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It seems like I update this fic annually or something. XD I'm a bit late but I wrote more than usual.

CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 2



Chapter 3
In which it seems like Paul is obsessed with trees.

There were barely any clouds in the sky and the sun was shining brilliantly. Except for the afternoon chirping of Starlies and Swellows, the forest was pretty quiet. It was a beautiful day. Well, it would be if Ash Ketchum wasn’t currently stuck with Paul, of all people, in a forest that neither knew how to get out of. Not to mention his missing Pikachu might be in danger. The boy from Pallet Town sighed as he continued walking.

The sudden loud gurgling sound that came from his stomach seemed to echo beyond the trees. Some of the bird pokemon might have even flown off because of the noise. Ash groaned in frustration. Clutching his stomach, he remembered he didn’t even get to have lunch before he was launched into all of this. Brock and Dawn are probably worried sick about him after he never came back with the water. That wasn’t his main concern, he was sure the two could have taken care of themselves. Ash was more worried about the whereabouts of his best friend, Pikachu. His stomach growled again and Ash couldn’t help but blush from embarrassment when he saw Paul had actually turned around to stare at him.

“Say Paul? Do you have any food with you that you think you can-“

“No.”

Ash hung his head dejectedly at the quick and very blunt reply. In addition to all his problems, now he has to include hunger and the lack of food. He didn’t know how long he would survive this quest to saving Pikachu but if he wasn’t even supplied with food, he didn’t see how it was possible to go on.

Because Ash was walking in a daze, he didn’t realize Paul had stopped in his tracks. He bumped into his rival, which earned him a glare and a snarl of “watch it.” Paul had turned his attention back to the tree he had been staring at. Ash looked at Paul, and then to the direction his rival was focused on.

The Veilstone trainer walked up to the trunk of the tree and looked up into the dense branches above. Ash was startled when Paul lifted a leg and kicked the trunk with the heel of his foot. Several apples fell out of the tree, one landed directly in Paul’s open palm. His rival took a bite out of the apple and continued on his way.

“I’m not stopping for a food break, so you better stock up now.”

Ash wasn’t even able to utter a sound before he scooped up several apples in his arms and rushed to catch up to Paul. He chomped on an apple but the task was made difficult with the half dozen other ripe apples in his arms. He wondered how he was going to “stock up” if he didn’t have anything to put the fruit in. For the moment, he dropped the apples into the make-shift basket that he had formed with the ends of his t-shirt.

They continued their path in the direction that Paul led them in. A part of Ash was somewhat skeptical about following Paul. Even as experienced as both trainers were, Ash was sure that even Paul would not be able to navigate his way through a forest without a map. But then again, Paul was native to Sinnoh and he did have some survival skills that Ash lacked, maybe he should stop doubting the only person he can rely on at the moment.

The rest of the afternoon was spent following his rival around, never questioning where they were going or which direction to head when there was a forked path. The sun slowly set over the horizon, but neither trainers were able to see it since the trees grew tall and loomed over them. Only when it was getting difficult to see past a few feet in front of them did they decide it was too dark and dangerous to continue.

“Paul, where are we going to set up camp?”

The purple hair rival didn’t say anything in response. Instead, he sized up a neighboring tree and started to climb it. Paul sat on a thicker piece of branch and leaned against the upper trunk, positioning his backpack in a manner that it would not fall off.

“Paul?”

“What?”

“Why are you in that tree?”

“What do you think? I’m settling in for the night. You know as well as I do that it’s stupid to go on in the dark.”

Ash rolled his eyes; of course he knew that, that’s why he asked about camp. “Yeah, but, why the tree?”

“What, do you usually make camp in the middle of the road?” Paul asked with such mockery in his tone.

“Well, we usually find a clearing and set up a fire then make food and…” He drifted off when he realized Paul wasn’t really paying attention.

Ash sighed. He decided against arguing and just did what his rival wanted. He never really liked Paul’s ideals, not when it came to Pokemon training and not his attitude towards Pokemon. This might have been another thing to add on the list because the tree still baffled him.

The Pallet town trainer settled on a branch not too far off from his rival. He took a glance over at Paul, and he looked to be asleep. Ash looked around. Things looked a little different from the top of the branches but Ash was no HootHoot and he wondered if he was going to be able to get sleep tonight.






Chapter 4
In which I get to the core of the plot, yay. Oh, and lots of Pokemon abuse. ...It's kinda funny. Also, Ash thinks alot.

Everywhere he looked his eyes met with darkness. Ash wondered where he was and how he had even arrived at this place when one tiny speck of yellow caught his eye. He squinted to get a better look at what the yellow was and realized that it was a pokemon. A Pikachu to be precise, his Pikachu.

“Pikachu!”

Ash yelled, reaching out a hand to his friend who was probably too far away to even hear him. He ran towards the thunder rodent but with every step he took, Pikachu seemed to shrink farther from his sight.

And then a giant cat paw snatched Pikachu into its grasp. The trainer stopped and gasped at the Meowth that towered over him like a giant building.

“What’sa matta twoip? Cat got ya tongue?” Team Rocket’s Meowth sneered at him.

“Give me back my Pikachu!” He yelled at the cat although he knew it was futile.

“Yeah right! Why don’t you try and get it?”

The humongous scratch cat pokemon revealed his clenched paw but there was no Pikachu. Instead, he lowered his paw to Ash and flicked him with his fingers. The size and force of the action flung the trainer backwards and then he fell and fell and fell.

“Ah!”

“Aipom! Ai! Ai!”

When Ash finally landed, he opened his eyes and he realized he was staring at dirt. Dirt? And was that an Aipom he heard? Where did the giant Meowth go? And what about Pikachu?

“Are you awake or should I just leave you here for the Ursaring to eat?”

At the sound of that mocking tone, Ash sat up and he realized that he was indeed awake.
Obviously the whole giant Meowth and tiny Pikachu was all a dream. He didn’t remember sleeping on the ground though.

Taking another look, he saw that Paul was already up and prepared to move out. Behind him a family of Aipom was glaring angrily, shaking their tail fists at him. He realized he must have been dreaming in the tree and probably disturbed the sleeping Aipom, thus they shoved him off the branch. What a rude awakening.

“Well, I’m leaving.”

“W-wait! Paul!”

----

“Nurse Joy!”

“Oh, Nurse Jo- ARGH!”

Dawn waited for Croagunk to drag the paralyzed Brock elsewhere before she turned her attention back to the nurse.

“Please Nurse Joy, has a trainer named Ash come by here or have you seen him around? He wears a red hat and carries a Pikachu on his shoulders.”

“I’m sorry, but no one of that description has come by this Pokemon Center. Is something wrong?”

The girl looked like she might cry but the reassuring hand of the now recovered breeder shook her out of it. Dawn looked helplessly at Brock and all he could do was shake his head.

“Nurse Joy, our friend has gone missing in the woods since last night and we have heard no sign of him. He was last seen on Route 212 with his Pikachu. They were supposed to be gathering water but he never came back.”

Nurse Joy looked shocked. “Oh my, that’s terrible! I’ll call Officer Jenny to set up a search mission right away.”

“Thank you very much Nurse Joy.”

Brock led Dawn to a bench and seated her and their belongings (including Ash’s) onto the cushions. The coordinator let out her Piplup and smothered the penguin in a nervous hold. The penguin gasped for air but upon seeing his distressed trainer, he stopped his struggle and allowed her a hug.

“Ash, you better be okay. You’ve always made it through fine please don’t let this be any different.” He muttered.

---

Stopping only for food restock (more fruit, oh boy) Ash and Paul continued their way to who knows where. Both trainers hoped to find some sight of civilization soon because the company of the other was getting to be more than a little unnerving.

In all the times that Ash has traveled, he has never gone for so long without saying anything. He remembered his first few miles outside of Pallet with his newly acquired Pikachu. Despite the rough beginning, the two became very close and Pikachu was always by his side. Then followed Misty, Brock, Tracey, May, Max, Dawn. Never was Ash unaccompanied. Even between the regions when some friends would part from the group, his number one Pikachu was always there. And now, his shoulders have never felt any emptier and despite the accompanying pair of shoes crunching down the dirt and shrubs Ash felt alone.

He tried, he really did. Ash asked banal questions to pass time; he made mindless chatter with his rival even though it seemed he was talking more to himself. Paul didn’t even look at him, and never once did he open his mouth to speak, even when a question was asked. That in its self made more of an impact than if Paul actually told him to shut up. So Ash just did him a favor and stopped talking.

“Of course,” Ash thought to himself “how can you ever think that this might change things? Paul is Paul, no matter what you’re going through. He’s equally as lost as you are and he’s helping you, so you might as well not do anything stupid that might make him angry and probably mess up your chance of ever seeing Pikachu again.”

Ash grumbled to himself and shoved his hands into his pockets. His finger tips found the smooth skin of a freshly picked apple that was stored for lunch. “Why do I even try to be his friend? It’s not like he even enjoys my company. We have nothing in common.” He mildly wondered if Paul was also thinking ominous thoughts about him. “As if. I’m too pathetic of a trainer for him to even care about.”

Ash snapped out of his deep thinking when he heard a howl pierce the air. Paul seemed to have heard it too since he stopped and looked around.

“Paul, what do-“

“Sh!”

The two trainers heard several more howls followed shortly by rustling of bushes and growing patters of paws. They both seemed to sense the danger they were in so they started running without uttering any unnecessary words.

Ash felt the pounding of his heart against his chest and the blood flowing through his ears made it hard to hear the growls of the wild pokemon. He did his best to keep up with Paul and nearly ran into him once again when his rival stopped abruptly.

“Paul, wh-“

But Ash didn’t have to ask because he saw the pack of Mightyena that blocked off the direction they were heading to. He glanced at Paul, who looked more focus on getting away than putting up a fight. The Veilstone trainer turned to another direction before more of the dark type canines appeared. Ash took a glance behind him and he saw a few more of the pokemon were blocking them too. They were trapped in a ring of Mightyena.

“Looks like there’s no way out of this Paul.” Ash muttered to his rival as they stood back to back. “Do you think Ursaring can handle them?”

“…” Paul sized up the situation and pulled a pokeball out of his hand.

Ash expected an Ursaring, if not, probably Torterra, but he didn’t expect his rival to throw it at one of the Mightyena.

“Paul! We’re in a situation here! Can you think of catching strong Pokemon later?!”

The dark type didn’t even go into the pokeball and slapped the offending item away. Angered by the first move, the Mightyena growled deeply, lowered its body and seemed to flare its tail out. The other pokemon in the pack mimicked the stance and then Ash knew they were screwed.

He wasn’t sure which one jumped first, perhaps they all jumped at the same time but one was heading at him and he couldn’t do anything. Ash shut his eyes and held his arms over his head defensively waiting for the impact. But the impact never came. He heard a few whimpers and some thuds and he cautiously opened his eyes. Paul stood in front of him, holding his backpack in two hands. Another pokemon jumped and again, Paul batted his pack at the canine, swatting it across the muzzle before bashing it on the head.

“Paul, why don’t you just use Ursaring’s Hammer Arm?"

“Shut up!” His rival barked at him. “I would but I can’t!”

“W-what?”

Momentarily shocked by his words, Ash didn’t see the pokemon that pounced at him from behind him. However, Paul did and immediately shoved Ash to the side and punched the pokemon in the nose.

“And don’t give me any of that “treat the pokemon nicely” crap because I just saved your life.”

Ash snapped his jaw shut at the display and mentally told himself not to say anything about Paul’s foul language. The injured Mightyena recovered with fury and took a bite out of Paul’s bag. While his rival forcibly played tug of war with the pokemon, Ash watched the rest of the pack cautiously. His hand went for the apple in his pocket and gripped at it with a nervous force. Another Mightyena inched forward to assault the trainers but Ash moved quicker and threw the ripe fruit at the pokemon, hitting it right between the eyes.

When Paul finally wretched his bag away from the dark type (though missing a strap now) he noticed he and Ash were backed up that even their shoulders touched. The whole pack all seemed to have moved a foot closer, decreasing both their fighting space and their fleeing chance.

“Look, I have a plan.”

“Paul?”

“I’ll distract them while they’re focusing on me, break through the circle and run.”

“What-“

“Just do it!”

Did Paul really just tell him to run and leave him? No, that can’t be. Paul probably planned on having Ash run so that the Mightyena might all go after him instead. But what if Paul really did want Ash to escape? Can he trust him?

Too late, the Mightyena have already started another assault and went according to Paul’s plan too. All the pokemon were focused on the Veilstone trainer, two were already taking nips at the bag that he swung around. Ash saw that there was a small opening that he can easily run through if he didn’t trip up but then he looked back at his rival.

“What are you waiting for? Go!” Paul shouted as he smashed a Mightyena in the face.

At that time, Paul lost a few seconds and the pack took advantage of that. One pounced at the trainer while he was still occupied, knocking him to the floor.

“Paul!”

Ash panicked and did the first thing his adrenaline forced him to do. He kicked the Mightyena off to the side and stood over his fallen rival.

“You leave him alone!” He said as he spread his arms wide in a futile attempt to shield the other trainer. His heart pounded and he was shaking and the idea that he had just bodily harmed a pokemon made him sick, but he needed to protect someone right now. Nothing was going to get passed him.

Before he knew it, a Mightyena had caught him by the arm. He winced as he felt the pointed fangs sink into his skin and he was sure there was blood coming out.

“You fucking moron!”

The Mightyena prompted let go of his arm when Paul recovered and punched the pokemon. Before Ash could even tend to his injury, his free arm was taken by something else and suddenly he was pulled into running.

Ash realized that his rival had grabbed his wrist and they were fleeing from the pack. He didn’t know if they would even be able to outrun them and the stinging of his bleeding arm did not make him worry any less. He could hear the panting and growling of the pursuing bunch of pokemon but he tried not to focus on that and just kept running.

Paul made a sharp turn, pulling Ash along and he was sure he heard something in his wrist pop but he didn’t say anything. The sounds of the predators decreased only for a moment before they too followed in the sharp turn. Up ahead, Ash could see a body of water, whether it was a river or lake he wasn’t sure.

“Hold your breath, we’re going to jump.”

Ash nodded, even though he knew Paul couldn’t see it and as they neared the water, Ash was relieved to see that it was a lake. He didn’t need to lose anything else in a rushing stream.

“Don’t let go.” Paul muttered.

Ash thought he meant “don’t let go of your breath” but then the grip on his wrist slid down to his hand and suddenly he felt horrible for thinking Paul would betray him.

They never slowed down, even as the body of water drew closer. Whether intentional or subconsciously, Ash’s fingers gave Paul’s hand a squeeze before the two of them dove into the chilling lake.

-------

SONO TE HANASA NAI DEEEEEEEEEEE, HANASANAI DEEEE- oops. Yeah, that's it for now. Stay tuned for the next chapter, which would prolly come out in a year. Or maybe when I'm on the Amtrak again.



---- Go to Chapter 1 - 2 - 3 & 4 - 5 - 6 ----


Crossposted to coma_shipping
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Lol, most likely. XP

I loved that part because the image of punching pokemon is so funny to me.

There's a reason for that. >.> Unless you mean Ash then I have no idea.

Will do, in time. Or train.
BOKU GA SOBA NI IIIIIIIRU YOOOO~

Lol, I can just imagine Paul sleeping in trees. (Or maybe it has happened in the anime that the thought occurs to me so naturally. ^^;) I mean, when you're by yourself, nothing really matters. XD

Behind him a family of Aipom was glaring angrily, shaking their tail fists at him.
This line made me laugh. XD

Fffft, why do I find it so amusing that Ash has to use Paul's name in every sentence? And god, does he always have something to say or nag about. Like in the dub. XD It's like he's his wife or something (and somewhere, I know I made a Comashipper happy with my stupid comment).

Yes, Paul does look like the kind to kick a puppy. (Or in this case, a dog/wolf/canine.) Except Ash is doing the beating up. You just made him reach a level of badassedness. LOL. And Paul's potty mouth. Amazing. I can hear it now. (If only 4Kids could let that slip like they did Shaman King. LOL.)
Lol, not it hasn't happened, but darn it! You spoiled something that's going to be mentions later on. X<

LOL! (I didn't even notice! I went back to check and in like, 5 or 6 sentences Ash starts his sentence with "Paul!" XDDDD) I bet he does, the nagging. I can just hear him now. =w=

That he does. XP This chapter was so funny, the mental images always make me laugh. (*punch* *dog whimper*) Yeah, this is when the profanity starts to spill in. XP
I... I have? ^^;
Hauuu~ >W< I just discovered this today and hawaa I can't wait for the next update. ;w; <33

Don't let gooo Ashyy~
8D Chapter 5 is up if you haven't read it already. :'3