Disclaimer - I don't own anything or anyone.
Author - Warlordess
Notes - Here I am, just continuing to update all the major sites I post on with my different works before I leave it. I admit, I've received a few comments since revealing that I was probably closing up shop that have nearly tempted me to stick around, but I'm still not convinced that enough people actually care about my works. Two to five people just... aren't enough reason for me to slave away on a hundred different prose. I am extremely grateful for the reviews I received on one of my recent one-shots, "Daring Hallow's Night", fourteen in total and most of which told me they would miss me if/when I chose to go. If I were to receive that number and kind of commentary for nearly every fic, then I would feel like I've actually made an impact, you know? However, my two or three posts since that fic have dwindled back down to two or three comments so... you know. People don't care and neither should I, right?
Title - "The One Where Bonnie Sets Clemont Up With All the Girls"
Summary - Based off of a Tumblr request using the line, "Wait, who's Misty?" Featuring one-sided Amourshipping and hints of Pokeshipping, as is my way.
The Kalos group were currently enjoying the start of a nice lunch break beside a local river on the way to their next destination and, at the same time, had decided to take advantage of the opportunity to learn of more adventures and things from Ash's past.
"Oh, well, I can always show you some of the pictures my friends and I took!" the raven-haired trainer had exclaimed with a guffaw, already plopping his backpack on their compact table to pull them out. "C'mon Pikachu!"
"Pikaaa!" the electric mouse cried in glee as he pounced after his trainer.
"Sounds like fun!" Clemont agreed with a nod as he started setting up the campfire with all of his necessities. "You've been traveling around the world a lot longer than the rest of us. It would be nice to get to know some of the people and Pokemon you've met outside of Kalos, wouldn't it?" he asked openly towards Bonnie and Serena.
"Mm, sure!" the Pokemon performer nodded affirmatively as she started setting up the table, carefully moving Ash's abandoned backpack out of the way while he ran over to the Lumiose City natives and sat down beside them.
"Hehe, feel free to come join us whenever you're finished, okay Serena?" he asked with the same charming smile he always did, leaving her chest fluttering and burning in its wake.
"Anyway, it's not much… I've got a lot more of them back home but my mom said there was no way I'd have enough space on me to bring them all… So I just have a few from each place I've been to," he rambled after turning back to the others, flipping open to the first page. "Like these are some of my friends from Unova!"
"They look nice! What are their names?" Clemont leaned over from his position next to the newly lit campfire to inspect the first array of photos.
"Iris and Cilan!" he laughed, glad that he could help some of his friends connect with each other the way he was, "They're really great! Cilan was the gym leader in Striaton City, and he specialized in being able to sense the bond between trainer and Pokemon as a connoisseur. Not only that but he really knew how to cook!
"And Iris is really active - she used to always hop around in trees and stuff so she could see as far as possible - and she wants to be a dragon master! Oh, that's her with her Axew! They were really close!"
"Pikachu pika!" Pikachu said, pointing at the next photo and drawing their attention to it.
"Haha, look at your friend Cilan in this one!" Bonnie giggled, "What's that Pokemon on his shoulder? They look so much alike!"
"Oh, yeah, that's his Pansage. They're great partners! Ooh, and here's one with Iris and Excadrill. He's the strongest member of her team besides Dragonite but for a long time he wouldn't listen to her. They had to work on trusting and depending on each other… but it was hard because they couldn't give each other a fair chance at first."
"Your friend has a Dragonite?!" Bonnie exclaimed, eyes wide and glittering in excitement as she leaned in for a closer inspection, "She sounds so strong! And you said she's really active, right? Big brother!"
And she suddenly turned on her older sibling and grabbed his hand, yanking him away from the fire (and thankfully not knocking anything over), pulling him close enough to the photo album to get a better look.
"We should ask her to be your girlfriend! I mean, she can keep you in shape when I'm not around to take care of you, and she's obviously really, really strong! She's great!"
"Ah, well, Bonnie, she lives in Unova though, right?" Clemont tried to dissuade her from forcing Ash to hand the girl's contact information over, "I don't think something long-distance would be a great idea, would it?"
"Oh, I guess that makes sense…" the young girl sighed in acceptance and sat back down on the ground. "Anyway, Ash, who's next?" And she reached over and flipped the page for him.
"Oh, that's Dawn and Zoey, and Brock too!"
"Dawn and Zoey?" Serena asked aloud as she joined them near the fire. She hadn't been paying as much attention at first since she was preoccupied with her task but now that she was free, she couldn't help noticing all the… feminine names her crush happened to be revealing.
"Yeah, I met Dawn when I traveled to Sinnoh a couple of years ago. She was just starting out from Twinleaf Town with her starter Pokemon, Piplup. She wants to follow in her mom's footsteps of being a top-level coordinator."
"A - and what about Zoey?" Serena dared to ask through a stiff jaw. She wanted to know but she really wasn't sure she wanted to know… if that made any sense.
"Zoey was a rival… well, maybe more a friend - but I guess she was a rival too? - of Dawn's. She had more experience as a coordinator and always did really well at competitions. Dawn was never able to beat her."
"I bet that got a bit frustrating," Clemont said, now completely engrossed in what was happening and forgetting to do any of the prep work for their lunch. For whatever reason, Ash hadn't noticed yet either so he supposed it was fine for now.
"Yeah," the raven-haired trainer softly nodded his head more somberly now as he thought back on it, "in fact, there was a time during our journey together when Dawn couldn't really… She lost her confidence, and she had a hard time beating anyone…
"But then my friend May came to visit and helped her regain what she'd lost during a one-on-one battle!"
"Your friend… May?" Serena asked, internally telling herself not to let the panic set in just yet. Sure, Ash had met a lot of girls before her but they were all just friends… right?
"Yeah, May! Uh…" And he flipped a couple of pages forward in his album so that he could find the right picture, "Oh, there she is! With her brother, Max!"
"They're brother and sister… just like us!" Bonnie stated, hopping to her feet and gesturing to her older brother.
"Ah, yeah, sorta I guess… Anyway, she was from Hoenn and started out with her Torchic, only she didn't have any idea what to do with Pokemon at all. I don't think she liked them very much at first…"
"At first, huh?" Clemont asked, leaning in and staring at a photo of her holding up a case filled with pretty ribbons - probably prizes from competing in contests - and posing with a Combusken.
"Yeah, she just needed some time to figure out what she wanted to do… I guess that's just like you, Serena!" Ash turned, finally including her in the conversation, and she considered his train of thought.
"I guess you're right… but it sounds like she figured it out pretty quickly, didn't she?" she asked with a soft smile, happy to be a bigger part of their activity now.
"Yeah, Ash! What's she like now? Is she as strong as she looks? Those are a lot of contest ribbons, you know? How many competitions has she won? Is she well-known back in her region?"
"Whoa, Bonnie, calm down a bit, let Ash have a chance to answer your first question before you give him the rest!" Clemont asked, pulling her back down beside him and waiting for her to regain her breath.
"May's real strong. I mean, maybe not as strong as me," and he took a chance to pause and laugh at his own ego, "but she grew to be one of the strongest trainers I'd ever met while we traveled together. And yeah, she's definitely well-known back home! She came in around fourth place at her first major championship festival."
"Great! Then it's settled, big bro!"
"Uh, what do you…?" the Lumiose gym leader started but didn't have the opportunity to finish his sentence.
"Look at all of these eligible bacholerettes, will ya?" she goaded him, pointing at Ash's photo album. "These are the kinds of girls that'd be perfect for you! Iris wants to be a dragon master! Dawn overcame her own lack of confidence by battling against May, who happens to be a really well-known coordinator from Hoenn! They all sound great! And strong! And they're just what you need! I mean, May even has experience with other siblings! You two would be just right for each other!"
"You keep forgetting how far away these places are, Bonnie! We have things we're doing here in Kalos! We can't just move away to meet them in some other region. Besides… I - I'm not really interested in…"
"So Ash," Serena interrupted with a clearing of her throat, "I - if you all were such great friends and had so much fun traveling together, and i -if traveling together made you all stronger and closer, then why… um, why don't you still travel with these gir - um - people?" she finished with one final amendment to her inquiry.
"Oh, well, I guess…" and the raven-haired trainer absentmindedly flipped to the next page of his album, but he no longer seemed to be looking at it. Instead his mind was elsewhere as he mulled over the proper way to phrase his next statement. "I guess it was just time, you know?"
"Just time…?" she asked with a quirked brow because, no, she didn't really understand that. If you were really that close with someone, if they were your best friend or else… you know… something more, then how could there ever be a time when it was appropriate to leave them?
"Well, when you meet someone and you become friends… but you also have goals that you really, really wanna go for… and your friends have their own goals that take them in a different direction… what else can you do but go, and let them go, so you all can do what you feel you have to do, right? All my friends decided that they wanted to do something great once they left home. I wouldn't ever want to get in the way of them doing that… so I let them go. Like May. She said she wanted to travel to Johto to take part in contests there… but I'd already taken on the league in Johto so it wouldn't have made much impact on me as a trainer if I went back, right?"
"That's really a mature way of seeing things, Ash," Clemont nodded in approval. "Quite impressive."
"Gahah, thanks, Clemont," the Pokemon trainer laughed and patted his friend on the shoulder. "Anyway, it's not like they aren't my friends anymore just because we don't travel together, you know? We still talk every once in awhile and I know what regions they're in!"
"Wait, who's that?" Bonnie asked, interrupting their derailed conversation.
"Oh, that's Misty!"
"Mi… Wait, who's Misty?" Serena asked now, eyes almost too wide for her to hide her concern over the existence of yet another female friend on Ash's part.
It was one thing with the girls he met now. At least she could, you know, monitor them and see what they were really thinking around him, but when it came to girls from his past, that was different. How could she really know anything about the limits of their relationship when she'd never met them and seen it in action for herself?
"Pikapi kachu Pikachupi!" Pikachu did his best to explain but Ash smiled at him and patted him softly on the head.
"It's alright, buddy, I got this. Anyway, Misty is a friend of mine from Kanto!"
"From Kanto? That's where you're from, right? So that would mean… that she was one of your first traveling companions?" Clemont asked.
"So what's she like?" Bonnie asked in excitement, already ogling the first few photos of her, one of her (and everyone at the time) in swimwear at the beach, another one with her feeding Togepi…
"Misty? Well… she was the first one I ever journeyed with outside of Pikachu."
Serena let out an involuntary yelp at this newly revealed information, causing everyone to stop what they were doing and stare at her instead.
"Um, I'm sorry, just… It's nothing, what else, Ash?"
"We met on my first day as a trainer… but we didn't always get along."
"You didn't?" Serena asked with a quirked eyebrow, even as her heart leapt for joy back up into her throat. Getting along was important after all, and no long-lasting relationship stood much chance at survival without such an elementary level of interaction.
"Nah, she was really stubborn and she almost always started a fight with me about something stupid, like her bike."
"What about her bike?" Bonnie asked in confusion.
"Oh, well, it's kinda complicated but Pikachu and I accidentally destroyed her bike when we first met."
"Wha… How?" Clemont asked.
"Like I said, it's kinda complicated… but we were getting chased by some wild, angry Pokemon for, um, some reason I can't remember now and Pikachu got injured. We were in the woods and ended up stranded on the edge of a cliff next to a river outside of Pallet, my hometown, so I jumped in with Pikachu in my arms… The next thing I knew, something got my by the neck and pulled me out of the water and back onto shore somewhere downstream.
"It turned out to be Misty, who was fishing nearby. She got me out of the water and then yelled at me for almost killing Pikachu… She was loud and annoying but… at least she cared a lot about Pokemon."
Serena, whose heart had begun fluttering with hope again at the words loud and annoying, felt it plummet once more back into her stomach when her crush had finally finished his statement.
"Anyway, she told me about a PokeCenter in Viridian City but there was no way for me to run the rest of the way when those Pokemon were still chasing me, so I took her bike so I could get there as fast as possible."
"You took her bike? And then you and Pikachu destroyed it?" Serena couldn't help asking. She had been trying really hard not to like these girls Ash talked about, not to understand anything more than the potential romantic rival they could be while she was in pursuit of a relationship with him, but she had to admit, she might be hard-pressed to get along with someone who'd stolen her property and then proceeded to demolish it somehow.
"It was an accident!" the raven-haired trainer tried to explain in defense of himself.
"You know, most Pokemon aren't naturally aggressive… Rather, something has to motivate them into behaving that way…" Clemont murmured thoughtfully with crossed arms and flashing lenses. "Ash, is there something you're not–"
"–Hey, look, more people! That guy looks familiar! What was his name again? Brick…?"
"Oh, haha, that's Brock. Yeah, he traveled with me in Sinnoh, remember? And Hoenn too actually. And the other guy is Tracey. He's a Pokemon sketch artist who idolized Professor Oak. Misty and I met him in the Orange Islands. Now he works as Professor Oak's lab assistant though.
"But anyway, I think that's basically everyone! I mean, like I said, if I had all the other pictures we'd taken, I could show you more, but I only had enough room in my bag to bring something small like this…" Ash explained again, gesturing to his album as he closed it back up.
"You know, maybe we should start taking some pictures soon! Could we, Clemont? That way Ash can remember us when he leaves Kalos!" Bonnie exclaimed excitedly, latching onto her brother's jumpsuit and pulling on it excitedly.
"That's a really great idea! Sure, in fact, rather than buying a camera somewhere, if you guys give me a couple of days, I could probably build us one!"
"That soundsawesome, Clemont! I can't wait to see it!"
All three of them cheered as their group activity came to a close. Ash placed the album back in his bag, Clemont finally started prepping for lunch, Bonnie went back to playing with Dedenne, and Serena… Serena still had trouble wrapping her mind around what Bonnie had just said a few minutes previous.
"That way Ash can remember us when he leaves Kalos!"
Her chest still ached from the sequence of those words being stated aloud.
She supposed it made sense, didn't it? Ash had traveled a lot of regions before coming to Kalos and meeting them all… meeting her again. It seemed more than fair that whatever happened when he was finished in their region would include him journeying to another new one, or else even back home for a break…
Either way, he certainly wouldn't be staying with her, right?
She clenched her fists tightly in her lap, doing her best to breathe normally even as a couple of tears started welling up behind her eyes. She couldn't cry here, not now! That would draw way too much attention!
But it really… it wasn't something she wanted to dwell on, and here she was, being forced to do so.
Lunch was casually silent on her part. She did her best to eat everything on her plate so nobody would notice but everything seemed to taste like cardboard to her. At the same time, she watched Ash gnaw on his food with vigor and enthusiasm, doing her best to hide a shy smile at the same time. He could be so funny sometimes. Why would he eat like that? It's not like his food was going to run away on him… Not that she would have been surprised if it did after his behavior.
This thought caused a giggle to rise in her throat and she finally decided she was done trying to force anything down.
"I guess I'll start cleaning up," she told them as she rose from her seat, gathering hers and Bonnie's dishes, and taking them to the river to wash.
After everyone was finished, the group began walking again for a couple more hours, stopping just as they reached a fork in the road.
Clemont pulled out his map and decided which direction they should go, and taking into account their bottled water supply, told everyone they should refill their canteens one last time before they went the opposite way of the river, just in case it took them awhile longer to reach their next destination of choice than they'd originally planned for.
It wasn't long after this that they did indeed come to their final stop for the evening, deciding to set up camp again just before the sun completely set.
"Ash, did you wanna go get the firewood?" Clemont asked of him, and the raven-haired trainer nodded in accordance to this plan.
"Yeah, sure, no sweat! C'mon Pikachu!"
The trainer and Pokemon wandered off further into the woods, leaving the camp clearing behind them. Serena did her best not to watch them go, deciding to continue setting the table and sleeping bags for the night with Braixen. Every time she looked at Ash, all she could think about was how he would leave her - Kalos, she stressed, trying her best not to make it seem so personal - eventually and there was really nothing that could change that.
Well, maybe there was one thing she could try doing… but did she really have the courage to do that? Could she confess to Ash now and… and perhaps convince him to stick around even after he'd finished participating in the Kalos League?
"H - hey guys?" she began timidly, but her voice was still strong enough to carry over to them from where they were sitting closer to the circle of stones they were going to build a fire over, "I'm actually going to help Ash get the wood real quick since I'm done here."
"Oh, sure," Clemont said, "He shouldn't have gotten too far so I think you can catch up. Just be careful, okay?"
"Thanks!" she responded cheerfully, only realizing that she would have to tread much more cautiously than even he was aware of after vanishing from the campgrounds herself. "Braixen, you stay here, okay?" she shouted behind her.
This may have been it. The plunge. The leap. Was she ready to take it?
It took her less than ten minutes to catch up with Ash in the end, mostly because he'd basically stopped in the middle of his task due to an unforeseen distraction.
"Pikachu, use iron tail!" he was shouting, one arm half-full with dried sticks and the other one pointing almost obnoxiously at his chosen adversary for the moment, which happened to be an apparently random woodsy Spewpa.
To be honest, it wasn't much of a match. It took one hit for the bug-type Pokemon to hit the ground and not get back up. What made it almost challenging was that it wasn't alone.
"Hehe, sorry, Serena! They started coming after me and Pikachu when we tried to pick up fallen branches near that tree. I guess it's their home…" the raven-haired trainer did his best to explain good-naturedly, "But they don't stand a chance against us, right buddy?"
"Pika!" the mouse Pokemon practically howled in ferocity, continuing to knock the Pokemon back, each one of them retreating up the base they'd come from
Serena watched the two of them battle for the next few minutes, almost in awe of how much pleasure they were taking from it. It seemed like such a silly, simple thing. Ash Ketchum loved being a Pokemon trainer so much… and here she was, trying to amp herself up to put him in a position where he might have to give it up.
Not only was she suddenly very sure that he wouldn't, but she also knew that she couldn't be the one to push that opportunity on him in the first place.
"Hey Ash, what you were saying earlier…" she began as the last Spewpa finally ran back into hiding, then decided to start over, "How long have you wanted to be a Pokemon Master?"
"Me? Pssht, as long as I can remember! Maybe since I was born!" Then he stopped, placed a hand to the back of his head, and laughed in embarrassment, "Well, that's probably a little too far back… but yeah, I wanted it for a long time. Why do you ask?"
"I was just thinking… how nice that sounds. And I think… I think I'm only now starting to understand what something like that must feel like."
"Something like…?" he inquired, glancing at her as Pikachu leapt back up onto his shoulder.
"Yeah, something like… having a goal that I want to pursue so strongly that it… carries me with it, even if that means leaving some really good friends behind me. I - it's thanks to you that I can feel that way at all."
She had meant to make it sound as sentimental as possible but wasn't that surprised when Ash brushed the level of emotion off of it and offered her a friendly smile instead.
"I'm glad I was here to help you figure out what you wanted to do too!"
And she realized he had because, for all her concern that he'd leave the Kalos region someday, for all her wonder about the possibility of being able to keep him there with her, she had never once considered… that perhaps she could go with him instead. And that was because she had already decided which thing meant more to her… the title of Kalos Queen or a potential budding relationship with Ash Ketchum.
"It's thanks to you that I have this dream at all, Ash. I'm going to treasure it and follow this path wherever it takes me!"
"That's good, Serena. I have faith that you'll get to the top for sure! You just have to keep yourself focused, right?" he asked her with that same charismatic grin that always made her heart flop around wildly.
"Yeah, you're right."
The two of them went back to picking up fallen brambles they could use for their fire, soon enough holding between them a good sixty or so pieces of dry wood. They'd wandered a little further from the campsite as they went though so it was a good fifteen minute long walk back.
"So you never told us what Brock and Misty's goals were. You've got me a bit interested in hearing about them now," she said, finding it much easier to speak these people's names (especially the girl ones) when she'd come to some sense of peace over her feelings for Ash… for now anyway.
"Oh, well, Brock wants to be a Pokemon doctor, and he's really good at it too. He raised his brothers and sisters mostly by himself while he ran the Pewter City Gym, and he created a lot of recipes for Pokemon food and treatments for injuries and stuff. After we left the Sinnoh region and he was sure his brother could handle taking over the gym for him, he told me he was going to start working on that."
"That sounds really great actually. I wish I had it in me to be a doctor!" Then Serena went on to add, "But what about Misty?"
"Hm, with Misty… She's said for a long time now that she wants to be a water-type Pokemon Master! She loves them more than any other type, and she even participated with me in an unofficial tournament dedicated only to water-type Pokemon."
"Yeah, she beat me during our match there too…" There was a complicated mix of emotions in Ash's voice as he said so.
"So what's she doing now? Training with some kind of specialist? Traveling to find new water-types she can battle with? Or maybe taking on other challenges exclusive to water-type trainers?" Serena asked, ticking each possibility off on her free hand as they walked.
"Actually… she's back in her hometown running the Pokemon gym."
"She is? But I thought she wanted to be…"
"Yeah but… sometimes there are other things that come up… I'm sure she'll get there one day but for now she's helping her sisters run the gym. I guess that's… just where her road has taken her for the time being."
"Maybe but it just seems like that's more of an… off-road path than something that will help her… I mean, if she's been there that long… right?"
"Well, she didn't want to go," Ash paused here, feet planted firmly where he stood as if he was finally considering things he'd long since blocked out, "She was told by her sisters that she had to because they had something they wanted to do. So she did."
The two of them and Pikachu were silent for a few seconds longer than was necessary, but this recent parcel of news had left Serena's head spinning.
"I - I mean, doesn't that sound to you like she didn't… that she wouldn't have left if there'd been any other choice?"
"Hm?" he asked, picking up his head and looking her in the eye, "I guess so. Why d'you ask?"
"B - because you said that all of your friends had chosen their paths and that they left willingly when their paths took them in a different direction from yours. Isn't that how you put it?" she implored, staring back at him just as strongly. She knew he hadn't meant it but this lie was far more telling than anything else he had revealed to them about his friends that day. "Didn't you ever think about stuff like that?"
"Think about… I guess… I never really thought about that per say, but… I do think about my friends. I - I think about Misty. You know, she's really scared of bug-type Pokemon. U thought about that while I was battling Spewpa."
"O - okay… What else?"
"Well, she doesn't like carrots or peppers… so when Clemont makes us salad for one of our meals, I always think to myself how Misty would never eat it."
"And your desserts taste really good, Serena!" he told her suddenly, and his face was so close that she flushed a bright red at their proximity, "So good, and I think that Misty would really like them, you know? She loves sweets. Especially anything with chocolate in it!
"And she's a good trainer. She comes on really strong some times, she can be loud and aggressive, but she cares a lot about Pokemon and people and… I guess she just makes me think that she's a good person even when she doesn't want to come off that way… even when she's really mad at me, she's got good intentions… I think.
"You know, I just realized something," he said with a chuckle, breaking eye contact with her and leaving her mind in wreckage as she mulled over everything he'd just said. It certainly felt like he thought about this Misty girl more regularly than she had hoped…
"What'd you realize, Ash?" Serena asked anyway, despite knowing she probably wasn't going to like the answer she received.
"It's a good thing I'm only saying all this now because if Bonnie heard about how she was a strong trainer who'd taken part in a specialty battle tournament, that she runs a Pokemon gym, that she's so compassionate and stuff towards people and Pokemon alike, and that she has sisters on top of all that, she'd probably tell Clemont that Misty's his perfect match too!"
"And… and that would bother you?"
Stop! she yelled internally at herself. She should know better than to ask such things. Nothing good for her was going to come out of having this conversation with Ash, her crush, the boy who had given her a dream to hold and run away with, even if she realized now that she was planning to do just that; even if she realized now that doing so would possibly someday take Ash away from her anyway.
"I, uh, w - what? It would both…?" he considered her earnest question, hmming to himself and doing his best to grasp an answer he could both understand and articulate. He'd never really thought about that much before but…
"I think it… I think it would."
And the following pregnant silence belied the fact that neither of them knew what to do with this newly acknowledged information.
Notes - Sorry guys, I had to stop it there. I felt like the fic was going on too long and I'm not trying to turn any of these requests into a novel. So I'm ending it here and you can feel free to wonder how Serena acts to this and how Ash decides to pursue how he feels and etc. I will say that someone was kind enough to write a sequel based off this fic and that sequel was posted on Tumblr. If you'd like to read it, please say so in a review (while logged in so I can message you), or else you can message me privately and ask for the link.
The point is that I fulfilled another fic request! One-sided Amour and Pokeshipping! 'Cause we all know that Misty's feelings certainly haven't changed so it was only a matter of Ash coming to terms with his! Right…? Well, at least I think so...