Disclaimer - All characters in this fanfiction belong to Nintendo, and all of the creators and owners of Pokemon. I own nothing, although I wish I did!.

Notes about this story. This occurs sometime after Charizard leaves and "Chikorita's big upset." The 3 human characters can understand Pikachu, ("whose speech is noted like this.") *All thoughts by any character are encased like this* "and normal conversation like this" "Other pokemon have the noises they make like this, and the translationis either obvious or will be hinted at."

This is my first EVER fanfic of any sort, So I'd like lots of R&R and suggestions, and preferably no flaming although if anyone feels the impulse I guess I can't really stop you anyway. Okay, on with part 1!

Chiko-envy Part 1
By Dan.

Picture a scene. The sun shines down, view only obscured by a few errant clouds which hovered in the sky, as if modelled by cotton wool and stuck into place just as a reminder of how it could be. Pan downwards, see a few green and brown mountains sat in the hazy distance, as they have for thousands of years, motionless and ageless. Further down, nearer to the viewer, a forest, a seemingly endless crowd of green, moving as if blades of grass in a rich pasture. A distant city sits, waiting. Look closer. A leafy glade. A few figures stand in it. Come closer. One, a tall girl of about 14, with red hair tied back, stands with a glazed look in her eyes. One, a young man of about 17, with spiky brown hair, looking on with mild interest at what is in front of him. One, a large, hulking man of indefinite age, could be anywhere from 30 to 50, eyeing the young man standing opposite him with a calculating look. And one, a teenaged boy of around 13 or 14 tears, wearing a read and white hat with unruly hair sticking out beneath it. He returns the look of the man opposite fearlessly. They both nod, and reach into their belts...


*Typical. Thought Misty. Just when you want to be in a hurry, Ash has to go and run into every trainer in a 20-mile radius. He knows his birthday is in 2 days time, but he has to go and challenge the world to another pokemon battle. God knows he hasn't had enough over the last few days.*
Misty shook her head as she watched Ash lined up in a grassy clearing, facing a hiker opposite him. *I mean, it'll take us a little time to set up his birthday surprise once we finally do reach the next town, and I know Brock has been looking forward to cooking him his favourite cake, and I..I've been looking forward to it as well, of course.*
"ASH!!!! What are you doing?"
Misty jumped 20 feet into the air as Brocks' yell tore her out of her silent reverie, in time to see an arcanine appear from the pokeball which the hiker had unleashed standing opposite - Chikorita?! Brock shook his head as he stood alongside Misty.
"Ash, you're getting overconfident. Why use an unevolved grass-type against a powerful fire type?" Brock called from the sidelines as Misty blinked in disbelief. The tall, burly man opposite Ash smiled as Brock spoke.
"Yeah, I think you'd better listen to your friends, else you might find my Arcanine to hot to handle."
Ash glared coolly back, and turned his cap around into his customary battle style.
"Don't worry Brock, I know what I'm doing." He replied to his friend. *Besides* he added to himself, *there's no way I'm losing to someone who uses a joke so bad as that old "too hot to handle" line.* He smiled slightly, and waited for his opposition to make his move.
"Arcanine, flame thrower!" Came the call.
*Predictable* thought ash to himself. "Okay, Chikorita, dodge the attack!"
"Chi-ko!" Chikorita shouted, and neatly side-stepped the attack. As arcanine tried again and again, Chikorita just continued skipping the attacks. Arcanine began to get tired, and started losing its aim. Okay, Chikorita, side-step and use your bind whip!
"Chi-ko!" Chikorita moved easily away from another wayward flamethrower from arcanine, and let loose her bind whip. She lassoed Arcanines' front legs, and pulled them from under it, crashing it to the floor.
"Razor leaf!"
"Chi-ko!" the leaves struck true, and Arcanine was knocked sideways, with a howl of pain.
"Quick, Arcanine, fire blast!" the now white-faced hiker called in panic. Arcanine got shakily to its feet, and let loose a fire blast out of sheer desperation. Ash smiled, knowing the game was up.
"Okay Chikorita, avoid the blast, and use your bind whip to finish it!"
"Chiiiii-kooooo!!" Chikoritas' bind whip scooped up the Arcanine around the body, lifted it up, and drove it into the ground again. Arcanine yowled in pain once again, tried to get to its feet, but then slumped back down to the floor in defeat.
"Arcanine, return." The hiker called, and re-called the injured pokemon into its pokeball. Turning, he nodded to ash. "Well done kid, good battle." Ash walked over to shake his hand.
"Never seen a grass-type give my Arcanine such a beating before, guess I'd better go and train harder eh?"
He slapped Ash on the back, and walked off into the woods.
"Great going Ash." Said Brock, walking over to meet him.
"Yeah! Great!" Misty shouted in delight.
Ash coloured slightly, taken aback by Mistys' complement. Normally, he would've expected some sort of tongue-lashing or throwaway comment, but the emotion in her reply bore no trace of her normal acidic tones which she normally carried while being sarcastic, which, lets face it, Ash thought, she normally is while talking to me. Misty noticed his silence, put 2 and 2 together, and blushed slightly as she realised her slip. In reflex she decided to try and distract him with a little leg-pulling.
"What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?"
"Uh-"
Ash, about to answer, was distracted by a tugging on his trousers from somewhere near his foot. He looked down, to see Chikorita playfully tugging his leg, and looking up at him.
"Yeah, and you did great too, Chikorita." He added, as he smiled down at his pokemon, who smiled back at him.
"But, don't you think you're being a little brash by doing that, Ash?" Misty asked.
"Doing what?" Ash replied.
"Well, sending Chikorita out against a fire type for no real reason?" Misty pointed out to him. Brock, who had been watching the scene with interest, nodded to himself. This was the way it always went with these two. One moment friends, one moment fighting, one moment sulking, one moment pals again. Pikachu, who had been nibbling on an apple also picked up the tones, and started to watch with interest. After all, there's only so long you can look at a tree for entertainment.
"Well, it'll help Chikorita to get strong against them." Ash said, colouring a little again, but out of anger not embarrassment.
"Why not use a pokemon strong against fire? Or one with an even footing? It seems a little risky, Ash."
"Because one day, there may not be a choice."
"It still seems stupid, Chikorita may have been badly hurt!" Misty struck back, almost instinctively.
"I wouldn't let that happen!" Ash growled back, fully aware that this exchange could rapidly become a full-blown war, but finding it hard to stop himself. Brock suddenly realised that, for the first time he could remember, he could feel cold anger radiating from the pair, like a chilled wind. Concerned, he jumped in between the pair, and yelled
"Okay you two, break it up!"
"It's none of your business Brock! I'll stop fighting when he admits he's a danger! To his pokemon, and to us!" Misty screamed at Ash, eyes blazing.
"I'd never put anyone in danger! I won't let it happen!" Inwardly, Ash buckled at the suggestion that he would kill ANYONE to become a pokemon master. A pokemon, a friend, a rival, anyone. Did Misty really think he was that selfish, or greedy?
"How? By taking on the enemy yourself!" Misty yelled at him, feeling her face flush with furious pleasure at seeing her opponent's expression falter.
"Chi-KO!" Chikorita shouted across at Misty, glaring at her for insulting her trainer, accompanied by a loud "PIKA!" from Pikachu who was about to shock them both, if necessary, to prevent any more pain to either of them.
"If it came to it... yes!!" Ash glared at her, as he pulled his cap peak back around to its normal position, as if to seek its protection from the watching world. Seeing this gesture of weakness, Pikachu stopped sparking up and Brock sighed in relief. But as he stepped in to try and stop the fight, Misty, half upset at her cruelty yet inflated by her victory, stopped it for him.
"Ha! I don't believe a word of it! You only want the glory for yourself! You don't care how you get it, or what you hurt to achieve it! You're just selfish, Ash Ketchum! Selfish and arrogant! Why should you care about your pokemon? To you they are just tools, tools of the trade to be used as you please. To be disposed of when they grow old or are damaged, just so you can win a pitiful badge!" As soon as she'd let the words pass her lips, she wished that she could blow them away, like smoke rings, or swallow them so they died unsaid in her throat. But, as she looked across at Ash, her burning wall of anger vanished, to be left by a sea of regret. Ash's head drooped, his face hidden behind the peak of his cap, and as she watched him, a teardrop fell down onto Chikoritas' head, making her look up in surprise.
"M-maybe y-you're right , M-misty." Ash sniffed. Misty blanched with shock. *I can't believe it. I've hurt him. Oh, Ash!* She opened her mouth to say something, but no sound would come.
"CHI-KOOO!!!" Chikorita screamed, and glared at Misty. They locked eyes momentarily, and Misty blanched with shock. The expression on Chikoritas' face was that of pure anger, anger at her. At her for screaming at Ash, at her for making her trainer and friend break down due to all of the cruel things she'd said. Pikachu shook her head, and with a twitch of ears went over to comfort ash.
Eventually, Misty turned away from the scene in front of her turned away and looked at Brock, who was standing to her right, shaking his head.
"Brock?" She whispered, almost too choked with sadness and guilt to speak.
"C'mon Misty, lets set up camp for the night. He'll join us when he's ready." Brock murmured softly, and he put an arm around her shoulder and guided her away from the clearing to where they were going to stay the night.

The setting sun cast a final glance into the clearing before sliding below the trees, leaving the final hues of orange and red to drain away into darkness. Ash sat exactly where he had stood merely an hour before, an hour which had taken days, weeks to pass. Finally, he spoke to Pikachu, who was sat on his knee, keeping him company.
"Pikachu, why do you stay with me?"
Pikachu was silent for a moment. Chikorita, who was sat in his lap, looked up at him in astonishment, astonishment that Ash would ever ask such a question.
("Ash! You don't need to ask that! Look how long we've been together!") Came the response. Ash shook his head slowly, however.
"But you heard Misty earlier, and she told me the truth. I'm a failure, and, worst of all, I've been using you to get my own fame. All of you. You, everyone here, charizard, butterfree, squirtle. Just using you." Ash's voice broke with emotion as he remembered Mistys' tirade.
("That's not true!") Pikachu shouted back at him, trying to elevate Ash's despair which hung around him, a dense mist blocking out everything that was near or far, past or present.
"W-why did Misty say it then? Does she despise me? Does she want me to stop all I've trained for?"
(No! She just lost her temper, that's all!)
"But why did she have to say such things?"
(She was scared!) Pikachu half-shouted at Ash.
"O-of what?" Ash asked, completely confused.
(That you would notice that she let something slip!)
Ash thought back. He beat Chikorita, and then.;..
(It was just reflex. She got scared you might think she isn't just following you for a new bike.)
"But why should she be scared?"
(Think for a minute.)
"....So, Misty.... likes me?" Ash stared across the clearing, seeing nothing, feeling as if he'd received a thundershock.
"Chi-ko-Chi??" (Misty..likes...Ash?) Chikorita repeated in shock. Momentarily, she glared. *If she likes Ash, then I've gotta stop this. She can't hurt my Ash and then expect to fall into his arms.* Meanwhile, Pikachu spoke to Ash in a quieter voice.
(Didn't you get this from the start? It's not only words that say how someone is feeling, Ash.)
"Well, well what am I gonna do?"
(I'd sleep on it.)
The smell of cooking wafted across the scene, carried by a gentle breeze.
"Smells like I oughta be getting back, or Brock'll start to worry." Ash nodded to Pikachu, and turned to Chikorita. "C'mon Chikorita, back in your pokeball now for the night." He pulled it from his belt and aimed it at her, but she dodged and backed away.
"Cki-KO" she said defiantly, shaking her head. Even though he couldn't understand Chikorita very well, Ash could see a definite "No". Perplexed, he shrugged his shoulders. He was too tired to argue tonight, and besides, by the look in Chikorita's eyes, he could tell he might as well argue with a stone wall. She was going to have none of it. Ash sighed, and got slowly to his feet. C'mon Pikachu, Chikorita, let's go and get some sleep. He trudged back to the camp, Chikorita and Pikachu at his feet.

At the camp, Brock, who was cooking up a soup, kept an eye on Misty. She'd been silent since the argument with Ash, and just sat, slumped against a tree trunk, staring into infinity. Togapei, who seemed worried that her mother wouldn't even acknowledge her presence, had wandered over to where Brock was, and had started watching him with a worried expression.
"Brock?"
Brock jumped, startled by the sudden voice, which permeated the quiet and rustling of the trees, spun around to see Misty gazing into the fire.
"D'you think I've hurt him?" She asked in a distant tone of voice. Brock frowned at Misty's question, thinking slowly about his answer. Finally, he nodded and replied
"You've had plenty of fights in the past, so I think he'll be okay."
"But, he seemed so, so, so devastated." Misty murmured, her eyes tearful.
"Hmmmmmmm." Brock had to admit she was right. Normally, although the two of them often fought, it had never happened before that one had so badly hurt the other. He even suspected that this was a body blow Ash would need time to recover from. After a moments pause, he turned to Misty, and said in a comforting voice "You know, I think Ash will have trouble with this for a while. You insulted some of the very things he holds dear to himself." (And he was hurt by the thing dearest to him of all) he added mentally, turning back to the food. For a moment they were both silent, contemplating the thoughts neither of them dared to share.
"D-do you think he'll forgive me?" Again, Brock stirred the soup, considering his answer.
"It'll take time. But its best if you let him be tonight, before you take it up with him." As Brock bent down to his bag, Misty stifled a sob. *Why did you have to do that? You idiot!* She screamed silently to herself. *Why go off at the deep end? You know that Ash did nothing wrong. You started the fight, yet you had to finish it!* Misty buried her head in her arms, desperate to end her self reproach. Brock heard her move, went to turn, but thought better of it. *Better to let her get over this herself. Besides, She's got more than her argument to think about. The little moment when their eyes met. This could get interesting. Mind you, since I met them, I've been waiting for this to happen. This could get REALLY interesting.*
*You know why you reacted. You saw him look at you. You got nervous. Face it, you've just broken up Ash because you like him.* Misty's conscience nibbled at her incessantly. Eventually, she shouted under her breath "That's a lie." She could feel her mind laughing at her. *You're a liar, Misty Waterflower.* Misty hit the earth with her fist. "Shut up Misty Waterflower!"

Ash sat away from the fire, staring into his bowl. Eventually, he dipped in his spoon and took a tentative sip. The warm, sweet taste of his soup spread over him, as if a ray of sunshine had speared out of the darkness and shone on him, just for a fleeting moment. He nodded to himself, and continued eating. Brock looked over and smiled. He turned back to Misty, and murmured "He's eating now." Misty remained expressionless, but a glint of relief passed into her eyes nonetheless. She risked a brief glance in his direction, but turned away when she saw Chikorita watching her silently. She'd been watching Misty virtually continually since Ash had got back, and still sat by his side like a sentry, only looking away to look up at Ash. Pikachu, who was slightly more of a realist, ate by the fire opposite Misty, alongside Brock, with the view that she could build no bridges that night, so she may as well enjoy her supper. She only moved away from the fire to give Ash and Chikorita food. *I'm gonna have to talk to Brock about this too.* She thought. *Also, there could be another problem in the making.* Glancing across at Ash, she saw Chikorita still standing to attention. Shaking her head, she turned to look across at Misty. Although she was still seething at Misty's comments, Pikachu still felt a pang of pity for her. Misty looked as if she'd been awake for weeks. Beneath her tired blue eyes were dark shadows, her face looked grimy as if someone had been wiping it with dusty hands, and her clothes looked dishevelled and creased. Pikachu, who had a good idea of Misty's level of feeling for Ash, still felt shocked by the effect Misty's regret was having on her. *Perhaps she's realised how much she feels - maybe more than she ever knew*. A rustling from Ash's direction signified that he was crawling into his sleeping bag. Pikachu twitched her ears again, and ran over to his sleeping bag, and nudged him with her nose.
"Oh, it's you Pikachu. C'mon into the sleeping bag and get some rest." Ash made room, and crawled into the gap. Ash stroked Pikachu as he lay still, feigning sleep. Behind him, someone got up and unrolled a sleeping bag on the other side of the clearing. There was a rustling, and a sigh. Misty's voice. The events of the day seemed to suddenly build up and crash like a tsunami into him, swirling him around, working his emotions into a seething mass. Choking back tears, he vowed to stay silent. *If I break, Misty might think she's right, or she's won. I'm not gonna give her the satisfaction. *Unbeknownst to Ash, the night breeze carried the drowned sob across to the ears of Misty, who started praying. *Don't cry, Ash. Please. I don't know if I could bear the sound*. She squeezed her eyelids together tightly, and prayed for sleep to take her quickly, to take her away from a world of confusion.

Brock sat by the fire, watching the dying embers glowing bright in the darkness. Ash had finally dropped off, while Misty fell silent almost instantly. There was a lot to think about. *Funny really.* he mused. *They say I'm the one who goes to pieces every love comes near me, and now look what's going on with those two. But this is serious now. There is so much pride involved in this that I can't see either of them giving up or apologising.* Pikachu, who had listened to Ash fall asleep, heard Brock moving, and took her chance. She sneaked out of the sleeping bag, and almost ran into Chikorita.
"Chi-ko?" (What you doing?) Chikorita asked her softly, with more than a trace of suspicion. Not surprising given the history between them. Pikachu softly replied:
"Going to talk to Brock. Just wait here and watch Ash." Chikorita looked at Pikachu for a moment, but then nodded. Pikachu ran over to Brock, and nudged him in the side. However, being prodded suddenly in the dead of night has the same effect as the application of a red-hot poker to the backside, and Brock flew into the air and performed a piece of incredible gymnastics which could have easily scored a 9.95, maybe 10.0 in the Olympics. As he opened his mouth to yell, Pikachu jumped up and held his lips together, and performed a small flash which lit herself up for long enough for Brock to recognise her. Brock sunk to the floor in relief, and gathered his breath.
"You could have said something." he murmured to Pikachu, who shrugged.
("I want to talk for a minute")
"Yeah?"
("You do know why Ash has taken this so hard, yes?")
"Well, yeah. It's been obvious for a while. But the problem is, they're both too stubborn to admit anything."
("I think they're gonna need our help.")
"Probably." Brock looked into the ashes for a minute, as the last of the red glow died silently. "But the biggest problem is that it's their problem, and they're going to have to sort it out themselves. I can't hold them together and force them to make up, nor can you."
("But, I can't stand to see them so sad. Especially Ash, he's always been my greatest friend, but now he believes that he has just been using me.")
"You know that's not true, and so does he." Brock reassured Pikachu.
("But does he?") Pikachu moaned quietly, as a tear ran down her cheek. ("I don't know if I can live with either of them, if Ash truly believes that.")
Brock tickled Pikachu between the ears and reassured her quietly
"You have to trust Ash. Show him that it isn't true. You can do it. Look, Chikorita is showing him already." Sounds from the darkness indicated Chikorita was pulling the sleeping bag more securely around Ash's shoulders.
("Oh, yeah. That way the other thing. Chikorita is worrying me. I know she is possessive towards Ash, I mean, I had a run in with her not long ago, but this seems different. She seems determined to keep Misty away from Ash. While we were talking in the forest, I helped him to see Misty's uncertainties around him. Chikorita seemed to find it - threatening.") Brock nodded.
"I see that this could be a problem." He stretched and yawned. "But it's nearly midnight, so I think it's gonna have to wait until tomorrow." He nodded to Pikachu and got into his sleeping bag. "Keep a close eye on them okay?"
("You got it.")
"G'night Pikachu."
("Sleep well.")
Ash, facing the forest, opened his eyes, and momentarily stared at the ground. *Chikorita - jealous? Of Misty? And Pikachu felt so strongly about this too?* Feeling wide awake, he heard Pikachu scamper over and feigned sleep. Once Pikachu got back inside the sleeping bag, his eyes slammed open again, and looked this time at the stars. *This is gonna be a long night for me…..*