Disclaimer: My name's certainly not affiliated with Pokémon –not unless I want to be sued .
Story: All Ash Ketchum has ever wanted was to be the best. Ash's dream was to be the unbeatable, greatest and grandest Pokémon Master there ever was. So now of legal age to get a Trainer's license, Ash can start the road for just that. Problem? Ash is a girl. And the world is full of perverts as her mother had warned and so Ash Ketchum the girl must become Ash Ketchum the boy.
Set as an AU.
Spoilers: Probably.
Warnings: Perverts, raunchy humor, weird humor, craziness, etc…
Pairings: Reverse Harem Genre along the vein of Fushigi Yuugi, Ouran High Host Club, Negima! (regular harem), Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo!, and other Ken Akamatsu works, with fanon Harem twist of multiple partners. Most guys are reoccurring unrequited or "character of the day" crushes, but a select number are permanent requited guys. Hence, Ash with a lot of people (mostly one-sided), Ash/Lance, Ash/Steven, Ash/Giovanni, Ash/Lt. Surge, etc. for sure.

Loyal to the Game
Chapter Ten: Backtrack Backpacking I

Somehow or other, the dinner dissolved into a huge fight of epic proportions that Ash didn't understand at all. Or how it had gotten that way.

It started with the pokémon.

She wasn't sure when or how, but the pokémon started fighting out of nowhere. Raichu threw a glass of orange…juice? She wasn't sure what in the world the pokémon were drinking, but all she knew was that they acted like they were drunk.

And that Raichu threw the glass of orange liquid at Golem.

Golem retaliated by using Steamroller and nearly rolling over Raichu with its rolled up body. And then Giovanni's pokémon were ganging up and attacking Raichu, who was impressively evading the attacks while ineffectively trying to shock the others. Pikachu was steadfastly focusing on his food.

He'd also excused it all as the pokémon wanting to train a bit more, on their own, as he explained to her in charades later on.

Ash doubted Pikachu, but didn't further push it. Pikachu looked frazzled enough as he was.

She was also concerned on how Giovanni and Lt. Surge having not noticed the whole thing at all. Instead, they were still locked in some sort of staring contest for some reason. And then when the wine came, they poured their glasses and kept drinking, seemingly not noticing that they kept refilling their glasses and getting into some kind of drinking contest. And soon enough, though she wasn't quite sure since she didn't have much experience in this area, but she thought they'd gotten drunk and gone from a drinking contest to an arm wrestling match.

Ash couldn't know for sure, but she didn't think Giovanni was the type to arm wrestle.

Therefore, he must've been drunk?

Why did that end up coming out more like a question…

In any case, she didn't think Giovanni got into drinking contests either. She wondered what had gotten into him, and Lt. Surge while she thought about it. The two had been acting funny ever since she and Lt. Surge reached the restaurant and met up with all the others.

She found it all too strange and decided she'd rather just focus on her food. And after that, she decided she'd go to the room Giovanni had told her he'd gotten for her earlier, in that text he'd sent her about being late to meeting her. He had explained that it was going to end up late and not a good idea to travel out, so she might as well have a room to stay in for the night and she was glad for it now. She was exhausted after practically a whole day of exploring the park, and the whole thing with the Tentacool and Tentacruel beforehand…And this whole strangeness going on now…

Speaking of strangeness, she decided against questioning Misty on why she had popcorn and was watching everyone, and Brock seemingly gotten roped into recording it all with a camcorder she wasn't sure where it had come from.

"Ah, Miss Ash, is there anything you'd like for us to do?" One of Nastina's men brightly smiled at her.

She still wasn't used to the sparkles.

"Oh, um, no, I'm good," she smiled awkwardly at them. "I'm just going to go to bed now."

"Would you like us to give you a night massage, sparkling cider in bed, or play a soothing tune to you to sleep to?" they chorused together.

She blinked. "…Um, yeah. I'm good. Goodnight."

Ash hightailed it out of there.

When she woke up the next morning, she was energized and ready to go and continue her travels. Assuming everyone was still asleep, she took a shower, ate a quick breakfast, and decided on some last minute touring of the place before she had to leave there, while leaving Pikachu behind to continue sleeping (he was being so adorable in his sleep –there was no way she could wake him up). As she was looking around, she frowned as she saw a Devon Corp. demonstration. She reluctantly drew closer and eyed some of the things that were being advertised.

Her eyes immediately zeroed in on the PokéNav. She both at once hated and loved it.

The truth was that she was a loyal Silph Co. customer. Kanto pride and all too. The PokéNav, and Devon Corporation, was Hoenn born and based.

"So, you're looking at the PokéNav?"

She turned slightly to see a young man, probably in his early to mid-twenties, coming towards her. He had light steel blue hair and pale turquoise eyes, and seemed to tread with a very confident step. The business attire he wore, seemed outfitted for him perfectly and announced that he was most probably an important person and not just a Devon employee there looking professional.

"I prefer the Pokégear," she quickly said staunchly, without any hesitation.

His lips twitched up. "Do you then? Here," he grabbed one of the PokéNav on display and handed it to her. "Play around with it a bit. Maybe you'll change your mind if you try it out," he gave her a wink.

She huffed. "I doubt it. I'll stick to my Kanto pride and stick with Silph Company," but she took the PokéNav anyway and fiddled around with it.

A smirk started to curl on his lips, and he found that he was going to have a challenge on his hands. He liked challenges.

"But as you can see, it's quite useful. Its best component, in my opinion, is the way it monitors a pokémon's status," he pointed out. He even reached over and placed his hand over hers, quickly configuring the PokéNav to that application.

A light red tinge colored her cheeks, but she remained quiet and frowning. He briefly smirked again at her reaction, but it went away as he also saw that she was still not buying into the product.

"It's something the Pokégear from Silph doesn't have, and I think is a useful tool for all pokémon trainers."

Ash glanced at him, still frowning. "You're stubborn, aren't you?"

He chuckled wryly. "Sure am, but so are you. At least you're cute."

She stopped messing with the PokéNav immediately and stared at him, nearly gaping. Was he flirting with her? Or she was just over thinking it. Maybe it was just a compliment? Unless it was both.

Urgh! Where was Misty or Brock or any of the others so she could ask them?!

She cleared her throat and tried to look at him coolly, like she'd seen Giovanni do a number of times to others. She dropped the PokéNav back into the man's hands.

"Flattery will get you nowhere," she said dryly and then began to walk off.

"I'll be sure to keep trying!" he called and she turned back to him slightly, seeing him grinning widely. "The name's Steven!"

She stuck out her tongue and gave her signature pose, v-sign held up confidently.

"I'm Ash Ketchum and I'm going to be the world's greatest Pokémon Master!"

Then she flitted off, humming to herself and deciding she felt like having ice-cream then.

Steven Stone, heir to Devon Corporation and Hoenn's Champion, smirked to himself and calculated new plans regarding this product tour.

He wasn't the type to give up.

May felt uncomfortable as she rode the train. She hadn't really thought this through. It was a little spur of the moment, and she'd really just rushed out of her home without any real thought put into this crazy plan of hers.

Besides! What was Ash Ketchum going to say when May found her? If May found her…

How was the other girl going to respond when she finds out that May traveled all the way from Hoenn to Kanto, just to find her –and for what? What was May doing? What was she thinking? How was she going to explain her presence to the other female, or her reasoning why she so rashly jumped onto a train to meet someone she only knew through a TV program?

The thing was she loved the soft look on Ash's face as she stared out the screen and to the audience watching her. She loved the kindness she exuded and the way she seemed so tender and motherly towards her pokémon.

Could she be motherly towards people too? Towards May?

The truth of her family was that Caroline and her father had been happy in their youth. They were happy and they were in love. And they got married.

And then Caroline grew dissatisfied with her life.

Only, she didn't show it and couldn't understand why. She'd pushed it off and ignored her feelings, and soon enough she was pregnant with May. May knew Caroline had thought with the pregnancy, she'd feel back to normal and everything would be okay, but it just got worse. And when May was born and as she grew up, she (despite how young she was) could see and feel Caroline struggling to connect and be happy in her life, and was trying to connect and be a mother to May. Except she couldn't and didn't want to.

It was a little late in realization, but Caroline married too early and wasn't ready to be a mother either.

By the time Caroline was pregnant with Max, the truth of the matter was known and things became strained and borderline hostile between her parents. After Max was born, they couldn't even stand each other. But after awhile, realizing they had kids and they were all too aware of how May and Max needed a stable home and parents, somehow or other Norman and Caroline worked through their issues. They weren't the same and weren't in love anymore, but they were able to slowly become friends again and love each other, at least platonically.

Caroline still wasn't ready to be a mother, which just led to her and May becoming more or less like sisters and Caroline acting like a fun aunt to Max.

It was a dysfunctional family, but at least now it was an affable dysfunctional family that got along together.

Still, there was a missing piece inside of May that craved being cared for, someone to mother and look after her. She knew Max felt that way too, and that the two of them often felt lonely and disconnected.

There was no possible way or any reason why Ash would fulfill this craving in May, but she couldn't help but desperately feel this way.

It was these depressing thoughts, especially of how she felt, that continuously plagued her on her train journey. But May comforted herself by listening to Ash's voice, playing an mp3 ripped from her performance on TV, or by playing a streaming video of Ash's performance.

Glad she was alone in her train compartment, she curled up on the bed and held back tears as she listened to the song she wished was directed towards her.

"You're got to hold on," May murmured.

"I'm still irritated with you guys," Lance glowered at the other three, who didn't look at him. "You guys cut my time off! I was still talking to her!"

"Hey, you got plenty of time with her," Bruno shrugged him off. He was delighted that he'd found Ash, and was the first among the others to do so as well. As far as he was concerned, yesterday was a good day and he had done well. "Agatha was the one who had the shortest time."

"But Agatha didn't get cut off! I was still spending time with her!"

"Quit ya whining!"

Lorelei shook her head, examining the photos their two video stalkers had taken for them.

"I wish I had copies of the photos I'd taken with her," Bruno said wistfully, changing the subject as he saw what Lorelei was doing.

"I wish I'd taken pictures with her," Lorelei replied enviously, glancing at him.

Lance awkwardly shifted, hiding his nervousness and moving his Pokégear behind his cup more. Truthfully, he'd taken a candid shot of Ash before he'd come to talk to her and he didn't want to tell the others, preferring to selfishly keep it to himself.

"You three and your names though," Agatha chortled mockingly. "What were you all thinking?"

Lance and the others turned a bright red as they glared at the ghost-type master.

"We're supposed to keep a low profile," Lance hissed at her. "How could you go and say your real name? You could've been outed!"

Agatha sniffed disdainfully. "Well, it's much better than Lancelot."

His face was burning as the others snickered at him.

"Prima is a common alias of mine," Lorelei continued, stopping her snickering at Lance to frown at Agatha. "Especially around the Orange Islands. I don't see what's wrong with it."

"I came up with Bruce on the spot," Bruno muttered. "It was close enough to Bruno and I almost said my name before I luckily switched it. There's nothing wrong with it –it was a good quick fix-it."

"Let's just finish packing," Lance cut in, sighing. "We've got to go before we're missed too much back at the Headquarters."

There was a bunch of mumbling, but they all agreed reluctantly.

Ash was a bit lost. Somehow she'd made it into the woods and wasn't sure where she was.

The one thing she did know was that she kept running into the mechanical pokémon, who looked a lot less cool up close. In fact, she kept running away screaming, as she kept being nearly trampled by them.

But they were gigantic. How could she not be scared of them? Especially since she kept getting nearly squashed by each one.

Ash focused back into her surroundings, and once again screamed as she ran away from the humongous Blastoise walking her way. Without noticing, she bumped into a blond-haired muscular man, who she almost mistook for Lt. Surge. Only this guy was shorter, had a head full of blond hair darker than Lt. Surge's (with a large tuff of it off to a side), and wore different clothes than her friend. But then she heard the roar of the Blastoise, and practically scrambled onto the stranger like a squirrel.

"Run, run! It's going to trample us!"

He blinked and looked at the girl clinging onto him.

"Who are you and why are you around this place? There's no trespassing," he said bluntly.

"My name's Ash," she kept tugging at him. "Go, go!"

He rolled his eyes but started to walk on, heading towards where he knew would lead out of the forest and into the main park.

"My name is Attila," he decided to tell her, though he was glad his Team Rocket vest was off and wouldn't out who he was to the girl. No need for her to know he was a Team Rocket agent.

His shaded eyes caught sight of the bracelet on her wrist and he inwardly tensed up. He may not be as smart as his partner Hun, but he wasn't dumb. He could catch on pretty quickly, and right now he could see that this girl must be someone special and important to have one of those.

Those bracelets basically gave a free ticket to everything in the park, courtesy of the boss' favor. Mostly Rocket agents nonchalantly took advantage of the free fun and break from work, like Domino who was addicted to the place. Since this girl, clearly not a Rocket agent, had one…must make her important and important to the boss. That and her having it must mean that the boss probably gave it to her personally too, as there was no way she (not a Rocket agent) could have gotten her hands on one, unless the boss specifically and personally gave it.

He'd have to tread carefully with her.

When Lt. Surge trekked into the foyer, he hadn't expected to see Giovanni already up and apparently reading the paper as he sipped on a mug of coffee. Lt. Surge grunted his way, figuring that he wouldn't be coherent until he got some coffee in him. He'd be fine after.

Seeing a sleeping Pikachu curled up on the man's lap, as well as a Persian he didn't remember seeing the night before sleepily curled up by Giovanni's feet, he fetched himself a mug waiting by the plugged in coffeemaker near them. He could bet Giovanni had both mug and coffeemaker set nearby, so the two of them could have a much levelheaded and better confrontation than the night before.

He looked around and frowned, seeing how isolated their section was, and how no one was around. He could bet that was another of Giovanni's doings too.

"I figure privacy was best," Giovanni said stiffly, and he looked over to the man to see he was still reading the paper. Or at least pretending.

"Yeah, sure," Lt. Surge grabbed his mug and strolled over to sit across from the other gym leader. "Let's set the record straight then."

"I met her in Viridian. We had a mock battle and she basically won. She intrigued me, so I decided to help her out on her journey by buying her a custom suit and giving her Espeon," Giovanni started off. "I left her my number for emergency. She tends to text me, so I've grown used to her. She called from the hospital the morning she recovered from being found on the beach of Aopulco and I came to her aid."

Lt. Surge tapped his fingers thoughtfully on his knee. While it was news to him that Ash had been in constant contact with Giovanni prior to meeting him, and had continued to be even now, Lt. Surge decided that he could focus on that tidbit later. He was still a little miffed that she contacted Giovanni in Aopulco, and that she had thought to contact him at all, especially as an emergency contact and someone she trusted to call and felt the need to call practically first thing after waking up from some horrible experience.

"What do you mean she basically won your mock battle?" he started out easy.

Giovanni closed his paper, folded it, and then set it aside. Focusing on Lt. Surge, Giovanni's neutral face revealed nothing.

"She won against my Golem with her Pikachu, but Pikachu was exhausted after and couldn't fight further, and since she had no other pokémon, we couldn't further our pokémon battle," Giovanni explained smoothly, and Lt. Surge nodded.

"We met when she came to challenge me for a badge. I set terms on what would happen if she won or lost, and we had a very heated and charged up battle that she won," Lt. Surge explained, though he gave a heavily edited version, given the fact that he did basically got Ash into a date through a pokémon battle, and the following events were somehow not so innocent despite nothing happening.

Giovanni frowned though, still having caught something off. "What terms are you talking about?"

Lt. Surge inwardly huffed. This guy, always sharp…Well, he might as well jump from the frying pan and go all in, and leave nothing out.

"I told her if I won, she'd go out with me for the rest of the day. She won, she'd get a badge and a tour of the city," Lt. Surge started, keeping his tone bored. "Since she won, I took her out around the city to show her the sights, after we had lunch together. It started to rain and we were too far away from the Pokécenter, so I led her to my house, which was close by. We dried up, watched a movie together, and when she fell asleep at the end, I let her sleep in my bed and she ended up staying overnight," he was pretty damn sure his eyes were glittering with an undertone of slightly malicious mischievousness, letting implications of things uncertainly settle in Giovanni's head, despite whatever thoughts the man was having probably not being true.

He also probably gave a little more detail than was needed, though he couldn't help it and just wanted to get under Giovanni's skin. Get the man to react and lose his cool for once…

It probably didn't help that he was still thinking about how Ash easily turned to and thought of Giovanni, back in Aopulco.

And damn it all, that just made him want to give even more details, to show off his own time with Ash against whatever pull Giovanni had with her.

Lt. Surge carefully eyed Giovanni's clenching fists, which had started the motion when Lt. Surge had finished with his reply. He'd tensed up and was ready to evade in case Giovanni decided to lash out at him, but the slightly older man seemed to have refrained from any such actions. Instead, Giovanni took a deep breath and stared blankly back at the other, and Lt. Surge had to mentally clap at the man's excellent poker face.

"Why are you here?" Giovanni asked, with just the bit of sharpness in his voice. "I don't suppose you showed up all of a sudden just to say hi to her."

Lt. Surge shrugged. "No, I hadn't. You are correct about that. Actually, I figure I could travel along with her. One of my gym trainers will take over in the meanwhile, and I had hoped I could have told Ash about it last night."

Giovanni's eyes flashed and for a moment Lt. Surge was reminded of moments in the war where he'd been just about close to being fatally attacked, and instinct had him bracing and ready to defend just like in the good ol' days. But Giovanni merely curled his lip slightly.

"Was that so? I don't suppose you could have a good reason for just…abandoning your gym just like that, do you?" the ground-type leader unmistakably held a quiet undertone of mocking, but Lt. Surge brushed it off easily.

In kind, the lieutenant answered with heartfelt honesty instead. "For all intents and purposes, Ash could have very well died on the St. Anne then. In the brief time that I came in contact with her and came to know her, I connected with her on such a surprising level. Her near miss scared the hell out of me," Lt. Surge said bluntly. "It was an eye-opening experience. I felt like I needed to come and…just spend time with her, watch over her or something…"

The blond was caught off guard by Giovanni's reaction to his reply, the older man visibly (but not too obvious) slumping a bit and looking off to the side with a discontented air.

"…That was a rather scary affair, wasn't it…Close…too close…" Giovanni murmured to himself, reminded of how upset he had been of that whole thing, and was still upset by.

Lt. Surge made a noise of agreement, though he knew that Giovanni had not intended to have him hear that, much less directed it to him.

"There's also that I blame myself for handing her the tickets in the first place," Lt. Surge winced. "If I hadn't handed those tickets to her…"

Giovanni surprisingly snorted, though it was still in derision. Even more surprising was that Lt. Surge couldn't tell if it was towards him or unexpectedly towards Giovanni himself, especially given that Giovanni was more likely to be directing his derision towards others.

"Don't be daft. If anyone was to be blamed…I would certainly have more blame and responsibility for it…" Giovanni muttered tiredly, suddenly looking drawn. Before Lt. Surge could open his mouth to ask just what Giovanni meant with that, Giovanni was continuing and directing his attention to something else. "I will also be accompanying Ash for near the same reasons. I've been working on getting my affairs settled since yesterday, in order for that to happen. I'd hoped to inform her of it last night as well…but I was just as preoccupied as you."

The two shared sheepish looks, though Giovanni would never admit to it.

"If anyone were to ask along the journey, what should we introduce ourselves as, in relation to her?" Giovanni asked him curiously, wondering what the other man would have to say to that.

Lt. Surge smirked. "Bodyguard. You?"

Giovanni thought on it and then answered nonchalantly, "Sugar Daddy."

That was the unfortunate moment Lt. Surge was taking a sip of his coffee. Somehow he avoided spitting the dark liquid out, but he choked on his coffee instead. After suffering a bout of harsh coughing, he refocused and stared incredulously at a blasé Giovanni, who was sipping at his own coffee calmly.

"How can you be so composed?! And…y-you're joking, right?"

Giovanni's eyebrows furrowed and he looked intently into his coffee mug. "Hm…no, actually. After contemplating it, I find it the best course of action to deter others away from her from the onset. Plus, I expect reactions to be quite similar to yours, and that such a title itself –never mind the words –would put people off, along with such connotations associated with the title and relationship included, although such a relationship doesn't quite exist," being that though they weren't like that, Giovanni admitted that he was eager to spend his money on her and allowing her to spend his money however way she wished. "However, the title sounds so demeaning," he added as an afterthought.

Lt. Surge twitched slightly.

This man was so unpredictable…

"I suppose that would make me the next line of defense," he said dryly. "And if the physical approach doesn't work out, I guess we just throw our hapless rock trainer at them then."

Giovanni rolled his eyes. "I suppose Brock's over the top-ness will need to keep the determined bunch away. Though on him…I'm quite surprised. I had heard he was an insatiable, hopeless flirt. To find him…not so flirty with every other girl is odd."

"Minus Ash," Lt. Surge scratched his head. "I suppose kid's in love for the first time or something," though the idea rubbed them the wrong way as soon as it was mentioned.

"I think it must be time to find Ash and get ready to head out," Giovanni stated, after glancing at his watch. "I think she'd appreciate getting back on track with her pokémon journey."

Just as he finished saying that, the entrance to the foyer opened and said girl came in…attached to a familiar blond subordinate that was supposed to be on duty in the woods.

Attila was not ashamed to admit to feeling fear as he entered into the foyer of the private hotel of the theme park and coming face to face with his boss, whose face briefly looked thunderous before being wiped blank of any emotion.

He was more than understanding of the fact he was not supposed to be there with the girl and especially be near her, much less touch her. With a single look from Giovanni, Attila just knew that he wasn't supposed to have ever come into contact with the girl.

He wanted to run away as fast and as far away from there as he could right then.

It wasn't helping that the girl was still latched onto him in her frazzled state. He gained the urge to hurriedly pry her off him and take large steps away from her, in order to heel to his self-preservation instincts. He reluctantly headed towards his boss with the girl in tow, and inwardly prayed that he wasn't going to be thrown to the gallows.

"Sir, I found this girl lost in the forest surrounding the park," was all he could sufficiently explain with.

To his surprise and disbelief, the girl named Ash slid off of him and latched onto the Team Rocket Boss, sniffling as she clutched onto Giovanni's sleeve, who amazingly didn't seem to mind.

"I got lost and then all the gigantic pokémon were chasing and trying to eat me," she mumbled. "It felt like I was surrounded by a whole bunch of Godzillas."

The blond situated nearby snickered and Ash tossed him a pouting scowl.

"It's not funny. I almost got eaten. Or at least trampled on."

Giovanni brushed her short raven hair back almost absentmindedly. "Don't be silly, Ash. They're mechanical. They don't eat at all, much less humans."

"Just wait until they mutate into biomechanical AIs," she muttered, and that drew chuckles directed at her from all three, even reluctantly from Attila (who still worried about his safety).

The unknown blond, who sort of looked familiar now that Attila thought about it, glanced at Giovanni and then at him with a moderately disinterested but knowing look, and Attila stiffened up as he noticed.

"We'll leave you to it then, Giovanni," the blond said casually. "Come on, Ash. Let's get all your stuff packed up and ready to go, alright? And hey! Guess what? I'm gonna travel with you for awhile."

"What? Really?! That's great!" and the two's voices slowly began to fade away the farther they left them behind, with the Pikachu that had been on Giovanni's lap having been scooped up into Ash's arms.

Attila's eyes moved from watching them walking away, to finally looking at his boss. He gulped at the steely glint in the man's eyes and began to fidget.

Inwardly, he cursed that unknown blond for leaving him alone with the Rocket Boss.

Giovanni admitted that the night before was a complete disaster, and he was ashamed and horrified to recall it, more so having experienced it at all. To have gotten so worked up that he'd all but declared war on Lt. Surge, as well as horrifically getting drunk like he had. And then he had nothing to say about how he'd arm wrestled his fellow gym leader, so completely unlike himself.

And Ash had seen all of that!

He didn't blame her for leaving like she had. If he had known things would end up like that, he would have left the gathering before it had even started.

He didn't know how or when, but somehow he'd made it to his private suite there. And when he'd woken up in the morning, he had a horrible headache and a fascinated horror at his recollection and of what he'd done the night before.

Before he could get started on setting things right, he decided he needed a nice long shower, which would probably wake him up further, refresh him, and hopefully get rid of the blasted headache he was suffering with.

Then he had contacted Ariana and Archer, his topmost serious and high-ranking officers, and had them send over Persian, who he had overlooking things in his absence while he'd gone off to see to Ash in Aopulco. He'd made sure to reaffirm their roles, along with Dr. Zager, while he was going to be away, making sure to firmly reiterate that Archer was in charge of the organization as a whole, while Ariana would be handling field operations and Dr. Zager the in-organization projects and the man's usual research and developmental schemes. Ariana and Dr. Zager would head their fields but report to Archer, who would only report to him if there were emergencies or unless Giovanni called in. Otherwise, Archer was semi-free to use his own judgment to make decisions.

It all made Giovanni a little uneasy to leave his organization in others' hands, but at least with Archer he'd known the other for a long time and if anyone could be considered his second in command and right-hand man, it would be him.

Still, power went to people's heads, and he could only hope that the three didn't start to fight over control of his organization. Despite handing over temporary control and venturing on Ash's pokémon journey with her, he would definitely have to check in often and keep as much of his presence in the neck of things, despite not being completely present to deal with it all. It also wouldn't do for them to not just fight amongst themselves, but get it into their heads to try to usurp him and take control of his empire.

He was still hoping that despite their built power structure that the three wouldn't end up like the first and second Triumvirates of history.

And he wasn't inclined to be Julius Caesar. Or Marc Antony for that matter…

Finishing off with them, he let out his Persian from his pokéball and allowed the feline to travel beside him as he headed out of his suite. He'd only just opened the door when he caught sight of a still practically asleep Pikachu, an arm up and a paw still moving as if in the motions of knocking…despite there not being a door to knock on anymore.

Giovanni sighed and picked up the electric pokémon, who snuggled into his arms.

"And this is probably why your mistress left you behind –so you could keep sleeping. You could have looked for her later, when you were more awake, you know."

But Pikachu was right back to sleep, ignoring him and slightly snoring.

His Persian purred and gave him an amused look, to which he gave him a dry one back. He shook his head to himself and continued on down.

Considering this was the private hotel that he more or less reserved for either his Rocket agents or for business associates, acquaintances or contacts that he was personally hosting, it was relatively easy to keep the foyer of the hotel empty and a space in the corner isolated. There were no other people rooming in the hotel, aside from Ash and her friends and a few Rocket agents straggling around or were out and about (and most should be working), so there weren't anyone that needed to be worried about walking about and interrupting the talk he was planning on having with his fellow gym leader.

He had a coffee machine set nearby, poured himself a mug, and maneuvered around to sit down and settled the sleeping Pikachu onto his lap, with Persian comfortably settling himself by his feet. Personally, he was hoping this would go over much better than last night had.

He hadn't needed to wait long until Lt. Surge made it down. He waited until said man had his own mug of coffee and had sat down from across Giovanni before he started. And then he'd told the other how he'd met Ash, only to hear Lt. Surge's version of events.

He'd caught something off when he'd mentioned something about terms, but when the blond had elaborated, Giovanni strangely felt a surge of hate and fury while his mind started conjuring images and speculations about what might have gone on while those two had toured Vermillion City, but most especially at night when Ash had been alone and had slept over the man's home.

His hackles had risen immediately and violently.

Giovanni had to do his utmost best to calm himself down, only to nearly lose it again when Lt. Surge revealed his plans to travel with Ash. However, it had helped when Lt. Surge brought up his reasons why, and Giovanni was once again attacked by unfamiliar (although starting to, at the rate he was going) stabs of guilt and remorse that he did his best to again not get too into.

He didn't like his emotions running amok like this, but Ash seemed to be unknowingly but easily playing puppeteer with him.

Revealing his similar plans to travel with Ash, he brought up introductions. It wasn't like the two of them could just outright say who they were, being that they as veteran and well-known gym leaders (with Misty actually being the equivalent in rank as being a junior trainer in a gym, and Brock only being slightly more capable and a little more known than Misty, having actually really outright run his own gym and for a few years). It would also be questionable as to why they, being who they were, would travel along with the group.

Especially with a teenage girl.

Giovanni wasn't naïve enough to not know how that would look to others, and how incredulous it would seem they would be traveling with her especially because of who they were. So a simple title to introduce themselves as, to avoid having to say their recognizable names, and also serving as a one-word explanation as to their roles relating to her…even as off-putting as they might be. Although, on the other hand…

He was, admittedly, looking forward to people's faces and reactions once Giovanni announced his chosen title, especially if they were anywhere near Lt. Surge's. He could admit to a twisted sense of humor.

He was also hoping that people (read: other guys) would back the hell off, once he and Lt. Surge announced who they were. Both he and Lt. Surge were physically imposing (and probably intimidating even without their physical bulk), so that would help –Lt. Surge as a bodyguard would then imply a physical capability that should further scare them off.

His title would imply Ash's unavailability and that she was off limits. N-not that she actually was! It was just better this way, to keep guys away and their attentions off of her. Just like she'd wanted and had been trying to do on her pokémon journey. Yes. Right. Exactly.

In any event, he hadn't expected for one of his subordinates to come waltzing through the front doors not too long after, and accompanied by Ash herself.

Giovanni did not want Ash coming into contact with any of his other subordinates. At all. James, Jessie, and Meowth were unavoidable, but at least they not only knew better than to connect him to Team Rocket, they had firsthand orders.

If Attila messed up Giovanni's anonymity in any way…

In fact, he didn't want anyone else from his organization coming into contact with Ash ever again. Not after the whole St. Anne fiasco. As far as he was concerned, he would keep Ash as far away from any Team Rocket dealings as he could; he was damned sure going to keep Ash and Team Rocket separate. And especially keep her from finding out who he was…

He also didn't like that Ash was clinging onto the other man.

He quickly dealt with Attila before dismissing him, rolling his eyes as the other scrambled out of his sight. Then he stood and went to search for Ash, Persian loyally following by his side. When he found her room, he could see Lt. Surge sitting cross-leggedly on the floor and Ash animatedly talking as she moved around excitedly around the room as she talked about the other accompanying her. The blond was the first to notice him and gave a nod, before standing up and bringing Ash's attention to the lieutenant's actions.

"I believe someone wants to talk to you," Lt. Surge said neutrally, giving a brief grin to her before ruffling her hair and then passing her to the door. He brushed passed Giovanni, exchanging a look with him.

"Truce?" he muttered.

"Truce," Giovanni muttered back.

And then Giovanni was left alone with Ash, who was looking puzzled at him, although she was smiling. His Persian purred delightedly and glanced between him and her, before giving him a smug look (he knew his Persian and damn well could translate every single look that feline threw at him, which more often than not was on the teasing side). He ignored his feline pokémon.

"So, all set?" he started, glancing about.

"Yup! Totally ready!" Ash exclaimed enthusiastically.

A brief fond smile crossed his lips.

"Yes, well, I just wanted to inform you, in light of being unable to last night, that I'd been making preparations since yesterday so that I could come along with you in your travels," he informed her nonchalantly, trying not to make a big deal out of it. "Of course, if you don't mind my company –"

He had no warning before her slim body crashed into his and she was hugging him tightly. His face felt hot, but he wasn't admitting to blushing. He wasn't. Not really. Maybe. A little.

Giovanni coughed and gently pried her off of him slightly, putting a little space between them.

"I guess that's an okay then."

"It's great! And instead of sending pictures to each other, we can take pictures together! And we can even do more mock battles and I can take a sneak peek at your pokémon and you can see me battling for real –"

His lips twitched in amusement and he reluctantly cut her off from her excited rant.

"Well, we'll certainly have a lot of time for all of that. But first we'll need to leave here and head out. We should probably go to the park's Pokécenter to retrieve your pokémon first."

"You're right! We should go now; I'm all done here," Ash picked up her bag, which Giovanni took from her and carried himself.

She blushed slightly, which Giovanni took note of pleasingly, though she didn't say anything, and Pikachu just happily found his perch on top of her head. It was his spot after all.

He kept the door opened for her and closed it after he went through after her, and Persian decidedly walked in between the two.

"Who's this lovely?" Ash's eyes lit up at seeing his Persian, eagerly reaching down and rubbing Persian's head. Persian was infinitely pleased and moved his head up, nudging her hand for more. Ash granted his request, and Giovanni had the thought that she was a little cat burglar, this girl. Excusing that pun, it was irony that he was the head of an organization that stole pokémon, and this girl was more than capable and close to stealing his pokémon.

"This is Persian. You could say he was my unofficial starter," Giovanni revealed fondly. "I rescued him when I was a child."

When he looked to see Ash, she was looking at him admirably. He felt his face heat up again.

"Anyway, shall we?" he held out his other arm, the one not occupied in holding her bag, and crooked it so that she could hook her arm around his. He started to lead the way to the foyer, to which he could see it was empty and assumed that Lt. Surge was most probably heading to the Pokémon Center as well.

"I'm not sure how to take this."

"Me either."

Lt. Surge and Misty shook their heads, while Brock scrunched his eyebrows in confusion. All three gym leaders (well, two and half), stared at the monstrosity of a bus in front of them. It was obviously owned by Nastina –or at least it had at one time, and was now permanently governed by "the Harem Club."

They needed a group name and that was what the three of them decided on.

Anyway, it had been owned by Nastina –if the huge, ugly picture of her on the side of the bus said anything about that. But the Harem Club were already well on their way from rapidly scraping and washing off her face from the bus, while another of the group was well on the way to replacing the former picture with…Ash's.

"I'm pretty sure Ash would be…weirded out by this," Misty cringed.

"I don't know. I'm getting vibes that this means…we get a party bus to travel in!" Brock started to grin. "That would be so awesome!"

Even if they had to travel with those weirdoes.

Lt. Surge tilted his head, looking at the huge bus in deep thought. "Well, we certainly won't be lacking any room for people or things."

"That's if we need so much room," Misty glared at him. "After all, it'll be just Ash and me."

"And me!" Brock interjected, and while Misty turned her glare on him, she didn't refute his claim.

"Sure, little girl. Whatever you say," he just grinned patronizingly at her. "I'm just here for Ash anyway, runt."

Misty bristled and was about to go on a rant, when she caught sight of Giovanni and Ash heading towards the Pokécenter. At the same time, Brock's Ash Radar went off and he found her at the same time as Lt. Surge followed Misty's line of sight and saw them too. He sighed as he saw them together, but brushed it off and resolutely headed towards them.

"Hey, wait for me!" Brock jogged to catch up to his long strides.

Misty growled and hurried to catch up to the imbeciles she was surrounded with.

"Thank you, Nurse Joy," Giovanni thanked the park's Nurse Joy politely.

Ash was too busy gaping at her, and staring with wide eyes.

"They're everywhere," he heard her mutter. "Are they all clones?"

He'd been about to correct her about the "They're everywhere" comment, considering they were only in Pokécenters, and he knew she wasn't being literal and his sarcasm would probably go over her head…but her comment on the Joys being all clones nearly made him actually burst out into laughter (which wasn't normal for him) and derailed his reply. It was a hilarious observation and he'd been caught off guard by the comment and what she'd said in the first place.

And honestly, when he was younger, he'd wondered the same thing…

"You're welcome, Mr. Rocketto," Nurse Joy smiled at him, handing him Ash's pokéballs, considering the girl was still weirded out.

Ash tugged at his sleeve. "Giovanni, why are they all the same?" she muttered.

Giovanni was spared from answering (he didn't have an answer either, despite the fact that he actually had a TR project set aside to investigate this phenomena), when Nurse Joy chuckled and patted Ash's hair fondly, causing Ash to turn red but happily let the nurse.

"Genetics are odd stuff, aren't they?" Nurse Joy shrugged, directing her smile full force at Ash. "I was asked to tell you the others you've encountered have said hello, while Viridian Joy wanted to make sure you weren't jumping into waters and catching colds."

Ash's face turned a darker shade of red, but Giovanni was blinking. They were…they were all contacting each other and talking about Ash? Because from the sound of this Nurse Joy, it seemed like they were keeping tabs on her…

"Oh! I almost forgot –Professor Oak called and sounded like he really needed to talk to you, Ash," Nurse Joy suddenly remembered.

Both Giovanni and Ash simultaneously looked at each other, and then looked at Nurse Joy.

"Professor Oak?"

Started 5/16/14 – Completed 6/7/14

A/n: Mwaha! That's not the last of Steven, you can bet! Next chapter is super long and a doozy. Here's some hints: Bill, lab accidents, and Pokémon Institute. Also, the episode with the Giant Pokémon featured in here and last chapter…seriously, where did that food stand come from and how is that Slowbro cooking? And their drinks –what is it and why are they acting drunk?

Quick Important Points:

1. Character Designs: What the hell did they do to Archie and Maxie in ORAS?! OMG, I totally hate their new designs. Some stuff/fanart from others make me like the new designs for a sec, but mostly I hate the hell out of them. When I write those two into the story, picture the old designs, please. Speaking of character designs, am I the only one, or does Giovanni's new design from Best Wishes and onwards make him shorter and less bulkier than his original series design? I like his new suits, but still…Don't think I don't notice that, designers…

2. Giovanni's Persian: Background story of being rescued by Giovanni comes from the How I Became a Pokémon Card series.

3. Reverse Harem P.3: So, to make this easier and to be fair to everyone, I have the say in the permanent group of guys. For the rest of the guys: if you don't mention them, I'll either gloss over them, give them a chapter or two, or not write about them at all (especially if I didn't care or didn't like them in the series). So suggest the guys you want to see (even if it's for craziness)! If they're reoccurring characters already, like the rivals, they're mostly likely already going to be included. Also please include region, because some share their names with other characters.

~For permanent: Giovanni, Surge, Lance, Professor Oak, Norman, Steven Stone, Wallace, Archie, Maxie, Volkner, Riley, Cyrus, N, Cilan, Colress, Siebold, and Professor Sycamore.

~For crushes/one-sided: Brock, James, Proton, Archer, Jackie Walker, Kellyn, Gary, Rudy, Danny, Drake, Lawrence III, Attila, Hun, Falkner, Morty, Eusine, Jimmy, Harley, Harrison, Tabitha, Brodie, Drew, Tyson, Wattson, Flint, Aaron, Saturn, Paul, Reggie, Conway, Barry, Tobias, Nando, Zero, Burgh, Brycen, Trip, Virgil, Davy, Plasma Brad, Clay, and Cameron.

-Sir Aaron is a tossup though. I can't make up my mind on him, so I'll leave the choice to the readers.

4. Game-verse vs. Anime-verse: So while I will include a lot of game stuff, including even characters since it seems I've went on and included Proton into the story (originally was going to just write Archer and Ariana), Silver won't be included in this story. Maybe in another story, but not this one. Sorry!

5. Certain guys: Interesting trivia for you all –originally, the permanent harem (and at the time only real fleshed out one) was Giovanni, Surge, Lance, Oak, Norman, and Steven. Even more originally, it was just Steven and Lance, with focus on one-sidedness from Giovanni. And then I flipped the whole reverse harem idea onto its head and just said to hell with it. Also, N's pretty popular, huh? I had no idea who he was until someone suggested him and then I looked him up. And then got a headache from trying to imagine merging his game self and anime self, until I actually managed and loved the idea enough to put him in the permanent harem. Same with Cyrus, although I already had him placed in the permanent harem. And I like Archie and Maxie, but they were in the other group too…but they grew on me somehow and badgered me into switching their category. Riley, by popular vote of people (like N), made it into the popular harem, and I grew to like him through art and fanfic. Volkner I knew from a fanfic, and had him already in the permanent harem before people mentioned him, but then I watched the episodes with him and really liked him. Colress was like Archie and Maxie, badgering me into switching into the permanent group, although I didn't know who he was either, until I looked him up, like with N. Wallace was one-sided too, but I saw the episodes he was in and really liked him. I don't even know with Norman –for some reason I liked him a lot, even before I saw his episodes. Siebold and Sycamore I just clicked with, Siebold through his anime appearance in the special, and Sycamore through game design and then his episodes. Basically, I clicked with the guys, got ideas for them in the story, and/or look forward to their appearances –hence why they're in the permanent group. Besides, some of them are just stubborn.