Chapter 1 - A Special Project

After losing another League, Ash Ketchum just reached his hometown Pallet Town. There, he was going to visit Professor Oak, who was going to help him decide what his next destination would be. The man who gave him his Pikachu eight years ago called Ash on the phone yesterday, saying he needed Ash's help with a very special project. The excited Pokemon Trainer was curious to hear more about said project today. "I can't wait to hear what region we're visiting next, Pikachu!"

What he didn't know was that there was an unexpected visitor at the lab. When Ash and Pikachu knocked on the door, a red-haired girl around the same age as Ash let him in. "Ash, I missed you so much!" she said, with tears in her eyes from happiness.

"I missed you too, Misty!" the boy from Pallet Town said, while Pikachu jumped in the red-haired girl's arms.

"Pikapi!" the yellow mouse squealed, while getting a tight hug.

"Ash, if you really missed me, why didn't you call or visit me in eight years?" the angry redhead snapped, while walking up to Professor Oak's study room together.

"Well, I was traveling with this girl named Serena for a few years. Every time I told her about you or suggested visiting you, she went crazy!" Ash explained. "She was kind, but she was always behaving a little odd towards me... She constantly wanted alone time, without our other traveling companions. I don't get it, I have no clue what she wanted..."

"Why aren't you travelling with her anymore?" Misty asked.

"She said I'm a hopeless, dense kid and that I was too stupid to get what she wanted for eight years. Then, she ran away after I lost my battle against Ritchie in my last League tournament."

"Wow..." Misty muttered. "She wanted him like a crazy psycho... Sometimes I'm so glad that kid is so dense!"

Then, the two friends entered Professor Oak's study room, where the professor was waiting. "Hi Ash, shall we immediately get down to business?"

"Of course!" Ash said.

"I'm curious what this is about, is it okay if I sit here and listen as well?" Misty asked.

"Of course," the professor said. "I actually think you might like to work together with Ash on this assignment. Anyways, I recently discovered an old treasure map while reading some old books. It shows the location of seven treasure chests, all located on the Sevii Islands south from Kanto. I wanted to ask you two to collect the treasures. An old legend in my book said that you need to use the first and the last treasure when you find them, and collect the ones on Two, Three, Four, Five and Six Island and then use those together when you are on Six Island. Are you two interested in this assignment?"

"Sure! But wait, Misty, aren't you still stuck at the Gym?" Ash asked.

"Not anymore!" Misty cheered. "A few weeks ago, I found a chance to run away while my sisters were asleep. The night before, I gave Dorian from the unofficial Coastline Gym in Johto a call and asked him to take over, which he agreed to. And so, I sent all my Pokemon to Professor Oak and am living here. He allowed me to rest up here until I'm ready to travel again. Doing chores for my stupid sisters every day for eight years is physically and mentally tiring, of course... But I definitely want to travel again, my dream of becoming a Water Pokemon Master hasn't changed! I will never settle for a Gym job!"

"And she's a great help around the lab, helping me out with the Water Pokemon!" Professor Oak added. Recently, there were a lot of positive changes in her life, but one thing was always the same: her love for Water Pokemon.

"Well, I've got two boat tickets ready, you can take a ship in Vermilion City in seven days!" Professor Oak said. "Now, you can decide what Pokemon to take with you. Then, you should get going to Vermilion if you want to be there in time!"

Misty already knew what Pokemon she would take on her next journey and already had all the Poke Balls with her. Her Politoed, Gyarados, Psyduck, Azumarill and the Vaporeon she caught in Cerulean Cave two years ago on her only day off in eight years were the lucky Pokemon that were chosen to accompany their trainer. She decided to take only five Pokemon with her, just in case she would catch any new ones on the Sevii Islands.

Then, Ash decided to spend some more time with some of his older friends that were stuck with Professor Oak for eight years. Aside from Pikachu, he decided to take Totodile, Bayleef, Bulbasaur and Snorlax with him. He also wanted to make space for any new captures, so he also took five Pokemon only.

After saying goodbye to Professor Oak and thanking him for all his help, the two friends walked out of the laboratory. Outside, Delia Ketchum was waiting for them. "Ash, I missed you so much!" she said, while planting her lips on her son's cheek and wrapping her arms around him. Then, she smelled a terrible scent and started to snap at her son. "Ash, are you still wearing the same boxers that you left home with eight years ago?"

"No, of course not, I change my underwear every day!" Ash said, but the gaze in his eyes told another story.

"Don't lie to me, Ash! Here are two new boxers to put in your bag!" she snapped. Then, she turned to Misty. "Could you please make sure Ash changes his underwear every day while you two travel on the Sevii Islands?" she asked.

"Sure," Misty said, while Ash gave his mother a goodbye hug.

A week later, the two were on a ship that was taking them to One Island. On the deck, they were talking about what would await them. "Misty, according to the treasure map, the chest is hidden on top of Mt. Ember. We have to climb that mountain, but first, we have to walk on a giant beach," Ash explained.

"Ash, are you okay with a relaxing day on the beach before we go on? I need some rest after walking to Vermilion for seven days!" Misty asked.

"Okay, I can't wait to battle someone on the beach!" Ash said.

"But Ash, I wanted to spend a nice, relaxing day with you when we arrive!" Misty complained. "Can't you think about anything else than battling?"

"No, my mind is made up," Ash said. "I haven't done any Pokemon battles in two weeks after losing that League match and walking to Vermilion! I'm all fired up!"

"I wish his heart was all fired up..." Misty thought. "But I can't tell him about my feelings yet, I just can't! He won't understand..."

"Hey, Mist, what are you thinking about? Your face is all red..." Ash asked.

"Oh... Huh... Nothing, I swear!" Misty answered.

One hour later, Ash and Misty were sunbathing on Kindle Road's beach, which was near the harbour on One Island. Much to Ash's dismay and Misty's pleasure, there were no trainers nearby to challenge. However, after two hours of sunbathing and swimming, Ash noticed a windsurfer coming up to the shore. "Hey, I wonder if he's a trainer..."

Then, the windsurfer walked up to our heroes, as if he recognised them. "Hey, Ash, Misty, long time no see!" he said.

"Oh f*ck, it's that guy again!" Ash thought.

"Hi Danny," Misty said softly, still remembering what happened eight years ago on the Orange Islands. At first, the Navel Island Gym Leader flattered her with compliments, but the fact that he was twenty years older than her made her a bit uncomfortable. "Please don't hit on me again..." she thought.

"Hey, sexy lady! You haven't changed one bit!" Danny complimented. "Are you and Ash together now? I remember you two were clearly attracted to each other eight years ago!"

"Me? Together with him? NEVER!" the two snapped simultaneously, while their faces were all red.

"You're blushing... Still in denial?" Danny teased.

"Shut up, I would NEVER be with her!" Ash snapped. Even though he had no idea about romance and had no interest in it, he felt an odd sensation in his heart. Something about saying he wasn't interested in Misty felt wrong. "I challenge you to a Pokemon battle, Danny! One on one!"

"There we go again..." Misty thought. "I missed Ash for eight f*cking years, and all he cares about is battling!"

Despite Misty's wishes, Danny hurled a Poke Ball in the air. "I choose you, Nidoqueen!"

"A Ground type, huh?" Ash said. "Totodile, I choose you!" he said, while a small, blue crocodile emerged from the Lure Ball.

"Nidoqueen, start with your Poison Sting!" Danny commanded, while the blue Pokemon shot venomous stings at her opponent.

Then, Totodile did a dance to avoid the attack and annoyed its opponent. Ash told Totodile to use Water Gun. However, instead of water, hearts emerged from the crocodile's mouth.

"Nidoqueen, no!" Danny screamed, while his Pokemon showed a lovestruck expression.

"What the f*ck was that? I don't get it..." Ash thought. "Totodile, I thought I asked you to use Water Gun! I don't know what move that was..." he said, while his Pokemon was doing another dance.

"Ash, that move is called Attract, I guess Totodile must've learned it at Professor Oak's lab!" Misty explained. "It's a move that causes the opponent to fall in love, making it less likely to attack! It's a move you don't understand because you're immature and stupid!"

"I'm not immature and stupid!" Ash snapped. "I just never saw that move before!"

"I said it eight years ago and I'll say it again: you always hurt the one you love!" Danny teased. "Anyways, on with the battle! Nidoqueen, use your Earthquake!" However, the blue Poison-type didn't attack. Her attention seemed to be drawn to her opponent's face. She was too busy with her romantic fantasies to attack.

"Totodile, that Attract move is actually useful!" Ash complimented. "Now use your Water Gun!" A ray of water emerged from the Water Pokemon's mouth, causing Nidoqueen to fall into the water.

"Now finish it with Ice Punch!" Ash commanded. Totodile smashed his opponent with his right fist. Nidoqueen took the hit, without even trying to get away. Despite collapsing and losing the battle, she was happy to feel the touch of her beloved Totodile.

"Nidoqueen, no!" Danny screamed. "You did a good job, have some rest," he said to his Pokemon in a more gentle tone.

"Totodile, that was awesome!" Ash complimented his dancing crocodile. After returning his Pokemon to his Poke Ball, Danny shaked Ash's hand. "Ash, maybe it's time you do to Misty what Totodile did to Nidoqueen!"

"What? Spit water at her and then smack her with an icy fist? Why would I do that?" Ash asked, clueless about what the Navel Island Gym Leader really meant.

"No, I meant using Attract on her and show her that you love her!" Danny said. "I tried it and she didn't like it, but I'm sure she would love it when you seduce her!"

"Don't be silly, I'm not in love with any girl!" he screamed.

"Not into girls?" Danny asked, knowing the trainer was lying. "Ash, are you gay?"

"Gay? What's that?" Ash asked. He often heard people use that word, but never really understood what it meant.

"That's when men are attracted to other men, instead of women," Misty explained.

"I'm not gay! I like girls!" Ash snapped at the trainer he just defeated.

"Okay then, what kind of girls are you into?" Danny asked.

"'Grrr..." Ash groaned, while gritting his teeth. "Leave me alone!"

"Fine, if you don't want to admit how you feel, then figure it out yourself. I'm outta here, I need to get my Nidoqueen to a Pokemon Center!" Danny snapped. Then, he walked away.

Hours later, Ash and Misty put their sleeping bags in front of the giant volcano they had to climb the next day. The boy from Pallet Town was unable to sleep. He was too occupied by his confusion over what happened today. "When I said I wasn't into Misty, something felt odd... Maybe I do like Misty as more than a friend? It would explain why I enjoy it every time she wears a sexy bikini... Her ass looked damn fine today, that bikini bottom was a bit too skimpy... But does that mean I'm in love? I really don't understand all this stuff..."

In the meantime, Misty was also reflecting on her friend's behaviour. "Aww, Danny is right... I love Ash for eight years now and haven't been able to get over him... But he doesn't seem to even understand what romance is! If he doesn't even understand the move Attract or the things Danny said, how can I expect him to like me back?" she wondered. "But he was constantly trying to check out my ass, and tried to hide it when I noticed... I don't get it... Does he like me or not?" she thought. Then, both trainers fell asleep.