Disclaimer: I own 3 recently-released Japanese Pokémon CD's! But ... I don't own da Pokémon yet ...

Hey ... wait a minute ... anything look ... different to you? It should do! NEW TITLE, for one! Italics ... oO And an extra couple at the talent contest! Here's the new upload, and what you missed in the original version of:

How Much Can Happen In A Year?

The New Years party was in full swing at the Snowela Park Pokémon Centre, high in the mountains of Johto. Brock stood at the side of the wood-built room, glancing around at all the available girls who were there, as well as keeping a very close eye on Nurse Joy. He was also keeping an eye his friends, Ash and Misty, standing next to each other, laughing. As Togepi and Pikachu were over in the "PokéCorner" dancing together, they didn't have to worry and could enjoy the party. But, it wasn't as if Ash and Misty didn't already spend enough time together.

Brock kept on glancing at the clock, counting down the minutes until midnight struck ... The amount of time left for him to find a girl to kiss. 22:00 ... 22:30 ... When the clock struck 23:00 he watched as Nurse Joy stepped onto the small stage, holding a microphone in her hand. She switched it on and tapped it, the DJ turning the music down.

"Excuse me please!" Joy said, waiting for the crowd to quieten down. "I'm not sure if you're all aware, but we have surprise karaoke couple singing tonight," she announced. The swarm of "quiet" partygoers quickly fell silent, some displaying white faces, green faces, choking faces ...

The DJ brought two top hats to Joy on the stage. "Ok. Girls names are in this hat, and boys names are in this hat," he announced, raising the appropriate hat. "We'll pick one name each, and whoever gets picked has to sing. No excuses guys." He put his hand into the "Girl" hat and rummaged around, while Joy put her hand into the "Boy" hat and picked a ticket.

Ash, still standing next to Misty, wasn't worried at all. What are the chances of being picked? "This should be funny," he whispered to her. She turned round to face him.

"You won't be saying that if you're picked," she reminded him, winking. Brock smiled, knowing what was going to happen, having come up with the idea in the first place.

"The first girl is," the DJ began, " ... "Katy Shaw"!"

An extremely loud "WHAT!?" was heard coming from the back of the room. Everyone turned round to see "Katy" with her hand over her mouth, walking dazedly across the floor to the stage.

"Hi Katy," the DJ greeted her through a microphone.

"Hello," she said nervously.

"The boy you'll be singing with Katy," Joy informed her, "is ... "Sam Getmall"!"

A loud group of male cheering came from the opposite side of the room. "Sam" appeared with lots of boys slapping his back and urging him on. He walked up onto the stage with his hands in the air and a huge confidant grin on his face.

"Hey Sam," Joy greeted him.

"Hi everybody!" he shouted through the microphone, making everyone standing near the speakers wince.

"Now, about the song selection," Joy began. "There are 5 envelopes, each containing a mixture of songs. Some envelopes have only one song in them, and others can have 2 or 3. But ... who knows?" she finished, holding out the 5 envelopes to the "karaoke couple".

"Four!" the boy called out quickly. Katy shot an annoyed look at him as Joy opened the envelope.

"Uh oh," the DJ told them as he moved back over to his equipment. "I hope your voices are warmed up! Two songs for you!"

"Alright!" Katy screamed.

"Take your places," Joy told them as she handed them the microphone and placed their song lyrics on a stand. Sam held the microphone mainly to himself as the song "You're The One That I Want" started up.

During the song, Ash turned to speak to Misty. "Is it ok for me to say it's funny now?" he asked her.

"Not with this terrible singing!" she replied, referring to Sam's singing ability. They laughed as he began to sing the girls part, making Katy hit Sam up on the stage.

Misty's attention focused on the mini fight that was breaking out on the stage, Ash took, what seemed to him, yet another "guilt-free" look at his best friend. Hair lying just above her slim shoulders ... denim jeans accompanying her flimsy blue shirt ... He swore that she knew the affect she had on him, and therefore dressed to make him suffer in silence.

"Whereas me ... "he thought, looking down at his blue jeans and black shirt, and at the same time reaching up and touching his hat. "I probably make her suffer with embarrassment!"Now having turned away from her, he hung his head down in shame and sadness and took the hat off his head.

"Ash?" Misty asked him gently, seeing he had gone into yet another depressed mood. It had been happening a lot lately with him, and she still didn't know the reason why, and not even Brock did. She placed her hands on his shoulders, feeling him jump and tense only slightly beneath her. "Are you ok?"

Up on the stage Katy and Sam had finished singing, the introduction to their next song beginning.Ash willed the pang to go away, smiling falsely as he turned round to look at her. "Why d'you ask?"

"You took your hat off," she said playfully, taking it from his hands. "Missing "old faithful"?"

Ash smiled for real when she again referred to his famous "million-postcard" hat. "My Mom says it'll finally be clean when we get back to Pallet."

"Then what'll happen to the pretender?" she unknowingly flirted with him.

"He'll get put in a box and buried," Ash replied, making them both laugh. They turned back to watching the couple still on the stage, Katy looking obviously annoyed with Sam's lack of talent, Sam feeling the need to say the word "beast" in a deep a voice as possible, making his group of friends laugh.

"That was Katy and Sam, singing 'Beauty and the Beast'!" Joy announced, breaking their conversation. Turning back to the stage, they saw Katy and Sam walk off, both going back to their group of friends in not the best of moods.

"Time for one more I think," Joy decided. The DJ came back onto the stage with the hats and they both dug their hands in.

"Feeling lucky?" Misty asked Ash.

"What are the chances?" he reminded her.

"Right!" Nurse Joy said, raising her hand up in the air. "Our next boy is ... "Ash Ketchum"!"

Misty burst out laughing, whist Ash's mouth dropped open and he immediately began to protest. "It's a fix!" he cried, pointing a finger at Misty.

"You're only saying that," she said laughing, pushing him forward and onto the stage.

"Hi Ash!" Joy said to him through the microphone. She leaned it over to him.

"Hi," he whispered into it, the sweat beginning to show on his face.

"Can you sing?" the DJ asked him, holding a "Girl" name in his hand.

"Not to save his life!" Brock shouted. The crowd laughed, Misty doubling over.

"Very funny," Ash replied sarcastically from the stage. "Who am I going to be singing with?" he asked.

"Your partner is ... " the DJ dragged on, unfolding the paper. "Misty Williams"!"

Misty was silent as the crowd around her clapped. "You did this Brock!" she shouted, turning to look at him. Ash laughed out loud as Brock led her across to the stage.

"This is so fixed!" she declared, playfully hitting Ash to stop him from laughing.

"Calm down Misty," Joy said. "I take it you know Ash?" she asked her.

"You could say that," Misty said nervously.

"Boyfriend?" the DJ asked, grinning at them.

"Boy and friend," Misty replied quietly, briefly remembering all the times she had said that when they had been in the Orange Islands.

"They're practically married!" Brock shouted from the audience.

"BROCK!" they shouted together, the audience getting a huge kick out of it. Brock laughed and took a sip of his non-alcoholic punch.

"Now, pick an envelope," Joy said, laying out the 5 envelops in her hand. The DJ moved back to his equipment, ready to play the songs.

"You pick," Ash said to Misty. Misty flashed a smile at him.

"Such a gentleman, isn't he?" Joy said to the crowd.

"That one," Misty decided, pointing to number "3". Joy held it up.

"You have picked only one song!" Joy announced to them. Ash's face wore a look of relief.

"Cool!" Misty said happily.

"Start the song!" Joy cried, moving offstage, handing Ash the microphone. Both of them moved closer to each other and the lyrics sheet as the song began playing and the audience quietened to hear them.

Ash began to sing first:

How can I just let you walk away
Just let you leave without a trace
When I stand here taking every breath with you
You're the only one who really knew me at all

Misty then took her turn:

How can you just walk away from me
When all I can do is watch you leave
'Cos we shared the laughter and the pain, and even shared the tears
You're the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now
'Cos there's just an empty space
There's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
So take a look at me now
There's just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against the odds
And that's what I've gotta face

Ash turned to face Misty, looking into her eyes:

I wish I could just make you turn around
Turn around and see me cry
There's so much I need to say to you, so many reasons why
You're the only one who really knew me at all

Most of the girls in the crowd blinked back tears looking at them convinced they meant it from their hearts. Misty's fingers on purposely brushed Ash's as they both held onto the microphone:

So take a look at me now
There's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
So take a look at me now
So there's just an empty space
But to wait for you is all I can do
And that's what I've gotta face

As the song reached its conclusion both sang putting raw emotion in the words, the song matching the goodbye they had shared a few years ago:

Take a good look at me now
'Cos this will be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
And that's a chance I've gotta take

The whole room was silent after they finished. Brock raised his hands, loudly and slowly beginning to clap. The whole room then erupted into cheers. Ash and Misty both bowed, before being led offstage by Joy. Joy said there would be more later on, and the DJ started up the music again.

"Ash! Misty!" Brock shouted to them, but they couldn't hear, or pretended not to hear.

Ash turned to whisper in her ear. "Outside," Misty made out through the noise. "Surprise," was another word she caught. She nodded in understanding as Ash took her hand and lead her out.

Brock stood and watched them leave, realising he was left babysitting Pikachu and Togepi again. Shooting a quick glance at the two Pokémon over in the corner, he moved off to get some more of that weird yet wonderful punch, and to try and find a girl to kiss at midnight.

"Ash, the snow!" Misty cried out as he tugged at her. Unfortunately for her, she had left her coat back in her room, and was ready to drop to the ground in the freezing cold mountain weather.

"Round here!" he replied through the howling wind. Misty, brimming with curiosity, allowed herself to be pulled quickly round the side of the Pokémon Centre into a small hut at the back. Ash entered and removed his shoes, allowing Misty inside before he shut the door and turned a conveniently placed heater on. There was only a small amount of light and Misty rubbed her hands together furiously as Ash lit a fire in the fireplace. Misty sat down on a rug next to the heater and also removed her shoes.

"Ash, why are we in our lodge?" she asked as the room lit up. Misty glanced around the wooden hut, seeing the closed door leading off to the bedrooms. In the main room they were in, a burning log fire was situated in a stone hearth, as well as there being a small coffee table, an armchair and a sofa.

"It's a surprise," he answered cryptically, turning a radio on in the corner. A soft, slow melody wafted out. "I thought we could see in New Years without a load of screaming noise in our ears." Ash slid across the well-polished floor to her and held out his hand. "Dance with me, charming Lady," he said in a fake deep voice, a huge grin on his face.

Misty, flattered, giggled. "Since when could you dance, oh dashing Sir?" she asked, being pulled up. She was wondering how Ash could keep on surprising her like this.

"Since always," he joked. They both laughed, Misty loosely dangling her arms around his neck, Ash locking his arms behind her back. They swayed together, not paying much attention to the song, just revelling in having the other in their arms.

And this situation wasn't unfamiliar to them. Ever since Misty had become part of his life again Ash had been spoiling her like this, sometimes ending him up in trouble. Misty, in turn, had done similar things for him, allowing them to spend time alone. Nothing had ever come from it, apart from quick thank-you kisses on lips that always left the recipient secretly begging for more.

Past treats had included Misty decorating Ash's house with paper streamers and candles, and the streamers catching fire, nearly incinerating the living room. Ash had once locked Nurse Joy out of the Pokémon Centre, forgetting her whilst he and Misty were having a quiet dinner. And then they had planned something for each other both in the same place. Ash had walked in on Misty painting the same room he had planned to do, but in a totally different colour, and in the end having a paint fight over it.

But both wanted more from their deep friendship. Yet ... it seemed too valuable to them to gamble it for the chance of more, especially if the other didn't feel the same way.

"Have I ever told you how glad I am that you're back?" Ash asked quietly, Misty's head on his shoulder. How good it was to finally be taller than her.

"Not within the last two weeks," she reminded him. She lifted her head back up and smiled.

"Well I'm so glad you're back," he said, looking deep into her eyes.

"You've changed so much Ash," Misty whispered to him, eyes still locked. "I can barely believe it's the same you."

"You mean now you can't look down to me, you have to look up?" he teased. Misty prodded him gently with her fingers.

"Hey," she moaned. "You're not that tall. I meant that ... you've matured. I mean, would you ever have done something like this when we were younger?"

"Would you have?" he replied.

"Suppose not then," she concluded. She leaned her head back down on his shoulder and they continued to dance.

About 10 minutes later they heard a huge cheer of "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" from the direction of the Pokémon Centre, the same time the radio began to play "Auld Lang Syne". Ash and Misty, again, both looked into each other's eyes.

"Happy New Year," they both said quietly. Misty leaned forwards and gently closed her eyes. Ash did the same, and their lips met for another "thank-you kiss". Soon afterwards Misty pulled apart, secretly dying to stay where she had been. But Ash, eyes still closed and lost in it all, forgetting himself for a moment, moved back forwards and kissed her lips again, pulling her back to him tightly. Misty couldn't believe what was happening, as his hands slinked their way upwards from her waist to the back of her head.

Ash's mind was on overload, unable to comprehend anything but the girl he was kissing right there and now. At last, he was finally, and properly, kissing Misty. Wait ... Misty!? Realising the line he had just crossed, Ash pulled his lips away from hers quickly, panic on his face. He saw Misty's eyes drift open, searing into his own, dread and guilt filling his heart as he regained his breath. Had he just let his secret out? If Misty realised how he felt about her, that could ruin everything they had with each other. He'd rather live in a closed box than live without their friendship. Ash desperately wanted to speak, to say sorry, to make up something to cover it up. But Misty had him spellbound, and then it hit him. He was completely at her mercy. At that moment, anything she had wanted he would have done. Staring at her, Ash was facing his truth, his destiny.

Misty then did something Ash never expected her to do. Their faces now only scant inches apart from each other, Misty closed her eyes and leaned forwards again. Without needing to think Ash closed his eyes and they kissed yet again, quickly becoming more between them. Ash slinked his hands through her loose hair and the soft strands. Misty, meanwhile, wrapped one arm around his waist, pressing him to her as much as she could. The other hand rested on his cheek, stroking it tenderly.

Misty pushed forward slightly, causing Ash to stumble into the waiting sofa, both of them falling on it. Lying down with Ash underneath, they continued to kiss, hands continuing to roam. Misty removed her flimsy shirt, already too warm from their close proximity. Her hands knocked Ash's "pretender" hat off his head, discarding them both on the sofa. She embedded her hands in his thick black hair. Neither could believe their dreams of this moment were coming true.

Misty broke the kiss, moving her lips over Ash's face. Ash closed his eyes, wanting to wake up from the dream, not believing this was happening. Misty returned her face to above his and murmured his name. "Ash ... "

"Mist ... " he sighed contentedly, opening his eyes to see her above him. She sat upright and indicated he should do the same. He did and she wrapped her legs around him tightly.

"I want you," she whispered into his ear. "God Ash, I've always wanted you ... " she trailed off.

Ash was in disbelief as Misty continued to kiss his face. His best friend, whom he was joking with barely an hour ago, was practically begging him to sleep with her. But he wasn't after a one-night stand, especially not with Misty. It would destroy everything they had, or would have. But what they were doing at the moment, if it meant nothing to her, Ash could never go back to how it was. On impulse, they had gambled everything, and now he had nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by telling her.

"I'm in love with you," Ash spoke into her neck, his feelings overwhelming him as Misty stopped kissing him and kept still. Having finally said it out loud, the adrenaline pumping a mile a minute, he tried to calm himself down. "I love you so much," he admitted, tears gathering in his eyes. He moved to look her dead in the eye, placing his hands on her cheeks. "If this means nothing to you ... then what have we done?" he realised, a tear trickling down his face. "Please say that you love me," he whispered.

Misty was shocked. She had no idea that Ash's feelings for her ran that deep, that keeping them locked up had affected him so much. Tears shimmering in her own eyes, she smiled reassuringly and placed her hands on his cheeks, wiping the tear away, and kissing it away with her lips. "I love you," she said tenderly, placing her forehead to his. "I love you," she repeated. "Ash I love you more than anything. I wouldn't be here like this if I didn't," she whispered. They kissed again, pouring their hearts and souls into it.

Her legs still wrapped round him and her feelings now clear, Ash found the strength to stand upright, Misty placing her arms back round his neck to secure herself. Their lips connected again as Ash made his way to the door that led to the bedroom, managing to get past the furniture without falling on or walking into it. Reaching the door, he fumbled with the handle with one hand, the other holding Misty to him. He finally managed it, the door swinging open. Walking inside, Ash kicked the door shut and placed Misty down on the bed carefully.

She sat up, suddenly feeling nervous, unsure of what to do. Ash saw it and kissed her gently, beginning to remove the strap top that remained on her, Misty running her hands under his t-shirt. Soon they were naked as the day they were born, lying kissing on the bed, hands roaming each other's bodies, becoming one. Whispering words of affection, calling out each other's names, exhaustively murmuring words of love to each other. They lay together under the covers, smiling innocent faces facing each other, arms encircling one another, experiencing dreams of happiness, because finally they were together. There they stayed for the rest of the night, making love and sleeping next to each other ...

Brock awoke early that morning leaning against the wall of the party hall, Pikachu and Togepi in his arms. He shook his head, trying to remember what happened, only encountering an aching head.

"That punch," he croaked. "No way was that non alcoholic." Sighing heavily, he stood up, waking up a sleeping Togepi and Pikachu in the process.

"Pipika?" Pikachu asked Brock.

"Pikachu, I wonder why you're still in here? Ash and Misty should have come back for you, and for me as well," he said. "Well ... we'd better go back to our lodge and see if they're there."

"Toge toge piiiii!" Togepi chirped as they began to walk to the exit doors.

The crisp air outside woke Brock up like a cold shower, allowing him to see straight. Reaching the right number lodge, he opened the door using his key.

"Whoa! Heat wave!" he cried, feeling like he had just opened the door of an oven. "Ash! Misty! You left the heater on!" Brock shut the door and, placing Togepi and Pikachu down, turned the heater off.

"Pikapi?" Pikachu asked into the quiet. Suddenly a loud bang came from the bedroom, followed by a girl giggling. Brock moved over to open the door, but found it un-openable, a large weight pressed against it.

Brock banged on the door. "Who's in there!?" he demanded.

"Brock, don't come in!" Ash shouted through the door.

"Ash? I heard a girl in there!" Brock called, the realisation hitting him. "Oh man, you scored last night!"

"Brock," Ash warned through the door. "Just leave it, ok?"

"Sorry buddy, didn't want to embarrass you," Brock said, sitting down on the sofa.

Inside the room, Ash glanced across at Misty sitting in the bed, who was practically fitting her fist inside her mouth to keep herself from laughing. "It's not funny!" Ash whispered quietly, picking up the clothes from the floor.

"Sorry!" she managed to get out between laughs, managing to slowly calm herself down. "How am I gonna get out?" she asked when her giggling had stopped.

"The window," Ash said quickly, shoving her clothes into her arms. Ignoring the "no way" look on Misty's face, Ash began to dress her.

"I've got no choice, have I?" she asked despairingly, Ash kissing her quickly.

"Now's not the best time to tell Brock," he appealed to her reason. "We can and should tell him properly ... but not like this." Misty nodded in understanding, kissing Ash again before opening the window and climbing out of it. Shutting it, Ash dug into his clothes drawer and reached out his jeans.

"So, do you know where Misty is!?" Brock called through the closed door.

"She, erm, didn't come back last night," Ash said as he came out through the door, only the pair of jeans on him.

"Hey, what about your girl?" Brock moaned, standing up to go into the bedroom.

"She's gone out through the window," Ash said quickly. Seeing the look on Brock's face, Ash added, "I think she's shy. Plus, she said it was only a one-night thing."

"Pikapi pi pika pikachu!" Pikachu shouted, jumping onto Ash's shoulder. Ash smiled at him, tickling his chin.

"Toge toge?" Togepi said curiously, looking up at Ash. Pikachu, understanding him, looked at Ash. "Toge toge piii togepi!" Togepi finished.

"Pipipi, Pikapi pi pikachu pi Pikachupi!" Pikachu explained whilst shaking his head, jumping down to Togepi and guiding him over to the corner to talk.

"What was that about?" Ash asked, feeling like he had just been judged.

"Hmm ... " Brock pondered, interrupted as Misty walked through the door.

"Hi Misty," Ash said as he tried to act normally, smiling at her as she closed the door.

"Hi guys," she said, looking at Ash.

"And just what did you get up to last night?" Brock asked her. "Ashy here scored!"

"Brock, it's not like it's a competition," Ash said, dropping down on the sofa. He looked up at Misty and smiled again.

"I got asked back to this guy's lodge," Misty said, turning pink whilst moving over to them. Brock's mouth dropped, and Ash pretended to be surprised ... although not very well.

"Not you as well!" Brock complained. "What was he like? Friendly? Charming?"

"He was very much a gentleman," Misty replied. "And quite cute as well," she added.

"You ok then?" Brock asked her with concern. "He wasn't too pushy or anything?"

"Nice to see you're worried about me," Ash moaned jokily.

"I'm fine, don't worry," she reassured him. "Anyway, it wasn't the start of anything. He's left now," Misty lied, pretending to be upset.

"That's a shame," Brock said to try and cheer her up. "For both of you," he added for Ash, assuming he would also be missing the girl he had spent the night with "So I assume I was the only person in this whole area who didn't score last night?" he joked.

"I don't know Brock," Misty answered. "Now, I'm gonna go and get ready for breakfast, I'm famished!" She headed off to the bedroom and the adjoining bathroom.

"Yeah, me too," Ash said, following her. "Go for breakfast in 15 minutes?"

"Sure," Brock said, watching them go into their room. "I feel sorry for you," he added quietly. He leaned back on the sofa trying to loosen his joints, stiff from leaning against a wall all night.

"Pikachu pika?" Pikachu asked Brock, walking out with Togepi.

"It's just ... I thought, no, I was sure that Misty ... " Brock faded off. "But then again ... maybe I was wrong." He sighed again. Settling back, he was nearly comfortable, when he encountered something hard underneath him. He reached for it and pulled up Ash's hat. He smiled, thinking boys will be boys, and wondering when he himself became such an old man.

"Pipika?" Pikachu asked, himself and Togepi hopping on the sofa next to Brock.

"Pikachu, Togepi ... they're all grown up now," Brock sighed. "I at least wanted to meet them." Brock leant back in the sofa again, when he found he was sitting on another item of clothing. "Not again!" he moaned, reaching underneath to remove it. "You'd think at least she would have taken her clothes with her. Or maybe it's a little reminder for Ash," he said cheekily.

"Pi pikachu," Pikachu agreed, nodding whilst grinning. He watched as Brock pulled out a blue shirt, one he had seen many girls wearing last night.

"Toge toge piiiii!" Togepi cried, jumping up and down.

"Pikapi ... pika pika Pikachupi!" Pikachu shouted.

"What's wrong guys?" Brock asked, standing up and holding the item in his hand. "Ash!" Brock called.

"What's up?" Ash asked him as he walked out the room, only having put his black t-shirt on, his hair more messed up than it had been before. Then he noticed, and recognised, the shirt in Brock's hand. "Where did you find that?" Ash murmured.

"It was down the sofa, with your hat," he told him. "Ah, I assume it belongs to her?" Brock asked, assuming 'yes' when he saw the look on Ash's face. "Oh, there's a name tag! At least I get to see what the mystery girl's name is!" he said teasingly.

"Brock, don't look at it!" Ash shouted, reaching forward to take it. Brock lifted it out of his reach.

"What's wrong Ash? Don't you want me to see?" Brock dangled it in front of him, placing it in his reach and then flicking it out of range again.

"Brock, please!" Ash begged. "You can't look!"

"What's there to be worried about Ash? It was a girl, wasn't it?" he teased. "Nah, I believe you on that buddy. Why can't I know who it is?" he asked again, turning around and looking at the nametag.

"No!" Ash cried, reaching forward again.

"What's going on?" Misty asked them, standing in the doorway with a dressing gown on and her hair down at her shoulders. Brock and Ash turned around to face her. Misty then saw what Brock was holding. "What are you doing with my shirt?" she asked.

Brock stared at her in disbelief, Ash sighing unbelieving and holding his head in his hands. "Your ... shirt?" Brock stuttered, sharply shifting his gaze to Ash.

"Yes it's my ... " Misty faded off, seeing how Brock was looking at Ash. "Brock?" she asked carefully. He returned his gaze to her.

"Ash, don't tell me it's what I think is," Brock said, turning back to Ash to see him looking down at the floor. "Don't say your stand was with Misty!" he said, raising his voice.

"Brock it wasn't like that," he told him, Misty at the same time walking to stand bedsides him.

Brock sighed, running his hand through his hair. "I don't believe you two," he told them, switching his gaze between both of them. "Do you know how stupid you've both been!?" he shouted.

That struck a nerve in Ash and he fought back, stepping closer to Brock. "So in your eyes it's alright for us to screw any person we meet at a party, but we can't-"

"Don't say anymore," he said in a loud, tensed tone. "Outside man, we need to talk," he said, heading towards the door.

"Let me grab a jacket," Ash told him, watching Brock slam the door as he left.

"Ash, don't do anything stupid," Misty warned him, watching him head into the bedroom and grab a black jumper and his trainers before walking back to her.

"He thinks we were drunk or something," Ash said to her, putting his jumper on and then reaching out and mixing her fingers with his own. "Don't worry," he reassured her, kissing her lips gently.

"You boys," she joked lightly. Ash smiled weakly at her, untangling his fingers before heading out the door and closing it behind him. Misty looked at Pikachu nervously before going and getting dressed.

"Brock, what is this-" Ash asked him outside, being cut off by Brock grabbing him by the collar of his jumper and pinning him roughly against the wall.

"If you're just messing around with her I swear you will regret it," Brock warned him loudly and dangerously.

"What's wrong with you!?" Ash shouted, shaking himself free.

"You used Misty's feelings for you!" Brock accused. "She had feelings for you Ash ... and you just used her!"

"What!?" Ash cried. "I'd never do that! Have you forgotten that Misty's my friend!?"

"Well she's like a sister to me!" Brock shouted back. "And you're like a brother," he said quieter, not wanting to attract any more attention than they were getting from the nearby lodges.

"Brock, if you're thinking I forced her into anything, I didn't," Ash said. "We came back here, we danced, talked a little, listened to the radio. Then when midnight came we kissed, innocently, and then ... it just happened!"

"It just happened," Brock said in disbelief, shaking his head.

"It did, and why can't you accept that? What is your problem?" Ash asked him.

"My problem? You two are the one with the problem!" Brock told him. "Do you have any idea what you've done to your friendship? You'll never have that again with her. Everything you do will be together, as a team. And if you break up, to hell with "staying friends"!"

"I know all of that!" Ash paused before continuing. "You think I was drunk or something, don't you? Just looking for a little fun, and not caring about anything else! You're wrong! I would have stopped kissing her, I wouldn't have gone as far as we did if she or I didn't feel anything for each other!" Ash justified.

"Ash-" Brock began, but Ash cut him in.

"No, listen to me! I love Misty! I love her! And she loves me! We made love last night, sober, and it wasn't because I forced her into it! It was because we loved each other! And I'm not gonna do anything to hurt her! I couldn't ... " Ash faded off, his emotions taking over.

"Ok, I believe you," Brock said in a softer tone, placing his hand on his shoulder. "Just don't be messing around with her, she doesn't deserve that," Brock told him.

"I know how lucky I am, don't worry," he smiled at him. "Shall we go and tell Misty not to phone an ambulance?"

"If I'd have hit you you'd need more than a paramedic," Brock warned playfully. "Come on," he said, letting Ash go inside first.

As soon as they were through the door Misty, now dressed and sitting nervously on the sofa, jumped up and moved over to Brock. "Before you think it he didn't take advantage of me," she told him, ready for a fight if it was needed.

"It's ok, we've sorted it out," Ash told her. She sighed in relief and hugged him.

"Please say you're ok with this, it would mean so much to me," Misty asked Brock, separating from Ash and taking his hand.

"I'm fine with it," Brock told her. "I'm really happy for you. I mean, you're finally together!"

"Then why were you so mad?" she asked.

"I thought at least I wouldn't be here when ... that happened," he told her. "Now, who's hungry?" he asked, changing the subject.

"Me!" Ash and Misty both shouted, Misty then moving to pick up Togepi, Pikachu jumping on Ash's shoulder. Ash led her out by her hand, Brock going out last and shutting the door.

'This'll be one hell of a ride ... ' he thought.


Okidoki kids! For those just beginning to read this, I have re-uploaded the entire fic, replacing the old title with the new one!