Summary: Ash and Misty find themselves embroiled in a vicious, bloody, drawn-out…practical joke war?
A/N: Yes, I too was beginning to notice that quite a bit of the story has taken place in the bathroom. I'm going to chalk it up to the vast amount of mischief one can accomplish on their desired target while said target is taking a shower. There's just far too much fun to be had.
All things must come to an end, and this is the last chapter of "To Arms!". Thanks to everyone who has reviewed and made this story as much fun to write as it, hopefully, was to read.
Disclaimer: see chpt. 1
(We now end our two-and-three-quarters-chapters-long flashback and return to the present time.)
"Th-that is just it, Ash!" a red-faced Misty screamed, scratching frantically at her arms, which were still itching like crazy from the bugs crawling over her body. "You have finally crossed the line!"
"Oh, like covering me in blue Kool-Aid wasn't just a bit psychotic of you?" Ash retorted angrily, slamming his fist down upon the table.
"That's enough, you two!" Brock interjected, finally stepping between his two fuming charges. "I am getting sick and tired of your childish arguing! While I admit that it's been pretty damn hilarious sometimes, this really has gone far enough. You guys have been friends for far too long to allow this to keep going on. Now I want you two to apologize. You too, Misty, 'cause for once it's not just Ash who's acting like a four-year-old."
Ash huffed indignantly but remained silent, casting a slightly annoyed glance at Misty.
"If you'll remember," Misty replied curtly, returning Ash's look, "I already tried to apologize once, but Captain Brain Damage here just had to inflate his ego and ruin it."
Brock sighed angrily. It's hopeless with these two. Maybe I should just let them kill each other. "Wait a minute!" he said suddenly, snapping his fingers. "I can't believe I overlooked this until now!" Grabbing the message pad and pen from next to the phone, he began to write, occasionally looking from Ash to Misty and then scratching down a few figures.
Ash and Misty looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders. "Um, Brock? What are you doing?" Ash ventured, leaning across the kitchen table to try and see what his squinty-eyed friend was writing.
"Ta-da!" Brock cried with a flourish, ripping the sheet of paper from the pad just as Ash caught a glimpse of the title.
"War of the Idiots?" Ash cried indignantly. "What the hell are you doing, Brock?"
Brock chose to ignore Ash's anger and slid the paper across the table. "Take a look; this is how we're going to settle this childishness once and for all."
After a brief tug of war that resulted in one of the corners of the paper being harshly ripped off, Ash and Misty held the paper between them and began to read:
WAR OF THE IDIOTS
Ash Ketchum (Idiot A) v. Misty Waterflower
As of 19 August, the score is as follows:
Ash: 3 (removal of towels while Waterflower was in shower; placement of shaving cream in her pajamas; placement of various bug Pokemon over her bed while she was asleep)
Misty: 3 (blasting heavy metal music into Ketchum's ears while he was asleep; placing dry Kool-Aid mix in shower head before he got in, leaving the subject covered with blue streaks; filling his shoes with peanut butter [crunchy])
The observer of this war proposes that, as the combatants are tied at the present time, the next person to carry out a successful practical joke will be declared the winner of the aforementioned war. Also, the loser will become the winner's unconditional slave for exactly one week. The observer asks that the combatants agree to the above conditions and sign their names below, assuming that they have stopped glaring at each other long enough to read the above conditions.
The two were silent for a moment after they finished reading. "What exactly does that mean?" Ash asked curiously.
"It means that the next one of you who carries out a successful prank is the winner," Brock said, a bit annoyed that he even had to explain such a simple thing. "Don't tell me you guys haven't been keeping track?" At the puzzled looks on his friends' faces, he sighed and shook his head. "Look, just forget it. Just—hurry up and get this stupid thing over with. Preferably before lunch, okay?"
Ash frowned a bit. Though he was almost sure he could win this thing, the idea of being Misty's slave for an entire week was definitely not appealing; after that stunt he had pulled yesterday in the kitchen, he was pretty sure she was ready to kill him, and he didn't even want to begin to imagine the kind of humiliating things she'd subject him to if she got to control him.
"What are you waiting for?" Misty's impatient voice cut through his doubtful thoughts, and he observed with a bit of surprise that she had already signed the paper. Guess she's not nervous about this. Taking the pen from her, he signed his name in the large, wobbly handwriting of a kindergartener. Misty frowned as she observed the signature, shaking her head a bit at his poor penmanship. "Here you go, Brock," she said, handing the paper to their conflict's new moderator of sorts.
"Okay, then," Brock began, folding the paper and tucking it into his pants pocket. "Let's make this even more interesting; you guys have until midnight to give me a winner, and they must have physical proof of their victory." He smirked. "Knowing the kind of tricks you guys tend to pull, I'm guessing that won't be a problem. I set you to your task." Laughing, he mocked a salute as the two trainers cast one final glare at each other and separated to different sides of the house.
At ten o'clock that night, Misty sat uncomfortably at the paneled desk in the guest room, scribbling down the day's events in her Staryu-patterned diary. Its corners were bent, the cover marred by pen marks, the edges of the pages smudged with dirt; this diary had been with her since the first day of her Pokemon journey—that fateful day when she had hooked on her fishing line a reckless young boy that would turn out to be her best friend, closest companion, and first and only love. She and Ash had been to Hell and back together.
I think we're currently in the former, she observed with a small sigh, closing the book, bulging with the addition of added pages after the original blue watermarked sheets had long since been endowed with the task of keeping the young girl's secrets from prying eyes. Misty had exactly two hours to put one over on Ash, and she had used up everything in her artillery. Earlier, she had attempted the old 'bucket-of-water-suspended-over-the-door' trick, but Ash had unfortunately picked that day to finally become intelligent and had kicked open the door, sending the water splashing over the floor and his left shin, but nowhere else.
Not that Ash hadn't failed in his attempts to win as well; his attempts to strew her underwear across the front lawn for passing motorists and curious passerby to see had been met with pain—from the carefully-placed armed mousetraps she had set in the drawer. The second she heard the telltale metal 'snap!', followed by a yelp and a string of curses, she was upstairs, leaning against the doorframe of the guest room and laughing hysterically.
I really don't know who's going to win this, she thought warily. What if neither of us pulls this off?
Suddenly, an idea so perfect, so delicious, popped into her head. "I've got it!" she said with a laugh. "This is it! I'm going to win!" Crouching silently, she tiptoed out of the room and, stopping to grab a few things from Ash's room, headed downstairs to begin her master plan.
Ash lay silently in his bed, a hot pack balanced on his forehead. The last week had been particularly trying for him, and he now had a splitting headache to show for him. He could only pretend to hate the love of his life so ferociously for so long before he just needed a break. Stealing her underwear would have been a great trick if it had worked, he mused, trying to convince his rather loud subconscious mind that it wasn't just a thinly-veiled excuse to see what kind of underwear Misty wore.
It wasn't working too well.
Ash sighed and shut his eyes; there was only an hour and a half left until the war drew to a close, and it looked as if he and Misty were going to have to call it a truce—at least, unless Misty managed to pull off one last trick. But to do that, she'd have to break through the lock to his bedroom, since he had no intention of moving until Brock came to tell him that time was up.
The young Pokemon Master groaned and threw a pillow over his head as he heard the sound of hammering coming from outside. "Damn it, don't the neighbors ever stop their stupid 'home improvement'?" he wondered aloud, his voice muffled by the pillow.
He smiled faintly as he heard someone frantically banging on the door. "Sorry, Misty, I'm not coming out until the stupid war's over."
"It is over, Ash," he heard Brock call from the other side of the door. "And quite ingeniously, if I do say so myself."
"What?!" Ash cried, yanking the pillow off his head and allowing the hot pack to fall to the floor as he leapt off the bed and pulled the door open forcefully. "What do you mean, 'it's over'?"
"Take a look at the front yard and you'll understand," Brock said with a laugh.
Not even stopping to consider the horrible possibilities, Ash practically flew down the stairs, lunging out the front door to see Misty standing with…Gary Oak?
"What's he doing here?" Ash asked angrily, his ire quickly turning to fear as he noted that his archrival was laughing hysterically and pointing at…a cardboard sign? "What's this?" he asked curiously.
Ash felt all the color drain from his face, his blood turning to ice as he observed just what Misty had done…what horrible, horrible thing she had called Gary over to see…
She had staked a picket sign-style poster of him as "Ash-ley" into the ground, illuminated it with a floodlight, and written "I LOVE GARY!" on it in boldface.
Shaking with a mixture of anger, humiliation, and incredible defeat, he sighed strode over to Misty, an absolutely infuriating grin plastered across her face. "I win," she said happily, her smile never wavering. "Okay, you can leave now, Gary; that's all I needed you to see."
"It was worth the trip!" Gary said with a laugh as he headed back to his spacious home.
"You live five hundred feet away, asshole!" Ash yelled furiously, grabbing a pebble from off the ground and throwing it uselessly at Gary's head. He turned back to the still-smirking Misty. "Okay, yeah, you win," Ash said with a hint of bile in his tone. "Since I'm going to be your slave for the next week, can I at least have one last moment of freedom? And you have to promise you won't hit me."
"That all depends on what you want to do," she informed him, crossing her arms sharply across her chest.
"I already tried once," he informed her, unplugging the spotlight with a quick yank of the cord and uprooting the sign, ripping it in half. "But Brock managed to get in the way the one time I actually had enough courage to even come close."
"What are you—" Misty's breath caught in her throat as she realized that he was talking about yesterday afternoon in the kitchen—when he had tried to kiss her. He wants to kiss me? she thought, a bit incredulous at the idea. He…wants me as much as I've wanted him? Her thoughts ended abruptly as she felt Ash's lips gently descend upon her own. It was a very gentle kiss, one that couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds, but seemed to encompass the world to the two figures locked in that romantic embrace. "I can't believe you finally worked up the nerve to do that," Misty managed to say, still robbed of coherent thought for the time being.
"Neither can I," Ash replied, pulling her into a tight hug. "And I've only been wanting to for the past five years."
Laughing, Misty returned the hug, resting her head on Ash's shoulder. "You should've said something, idiot; I've been crazy about you since I was twelve."
"Please, Mist; I thought you had cooties when I was that young. And when I finally got over my 'girls-are-gross' phase, I was too terrified of you and your mallet to make a move."
"Well," she said softly, wrapping an arm around his waist and leading him back into the house, "I'm glad you finally got over it."
"Who says I have?" he retorted as they stepped inside. "Your temper is beyond frightening; I think I've more gotten used to it than 'over' it."
"Uh, guys?" Brock questioned as he observed Ash and Misty share a quick kiss before starting into the living room. "What's happened with you two?"
"Nothing new, Brock," Ash called over his shoulder. "We're in love; you knew that already."
"I love Adult Swim," Ash said with a mouthful of popcorn as he and Misty sat snuggled up on the sofa, waiting for the latest episode of InuYasha to begin. "So, now that we're so comfy with each other, I guess you're going to be canceling that little clause that states that I have to be your slave for a week, right?"
"Guess again, flyboy," Misty said frankly, popping a few kernels into her mouth. "A deal is a deal; you signed the contract."
"But Misty…" he whined plaintively, resting his head in her lap. He sat back up when he noticed that the 'puppy-dog eyes' were failing miserably to sway her. "So I guess I should get used to a life of slavery and back-breaking labor for the next seven days?" he asked, sighing and resting his head against the back of the couch.
"Yes, but you have half an hour to relax. Now shut up!" she yelled, thumping him on the arm and turning up the volume on the TV. "This episode has Sesshoumaru in it!"
The next day, Misty sat with her feet propped up, chattering away into the phone while absently flipping through an old issue of Cosmo. "Yes, Mrs. Ketchum, I'm making sure that Ash stays out of trouble. He's been a perfect gentleman so far." She stumbled a bit as her ottoman sneezed, sending her feet sliding down. "Hold on a minute, Mrs. Ketchum." She pulled her pink-sock-clad feet back up, stopping to lightly tap her footstool on the head. "Try not to sneeze, Ash; it upsets my balance." She smiled at his angry mumbles and turned back to her phone conversation. "Yes, a perfect gentleman."
I suppose I could have split this chapter into two quite easily, but since I wrote it in one shot, I chose to keep it as a solid chapter that's twice as long as all the others.
Final thank-you to everyone who reviewed; glad you enjoyed the story.
I just had to include a mention of my favorite anime—"InuYasha". I finally got my fansubbed copy of the second movie, and I am very much elated now that I have seen the much-anticipated Inu/Kag kiss in context of the entire movie—and a very good movie it was. Better than the first, IMO. Less Kikyou in it, at any rate.
There may or may not be a companion piece to this story in which I work in the whole "Speedo-clad Ash as [Misty's] personal cabana boy" fantasy that I mentioned in "Character's Lament", but I am currently at work on "Oatmeal and Mittens", a fic based on another mention in that fic—Ash getting the chicken pox.
Reviews always appreciated; show me one author who specifically requests that reviews not be submitted. I don't know any, either.