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[Gaining From Loss] - Chapter 6
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: Finally got a title and felt like updating early because I rather liked this chapter.
Chapters: [1][2][3 & 4][5][6][7]

Paul grunted and shielded his eyes from the sun’s early rays. Usually he wouldn’t be bothered by the morning sun since the leaves around him would block them out. But he had not slept in his usual spot the night before and it definitely made a difference. Fending off the light seemed futile, so Paul stood up and stretched off his tired limbs. A few extra hours of sleep might have been nice but in their current situation, it was better to move out of their unknown territory quick. He ran a hand through his purple locks to even out his unkempt hair.

He looked over to where the other trainer was. Ash was still unconscious and showed no signs of waking up, despite having the sun light spread out all over him. Paul noted how the boy had his arm cradled around the bandaged limb. He kept his eye on the wounded part, remembering exactly how the scathe came to be. Paul could still play back the moment when one of the Mightyena managed to get past his guard and tackled him to the ground. At that time, he was sure the two of them were going to be torn to shreds. Then, Ash retaliated and punted the pokemon away, even defending Paul while he was still down.

Paul glared down at the sleeping boy. If Ash had followed his orders to leave him at the first chance, then he would not have to worry any more about it. Originally, his plan to have Ash run off was so that Paul would not have to take responsibility for anyone else. He would have been fine fending for himself against the pack if he didn’t have to think about protecting Ash as well. But Ash didn’t leave. Paul was partly angry at the boy for not doing so but every time he saw at the injury he was reminded of how Ash stayed back and protected him. Nobody had ever done anything like that for him and he didn’t want to admit it, but his rival’s actions stirred something in his heart. Paul quickly dismissed it as gratitude, because he was sure he wasn’t impressed by the way Ash had stood up for him. Tired of his own thoughts, he bent down and shook the raven haired trainer by the shoulder.

“Hey, wake up.”

“Mnn, a few more minutes Pikachu…” Ash mumbled and made to turn over and return to sleep but then realize he couldn’t grab for his sleeping bag. He reached out again and found nothing but air.

“Can you get up already? We have to look for food again, not to mention I have to change your bandages. And I would feel a lot better if we were off Mightyena territory.”

Ash immediately snapped out of his sleepy state at the sound of Paul’s strict voice. He saw his rival was already up and searching through his bag for something, probably more medical things for his arm. Speaking of his arm, Ash saw that the bandages were slightly stained dark red. The wound probably opened up during the night.

Paul sat next to him with a bottle and his first aid kit. The bandages came off revealing the messy lacerations caked with dried blood. Paul uncapped the bottle and poured the drinking water to clean off the blood. Ash felt his heart sink again watching his rival put up another sacrifice for his sake.

Paul didn’t pay any attention to the guilt stricken boy next to him. He could only think about how Ash had shielded him against the pokemon’s Bite attack. He made a promise to himself that he would not need help like that again. He didn’t need to feel indebt to anyone.
The two sat in silence for the whole duration of the rebandaging of Ash’s arm. When Paul was done and repacked everything they needed, he mentioned that they should be looking for more food, to which Ash agreed with. They set off for the woods.

“I’m sorry Dawn, Brock, but we have no received word of your friend Ash. Officer Jenny has already dispatched a rescue team and they are searching the premises as we speak. I pray that your friend is well. If there is anything I can help, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

Dawn quietly thanked Nurse Joy and Chansey but that was it. Brock looked at the coordinator with worry.

“Dawn, I’m sure he’s fine and Pikachu is with him as well. Maybe he found a shed or cave to stay at for the night. He’s a tough trainer and he’s been through a lot. I think the only thing we might have to worry about is him being hungry. But when he does come back, I’ll be sure to cook him all his favorite foods.”

“But… I can’t help but worry…” Dawn whispered. She held Piplup a little tighter to which the penguin patted her arm in reassurance.

“If you want, we can go and look again. We can also send out Staravia as well.”

The coordinator nodded and looked hopefully at the breeder. Brock nodded back. The two grabbed their bags (and Ash’s) and headed out the sliding doors of the Pokemon Center.

Ash’s stomach rumbled for the fourth time in the last five minutes. He tried to keep it hidden from his rival by rustling through the bushes extra hard, but he was sure Paul heard it anyway. He sighed. He didn’t remember food ever being so difficult to find. Apples were pretty common along the trails but that was probably because it was a road more traveled by other trainers. Outside of the trails, Ash would be lucky if he was able to find some berries or anything that was not grass.

“Oh!” Ash piped as he spread out another bush to find it populated with berries.

Ash was not a coordinator, thus, not a berry expert, but he knew if Pokemon were able to eat them, so could he. He plucked one of the red berries, examining its odd shape. It reminded him of a baseball glove or a bunch of bananas or a schalchop of a sea otter? He sniffed at it cautiously. It smelled ripe enough.

Just as Ash was about to take a bite out of it, Paul popped out from the trees and asked if he had found anything. He waved his rival over and asked the other to take a look at the berry.

“…Do you know what flavor it is?” Paul asked.

“Flavor?” Ash asked slowly. Again, he was not a berry expert, but he did slightly remember there being a characteristic difference between the berries. Did it matter what flavor it was? As long as it was edible, it sounded legitimate to him.

The two trainers stared at the berry, hoping the other knew a bit more on it. The rumble of stomachs echoed past the two, reminding them that they were kind of desperate at the moment.

Paul broke off a piece of it. The red color of the flesh might have indicated a Spicy flavor, but one really could not tell basing off only color. The Veilstone trainer glanced over at the Pallet trainer. Ash caught the stare and nodded. He broke off another piece for the raven haired boy and the two made a mental countdown.

They both dropped a piece of berry into their mouth at the same time. The chewing of the fragments seemed to take forever. Finally, Paul swallowed, followed by Ash with tears welling in his eyes.

“Well, that was…” Ash rasped.

If Ash wasn’t trying to erase the taste off his own tongue, he would be laughing at the face Paul was making. The flavor was definitely Spicey but with a mix of something else unpleasant that he could only name as Bitter. Of all the berries Ash had picked up, it had to have the worst combination of flavors. The fiery taste still remained on his tongue and he was sure he felt its heat as it traveled down his esophagus.

“We should probably find something else to eat.” Paul finally said after recovering from the alarming taste.

Ash nodded wordlessly and followed his rival as they stepped over the mystery berry bush. He vowed to himself to read up on berries if he ever made it back to civilization.

The two finally found some proper edible berries later in the day. Unfortunately, they could only take as much as they could hold, which was not as much as Ash would have liked. They also did not have a lot of time to sit and relax due to the uneasiness of having another encounter with the Mightyena pack.

Ash crunched on another Pecha berry, even though his appetite had long been satiated. He already had some in his pocket for future eats but his hands still held some so that he would not have to go through another Berry hunt in a long time.

Paul had nothing to say, but he was glad they were able to find food. Not that he doubted they would since he knew Pokemon needed to eat as well. While they walked, he had noticed something different in the path they were taking. His sneakers squeaked under the grass and he could tell the ground was wet. There had not been any rain recently, so it could only mean that the area they were entering had a lot of water. Paul had traveled through many areas and he could not think of anywhere else in Sinnoh that was as muddy as this. Just the thought of nearing Pastoria City gave him the most relief he’s needed in the past three days.

The Veilstone trainer could hear his rival sloshing in the wet grass behind him. The transition from dirt to mud didn’t bother Paul at all but Ash was different story. The raven haired trainer thought it was his imagination at first but after almost slipping on the mushy ground for the third time he finally figured out that they were headed for a swampy area. He glanced at his rival to see how the other was doing, and Paul seemed not to notice the grime splashing all over his pants as he walked through the mud with no problems.

Shoving the rest of the berries in his already filled pockets, Ash made to catch up with his rival by taking huge steps. The result of that was him falling straight into Paul’s back when his sneaker was swallowed by a particularly deep pit. With a yelp, Ash’s reflexes brought his arms around Paul’s waist to hold himself up. Said rival did not expect any of the like to happen and his sturdy balance was thrown off. Paul teetered a little to the side before they both lost their equilibrium and was sent crashing into the cold wet dirt.

Ash was quick to remove his arms from the other and apologized immediately. As he struggled to get up, his hand sunk into another squishy gap all the way up to his shoulder, which brought his face into the mud. The trainer cried internally and wondered why this was happening to him and what he had done to deserve such treatment. He picked himself out of the mud another time, this time slowly so that he wouldn’t have another chance of falling again. Ash’s hat had tumbled off from the first landing and settled where Paul was recovering. If Paul was angry, he made no notion of it.

Ash rubbed the grime off his face with his clean shirt sleeve. He could see his rival sitting up and turning towards him. The raven haired trainer inwardly swallowed. He had messed up again, in front of Paul. He swore he was not that clumsy and it just happened that his rival was always around when he was. No wonder Paul thought he was useless and pathetic.

What surprised him was when the other trainer wordlessly handed back his dropped hat. Ash took it generously and moved to replace it on his head. He hadn’t noticed the other staring at him until he looked up and caught his rival’s eyes, to which Paul quickly turned away.
And then Paul coughed. Or at least it sounded like a cough in Ash’s ears until he heard it again. He thought he saw a smile on his rival’s face but Paul quickly covered it with his clean hand. Another muffled choke came from the Veilstone trainer and this time Ash swore it sounded something like a snort.

“Paul…? Are you okay?”

“…I’m fine.” His rival quickly answered before shifting aside to hide another “cough”.

“…Paul… Are you laughing?”

“…No…” Paul answered curtly while his shoulders shook and he held his stomach all while trying to face away from the other.

And by then, Ash was pretty sure Paul was laughing. At what, he could only guess was at him, but it didn’t really cross Ash’s mind as a condescending act. Just the thought that he made his stone cold rival Paul laugh brought a smile to his own lips.

“You look like a mess.” Paul finally said after regaining his usual posture.

“Well, so do you.” Ash mentioned.

“Since the place is so muddy, there should be a source of water nearby it all. We can probably clean up there.”

Ash nodded and the two rose from the slowly warming mud.

“I’m sorry about that. I’m always making a mess for you.” The Pallet trainer apologized once again. He wondered how many strikes he had marked on Paul’s list of annoyance. He knew Paul probably was being as patient as he could be with him and Ash just hoped it wouldn’t run out before they parted ways.

He visibly flinched when Paul turned around again. Ash held his breath, waiting for some angry retort or something but all he saw was his rival holding his hand out to him. He blinked twice, three times before his eyes traveled to Paul’s neutral expression.

“If I can keep my eye on you, maybe you’ll be less trouble for me.”

The Veilstone trainer made a motion with his hand, but this time, Ash saw that Paul’s eyes had averted elsewhere. The only possible conclusion Ash could draw was that Paul wanted him to take his hand.

“You obviously don’t know how to walk in mud. You’re supposed to use the heels of your feet so you won’t slip as easily. If you walk next to me I can tell you what you’re doing wrong.”

Well, at least he knew the other’s motive now. Swallowing his anxiousness, Ash picked up his free hand and held it over his rival’s. He didn’t understand why he was so nervous, since they had held hands just the other day. The situation was obviously different but for some reason, it still made his heart beat fast and his ears pound. Ash could feel the warmth radiating from Paul’s hand. Their fingers brushed for a split second and Ash thought his chest might explode.

“Ugh, you’re so slow. Stop wasting time.”

With that, Paul grabbed Ash’s hand and swiftly turned around before Ash could open his mouth to say anything. Ash wasn’t the best in reading another person’s mood, but even he knew something was up with Paul. He could tell by the way his rival held his shoulders that Paul did not have as much confidence has he had a while ago. Ash wasn’t sure if it was the same reason he had hesitated moments ago, but a part of him was reassured that he was not the only one with strange mood swings.

Paul on the other hand was glad for once that his hair was long enough to cover his ears, because he was pretty sure they were bright red at now. What had come over him? Moments ago, Ash had the most ridiculous look on his face that he couldn’t help but laugh. Paul could not remember the last time he had done such a thing. And now he had willingly held out a hand to his rival. He could not explain it, but his chest was feeling really warm and everything was acceptable. It scared him a little thinking about it but Paul wondered when he had been able to accept Ash into his comfort zone.

Is this fic finally going somewhere? Maybe. XD So yeah, I'm sure the next update will be in a year or so because I don't know where to go after this. >.> Stay tuned for other fics though, I'm on a writing spree.

---- Go to Chapter 1 - 2 - 3 & 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - Omake - 8----

(Sorry, LJ was being a douche and it was dead most of the time, so I had this review a while ago, but couldn't post it up.)

(I didn't review for the last chapter, so I owe you a longer one.)

Tee hee~ They're getting somewhere. Yay~ I think every little thing Ash does is starting to affect Paul now. (I bet he thinks about him if they weren't stuck together anyway. ;9)

PAUL HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR. DUN DUN DUN. I bet Ash had a beauty facial. XD That last part was totally cute. The simple fact that Paul is opening up to Ash is a great achievement.

Okay, so I sit on a throne of lies. Short review is short. But I can see why this chapter made you giddy, or you were giddy writing it. XD
I hate how I write Ash actually. He's messing up all the time and being a bumbling fool and I think it's OOC, even if it's cute. =I

Actually, I just really wanted to get the chapter out about Paul's actual thoughts on the whole ordeal. And the last part did make me happy. =w=
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I guess they're the main antagonist besides the tension between those two? XP

Trippin' on Trip. XD Well, from experience, it is pretty sloppy. Even worse when you're wearing flip flops. (It's best when you're bare foot though, it feels really nice between the toes. XD)

Yes. XD
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Because flip flops were the only shoes I brought with me on the camping trip and it makes to take them off easier? ^^; The only gross thing I could think of is possible infections if you had open cuts but besides that, if there's water to rinse it off later, it doesn't really matter.
super late for the party but i found this fic because i was googling for comashipping fan fictions. i love this. you may not have solid plans on where you're taking this, but i like where you're taking this (am i making sense?). i hope you'll find the inspiration to continue this story soon. i'm with you in keeping comashipping alive.

Oh, people are still reading this! X3 I don't mind the late comment, in fact, I love it! Thanks for dropping by! I do have some of the next chapter but it's not quite done. I think it will be done in the next three chapters at least.
Upon rewatching DP, Comashipping became my DP OTP. I looked for some fanfictions and stumbled on yours, I really love how you write it : everything just feels natural, nothing is forced and the characters act just how I'd imagine them to if they were in that kind of situation. It's just adorable and I love how things aren't rushed.
I hope you'll update soon, Comashipping fandom is kinda dead ;_;
;w; Hooray~ Thank you so much! I love getting random comments when I least expect it. And yes, I've been working on the next chapter and I think there's only a few more until the story ends, then I'll revise it and put it up on Fanfiction.net. o3o

Yes, I know, it's been so quiet lately. (Inner fangirl is hoping Shinji would make an appearance in Best Wishes 2 but I know it's not going to happen.)

Are you on DeviantArt? If you have an account, feel free to join the Comashipping Group we have there, which I co-admin.
I try to leave a comment every time I find a fic which fandom isn't much active. It's the least I can do as a fan.

I'd like Cynthia to talk about him since you know, she's like THE Comashipper from the anime. Or Ash asking something like "btw, how's Shinji?". I think I'm quite happy with all the moments this shipping got in the anime, I mean, everyone is shipping them, there's so many things to say about this pairing. Seriously, these stares and everything else. It's so beautiful.

I joined the group, thanks for telling me about it :)

Good luck with your work, I can't wait!

Edited at 2012-05-31 09:07 am (UTC)