It's Not About
was not the way his first day of training was supposed to go!
starters, he had overslept. Which meant
he hadn't reached Professor Oak's in time to pick his first choice of starter
pokémon. That turned out to be okay, as
he got a Pikachu instead—a stubborn, ornery, and totally disobedient Pikachu,
that is. And now, his efforts at
actually capturing his first pokémon had gone disastrously awry. Not only had Pikachu gotten hurt, but they
were being chased by a flock of angry spearows.
looked to be only one way to escape.
"Pikachu, hold your breath!
We're going under!" the boy yelled. The pokémon in his arms, despite its pain, wore an expression of
both shock and excitement—how'd it ever end up with such a half-crazed boy as a
trainer, and why was this misadventure so fun?
Ash didn't have time to notice this, however, as he was too busy diving
headfirst into the river. The current
was fast, and combined with Ash's frantic kicking, they had drifted quite a bit
by the time Ash surfaced.
think we did it," he said, his heart beating rapidly from the catastrophe
that had almost happened. Then his eyes
opened wide. "Oh no! Pikachu, hold on tight!" And they catapulted over the waterfall.
a thin redheaded girl pulled her fishing pole up in disappointment. "Nothing," she said, sighing as
she reeled in her line. "Well, I
guess I'll go try somewhere else."
She packed her things onto her bike and rode away.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Ash and Pikachu both screamed as the
gyrados they had encountered underwater threw them clear out of the river and
right to the edge of the forest. Ash
stood up and hastily brushed himself off.
"Well, that's one way to do it," he muttered. "Come on, Pikachu, time to get you to a
PokéCenter!" And he ran ahead, praying his legs would be able to take him
there fast enough.
had gotten there in time, and Pikachu had been alright. He managed to capture two new pokémon, and
acquired a traveling buddy, an older boy by the name of Brock, not to mention
two idiotic enemies in the form of Team Rocket flunkies, by the time he reached
Cerulean City. All in all, he was
feeling pretty confident as he approached the gym.
me," he said to the pretty blonde at the desk, as soon as he had been able
to drag a drooling Brock away the counter.
"I'd like to challenge the gym leader for a badge."
can do," the girl said, smacking her gum.
That was enough to bring Brock out of his stupor and cause Ash to look
at her in dismay.
do you mean?" Ash asked. "I
came all the way here to get a Cascade badge, and I want you to give it to
since you put it that way," the girl reached under the counter and pulled
out a raindrop shaped blue badge.
"Here you go."
and Brock both gaped at her in amazement.
"That's not what I meant," Ash sputtered. "What about the battle?"
girl shrugged. "Our pokémon
usually participate in water shows instead of battles, so they're not used to
fighting. We had this dude from Pallet
town come by earlier this week, and he wiped them all out. They're at the PokéCenter right now getting
treated. All we have left is a Magikarp
with a splash attack."
from Pallet town? Was his name Gary, by
any chance?" Ash asked wearily.
I think it was," the girl said in surprise. "How'd you know
guess," Ash muttered. He took a
moment to think. If Gary had already
gotten a badge, then his rival was ahead of him once again. He needed this badge to catch up. Besides, he thought smugly, it would annoy
Gary if he knew that Ash had had to do less work than him with the same
"Alright, I'll take it," Ash said. "Thank you."
problem," the girl said.
"Hey, you want to stay for one of our water shows? My sisters and I are going to be giving one
at two o'clock."
they all as pretty as you?" Brock elbowed Ash out of the way. "Not that I see how it could be
possible for anyone to match your loveliness..."
for sure," the girl said, laughing.
"Lily and Violet and I aren't called the Sensational sisters for
and Violet? That's beautiful...but
since you're the rarest of them all, your name must be Rose, then," Brock
Romeo," the girl said, popping a bubble right in his face. "It's Daisy."
that you?" Ash pointed to a poster behind the counter. Three girls in mermaid costumes posed for
the camera. No wait, four girls. A younger girl, dressed in the same outfit,
sat underneath them petting a Seel.
"Who's the other girl?"
that's the runt." Daisy dismissed
her with a wave of her hand.
"She's our younger sister Misty.
Cute, but the girl has a serious attitude problem."
looks nice to me," Ash said.
does Ash have a crush?" Brock teased, and Ash blushed.
course not! Besides, who are you to
talk?" he snapped. "Sorry,
Daisy, I don't think we'll have time for the water show today. I have to keep training so that Gary doesn't
get farther ahead of me. But I'll be
sure to stop in next time I come through."
you say so," Daisy shrugged.
journey continued to go well, in spite of the fact that Gary was always one
step ahead of him. And Brock seemed to
have just as many misadventures as he did, Ash was discovering. Of course,
Brock's always involved girls, while Ash's usually had to do with pokémon, but
the end result was, life was never boring for the two guys.
the incident at Maiden's Peak. "He
promised he'd be back by now," Ash said, looking at the clock with his
brow creased as he was beginning to worry about his friend. "I have to go get him."
we have to close the doors now," Nurse Joy told him sympathetically. "I'm sure your friend will be fine.
He's probably just sleeping over at a friend's house."
like a ghost's shrine," Ash sighed, then settled down on his cot. "But if there's nothing I can do, then
there's nothing I can do. I'll talk to
got up early, still concerned about his friend, and went to find him
immediately after the sun came up. "Brock, what are you still doing
here?" Ash asked in exasperation, after finding him in exactly the same
place he had left him.
can't leave her," Brock mumbled.
neither," James echoed.
Rocket?" Ash exclaimed.
you expected the elite four?" Jessie said from behind him. He turned around and saw her sitting on the
grass behind him, looking bored.
"They've been here all night.
And we've been stuck watching them."
"Oh. Thanks." Ash wasn't sure what to make of that.
bother. The only reason we kept
an eye on your friend, too, is because James seems to be copying his every
move," Jessie snapped.
"What's up with that?"
ghastly was up with that, causing the two heartsick boys to be in love with the
ghost of a girl who had died two thousand years ago. As it turned out, it was too strong for any of them to battle and
win, but they were successful enough to break the spell by the time the sun
came up the next day and the ghastly had to disappear. Ash and Brock and Team
Rocket went their separate ways, but Ash had to wonder if Jessie was having as
much trouble with a dejected James as he was with Brock.
be a whole year until I see her again..." Brock sighed.
on, Brock, there will be plenty of girls until then," Ash said, not
believing he was actually encouraging his friend to be an obnoxious flirt. "Why don't you come to the festival
tonight? You'll probably meet some
thanks. I'll just stay here and
mourn," Brock sighed. Ash hit his
head with the palm of his hand. He
should have known. Brock didn't have
to be hypnotized in order to act like an idiot.
yourself." So Ash ended up going
to the festivities alone.
was standing around in his nice kimono, trying to figure out where to go, when
a redheaded girl in a beautiful pink formal kimono appeared in front of
him. She smiled at him, and for a
moment he was tempted to have a Brock moment and swoon in front of her.
"Hi. I was just wondering, as you don't seem to
be doing anything...do you want to dance?" she asked.
he said, hesitantly accepting her outstretched hand. She took him over to the modern dance area.
can do the traditional dance, if you'd rather do that," she said.
this is fine. It's easier to fake it
over here," he said, and she laughed.
name's Misty. What's yours?"
he said slowly. "You look
familiar, now that I think about it. Do I know you from somewhere?"
don't think so. But I live with my
sisters in Cerulean City, if that helps any," she told him.
so that's it!....you're the runt?" he asked in disbelief.
stopped dancing and glared at him.
realized his mistake and hastily backpedaled.
Boy, did he need to learn to think before he spoke!
that's not what I meant," he stuttered, his face turning pink. "It's just...ah...I mean...um..."
been talking to my sisters," Misty said, a knowing look on her face. "Is that right? They always think they're better than me
just because they're older."
"Yes. I mean no.
I mean..." he blushed at her giggle. "I mean, I saw your picture back at their gym. But Brock's the one who likes older
women. That is, you don't look like a
runt to me. I mean, err..." Now
his face was bright pink as she was flat out laughing at him now.
to quit while you're ahead?" she teased him gently, and he had to laugh
guess so," he said sheepishly, and they started dancing again. Ash had never danced with a girl before, not
in a dance setting, at least. It was
maybe it was just Misty...
journey continued to go well. He had
accumulated six badges by the time Princess Day came around. Not that, being a guy, it affected him
any, but Brock insisted that they stay in the town for at least one more day
until the festivities ended.
bound to be a princess in distress who will let me be her prince," he
never happen. She'd be too scared that you'd
turn into a frog if she kissed you," Ash said, unimpressed.
see. Watch this. Officer Jenny!" Brock ran over to the
police woman, who looked at him in surprise.
I know you?" she asked.
but I know you, because I see you in my dreams every night," Brock
said. "Would you allow me the
pleasure of being your prince on this glorious princess day?"
laughed. "You're cute," she
said, and Brock's face broke into a wide grin as Ash looked at her
fact, you remind me of my little brother," she added, and Brock fell down
in despair. Ash laughed as Officer
Jenny walked away.
up, Brock. Maybe some day you'll find a
girl who will actually let you fawn over her," he said in amusement. "Come on, let's go find something to
eat." He pulled his friend up and
they started to leave.
me!" Ash turned around at the
sound of a girl's voice. It sounded
vaguely familiar. His eyes widened as
he recognized the figure walking towards him.
me," Misty said again, smiling, "But I couldn't help overhearing
you. As you know, it's Princess day, a
day when boys have to do everything a girl says. So, I insist that you take me to lunch with you."
Misty said, then laughed.
"Besides, my meal's going to be free in any restaurant you go in
today, so I'd be a cheap date."
looked at her critically. "I think
you're a little young for me..." he started to say, but Ash's mind had
latched on the word date and he shoved Brock forcefully to the side.
where do you want to eat?" he said brightly.
picked a small delicatessen in the downtown area, and they sat down to chat as
they ate. Ash proudly showed off his
badges, and Misty noticed a familiar one.
you mean you actually convinced my sisters to let you win one?" she
asked. "They don't usually like to
battle. They might break a nail,"
she said dryly.
yeah, they gave me one," Ash said hastily, then changed the subject before
she found out how true his words were.
"So, what are you doing here?"
here for the Queen of the Princesses contest," she explained. "In the past, each of my sisters has
come to one of these and won it. The
prize is a doll set. They're really
pretty, and I always wanted a set of my own, but I had to settle for the broken
ones and the dolls that my sisters didn't like. This year, I decided I wanted to win a set for myself."
and Brock exchanged a look. It must be
a girl thing. Or maybe just a Misty
thing. In any case, Ash didn't
care. "We'll cheer you on,"
he said, and was rewarded with a dazzling smile that made it worth it.
you," she said.
boys sat out in the audience later on, waiting for the beauty portion of the
contest to start. Finally the announcer
began the competition. The crowd began
clapping, and Ash yelled out a "Yay, Misty!" and clapped vigorously
before turning to Brock and saying through clenched teeth, "Uh, Brock? Where is she?"
chuckled. "She's in the kimono
with the rainbows on it, wearing the little gold crown on her head."
"Oh! Now I see...her..." And Ash's mouth
dropped open. So it was that Misty
happened to look out at the audience right that moment and giggled when she saw
Ash in a trance as he stared at her.
had recovered by the time the pokémon battles started. Misty came out, dressed casually again and
wrong?" Ash asked.
just that all I have are water pokémon," she said. "And I love them, but I'm just worried
that I'll be at a disadvantage against some of the others. What if someone specializes in electric type
pokémon? I'd be out of the match!"
sweat!" Ash said, a little too eagerly.
"You can borrow some of ours!"
can?" Misty asked, gratefully.
can?" Brock didn't sound nearly as
elbowed Brock in the stomach and shut him up.
"Of course!" he said.
"Pikachu will battle for you, won't you, Pikachu?"
the pokémon agreed, having met Misty before and liking her each time.
Bulbasaur is a grass type, and...Brock will let you use Vulpix!" Ash
Brock whined. "But Vulpix
I love Vulpix! It's so cute!"
Misty squealed. "That's so gentlemanly of you, Brock."
Brock was pacified. "Well, you
know how I am around girls..."
she doesn't, and she's not gonna find out," Ash said, knocking Brock back
out of the conversation. "Okay
guys," he told his pokémon, "listen, you do whatever Misty says. And good luck!"
you!" Misty said. "I hope I
smiled. He had actually been encouraging the pokémon, but he wasn't going to
disillusion her. "I hope you do
battles were exciting. Misty won the
first rounds with ease, but each round got more and more difficult, until
finally, Misty was in the final match.
And her competitor was...
Ash and Brock echoed each other as they spotted the Team Rocket member. Misty looked at them curiously.
you know each other?" she asked.
and Brock exchanged a look.
"Unfortunately," Ash said.
"Kick her butt, Mist!"
up, twerp," Jessie muttered from her side of the field, having heard Ash's
battle looked one-sided from the start.
Pikachu's thundershock nailed each of Jessie's pokémon before they could
even manage an offensive move. And then
there was only one battle left.
did Team Rocket get a Lickitung?" Ash asked in surprise.
of your business," Jessie said haughtily.
"Lickitung, use lick!"
And suddenly Pikachu was out of commission. Bulbasaur and Vulpix met the same fate, and Misty's and Jessie's
positions were reversed. The last
battle would be the clincher.
was gripping the edge of his chair, watching Misty nervously. Misty herself was staring at her last
poké-ball grimly. "You're my only
hope..." she said softly.
"Go, Star....what?" she exclaimed. "Psyduck?!"
that's interesting battle strategy," Brock said, and Misty blushed.
"Alright. Use water gun," she told him.
lick!" Jessie ordered.
just stood there, neither attacking nor being affected by the attack. Both their trainers looked at them,
tackle!" Jessie says. "Go
on...Lickitung?" The pokémon was
ignoring her, continuing to lick Psyduck.
Misty?" Ash asked. She turned
towards him tensely. "What's wrong
turned back. It was turning blue, and
suddenly she cheered up.
"Alright! It's got a
headache! Finally! Come on Psyduck, use confusion!"
eyes glowed, quite scarily in fact, and then a powerful blast knocked Team
Rocket and their pokémon clear out of the ring and into the sky. And Misty was declared the winner. Ash and Brock screamed exuberantly for her,
making her laugh.
on, as they were helping her pack the dolls to send home, she said,
"Thanks for letting me use your pokémon, guys."
problem," Ash said. "At least
not with a great trainer like you. That
was a smart move, waiting until Psyduck got a headache before he attacked! I never would have thought of it!"
Misty said, blushing a little at this.
"Well, anyway. Thanks
again. For everything." And she looked directly at Ash and winked.
and Brock had to go through Cerulean City again on the way to battle for his
that girl?" Brock said, floating hearts practically visible above his head
as he stared at a billboard in passing.
famous water ballerina," Ash said, reading the advertisement out
loud. "You know, it almost looks
like Misty." Mention of his cute
friend made him wistful, then he perked up.
"Hey, this is where she lives!
Come on Brock, let's go see this show.
Maybe she'll be there."
gave him a doubtful look, not liking this role reversal. He was supposed to be the girl-crazy
one. "I don't know Ash. You wanted that gym badge..."
those are her sisters." Ash
pointed to a smaller insert in the corner that Brock had overlooked, naming and
picturing the sponsors.
"Oh....ah! The Water Flowers of Cerulean City, how could
I have forgotten?" he said happily.
"Lead the way!"
and Brock arrived early and managed to snag a seat near the front. It seemed like forever before the show
started, but eventually the lights dimmed.
"Ladies and gentleman..." a woman announced. "Children of all ages. May I introduce...The Littlest Mermaid!"
bleachers were filled to capacity, and the stadium erupted in cheers as the
pool rose up out of the floor and the star of the show swam out. "It is her! Look, Brock, it's Misty..."
was busy staring at the platform up above the pool with a strangely dopey
expression on his face. "Is it me,
or is that guy really pretty?" he said suspiciously, staring at the
smacked him. "That's because it's
really a girl, dummy. It's her sister
in disguise, see?"
Brock laughed, allowing himself to go into full lovesick mood then. "Whew, I was a little worried there for
comment," Ash said. At the
platform in question, the spotlight moved off the Misty mermaid to the
announcer and the two mysterious figures standing with her.
two pirates attacked..." the announcer began, only to be cut off.
for trouble..." the first one said.
make it double..." the second one finished.
not part of the show!" Ash yelped, bolting upright. The people behind him screamed for him to
sit down, but Ash ignored them and took off running.
where do you think you're going?" Brock shook his head in exasperation and
ran after his younger friend. He
followed Ash into the back stage area.
Daisy had temporarily given up her announcer duties and was preparing to
make her grand entrance as Prince.
and Brock pushed past her.
"Hey..." she started to protest.
here! We'll take care of Misty!"
thought we were stopping Team Rocket," Brock protested.
Misty has an admirer? This should be
fun to see," Daisy said, suddenly content to sit back and watch.
and Brock grabbed two breathing devices on their way out, then dove into the
tank. Misty was holding her own well,
sending out her Horsea against Team Rocket's Arbok. Unfortunately she couldn't do any more than that, and was
watching helplessly as Team Rocket gathered up all her Goldeen.
"Squirtle!" Ash's voice was garbled through the
breathing device as he let out his pokémon.
"Stop them from capturing those pokémon!" He swam up to Misty, who gave him a startled
yet delighted expression.
was all she said, but it was enough to make Ash puff up with pride.
broke past the other pokémon, but then a Seel darted between the Arbok and the
people it was trying to attack. It held
off the poison pokémon's attacks bravely, and even countered with a headbutt,
but Ash worried that it couldn't hold out much longer. That's when it began glowing with a bright
three trainers watched as it evolved into a Dewgong. Misty clapped her hands as the Dewgong promptly froze all of Team
Rocket's pokémon, including the two flunkies themselves, with a powerful ice
grabbed Misty's arm and they swam up to the surface, everyone climbing onto a
rock. Once they were safely out of the
Thundershock!" The bolt of
electricity sent the whole lot of intruders flying off. The crowd cheered at the dramatic climax to
the show, still none the wiser.
so," the announcer's voice came out over the intercom, "the handsome
prince—make that princes—save the day!"
thinks I'm handsome!" Brock cried joyously.
always knew you were a prince, Ash, " Misty said. "Guess there's only one thing to
do." And she leaned over and
kissed him on the cheek.
"Eh...he..." Ash could only laugh as his face turned beet
red, placing a hand over the spot where she had kissed him. "Well, a princess needs a prince."
you want to come to my room and see how I displayed my princess dolls?"
she said brightly.
They held hands as they left, leaving
Brock behind, but he didn't seemed notice.
And even if he did, as the Sensational sisters came out to check on
their pokémon he was too busy trying to impress them with his pokémon prowess
was a good memory to end on, Ash thought ruefully in the months that passed
before he saw her again. His first
efforts at becoming a master had ended respectfully but unsuccessfully, as he
only made the top sixteen at the Pokémon League. He couldn't help but think at the time what Misty would have
thought of that. But always determined,
he allowed himself only a little time to sulk before heading off on another
adventure, this time in the Orange League.
traveling companion was different this time.
"I've been a wandering man long enough," Brock announced to
Ash when they reached Professor Ivy's labs.
He struck a rugged stance that the wind blowing his apron in the breeze
seemed to parody. "I won't make my
father's mistakes. It's time to settle
down and be a family man."
you say so..." Ash, despite his occasional doubts about his friend, was
honestly downcast at this. "I'll
miss you, but you have to do what you've got to do." The two friends waved goodbye.
picked up another friend, though, a pokémon watcher named Tracey who helped him
care for a lost Lapras they found. They
traveled around the islands together, Tracey watching and observing the
different pokémon they came across, and Ash accepting all the battles he was
offered. He had garnered two badges by the time they reached Trovita island.
she's in trouble!" Ash yelled as Lapras approached the island. There was a small girl and her seel caught
in a whirlpool. "We have to do
need!" Tracey yelled. "Look!"
girl and her staryu swam out and pulled the girl out, then tread water,
exhausted from having to fight the whirlpool.
Ash directed Lapras to pick her up and was in for a shock when he
"Ash!" Misty laughed. "You always do seem to show up in the right place at the
right time! I didn't know you were in the
Orange Islands—are you here to battle for a badge?"
sure am! What are you doing here?"
Ash asked. Misty hesitated, giving the
little girl a chance to pipe up.
my sister!" she told him. Ash
looked at her in surprise.
didn't know you had a younger sister," he said.
don't," Misty said, blushing.
"Marie just likes to call me that because I treat her like a little
see," Ash said as they reached the shore and climbed off Lapras, but
belied his words when he then asked, "Why?"
a boy's voice broke in, "Marie's always wanted a sister. So she just adopts all my girlfriends as her
was too busy staring at Misty to answer.
Girlfriend? She gave him an
anguished look, then smiled nervously at the other boy. "I guess I should introduce you
two," she said weakly. "Rudy,
this is one of my friends, Ash. Ash,
this is Rudy."
boyfriend," Rudy added, walking over and putting a protective arm around
Misty. Misty shrugged it off,
unnecessarily annoyed at this action.
This didn't stop Rudy from throwing a smirk at Ash. "I got a good one, didn't I?"
did," Ash forced a smile.
"You're really lucky, Rudy.
In fact," he said, inspired, "Misty's the only other girl I've
ever met that's just as pretty as Melody."
it was Misty's turn to stare at him as both Rudy and Tracey looked
surprised. "Your girl?" Rudy asked.
but I had to leave her behind on Shamuti island," Ash said casually. "She didn't want to travel, so I told
her we'd have to hold off until after League was over."
leaned over and spoke to him in a low tone.
"But Ash, you never...oof!" A well-placed elbow stopped the watcher's comments. Misty was watching the two with an
the League? You're a bit confident,
aren't you?" Rudy said.
"You've got to get past me first, you know."
it on," Ash told him.
you have to prove yourself worthy to battle first..." Rudy began.
show him to the gym, Rudy," Misty said quietly.
Rudy turned to look at her, surprised that she had bothered to interrupt
him. "But Misty, you know that the
obstacle course is always..."
show him to the gym," she said again.
"He's good enough. I'll vouch for that." She turned around and walked away, her step
the slowest Ash had ever seen. Had he
caused that? He felt a pang of guilt,
then shrugged it off as Rudy looked at him and spoke.
Rudy said, "I guess we'll use the outdoor stadium. You can pick three pokémon, and I'll choose
three of the same type. May the best
better believe it," Ash muttered.
faced off on a platform stadium, basically an elevated island above the sea,
beginning with electric type pokémon. Pikachu was quickly overpowered by an
Electabuzz, one of the few gym battles it didn't win. Then it was onto grass types.
After a tough battle, Bulbasaur's sleep powder won this round against
Rudy's Exeggutor. Finally it was down
to the water pokémon.
surprised them all when he commanded his Starmie to spin around rapidly and
then it suddenly unleashed a thunderbolt.
Ash's Squirtle, weak against electricity, was knocked almost to the edge
of the platform as Ash yelled out in surprise.
was all he could think of saying.
"Ash!" Misty's voice yelled out, distracting both
the gym leader and challenger.
"Come on, get it together!
You're the only one who can bring out Squirtle's real power!"
what are you doing?" Rudy asked in astonishment.
helping a fellow trainer," she said. Rudy's face hardened and he glared at Ash.
it," he commanded his starmie.
on your life," Ash replied, buoyed by her encouragement. "Squirtle, water gun!"
broke free, only to be knocked off the cliff by the rebound. Ash ran to the edge and yelled down after
the pokémon started spinning, water pumping out of its shell. The water ricocheted off the rocks
surrounding the platform and propelled Squirtle back up to the scene of the
learned hydropump!" Tracey exclaimed, as he had been watching the
battles—both the physical one between the pokémon and the psychological one
between Ash and Rudy—from the sidelines.
"The pressure from the battle must have given him the
"Great! Squirtle, let's do it! Hydropump again!" And it was finished.
Ash, I guess you earned this," Rudy said grudgingly, as he handed Ash a
Spike Shell badge.
"Congratulations. Though I
must say," Rudy added as he put his arm around Misty, "I still have
won't disagree with that," Ash said, and Misty smiled at them
faintly. "Thanks, Rudy. It was good to meet you—and good to see you
Misty said, and they smiled sadly at each other then Ash turned to leave.
and Tracey decided to take a quick sidebar after Ash won his fourth badge and
before they headed to Pummelo island.
They stopped off on a small island, giving Tracey a chance to sketch
some new pokémon and Ash to do some more training. Or at least he was supposed to be training.
you still thinking about that girl?" Tracey asked. Ash was sitting more quietly than usual in
the grass behind Tracey as the watcher sketched a vileplume.
Ash said irritably, "of course not.
I was just thinking about the upcoming Orange League, that's all. In fact, I'm going to go practice some more
right now." He stood up and
brushed himself off. "Come on,
Pikachu." The pokémon looked up
but didn't get a chance to follow its trainer, as Ash promptly tripped over a
tree root as he started to stomp away but fell headlong into Tracey instead.
watch it....oww," Tracey said weakly as they both fell at the
vileplume and startled it, causing it to release its stun spore on them then
run away. They sank against each
other's backs. "What are we going to do?" Tracey asked in a thin
voice. "We need antidote to get
need some help," Ash said, sounding just as sickly. "Pikachu, do something,
Tracey and Ash yelled simultaneously.
won't help any," Ash added hastily and Pikachu stopped charging up,
looking at its trainer helplessly.
"See if you can go find some help," Ash said. Pikachu ran off, and Ash closed his eyes,
his chest heaving. It was hard to
breathe with that stuff in his lungs.
what seemed like an eternity he heard a soft voice. "What happened?"
He opened his eyes and blinked.
an angel," he murmured. Misty
up, Ash," she said gently.
"You're delirious from stun spore.
Come on, you two have got to lie down.
There's a rest house just past those trees. I can help you one at a time if you think you can make it. Here, put your arm around my shoulder for
support. Pikachu, stay here with Tracey
and come get me if anything happens."
barely managed to stagger to his feet, and together they limped over to a small
hut. Misty laid him carefully on a
pallet inside. "I don't want to
leave you alone," she said worriedly.
be okay," he said, already breathing easier now that he was lying
flat. "Send Pikachu back as soon
as you get there. I promise I'll be all
brushed his bangs off his forehead.
"Okay," she said softly.
"I'll be back real soon.
be hard, but I'll try," Ash said, closing his eyes in exhaustion. She smiled slightly through her concern.
to her word, Misty was back shortly.
Though in his condition Ash found it impossible to tell exactly how
long. She tenderly placed a wonderfully
cool wet cloth over both of their foreheads.
Tracey murmured sleepily. "Where's
Dexter..." Misty raised her
eyebrows disturbingly and looked at Ash.
he asking for someone?" she asked.
Ash tried to laugh and choked instead.
pokédex," he managed to spit out.
"In my jacket."
"Oh!" Misty blushed. "Right." She
pulled the device out and looked up Vileplume.
broth made of Sangora weed is the antidote?" she said. "Found at the bottom of lakes. There's a lake nearby, I'll go see if I can
find some. Pikachu, you stay here and
come get me if there's an emergency.
I'll be back as soon as I can," she told the boys.
Ash said gratefully.
can thank me when I've found the Sangora weed," she said gently. "Wish me luck."
don't need luck."
you stop with that?" she said, laughing, then raced out of the hut.
dozed off while he waited for her. He
was aware of Tracey shifting every so often, just as Tracey was probably aware
of every time he coughed or groaned.
Pikachu drug a new washcloth over to him every so often, though the
pokémon couldn't be nearly as graceful as Misty. Finally, in a daze, he was aware of someone helping him to sit
up. She held a cup of broth out to
she said. "I tried not to make it
too hot, but I don't want you to burn yourself."
took a cautious sip out of the cup as Misty helped hold it. It tasted bland, but he could stomach
it. Much better than Robitussen. The liquid seemed to sooth his throat,
anyway. Almost immediately he felt
drinking it," she said. "I'll
was relatively alert as he watched his other friend receive treatment of his
own. When they were both fully
recovered they stood up and gave Misty a grateful look, but were interrupted by
shouting outdoors before they could voice their thanks. They ran outside to investigate.
for trouble..." Jessie was trying to say, but James had his hand over her
mouth and he and Meowth were carting her away.
again...I mean, Team Rocket's blasting off again!" Meowth yelled as they
ran off. Ash and Tracey gave them a
idea what that's about?" Ash asked.
they just discovered that they don't have to steal everything they want. Sometimes, all they have to do is ask,"
she said. The two boys gave her a
strange look. "I gave them some
Sangora weed," she admitted, and their expressions cleared.
was really nice of you," Ash said.
"Say...Misty...how did you happen to show up here, anyway?"
smiled. "I was just looking for
some new water pokémon," she said.
"And in fact, I did catch a Poliwag while I was searching for the
Sangora weed. What a coincidence,
was," Ash agreed. "So...I
guess you'll be going back to Trovita island now?" he asked
cautiously. She gave him a bittersweet
broke up, if that's what your asking," she said.
"Oh!" Ash wasn't sure what to think of being seen
through so easily. And he knew he
shouldn't be happy about the break-up, but couldn't help thinking that this
news had helped to heal him even more than the Sangora weed. "I'm sorry." He wasn't.
be," she said. "I mean, it
wasn't a bad parting, but...we were just meant to go our separate
ways." Ash nodded.
how's Melody?" It was Misty's turn
he had almost forgotten about that, and Tracey gave him an I told you so
look. "Actually, it's kind of
funny. Same thing happened. We just
decided it was too hard to keep up a long distance relationship."
Misty said, his words giving her a pained expression. Too late he realized his mistake.
I guess maybe I'll see you around sometime," she said sadly. "We do seem to run into each other a
Ash said, unsure of how to fix this.
"I'll treat you to lunch next time."
look forward to it," she said.
"Bye now." She waved
as she walked away. Ash waited until
she was gone before kicking the sand angrily.
move, genius," Tracey said sarcastically.
"'It's too hard to keep up a long distance relationship,'" he
up, Tracey," Ash said despondently.
"I'm depressed enough as it is."
life took another turn. He won the
final competition this time, becoming the youngest trainer ever to be an Orange
League champion. He traveled home to
give his trophy to his mom, and Brock and Tracey traded places once again as
Tracey stayed to help Professor Oak, as Brock was home for some indiscernible
happened at Professor Ivy's?" Ash asked him.
don't want to talk about it," Brock answered.
your male ego at stake?" Ash asked.
"Yes. Now leave me alone," Brock had
sniped. So Ash shrugged and did.
set out on a journey through Johto in order to compete in the Johto
League. Ash hadn't even made it to the
first gym when he and Brock managed to get lost in the forest. Night started to fall, making the dark
forest even darker, and the boys continued to stumble their way around. Strange noises appeared around them, and
they began seeing odd sights and spooky apparitions. They screamed as they backed into a tree only to turn around and
see a gaping mouth laughing at them. Then
a bright red light cut through the night and everything returned to normal.
off guard again, huh, Ash?" Gary walked towards him. Ash, still smarting from a loss to his rival
before setting out on his new journey, scowled at Gary.
do you want?" he asked.
knows that you need a hoot-hoot to get out of these woods," Gary said,
"to fight the ghost pokémon."
He gave Ash a critical look.
"Then again, obviously everybody doesn't know."
are you going to stick around and taunt me, or are you going to help me
out?" Ash groaned.
entertaining as that possibility sounds—both of them—I must be leaving,"
Gary said. "There's a house in the
woods where a woman rents hoot-hoots to hapless travelers—like you—to people
who aren't smart enough to capture their own hoot-hoot, like I did." He smirked.
"Smell you later."
of which, that line's gotten really stale, you know that?" Ash yelled at
Gary's retreating figure. Brock
the stupid jokes and just start looking for a hoot-hoot," Brock said. "Unless you want to be stuck here all night,
that is." Ash was still burning
but grudgingly began to help out.
efforts seemed in vain, though they did spot Ho-oh, a flying dratini, and a
pikachu that was ten times its normal size, which they figured were all
illusions from the ghosts. But when
they finally came across a hoot-hoot, Ash instructed Pikachu to thundershock it
to make sure it wasn't a mirage. It
squawked loudly and ran off.
it!" Ash yelled. They gave
chase. The hoot-hoot came back several
times to attack, but for the most part just tried to retreat. It eventually came to a hiding place, one
that even Ash and Brock couldn't get around.
It stood behind its trainer's legs.
looked up to see who the trim legs belonged to and perked up. "This night is starting to improve
already," he said approvingly.
"I was wondering when I'd see you again. I should have known it would be when I had managed to get into
another mess I couldn't get out of by myself.
Next time I want to see you, I'll just get lost in a desert without a
canteen, or something like that."
Misty laughed at this.
to see you too. Though it's a little
late for lunch," Misty teased, reminding him of his earlier promise. "How about I just help you guys out of
the forest instead?"
would be great," Ash said.
talked as they walked. "So,
Ash," Misty said, her eyes twinkling.
"I saw you on TV when you won the Orange League."
Ash said nervously, knowing where this was going.
did. Is it really true that you won that
trophy for me?" she teased. Ash
started laughing himself, his face a light pink that he hoped the darkness was
was a little excited," he said sheepishly.
you didn't win it for me?" she asked.
didn't say that," Ash said, smiling. "Unfortunately, my mom claimed
it as a dumbbell to exercise with before I could give it to you, so I'm afraid
you'll have to fight her for it."
I can't exactly steal from your mother," she said, then looked ahead and
suddenly shrieked. She jumped back and
grabbed Ash by the shoulders. He
quickly pulled her around and held her as she cowered in his arms.
is it?" he cried out in alarm, but a red beam broke through night, and
Misty blinked, calmer at once.
she said, an embarrassed tone to her voice.
"It must have been a ghost.
I'm sorry, I thought it was a bug pokémon. I know it's silly, but I'm really scared of them."
alright," Ash said, rubbing her back for good measure. "Everybody's scared of
something." He was still holding
her. Neither were inclined to let go,
but they broke away reluctantly.
look!" Brock said. "It's the
edge of the forest."
the one hand Ash was glad to get out of the creepy area. On the other, he knew that he'd have to
leave Misty again. "Oh,
goody," he said flatly, and Misty giggled, giving him an amused look that
said she knew exactly what he was thinking.
have to return Hoot-hoot now," she said, herself regretful. "It's not mine. I borrowed it from a lady in the woods, and
she told me that I can return it to her sister when I was done with
Ash sighed. "I'll see you the next
time I'm being held hostage by a band of marauding pirates, or clutched in the
jaws of a houndour, or something."
I'll be more than happy to rescue you," Misty said, smiling, and then she
left. Brock shook his head.
know, we're really dumb," Brock said.
Ash gave him a questioning look.
"I'm always looking for girls but never seem to find one. You're never looking for one but always find
Misty. Can we trade places?"
on your life," Ash said, grinning.
collected two badges in the Johto League, and was making his way to the third
when he was resting alongside a river bank one day, having been halfheartedly convinced
by Brock to try fishing for pokémon for a change. And only then it was because Brock reminded him that Misty might
respect him more with another water pokémon.
managed to catch a rusted out tea kettle.
"That's it!" he said, standing up in frustration. "This isn't worth it. I'm going to go catch pokémon the normal
A jubilant pokémon shouted, jumping out of the bushes. It danced on the banks, doing flips for its
new found spectators.
what's this?" Ash said, pulling out his pokédex. "A totodile. Speak
of the devil...I'll just have to catch it." He pulled out a lure ball and crouched down. "Poké-ball..."
touch that 'dile!" a girl's voice shrieked as she ran out of the
bushes. "I've been stalking it for
the past half hour, if you even dare catch it, I swear I'll tear your head
off...hey, it's you!" She stopped in her tracks, composing herself
immediately as she brushed a few strays hairs off her face and gave Ash a
"Misty!" Ash just stood there, a goofy expression on
his face. Brock tapped him on the
shoulder, and when that didn't work, knocked him upside the head like Ash
always did to him when he had stopped to harass yet another girl.
Ash asked, his trance broken as he rubbed his head in annoyance.
totodile?" Brock reminded him, pointing at the still dancing pokémon that
was excited at all the fuss it was causing..
yeah!" He turned to Misty.
Inspiration struck. "Hey,
how about we battle for it?"
could be fun," Misty said. "I've never battled against you
have to catch it first," Brock pointed out.
"Right. How about one of us gets it, and then Brock
can be the judge when we decide who gets to keep it?" Ash proposed.
good," Misty agreed, then...
get it," they both said in unison, pulling poké-balls out of their
pockets. They looked at each other in
know Kurt!" Ash said, staring at the apricorn ball in her hand.
and you picked a lure ball too!" Misty said. They grinned at each other.
it's a sign. You must be destined to be
together," Brock said sarcastically.
"Just throw the balls. One
of you is bound to catch it, and then the winner can keep the totodile while
the other person keeps the other lure ball."
fair," they agreed, then did as they were told. Totodile was captured easily.
Then the fun began.
I'm not going to go easy on you just because I like...just because you're my
friend," Ash said, his face turning beet red at this slip of tongue. Misty started giggling. She had a nice laugh.
here," she said, winking. "Go
then," he said. "Pikachu, I choose you!" The electric pokémon
ran out in front of him, cheeks already sparking in excitement. It knew this was a special battle.
got to warn you, Pikachu's pretty strong," Ash said.
don't worry." Misty grinned
devilishly, looking adorable in the process, Ash thought. "I've got a secret weapon."
scary," Ash teased.
just plain cute! Togepi, go! Charm attack!"
what attack?" Ash asked in confusion.
Togepi ran up to Pikachu and started squealing excitedly, attempting to
jump in Pikachu's arms. Pikachu held
the little egg pokémon at arms length, trying to keep it at bay, and glanced up
at Ash with a distraught look on its face.
Ash said, scratching his head.
"Come on, Pikachu, try a thunderbolt."
just looked at the smaller pokémon as it succeeded in reaching it and attempted
to put its little arms around Pikachu's neck.
Failing to do this, it proceeded to smother Pikachu with kisses
instead. Pikachu had had enough.
it whined as it ran and cowered behind Ash's legs. Brock declared Misty the winner.
worry. I couldn't have hurt a baby
either," Ash said soothingly. He
looked up at Misty. "That was very
sneaky," he said admiringly.
try," she said, giggling.
try to beat this one then," he said.
"Chikorita, I choose you!"
He released his pokémon, then had to defend himself from a hug
attack as Chikorita promptly leapt onto him and nudged him affectionately. "Uhh...that's very nice..." Ash
said, embarrassed to have it doing this in front of Misty. "Go on and battle now."
sweet!" Misty said.
Chikorita is pretty cute," Ash agreed.
was talking about the relationship you have with your pokémon," Misty
said, causing Ash to blush even more.
yeah, yeah—Chikorita, vine whip now!" he said, hastily trying to change
have to choose a pokémon first, silly," Misty said, calling his bluff and
enjoying his discomfort as he blushed yet again. Ash decided that his face would be a permanent shade of pink by
the time this was over. "Staryu,
battle was tough, but Ash finally won that round. And then his Bulbasaur defeated her Poliwag—so it seemed.
what's happening?" Misty said as they started to go forward for a
not out of the battle yet, after all!" Brock said. "It's evolving!"
Misty said, clapping her hands elatedly.
"You're evolving just for me?"
it said in agreement as it finished its evolution. Misty looked at Ash.
"I guess we're not finished. Poliwhirl, body slam!"
tackle!" Ash yelled. Poliwhirl was
at an advantage though, and both pokémon tumbled to the ground, Bulbasaur
underneath the larger pokémon.
leaf!" Ash yelled, and a tired Bulbasaur did at it was told. But it was time to end this. "Bulbasaur, power up for solar beam!"
bubble!" Misty said. The attack
weakened Bulbasaur, but it bravely kept on.
Finally it was time.
Ash yelled, and Misty was out of the battle, for real this time.
is the winner!" Brock declared.
laughed at this.
was a good match," Misty said as she came forward and they shook
hands. "Maybe you did deserve to
be Orange League champion."
well, you were pretty good yourself," Ash said. "I just wish I had a doll set to give you." They smiled and stopped the handshaking, but
still continued holding each others hands, smiling at each other.
forget your prize," Brock butted in, breaking the two apart and placing
the lure ball containing the totodile in Ash's hands. "Here's the other lure ball, Misty."
Brock," Misty said cheerfully. Ash's glare was not nearly so benevolent.
thanks," he growled.
remember this next time we see a Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny," Brock said,
wagging his finger at Ash. The two boys
exchanged a wry glance.
fun with your new Totodile," Misty said.
"I guess I need to be going now."
can stay if you want to..." Ash volunteered.
to? Yes. But can I? No," she
said, smiling at him. "Don't
worry. I'm sure we'll see each other
again. I just don't know under what
circumstances," she said.
guess you're right," Ash said, sighing.
spite of his attitude, Brock looked at Ash sympathetically as she left. "Well, at least you got a new
Totodile," he said.
Ash said. "For once, I almost wish
I had lost, though." He looked wistfully in the direction Misty had
departed in, then shrugged, and they continued on their way.
lot of time elapsed. Ash won the Johto
League and was that much closer to becoming a pokémon master. After this, Brock and Ash amiably parted
ways for good, as Brock decided to take another stab at Pokémon breeding—this
time at a research lab with a girl named Professor Cherry. Ash shook his head, but judging from
Cherry's warm reception thought that Brock might have finally met someone who
could tolerate him for more than a few minutes. Ash wished his friend a fond farewell and started to head home.
took the scenic route, stopping in the woods by his house for a moment to greet
the Pidgeot he had left behind before he started his last journey. "Pidgeot!" he yelled. "It's me, Ash! Are you here?"
enormous bird pokémon flew towards him.
It squawked in happiness.
"There you are!" Ash said, just as pleased. "How are you doing, buddy?"
answer to his question, another Pidgeot flew up and sat next to his, and
nuzzled Ash's Pidgeot affectionately. A
little Pidgey gave a wobbly flight up to sit beside it.
have a family!" Ash said. He
tipped his hat to it. "Well,
congratulations! I won't take you away
from them. But hey, I'm here to stay
now, at least for a good long visit. So
I'll see you again soon, okay? Maybe
you can give me a ride sometime!"
squawked its agreement, then the family flew off, the parents slowing their
pace so that the smaller Pidgey could keep up.
Ash smiled at their departure.
miss them when they leave, but boy, I like it when I see things like
that," Ash told Pikachu, who nodded its head in agreement. They headed out of the woods towards the
river and walked along its banks, just enjoying the day.
Ash stopped in his tracks. "It
can't be..." he said, his face breaking out in a delighted smile. "She's back home?"
ran towards her. "Misty!" he
yelled. "Misty, is that you?"
girl looked up from the banks and stared at him in shock, then recovered and
leaped up, ignoring the fishing pole that she dropped in the process. "Ash!" she yelled and ran forward
too. Consequently they nearly collided
when they reached each other and had to catch themselves in a hug, laughing as
they broke apart.
are you doing here?" she asked.
going home," he said.
live around here?" she asked in disbelief.
in Pallet town. What, you didn't know
that?" It was his turn to be surprised.
could I? You never told me,
silly!" she laughed again, too happy to contain her joy. "How long are you here for?"
while," he said. "A long
while. I've been traveling for four
years now, I'm ready to be home."
homesick?" she teased him. "Mr. Top Sixteen in the Pokémon League and
Orange and Johto League Champion, homesick?"
grinned at her recital of his list of accomplishments. "Yes," he said simply. "I've missed it...I've missed a lot of
ducked her head. The smile still hadn't
left her face. "I'll be around for
a while too," she said.
"Maybe now we'll finally run into each other more often than every
Ash said. "Especially if I invite
you to come back with me and have that lunch I never got to give you."
never been to Pallet town," she said.
not much to it," Ash advised.
I wouldn't say that," Misty said.
"It's got you."
well, can't argue with you on that," he laughed, scratching his head
self-consciously. "But it'd be
even better if you were there."
tilted her head cutely, pretending to think on it. "Tell you what. I'll
come with you, on one condition," she said. "You have to do me a favor first."
"Sure. And what's that?" Ash asked.
he closed his eyes when she leaned forward and their lips came together in a
soft kiss. They stayed that way for a
few seconds, not daring to try anything deeper, before they pulled apart. Misty blushed and looked down.
I can handle that," Ash said teasingly.
"Except you know, now you owe me one."
Misty looked up, her eyes twinkling.
"Yeah. And I'll think I'll take you up on it
now." And they kissed again.
When they pulled away, Ash kept
his hand on hers. "So," he
said smiling, "are you ready? My
mom will be anxious to meet you."
"Sure. Just let me get my things." She put her fishing rod and lures on a shiny
red bike she had nearby. Holding it
upright, she said, "Of course, you know I'm going to beat you there. Unless you think you can outrun me on a
you? No," Ash said, smiling as he
walked over and placed his hands on the bike as if admiring it, then took her
by surprise as he suddenly leaped on.
"Outwit you? Yes!" he
said, laughing as he pedaled off, Pikachu jumping into the basket right before
Ketchum! Give me back my bike!"
she shrieked, laughing as she ran to catch up to him. "You'll wreck it!"
right. In a parallel universe,
maybe!" he yelled back, then braked suddenly to let her catch up. She stopped when she reached him, and he
raised his eyebrows. "Well, are
you getting on or not?"
thought you'd never ask," she said, wrapping her arms around his waist and
he yelled as he sped off. "Pallet
town, here we come!"
sped off down the road, racing down the hills and curves to his house, until
they reached it and Ash parked Misty's—still intact—bike. Smiling, they held each other's hands again
and walked inside. Home at last.
This is the result of a pokémon
fan working in a library. The title is
a reference to Lance Armstrong's autobiography about surviving cancer. Yeah, the connection to pokémon is quite
obvious, don't you think? Can I help it
if I immediately thought of the first episode?
Hope you enjoyed spotting the
similarities and differences from the timeline in this story. There were also at least three episode title
references for the observant. This
being an alternate reality fic, there will inevitably be numerous other stories
similar to it, and I apologize in advance for that, but trust me—it wasn't
intentional, as more than likely I haven't read that fic (or fics) anyway. Please review, as I've had a stressful day,
and therefore any encouragement will just serve to cement my opinion that all
of you are absolute dolls (hopefully that's a gender neutral enough
compliment.) In addition, this story is
for all of those who, despite ff.net being network-challenged, reviewed my last
fic. Thanks for the great comments.
Disclaimer: I own Pokémon, just like I own Disney,
Wal-mart, and the entire continent of Australia. And I don't know why they have me visiting that psychologist,
really. (What god-complex?!)