris snorted. "What's it to you?"
"Burgundy and I were sharing a room."
She blinked, knowing there was a piece of the puzzle she was obviously missing, but not wanting to let on that a drunk girl was outwitting her. "So?"
"So... I highly doubt I'll want to be in that room tonight. We both know what probably went on in there, and even if they're done, they'll just start arguing again and I won't get any sleep."
Iris cringed, sticking her tongue out in disgust at the mental image of the two sommeliers having sex. It wasn't even the picture itself – both were fairly attractive people, and Cilan's hosting services had been popular in his hometown for a reason. It was more the sounds that went with it, and in those three seconds the words "It's tasting time" were ruined forever.
"I'm still not sure what that has to do with me."
"You're going to let me stay in your room."
"Under the circumstances, I thought I'd declare a truce. What's her name is probably in the boys' room with Ash now. If she's not, I'll just sleep on the floor or something."
The younger girl laughed, sitting back down. "You're going to have to do better than that. You've been nothing but a bitch to me since we met, and now you want me to take you in? Let's say I do though. What're you going to do for me?"
Georgia sighed unsteadily, staring at her rival and the cocky smile she wore. Several propositions crossed her mind, each of them less appropriate and more alcohol fueled than the previous, so that while she thought she found herself licking her lips slowly, her eyes traveling down Iris's frame.
"I'll owe you a favor," she finally said. It was simple, and vague, and something she could work to her favor. Iris raised one brow and crossed her legs, as though challenging her to do better. "Your stupid Dragonite already kicked my ass in the tournament. This is the best you're getting from me. Take it or I go boot the tasting freaks out of my room and leave them to yours."
"...Fine," Iris muttered. A favor was too vague to her, but even arguing with Georgia still had a chance to serve as a decent distraction, and if she got too awful she could just chase her out in the middle of the night. Dawn would help with that, she was sure.
"C'mon you guys," she said, leaning over and pulling up the tablecloth to reveal the pokemon sleeping underneath. "Bed time."
As three sleepy pokemon stumbled out from under the bed, Georgia groaned. Of course, she was babysitting too. It was always something with these idiots.
Burgundy lunged, grabbing Cilan by the vest with both hands, kissing him with all of the ferocity and lack of grace he had come to expect of her. She wobbled after the initial grab, her balance on her tiptoes faltering and forcing her back to her heels, but she dragged his head down with her, unwilling to let go.
She broke away from him only long enough to draw a breath before pulling at his lips with her own once more, forcing her tongue into his mouth and fumbling blindly for his. He gave a disdained sigh at the invasion, frustrated by her brute force tactics, and otherwise stood completely still, waiting for her to calm down.
Burgundy let out a frustrated growl, pulling back from the kiss and glaring up at him. Her hands still firmly wrapped in his vest, she tried to kiss him again, only to be met by the same stoic, unimpressed lips.
"Do you or don't you?!" she shouted, shaking him slightly.
His face remained unchanged aside from a single raised eyebrow.
"Do you or don't you want me?!" she repeated, teeth clenched in rage. "First you kiss me, now you won't-"
"I seem to recall you being the instigator of this entire affair..."
"Only because you ruined my life!"
He sighed, giving a slight shake of his head. "You keep saying that, and yet I have no idea how I could possibly have done so. You are far from the first, nor the last, to lose to me."
She was trembling as she stared back at him. "You-" she took a deep breath, baring her teeth at him as though she were still cornered, though escape was just one swing of the door away. "You made me obsessed with you! And you don't even care!"
A/N: A quick bit of defense: I'm actually a huge Negaishipper as well, the pairings just kind of fell this way out of circumstance. I'll have far more opportunities to write Negaishipping, but this is about my only chance for Pearlshipping without going AU.
Also, I still don't know French, so if I messed any of it up, tell me. I've had to make a couple corrections already OTL
Re: Vin N'attend Personne - Wine Waits for No One
I'm surprised I'm the first review. This is fantastic.
Really love the eloquence of your prose. It's hard to explain, but reading even simple sentences of yours is enjoyable because of how it sort of flows and sounds as I read.
Characters like Burgundy and Cilan, especially, are very well thought out and unique. The description (ex: Georgia's drinking and bitching in the beginning) is really funny and well done too.
Only gripe I'd have is that there are a few minor punctuation and grammar issues here and there, but not many!
Nice job! Keep them coming.