pokemod: (by koyuki @ DW. [gen iii])
pokémod team ([personal profile] pokemod) wrote2017-01-05 12:52 am

"A story of an arranged marriage, ten acts" for Definefreakforme

Title: a story of an arranged marriage, ten acts
Author: [personal profile] fluffybun
Recipient: [tumblr.com profile] definefreakforme
Rating: G
Verse: ORAS
Characters/Pairings: Wally/May
Summary: When the King of Hoenn arranges a marriage for his sickly son, no one anticipates the happy results. A story of a relationship, in ten acts.
Notes: I hope you enjoy this, definefreakforme! Happy New Year!


a story of an arranged marriage, ten acts

i. arrangement

Hoenn's monarchy is notable for taking a more active role in law-making compared to other kingdoms, where the monarchy is more ceremonial in nature. By law, the potential heirs of the throne undertake their own Pokemon journey when they come of age (barring special circumstances outlined in Appendix VIII, Section Four) to better understand the Kingdom they are to potentially rule. Succession is determined by birth order, regardless of sex.

The Champion of Hoenn, as well as the Advisors are all chosen by merit and not by inheritance; they are honor-bound to accept challenges for their positions through the proper channels. When defeated, they may be requested to remain in the service of the Crown given circumstances outlined in Appendix XII (with due respect also given to the personal desires of said Trainer). Similarly, the Lords of Hoenn which preside over the Domains that make up Hoenn are also chosen on merit as well, with a trial administered by all Lords at present along with at least two of the Advisors. (Protocol for trials detailed in Appendix III.)


"My boy is ill. I worry about him a lot. I wonder if he can even become a Pokemon Trainer, considering how severe his asthma is. But the throne of Hoenn - he has to be one, being the Prince. And thinking about marriage as well, since he's of age now, but how can we make him meet girls when he hyperventilates just going out of our town? The Lords are worried that they still haven't met the Prince, now that he's of age. My advisors are worried about the succession as well, though they don't let that affect their duties battling worthy trainers and protecting Hoenn's peace." He spoke this into the phone, knowing his friend would listen as he always did. It was hard keeping a smile on his face for his subjects, but since his old friend was of another Kingdom right now, it was all right to be frank.

Norman didn't know what to say to his friend, who had much to worry about other than his son's illnesses as the King of Hoenn. He knew his problems were much less than his friend's, but he felt he needed to share them as well.

"My girl is quiet and shy, but I know that she's just waiting to start her Pokemon adventure. I'm a foolish father who may be a bit overprotective, that's why she still hasn't started but I hope she'll wait until we move to Hoenn to start hers. She'll be fine, she's got a good head on her shoulders, but I'd like to not leave her in Johto."

"You really still want to become a Lord of Hoenn after so long?"

"My wife loves Hoenn so much, as do I. We grew up there, you know, but we had to move to Johto since we married without our families' blessings. Other Lords here assure me that my doing well against them will help me reach the standards of Hoenn Lords, but I do still need a sponsorship to be considered... they assure me though that there are no candidates for the upcoming retirement of the Petalburg Lord, as far as they know."

"...I can sponsor you, you just need to ask. I know well how capable you are of becoming a Lord."

"I appreciate it, but how can I thank you?"

"...let me ask you for a favor you can refuse."

Appendix III: Regarding the trial for succeeding a Lord, while the trial is based on merit in itself, the challenger should be sponsored by at least one of the following: any current or former Lord of Hoenn, any current or former Advisor of Hoenn, the current King or Queen of Hoenn or the Heir-apparent.

Appendix VIII, Section Four: If the heir to the throne is unable to undergo his or her Pokemon journey or to fulfill it to the satisfaction of the Advisors, the monarchy, and the Champion, it is possible for the heir's spouse to fulfill such instead; else, succession may be passed on to the next potential heir (this decision must be approved by all sitting Lords, Advisors, the Champion, and the monarchy).


ii. sealing the deal

"...May, this is Prince Wally."

"Good evening, Your Highness" she said softly, hoping that she had the proper curtsy and greeting down. Her parents had reassured her that she knew the proper ways to give respect to royalty, but they'd been living in Olivine Domain in the Kingdom of Johto since she was born - even if they were both from the Kingdom of Hoenn, they could have forgotten the proper customs here. (And while her parents knew the royal family of Hoenn directly, she wasn't sure if they knew the formalities of interaction considering how relaxed the King was with her parents.)

There was so much to learn about Hoenn and its customs.

"Hello," he said quietly from his bed. This meeting couldn't be postponed, even if he was still recovering from yet another bout of asthma. Lord Wallace had teased him that his recent attack had been because he was nervous meeting his fiance, but while he was nervous, he and his doctors knew that it was because of a recent respiratory infection making the rounds in the castle.

There was much to do if the agreement was finalized today, thus, this could not be postponed. He'd hoped to look healthier finally meeting his fiance, but his father had assured him that being his friend's daughter, May would certainly be able to look past his weakened state to see what he was, inside.

This did not reassure him at all, especially when she'd finally walked into his room. While May had been very cautious as she'd entered his room and in her earlier interactions with his family and the Advisors, it was clear that she had a strong sense of belief in herself by the way she looked at him now.

"There's really no need to stand on ceremony," he said quietly. "Call me Wally. I hope your trip was uneventful."

She gave him a searching glance before nodding. "Thank you for your concern; the trip was without remark." Her voice warmed. "...I hope you're feeling better, Wally."

"...thank you," he said. "I'm certainly much better now."

"May thought perhaps you were suddenly opposed to the marriage to her, thus you had that attack" her mother said diplomatically.

And it was certainly plausible, he admitted. Seeing the embarrassed glance she shot her mother, he rushed to reassure her. "Oh, no, definitely not-" His protests were cut off by a cough.

She'd studied what she could of the prince's illness. Alarmed, she reached for the oxygen mask near his bed-

He shook his head, trying desperately to give her a reassuring look again. "No, it's fine. It's passed." Now, he tried his best to look this girl - his fiance, he corrected himself - in the eye. "You'll be moving here in two months, right?"

"Yes," she said softly. "My father has received his appointment which will be made official at the end of next month, when Lord X retires. Mother and I will be coming after another month; we just have to close up loose ends in Olivine Domain before coming here."

A silence fell upon them. His throat had dried up.

"May, honey, I think I'll go find your father. It must be rather awkward to have me here when you're talking to your fiance, isn't it? Will you excuse me, Prince Wally?"

"Of course," he said weakly.

Once they were alone, he finally found the courage to speak.

"...I'm sorry about this."

"...I'm not." She smiled at him softly.

"You're not?" She was a beautiful girl, one that he felt was out of his league even if he was a prince. He knew exactly how ineligible Hoenn thought he was for his position with his illness; the press was so bad that even with that archaic law in play, the one that had brought about this agreement, there were no serious applicants for his hand. He suspected that perhaps everyone was banking their hopes on his cousin. But his cousin had no desire for the throne, thus this agreement that his father had forged with May's parents. "Why not?"

She gave him another smile, this one warmer than before. "...I think I'm going to like getting to know you, Wally. Will you write to me about the customs of Hoenn? I fear my parents have forgotten them, living so long in Johto."

He knew the customs, but rarely partook of many of them due to his illness. "Certainly," he said. "I'll ask Lord Wallace and Advisor Steven to help me, they know Hoenn's customs and legends the best. And when you move here, maybe-"

"...we'll be married, will we not?"

"Yes, we will. Are you afraid?"

"...I am, a little. But I think that's normal, isn't it? I mean, it's kind of a huge step. Getting married is one, then getting married to a prince is another. But I trust my father," she said softly, "and if we both get what we want from this, then I think we can be happy together in the long run."

She was thinking about this in the long term. He gulped. Of course this was a long term agreement - divorce was rare in Hoenn and even rarer in the monarchy. "I'll do my best to make you happy," he said.

"...then start by getting well," she said with a smile. "Don't leave me at the altar in two months."

iii. ceremony

The royal wedding was not like others were usually; instead of pomp there was minimal celebration because of the needed secrecy and in hopes that the two people getting married would not have second thoughts resulting in desertion or aggravated illness.

He'd kissed her as prompted during the ceremony, a soft brush of the lips that made his knees weak from embarrassment and increased nervousness. May smiled as she helped him down the aisle after, draping his hand over her shoulders to hide his faltering steps.

The reception flew by in a flurry - there were still too many people who wished to congratulate him on his secret marriage - Prince of Hoenn Has Found A Bride, the PokeNav would say if it wasn't a secret- and along with those who wished him well there were those who wished to verify that he was certainly not on his deathbed, no matter how bad his illness could be at times. He hardly remembered eating anything, dancing was a painful affair only helped by May's natural grace, and soon enough they were being led by Advisor Steven to their suite of rooms in the castle-

It had been spelled out by their parents in the contract that coitus was not required until much later in the marriage, because of their young ages and because of his illness. It had drawn much frowns from the Advisors - the succession must be ensured, after all, for this marriage to have value - but they'd argued that the marriage was more than just that and there was enough time for the couple to get more comfortable with each other before the issue of heirs should be pressed upon them.

The choice and timing of intimacy would be up to the two of them up to a certain point, with the roles they had accepted.

There had been enough talk of those and other matters to completely embarrass the two of them in the days before the wedding. For now, he let his bride go, beautiful in her wedding dress, to her chambers with a smile born of her gift from him - the latest PokeNav Plus, custom-made specifically for her, acquired with the help of Advisor Steven and his father, who was in charge of most of the technology powering Hoenn.

He'd pondered over the proper wedding present for his bride. From what he'd learned about May from her father and his, she was not the kind of girl who wanted much jewelry or fashionable clothes.

"Try to find something that is heartfelt, my son" his father had said, "even if this is an arranged marriage. Every girl's wedding day is special and a wedding gift, certainly important. Lord Norman has raised his girl well; she will have certainly taken care in selecting yours. And by our customs, a wedding gift may well foreshadow the life a couple lives together."

He'd fumbled, stared at all the catalogs handed him by the Advisors. Against everyone's advice, he'd asked May what she might like in a letter.

Her reply had given him the key to her gift. "Anything that will help me help you," she'd written.


And here he was now, following his bride into the Petalburg Woods on the morning after their wedding day.

"...I hope my gift isn't considered treason," she whispered.

"I'll like anything you give me," he said earnestly, though he wondered what they were doing in the woods. To lighten the mood - and please, don't cough now, he begged his respiratory system - he added, "Even if it is, I have the power to issue a royal pardon. Or my dad can."

Her eyes widened in surprise at the joke and he was treated to her wonderful giggling; usually Lord Wallace despaired at his lack of poetry during lessons, but for him such enlivened him like the sun's rays did a Cherrim. When those subsided, she handed him a Pokeball. "You know how when I got here, I was supposed to get my first Pokemon?"

"Yes," he said. It had been in the terms of the contract their fathers had made arranging this marriage.

Haruka, in agreeing to marry Wally, the Prince of Hoenn, will be allowed to receive a Starter Pokemon of the Hoenn region and also allowed to start her Pokemon journey as soon as the marriage ceremony is finished without interference. While she is asked to send reports as needed on certain issues she may come across during her journey (covered in Appendix III), this will be at her discretion.

She brought out another Pokeball, releasing the Pokemon within.

"I want you to meet my Pokemon, Torchic."

In the sun, holding the delighted Pokemon clearly enamored with its trainer, May looked absolutely beautiful.

Wally's breath caught in his throat.

"Remember, Torchic? He's the guy I was telling you about. My... husband." She flushed lightly while saying the last word.

That was not because of his asthma, he thought, mentally giving himself a shake. That was just his reaction to May. Which was equally terrifying, if he let himself think about it too long. "It suits you, May" he said softly, reaching out to pet it.

"Now comes the potentially treasonous part," she said softly.

He laughed. "What's that?"

"I'm going to help you catch a Pokemon."

iv. a reminder

"You've sent her off, then?"

Wally nodded, carefully writing down notes from the Pokemon books May'd left for him to read and not turning around to face him. "Yes. She left an hour ago."

"She was certainly in a hurry to leave," he remarked. "It is only a day after your wedding."

Wally felt stung, even though he knew Wallace was just stating a fact. "She knows how important it is to strengthen the bond with her Starter Pokemon. I admire her dedication."

Wallace hid a smile at Wally's defense of his wife. It was exactly what he'd hoped he'd say and it boded well for the future of the marriage. Now, for more important matters, like the bet the Advisors and some of the Lords had put money down on last night during the reception. "Her wedding gift was..."

"She helped me catch this," Wally said, showing him the Pokemon he held in his arms. A Ralts.

Wallace leaned down to inspect the Ralts. "...a fine Pokemon, befitting a Prince. With your care, it will become a fine protector of the people of Hoenn as a Gallade." And if the Prince applied himself well, perhaps with the influence of his wife, he would be capable of unlocking the secrets of Mega Evolution with his Pokemon someday. There would be no question of the succession if so, but Wallace would not say this now. It was too early.

"She was worried it would be treasonous," he added, trying his best to be firm with his next words. "I told her it would not be."

Wallace laughed. "Hardly treasonous at all," he said. "The royal doctors were just worried that if you attempted to catch a Pokemon you might have an attack. If she helped you, then she must have lent you her-"

"Yes, her starter Pokemon."

A show of trust from his bride, then. Maybe young Wally didn't realize it, but certainly for a beginning trainer that looked to be as serious as May was, from all he'd heard of her, lending her only Pokemon to someone was a huge step.

"Maybe that counts as your first date, then" Wallace said, deciding to tease the prince. "Phoebe was up in arms about you two disappearing from the castle earlier today without asking permission especially with Drake growling about hormones and all - but it turns out to be surprisingly innocent."

He flushed. He was again thankful that those kinds of actions were covered in the contract. Actually, maybe he should have done more than just shake her hand before she left earlier... but then even after so many letters he still knew so little about her. No, that was appropriate.

Now, for another bet's resolution. "...did she say why that was her wedding gift to you?"

"She hoped that while she traveled Hoenn for our agreement, it'd remind me of her."

Wallace smiled. This was the perfect answer, and one that would win him 100,000 P. "And remind you your Pokemon shall."

v. stories

One of the ways that the custom PokeNav Plus he'd given May had been special was that it let him actually leave messages for May and vice versa - this was a feature that Mr. Stone had assured him was only present for the PokeNavs he'd made for both of them.

(Another way it was special was that it was the exact color of his eyes, a detail Mr. Stone had suggested 'so that whenever she looks at it she'll think of you'. Advisor Steven had rolled his eyes, calling his father a romantic. Mr. Stone had then retorted that his romantic sentiments brought him into the world and that was that. His romantic sentiments had apparently extended to making sure that the custom PokeNav he'd been given in return was the exact color of May's eyes as well.)

"Wally, today I'll challenge the Lord of Rustboro to a match. As promised, I'll also take a look around the domain to see how it is - this is the domain of Devon Corp, as I've researched, so there shouldn't be any trouble, but it's best to make sure."

"I know you'll do well, May. Ralts and I will be awaiting your message. Ralts has learned Magical Leaf today, actually. I've been thinking of venturing outside the Castle to catch another Pokemon. Of course, Adviser Glacia has sternly advised me to warn them before I do so."

"Oh, Wally - I defeated Lady Roxanne. I was shaking afterwards, it's really embarrassing, but when I was battling her, it was like being in the zone. I've never felt like that before. Wally, after I left the gym there was an incident - I've written this up and ran back to my father to give my report so that it can be sent to the castle securely. I know that your Advisors protect Hoenn well, but where are they? Poor Mr. Stone, I'm just glad I was able to help him."

"I've received your report and my father and I have talked it over with the Advisors - they're sending one of them to Rustboro to glean more clues. Thank you for the investigation, May. That's what I'm formally supposed to say - but I'm glad you're safe and I'm proud that you were able to do what you did."

He never expected looking forward so much to May's messages, but he was. Each time he felt his PokeNav Plus beep, he hoped it was a message from her.

"I've been chasing down some leads regarding the man I met in Rustboro..."

And now he was being invited to participate in more of the meetings of his father with his Advisors. Originally he was invited to be asked about little things May may have mentioned that was worth looking into that wasn't in her written reports, but then soon he'd been asked to give more inputs on certain policies or laws of the land.

He was finding he had more opinions to give thanks to what he'd learned from May about Hoenn. Her perspective was rare, being born in a different region. Steven, the Champion, was able to talk to different Champions but of course, being from different kingdoms they knew to always be on their guard, being wary of sharing their kingdoms' secrets. May had no such ties, renouncing them when she married him.

Even without May's perspective of being born and raised in a different Kingdom for most of her life, her insights as a beginning trainer were valuable to him, also starting his own journey even if only in the domains nearest the castle for now, and surprisingly, to the Advisors and his father. They'd been surprised when he'd voiced his wish to do some light traveling to nearby domains, promising to always check in with the Lords of the domains he visited to alleviate worries but had approved it after seeing his bond with his Ralts.

"After all," Advisor Glacia had said, "the heir is supposed to undergo a Pokemon journey by law. As long as the prince promises to not push himself too far and to check in with the Lords of the Domains he visits, which is common courtesy as well as fulfilling safety concerns; there should be no problems with this. But you should come back here, Prince. Shorter trips for now, so that your limits can be evaluated."

He'd made the most of this permission and had captured and started training other Pokemon as well. At least now he could talk about something more with May; he was afraid she'd be bored of what little he could tell her about the Castle.

She in turn spoke more often of domains he had yet to visit due to distance.

"There's so much water here in Hoenn compared to Johto," she'd said once. "It's harder to travel without the help of Pokemon, which might explain why there seem to be so much more trainers here compared to Johto. But with that, it's also hard for beginning trainers to get around - they lose time with the slower methods of travel, but it's good that they are available."

This comment had been met with laughter from Lord Brawly, who knew well the complaints of many traveling to his domain only to be defeated by him.

"Then what can we do about it?"

"What does Johto have by way of transportation?"

"May says they have a train that connects Johto to Kanto. It's not appropriate for Lord Brawly's domain, but maybe in other domains..."

"Well, it'll take some consideration but there's no reason there may not be a similar use of a train in Hoenn, perhaps with some of the closer domains... regarding Lord Brawly's domain, we can evaluate the schedules of transportation..."

His Pokemon team was coming along well. Under the watchful eyes of his doctors and Hoenn's Advisors, he'd progressed from training only Ralts to also training Roselia and Skitty. When Ralts had evolved to Kirlia, he'd hugged his Pokemon and cried.

Perhaps this was a sign of weakness in a male, he thought, but that was dispelled by gruff Drake, who only shook his head at him and told him he had the makings of a good Pokemon Trainer to feel so intensely for his partners.

"I cried too when Torchic evolved into Combusken, Wally" May had said one night after he'd told her. "And dad, mom told me that he cried when his Slakoth evolved into Vigoroth when they were teenagers. I think it's part of being a Trainer; our bonds with our partners are so strong."

This moment, he would realize later, was the start of the shift in relationship he had with May. It was strange to say that when he'd been married to her already for three months, but to be honest, he had no complaints.

"When I was a little girl in Johto, one day I stole the lava cookies my father had bought for my mother and ate them - oh, Wally, they're a special cookie made for a certain domain in Johto. I was heartily ill afterwards, but they were really yummy when I was eating them."

He teased her, saying her father never mentioned to his that she had a huge appetite and that she'd eat Hoenn out of castle and kingdom.

She'd just said that if he knew how Lava cookies tasted like, he'd understand. But, she added, she was open to Hoenn snack suggestions that would make her change her snack loyalties fully.

This, he asked all the Advisors and they all brought snacks from their home domains for him to eat 'which are sure to be much tastier; your wife will love this, Prince' much to his embarrassment.

"...I've known my duties as a prince since I was a child, but to be honest it's hard to think of ruling Hoenn one day when there are moments I couldn't even catch my breath..."

"...I'll be with you every step of the way, Wally. Holding your inhaler in one hand and your Pokeballs in the other." Her voice was warm. "I'm so happy to hear that you're doing much better."

"It's Kirlia," he replied. "He warns me when he senses I might be close to an attack, and it really helps. Thank you, May. For Kirlia."

"All I did was help you catch Ralts," she replied a few hours later. "All the rest, you and Kirlia did yourself. Such a bond is a wonder, Wally, and I'm glad you have it with Kirlia. I don't doubt you have it with your other Pokemon as well."

...

"Perhaps, like your wife, you would like to also challenge the Lords" Steven said with a smile one day, checking in on him and seeing his progress. As a reward for his continued good health, the Advisor had given him a Moon Stone, which he planned to use on Skitty at the proper time.

He'd asked May what she'd thought, trembling at the possibility that she'd say no. He'd heard the doubts of many of his doctors: "he's still too weak, can he really go on a journey alone? Even if it is the custom..."

"I think it's a great idea, Wally! I'd love for you to see Hoenn, and you'll definitely see it while traveling to beat the Lords! I've learned so much about Hoenn just traveling and I would love you to also see the Hoenn I've fallen in love with."

"Maybe I'll catch up with you one day" he'd joked. He knew May had already challenged four Lords from her last message, and was now training to prepare for her fifth. It was her father, this time, and he had no doubt that she would succeed.

"I'll be ready when you do," she replied, and it was clear that she'd taken his words seriously.

This was May. Even when she was clearly doing so well in Pokemon training, she always treated any challenger as her equal.

He felt inspired even more.

...

When he does challenge her, finally catching up to her in Mauville when she returned to it to visit Wattson on the King's request, she beats him soundly. She's torn, clearly, as she shakes his hand, but he gives her a gentle smile.

"I wouldn't be here right now if you hadn't helped me catch Ralts," he said. "And someday I'm going to challenge you again, when I'm much stronger."

"Then I'll be waiting again," she said softly, then a whisper - "you're more than ready for Lady Roxanne and Lord Brawly."

"You think so? Even when I wasn't a challenge for you?"

"I know so," she said earnestly, holding his hand and squeezing it. "And maybe this will help as well."

She presses a TM into his hand.

He beats Lady Roxanne handily a few days later, then Lord Brawly a week after, even after getting seasick on that ship to Dewford Domain. (And he plans to take May's suggestion of getting an HM for a Pokemon of his seriously.)

"I know this is just the beginning, Wally! And I'm sure your father - everyone will be so happy that you're doing so well and staying healthy also!"

May's praise he kept close to his heart as he planned his next training session.

vi. banter

During his travels to his next domain, interestingly enough, the one of his father-in-law, Steven catches up to him with Koga, an Advisor of Johto, in tow. It is a testament to his travels and meeting many people that he doesn't flinch when the man levels a stare at him when he's introduced as the Prince, and he is able to conduct a conversation about Johto's special products, cultural events, magnet train, and Pokemon spawns.

"For a Prince who's never been to our Kingdom, you seem to know a lot about it" Koga observed, his eyes sharp.

"...I have a friend who grew up in Johto," he admitted. "She's told me a lot about it." May's little stories when resting at night, sometimes about her years in Johto.

"She must be a good friend," Koga said carefully. "To tell you so many little details that many natives would find insignificant."

"The best," he said reflexively, hoping that Koga didn't push further. "But certainly I can be allowed some curiosity about other kingdoms, since I have yet to know all the secrets of my own?"

"Of course, Prince Wally. Even I cannot say I know all the secrets of Johto, and even Kanto, as I hail from there as well. But my King will be pleased to hear of what we've talked about, especially the possibilities of trade. Lava cookies are only the beginning of what Johto can offer Hoenn."

"I, and my father and my Kingdom will happily await your response."

This would be the start of his next message to May: "You never told me how intimidating one of Johto's Advisors is - he reminded me of a ninja who could poison me at any time with just one look. He also has a fondness for Lava cookies, which I've finally gotten to taste. You were right, they are wonderful."

"I hope someday I can bring you more, maybe from other Kingdoms as well" she replies. "I may be a little too fond of snacks," she confessed with a shy smile that warmed his heart in so many ways.

"...I am too," he assured her with a smile. "One day, we'll find the best snack in Hoenn and eat it together."

vii. danger

It'd all happened so fast, he hadn't even known until the skies had darkened. He'd been worried that May hadn't been leaving messages for the last few days, but Advisor Steven and Lord Wallace had both contacted him saying that something huge was happening and to be safe-

And then he knew that if they were saying something like that that May was probably with them- that she was in the thick of everything and knowing May, May with all that she knew about Team Magma, she'd be the one to resolve this. This was of course a fantastical notion, considering how strong both Lord Wallace and Advisor Steven was - and surely they were more suited to deal with this - but the BuzzNav announcing her triumph had validated his belief in her.

He knew now that this was over, there was only one place she'd go next- maybe it was inevitable that when she agreed to this marriage that her path would culminate in what he thought she would next do.

There was only one way to reassure himself that she was fine.
....

He found her making her way through Victory Road, as expected. Already the Advisors had readied themselves, making sure to be at the Castle for the clearly inevitable challenge by the now savior of Hoenn.

His wife.

And seeing her now, bathed in the setting sun with her Blaziken at her side, his breath caught in his throat at both her beauty and the determination in her eyes.

Their eyes met; he knew what he had to say.

"I challenge you, May."

Her smile was soft, her gray eyes shining with both determination and excitement. "I accept, Wally."

He smiled as he drew out his first Pokeball. "It's worth the training of Victory Road to fight you here, May."

...

And of course she'd won for she was the woman who'd saved Hoenn and the world, and even in his disappointment at losing there was a swelling pride in his heart. This was May, his friend, his wife. He was so proud of her, for coming so far and for what he knew she could achieve past this battle.

"You're going to blaze through everyone else," he said and daring now, after months of messages wherein they'd shared so much of themselves, to hug her. "I'll be there, watching as you take the mantle."

She hugged him back. "Nothing would make me happier, Wally."

viii. champion

"I swear to protect Hoenn and its inhabitants, both people and Pokemon, with all that I am. I swear to honor the Royal Family and protect them, advise them on matters of Hoenn to the best of my ability, for all the days I hold this responsibility."

May's voice never faltered as she spoke these words to Steven, the man she had defeated to become Champion.

"Never did I think that she would become Champion," his father said.

"I thought of it," Norman said quietly.

"Really?"

"I know my daughter. I had a feeling that she would try her best to find the position that would help Prince Wally the most when she agreed to this arrangement, to make sure that there would be no question of her fulfilling the requirements of the law as his spouse. As her father, I know best her determination; when she defeated me, I knew she wouldn't rest until she'd become Champion."

"And she's won the heart of the people as well doing it," the King said softly. "Even when she retires or turns over the position to someone else someday, she'll..."

"...she'll have the hearts of the people in her hand," Wally said.

"...and maybe someday, your heart as well" the King said with a teasing smile, watching his son flush.

Norman smiled as well. For all that this was an arranged marriage, he'd seen the way they looked at each other. Perhaps, when everything had settled down...

ix. announcement

HOENN CHAMPION WINS POKEMON WORLD TOURNAMENT, THE PRIDE OF HOENN
SINNOH CHAMPION INVITES HOENN CHAMPION TO VISIT HIS REGION
MAY HELPS SINNOH CHAMPION WITH VILLANOUS TEAM GALACTIC REBORN

The Pokemon World Tournament was essentially a show of power of the different kingdoms. It'd been proposed by May, after they'd found records of past tournaments being held in much earlier times. With all the uprisings of different villainous organizations in different regions, both of them had felt that a show of strength of the Champions and multiple talented trainers of each region would help deter these organizations from being formed.

It honestly didn't matter who won it, she'd reasoned when he'd asked if she hoped to win; what was important was that the strengths of each trainer was shown and with hopefully a diverse pool of Pokemon as well.

She'd won against all the other Champions, though. He had no doubt she would.

And while she'd not said it, they both knew the message that also gave the other Kingdoms and any potential villainous organizations - Hoenn was a good Kingdom to ally with, and a bad Kingdom to toy with.

They'd gotten the message, which was why Lucas, Champion of Hoenn, had extended an invitation to May to visit Sinnoh as both a diplomatic visit to strengthen ties and a request for assistance with domestic issues. May being May, they'd unearthed the remnants of Team Galactic, trying to reform under a different leader and had summarily defeated them and turned them over to the proper authorities.

"Thank you so much," Lucas had said to her after everything.

"It's my pleasure to help," she said calmly, trying to ignore the constant camera flashes around them.

"How can we repay you? You'll always be welcome in Sinnoh, May."

"Your and Sinnoh's thanks are enough for me and for Hoenn," she said masterfully. "I hope for the continuing of our good relations."

"Of course, that goes without saying, but perhaps I can make it up to you personally," he said warmly. "On a date?"

She froze for a second. This was not something she was expecting and certainly not something the Advisors had prepped her on before sending her to Sinnoh. What should she do, she thought rapidly. This was being televised, after all.

Emboldened by her silence, he took her hand and looked earnestly at her. "Anywhere you want! I think any restaurant in Sinnoh would be honored to have you dine there with me."

She saw Wally's face when he'd watched her take the mantle of Champion, and then that unforgettable smile he'd given her when she'd helped him catch Ralts the day after they'd married. She then relaxed; now she knew what to say. "I'm sorry," she said. "But my husband would not like that."

HOENN CHAMPION TURNED DOWN SINNOH CHAMPION, MARRIED?!
SPECULATIONS ON WHO SHE'S MARRIED TO, LATER TONIGHT
PETALBURG LORD HAS NO COMMENT ON DAUGHTER'S HUSBAND

"...I'm sorry I had to spill the beans," she confided over her PokeNav Plus.

"...no, I'm glad you said it. We've kept it a secret long enough, Phoebe said, four years? Maybe our paparazzi are very lazy compared to Sinnoh."

"No, they aren't" she agreed. "Which is good for my job, our job. Actually, how am I going to actually say who I'm married to...?"

"Actually, this is Lord Wallace's idea along with Mr. Stone - I'm supposed to be at Slateport Domain awaiting your return and then when you come down from the ship, I'll sweep you into my arms."

She giggled. "Sweep?"

"I have grown taller than you, May." Finally. It'd taken the better part of three years, but he finally was taller. It was an important point, especially when he had daydreams of showing her more affection- not that there was occasion to because of his shyness and their need for secrecy, but now he was thankful all over again for it.

"...then I'll look forward to it," she teased. "I hope I'm not too heavy."

"You definitely won't be."

HOENN PRINCE SECRETLY WED TO HOENN CHAMPION, SWEEPS HER INTO HIS ARMS ON HER RETURN FROM SINNOH
STATEMENT TO BE RELEASED TOMORROW
MULTIPLE TRAINERS IN DISTRESS AT HOENN CHAMPION'S UNAVAILABILITY
KALOS CHAMPION INVITES ROYAL COUPLE TO VISIT KALOS; JOHTO CHAMPION AS WELL
UNOVA WILLING TO SEND ENGINEERS TO WORK WITH HOENN ON IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN KINGDOMS, SAYS UNOVA CHAMPION

"...well, this is a circus."

"...and not what we need, especially when we're working on both making sure that May is adjusting to her duties as both Hoenn Champion/Advisor and Princess and Advisor Steven's retirement."

"There's only one good thing about all of this," Phoebe said, wincing at the flashes of multiple cameras outside the castle.

"And what is that, pray tell, Phoebe?"

She smiled fondly. "With May recognized now as both Hoenn Champion and Princess, she can spend more time getting to know Prince Wally now. Without anyone becoming suspicious."

This statement allowed Glacia to bestow a rare smile on the two, currently walking with their Pokemon in the Royal Gardens, thankfully away from the numerous reporters.

"...I thought the king was a fool to arrange a marriage for his son at such a young age, and to a foreigner even, but I'm happy to be wrong," Glacia said quietly.

"I think we all are," Drake said gruffly.

x. properly

One year later

She'd knocked on his door one morning, finding him peering over some royal documents and signing them.

"I've had a request to investigate some trouble in Fortree Domain," she said softly. "I'm not sure if I'll be back tonight."

He'd already heard this from Advisor Phoebe, who'd knocked on his door an hour earlier, and had prepared accordingly. "...I'm going with you," he said as firmly as he could, his Gallade at his side nodding solemnly.

She gazed at him seriously. Everyone had told her that ever since she'd come into Wally's life, he'd slowly become more self-assured, 'an attitude befitting a soon-to-be heir' as Advisor Glacia had said. While Wally still had moments of insecurity, when it came to protecting Hoenn, he was as brave as she was. It was honestly endearing and... well, enticing. "Are you sure?"

"Yes." His Gallade could Mega Evolve and his Pokemon were stronger than ever, thanks to the bonds they had with each other; he knew he could help his wife.

She paused, her gray eyes utterly enticing under her long lashes as she looked up at him. "...is it treason if I let you come with me?"

He laughed. "No, it isn't, I promise. I told Glacia and she thinks that you're strong enough to protect me from anyone wishing me harm."

"I think you're strong enough to protect yourself from anyone wishing you harm," she said honestly, causing his heart to warm. "I was hoping you'd come along too," she said shyly. "Since Mega Evolution is involved, I'd love your opinion on certain things that may come to light... are you prepared to come?"

He nodded, patting the bag with his inhaler, asthma medications, and pocket nebulizer. He hadn't needed to use them in a while, but it was best to carry them just in case.

...

A month later

Just a few more steps. This time, he'd beaten all the Advisors more confidently than before, and it was time for his last battle of the day. But there was more at stake here than his honor as a Pokemon Trainer, he thought, thinking of May's smile and how it made him feel warm, of what he'd hoped now that his feelings had deepened.

If he beats at least four of her Pokemon today, maybe, maybe he'd get the courage to kiss her. A proper kiss, not like the one he'd given her during their wedding. And maybe, maybe he'd tell her that even if this was an arranged marriage at the start, it was already more than that for him-

He'd wanted so much ever since May came into his life. To get better, to increase his bonds with his Pokemon, to learn more about Hoenn and its inhabitants, to be able to help her with her duties the way she did with his. And he hoped he'd proved that to her, by accompanying her on her trips around Hoenn investigating any potential issues and by being able to wield Mega Evolution as well. This, he hoped, would help validate such and more. Because now, he wanted more in his relationship with her than just a friendship, a partnership.

He wanted everything, and maybe everything else started with a kiss.


"Oh! Wally, I didn't know you were coming-" She saw the resolve in his eyes and then straightened up, reaching for a Pokeball from her belt.

The Champion of the Hoenn League spoke next: "Challenger, step forward."

...

"Three," he counted under his breath. May had been training more of her Pokemon to help her defend her title, he knew that well - because she loved all the Pokemon she caught and wanted them all to be the best they could be, not to mention politically it was a boost to trainers all over if she showed that all Pokemon had strengths that trainers only had to nurture so that both Trainer and Pokemon could excel in whatever they wanted to do.

"...did you say something, Challenger?" Her voice was calm, but there was a twinkle in her eye.

"...let's continue, Champion. Go, Altaria!"

...

"Five," he breathed as he leaned against the wall. He'd taken down five of May's Pokemon. His last Pokemon, his Garchomp had fallen along with May's fifth Pokemon, but it was more than he'd expected.

"...are you okay?" May and her Pokemon fairly flew over to him across the room, her worry palpable as she reached into her bag and pulled out-

An inhaler.

"...you carry one?"

She flushed. "I worry about you, and you seem to want to follow me on my madcap adventures as Champion as of late. I want to be prepared."

He laughed. "I'm fine," he said, and he really was. This wasn't the breathlessness of an asthma attack, which he hadn't had for a long time now. This was just sheer disbelief that he had improved so much, both his bond with his Pokemon and understanding May.

His wife.

He'd fulfilled his promise to himself. Let's be brave in another way, he thought, and he pulled her into his arms.

"...Wally?" Her surprise was accompanied by a flush - he'd never done this before.

He undid the bandanna holding her hair back. "Can I ask for a prize, since I've gotten farther than any other challenger recently?"

She reached up to touch his cheek. "Of course, what would... my challenger like?"

His long-seated shyness suddenly overcame his adrenaline and he embarrassingly lost his train of thought as he stared into her warm gray eyes.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out something. "We never went on a honeymoon, did we?"

He choked on air, causing her to rub his back in concern. "...no, we didn't."

"My father gave me these," she said, offering him tickets which he recognized as being for the Mossdeep Domain's Space Center. "He and mom couldn't make it, so he passed them to me. Do you like star shows? Um, they watched it when they were still dating and they've always told me that seeing the star show gave them a happy marriage-"

His wife, Champion of Hoenn and Savior of, who was usually very confident was babbling. Maybe she'd been caught off guard by his actions, he thought happily, and maybe he could still salvage what mess he'd made with his re-emerged shyness.

He leaned over and kissed her lightly. He had no experience other than that kiss they'd shared during their wedding, unfortunately, but the deepened flush on her face and the dazed look in her eyes emboldened him.

"I'd like that very much, my wife." And with that, he kissed her again - this time a little less lightly.

This time, she responded in kind.

The history of Hoenn cannot be discussed without mentioning the reign of King Wally and Queen May, which is remembered as one of the most prosperous periods of Hoenn. An arranged marriage when they were in their teens, the marriage itself was certainly directly responsible for the prosperity of Hoenn and the rulers were beloved of their subjects for many reasons, but most of all for their great knowledge of the Kingdom and its people acquired from both of their personal Pokemon journeys. Evenly matched, both were able to harness the secrets of Mega Evolution and their deep bonds with their Pokemon enabled them to pass many laws and arrange many treaties with other Kingdoms.

By all reports, they were very happy together and lived long lives together. The marriage was blessed with many children, all cherished and brought up to love Hoenn and its inhabitants, people and Pokemon, as much as their parents did.
-A History of Hoenn, seventh edition

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