Ash stood at the center field of Indigo Stadium, reveling in his latest victory. The throngs of fans that had packed the coliseum roared in approval as he and his Pokémon took a bow, acknowledging their adulation with humility and class. He glanced over at Gary as his former opponent slunk off of the field, cheeks red with embarrassment and eyes filled with tears barely held in check. Ash gave the boy a thumbs-up, which only infuriated his old rival further.


Ash's Pokémon parted as Misty ran onto the field, nearly knocking him down as her arms wrapped around him in a bone-crushing hug. Her lips found their way to his as she kissed him with such force as she had never felt before. Ash gave in to the embrace, wrapping his arms around her waist as his toes curled involuntarily at the tremendous passion of the moment.

They parted a moment later, both blushing and short of breath. "Ash," she beamed, "I am so proud of you! You've really made all our dreams come true!"

*Congratulations, Ash Ketchum!* the disembodied voice of the match's announcer rose above the howl of the arena. Both Ash and Misty looked upwards in reflex, searching in vain for the source of the voice as it continued, *You've become the world's greatest Pokémon Master, attained your PHD in Pokémon Physiology, and invented a medication that not only cures cancer, but also whitens your teeth and does away with Halitosis. How do you do it?*

"Oh, it was nothing." Ash scoffed modestly, blushing at all the attention.

Misty shook her head, gently laying a hand on his cheek. "No, Ash. It really is amazing. How can anyone be perfect?" She leaned in privately, putting her lips to his ear. "I want to have your children, Ash." she whispered, letting her leg rub suggestively against his.

He smiled, giving her a quick peck on her lips as a response. "You really want to know my secret?" Turning to the crowd, he addressed them as well. "Do you?" They went wild with anticipation, screaming and chanting for him to give up the story behind his unparalleled success.

"Please, Ash!" Misty sang with hands clasped beneath her chin, "Tell us. Please do!"

Ash faced Misty once more with a somber look plastered on his features. He began scratching at his jaw line. "I'll tell you, Misty." He assured her. "The secret to my success"


His hand found purchase in a tiny fold at the edge of his neck. Digging his fingernails into the flesh, he reached up, peeling away his face. Ash's angular Asian features gave way to a relatively plain, round Caucasian face with dull brown eyes and clefted jaw. The entire crowd gasped as one, and Misty stared, mouth agape, as this stranger reached into his pocket and placed a set of square spectacles on his wide nose.

"My secret to success," the stranger who had once been Ash informed them in a deeper tone, "Is that I'm a self-insertion." His eyes grew into hearts as he shot forward and embraced Misty. "And now, my darling water nymph, we can at last be together...forever! Kiss me, my darling!" His lips puckered, descending inexorably upon the horrified gym leader...
* * *

Misty shot up like a flash, ripped from the horrible nightmare in an instant. She sat there, her naked body drenched in a cold sweat and tangled among the twisted sheets of her bed. Short, ragged gasps escaped her lips as she tried to collect herself, sorting reality from terrifying fantasy after the fact.

The light next to the bed clicked on, signaling that she had woken her husband up. "Honey?" Cyberwraith Nine asked softly, trying to steady her swaying emotions with a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Misty, are you all right?"

"Oh, what a terrible nightmare!" she moaned, rubbing her temples. "It seemed so real..." She saw his worried, expectant eyes. "I...I was in some kind of sports coliseum, with that one character from your stories..."


"No, the other one. The one with his eyes open."


"It was so strange..." she mused, calmed somewhat now that she was certain she was back in the real world. "He pulled his face away, and...he was you. And you were all over me, like some creepy fanboy." She shuddered at the memory, glad that it was over. Looking over at her husband, she sighed. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."

"That's all right." He allowed brightly, smiling and patting her on the head. "We'd better get some sleep, though. Tomorrow's a big day."

"That's right!" she snapped her fingers, recalling in an instant. "We have to attend that banquet for the world's worst fanfiction writer that the Tower Library's holding in your honor." She grinned. "The worst in the world. I'm so proud of you!"

"And after that," he reminded her, "We have to be in court by two for the divorce hearings."

She nodded in firm agreement. "That's right. After all, I can't be expected to stay with a creepy little pimple like you, can I?"

"Sure can't." They both laughed at this, settling in for a second attempt at slumber. "Good night, sweetheart." He cooed, switching off the bedside light.
* * *

Cyberwraith Nine shot up in bed, still caught halfway between dreamland and reality, and screaming the entire trip back. He clutched at his head, heaving cool, crisp air into his lungs as his senses oriented him once more to his surroundings. He was in his bedroom, coated in a thin sheen of sweat, and had just woken up his wife like a jackass.

"Honey?" her woozy voice asked from her side of the bed. She reached out, turning on their bedside lamp as she sat up and gathered the covers around her nude, limber frame. "Nine, is there something wrong?"

"Oh Sora," Nine moaned, "It was awful! I...I was married to Misty from Pokémon."

"Who?" Sora asked, tossing a lock of brown hair from her eyes indignantly.

"You know, the redhead with the mallet. It's not important." He waved her off, hoping to allay any ridiculous feelings of jealousy his one and only would have over a stupid dream. "Anyway, I was some kind of writer, except no one liked my work...They were naming me the worst writer in the world, or something. And...and Misty and I were getting a divorce, and neither one of us seemed to care, and-"

"Shhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhh." Sora put her finger to his lips, trying to calm the flow of senseless babble. "It's all right, dearest," she assured him, giving him a soft kiss for good measure. "You're back in the real world, right where you belong."

"You're right." He sighed, returning the kiss. However, he wrapped her in a hug just to make certain. The soft scent of flowers wafting from her hair combined with the warmth of her body seemed to calm him, confirming the reality he desperately sought. "You're right."

"Now, let's get some sleep." She gave him one last smile before turning the lights out and snuggling down next to him. "We have a big day tomorrow."

He wrapped a hand around her waist as they settled back in. "Tomorrow? What are we doing tomorrow?"

Sora was already half asleep, and answered with a yawn. "Don't you remember? We promised Agumon and the others that we'd help save the Digital World tomorrow."

"What, again?" Nine swore under his breath. "Oh well. Goodnight."

For several peaceful moments, all that could be heard in the bedroom was the peaceful sound of two lovers breathing in tandem. Then Sora turned the light back on, sitting up to look at Nine once again.

"Nine," she asked as he shook off the shackles of slumber, "What's Pokémon?"
* * *

Cyberwraith Nine sat up like a shot, screaming like a lunatic. He would have been relieved to find himself back in his good old dorm room, had he not been sleeping on the top bunk. His head connected with the pale ceiling with a sharp crack, forcing his battered cranium back upon his pillow.

"Will you knock it off, Nine?" his roommate's muffled voice came from the bunk below. "I'm trying to sleep!"

Nine heaved a sigh, allowing his tensed muscles to relax. It was the worst, weirdest night of sleep he had ever had, hands down, no contest. Rolling over, he looked down at the clock sitting on the room's only windowsill. The glowing LEDs flashed one-thirty in the morning, and the small sliver of black sky visible through their curtains confirmed the ungodly hour. A rumbling called his attention to the lower half of his torso, which was alighted with a fire from within. Several more twisted gurgles erupted from his gut, sending waves of dull ache shooting across his chest.

"Oh man," he moaned softly. "That's it. That's the last time I go to the Dining Service's late-night on Taco Tuesday..."

The End