Watching the Sky
Rating: R for sexual content, language, violence and character death.
Shipping (in alphabetical order, not in order of importance):
Appealshipping, Brunettshipping, Cavaliershipping, Contestshipping, Masumishipping, Pearlshipping, Pokeshipping
Disclaimer: I'm not that creative. Also, X-posted at FF.net.
The Grand League Winter Championship coincides with a beautiful and mysterious solar eclipse. It is when the sun does not reemerge from behind the moon that Ash and his friends decide to investigate. Sparks and hormones fly.
Table of Contents:
Chapter I: Collisons
x x x x
x x x x
Red eye flights, Misty Waterflower decided, were highly overrated. In the early morning hour, she unceremoniously tossed out her second cup of espresso and headed to the hotel's coffee shop, still not feeling the jitters of caffeine flush through her veins.
The sun still hadn't risen, and once she sat down to get her fix (again), she stared out of the window by her small table and sighed. The stars twinkled through the foggy glass, smiling down at the red-haired teen, murmuring to her that she needn't worry, because this time things would surely-
She glanced over to the door, where the feminine voice had originated, and met a pair of cheerful blue eyes.
"May!" She jumped up from her table as the brunette sauntered over to her, pulling the older girl into a warm embrace.
"Oh, Misty, I've missed you so much!"
"Well, same here. How are you? I didn't know you were coming to watch Ash."
The younger girl grinned. "I wouldn't miss this for the world, Misty! How often does Ash get this sort of acknowledgment from the League?"
Misty's eyes twinkled. "Not enough for his ego." May giggled as the girls sat down at the table. Sipping her coffee, she examined the younger teen.
At fifteen-years-old, May Maple had risen from the local celebrity crowd of Hoenn's coordinators to an international coordinating star. A prodigy who had surprised judges and fans alike from the start with her sheer intuitive prowess in the arena, May had garnered the respect of the top coordinators.
And with that respect came fame, a source of much of her annoyance and stress. While most of May's peers certainly enjoyed their celebrity, May preferred an element of anonymity in her life.
Misty could certainly relate; as a gym leader, Misty too had a very public persona. And when the two girls spoke on the phone, they almost always spent the majority of the time ranting about paparazzi and crazy fans.
But the day was young and the two girls had little reason to worry about being bothered here. For the following two weeks, the creme de la crêpe of the world's population of trainers were to battle for the title of World Champion. And naturally, these best of the best had friends who were considered the best of the best in their respective fields, and so Misty was quite sure that the entire stadium would be aglow with camera flashes.
While the red-haired gym leader had been lost in thought, May had ordered her coffee and returned to the table with a steaming mug of energy.
"So... I'm afraid I've forgotten Ash's latest companion's name," Misty admitted sheepishly. May simply laughed.
"Her name is Dawn, and boy is she a cute little thing!"
The idea that Ash was traveling around Johto with a "cute little thing" bothered Misty more than it should have. However, May didn't need to know that, and so Misty grinned and rolled her eyes.
"Oh, is she?" Hmm, just what I need, Misty thought.
May's eyes narrowed slightly in concentration. She was no fool; the fact remained that Misty was in love with the naïve and stubborn boy from Pallet who seemed to have some cellular attraction to trouble. And that May had just defined Dawn as a "cute little thing" couldn't have eased the already building jealousy, the same blind jealousy that existed as it had when May had been Ash's companion.
For the crime of being Ash's friend and a female on top of that, Dawn had already stumbled into a rather thick stigma. This jealousy was nothing personal, but at the same time it was exclusively personal.
Perhaps Misty wasn't even aware of her brewing dislike, but May certainly sensed it. When she meets Dawn, she'll see how sweet and nonthreatening she is, May reassured herself. Misty's a reasonable person, for all of her passion.
"Do you know when they're arriving?" Misty asked after May hadn't replied.
"Probably later today."
Misty nodded, trying to ignore the awkward silence that had settled on the two teens. She drained the remainder of her coffee and blinked.
"This caffeine isn't working quickly enough."
May laughed. "What an addict."
"Funny, May. I'm not addicted to caffeine. I just-"
"-need it to function," May interrupted, giggling. "Yeah, you're not addicted at all."
Misty puffed her cheeks. "Well, at least I don't smoke." A shade of cheeriness vanished from the younger girl's face.
"That was once, and it wasn't because I wanted to!" she argued.
It was Misty's turn to snicker. "Oh, that's right. Drew made you do it."
"He did!" May threw her hands defensively. "He got me drunk on wine coolers. Not my fault."
Misty folded her arms in her chest. "Precisely why I don't hang out with Drew."
May flushed. "He's not that bad. Just..."
"A womanizing jerk?"
For a moment, May contemplated retorting. But reality soon won over. "On occasion."
Misty's smugness faded and she sighed dramatically. "Oh, May. Why do we do this to ourselves?"
x x x x
Dawn Berlitz stared out of the window of the League car, studying her reflection as the dark sky transitioned from navy to red at the origin of the sun on the horizon. The stars and moon yawned and beamed down at her in one last rush against daylight, but she could tell the fight they put up was failing rather rapidly.
And soon enough, the oranges and reds and yellows overcame the once ensconcing blue. This time of day was, not surprisingly, her favorite. It was the time at which life began, at which the optimism of the new day overruled the somber pessimism of the previous.
On this day, I'll need all of the optimism the heavens will give, Dawn thought excitedly.
For this was the day that she was to tell the boy she loved how she felt. This was the day that would define the rest of her life (or at least the rest of her adolescence.)
Beside her, a mop of jet black hair bobbed against her shoulder gently. "A-are we there yet?" the boy asked sleepily, lifting his head and blinking his chocolate eyes as if he were attempting to squeeze the sleep out of them.
"Almost, Ash," answered the man beside him, Brock Slate. He tapped aggressively away on a laptop, apparently doing research on trainers in the tournament.
Dawn blushed considerably when Ash rested his head back on her shoulder. To her, this was a gesture of affection, and it made her even more certain in her plan.
Ash Ketchum was to battle in the Grand League Winter Championship, one of the most exclusive tournaments the Pokemon League held. It only occurred once in three years, and so Ash hadn't really ever been ready to attend before. At seventeen, he was on the younger end of the spectrum of contestants, but Dawn believed in him regardless of his lack of experience.
Besides, this boy had a special quality that would serve him well. He had a profound connection with his Pokemon, and that was worth more than years of experience.
Brock had invited all of Ash's family and closest friends, including May, Max and the famous Misty, who Dawn had yet to meet. Ash always spoke highly of the redhead from Cerulean who had been with him for the first few years of his journey, and naturally, Dawn wanted to get to know the girl who was immortalized in the form of a fishing hook.
The radio changed to the news, and partially out of boredom, Dawn decided to pay attention to the report.
"...one of the rarest forms of eclipses, the solar eclipse, is scheduled to occur during the opening of the Grand League Winter Championship this afternoon at 3:32.
"Officials will be handing out eclipse glasses to protect the eyes of spectators and participants, and League scientists have advised that all Pokemon are called back to their pokeballs to shield their sensitive eye membranes from the dangerous rays of the sun.
"Let's make this a safe championship tournament, so be sure to be extra aware of your surroundings during the eclipse..."
"That's so awesome!" Ash had also been listening intently. Dawn, however, didn't quite agree.
"I hate eclipses," she muttered to the window, staring at the rising sun as it bade her hello. This was the daytime; daytime meant sunlight. When the sunlight disappeared from daytime, things got unnatural.
"How? They're really cool!" Ash replied incredulously.
"Speak for yourself. I don't think the moon should just trespass into the sun's territory like that."
Brock glanced over at the two teens. "Dawn, the sky isn't like someone's yard. The sun and moon don't have sentience, so I really doubt that they even consider 'trespassing' during eclipses. Eclipses just... happen."
Ash smiled at her. "Don't worry, Dawn. You'll see just how awesome it is this afternoon!"
Dawn nodded, but the concern in her eyes only multiplied when she noticed the unease in Pikachu's expression as he sat on Ash's lap.
x x x x
In an office deep underneath the stadium, a man chuckled to himself as he examined a scroll on his steely desk. Characters in an ancient language filled the parchment.
Without tearing his eyes away from the scroll, he pressed a button on a speaker toward the right on the desk. "Professor, your service is requested in sector 8-A."
Feedback screeched back at him, but he ignored it, waiting for a response. "As you wish, Boss."
x x x x
Comment, criticize, condemn. I'm all ears.