It's Her Party, and I'm In Big Trouble Again

SUMMARY: Ash has bigger and better plans for Misty's new birthday party in Pallet Town! But when the party gets big instead of better, Misty may be the least of Ash's concerns once Delia gets home. Sequel to "It's Her Party, and She'll Cry If I Mess It Up."

GENRE: General/Humor
NOTABLE CONTENT: Language, Crude/Suggestive Humor, and Brief Alcohol References
SHIP: Pokeshipping (Ash/Misty), and a few other/random ship-hints interspersed

COPYRIGHT NOTE: I don't own Pokemon / Pocket Monsters, or the song "It's My Party (and I'll Cry If I Want To)," performed by Lesley Gore
STORY TAKES PLACE IN: Season 8 – Advanced Battle (one year after "It's Her Party, and She'll Cry If I Mess It Up")

: This story is dominantly in Ash's first-person narrative, with a few minor side-scenes in third-person perspective

COMMENTS: I couldn't resist. The original "It's Her Party…" story happens to be special to me, and I enjoyed writing the comical little fic. So here we are, "It's Her Party" is back, and it's got all the Ash antics from before, but now in sweet home Pallet! More or less, Ch.1 is a prologue/recap to tie this sequel with its predecessor (in the event people's memories are hazy). But it should be a nice intro to what's in store for later chapters, too. Enjoy!

This story is the sequel to my fanfic, "It's Her Party, and She'll Cry If I Mess It Up."
Knowledge of that prequel is recommended to fully appreciate this fanfic.

It's Her Party, and I'm In Big Trouble Again

Aiselne Phoenix

March 17

Well, you know what they say: "March comes like a lion and leaves like a lamb." Heheh, I got the saying right this time, too, didn't I? Last year, I mistook "lamb" for "ham," which doesn't make a whole lotta' sense, does it? Then again, I still don't quite understand what lions and lambs have to do with March in the first place, but never mind that. This year, now I know what I'm talking about! Ha! See what a year's worth of growth and maturing can do to a boy? I am grown up, and I'll bet Misty would be proud.

Nah…scratch that. Misty would sooner mallet me in the ground for going on another ego trip. I better quit while I'm ahead, huh?

Okay, moving on. Well, a lot has happened since Misty's birthday last year. Most has been for the best, too, or at least I think so. I competed in the Hoenn League, and did pretty well (if I do say so myself). I didn't win the competition, but I went further in that league than I did in both Indigo and Johto, so that's progress. I can't say I'm smarting from defeat. Mark my words: one of these days I'll leave a Pokemon League competition with the winner's trophy. Heck, I already did in the Orange League! I'm not letting this defeat keep me down, no sir-ree! You are talking to Ash Ketchum here, and I'm not kidding when I say I'll become a Pokemon Master someday. I know it! And who knows? The Kanto Battle Frontier is just around the corner. Maybe this'll be my lucky break! I can't wait!

Of course, first things first. Before embarking on my next journey, I think I deserve I few relaxing days off at home. It's been so long since I last saw Mom, Professor Oak, and Tracey, not to mention the rest of my Pokemon living at the professor's ranch. Brock already planned to visit his family in Pewter City once we set out for the Battle Frontier, so he had no problem taking a quick detour to Pallet Town. Plus, I've always gotten the impression that Brock likes spending time with my mom. May and Max were happy to visit, too, especially since we know Max jumps at any chance to spend time with his idol Professor Oak. So it's been a refreshing couple of days, our own mini-vacation before heading out again.

Though…I can't say I've been lounging around my house and doing nothing all week. Contrary to popular belief, I've actually been pretty busy during this vacation of mine. After all, now that the Hoenn League ended, and before I start the Battle Frontier, there's one other "matter" I've gotta' handle above anything else.

After all, today is March 17th, again, and we all know what that means:

Misty's birthday is in three days!

Like I said, a lot has happened since last year. My Pokemon journey is going well, and above all, Misty and I have gotten closer. No, not "boyfriend/girlfriend" close, but closer than friends. Uh…I mean; we're more than friends now. No, wait, that still doesn't sound right. Um…uh…well, whatever stage is between "friend" and "boyfriend," that's where I am right now with Misty. I think. Wait, are we a "couple" now? I don't really know. Misty never explained it very well, and Brock's never helpful when it comes to these things. He and May always assume "instant boyfriend," but I don't think Misty and I are quite there yet…are we? Gack! I don't know! Dammit, why's this stuff so complicated? Pokemon are WAY easier to figure out than girls! But Misty doesn't call me her boyfriend, so I guess I can't call myself a full-fledged boyfriend, can I? Um, maybe, "semi-boyfriend"? Yeah…I'm Misty's semi-boyfriend. Let's go with that. Otherwise, I'm gonna' get a headache.

Actually, the real reason I'm not overly sure about this boyfriend/girlfriend thing is because Misty and I haven't seen each other in a while. Distance kinda' makes a "relationship" difficult, doesn't it? Though, Brock said there's a saying: "absence makes the heart grow fondue." Yeah, I like fondue, but don't ask me how the hell a heart cooks a…oh "fonder"! "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"! Got it. Yeah, yeah…I suck at proverbs. Blame Professor Oak. Whenever he babysat Gary and me, he was always reciting haikus, and after a while the sayings started blending together. I love the professor like a father, and Professor Oak is an amazing researcher, but his poetry leaves something to be desired. But regardless of poems and proverbs, I suppose absence does make the heart grow fonder. I know I've missed Misty.

March 20th of last year…heh, I still remember it, and something's telling me I'll remember that day for quite a while. After two years of being separated from Misty, my friends and I threw a birthday party for her at May and Max' house in Petalburg City. And trust me; on that day, anything that could go wrong DID go wrong. I don't exactly have a good track record when it comes to birthday parties. Some mishap always happens, as if I'm a birthday Jynx. But in the end, Misty and I became closer thanks to the Petalburg party, and that's what mattered.

Unfortunately, what happened at the party never changed the fact that Misty was still the Cerulean Gym Leader. Even though the party ended happily, Misty had to return home the day after.

It's not as though Misty and I never separated before. Heck, we parted ways just before I set out to Hoenn. But last March 21st, when Misty said her farewells on May and Max' doorstep…I didn't want her to go. No, I didn't make a scene, but I do remember Misty teasing, "Ash, lemmie go so I can breathe already!" Though come to think of it, I know I was the one who had to break the goodbye hug, not Misty. Despite her words, she didn't seem in a hurry to let go, either. Heh, I guess neither of us wanted to say goodbye after that eventful birthday party. Though…could you blame us?

Fortunately, Misty and I kept in touch via videophone and letters. We now contact each other every week, more often than we did in the past. It's great!

Naturally, however, I got an earful from Mom when she found out how I call Misty more than I call my "poor dear mother." Sure, Mom has nothing against Misty. I, on the other hand, was the person Mom had the bone to pick with:

"I worry about you every night, praying my one and only little boy will come home safely. Is it so much of a mother to ask for a phone call once in a while, Ash Ketchum?"

Man, moms know how to lay on guilt-trips, and they lay it on extra thick, too. How the hell can I possibly say no when Mom starts going on (and on) about how much she misses me? Even if I somehow survive the maternal "I miss yous," Mom's Plan B is her secret weapon: tissues! Tissues and sniffles:

"Oh Ash…" Sniff. "…I worry about you…" Sniff. "…S-so much!" Sniff, sniff. "M-my sweet…sweet l-little boy…" Sniff, sniff, sniff…

…Dammit, no boy has a defense against maternal waterworks! Max says I'm soft. I am not soft! I'd like to see how tough Max might act if Caroline started sniffling up a storm over how much she missed her son, too! Urgh…so, yeah, I've gotta' start calling Mom more often. Don't worry. Mom got a'hold of my Battle Frontier to-do list, and she wrote right at the top, in big red letters: "CALL MOMMY!" Did she really have to use "mommy," though? Brock, May, and (especially) Max are still teasing me about it.

Well, at least Misty is more manageable when it comes to phone calls. Life seems to have been treating her pretty well, too. Her Gym Leader career is excelling as much as my training. I'm really amazed by the progress she's made with Gyarados, considering Misty used to fear the dragon almost as much as she feared Bug Pokemon.

Even better, Misty's relationship with her sisters has grown by leaps and bounds. The siblings still argue, but you can tell that ever since they reunited that the girls have gotten closer. Daisy, Violet, and Lily are even running the Cerulean Gym more professionally, though Misty stubbornly says, "They've improved, but my sisters would still be totally lost without me." Heh, I can relate. I sometimes feel lost without Misty, myself. But at least Daisy, Violet, and Lily seem to appreciate Misty nowadays. In fact, the elder siblings decided to treat Misty to a mini-vacation, a well-deserved gift for all of Misty's hard work with the Gym. This break also happened to be Daisy, Lily, and Violet's birthday present for their baby sister. Trust me; Misty's vacation in March, of all months, was no coincidence.

An upcoming birthday party in Pallet Town was no coincidence, either.

Even though Misty was on vacation, her sisters were still running the Cerulean Gym as scheduled. Between current Cascade Badge battles and water shows, there was no possible way to fit a birthday party into the Cerulean Gym. My friends and I were already staying in Pallet Town, anyway. It was the perfect time and the perfect location for a party! No point in hosting it in Petalburg City again. It was downright stupid to run all the way back to the Hoenn Region when my friends and I were already in Kanto. Plus, after last year's birthday party fiasco, I had no intentions of nearly ransacking May and Max' house again. That party's Pokemon went wild and made an enormous mess! I'm counting my blessings that Norman and Caroline never sued me, or at least never banned me from ever coming back. For once in my life, I wasn't going to push my luck.

By now, the Hoenn League wrapped up two weeks ago. It was the ideal opportunity for me, Brock, May, and Max to spend some time in Pallet Town before the Battle Frontier. I could not have asked for better timing (since nine times out of ten my timing sucks). Yeah, it would have been fun just to sit around my house, relax, play video games, sleep in, and enjoy all the other comforts of home. However, my few days off in Pallet were going to be devoted to Misty's latest birthday. Specifically, my spare time would be devoted to Misty's latest birthday party in none other than my hometown of Pallet!

I couldn't ask for a more perfect reunion.

Ch.1: "She's Back Like a Lion!"

"Aash!" Misty whined on the other line of the videophone that morning. She was still in Cerulean City, whereas my friends and I had spent the past few days in Pallet. While Mom, Brock, and the others were downstairs party-prepping, I got a little "alone time" with Misty via Mom's phone upstairs. No complaints here!

With an aquamarine eye roll I knew very well, the red-haired birthday girl groaned at me through the screen. One year had passed, but she still looked and acted like the Misty we all knew and love…heheh. "Ash, please! You're not obligated to throw me a huge birthday party every year, you know!"

I rolled my eyes, giggling mischievously. "First off; I didn't throw you a 'huge' birthday party last year. It was just a little shindig at May and Max' house," and it kinda' went to hell, too, though I didn't voice that detail. I mean, for all intents and purposes, Misty's birthday last year was a success, but it was also a mess, literally. It took the greater part of the day for us to fully clean the shambles of the Petalburg Gym. I also willingly paid halfway on any damages that could not be fixed with a mop and bucket. Misty and me becoming semi-boyfriend/semi-girlfriend was just a silver lining. I'd be lying if I claimed I didn't want to redeem myself again. "And secondly; why shouldn't I throw you another party? I think after all the other parties I ruined, I owe you more than one good party."

"The last party you threw was more than enough, Ash," Misty reassured, wearing a playful, all-knowing grin. I knew she was right, but typical me; I still didn't like to give Misty the satisfaction of being right while I was wrong. She and I may be closer, but we're not close enough to forget our little rivalry, hence "semi"-boyfriend! I may like Misty, but I'm still not ready to lose to a girl, especially a girl like her!

Still, how is it that girls know everything? It's like Misty can read my mind sometimes, and she's not afraid to make me look dumb. Hell, I'm smart! I know things! Like recently, I finally figured out the deal with the "Pidgeys and Beedrills" – it has NOTHING to do with 'actual' Pidgeys and Beedrills! There's no Pelliper Post Office that delivers babies around the world, either. Yes, newbie trainers are required to take a basic "sex-ed" class to qualify for a license, but again, it's a basic rundown. The teachers didn't get into the nitty-gritty stuff when working with nine-year-olds. So…when I took the course…honestly…I didn't really understand it. Don't laugh! Anybody can memorize definitions and diagrams, but that doesn't necessarily mean you understand the deeper 'meanings' behind the words and pictures. So, Mom finally sat me down and explained those deeper meanings. Now…I really wish the "Pidgeys and Beedrills" were about 'actual' birds and bees. Mom told me about what people "do," you know…"when a man and a woman fall in love," and all that. It's kinda' disturbing, too. I mean, think about it: a guy and a girl doing…THAT! Eew! That's just…eww! Gross! Nasty! Yuck! I wanna' throw up just thinking about it! Eew! Eeew! Eeeew! As Ho-Oh as my witness, I swear: I will NEVER EVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT!

"Ash? You okay? You're turning awfully pale all of a sudden."

Uh, I'd better stop thinking about that nasty stuff, shouldn't I? Besides, I don't like the idea of thinking about 'that' with Misty around. Though, Mom actually said sex is "perfectly natural," and even "beautiful." Don't ask me how that works. If you ask me, seeing Pikachu's coat all shiny and golden is "beautiful." Better yet, my Orange League trophy: now that's beauty! Just imagine a Grand Championship trophy! Mom says I'll understand when I'm older. Chances are, Misty knows about this 'adult' stuff, too (I'm usually the last person to find out about these things). But despite how nasty that stuff is, I guess if it's "natural" and "beautiful," I guess there's no fault in knowing about it (it's better than believing magical Pelliper deliver babies all over the world). Misty probably wouldn't be bothered, since like I said, girls know everything. So, maybe there's nothing wrong with me thinking about sex and Misty…and, uh…I DIDN'T MEAN IT LIKE THAT!

"Ash? Now you're turning red!"

Dammit…dammit…change the subject! Quick! CHANGE THE SUBJECT!

"Argh, you're so weird."

Eehh, what was I talking about again? Oh right! The Pallet party! "B-but t-this year's gonna' be different, Myst!" I reassured, shaking the blush from my face. Needing an extra second to recompose myself, I finally managed to nod confidently. Of course, whenever I get too energetic, Misty seems to think I'm destined to bring some disaster in the future. Jeez, I'm not a walking disaster…am I? Don't answer that.

One red-orange eyebrow rose suspiciously. "'Different.' Oh really?"

Accepting the challenging look in Misty's face, I nodded enthusiastically. "This year, it's gonna' be great!" I swore. "With no disasters, either."

To be expected, Misty laughed, incredulously shaking her head. "Ash, no matter what you plan, SOME disaster ALWAYS befalls you!" Sheesh, thanks for the vote of confidence, Myst. Love you, too. Er…that was sarcasm. Please tell me you know that was sarcasm! "Seriously, don't go overboard this year."

Despite my mental rambles, I frowned curiously. "I didn't go overboard last year."

Misty seemed to beg to differ, but she had a smile on her face. It wasn't a cocky smile, either. Instead, it was a very warm smile: soft, sweet, cute…and Butterfrees are going crazy inside my stomach right now. How do girls do that, too? "Listen Ash. It's really sweet of you guys to plan a party for me. I appreciate it.

"But the thing is…" she trailed, causing the smile to disappear. I kinda' missed the Butterfrees, too. "I just recently started this vacation of mine. It's taking me a little time to unwind from the stresses of running the Cerulean Gym. I'm catching up on sleep, and just generally trying to decompress."

I blinked curiously, raising my own eyebrow. "Decompose?"

"'DECOMPRESS,' you bonehead," Misty growled, narrowing eyes into slits and causing me to sweatdrop impishly. Oops. Thankfully, the redhead didn't harp on my super-duper vocabulary like Misty usually does. Come to think of it, Misty wasn't acting as fiery and chipper as usual. Maybe she really was stressed.

Running a hand through her bangs, the girl sighed to prove her point. "Really Ash, I don't want a big shindig. I already overheard my sisters say they're planning a little 'something' for me at the Cerulean Cape when I return from Pallet. Trust me, my sisters always over-do things, especially parties. I'd just like a small get-together with you guys."

I suppose Misty had a point, but I couldn't prevent myself from pouting playfully. Back when Misty traveled with Brock and me, the girl always made a big to-do over her birthday, and the bigger the celebration the better. She'd drive us absolutely crazy! Now, it was weird for me to hear Misty say she'd actually prefer a toned-down birthday this year. True, Misty deserved R&R, but what better R&R than a big party?

"But Myst, it's your birthday! After all your hard work, you deserve to have fun!" Wow. I never thought I'd ever say that. Before last year, I used to cringe a month before Misty's crazy birthday, fearing the approaching "Judgment Day." But after last year's Petalburg party, Misty's birthday held new meaning to me. As wild and unbelievable as it sounds, I was honestly excited about March 20th this year! After all, Misty and I would be together again, and I had a chance to throw her another party…a 'better' party. Last year's party wasn't a picture-perfect example of redeeming myself, but I swore this year would be different.

Plus, now that I knew Misty's sisters were planning another party, I could not let them outshine my party for Misty. Daisy, Violet, and Lily have a lot more money than I do, though I suppose it comes with the business of Gym leading and hosting popular water ballets. Still, an expensive party at the beautiful Cerulean Cape is a tough act to beat. Yes, I'm competitive. Nothing' like a good rivalry and challenge to get me fired up! Never before had I actually been thrilled to plan a party for Misty. Then again, never before had I felt quite like…this…when it came to Misty. Times change, and I guess people (and even me) change, too. Besides, I think I owed Misty a 100% stress-free birthday party. Last year's bash turned out great, but it was not without headaches.

"Misty, don't worry," I winked reassuringly alongside a grin. "This party is going to be really perfect."

Somehow, the word "perfect" tends to be a jinx on me. I think Misty knows that, too, which might explain her incredulous "yeah-right" expression. But instead of voicing her opinions, the redhead shook her head. It was a sure sign that Misty was in no mood to convince me otherwise. "Just keep things simple, okay Ash? Seriously, I'd just like to see my friends, though you guys can invite other friends if you want. I know you've got buddies in Pallet Town, Ash."

Yeah right. Who exactly did Misty expect me to invite to this party? Gary? True, I did plan on inviting extra friends, but they're extra friends of Misty, not me. I have pals in Pallet, but if they don't know the birthday girl then what's the point of them attending her party? I'm not inviting extra people just to crowd my house and horn in on free food. And Gary, well…let's just say my birthday crises date all the way back to when he and I were little. Lots of messes, arguments, headaches…it's a story for another time, but the point is that Gary isn't invited. He and I are on better terms, but Gary Oak is still Gary Oak. If this were my birthday, I might invite Gary ("might" being the key word), but this is Misty's day and Gary hardly knows her. I don't want him pulling anything that might make me look stupid, either. I look stupid just fine by myself, and I don't need Gary's so-called help.

"I'm not looking for some extravagant party, though, okay?" Misty asked, slightly begging, and sounding a bit grumpy. Even though I still had a hard time believing birthday-savvy Misty wanted a small party, her agitated tone spoke volumes. "I've been stressed at the Gym, and I don't need anyMORE stress…ESPECIALLY Ash Ketchum-related stress, GOT IT?"

I rolled my eyes again, unable to restrain my laughter. Misty's temper never changed over the years. Her fire might be dimmer than usual, but it was still present. In fact, hearing her sarcasm was a good indication that below her stressed-out exterior, Misty was still Misty. And the Misty I knew loved huge birthday parties.

But suddenly, I became torn between consciences. What Misty says, and what Misty wants, aren't always the same things. Should I obey her request for a small party? Or, should I follow my instincts? Having known Misty for such a long time, my instincts told me that Misty would always be a fan of big birthday parties. And now that Misty and I have gotten closer, I think I can understand why she considers birthdays to be so important. Why not celebrate the day of a person's birth? Why not celebrate the birthday of the person most special to you? Even before we became semi-boyfriend/girlfriend, Misty has always been very special to me. Trust me, a person like Misty is worth celebrating.

I hadn't yet decided whether or not I'd throw a large or small party for Misty. But for the time being, I figured I'd humor her. "Okay, okay," I moaned playfully, sticking out my tongue at her and snickering. "But I've gotta' admit; hearing you say you want a small get-together is kinda' weird. God, you're getting boring in your old age, Misty."

"Hardy har har," she chimed, sticking her tongue out right back at me. "Just do me that favor, okay? A simple party, no strings attached."

Grinning devilishly, I flashed her a purposeful up-to-no-good smile Misty knew very well. "So I'll have to stock up on balloons, streamers, fireworks, whoopee cushions, water balloons of course..."

If we weren't separated by a video phone, Misty would've clobbered me with her mallet. "What was I just saying about Ash Ketchum-related stress, Ash?" the girl snapped, making me chuckle out loud. Misty knew I was teasing, but apparently, the redhead was not lying about her extra stress at the Gym. She sure seemed crankier than usual. Although I was only playing, I really did not want to anger Misty, either.

Relenting, I softened my face and nodded understandingly. "Okay, Myst. Don't worry. The party will be fine," I reassured with another wink, which seemed to brighten the girl's spirits. Misty smiled prettily again, and then came my stomach Butterfrees! Seriously, how do girls do that? It's gotta' be magic or something! "But the party won't be boring, either, Misty. I want you to have a memorable birthday, after all."

Maybe the video screen was smudged, but I could've sworn there was a hint of pink on Misty's cheeks. Um, that's a good sign, right?

Sadly, the blush didn't last long before Misty reverted back to her old self. Then came her headshake with an exasperated sigh. "Ash, I haven't seen you, Brock, and the others since last year! Boring or not, the party is bound to be memorable anyway, so don't worry so much. Besides, I wouldn't want to stress you out on your own little vacation."

Then I was the one who blinked upon hearing Misty voice her own concerns over me. Really, if she was so stressed out, there wasn't any need for her to worry about me, too. Jeez, Mom's the same way! Why does everybody worry about me? I can take care of myself just fine, thank you!

"You're not stressing me out. I want to do this for you, Misty," I spoke honestly, noticing Misty giggle again on the other line. Another hand ran through her crimson locks, while a little crimson deepened on her cheeks. For someone who deemed herself a romantic, Misty was just as shy around certain romantic things. The funny part is I did not consider what I just said to be overly romantic. Bah, it's gotta' be a girl thing.

"You're sweet, Ash." And then she would say something like that…and my own face would be just as red as hers. Er, I guess I'm not much better at these romantic things, myself. Though, unlike Misty, I never considered myself a romantic in the first place.

Licking my lips and attempting to tame the goofy grin on my face, I restrained myself from jumping excitedly. "So, you'll be here in a few days, right?" I asked her in high anticipation, beaming brightly. For the first time in my life, I absolutely couldn't wait for March 20th. To me, Misty's birthday almost became the equivalent of Christmas. The special day could not come soon enough!

Naturally, Misty also could hardly wait for the twentieth, but leave it to her to play a sarcastic poker face. "Actually, now that I know you're gonna' plan another party, I've decided to evacuate Kanto while I still can."

Brown eyes narrowing, I snorted, "Hilarious, Myst."

She was obviously enjoying this playful exchange, not that I was minding it. "I'll be there on the twentieth," Misty reassured confidently. "But just promise me the party's not gonna' be a re-run of last year, I mean with the rampaging Pokemon destroying the house and all."

Okay, "rampaging Pokemon destroying the house" was an exaggeration, but I still shuddered at that painful, costly memory of the Petalburg party. I had no plans of pulling that stunt again: borrowing a bunch of Pokemon (that did not even belong to us) for Misty's birthday party. A thunderstorm caused the Pokemon to freak out, and they nearly totaled May and Max' Gym. What a mess that was!

Since this year's party was going to be in Pallet Town, I did not want my own house near-demolished, either. Hell no! This year's party would be totally different. I learn from my mistakes. I'm not an idiot – yet, for some reason, Misty (and the rest of the world) doesn't seem to agree with me.

"Don't worry, Misty," I replied confidently.

"Ash, with you, I ALWAYS worry," Misty teased, very much like my mom when she wants to torment me with guilt. Oh yeah, this has got to be a girl thing. No doubt. "But either way, I guess I'll 'have' to show up for this thing," she said, sarcastically making it sound like a real chore. "Since you're being so adamant about it and all."

"Well, if you don't want to show up, it's gonna' be your loss, Misty," I teased with a playful shrug.

"Considering you and your shenanigans, Ash Ketchum, I think I'm willing to accept that loss."

Naturally, we were only playing. Of course I wanted Misty to show up, and I know she wanted to show up, too! I just wanted to give her an honest to goodness 'good' birthday party. Everybody knows I ruined countless parties in the past. What's wrong with throwing a fun party for the girl you lov…er, for the girl you like?

"All your friends will be waiting for you, Misty," I retorted like an energetic advertisement, grinning like a fool as I noticed an excited sparkle in Misty's eyes. Regardless of age and stress, Misty always put her birthday on a pedestal, and now I was finally starting to act just as birthday-savvy as her! "Plus, my mom's baking you a special chocolate cake."

"…Which YOU'LL probably eat before I arrive."

"I will not! Although, Mom's cakes are good…reeeeally good…"

Misty just rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Just don't start another water balloon war the second your mom brings out the cake, okay Ash?" she insisted, reminding me of yet another Pallet Town party disaster of mine. Once again, I had no intentions of pulling that stunt again. I barely survived the previous water balloon ordeal from a few years ago. The last thing I wanted to do was tick-off Mom again. "Behave yourself for a change."

"I will, as long as you show up." I countered.

"Of course I'll show up, dimwit! It's my birthday party, so I kinda' HAVE to show up," Misty replied obviously, exhaling a giggle. "Besides, I've missed you guys. AND, I heard a certain 'someone' did pretty well in the Hoenn League…considering I wasn't around to coach him with my incredible insight."

Misty was right, but that didn't mean I had to let her know it. "I think I did better in the Hoenn League without your 'incredible insight'." Such was partially true. The Hoenn League was my best competition performance yet, but I figured it was just because I was becoming a better trainer. I highly doubted I did better because Misty was not around to coach me. Frankly, I missed her that week. It was the first League competition I entered without Misty around to cheer me on from the sidelines. Don't get me wrong; I appreciated Brock, May, and Max' support. I'm sure Misty was cheering me on back in Cerulean, watching me via TV, but it really was not the same.

"You would have WON the competition if I was there," Misty replied matter-of-factly, nodding her head once and causing her ponytail to bob.

A hand found its way to the back of my neck. For some reason, I found myself agreeing 100% with Misty. I didn't want to admit it, but for once…well, Misty's birthday is coming up, so why not make the girl happy? "You're probably right, Myst."

She needed a moment, obviously not expecting me to admit that. Well, I didn't 'exactly' admit I needed her help…hell no! I can take care of myself. In fact, I can't stand it when people like Mom and Misty act like I'm helpless. But, I do believe I'm where I am today…thanks to my friends.

Misty probably knew that, too, but she preferred continuing our game. "Of course I'm right. I always am!" She said, twirling something around with one finger off-screen. Curious, I cocked my head to try and see what she was up to. Not a second later, a twirled blur of red and white made its début on Misty's end of the phone line. My eyes widened in both shock and joy upon seeing Misty showcasing her birthday present from last year: my old Pokemon League hat.

"You've still got that thing?" I asked incredulously. Heh, my parents used to say the same thing to me when I originally won that hat. I constantly wore the hat thereafter, and Mom always complained when I wore it to school or to the dinner table. You can imagine the fiascos that ensued when Mom wanted me to take a shower, and I didn't want to part with my precious hat. The one day I misplaced the hat, I turned my house upside-down looking for it!

Heheh, now that the hat happens to be in Misty's possession, my old obsession seems pretty silly.

"This hat is my good luck charm," Misty smiled proudly, plopping the hat on her head. Funny, the hat used to be my good luck charm, too. Here's to hoping the hat would bring just as much luck to Misty. She deserved it. Sure, the hat's red color somewhat clashed with Misty's hair. I'm not a fashion expert, but I can picture Misty's sisters making some comment on the hat not matching Misty's eyes or something. Oh well. Misty didn't seem to mind. She obviously kept (and likes) my hat. For some reason, the article looked pretty good on her.

That is…until the redhead decided to be a wiseass, turn the hat backwards, wink, and flashed the victory sign. It was a painstakingly familiar pose. Duplica pulled that once before, and neither times flattered me. "Guess who I'm imitating."

I just rolled my eyes, stuck out my tongue, and deadpanned, "Ha ha."

She chuckled, turning the hat back. "You know, this happens to be my favorite birthday present, too. How're you gonna' outdo yourself THIS year?"

Last year, when Professor Birch asked me what present I got for Misty, I panicked, and ended up giving Misty a last-minute gift. This time around, though, I was prepared...very prepared. I spent ample time finding Misty a present for this birthday. No sir! I wasn't taking any chances with Misty's new birthday. I had plenty of time to plan all the loopholes and stupid ways this party could go wrong. Trust me; I knew what I was doing this year. There's no possible way this year's party could be a repeat of last year's! What gift was awaiting the birthday girl in Pallet Town?

"Heheh, you'll have to wait and see, Misty."

Misty was never the patient type, just like me, so teasing her like this was just going to make her more anxious to arrive. I could tell she was getting excited in her seat, though so was I. Neither of us could wait to see each other again…in person, that is. Phone calls and letters only go so far.

"Well, I guess I'll see you soon," concluded Misty, surprisingly not prying me for more hints on her present. I noticed the girl check her watch, probably short on time. "Crap, I'd better go. My sisters hate it when the phone's hogged. Heaven forbid challengers – or boys – call and can't get through." A Gym Leader's life, even on vacation, never seemed to stop. "Anyway, I'll see you in a few days. And TRY to behave yourself this time around, got it, Ash?"

That sounded like something Mom might say. Unfazed, I chuckled, flashing her a bright smile. "Always, Myst."

Then we smiled. Then we…blushed. Then we giggled and said our farewells. But the goodbyes were anything but bittersweet, knowing we'd see each other in three days. No greater reason to be happy, right?

For the first time in years, I could not wait for March 20th!

To Be Continued...

A/N: Dun, dun, dun! Look out folks; Ash Ketchum is planning another birthday party! Our sweet little boy never learns his lessons, does he? But maybe, just maybe, Ash's plans will turn out better this time around. Oh please! Where's the fun in that? If you're reading this sequel, you should know me well enough by now. Hehehehehe…

FYI: FFnet has been undergoing various login/publishing/etc. glitches for the past month (the main reason why this story wasn't published sooner). In the event of chapter delays, I usually post notices on my profile. However, in the event a chapter is delayed and I'm able to send notices, I kindly ask readers to please be patient. I'm hoping this story won't encounter any delays, but you never know, so I'm just taking precautions.

* Commemorating the return of "It's Her Party," your authoress drew fanart available on DeviantArt. URL links are available on my FFnet profile. Enjoy!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the prologue of this short story. Chapter 2 should be posted sometime next week. I'd appreciate any reviews. Thanks very much for reading and coming aboard my first sequel!