CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER ONE

::revised::

Ash's Dream and the Flying Toast

The water rippled softly as Ash wrapped his arms around the redheaded girl fishing beside him. His movements knocked her arms and her fishing rod broke the glass-like surface of the river. Misty sighed happily and buried her face in his jacket. Grudgingly, Ash helped Misty up. She reached behind her back and pulled out a huge metal gong.

Huh? thought Ash. This is getting surreal as Misty brought the gong down on his head.

He sat up with a start and looked angrily around to see who had woken him. Standing a little way off next to a gong, holding a beater was Misty. Ash looked at her, just as angry.

" You know there's such a thing as shaking" he remarked, sardonically as he pushed past her to find Brock.

The gang were back in the Pokémon League village, 3 years after Ash had lost with Charizard against Richie. In those 3 years, Ash had won the Orange League and afterwards, Brock had rejoined the group. Ash had worked hard and he was ready to compete in the Indigo Pokémon League once more; and this time - he promised himself - he was going to win!

Ash sighed as he slumped down in a chair in the kitchen of the little cottage. Brock appeared out of nowhere wearing his pink apron and wielding two plates.

"Where's Misty?" he asked, surprised. "I thought she went in to wake you up?"

"She did, " said Ash, his mouth already full of food. "She got out that damn gong and totally ruined my romantic…" He stopped as he realised Brock was staring at him with an eyebrow raised and a sweatdrop. "…book. Yeah, that Mills and Boons thing she gave me. She, er, stepped on it and ripped out a few pages."

Nice save, he thought to himself, sweatdropping as he stared at his plate. Brock shrugged, and turned back to his cooking.

Misty came out of the bathroom then; her hair was wet and she had a towel round her neck.

"Hey Misty, you look like a drowned Raticate!" Ash laughed, and ducked as a piece of toast came flying at him.

If four years of travelling with Misty has taught me anything, it's good reflexes, he thought, until a few mushrooms whacked him in the face.

"So Ash"  asked Misty sitting down at the table opposite him, "are you ready for your match today?" At the mention of a battle Ash's eyes gleamed over.

"You bet I am!"  he yelled, jumping up from the table. "I'm on the Rock Field."

"What Pokémon are you using?"  asked Misty, with a mouth full of toast. Ash looked at her, surprised. Misty may have been his best friend but she always acted like she didn't care about his battles.

"Totodile, Donphan and Pikachu"

"Good team," remarked Misty quietly. "So, what time's your match?"

" Half three" Ash looked at his watch. 8.56.

"Well, I'm going for a walk" said Misty, returning Togepi to its ball and stuffing it in her bag. She paused at the door. "Do you wanna come?"

"Gee Misty, I thought that after 4 years of walking with me, you'd be sick of it" Ash sweatdropped.

"Fine!" said Misty angrily, as she turned and walked out of the door.

"Wait! Wait! I wanna come!" called Ash quickly, jumping up from his seat. "Come on Pikachu!"

Chapter Two

::revised::

Misty's Mystery

"Wonder where Misty is" mumbled Ash to Pikachu as he wandered down the road kicking a stone.

"Kachu" [Dunno] Ash stopped as he noticed familiar red hair in a café window across the street. He smiled slightly. She was talking intently to someone - but Ash couldn't see who it was. He silently slipped into the bustling café and into an empty booth behind Misty and her companion.

            From here, he could see this person clearly. It was a girl with blonde hair and big blue eyes made even bigger by the glasses she wore. Her hair was long, but fashionably cropped at the front. She was wearing a black skirt that landed on the knees of her long legs; and every inch of her oozed style and sophistication. Ash disliked her on sight.

            He sat back in the red leather couch and strained his ears, but above all the noise all he could hear was random words.

"Ahem" came an angry voice from above. Ash looked up to see a very pissed off waitress staring at the table. Ash stared too, and realised he had been playing with the salt shaker, and he'd spelt out the letters M and A on the table in salt. "Can I get you something to go with your …salt?" asked the snooty waitress.

"Er thanks, I'm fine," Ash began, but was harshly reminded via a static bolt of Pikachu, who was currently under the table. "Actually can I get a bottle of ketchup please?"

"A bottle of ketchup?" repeated the waitress, raising her eyebrows.

"Yeah, er, to go with the salt…" Ash grinned, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. When Pikachu saw the bottle arrive, she jumped up onto the table and started licking it straight out of the container. The waitress, regardless of the yellow rat licking ketchup from the public bottle, walked away. Just then, the blonde mystery girl spotted Pikachu.

"Like, no way!" she squealed to Misty. "Look at that cute Pikachu eating that ketchup!"

"…ketchup?" repeated Misty, slowly. She whirled around and reached over the back of her seat. Without even bothering to look at who was cowering in the seat behind her, Misty grabbed the person's collar and pulled Ash over the back of the seat, whilst the girl watched, sweatdropping.

"Jeez Ash, now you're stalking me?" yelled Misty, her head had grow to about three times its normal size.

"For your information!" Ash yelled back, "You invited me AND it's a free country. Me and Pikachu can go into any café we want to!"

"Yeah, so I can kick you out of any café I want to!" Misty yelled back, brandishing her oversized fist in the glaring boy's face.

"Er, Misty? Is this a bad time?" Ash and Misty stopped and stared at the blushing girl sitting opposite them.

"Oh no, of course not!" Misty said. She turned back to Ash. "This is my cousin, Linda Winhamall. Linda, this is my…Ash Ketchum."

            Linda fluttered her fake eyelashes, and twirled a strand of her cropped strawberry blonde hair around her finger. Ash glared at her - she had the same facial features as Misty and Daisy, and her eyes resembled those of Lily. Her hair looked like it had once been a faint orange, but now was so highlighted and altered it was impossible to know for sure.

"I'm very happy to meet you, Misty's Ash," she said playfully, slipping her glasses knowingly down the bridge of her nose so she could peer over the frames. Misty and Ash started to blush.

"Oh, you know what I mean Lin," Misty said, with sweatdrops galore. She turned to Ash again. "Linda is a Normal Pokémon Trainer."

"Oh, so what am I?" asked Ash angrily.  "Abnormal?" Misty and Linda facevaulted.

"Er, Misty means that I train Pokémon of the Normal element. You know, like Jigglypuff and Raticate." Linda explained.

"Huh." Ash grunted.

"Ooh" cried Linda, jumping up. "I've got to go and pick up my Pokémon from Nurse Joy at the Pokémon Centre. My match on the Ice Field starts in an hour!" She turned to her redheaded cousin. "Will you be there, cuz?"

"I wouldn't miss it Lin." The blonde dropped some coins on the table to pay for the Diet Coke she had been sipping and practically skipped out of the door in the direction of the Pokémon Centre.

            When she was gone, Ash slid round the leather booth so he was sitting where Linda had been. Pikachu came bounding over from the booth behind, leaving an empty ketchup bottle on the table.

"Pi Pikachupi" [Hey Misty] "Pika, pi, chu, pikachu?" [Who was that?]

"She's my cousin," said Misty, absentmindedly stroking Pikachu's ears.

"You seem to get along well with her." Said Ash quietly.

"Well, if you don't give yourself the job of jumping down my throat every 10 minutes, you'd find that I'm pretty easy to get along with!" Ash shifted uncomfortably. Misty continued. "We were supposed to go on our Pokémon journey together, but her parents decided that 10 was a bit young, and didn't let her go till last year. I left on my own and (she laughed) fished you up."

"So if she had been with you, I would have had to travel with TWO girls?" laughed Ash in mock horror.

"Nope." Said Misty, rising from the table. "I wouldn't have come with you." She dropped some money on the table as well. "Come on Ash," she said to the silent boy, "Lets go drop your Pokémon off with Nurse Joy."

CHAPTER THREE

::revised::

Brock and the Nurse Joy Intern

Brock was sitting in the Pokémon Centre. After Misty and Ash had disappeared he had headed down to er, talk to a Nurse Joy. The one on duty at this Centre was the Joy from Lavender Town. She was busy operating on a Cubone and had no time for Brock's puppy eyes (?) and adoring compliments.

Brock sat on the mint coloured sofa in the lobby, lazily watching the people go by. A pretty blonde girl with glasses dashed straight past him, and before he could say a word, she was gone again, clutching six Pokéballs to her chest. Brock sighed: she was more Ash's age anyway. Soon a short girl wearing a blue dress entered the centre and walked up to the front desk. She dropped 5 Pokéballs on the counter.

"Hello?" she called, leaning over the desk slightly to see into the back room. An average muffled voice was heard and the door to the average operating theatre opened; but it wasn't your average Nurse Joy who stepped out.

After Brock had picked himself off the floor, he stared at the young woman now at the desk. She was a Joy alright, the pink hair was a dead give-away, but she wore it loose and it fell to just above her shoulders in wavy ripples. She tossed it back behind her ear as she leant on the counter and listened to the short girl; it looked as if she had literally chopped off the hoops that the Nurse Joy family's hair automatically grew into. She looked a lot younger too, more around Brock's age. She wore really heavy orange eyeshadow and black lipstick, creating an interesting effect. Her face was heavily powdered so her pale cheeks contrasted horribly with her dark lips. And she looked really, really uncomfortable in the standard pink dress/frilly apron combo clothing of a Nurse Joy.

The Trainer at the desk handed over her Pokéballs and left, as the 'Nurse Joy' busied herself with checking them in. Brock walked over to the front desk and stood there, gaping at her, with that familiar red hue on his face.

"Beautiful…" he murmured. "Beautiful…" She finished what she was doing and focused her attention on Brock.

"Can I help you sir?"

"Er…I mean..uhhhh" Brock stuttered.

"Are you going to check in or pick up some Pokémon, because if you're just going to stare at me you have to stand over there," she said, delicately pointing with one highly polished fingernail. Brock obediently started walking in that direction, and the girl laughed and called him back.

"I'm only joking idiot!" she giggled. Brock immediately went into his 'suave-mode'.

"Hi there…" he crooned. "My name's Slate, Brock Slate. I'm a Pokémon Breeder, and I'm training to be the best! Lemme guess, your name is Joy." He delicately kissed her hand. She laughed, twisting a strand of short pink hair in one hand.

"Call me Jo."

"Jo?"

"Yeah, it helps me stand out from my sisters…and cousins…and aunts…and…" Brock cut her off; he knew how long this could go on for.

"Don't be silly! You're much more beautiful than the other Joys!" Jo blushed (not that you could tell under the powder) and was about to say something when…

"Hey Brock!" came Misty's voice.

"Pika!!" [Hey!] Brock facevaulted, twitching, but jumped up sweatdropping.

"Hey guys, what are you doing here?" he asked. Ash didn't answer, pushed past Misty and picked up Pikachu. He set it gently down on the counter next to Jo, then reached for his belt and put a Lureball and a Heavyball in the nearby tray.

"What's with him?" Brock murmured to Misty. She shrugged off the question.

"He just met my cousin, and I don't think he likes her very much."

"I understand." said the older teen, with a wicked twinkle in his eye (?). "It's always a shame when the fiancé doesn't get along with his future in-laws!" Misty pulled out her trusty mallet from anime-hyperspace and whacked Brock into the back wall, face first.  Jo gasped in concern as Brock slid down the wall, cracking it as he went.

"Don't worry." said Ash, with no concern in his voice. "We'll pay for the wall."

"Joy darling!" called a voice from the operating theatre.

"Yeah mum?" answered Jo.

"Take a break dear, you're taking this intern stuff way too seriously sweetheart. Cubone's going to be fine. Take the rest of the day off."

"Thanks mum." Brock saw his chance.

"Er, Jo? I don't suppose you'd want to spend your break with me? Wait – what am I saying? You probably have to go visit your boyfriend or something…" Jo looked uncomfortable at the thought.

"Brock? I'd love to. Let me check in your friend's Pokémon and get changed, and we can all go somewhere together!" Jo flashed a smile at Brock, then turned and ran up a flight of stairs with Pikachu and the two Pokéballs in her arms. Pikachu chuued a farewell.

"Uhhhhhhh" said Ash and Misty, sweatdropping. Brock's face was a picture of pure joy (no pun intended).

"You guys? I think…I'm in love!"

"Again?" laughed Misty. Then Brock started leaping around the lobby, catapulting over the poor Trainers resting on the couches and talking to the air. Almost like a reflex, Ash and Misty stepped back, pretending not to know their slitty-eyed travelling partner.

"What's up with you Ash?" asked Misty, not bothering to hide the annoyance in her voice. Ash turned around to face the redhead who was half glaring at him with her arms folded across her chest. For a fleeting moment, Ash's dream came to his mind, but he quickly pushed it out.

"Huh?"

"You don't like Linda."

"What are you on? I don't even know your cousin properly!" Ash bluffed.

"Yeah, like that ever stopped you from disliking anyone before." Misty suddenly changed the subject. "Hey Ash? How come this morning you were saying my name in your sleep?" Ash's heart took a giant leap.

"Wh-h-hat?" he spluttered.

"This morning." Misty repeated. "I went in to wake you up and you were talking about me. You said 'We have to go back now Misty.' What were you dreaming about Ash?"

Walls seemed to close in on Ash.

"Trapped!" he thought. "Bugger; I can't even keep my big mouth closed when I'm asleep!" he looked up into Misty's inquisitive aqua-green eyes.

"Well…" he croaked. "We were…" He was interrupted as Brock suddenly appeared in between them. (Author's note: á-la 'Fire and Ice'!)

"She's going out with me!" he squealed, clasping his hands together and sighing from pure exultation.

"Correction Brock" said Ash, silently thanking God for the escape. "She's going out with us."

"Double correction" interrupted Misty. "She's going out with you two. I have to go to Linda's match." Brock may have been 'away-with-the-Clefairys', but he was still able to see the disappointment that quickly flashed over the younger boy's face.

"Actually…" contradicted a gentle voice, "I think going to a Pokémon match might be good fun!" Brock gazed at Jo. The degrading pink dress was gone, and in its place was an orange top the same tone as Misty's hair and a denim skirt so short Jesse would have refused to wear it.

"Okay then. We'd better get going." Misty looked at her watch. "Let's hurry so we get good seats!" Brock tried to sneak a look at Ash's face to see his reaction, but Ash and Misty were already running out of the Pokémon Centre. Jo linked her arm with his and dragged him after them in the direction of the Ice Field.