Author Note: thank you Danni Lea. Your review got my beta off her butt and i hope you enjoy .

Chapter 20

When the graduation ceremony was over Ash went to look for his parents.

"Misty!" Ash spotted his friend first. Misty turned to the voice and saw Ash's happy face.

"There he is!" Misty grabbed Brock, who almost fell over by her rough pull on his vest. Ash bounded up to them, clearly excited. Silver stuck to Ash's heels like glue, even in the crowd.

"Have you guys seen my parents? I want to know -urk!" Ash couldn't breathe suddenly.

"That's my baby!" Ash struggled in his mother's grasp, making Silvemane nervous.

"Hi mom," Ash said in a raspy voice.

"Delilah! Really! We're in public! Besides he's soaking wet," Mark cut in. Ash was released from the hug and stepped back to look in his parent's proud eyes.

"We're really proud of you, son," Delilah said, nearly in tears. Ash put a bashful hand behind his neck and he blushed.

"Awww, mom!" Ash said, crimson. Mark walked over to his son and ruffled his hair.

"I just want to know how you managed to convince Officer Jenny to create a job in the Police Force tailor made just for you!" Mark joked.

"DAD!" Ash yelped. Before another word could be uttered, Nick popped in.

"There you are! What are you still doing here? We have a party to get to." Ash had totally forgotten about the party that was to be held at the cadet centre. Silvermane at Ash's feet let out a playful yip and Pikachu appeared on Ash's shoulder.

"Only if pokemon are permitted," Ash said in a laugh. Nick rolled his eyes.

"Come on, you're the guest of honour. You have to be there for the blast off." Nick grabbed his hand and tried to drag Ash towards the cadet centre.

"I can't! Just look at me! I have to go change first!" Ash protested.

"You can borrow something." Ash sighed. Before Ash would leave, he grabbed his bag and stuffed the box into it. Ash walked to the cadet centre with Nick, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, Silvermane, and Togepi.

"Why do I have to be there right now? Why can't this wait until I've changed?" Ash asked for the third time.

"You'll see," Nick said with a grin. The secrecy was killing Ash.

"So it's being held at the gym?" Misty asked, confirming their earlier conversation.

"Yes. The party is being held in the bigger gym for cadet training. The smaller gym is still set up," Nick explained. When they neared the complex, Nick steered Ash away from the gym. "You guys go ahead. I have to get Ash changed." Ash was led into the change room.

"OK, what's the deal?" Ash found himself staring into Ken's comical car salesman smile.

"Surprise number two!" Ken said holding up a shopping bag. Ash took it gingerly and peered in.

"You didn't!" Ash gasped. Misty, Brock and Togepi walked into the party and marvelled at their surroundings.

"These guys know how to throw a party!" Brock said, clearly excited. There was a stage for a live band, no band members to be seen, but all set up, a mountain of food off to one side and a dance floor that would rival a disco light show.

"Yeah," Misty said in agreement. Within an hour, the place was packed.

"I can't believe I let you guys talk me into this!" Ash grumped to Nick and Ken. Ken stifled a giggle.

"You look fine. What are you worried about?" Nick asked, confused. Ash shot him a death glare.

"It's not 'what' Nick," Ken said with a laugh. "It's a who. Ash is worried about a certain girl's behaviour."

'OH GOD! Please don't let Sasha show up!' Ash prayed. Nick gave Ken a confused look and then noticed Ash's pale face.

"Oh," Nick said as he realized Ash's predicament. "I don't understand you Little A," Nick said suddenly.

"What don't you understand?" Ash asked, still nervous.

"You have all the girls in town literally drooling all over you and you still don't have a girlfriend. Is it that you're just shy or is it something else?" At Nick's question, Ash turned beet red.

"Umm, umm…" Ash didn't know how to respond. Ken's laughter made Ash jump.

"Shy? HIM?" Ken barked out another laugh. "That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard! The only thing this guy is shy about is his own feelings. I'm shocked that you can't tell Nick."

"That I can't tell what?" Nick asked, curious. Ash saw the look in Ken's eyes and paled.

"Why, that our Little A has a crush on someone. I'm sure-ack!" Ken was cut off. So was his air supply as Ash tried to silence his friend.

"Say it and I pound you!" Ash snarled to Ken. Nick joined the fray. The result from their tussle was a, oxygen deprived blue Ken, a red-faced Ash and a laughing Nick.

Gasp "OK! I won't say her name!" Ash let go of Ken's neck. "Geeze, what a strong grip you have grandmother," Ken rasped.

"All the better to strangle you with, my dear," Ash said in a low voice. Nick, Ken and Ash laughed for a moment. Then Ash jumped a mile high when the door suddenly swung open with a bang.

"Hey guys, we're rea-where's Ash?" Gizmo asked. Nick and Ken began to laugh harder than they already had been, confusing the already baffled Gizmo. Then Gizmo heard a loud groan from behind the door. Nick pointed to where Ash was; Ken couldn't even do that. Gizmo closed the door again to find a struggling Ash on a hook attached to the back of the door. When Gizmo startled at Ash, he jumped up and had snagged his collar on the hook.

"A little help here?" Ash growled. Gizmo turned red.

"I am so sorry. Are you alright, Ash?" Gizmo, Ken and a still giggling Nick helped Ash off of the hook.

"Was it always like this?" Nick asked once Ash was down.

"Was it always like what?" Ken asked, confused.

"Was it always this much fun to be Little A's friend?" Nick asked. Ken grinned a huge grin.

"You have no idea," Ken said with a chuckle.

"We're ready for you guys," Gizmo said, remembering what caused the commotion.

"I don't think I can do this guys!" Ash said in a squeak. Ken and Gizmo exchanged glances and smiled mischievously.

"Well, you can always be tracked down in the crowd," Ken began.

"And be forced to slow dance or whatever…" Gizmo let Ash's imagination take over.

"You guys are terrible, you know that? Alright, get me on that stage before I lose my nerve."

Meanwhile Brock and Misty had claimed a small table as their own.

"Growlithe?" Misty looked down at Ash's new pokemon and sighed.

"I don't know what's keeping him either. Just be patient um… Brock? What did Ash call her?"

"Growl" Silvermane barked at being called a girl. This was a pokemon trainer?!

"I think it's a he and Ash called him Silver," Brock said, correcting Misty.

"Well ex-cuse me," Misty snapped. Silvermane was getting nervous. He had never been around so many people before without Ash. Pikachu seemed to sense Silvermane's anxiety and jumped down from the tabletop to properly meet the pokemon.

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"Hi! You must be Ash's pal Silvermane," Pikachu greeted warmly. Silvermane sat down.

"I am. Who might you be?" Silvermane asked politely, trying not to appear nervous.

"I'm Pikachu. I was Ash's starting pokemon on his pokemon journey."

"Really? I thought that you were with the girl," Silvermane began to forget the crowd and focus on the conversation.

"Who? Misty? No, she's a water pokemon trainer. Misty and Ash are friends," Pikachu said.

"That's not what my nose tells me," Silvermane said with a chuckle. Pikachu was confused.

"What do you mean?" Pikachu asked. Silvermane let out another chuckle.

"Can't you smell it?" Silvermane teased as the lights suddenly went off. "What's going on?" Silvermane yelped in fear. Pikachu, however, was calm.

"They're starting the music."

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