Summary: All Misty wants is a normal relationship. It seems like every other woman in the world is off with their perfect boyfriends making mind-blowing love in libraries, parks, the poultry aisle in the supermarket, etc, etc. However, the first time she persuades Ash to try a little al-fresco loving, they get snapped by the paparazzi. So horrified is Ash by the sight of his captured in mid-motion bare bottom gracing the front of every tabloid from here to Hoenn that he immediately slaps a ban on everything you could ever consider outside the norms of sex. Misty, understandably a little aggravated by this, finally convinces him that all they need is to take a frisky holiday, incognito, so no one will recognise him...

PRICKLY HEAT

(1)

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Her red plastic shopping basket full of supplies, Misty ran back over her mental shopping list one more time. Satisfied she had all that was needed at home she turned and shuffled towards the checkout. As she passed the magazine and newspaper racks, it occurred to her that the new issue of Ash's Trainer magazine should be out. Misty turned her attention to them, skimming over the many glossy covers.

She stopped.

That bum was familiar.

()()()()()()()()()()

Ash sighed. After three years in this office, you'd think he'd be used to the glaring emptiness, the blinding glass walls, the complete and total lack of anything to do four days out of five. He had used to stave off boredom by playing with the sand in the little tray that had come with the desk, but his secretary had taken it off him after complaints from the cleaners.

Ash sunk low across the polished ebony desk and shot an accusing glare up at his computer screen, as if blaming it for his boredom. Still in his slumped form, he reached across for his mouse and moved it quickly, breaking the computer out of screensaver mode.

Having never really got on with Solitaire, Ash bypassed the games folder and opened Internet Explorer with a deft double click. Ash-Ketchum.com loaded instantly; Ash had managed to persuade his friends that it was League regulation that it be his home-page, when secretly it was a vain indulgence. Ash also found it quite amusing; one day he intended to met whomever webmastered 'his' site and inform him of a few glaring omissions and bizarre additions. "Ash Ketchum rumoured to be favourite for the role of Legolas in big-screen adaptation of Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy" was one such example of the website knowing details that Ash himself did not.

Skipping the splash page java image, Ash found himself on the news page. A bold headline proclaimed: Ketchum Kaught On Kamera. Ash leant forward curiously as the thumbnail picture that would take him to the full story loaded painfully slowly. A pale curve appeared against a dark background. Ash's eyes narrowed.

That bum was familiar.

()()()()()()()()()()

Misty struggled through the door of the Viridian townhouse, her arms weighed down each with a plastic bag of produce and a stack of newspapers clutched to her chest. Flippant in her state of bewilderment she dumped the bags on the kitchen floor before returning to where she had left the papers on the coffee table. She grabbed the top one and stared pale-faced at the grainy yet explicitly clear black and white photograph gracing the front page. Her eyes flickered to the headline.

League Champ caught with his pants down.

Wincing Misty turned to the full story on page seven.

Young League Champion Ashton Ketchum (22) has proved himself to be a man of the world despite his decidedly back-water origins. This singular picture (left) was taken by a freelance celebrity photographer Monday night, at around 2.30am on the outskirts of Viridian Forest. The snap clearly shows Ketchum engaging in sexual intercourse with an as-of-now mystery lady.

Ketchum has been dating childhood friend and Cerulean GymLeader Misty Waterflower (23) for the past four years and they share a home together in uptown Viridian City. However, due to the positioning of Ketchum's arms the female cannot be identified as Ms Waterflower and the photographer did not identify her as such.

Misty glanced again at the offending photo. Sure enough, Ash's supporting arms were blocking out the vast majority of his partner's facial features. Misty scowled. It was a good thing she knew very well that the female was her, or Ash would definitely hear about it.

Ketchum has taken care to present a clean image, the article continued, steering clear of drugs and alcohol, understanding how delicate his position as an idol is. However, acts of indecency such as this will have raised a few eyebrows and Ketchum could lose much of his appeal if this event is proved to be also an act of infidelity.

"Acts of indecency," Misty huffed to herself, face stern as she skimmed over the remainder of the article. "It was just a bit of fun…" Her voice trailed off as she remembered Ash's reluctance and worry when she had brought up the idea of out-door sex. "He's gonna be mad…" she murmured.

"You're damn right I'm mad." Misty jumped at the sound of Ash's weary voice as he flopped down on the sofa next to her. "I had to leave," he said, in reply to her unspoken question. "The whole place is in uproar. There hasn't been this much gossip since Bruno came out." Ash rubbed his temples with one hand as he reached for Misty with his other arm. "You remember that girl's you right?" he asked, trying to keep the worry from his voice.

"Of course I do, idiot."

"Good," Ash sighed, relief evident in his voice. "Everyone at work seemed to automatically assume it wasn't you. They were saying that the girl looked blonde, which is stupid cos the photo was in black and white," Ash growled in scorn. "Even Brock wasn't sure. He rang to say that if something was proved he'd beat me up." Misty pulled his head down so it was resting on her shoulder.

"You know what they say," she tried, blithely, "all publicity is good publicity…"

"You do realise this is all your fault!" Ash suddenly snapped at her, "I still don't know what the hell was wrong with our bed."

"There's nothing wrong with the damn bed, Ash!" Misty wrenched away from him, meeting his accusing chocolate eyes in indignance. "It's the principle of the thing! We'd never done it! It was just an experience I wanted to share with you!"

"People do it all the time," Ash had continued muttering to himself as if to prove he wasn't listening to her excuses. "It's not sordid in any way! It's not illegal! Who will see us? What's the worst that could happen? Well, obviously Myst, the worst that could happen is my arse and your boobs covering every front-page in the entire universe. There."

Misty glared at him and folded her arms across her chest.

"At least there's no 'money-shot'" she reminded him, tactfully. Ash groaned and ran his hands through his hair.

"It's not even flattering!" he moaned. He shot a look at Misty. "You do realise you have to release a statement saying that the girl in the picture was you?"

"Yeah," Misty murmured, face aflame. The two sat in uncomfortable silence until Ash growled and slid the pile of paper off the table roughly with his foot.

"C'mere," he said gruffly as he pulled Misty back along the couch to him. Misty returned the uncharacteristic back-down with one of her own; she hugged him tightly. She frowned slightly; he smelt slightly sour from his nervous sweat. She began to feel guilty.

"You do realise we're never doing anything like that again."

"Well fine, if a bad experience has turned you off out-door…" Misty began.

"No, I mean anything dodgy. Ever," Ash cut her off. Misty frowned again.

"Define… dodgy."

"Everything that isn't simple. Missionary. In a bed. Our bed," he clarified.

"B-but!" Misty spluttered in dismay.

"I can't risk anything like this again!" Ash silenced her. "Subject closed. Right, I'm hungry."

Ash left a speechless Misty sitting on the sofa, crossed through into the kitchen and promptly slipped on a puddle of melted chocolate ice-cream that had leaked from one of the discarded supermarket bags.

()()()()()()()()()()

"Misty, Misty, it's understandable that he wants to be cautious now," Violet soothed as she inspected a chip in her nailvarnish.

"You don't understand!" Misty raged, a stark contrast to her elegant sister. "I thought that after over a decade I knew how obsessive he can be. He's gone too far!"

"Example," Violet asked, eyeing her younger sibling over the mug she lifted to her lips.

"Well, not only did he confine us to the missionary position in our bed, well… the other night he clarified that even more. We have to be the right way up on the bed." Violet raised an eyebrow.

"The right way up?" she repeated.

"Yeah," Misty said wearily, reaching for her own tea. "Our heads have to be on the pillows. Apparently, anything else is just… 'dodgy'…" she groaned before gulping from her mug, glaring over the rim at her laughing sister.

"Aw, Misty," Violet managed as her laughter ebbed, "he just needs some time."

"That's what I thought but he's had weeks!" Misty complained. "And it's not fair. I'm a woman. I have needs. There's so much I haven't experienced…" Violet sighed.

"I knew Daisy was wrong to start you reading Cosmopolitan at six…"

"It's like his… his… status and public appearance… has become more important than me," Misty finished, her voice growing quieter with each word. Violet gazed at her, sadness evident over her pretty features. Suddenly she snapped her fingers.

"If in doubt, consult Cosmo!" she beamed, reaching into her bag for the latest issue. The two women poured over the wonderfully glossy pages, the new-age oracle, the answer to all of life's problems.

()()()()()()()()()()

"Hotel Peek-a-Boo?" Ash echoed suspiciously from behind the monochrome pamphlet. Misty snaked her arms around him from behind.

"Yup!" she grinned, giving him a quick squeeze. "It's a wonderful adult resort, deep in the Orange Islands. If we're careful, nobody will even know you're there!"

"Wha, adult?" Ash mumbled as Misty spun him around and kissed him in delight.

"I've already booked you time off work," she continued after she broke the kiss. "And arranged for your lookalike to wander around town centre a bit and in and out of the offices. With a bit of luck, the papers will never catch on!"

"Meh?" Ash blinked, softening when Misty reached to give him another excited kiss.

"Oh Ash, you can just forget all about being the Master. You can be Ash. You can be my boyfriend. You can do whatever you want!"

"I dunno about this, Misty…" Ash said in the sensible wary tone he had picked up. Misty carried on regardless.

"Now I've told Brock that we're going to visit your mother for a week, and told your mother to tell Brock we're out if he calls there. Nobody will know where we are. A week of pure isolation! And once we get you loosened up…" Misty trailed her fingers down his back seductively. Ash gave a sudden smile and pulled her closer.

"A week with no one to disturb us! If we can carry this off, this'll be great!"

()()()()()()()()()()

Brock wiggled on the broad suitcase, dispelling his weight until Duplica could hurriedly strap it closed. The luggage released a threatening groan as Brock stood up, but remained closed.

Brock wrapped Duplica's petite form in his arms and kissed the top of her head.

"Packed for sun and kinky fun!" Brock cheered, inadvertently jostling his girlfriend. "A week with no one to disturb us! This'll be great!"