**Not mine… This is merely a bit of festive fluff. Hints of Misty/Erika, if femmeslash bothers you.**
A Christmas Pokémon fic without even much Team Rocket, I've stooped so low… But this is dedicated to my sweet wife Floria. Looking towards our first Christmas together… I love you so much, darling, so much. Te amo tanto
"The Inaugral Kanto Gym Leader's Christmas Party/AGM"
Every now and then, the shadowy powers behind the Pokémon League felt it was time for the Gym Leaders of Kanto to associate together, to exchange ideas and debate rules. Unfortunately, as the occupation of Gym Leader seemed to attract rather… eccentric personalities… this was easier said than done. The Kanto Gym Leaders tended to be reclusive, idiosyncratic and, in extreme cases, disinclined even to open their gyms to challengers. They were not naturally gregarious.
This year, however, the League rulers had been inspired by a particularly brilliant idea. The first Pokémon Gym Leaders General Meeting was to be combined with a Christmas party, with gifts for all Leaders and their immediate entourage. If the good of pokémon training was not sufficient incentive, most gym leaders would turn up for nice pressies of pokémon, dolls or, in a couple of cases, advanced siege weapons.
Flanked by the group of female trainers known, somewhat unfairly, as Erika's Harem, a dark-haired girl cautiously scanned the room. All in all, Erika adored being the Celadon Gym Leader. Pretty flowers, pretty perfumes, the regular chance to traumatise some boy just starting on his career by humiliating him in front of a room of pretty girls…
But her job had one major drawback. More than anything else in her serene, happy life, Erika detested other Gym Leaders.
She carefully skirted the corner of the room where the Gym Leader officially known as ???? was seated among his own entourage, his Persian purring at his feet. Somehow, despite the fluorescent lighting and stands of fairy lights, the Viridian City gym leader managed to appear half in ominous shadow. His "trainers" protectively massed around him. Everyone pretended not to realise they were in fact Team Rocket thugs, despite the subtle clue of a huge R emblazoned on every uniform.
Erika cast a suspicious glance around, but the white-clad teenagers who had destroyed her beloved Gym were absent. Probably making out in a dark corner. Surprisingly, Butch was missing too. Only Cassidy and Domino stood at either hand of their Boss, er, Gym Leader. Erika shuddered. Domino was almost worse than her leader .As Erika and her girls crossed the room, Cassidy tore her purple eyes away from her hostile exchange of glares over her employer's oblivious head, and watched the girls with obvious interest.
Erika shuddered, and her own entourage drew closer around her. Cassidy freaked her out. Not as much as Domino, but still…
The grass pokémon specialist cast a longing look over to Aya. She had obviously managed to get her bribe - gift - early, and was happily practicing with her new nunchakus, despite the obvious inadvisability of such weapons in a crowded room. Erika had always thought the ninja girl would be worth getting to know better. But Koga was surprisingly protective of his little sister, and Erika had somehow, without quite noticing it, developed a certain reputation.
She glanced around at her escort, and smiled to herself. Well, maybe she had *some* idea where her reputation had come from…
"Well, hello, baby! Still playing in the grass, I see. Ready to make hay yet?"
Erika cringed, but Petunia had already taken command of the situation. She whirled on Surge, and let out a fast stream of words in which the expressions 'sexual harassment,' 'sleaze,' 'degrading language' and 'back off' were prominent. Erika gratefully hurried away, under the protection of the hail of angry words.
"I can't believe him," huffed Hyacinth, the newest trainer at the Celadon Gym.
Erika sighed. "He's really not so bad. Wait until you meet the Pewter City Leader."
"You have no idea." She tossed her shiny bob. "I only hope the Cerulean contingent brought Misty – she can usually keep him in order."
"I wouldn't worry." Petunia, the unfortunate lieutenant properly dealt with, caught up. "I heard they're hiring Officer Jennies as security guards this year. Brock the Rock should be kept well in hand." She giggled nastily.
Erika, who preferred her girls to maintain some decorum, was forming a stern-but-kind frown when far nastier laughter cut into her thoughts.
"I see you brought your harem, Erika," a monotone droned in the girl's ear.
"Oh. Um, hi, Sabrina. I see you brought your… dolly," Erika said weakly.
Sabrina was, if anything, more beautiful than Aya. But there was something essentially repellent about her, despite the tight minidress and thigh boots. Perhaps it was the blank, yet somehow strangely intense stare. More likely, it was the lifesize doll she carried clutched to her chest. Sabrina's green hair flared against her red dress, but she didn't look particularly festive. Absolutely nothing about her brought either holly or mistletoe to mind.
To Erika's alarm, the Saffron City gym leader went off into a peal of disturbing, empty laughter. Erika and her girls clung together in alarm.
"Oh, no, I'm sorry, Erika…" A small redheaded girl ran up and put a soothing arm around Sabrina. "There, there, honey, take your dried frog pills, and you'll feel all better soon. She's been like this ever since her nervous breakdown," she added sotto voice. "And she we're talking about someone who was already known as the psychotic psychic here." She sighed. "Ash tends to have that effect on people."
Erika smiled. "It's good to see you again, Misty." She was telling the truth. Misty was one of the few gym leaders Erika didn't have recurring nightmares about.
The tomboyish trainer grinned back, still soothingly cuddling Sabrina, who seemed oblivious to her attentions. Misty wore a bunch of holly in her messy, asymmetrical ponytail, but otherwise had made no concession to dressing up for the party, in what was clear defiance of her sister's overdressing. "Well, someone had to provide the intelligence quotient for the Cerulean City gym. And look after Brock with all these pretty girls around. But then, you'd understand about that, Erika." Misty blushed a little.
To save her embarrassment, Erika asked, "Brock is attending instead of his father again?"
Misty shrugged. "Yeah. His old man's off selling rocks again."
Erika wrinkled her pretty nose in confusion. "Selling… rocks? You mean, gems?" Misty shook her head. "Pet rocks?" the grass pokémon expert hazarded.
"No… Just rocks… Don't ask me to explain it, I can't." Misty shrugged. "But I'm glad for the company. And you, of course." She smiled sweetly. "See, I'm wearing one of your perfumes!"
Erika wondered vaguely how she was expected to smell perfume, instead stepping closer to breathe in Misty's scent. It was one of her own unisex colognes, a fresh and woodsy blend. Sparkling notes of citrus and herbs, softened by green florals, deepened by cedar and vanilla and just a smoky hint of vetiver, right below the threshold of unambiguous scent. Erika smiled. "It suits you," she said, approvingly. She looked up to realise she was only a few centimetres from the other girl's face.
Misty matched her smile, aqua eyes lighting up, but at that moment there was a high pitched wail. The younger girl bit her lower lip in annoyance. "Hang on, the bimbos – I mean, duty calls. One of them's probably tangled her hair in the Christmas wrapping." She ran off in her sisters' direction, abandoning the other two women together.
There was a terrible silence. Sabrina stood there silently, all burning eyes in her pale face. Erika smiled awkwardly at the emerald-haired girl, trying to think of something to say to someone who, frankly, terrified the wits out of her. To her relief, the speakers suddenly boomed out, calling everyone to their caring and equal circular positions in the conference room. "Um, talk to you later, Sabrina!" she said with false cheerfulness.
As the Celadon trainers hurried off in a small tight group, a small voice floated behind them. "But don't you want to play with me?" Erika was uneasily uncertain whether Sabrina or her doll had been the one to speak.
"Psycho," she muttered to herself.
TBC… hopefully before Christmas day makes this redundant. :) ::whisper:: Reading and reviewing is encouraging…