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.