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[Still Untitled]
Length: Chapter - Incomplete
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Warning(s): BL, Swearing
Character(s): Ash, Paul, others
Pairing(s): Paul x Ash
Summary: After thrown into certain situations, Ash and Paul must work together to get back what was lost and make it out alive.
Author's Notes: Hooray for my annual update!
Chapters: [1][2][3 & 4]


It felt like a thousand needles pricking the skin when they hit the water. Ash’s free arm stung even more as the water attacked his open wound. Momentarily blinded by the rush of bubbles, Ash almost lost his grip on Paul. As his vision cleared up, he was able to see his rival gesture to him with his head to swim farther down.

Above them, they could make out the blurred image of the Mightyena pack. The group of pokemon stopped by the lake’s edge and didn’t move for a while. Paul kept an eye on the Mightyena and hoped they would leave soon. He eyed Ash’s bleeding wound in worry. Staying in water like this was not going to allow it to heal any faster but at least it will flush out anything that might have gotten in.

The two waited for who knows how long and slowly losing oxygen by the second. Until the dark fur of the group of pokemon was out of sight, they dared not to resurface.

Finally, the pair swam to the surface gasping for well needed air. Paul was the one to start swimming back to shore, pulling Ash with him. The raven haired trainer struggled to keep up but his left arm felt numb and it hurt to move. He was so thankful to finally reach land where Paul helped him out of the lake. Ash didn’t notice until now that their hands were still clasp together. He felt a little thump in the back of his heart but he just figured it was from the adrenaline of being chased and escaping.

After wringing out his sopping wet jacket and squeezing excess water out of his hair, Paul searched his bag for medical tools. Ash tried to do the same, wincing at the pain when he removed his t-shirt to let it dry.

“Give me your hand.”

Ash didn’t question as he moved his arm to let Paul tend to it. It stung a little when his rival cleaned up the openings with the rubbing alcohol but Ash kept quiet and let the other apply the antibiotics and bandages. The raven haired trainer watched Paul clean his wound with the utmost care and he couldn’t help but smile.

“What are you smiling about? We’re not out of this situation yet.”

Ash bit the inside of his cheek, embarrassed for getting caught. He made a fake cough and looked elsewhere.

“I just… er, wanted to say thank you. For all that.” He muttered as Paul finished bandaging his wound.

“It’s nothing. It’s just that you would be even more useless to me if your arm had gotten an infection. Come on, we still have to find somewhere to stay before sun sets. We’ll need a fire if we want to dry off the rest of our clothes.”

Paul packed up his first aid kit and gathered his things. He was glad he had nothing of importance that was not water proof. The items in his bag were not damaged too badly however the strap on his bag was torn from the tussle with the Mightyena so it was impossible to let is hang off his shoulder. He sighed, tied his jacket around his waist and held the bag in a hand. He turned to see the other struggling to pull his t-shirt over his head due to it being wet and sticking together. Rolling his eyes, Paul reached over and yanked it down so that Ash could see again.

“Er, thanks.” The black haired trainer mouthed with a slight blush on his face. How had he been reduced to being this handicapped?

“Let’s get going already. If we don’t hurry, we might run into that pack of Mightyena again.”

Ash nodded and made to move but his head suddenly began to feel light headed and he stopped. He heard a humming noise in the back of his head and he felt very sleepy to the point he sank down to his knees. His vision slowly dimmed away.

“P-paul? I feel a little…”

Paul caught him before his head hit the floor. He pulled up the other trainer to his feet but it was useless because the trainer was already unconscious. Paul moved the other’s body onto his back so he was able to carry him. With the weight of Ash on him, it would probably take a longer time to find proper shelter. And who was going to help him set up the fire? Paul let out an annoyed growl and continued moving. There was no point in complaining when things had to get done.

“I thought I told you not to get in my way.” He muttered to the body who was not listening.

==========

When Ash woke up, the sun was beginning to set. The crackle of a fire made him aware of the warmth radiating in front of him. His head still felt like a bowl of liquid ready to spill over but he was able to sit up slowly. Using his left arm to hold himself up was definitely not the best idea because he was reminded of the bite with the pain shooting up that limb. He then noticed that Paul was sitting on the other side of the fire.

Paul looked almost ready to fall asleep with the way he was bowing his head. Ash had to bite back a laugh seeing his rival in that state but then he realized why Paul looked about ready to pass out. The fire looked to be started a while ago with both their jackets laying close by to dry. He noted that his own t-shirt was already dried, as were his pants. His shoes and socks were by the fire as well. Ash wondered how long he had been out. Guilt ate him from the inside thinking about all the work his had his rival do without him.

He got up and went to sit by Paul. The movement woke up his rival who immediately sat up. After realizing who it was that was beside him, the purple haired trainer composed himself.

“You’re finally awake. I thought for sure you would have died of pneumonia or infection if the blood loss didn’t get you first. I didn’t think your body was that weak to go into shock but apparently I was wrong. How pathetic.”

“Oh… I’m sorry for causing you all that trouble… “, Ash looked down at his hands. Feeling bad was definitely an understatement. “Even after I promised you that I would stay out of your way and I get you into this mess.” He hated breaking promises, even if it was unintentional.

“Save it. I don’t want to hear you talk about useless things. Here.” Paul tossed an apple at his direction, which Ash caught. “You’re going to need more energy to let that injury heal.”

“Paul…” Ash stared at his rival. “…I can’t take this. This is yours. You helped me enough and I haven’t done anything to help you back.”

“Will you stop being so stubborn and just eat the damn thing. If we’re going to get out of this alive you have to recover.” Paul said while poking at the fire with a branch. “You’ll only be dragging me down if you get worse.”

“Haven’t I already been dragging you down? Why did you take me here and all? Couldn’t you have just left me with that pack of Mightyena. I would have been less of a hassle that way.”
He knew he was talking way too much for his rival’s liking but something had been on his mind the whole time and he wanted to get to the bottom of it.

“Why, Paul? I know you don’t like me, so, why help me?”

“…Why can’t you just leave it alone? I did it because I wanted to. Can we stop talking about this already? You’re getting on my nerves.”

“That doesn’t answer my question at all. Why didn’t you leave me when you had the chance to?” Ash asked once again with steely determination.

“…You can never do what I tell you to, huh?” Paul sighed. “Then I’d like to ask the same thing of you then. Why didn’t you just leave when I told you to? You probably wouldn’t have gotten that injury then.” He said, pointing at Ash’s bandaged arm.

“I… You were in a pinch! I couldn’t have just left you to get eaten by a bunch of Mightyena! And that was after you… after you protected me from them…”

There was a pregnant pause.

Paul sighed. “…Fine. I’ll just tell you this. There is a reason why a Doduo has two heads.”

“…What?” Ash tilted his head to the side.

“You figure it out.” Paul muttered as he grabbed the rejected apple and took a bite out of it.

Seeing his rival eat reminded Ash that he was hungry as well and now he regret not taking Paul’s offer. He had already eaten his stock of apples and that last one went to warding off the Mightyena. He bit his lip and tried not to stare in the direction of the other trainer. It was just too bad that his stomach decided to give away his predicament.

Laughing awkwardly and still not looking at his rival, Ash got up to his feet and decided to look for his own food. Before he got very far, he felt something small smack him on the back of his head. He turned and caught it with his hands. It was a granola bar, wrapped in silver plastic wrap for to-go purposes.

“I told you to eat. Your injury needs to heal.” Paul said, taking another bite of the apple.

“You can go look for food in the morning. It’s getting dark and it’s not very smart to wander around in the woods with no pokemon.”

“Ah… Thanks again Paul.” Ash was a little angry at himself for having to rely on his rival so much, but so be it if they wanted to leave in one piece.

His thoughts wandered to Pikachu and his well being. Was he okay? Has he escaped Team Rocket? What if he was being handed over to Team Rocket’s boss as they spoke? Maybe Brock and Dawn came to the rescue. Or maybe they didn’t. Was Pikachu hungry or hurt? Was he also in his situation? So many possibilities and there was nothing Ash could to about it and no way of knowing.

Then it hit Ash like one of Pikachu’s Thunder Bolts.

“Paul, what happened to your pokemon?”

He was used to Paul not replying to his questions but there was something about this silence that unnerved him. He was afraid to ask, but it worried him more now that he thought about it.

“…Paul, you don’t have your pokemon with you, do you?”

There was another moment of silence.

“…I was wondering how long it would take for you to figure it out.” Paul finally answered.

“But, how? Was it Team Rocket?”

“It wasn’t Team Rocket.”

“Then how? Hunter J? Team Galactic?”

“…It wasn’t them either.”

“You… you didn’t release them all, did you?”

A chill ran down Ash’s back from the glare that Paul was giving him. He guessed he went a little too far with that assumption.

“No, I didn’t release them all. I was… attacked, in a way.” His rival confessed.

“No way! Who could have done this? You weren’t hurt too bad were you?”

“…I guess I underestimated the pokemon around here. They’re pretty smart.”

Ash didn’t know where this was going at all. Was he talking about the Mightyena?

“I’m talking about the Quagsire that got away. Things might have turned out better if I had been able to catch up to it before.”

Flashbacks to the event that lead them to the present played in Ash’s head. The raven haired trainer still did not find the connection. How would the capture of a single wild pokemon help the situation at all?

“I don’t get it.”

“I was trying to capture that Quagsire before I met up with you. It tried to retreat but I followed it and fell right into its trap. The clever thing knew how to get around and jumped me from above. After knocking me out, it stole my pokeballs. When I came to, it had already swallowed all my pokemon. If I had been able to capture it, I would have gotten my pokemon back.”

All Ash could do was stare. He vaguely remembered that Quagsire liked collecting round things but he never thought they would have gone to the extent of stealing trainer’s pokemon. Not to mention swallowing the pokeballs the way Paul described it. That Quagsire must have been really angry, Ash thought.

“Oh… So this really is my fault. None of this would have happened if I had been able to stop that Quagsire.” Ash bit his lip. “I lost Pikachu and I also lost your pokemon as well. I… I’m sorry Paul. I…” Oh no, he thought. His voice is cracking, his lip is quivering, his eyes are stinging and Ash can’t believe he’s about to cry in front of Paul, of all people.

“…I don’t know why you’re blaming yourself. Just focus on getting your Pikachu back. The only reason I stuck with you for so long was so I could get my own pokemon back as well. It’s not like I’m asking you to help me. We both need to get something done, so we’re just using one another to do it."

The raven haired trainer rubbed away any possibility of tears and swallowed the lump that made his throat dry. If that was how Paul wanted to see things, then he understood why Paul did all those things. It wasn’t really to help Ash, it was to help Paul. Of course this was more in-character for Paul. And here I thought he might have actually cared for other people, Ash thought bitterly.

The night felt the same as the night before, though the two could hear the howling of Mightyena in the distance. Ash shuddered at the thought of another encounter with the pack. He chewed off the piece of processed snack bar. It was getting dark. Another day gone with no progress made.

After a while, Paul stood up, chucking the apple core into surroundings. He looked like he was about to say something but chose to stare intently at the fire. Moving to the clothes drying out, the trainer picked up his own jacket and waved off the ashes and dirt. He did the same for Ash’s vest.

“Here.” Paul tossed the dried material to the other. “I’m putting the fire out. Light attracts the wild pokemon. ”

Ash nodded and let the other douse the fire with some dirt. With the only light source gone, the world around the trainers suddenly seemed a lot bigger and the temperature seemed to drop a few degrees lower. Ash put his vest back on and held his hands to his arms. A click followed by a tube of light coming from the direction that Paul was at pierced through the shadows.

“It’s too dark to do anything else. We’re retiring for the night. Try not to get eaten.”

The silhouette of his rival settled against the trunk of a tree across from the raven haired trainer. Ash didn’t move from his spot next to the campfire. It was quiet for a long time and he thought Paul had already fallen asleep.

“Are you going to stay there the whole night? You do realize that just makes you an easier target for roaming pokemon.”

“Ah… Paul?”

“What?”

“I can’t really see…”

He heard an exasperated sigh and then a click, followed by the tube of light again. Ash headed to where his rival was and sat by the trunk of a tree next to Paul’s location. The flashlight clicked off and it was dark once again. Ash leaned against the tree and tried to make himself comfortable. He wished he had his sleeping bag since he hasn’t slept so well the last night but there’s no point in wishing for things that won’t come true.

“Say Paul?”

There was an angry grunt for a reply.

“We were up in a tree yesterday. Why not tonight?”

“Do you really want to climb a tree with that injury? And with you being so unstable, I wouldn’t doubt you falling off in the middle of the night. One disabled arm is already a burden; I don’t need you breaking anything else.”

“Oh.”

“…”

Ash pulled the lip of his cap to cover his eyes. Positioning his injured arm closer to him for security, he prepped himself to sleep by letting his thoughts wander. His mind went to recap the day’s events and his rival. Even though he knew now that Paul claimed to be using him, Ash was still surprised by the amount of attention he was getting from his rival. Just yesterday, his rival almost refused to acknowledge him but something changed during the course of today. Ash wondered if the incident with the Mightyena might have had anything to do with it.

Subconsciously, Ash gripped his right fist tightly. He still remembered the way Paul had dragged him out of the pack of pokemon. He had to admit that it was kind of cool seeing Paul act like a hero, especially on his behalf. He realized that he usually didn’t need rescuing and that Ash was usually the one saving others. It was a nice change, he thought, having someone to back you up when you needed it. If only Paul was always that kind and reliable, maybe they could have even been friends.

Friends with Paul? He couldn’t really imagine it but that would have been pleasant. Maybe then pokemon battles against him would be more fun and less of proving his worth. Not that Ash had any problems with his confidence but when it came to his rival, he just wanted Paul to recognize him; recognition not only in the sense of a trainer but also as a person. He didn’t like how the other would pretend not to know him sometimes or ignore him completely in front of everyone else.

His thoughts jumped around and sooner or later enough, Ash was out like a light.

=========Until Next Year!==========

(Author Notes)
Well, I think I suck at writing Ash. I'm sorry Satoshi! >.< I make him such an emotional little girl. Ah well.

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

 
 
 
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Scary? XD I was trying to go for more action/suspense, like a movie or something.

If the plot bunnies work. I don't remember what was supposed to happen past this part. >3>
(Deleted comment)
No sure. XD I forget what my icons were.

Oh, dude. I just meant the Quagsire shoved the pokeballs in his mouth and ran off with it. I hope you didn't get the mental image of it actually chewing off Torterra's leg or anything. XD

Gross. DX AC is prolly much needed.
You don'r possibly mean I have to wait another YEAR before next chappie? :____: That's just crueeeel! This is one of my very fav comashipping stories, you have to continue it sooner!

Their hand-holding + hero-moments + caring Paul just killed me.<3 CONTINUE! :D
Yes. XP it's usually that time when I have inspiration and motivation to write. Any other time I'm doing other unimportant things. ^^;

X3 Glad you likes~ I will, eventually~
sdlfjsdkj next year? ;W; /cry

I want more Coma-ness~ This chapter was soo cuute. <33