The Blind Alley

Disclaimers: If I owned Pokemon, you would know it.

Dedication: to my darling cousin nicknamed Fred who bugged me relentlessly for my old fanfic filled with tossing characters off cliff (which was really a serious story but turned humorous because of her interjections) that I could not provide since it was already shipped to storage. Hopefully this story will bring back just as many smiles, giggles, and perhaps even this time I'll get the drama right.

AN:/ It's been years since I've written a pokemon story. Some of you might remember me as PurePsychicEspeon- the author of Crimson Tears, Upside Down, and Faith in a Child. Most of you won't know who I am. And that's fine- those stories aren't that good anyway. :P

I feel I should give fair warning for this story. I am a college student- I grew up watching pokemon so my view of the genre is very different from what it became. I will try to stay true to the Indigo League. I also may change things in the storyline more to my benefit- making them more graphic. In my interpretation- the Mewtwo Returns movie did not exist. And Ash did not turn to stone in the first movie- he was just killed, plain and simple.

If you have never read any of my stories before, welcome. If you have, welcome back. But please remember always to enjoy and review.

Chapter One: Reunion

You could be happy and I won't know
But you weren't happy the day I watched you go
-Snow Patrol

He heard himself scream this time. A single word of protest stretched outside his lips. Its purpose was completely blinded by the obscurity of unawareness- just like everything else. He had absolutely no time to remember why he was shouting out.

Pain ripped through his body, a collusion of hot and cold- slicing apart everything inside him. His eyes burned and his eyesight faded into a frozen image of disjointed bewildered expressions. And there it was. The same pokemon of purple hue- with its dazzling violet eyes and remarkable raw power carved into every aspect of its being.

He had no idea what it was.

"It's you again," He said aloud. "I keep seeing you. Who are you?"

The pokemon appeared to say nothing. It merely stared back at him, as if irritated by his inability to place it. For some reason, he imagined the creature could talk. Right now it was simply being difficult.

"I've seen a lot of pokemon, even legendary ones. But I've never seen anything quite like you."

He tried to move forward but his numb body was slow to respond to his will. Breath got caught up in the circulation between lungs and heart- leaving a heavy piercing pain in its place. He was hanging by no threads in an aura that was clearly not of his own creation. It was killing him- or had already.

"W-why?" He choked, crushed by the flames of energy that had engulfed him.

He reached out his hand in vain- hoping for one last chance to know this mysterious pokemon. One last chance to know who it was. Why did this one pokemon remind him so much of himself? Why was it that it felt that he had met it before? Its long sweeping tail, arched body, horned head and angled face spelt out a name he couldn't read. The pokemon fell out of his fading vision.

And Ash rolled clear off his bed. He hit the floor hard, waking up both himself and the little mouse pokemon still sleeping on Ash's abandoned cot. Rolled up like a spool of yarn in his covers, Ash could only moan in response to the rude awakening.

Pikachu poked his head over the side of the bed and squeaked. "What are you doing down there?"

"Five more minutes," Ash grumbled.

Lighting bolt tail perking upward to attention, Pikachu crawled backwards just to bound from the bed and land safely on his master's stomach. Ash 'oofed' on cue.

Prying open one sleep filled eyelid, Ash peered up at his wake up call. It squeaked at him indigently. "I'm hungry."

"It's hard to sleep when you are sitting on my stomach."

Pikachu responded to his smartass remark with a grin and two sparking cheeks. Suddenly Ash was cooperative.

"I'm up, I'm up," said Ash, kicking his feet free from the sheets.

He knocked Pikachu gently off him by rolling over onto his stomach. Once disentangled, Ash laid on his stomach lethargically. Pikachu once more had to break Ash's staring contest with the floor with his own face in his Master's. He planned to torment Ash some more but the look in the young man's eyes made him stop from issuing the electric shock.

"Pika pi?" Pikachu asked with a slight tilt of his head. "Are you alright?"

Ash sighed quite uncharacteristically and tucked his hands beneath his chin. His eyes appeared to look right through his partner.

"Yes. It was that dream again."

"Not that dream! The one with that weird pokemon of yours?" The pokemon squeaked some more in a language that Ash still was far from able to comprehend. But Pikachu's body language showed obvious concern that even Ash could interpret.

"It was like the last two times." Ash pushed himself up to his knees. "I don't just see the pokemon anymore...I'm in pain too."

He rubbed his arms momentarily before adding, "Except this time, it was so much more… This time it seemed as though the pain came and then started to go away…"

Ash couldn't meet Pikachu's eyes. He didn't need to look to know what expression would be on the little pokemon's face.

It squeaked rather angrily out of both concern and fear. "Started to go away?"

"Yeah," Ash replied at great length. "I think I was dying this time..."

Neither said anything for a long moment. It wasn't the first time they had discussed the severity of the dreams. Ash had felt for a while that they weren't normal. They felt weird, disconnected, but very real. They hurt like a broken memory that he had yet to remember the rest too. The frustration from waking up too soon put him in a mood each time he had one. And lately they had been quite frequent.

Pikachu never liked the dreams. They made his master scream out in his sleep. And they had made Ash obsessed with finding this strange pokemon whom even Pikachu doubted the existence of.

Now to think that the dream held the ultimate separation between the two of them. That Ash really could die- that he really could be a mortal, susceptible to the cruel hands of death, was almost too much to bear.

"You're here now though," offered Pikachu.

"Don't worry, Pikachu," Ash replied mistaking his comment for one more negative in nature. "It's just a dream after all. I'm sure it's not predicting the future- I'm always just a kid in it. It's been years since I was that short."

Pikachu smiled and nodded as if Ash had encouraged him. It was better to let humans believe they knew what you were saying. Otherwise they just got frustrated. Ash especially.

"I'm still hungry."

But Ash ignored him. Not on purpose, of course. But to humans, all pikachu squeaks sound the same. He had already started folding up the sheets for the small bunk. It wouldn't be long before Nurse Joy came in for Ash's prescheduled wake up call. Better late than never. At least this way it would make the Nurse's job easier.

Pikachu felt as though he really needed to teach Ash the pikachu word for hungry. Just as soon as he taught him the pikachu word for duck. Luckily in pikachu, duck meant only the action and not a feathered quaking companion. The only confusion is that in pikachu annunciation and tone are key. That Professor Oak fellow got pretty close at cracking down the rhythm and rhyme of pokemon speech. But then he got carried away and made it far more complicated than it actually was.

Pikachu was sure Ash would catch on some day. He was making some progress at least. Even if after seven years he still didn't know the word for hungry.

Ash tucked his hands under the mattress to fasten the blankets firmly in place. The center always had rigorous expectations. The whole place was self sustained- so in order to keep everything free, trainers had to keep things clean. Or be harassed.

There had been far too many times at the beginning of his journey that he had been reprimanded for being a slob. And they log it away into your pokedex so that every pokemon center you entered would know about it. It took years before the countless nurse joys would stop giving him "that look" and lecturing the rules upon entry. He had only messed up a few times, but would he never do it again. They had sort of engrained it into him now.

Once he was sure that all wrinkles were stretched out, Ash fluffed out the pillow and placed it back neatly at the center front. He had only just started stuffing his belongings back into his pack when the door slid open.

Ash often wondered what they did with the Nurse Joys that had grown too old to be Nurses anymore. This one looked as young as ever. Ash wasn't even sure if it was the same one he had met back when he first came to Viridian those several years back. She seemed the same with the pink hair up in loopy buns tucked neatly beneath the nurse cap and the same hoop skirt like dress and apron. Same beautiful face that caused Brock to go into testosterone driven episodes. To Ash, she, and all her countless cousins, reminded him of his mother. Enough said.

"Oh. Up so soon, Mister Ketchum?"

"Just wanted an early start," said Ash with a smile.

Nurse Joy smiled back, but only politely. She retrieved a parcel from the cart beside her. "The clothing you requested cleaned."

"Thank you."

"And your breakfast."

Ash had barely enough time to toss the parcel towards his backpack before she handed him his food tray for the morning.

"Pikachu's there too. I figured he liked to eat with you. The rest of your pokemon in our care have already been fed."

"Thank you, Nurse Joy."

"Your welcome," She nodded politely again. Always politely. The door slid shut at her exit.

"Breakfast time, Pikachu," Ash called while de-capping the plastic top off Pikachu's cup of flavored pokemon shaped cookies. Pikachu wasted no time in accepting the meal. It was meager and it certainly wasn't Pika pi pi's cooking- but it sufficed as breakfast.

Ash peeled off the wrapper from his sealed eggs before digging in with his fork. They tasted like plastic. The slices of apple were too dry. And the bacon far too overcooked. But it was free and better than nothing at all.

"I wish I could cook," said Ash absentmindedly as some egg slipped off his fork and back into his tray with a sickening squish.

Pikachu would have agreed. But he was too busy trying to gnaw his way through the bulb of an extremely stubborn bulbasaur cookie.

The pokemon center was strangely empty upon entry. Her footsteps clicked against the floors and then ominously echoed through the open lobby. She almost felt as though she were trespassing.

"Nurse Joy?" The young woman called, leaning against the front desk. She looked either way down the hallways beyond but no sign of life became apparent to her.

Sighing, the young girl ran a hand through her short crimson locks before halting her hand against her forehead. The pressure there felt good against her head. Silently she wondered whether or not it would be considered breaking and entering to continue onward.

Regardless of whatever conclusion she had come upon, she walked around the front desk and headed down the left hallway. It wasn't long until she came upon her goal. Nurse Joy stepped out of a doorway just as the woman turned the corner.

"Joy," the girl said making the Nurse jump.

"Oh. You scared me," replied Joy, clutching her heart. "I'm not used to visitors."

The woman was slender, and wearing light colored clothing as always. A simple short sleeved button down of light green hue draped into a hem of ruffles around her thighs. And beneath the shirt a plain color of pants. She was not of remarkable dress, but she was probably one of the best pokemon leaders to date.

Nurse Joy started walking down the hallway back the way they had come. The visitor followed suit, attempting to promote their polite conversation.

"It's hardly fall yet. Where are all the trainers?"

"The slow season starts earlier and earlier every year. You know how it is. Kid wants to become a pokemon master. A month goes by and they all start dropping off like flies. I have a theory that if a pokemon trainer lasts through the first six months then they'll probably make the distance."

"Or perhaps they just don't know how to give up properly," mumbled the woman underneath her breath. If Joy had heard her, she continued as if she didn't.

"Regretfully I do not know why trainers are dropping off so soon though. I suppose being a pokemon trainer is no longer of trend."

"All these accidents going around are probably scaring them off."

"Perhaps. But I hope not. I'd like to believe kids are just becoming impossible," said Joy with a chuckle. The woman chuckled too, but in a more forced sort of way. It was evident that she thought differently.

"How are you doing, Misty?"

"Despite the poor business, well," Misty paused as if just struck by a thought. "When was the last time you had a trainer come through?"

"Had one come in last night actually. Spent the night, checked up his pokemon- the whole sha-bang. First time I've been able to do work in days."

They entered the lobby again. Joy went straight to the desk and the computer. Courteously, Misty stayed back so as not to look over the woman's shoulder.

"Was he a late bloomer?"

"Nope," replied Joy as her fingers clicked their way across the keyboard. "Believe it or not, I think he's a seasoned trainer. His pokemon were remarkably well taken care of. Probably here to take on the Earth Badge."

"He have honors?"

"No actually. That's what's strange. His resume is remarkable," She nodded towards the screen giving Misty permission to peek. Joy hit the scroll bar and watched as countless stands of information flashed past.

"What is all that?"

"Leagues and tournaments this kid has been in. Seventeen years old and he's seen more places than most masters have. Some he's done extremely well in, some not so. But through them all, he's never accepted any honors presented him. And he's been presented a lot. The recommendation list is huge. Each one of them he refused, even an offering of a gym leader title."

"Stupid," Misty huffed. "Just what is he waiting for?"

"Perhaps…" said Joy at length, "The title of pokemon master?"

Misty startled Joy yet again with a sudden outburst of giggles. It took her a moment or two to recompose herself.

"To be a pokemon master, you have to be born with either inheritance to it- or have remarkable talent. It sounds to me," Misty snickered while wiping a tear from her eye. "That this guy is a talent-less dimwit who hasn't yet developed enough smarts to realize that he's talent-less."

Joy didn't seem quite as amused. In fact, her face looked rather stern. "Well that certainly takes the beauty out of the thing, doesn't it?"

"Oh come on. Everyone knows that that title is just to bait kids into the whole career. When's the last time we've had a new pokemon master conferred?"

"I admit it's been awhile," Joy sighed. "But then ever since trainers started dying… well, pokemon training has gotten much more dangerous. It just isn't safe anymore to try and do these things."

She hit the cancel key on the keyboard, shutting it down and protecting from any future delves into the private affairs of one of the last true trainers of their age. Her fingers trembled above the keyboard and she bowed her head. She looked weary and aged in a way that Misty had never recalled any of the countless duplicates of her family ever looking.

"I can't take all this sad talk." Joy shook her head, "This… dying age of something so promising… I can't stand seeing it disappear. But I do, and it kills me. I spent my entire life on this. My whole family has. You must know how this hurts us… I just… want just to forget."

Misty saw the tears in the older woman's eyes. It touched her somehow. But she wasn't so quick to tears. Not anymore.

Misty touched Joy's hand gently, bringing an uneventful end to her tears.

"I've tried forgetting. It never works."

The red hair smiled and Joy had no choice but to smile back. She wiped her tears away hastily on the back of her hand.

"I'm sorry for all the melodrama," she chuckled weakly. "This really wasn't what I called you here for."

Before Misty could ask exactly what it was, the young nurse had beckoned her towards a door behind the counter. The room led to a storage facility for the poke balls that trainers left in the pokemon center's care.

Already, Misty had a bad feeling rising in the back of her mind. She let Joy led her obediently into the room, past the countless machines and the scanners.

Misty watched dully as the scanner clicked hummed, and trilled sending red and white ball after red and white ball through their processes. The screens blinked shadowy versions of the contents in a mechanical almost rhythmic fashion. Most of the pokemon that Misty saw flashed upon the screens were images of low-leveled pidgey, rattatas and occasionally a caterpie. Misty avoided the machines with caterpies.

The room was long but not nearly enough to have the warehouse like feel her gym often took on. They had nearly reached the end of the stream of humming machinery when Misty thought she caught a glimpse of a Charizard's silhouette splashed across one of the visual readouts. She looked back just as the image changed to that of a butterfree.

"Joy, did that trainer own a charizard?" Misty asked as inconspicuously as possible.

The screen flashed again to that of a pideot. Joy looked back over her shoulder; somewhat bothered that Misty had stopped following her.

"Yes. Is that strange?"

"No. I guess not," said Misty shrugging the ill feeling off. Of course, other trainers owned similar pokemon. His line up of pokemon was always so very basic. It could only be natural that someone else could imitate it.

Joy led her further through a second door. The room that Misty ducked in to enter now was considerably smaller. It was filled to its limited capacity with shelves after shelves of poke balls. In the center of the room was a small table with a high-powered lamp hanging above it. And thus Misty's dread felt almost confirmed.

"Don't tell me this is about what I'm think it-"

Joy cut her off with a mysterious sort of smile. She pulled a single pokeball of the nearest shelf and threw it underhand up onto the table. The pokeball twisted in thin air, vomiting out a spurt of red before propelling itself back into Joy's waiting hands. The red light formed a pokemon on the table- a very annoying flippity floppity fish type pokemon.

"Not another magikarp," groaned Misty.

"Koiking, koiking," went the pokemon as it splashed to no water on the tabletop. Its daring entrance did not amuse Misty and it seemed to dismay the pokemon somehow. Contrary to popular belief, magikarp, although a very skittish pokemon by nature, loved to be the center of attention.

Koiking, koiking was really just magikarp for Look at me, look!

"The poor thing. Its trainer abandoned it here at the center nearly a month ago. I've tried to trace the trainer down but alas- the data I have is insufficient for tracking," said Joy.

"Look at me! Come on, look!"

"Have you tried releasing it?"

"Yes, but it is far too tame…"

"Ugh. You spoiled another one, did you?"

"Look! Look at me! Splashing, come on!"

"Perhaps," said Joy guiltily. "I only felt bad for the poor thing."

"Joy, you know full well how attached Magikarp can become if you keep them for too long. Its trainer probably found that out the hard way too. They really should be dubbed as the clingy pokemon rather than the tough pokemon."

"I was hoping that perhaps you could-"

"I already have five magikarp at my gym and all of them were courtesy of this pokemon center. I can't keep taking your abandoned pokemon, Joy!"

"Look! Look it!"

"Would you shut up!" shouted Misty angrily at the pokemon on the table.


Misty snatched the pokeball away from Joy and returned the annoying pokemon at once. She took a deep breath and stared momentarily at the pokeball still clutched in her hand. It still hummed from the sudden zapping back of energy. It was still warm beneath her fingertips.

"I feel bad for the magikarp too," said Misty honestly. "But my gym cannot simply keep accommodating all these magikarp. Eventually they evolve and you know how territorial they get as gyarados. We already had one kill a goldeen shortly after evolution."

"Yes, I understand," Joy exhaled noisily as if she didn't. "Unfortunately the pokemon center can no longer afford to feed all the extra mouths. I shall probably just have to find another caretaker. Perhaps Professor Oak would be willing to…"

Joy made a move to take the pokeball from the young red head, but Misty pulled back.

"Professor Oak? Oh geez no. I don't need to owe that man another favor. He already gives me enough grief as it is."

"Well I have to do something with the pokemon, Misty."

Misty groaned inwardly. She rubbed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger before finally relenting.

"Look," she said, her shoulders sagging with a sort of defeat. "I'll take the magikarp. But it'll be my pokemon. There's no need to get the gym involved in all this. I'll train it up, I have always wanted my own gyarados…"

"Oh, bless you Misty," interjected Joy.

She shook the girl suddenly by the hand. Joy's enthusiasm was sickening. "I'll get the adoption papers out. You'll be a perfect trainer for the magikarp, I'm sure."

"Yeah…" said Misty, cringing as she glanced down at what appeared to now be her pokeball. It seemed she was already suffering buyer's remorse.

Pikachu had eaten all the cookies, save for one. This one was deformed. Perhaps it had just not carved right in the cookie cutter. But whatever the case was for its deformity, it was still no pokemon Pikachu had ever seen before. And that amused him.

So he didn't eat it. Instead he kept it and carried it with his teeth, around the pokemon center lobby. It was stale as a rock. This made Pikachu like it even more. It was strong and a challenge. He decided to name it Grendel. The ugly gremlin cookie named Grendel.

Ash watched Pikachu's circling track with some disinterest. Joy still hadn't emerged from the back room, and he needed to make his way over to the gym. He wanted to get an early start so no other trainer could, save there be one, jump in line ahead of him. Like what happened that time before. The wait was always pure torture.

Sighing, Ash leaned against the counter.

"What you doing with that cookie, Pikachu?"

"Rampaging the countryside," responded the pokemon.

"Alright. Have fun then," said Ash with no real idea what kind of permission he had granted. Pikachu just grinned and continued to march in its circles.

The television was on in the corner. News flashes of yet another poor sap who got on the wrong side of a wild pokemon. Ash couldn't watch the screen. He knew that pokemon training was dangerous. Heck, he had been in some pretty bad scrapes before. What unnerved him the most was that these kids were dying from scrapes he was perfectly accustomed to. To think that his life was always tethered between life and death. To think that he had been flirting with death for the past six years unknowingly. Or had he really? Or were all these new accidents really just what they seemed to be, new?

At last, Ash heard the click of the door opening. He whirled about just in time to see Joy coming through the door. She appeared somewhat surprised to see Ash already in the lobby, but not so much so that it would make her forget why he would be there.

"Checking out?"

"And picking up," added Ash.

"Good, good," Joy nodded. She turned the computer on. Ash heard her start up the gentle percussion of clicks on the keyboard. He waited patiently, tapping his fingers along to the beat.

"Here. Just need to fill out this little form and I'll get your pokemon back to you in a moment."

She handed him a clipboard. No sooner had he started on it than had he heard another click of the door. Out of the corner of his eye, Ash saw a second woman enter the lobby.

Perhaps another nurse, thought Ash absentmindedly.

Pikachu leapt up on the counter beside Ash, still gnawing on his cookie. He had managed to chew off its arm, or if that appendage could really be called an arm. Ash stopped filling out the form to momentarily stare.

"I really need to find pellets. These cookies can't be healthy."

He reached out to take the cookie. Pikachu saw this, and growled. His cheeks sparked dangerously.

"Sorry," said Ash, pulling back his arm. "I should have known better than to take food from you, Pikachu."

"You touch Grendel and his mother will eat you."

Ash laughed weakly in response, returning to his paperwork. Sometimes Ash felt it was best he didn't understand what Pikachu was saying.

Ash hadn't even noticed that the extra nurse was not a nurse. Nor had Misty noticed that the pokemon trainer was actually in fact, Ash. With his head down, staring intently at the form and her signing her own form, the two completely overlooked each other.

Misty sighed miserably as she signed her name on the final line. She felt as though she had just inscribed her own will. How embarrassing it was to have a magikarp at this stage of her career. What would her sisters say? She would definitely have to avoid using magikarp in battles that they could witness.

Misty glanced up and noticed the boy behind the counter for the first time. His dark hair and light complexion seemed vaguely familiar. It was in his arms and in his hands that she felt as though she might have known him.

Before she could get a better look, Joy had returned with a cart of pokeballs. She took the tray from the top and slid it over next to Ash who had just completed his forms.

It was then when Ash handed Joy the clipboard, his hands brushing over the pokeballs just handed back to him, that his eyes met Misty's.

At first neither one knew what to make of the other. Misty took in his age, and his maturity through the eyes, the longer stretch of his face and lack of his famous baseball cap. His clothes were darker. His build more noticeable. And quite frankly, he didn't look anything like Ash Ketchum anymore. All the things that had defined him in the past seemed to have disappeared or at least faded by time.

He looked like a handsome young man. And to Ash, Misty looked like a standard albeit beautiful woman. Her hair down and her clothes more complementary to her curves and feminine appearance, she wasn't the tomboy he grew up with. Neither recognized the other at all.

And then Joy put down the clipboard.

"Well, you're all set, Mr. Ketchum."

"Mr. Ketchum?" Misty repeated.

"Pikachu pi," said Pikachu catching on.

Ash knew full well who Pikachu pi was.

"Oh shit."

Ash grabbed the tray of pokeballs and whirled around faster than Misty could make her way around the counter. He nearly spilled them all over the floor. If not for his careful hand guarding those that leapt from the tray, they would have certainly fallen.

Pikachu followed Ash, cookie still in his mouth- unintentionally leaping out in front of Misty so that she stumbled. Pikachu looked back only for a moment, feeling guilty for the act. So now he was an accomplice. And with that in mind, Pikachu took off after his master.

"Thank you, Joy! Sorry but I gotta go now!" called Ash behind his shoulder as he made for the double doors.

"Thanks for the cookies!"said Pikachu.

"Ash, you bastard! Get back here!" shrieked Misty, pushing herself off the floor and giving chase.

Joy, stunned, waved after them both. "Thanks for coming…"

Ash plucked each pokeball from the tray and quickly reattached them to his belt. Misty was still hot on his trail.

"Stop!" said Misty.

"So you can kill me? I think not," said Ash with a dark chuckle.

"Stop or I'll make you!"

They hadn't made it that far from the pokemon center. But there was room for what he had to do. Determined to escape, the next and last pokeball he took from the tray went directly out on the ground in front of him. In a flash of red came the twittering and cheerful butterfree.

"Butterfree, sleep powder!" commanded Ash, tossing the tray aside.

The butterfree responded with a small aerial somersault and a trill that could only measure up to an affirmative response. It fluttered its wings in a rapid motion sending a fog of potent powder in the young woman's direction.

With reflexes that had given her the title of gym leader, Misty yanked a pokeball off her own belt.

"Starmie!" She shouted as the pokemon erupted from its containment. "Watergun!"

The Starmie gonged, its jeweled core brightening before twisting it propeller like appendages around. Misty covered her mouth behind a sleeve just as the cloud descended upon them. Starmie bent back what could be assumed as its head and sent forth a brilliant jet of water. The water cut straight through the powder and directly for Butterfree.

With evasiveness that most pokemon did not have, Butterfree slipped around the attack. Misty was so shocked that she almost didn't notice Pikachu sending a thunder shock directly through the water current towards Starmie.

She returned her pokemon in haste, just barely avoiding what could have been disastrous.

"You're quite good," she said looking up at the trainer before her.

Except he wasn't before her anymore. He, his pikachu, and his butterfree were running as fast as they all could down the road ahead. Misty's face went pink.

"For a lousy cheater! Get back here! We're not done!"

"Yes we are! I give up, you win!" called back Ash.

"Not that easily," grumbled the red head, retrieving another pokeball from her belt.

Ash thought he was home free. That was until he heard the faint jingle of bells. Pikachu looked up before he did.

"Pi pi pi!" said Pikachu cheerfully.

Ash managed to see Togetic just as it finished its metronome. Out of nowhere shot a vine whip that quite easily wrapped completely around the young trainer. Pikachu and Butterfree looked on helplessly, as their master cried out and struggled against the vines that had now captured him.

"Tough luck…" whistled the Butterfree.

Misty took her time getting over to them. It seemed she took amusement in Ash's struggle to get free. But no matter how hard he kicked or waved his arms about, the vines wouldn't let him go. Eventually he hung limp, utterly defeated.

"Hello Ash," said Misty, looking up at the trainer hanging from her handiwork.

"Hello Misty, could you let me down please?"

"Noooo, I don't think I will," came Misty's playful reply.

Ash struggled again, looking helplessly from both Butterfree and Pikachu neither whom could do much against his prison. He needed Bulbasaur, and he couldn't reach his belt.

"Aw come on, Misty. Let me down."

"And let you run away again?"

"I won't run."

"Won't you?"

"This is unfair! You have no right to contain me like this," his face went red as he added in an undertone, "What if someone sees me here?"

"Not my problem."

"Misty! Let me down! At least give me a chance!"

It seemed that Misty was puzzling over something. She tapped her chin before smiling back up at Ash.

"I'll let you go on one condition."

"Name it."

"Battle me. A fair one on one pokemon match. If I win, you stay. If I lose, then you can run away again. I won't follow."

Now it was Ash's turn to grin. "Done."

There was silence for a moment- both smiling at the other in anticipation for the fight. That was until Ash broke the mood with single circular waves of his hands- his arms still locked by the vines.

"Um… now would be a good time to call your egg off me."

To Be Continued…
Please Read and Review!

Next time, Misty and Ash's battle and then Ash's take on the Viridian Gym.

Thanks to all future reviewers. This one is for you.