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Just Two Men and a Schist Ton of Rocks

Chapter Text

“You ready, Wallace?” asked Steven.
“O-of course,” said Wallace, eyes transfixed on the Kalosian banquet hall ahead.
A faint smile crept onto Steven’s face. Wallace always tried to act so on top of things. Seeing him like this was an interesting experience to say the least. He kept fidgeting with the sleeves of his suit, and there was just the faintest hint of a blush on his face. Steven could only conclude that he was nervous about meeting the league champions. He placed a hand on Wallace’s shoulder, and Wallace turned to face him.
“You’ll do fine,” said Steven. “I’m sure everyone will be delighted to meet you.”
Wallace nodded and hooked his arm around Steven’s. His boyfriend’s charms always made him feel at ease. The pair headed forward towards the opening banquet of the biennial Champion’s Summit.

The inside of the hall was just as ornate as Wallace imagined it would be. There was a great chandelier hanging from the ceiling, and the marble floor made a lovely clacking sound under Wallace’s shoes. Wallace turned to Steven to comment on the architecture, but stopped short. Steven was bending down to examine the floor, and a short yelp escaped Wallace’s throat as he was pulled down with him. Steven brushed his free hand across the smooth surface.
“Look at the pattern in this marble,” said Steven. “Isn’t it just exquisite?”
Wallace sighed and nodded. He loved Steven, and normally he found his enthusiasm for rocks and minerals endearing, but… He just couldn’t deal with it when others didn’t. Steven always seemed oblivious to the fact that not everyone was as into rocks as he was, and the secondhand embarrassment always hit Wallace hard. This was exactly what he had been nervous about. He let Steven believe he was nervous to meet the other champions, but in reality he was perfectly fine with it. Being a gym leader and contest star, not to mention wearing such a revealing outfit while doing it, had long since gotten rid of any shyness Wallace had about meeting people.
“Steven Stone, you’ve arrived!”
The two men looked up.
“Ah, Cynthia,” said Steven. “It’s a pleasure to see you again!”
Steven got to his feet, pulling Wallace back up with him.
“And this must be the famous Wallace I’ve heard so much about!” said Cynthia.
Wallace instinctively moved to strike an introductory pose, but failed when his arm caught on Steven’s. He couldn’t help but wonder if Steven was up to something. He wasn’t usually this affectionate in public. Wallace smiled a bit in embarrassment and settled for a handshake. Cynthia smiled and reciprocated the shake.
“So, are you two an item?” she asked, quirking an eyebrow.
Steven smiled and tightened his arm around Wallace’s.
“Why yes, actually,” he said. “We’ve been together for nearly two years now.”
Cynthia smirked.
“I thought your only love was your rocks.”
“Oh, I still love my rocks,” said Steven, smirking in a way that made Wallace feel incredibly uneasy. “You could say Wallace and I are in a… poly-amorphous relationship.”
Oh Arceus, no. The rock puns were rare, but once they started they never seemed to stop.
“So, just two men and a shit ton of rocks, then,” said Cynthia.
“Just two men and a schist ton of rocks,” said Steven, nudging Wallace with his elbow.
Did Steven just almost swear? Prim and proper Steven? The idea of Steven swearing stirred something deep inside Wallace, and he blushed. Steven glanced at Wallace, and his eyes widened a bit.
“Wallace, dear, are you alright?”
Wallace nodded.
“I’m fine,” he said.
Steven’s look of concern didn’t fade.
“You don’t look fine.”
Steven turned to Cynthia.
“Please excuse us, Cynthia,” said Steven. “I’m going to take Wallace to the restroom. He’s looking rather ill at the moment.”
Cynthia nodded and waved them on.
“It was gneiss talking with you, Steven!”

Steven rushed Wallace off to the restroom. Once inside, he gingerly placed a hand on Wallace’s shoulder.
“Wallace, are you sure you’re okay? You look feverish.”
Wallace glanced up at Steven.
“Wh-what was that?” he said, gesturing to the door.
Steven cocked his head.
“What, the rock puns?” he said. “Cynthia always appreciates them, so I-“
“No, that specific rock pun! Did you almost swear? You never swear! Not even when Kyogre almost drowned us!”
Steven’s mouth dropped open a bit.
“Oh dear, I suppose I didn’t really think that one through did I? Was that too crude of me?” said Steven. “I’ve never known you to be bothered by crude language, Wallace. Are you worried about my reputation? Because I assure you it was just a joke between friends.”
Wallace placed a hand on his rambling boyfriend’s shoulder in reassurance.
“You’re fine, Steven. It’s just…”
Wallace’s blush deepened, and he became uncomfortable aware of his own heart beating.
“Just?”
“It’s just… I kind of… liked it.”
Steven reared back in surprise.
“You… like hearing me swear?”
Wallace smiled nervously and glanced away from Steven.
“Well, not exactly… It’s more the idea of you swearing in… certain… situations… it’s kind of…”
Wallace’s voice trailed off into nothing. Steven leaned in close, causing Wallace to bite his lip.
“Kind of what, Wallace?”
“Kind of hot…” Wallace muttered under his breath.
Steven’s eyes widened, and a blush began to form on his face. Wallace glanced down at the floor. Suddenly, he felt a hand on his chin. Steven was lifting up his face to meet his own. Steven’s look of shock had been replaced with half-lidded eyes and a slight smirk. A shiver traveled up Wallace’s body at the sight. Damned Steven and those beautiful eyes of his.
“Wallace,” said Steven, lowering his voice “I never knew you had such… interesting fantasies.”
Steven pinned Wallace to the wall with his free hand and moved his knee in between his subconsciously parting legs, trapping him. Wallace swallowed hard. Steven moved his head closer, going in for a kiss. He was interrupted by the door slamming open. Both men jerked their heads sideways to face the door. It was Blue, a former champion of the Indigo League. Wallace and Steven stayed frozen in shock.
“Uh, s-smell you later,” said Blue, hastily retreating out the door.
Wallace looked back to Steven and smiled.
“Maybe right now isn’t the best time for this,” said Wallace.
“Agreed,” said Steven.
Steven began to move towards the door, but was stopped by Wallace grabbing the back of his suit jacket.
“Steven,” Wallace began, sounding strangely desperate, “Please don’t make any more rock puns. Just for tonight.”
Steven spun around. He placed a hand on his chest in mock surprise.
“Wallace!” he said. “Are you embarrassed of me?”
Wallace smirked and leaned in to whisper in Steven’s ear.
“You know; I am wearing my usual outfit under this fancy suit. And this suit is starting to feel awfully warm.”
Steven recoiled, this time in actual fear.
“You wouldn’t!” he said. “This is a formal occasion!”
“Oh, I would,” said Wallace. “Just don’t make any more rock puns in public.”
Steven sighed and leaned in to whisper in Wallace’s ear.
“So in private is still okay, then? Because I’d really like to explore your orogenous zones later tonight.”
Wallace groaned, although he wasn’t sure whether it was in exasperation or a result of how turned on he was right now. Steven placed a chaste kiss on Wallace’s forehead.
“Ready to head back in?” he asked.
“About as ready as I can be, I guess,” said Wallace.
Steven’s arm was already hooked back around Wallace’s arm and leading him back out into the hall. This was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

Guests were beginning to take their seats as Steven and Wallace emerged from the bathroom. The hall was filled with champions, elite four members, and even a few gym leaders. Steven guided Wallace to their table, where Cynthia and Roxanne were already seated. Steven was relieved to see that the randomly assigned seats had worked out in his favor. Two friends was much better than, for example, the former champion that had just walked in on him in a rather compromising position.
“Steven and Wallace!” said Roxanne, “It’s great to see some familiar faces!”
The two men greeted Roxanne and seated themselves.
“So, Steven,” said Cynthia, smiling, “We’re going to exchange some more rock puns, pyrite?”
Wallace gave Steven’s shoe a light kick.
“Sorry, Cynthia, I think I’m all punned out for the moment,” said Steven.
Cynthia grinned.
“Saving your energy for fighting me later this week, huh?” she said. “I don’t blame you.”
Steven raised an eyebrow at her before turning to Roxanne.
“What brings you all the way out to Kalos, Roxanne?” he asked.
“Ah, I’m taking a little vacation,” she said. “I thought I’d come out here and show my friend Steven a little support. After this, I’m off to Sinnoh. They have a network of caves that spans the entire region, you know.”
Steven nodded. He had visited the underground before. Wallace had ended up dragging him out of it after he had spent a week camping out down there. Apparently, he was worried about Steven not breathing any fresh air for a week. Roxanne turned to Wallace.
“What about you, Wallace?”
“Well, I figured I better show Steven some support for once since he always comes to watch my contests,” said Wallace.
Steven playfully nudged Wallace.
“And I’m sure me inviting you had nothing to do with it, then?”
Wallace smiled and shrugged.
“So how did you two end up dating, if you don’t mind my asking?” asked Cynthia.
“As I’m sure Steven’s told you, we’re old friends,” said Wallace. “I always found myself attracted to him, but I never thought it would be reciprocated. Then the disaster with Kyogre happened. Steven and I accompanied young May out to the Cave of Origins. Residents of Sootopolis such as myself aren’t permitted to enter the cave, so I had to wait things out outside. Steven stayed with me, though. He could have gone in, but he chose to stay and comfort me instead. I figured we might die soon anyway, so I took a chance and confessed. Turns out that Steven had always been attracted to me, too.”
Roxanne chuckled a bit.
“What’s funny about that?” asked Wallace.
“I can’t believe it took a near-death experience for you two to realize how gay you were for each other!” said Roxanne, laughing.
“Half of Hoenn thought you two had always been dating and were just really secretive about it! I mean, what straight man stares at a friend like that?”
Wallace and Steven glanced at each other. Were they really more oblivious than half their home region? Their thoughts were interrupted by the screeching of mic interference. Diantha stood on the stage near the center of the hall.
“Greetings, everyone,” she began. “It is a pleasure to be hosting this Champion’s Summit here in my home region of Kalos. At this summit, we shall discuss important events impacting our regions, as well as have a tournament between the current champions. I hope you all have a wonderful stay here in Kalos! I do not wish to take up any unnecessary time when this delightful buffet is here waiting for us, so without further ado I declare the buffet open!”

The table was much quieter when everyone was busy eating. Wallace tried to keep his mind busy with people watching. It was all he could do to distract himself from what Steven had said earlier in the bathroom. Despite having been dating for nearly 2 years now, sex was somewhat rare for them. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to, but something always came up. Often times, Steven was busy or tired from a long day of rock hounding, or a lonely pokemon wanted to sleep in bed with them. Wallace internally cursed himself for being so flustered by all this. They were grown men, after all, not a couple of horny teenagers. He doubly cursed himself for getting so excited by a rock pun of all things. Steven’s voice could make anything sound sexy, couldn’t it?

The hall dispersed shortly after everyone had finished their food. Most of the guests were tired from the trip to Kalos, with many of them dealing with some pretty serious jetlag. Steven and Wallace headed back to their hotel in Lumiose. Steven unzipped his luggage on the bed, fishing around for some pajamas.
“Ah, here they are,” he mumbled to himself, pulling out his favorite pajama set; the one patterned with different varieties of quartz. Steven turned to see what his boyfriend was up to.
“Wallace, you getting ready for-“
Wallace was mid-strip, clearly not a fan of his formal suit. Steven chucked.
“So you weren’t joking about wearing your usual outfit underneath that suit,” he said.
Wallace smirked as he kicked off his slacks, finally free of the offensive suit.
“You’ve really never been one for formal wear, have you,” said Steven.
Wallace flopped backwards onto the bed and splayed out seductively.
“Not everyone was raised as a pampered heir, dear,” he said.
Steven huffed in mock annoyance. Wallace never missed a chance to poke a little fun at him. Steven removed his suit jacket and hung it in the closet. He walked back to his bed and grabbed his pajamas. Wallace grabbed his hand, stopping him.
“Do you really need those?” he asked. “What about… ‘exploring my orogenous zones,’ as you so eloquently put it?”
Steven blushed.
“I did say that, didn’t I,” he said. “I suppose I’ll have to make good on that.”
Steven climbed on the bed, and Wallace eagerly scooted over to meet him. Their lips met, and the pair didn’t waste any time in exploring each other’s bodies with their hands. Steven’s hands lingered on the steel bracelets he had gifted Wallace a few years ago. It made him so happy that Wallace had incorporated them into his wardrobe. Wallace slipped a hand under Steven’s shirt, circling a nipple slowly with his index finger. A small whimper came from Steven’s throat, and Wallace broke away from the kiss to admire Steven’s flushed face.
“Wow,” said Wallace, panting a bit, “You’re so easily flustered tonight. Your nipples are already… rock hard.”
Steven groaned. Wallace smirked and continued to rub Steven’s nipples.
“Maybe even… an eleven on the Mohs hardness scale,” Wallace continued.
Steven grabbed Wallace’s arms and flipped him onto his back, pinning him down.
“Wallace, please, no,” he said. “Those puns are terrible, and the Mohs scale only goes up to ten, you kno-“
Wallace silenced Steven with a kiss.
“If you can’t take them, don’t dish them out,” he said.
Steven glared at him and tightened his grip on Wallace’s arms. The man was surprisingly strong for his size; probably from his frequent spelunking. Wallace squirmed for a few moments before giving in.
“Fine, fine,” Wallace conceded, “I’ll leave the rock puns to the rock expert.”
Steven smiled and rewarded Wallace by running a hand down his body and playfully biting his neck. Wallace moaned softly as Steven’s hand moved lower. While Steven often complained about the appropriateness of Wallace’s wardrobe, he was actually quite fond of it. Perhaps a bit too fond of it, he thought to himself as he slipped his hand through one of the gaps at the outfit’s waist. Wallace suppressed a gasp, and Steven remembered their conversation in the bathroom earlier in the night. He moved up to give Wallace’s ear a quick nip before speaking into it.
“Oh, fuck, Wallace,” said Steven, putting a bit too strong of an emphasis on the curse. “You’re so turned on for me already,”
Wallace’s only response was his continually reddening face. Steven’s eyes widened, and he sat up a bit.
“W-Wallace, that was okay, right?” said Steven, “Should I have started with something a bit weaker? That wasn’t too presumptuous of me, ri-“
Again, Wallace stopped his boyfriend with a kiss. Steven’s attempt at dirty talk may have been a bit awkward, but it was still good enough for Wallace.
“It was perfect, Steven,” he said, eyes softening.
Steven sighed in relief, and the pair continued with the night’s activities.

Chapter Text

Wallace awoke to the feeling of the bed shifting. Steven must have woken up. He was always up early, even without any kind of alarm. Wallace stretched out his limbs before curling back into the blankets. He opened his eyes. The sun was only just rising. Wallace groaned and shut his eyes.
“Do we need to get up yet?” he asked.
Steven chuckled, sending light vibrations through the mattress.
“I suppose we can spare a half hour or so before we get ready for the day,” he said, settling back into the bed.
Wallace smiled and snuggled into Steven’s chest. Steven ran a hand through Wallace’s hair, admiring the way the teal strands bounced back into their usual curls. Wallace gave a weak hum of appreciation at the soothing motions.
“You sleep well, Steven?” he asked.
“Like a rock,” said Steven, chuckling again.
Wallace snorted.
“Still laying on the puns, I see,” he said. “What’s on the agenda today?”
Steven leaned his head back in thought.
“Well, the only important thing is my meeting with the other champions at noon,” he said. “I’m sure you can find something to do during that. Perhaps you could study some of the local water pokemon?”
Wallace grimaced.
“Why are we up so early if you don’t have anything going on until noon?”
“Well,” began Steven, spinning one of his rings around his finger, “I would very much like to visit a rock and mineral shop in Anistar City before my meeting. It would be lovely if you’d accompany me.”
Wallace snuggled deeper into Steven’s chest. When he spoke, his voice was muffled.
“I should have guessed it would be something like that,” he said.

After a little over a half hour of cuddling (Steven had been generous), Steven motioned for Wallace to sit up so they could begin their morning routines. Wallace sighed and hopped out of bed, heading over to the sink to brush his teeth.
“Wallace,” called Steven, “Would you mind getting dressed first?”
Wallace turned back to face him.
“Oh?” said Wallace, winking, “That’s quite the opposite of what you said last night.”
“Wallace, please,” said Steven. “I’m going to bring my metagross out to style my hair, and I’d like you to be decent for it.”
Wallace huffed, but complied, gathering some fresh clothes from his suitcase. Sure, pokemon were always naked, but it did feel wrong to be nude in front of them. He pulled out a simple turtleneck and pants, as well as an aquamarine pendant that had been a gift from Steven. He felt like dressing more casually for once. Steven, as usual, dressed himself in a crisp, clean suit. The metal cuffs on his jacket clanged together as he pulled it out of the closet and slipped it on. Wallace was ready first, and he sat in a nearby chair to watch as Steven brought out his metagross. Steven gave the pokemon a pat on the head before asking for its assistance.
“Metagross, could you style my hair for the day, please?”
The metagross nodded and closed its eyes. Wallace watched as metagross used its psychic powers to style Steven’s hair into his trademark spikes. No matter how many times he watched it happen, he was always mesmerized by the gentle way metagross pushed up and separated the hair. Wallace had often thought of having a pokemon style his hair, but the only maintenance his hair needed was a quick run through of a comb. The metagross had finished styling Steven’s hair, and Steven rewarded it with a pokeblock before returning it to its pokeball.
“Ready to go, Wallace?” he asked.
Wallace hopped out of the chair and gave Steven a peck on the cheek.
“I’m ready,” said Wallace.

Once the pair was out of the hotel and in an open area, Steven called out his skarmory.
“After you,” he said.
Wallace hesitated.
“Can you get on first?” he asked. “So I can hold on to you?”
“My goodness, Wallace,” said Steven, “What will the public think if you can’t keep your hands off me for more than a few minutes?”
Wallace playfully swatted Steven’s side.
“You know I hate heights, Steven,” he said. “Depths are much more my style.”
Steven hopped onto his skarmory, and he soon felt Wallace join him, his arms wrapped tightly around his torso.

Although Wallace hated the feeling of flight, he had to admit that the view from the air was beautiful. Steven pointed out landmarks, mostly geological ones, as they flew over them.
“Ah, and there’s Anistar City up ahead,” said Steven.
Wallace braced himself for descent. Descent was the worst part of flight. It was so much faster than diving into water, and the pressure change was murder on Wallace’s inner ears. Wallace tightened his grip around Steven, and he heard a slight chuckle as he did so.
“Enjoying my pain up there, Steven?”
“No, I just can’t get over someone as graceful as you being scared of flying,” said Steven. “I always thought of flying as being quite the graceful activity.”
“Water is the epitome of grace and elegance, I’ll have you know,” Wallace retorted.
Having seen Wallace in the water before, Steven couldn’t help but agree. Wallace seemed to slip through the water just as easily as his prized milotic.

The skarmory soon landed, and the pair carefully dismounted the pokemon. Steven gave the pokemon a pat on the head and fed him a pokeblock in thanks before dismissing him.
“You alright, Wallace?” asked Steven, giving his boyfriend a hug of reassurance.
“Much better now that I’m on solid ground again,” replied Wallace.
Steven took Wallace by the hand and lead him to the rock and mineral shop. It was just a small local shop, but it stocked a wide variety of rare stones, both local and foreign. Once inside, Wallace and Steven went off their separate ways. They each had their own aesthetic preferences for rocks, after all. Wallace preferred the glimmering beauty of cut and polished stones, while Steven was more interested in rare, often raw, rocks, minerals, and metals. Wallace was admiring a case full of rubies and sapphires; both varieties of the mineral corundum, he remembered Steven saying. His attention was drawn away from the case by the sound of said man’s voice.
“Wallace,” Steven called in a half-whisper, half-yell, “Would you come over here for a moment?”
Wallace turned towards the source of his boyfriend’s voice, which was apparently coming from some kind of back room. He headed back to the room. Steven probably wanted his input on which specimens to buy. Wallace had no idea why he even bothered asking, as Steven usually ended up buying all of the choices anyway. He slipped into the back room, resting an arm on the door frame.
“Yes, dea- oh.”
Steven was staring at what was almost certainly a dildo carved from rock. Wallace wasn’t sure whether it was meant for practical use or was purely for decoration, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“Steven, you’re not seriously…” Wallace began, unsure of how he even wanted to end that sentence.
Steven was so absorbed in the rock that he only just then noticed that Wallace had joined him.
“I have quite the dilemma here, Wallace,” he began, tone much too conversational for a man who had just been engrossed in a shiny green dildo. “Despite the crude shape this stone has rather unfortunately been carved into, this is, quite honestly, one of the most enchanting pieces of serpentine I have ever seen.”
Wallace moved closer, lowering his voice out of fear that the shopkeeper might hear.
“Steven, do you really intend to buy that?” he asked. “Sure, the stone looks nice, but…”
Something clicked in Steven’s mind, and his face turned red.
“Good Heavens, Wallace, you can’t possible think that I intend to use it for its… intended purpose,” he said, much louder than Wallace would have liked. “Do you have any idea how much damage that could potentially do to the rock?”
Wallace fidgeted with his pendant and looked back to make sure the shopkeeper wasn’t listening in on their conversation. Thank arceus, she wasn’t.
“Honestly, Wallace,” Steven continued, “If I intended to purchase a sex toy related to my interests, it would obviously be made of steel.”
Wallace was tempted to comment on that last bit, but kept his mouth shut. This day was weird enough already. He sighed and turned back to face Steven.
“So, what exactly is your dilemma?” he asked. “Whether or not to buy something you’re not going to use or put on display? Because I’m going to vote no on that.”
Steven picked up the dildo.
“Actually, I had already decided to purchase it,” he said. “My dilemma is how to do so, and I think I’ve just solved it.”
Wallace did not like the way Steven looked at him as he said that.
“The shopkeeper recognized me, so I clearly can’t purchase it myself,” said Steven. “Can you imagine the headlines? ‘Champion Steven Stone, Rock Obsessed Pervert!’”
Wallace placed a hand on Steven’s shoulder.
“Steven, please keep your voice down when you say things like that,” he said, once again glancing back at the shopkeeper. “I think I already know what you have in mind.”
Wallace sighed in resignation before continuing.
“You want me to buy it for you, right? I don’t think the shopkeeper noticed us come in together, and there’s a good chance she won’t recognize me in these casual clothes.”
Steven nodded.
“Thanks, Wallace. I can always count on you to be there for me.”
“Steven, this is a dildo purchase. Don’t act like I’m doing some heartfelt favor for you,” Wallace said flatly.
“Anyway,” said Steven, ignoring that last comment, “If you could purchase that and then wait for me outside, that’d be wonderful of you.”
Steven gave Wallace a kiss on the cheek, clearly some kind of advanced manipulation tactic. Wallace sighed again and walked up to the counter, trying his best not to make any movements that were too easily recognizable as Wallace-like.

Wallace waited on a bench outside the shop, relieved to be away from the shopkeeper. She had acted perfectly professional for most of the transaction, but at the last minute she had winked and asked him, “So, do you want this in a bag or with you?” in the same manner that a cashier would talk about a pack of gum. Wallace had squeaked out the word bag and high tailed it out of there. Wallace perked up at the sound of the shop’s bell ringing, signaling that Steven had finished splurging on rocks.
“I’m over here, Steven,” Wallace called. “Hey, are you alright? You look like you’re the one that just purchased a rock dildo.”
Steven’s pupils were contracted, and his face was a bit flushed. He was spinning one of his rings around in obvious discomfort.
“Well, I was just purchasing a few specimens of opal,” he said, “and the shopkeeper made the strangest comment.”
Wallace patted the bench, and Steven took a seat next to him before continuing.
“She said ‘Well, I was going to wish you a good stay in Kalos, but it looks like you’re already having quite a good time.’ Then she pointed at my neck. Is there something odd about my neck, Wallace?”
Wallace leaned in to examine Steven’s waiting neck.
“Oh, Arceus, Steven, I’m sorry!” he said.
Wallace was trying to sound serious, but he was doing a very poor job at repressing his urge to laugh. he pulled a mirror out of his bag, holding it up for Steven to see. Steven’s eyes widened. There, a few inches below his ear, was a hickey.
“’Oh, Arceus’ is right, Wallace,” he said, panic barely concealed. “I can’t let people see me like this!”
“Well, just cover it up, then,” said Wallace.
“All I packed are suits, spelunking clothes, pajamas, and a pair of swim trunks!”
Wallace thought for a moment.
“Well, you can wear one of my turtlenecks if you want. I brought a few with me.”
Steven sighed.
“I suppose that’ll have to do,” he said. “People might question why I’m not wearing a suit, but it’s better than them noticing my neck.”
Wallace gave Steven a squeeze around the shoulders.
“If you didn’t have such a limited wardrobe, this wouldn’t be a problem,” he said.
Steven didn’t deign that comment with a response, opting instead to pull out a pokeball and summon his skarmory. He hadn’t factored in time for a change of outfit before his meeting, so time was of the essence.

Chapter Text

Back at the hotel, Wallace dug through his luggage, periodically examining an item of clothing before tossing it to the side.
“Wallace, I don’t need to look perfect,” said Steven. “I just need something to cover up this… unprofessionalness.”
Wallace barely glanced up from his task.
“Now, now, Steven,” he said, “I won’t have my boyfriend going out in some uncoordinated outfit.”
Steven sighed and began the task of disrobing himself. As he was unbuttoning his vest, he heard Wallace make a hum of approval, signaling he had picked out an acceptable outfit.
“This might be a bit long on you, but it should look alright.”
Wallace had picked out a purple turtleneck, similar in color to the purple accents on Steven’s suit.
“Your slacks might look a bit too formal with it, so here’s a pair of pants for you,” Wallace continued, holding up a pair of black pants. “I can put in a temporary hem with some safety pins so they aren’t dragging on you.”
Steven honestly didn’t see much of a difference between Wallace’s pants and the slacks he was currently pulling off, but he didn’t care to press the issue. Wallace was the fashion expert of the two, after all. He slid the turtleneck on, careful not to mess up the hair his metagross had so expertly styled for him earlier that morning. The sweater was indeed a bit long on him, but Wallace assured him that it looked “simply adorable” on him. He pulled on the pants, and stood in the center of the room so Wallace could put the safety pins in.
“Unfortunately, my shoes would be much too big on you, so you’ll have to make do with the ones you’re wearing now,” said Wallace. “I doubt anyone will notice your shoes, anyway, with you wearing something other than a suit for once.”
Wallace chuckled and stood up, having finished adjusting Steven’s pant legs. He looked his boyfriend up and down, grinning in approval.
“You look wonderful in casual clothes, darling,” he said, giving Steven a peck on the cheek. “Perhaps I’ll have to take you shopping sometime this week. Kalos is the fashion capitol of the world, after all.”
Steven chuckled.
“We’ll see, dear,” he said. “To be honest, I feel rather naked without my steel cuffs.”
“Oh, hush,” said Wallace. “You’re lucky I let you keep your rings on.”
Wallace didn’t mention that Steven really would look naked if he didn’t at least keep his trademark rings on.
“Wait a moment,” said Steven, “What about my mega stickpin? What if something happens and I need it?”
Wallace placed a comforting hand on Steven’s shoulder.
“I don’t believe you’ll need it,” he said. “Kalos has had an incredibly low crime rate since Team Flare was defeated. If it’d make you feel at ease, though, I suppose I could allow you to wear it.”
Wallace swept Steven’s jacket into his arms and pulled the stickpin out. He gently attached it to Steven’s turtleneck, adjusting it for a few moments until he found a satisfactory position for it.
“Think you’re ready for your meeting, then?” asked Wallace. “It is after eleven.”
Steven reached into his bag and pulled a pokeball out.
“Well, I was wondering if you could take care of aron while I’m gone,” he said, placing the pokeball in Wallace’s hand.
“Of course,” said Wallace, releasing the small pokemon.
Aron yawned and stretched before looking up expectantly at Steven, hoping to ride around on his shoulder. Steven reached down and gave it a pat on the head in apology.
“I’m sorry, aron, but you’re going to stay with Wallace today, okay?”
Aron turned to Wallace and let out an excited cry of “aron!”. Aron was quite fond of Wallace, so it was a special treat for it to spend the day with him. Steven picked up the aron and placed it on the bed.
“Be good for Wallace,” he said.
Steven turned to Wallace and kissed him.
“I should be going now, but I’ll meet you back here before dinner.”
“Good luck with your meeting, dear,” said Wallace.
With Steven gone, Wallace leaned back onto the bed.
“How does a quick nap sound, aron?”
Aron curled up at Wallace’s side, finding the suggestion agreeable. Wallace smiled and wrapped an arm around aron’s cool steel body before drifting off to sleep.

Steven arrived outside the Kalos elite four building, where the meeting was being held, just ten minutes ahead of the meeting. Cynthia touched down on her togekiss as he headed inside.
“Steven, are you… wearing something other than a suit?” she asked, heading in behind him.
“Oh, Cynthia!” said Steven. “Wallace thought I should try wearing some more casual clothing for once.”
“Uh-huh,” said Cynthia, “So it definitely isn’t because Wallace gave you a hickey and you’re trying to hide it.”
Steven’s mouth dropped open, and he reflexively slapped a hand up to his neck to cover it.
“Cynthia, don’t say that so loudly!” he said. “I don’t want the other champions coming to such… lewd conclusions.”
Cynthia placed a hand on her hip.
“But I am correct, aren’t I?” she said.
Steven sighed and nodded, hoping to arceus she would just drop the subject. Cynthia pushed open the door to Diantha’s office, holding it open for Steven. Steven stepped inside.
“Steven Stone!” said Alder, “Are you wearing something other than a suit for once?”

Wallace’s dreams were usually quite abstract, but the dream he was currently having was VERY concrete. Steven was kissing him, hard. Wallace was working on unbuttoning Steven’s shirt, and Steven was running a hand across Wallace’s already nude torso.
“Oh, Wallace,” said Steven, breathing heavily, “I’ve been waiting to do this all day.”
“Waiting to do what?” Wallace replied teasingly. “Me?”
“Well, yes,” said Steven. “There’s something specific I’ve been wanting to try, though.”
Steven’s face reddened as he talked, and Wallace felt his heart speed up. Steven reached into his bag near the bed, pulling something out. He sat back up, but kept the object obscured.
“Wallace, could I… Could I use this on you?”
Steven held out the item, revealing it. It was the serpentine dildo from the shop, but it had grown to an enormous size. It was nearly as big as Steven’s arm, and seemed to be continuously growing.
“Don’t be so hesitant, Wallace. Shouldn’t the future champion of Hoenn be able to take this?”
Wallace woke with a start, frightening the sleeping aron. He had broken out into a cold sweat, and his breathing was heavy. He took a moment to slow his breathing, stroking the aron for comfort. The aron placed a foot on Wallace’s arm, concerned for him. This seemed to anchor Wallace back to reality. He smiled weakly and turned to face the small creature.
“Thank you, aron,” he said.
Aron seemed reassured and curled back up. Wallace sat up and glanced at the time. He had only been asleep for an hour. Steven wouldn’t be back for several hours. Wallace glanced at Steven’s bedside table, where the dildo, back to a normal size, thank arceus, was sitting. Well, that was going to give him bad feelings for a while. Wallace got off of the bed.
“Aron, would you like to go out for a bit?”
Aron hopped to its feet and gave a quick stretch before jumping at Wallace, aiming for his shoulder. Wallace screamed as he was knocked to the ground. The aron probably weighed as much as he did.
“Ugh, arceus, how does Steven manage to carry you around all the time?”
The aron gave Wallace an apologetic cry. Wallace got back to his feet, rubbing his shoulder. Thankfully, he was uninjured aside from the inevitable bruising.
“I hope you don’t mind walking, little buddy.”
Aron smiled and hopped into the air, this time landing safely back on the floor. Wallace grabbed his bag and headed out.

Wallace wandered blindly through the streets of Lumiose City, trying to distract himself from the troubling thoughts that had resurfaced after his dream. Aron trotted along at his side, entertaining itself by hopping over the cracks in the cement. Wallace perked up at the sight of a promising looking clothing store. Maybe trying on some new outfits would help take his mind off of things.
When Wallace caught himself staring at the same shirt for nearly ten minutes, he determined that, no, shopping would not take his mind off of things. He sighed and headed towards the door. Just as he reached the door, it swung open, nearly hitting him in the face.
“Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”
Wallace looked up. It was Iris, the new champion of the Unova region. Wallace did his best to put his usual charming public persona back on. He struck his usual introductory pose, this time uninterrupted by Steven’s arm.
“No, no, not at all!” he said. “If I’m not mistaken, you’re champion Iris. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Iris smiled and shook Wallace’s outstretched hand.
“And you’re the Sootopolis gym leader, aren’t you? Wallace, right?”
Wallace nodded. Iris stood on her toes, examining Wallace’s face.
“Are you alright?” she asked. “You… look like you’ve been crying.”
Wallace’s hand shot up to his face. Oh, arceus, he had been, hadn’t he? His cheek was wet, and the skin under his eye was hot and puffy.
“Would you… like someone to talk to?” asked Iris. “I know a really nice café nearby.”
Wallace rubbed his arm, thinking it over. If he was being honest with himself, bottling this up for so long probably wasn’t very good for his mental health. This was one thing he didn’t want to trouble Steven with.
“I… yes, that sounds nice,” he said. “Thank you, Iris.”
“Oh, and your little friend can come too of course,” said Iris, leading Wallace out the door by the arm. “The café makes some really great pokepuffs.”

Iris was silent on the way to the café. Wallace figured she was giving him some time to calm down, and he appreciated that. Inside the café, Wallace and Iris seated themselves at a small booth near the back. Aron retreated under the table for a nap.
“So, Wallace, What’s on your mind?” asked Iris.
“Before I answer that, do you mind if I ask you something?” asked Wallace, fidgeting with his pendant.
“Go right ahead!”
“Well, I just realized you’re not at the meeting with the other champions.”
“Oh, that! Well, Alder still takes care of that kind of thing since I’m still just a kid. Sure, I could do it myself, but I’d prefer to ease into the responsibilities, you know?”
“How kind of Alder to do that for you!”
Wallace paused for a moment, building up the courage to talk about his worries.
“I don’t know if Steven has talked about it to the other champions,” he began, “but he plans on retiring soon. And he wants me to take over for him.”
“Oh,” said Iris, “I had no idea.”
Wallace’s eyes widened at the realization that he had just given away something Steven had told him in confidence.
“Please don’t tell anyone I’m telling you this,” he said, voice panicked.
“I won’t,” said Iris. “Please, continue.”
“Well, I’m just… I’m worried I won’t be able to do a good job,” said Wallace. “I’m quite dependent on my water pokemon, and, quite frankly, I don’t think I could ever live up to Steven Stone himself.”
Iris nodded thoughtfully.
“I understand,” she said. “I’ve had my doubts about being a champion as well.”
Wallace straightened his back.
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah,” said Iris. “Like I said, I’m just a kid. A lot of the people that challenge me are old enough to be my parents! Plus, I do admit that I rely a bit too much on my dragons. The recent in surge of fairy type pokemon has made things rather difficult for me in that respect. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.”
Iris had paused as the table’s drinks and pokepuff arrived. Wallace woke up aron and fed it the pokepuff. Aron smiled and chirped in delight before retreating back to its napping spot. Wallace took a sip of his green tea before continuing the conversation.
“So, how do you deal with it?” asked Wallace.
“Well,” said Iris, scratching her chin with her index finger, “You just need to keep pushing through it. You need to remember that, regardless of how you feel, you wouldn’t be champion if you didn’t earn it.”
Iris paused.
“And, in your case,” she said, sighing, “Well, I think you should talk to Steven about your worries. You haven’t yet, have you?”
“No, I haven’t,” said Wallace, rubbing the back of his neck. “I… I don’t want him to think his request is a burden on me. I want to do this for him.”
Iris smiled and took a sip of her hot chocolate.
“You really love him, don’t you?” she said.
“How did you-“
“It’s obvious from the look on your face when you talk about him,” she said. “It reminds me of how Alder used to look when he talked about Cynthia. Before he got utterly rejected, that is. Man, he was so embarrassed.”
Wallace laughed.
“So I’m not the only one spilling other people’s secrets today,” he said.
“Promise me you’ll talk to Steven about your problems, and I can tell you loads more,” she said, winking deviously.
“Deal,” said Wallace, reaching across the table, “Let’s shake on it.”

Chapter Text

Steven’s meeting with the other champions went well after the initial shock of Steven’s casual clothes. The champions had discussed the usual league business, as well as some recent happenings in the Alola region. The meeting had lasted a few hours, and Diantha had invited everyone out to lunch at one of her favorite cafes afterwards. All of the champions had accepted, with Steven figuring that Wallace would be fine on his own for a while longer. Diantha was telling a story about one of her recent challengers when the group’s attention was drawn away by the two men arguing on the other side of the café.
“I knew it,” said the redhead, sticking his middle finger in the other man’s face. “You have been following me, haven’t you, Archie?”
“Oh really, Maxie,” said Archie, staring his rival down, “Because I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around. Here I am, trying to enjoy a nice vacation and catch some local water pokemon, and then you show up and ruin it, ya fuckin’ landface!”
“Really, Archie?” said Maxie, now beginning to turn red with anger, “If you’re going to insult me, at least do it well, you moist shit!”
“Oh, because you’ve definitely never used that one before!”
Steven did his best to hide is reaction. Hopefully nobody would notice that these were the two bickering eco-terrorists from his home region. For the time being, at least, everyone seemed too focused on the argument to comment.
“Well at least I didn’t nearly kill us all with a legendary pokemon, Archie,” said Maxie, voice continually rising in volume.
Archie stabbed a finger into Maxie’s chest.
“Don’t act like you wouldn’t have done the same thing with groudon,” he said, practically shouting.
Steven’s thoughts were jerked back to his own table when Alder tapped him on the shoulder.
“Aren’t those two the ones that almost destroyed your entire region a few years back?” he asked.
Before Steven could answer, Diantha chimed in.
“They… don’t seem particularly threatening,” she said.
“I can’t tell if they want to kill each other or make out,” said Cynthia.
Steven sighed.
“Yes, that’s them,” he said.
Diantha gave him and incredulous look.
“Well, at least the smartest man in my region wasn’t dating one of them,” Steven said under his breath.
That seemed to shut everyone up. Back on the other side of the café, admins from both formerly villainous teams had shown up. Archie and Maxie continued to bicker, even as their admins began pulling them out of the café by their arms.
“Do you even know what keelhauling is, Maxie?” shouted Archie.
“Yes, and I also know you’d never have the guts to do it,” Maxie spat back.
Everyone at the table was engrossed in the spectacle until the last flailing limb was out the door. It was Lance who finally broke the silence.
“You know,” he said, grinning widely, “I’ve infiltrated both of their teams before.”
Cynthia and Alder groaned in unison. Lance liked to retain and air of mystery around most trainers, but around his fellow champions he always had some kind of self-indulgent story to tell. Diantha tittered at Lance’s overly prideful expression.
“I suppose we should expect no less from Lance the Dragon Master,” she said.
Lance’s eyes lit up, as they always did when someone other than himself used his self-proclaimed title.
“Diantha, please,” said Alder. “You’re going to inflate his ego.”
Steven smiled wistfully. This was something he was really going to miss, spending time with the other champions like this.

Wallace returned to the hotel after chatting with Iris for a few hours. Iris was quite the gossip. She had stories to tell about gym leaders, champions, and even pokemon professors. Wallace smiled as he recalled the story she told him about the time Drayden’s flygon accidentally scorched off part of his beard. Apparently, he had worn some kind of “beard cozy” until it had fully grown back. The stories had done a lot to ease Wallace’s mind, but there was still that feeling of dread deep in his gut. He took a deep breath, steeling himself for the conversation he would be having once Steven returned. Iris was right, after all. It was what needed to be done if Wallace was ever going to get over his feelings of inadequacy. Wallace sighed in resignation and picked up one of the books Steven had brought with him, “Rocks and Minerals of the Kalos Region.” It wasn’t exactly light reading, but it was better than nothing.

Steven swung the door to the hotel room open cheerily.
“Wallace, I’m back!”
“Hm?” Wallace muttered, still absorbed in the book. “Oh, Steven, you’re back!”
Steven’s shoulders dropped.
“Wallace, are you alright?”
“Why would you think I’m not?”
Steven walked over to the bed and sat next to Wallace.
“Well, for starters, you didn’t even notice me come in,” he said. “Plus, you didn’t do your little welcome home pose.”
Wallace set the book down next to him.
“I don’t… have a welcome home pose.”
“Yes, you do,” said Steven, doing a poor impression of Wallace’s movements.
“Ah, I suppose I do,” said Wallace. “I hadn’t really thought about it.”
“Anyway, are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”
Steven wrapped an arm around Wallace in reassurance. Wallace took a deep breath, preparing himself.
“To be honest, Steven, I’m… I’m feeling troubled about becoming champion. I’m worried I won’t do the job justice.”
Steven’s body tensed.
“Wallace, please tell me this is a recent development and you haven’t been keeping your feelings hidden.”
Wallace looked away, unable to meet Steven’s gaze.
“Oh, Wallace, I’m so sorry. If I had known you felt this way, I would never have-“
“No, I want to do this for you,” said Wallace, restoring eye contact. “You deserve a chance to follow your dreams.”
“And what about your dreams, Wallace? Do they not mean anything?”
Steven’s voice was raised, but this anger was not for Wallace. It was for himself, for not realizing what Wallace had been going through.
“My dreams will still be there for me. Being champion isn’t a lifetime job.”
Steven took a deep breath, calming himself.
“Wallace,” he said, voice softer again, “I don’t want you doing this if all it’s going to do is bring you pain. What exactly is troubling you so much?”
“Well,” Wallace began, “I’m much too dependent on my water types.”
Steven quirked an eyebrow.
“Is that all? Because you’ll have time to adjust your team and do some research on battle techniques first. I’m going to give you fair notice before I leave.”
“Well, I suppose that does seem rather silly of me to worry about, but it is a minor worry compared to my major concern,” said Wallace. “The thing I’m really worried about… is that I’ll never be able to compare to you. What champion could be good enough compared to the great Steven Stone?”
Steven pulled Wallace closer.
“Wallace, I don’t think there’s ever been a champion that didn’t have that concern,” he said.
“Even you?”
“Even me,” said Steven. “So trust me when I say that the people will come to love their new champion eventually. They always do.”
Wallace leaned into Steven. He could hardly imagine Steven Stone of all people not being universally liked. Then again, he supposed he was a bit biased there.
“Feeling any better?” asked Steven.
“A bit,” said Wallace. “It’s still going to take some time for me to work through these feelings.”
“Well, a bit is certainly better than nothing,” said Steven. “I had planned on taking you out to a restaurant tonight, but I think ordering room service and relaxing a bit might be better for you in this stressed out state of yours.”
Wallace smiled.
“You pamper me too much, Steven,” he said.
“A pampered heir knows what it’s like to be pampered,” said Steven, chuckling.

Once Steven had ordered the room service, the pair sprawled out on the bed and talked about their day.
“We’ve already talked so much about me,” said Wallace. “How was your day, dear?”
“The meeting went well,” said Steven. “We went out for lunch afterwards, and you’ll never guess who else was there.”
“No idea,” said Wallace.
“It was those aqua and magma buffoons from our home region! Honestly, it’s a wonder the two of them ever get anything done with all that bickering. They had to be dragged out by their underlings!”
Wallace smiled deviously.
“Get anything on our little bet, then?” he asked.
“Nothing concrete,” said Steven. “I’m still firmly standing by my side of the bet, though.”
“Oh, come on, Steven! The sexual tension is palpable!”
Steven huffed.
“Any tension you see between those two is the result of an intense desire to murder each other. Completely platonic.”
“You know they must have hate fucked at least once,” Wallace muttered.
“Wallace!” cried Steven, lightly flicking him on the nose. “Such crude language is not befitting of someone of your elegance!”
Wallace rubbed at his nose as though the flick had actually hurt, and the pair burst out laughing at the ridiculous turn their conversation had taken.

Chapter Text

Steven slowly slid out of the bed, careful not to wake Wallace. Luckily, Wallace seemed to be out cold. Yesterday’s stress had probably taken a toll on his body. Steven smiled softly at his boyfriend’s sleeping form and gently adjusted the blanket so that he wouldn’t get cold. He opened the door to the hallway, where the items he had ordered while Wallace was showering last night had been delivered. He grabbed the basket and headed to his hotel room’s kitchenette. The hotel room was really more of a suite; which Steven was thankful for as he began to unpack the ingredients in the basket. It wouldn’t do to have Wallace waking up before his surprise was ready. Steven fished the hastily written recipe out of his pajama pants’ pocket and propped it up near the stove.

The first thing Wallace became aware of as he regained consciousness was the smell of food. Had Steven ordered room service for breakfast? He shifted and opened his eyes. Steven was carrying a tray of food over to the bed. He was still in his pajamas, and his hair was sticking up at odd angles. He was also coming from the opposite direction of the door.
“Steven?” he said, rubbing at his eyes, “Did you… cook?”
“I did,” said Steven. “I, uh… I wanted to do something special for you. I don’t know how well it came out, though.”
Wallace sat up, and Steven placed the tray on his lap. Steven sat on the bed with his legs crossed, watching expectantly. Wallace looked at the tray. He recognized the bacon, although it was a bit burnt. He wasn’t sure what the biscuit-like blobs were, though. He poked at one with his fork.
“Is this some kind of Kalosian food, Steven?”
Steven smiled sheepishly.
“Those are, ah… Those are pancakes, actually.”
Wallace chortled before taking a bite of the food into his mouth. It did taste like pancakes, although some of the eggs hadn’t been fully mixed into the batter.
“Well, how is it?” Steven asked.
“It’s… not bad,” said Wallace. “You do have some syrup and butter though, right?”
Steven smacked his forehead.
“I knew I forgot something. I’m sorry, Wallace. I’m not really used to cooking.”
Wallace set the tray down on the bed and pulled his boyfriend into a hug.
“It’s fine, Steven. The fact that my spoiled boyfriend tried to cook for me makes me happy. Plus, your hair looks cute.”
Wallace ruffled Steven’s hair, and Steven pushed his hand away in protest.
“Come on, Wallace, finish eating your food so we can get going.”
“And what exactly is on the schedule for today?”
“Actually, nothing,” said Steven, “So, I made some plans for just the two of us!”
“Oh?” said Wallace. “And what would that be?”
“It’s a surprise. Now finish eating your food so we can get going. I need to get ready.”

“Steven, are we almost there?”
“We will be soon.”
Wallace sighed. They had been flying for a while now, and being blindfolded made the sensations of flight even more unpleasant for him. Steven had insisted that he wear his gym outfit, which was quite unusual for the man. Wallace had no idea what this could mean. He had suggested that Steven just liked seeing him in it, and had received a playful smack.
Wallace could feel the skarmory begin its descent, and he clutched tighter to Steven.
“Almost there,” said Steven.
The skarmory soon arrived at its destination, letting out a high metallic screech as its feet touched down. Steven hopped off of the pokemon, and Wallace heard the sounds of the bird chewing on a pokeblock. There was an arm under his legs now, and Steven was lifting him up into a bridal carry. Wallace laughed.
“Steven, I already know where we are. There’s no need to put the extra effort into carrying me.”
“I suppose I can take the blindfold off, then.”
Steven slid the blindfold off of Wallace’s head. Wallace shielded his eyes from the bright sun reflecting off the water.
“So was your guess right?”
Wallace laughed.
“Of course it was right. Blindfolds don’t cover ears or noses, you know.”
“Ah, I suppose they don’t.”
Steven gave Wallace a kiss before placing him on the ground.
“I figured you’d be needing a swim by now,” he said. “This is Azure Bay, by the way. I’ve heard it’s a popular vacation spot.”
So that was why Steven had insisted he wear his gym outfit. He had specifically designed it to function as swimwear, after all. Steven pulled out a blanket and an umbrella, setting them up on the beach.
“And what exactly are you doing, Steven? Aren’t you going swimming with me?”
“Well, I would, but I seem to have left my swimwear at the hotel,” said Steven.
“It wasn’t that long of a flight out here. I don’t mind if you go back.”
Steven was stretching out on the blanket now.
“Well, now that I think of it,” said Steven, putting on a pair of sunglasses, “I do believe I forgot to bring a top with me. You know I don’t like to be seen shirtless in public.”
Wallace kneeled next to Steven and pushed up his sunglasses. The grin on the taller man’s face made Steven uneasy.
“If I can deal with flying, you can deal with swimming.”
Wallace opened up his bag, pulling out a top and a pair of swim trunks. Steven opened his mouth in disbelief.
“You don’t have to say it,” said Wallace. “Yes, I have been carrying these around the whole time just in case you tried to buizel out of swimming with me.”
Steven crossed his arms.
“Well, there’s not exactly a changing room around here, and I do believe my skarmory is a bit tuckered out from the trip over.”
Wallace scanned the horizon before turning back to Steven.
“No one’s around, Steven. I can hold up your blanket and keep watch so you can get changed.”
“Alright, alright,” said Steven. “You better come caving with me later, then.”
Wallace raised a hand to his cheek.
“Oh my, Steven. How lewd!”
Steven gave his boyfriend a stern look of disapproval.
“Kidding, dear, kidding!” said Wallace. “I’d be happy to go look for rocks with you later.”

“Come on, Steven, you just need to get used the water!”
Wallace was already swimming around in the water, trying to coax Steven to come in and join him. Steven was in up to his thighs and was subtly shivering.
“It’s so cold, Wallace,” said Steven. “Why do you do this to yourself?”
“It’s really no different than your beloved steel. It may be cold at first, but it gets warmer with time.”
“I certainly hope that’s not a metaphor for anything.”
Wallace was getting impatient. He dove underwater, popping back out at Steven’s side. He leapt at him, taking Steven by surprise and knocking him into the water. Steven surfaced, his flattened hair matching his sour expression.
“Wallace! How could you!?”
Wallace smiled and took Steven’s hand into his own.
“It’s the best way to get used to the water, dear. Feeling any warmer?”
“Not much, but I suppose I can let it slide for someone so charming.”
While Steven wasn’t very keen on getting wet himself, he did love how Wallace looked when he was swimming. He took his hat off, which was rare for him, and his normally perky hair drooped down in a way that reminded Steven of a mermaid. Steven smiled and allowed himself to be pulled further out into the water by Wallace. When the pair had swum out so far that the beach was barely visible on the horizon, Wallace paused.
“Steven? Didn’t you say this was a popular vacation spot?”
“I did. Why?”
“Well… where are the other people?”
Steven spun around. There really weren’t any other people, but he had been too absorbed in Wallace to notice. Then Steven noticed the sky. Dark gray clouds were rolling in.
“You… did check the weather forecast for today, right?” asked Wallace.
“Oh Arceus, Wallace, I’m sorry,” said Steven. “You don’t really need to check the weather when you spend most of your free time in caves, so I’ve never made a habit out of it.”
“We need to get to shore. Now,” said Wallace. He pulled out a pokeball and summoned his milotic. The milotic let out an excited cry as it was released. It swam in circles around Wallace, playfully nudging at him. Wallace laughed and gave the pokemon a hug before hopping onto it. He grabbed Steven’s hand and pulled him up onto the milotic.
“Hold on, Steven. Milotic’s pretty fast.”
Milotic leapt forward, heading swiftly towards the shore.

Wallace and Steven made it to the shore just in time. Thunder had started rumbling in the distance as they drew closer, and the rain began coming down in a thick sheet just as they left the water.
“There’s a cave up ahead,” said Steven. “We can take shelter there.”
“Of course it’d be a cave,” said Wallace, smirking.
“It’s not like there are any better options,” said Steven. “Come on.”
Wallace stroked his milotic’s head, and the pokemon affectionately pushed into his hand. Wallace returned milotic to its pokeball. Milotic had never been fond of caves, or thunder for that matter, so he figured it would be much happier in its pokeball.

“Ugh, my blanket is soaking,” said Steven. “I hope you didn’t have anything you didn’t want getting wet in your bag.”
“It’s fine,” said Wallace, sliding down to sit against the wall of the cave.
Wallace ran a hand through his hair, trying to keep it from tangling up in its damp state. Steven fished a flashlight out of his bag and propped it up against a stalagmite.
“There, now we have a light source, at least,” he said as he plopped down next to Wallace and leaned against his shoulder for warmth. Wallace smiled and wrapped an arm around him.
“Think we should take our clothes off?” he asked, “You know, so we don’t get hypothermia or something.”
“If you don’t mind being covered in a fine layer of guano, go right ahead,” said Steven.
Wallace looked down at the floor and winced. Steven smiled and laughed.
“I’m just kidding, Wallace. This part of the cave is actually quite clean.”
Wallace recovered his smooth demeanor quickly. He flung his leg over Steven, straddling him.
“In that case, is my suggestion acceptable to you?”
Steven responded by grabbing Wallace by the shirt and pulling him in for a kiss. He felt Wallace’s lips smirk around his own before melting into the kiss. Steven slid Wallace’s clothes over his shoulders, reveling in the satisfied hum that came from the other man’s throat as he did so. He grabbed the edge of the crop top still covering his boyfriend’s chest, breaking away from the kiss as he pulled it over his head.
“What was that smirk about?” Steven asked, placing the top to the side. The smirk returned as Wallace responded.
“Oh, I was just thinking about how you’ve probably always wanted to do this in a cave.”
Steven blushed, but didn’t say anything to contradict the statement, instead opting to return to the heated kissing. He smoothed one of his hands over Wallace’s chest, using the other to tug the revealing outfit further downwards. Wallace lifted up his hips, allowing Steven to pull the outfit the rest of the way off, wantonly tossing it behind him.
“Feel better without those wet clothes on?”
“Much,” said Wallace. “I’d feel even better if I didn’t have to worry about you catching cold, though.”
Wallace began to lift up Steven’s top, planting gentle, lingering kisses up his torso as he moved higher.
“Mm, Wallace that feels so n- wait, did you hear that?”
The pair froze up and strained their ears. The unmistakable sound of human footsteps could be heard from deep in the cave, drawing nearer and nearer. Wallace scrambled to his feet. One of his legs connected with the flashlight, sending it spinning further into the cave.
“Oh, Arceus, Steven, what do should I do?”
Steven yanked his top back down and pushed himself to his feet. He grabbed the still-soaking blanket and flung it at Wallace, who caught it and draped it over himself in one swift motion. He managed to tie it into a toga-like outfit just as the source of the noise stepped into the light.

Chapter Text

Steven gawked at the intruder, unsure of what to do or say. The footsteps had been revealed to be a man, probably a few years younger than Steven. He was covered from head to toe in rock climbing equipment, and there were glimmering stones affixed in his hair. He was followed by a tyrunt, which had moved to curiously sniff at the flashlight. The man was gawking back, though his eyes were focused on Wallace.
“That’s an… interesting choice of outfit you have there.”
Wallace flipped his hair into the air and struck a pose.
“Why thank you,” he said. “It was the best I could do, what with my clothes being soaked and all.”
The man laughed and yanked the flashlight out of his tyrunt’s jaws, handing it to Wallace.
“I suppose it is raining pretty hard, huh. I’m Grant, by the way. I’m the gym leader over in Cyllage City.”
Wallace took the flashlight in one hand, using the other to shake Grant’s outstretched hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you! I’m Wallace, the gym leader over in Sootopolis,” he said, reaching out to pull Steven forward, “And this dashing man here is Steven Stone, the champion of Hoenn.”
Steven elbowed Wallace, just a bit harder than intended. Grant didn’t seem to notice, gaze fixed on Steven’s face.
“Steven Stone! I didn’t notice you there!” said Grant, clasping his hands in front of him. “I, uh, suppose I was a bit distracted by your companion’s clothing.”
Grant shook Steven’s hand, and his tyrunt shuffled over to investigate the silver-haired man.
“Ah, looks like my tyrunt likes you! It can always tell when someone is a fellow rock lover.”
Steven leaned down to pet the tyrunt, and it hopped up in excitement. Wallace attempted the same thing, only to have the pokemon turn and growl at him, gnashing its little teeth as ferociously as it could. Wallace jerked his arm back, and Steven stifled a laugh at his wide eyes. Grant hoisted the tyrunt up into his arms, and its temper quickly cooled. Its muscles relaxed, and it wrapped its stubby arms over the top of its owner’s arms. Wallace thought that the tyrunt looked rather smug being held like that. Had this all been part of its plan?
“Sorry about that,” said Grant. “This little guy has yet to learn some manners.”
With the pokemon pacified, Steven leaned in to examine the stones in Grant’s hair.
“I must say, I had never thought of incorporating stones into a hairstyle before,” he said. “It suits you quite well.”
“Ah, thank you! The style has really started catching on with the youth in my hometown.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, what kind of stones are those?”
“Citrine, carnelian, and fluorite!”
“Ah, I thought so! Might I ask where you obtained the citrine?”
Wallace sighed. Once Steven got like this with another rock lover, it was all over. They could be at this for hours. He placed the flashlight back against the stalagmite and sat back in his spot against the cave’s wall, letting his mind wander. What kind of souvenir should he get for Lisia? Maybe she would like a new accessory, or perhaps some Kalosian pokepuffs for her altaria. What about Master Juan? He had always expressed an interest in the Kalos region. “A region of the utmost elegance,” he had called it. There was also quite a bit about hot ladies, but Wallace had done his best to block that part out. A few times, Wallace felt his lingering fears about becoming champion begin to slip into his mind, but he pushed them back before they could take root.

“Yeah, the rain should clear up in time for your battles tomorrow,” said Grant. “It could be cutting it a bit close, though. I don’t know if you’ll have time to grab some dry clothes.” Steven sighed. A damp suit would have to do, then.
“Either way, I’m rooting for you.” Grant gave Steven a pat on the shoulder before looking around shiftily. “Don’t tell Diantha I said that, though.” Both men laughed, and Grant placed his tyrunt back on the ground. “Well, since the rain’s not letting up any time soon, I’ll be heading back down. I’ll be down there for several hours, so feel free to continue with your… previous activities.” Steven’s face flushed as red as a tamato berry, and he stood speechless as Grant descended deeper into the cave. In his shocked state, he didn’t notice Wallace approach until he was hugging him from behind. He felt a lip brush against his ear, and his face grew ever redder.
“Well, shall we take the man’s suggestion?” Wallace whispered into Steven’s ear, voice low and sultry.
“Ah, w-well, as much as I’d like to, I’m feeling rather… self-conscious right now.” Self-conscious wasn’t nearly a strong enough word, but Steven’s brain was currently too scrambled to think of the word “mortified”.
“That’s fair,” said Wallace, planting a chaste kiss on Steven’s cheek.

“Ugh, Steven, how do you not feel like utter shit?”
Wallace and Steven had talked for a while before eventually falling asleep on the floor of the cave. Sunlight was filtering in through the entrance now, and Steven was already up, dressed, and munching on a granola bar. Wallace had not fared so well. His skin felt sticky all over from being wrapped in a wet blanket all night, and his hands and feet were completely pruned up. He moved a bit to sit up, and inhaled sharply as his body felt the full effects of sleeping on uneven rock. Steven finished his bite of granola before answering Wallace.
“I’ve slept in caves before. It’s not so bad once you get used to it.” Wallace had managed to sit up now, and was holding his back with a grimace on his face. He had no idea how someone could “get used to” having their back destroyed by the unforgiving floor of a cave. Steven motioned to Wallace with his granola bar.
“Why didn’t you take that blanket off, anyway? It’s no wonder you feel so horrible if you spent all night in a wet blanket.”
“I didn’t want to embarrass you if Grant came back up,” Wallace muttered.
Steven tossed Wallace’s clothes over to him. They were still a bit damp, but definitely better than the blanket.
“Unfortunately, Grant was right about us not having enough time to go back and change,” said Steven. “We do have enough time for you to get dressed and eat a granola bar, though.” A granola bar sailed through the air, landing on Wallace’s lap.
“Steven? How did you- oh!” Metagross was standing a few feet away from Steven, contentedly arranging a pile of rocks at its feet. It looked at Wallace expectantly, glancing down at the granola bar and back up at Wallace’s face. Wallace unwrapped the bar and took a bite. The metagross closed its eyes in a smile before focusing back on its rock pile. Steven climbed up onto the metagross and curled up on its back.
“You don’t get the most restful sleep on a cave floor, unfortunately, so get me up when you’re dressed, okay?” Metagross picked its legs up off the floor and hovered, the gentle bobbing lulling Steven to sleep. Wallace wondered why Steven hadn’t slept on top of his metagross in the first place. It was probably because he would feel bad leaving his boyfriend to sleep on the ground by himself. A groggy smile spread across Wallace’s face as he wolfed the rest of the granola bar down. He didn’t have to be polite about his eating when no one was watching, after all. He got to his feet and yanked the offending blanket off, shivering as the cold morning air met his bare skin. Wallace grimaced as he began to pull yesterday’s clothes back on. They weren’t just damp, but wrinkled as well, and the darker portions were coated in a fine layer of salt. He would definitely need to find something else to change into later.
“Steven, I’m ready to go.”
“…Mm? Ah, right, yes.”
Wallace chuckled. Had Steven really managed to fall asleep in that short of time? Steven stretched and hopped off of metagross, already looking wide awake by the time his feet hit the ground. He gave the metagross a pat on the head and a pokeblock before switching it out for skarmory. The skarmory stretched its wings out and hopped over to the entrance of the cave, ready for flight.

Skarmory touched down in a large plaza near the center of Lumiose City. A large stage had been set up for the battles, and a huge crowd flocked around it. Cameras lined the edges of the stage, with reporters from every region vying for the best view. On the edges of the plaza, vendors of all types had set up shop. Wallace spotted a vendor specializing in Steven Stone merchandise, and filed away its location for later.
“The battles should be starting soon, so I need to get backstage as soon as possible,” said Steven. “I’ll meet back up with you after the event.”
Wallace gave Steven a peck on the cheek and an enthusiastic “Good luck, dear!” as Steven made his way backstage. A faint blush spread across Steven’s cheeks as he thought about how many people were probably watching that simple display of affection. He pulled the curtain to the makeshift backstage area open and stepped inside. Iris and Lance were already preparing to take the stage.
“Hey, Lance,” said Cynthia, “I guess we’ll see which one of you two is the real dragon master, huh?”
Iris giggled, and Lance straightened out his cape in frustration. From out on the stage, Diantha could be heard beginning her introductory speech. In a few short minutes, the battles would begin. Cynthia tugged on Steven’s sleeve.
“Our seats are this way,” she said. “Let’s go get settled before the battle starts.” Steven followed her out to the roped off bleachers that had been set up for VIPs. “Let’s sit up here near the front,” said Cynthia.
“That sounds good to me,” said Steven. “I’m looking forward to watching those two battle.”
“Not looking forward to our battle, then?”
“I never said that.”
“Well I’m certainly looking forward to it,” said a new voice from Cynthia’s left. Cynthia’s face fell, and she slowly turned to face the newcomer.
“Hi, Alder,” she said, voice deadpan. “You here to cheer on Iris?”
“Yes! And you, of course! You know, I was thinking after the event maybe we could-“ Alder shut his mouth, noticing Steven mouthing the word “No” and giving him a thumbs down.
“Maybe we could what, Alder?” said Cynthia.
“What? Oh, nothing, nothing. Forget I said anything.”
Cynthia turned to Steven, sensing he had something to do with Alder’s sudden change of heart. He flashed her a smile, and she smiled back.
“I hope you don’t think I’ll go easy on you later for that,” she said.
“Oh, I know you won’t,” said Steven, turning to face the stage.

Chapter Text

Lance and Iris soon took to the stage, and the crowd went wild as they sent out their first pokemon. Iris sent out her hydreigon, and Lance chose one of his dragonites.
“I, Lance the dragon master, accept your challenge,” said Lance, throwing his cape out dramatically.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” said Iris, taking up a fighting stance.
Steven leaned in, excited for the battle, when he felt something brush against his right side. It was a young girl, probably about five or six. She held out a small pouch, tied up with twine.
“Is that for me?” Steven asked, hesitantly pointing at the child. He never knew how to deal with young children. The child nodded, and pushed the pouch into Steven’s hand, giving him an expectant look. Steven slid a finger through the twine, undoing it, and carefully turned the pouch upside down over his hand. A small blue stone tumbled into his palm. An aquamarine? Steven looked up to thank the girl, but she was already leaving. Steven swore he could see a tail swish out from her dress, just for a moment. Before Steven had time to fully process what had just happened, he felt an elbow jab into his side.
“Steven, did you see that?” said Cynthia. Steven turned to the stage. Lance’s dragonite was down for the count, flopped over onto its side and breathing heavily. Iris’s hydreigon flew triumphantly around the stage, faint traces of dragon pulse still emanating from its central mouth. Lance returned his dragonite to its pokeball and sent out aerodactyl. He wasted no time in using rock slide to down the hydreigon, finishing it off with a hasty thunder fang. Iris switched in her archeops. The two pokemon flew around erratically, dodging each other’s attacks.
Steven felt Cynthia nudge his side again.
“Hey, Steven, I really want to watch this, but…”
Steven followed Cynthia’s gaze, sighing when he spotted what she was looking at.
“I’m guessing you want to go get some of that ice cream, right?” said Steven. “And you want me to give you a play-by-play when you get back.”
Cynthia nodded. Hey eyes had that special gleam in them that only came out for two things: ice cream and victory.
“That’s not just any ice cream, Steven! Those are genuine Castelia Cones! I had heard that certain vendors had been given permission to sell them in other regions, but I had never imagined that I might see one here!”
“And how exactly do you expect to buy one? Won’t the crowd swarm you?”
“Oh, I have my ways.”
Cynthia pulled off her coat and fur choker placing them on the bench behind her. She dug into her bag, pulling out a plain black hoodie. She slid the hoodie on, keeping the hood up.
“See, Steven? I brought a disguise!”
“You only brought that because you might need it to buy ice cream, didn’t you?”
Cynthia shrugged.
“I’m sure there are other uses for it, too. I’ll be back in time for our battle, so keep a close eye on the stage for me, will you?”
“I could always give you a play-by-play,” Alder chimed in. Cynthia and Steven jerked their heads back, having nearly forgotten the man was there.
“No thanks. I like Steven’s story-telling better.” Cynthia jumped down from the bleachers and ducked under the ropes, somehow going unnoticed by everyone but Steven and Alder. She quickly melded into the crowd, and Steven soon caught a glimpse of her, much further away than most people would be able to move in that amount of time. He wondered how many times she had navigated her way through crowds for this exact purpose. Then again, if there were people selling rare minerals at events like these, he could see himself doing the same thing.

Steven tried to pay attention to the battle. He wanted to, really, he did. But, his mind kept drifting back to the mysterious encounter from earlier. If he wasn’t mistaken, that child had been a disguised zorua. But what reason would a zorua have for giving him a present. Did the pokemon know something he didn’t? In ancient times, aquamarines were often carried by sailors as a sign of good luck. In modern times, they had retained their associations with both water and travel. Most importantly, aquamarine was Wallace’s favorite stone… Well, aside from Steven, of course. Maybe he was overthinking things. Maybe the zorua had just taken a liking to him and happened to know about his love of geology.
“Didn’t you promise Cynthia you’d give her a play-by-play?” Alder had scooted into Cynthia’s open spot, and was now raising an eyebrow at Steven.
“Hm? Oh, right. I did, didn’t I? It’s just… well, look at this.” Steven held out the pouch to Alder, who quickly slipped into a more serious demeanor.
“This pouch,” he said, eyes looking far off into the distance, “I’ve seen a pouch like this before.”
“I believe a zorua disguised as a child gave this to me,” said Steven. “Those are from your home region, right? Any idea why one would give me this?”
Alder was examining the stone now, rolling it around in his hands.
“I’m not quite sure. It’s rare, but zorua have been known to give humans gifts from time to time. Some people claim these gifts are prophetic, though no one has been able to prove anything.” Alder placed the aquamarine back in the pouch and handed it back to Steven. “The best I can tell you is to hold on to this. You never know, right?” Steven nodded and slipped the pouch into his bag. He jumped as the announcer’s voice blasted over the speakers.
“Lapras is unable to battle. The victory goes to Champion Lance!”
One of Lance’s dragonites stood victorious over the defeated Lapras. Lance himself gave a long, sweeping wave to the crowd before shaking hands with Iris. Alder and Steven turned to look at each other.
“I suppose neither of us will be giving that play-by-play, huh?” said Alder.
“I suppose not,” said Steven, standing up and stretching. He gathered up Cynthia’s discarded clothing and headed backstage.

Cynthia had arrived backstage just before Steven. She held two Castelia Cones in her hands; one for herself and one for her garchomp. The garchomp was surprisingly delicate with its ice cream, taking its time to eat. It was a stark contrast to the pokemon’s ferocious personality during battle.
“Hi, Steven,” said Cynthia, gulping down a bite of her ice cream. “I see Lance won, but you do have the juicy details for me, right?”
“Well, in the end it was down to Lance’s dragonite and Iris’s lapras…”
“You got distracted by something, didn’t you Steven?” said Cynthia, sighing. “Your boyfriend sneak up into the bleachers or something? Find a cool rock? Ah, well. I was planning on watching the recordings later, anyway.”
Lance and Iris walked backstage, and Steven and Cynthia quickly moved to congratulate both of them, giving Iris extra compliments for doing so well against Lance.
“You saw how close that was, right?” said Iris. “I nearly had him!”
“Yes, that was quite close there,” said Steven. “Very impressive moves from both of you!”
“Really, Steven?” said Lance, crossing his arms. “First you don’t pay attention to our battle, and then you have the audacity to lie about it? You really are a terrible liar, you know.”
Steven looked to Cynthia for support.
“Yeah, he always has been a bad liar,” she said before shoving the last remaining piece of her ice cream cone into her mouth.
“Cynthia! You weren’t watching either!”
Lance continued to stare down Steven, and Iris crossed her arms.
“That may be true,” said Lance, “but that’s to be expected at any event with an ice cream cart.”
Steven gave up and refocused his attention on returning Cynthia’s clothes. Cynthia threw off her hoodie and slipped her jacket and choker back on. Her hair had somehow stayed completely untangled. Diantha’s voice rang out across the plaza, signaling that it was time for Cynthia and Steven to take the stage. The two champions nodded at each other before parting the curtain and climbing the stairs onto the stage. The crowd’s volume rose as the two became visible, and Steven could hear both of their names being screamed out by excited fans. Steven moved to his side of the stage and surveyed the crowd. A familiar turquoise color caught his eye. Wallace!
Steven’s immediate reaction was to smile, but then his brain caught up with him. Wallace was completely decked out in Steven Stone merchandise. There was a shirt with his face on it, and a little plush Steven was draped across his head. Wallace’s lower half was obscured by the crowd, but Steven was sure the situation there was similar. Worse yet, Wallace was making a complete fool of himself, jumping up and down, frantically waving, and screaming out Steven’s name. Wallace didn’t often have a chance to watch his boyfriend battle, and Steven was now feeling very okay with that. Steven hoped to arceus he didn’t look anywhere near this ridiculous when he cheered on Wallace during his contests. Steven’s thoughts were pulled back to the stage by Cynthia’s voice.
“So, Steven Stone, it comes time for us to battle once again. Don’t think you’ll be able to defeat me this time. I’ve grown stronger since then!”
It was always strange when Cynthia talked to Steven as an opponent, rather than a friend. Cynthia’s expression was cool and sharp, with fire in her eyes. It reminded Steven of steel. Steven put on his own game face, with calculating eyes and just the slightest hint of a smile.
“Ah, but I’ve grown stronger as well, Cynthia. I’m ready for your challenge.”
Both champions bowed before summoning their first pokemon. Steven chose his claydol, and Cynthia sent out her lucario. The two pokemon waited patiently for their trainers’ orders. Steven ordered claydol to use extrasensory, but the pokemon was quickly cut off by lucario’s extreme speed. Claydol flew through the air, crashing into the stage with a thunderous noise. It recovered, quickly, however, and was soon levitating back into the air. Lucario was getting ready to unleash shadow ball. Steven called out for claydol to use light screen, and the screen came up just in time to drastically lessen the blow. Before Lucario had time to unleash another attack, claydol successfully used extrasensory. Lucario flinched, allowing claydol time to use earth power on it. Lucario sailed through the air, landing hard on its side. It laid there for a few seconds, and Steven was sure it would be declared unfit to battle. Then he noticed the glow. Lucario had been charging up another shadow ball. It unleashed the ball, landing a solid hit on claydol. Although light screen was still in effect, the move was just enough to knock claydol out. Steven gave the pokemon a pat before returning it to its ball, sending out skarmory. Cynthia and her pokemon really had grown stronger. This was going to be a difficult battle.