Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon.
The heat inside the cave was stifling in the late July weather, no matter if there was a cool refreshing waterfall in the immediate vicinity or not.
"I love you, Steven."
How was he supposed to respond to that? May had traveled on her Skarmory's back (a female of course—the perfect match for his own bird of steel) all over Hoenn until she had recently tracked him down in Meteor Falls.
He couldn't prevent a nervous smile from creeping onto his lips. "Really? You do?"
"Aron?" The pokemon that had taken up residence besides Steven's calf looked up at his trainer inquisitively.
"Yes." May's crystal-blue eyes shimmered in determination. "I do! I do love you!" Only her Blaziken could produce more heat than she could at this present moment. May truly was a fire trainer with her passionate outbursts.
Unfortunately, fire melted steel.
Steven shook his head. "May, listen to me…"
"What? You don't feel the same way?"
He wasn't quite sure how to respond. Instead, he answered her question with another question.
"May, how old are you?"
"I'll be sixteen in August."
"All right, so, you' re fifteen now."
"Only for one more month!"
"Aron?" The steel-rock pokemon seemed to be debating whether it was necessary to defend his trainer or to hide behind him—anything to stop the new champion's barrage of verbal attacks.
"I'm twenty-one," he said softly. "Do you know what that means?"
As if sensing where this conversation was headed, May's brow furrowed. "Age doesn't…"
He interrupted her.
"In this context, it certainly does matter. May, what you are experiencing is something called 'hero worship.' You really don't mean what you say— "
May rather childishly clapped her hands over her ears. "I'm not hearing this."
"You have to accept it, May. I'm not the right man for you. In reality, you're just a kid with a crush."
May looked like she was about to bawl. Then, without warning, she turned around and sprinted through the cave; sobs echoing around her. Sobs echoing around them both.
Resignedly, Steven turned around as well. Though he knew he had taken the correct course of action, he couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt and loss.
If possible, the interior of the cave grew hotter in the late summer evening.