***Author's Note***

First of all, my apologies. I am SO SORRY that I took like, over a month to update! Yes, I said that I had this all typed out so why the delay? Cause I LOST the file! Stupid disk. Stupid computer! SO, I had to rewrite it all while balancing about fifty other things of which I won't list so as not to annoy you all. To make it up, I made sure this was a fairly long chapter.

I just want to thank everyone for sticking with me this far and for putting up with my delay! I'm extremely sorry again!

Also, I would like to mention a terrible blunder I have made. Thanks to Togepi4eva for pointing this out to me. Being the dolt that I am, when writing the previous chapter oh so long ago, I completely forgot to bring back Ralph and Emily to the ball! I can't believe I was so stupid not to have caught my mistake later on! Sadly, I don't want to rewrite it and therefore, we shall simply pretend that they're around. I did not bring them back in this chapter but they will appear in the last.

That said, enjoy chapter 7! R/R!

Disclaimer: La la la….who cares? I own a bunch of pokemon cards from eons ago but that's about it. And a few other PKMN items. Other than that and Serena, I don't own anything. Oh yes, I do not own the song lyrics mentioned later on. They belong to Savage Garden. I love their songs!

A Few Helpful Pushes

Chapter 7: The Grand Finale

Misty couldn't believe that Ash was meeting Melody out here by the fountain! It was the perfect spot for some romance with all the roses in full bloom and he was going to be with Melody and not her! But, Misty thought, I'm supposed to be here with Ritchie...and right now, I'm not. I'm with Ash. This thought struck her suddenly and a slight ray of hope entered her heart. Maybe, maybe he might see how I feel.

         What to do now? It's dark, I'm by the fountain with tons of roses, and Misty is right behind me. I could tell her how I feel right now and get it over with. Have her laugh in my face and say that she's in love with Ritchie. I guess the humiliation won't be too bad. I'd have to run off though and take on a new identity of course but hey, at least I won't be burdened anymore with my secret.

         As the two stood in silence thinking what to do next, Serena was in began to concentrate deeply. She hid behind Gary so that her glowing eyes wouldn't be seen and suddenly, to Misty and Ash's surprise, the fountain began to bubble merrily and the water spurted out more freely. Small lights were turned on around the bushes and fountain. The roses plucked themselves off the bushes and floated in the air, circling them. A long, green vine danced around Misty and Ash, pulling them closer and closer. They were trapped within and the vine tied itself in a knot, with those two stuck, back-to-back.

         "Serena!" Misty shouted. The roses continued to hop in the air and one landed in Ash's hand, which was bound to his side.

         "You mean she's doing all this?" Ash asked.

         "No duh! Why else do you think the roses are flying?"

         "Whatever. Anyway, how do we get out of this thing?"

         They struggled but it was to no avail. The vine held them tight, keeping them together. Sighing, both tried to turn around at least and were met with the other's face. Nose to nose, Misty could feel the heat in her body rise to her face and she could see that Ash had begun to turn many shades of red as well.

         "Umm..." was all Misty could say.

         They stood there, staring at one another. Sea green eyes looked into chocolate ones.

         "You know Mist," Ash suddenly began softly, not knowing what had come over him. "You look really pretty in that dress, even though I can't really look down right now."

         Misty's eyes went wide. Ash Ketchem, complimenting her instead of insulting?

         Seeing her disbelief, Ash had to grin. "I'm totally serious. It brings out the brightness of your eyes."

         "Really?" Misty asked in a soft voice staring into his eyes.

         He nodded his head, making his bangs fall into his eyes. Misty raised her left hand, which she had managed to get free, and gently pushed them away. At her touch, Ash suddenly felt a spark and he began to blush but didn't tear his gaze away.

         Still staring into one another's eyes, they slowly began to move their faces closer, closer than they already were that is. Misty was the first to close her eye. Her heart was racing and inside, she hoped that Ash would be man enough to take a hint.

         Ash himself began to sweat nervously, not knowing if he were doing the right thing but something in his mind told him to go ahead. He pressed his lips against Misty's soft ones and closed his eyes.

         The electricity between the two at that moment was enough to light up an entire amusement park and they kept generating more. Slowly, the vine unwound itself from Misty and Ash and fell to the ground but neither noticed as Misty wrapped her arms around Ash's neck and he around her waist, pulling her closer.

         The roses continued to float about and the lights blinked slowly, while the water in the fountain still gurgled to keep the entire atmosphere romantic.

         Misty couldn't believe that she was actually kissing Ash. Her dream, her one wish for three years finally came true. She wanted this moment to last forever just in case she found that when she woke up, it was all a dream.

         Ash on the other hand, was ecstatic as well yet fearful at the same time that Misty would give him a good beating but he kept deepening the kiss and enjoying it fully.

         Suddenly, a bright flash from behind them, caused both to jump apart. They looked at one another and promptly began to blush. "Umm..." Ash began. "I'm really sorry Mist. I didn't umm...you know..." he trailed off talking to his black dress shoes.

         He didn't see the look on Misty's face. One minute, a dreamy, lost smile had been plastered across her face, and the next, it was replaced with a saddened frown and glistening eyes.

         He hadn't wanted to kiss her…otherwise, why else would he apologize? He didn't like her. It was simple as that. She couldn't help the tears that stared to make their trail down each pink cheek of hers. Misty licked her lips, tasting salt. "It's…it's okay," she whispered hoarsely.

         At the sound of her scratchy voice, Ash looked up in surprise and his eyes widened at the emotion so visibly painted upon her features. Had he hurt her so terribly with just that one kiss? Oh man, he hadn't wanted to ever hurt her this bad! He had to do something…but what? The only logical thing he could come up with at that moment was to explain himself. Lifting a hand, he gently nudged Misty's chin up until her eyes met his.

         Each aquamarine eye was sparkling with a pool of tears.

         Darnit! He had to go and mess everything up!

         "I'm so sorry Mist!" he blurted out in a rush. "I didn't mean to hurt you!"

         More tears made their descent to the ground.

         "Aw don't cry! Please? I'm really really sorry for kissing you! Don't be mad! I know you probably hate me now but I couldn't help it! I've liked you for ages and you just looked so pretty standing there in the moonlight and your eyes were all bright and your voice was all soft and I'm sorry but don't hate me!" Ash finished his extremely long run-on sentenced in a panicked voice, the worried tone increasing volume with each word.

         By now, he had released his gentle hold on her chin and at the end of his words, his shoes were once again the receiver to his mini-speech.

         Misty's eyes bore into the top of Ash's head where his ebony hair was becoming disheveled on its own accord. Did he just say what she thought he did? A smile slowly forced its way out and revealed itself upon her lips.

         "Ash?" she said softly, her voice coming out in wisps.

         Surprised at the tenderness put into his name, Ash tentatively looked up, not knowing whether Misty was being gentle to fool him or she was sincere. At her next words, he was shocked beyond belief.

         "Did you really mean all that?"

         He stared.

         Her sea-blue eyes were devoid of tears and only the stains on her cheeks were evidence that she had cried at all. Ash gulped. Shoot. What had he said anyway? He couldn't remember! All he knew was that in the heat of the moment, he had simply babbled and rambled incoherently and could not recall a thing he had told her. Had it been good or bad? What had he said that caused such a smile to brighten her features?

         Unsure of himself, Ash nervously played with his tie. "Umm….yes?"

         "You…you don't know?" Her voice had dropped a notch and held a twinge of disappointment.

         "Umm…no?" At her crestfallen face, he quickly reverted answers. "No! I mean yes!"

         Shoot me now, Ash thought, mentally groaning as he noticed the glistening in her eyes once more.

         "Oh no! Don't cry please! Look, I honestly can't remember what I said! You know me! When I get nervous, I start to just say random stuff! And I don't know what! I like you a lot so don't get mad please and cry! That's why I'm trying to make you happy and not sad!"

         The response Ash got this time utterly stunned him.

         Misty was laughing.

         Her face was turned to the night sky and gaily laughter escaped her lips.

         Ash's mouth dropped open. Here he was spilling out…well, he didn't know what he was spilling out to her because he didn't know what he said, but he was spilling some part of him to her and all she could do was laugh. What happened to the tension and drama? Perhaps the night had been too much for her and she had simply lost it. Ready to ask her if she needed to be taken in, Ash was surprised yet again.

         Not by words. Not by others. But by an action.

         "Misty, are you-oomph!"

         Before he knew what was happening, a familiar pair of lips had collided with his and he felt his arms unconsciously go around the figure before him. Misty. A tingling sensation of warmth flooded the both as they stepped apart, this time a large grin splashed across their faces.

         "You dolt," Misty said.

         "Huh?" was Ash's brilliant response even though he was still smiling uncontrollably.

         She blinked up at him through her lashes. "You don't even realize what you said, do you?"

         "I just said 'huh'."

         Why did I have to fall for such a dummy? Misty thought hopelessly, yet a giddy feeling of elation flooded her being.

         "You are so slow Ash." She placed a finger on his lips when she saw he was about to retaliate. "I like you too. A lot."

         "Really?"

         "Why else would I kiss you?"

         Ash responded with another kiss, which Misty eagerly accepted.

         Ahh! She likes me, she really likes me! Ash chanted in his mind like a mantra.

         Finally! Misty thought as they pulled back for air. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw rose petals softly floating in circles around them and bubbles from the fountain gently escaping into the night air. The vine that had only moments ago bonded them together now lay in a loose pile at their feet.

         "You do know that we're being watched, right?" Misty whispered, leaning closer to Ash.

         "We are?"

         Misty nodded and pointed to the petals. "That's not an illusion."

         "I guess we do have our friends to thank then," Ash whispered back. "But let's not let them know that we know." He winked at her.

         With a giggle, Misty grabbed the hand that he was shyly offering and the two started down the path away from the fountain, talking in hushed voices.

         Only moments after their departure, the surrounding bushes wiggled and jiggled as the other teenagers popped out from their hiding spots. Ash and Misty were now long gone. Brock emerged holding the video recorder, a large grin splashed across his face and lipstick smeared slightly over his lips. Behind him, Willhemina blushed lightly. Todd and Duplica stepped out with the camera equipment; Duplica sighing happily. Melody and Ritchie casually walked up from wherever they had been hiding. From the looks on their faces, Ash and Misty weren't the only ones who had gotten together that night. Ritchie's entire face was bright red and Melody continued batting her eyelashes at him. Lastly, Gary and Serena came forth. Serena was leaning on Gary for support who had his arm around her protectively.

         The group of friends stood around the fountain in a circle of silence and it was Melody, who at last, broke it. "That was, like, much easier than I expected."

         Duplica nodded. "Instead of going through all these complications, you should have just thrown 'em into a locked closet together."

         Serena shook her head wearily. "Nah. It wouldn't have been the right atmosphere."

         They all looked at her.

         "What's wrong? You look awfully tired," Brock commented.

         "I'm fine. Just a little worn out. I had to use a lot of energy to make each petal float in a certain direction and for each bubble to remain a bubble," the psychic explained as Gary tightened his grip around her. She smiled warmly up at him. "Anyways, we're not done yet!"

         "Excuse me?" Ritchie exclaimed. "What more is there to do? They admitted that they like each other and kissed three times! Three!"

         "Two more than you and Melody have, huh?" Gary replied with a sly grin.

         Two speechless mouths fell open as the others laughed. "How did you know?" Melody finally managed.

         Gary gently poked Serena's cheek. She grinned and said, "Back to the task at hand. Todd, when can you get those developed for me?"

         "By tomorrow," he replied.

         "Great. Make me a bunch of copies and put them in an album. I'll pay you later."

         "You don't-"

         "YES. I DO!"

         "Demanding as usual," Ritchie sighed, sending Todd a sympathetic glance.

         "So, what more is there besides that?" Melody asked.

         "Not too much. Basically I just wanted to invite you all over to a party at my house tomorrow. For lunch and a movie," Serena said nonchalantly and everyone failed to notice the gleam in her eyes or the smirk playing on Gary's lips.

         At the word party, everyone remembered that they were still at one and decided to head back inside for a little bit more dancing, all agreeing to meet at Serena's house the next day at noon.

         "So you're saying this was all a set-up?" Ash asked.

         Misty nodded. "Has to be. Ritchie asking me, Melody asking you. And then the two of us suddenly alone at the same time at the fountain because we're supposed to meet our dates there? Serena planned it all."

         Slowly Ash nodded in understanding. "That makes sense! Man, I can't believe they went through all that!"

         "Yeah. But," Misty turned her gaze upwards to face Ash. "I'm glad that they did. Otherwise, we probably would have continued the way we were. Always fighting with one another and denying our feelings."

         "Good point."

         They walked around the corner of the gym in silence, hand in hand until Ash spoke up. "Umm…Misty?"

         "Hmm?"

         "Does this mean you're my girlfriend now?"

         "If you want me to be."

         "I do."

         Misty said nothing.

         "Misty?"

         "You haven't asked me officially yet," she replied. After all, it was only appropriate. He had to formally ask her to be his girlfriend otherwise it wouldn't count. At least, in Misty's mind. She was a romantic.

         Ash licked his lips nervously. Why he was nervous he had no idea. She had said that she liked him and they had kissed three times for goodness sake! But the elation that spread warmly through him every time he thought about Misty being his girlfriend gave him pleasurable shivers, yet left him nervous. Would things change between them now on their travels?

         He shook his head stupidly. Of course they would! Their feelings for each other were now out in the open, and this was literally since he knew they had been spied on. But what if something went wrong in their relationship? He deeply cared for Misty and didn't want to lose her as a girlfriend, or especially, as a true friend.

         "Will we still be friends Mist?" he finally asked.

         Misty stopped walked, causing him to jerk back since their hands were intertwined. "Friends?"'

         Ash nodded. "Yeah. I mean, we are pretty young. I know I like you a lot and you like me a lot. But if we are girlfriend and boyfriend, will we still remain friends at the same time?"

         At this, Misty had to think for a moment as she stared at Ash. He looked like a lost little puppy, his dark eyes boring sincerely into her as he waited for a response. It was true. They weren't even sixteen yet. Ash was her best friend and she knew that the status of their relationship was forever changed. They would be a couple now.

         "Of course Ash," she finally said. "We can be a couple but we will always remain the best of friends."

         A large grin broke out on Ash's face. "Great. Because I never want to lose a wonderful person like you!"

         Tears welled in Misty's eyes as she swiped them away.

         Concern flooded Ash's features. "What's wrong? What did I say wrong this time?"

         Throwing herself into his arms, Misty laughed. "Dummy! I'm crying because I'm happy! Girls do that."

         "Oh. Guess I have a lot more to learn about girls."

         Misty looked up at him. "Yes. Yes you do. And I will be the one to teach you."

         "I'd want no other teacher."

         "Is that your invitation for me to be your girlfriend?"

         Ash nodded.

         "In that case, I accept."

         And they sealed their deal with another kiss.

         When the troop returned inside, they were immediately swamped by Mistys' elder sisters, who shot off questions faster than a rocket could fly.

         "Like, did it work?" Lily exclaimed.

         Melody answered with a nod. "Yup."

         Violet questioned Gary. "Did they kiss?"

         "Three times."

         "Three? They're too young to be kissing three times in one night! I'm going to have to talk with them!" Daisy said, falling into the role of a mother, being the eldest.

         "Did they say they love each other?"

         "They like each other," Duplica said.

         "A lot," Serena supplied helpfully.

         Daisy nodded fiercely. "Good. They're too young to say 'I love you'. Maybe in a few years."

         Lily swooned. "Ooh, did Ash run his hands through her hair?"

         Melody and Serena exchanged glances. "Erm…"

         "Brock, did you get it all on tape?" Violet demanded.

         He held up his right hand holding the recorder.

         "Let me see!"

         Violet and Lily both lunged at Brock who easily sidestepped them. "Not yet!"

         "Give it to me!" they cried but were stopped by Daisy who reiterated Brock's words, "Not yet."

         "Where are the pictures Todd?" she asked.

         "In my camera," he replied. "I still have to finish the film."

         "Well, what are you waiting for?" Lily shrieked, advancing on the younger boy and throwing up her arms. "Finish it already!"

         Todd slowly backed away, fearing for not his life, but the life of his precious camera.

         Chaotic chatter continued for a few more moments until couple by couple, the group slowly melted away onto the dance floor, each person tiring of the incessant questions. Only Daisy, Serena, and Gary were left.

         Serena sighed. "Well, I think we did it."

         Daisy ran a delicate hand over her jeweled necklace. "Yes. Like, I think you did Rena. You got my baby tomboy sister together with Ashy."

         "Speaking of them," Gary said and pointed to the doors. Hand in hand, the said couple stepped inside and it was evident from their brilliant smiles and pink tinged cheeks that something special had occurred between them just then. The trio watched as Mrs. Ketchem immediately swooped down upon her son and his new girlfriend to shower them both with hugs and kisses. Her excited squealing voice soared across the gym causing Ash and Misty to blush even redder.

         "My baby! My baby's all grown up and got himself a girlfriend! And it's his best friend! Oh I'm so happy that he's chosen you Misty! I always knew you two would get together and it's happened sooner than I expected! My my, I must start planning the wedding for a few years. These things take time to plan you know."

         "M-o-o-o-m!"

         Daisy winked at Serena and Gary who were overcome with laughter and clutching one another for support. "Like, I guess I better go save them, huh? Before I get Mrs. Ketchem as my new in-law."

         The blonde Waterflower sauntered away to the back of the gym where the DJ was stationed at his table. After whispering a few words into his ears, the music that had been playing abruptly stopped and everyone looked up when a voice resounded in the large room.

         "Well ladies and gentlemen, the night must slowly come to an end so to wrap up this glorious evening, our beautiful hostess has requested a final slow song for all you romantic couples. Grab your partner and let yourself be in tune with the music!" a slight cracking of static followed the DJ's deep voice and then the music started.

         Mrs. Ketchem had finally ceased pestering her son to accept the dance with Professor Oak.

         "Eh…heh," Ash mumbled, scratching the back of his head in embarrassment. He looked down at his new girlfriend out of the corner of his eye. "Sorry about that Mist. You know how Mom is."

         Misty giggled. "Unfortunately. I'll bet my sisters are the same way though. We'll be lucky to escape them when we get home!"

         "Yeah. So…umm…since we really haven't gotten to dance and umm…this is the last song…." He looked down at Misty expectantly and a bit hesitant as a red hue spread over the bridge of his nose.

         Raising her arms to encircle his neck, Misty smiled and slowly pulled Ash to the middle of the dance floor. "Of course Romeo."

         Meanwhile, Gary was attempting to cough up the nerve to ask Serena to dance. Throughout the entire night, they hadn't really danced to any slow songs and this would be their first. Yet, he couldn't help but be worried about her. Serena had a hand firmly pressed to her side and the other gripping his tuxedo sleeve. Her eyes were partially lidded and a red glow escaped.

         What is she doing now? Gary wondered, his eyes scanning the gym for signs of psychically moving objects. Were the dimmed lights Serena's doing or Daisy's? And, if he wasn't mistaken, the rose petals from outdoors were now circling the dancers as couples lightly swayed to the beat of the soothing music. Most of them were cluttered around Ash and Misty who were staring into each other's eyes smack in the center of the floor.

         Gary watched as without warning, the two slowly began to ascend; yet neither noticed that they were dancing on air. With a disbelieving shake of his head, Gary turned back to Serena, wondering if he should gently coax her to glide them back down and conserve her energy.

         "Oh I love this song!" Misty said softly to Ash.

         He grinned. "Really? I've never heard it."

         His hand were resting gently on Misty's waist as they slowly swayed back and forth, moving their feet only slightly to the music.

         "You'll like it too," Misty replied. "Listen to the lyrics," she said and rested her head on Ash's shoulder. Ash nearly fainted with joy.

Maybe it's intuition 
 
But some things you just don't question

Like in your eyes

I see my future in an instant

and there it goes

I think I've found my best friend

I know that it might sound more than

a little crazy but I believe 

[chorus:] 

I knew I loved you before I met you

I think I dreamed you into life

I knew I loved you before I met you

I have been waiting all my life 

 
There's just no rhyme or reason

only this sense of completion

and in your eyes

I see the missing pieces

I'm searching for

I think I found my way home

I know that it
 
might sound more than

a little crazy but I believe

[repeat
chorus] 

A thousand angels dance around you

I am complete now that

I found you

[repeat chorus to fade]

         Misty felt as though she were floating on clouds. Enclosed warmly in Ash's arms, she felt as light as a feather, nearly weightless and she never knew Ash actually had one right and one left foot instead of two left feet. Granted, they were barely moving their feet to begin with but nonetheless, he seemed to make sure not to step on her toes. As she rested her head on her new boyfriend's shoulder, she closed her eyes but was suddenly brought out of her reverie by Ash.

         "Erm…Mist?"

         She lifted her head. A tight smile was plastered across his face and it seemed as though his grip on her had suddenly gotten tighter. Her brows wrinkled together in concern. "What's wrong Ash?"

         He gulped and licked his lips. "I like Serena, I really do. But is this really necessary?"

         Serena? What did she have to do with anything? Except her playing matchmaker that is. "What are you talking about?"

         "Look down."

         "Oh my gosh!" Misty grabbed Ash around the neck so tightly that he was suffocating. Her head was buried in his chest and he got a mouthful of orange hair in hairspray flavor.

         "Mist! I can't breathe!" Ash choked out.

         She loosened her grip just slightly but her eyes were fixated on the floor feet below her. No wonder she had felt so light.

         Mist. You can keep dancing. You know I won't let you guys fall.

         Just the same, I like being on the ground, Misty thought, hoping that for once, Serena would break her rule of mind reading and get Misty's message. Luck was with Misty.

         But you're the romantic. What could be more romantic than floating effortlessly with your loved one?

         Falling perhaps.

         I won't let you fall! Now, keep dancing otherwise I'll probe your mind even further than your surface thoughts. I'll put you down…eventually.

         Gee, thanks.

         No problem.

         "Did you get instructions from Miss Bossy?" Ash asked, a twinkle in his eye.

         Misty groaned and dropped her head heavily on his chest. "Of course. She said to keep dancing and we'll get back down eventually."

         "Ah. Well, let's not disappoint the lady!"

         Without another thought and putting complete trust in her best friend, Misty nodded and heeded Serena's words. For the remainder of the song, neither Ash nor Misty spoke another word but let the song relay the emotions for them. As the last bars of the song emitted from the speakers, Misty was jolted awake from her daydream of her and Ash at a fancy restaurant when her feet touched the ground.

         "Houston, we have landed," Ash said.

         "Thank goodness!"

         "Now what?"

         Misty glanced around and noted that guests were now beginning to exit and stream out of the doors. Some lingered behind to say goodbyes and chat a bit longer but for the most part, the gym was slowly emptying. "I guess we can go back home now. The party's over."

         "What about clean up?"

         "Puh-lease!" Misty rolled her eyes. "Do you think my sisters are going to clean this mess up?" She motioned her hand over the area. Empty cups were lying around the base of the trashcan instead of in it, streamers were strewn on the floor, and many, many rose petals littered the dance area, courtesy of Serena. "It's handled by hired help."

         "I see. In that case, would the lovely lady allow me to escort her back home?" Ash asked, holding on his arm in a gentleman-like fashion.

         "Why Ash, I never knew you had a polite gene in you!" Misty feigned surprise.

         "Hardy-har-har. If you decline, that I see a few single ladies milling around that might like a fine young chap such as myself as an escort since the one I want can only insult me."

         He lifted a foot to walk away but Misty grabbed his arm rougly. "That's quite all right. You will escort me otherwise I'll get the DJ to."

         Ash raised an eyebrow. "The DJ?"

         "I heard the girls talking and though I haven't seen him, he's supposed to be cute."

         "Not cuter than me?"

         Misty wiggled her eyebrows and started to pull Ash to the door. "That depends. Now let's hit the road!"

         "You mean pathway to your house."

         "Whatever."

         Ash stuck out his tongue and Misty mimicked him. The couple left the gym, continuing their playful banter as Daisy watched slyly from the side.

         "Thank goodness they're not completely grown up," she said to herself as a loving smile blossomed on her lips. Her baby sister finally dating. Daisy shook her head in amazement as she swelled with a mix of sisterly and motherly affection and pride. Time had flown by so fast. So fast indeed.

         Meanwhile, Brock and Willhemina were in a lip-lock in a discreet corner of the gym as a goodbye for the night.

         "Ahem!"

         The two teens sprung apart, blushes tingeing their faces. Duplica and Melody stood there, arms crossed and smirks plastered to their faces. "I do believe this is a PG dance sir and madam," Melody said with a grin.

         Brock groaned. "Leave me alone! Go pester your dates!"

         Melody shook her head. "Sadly, my date has left with another. So I am now dateless and ready to torture someone. Namely you."

         "Why?"

         Duplica shrugged. "You're fun and easy."

         Brock opened his mouth to reply but Willhemina beat him to it. "Look girls!" she pointed over their heads across the gym. "I think Todd and Ritchie are calling to you. My, they do look like they're ready to walk you home…romantically."

         "You think?" Duplica asked. "I mean…yeah sure, you just want to get rid of us."

         Melody pulled on Duplica's arm. "I think he is going to walk me to the hotel! How romantic!" She dragged a protesting Duplica across the gym, leaving the elder teens alone once more.

         With a smile, Brock looked down at the beautiful girl before him. "You're a genius. May I escort you to your hotel?"

         Willhmina answered with a giggle. "Nothing would please me more."

         "Even a kiss?"

         She blushed. "Perhaps that too."

         "Good."

         "Ready to leave girls?" Todd asked once Duplica and Melody had reached him and Ritchie.

         Melody nodded. "I'm so tired and my feet hurt from running around!"

         Ritchie snapped his fingers. "That's too bad! I was hoping you'd like to join me on a walk around the beach. A little moonlight strolling but-"

         "Did I say that my feet hurt? I meant my fingers. Yes. My fingers."

         "In that case," Ritchie held out his hand. "Let me see them. Maybe I can make them better."

         Hand in hand, the two walked off. "I guess that's our cue. Especially since most of the other guests have left," Todd said, holding out an arm, which Duplica happily took.

         "Rena? Rena are you okay?" Sabrina asked concernedly looking down at her little sister with Rosco hovering in the background. As the last notes of the song were playing and Ash and Misty had been returned safely to the Earth's surface, Serena had promptly collapsed in Gary's arms.

         Telepathically sensing a weakness coming from the younger psychic sibling, Sabrina had immediately ceased dancing and rushed to Serena's side. Gary had managed to pull her over to a chair and transferred her there, yet allowing her to use him as support once again. A dim glow emitted from Serena's dark eyes and her eyes were partially open. Yet she made no response.

         Worried, Sabrina decided on a different tactic.

         Serena! Wake up!

         Sa-Sabrina?

         Yes it's me. How could you do that?

         Do what?

         You know just what I mean. Tire yourself out for no reason!

         But Sabrina, it wasn't for no reason! It was for my best friend!

         I don't care! You didn't have to go so far! You got me worried. And especially Gary! He's hovering over you like a mother hen! It took me a few minutes of coaxing for me to get him to loosen his hold on you.

         At this, Serena's mind "voice" went up notch. Really?

         You're hopeless. Anyways, lets get you out of this dismal gray area of your mind.

         How?

         Just concentrate real hard that you want to be awake and you will! I'm leaving now!

         Wait!

         But all Serena found was emptiness in her mind. Her sister had left her mind. Well, might as well try it. Using as much mind energy as she could muster, Serena willed and willed herself back to the waking world.

         "Serena!" a hazy face formed before her eyes.

         "Gary?"

         "Thank god! I was so worried!"

         "Really?"

         "I told you so," Sabrina smirked from the side.

         Serena attempted to sit up straighter but felt something heavy holding her down. "Umm…Gary? You can let go of me now. I'm fine."

         "What if you faint again?"

         "I'm fine."

         Reluctantly, Gary removed his arms and even Serena missed the warmth. She turned to face her elder sister. "Thanks."

         Sabrina winked. "No problem. Just promise me never to stress your mind out so much. You may think you're strong, but everyone has limitations. Next time, you might not have Gary nearby to catch you when you fall."

         And with a final wave, Sabrina glided across the floor and out with door with her boyfriend, leaving Serena and Gary in awkward silence.

         "Gary?"

         He looked down at her.

         "I'm sorry."

         Now Gary drew his brows together. What was she talking about?

         As if she had read his mind, which she might have done but did not, Serena replied, "We didn't even get to dance properly because of my planning. You came here to have fun and I ruined it for you. Maybe you shouldn't have come with me."

         Oh. That's what she was talking about. Gary licked his lips nervously and eyed her right hand which was absentmindedly twirling a lock of her dark hair. To take the hand or not to take the hand, that is the question. C'mon Gary! A voice in his mind urged. If the loser Ketchem can get himself the girl, so can you!

         Yes! Yes I can. His eyes swept over the girl seated next to him and he took in her lovely form. His heartbeat increased. No. No I can't.

         Loser, the voice taunted and Gary wondered two things: A) Whether he was losing his mind and B) if other guys went through a subconscious being in the mind when dealing with a girl.

         Taking a deep breath, Gary opened his mouth to reply but he was too late. Serena had already stood with a forced smile tightened into her lips. "I'd like to go home now Gary so if you wouldn't mind walking me?"

         Drat! Gary rose from his seat mentally berating himself for having lost his chance at expressing his feelings. "Sure. No problem. Let's go."

         He made to hold out a hand but Serena had already started walking away.

         Darnit!

         Misty hummed to herself as she slipped off her ball dress and pulled on a pair of comfortable pajamas. What a night! And what a way to end it! At the beginning of the evening, she never would have expected it to turn out the way it did, but lo and behold! Look what had happened! She and Ash hadn't headed straight home. They took a long detour over the boardwalk simply enjoying each other's company and discussing how long one had liked the other. Then Ash had walked her straight to her bedroom door like a gentlemen and ended the night with one last sweet kiss.

         With a dreamy exaggerated sigh, Misty flounced onto her bed and smiled into her pillow. What a night. Turning, she pulled up the covers and promptly dozed to dreamland, images of Ash floating through her mind. So happy in slumber was she that Misty never even stirred when Serena entered half an hour later.

***Author's Note***

Long enough to make up for the delay? Good enough? Fluffy enough? I tried. As I said, something happened to the original and I had to redo it all. Therefore, it was hard because I had to attempt to keep the writing style the same and work around my schedule. But, I finally got it done! There will most likely be one more chapter. I have to write it first and I will try my best to get it done sooner than this was. But I make no promises. Anyways, please do review once again!

Review Responses:

MagicMistyWaterflower: Wow! I got your review before I even got a chance to send out my email for the update! Thanks! And I'm glad that you like it so much! Makes my day brighter! And I'm definitely with you! AshxMisty, Yay! AshxMay, Nay! Hey…that works, huh? And I just made it up. Lol. Yeah, I'm corny. I like yours better.

Spiraea Kozak: Hehe…don't worry, I didn't get too frozen up around here. Well, as you can see, they didn't quite get pinned underneath anything but more like pinned together with the vine courtesy of Serena! But good guess!

Rainastar: Well, as you can see, the plan did work out rather well, huh? So now, everyone's happily ever after! Well actually, that comes next chapter. Maybe. ^_^

Togepi4eva: Ralph and Emily! OMG! I totally forgot about them! I have no idea how…I mean…lol. Man, I'm stupid! Umm…well, as I mentioned up above in the author's note…we're going to pretend they're still around.

Mydream: Well, this was more!

Charmed Sakura: Thanks! And I read your fic. Did you get my review?

Maria: Aww you're way too sweet! Anyways, I hoped you liked Chapter 7 just as much as all the others!

Wintersun: Yup! Finally some real romance, especially in this chapter! And as I mentioned in the author's note, there will be one more chapter.

Angelic-Shadowcat: Yes, it definitely is the best when everything works out! I'm one of those 'happily ever after' type people. Mind you, I personally don't get those types of endings at the end of the day or week or whatever, but they're nice to read about.

Krazy 4 Pokemon: Well, I hope you got my review for your fic! And thanks for reviewing mine! I'll keep writing as long as I love to write which will be forever! But I'm not necessarily going to write fan fiction forever. Lol.

Pikpik246: Well, I'm certainly glad that you finally decided to start reviewing! I'm glad that you like it! I'm also glad that Ash and Misty are finally getting together. When I was writing this, I was wondering when I would finally have them kiss. Well, this chapter won!

Shippou123: Lol! Seems like you love a lot of people! I've never watched Love Hina but Sailor Jupiter is awesome! And I've never hear of Kodocha or Jason Voorhees. Care to fill me in? ^_^ And don't worry, I talk a lot too. Talking is good for the soul. Lol…My goal someday for the future *is* to be a professional, published author!…*sigh* poor Melody. What'd she ever do to you?

KawaiiTotodile: ^_^ Thanks! I hope you liked this chapter just as much.

Magicgalkairi: Wow…you spent an hour reading this? I'm flattered that you got caught up in this!

Celestial Fire: So do you still want to smack them together? Hehe. I'm glad you're getting into this story! Thanks!

Kitsune Shippo: As you can see, I have continued, though this chapter did come out later than I wanted. I had to make some adjustments.