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TEEN: just another textbook case

J
Created at
Index progress
Complete

"I don’t want word going around the school that…” “… That the daughter of the town’s gym leader doesn’t like pokemon?” advanceshipping, tutor AU.
just another textbook case

ogDG

monarch of inconsistency
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
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"I don’t want word going around the school that…” “… That the daughter of the town’s gym leader doesn’t like pokemon?” advanceshipping, tutor AU.
~~~~~~~​
howdy! this is my first fic for either pokemon or advshipping, though i've been in the fandom for a while. also, this is my first time posting on any sort of forum, not just bulbapedia. i am quite overwhelmed at the process, haha. please let me know if i didn't do something properly while posting this, or if you have formatting suggestions! i'm typically really minimalist with the way i layout and format my documents since i primarily post on ff.net (link to this story on there here), but there are so many text options on here! if there's something i can do to make this easier on your eyes to read, i want to do that :)

deets (if there's something i should mention here let me know that too!)
  • title is inspired by 'don't try this at home' by the backstreet boys, the loves of my life
  • AU Hoenn setting, fluctuating viewpoints, mild swearing, and implied sexual desire
  • playing fast and loose with game mechanics and anime canon
  • romance, friendship, humour
  • >9600 words
~~~~~~~
just another textbook case
Wednesday

“... Hence, non-damaging, status-affecting moves are actually muy importante. Any questions?”

Staring up at Professor Kukui from neat rows were the students of his Applied Pokemon Strategy class. They were bedecked in the navy blue and steel gray uniforms of Petalburg Preparatory Academy, Hoenn’s premier private boarding school for future leaders in the pokemon world.

At the conclusion of his lecture, Professor Kukui looked over their dispassionate stares and tried to keep his upbeat attitude. The other professors said he was so lucky to get APS, but everyone knew the kids were only in it for the practicum session.

“Righteous,” he said after prolonged silence. “If no one’s confused, we’ll head out. Maple, Garcia; you’re up.”

From her languorous position with her chin supported on her open palm and her elbow on the table, May Maple’s body sat up at attention at being spoken to. She realised what it was for when she saw the other students pack up and get ready to head to the battlefield.

She shot her hand up. “Professor, may I be excused?”

Kukui didn’t look up from his desk as he prepared his grading materials for observing the battle. “Sure, but don’t keep the class waiting.”

“I meant from the lab demonstration, not the class.”

The students got noticeably quieter, as if they could sense something juicy was about to happen and didn’t want to miss a moment of it.

Kukui took off his sunglasses so that his student could clearly see his unimpressed face. “And why should I excuse you from the practicum this time, Ms. Maple?”

May affected a chagrined attitude, not at all deterred from lying by her professor’s body language and tone of voice. “Well, I went to the doctor recently for a cold, and I was prescribed to stay away from special type pokemon for a few days.”

Kukui simply crossed his arms. “Alright, show me the prescription, and you’re excused.”

“Oh, did I say ‘prescribed?’ It was really more of a strong recommendation. In any case, I’d rather not gamble with my health, Professor.” She punctuated her statement with a winsome smile, and several boys in the class audibly sighed.

Kukui replaced his sunglasses so no one could see his unprofessional eye roll. “Fine. Morrison, you’re up instead. Everyone else, I wanted you on that battlefield five minutes ago… Except for you, Maple. Stay back a sec.”

He waited for May by the door to ensure the rest of the class proceeded ahead of them and actually headed in the right direction.

“This is the third time this quarter that you’ve avoided participating in the practicum, Ms. Maple,” he began mildly as they walked.

“I resent that, Professor Kukui,” May responded in the same tone of voice. “I consider myself a rather active participant in your class. If I weren’t, surely my lab write-ups would reflect that; wouldn’t you say? And you know I don’t cheat.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” Kukui retorted in a low tone.

May shrugged, unaffected by her teacher’s exasperation. “I personally see no issue with the status quo. I’m still learning from and passing your class. Isn’t that enough?”

Kukui stopped her at the exit to the building. The rest of the students had situated themselves on the bleachers ahead, eager to watch the upcoming battle, gossip in their spare time, and enjoy the Hoenn midday sun. He took off his sunglasses again to look his student in the eye.

“This is Applied Pokemon Strategy, Ms. Maple,” he warned. “If I don’t start seeing more application from you, I’ll be forced to adjust your grades accordingly. Q3 interim reports go out on Friday, you know.”

May pouted but nodded her understanding.

Kukui put his sunglasses back on, signalling his intention to end the conversation. “Righteous. Go on, then.”

He watched as one of his best students walked away and shook out his limbs. “Gah, I hate playing bad cop.”

Friday

As soon as classes let out for the day, May made her way off campus. She gave a cordial wave to the security guard at the eastern exit and tread the well-known path from the school to the impressive dojo that was the Petalburg Gym.

Before letting herself in, she rang the doorbell to the home entrance so that anyone home would know she was there. “Mom? Max? I’m home!” she called out for safe measure. She didn’t hear anything in response and figured they were occupied elsewhere, so she lounged on the living room couch and turned on the tv while she waited for her dad to show up.

Sure, she could have gone to see her dad directly, but she knew he would probably be in the greenhouse, tending to his pokemon after a long day of defending his gym’s honour.

Yeah, she’ll pass on the greenhouse.

She was only able to watch one episode of Teen Lyranroc before her dad showed up, dusting his hands off on an old rag. “May-flower! What a pleasant surprise! How’s my baby girl doing?” Norman Maple dropped a kiss onto her head before going into the kitchen to wash up and grab a snack.

“Hey, Dad,” she greeted jovially while reaching into her bookbag. “Interim reports went out today.”

She went into the kitchen to bring the report to her dad, who received it eagerly.

“A-, A, A, B+. These grades are great, honey!” Norman cheered through bites of his apple. May beamed at the praise, knowing how hard she worked in both her human and her pokemon classes.

In fact, she was so confident that she didn’t bother looking at the report before giving it to her father, so his consequent frown confused her.

“May, what’s this about how you’re not participating fully in the practicums for your pokemon classes?”

May’s jaw dropped. “They docked my grades?!” she exclaimed, betrayed. Kukui said he wouldn’t!

He shook his head, the disappointed frown still prominent. “No, they just said that you aren’t as involved in the practicums as you could be and that you could easily be the top of the class if you did.”

May’s mouth twisted into a moue. 'At least Kukui kept his word,' she thought begrudgingly.

Norman took a deep breath, and May knew what was coming next. “I thought you’d get over your pokephobia by now,” he said with tired disappointment.

As the eldest child of the town’s Gym Leader, May was the expecter heir of the title once Norman retired. Her inability to be within an arm’s reach of pokemon was… unbecoming at best.

May crossed her arms and faced away. “Having a level of respect for creatures with abilities to control the elements is healthy and rational, and they’re not even that cute!” May retorted, as she did every time they had this conversation.

Norman sighed as he left the interim report on the kitchen table for Caroline to see when she got home. “You leave me no choice, honey. I’m getting you a tutor.”

May posture slackened as her jaw dropped in an over-dramatic fashion. “Dad, that’s so embarrassing!” she screeched. “What is the school gonna think when they hear that the great Norman Maple’s daughter has to get tutored for her pokemon practicums?”

“Not my problem, May-flower,” Norman said lightly as he settled into his armchair and changed the channel on the TV. “No daughter of mine is going to fail those classes.”

“Ugh! Why can’t you be one of those Gym Leaders who is overly obsessed with his image?!” May shrieked as she stomped up the stairs to her room, no doubt to call her best friend, Dawn Berlitz, and complain about the turn of events.

“I am, but I care about the right image!” Norman called back teasingly. His only response was the distant slamming of May’s bedroom door.

Norman’s attention turned back to the television, where recaps of Winona’s latest gym battle played on. He took another bite of his apple and shook his head. “Why couldn’t she have been afraid of clowns, like normal people?” he lamented to himself.

Monday

As they found themselves every weekday morning, May and Dawn were at the Student Athletic Center. May did casual yoga on a mat, and beside her, Dawn did weighted squats.

Honestly, May could do without the daily exercise, but it was basically the only quality time she got with her best friend. As one of the best athletes in the school, Dawn kept a strict exercise regimen.

“So he’s making you get a tutor?” Dawn asked distastefully between reps.

May hastily shushed her friend. “Don’t say that so loud!” she admonished as she looked around. The workout gym wasn’t empty, but the other individuals working out this early in the morning were nowhere near hearing distance. Dawn rolled her eyes at her friend’s paranoia, and May continued, “My first session is at Birch’s Research Annex this afternoon.”

Dawn dropped her dumbbell in disappointed indignation. “We were supposed to go out with Misty and Wanda!” she pouted. “Wanda finally got her chauffeur for the afternoon so we could go to the mall!”

May wasn’t really that close with the other two girls, but—when everyone else was either so intimidated by her to be a real friend or constantly scheming to leverage her friendship somehow—it was easier to simply befriend those in her echelon.

“I know, but if I miss this first session, Dad might tell one of the profs the truth,” May worried as she transitioned from revolved half moon to birds of paradise. “I’d rather have private lessons with one of his gym aides than have someone at school find out.”

Dawn weighed this in her head as she lifted the weight above her head. “Yeah, I get it,” she said after a moment. “I don’t know if the other girls could even fathom your, um, condition. Their whole lives revolve around pokemon.”

May huffed. “Yeah, and so does everyone’s at this school. No one can find out. I’d be ruined!”

Dawn didn’t think May cared all that much about her popularity, but she could also think the same about herself. That being said, she did recognise how it made her life just a little bit easier. At length, she merely shrugged in response.

After some more poses and reps, May broke the silence. “Promise me you’ll buy something other than athleisure this time?”

Dawn smirked in her friend’s direction. “Come on, May. You know how I am when left unchecked in a LuluLileep.”

~~~~~~~​

Birch’s Research Annex looked like any other office building; but when you remember that the building is situated on two whole acres of the Petalburg Woods dedicated to the various pokemon electives at Petalburg Prep, it became a little more impressive.

Her dad had said her tutor would wait for her in the Annex’s atrium. May stopped outside the main entrance and pulled out her compact to look over her hair.

She really hoped she’d go inside to find Brendan was her tutor. The gym assistant was around her age and started around the time they were 10, so they’ve known each other for 5 years now. He was easily the cutest of the aides, and she could see herself having fun with him in between sessions.

Satisfied with her appearance, she set her shoulders back and confidently walked through the doors, wanting the first thing Brendan saw to be her dazzling smile…

The atrium was basically empty.

The only person there was Ash Ketchum leaning against one of the pillars, his bookbag and his pikachu situated at his feet. May pouted to herself but shook it off. No matter. She wasn’t really one for waiting around, but her dad made it very clear that he expected her to see this through.

She settled on an open bench, thinking about where she and Dawn should go for dinner and paying no mind to the other student.

That is, until, he came up to her.

“Hey, May.”

May spared him a brief glance. “Hello,” she said neutrally.

Ash quirked an eyebrow when she didn’t say anything else. He fiddled with his hat, which was blatantly against the dress code, and waited for a moment more before asking, “So, uh, are you ready to get started?”

May turned a questioning eye to the boy, eyebrows furrowed. “What are you talking about?”

“Um, I’m guessing you’re the person I’m here to help? With the pokemon practicums?”

May’s eyes bugged with shock. “You’re my tutor?!” she exclaimed. “But you’re just a scholarship kid!”

Her outburst echoed in the empty space, and she winced with every reminder of her tactless statement. Ash’s polite, open face—ready to meet a new tutee and get started on working—morphed into an unimpressed look. “Alright, cool. I’m gonna head out, then,” he said dryly as he went back for his bookbag.

“Wait!”

May got up and reached out for Ash before he could get too far, but his pikachu swiftly jumped in her way and began powering up an attack. May stumbled back several steps, trying to maintain some distance from the pokemon.

“I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right,” she scrambled to say, her eyes still trained on the angry pikachu. She was trying for genuine apology, but her voice wavered at the end from fear. Unfortunately for her, it sounded more like a laugh.

Ash shouldered his bookbag and turned to face May with with his arms crossed. “Oh, was there a more polite way to say ‘No way could you be tutoring me if your parent isn’t even important enough to be on the board of this school’?”

May frowned at him. “That’s not what I meant,” she defended, her guilt easily turning into offense.

Ash’s angry stance deflated, and his pikachu followed suit. There was no use in getting worked up over something as inconsequential as this. “Listen, it’s obvious this isn’t going to work out. Just tell your dad to get another tutor,” he responded tiredly as he made to leave.

May frowned deeper, not accustomed to being blown off. She huffed, “Maybe I will. What can you possibly teach me anyway?” she jeered at his retreating form.

Ash stopped and turned on his heel with a fire in his eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he growled.

May stood her ground, unfazed by Ash’s aggression. “Daddy was supposed to get me a real tutor, like one who wasn’t still in school.”

Ash stalked towards the arrogant girl, his voice pitched low. “I’ll have you know there is no one in this entire city, maybe this entire coast, who gets pokemon like I do.” He punctuated his statement with a thumb to his chest and a final step in May’s direction. She could laugh at his pitiful attempt at looking threatening.

May took her own step forward, looking up in order to maintain eye contact. “Mind what you say in front of the Gym Leader’s daughter,” she warned.

Ash only shrugged, which made May’s eyes narrow in contempt. “Maybe I couldn’t beat him in a battle, but battling isn’t the only way we interact with pokemon. You’d have learned that if you bothered bringing one in for Applied Pokemon Husbandry,” he quipped.

“Well, that’s what you’re here for!”

“Not anymore, remember?” Ash abruptly spun and beedrill-lined for the door, his pikachu hot on his heels.

There were so many ways May wanted to respond to that, but indignance at being unable to have the last word lost the battle to her pride. “Don’t you dare tell anyone about this!” she demanded, releasing all her pent up frustration with that final command.

“Whatever,” Ash dismissed. “You’re not the first legacy that needed a little help.”

May rolled her eyes for her own benefit. “Not that part,” she said without antagonism, which was the only thing that slowed Ash’s pace. “The fact that I needed a tutor for my pokemon practicums specifically. I don’t want word going around the school that…” she trailed off, thinking of a diplomatic way to put it.

“… That the daughter of the town’s gym leader doesn’t like pokemon?” Ash ventured as he slowed to a stop in front of the door, his head turned so that his voice could carry over his shoulder.

May’s fury returned with a vengeance at perceived betrayal. “Did Dad tell you that?!” she accused.

Ash faced forward again, successfully hiding his smirk. “No. You did, just now.”

May gaped, flabbergasted at how easily this random student figured out one of her deepest secrets. “Well, you definitely can’t tell people that,” she said finally. “My reputation would be ruined!”

Ash waved her off, and his pikachu jumped onto his shoulder. “Yeah, yeah. Your secret’s safe with me.”

With that, Ash pushed open the door into the Hoenn late afternoon sun, leaving behind the most popular girl in school in a frustrated stupor.

~~~~~~~​

Ash absently scratched under Pikachu’s chin as he walked to his residence hall. He mildly lamented the loss of the paycheck that the private tutoring gig would have provided him, but he figured it wouldn’t have been worth it in the long run if the person he was tutoring was as full of herself as May Maple was.

Still, he could have really used that money. Guess he’d have to wait even longer for that new pokedex.

“How about a little nap before we study for that Pokemon Ecology quiz?” he asked aloud. He grinned at the enthusiastic “Pika!” he got in response.

The sock hung precariously on his room’s doorknob summarily thwarted those plans.

“Gary, you dipstick, open up!” Ash yelled as he banged on the door.

“You said he was going to be gone for another hour!” his roomate hissed behind the closed door. “Shut up and get the door,” a feminine voice commanded in lieu of a response.

After some shuffling, Gary opened the door wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt, inside-out joggers, and a glare. “Weren’t you supposed to be at tutoring?” he accused.

“This is my room, too, numbskull,” Ash answered instead as he tried to shove himself inside.

“Can’t you chill at Brock’s for an hour? I’m busy,” Gary responded through clenched teeth, refusing to budge.

Gary and Ash wrestled fiercely for control over the door. Pikachu hopped in and out whenever space was available, trying to grant its owner any advantage possible. Once Gary accidentally slammed the door on his own fingers, Ash successfully muscled his way into the room.

He ignored the affronted squeal from the yet-unidentified girl on Gary’s bed and began packing a duffle. “Just give me 15 minutes, and I’ll be out of your hair all night,” he grumbled. He didn’t want to come back to a dorm that smelled like sex, anyway.

He finished packing and aimed for the door. “Whatever you do, just don’t do it in my b—,” Ash cut himself off when he accidentally caught sight of the girl sitting on Gary’s bed with a bedsheet pulled up to her chin.

Misty Waterflower’s cheeks were flushed, either from anger or exertion from… previous activities, but she fought to keep her face neutral.

“I challenge you to a pokemon battle!” Ash spun and spit out at Gary before he could fully process his own actions. Pikachu lit up its cheeks, immediately echoing Ash’s energy.

Gary snorted in disbelief. “What, for Misty’s hand in marriage?”

Ash ignored that. “For first dibs on the room. What you do and who you do it with are none of my business,” he paused and couldn’t help but briefly glance at Misty’s impassive face, “but I deserve vetoing rights on you choosing here as the place to do that nonsense.”

Gary raised an interested eyebrow. “3 v. 3, no substitutions? When I win, I can entertain guests at a moment’s notice without your complaint?”

If you win. Plus a 15 minute grace period so that I can prepare to be anywhere else,” Ash ended with disgust. “But if I win, I can kick out your guest with or without you. At a moment’s notice without your complaint,” he echoed Gary’s terms.

Gary smirked. “You haven’t won a battle against me yet, Ashy-boy,” he reminded haughtily. “Are you really willing to bet on your own W?”

Ash wouldn’t let Gary get to him. “There’s a first time for everything,” he reminded in turn. “Mitsuru Field after the last bell rings.”

Without a parting glance, Ash shouldered his duffle and left.

Tuesday

By lunch, May had heard about some high-stakes pokemon battle happening after school today. She wasn’t looking forward to it, but she’d be expected to go, like a queen attending the village festival in order to keep relations congenial with her constituents.

It was for this reason that Wanda elected to sit in the bleachers to watch instead of taking the girls up to her family’s private viewing box, to which she had access as a bearer of the namesake for the battlefield.

To her surprise, it seemed like Misty was feeling much the same way. Unlike May, who was also brought up in a gym leader’s home, Misty took to pokemon and battling like a magikarp took to water. Alas, Misty’s temper burned noticeably hotter every time someone mentioned the battle taking place after school; yet she suspiciously became more withdrawn as the time for the battle neared.

May would ask if she was okay, but that would involve actually speaking to Misty, so she paid it no further mind.

Mitsuru Field was the crown jewel of Athletic Campus. It had two League-certified battlefields side to side with two-story high metal bleachers running alongside the lengths of the outer perimeter of the fields. Since this wasn’t a school-sponsored battle, the jumbotrons on two of field corners were off, and no skycams were suspended over the field. The stadium was nestled comfortably between a few hills and patches of forests where there weren’t academic or administrative buildings surrounding it, all of which was meant to discourage random Petalburg citizens from watching games without paying for tickets.

She and her clique made her way up the bleachers to the best seats. Before they even sat down, some students placed cushions over the metal slabs; once they were situated, other students set up parasols to block out the sun without shielding the view of the field. All of this occurred without regard from the popular girls, who continued as though nothing were out of the ordinary. May paid half a mind to Dawn and Wanda’s conversation, but her attention was fully drawn away as she saw the two opponents make their way onto the field.

May was shocked to find she recognised not just one, but both of the battlers. The first was Gary Oak, a legacy and a sophomore like herself. She had Human Biology with him, but that’s where their similarities ended. He was like a slowking, lazy and pompous. He got into Petalburg Prep on his name alone, and everyone knew it.

The other opponent—sporting a hat and accompanied by a pikachu—could be none other than Ash Ketchum.

“Didn’t Ritchie from second block there were stakes at this battle?” Wanda wondered aloud from where she was sitting on the other side of Dawn. “Did any of you ladies hear what they were?”

May and Dawn responded in the negative. Misty grumbled, “Whatever they are, I bet it’s stupid.”

Wanda pursed her lips. It wasn’t often that something happened at PP whose details escaped all four of them. Before she could ponder any further, Brock Harrison stepped into the referee’s box.

~~~~~~~​

Ash nodded back to Brock as his friend came forward. He was lucky that Brock had so much integrity that even Gary trusted him to referee their battle despite him being Ash’s friend and that Brock was able to find someone to cover for him at the tutoring center where they both worked.

“This is a 3-on-3 battle between Gary Oak of Pallet Town and Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town. No substitutions will be permitted. The winner will be determined once all the available pokemon of one opponent have fainted,” Brock called out with authority. “Are the battlers ready?”

“Yeah, ready to win,” Gary taunted from his side of the field. Ash met Gary’s gaze head on but did not verbally respond, merely turning his cap around so the bill faced backwards.

Brock took that for what it meant and smirked. “Let the battle commence!”

“Go, Wartortle!” “Tauros, I choose you!”

~~~~~~~​

May was no stranger to good battling. Her father was a gym leader, and her brother had Entertainment and Sports Pokemon Network running on the TV all the time at her house.

She was impressed enough to say that the battle she was watching now was riveting enough to be featured on the channel.

Gary’s Wartortle eventually beat Ash’s Tauros, but Ash’s Grovyle handily returned the favour and now faced off against Gary’s Umbreon. Despite being on his second battle, the grovyle was capably holding its own against the dark-type eeveelution.

Everyone was at the edge of their seats - no one more so than May.

When her dad had said that he would get her the best tutor available, May naturally presumed he meant one of his aides. However, this battle showed May that Ash was far more capable than the assistants at the Petalburg Gym.

Ash and his pokemon had unbelievably strong friendships, and he demonstrated himself to be a capable trainer besides. When Ash commanded Grovyle to stand his ground against an incoming Take Down attack, Grovyle didn’t hesitate at all then let loose a Bullet Seed at close range nary a second after the command left its trainer’s lips. After Gary sent out Electabuzz and summarily knocked Grovyle out, Ash’s voice broke from calling out his pokemon’s name with despair.

Now that the two opponents were down to their final pokemon, both strong electric types, May could privately admit to herself that if Ash ever challenged her father, he might actually win.

~~~~~~~​

Ash’s blood was racing, his heart was pounding, his chest was heaving, and he wasn’t the one expelling thousands of watts’ worth of electrical energy with every move.

“Pikachu, use Quick Attack to avoid seeing Electabuzz’s Leer and Slam into its side!”

“Start charging up a ThunderPunch, Electabuzz, Pikachu’s coming in hot!”

“Meet that ThunderPunch with an Iron Tail!”

The two attacks met with a blast, forcing the opposing pokemon back onto their respective sides of the field.

Pikachu got up, clearly favouring one paw and panting heavily. It charged up its cheeks in a demonstration of its willingness to continue fighting, but Ash saw that the sparks were thinner than they normally were.

For a moment, his vision blurred; while he was facing at the battlefield, he wasn’t quite seeing it. Instead, he saw Pikachu being slammed into the ground, Gary standing over the impact crater cackling darkly, and Gary’s Electabuzz aiming a ThunderPunch straight to his solar plexus.

He’s going to lose to Gary again.

He’ll lose more than his claim to the room in the process.

How could he have been so stupid?

“Pikachu!”

With Pikachu’s battle cry, Ash’s awareness came rushing back to him. The sound of the crowd; the smell of burnt ozone; the sight of Electabuzz standing proudly with its arms crossed over its chest, unknowingly mirroring its trainer’s stance from behind it.

From Pikachu’s laboured breathing, he could tell he had one last chance to end this all, either in his favour or on his terms.

“Pikachu, use Quick Attack and turn it into a Volt Tackle!”

“Electabuzz, use Thunderbolt and follow it up with Swift!”

“Pikachu, you know what to do!”

“Pika!”

Pikachu let itself get hit by the Thunderbolt, but the burst of speed from Quick Attack meant it slowed down to typical running speed upon impact. It was able to use the Thunderbolt to supercharge its own Volt Tackle, dodging easily between Swift stars to get direct access to Electabuzz’s flank.

Electabuzz was thrown backwards, above Gary’s head, and far beyond the battlefield. Gary and Brock sprinted after it, and Pikachu sat tiredly on its hind legs.

Ash ran to kneel at his pokemon’s side, paying no mind to the dirt he was getting on his uniform slacks. “Pikachu, you made me so proud today.”

“Chaaa,” Pikachu sighed as Ash cradled it to his chest and rubbed its back.

A single pair of footsteps running in his direction caused Ash to look up. For his part, Brock didn’t look in his friend’s direction until he made it back in the referee’s box.

“Electabuzz is unable to battle. With no more usable pokemon left, the winner of this battle is Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town!” Brock proclaimed, finally smiling over at his friend.

~~~~~~~​

May did not jump up and cheer with the rest of the crowd at Brock’s announcement. Instead, her eyes were trained on Ash in the middle of the field, holding his pikachu to his chest in one hand as he fist-pumped into the air with the other.

“That was some battle, huh, May?”

May tore her eyes away from the field to see Dawn looking at her expectantly with excitement in her eyes.

“Yeah, it was close,” May said temperately.

'Really close,' May amended in her mind as her gaze wandered back to the field where the referee was clapping Ash on the back.

If anyone’s going to help her pass her labs, that person would need to have a personality pokemon automatically trust, a top-tier understanding of their skills and needs, and a passion that can’t be ignored.

'It won’t hurt that he looks almost sexy with his hair pushed back,' she mused to herself as she eyed the way Ash roughed up his hair as he readjusted his hat.

“Come on, May; we’re going to dinner,” Wanda said, tapping her friend on the shoulder to get her attention. As she followed her friends down the bleachers, May noted Ash headed in the opposite direction of the dining hall.

Once they touched down, May feigned regret. “Oh, shoot!” she exclaimed melodramatically. “I totally forgot! I need to stop by Professor Rowan’s office before the end of the day. Let me know when you leave the dining hall; maybe I can catch you later?”

May long ago learned that details were key to lying. She gave barely enough information to justify breaking apart from the group then walked in the direction of the academic side of campus until she was sure her friends have cleared Mitsuru Field.

Afterwards, she casually yet briskly made her way to where she last saw Ash headed. By virtue of his being a trainer, she had an idea of where she would find him.

“Great battle today,” she greeted him just outside the Health Center. Just like a Pokemon Center one could encounter out on a journey, it was a 24/7 building that serviced both people and pokemon. There wasn’t anyone around except the three of them, and she made sure to give the pikachu a wide berth.

“You saw that, huh?” he asked with a smile. “Yeah, it was pretty great.”

Ash seemed to be in a good mood, which encouraged May even more.

“Listen, I’m sorry about yesterday,” May said quickly. “My dad really wants to see me improve in my practicums, and I can’t do that alone.”

Ash’s eyebrows furrowed in disbelief. “Didn’t we already agree this wasn’t gonna work out? You don’t even like pokemon!” “Kachu,” the pikachu intoned as if to imply the reverse held true as well.

Technically, it was more than that, but Ash didn’t have to know about that just yet.

“Sure, but I don’t have to like them to pass the classes!” May argued. “I’m motivated! I won’t slack off! I’m sure you’ve had students that you dreaded teaching because they didn’t care and didn’t put in the effort,” May posited. “I want this over and done with as soon as possible, so you can bet I’ll actually be pulling my weight. Besides, I wouldn’t have sought you out if I didn’t care, right? With all that in mind, surely I’m now worth whatever price Daddy was willing to pay you.”

Ash hesitated on his stance. He did need that money. The scholarship covers room, board, and tuition, but he was constantly growing and couldn’t afford new school uniforms every year.

May could see Ash was almost convinced. She was surprised the money comment didn’t immediately bend him to her will, but she always had a back-up plan.

“I know who you are, Ash Ketchum.”

Ash quirked an eyebrow in amused confusion at the change in topic. “Oh, yeah? Who am I?” he humoured her. In the back of his mind, he was aware this was the first time she had ever said his name. He wasn’t entirely sure that she knew it, to be honest.

“You were right, for one thing,” May answered. “I could tell from the battle that you really know what you’re doing when it comes to pokemon.” She couldn’t help but grin a little at the way his chest puffed up with pride at the admission. “More than that, though: you’re a really good guy. Everyone at school knows that about you, that you like to help where you can, people and pokemon alike…”

She stepped forward imploringly, and Ash was caught by her wide eyes. “... And I could really use your help,” she finished.

A gym leader was the closest thing to a political figure that a city can have, and it was very evident through the presentation and flow of her argument that May was the daughter of a gym leader.

Honestly, if she just opened up with the impassioned plea for help, he probably would have agreed against his better judgement. Now, though, he was well and thoroughly convinced he should help the girl. “We’re meeting every Wednesday and Saturday outside the Annex,” he said at last.

May couldn’t relish in her victory just yet. “Saturdays?! But I have plans then!”

“You have every Saturday?” Ash asked, unimpressed.

“Yeah. Or if not, I make them myself,” May explained as though it were a basic concept.

Ash rolled his eyes. “Consider me your standing date for the next few weeks. If you still want this to be discreet, we need Saturdays so that we have unlimited access in the Annex Woods at a time where no one ever comes.”

May smirked. “Oh, please. You wish I was your standing date.”

Ash sweatdropped uncomfortably. “No, I really don’t. Anyway, do you agree with my proposed schedule or not?”

May flipped her hair. Even if she wasn’t trying to be boastful, it was a simple matter of fact that she was the most desired girl at PP. She didn’t believe Ash for a second but let it go. “Well, Wednesdays are no good for me. Can we do Tuesdays instead?”

“More of your plans?” Ash asked teasingly.

“For your information, I have an elective Wednesday afternoons,” she retorted with crossed arms.

Ash did some mental gymnastics in his head. He could probably move his internship with Professor Oak to Fridays, but that would mean having to move his tutoring shift to Wednesdays, which would suck.

Under any other circumstances, he wouldn’t move his tutoring shift to Wednesdays for anything, but Gym Leader Norman would pay him so much more than he made at both jobs combined.

“Yeah, okay,” he said resignedly. “We’ll start this Saturday, then.”

May nodded, and Ash took that as the cue that the conversation was over. He turned to head into the Health Center.

“Don’t forget to keep this a secret!” May reminded from behind him,

With a hand on the door and barely opened, Ash turned around and gave a Mona Lisa smirk. “You got it, princess.”

“Princess?!” May repeated incredulously.

Ash shrugged. “Consider us even for the ‘scholarship kid’ comment,” he said as he finally went inside to tend to his pokemon.

Wednesday

As a tutor, Ash was very familiar with every class that PP had to offer, and there was only one class that met on Wednesdays after school.

After stopping by Professor Oak’s office to formally change his internship schedule to Fridays, he made his way to Mitsuru Field to sit in on the Coordinating Lab. He didn’t sit on the bleachers, just on a hill off to the side where he had a great view without drawing attention to himself.

If it weren’t for the fact that her best friend, the daughter of Sinnoh’s most famous Top Coordinator, was May’s partner in the class, he would have been surprised that she even bothered with an after-school practicum.

The one thing that didn’t surprise him was how May spent the entirety of class on the bleachers, as far away from where the appeals and battles would take place. He shook his head at the sight. If this was how she dealt with her dislike of pokemon, no wonder she was in danger of failing all her labs.

He made it just in time to watch May and Dawn’s (but really Dawn’s) appeal. She commanded a weavile to use Icy Wind to blanket the stage in a light blue haze. Using multiple successive Quick Attacks and Dark Pulses, the weavile dotted the light blue canvas with dazzling dark bursts of colour throughout the three-dimensional space. The weavile ended with a confident Assurance in the center of the display to rapturous applause from teacher and student alike.

It was unlike anything Ash had ever seen. He didn’t really follow contests, but he was sure this appeal had to be as good or even better than what actual contest circuits got to see. He was impressed with Dawn’s creativity with the moveset from the school-owned weavile…

… Which doubled his disappointment at the sight of May doodling for the entire appeals round.

He didn’t plan on staying past Dawn’s battle. Luckily for him, it was also the first battle of the class: her weavile against the other classmates’ aipom. Students (that weren’t May) seemed to work in pairs to command one pokemon, one for the appeal and one for the battle. He already knew Dawn would be pulling double-duty for her team, but at least the non-battling classmate of the aipom team was paying attention to the battle. May only ever glanced up from her doodles for a second before avidly scratching her pencil across the page.

The battle was pretty standard fare, though he noticed that the dodges were a lot more graceful than they were in League-context battles.

It wasn’t until the tail-end of the battle that he noticed something weird.

The classmate had just ordered aipom to use Water Pulse and to follow it up with Swift. Dual-issued attacks were not uncommon, but Dawn’s response was what captured his attention.

She ordered weavile to coat itself with a Dark Pulse then use Quick Attack to dodge the Water Pulse and skip across the incoming Swift stars to land a Dark Pulse-infused attack on aipom, handily winning the match.

The manoeuver looked an awful lot like the one that won his own match against Gary. He would know; he made it up himself. He and Pikachu trained for weeks to get it right. The only differences were the type of energy behind the attack and the fact that weavile executed it a lot more gracefully, hopping from star to star to reach aipom instead of merely dodging the incoming attacks. Of course, weavile couldn’t harness the energy from the Water Pulse to charge its own attack, but Pikachu wouldn’t have done that either if the opponent had issued anything other than a long-range electric-type attack.

He watched as Dawn excitedly ran over to hug May in the bleachers and decided to stay and watch the rest of class.

The professor probably taught them something similar, he rationalised, and the syllabus dictated covering that technique today. That would suck since he thought he was so clever for coming up with it himself, but at least it would explain the eerily similar move.

After a few more battles, however, Ash didn’t notice anyone else’s teams employing the same manoeuver. It was just Dawn and May’s.

Ash looked over to the bleachers again, where Dawn sat with May watching the battles.

He realised with a jolt that May was, in fact, watching the battles. The repeated looking up at the field looked more methodical than whimsical now. She wasn’t doodling; she was taking notes.

There might have been another explanation, but… Did his battle inspire May somehow? Was it her idea to use his move?

If so, it was a damn shame she didn’t like pokemon. Coordinating may not have been his forte, but Ash knew battling. If even half of the techniques Dawn commanded weavile to use were actually May’s ideas, May could seriously be an amazing coordinator on her own without having to play guy-in-the-chair for Dawn.

Ash tilted his head to the side as he observed the last battle of the class. This knowledge could be useful for his tutoring sessions with her.

Saturday

Based on May’s interest in coordinating, Ash figured he should start with the cutest pokemon he could think of. Pikachu, obviously. Teddiursa, for sure. Horsea, bonsly, and lillipup were cute, right? And maybe a torchic since that’s a starter for her own home region.

Early Saturday morning, he went to the campus Pokedex Library to check out the pokemon he needed. The Pokedex Library was where students could request to borrow pokemon for their classes if they wanted to study or train with a specific one. It had pokemon from all five of the known regions, and alumni donated new ones of various levels and species all the time. It was the biggest draw of studying at Petalburg Prep, bar none.

Typically a student would have to input a request a few days ahead of time, but Ash’s tutoring credentials allowed him expedited access, even on the weekend. He carefully stashed the five pokeballs in his bookbag before hurrying over to the Annex Woods.

May was nowhere to be seen.

Ash frowned to himself. Maybe she was waiting just beyond the start of the path? He moved forward to investigate; but before he crossed the threshold, he decided to doubleback and check inside the Annex itself.

To his surprise, May was inside the atrium, sitting on a bench with a bulging bookbag beside her.

She stood up and shouldered the filled-to-the-brim bag when she noticed him approach. “What do you got there?” he asked with amused interest as he lead them back out to the woods.

“My textbooks,” May replied daintily. Ash laughed wholeheartedly at her response, missing the way her stride faltered as she stepped onto the path that would bring them deeper within.

“How are textbooks going to help you interact with pokemon?” he got out through his chuckles, deftly stepping over gnarled tree roots and around spinarak webs as he hiked. Pikachu would dart around them erratically, chasing after venonats and playing with the sunlight.

As she struggled to mimic Ash’s movements, May affected adamance in her voice. “I’ll have you know that these books contain very pertinent details, like the key traits of the different pokemon natures and, um. There are training techniques in them, too, that would certainly be helpful! I’m sure!”

At the sound of Ash’s continued chuckles, May knew she hadn’t convinced him. She sighed to herself and gripped the straps of her bookbag more tightly. Even with Ash there, she was very, very anxious about being alone with pokemon, Call her silly, but having the textbooks on hand made her feel like she had some control over the situation.

“If you say so,” he said lightly and let the conversation drop. He focused on his surroundings, making sure he was leading them in the right direction. There was a relatively level field he knew about not too far from the beaten path that would be a great location for their first lesson, but it was off the beaten path.

As they hiked, May noticeably jumped and squeaked whenever she heard a sound or something brushed against her. Her anxiety increased with every step. In the relative quiet of the forest, she was like a tauros in a china shop.

“Don’t get out into the Woods much, do you?” Ash teased when Pikachu darting between May’s legs caused her to barrel into his back in surprise.

“Y-Yeah, you could say that…” May stammered as she righted herself.

A few minutes later, Ash could see the clearing up ahead and slowed his pace to a stop just at the edge. May stopped beside him and immediately tensed at the sight of taillow and swellow, stantler, nidoran, and other forest pokemon gallivanting about.

Ash mistook her tenseness for awe. “Pretty neat, right?” he asked rhetorically. “This is where Professor Birch tends to go for his observations on pokemon habitats; there’s a river nearby if I’m not mistaken.” At May’s prolonged silence, he gave a happy sigh and lead them further into the clearing. “Alright, come on out everyone!”

At that, he released the pokemon, who cheered out their names as they landed upon the ground in an even semi-circle around May. Their close and sudden proximity made her yelp as she frantically positioned herself behind Ash, using him as a shield.

“What on earth was that for?” she demanded uneasily as she held tight onto Ash’s shoulders. “You didn’t give me any warning at all!”

“Warning?” Ash asked incredulously in response to both May’s actions and words. “We’re here to help you with your pokemon practicums. Pokemon are involved!”

She peered around Ash’s side at the assortment of pokemon. “Yeah, but they’re so… close!”

Ash was prepared for mild disdain, but May was clearly anxious and jittery. She has been ever since they stepped into the forest, really, almost like…

“May, are you afraid of pokemon?!”

“Having a level of respect for creatures with abilities to control the elements is healthy and rational, and they’re not even that cute!” she fell back upon her rote excuse before she could remember that she was supposed to be keeping that a secret.

All of the pokemon immediately called out their own names in objection to that, prompting May to look above Ash’s shoulders and analyse them from a distance.

“Torchic and Teddiursa can get a pass,” she dismissed meanly. Bonsly immediately started crying.

Ash’s anger flared up at May’s callous treatment of the other pokemon. “Hey! Horsea’s evolutionary line has the only naturally occurring, accessible dual water-dragon type pokemon! Being able to take care of a bonsly requires a lot of patience to train and nurture it, and it’s a great sign of your merit as a pokemon trainer! Stoutland have been able to save so many lives in Unova and Sinnoh! And that pikachu is my best friend!” Ash defended vehemently.

May scoffed, momentarily forgetting her proximity to the powerful creatures and letting her bookbag slide down her back to the ground. “Yeah, but you need a Dragon Scale to evolve a seadra; you call that ‘accessible?’ Hoenn-variant sudowoodo don’t even learn that many STAB-moves, and bonsly have the lowest base stats of all the pure rock types this side of the Iyo Gulf. I’d even go so far to say the lillipup evolutionary line is the most normal of the normal types,” she retorted pedagogically.

Ash was ready to volley a response but realised May… wasn’t wrong. The only kingra he knew of were owned by gym leaders and elite trainers, roggenrola were native to Unova, and even he could admit he’d pass over a lillipup for something like an aipom or a zigzagoon.

Ash frowned. “That doesn’t mean you can be mean to pokemon right in front of them. Textbooks don’t leave out the fact that they have feelings, too!”

May’s haughtiness deflated. “Yeah, you’re right.” She stepped out from behind Ash. Although she made no further movements to get closer to the pokemon, she endeavoured to look them each in the eye. “I’m sorry, Horsea, Bonsly, and Lillipup. You didn’t deserve what I said. I’m sorry to you, too, Torchic and Teddiursa. I shouldn’t have compared you to your friends.”

Ash wasn’t expecting May’s second apology, to put it lightly. After discerning her for a moment, he signalled for the pokemon to go off and play together so that he could talk to her.

After a few false starts on his end, May laughed an empty laugh. “Now you know my big secret,” she said sardonically. “I’m supposed to inherit the Petalburg Gym, and I’m deathly afraid of pokemon. Today was the closest I’ve physically been to any pokemon in a long time.” She sighed and turned her face away, not wanting to see Ash’s unwitting reactions to her confession.

“Well, you clearly know your stuff,” Ash admitted begrudgingly. “You could be the best student at this school if you didn’t have this holding you back.”

May lifted her head to meet his gaze with wide eyes, and Ash was caught once again. “You think so? My dad says the same thing.”

Ash cleared his throat. “Your dad is a smart man.”

A moment of silence stretched out between the two. May stared off to where the school pokemon were playing, and Ash was thinking frantically. A distant shriek of joy distracted him, and he saw Pikachu running away from the playful Water Guns Horsea was shooting its way.

“Say, have I introduced you to Pikachu yet?”

May turned to face the two of them and chuckled. “No need. I feel like he and I are well acquainted already,” she said, thinking of all the times Pikachu was quick to defend its owner from May.

Ash laughed with her, and May couldn’t help but feel pleased that he appreciated her joke. “Nah, come on. If I’m gonna be tutoring you ‘til the end of the semester, you and Pikachu need to be on a first name basis at least. Where I go, he goes.”

He began to walk over to where the pokemon were gathered, but after a certain distance he noticed May wasn’t following behind him any more. He realised that Pikachu and the rest of the school pokemon were pretty deep in the field, surrounded by the other wild pokemon… and May’s fear didn’t just evaporate in the last 60 seconds.

He gave May with a friendly smile then called out to Pikachu, “Hey, buddy! Can you come over here for a sec?”

“Pikapi!” Pikachu cheered as it neared its trainer.

Ash knelt down to speak to it. “Hey, Pikachu. I’m gonna need your help if I’m gonna tutor May. She’s afraid of pokemon,” he explained. Pikachu snickered at the knowledge, and Ash chuckled. “Yeah, it seems kinda silly to us, but it’s a really big deal for her. I need you to be as friendly and as adorable as possible; can you do that for her? I think that could help a lot.”

Pikachu tilted its head to the side. It got the sense that Ash wasn’t angry at the human girl anymore and, daresay, even trusted her. If Pikapi trusted this girl, it could put its dislike for her aside. It gave a hearty “Pika!” and a peace sign, demonstrating its own implicit trust in its trainer.

“You’re the best, buddy! Hop on!” Pikachu eagerly climbed onto Ash’s shoulder, a familiar position for the two.

Ash got up and went back to May, who watched their conversation from afar with equal parts discomfort and interest.

“May, this is Pikachu. He’s my best friend in the whole world. Pikachu, this is May. We’ll be tutoring her twice a week for the rest of the semester.”

Pikachu patted the outside of Ash’s shoulder, letting him know that it wanted to climb down his arm without disembarking completely. Ash set his palms together facing up, providing a new perch for Pikachu to climb down to. Once balanced on Ash’s hands, Pikachu outstretched its own paw to May, as if in a handshake. “Pi-pikachu!”

May giggled at the sight and gingerly held Pikachu’s paw with the pads of her finger and her thumb to quickly shake it. “Hi, Pikachu,” May said timidly, a far cry from the defiant popular girl that wielded her gym leader father like a sword when they first met.

She immediately clasped her hands behind her back as soon as she finished the greeting, which reminded Ash of something. “You know, Pikachu and I didn’t really get a long back when we first met.”

May’s mouth popped open in shock. “You’re kidding! Really? You two seem so close now.”

“Oh, now we are; but there’s a reason Pikachu doesn’t go into a pokeball, and I had to learn why the hard way…”

For the next hour, Ash and Pikachu regaled stories of their early adventures from Ash’s youth in Pallet Town. The trio had made themselves comfortable on the grass, but Ash and Pikachu soon after got up to use their full ranges of motions to tell some of the stories. May’s laugh filled the open space with glee, and everyone else was glad to see the student genuinely comfortable for the first time since she arrived at the clearing.

The story-telling turned into an impromptu game of tag between Ash and Pikachu that May was content to just watch. When Ash had finally caught Pikachu in his arms, he got an idea.

“Hey, May, do you want to hold Pikachu for a second?”

May’s easy demeanour immediately evapourated as her entire body froze in place. “Eh, what?!”

“Yeah, like this!” Ash said, referencing the way he held Pikachu to his chest with his forearms.

May’s eyes widened with fear at the prospect. So much pokemon, so close to her person. She could faint.

At May’s reaction, Ash sighed to himself. He clearly had his work cut out for him if this was the extent of May’s fear. “How about this: do you want to pet him?” he amended.

May bit her lip and thought seriously about the offer. Despite it all, she kind of did.

But she was still afraid.

“Under a few conditions,” she said at last.

Ash and Pikachu sweatdropped. “Like what?”

“Well, Pikachu has to hold still—very, very still,” she started.

“Fair enough.”

“And he can’t charge his cheeks near me,” May continued.

“Pikachu would never do that, but okay,” Ash defended. “Kachu,” Pikachu echoed.

“And he has to turn to the side so that neither his face nor his tail are positioned in her direction.”

What.

Ash and Pikachu traded exasperated glances before agreeing to May’s terms. Pikachu shifted in Ash’s arms and waited somewhat patiently for the petting. Ash watched intently as May didn’t even step closer. Instead, she slowly outstretched her arm, hesitating several times and completely withdrawing it at others. Her anxiety was writ clear across her face, and Ash could never fathom being as scared of pokemon as she is.

Nor could he fathom being brave enough to try to conquer such deep-seeded fear.

Many minutes later, May’s arm was finally outstretched enough to stroke her palm down Pikachu’s back just one time.

“Eep!” she squeaked as she clasped her hands to her chest and hopped backwards. Pikachu’s latent energy static-shocked her palm, but that wasn’t the only thing that surprised her.

She’d seen Pikachu in action; she knew how battle-hardened it was. Yet, its fur was softer than she thought it would be, not unlike the cotton fur on her stuffed plushies at home.

For its part, Pikachu was less than impressed. May’s singular pet was not reassuring, or friendly, or even nice, so it was severely wanting for more. It wriggled around in Ash’s arms insistently until Ash scratched in the space between Pikachu’s ears. “Chaaa,” it let out contentedly.

“So, what did you think, May?” Ash asked with an amused smile. “Think you’d be down to pet him another time?”

May chuckled, embarrassed at how big of a deal the simple action was for her. “Maybe next time,” she offered sheepishly.

Ash nodded in recognition of her discomfort. No sense in pushing her so far out of her comfort zone on the first day.

“You know what? I think we could call it a day,” he said while setting Pikachu down so that he could retrieve the pokeballs for the other pokemon.

May shouldered her bookbag as Ash gathered up the school pokemon and bade goodbye to the wild ones. She followed him back to the Research Annex in silence, deep in thought the whole while.

Was she really ready to do this? Her grades are technically fine. Even if they dipped slightly in response to her discomfort around them, they were high enough that she could sustain the hit. She didn’t have designs on being valedictorian anyway.

But it would really be so much easier if she weren’t so afraid, and she could already imagine her dad’s proud smile if he ever saw her in battle one day.

“So, I’ll see you on Tuesday after school? Same place?”

Ash’s question drew May’s attention back to him. It was just past midday, but the leaves from the nearby forest cast a pattern of shadows over them. Ash’s omnipresent cap that contrasted so harshly with the school uniform was slightly off-kilter on his head. Pikachu on his shoulder looked at her with an expectant smile, mirroring the expression on its trainer’s face. Ash’s hand was outstretched, waiting for her confirmation.

She nodded and shook his hand determinedly. “You’ll see me.”
 

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Kukui put his sunglasses back on, signalling his intention to end the conversation. “Righteous. Go on, then.”

I think autocorrect did a little something here.

“Ugh! Why can’t you be one of those Gym Leaders who is overly obsessed with his image?!” May shrieked as she stomped up the stairs to her room, no doubt to call her best friend, Dawn Berlitz, and complain about the turn of events.

Seeing as Norman just said "no daughter of mine will fail that class", surely he is obsessed with his image?
Maybe you meant "Why are you one of those gym leaders..." instead?

Dawn smirked in her friend’s direction. “Come on, May. You know how I am when left unchecked in a LuluLileep.”

May and Dawn really are the popular kids, aren't they!? I love the idea of LuluLileep.

“How about a little nap before we study for that Pokemon Ecology quiz?” he asked aloud. He grinned at the enthusiastic “Pika!” he got in response.

I've always thought Ash was more of a "brain over brawns" person, but I'll let that go.

That's where I read up to, and seeing as I'm not particularly invested in the ship (or the anime - so why do I keep reading anime-based fics? I have no idea), the slow pace of the beginning made it difficult for me to stay focused. You could cut the opening scene with Kukui and the reader would still know everything about May and her situation from her conversation with Norman: she's afraid of Pokemon, she's failing her Applied Pokemon class, and her dad will get her a tutor because no Gym Leader's child should fail that class.

Ash as a scholarship student is an interesting idea, but I don't feel like I can comment on how accurate it is to the anime because, I, uh, don't watch the anime. I did enjoy seeing how May and Ash were forced to work together by their situations (May needs parental approval, and Ash needs the money) and their squabbling was probably my favourite part of this. So why didn't I read further? There was very little tension in the story, even though interesting things were happening - or things that should have been interesting.

I think this is mostly because of the slow pace, because the ideas behind the story are pretty good. Cutting or summarising unimportant scenes should help keep the story moving at a fast pace. If there was something else that would have kept me reading, it would be diving into the character's viewpoints more. Go into detail about what they're thinking and feeling in the moment, try to show who they are as a person. Most readers of this fic already know who May and Ash are, of course, but that doesn't mean they won't find that interesting.
 
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Deleted member 72389

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This was really good. Advance is one of my favourite ships (along with a ton others, I multiship a lot) and I like fics with highschool settings in them. So this was definitely something I enjoyed reading.

I found some of the characters slightly ooc but maybe that's just because I interpret them differently.

But overall this was really fun and cute! I need to read more anime fanfics, they make me nostalgic. :)
 
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