Summary: Several years after the events in HGSS, Lyra confesses her feelings for a certain dashing dragon master . . . to Whitney, and friends don't let friends' feelings go unconfessed. A story told in a series of 100-word snippets for the Writers Anonymous Drabble Challenge. Lyra/Lance (Trickyshipping).
Notes: Originally written for the Writers Anonymous Drabble Challenge on FFN. The challenge was to tell a story in a series of 100-word vignettes, each with a difference in character, perspective, event, or location, to prevent it from simply being a story broken up into 100-word bits. On FFN, I posted it with each chapter being on a different page, but with the thread style of this forum, I thought it would probably better to consolidate them all into a single post.
Content warnings: none
Anything, as long as it is kind, not harsh! I appreciate constructive criticism, but I'd also appreciate if you can point out at least one or two positive things. (For this story, please also keep in mind the 100-words-per-chapter restriction.)
The Pink-Haired Cowgirl's Love Advice
Chapter 1: Not a Poet
Lyra had come here to clear her mood, but the peaceful happiness of the scene just made her feel more dispirited in comparison.
The fat, pink miltank happily grazing in the green grass. The crisp, white pasture fence. The blue sky filled with clouds like a flock of white mareep.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Just like my mood,
Lyra thought. Then she scratched her head. She needed one more line but ran out of things to say. Also, something about comparing a beautiful, sunny day to a melancholy mood didn't seem right.
Lyra decided she didn't understand poetry.
Chapter 2: You Can Trust Me
Whitney plopped her elbows atop the fence next to Lyra. "Your taste in scenery is fantastic, but you look awfully gloomy. Something even this beautiful herd of miltank can't heal?"
"How do poets make anything make sense and rhyme?" Lyra asked.
This was definitely not normal Lyra. "That's not what's bothering you, is it?" Whitney questioned suspiciously.
"Oh, no. See, there's someone I like, but I don't know how to get his attention."
That was easy. "Miniskirt," Whitney advised promptly.
"You've got to wear a miniskirt," Whitney said. "And make sure it's really short. He'll notice that for sure."
Chapter 3: It's a Sin to Look Twice
Lyra's heart pounded in anticipation upon seeing Lance approaching.
"Hi Lance," Lyra said. "Fancy seeing you here."
"Hi, Lyra." His eyes flickered downward as he noticed the long expanse of leg beneath her very short skirt. Surprise flashed across his face for a moment. Then he turned his head to gaze earnestly up at the heavens.
"How are you today?" Lyra asked.
He continued looking into the sky, as if searching for clouds in a field of spotless blue. "Good, but I think I'm going to have to get going. I have an urgent need for some new, uh, capes."
Chapter 4: A Man Cannot Have Too Many Capes
Whitney saw Lance's gesture as he reached for the pokeballs clipped to his belt and swiftly leaped out of the bushes to go to Lyra's rescue. "An urgent need for capes?" Whitney asked. "How many capes do you have?"
"I'm not sure," Lance said, scrupulously avoiding looking in the direction of the two women. "But I definitely need some more, right now. Sorry to leave you so soon."
With a flap of his cape and a buffet of wind from the wings of his dragon, he was gone.
"Whitney," Lyra commented mournfully, "I don't think this is going so well."
Chapter 5: Running is a Good Sign
Lyra sighed as she tugged regretfully at the hem of her skirt, trying to see if she could coax it just a few milimeters lower.
Whitney, however, appeared undaunted. "Running away's a great sign!" she enthused. "If he's embarrassed, that means he noticed you as a woman! He wouldn't run away if you weren't on his mind! Just you wait and see!"
"But, um, that is," Lyra hedged, not at all convinced. "How can I talk to him and get to know him better if he runs away?"
"Don't worry," Whitney reassured. "I've got our next strategy all planned out."
Chapter 6: A Man's Heart
Whitney announced her next tactic with zest, sure that this would do the trick. "Cook something disgusting!"
"Why does it have to taste bad?"
"In all the animes, there's a love rival who is graceful, gentle, and a good cook, but the hero always ends up with the one who quarrels with him and can't cook." That was rock-solid evidence if anything was.
"But don't they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach?"
Whitney put her hands on her hips. "Which is more trustworthy, some musty old proverb or the wisdom of hundreds of anime shows?"
Chapter 7: Culinary Innovation
The Pitch-in Picnic at National Park was a who's who of Johto trainers.
To make it easy to tell which dish Lyra had cooked, Whitney had asked Lyra to make something new and unique. This would also give her a natural way of suggesting that Lance try tasting it.
Whitney, behind Lance, utilized some expert and definitely discreet shoves to ensure he ended up beside Lyra.
"So, did you bring something?" he asked Lyra.
Things were going even better than planned.
"Yes, it's the tofu in apricot and wasabi sauce. Would you like to try some?"
Lance visibly paled. "…Sure."
Chapter 8: Maybe It's Stress
He didn't insist on eating it all just because Lyra had made it, as Whitney said he would. But somehow, Lyra found it hard to feel too disappointed when Lance stuck by her side and chatted with her almost until the very end of the picnic.
Mostly it was just small talk, how she was doing, how her pokemon were doing, whether she was very busy recently, whether there wasn't something she was stressed out about, and so on.
The thought came dimly and after a long time, like sunlight filtering down into deep ocean. Was Lance worried about her?
Chapter 9: Tactful Inquiries
"Why do you ask?" Lyra asked, quizzical.
His mind spun in frantic circles. "Erm."
"Like, does something seem off?"
"Well…" He was plunging towards his doom, but he couldn't think of a way out. "I was wondering why you made that recipe. You see, the Elder used to tell us stories about how when my grandma was going through a stressful time, sometimes she would make odd things like okra cream puffs or persimmon stew. And, well, sometimes young people show early symptoms of that kind of condition, and…"
They were both red with mortification when Whitney dragged Lyra away.
Chapter 10: Signs of True Love
"Well, it's embarrassing that he thought maybe something was wrong, but it's nice that he was worried about me," Lyra said. Her eyes were distant and dreamy. "That's good, right?"
Alarm bells went off in Whitney's head. Lyra was lost in la-la land. "That's just being polite!" Whitney insisted. "You can only tell he really likes you if he insists on eating the whole thing!"
"Wouldn't that give him a stomachache?"
"Exactly, that's a sure sign of true love!" Fortunately, Whitney knew exactly what to do next. "But it's okay—we'll make him fall for you next time for sure!"
Chapter 11: Dashed Hopes
A week later, Lance was still brooding.
They had been having a good conversation, Lyra seemed to be enjoying the conversation, right until that fateful question.
There just wasn't a good way to tell a woman something she cooked tasted awful, still less suggest that the very unique flavor combination she had invented was due to some sort of mental imbalance.
He was mulling darkly over whether his chances had been ruined completely when a bobbing spot of pink intruded itself into his gloom.
He gave his best forbidding frown. Recently the mere sight of Whitney gave him a headache.
Chapter 12: Counterargument
"Lance!" Whitney called, flagging down her target outside Indigo Plateau. "We need your help. The female gym leaders are putting together a beauty contest, and we need more male judges. We already have Red, Silver, Ethan, and Green. I asked Pryce, Chuck, Morty, Falkner, and Bugsy, but they all refused."
The Johto gym leaders had given various excuses about not wanting to hurt feelings by scoring someone poorly and maintaining harmony among the gym leaders. Frustrating, but it gave Whitney a good excuse to recruit Lance.
"A beauty contest?" Lance asked, expression unchanged. "Isn't that objectifying and demeaning towards women?"
Chapter 13: Silver Lining
Lance drummed his fingers against the cheap plywood of the judges' booth in agitation, scowling.
Whitney really was acting odd recently, he reflected, thinking back on how she had grabbed his arm before he could leave and stood up on her tiptoes to hiss into his ear. "If you don't do it, I'll tell everyone how many capes you really own. I found out from Clair already, don't think I don't know."
The sight of the contestants coming onto the stage snapped him back to the present, and he sat bolt upright in interest.
Lyra had a dragonair with her.
Chapter 14: Becoming
When the contest was over, Lance hurried towards Lyra. He couldn't decide which was more becoming, the pale yellow summer dress, or the sky-blue dragonair whom the dress set off so nicely.
Her face took on an animated glow when she began telling him how she received it as a dratini from the elder. They were deep into a discussion of its Pokemon Contest potential when Whitney stormed up.
"What did you mean giving everyone the same score?" she fumed.
Lance tried to make his face look perfectly smooth and blank, like drywall. "I have to be fair and impartial."
Chapter 15: Secret Weapon
Whitney had invited Lyra to an ice cream parlor to debrief, but not sooner were they seated than Whitney threw herself at Lyra and began bawling into her shoulder. Lyra almost bolted out of her colorful plastic seat, but her surprise was momentarily.
"I've failed you, Lyra," Whitney wailed.
"Huh? But we were having a good conversation?"
Whitney sniffled, shaking her head with an air of doom. "It's no good. Everyone knows you can't get anywhere just by talking and getting to know each other. But it's okay," she said, wiping her eyes. "I have a secret weapon!"
Chapter 16: Mocchan
Lyra and Whitney sat under a blue-and-white parasol at a picnic table in front of Olivine's famous seafood restaurant, enjoying the crisp salt breeze and ocean view while they waited for their dates to arrive.
Whitney, who was facing towards the avenue, visibly perked up, and Lyra turned to see the two young men walking towards them.
"Behold, our secret weapon!" Whitney announced, holding her arms straight out towards a tall, lanky blond in a comfortably loose sweater, with a purple scarf wrapped around his neck. Green Oak, beside him, grinned and raised a hand in greeting.
"Mocchan!" Whitney announced.
Chapter 17: Fine Distinctions
Once they were all comfortably seated inside the warm, bustling restaurant, Whitney explained her plan.
Green was there to arouse Lance's jealousy at seeing Lyra with someone else.
Morty was there to advise Lyra where Whitney failed.
"But why do you call him Mocchan?" Lyra asked, puzzled. "I though that was the name of your miltank?"
"Oh, no, my miltank is Moo-chan," Whitney said, imitating a miltank's voice. "Completely different."
The door bell jangled, and Lance and Clair entered with the sound of boots on wood.
Lance saw them all, took in the whole scene, and silently turned his back.
Chapter 18: No Place to Hide
Green couldn't help but smirk at Lance's silently offended air, his cousin Clair's elegantly-raised eyebrow. He had been briefed on the whole situation, and doing something to ruffle Lance's feathers—which would ultimately turn out to be for his own good—was right up Green's alley.
Green watched until their matching capes and Clair's wavy blue ponytail disappeared behind the door of a private room. Then he looked back over at Lyra. She was gripping the edge of the table with her fingertips, huddled down with her head between her hands.
"Do you think he saw me?"
"Yep," Whitney said.
Chapter 19: Behind Closed Doors
Once the waiter had left them alone, Clair got right to the point. "So, what's this you wanted to ask about?"
Lance began explaining. "Whitney and Lyra have both been acting kind of odd recently..."
Clair listened to his narrative with extreme amusement. The fact that he hadn't figured it out yet was too hilarious.
"So do you have any idea what's going on?"
She sighed. Lance had bribed her with free dinner if she could help him, but really, it just wasn't her place to say. "We'd better split the bill this time. Sorry, but I can't tell you."
Chapter 20: Balance
Morty listened with amused sympathy to the antics his girlfriend had put Lyra up to, smiling softly as he sipped his tea. He felt a little sorry for Lyra that Whitney hadn't enlisted him earlier. Morty was able to calm down Whitney's extreme moods and bring her down to earth, while his moods tended to the gloomy side when he was alone, and Whitney's enthusiasm and cheer always lifted his spirits. Together, they could probably have concocted a more balanced strategy. But what was done was done. It seemed it was time to switch to a simpler, more direct approach.
Chapter 21: Advice from the Other Side
"So how did you two get together?" Lyra asked, changing the subject. The two of them had successfully become a couple, after all, so maybe their story would help her with Lance.
"Oh, that's simple," Whitney supplied. "He asked me out."
"So you didn't do any of the things you suggested I should try?"
"Nope! I had no idea about Mocchan's feelings until he told me."
"So, Lyra," Morty said, "I think you should just try telling him how you feel."
"Lance doesn't understand women's hearts the way I do." Green threw her a wink. "It's best to be direct."
Chapter 22: Loved Ones
Green signaled quietly when he saw the dragon trainers leave the other room and head towards the exit. Lyra sank under the table again, and everyone was silent until they were gone.
"They aren't together, are they?" Lyra whispered.
"Don't worry," Green reassured. "Besides being cousins, they grew up together. They're more like siblings than anything."
"And don't worry about being seen here, either," Morty added. "After all, you have us to vouch for the purity of your motives. We'll get it all sorted out eventually."
Lyra looked at each of them in turn, eyes shining with gratitude. "Thanks, everyone."
Chapter 23: Last Resort
Lyra almost fell over with astonishment when she opened her front door the next day. Lance was there, looking his most austere and sober in his formal navy and maroon, a serious expression on his face and one hand resting on his dragonite's flank.
She had not quite been her normal self, he said, ever since she started hanging out with Whitney more than before, starting with the miniskirt episode and culminating in Gary Oak.
"…so I was wondering if there's something going on," he concluded.
Lyra took a deep breath. Just tell him how you feel, she mentally recited.
Chapter 24: Perfect Buildup to Rejection
"Please don't blame Whitney." That was the Lyra he knew, always thinking of others first. "She was just trying to help me. You see, I…"
Lance waited patiently.
"I have liked you for a long time," she said, eyes downcast, "but I didn't know how to get you to notice." She explained each of Whitney's ideas before coming to an embarrassed stop. "So…"
He was sorry Lyra had to go through all that rigmarole—and chagrined he hadn't realized sooner. "I'm happy that you did all that for me, but…"
Lyra looked grief-stricken.
Well, that had come out all wrong.
Chapter 25: A Simple Question
Lyra felt like her heart was going to stop.
But then, "I like you the way you are," he explained.
"Really?" When she saw the dragon trainer nod, she felt the constriction in her chest suddenly release as she sighed in relief. "I didn't realize it was that simple." She could feel a smile lighting her face as happiness welled up within her.
"So, I have a simple question for you." Lance was smiling, too. Lyra liked that. His austere face was handsome, too, but it almost gave her a heart attack.
"Where would you like to go?"