Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon, sadly :(
"Oh God," he heard Misty say after a few seconds of having surfaced from the depths of the lake. "Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God!"
"What's wrong with you?" He turned around to find only her head visible over the water, her red hair soaked around her blushing face and the rest of her body hidden under the clear, rippling surface. She had her arms wrapped tightly across her chest, embracing her own figure and bending over so her torso wasn't visible for Ash to see.
She was paralyzed in her uncomfortable position, her blue eyes as wide as plates staring right at him while a maroon blush took over her fair cheeks and the tips of her ears. Pulling his eyebrows together, he stared back at her for a second before his gaze traveled around the lake hidden between thick trees and bushes they had been swimming on, searching for the possible source of her high discomfort.
What could possibly be happening? They had found the lake to swim on, so Ash had pulled his t-shirt off and dived into the clear water without a second of hesitation in such a hot day. When he came back up, Misty had been kicking out her sneakers, pulling her shorts down and her yellow top off. His gaze had lingered a little too long on the bikini she was wearing before he looked away in private embarrassment. Misty had then run to the edge of the lake and jumped in, splashing droplets on the young trainer's face and bare chest as she fell in the fresh water.
And the next thing he knew, she was calling the guy above for a reason and he now stood confused in the middle of a hidden lake with his red headed friend who refused to stand up properly from the water.
"What happened?" he asked after a moment, his brown eyes back on her face, which was now the reddest he had ever seen it before. He had seen it turn various shades of red throughout the seven years he had met her, but never as maroon as it was now.
Her lips were pressed together, and she didn't utter a word. Her blue eyes lowered from his brown ones and they shifted around their natural environment before stopping in a particular place to the right and widening even more as she sucked in a gasp. He followed her gaze slowly, scared of what he might find when he reached the spot she was staring on; a twenty feet tall Gyrados, a Beedrill prepared to attack; it could be anything in the deeps of the forest!
Ash instantly spotted the reason of her discomfort and relaxed. Instead of running for his life, a huge, cocky grin started spreading on his features as he stared at two red, polka dotted fabric triangles floating on the surface of the water, moving along with its soft waves a good eight feet away from where they stood.
"Ah…" he said as he folded his arms across his chest and chuckled to himself quietly, his eyes closed in pure enjoyment. He understood the situation completely and felt highly amused by her utter embarrassment. His chuckles became louder, causing a hysterical growl from his now topless friend.
"I swear to God, Ketchum, if you keep laughing at this I'll strangle you right here, right now!" Her voice reverberated around the clearing they were in, making a group of Pidgeys that had been perched on a nearby tree flutter their wings violently and flee. After his laughs instead of stopping only increased in volume and humor, she yelled again with a hint of squeakiness in her voice, "Ash!"
"Well, if you try strangling me at least I'd have a glimpse of your –"
"UGH!" Without unwrapping or loosening the grip of her arms around her chest, she stood up on her full height and attempted to kick Ash somehow in his lower parts. But she only achieved splashing some more water on him as he jerked back, avoiding her leg and still chuckling cockily.
Being flashed by Misty was not a thing he was particularly interested in, as weird as it might have sounded coming from a sixteen-year-old male teenager; he had always been more interested in Pokémon, although in a completely different way of course, and he had been told that his attitude failed his age more than once. But an embarrassed Misty was something so hard to witness but yet so amusing that Ash couldn't let the chance slip away from him. Most of the times, she was the one who won most of their arguments and made him look like a complete idiot, after all.
But that wasn't about to happen now.
"What are you doing?" Misty asked as her black-haired friend heavily moved to the spot where the upper part of her bikini now floated so innocently. She hid back down into the water, only her head above it, remembering her current state of under dress.
"You want this?" he asked, raising one of his black eyebrows in a teasing fashion that irritated her even further. One of the straps of the red and white top hung around his index finger as the two patterned triangles dangled from it.
"What are you playing at?" In spite of the fresh water that surrounded her body, a hot sensation crept over her skin and she realized that she probably wasn't just red in the face anymore, but in the neck, the collarbone, and part of the chest too. Of all the people in the world, why did this have to happen in front of Ash?
"Of course I want it! Give it back!"
"You'll have to get it…" he said in a singy-song voice, the fabric swinging tentatively from his finger as he started to slowly back away from her bent, helpless figure. Misty's eyes widened once more in bewilderment and Ash just wrinkled his nose and flashed a playful, little smile at her that, if her hands had been free, she would've slapped off him.
"You idiot!" With her arms still securely wrapped around her bare chest, she stood straighter and approached him as he kept backing away with the damp bikini hanging from his finger, small droplets falling to the water beneath him. "I never knew you were such a perverted moron! Guess I know better now, so give – it – back!"
He stopped backing away and his brown eyes narrowed at her. If she could just detach one of her arms and grab the unsupportive top she was sure she'd never wear ever again, then this problem would be solved, for the moment at least. Then she'd had to deal with the embarrassment she would surely feel afterwards, but that was another story.
Still, she couldn't move her arms an inch. If she did she would be literally flashing her best friend, and she couldn't just do that for a great amount of reasons that ranged from childhood crushes buried deep inside her to the apparently mistaken idea that said best friend was incapable of being hormonal. And that would be a thousand times more embarrassing than this whole situation.
"Ash…" she tried to keep her voice steady in spite of her anger. "Give me back my top." After seeing no apparent reaction from him, she added through gritted teeth, "Please."
"Hmm…" he pretended to consider, enjoying Misty's struggle to keep her restraint and giving the straps attached to the polka dotted triangles a flip. For once in his life he felt like the one on complete control of the situation, and it gave him an odd satisfaction he couldn't look over. That was exactly what prompted him to ask, "If I give this back to you, what do I get?"
"What do you mean 'what do I get'?" Her flushed features contorted into a sneer.
"Well, I have to get something in exchange, don't I?" He flipped the straps again and his eyes averted from her glaring ones to his own fingers playing with the delicate piece of fabric, a small, smug grin visible on his face.
"Well… I – I won't charge you for my bike anymore," she said, her fingers aching to get hold of the bikini top and finishing this extremely painful situation. "How about that, huh?"
"Hmm…" he murmured again, seeming to consider the offer for a second before taking a deep breath and adding, "nope. Sorry," before turning back to playing with the fabric.
"I wasn't planning on paying you back for that anyway," Ash said truthfully, shrugging slightly and driving Misty a little more to the edge of forgetting about the fact that she was topless and going ahead and strangle her friend senseless. "It has to be something else, Misty." The smug smile returned to his features as the top continued flipping around his index finger.
She could see how much he was enjoying her frustration, discomfort and complete embarrassment. In all of their arguments, Misty had been the one who usually had the last word and left Ash muttering under his breath defeated. But right now, he had total control of what was happening, and the worst part of it all was that he was obviously enjoying it!
She couldn't let him get away with it; she couldn't yield against him, surrender defeated to that stupid, cocky smile of his. She had to figure out a way to turn the whole thing around, to get back her usual control, her power, as hard as it might be; she was, after all, half naked, and there was no visible way to flip the situation upside down.
Meanwhile, Ash hummed to himself, the bikini dangling happily from his index finger, quickly flipping around his hand, one of the many straps hitting the surface of the lake water they were standing in. Suddenly, Misty felt a switch go off inside her head.
If he wanted to play hard, then she would play hard. She would turn this around, and she would stand undefeated and un-topless in the end. It would take her a lot of effort, since she would have to do something she would've never dared to do before. But there was no way she was going to give in to Ash.
"Oh," her voice softened in fake realization as she took a step closer to him. Her arms loosened around her chest, but only a fraction. "So this is what you want to play."
By hearing the tone of her voice, Ash's eyes shifted back to Misty's blue ones and the fabric suddenly stopped flipping around his finger and now dangled uselessly from it, as if it had forgotten to tempt its owner.
She took another step closer to him, and even though her heartbeats were increasing by the second and her face was probably reaching a newfound shade of red and an incomparable heat, she tried to relax her muscles and features to seem as cool as possible. It was proving to be close to impossible.
"Giving your hormones a little treat, Mr. Pokémon Master?" Keeping her voice steady and seductive proved to be too difficult, and she was sure she wasn't really doing a good job at it. But it must've been enough to trick Ash, because they were standing face to face now, and after she had uttered her last words his expression had changed completely from cockiness to something that mirrored her own horror from before, when she had realized that the upper part of her bikini had flown a few feet away from her chest.
"H-huh?" His voice was squeaky as she stared at him, standing so very close to him, her folded arms almost touching his chest. She got it; she could see it in his face that she had turned it around, and she hoped the satisfaction that was bubbling inside her was because of that, and not some other repressed-for-years reason.
The only other ocassions his face had been this close to Misty's were when they had argued their heads off until the point that either Brock had split them up, or Pikachu had used his thunderbolt to avoid the argument getting nastier than necessary. In those occasions heat had risen to Ash's face for a totally different reason, Misty had been fully dressed, and she had been screaming hysterically at him instead of talking seductively and looking at him through her eyelashes…
Her eyelashes were long and curled deliciously up; they matched the soaked hair that was falling out of her high ponytail. And her now flushed cheeks were sprinkled with little light freckles here and there he hadn't noticed she had before. Her irises were not only blue, but green where they got closer to the pupil… and her lips…
"Ash," the way they pronounced his name… "ASH!"
"What!" Her voice snapped him off his weird and honestly disturbing trance. He blinked and focused his attention back on the current situation instead of the little details her face had; the one he had been studying for no apparent reason. Realizing this, he felt as if he had swallowed a whole Butterfree and it was now struggling to get out of his stomach.
"You little…" She was ready to start yelling at him again, but remembering what she was supposed to be doing she softened her voice and said, "you want to play a little game, don't you, Ash?" She took one more step closer to him and her folded arms were now definitely touching his bare chest. Bare and wet and hard and tanned. She would break down at any second, she was sure of it. But she couldn't back down now! She had to get a hold of herself, for Mew's sake!
So with a huge effort she continued her little mind game. "You want to try something… different?" Her voice was barely above a whisper now while his breath tickled her skin.
Ash was going to collapse. Why exactly, he had no idea, but he was sure he would. What was she doing, anyway? Since when had their relationship turned… this way? It was so unlike Misty to be just throwing herself at someone, and it was even more unlike her to be making a move on him. Him. And why the hell was the idea of a topless Misty suddenly not so unappealing? A shudder ran up his spine and the little hairs on the back of his neck stood up. She was acting so weird… and yet…
He couldn't stop his face from leaning forward, closer and closer to the red head's. Was this how hormones were supposed to feel? It was both nice and disturbing at the same time, especially when her soft, warm breath tickled his face and he was, for an incomprehensible second, tempted to close the short gap between them. She was so still, and her eyes were half-closed; this was definitely a sign that that's what she wanted to happen, right?
Her knees would buckle at any second now. Why wasn't he backing away, sputtering incoherently, amusing her with his obvious discomfort? Instead his face was mere inches from hers and not backing away, but leaning in instead! She closed her eyes; she should have been snatching her top from him and running away now, after a swift kick on the shin, of course. But instead her arms where tightly folded and unmoving and she was getting ready to do something she had secretly pictured in her mind countless times before – not that she would admit that to anyone – but never in such a strange situation.
"I'm sorry," a high, tight and awfully familiar voice broke the silence between the two. Misty's rattling heart suddenly stopped completely and fell horrified to her feet. "Am…am I interrupting… am I interrupting something?"
The red and black haired heads turned around slowly, carefully away from each other, to find the third member of their traveling group standing on the edge of the water. His mouth was hanging open, and his hand had obviously dropped a plastic bag that now lay on the ground with half its contents spilled around it. Pikachu on the man's shoulder stared motionless and the scene taking place a few feet from him, and Togepi on the other hand, chirped happily and waved his tiny arms up and down.
Somehow, after recognizing the owner of the familiar voice that had interrupted them, Ash and Misty jerked away from each other as if they had just been thunder-shocked into reality. Ash finally dropped the polka dotted fabric without a second thought. It floated on the water for a few seconds before Misty managed to grab it without flashing either of her male friends. She hid her body under the water, only her head visible over it and her fingers clutched tightly around the straps of her bikini bra. She wondered if her face was an impossible shade of red, or if it was turning purple by now. It probably was, because the heat that kept creeping over it by the second was hot enough to fry an egg on one of her cheeks. Of that she was sure.
"I'm sorry I interrupted…" Brock's voice quivered nervously after a silent pause. He started to slowly turn around and walk away, forgetting the plastic bag that now lay motionless on the ground near his foot, a few carrots and a can of Pokémon food peeking out from it. "I'm just gonna go… you guys can get back to your…b-business…and find me when you're finished…" Togepi still chirped in his arm, as if this was the most amused the little creature had ever been in his short life. Unlike Pikachu, who seemed too flabbergasted to even utter his own name or show any kind of reaction.
For a moment, neither Ash nor Misty moved a muscle. They just stared after their spiky-haired friend as he walked determinately away from them. He was almost disappearing between the trees and bushes when thet both turned back to stare at each other, wide blue eyes meeting equally wide brown ones.
Misty was bent uncomfortably and breathing heavily, her chest heaving between her arms. Ash stood rooted to the spot, his hands in fists at his sides and looking red in the face.
"Look away!" She suddenly shrieked, and for the first time that afternoon he obeyed instantly. His whole body turned away from her and he didn't even mumble one single word of disagreement. She stood up and unwrapped her arms from around her chest, sure that Ash wouldn't dare to take a sneaky peek after the situation they had been both caught in. She tied the red and white straps as fast as she could around her neck and below her shoulder blades, and called, "Brock! Wait! This is not what it seems like!" a little too late, for their friend was almost out of view.
She couldn't blame him for freaking out; neither of them could. Finding your two younger best friends standing inches from each other, just about to kiss, had to be one thing. Slightly shocking, yeah, but not traumatizing. Finding them in that situation, but adding up that the girl was topless and the boy had her bikini bra on his hand was another completely different case.
Misty let out a high moan and walked past Ash, who still stood obediently looking away from her with his head bent low, like a little kid ashamed of something really bad he had done. Her shoulder pushed past his, and she struggled to pull herself heavily out of the lake and to the shore.
"Look what you did, Ash!" she said as she pulled on her denim shorts quickly while slipping her feet on her sneakers.
He looked up with an expression of disbelief drawing itself upon his features. "What I did?" He stepped out of the lake and followed her.
"I hope you realize this is all your fault!" She pulled her yellow top over her head, and the polka dotted triangles that now were safe in their place were hidden from view. Forever. She wasn't wearing that thing ever again.
"My fault?" After dressing as quickly as Misty had, Ash followed at her heels while she took long, quick strides in the direction Brock had disappeared to. He struggled to keep up with her while pulling on his t-shirt at the same time. "You were the one that was trying to… trying to seduce me!"
She let out a snort that blended with her heavy breath. "What? I was not trying to seduce you!" She didn't look at him, but stared straight ahead at the spot were their older friend and their two Pokémon were now no longer visible.
"Oh yeah?" he said, his eyes on her red face. "So what was that? Some friendly, innocent tactic you like to use on your friends?" His voice felt heavy with sarcasm on his lips, just like he wanted to.
"Well…" her voice was high and slightly shaky, her wet ponytail swinging on the top of her heads from one side to another with each long step she took. "I wouldn't have done that if you had just given me back my top when I told you to!"
"So you were seducing me," he said, glad to know that he hadn't lost complete authority over the situation and still had something to throw back at her. He decided to ignore the fact that he had been about to give in to her game willingly and happily. She didn't need to know that.
"Brilliant, Misty. Who taught you that one… Psyduck? What were you thinking?"
Realizing that, no matter how quick they walked, they would never catch up with Brock – who was probably running to a silent corner to crouch, hide his head under his arms, and rock back and forth as he muttered to himself – she came to a halt suddenly, making Ash bump into her and almost knock her down to the ground.
"Oh, don't try to turn this on me, Ketchum!" she pointed her index finger menacingly at her so called best friend, who was slowly backing away from her. "Once again, one of your stupid little acts of immaturity has gotten us into a mess! And we need to find Brock before… before he actually thinks we're…we're…" she stumbled over her own words, and after a few failed attempts to get the whole sentence out, she gave up and closed her mouth, her index finger falling slowly to her side.
Ash just stood there staring at her. It was weird how unreadable his expression was while he just stood there without saying anything at all. They had been so close to each other before, and if it hadn't been for Brock's sudden interruption and terribly bad timing, then she was sure they would've kissed. The mere idea made her insides jolt as if she were a little girl.
There was a part of her mind that still couldn't understand how he hadn't just backed away, freaked out by her sudden flirting – if she could call it that. If he had, she would've then gotten her dammed bikini bra back, taking advantage of his distraction and discomfort, and then she would've pointed and laughed at him for falling for her little game. She wouldn't admit she had enjoyed it deep down, and that way, she would've won both ways.
But he hadn't freaked out, or backed away. He had been about to kiss her. Willingly kiss her – there went that irritating jolt inside her again – and that didn't make her win in both ways. Or in one way. She wasn't even sure if anyone won anything in that case. She could've just taken the piece of fabric from his hand as he slowly leaned in, that way winning too, but she hadn't. She had been about to do it too, and she had longed for it. Oh, Mew.
"We better go find Brock…" She broke the silence and found her voice to be low and slightly hoarse.
"Yeah…" he said, his voice equally hoarse. But neither of them moved an inch and he added, "…no"
Before she had time to figure out what he had meant by that, she suddenly felt his hands pulling her close to him and his lips drowning her last word. For a moment she stood motionless in his arms, her eyes open wide and his unmoving lips pressing against hers fiercely, his face scrunched up as if he was waiting for a negative reaction from her.
But negative was the last reaction she would consider, ever. Slowly, she closed her own eyes and drifted into the kiss that had been interrupted before. Her heart hammered inside her chest wildly, and her face was probably ready to boil eggs. She could feel his hands running from her arms, to her back, and up to her soaking wet hair; he was hesitant and a little awkward, but it felt great and she surely didn't want him to stop.
His lips tasted just like the lake had. Fresh and slightly salty, but still nice. For a moment she didn't know what to do with her hands, but then she allowed them to slip up his arms and up to his neck.
Drawing in a huge breath, he broke apart and gasped, "Sorry." He was slightly out of breath when he added, "I… needed to get over that."
She meant to say something along the lines of "Its okay, I wanted you to, really." But it came out sounding more like a low, quick, incoherent mumble of "it.. huh.. muhm.. huh-huh." She didn't bother in making that clear before she pulled him right back into the nice kiss.
They would have time to explain things to Brock later.
July 21, 2010: This story has been edited and tweaked a little bit. I wrote this more than a year ago, so it surely needed some improvements here and there. Nothing too serious, though, so no worries :)
Thanks to absolutely everyone who was reviewed! You've been too great, and I really appreciate everything :D