It wasn't all that common that an outcast and one of the most popular guys at school ended up in the same classroom together. Especially not if one of them had a crush on the other.
Maybe in manga, as Mairin would argue, but as far as Alain was concerned this was reality.
Unless he was dreaming and was going to wake up.
Alain moved his hand, pinching himself.
He didn't wince at the sting, but also knew that now he definitly was in the same room as his best friend and, most importantly, the cutest and most oblivious guy in the entire school, who also just so happened to be a transfer student from Kanto and became rapidly popular because of his foreign looks and kind if not energetic personality, which drew lot's of people to him.
Had he also mentioned the fact that he was pretty darned good at taking care of horses, as well as riding them? Gosh, he had it bad.
And the worst part of him crushing on the other was not only because he was so oblivious - he and Mairin both had noticed how girls and boys flirted with him, and he just wouldn't get the hint, ever - but also because Alain wasn't liked much by most of the school because of how distant and cold he was to people he didn't know or care about.
That was practically because of all the rumors and gossip going around the school, something Alain despised.
He didn't like gossip or rumors, simply because of how fast they spread and how easily they could ruin other people's lives, something no one deserved.
Alain knew it all too well, because in the first week of him attenting Lumiose High School, a random girl he didn't know or spoke to suddenly came up to confess to him during lunch break, and when he rejected her, trying to be as gentle as possible about it as well, the next day he was being avoided by his classmates, even people who were hanging out with him in the beginning.
Apparantly the girl who had been rejected by him had spread the rumor of him being very cold and rude towards girls, whether they had feelings for him or not.
That it was adviced for any girl, and even boys who swung that way for that matter, to avoid him at all costs unless they wanted to experience his harshness first hand.
It was very ridiculous in Alain's opinion, and Mairin, his childhood friend, had almost created a warzone of her uncle's living room when she heard about it.
There was, unfortunatley, nothing they could do. It stuck and since then he had become one of the outcasts.
For the very reason of being an outcast and wanting to protect not only himself and the boy he liked from also becoming a victim of rumors and gossiping, Alain couldn't act on his crush on Ash Ketchum.
The boy was sitting on the other side of the room by the window, talking to Mairin who -
Alain blinked, seeing that the chair in front of him was now empty.
When had Mairin moved over to where Ash was sitting?!
He turned his head slightly and narrowed his eyes at the moment Mairin just so happened to make eye contact with him.
She smiled and Alain mouthed 'traitor' towards her, at which she smiled even wider, before turning back to Ash to say something, which made the foreigner stand up and -
Did Mairin seriously get Ash to come with her over to their desks?!
Alain could feel his shoulders stiffen and he breathed in deeply, trying to get himself to relax again. It was going to be alright. It was just his crush, it was just his crush, it was just -
''Finally back to reality I see?'' Mairin cut off his thoughts, standing in front of him with her hands on her hips. Alain shot her a small glare.
''You could've told me you were going to talk to someone else before leaving.'' He sounded more annoyed than he thought he'd be, as he noticed Ash's eyes widen from behind the smaller girl.
''There's not much to say to you when you're daydreaming!'' Mairin huffed, ''And I was getting bored so I went to talk with Ash instead! He's way better company than you! See Ash? Alain ended up in his own fantasy world! If I'm not there for him, he'd never make it back to reality!''
Ash smiled at her, but looked a bit uncertain when his eyes went towards Alain. He didn't look like he had been dragged here against his will, but he was being a little cautious, probably because of the rumours surrounding the other boy in the room.
Alain scowled at the red headed girl.
''That's ridiculous. I was thinking, not daydreaming.'' He snapped.
He didn't like it when she started being dramatic, something she did often to get on his nerves. But he never could stay mad at her for long, he was too fond of her and loved her like a little sister.
Mairin looked at him, feigning an innocent expression.
''Thinking about what?'' She asked sweetly, despite knowing what - or who, more importantly - has been on his mind recently. Mairin knew him for years, so she had gotten pretty good at reading him, especially when it came down to people he liked.
''I don't think that's any of your business Mairin.'' Alain replied quickly. Like hell he would tell her that he was thinking about his crush in front of his...crush. Or tell her at all for that matter.
Mairin rolled her eyes playfully, and then she plopped herself down on the chair by her own desk, before grabbing her bag and looking through it.
Alain sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose.
''Now what are you doing?''
He knew it was lunch break but he had already witnessed her shovel down her food, and it was still too early for the next class.
''Looking for something.'' Mairin said, biting her lip, ''I must have it somewhere...''
''Looking for what?'' Alain pressed.
''I forgot to bring my lunch today, and I don't have any money with me to get anything at the cafetaria so Mairin has been kind enough give me something of hers.''
Ash chuckled, feeling like he should say something instead of just standing there awkwardly. He was looking at Alain sheepishly as he answered the question for Mairin, scratching the back of his head.
It looked cute, and if Alain wasn't as composed as he was, he'd probably be averting his eyes and blushing a bit. He could feel his heart beating a bit quicker in his chest though. Gosh dang it, up close the other boy was just...
''Aaw I only have an apple!'' Mairin snapped Alain out of his thoughts with a loud complaint, ''Sorry Ash, it's not much...''
''That's alright.'' Ash grinned, beaming at her once he saw the fruit in her hand, ''I know it probably won't fill me up as much as I'd like, but anything is better than nothing!''
Ash just beamed.
He actually beamed.
And while it was only at his childhood friend, Alain felt very, very blessed to be able to witness it firsthand. The day was looking bright.
''You're as bright as the sun.''
Silence fell between the three, and Alain only noticed it when he heard Mairin cough in her fist. He raised his head, looking confused as the other two stared at him. Then realization hit him.
''I said that out loud, didn't I?'' He choked out, embarrassed.
Ash and Mairin nodded their heads.
One silent, and one smirking.
Maybe the day wasn't looking as bright as Alain first thought it would, because Mairin was never going to let him live this one down once Ash left.
That was Alain's prediction.
And when it came to Mairin, his predictions came true most of time.
Get a hold of yourself! Alain berated himself mentally, but he couldn't, because he only felt his face heat up more and his heart beat harder for the second time in thirty minutes once he noticed that Ash was blushing - honest to god blushing! - from the very unexpected compliment and looked as red as the apple he had gotten from Mairin just a moment ago.
How could one person be so adorable?
A bead of sweat ran down the side of Alain's face, trying to ignore the urge to just stand up, approach the other boy and kiss him in front of Mairin.
This is bad for my heart.
''T-thank you,'' Ash spoke, his voice soft and shy which was a whole turn around from how he sounded earlier, ''You know...for someone with so many people against him, I don't think you're all that bad.''
He paused at seeing Alain's wide eyes on himself, and then after gathering his thoughts for a moment, continued.
''I've always wanted to approach you but always got held back by others, trying to scare me away from talking with you. There's something interesting about you and I want to get to know you better! I think these rumors are false so if you don't mind I'd like to talk to you more from now on and become friends! I can even teach you about horses if you want!''
At the end of his sentence Ash sounded like his normally cheerful and energetic self, the surprise from Alain's sudden compliment having worn off.
The foreigner's smile was contagious, because Alain could feel his lips curl into one as well. He felt relieved and hope bloomed inside of his chest and instead of feeling a little disappointed at the friend part, he found himself more happy than anything.
After all, friendship was only the first stage.
There was always a possibility for more in the future and until then, Alain decided he would keep himself in check as much as he needed to.
To hell with other students and their opinions, Alain wasn't going to back down now that Ash wanted to interact with him more on his own free will and maybe, just maybe he could break through that obliviousness of his.
He already made Ash blush once and even if he thought of it as only a friendly compliment, it was still a good sign.
''I'd lo - ''
Mairin perked up.
Was he really going to say that word...?
Alain, however, caught and corrected himself quickly, looking at Ash confidently.
''I'd like that a lot.''
Mairin dropped her head on the desk.
''Lame.'' She mumbled, her voice muffled so the boys didn't hear her. She'd prefer hearing the word love over like when it came to her best friend talking to his crush, thank you very much!
Ash grinned, seeming none to wiser.
''Great! Then let me inroduce myself properly,'' He held out his hand, and Alain wasted no time in grabbing it, ''My name is Ash Ketchum.''
''I'm Alain Sycamore,'' Alain murmured softly, using his adoptive father's last name, ''It's nice to finally meet you.''
Ash laughed, ''Same here!'' and then they let go, letting their arms fall to their sides. The foreigner then took someone else's chair and sat down, joining Alain and Mairin at their desks.
The red head had already raised her head against, but was still pouting. Not that the boys would know that, they were too busy paying attention to each other to notice, already deep in conversation.
After a moment, Mairin finally smiled to herself for a job well done.
At least she managed to make Alain happy by going out of her way to talk to Ash, otherwise her best friend would still be gazing longingly at the boy right now and their cute classmate would still be starving.
I can't wait to see where this is gonna go.