AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385



Ash looked at the clock on the wall as he changed out of his jacket. "Man, I'm glad all that mud's gone." He looked back over to the bathroom door as Ruby hummed a tune while in the shower. He was anxiously awaiting the dance in the ferry's hall. After a few more minutes, Ash heard the water stop. "Ruby, you done in there yet? I'm ready to get going!" The Lucario giggled, "Just let me put on the finishing touches!" Ash raised an eyebrow at Ruby's response. (Finishing touches? What's she up to in there?) He did not have to wait long.

Ruby very slowly nudged the door open. "Soooo...what do you think?" Ruby gave her boyfriend a playful wink as she swaggered over to him. Ash's mouth slowly began to hang open at the sight before him. Ruby had dressed herself in a fabulous red dress made for petite women as she was only four feet tall. Her bountiful breasts stretched the fabric and her slender black legs were visible from the sides due to the dress not having any fabric below the waist at the sides. Ruby giggled as she saw Ash's face go blank at her outfit.

Ruby took a closer look at her boyfriend and came up with an idea. "Can't shut your mouth? Guess I'll just have to put something in there." Ruby took a seat on his lap and stuck her tongue into his mouth as she began to kiss him passionately. After a brief moment, Ash came to his senses and embraced his girlfriend while kissing her back. Once they broke the kiss, Ruby blushed, "You taste good, dear."

Ash stood up and began to circle his girlfriend. When he noticed that her legs were completely black, he asked, "Wait a second..... Where's your pants?! Are you really going to the dance naked?!" Ruby giggled, "I'm not wearing any pants, but I'm not naked. I'm wearing some of May's lingerie. Just don't tell her about it, OK?" Ash sounded like he was about to rupture something at this revelation. But he stopped short of passing out when he heard a knock at the door. Max's voice spoke, "You guys coming?! The dance is gonna start without you!" Ash and Ruby looked at each other and made their way out the door arm in arm.

Ash and Ruby were a bit amazed by how few guests were attending the party. Ruby asked, "You'd think that there would be more passengers, huh?" Ash nodded, "Yeah. But this means we have the place to ourselves. Huh?" Ash noticed Lucash sipping on some soda near the juice bar. Ruby called, "Lucash, having fun?!" Their son walked over to them while seeming to be vibrating. "DaddyMommythisstufftastesreallysweetandfizzyandIthinkthisismy20thglassbutIstillfeelOK. AreyougonnadancewhataboutShadowandAuntieLucyaretheygonnadancetoo?" Ash and Ruby looked at each other with freaked out expressions. Ash asked, "Did you get all that?" Ruby shook her head, "He lost me after that Daddy Mommy part.....wait. Did he say something about this being his 20th glass?" Ash gagged and said, "I think you've had enough soda for one night. Hand over the glass." Lucash shuddered, "Nowaythisstuffisgreatjustletmefinishthisglassfirrrr.....oog..." Lucash handed the glass to his father and clutched his stomach. "Urgh.....BATHROOM!!!" The little Lucario made a mad dash towards the closest restroom. Ash chuckled, "Too much caffeine will do that to ya." After gulping down the last bit of soda in the glass, Ash noticed a tune playing. Ruby grabbed his hand and gave him an amorous gaze, "Care to dance?" After setting the empty glass down, Ash smiled, "Does it matter what my answer is?"

The couple made their way to the center of the dance floor with a few other couples who did not seem to be paying them any mind. Ruby spoke, "Take it slow. I've never danced before." Ash nodded, "I haven't danced very often myself. Let's just take it slow and get into the groove." Ruby and Ash watched the other couples dancing. They were doing fairly simple dances to the gentle and somewhat quiet song. As Ash and Ruby began to develop a feel for the song, the young mother asked, "Now that I think about it, what is this music?" Ash listened more intently and replied, "Sounds pretty classical. If I had to guess, I'd say this is something by Mozart." Ruby asked, "Mozart?" Ash nodded, "A really famous composer from a long time ago." Ruby then blushed, "So we're dancing to something of great historical value."

Ash and Ruby continued to slow dance without performing anything flashy. They always held each other's hands and never took their eyes off each other except for a few brief glances around the hall. Brock was trying to convince a very attractive blonde lady with a blue dress to dance with him while Max and Shadow were simply snacking on cake while observing the dancers. They even gave the young couple a friendly wave when they noticed Ash and Ruby looking their way. May was giggling as she watched Sapphire dance with Pikachu. But while the little Riolu seemed to be having fun, Pikachu was slightly embarrassed to be dancing with a little girl who was younger than him while also being a foot taller than him as well. But as the song began to fade out, Ruby noticed Lucy watching from a corner while sipping a soft drink. Ruby then whispered for Ash to follow her. Once they were standing behind a support pillar, Ruby pointed over to Lucy in the distance.

"You see Lucy over there?" Ash peeked out from behind the pillar. "Yeah. She looks kinda bored." Ruby then asked, "Ash, do you remember that request I asked of you on the night after you first met Pearl?" Ash blushed, "Ruby, I know you want me to love her like I love you, but I'm just not there yet." Ruby nodded, "Yeah, I had a hunch you weren't. But look at her. She seems so lonely. And I can tell she wants someone to dance with her." Ash asked, "Does she really look like she wants to dance? She only looks bored to me." Ruby then gave Ash a small push towards Lucy, "Then fix that." Ash looked back at his girlfriend and chuckled, "OK. Just don't get your hopes up."

Lucy sipped slowly from her soft drink while watching the other couples dance. (I'm bored. But this music just doesn't inspire me when I'm alone.) But before she even knew it, a hand reached out to her. "Care to dance?" The girl gasped when she saw Ash offering his hand to her. She remained silent for a moment before replying, "But...but I'm not dressed for the occasion! Look at Ruby! She's the perfect dance partner with that dress!" Ash chuckled, "Forget the dress, OK? I'm asking you to dance with me because you're the one I want to dance with." Lucy was so shocked by Ash's offering, she dropped her soft drink. The cup was only plastic to avoid the risk of it breaking, but the sweet fluid spilled over the floor. Ash noticed and said, "Just a sec." He pulled out a napkin that was stashed in his pocket and wiped up the small amount of fluid. After tossing the used napkin into a trash can nearby, he asked again, "So, care to dance?" Seeing that Ash was not going to back down, Lucy sighed, "OK. Just remember that I'm not a professional."

Ash led Lucy to the center of the dance floor during an interval. "Ash, what if I don't do well?" Ash simply smiled, "Just follow along with the tempo. That's what I usually do." A moment later, a very upbeat song with a fast tempo began to play. Almost immediately, Lucy's left foot began to tap the floor in sync with the tempo. "I think.....yes! I'm pretty sure I can follow along with this one!" Ash led Lucy and she followed. They would frequently hold one hand while sliding around behind each other. But then Lucy started to get a little too caught up in the music.

With both arms pointed outwards and a bit downwards, Lucy began to move from side to side before pushing her arms straight out. Her eyes were now closed and she had a delightful grin on her face. Ruby watched from a distance. Her jaw dropped at the sight of her little 'sister' dancing so passionately. "Man, look at her go! Don't fall behind, Ash!" But Ruby did not have to tell him that. Ash was watching Lucy carefully and trying to mimic her in a mirror image. Lucy soon brought her right forearm in front of her chest while her left arm reached high above her. After performing a quick rotation, Lucy swapped arms, her tail swishing behind her like a ribbon. Ash mimicked her the best he could, but was steadily falling behind the lithe Lucario. Ash also noticed that Lucy's right ear, which was always drooped forward, was pointing up like her left ear, most likely due to her elated mood. As the song began to come to a close, Lucy reached out with her right arm while her left arm lowered a bit. Ash responded by grabbing her hand and pulling her close with her back to him. As the song stopped, Ash helped Lucy bend over backwards with one leg reaching into the air while one arm was gripping his shoulder as the other hung downwards. Both were sweating profusely, but they also looked as if they had a good time.

Ash panted, "Did ya have fun?" Lucy gasped, "Yes...phew. I haven't danced like that for a long time." Ash wheezed, "Ya know, you lied to me. You said you weren't a professional. But you outperformed me through the whole song!" Lucy giggled, "I wasn't lying! I'm not a professional! I was just following the flow of the music. I guess when I start dancing to a nice tune, I can't help myself. I just enjoy danc...mmph?!" Lucy was cut off when Ash did the one thing that no one was expecting. He closed his eyes and sealed lips with the Lucario.

Lucy's mind was awash with feelings of shock, confusion, and even a bit of pleasure. (What...why is he doing this?! Is It's not out of lust or desire. Ash would never do that to anyone. But still...why is he...why...) Lucy's eyes rolled up into her head and she hit the floor as her body went limp. Ash jumped back at Lucy's unexpected reaction. "What the... Lucy?!" Ruby ran over to her boyfriend and asked, "What the heck happened?!" Ash looked Lucy over, "I think she just fainted." Ruby laughed, "Considering what a stud you are, I'd faint too if you kissed me out of nowhere for the first time." But Ash yelled, "Knock it off! This is serious! Do you have any idea how hard these dance floors are?!" Ruby nodded, "OK, sorry! Well, I'll carry her back to our cabin and take a look at her." But when Ruby kneeled down to pick Lucy up, she suddenly stopped. "Oh?" Ash asked, "What's wrong?" Ruby looked back up at him and shook her head, "Oh, it's nothing. Let's go." Ruby scooped Lucy up in her arms and ran out of the hall with Ash close behind her. But unknown to Ash, the reason why Ruby had paused for a few seconds was because she saw that Lucy was slightly smiling with a faint blush on her face.

Ash asked, "So, how is she?" Ruby looked over at Ash after examining Lucy on their bed, "She's fine. Looks like being a Steel type Pokemon reduces damage from impacts with hard objects." Ash breathed a sigh of relief, "That's good. I was afraid that I let her get hurt." Ruby then walked over to him, her red dress swaying with each step. "Thanks, Ash. I knew you would eventually find a lover in her."

Ash looked at Ruby with a look of surprise, "A lover? Wha...?" Ruby playfully poked his chest, "I saw what you did. I'm surprised it was you who made the first move. Seriously, thanks for taking Lucy into your life like that." But Ash backed away, "No, it's not like that!" Ruby asked, "What do you mean? Surely you must've kissed her for a reason!" Ash sighed, "I did. But more than anything, I think I kissed her out of instinct. Like I was supposed to do it."

Ruby remained silent for a moment before asking, "Are you saying you kissed her because you felt it was required at the end of that dance?" Ash sighed, "Yeah. The way our faces were so close and the way she was just resting in my arm..... I don't know why I felt the need to do it." Ruby bowed her head, "I see. I thought that Lucy would finally have someone to love her." Ash then spoke, "But I'm not saying that it'll never happen! Lucy's important to me! I always want to be there for her!" Ruby gave Ash a somewhat sad gaze, "You really mean that?" Ash nodded, "Yeah. I know that you and she are a lot alike, so I want to make her life better the same way I did for you." Ruby smiled, "Thank you. Just let me remind you that I am dead serious about you claiming her as a lover. Even though we are mates, I want her to have you as a lover as well." Ash nodded, "Yeah, I haven't forgotten that."

Ruby turned to leave the cabin to head back to the dance hall, but stopped as she reached for the doorknob. "Is something bugging you?" Ruby turned back to Ash, "There's something that you need to know. It's about Lucy." Ruby then walked back over to her 'sister' and checked if she was still out cold. Once Ruby was certain that Lucy would not wake up, she faced Ash, "Don't say no to this. You need to hear this." Ash nodded and took a seat. "I know I told you that Lucy and I share similar pasts that were filled with great pain and sorrow. But I just realized something when I looked into her eyes when I was patching her up back on Mt. Pyre." Ash asked, "You saw something? What?" Ruby shuddered, "There is more to her past than I thought. And her past back then was an even darker hell than mine was."

Ash felt a drop of sweat trickle down his face. "Her past was worse than yours?" Ruby nodded, "Yes. I could not see exactly what it was, but she's seen things that would cripple an ordinary woman's mind. I wouldn't be surprised if she was tortured by someone or left for dead at some point. But I just couldn't figure out the details. And there was something else.....something frightening..." Ash asked, "Frightening? What was it?" Ruby explained, "You know how we Lucario can sense the Aura of living creatures, right?" Ash nodded. "Well, I sensed something inside Lucy that I could not understand. Something that scared me away. I didn't even want to know what I was sensing. I don't know if it's sorrow, hatred, or even a desire to kill. But whatever I was sensing was an extremely negative presence."

Ruby then walked over to Ash and took his hand, "Lucy may seem happy and content with you and the rest of our companions, but she's still suffering inside. I fear that if she doesn't find someone who can heal the scars of her past, her bottled-up sorrows just might kill her someday." Ash gripped Ruby's hand tightly, "Thanks for bringing this up. Ruby, I promise that as soon as I start to feel more deeply for her, I'll offer Lucy a place in my heart alongside you." Ruby sighed, "Words can't describe how relieved I am that you told me that. Don't ever break that promise." Ruby then stood up and made her way for the door, "I'm gonna go check on the babies. It's gotten pretty late, so I'll be heading to bed soon." Once Ruby left, Ash walked over to Lucy and knelt down beside her. He caressed her pretty face and gently touched her hand. After placing a gentle kiss on her cheek, he whispered, "Lucy, I'm not there just yet. But no matter what happens, I'll always be there for you. I won't let anyone hurt you again. I promise." Even in sleep, Lucy closed her hand around Ash's own as her mouth curved into a pleasant smile.

After a few days at sea, the ferry docked at a port just south of Mauville City. Once they had left the ferry, Ash looked towards the north. "I never knew Mauville City was this close. I can just make it out." Max then checked the Pokenav. "If I had to make a guess, it'll take us a couple of weeks to get to Slateport City from where we are now." Ruby then nodded, "Then let's not waste any time. The sooner we get out of Hoenn, the better." But as they began their trek south, Lucy grabbed Ash's hand. The Trainer looked down at her, "Something wrong?" Lucy shyly replied, "Thank you for the dance a few days ago. I really enjoyed myself." Ash smiled, "Not a problem. I'm just glad I was able to help you have some fun." Lucy then asked, "Think we could dance again when we get to your house?" Ash nodded, "Count on it."

Ash and his entourage continued south for the next few days with little disturbance other than a few Trainers looking for a battle. Ash took these opportunities to train with Shadow and the two of them came out on top every time. Shadow was especially pleased that his friend had become his Trainer like he originally wanted. But one afternoon, the gang met some unexpected resistance.

Lucash danced around Shadow, "You're so cool, Shadow! Can you teach me how to fight like that someday?" The Lucario chuckled, "Sure, but only if your parents agree." The boy then faced his mother and father, "Come on, can I? Please?" Ash chuckled, "I can't think of a better teacher than Shadow. What about you, Ruby?" The young mother giggled, "Every Lucario needs to know how to fight, so why not?" Lucash jumped for joy, "ALL RIGHT!!! Thanks!" But right after that, a voice called out, "Team Rocket is the best teacher for any kind of training!"

The gang turned towards the forest nearby and saw the three Team Rocket operatives emerge from it. Ash yelled, "You guys again?! I thought Ashton did something with you!" James replied, "Oh, he did. But since we cooperated with him, he let us go." May then asked, "What's wrong? Aren't you gonna use some sort of robot? No traps? No lies?" Jessie laughed, "Not this time! Sorry to disappoint you! We've decided to try things the old-fashioned way today!" Ash smirked, "A battle? Sounds good to me. Hey, Shadow. Think you can handle this?" The former assassin cracked his knuckles as he stepped towards his opponents, "With pleasure." But before Team Rocket could reach for their Poke Balls, a voice called down from above, "Stop wasting your time!" A large shadow passed over them and they looked up to see a figure fall from the sky. With a thud, the newcomer landed between the two parties and stood up slowly. Brock called out, "Hey, is that you Ashton?!" The viscount turned to face his friends and family. "Indeed. It is I." A moment later, Chiara landed next to her master. "We promised to meet up again in about three months, did we not?"

Meowth shouted, "Scram! Get lost! Dis is our fight!" The viscount turned to the trio and spoke, "I'll say it again. Stop wasting your time. The boss will never reward you for your efforts." Jessie giggled, "You're such a tease! Like we would believe you!" Ashton then smirked, "I was hoping you would not believe me. Here's some proof." He then tossed a leather sack towards them that was concealed under his cape. James caught it and grunted, "Whoa... It's a bit heavy...wait! Is this a bomb?!" Ashton laughed, "Have no fear! It's not booby trapped!" He then walked over to Ash. The Trainer chuckled under his breath, "Nice one, Ashton. That really is a trap, isn't it?" The viscount shook his head, "Why would it be? They cooperated with me, so I let them go. However....." Lucy then asked, "What? Is there something we should know about that sack?" Ashton looked over his shoulder at them and gave them a funny grin, "You might want to have the children look away for a moment."

Team Rocket looked at each other in uncertainty. James whispered, "Do you think we can trust him?" Meowth then spoke, "Just give it a good shake and listen ta it." James raised the sack to his ear and shook it a bit. "I don't hear anything. I guess it's not a bomb." Jessie then said, "Open it already. The suspense is killing me!" James then untied the thread around the opening and held the sack upside-down. After a few shakes, something round and large hit the ground with a thud. All three Team Rocket operatives became blue in the face and let out a scream of terror at the sight of their leader's severed head.

Ash gagged at the sight before him, his hands covering his children's eyes. "Ashton, what the heck did you do?!" The viscount smirked, "What? I told you, didn't I? I destroyed Team Rocket at the source by eliminating their leader." Ruby gave him a playful nudge, "Way to go! You're really something else!" May then asked, "But wasn't it difficult?" Ashton shrugged his shoulders, "Chiara and I did encounter some resistance, but they were simply no match. Mere grunts can't compare to experienced veterans like us." Just then, Ashton noticed the tiny Lucario at Ash's side. After checking to make sure that his body was obstructing the boy's view of Giovanni's head, Ashton kneeled down and removed Ash's hand from his face. "Well, hello there. Have I seen you somewhere before?"

Lucash looked up at his ancestor, "You look just like Daddy." Ashton nodded, "That's because I'm his ancestor. Who are you?" The Lucario child smiled, "I'm Lucash!" Ashton sighed, "Lucash, huh? Just like my little boy. You look every bit the way he did. But you do seem a tad small for a Lucario." Ash explained, "That's because he evolved extremely prematurely. But I'm pretty sure he'll grow to full size someday." Ashton nodded, "A premature evolution? That makes no difference. Be a good boy for your father." Lucash smiled, "OK, Mr......uh...what's your name?" Ashton chuckled, "Just call me Grandpa." Lucash spoke, "Grandpa...? Um...OK!" Ashton gave the little Lucario a gentle pat on the head.

Ashton then asked the group, "So, where are we heading?" Ash explained, "We're going home." Ashton looked a bit confused, "Home? But weren't you doing something here in the first place?" Shadow explained, "There's been a change of plans. Ash has been marked for death by my clan. They seem to believe that he raped Ruby and brainwashed me into turning against them. But once we leave Hoenn, we'll be safe." Ashton looked over at Ash and Ruby. "Raped? That doesn't sound right. You two look like a perfect couple." Ruby sighed, "It doesn't matter what we say. Thanatos won't listen to reason. When he sets his mind to something, he'll stick with it to the end." Ashton remained silent for a moment before asking, "Wait..... Thanatos?" She nodded, "That's the name of my clan's Alpha male." Ashton frowned, "Never imagined someone would be named after that weapon. Especially after holding it in my own hands."

Brock asked, "Weapon? What weapon?" Ashton turned to the gang and explained, "According to legend, the Grim Reaper's scythe is known as Thanatos. I actually held that weapon in my own hands once. And to be honest, I really hope I never have to again." Ash shivered, "You actually held a weapon that reaps souls?!" Ashton bowed his head, "I didn't have a choice. Not even the power of the Eternal Flame was enough. Only with the power of death itself could I have saved my family." Shadow gulped, "Sounds like a truly terrifying weapon." Ashton explained, "Actually, it doesn't look all that impressive. But considering that it can forcefully extract the souls of the living from their bodies, yeah. It really is a weapon that should never be allowed to fall into the hands of mortals."

Ashton then asked, "So, you say you're going home? And that's in Pallet Town, right?" Ash nodded, "Yeah! You know that place?" The viscount chuckled, "Know it?! I live in the forest nearby! I even saw your mother there. She looks just like the mother I never knew in a few portraits in the manor. But she didn't believe me when I explained that I'm your ancestor. She seems more than just a little naïve." Ash sighed, "Yeah, but that's just her. She's a really great mom to me." Ashton nodded, "That she is. And she makes a fine brew of tea." Just then, they heard footsteps approaching from behind Ashton. The viscount turned and asked, "Can I help you?" It was Team Rocket.

Meowth spoke first. "So... Dis means da boss is dead?" Chiara asked in reply, "Do you believe it is possible for someone to survive a beheading?" James sighed, "Thought so. This means Team Rocket is gone. We're unemployed now. So if you don't mind us asking....." Jessie then pleaded, "Please, give us a new role!" Ashton took a step back, "I beg your pardon?" James explained, "We have nowhere to go now! Is there anyplace you know of that we might be needed?" Ashton began to pace back and forth for a moment. He then asked, "Do you three think you're up to various tasks such as cleaning and cooking?" Jessie giggled, "It wouldn't be the first time. Where do you have in mind?" Ashton smiled, "The Crimson estate has become extremely shorthanded since the deaths of several of my servants. There's no way Aurora, Chiara, and I can maintain it on our own. Head over to Pallet Town and await my return. I'll have some new positions ready for you." Meowth joyfully wept, "Ya really mean it?!" Ashton nodded, but soon gave them a stern glare, "But if you start trouble before I get there....." James spoke first, "Yes, we know! You'll disembowel us! See you there!" With that, the three former Team Rocket operatives dashed down the road to the south. Ash looked on in bewilderment, "I don't think I've ever seen them run that fast before." Ashton then asked, "Well then, care to lead the way home?"

About a week passed since Ashton and Chiara rejoined their family. But on the night of a crescent moon, a small group of five Lucario was performing a nightly patrol a few miles to the south of Mauville City. A sinister voice grumbled, "Why do we of the Blackflame Five have to perform something as basic as border patrol? It's no fun if we don't find rival clan members to fight!" A one-eyed Lucario growled, "Put a sock in it, Silent Fang. We're here because there are no other clan members available for this area at the moment." Thanatos looked over at Pearl, who was just leaning against a tree. "Are you still upset about that? That was over two weeks ago! Let it go!" The lone female turned away from the Alpha male. (It doesn't matter how much time passes. I couldn't save him. I can't forgive myself for that.)

Titan asked, "So there's nothing out of the ordinary here?" Hawkeye replied, "It seems that way. I'm not finding any signs of.....wait....." Hawkeye froze as he picked up a faint scent. A freaked out look came across his face. "No..... This can't be possible!" Thanatos looked over to the sniper as he sniffed the air, "What? Who have you detected?" Hawkeye looked over at the Alpha male and spoke, "That human kid I killed a couple of weeks ago."

Pearl's ears perked up at the mention of the boy that Hawkeye had killed with a shot from his Aura Bow. "He's alive?!" Thanatos growled, "Impossible. He was dead. I even checked his vital signs myself." But Hawkeye spoke, "I never forget a scent. You more than anyone know that." He then crawled over to a spot in the road and brought his nose near the ground. "Yes. He is definitely alive. I don't smell any decay." Silent Fang asked, "Are you sure it's not a scent from sometime before we even learned of him?" Hawkeye then crawled over to a spot to the west of his position. "Actually, he did pass through right along here. But this scent is several months old. Likely before he even captured that nameless female. And he was heading north at the time." He then crawled back over to the spot with the fresh scent. "But this one is barely over a week old. And it leads south."

Thanatos began to clench his fists, "Did you say it leads south?" Hawkeye nodded, "Yes. Why?" The Alpha male growled, "Slateport City is the only port town that has ferries leaving for the Kanto region. That boy must originate from there." Titan then asked, "Do you mean....." Thanatos nodded, "Exactly. He is planning to escape by sea. It would seem that he believes we would not figure out he is still alive in time. But I doubt he took your nose into account, Hawkeye." He then turned to his comrades, "We don't have much time. If we are to catch that scum before he reaches Slateport City, we must head out at once and rest only when necessary." With that, the Alpha male led the Blackflame Five to the south in hot pursuit. But Pearl whispered to herself, (Thank God, it's a miracle! I have to get to Ash first and warn him!)

Over the course of three days, the Blackflame Five moved through the trees with Hawkeye leading them with his nose. But on the night of the third day, Thanatos signaled for them to stop. "That's enough for now. We've been going after them nonstop for three days. We must rest now if we are to keep our strength up." Thanatos then dropped to the ground and curled up in a bush. Titan walked over to him and asked, "Are you sure we have enough time to rest?" The Alpha male answered with light snoring. Hawkeye grunted, "Dang, he must've been tired. Guess I'll turn in too." One by one the Blackflame Five fell asleep. But not Pearl. Taking full advantage of her comrade's sleepiness, she munched on a few Chesto Berries to counter her own drowsiness. Once she was wide awake, the lone female jumped out from the forest and ran south along the road. "I have to get to him and make it back before they wake up."

Pearl ran at very high speeds for a few hours straight. "So! I can't give up yet!" But after several more minutes, she came to what seemed to be a campsite. But what shocked her most was the sight of a midget Lugia sleeping on its back. Its arms were folded over its abdomen. A closer inspection revealed that she was embracing a young man who bore a close resemblance to Ash. "He's, not now. Keep your mind on the job, Pearl." The Lucario began to check each sleeping bag. She soon found Ash dozing peacefully in one of them. The sight of him still alive brought tears to her eyes. She then kneeled down to him and gave him a gentle shake. "Ash sweetie, wake up. I need to speak to you." When Ash did not respond to her methods, Pearl tried something new. She smiled as she closed her mouth around his. After taking in a deep breath through her nose, she blew a full breath into Ash's lungs. The sudden inflation of his lungs while he was trying to exhale caused Ash to gag as he awoke with a start, coughing violently as he gasped for breath.

"What the heck?! Who did that?!" A familiar voice replied, "I had to wake you up somehow." Ash turned to the owner of the voice, "Pearl?" The Lucario nodded, "Thanks for remembering me. I need to speak to you about something first...huh?!" Pearl was cut off when Ash grabbed her and held her in an embrace. "Man, I thought the Blackflame Five executed you after what you did!" Pearl desperately wanted to faint in the arms of the boy she loved, but restrained herself. "Ash, I'm serious. I need to be quick." Ash let go of Pearl and asked, "Quick? What's the big deal?" Pearl sighed, "They know. The Blackflame Five picked up your scent just south of Mauville City and are now in pursuit. You need to get to Slateport City right away. Book it, Ash! If they find you, you're dead!"

Ash felt a cold sweat trickle down his face at Pearl's warning. "They found out?" Pearl nodded, "Yeah, but there's a catch. Every three days, we'll have to stop and rest. That'll give you a little extra time to increase the gap between us. Once you're on the ferry for home, they'll have no choice but to call off the chase." But Ash asked, "But why are you risking your life for me?" Pearl groaned, "Is it really that hard to tell?! I'm trying to save you because I love you!" She then threw her arms around Ash and sobbed, "When Hawkeye fired that Aura Bolt at you, I turned away before it hit. I didn't want to see you die." Ash caressed her head, "Pearl, I don't want to see you get hurt either. When I saw you try to convince Thanatos to leave me alone, I was sure that he was gonna kill you too. I'm glad he only knocked you out instead." Pearl then whispered, "Ash..... Do you love me?" The Trainer smiled, "You were willing to die to save me from your own clan. Of course I love you."

Pearl looked up at Ash with a tender gaze while he did the same. They soon brought their lips together and held each other in a tender embrace. They then brought their tongues together, mixing their saliva and steadily arousing each other. Pearl felt a slight bump in Ash's pants as their kiss became increasingly messy. (He wants me..... And I need him...) But Pearl snapped back to her senses and pushed Ash away, "No, not yet. It's just too soon. I can't take this risk while we're both still in the Hoenn region." Ash wiped his lips dry, "That's OK. Seriously, thanks for warning me tonight. But will I ever see you again?" Pearl smiled, "Why would I ever separate us for good? As soon as I know you have escaped Hoenn, I'll leave the Blackflame Five and follow you. OK?" Ash nodded, "Got it."

Pearl stretched and yawned, "Man, these Chesto Berries must be wearing off. I better take a dip in the ocean to perk myself up and get rid of your scent." But before she left, Pearl held Ash's hand between both of hers' and whispered, "Stay alive for me." She then gave him a quick kiss on the forehead before heading northeast towards the ocean. Ash watched as his girlfriend's sister disappeared into the darkness. When he lied back down in his sleeping bag, he whispered, "Pearl.....don't die on me..."
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