A/N: I decided to take a brief break from my chaptered fic in order to write this, because it kept nagging at the back of my mind and I knew it wouldn't take long to bang it out. So anyone who is reading my chapter fic, don't worry, I'm still hard at work on that. This is just a little something in the meantime. Please leave some reviews!
This takes place in the future. Ash is twenty-two in this fic.
Disclaimer: Pokemon and everything related does not belong to me, and no money is being made on this fanfic.
All In The Family
Some Enchanted Evening
The young man twisted his beloved official Pokemon League cap in his hands, just so that he would have something to do with them so that he did not have to focus on the fact that his palms were cold and clammy, as though he had the flu. His heart was thudding very unpleasantly up somewhere near his throat and a trickle of sweat ran, slowly, painfully slowly, as though documenting the standing still of time, down the back of his neck and into his shirt, causing it to stick rather unpleasantly to his back.
He was petrified.
Ash Ketchum had seen a lot in his life. More than most, that much was certain. He had been forced to save the world—numerous times. Faced his own death. Risked his life countless times, all in the pursuit of the greater good. He had won the Pokemon League, for God's sakes! He'd aided in the disbanding of Team Rocket! And yet, he was pretty sure that he would happily go back and relive any of those difficult moments rather than be forced to sit here under the suspicious glare of three of the Cerulean City gym leaders.
It wasn't that they were physically imposing. Slender and curvacious, they were the definition of Brock's dream, certainly. But their looks didn't intimidate Ash—they never had, because when he had first come to the gym he had been too young to notice things like how girls looked, and when he had come back there had been someone else, and she had been all that he could see. So he wasn't shaken by how attractive they were, although their looks hadn't diminished in the twelve years that had passed since they had first met.
Twelve years—technically he had known this girls—these women—for more than half of his life, so he shouldn't be intimidated at all.
But right now they looked like they wanted to hurt him, and that kind of scared him, even though he knew, years removed from his growth spurt and puberty at this point, that he could easily take them.
Well, he allowed, letting his gaze wander hesitantly from one or the other, that was part of the problem. He could easily take one—although maybe he couldn't; he'd never hit a girl and he couldn't see himself starting now—but it was three against one and that just didn't seem fair. And he doubted his most trusted Pokemon, Pikachu, loyally standing by his feet and looking curiously up at his frightened trainer, would be much help in this situation.
Being afraid was silly, he scolded himself. But he had never been in this situation before, and he didn't know what to expect. Maybe that was what he was afraid of—fear of the unknown. Ash had never liked not knowing what he was up against.
…Why do they look like they want to hurt me???
Then Daisy, the eldest, finally spoke, folding her arms across her chest. "You, like, wanted to talk to us?" And somehow, even with her silly speech and ditzy voice, she managed to sound intimidating.
"Um…" Ash wet his lips and cleared his throat; that had come out as a croak. If he wanted to convince them, he would have to sound a lot more sure of himself.
This was hard. It was unfairly hard. He hadn't been aware of how much work this whole thing was going to be, and, frankly, how annoying it would be. He had already suffered through his mother sobbing buckets on his shoulder, crying oh my little boy! and, however accidently, using his favorite Pokemon League shirt as a hanky that she had noisily blown her nose on. And, of course, Brock and Tracey had ragged on him. A lot. Constantly. Every chance they got. Even Pikachu tended to give Ash that knowing look that would make him scowl and hide the ketchup, just to get even.
And now he was here, in the Cerulean Gym, and he had to go through the whole thing again, and the most important person was still (well, he hoped—he had threatened Brock and Tracey with bodily harm if they so much as breathed a word, and although he was pretty sure Brock at least could take him, it had served the purpose in showing how serious he was) completely clueless about the whole thing!
"Yeah," he finally said lamely, realizing that the three were still staring at him, hands on their hips or crossed in front of him, a battle line, one that he had to cross to get his prize. "I did."
"You're, like, dumping her, aren't you?" Daisy demanded flatly. "And I, like, bet you want us to, like, do your dirty work for you and tell her and junk."
"Oh my god!" Violet wailed, her fists shaking in fury. "You jerk! She's gonna be like, so, so hurt!"
His eyes widened in shock and surprise. "Huh? What? No!" he sputtered, confused at this curveball they had thrown them out of nowhere. He had come in not knowing what to expect, but clearly, they on the other hand had come in pretty sure of what they would be dealing with, however incorrect their assumption had ended up being. He put his hands up in a gesture of surrender, of repentance. "No, you guys have it all wrong!"
"You're gonna break her heart," Lily exclaimed, pointing a finger at him accusingly. She had long nails, Ash realized, still a bit afraid as the term 'rip him a new one' gained a new and terrifying meaning for him.
"Not if we, like, break his face first," Daisy said darkly, and Ash swallowed heavily. Oh, yes, this is why he was afraid.
Because Misty's sisters were fucking crazy.
Misty had never really gotten along with her sisters—she'd always been the misfit, the outcast, overshadowed by her elder and more extravagant siblings. But Ash had suspected all along that deep down, Misty loved her sisters and they loved her, and he had watched as that love had surely, slowly, but bit by bit come to the surface.
Unfortunately, it looked like that love was about to get him killed.
They were actually advancing on him now, still solid as a wall in their unity to defend their baby sister, and Ash instinctively took a few steps backwards, feeling himself shake a bit more in fear as he realized that Daisy hadn't been joking.
"Wait, wait, guys, let me just explain…" he sputtered, taking a few more steps backwards until he felt the back of his feet meet the lip of the pool that served as the battle arena. And still they advanced, and Ash had a sudden image of himself at the bottom of the pool, dead as a doornail.
Because they were definitely cornering him, and he had never been a good swimmer. There was a reason that Misty had always had to pull him out of the water, starting the very first day they met and continuing up until last month where he had been swimming and gotten a bad side cramp, leaving Misty to stomp in and grab his arm, dragging him away while he wailed out in indignant pain, all dignity of a young man forgotten as his heels had kicked up water in his wake.
"Wait! Wait!" he exclaimed, his voice rising a bit in his panic, and he desperately fumbled through his pockets, looking for the object that he knew would placate them. "I don't…I don't want…" He couldn't find it, and a deeper panic set in. He couldn't have left it at home! He was certain he had grabbed it…he stuffed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans desperately, fumbling, searching…
"Pika?" Pikachu tugged at his pant leg, but Ash simply ignored his loyal friend.
"Not now, Pikachu!" he said, trying to keep his voice light, but unable to hide the lingering fear as the three women continued to approach, forming a circle around him. Didn't Fearow circle their prey before diving in for the kill? Ash, at that moment, certainly felt like a Caterpie as he desperately patted himself down, hoping against hope. Oh man. He was in trouble now.
"Not now!" Ash snapped back, plunging his hands into the inside of his jacket, hoping that he had slid what he was looking for into the small inner pocket. But there was no avail.
"You, like, messed with the wrong family, Ash."
"Yeah! No one's allowed to mess with our baby sister but us!" Violet said defensively.
"I'm not messing with her!" Ash hollered desperately. Of all the reactions he had been expecting, this onslaught of attacks hadn't been one of them.
"You, like, just said you wanted to, like, break up with her!" Daisy screeched.
"I did not!" Ash yelled back, surprised, because this, of course, he was certain. He hadn't even said the word 'break-up', hadn't even hinted at it. That had been all the imagination of the three standing in front of him, the three young women that he was becoming more and more certain with every passing moment were completely, totally, and utterly crazy.
What was he getting himself into?
"Pikachu!" Pikachu yelled, tugging harder at Ash's pant leg now, his cheeks sparking warningly with electricity. Oh, lovely, just what he needed, his own Pokemon ganging up on him. His own electric Pokemon. As he stood next to a pool that he was pretty sure he was going to be pushed into.
Yup. He was going to die today.
In order to fend off an attack, Ash tore his eyes away from the three sisters, finally turning to Pikachu. "What?" he ground out through gritted teeth, trying to gauge how much more time he had before he was actually physically attacked.
"Pikachu!" Pikachu repeated, and he held up the object that Ash had been looking for. Instantly, his face cleared, and he smacked his forehead. He had completely forgotten that he had given it to Pikachu to hold, and that slip of the mind—so typical of him—might literally cost him his life.
"Thanks, buddy," he said hurriedly, snatching the box from Pikachu before whipping around to face Daisy, Violet, and Lily again.
"Well, are you gonna break up with her?" Violet demanded menacingly. Meancing—a word he never, ever thought he'd associate with Misty's sisters.
"No!" That was the essential word. "If you'd just—" But he found himself cut off again, as Daisy, astonishingly, reached for a Pokeball on her probably very stylish—not that he would know—belt.
"Well, you better explain," she said warningly, enlarging the Pokeball. "Or you're, like, in for a world of pain."
God, that was such a Misty thing to say. Without the 'like' thrown in the middle, of course. They were all just sisters.
"Look!" Ash shouted, shoving the box at them even as he ripped a Pokeball from his own belt, preparing for battle if need be.
But the three were now looking at the box that sat in the palm of his hand, studying it curiously. It was small, black velvet.
A jewelry box.
"Like…no way…" Violet breathed now. "That's not…"
Violet was always the one who would be suspicious, any time he brought Misty a piece of jewelry. He supposed it made sense—he didn't have that much money and jewelry was expensive, so whenever he got her something nice enough to be put into one of those nice little jewelry boxes, it was usually a very special occasion. But she was always wrong, ever since the first time, which had been, incidentally, a month after he had started officially dating Misty. It had been her birthday, and he had wanted to make a good impression, so he'd gotten her a pretty necklace that his mother had helped him pick out, because he'd never had to buy something like that for a girl before.
Ash had thought Violet was crazy for thinking it was something it wasn't. He still thought she was crazy. He had been sixteen years old, for Christ's sake!
But that was six years ago, and things had changed.
He flipped it open, and the three gasped loudly. "It is!" Violet squealed, more excited to have been correct than excited about what this meant for her little sister, her baby sister.
A square-cut diamond, a modest cut and size, but pretty and delicate all the same, sitting on a circle of white gold.
"Oh my God!" all three shrieked in tones high enough that Ash was sure Growlithes the town over could hear, and in one swift move, they had snatched the box and the ring from his hands.
"I don't want to break up with her, okay?" he said, a bit defensively and a bit embarrassed, his ears turning pink as his heart rate slowly returned to normal. Danger had been successful averted. "I want to ask her to marry me. I wanted to let you guys know. Since you're her family and all." Suddenly, a shadow passed over his face. "You think she'll say yes, right? She'll say yes?"
"Maybe if you, like, give her a magnifying glass," Daisy said dryly, holding up the ring to the light, and Ash scowled, stung, despite himself. 'Pokemon Master', while a prestigious title, did not come with a large salary, and, well, he had never been a good saver. So the diamond on the ring wasn't huge, but nor was it microscopic like Daisy seemed to be insinuating, and he had saved for nearly a year for it. He couldn't help but be hurt.
Lily, more perceptive than her sisters, took the box back from Daisy and pressed it back into Ash's hands. "Like, I'm sure she'll say yes," she said gently. "And it's a really pretty ring. Daisy's just greedy."
"I am not!" Daisy replied hotly, folding her arms. "But yeah, she'll say yes."
"Totally," Violet threw in, not to be left unheard.
Brock and Tracey had said the same thing, Pikachu kept giving him the thumbs-up sign whenever he asked. His mother had sobbed and sniffled the same thing all over him, thrown in there somewhere between all the 'my babies' and 'all-grown-ups'. Everyone seemed sure that Misty would say yes, except for Ash.
"So if we're all done with the 'let's kill Ash' spree," Ash said sarcastically. He looked briefly at the ring, feeling a twist of nerves in his stomach—he was getting really sick of being nervous, it wasn't a feeling he enjoyed or was even very used to—and then closed the box with a snap, pocking it in the small inner pocket of his jacket.
Suddenly, Lily's face fell. "Oh. My. God!" she wailed again, and Ash's heart seized up. That hadn't been a happy 'Oh my God'. It had been one to set him on edge.
"What?" he demanded. "What is it?" He expected to hear something terrible, like Misty had recently taken a vow of loneliness and forgotten to mention it to him.
"Guys," Lily said in a terrified whisper, turning to her sisters. "Do you realize what this means?"
"What?" Violet replied, honestly clueless.
"Misty is getting married before us! Misty is getting married before us!" Lily repeated in order to drive home just how utterly terrible this point was. And apparently it worked, because Daisy and Violet's faces now matched Lily's.
"Oh my God!" they all wailed again, and Pikachu and Ash both winced. Pikachu clamped his paws over his ears, and Ash fought the desire to do the same. If they had practiced their battling skills as much as they had practiced shrieking in unision while he had been gone, then he was lucky that they never ended up calling out their Pokemon.
"We have to do something about this!" Daisy declared, slamming a hand in her fist, and Ash's eyes widened.
"Wait! Like what? Don't ruin this!" he demanded, panicked, suddenly afraid that he would find Misty's sisters popping up everywhere interrupting him as he tried to spit out the five scariest words of all—he used to think that they were Gary Oak's looking for you in his childhood, where he had been bullied by the bigger boy, but now he knew that they paled in comparison to Misty, will you marry me?
"Chill," Daisy waved him off. "I mean something like, go to a singles bar and find ourselves some men! Like, right now!"
"You are so right," Violet exclaimed. "We've been holed up in this gym for like, way too long!"
"Yeah!" Lily piped up. "I mean, who are we? Misty?"
The girls giggled at this, and Ash raised an eyebrow. Apparently they had forgotten that it was the fact that he wanted to propose to Misty that had caused them such distress about their personal life.
"Let's go make ourselves look fabulous!" Daisy squealed, clapping her hands together in excitement. "Like, you know the way out, Ash."
And suddenly, it was all over, in a patter of running feet on the tile floor, out of the gym with the heavy door slamming shut behind them, and Ash was alone at the edge of the pool, the ordeal finished.
So he did the only thing he had wanted to do since arriving. He fell down.
He lay sprawled across the floor, a safe distance from the pool, his arms and legs spread-eagle and his cheek pressed against the cool, damp tile.
"Pikachu…" Pikachu said, hopping up onto Ash's chest, the warm weight comforting to Ash as he tried to calm back down.
"Yeah," he answered ruefully. "I actually am willingly marrying into this crazy family." He looked at the door, stunned and a bit horrified. "They're going to be my sisters-in-law." He shuddered briefly, but then sighed, the tension leaving his body as he melted against the floor. "It'll be worth it, though."
There was what could only be described as an explosion from the other side of the door to the gym, followed by two indignant squeals of "Violet!" Violet's slightly defensive apologies followed.
"Or at least I think it will be," Ash corrected ruefully, jokingly, and he hoped that whatever misstep had led to something exploding while getting ready for a night out on the town wasn't a trait that Misty shared with her three older sisters.
Sorry for those who wanted to see the actual proposal, but that'll have to be for a different story at a different time. I just wanted to do a little scene between Ash and his future in-laws. Hope you enjoyed! Again, comments are always appreciated!