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I've Never Felt This Close Before (Contestshipping)

Discussion in 'Literature Library' started by DecemberWildfire, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. DecemberWildfire

    Jan 18, 2017

    *First ancient story I'm deciding to post here (from like 3 years ago). Not sure how many I'll add to this site but I'm starting with this because I enjoy sharing my faith. (:
    With that said, just a heads up that this is a very spiritually-based story. There is a lot of Christian content and Jesus is the main theme. There will be intense parts. If you don't dig that sort of thing, then viewer discretion is advised.
    This is a Contestshipping story (May x Drew) and is based off Flyleaf's song "This Close." Sorry in advance for the occasional messed up formatting... just copied from AO3 and couldn't fix it. :L
    Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, Flyleaf, or anything else referenced in this story. All things referenced belong to their respective owners.

    Chapter 1: Fire and Fury

    Flames are burning and flashing colors. Black smoke is emerging from the fire's pit. More wood is thrown in. The fire gets bigger; fiercer. The wood is consumed by the blazing sea of embers. More is tossed in. More, more and more. The raging fire keeps growing... growing.
    Soon there is nothing left to throw in. And then it dies.
    "Absol, get up! Come on! We'll stay up and train all night if we have to! On your feet, NOW!"
    The elegant white Pokémon mustered up the strength to pull itself off the ground. "Razor wind, let's go!"
    It launched the attack with all the energy it had left, but Flygon easily dodged it and knocked Absol out with another flamethrower.
    Drew groaned. "Fine, we'll try again later. But don't think that this is finished." He called the two Pokémon back.
    There's no way I'm losing this contest. I'm getting so close. Two more. This time, that ribbon cup is going to be MINE, and no one's gonna stand in my way.
    "Oh Drewwwwww!" he heard from behind him. "Why are you up so late? Afraid you might lose tomorrow?"
    With his classic hair flip, he retorted, "I should ask the same to you. And for information, a good coordinator makes use of every minute of every day to work on polishing their skills. But of course, I wouldn't expect you to know that, May."
    His rival immediately turned red. "You know, I'm getting real sick of your attitude. And you're gonna eat it when I beat you tomorrow, AND at the Grand Festival. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure I walk away with that cup."
    "Psh, whatever May. As soon as you're up against Solidad, we'll see if you're still this confident..."
    May was fuming and was about to scream at her rival, when a rose came to her face.
    "Calm down, I'm just playing. You should know by now."
    She scoffed and turned away, mainly to hide the blush that was taking over her face. That guy could drive her crazy, but all the same, she could never stay away.
    Drew watched as she walked off into the distance. She was really cute when she was fired up.
    The two battled hard to the core for the next few contests. Their rivalry had never been more intense than now. They were both now only one ribbon away from Johto's Grand Festival. The other coordinators were also becoming intense in their training, as the festival's time was drawing near. All of them only had one thing on their minds: to win their five ribbons before it was too late. To make it to the real deal and take home the dazzling, precious ribbon cup.
    May and Drew began traveling together for the last couple weeks of their journey, and had fought hard against each other in the latest contest in Ecruteak City, where May was crowned victor. She was now caught up to him in ribbon count, and now there were only two contests left; two more chances for them to win number five.
    They walked alone down the road to the next town that same afternoon.
    "I've gotta hand it to ya, that was some good work on your part today," Drew said. He turned his head to her; smirk turning into a serious face. "But you know I'm gonna win, right? This will be the year."
    "This will be MY year," May said. The two bickered all the time and Drew was constantly teasing her, but in this moment they were being completely serious. There would be no mercy.
    "So, let's say you didn't win. Just hypothetically," she was sure to clarify. "Well... what then? What would you do?"
    "Never give up. Move to the next region. What else?"
    "Well, um... what would that look like? Where would you want to go? ...Who would you want to go with?"
    He kept looking straight out. "Someone who keeps things interesting. Someone who provides a challenge. Someone quirky and clumsy."
    She looked at him for a second and turned away, blushing. "Oh..." she managed.
    They didn't say another word until they arrived at Olivine City, the location of the next contest.
    "Come on, Wartortle! You have to give me more than that! Use ice beam one more time, and don't go soft on me this time!"
    Wartortle did as it was commanded, finally knocking Munchlax out. May returned her chubby Pokémon.
    "Wartortle, that was good. But we need more. Just 'good' isn't gonna win us a ribbon cup. We need to be mind-blowing. We need to give those judges something better than they've ever seen! I want to be the very best, like no one ever was! We're not losing this. We've worked for years, and we're gonna win this time. I'll accept nothing less. So are you ready to give me your all?"
    The blue turtle nodded half-heartedly, but then collapsed from exhaustion. May's Pokémon had never been put through so much labor. As time has gone by, they've noticed her increased intensity. She had become so set on her dream of becoming top coordinator and nothing could stop her.
    All around the region, the coordinators were acting the same way. Neglecting everything and everyone, and even their own self-care, just to master their appeals. Opportunities of gaining access to the Grand Festival were slipping away. It was a fight-to-the-death match of fire and fury for everyone.

    Chapter 2: An Odd Stranger

    There was a lot of commotion in town the next morning. May and Drew were heading over to the contest hall to register, when they noticed a large crowd at the outdoor amphitheater.
    "Repent, all you sinners!" one voice said. They got a closer look and saw three relatively older men hatefully preaching to a crowd of people. Everyone was yelling at each other but on one was being heard.
    "You're a bunch of hypocrites! You have no right to point fingers at us!" came several voices from the crowd.
    "Let's get out of here," Drew said, and May followed. They went inside and registered for the contest.
    "I wonder what that was all about," May said.
    "Who cares? Let's just go practice."
    The two went out to Route 40 and trained by the ocean for the entire day straight.
    Twelve hours passed.
    "Wartortle, use surf, followed by ice beam!"
    The small turtle fired ice and froze the water it rode, creating a gorgeous, ice-sculpted wave. It gracefully slid down the frozen wave and took a bow.
    "Wartortle, that was awesome, but-" May slipped on the sand and faceplanted into the ground.
    Footsteps approached.
    "Hey clumsy, you ready to head back?"
    May glared at her rival. "Whatever. I think we've practiced enough for today. You better get ready!"
    Drew flipped his hair. "Yeah, we'll see."
    The sun had begun to set. The two rivals were walking back to town, not conversing much. Drew was walking slightly behind May, and couldn't help but stare. The way the sun was hitting her hair and making it shine with the breeze was really keeping his eyes glued. He didn't realize he was doing it, but soon enough it was interrupted.
    "Are you prepared?" a voice said from behind them. They turned around and saw a strange man standing there holding a Bible.
    May smiled. "Oh yeah, we've been training all day. We're so ready for this contest."
    "No, I mean are you prepared for the end times?"
    The two teenagers looked at each other with confusion, then back at him. "What are you talking about?"
    "The chasm isn't fixed yet. There's still time to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior if you haven't already."
    "Look, it's been a long day, and we've really gotta get back," Drew said with another hair flip.
    "Nations will rise against each other," the man continued. "There will be earthquakes and fire will fall from the sky. You must save yourselves by receiving the Lord Jesus."
    "Um... okay crazy guy," May said, feeling awkward. "Those are very interesting ideas, but we're leaving now."
    They walked away as quickly as they could without breaking into a sprint.
    What a weird guy...
    They arrived at the Pokémon Center and were hanging out in the lobby.
    "Well, that certainly made the day more interesting," May said. "But now it's contest time! Less than three days now! This is it... Drew, I'm taking you DOWN. That ribbon is mine!"
    She pounded her fist on the table as she said that, not noticing the sharp pencil there. She flinched at the sudden pain in her hand.
    "Hah, I'll believe it when I see it, klutz."
    "Oh, you will. Believe me."

    Chapter 3: We've Been Walking Dead

    May lied awake in bed that night. Despite being drained from a full day of training, she couldn't sleep, and couldn't understand why. She felt some sort of heaviness, but figured it was probably from feeling so fiercely intense about the contest.
    "So close to five ribbons," she whispered to herself. "I can't lose. Not this time."
    She finally drifted off around 3 a.m.
    "Hello? Is anybody here?"
    May was standing in what appeared to be a ghost town. She closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, she was in a crowd of people. But these people didn't look right.
    "Excuse me, can you tell me what's going on?"
    The stranger looked at her with empty eyes. "You're dead."
    "What? No, no I'm not. That's crazy. I'm-"
    "We're all dead. But we pretend that we still live."
    All of a sudden, May felt a vacuum within her soul. She felt empty, helpless, and like she was being eaten alive inside. The others were feeling the same.
    Who are these people? What's happening? She took a closer look. They were all her fellow coordinators and trainers. Her friends. They were all weeping and crying out, not being able to stand the emptiness and despair. All of their money, contest ribbons, and everything else that they saw as the highest heights of life were burning on the ground.
    Suddenly, a man appeared in the sky. He was the most beautiful man any of them had ever seen, and was more alive than any of them had ever been. May saw this and desperately wanted to live.
    The whole crowd began screaming with all the strength they had left: "I don't know who I am anymore! Not once in life have I been real, but I've never felt this close before! I've been walking dead, watching You, long enough to know I can't go on!"
    She looked over to the side and saw somebody else she knew, collapsing to the ground in pain. Drew.
    "DREW! No!"
    May woke up and nearly shot out of bed, breathing heavy and feeling devastated. She had felt the emptiness of her own potential fate, and the potential fate of her friends whom she loved. She wept. She loved them all so much.
    Drew entered the lobby around noon after a morning of intense training. That's when May came down to find him.
    "Hey, lazy. Too busy sleeping to come out and practice this morning? You realize that you have the rest of your life to sleep, but only two more days until-"
    "Drew I need to talk to you." She had that look on her face that immediately let Drew know this was no joke. They sat down and there were a few moments of silence.
    "I... I had a nightmare last night. But it felt so real... I can't even explain how real it felt." She was quiet for a minute, not taking her eyes off the ground.
    "Well, what happened in this nightmare?"
    "We were dead. All of us. Me, the other coordinators... you. But we pretended that we still lived. We felt so empty and broken, and all the happiness we felt while we were still alive was so... so temporary and vain, but then it was gone. Our souls were dying. But then this man appeared, and He was so... so alive in a way I've never seen before."
    "...May, I don't really see where you're going with this. So you had a bad dream. People have bad dreams all the time."
    "But this was real. I FELT it. I've had plenty of nightmares before, but none of them felt the way this one did. Drew... that man who told the prophecy yesterday... maybe he wasn't so crazy after all."
    Drew stood up and immediately became angry. "You've gotta be kidding me, May. You ACTUALLY believe that some lunatic on the side of the road was telling a real prophecy? You actually believe in that stuff?! I knew you weren't the brightest person before, but now..."
    "Drew, listen to me!" May now had tears coming down. "I really think this might be real. I don't want to die like that. I don't want any of us to die like that!"
    "You're crazy. You can deal with your insane ideas yourself, but I've got training to do."
    And with an angry hair flip, he took off.


    A/N: The description of the nightmare comes from the actual meaning behind the song "This Close." There's a story behind it, and I got the idea for this story from that. It comes from the booklet that comes with Flyleaf's album Memento Mori (or flyleafonline) and it's called "Letters from the Commander." I highly recommend listening to that record because it's phenomenal.

    Chapter 4: Vanity

    The next day was sunny and warm. Route 39 smelled of fresh aroma and glittered with falling rose petals.
    "Alright, Roselia, that's enough practice for the morning. Return."
    Drew started walking back to the Pokémon Center to unwind a bit. He was stressed in part about the contest the next day and how this was his second-to-last chance to make it to the Grand Festival. But even more so, he was concerned about May. He hadn't seen her since their fight and couldn't begin to understand why she was so caught up on such crazy ideas.
    He went to her room and knocked on the door. No answer.
    "Come on, May. I know you're in there. You're mad at me, but we need to talk."
    Nurse Joy was walking down the hall. "Oh, you mean the young lady with the green bandanna? She checked out early this morning. Said she was dropping out of the contest and going home."
    What?! Is she out of her mind? I swear, that girl...
    He headed back out and decided to keep walking around town to let some steam out.
    How could she do that? Now she'll never make it to the Grand Festival. How could she be so stupid?
    He walked by the gym and saw a bunch of evangelists yelling things at people, just like the previous day.
    "Well that's just great." He turned the corner and walked by the lighthouse, and found even more of them. He was really getting angry at the whole situation.
    Finally he found a neighborhood where hopefully there would be none of them. It seemed quiet at first, when suddenly he was approached by one of the older men. It seemed that this man had actually followed him there. His sign said "Sinners go to hell."
    "Excuse me! Don't you know it's a sin to color your hair?" the man grumbled.
    "Excuse ME, genius, but I DON'T color my hair. Now get out of my way."
    The man pointed his finger. "You're going to hell!"
    "I swear, if you don't back away from me right now, I'll make you experience hell RIGHT HERE."
    He shoved the man out of his way and ignored the subsequent yelling. As he was approaching a seemingly safe part of the neighborhood, a teenage boy about his same age came up to him. However, unlike the extremists in the town, this guy was not interested in yelling or casting judgment.
    "Hey, you there. Have you heard?"
    "Heard what? That a bunch of crazy people are invading Olivine? If so, then yes, I am fully informed."
    "I'm talking about the end times. Someday He will come back, and all of this will be gone."
    Drew groaned and started fuming. Great. Another one. There's no escape ANYWHERE.
    "Listen to me. You've got about five seconds to back away from me, or I'm calling the cops. Got it?"
    The boy looked at him with sincere concern, but Drew couldn't see it. "Please, sir. The end times are coming. Fire will fall from the sky. We must prepare ourselves for battle."
    Fed up, Drew spit in his eye and walked away.
    The sun was setting and Olivine was glowing orange and gold. Drew was standing on a bridge and looking out at the horizon. If he won tomorrow, he'd be heading out that way for the Grand Festival.
    After some time he heard a friendly voice from behind him.
    "You always were stubborn, Drew. It's good to see you haven't changed."
    He turned around and saw the familiar face of an old friend and former coordinator. Her name was Lacey. In his early coordinating days, she was top coordinator and the toughest opponent he had ever known; even tougher than Solidad.
    "Lace? What are you doing here? I haven't seen you in ages."
    "Oh you know, just visiting Olivine... looking at some rocks... coming to my old friend's aid because he's clearly frustrated about something." She gave him a sassy smile.
    Drew flipped his hair and looked back out at the sunset. "I'm fine, okay? Just stressed about the contest."
    Lacey walked up and stood by him. "Drew, I can tell when you're lying to me. You know this."
    He sighed heavily. "It's just... who invited the Billy Graham army to town, and why do they seem so out to get me?!"
    Lacey looked behind her at the people in the distance, shouting and holding their signs. "Drew, you can't let those people get to you. They've been giving me a hard time too, so you don't need to feel victimized. But those people shouldn't shape your views. It's just not the right way for them to approach that."
    "Well I'm sick of it and someone needs to get them out of here. I don't believe in that stuff. I hate religion. I don't even really buy the whole Arceus story either. I just don't care. I don't care how we got here; all that matters is that we're here now. I'm going to live my life how I want to and don't need some arrogant Christians telling me what to do."
    "You know, I'm a Christian."
    Drew looked at her with astonishment. "What?! You? But I thought-"
    "Do you remember when we first met? And the kind of person I was?"
    Yes. He remembered it clearly. Although he has the utmost respect for Lacey now, that wasn't always the case. He met her at his second Pokémon contest, where she brutally defeated him in the final round. While he admired her skills and her witty, sarcastic personality that was somewhat like his, he also noticed that she was not the nicest person. She was rude to people, swore all the time, was mildly violent, and was constantly arguing with people, especially about religion. She was a hardcore atheist and always found it necessary to interrogate and torment people for believing in Jesus. During one contest, another coordinator (who he later found out was Harley) was fighting with her, and he apparently said something nasty and she punched him in the face, knocking him out cold.
    She wasn't happy back then. She wore a lot of heavy makeup, and one day he happened to notice scars on her wrists. She was previously a drug addict and had been hurt by a lot of people. She never did anything directly bad to Drew, but he still didn't appreciate her attitude and the way she lived life.
    However, that all changed over time. She became best friends with Solidad, who was a Christian herself, and as time went on, she slowly started treating people better. Though she was still clearly dealing with a lot of issues, there was at least some improvement. She started hanging out with Drew and the two became good friends. He learned many of his coordinating skills by watching her. However, after she won the Grand Festival that year, she dropped out of contests, and he never knew why.
    "Of course I remember. I'd have to be a blind moron not to notice that kind of difference," Drew said with yet another hair flip.
    "And why do you think I changed?"
    He looked slightly puzzled. "Well, uh... I just figured you grew up and matured, I guess. And Solidad's a good influence. And winning that ribbon cup too; all that glory must've made you feel on top of the world."
    "You know... that same night that I won that ribbon cup, I loaded up my gun and almost took my life."
    He slammed his hand on the railing, never so astonished. "You WHAT?! Why the hell would you do that? You were top coordinator! You WON. What more could you possibly want?"
    "Exactly." She paused for a moment. "I was tired. Life was so heavy. And you know, as I was holding that giant cup of gold that night and priding myself on my 15 minutes of fame, I felt emptier than I have ever felt before. I had worked my whole life for that moment, and my prize was staring me in the face. But I just... didn't feel happy. I didn't feel fulfilled. It was all vanity. And so I figured, 'Well, if this is all there is, and there's nothing else besides this, nothing greater to live for... then why am I waking up every day? I've done what I set out to do, and I just don't want to do life anymore.' If a good friend of mine didn't catch me that night, and if I didn't have a crazy experience that led me to Jesus, I wouldn't be standing here now."
    Drew stood there like a paralytic, not knowing if he should feel angry about her crediting her life to some God, or relieved that she was still alive.
    "Let me ask you something, Drew. Don't let me make you feel pressured into answering a certain way, but truthfully: what are you living for? What is it you are so desperately seeking in life?"
    There was a pause. Drew was trying to gather his thoughts. "Well... for as long as I can remember, my dream has always been to become top coordinator. I've been pursuing that dream for years."
    "What about when you win? Then what? What if you win 50 ribbon cups? What does any of that mean in the end?"
    "Well... there's always more competition..."
    "Listen, Drew. As your friend, I care about you, and I don't want this to make you feel crappy about your dream. I just want you to think about it. And hey, just because those extremists are taking the wrong approach, that doesn't mean you should scoff at the idea of God. They're completely misrepresenting who He is. I know you are going to be top coordinator someday. I know you. But I don't want you to feel the emptiness that I felt when that day comes. Speaking from experience, there's a difference between experiencing victory and experiencing joy. Please just think about this next time you stand as a victor on stage: what are you looking for?"
    Still frozen for a few more moments, and not really wanting to argue at that point, he finally came back and flipped his hair once more with a smirk. "You really think I'm gonna be top coordinator, huh?"
    Lacey smiled and rolled her eyes. "Same old Drew. Well hey, I've gotta get going. Good luck tomorrow. Later!"
    She took off back to the city and Drew just kept standing there thinking until the sun finished setting.
    Walking back to the Pokémon Center, Lacey's words stuck like a plague in his mind and he couldn't shake the thought that maybe... maybe something crazy was happening in that town.


    A/N: For the record, I DON'T actually believe dying your hair is a sin, at all. I personally do it way too much anyways. I just thought that could be something ridiculous that the guy could say.
    Lacey is a made up character by me; used that name because that's Flyleaf's vocalist's name. (:

    Chapter 5: Revelation

    It was getting late. Not wanting to sleep, Drew was still awake, just thinking. He was looking out the window of his room, watching the fiery battles still going on between the people with the signs and anyone who challenged them.
    He had come up with a million arguments in his head that night against the idea of God, but he never wanted to actually have those arguments with people because it always felt like a pointless topic to discuss. Well, up until now. These crazy people just needed to get real.
    After many hours of deep thought, he finally dozed off.
    The city was in chaos. Things were burning.
    Drew looked up and saw fire falling from an opening in the sky. He could feel himself falling into a deep pit of despair, as he watched everything he lived for being consumed by the fire.
    This was it. This is what people were trying to tell him. He always scoffed at the prophecies of hell, but always kind of worried, somewhere way deep in the back of his heart, that they might be true. And now it was happening. He was seeing the reality of it.
    He heard an unknown voice say, "This is the fate of the world without love."
    There was no more room for trying to be logical and trying to argue. This was real and it was happening. It was like truth was hitting him like a hurricane, and trying to deny it or argue it away didn't even cross his mind. There was no room for it. Drew understood now, but there was nothing he could do.
    He was devastated to see so many people he cared about lost in the fire. It wasn't long before he felt himself starting to burn.
    There was a young woman standing from a distance, facing him. Fire was falling on her, but she was not burned. After a few seconds, she faded.
    He had never stared at the ceiling for so long. This was real. This is what May and all the others were talking about. He had scoffed at these ideas his whole life... but now he was beginning to think. He felt the heaviness and reality of it that May had felt. He had a new perspective now.
    The clock turned to 11:50.
    "Crap! The contest starts in 10 minutes!" With that, he quickly got ready and high-tailed it to the contest hall.


    A/N: Just like before, the nightmare in this chapter also comes from Flyleaf's "Letters from the Commander" on the meaning behind "This Close."
    I know this was a shorter chapter, but it really bugged me when I tried to combine it with the previous/next chapter, so this happened instead.

    Chapter 6: A Vision of Light

    The contest had begun and the coordinators were making their appeals. The green-headed teenager came rushing in, out of breath. "I'm here," he managed.
    "Ah, Mr. Hayden. Just in time. You're up next."
    "Roselia, petal dance! And spin it around!"
    The rose Pokémon shot out a rainstorm of petals, filling the entire arena.
    "Now magical leaf!"
    Flashing rainbow leaves were launched in a likewise manner, slicing through the petals and causing the arena to sparkle.
    He took his bow and went backstage. The two received a score of 29.5, leading them to the second round.
    He was a mess. He could barely focus on the contest because the nightmare consumed his thoughts.
    The battles commenced. Drew knocked the first one out without any trouble and was moved to the final round. He was going up against a trainer named Jacob and his Charizard.
    This is gonna be tough...
    There were 30 seconds left on the clock. The two Pokémon were equally exhausted. The only reason Charizard had gone down that much was because it was hurting from a poison attack from earlier.
    "Charizard, finish it off with another fire blast!"
    "Roselia, dodge quickly! Hit it with sludge bomb from behind."
    Roselia moved away from the fire but was still singed on its side. But before falling to the ground, it managed to unleash the attack.
    The fire dragon was struck with more poison than before, and collapsed from the pain.
    "One more petal dance."
    The vicious storm of petals, though not very effective, did just enough damage to end it.
    "Charizard is unable to battle. The winner is Drew Hayden from La Rousse City!"
    Drew called back his Pokémon and congratulated it on its victory. He was then walking to the center of the stage to receive his 5th ribbon.
    "Olivine City is proud to present you with this official ribbon. We'll see you at the Grand Festival!"
    The crowd went wild.
    Drew didn't even smile. All he could do was stare at that tiny, green ribbon in his hand. Was this it? All those hours of work... for this? Why did he feel so empty and unfulfilled?
    Suddenly, he felt something moving in him. What are you looking for? That question replayed in his head, and without thinking, he grabbed the microphone out of the MC's hand and faced the crowd.
    They all stared at him with confusion. May was also confused, watching the whole thing on TV at home. What the heck was he doing up there?
    "What are we doing?" he finally spoke. "Look at us. We're nearly killing ourselves over these contests and over the Grand Festival, but for what? A pretty, shiny cup? Why are we pursuing this so obsessively?"
    "You know, you really don't need to give a speech at these things..." the MC whispered in his ear, being totally lost for ideas as to what he was doing.
    Jacob shouted with an annoyed tone of voice, "Hey buddy, you just won. So just take your damn ribbon and get off the stage."
    Drew ignored them and continued. "Don't you guys get it? There's something bigger that we should be living for. In the end, when our fame fades and we're forgotten, what does any of this mean?"
    "Are you trying to tell us to stop coordinating?" Jacob asked, getting more and more offended. "That's messed up!"
    "That's not what I'm saying. We should treat coordinating as the fun sport that it's meant to be; not kill ourselves, our Pokémon, and each other, trying to win the gold. Coordinating shouldn't be our top priority in life."
    "Well some hypocrite you are!" a voice from the crowd shouted. "I've been watching you for years! Coordinating is all you've ever cared about and you'd do anything to become top coordinator!"
    Drew paused for a moment. "You're right. I was so caught up in the illusion that becoming the best and being on top would fulfill me."
    "So again, what are you trying to imply?" Jacob yelled.
    A long, suspenseful silence filled the room.
    "...I'm saying that we need to be living for Jesus, because He's doing big things and I know it. To live for anything or anyone else is vanity."
    With that, he dropped the microphone and exited the stage. The crowd silently conversed with each other. Some coordinators thought he had a point. Some fully agreed and started to reconsider their priorities. Others thought he was crazy and were pissed off that he preached a load of crap to them, as if they weren't getting enough preaching around town as it was. But at the same time, just the day before, Drew was one of those people.
    As he was walking away, he couldn't believe he just did that and had no idea where it came from. It didn't even sound like him and he just couldn't fathom the fact that he just endorsed the God he had always scoffed at the existence of.
    However, at the same time, he felt... good. Amazing, in fact. He had never felt that way before. Is this what it means to experience joy?
    Outside, he saw the evangelists still out there, doing their thing. It was much less chaotic since most people were still inside the hall. Although he still didn't appreciate the way they were doing it, he didn't feel hatred anymore. After a moment, he noticed Lacey was there and was pulling one of them aside. He got closer and eavesdropped from behind.
    "Hey. I appreciate the fact that you have so much passion. I really do. I mean, surely you guys wouldn't be doing this if you didn't care so deeply about it. But the thing is, I've been watching, and I have yet to see one person stand up and say they want to follow Jesus. That just isn't happening. However, in my experience, people are much more likely to do that when you preach about Jesus' love for us. Handling these things in love rather than hate is the right way to go."
    The man didn't speak for a minute. He kept watching his fellow evangelists shouting at people and condemning them, and the people giving them the finger and firing back. "You're right. Not a single person has come to Jesus since we've been here. Honestly, I've been wanting to leave this group for a long time, but... I just always thought I was doing the Lord's work."
    "You can still do the Lord's work. There are just better ways of doing it. Our God is a God of love and mercy."
    With that, the man dropped his sign. He was done.
    Without even turning around, Lacey said, "I really loved your speech, Drew."
    Being shocked that she had some kind of 6th sense and knew he was behind her, he scratched his head and muttered, "Oh, yeah, well uh... I just... it was a weird moment."
    She turned around. "You've realized the truth, haven't you?"
    He told her about his nightmare, and about how a good friend of his had a similar one a couple days before. He explained that he didn't know what to think or believe and couldn't decide if this was actually real or if it just felt real.
    "Well, I can't be the one to save you, Drew. You have to make that decision yourself. But I'm telling you, if you accept Jesus in your heart and give your life to Him, you will have so much more joy and fulfillment than ever before. You won't regret it. He did save my life, after all."
    "It just doesn't seem right for me to believe in something without any physical proof."
    "That was exactly my philosophy before. This is what my pastor always told me: it's not faith if you're using your eyes. The whole point of faith is believing without seeing. But a true relationship with Christ is just that: a RELATIONSHIP. You'll experience Him, and that will be far better proof than having physical evidence in your hands. He wants us to come to Him out of faith and freedom, and not just because logic tells us to. But even so, historical evidence does exist and I'd be happy to connect you with it if you want. But the important thing is making that decision to let Him in. He loves you, Drew."
    He stood frozen. That woman sure had a way of shooting holes into his thoughts and really making him think.
    Eventually, she smiled and said, "I'm proud of you. I'll be praying that what's been started in your heart will continue to grow and that He'll reveal to you the answers you're looking for. I'll see you around."
    She started to walk back towards the crowd before quickly stopping and turning around. "Oh, and Drew? Make sure you go to your female friend and tell her how you feel. Your eyes hide no secrets." And with a wink, she was off.
    Drew was blushing mildly, but he knew he had a decision to make. Perhaps he could make that decision together with someone else...


    A/N: Yeah, I know the appeal and battle parts were lame, but I didn't put too much thought into that; the appeals/battles aren't the main focus of the story.
    For the record, the idea for the extremist evangelists was inspired by actual people like that coming to my university every year and doing exactly what they do in this story. It hurts my heart to see that because it sends the wrong message to people. The man who dropped the sign and left at the end is actually based on a true story that I heard from one of my ministry leaders. He talked to one of the guys just like that, and he ended up leaving the group and joining a different Christian organization. But anyways; just thought I'd mention where that whole idea comes from.

    Chapter 7: A New Journey

    Caroline heard a knock on the door. She opened it and found a familiar green-head standing there.
    "Oh, hello Drew. I haven't seen you in quite a while."
    "Good to see you. Is May here? I really need to talk to her."
    She showed him to May's door, which was closed and locked. "She's just been needing some time to herself," she said. She left Drew there and walked away with a slight grin. She was no fool.
    He knocked. There was no response or even the sound of movement or breathing for a few minutes and he started to wonder if she was even in there. He leaned back against the wall and waited, and after a while, he heard the door unlock.
    Assuming it was safe, he opened the door slowly. And there May was, sitting on her bed with a book in her hands. He noticed that the book said "Holy Bible," and he turned and saw that 700 Club was playing on her TV.
    "Well... I uh, see you've been studying."
    She put the book down. "That was really amazing, what you did up there."
    He said nothing. He was refraining from hair flipping and saying something snarky. His pride wasn't what this was about.
    Since the silence seemed endless, she spoke again; said something she was nervous about telling him. "I've decided that I want to give my heart to Jesus."
    To her surprise he was completely calm in his response. "Yeah?"
    "Yeah. Ever since I've been back and seeking Him, I've been getting answers. And I feel Him moving in me. Drew, this is too real for me not to believe."
    "I'm glad you could make that decision for..." he trailed off.
    "What about you? That speech... what even happened? Why did you do it? I thought you didn't believe in God?"
    He finally looked her in the eye. "I had a dream that fire fell from an opening in the sky."
    No further explanation was needed. May understood immediately.
    "So you've made this decision too?"
    She was really happy at the thought. Maybe he wouldn't end up like she saw in her nightmare after all.
    "Well... not exactly. I just... I don't know."
    "Do you want to?"
    The two turned their attention to the TV. 700 Club was ending, but the man on the screen was talking about people who had never received Christ before and how to invite Him in. It was a call to faith.
    "'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved' (Romans 10:13). If this is what you want, and if you feel the Spirit tugging on your heart, please don't push it away. All you have to do is make the decision to let Him in. If you want to make that decision now, bow your head, say this prayer with me in your heart, and let Jesus do the rest."
    The impeccable timing seemed like a sign. Both of them closed their eyes as he started to pray.
    Lord Jesus,
    I ask right now that You come into my heart. I open the door to You. I'm sorry that I've sinned against You. I ask that You forgive me my sins and that You create in me a clean heart. Lord, I want to follow You all the days of my life. You said You've prepared a place for me, and I want to be in that place. I want to be with You forever. Lord, make me new. Reveal Your love to me. I invite You in.
    In Jesus' name, amen.
    During that minute or so, Drew had opened up his heart to the Lord.
    May shut off the TV. Drew opened his eyes and looked out the window. He felt different. He wasn't sure what it was or how to describe it, but also didn't question it. For the first time, they both felt fulfilled and... alive.
    "Wow... so this means we're Christians now. Who would've thought..."
    He smiled at her and nodded. Then he remembered something else he had to do.
    "Look May... I don't mean to take away from this moment, but I need to talk to you about something. I uh..."
    Never in his life did he imagine he'd actually say it out loud. After three years, he finally found the strength to humble himself and admit the truth.
    "You're like no one I've ever known. I've had feelings for you for a long time..."
    He paused for a second. Did that really just happen?
    "I don't wanna play games anymore," he continued. "Our lives are short and tomorrow's not guaranteed. I just wanted you to know that, now. Today."
    May was in the best kind of shock. She was looking at the man who's had her heart for three years up to that day. And now he was stepping off his pedestal to tell her he feels the same way.
    He pulled out a rose and held it out to her, mildly blushing and not making direct eye contact. "I want to start a new journey in Orre. The decision has been made. I want to start a journey of following Jesus and learning more about who He is. And I don't wanna make this journey alone. I'd... really like it if you came with me."
    With a face as red as the bandanna she used to wear, May took the rose and quickly kissed him on the cheek. This took him by surprise and their faces turned the same color.
    "...Okay. So it's settled then. We're going to Orre," he muttered, being lost for words otherwise.
    He exited the gym and flew back to La Rousse on Flygon. He was going to meet her in a week and they would travel to the new region. Contests? They might partake if they come across a town that is holding one every now and then. But for them, it was going to be a passionate hobby, not an obsessive lifestyle. No more idolatry.
    As May lay in bed that day, gazing out the window, she suddenly felt the urge to pick up her Bible and open it to a random page. The first verse she saw was Galatians 2:20 — "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
    As Drew was soaring in the sky on his desert dragon, these words suddenly came into his mind and he heard them clear as day: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!"
    (2 Corinthians 5:17)


    A/N: And that concludes the story. For the record, I am actually NOT a fan of 700 Club and actually disagree with some things on that show. I just thought I'd use it in this chapter because despite that, there are still some good things on the show and I just thought it would fit in well.

    Reviews are always welcome. Even though this is an older story, I'm always looking to improve.

    (LV readers: sorry about the length. I'm still a newbie on this site and didn't know how to post a multi-chapter fic...)
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  2. DeraldSny

    DeraldSny Youngster

    Feb 8, 2017
    Hmmm... I'm a Catholic myself, but I certainly didn't expect to see any mention of Christianity in this story. You seem to have done a good job of incorporating it without feeling forced. And of course, the romance is nice, too. ;) Hope to see more prose from you!

    EDIT: Didn't really read the disclaimer at the beginning. I fail XP

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