It's Research

A/N: this was originally part of chapter 4, but became too long so I split it up. But then chapter 5 ended up being long anyway, but oh well, I'm sure you'll enjoy a long chapter. Things finally start happening in this chapter! I apologize for any mistakes, it's hard to proofread such a long chapter.

Chapter 5

Misty showed off her wrist in front of the videophone.

"Fascinating," remarked Gary in a dry voice as he looked at Misty's wrist on the screen. "Are you showing off a new swimsuit or something?"

"No, look," said Misty with a pout, then wiggled her wrist to show off the little seashells that were wrapped around her wrist. "I made it out of the shells we found at the beach the other day."

"Well, like I said, fascinating."

Misty retrieved her wrist and sat down on the chair properly with a pout. She was in the middle of gym duty when she called Gary to share the good news, not even caring about the fact that she was wearing her usual swimming attire. She played with her home-made bracelet defensively, a bit disappointed he hadn't complimented her.

"What are you going to do with the rest of the shells?" he asked nonchalantly.

Misty's pout was replaced with a smile. "Oh, I don't know – a necklace maybe. Or just putting them on my shelf to pretty up my room. Ooh I know, should I make one for you too?"

Gary scrunched up his nose. "No thanks."

She was about to tell him off for being a jerk, when Violet burst into the room. Misty quickly stood up and used her body to shield Violet from the videophone, so that she couldn't see who she was talking with.

"On the phone, again? Really, Misty?" said Violet in disdain. "Who is it this time?"

"P-Professor Oak!" said Misty in a strangled voice, wondering if her body really was blocking everything out.

"You're calling him way too often. Tell that geezer to get a life, and you – get a cellphone already! I want you off of this phone in five minutes." Violet then left the room, and Misty quickly sat in front of the videophone again.

"Say, did you just confuse me with my gramps?" asked Gary with a frown after having witnessed the entire conversation.

Misty felt her face heat up a bit, and she shuffled on her seat uncomfortably. "Well, you see, my sisters can be a real pain in the ass. If they knew I was talking to you every day – a boy my age – I'd never hear the end of it! They already teased me mercilessly when you picked me up the other day."

"Sooo, you pretend that I'm my grandfather. Thanks, that's a real confidence booster, just what I needed before submitting a report in my own name."

"Oh shut it, how would you like it if Tracey bugged you all day long on who you were on the phone with?"

As if on cue, Misty could spot the door behind Gary in the distance opening up, and out came Tracey.

"Talking to your girlfriend again?" called Tracey out in a loud voice.

Gary whipped his head around in response, yelling some curses off-screen at the black haired boy. After a few seconds, he turned to face the screen again, his face a little bit red. Either from embarrassment, or for raising his voice so loudly, she didn't know. Misty simply smiled that 'I told you so' smile at him, not saying a word.

"Wipe that smile off your face," he said while clicking his tongue at her.

"Smile? What smile? This," she pointed at herself, making a circular motion with her finger, "is my normal face," she said as her facetious smile grew larger.

Gary sighed while he ran his hand through his spiky hair. "You're giving me a headache, and I need to get back to work."

"Say no more, say no more. I've got a trainer waiting on me anyway."

His ears perked up at that. "Wait, did you just leave a trainer in your gym just so you could call me?"

Misty's ears turned red. "N-no! Not like that! My sister told me right before I called you that someone was here. I just didn't want to delay our call …" She fidgeted on her seat.

"Riiiight," he drawled out. "Well, I'm off. See you tomorrow."

"Yeah, bye," she said in a small voice. The videophone was then finally turned off. Misty scratched her head for a bit, staring at the screen. Was it really that strange she placed a battle on hold so she could have her daily chat with Gary? Those phone calls were the one thing she looked forward to every day! It wasn't that strange … right?

"Misty, get off of the phone!" screeched Violet as she barged inside of the room again. Upon seeing Misty walking away, she simply gave a curt nod. "She's waiting for you, by the way," she said to Misty as she was passing her by.

"Yeah yeah, I'll take her on."

Misty stretched her arms for a bit, ready to take on another battle as a gym leader. She walked through the house until she reached the gym, walking out towards the pool area, looking around for the trainer that she was supposed to fight.

"Hey there Misty!" yelled out a girly voice from behind her.

Misty felt herself jump in her skin, but quickly turned around to greet this girl. Then she noticed this wasn't just any girl; this was May Maple. The girl she had met with so many years ago was now standing in front of her once more, only now a lot taller, and a lot bustier as well. She was dressed in red sporting clothes, but had gotten rid of her bandana.

"May, I haven't seen you in years," said Misty at a loss of words. All she could think about was why May was here, in her gym. She hadn't exactly been the bestest of friends with her, or even close for that matter.

"I know, right? Well, I was in the neighborhood out on some Pokemon League business, and I figured I'd drop by to come see how you're doing." The tall brunette seemed so sincere in her words, that Misty didn't have the heart to think anything bad about her. "So, how are you doing?" she said, stressing the 'are'.

Misty scratched the back of her head awkwardly, not quite sure how to answer that one. "Let's go sit down, I'll get you something to drink. Is tea fine?" said Misty in a rush as she started to walk away from the pool.

May followed her with a smile. "Tea is fine."

They went back inside of her house and May seated herself at the kitchen. Misty quickly pulled on a vest since she felt a bit uncomfortable parading around in a swim suit when they weren't even going to battle each other. She prepared some tea for the both of them, then sat down in front of May.

"Well, I've been busy with the gym, I'm also picking up a lot of slack from my sisters."

"I can't believe you've stuck around for this long. When I first met you, you were already a Gym Leader. I'm pretty impressed," said May while taking a sip of her tea.

Misty didn't know whether that was a compliment or not, but decided to ask about her instead. "So how have you been doing? Still competing in contests?"

May simply laughed out loud. "Haven't you seen the news? I've been the top Coordinator in Hoenn for years! I've been trying my luck in Sinnoh, but that pesky Dawn has been holding that title for years over there as well."

"Sorry, I tend to zone out the news lately, especially when those commercials come on berating Gym Leaders for being weak. Either way, congratulations."

"Thanks! And yeah, I've seen those commercials as well. To tell the truth, that's kind of why I'm here," she said in a low voice. "Word's going around that the Pokemon League is trying to save face and is desperately trying to find a way to improve their image again. So they're enlisting the help of a lot of famous people."

"Which includes you," concluded Misty. She had never even heard of the Pokemon League doing things like that, and she was a Gym Leader for crying out loud.

"Exactly. I heard them talk about Ash Ketchum as well, but he's been unreachable since he journeyed to Unova."

Great, the topic had managed to steer towards Ash again, Misty noted dully. "Have you spoken with him lately?" she asked off handedly.

May bit her lip, trying to think. "Uhh, last time I spoke with him, was a few months ago. He was raging about how he caught this really strong pokemon. Silly really, it's like he never grew up past the age of 10."

Misty snorted in agreement, and also because she was a bit stingy at the fact that May has had more contact with him than she has. But that wasn't May's fault, it was Ash's.

"Do you still keep contact with Ash?" asked May curiously.

The redhead hid her scowling face behind her teacup, feeling the urge to rant about Ash, but deciding that small-talk was not the way to do this. "I would, except, you know how he is."

May nodded her head. "I know what you mean. I can never get a hold of that bugger, honestly. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep in contact. I mean, I've got other things to do now than to worry whether or not he's going to call."

The way May was speaking, seemed to reflect a lot of Misty's feelings for Ash as well; she wanted to continue being his best friend, but Ash made it difficult to keep in touch, and they slowly drifted apart.

"But! Who cares about him when I'm engaged to my lovely fiancé."

"Oh, you're engaged? To who?" asked Misty with interest, since she had always assumed May had a thing for Ash as well.

"You won't believe it, but he was my biggest rival back in the days! It's Drew Hayden, another top Coordinator as well. Ah, how things have turned around." May looked off in the distance in a seemingly romantic way.

"Congratulations! But, marrying your rival, huh?" asked Misty with a laugh.

"Well, they certainly keep you on your toes, right?" replied May with a giggle.

Misty was instantly reminded of Gary, and how her life seemed to be filled with a lot more colour ever since meeting up with him, despite them hating each other when they first met.

"So, are you dating anyone?"

It was as if May was able to read Misty like a book, so she clammed up and started to blush a rosy pink, thinking that it was not that way with Gary.

"Ohoho, I see that look! You totally are. Oooh, Ash is gonna be so jealous."

"I'm not!" she quickly replied. "I'm not dating him – we're just friends, that's all."

May simply took another sip from her tea and looked up at Misty with all-knowing eyes. "Ah, but you immediately thought of 'him' when I asked if you're dating anyone – whoever 'him' is."

Misty didn't know how to respond to that one except blush even more.

May finally finished up the last bit of her tea and placed it down on the table. "Well Misty, it was nice catching up with you. I guess I'll see you again at Professor Oak's birthday."

"You're invited too?"

"More like, who isn't? Either way, I'll let you go back to your gym duties again. Thanks for the tea!" she yelled cheerfully, then skipped out of the room, but not before turning her head towards the redhead again with a sly smile. "Oh, and if you do start dating 'him', rub it into Ash's face, will you? I'd love to see that."

"We're not going to date!" she yelled with a fiercely red face.

And that was how her meeting with May Maple ended.

In the next few days, Misty has resumed regular gym duties, despite not many trainers showing up to challenge her. She wondered if it was because they hadn't yet started to hand out new pokedexes to young trainers – or because Gym Leaders were viewed as 'weak' lately. Thinking it was going to be another one of those days again, Misty was happy to realize there was someone at the gym's door. Dressed in her usual blue bathing suit, she happily opened it up, thinking it was going to be a trainer again.

Except she didn't expect to see Gary Oak stand in front of her with an aloof smile. She also didn't expect her reaction to be so confused that she slammed the door right back into his face again.

"Hey!" he yelled out indignantly, slamming his fist onto the door.

Misty slapped her cheeks to wake herself up, then quietly opened the door again with an apologetic smile on her face. "Sorry …" she drawled out. "You startled me!"

Gary walked inside with his arms folded over his chest. He wasn't wearing his lab coat again today, instead adorning that brown hoodie he liked to wear every once in a while.

"More like frightened," he bit out.

Misty closed the door behind him, now feeling a lot happier at seeing him drop by. "Why are you here, Gary? I thought I was gonna come over at your place next week when I was off duty."

Gary whirled around, and Misty was temporarily mesmerized at the way his brown spikes swayed as he moved. "Well you see, I missed you so much, I couldn't bear to be apart from you any longer," he said in a highly exaggerated voice. Then his green eyes studied her body from top to bottom. "Nice swimsuit," he said with a grin.

The tip of her ears turned red, feeling extremely self conscious all of the sudden, and she couldn't help but notice that whenever Gary was mentioned – or involved, she seemed to be blushing quite a lot. Misty was about to punch his arm for mocking her, before she remembered the car crash from a week ago and lowered her hand.

"How's your arm? Is the bruise still there?"

Gary quickly rolled up his sleeve, showing her his upper arm, which still had a bruise on it, only slightly smaller now and instead of yellow, it was a blue-ish purple. "It's getting there," he said as if it wasn't a big deal at all. It didn't exactly look healthy to her at all, but she decided to stop pressing the issue.

"So, are you going to tell me why you're here, or do I need to start guessing?"

Gary simply frowned at her. "Gee, I can't visit you for no reason?"

Misty simply continued staring at him.

"Fine, I'm here on some Pokemon League business and figured I'd drop by, since it's close anyway."

"Oh my god, is everyone dropping by for Pokemon League business these days?" ranted Misty out loud.

Gary raised his eyebrows. "Huh? Someone else came by too?" he asked. Then his expression turned considerably more cold. "It wasn't Ash, was it?"

"What? No, just an old acquaintance of mine from years ago."

He laughed in relief. "Good, the jerk didn't come by to mess you up." Misty glared at him, but he simply messed up her red hair. "Only I can do that now," he said in a soft tone and with a very charming smile. Misty batted his hands away from her hair, but wasn't exactly mad at the action, not when he was smiling like that.

"Why, is he supposed to be here? I don't get what this Pokemon League business is all about, care to fill me in on the blanks here?"

"Ehh, I don't know too much either, except they're scheming some things up there, and I'm simply just an errand boy for them now, since they want my grandfather's research for something. Tracey is here too, actually. I told him to go ahead and I'll catch up with him later." It seemed Gary didn't know much either, but it sure was a lot more than she knew.

Misty decided to push work related business aside for the moment, then happily took Gary's hand within her own. "Now that you're here, I've got something for you!" she said excitedly.

"A present? Cool," he said with a laugh. He was then dragged along the pool, into the house by Misty who kept on holding his hand. She quickly retrieved an item from her bedroom, then returned to Gary who was loitering around in the living room. Excitedly, she stretched the item in between her hands, holding it up in front of his face to give him a good look at the sea shell bracelet she made for him.

"Tada! I made one for you."

Gary's expression slowly morphed into that of horror, slowly shaking his head from left to right. "Oh come on, they match at least!" defended Misty as she showed off her own bracelet which she hadn't yet removed.

"But it's so girly," he complained, backing away from her. "As a manly man, I can't wear that."

Misty sneered at him with disdain. "Manly? What's so manly about you?" she said as she kept on advancing to him, determined to get him to wear the bracelet.

"Lots of things," he said while still backing off. "Like my strikingly good looks, or my beefed up muscular arms."

Misty cornered him as he stopped in his tracks because he reached the wall of the living room, and he looked at Misty with smiling eyes. Suddenly, they were interrupted when they heard of a bunch of girly voices coming down the stairs. Misty's eyes grew wide in fear; if her sisters saw Gary now, who knew what kind of teasing she had to go through! In her quick thinking, she quickly opened the door of the closet that was right next to them inside of the wall, and shoved both of them inside, quickly closing the door to hide them from their sisters.

"What are you –" said Gary and Misty quickly covered up his mouth with her hand to prevent him from talking.

"Shh, I don't want them to see you," she whispered at him.

The closet was dark and very cramped, she was literally standing on his feet to make up for lack of space, her entire body pressed up against him. She pressed her ear against the door, listening to her sisters as they made their way downstairs, chatting loudly about the newest fashion. They stood around in the living room for a while, and Misty felt herself growing more nervous at the thought of being discovered.

Then she slowly started to realize how half her naked body was pressed up against Gary, and how he hadn't said a word ever since she told him to shut up. It was dark so she couldn't see, but she was definitely aware of how close his face was to the nook of her neck, his breath slowly caressing it. Misty decided to ignore her awkward hormones, and kept a look-out for her sisters. After another minute, her sisters finally got out of the house, and Misty quickly opened the door again, almost falling out of the closet with Gary on top of her.

"Now quick, leave before they come back!" she said as she pushed his back, steering him towards the back door.

"Alright, alright," said Gary as he reluctantly agreed to leave her house. He turned around and scratched his head as they reached the back door. "Guess I'll see you next week," he said a bit unsure. Then he noticed something dangling off of his wrist when he scratched his head.

"H-how did you? When did you?" he exclaimed, finding that his wrist was now decorated with the bracelet Misty had made for him.

Misty simply winked at him and pressed a finger against her pink lips. "I'm very good with my hands," she said in a low voice, as if it was a secret.

Gary's mouth fell open in shock, and his cheeks were slowly turning red. Whatever Gary was thinking at that moment, it didn't matter, because Misty could hear her sister's voices returning to the living room, so she gave Gary a big push to his chest, making him stumble through the door.

"Go on, leave!" she hissed at him.

Gary shook his head then gave her a wide smile, turning around with his hands in his hoodie, slowly strolling away.

"I'll see you next week!" she called out at him from her house, watching his back disappear into the city.

The last thing she saw Gary do, was him pulling his right hand from his hoodie, holding it up in the air to show off his bracelet as he waved her a nonchalant goodbye. Misty couldn't help but notice how much better the bracelet looked on him, than it did on her. The redhead stayed behind with a goofy grin on her face, happy that he didn't decide to take it off of his wrist.

Then suddenly Misty was pulled away from the door by a pair of hands. She quickly confronted the person, and saw that it was Daisy.

"Where were you? I was looking for you, you know," said the eldest sister with a sigh.

Misty quickly closed the door, pretending nothing had happened, and hoped she hadn't seen her send of Gary. "Why? Is there something you want?"

"Well, you see, Lily and Violet have been complaining you're hogging the videophone too much lately."

Misty was about to protest when Daisy shoved something in her hands. "So, I'm making you carry a cellphone around for now, so you can finally realize how cool it is, to like, have a cellphone with you, so you can buy yourself one."

Misty quickly returned the phone, not wanting to have a girly, pink cellphone. "No thanks, I'm fine without one."

"No, you're taking it sis. It's way too uncool for you not to have one in the first place." Daisy thrust the phone into her hands again, forcing her to take it.

Misty dangled the pink phone in front of her face, it was decorated with a hundred little pink diamonds, reflecting diamond shapes around her face. "But it's so … girly. I don't think I need this." It was an ironic echo of what Gary had said just moments before about her bracelet, but she shrugged it off.

Daisy placed her hands on her hip. "Well, aren't you like, always calling with that Professor Oak? This way you can stop hogging the videophone!"

She bit her lip in response, since her sister did, mildly, have a point.

"Just try it out for a week! Then you can buy one yourself if you like it."

"Fine, I'll give it a shot."

"Oh, and before I forget Misty – don't lose it. I'll unleash my wrath on you if I find out you lost my phone."

"Don't lose phone, got it."

Daisy finally left Misty alone, and she looked at the very pink and girly phone rather unsure of what to do with it. Besides, it wasn't like she was hogging the videophone all day long! Just once a day! Her sisters were just exaggerating. Misty tried to live with having a cellphone for the remained of her gym duty, but kept forgetting she had one, so she kept leaving it behind in various places, then later on realizing she had lost it, and furiously began searching for the pink little item.

It had been a rather hectic week, and she tried to give it back to Daisy, but she refused to accept it, telling her she was still on a trial period. Misty gave up and simply shoved the cellphone in her pocket, intending not to lose it anymore. After the week had finally passed, and it was now a Tuesday, and Misty had just finished talking to Gary about her plans of staying over for two days. Which was done over the videophone, and not the cellphone, Misty noted.

Misty continued to smile for a while, still sitting in front of the video phone. After a while, Misty realized how overly happy she was being and snapped out of it. The girl went to her room to pack up a few extra clothes; she would always be too tired to return back home on the same day, so she usually slept over at Gary's place. A smile appeared on her face as she happily stuffed a shirt and some pants in her bag.

"Going to see Professor Oak again?" asked Daisy, who was standing behind her. Misty shrieked in response, not prepared her sister would be spying on her.

"Yes, yes I am," replied Misty and she quietly hummed to herself. She closed up her bag and was all set to go for tomorrow.

"You sure do look happy when you're going to see him," mused her sister. Daisy smirked at Misty as she felt her cheeks heat up. "I didn't realize you went for the older guys, Misty."

Misty glared hard at her sister; she didn't have a thing for Professor Oak! "T-that's not it! I just like going over there, since it's so boring over here!" she said, hoping Daisy wouldn't know it was precisely because of a certain Professor Oak that she kept returning.

"Whatever, I'm glad to see you finally got over that loser Ash."

The redhead casted her eyes downwards. "I'm not into Professor Oak!" she yelled with flaming red cheeks. "And I got over Ash years ago! Now stop teasing me!" Misty then pushed her sister out of her room so she could get some alone time.

She lay down on her bed, snuggling her Horsea shaped pillow close to her. Thoughts of Gary drifted into her mind and left her rather confused. Was her sister right? Did she like Gary? It was true she got excited to visit him again, but she figured it was because there was always something interesting going on at his place than at hers. Misty wasn't going to lie though; Gary was a handsome young man, and she felt a bit attracted to him. Not only that, his personality changed for the better than when they were only kids. He used to hurl insults back and forth with her – well, she was only sticking up for Ash at the time. Now, years later, he would jokingly insult her and she would joke back. He was still rather arrogant, as she had come to notice, but his arrogance made him look so confident and attractive. Misty blushed a bit into her pillow when she realized how much she was thinking about Gary. She had to stop thinking about such things; Gary was a good friend of hers. Attractive, but still a good friend.

The next day, Misty left the gym and was on her way to Pallet Town. Halfway through the new road, she noticed a person sitting against a tree on the side of the road. Brown spikes were sticking out of the person's head, and Misty smiled when she recognized him.

"Hey Gary!" she greeted him and walked a bit faster to catch up to him.

The young man finally looked up and gave her a smile. "Hey," he said nonchalantly and got up from his sitting position.

"Why are you here?" she asked as she finally caught up to him.

"Figured it's best to meet you halfway. There's some wild pokemon on the loose and it could be dangerous."

Misty raised her eyebrows. Wild pokemon in Pallet Town? How dangerous could it be? "So? It's not like I can't take care of myself. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a Gym Leader – it's kind of a big deal."

They started to walk together, very slowly. Gary stuffed his hands in his lab coat, which was looking good on him today again. It was kind of irritating that she would notice this every time.

"So you're saying you're annoyed I came to pick you up?" he asked slyly with a smirk on his face.


"So a friend can't worry over another friend's safety?"

Misty linked her arm with his and pulled him close to her with a big smile. "Yeah they can," she said with a small giggle. "But don't forget; I'm Misty, and I'll be alright when you leave me alone."

"Pretty confident about yourself, aren't you?" said Gary with a chuckle.

"Says the over confident Pokemon Professor," she retorted.

Gary flicked his hair out of his face and stuck his nose up in the air. "That's because I have every right to be overconfident." His green eyes then looked down at her. "You on the other hand …"

Misty slapped his arm playfully and gave a loud huff, then she pulled his arm that was linked with her for good measure.

"You should see me during a pokemon battle, you'll eat your words."

"I think I would like that," he mused.

Misty started thinking; had Gary ever seen her fight in a pokemon battle? She couldn't remember; and he probably couldn't either.

"Then why don't you drop by the gym next week?" she asked innocently.

"If I can find some time off, sure, I'll drop by," he said with a dashing smile.

"Time? You got lots! Don't lie to me; I know what your typical work day looks like."

Gary shook his head. "No, that's not it, next week I have to publish my research to other Pokemon Researchers. They'll examine the data, and will try their best to refute what I have found – it's kind of nerve wrecking. Plus the Pokemon League is still using me as their errand boy."

Misty cocked her head to the side; not knowing the details of what a Pokemon Researcher really does was so troubling. "Is it the research you did when I first came here?"

The brunette nodded.

"Great! Tell me how it went afterwards then!" she said happily.

"You'll be the first one to know," he said with a small laugh.

Then Misty pulled on his arm with her own, causing his hand to be lifted out of his pocket. When she saw the bracelet still attached to his wrist, she broke out into a huge smile.

"I see you didn't take off the bracelet."

Gary took a quick peek at his wrist, then shrugged it off. "I hadn't even noticed I was still wearing it."

Misty allowed Gary to put his hand back into his coat, but happily hung onto his arm still. "Thanks," she said with a shy smile.

"I didn't appreciate being shoved in a closet though."

Misty smirked at him. "Oh well, what's done is done. And look, now we match!" she then called out loudly. She stuck out her own right arm in front of her, admiring her bracelet. Gary then chuckled softly, which made Misty cock her head sideways. "What's so funny?"

"Oh, nothing. Just thinking what kind of face Ash would make once he realizes we've got matching bracelets."

Misty started to laugh hysterically. "I'd pay money to see that!"

"Just imagine how far his jaw would drop when he realizes that one of his best friends, and his rival, have been frolicking together behind his back."

Misty laughed even harder, finally letting go of his arm as she held her stomach to control her fit. "Frolicking! I never expected that word to ever come out of your mouth!"

Gary scratched the tip of his nose and looked away, feeling embarrassed. "Yeah well, what do you call this?" he asked in a more serious tone.

She took a few deep breaths to calm herself down, and her laughter finally subsided. Just then, she looked at Gary, who was staring at her with intense green eyes, green eyes that were filled with expectations. Suddenly, May Maple popped up in her head, saying how things sure have turned around, and how she was engaged with her former rival. Gary had been her former rival, yet now here she was, having a fit of laughter and sharing matching bracelets as if they were the best of buds.

Misty halted in her tracks, causing Gary to stop as well, though he still held her gaze. When had things changed so much? When had it become so normal to her that Gary seemed like he'd been friends with her for her entire life? Just in these past few weeks she had accumulated many different memories with Gary, and they were more note-worthy than anything she had done in the past few years by herself, so what exactly would she call this?

Gary grew more wary as the silence stretched on while Misty was deep in though. She then grinned at him, her blue eyes sparkling like the ocean. "This is an important friendship, of course."

For a split second she saw his eyes widen in genuine shock, but he quickly covered it up by hiding his face with his hand, which also meant that his bracelet was in plain view. Just seeing a token of their friendship on his wrist stirred up feelings inside of Misty she never knew she had.

"Yeah," he said in quietly. "Same here."

Misty held in her laughter at seeing Gary act so cute around her, because she didn't want to make him feel even more embarrassed. No, she was already extremely happy at seeing him admit it as well; this bond was important. Misty happily linked arms with him again, cheerfully walking towards Pallet Town.

Their walk to Pallet Town was filled with small talk, laughter and some jokes here and there. When they arrived at the lab, everything fell into their usual routine. Gary would sit behind his computer, doing some science stuff, while Misty would sit on his desk playing with crossword puzzles. It was strangely familiar and … nice. While Misty had complained about her boring life before, she had no problems sitting at Gary's desk doing the same thing for hours – and not get bored.

The first day had already passed by in a blink of an eye, and Misty really couldn't complain, because she enjoyed being in Gary's company, maybe even more than she should. Her eyes wandered over to Gary, who was staring intently at the screen. His strong and sharp jaw line really framed his face, making him look so much more mature than when he was only a kid. Curious green eyes suddenly flickered over to her and he rose a darkly coloured eyebrow.

"What, can't figure out another answer?" Gary continued to type on his keyboard, half paying attention to what she was doing. She noticed how the sea shell bracelet rattled with noise every time he started to type, but it didn't seem to bother him.

A bit embarrassed he caught her staring at him, Misty quickly said; "Yeah, uhh 9 letters for a dancing pokemon," she said after quickly glancing at her crossword puzzle.

"Easy, Bellossom, they have the most beautiful dances."

"Really? I wouldn't know, I don't care much for grass pokemon."

Gary then finally tore his eyes away from the screen and gave her a slight smile. "Do you want to see?"

Misty scratched her head with her pencil. "See what?"

"The dancing Bellossoms."

"What, can we catch a ticket to their show?" she joked.

Gary simply chuckled at her, then returned back to his work. "There's an area around Pallet Town where the Bellossoms gather every once in a while to dance underneath the moonlight. Which is strange, since they're sun type pokemon."

Feeling a bit more interested in the topic now, Misty showed curiosity. "And when is 'once in a while'?"

"I haven't quite figured that one out yet. I've only seen them twice, and both times were during the full moon. Today is going to be a full moon actually."

Camping out with Gary Oak underneath the moonlight? That seemed oddly romantic. "Alright, let's do that then! Now you made me want to see them dance."

"They don't start dancing until pretty late, are you sure you want to stay until then? I don't want you walking home in the dark."

Misty gave him a grin and pointed her pencil at him. "No worries, I'm used to walking alone at night. Besides, with the new road they opened up, it only took an hour and a half to get here!"

"Your choice. We can leave later today then. You should make some sandwiches to bring with us, it might take long."

"Riiight, I forgot you only eat Mac & Cheese and need me to make you food."

He simply grinned at her. "Got a problem with that?"

Misty snickered, then resumed her crossword puzzle, wondering what kind of dance the Bellossoms would perform, and if they could even catch them dancing this evening. She sure hoped they would. Tracey suddenly entered the room and Misty looked up at him.

"Oh hey Misty, I didn't know you were here," he said and gave her a small wave. She hadn't seen him yesterday, Gary had said he was an another Pokemon League errand. Misty waved back at him.

"You should watch out you know, there's some dangerous pokemon on the loose on your way to Cerulean City."

Misty rolled her eyes and tapped her pencil on Gary's head, who merely glared at her antics. "Don't worry, this guy over here already warned me. But I'm really curious now; what kind of pokemon is on the loose? You all seem to know this for some reason."

Tracey grinned uneasy and shuffled on his spot, contemplating whether or not to tell her something. Gary then finally lifted up his head to face Misty.

"It's a bunch of Rhyhorns. Some trainer caught a lot of them, and they were out of our control and managed to escape."

"Oh no, those poor Rhyhorns! Why are you not trying to get them back? The trainer must be sad they ran away!"

"Don't worry Misty," piped in Tracey. "Rhyhorns are abrasive by nature, but they usually come around pretty quickly and return soon afterwards."

Misty then looked over to Gary, who frowned as their eyes met. "Aha, I see, so Gary really was worried about me, huh?" she asked, straight to his face.

As expected, he turned all embarrassed and shy, avoiding eye contact with you. "I told you I was," he said sternly and crossed his arms.

Misty reached over to him messed up his hair with her hand. "Thanks, Gary!"

"Hey hey, I was worried too, you know!" said Tracey a bit offended.

"Yeah but, you don't get all embarrassed if I tease you about it," said Misty innocently.

"I do not!" yelled Gary, slapping away Misty's hands from his hair, then furiously went back to typing on his computer, ignoring Misty's creepy smile.

It was then that Tracey noticed something. "Hey, are you both wearing a bracelet made out of shells?"

Gary quickly pulled the sleeve of his lab coat over his wrist, hiding the bracelet. "No," he lied.

"Yup!" yelled out Misty cheerfully, showing off her bracelet to Tracey who laughed in response.

"Oh you guys, now you're even wearing matching jewelry? What are you, dating each other or something?"

Misty blushed, and Gary whipped his head around to yell a string of curses at Tracey, who finally shut up and left them alone. Misty poked Gary's ribs with her feet, and gave him a smile.

"See, it's exactly because of situations like this that I had to shove you in the closet."

Gary scoffed at her. "Yeah well, maybe you shouldn't have made those stupid bracelets."

The redhead glared at him, and poked him extra hard in the side. Gary gave a disgruntled yelp, but said nothing afterwards. For the rest of the day, Misty was confined to working on her puzzle, while waiting impatiently for Gary to finish working so that they could see the Bellossom dance.

"Let's go over to my house first," said Gary once he was finally finished with work. Misty stretched her body, having sat in the same place for a while, then followed Gary as he went to his house.

"Can you make some sandwiches? You know, so we have something to eat while we're there. I'm gonna go get a blanket," he said, then he left to go upstairs.

This really did started to sound like a romantic picnic underneath the moonlight. Misty shook her slightly reddish head, then opened his fridge (she had already stocked it up the previous day) and prepared a few quick to make sandwiches. After five minutes, she heard Gary come downstairs, just in time since she finished their food for the day. Misty turned around, expecting to see Gary in his white lab coat, but found that he had finally taken it off.

"What?" he asked with a frown.

"Nothing, didn't expect you to take off your lab coat," she said, noting he was wearing that brown hoodie again.

"You know, I still wear regular clothes. I'm not a Professor 100% of the time."

"Of course not, but I'm still used to it you know." Plus he always looked damn fine in his lab coat, so Misty had gotten secretly attached to it.

Gary then snatched the sandwiches she put into a plastic bag, and stuffed it into his backpack. "Okay, you ready to go?"

Misty simply nodded with a big smile; they were going to see a Bellossom dance underneath the moonlight! As they stepped outside, something inside of Misty's pocket began to vibrate and make noise.

"What is that?" Gary spat out at the annoying ringtone.

Misty had totally forgotten she had her sister's phone with her, and quickly picked it up. "Uhh, hello? This is Misty. Yes the youngest sister. I'm sorry, Daisy borrowed me her phone for a few days so she can't talk to you her right now. Try calling one of my other sisters, I'm sure she's with them. Okay, bye." Misty hung up on whoever Candice was, and stared hard at the phone.

"Hey, do you mind keeping this with you? My sister gave me her cellphone in the hopes I'd buy my own, but I had totally forgotten it was even in my pocket. If I lose it in the forest, my sister will give me hell! So can you hold onto it for me?"

Misty handed him over the pink cellphone, which Gary stuffed inside of his pocket. "Fine, just remember to get it back, because I sure won't."

"It's alright, I don't think I'll forget. Hopefully. Besides, it's a pink phone with the ringtone of I'm a Barbie girl, who could possibly forget it?"

Gary chuckled and off they went into the forest. They trekked through the dense forest of Pallet Town for a while, and Misty was starting to believe Gary was lost, but when she saw that he was using that GPS thingy, she felt a bit more relieved. It was already dark outside, and they were using flashlights to aid them in finding the spot the dance was going to be at.

"Is it still far?" she asked after they had been walking for half an hour.

"Actually, we're there," said Gary, pushing away a branch that was in his way. Through the bushes they just came from, there was a clearing right ahead of them.

Misty walked out into the clearing; there was a round spot of grass in between high walls of rocks, with a few trees surrounding the circle. It seemed like the spot had been used many times, apparent by the flat grass in the middle of the area.

"That's where they dance," said Gary, coming up from behind her.

"I hope they come tonight!" she said excitedly.

Gary then retreated from the clearing, now standing behind the bushes again, and started to unpack, spreading out the blanket neatly on the grass. He then put the backpack on top of it, containing the sandwiches she prepared beforehand. He sat down and beckoned Misty to do the same thing. The brunette laid his back against the blanket, propping his arms behind his head and stared at the sky.

"So," said Misty, a bit unsure of what to do now. "We just wait until they show up?"

Gary simply nodded.

"Bah! That's so boring," she sighed and shook her head.

"If you look up, you might notice it's not so boring after all," he said softly.

Misty raised her eyebrows, but then lifted up her head as well to stare at the sky. She gasped out loud when she saw the long string of star clusters forming together as bright lights in the night sky – also known as the Milky Way. It showed an abundance of different colours, but it was mostly a deep pink and purple, it was simply breathtaking. She had never managed to see the Milky Way in Cerulean City, because the lights of the city made it too bright to see any stars in the sky. Even when she was on her journey with Ash and Brock, they never camped out in the open to see the stars, as the trees usually blocked the view. But this, this was simply amazing. The stars twinkled and sparkled, it was like a veil of diamonds. She lay down next to Gary, continuing to stare at the sky.

"It's gorgeous," she said in an exhaled breath.

"That's the beauty of living in Pallet Town," noted Gary. "It's such a small town, you can easily catch all the stars at night over here."

"I'm jealous," she said with a small giggle. "Hogging this gorgeous scenery all for yourself."

He shifted his head to look at her with a cocky grin. "I'm sharing it now, am I not?"

Misty simply returned his cocky grin, then stared at the sky once more. "Do you think they'll come?"

"Beats me, I hope they do."

"Yeah, I hope they do too."

They laid together silently, gazing at the stars. Misty then broke her gaze and her eyes turned over to Gary; who was immersed in stargazing. The slight glow of the moonlight was caressing his face, giving him an angel like appearance. That guy really could look good in anything, Misty noted grudgingly. At least he didn't have that awful personality anymore. Now she enjoyed spending time with him, but she wasn't quite sure if it was on a friendly level anymore. Lately she had been far too excited to see him again, and far too happy being with him. She wondered if her sisters were right; did she like Gary? Did she have a silly crush on him? The girl sighed; she hoped not. Her last crush didn't exactly end well.

Suddenly Gary sat up straight, then crawled towards the bushes in front of them. He turned his head to beckon her over. Misty quickly got up, being as quiet as she could, and sat down next to Gary.

"I think we got lucky," he whispered excitedly.

Misty peered through the bushes, looking at the open circle for any signs of Bellossoms appearing. A few seconds later, the bouncing leaves of the Bellossom appeared. With their hula like appearance, they gracefully glided across the area. There were about fifteen of them! They twirled around in synchronization as they slowly walked into their position, each forming a closed circle. The Bellossoms made soft cooing sounds as they swung their leafy skirts from left to right. It was a sight to behold; they were finally in position, and started to twirl around again, but this time their bodies started to glow a light yellow. Misty gasped in surprise as she saw all the Bellossoms lit up like a Christmas bulb, and with their twirling it was giving it the appearance of a soft, moving glow.

She looked over at Gary with a smile, who grinned and winked at her. Her eyes returned back to the show, with the Bellossoms now each having a partner as they performed complicated spinning moves, all the while glowing a light yellow. The formations they were making started to look an awful lot like a flower, a glowing flower. Misty couldn't help but smile at this in awe; it was so beautiful – as beautiful as the Milky Way! Unconsciously, Misty placed her hand on top of Gary's hand, which was resting on the dirt next to her. She gave it a slight squeeze, while looking at the Bellossoms excitedly. Gary simply returned the affection and squeezed back.

The Bellossoms moved ever so gracefully across the area, adding more and more complicated moves, and chanting softly amongst themselves. Then all of the sudden, they stopped dancing, it was dead silent. They all looked up at the moon and began to shine even brighter, as if the Christmas blub was overpowered. Soon they began to float a bit upwards and white sparkles started to emit from them, a sight Misty had never seen. The sparkles made an eerie sounding noise, that was similar to a woman's high pitched voice. Misty squeezed Gary's hand even tighter, wondering what the Bellossoms were going to now. The noise turned louder, and the Bellossoms floated even higher, until they sparked with such a bright light, Misty was temporarily blinded. The noise died down immediately and the Bellossoms quietly lowered themselves.

"Did they finish?" she whispered to Gary and finally let go of his hand.

The Bellossoms answered for her as they started to glide away from the area.

"They finished recharging from the moonlight," said Gary in his normal voice, since the Bellossoms weren't around anymore. "Though why, it's a mystery."

Misty smiled at the empty area. "It sure was beautiful though."

"Wasn't it?" said Gary and he flashed his bright smile at her. He seemed really excited for a reason. "I've only seen them twice before, but it still amazes me every time I do see it." He looked at her with warm eyes. "I'm glad I could share it with you."

Misty felt her heart temporarily leap into her throat, and all she could do was give him an awkward happy smile in return. For their remaining time, they ate their sandwiches and did some more stargazing, until Gary looked at his watch.

"Hey, it's getting pretty late already, it's almost 10 PM, we should be heading back now."

Misty agreed; she was getting tired already and still had a long way to walk back home. They managed to find their way out of the forest pretty easily, all with the help of Gary's handy-dandy GPS.

"Well then, guess I should be going," said Misty, ready to take her leave after she had gathered up her stuff once they were back inside of his house.

Gary leaned against the door frame, acting rather nonchalant for some reason. Misty still wasn't really used to seeing him wear those normal looking clothes.

"Don't trip on your way over there."

Misty then whipped out her flashlight and shone it into his eyes. He quickly shielded it with his hands. "Turn that off, will you."

"What, I'm just showing you I'm prepared for the awfully long and dark journey," she said in a monotone voice.

Gary huffed out loud. "I know that. That's why I want you to be careful. When my car is fixed up, I'll bring you back myself."

Misty felt her stomach turn into twists and knots and she smiled weakly at him. "But for now, I'll have to use my own two feet to get there. So I guess I'll see you when I get home."

Gary nodded. "Yeah."

Misty then finally started to walk away from him and waved him goodbye, walking the long road back home. She could feel Gary's gaze linger on her until she was finally out of view. For some reason it gave her shivers, though that could also be due to the cold night and she was wearing a flimsy jacket. She put her hands inside of her pockets for warmth. Then something ticked inside of her mind; wasn't she forgetting something? Something that was supposed to be in her pocket? Misty frantically scouted her pockets with her hands, but there was nothing inside of them.

Crap, I forgot I gave Gary the phone! Misty turned on her heel, feeling a bit lucky she hadn't realized this half-way through, since she had only been walking for several minutes. She could get the phone quickly, then still be back home on time.

The prospect of seeing Gary again because of this excuse made her lips turn into a smile that she was fighting to keep down, because she looked like an idiot for doing it. Seeing his house in sight again, Misty turned off her flashlight and slowed down her pace. She saw the front door open, and Gary walked outside, putting on his hoodie to cover his face, then he sauntered away on the road.

Misty frowned, for some reason she hadn't called out to him yet, because he was acting so suspicious. He wasn't walking towards the lab, that was the other direction. Neither was he walking towards her, since he was going left of her. Where could he be going this late? Especially when she couldn't even recognize him from behind with that hoodie covering everything. Curious to what he was up to, Misty decided to follow him that night.

Misty flattened her back against the wall after following him for several minutes through the town already, and for once in her life, was a little grateful her breasts weren't all that big, so that he couldn't spot her when he whirled around suspiciously. Why he was being so sneaky, and so suspicious, Misty had to find out. Gary then tightened his hoodie, making him look even more suspicious when his face was covered in a shadow.

A few minutes later and Gary had arrived at a large and grey complex, which was almost at the edge of Pallet Town. The brunette came at a halt near a door, where a big fat guy was standing guard. Misty cringed inwardly; it was a bodyguard. What kind of business did Gary have here? She saw him flash something to the guard, a card, or a secret password – who knew, and the guard knocked on the door three times. After a few seconds, the door opened and Gary casually walked in with his hands in his pockets. The door closed behind him immediately.

If that wasn't something suspicious, then she didn't know what was. Misty had to find out what he was doing here, but the problem was getting past that guard. Gary obviously had to prove he had permission to be there, Misty wasn't that stupid to figure it out, and without whatever Gary had, she couldn't get in without it. With one nasty look at the guard, she pushed herself away from the wall and decided to walk around the building. It was a large complex, build entirely out of concrete, hidden away by all the other large buildings around it. A secluded and dark place that gave Misty the shivers; why would Gary even want to come over here? It was so dreadful and devoid of any colour.

Nevertheless, Misty set out to find a way to get inside the building. Luckily there was only one guard around the complex, and she didn't see any cameras around either. Even Team Rocket could break into this thing, it didn't even require any brains. Behind the building was the service entrance, and what do you know – one of the windows was wide open! They weren't even trying to keep up security, she'd bet her money on the fact that the guard outside the door was only for show. The window was a few feet higher than herself, so she'd need something to stand on. Looking around and she quickly spotted a few crates, perfect to stack and stand on. She dirtied her hands getting them in place, and climbed on top of it, her fingers reaching the edge of the window.

A sense of adventure she hadn't felt in such a long time overwhelmed her. It reminded her of all the times she had to break out one of Team Rocket's traps, or put on a disguise and sneak past them. Good times.

A pair of voices inside alerted the redhead and she immediately bent down to her knees, making sure no one could see her out of the window. There were two guys, chatting about how their boss didn't pay them enough, and it seemed they were taking a break from work to smoke – no wonder the window was open. Misty then widened her eyes; that would mean they'd close the window once they were done. To prevent that from happening, she quietly took off one of her shoelaces, then slid up the wall, making sure they wouldn't notice her, and quickly stuffed her shoelace inside of the lock mechanism. Once she got it in there firmly, she made herself tiny once more to avoid being spotted, and waited for the guys to finish their cigarettes.

After a minute or two, she heard them talking about getting back to work. Her heart started to thump in her throat, hoping that her plan would work and the window wouldn't lock. One of the guys walked over to the window, Misty closed her eyes as if this would somehow make herself invisible, and quickly closed it. She waited another minute until she didn't hear anything coming from the room anymore, and dared to crawl up and peer through the window.

It seemed to be a storage area of some sort, and there was no one there. Misty's eyes then studied the lock of the window, and saw that her trick had worked; the lock couldn't close all the way because her shoelaces were in the way, so the window could easily be opened. With a smug smirk on her face, Misty pulled her shoelace out, which simultaneously also pulled the window open. She quickly put it back on her sneakers, and climbed inside, making sure to keep the window open with a random object she grabbed from one of the racks.

"Hah, beware Gary Oak, Misty Waterflower is a fucking ninja," she whispered quietly to herself, standing triumphantly in the middle of the room.

And then she was off to find wherever Gary was. The hallways were all boringly concrete, and they all looked the same, so Misty quickly lost her way and went around in circles a bunch of times. Luckily, there was no one to be found in the hallways, though she was on high alert in case she'd bump into anyone. Seconds turned into minutes, she still hadn't found Gary, or even another person.

Finally she arrived at a hallway where she could hear voices from. She scanned the hallway and saw two doors on one side, so she quickly went to inspect it. The closer she came to the doors, the louder the voices became, until it turned into a huge crowd cheering and yelling. Misty vaguely wondered if this was some sort of underground boxing clubs or something with the way she heard the crowd yelling obscene words.

Misty was about to put a hand on the doorknob, when it swung open itself, almost hitting her in the face. She stumbled back and flattened herself against the wall, almost paralyzed with fear that she'd been found out.

"Okay Peter, it's almost time for your turn," said a very deep voice, which was slowly moving away from her.

Misty dared to look to her side, and was relieved to find out they hadn't even seen her, and had walked the opposite direction of the hallway. It took her a second to realize Gary was walking in front of her along with another one of those fat guards. She almost called out to him if she hadn't covered her mouth with her hands. Phew, that was a close one. I gotta follow Gary now! Wait, didn't that fat guy just call him Peter?

The redhead went into pursuit, and made sure to stay behind far enough that they wouldn't hear her, or accidentally see her if they turned around. She was led through a maze of hallways until the two stopped at a room. The guard pushed Gary inside the room, throwing the door closed behind him, then sauntered off in the opposite way. Finally! He was alone, she could talk to him now, and demand to know what the hell he was doing in such a place. Misty quickly ran over to the door and opened it up.

She smiled broadly, wanting to surprise him. "Hi Gar-"

Her surprise was turned into a strangled cry for help when she was thrown onto the ground, and another heavy body was forced on top of her.

"What the – Misty!" yelled out Gary. He lifted himself up from Misty and roughly pulled her up so she could stand. "I knew there was someone following me, but what. The. Fuck."

Misty looked at him sheepishly. "Uhh, surprise! I forgot my phone at your place, and then I saw you all sneaky-like exit your house."

Gary quickly closed the door behind him, and turned to look at her with the most flabbergasted face she'd ever seen on him. It was safe to say he had never expected her to follow him. This made her smile a little to see how shocked he was at this.

"How'd you even get in this place? You're not supposed to be in here!" he said in a bewildered voice. On one hand, she could hear his concern and fear of her being caught, and on the other hand, she could hear how he was very impressed she had managed to not get caught.

She winked bashfully. "I've got my ways." Then she finally took a moment to herself to observe the room. It was a small seating area, with a huge window on one side of the room. Misty quickly walked over towards it, ignoring Gary's questions. What she saw through the window, was a huge pokemon battlefield, and there were two guys fighting it out. All around them was a crowd, cheering for them, and yelling obnoxiously loud as the two pokemon battled against each other. One of the pokemon gave a finishing blow to the other, and the crowd erupted into screams and curses.

Misty pulled herself back from the window and stared at Gary, finally having it figured out. "You participate in illegal pokemon battles, don't you?"

"Misty, you came at the wrong time and place to lecture me about something like this. For now, I want you to hide yourself behind that couch until I come back for you so I can get you the fuck out of here."

She could hear the panic in his voice, and she was loving the way she felt more in control than him. "But why? Last I heard, you were up next, I gotta see that, no?"

Before Gary could even answer, a small intercom in the corner of the room turned on. "Peter, you're up, get ready."

"Who's Peter?" she asked innocently, unable to keep the smirk from spreading on her face.

"Fuck!" he cursed loudly, almost ready to start pulling his hair. He then glared at her. "You, don't move. Don't get out of this room, if anyone comes, hide, and if anyone catches you, don't say a thing – or I'll personally hunt you down and strangle you to death." Misty vaguely noted this was the second threat she had gotten that day.

"Oh but Peter, don't you have to worry about your own match at the moment?" she asked in a coy voice.

"Argh!" he cried out, then shoved her onto the couch, and left the room through a different door than she came from.

Misty simply lay comfortably on the couch with a huge smirk on her face. That Gary Oak, he had a secret – a weakness, and she knew all about it. Yup, life couldn't get any better than this. She quickly got up and took a seat near the window so she could look out at the battle arena.

Even though Misty was a gym leader, and had been a fairly goody-two-shoes when she was still traveling with Ash and Brock, she wasn't about to tattle tale on Gary for doing something like this. She figured they existed, underground pokemon battles where people bet on battles for money that is, though she never saw one for real, until today. As long as the pokemon were treated alright, she wouldn't say a word to anyone else. Well, that all depended on Gary's behavior once he'd finish the battle and come to get her. If he was going to continue to act like an asshole, she might slip a few words to Tracey and Professor Oak. If he was going to accept the fact Misty knew about his 'late-night visits to underground pokemon battles', and would act civilized, then sure, she could keep it a secret. Besides, friends keep secrets, right?

The voice of the announcer disturbed her thoughts, and she prepped herself up so she could see Gary walk onto the field. Underneath the spotlights, combined with his hoodie that covered his trademark hair as well as half of his face, it really did seem like that was another person walking over there. He had his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, looking all gloomy and mysterious. It was then that Misty realized her phone was in Gary's pocket. She remembered it now; she didn't leave it at his home, she asked him to carry it for her so she wouldn't lose it! She'd have to get it back from him once he finished up.

"Next up, Peter versus The Rock! A one-on-one battle that you've all been waiting for! With the mysterious trainer Peter, who never utters a word, and The Rock whose name fits his fighting style!" yelled the announcer.

Misty had to snicker at the name 'Peter'. Sure, Gary could look like a Peter, maybe, if she squinted her eyes and cocked her head sideways, then maybe his name would fit him.

"Trainers, take out your pokemon!"

Gary retrieved one hand out of his pocket and lazily threw it on the ground, out came his trusty Umbreon. The pokemon landed on all fours and stuck his nose up high in the air.

The other trainer called out his pokemon as well, which was a very large Steelix. That didn't look very good for Gary, since Umbreon was at a disadvantage with his dark-type against Steelix, a steel-type. All of the sudden, she was very interested in the match. Last time she saw Gary fight, was when she was like what, 10 years old? Surely he had improved during those 9 long years, right? Misty sat on the edge of the seat, almost pressing her nose up against the glass so she could see everything clearly.

"And let the games begin!"

The Rock then stuck out his arm, pointing a finger at Steelix. "Steelix, use iron tail and destroy that pathetic excuse for a pokemon!" The crowd roared in agreement.

Misty's eyes were glued on Gary; what was he going to do? What kind of attack, or defend technique did he have in mind? Before she could even register Gary had spoken, Umbreon evaded the charging Steelix, and immediately did a counter-attack by jumping high in the air and landing on the Steelix's back. The little pokemon than used a faint attack on the balls of steel, causing it to stumble towards the ground. Umbreon safely hopped off and landed gracefully on the ground. Misty was, safe to say, impressed.

"Steelix, rock thomb!"

Again, Misty couldn't catch what Gary was saying before Umbreon sped off to evade the rocks being thrown at him. As a huge boulder was thrown his way, Umbreon conjured up a shield, to reflect the boulder away and it didn't do any damage to him at all. The Rock started to get angry he couldn't land any hits on Umbreon, cursing left and right and stomping his foot on the ground like a real kid he was. Before he could even yell out his next attack, Umbreon charged right into Steelix, dealing another faint attack, and sending the pokemon flying across the arena, taking massive damage.

Misty had no idea how Gary was doing this, she couldn't hear him say anything at all. Maybe he was just talking really quietly, and she couldn't hear him through the cheering crowd?

Umbreon then suddenly stopped in the middle of the field, shooting back glances at its trainer, Gary, who was rooted to the ground and not moving an inch, waiting for him to give him commands. The crowd suddenly stopped cheering, curious what was going on. When most of them shut up, they could hear the very loud and distinguishable …

I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it's fantastic!

It was coming from Gary's pocket. Since Gary probably forgot her sister's phone was in his pocket, he couldn't comprehend what was actually going on, so he stood there in silence while the ringtone continued on. Misty started to sputter some random words, but eventually decided on laughing as loud as she could, rolling off of the chair and slamming her first against the floor, because it was just so damn funny! The timing had been impeccable!

Then Gary finally made a move, he took the phone out of his pocket and flipped the phone open.

"Call me again, and I'll kill you." That was the first time she heard his voice throughout the entire match, and it was totally devoid of any emotion. He was serious. He was going to kill whoever was going to call him again – if he wasn't planning on killing them already.

"Well, there you have it folks! The mysterious Peter has finally talked! And is it just me, or did he become even more mysterious! Anyways, let's get back to the match!" yelled out the announcer.

The Rock who had been as dumbfounded as Gary, finally shook himself out of this state, and ordered Steelix to attack Umbreon. Gary was in the middle of contemplating throwing the phone against the ground and smashing it to pieces, or putting it back in his pocket. Whatever he was doing, he wasn't paying any attention to his match, and Umbreon who didn't know what to do, got hit and was thrown across the field, almost landing near Gary's feet.

Gary bent down to inspect his Umbreon, and the pokemon quickly got back on its feet. It seemed shit just got serious, because Gary finally got into a battle position, and Umbreon ran off towards Steelix. What happened after that, Misty didn't quite know, because there was too much dirt being thrown around to see, but when the smoke finally cleared up, Umbreon was standing on top of an unconscious Steelix, scratching its ears.

The crowd went mad, roaring even louder, some even calling Gary 'Barbie Girl'. The announcer exclaimed Gary had won the battle. Gary slickly called Umbreon back to its pokeball, and sauntered off of the field. Misty found herself cheering with the crowd, happy Gary had won, her mood had been infected by everyone in the crowd cheering for him.

Misty then sat back and stared at the door. He was going to come back for her, and Misty didn't know whether he was going to murder her or not – but that ringtone fiasco was priceless, she wouldn't give up that memory even if he gave her a million dollars! The door slowly opened, and Misty got up from the seat, smiling broadly.

She greeted him with a huge smile on her face, unable to contain her excitement at seeing him battle like that, and win in the most extraordinary way – and still thinking about the ringtone.

"Wipe that stupid look off your face, you look downright disgusting."

Her smile immediately vanished. "Jerkface," she uttered darkly. Then she was reminded of his phonecall again, and burst out in laughter. "This, has got to be my most favourite Gary moment … ever!" she yelled out while taking a huge breath to continue laughing at him.

Gary whirled around angrily, then took out her phone and threw it at her. "Hey! That's my sisters phone!" she complained as she managed to catch it before it fell on the ground.

"Your sisters phone made me the laughing stock of the entire arena," he said with a growl, menacing over her body.

"I know, isn't it funny?" she said delightfully.

"No, no it's not!"

Misty then leaped forwards to him, and yanked his hoodie off, so that she could finally see his embarrassed face. Gary looking embarrassed, a sight to behold, it was extremely endearing and cute – Misty couldn't help but make fun of him even more.

"Congratulations on your win!" she said happily, grabbing his hand and shaking it.

"What is this? The calm before the storm? What the hell are you even doing here, Misty?" he sneered at her.

She dropped his hand, her face now serious. "Well, if you'll keep up that kind of attitude, I might let a few things slip out of my mouth next time I'm over at the lab. Oops, I totally didn't mean to tell you that Gary blows his money on illegal pokemon battles – and actually participates in them as well. Totally didn't mean to, sorry Tracey, sorry Professor Oak."

Gary finally pushed her against a wall, roughly grabbing her wrists and pinning her down so she couldn't escape. It didn't faze her one bit, not after he had gotten a phonecall with a 'I'm a Barbie-girl' ringtone, it was impossible to take him seriously at the moment.

"You are infuriating, do you know that? Why the fuck did you decide to follow me? Did it ever occur to you that there might be a damn good reason I'm sneaking around? But noooo, you just had to pry your nose into someone else's business and fuck 'em over, fuck 'em over good."

"I didn't realize I was fucking you over, Gary," she spat out at him, then gave him the meanest glare she could muster. He was really getting on her nerves at the moment, if he'd say just a few more insults in such a demeaning way, she was going to knee him in the groin and leave without him. "But I'd appreciate it if you'd let me go."

Gary finally released her wrists and pushed himself away from her, taking a good few steps to get some distance between them. Still frustrated with Misty, he went to sit down on the couch, running his hands through his brown spikes, probably at war with himself. Misty awkwardly stood still against the wall as she carefully watched Gary calm himself down. After a minute of a silence that was so thick, it even became hard to breathe, he finally spoke up.

"Don't mention this to anyone."

Relieved he was actually acting somewhat civilized, Misty cracked a smile at him. "As long as you stop being a jerkface to me, I won't."

He lifted up his face to glare at her. "I was not being a – !" he then swallowed his words, and went back to running his hands through his hair again.

"And don't follow me again – ever!"

Misty finally plopped down on the couch next to him. "Now why would I do that?" she asked curiously.

Gary whipped his face around and clicked his tongue at her. "You're not supposed to be here Misty – you were not supposed to even know about this. No one was."

Misty wrapped an arm around his shoulder, pulling his head close to hers and sighed. "That's no fun, what's the point of being friends if we can't even share secrets with each other?"

Gary snorted, but at least he had calmed down to the point of not pushing Misty away, or worse – pin her against a wall. "Don't think that just because we're friends, we should tell each other all the dirty little secrets we keep to ourselves."

"Good thing I followed you, huh? Otherwise I'd never know!" she joked.

This made Gary groan out loud again and bury his face into his hands. Misty gave him a few pats on the back. She then leaned down towards his face, and whispered in his ear;

"For what it's worth, I thought that was an awesome battle. You looked really cool while fighting with Umbreon, and I have absolutely no idea how you did it."

"Yeah, I was doing damn good alright, up until your sister's phone started to ring."

"Well, that just sort of makes you even more mysterious, don't you think? So here's this guy no one knows nothing of, except his fake name Peter, and his pokemon Umbreon. He beats all these other guys, and then suddenly, his phone rings with the most ridiculous ringtone ever. People aren't going to be laughing at you, they probably think you're just so cool, a girly ringtone for you is nothing."

"You know," he said, finally lifted his face out of his hands. "I was expecting a lecture from you."

She blinked a few times, remembering he had mentioned this before he started the fight. "Why would I do that?"

He blinked as well. "Well, you're Misty. The uptight Gym Leader who doesn't break a rule."

"Hey now, what part of me possibly screams 'uptight'?"


She slapped his back, finally letting go of the embrace as well. "It does not! Do you think an uptight Gym Leader would manage to sneak inside of a guarded building undetected?"

"Well, I'll give you that – how'd you do that anyways – but still, I was not expecting this. And by the way, we gotta get out of here before someone sees you, because the next match is coming up, and someone will be coming to this room very shortly."

He placed his hoodie back on his head, then jumped off the couch and took Misty's arm so he could pull her up as well. "Follow me and don't make a sound, okay?"

Misty merely grinned. "I'll try."