Author's Note: I started taking a look at all the Pokemon drabbles I've written over the last... three years? Wow. It's been awhile. And though they're all far from perfect, I was surprised by a few hidden gems I had completely forgotten about until now. So I figured I'd leave out the ones that I thought had no redeeming qualities at all, and pack the rest together in this little collection here. Now, if you dislike any of these pairs and want to complain to me about how the pair is bad and you don't like it and so on and so forth, I'm just going to let you know that you're wasting your time. I wrote these all on dares, so most of the time I did not get to pick the pairing I was writing for-so there are many pairings I've written about here that I'm either indifferent to, or just plain don't like. Still, it's a lot of fun to stretch myself and write for pairings I don't normally think to. I hope you'll find something to enjoy in this collection.

The pairings I've written for here (in alphabetical order):

-BlackVelvetShiping (Cynthia/Sabrina)
-BrunettShiping (May/Gary)
-ContestShipping (May/Drew) x2
-EgoShipping (Misty/Gary)
-FortuneShipping (Lucas/Dawn)
-FriendshipShipping (Mira/Sandshrew)
-GirlPowerShipping (Cynthia/Dawn)
-HairWingShipping (Mira/Cresselia)
-KokoShipping (James/Butch)
-OrangeShipping (Tracey/Misty)
-PalletShiping (Ash/Gary)
-PearlShiping (Ash/Dawn)
-PokeShipping (Ash/Misty) x2
-QuestShipping (Jimmy/Marina)
-RocketShipping (Jessie/James) x3
-RottenEggSneakerShipping (James/Weezing)
-ShellPWNageShipping (Oshawott/Snivy)
-TeenCareShipping (Brock/Holly)
-TwinAppleShipping (Iris/Axew)
-TwinleafShiping (Dawn/Barry)
-VixenShiping (Eevee/Vulpix)

Pokemon Shipping Drabble Collection

Aquarium Glass. OrangeShipping – Tracey/Misty.

There was nothing but soft sounds now. The water was lapping gently on the surface of the pool far above, there was a low rumble as Gyarados rolled over majestically in his sleep, and of course, the whisper of the glass cleaner spraying from its container and misting on the edge of the aquarium. A mild squeak joined the hush as Tracey rubbed a rag over the rain the cleaner had left behind.

The gym wasn't the way it was during the day—with a bunch of people shouting happily in the echoing pool-space, Pokemon splashing about and doing flips to entertain the crowd, and of course Misty and her sisters discussing/arguing about how the place should be run.

It was even quieter now than it had been when it was just him and Misty. Misty had been practicing for the next underwater ballet with Tracey as her only audience. Her willowy hair extensions had been in place, as had her tail. It was hard, she said, to swim with that thing, but she always managed to make it look so graceful.

Yes, rehearsal had gone off without a hitch. She'd done her swimming routine with ease. Tracey had applauded from the lower-deck where he could see the entire undersea scene. Misty must have appreciated the vote of confidence—her sisters had been making almost daily withdrawals from her self-esteem bank. Tracey couldn't see why. What could a person possibly have to complain about Misty?

She'd swum over to him, touched the glass from the other side and just looked at him. A fellow feeling coursed through them in the half-lit abandoned aquarium—a peace. He put his hand over hers, separated by the sheet of glass keeping the water in. She'd smiled such a warm smile, and then they both leaned in and…

Well, she was gone now. Slightly embarrassed and with the excuse that she needed to wash the chlorine out of her hair. They'd see each other tomorrow and, for all the awkwardness between the two of them, that was a happy thought.

Tracey had been left with the spray bottle of Fantastik and a rag. He wiped away at the glass vigorously. Because neither he nor Misty wanted to have to explain to her sisters the next day why there were lip marks on the aquarium glass.

As Was Foretold. BlackVelvetShipping – Cynthia/Sabrina.

It was a practically free day, which was a rarity in the busy life of a champion. All Cynthia was scheduled to do was give a speech to a bunch of trainers just beginning their Pokemon journeys. Then the rest of the day was hers. She might get some training in… or perhaps just relax. It had been awhile since she'd been able to do that.

At the back of the crowd of mostly-ten-year-olds she saw a woman that she recognized. It was Sabrina, Kanto's Psychic-type gym leader. The two had never actually held a conversation with one another, but had attended a lot of the same functions, so they'd seen each other in passing. Cynthia had to wonder what Sabrina was doing there; what she was doing in Sinnoh period.

When the crowd of new trainers broke up, Sabrina approached Cynthia, looked her straight in the eye and said: "The two of us were destined to meet."

Needless to say, a proclamation like that required a little bit more examination than an 'Okay, then,' so the two found themselves in a café in town where Cynthia hoped that the mysterious Sabrina might elaborate further on this supposedly 'destiny'.

She wrapped her fingers around her warm cup of coffee and tried to think of what she knew about Sabrina. She was… a strong leader, and a very gifted psychic. Cynthia seemed to recall seeing her once at a Pokemon convention, signing bent spoons for eager young trainers. She hadn't smiled. She knew there had been some… childhood difficulties for Sabrina; which is the way it often goes with the very gifted. There had been a few nasty incidents involving people being turned into dolls which had thankfully been resolved without police intervention. Since then, it seemed that the reclusive gym leader had been trying to turn over a new leaf.

"So," Cynthia began, "what's this 'destiny' you were talking about?"

Sabrina surveyed her seriously, then appeared to realize what she was doing and attempted to break into a somewhat nervous smile. "I traveled here from Kanto because I had a premonition that the two of us would meet," she said.

Cynthia had to marvel at that kind of skill. But what could she have predicted that would've been so important that she had to travel all the way from Kanto? What dark specter was lurking in the future?

"What's going to happen?" Cynthia asked in a hushed voice.

Sabrina noted the tone and frowned. "It's nothing… dangerous or anything," she said. "It's just that I prophesied that the two of us would no longer be strangers from this point on. It's more like…" Sabrina struggled to make her point, "it's more like we're all strands of thread, and in meeting one another we're woven together to create the tapestries of our lives. And we two are destined to…"

"Entwine?" Cynthia couldn't help but offer.

Sabrina blushed and Cynthia immediately felt bad about that. She shouldn't have joked; after all, the philosophy that Sabrina was espousing was very similar to her own. She just couldn't resist over-extending the metaphor.

"Just kidding," Cynthia said gently. "I know what you mean." She sat back. "What specifically did you prophesy?"

Sabrina looked down as though this was the point that she'd been dreading explaining. "We… we go see a movie together," she said somewhat lamely.

That was something Cynthia hadn't been expecting. She couldn't help but be a little bit disbelieving. "You came all the way from Kanto to see a movie with me? I certainly enjoy seeing a good movie every once and awhile, but that seems like a lot of effort to go through."

Sabrina was still looking down. "It was prophesied," she said simply.

"I understand that," Cynthia said, "but you were the one that prophesied it, so it's kind of… self-fulfilling. If you just hadn't gone then the prophecy wouldn't have come true."

"Yes," Sabrina said. "But changing the future always gives me a headache."

"Oh?" Cynthia said weakly.

"A really bad headache," Sabrina added emphatically.

"Oh, well…" Cynthia responded, not entirely sure what to say.

The girl was really trying hard, Cynthia could tell. Sabrina was not a social animal, and going this far must have taken a lot of courage. And well… it could be a nice way to spend her day off.

"Well, there is that movie about battling Metagross I wanted to see," Cynthia said with an encouraging smile.

Sabrina looked up. She was still slightly hesitant, but her embarrassment was draining away.

"…We have to see a romance," Sabrina said.

"Really? Why?"

"The prophecy was very specific on that point," Sabrina insisted.

"Oh? Well, we can have you getting a headache then," Cynthia said with the smile of someone who's gotten rather suspicious about this whole thing but isn't about to say no either.

…But she couldn't resist just one more dig.

"Aren't prophecies usually… you know, about 'fate of the world' type things?" she asked teasingly.

Sabrina gave a wan little smile. "You'd be surprised."

Automatic Reaction. TeenCareShipping – Brock/Holly.

Holly was grateful – grateful that she'd gotten over her feelings of inadequacy and a need to prove herself. Because she was finally back with Brock in a place she'd long hoped to earn. They'd been dating for nearly a week now and both were in seventh heaven. She knew she hadn't thought much of him at first, but at a second look, Brock was near perfect. He was kind, compassionate, strong, he knew everything there was to know about Pokemon, he could pull off a dark green and orange color-scheme like nobody's business, and on top of that he was an excellent cook. And if all that wasn't enough, now he was studying to be a doctor. A doctor. Ever since Holly had been seven years old, her imaginary prince charming had been a doctor. …Which she supposed made him Dr. Prince Charming.

And it would've all been just absolutely great in a guess-it's-time-to-start-mentally-designing-the-bridesmaids'-outfits way, if it weren't for…

"My heart! You, yes, you! What other woman but one of such unsurpassed beauty such as yourself could've stolen something so precious to me!"

"Brock!" Holly scolded.

Brock dropped the hands of the surprised female medical intern and looked up at her as if just coming out of a trance. He looked around and then sheepishly let his face fall into his hand. "I did it again, didn't I?"

Holly frowned. She knew it wasn't that Brock was disloyal… no, it wasn't exactly that. It was just that he'd been unhappily single for so long and he always tried so hard that it had just become… an automatic reaction that happened every time he saw anything female and vaguely attractive. She knew he loved her. This was just… a habit that needed to be broken. He just needed to adjust the fact that he didn't need to search for love anymore; that he'd already found it.

And she knew she could be patient for him.

"Nurse Joy!" Brock cried out, as one of the many Joy-clones approached. "Never have I seen a Joy with such beautiful hair, such soulful eyes, and – dare I say it – such a loving heart!"

"Umm… what?" the hapless Nurse said, trying to get her hands back.

Holly cringed. Patient, patient, I can be…

"Wingull, water-gun!" she commanded.

Wingull gave a cry and soared around in a graceful swoop, hitting Brock full on with a cannon of water and then landing proudly back on its mistress's shoulder.

Her composure back, Holly patted Wingull on the beak. "You cooled off now?" she asked.

Brock, dripping wet in his lab coat, bowed in shame. "Yes, ma'am," he said.


Balloon Redesign. RocketShipping – Jessie/James.

Jessie yelped and thrust her finger to her lips after stabbing it with the needle for the fourth time in the last ten minutes. Unfortunately, she lamented, hot air balloons were not shock-proof, and after yet another blast from Pikachu's infamous Thundershock, their Meowth balloon was in disrepair once more. Meowth had gone to speak with their supplier about ordering more Cream #ede6b9 nylon to patch the hole. For goodness' sake, they should've probably just ordered that stuff in bulk what with the way things are going.

That left her and James to sew up some of the smaller holes. It was delicate work; and Jessie wasn't exactly the delicate type.

She threw down the needle. "I'm sick of this!" she declared.

"I know patchwork production is no fun," James said comfortingly, "but what else can we do? We need a cut-rate way to climb the clouds and this is it." He looked down at his own sewing. "Recurrent repairs are just part of the package."

Jessie pouted. She knew he was right, but still… "Well, why does it have to look like Meowth? That's all I want to know," she said, crossing our arms. "If we're going to put so much work into then it ought to have a more dashing design."

"Such as?" James asked.

Jessie turned and gave him a pose. "How about this pretty face?"

James gave her a look. "I'm not… sure that would work."

"What do you mean it won't work?" Jessie yelled, turning on him angrily.

James put up his hands in a placatory gesture. "Only that your hairstyle might—" he began tremulously.

"What's wrong with my hair?" You could see the fire erupting in Jessie's eyes at this point.

"Nothing, nothing!" James said quickly, cowering slightly. "It just might cause drag in a hot air balloon design," he said, "what with it being so elongated and elegant," he threw in as a last ditch attempt to save himself.

Jessie's rage cooled. "I hadn't thought of that," she said simply.

James mentally let out a sigh of relief. Logic had worked; there was a first time for everything.

Jessie sat down and had a rare moment of self-consciousness. "But… there's nothing wrong with my hairstyle in general, right?" she asked. "It's just not right for a hot air balloon. You like it, right?"

James opened his mouth. This might be the only chance he'd have to bring up the issue that bangs were in this season and widow's peaks had been out for… Oh, the last two hundred years or so. But he caught her eye and…

"Oh, of course," he said definitively. "There's nothing more fabulous than a swoosh of magenta."

Jessie seemed empowered by this. "And it's distinctive, right?"

"Absolutely," James said, and this time he didn't even have to exaggerate.

"Alright then!" Jessie said, sounding satisfied as she got up. She looked around on the ground for her dropped needle. "Let's get back to this!"

Decisions, Decisions. GirlPowerShipping – Cynthia/Dawn.

Dawn chanced a look at the Sinnoh Champion over her menu. It had been a real surprise running into Cynthia on her way into town and she'd been happy to see a familiar face. After traveling by yourself for awhile you get lonely for your friends. Getting to call someone as amazing as Cynthia a friend was a treat in itself. So she'd been thrilled when Cynthia agreed to go with her to the local ice cream parlor and catch up.

"Hmm," Cynthia hummed, looking over the menu as though heavily weighing her options.

Dawn couldn't help but think it as she looked on… Cynthia was such an impressive person. Even when she wasn't battling! She was strong, but more than that she was compassionate, understanding and empathetic.

Not to mention beautiful, she couldn't help but think wistfully. It's hard not to be jealous of that hair-do. Her whole look attracted attention. She had to admit it, no one wore dress pants and fur trim quite like Cynthia. At this point, Dawn thought to herself, I'm not sure if I want to be her or if I just want to marry her.

She gasped in surprise at herself and tried to hide behind her menu. Cynthia didn't appear to notice.

That was a joke, right? She asked herself. Well, I should know, shouldn't I?

Her face steamed red behind her menu. What's with the awkwardness of the sudden? she chided herself. You've battled alongside her before and you didn't feel the need to spazz out!

Well, yes, she added as an afterthought, but there always was something major going on. Now that all the distractions are gone I guess I'm just… noticing things more.

She shook her head violently. Why was she thinking such crazy things anyway? It must've just been because she was hungry. Yeah. That's it.

"Decisions, decisions," Cynthia said, tapping a polished nail against the table.

Dawn found herself wishing Cynthia would just make up her mind. She was sure that her mental turmoil had to be just a low blood sugar thing. Once she had some food in her system, things would start making sense again.

"This place seems really good," Dawn said. "I'm sure it'll be great no matter what you get."

"But it's so hard to choose," Cynthia responded. "You can only pick three different scoops for the custom banana split." She looked over the list and began reading down the highlights: "Mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, butter pecan, strawberry, peanut butter, fudge…" she trailed off. "I'm just not sure how to narrow it down to three."

"Well…" Dawn began, shifting uncomfortably. "I guess you could get mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, and butter pecan and I could get strawberry, peanut butter, and fudge and then you could always have some of mine too."

Dawn winced backwards in instant embarrassment as soon as the words were out of her mouth. She wanted to hide behind the menu again, but Cynthia was staring at her.

"That is," Dawn began again, nervously waving her hands. "You don't have to if you don't want to! I mean, like, don't feel pressured to if you're worried that I have germs or something!"

Congratulations, a snide little voice in her head said, you've just told Sinnoh Champion and all around fantastic individual Cynthia that you have germs. Nice. Dawn crumpled.

When she looked up, Cynthia was beaming at her.

"I think that is an excellent idea, Dawn," she said, putting down her menu.

Flatware to Freedom. RocketShipping – Jessie/James.

"A tragedy! An outrage! A complete and utter waste of taxpayer's money!" Jessie bemoaned for the fourth time that day as she clung to the prison bars with almost acidic indignance.

"It's no good, Jessie," James said from his perch on the corner bench as he shook his head. "The law shows a lamentable lack of understanding for our precarious predicament."

Jessie turned to him with her hands on her hips. "Well then, what do you suggest we do?"

James gave a small smile of triumph and said, "Instead of complaining about our confinement, let's instead concentrate on chipping away at the very concrete that has us in custody." He held up a small plastic spoon that had been given to them with their evening gruel.

Jessie's eyes went starry with hope. "With this key we will crumple the unkind stonework that keeps us ensnared!"

"Dig, dig, dig to freedom!" they chanted as they dug against the prison floor with the plastic utensil.

An hour later a very tiny groove had been worn into the floor.

Thirty seconds after that the spoon broke.

James hung his head. "Our hopes are dashed!"

"No!" Jessie said, standing up dramatically. "I won't have it! You and I will escape from this egregious establishment—together!"

"Well, that sounds good," James admitted. "But what did you have in mind?"

Jessie held up a hand to signify that she needed a moment, and then crossed over to the bars and put on her most polite face.

"Excuse me, but do you think it's possible that we could get another spoon?" she asked the woman on the other side.

Officer Jenny nodded mutely and passed her another spoon figuring that if they could dig their way through that much mortar with a plastic spoon then they deserved to escape.

Flying Saucers. PalletShipping – Ash/Gary.

"Ga-ry, quit hogging the telescope!" the seven-year-old with shaggy black hair and a permanently unwashed face demanded.

"Relax, Ashy-boy," the seven-year-old with the spiky brown hair responded, immune to his companion's efforts to shove him out of the way. "You'll get your turn when I'm done."

Ash's eye's narrowed in childish displeasure. "How many times have I told you not to call me that?"

Gary paused for some quick calculation. "Dunno. About a million?"

A fist-fight was only narrowly averted by the arrival of a brunette woman carrying a tray a frosty glasses. "You two doing alright out here?" she asked, smiling.

"Mom! This is our camp out!" Ash insisted. Sure, it was only in his backyard about a five-second run from the porch, but still. It was the principle of the thing.

"I just thought you two could use some cool drinks," Ash's mom said. "After all, it's a hot night." She set down the tray and passed a glass of iced-tea to each of them.

"Thank you, Mrs. Ketchum," Gary said dutifully as his glass was handed to him. Ash gave him a pouty 'Oh, so you're polite to adults' look before taking a long, loud drink of his own iced-tea.

"Now, Ash," Ash's mom said, looking worried. "Are you sure you're gonna be alright out here in the dark? You've got enough flashlights in the tent, right?"

"Mom! I'll be fine! I'm not a baby anymore!" Ash shouted, trying not to notice Gary's barely suppressed snigger.

"And you brought a pair of clean—?"

"MOM!" Ash yelled, cutting her off before his embarrassment could be complete.

"Well, I'll be right in the house if you need anything," she said, and meandered her way through the back door and into the house.

Ash was still red from his mom's perpetual efforts to embarrass him in front of his friend/rival, but Gary was back to hogging the telescope.

"What are you looking for anyway?" Ash asked with a bit of a sulk somewhere in his voice.

"Flying saucers," Gary responded simply.

"What?" Ash said in surprise, his sulkiness forgotten. "You think those really exist?"

"Sure," Gary said matter-of-factly. "Lots of scientists think that some Pokemon like Clefairy an' Staryu are actually aliens that came here from outer space."

"Whoa," Ash said appreciatively.

"My granddad's writing a research paper on it," Gary said smugly.

But yet another of Gary's efforts to show off in front of Ash was ignored. Ash was staring open-mouthed at the sky, in wonder at the mysteries it might contain. Suddenly, he sat bolt upright and pointed.

"There!" he shouted excitedly. "I see one! I see one! A real flying saucer!"

"Where?" Gary asked, searching around through his telescope.

"Right there above those trees! It's amazing!"

Gary pointed his telescope, then looked from beyond the view-finder for a moment.

"Ash," he said, "that's an airplane."

Follow that Flygirl. Lance/Skyla.

Lance gripped Dragonite's antennae as the two soared over the Unova countryside. It was his first time seeing it. Oh sure, he'd read a lot about it before setting out and he'd always wanted to go. But it had always been so far away, and there'd always been so much to do at home. But now he'd finally gotten away and intended to explore and train in the faraway region to his heart's content.

He sniffed the air contentedly. He loved the feeling of flying with Dragonite. The brisk, fresh air, the icy clouds overhead, the sea of rolling forests below…

…the smell of gasoline, the labored whir of a beat-up engine, the intense rush of moving air…

"Clear the skies, dragon rider!" a female voice called out.

Lance steered Dragonite aside just in time to avoid impact with an out-of-date biplane slicing through the sky like it owned it. He coughed as billowing smoke poured out of it and straight into his face. He looked up to see the plane's pilot.

She was… standing up… in the open cockpit as the plane circled him. Clearly she had no fear of falling. …And no fear of the elements, Lance couldn't help but note. It was freezing at this altitude and while it was true that she was wearing long sleeves and some heavy-duty gloves, that was somewhat undone by the fact that her midriff was exposed and she was wearing… hot pants.

"Hey, you're Lance, right?" she asked, leaning to the side as if she'd never heard of gravity. "Just remember that around here, you gotta share the skies with me!"

Lance opened his mouth, but hadn't quite managed to think of a response before the girl saluted and rocketed off in another noxious stream of smoke.

"That was Skyla, the Mistralton City gym leader!" Lance coughed. He thought for a second. "We'd… better follow her."

Dragonite gave him a curious look.

"Well," Lance tried, "she could… you know, be in trouble or something."

Dragonite gave him a doubtful look.

"Fine," Lance gave up. You couldn't fool a Dragonite… not easily at least. "Let's just follow the pretty flygirl."

Dragonite nodded. As long as honesty was employed he had absolutely no problem with this.

Hair Care. TwinAppleShipping – Iris/Axew.

The sun rose on another fine day in Unova. Ash rose and stretched noisily as Iris slid out of her sleeping bag and perched on a rock.

"Morning," Ash said to her. "Good morning, Pikachu," he added, as Pikachu scampered up to him. He looked around blearily for his hat and shoved it over his messy hair without ceremony.

Iris, however, took out a wire brush from her things and began running it through her thick mane of hair. "One, two, three, four," she said to herself as the brush separated the strands of her purple hair.

Ash surveyed her with an odd, still-half-asleep look. "How long are you gonna do that for?"

"One hundred times on each side," Iris answered promptly.

Ash scratched his head. "That much? Geez, and here I was thinking you wouldn't care about that kind of stuff."

Iris crossed her arms and glared at him. "Quit acting like such a kid! If I don't brush it, it'll get all tangled and messy." She gave him a sly look. "Just because you wanna run around with hat hair doesn't meant the rest of us do."

Ash ignored this comment as it would invariably lead to the revelation that he didn't even own a hairbrush. He had at one point. His mom, being conscientious about these kinds of things, had packed him one. He'd 'lost' it shortly after leaving home. Off a cliff.

So he just patted Pikachu fondly on the head and let Iris get back to her hair care. He reached for his jacket and looked around their encampment. Something was… missing…

"Hey," he said. "Where's Axew?"

As if on cue, a yelp of pain shot out from Iris's direction; more specifically, from Iris's hair.

Iris gasped and pulled Axew out from her mass of locks. Three sharp scratches glowed red on its nose, and its eyes were brimming with tears.

"What happened?" she exclaimed.

"Axew must have crawled into your hair when you were sleeping," Ash said. "Then, when you started brushing your hair, you accidentally scratched it with your brush."

"Oh! I'm so sorry!" Iris cried out, as Axew started to whimper. "I had no idea you were in there!" She could sense a sob on the horizon and was out to stop it before it started. "Here, it'll feel better soon!" She leaned down and kissed it right on its nose.

"It didn't look that hurt to me," Ash commented.

Iris ignored him. She pulled away from Axew and surveyed it with wide, blinking eyes. "You okay now?" she asked.

Axew nodded vigorously, its eyes happy little half-circles and each of its cheeks dotted with a little pink cloud.

"Good!" Iris enthused, pulling Axew into a hug.

They could get around the hair brushing thing, Iris thought. Axew wouldn't want to get scratched up again in any case, so it'd avoid the brush. But she was a little worried about it intruding in other hair care related activities: namely, well… shampooing and conditioning. She might have to have a little chat with it about boundaries.

…But of course that could wait until its nose healed up!

Hard to Get. ShellPWNageShipping – Oshawott/Snivy.

It was another perfect, sunny Unova day and Ash and company had stopped for lunch and a brief afternoon nap (evoking the comment from Iris that Ash was 'such a child!' That is, until Cilan mentioned that he was feeling tired too, at which point she did a heel face turn and claimed that she was tired too… that in fact an afternoon nap had been her idea all along). While the humans dozed under the ever-puffy clouds, Ash's Pokemon scampered around and stretched their legs after their Poke ball confinement.

Oshawott had his eyes on Snivy who, unlike Ash's other Pokemon who were chasing each others' tails and rolling around on the ground, was sitting meditatively on a rock, contemplating things that only other aloof Grass-Type Pokemon could understand.

"Osha?" Oshawott tried, approaching Snivy with an open and rather vulnerable smile.

Snivy didn't even need to look at him. She turned her face to the side with a "Vee!" And just like that he was switched off.

Rejection boiled Oshawott's watery heart, but his can-do spirit wouldn't let him leave it there. He slumped off, but was back a few minutes later with a dandelion clamped between his teeth. "Oshawott!" he declared, presenting the yellow flower to Snivy.

"Vee!" Snivy said, turning away once more. She wasn't about to accept a weed.

Oshawott took this second rejection in stride. He scamped away once more, but this time returned with a more attractive purple flower that smelled like a trippy perfume commercial. "Osha?" he tried.

There was slightly more hesitation this time, but sure enough it was followed by a haughty "Vee!" and a turn of the head from Snivy.

Oshawott stood there for a moment, letting the weight of this third rejection pull him beneath the surface for a minute. He slumped off, approached Ash's backpack, rummaged through it, and finally found the boy's wallet.

"Osha!" he said determinedly.

A bus ride into the city, a difficult negotiation session with a florist, and a bus ride back to the meadow later and Oshawott had returned, this time grasping a bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed roses that was bigger than he was.

"Osha? Oshawott?" he tried tentatively, talking around the rose stems.

For the first time, Snivy actually opened one eye and deigned to look at him. She glanced at the flowers speculatively for a moment, as though thinking the matter over before finally reaching her conclusion.

"Vee!" she flounced, turning away from him once more.

Oshawott's shoulders slumped as he dropped the roses. He treaded away slowly as metaphorical rainclouds opened up over his head. He would have to develop a new plan.

When he was gone Snivy gave a small smile. Courting isn't for sissies, and playing hard to get was the only way to find a worthy Pokemon trainer, friend… or love.

If Sharing is Caring, Then I'd Prefer Not to Care. VixenShipping – Eevee/Vulpix.

Eevee munched on the hoard of berries he had greedily collected earlier that day. This particular Eevee made its home in one of the many forests that dotted the Kanto region. It didn't have a name like one of those fancy forests (Viridian Forest, I'm looking at you) and it was off the beaten path, but it was home.

There was a rustling through the bushes and Eevee tensed up, ready to run should a bigger, stronger Pokemon force him to abandon his cache of food. Red fur poked through the leaves. It was a Vulpix, no bigger than Eevee himself. Eevee knew better, of course, than to underestimate the intruder because of her size, but it didn't look like this Vulpix wanted to fight. She glanced furtively at the pile of berries.

"Vul?" she asked beseechingly.

Yeah right, sister. Eevee took a step forward and began eating again from the farthest edge of the pile, thus cutting off any other Pokemon from getting a bite in edgewise.

The Vulpix looked hurt. She let out a whine so dismal that Eevee wondered when the last time she ate was. He glowered at his shiny and delicious feast and nudged a few berries her way with his nose.

Just this once.

An Instant Rapport. PokeShipping & PearlShipping – Ash/Misty & Ash/Dawn.

Ash sat back on sofa and stared at the television set. He was barely watching it. To be honest, he was just glad to be back home for a little while. Journeying was fun… but it was tiring. It was nice to be able to see his mom again. Not to mention old friends.

He looked off to the side of the room with a less-than-happy expression. Old friends… that was the thing. It had been the best surprise imaginable to find Misty waiting when they got home. Man, was it ever good to see her again!

But… he'd barely gotten to talk to her since.

Misty and Dawn sat in the corner of the room chatting animatedly to one another as if there was no tomorrow. They seemed to be having fun.

"I don't get it," Ash said quietly to Brock. "Why are they getting along so well?"

Brock raised an eyebrow as he sipped his still-too-hot chocolate. "Did you expect them to be enemies or something?"

"No," Ash said, and to Brock's ear it sounded rather wistful. "I just thought… you know, they'd be nice to each other and stuff… But they're acting like they're been friends forever."

"An instant rapport," Brock said in that voice he tried to use to sound more mature than he was.

"I mean, they've just met," Ash said, gesturing wildly. "What could they be talking about for hours and hours?" He fell back onto the sofa again. "What could they possibly have in common?"

Brock sipped the tongue-burning liquid in his mug and thought for a moment. Then he said: "Maybe… you?"

"Whaaaaat?" Ash said, sitting up immediately.

He turned over to look at the girls, still in the midst of their happy little discussion. Misty pointed to him and said something he couldn't hear. Dawn blushed and Misty giggled.

Ash stood up and bellowed in their direction: "Hey! What are you two whispering about?"

Is a Little Privacy Too Much to Ask? ContestShipping – May/Drew.

"Oh my Go—" a scandalized voice shouted, just inches away from you-broke-my-brain status. It was smothered as two hands covered his mouth, one gloved and one not.

"Max, what are you doing here?" May demanded harshly, her voice squeaking slightly at the indignity of it all.

"I thought I heard something moving in the bushes," Drew commented, none too pleased.

"Yeah, a rat!" May said pointedly, finally uncovering her brother's mouth.

"What were you doing spying on us?" Drew asked the younger, bespectacled boy who looked like he'd rather have been six feet under than where he was.

"I wasn't spying!" Max spat, forgetting his ick moment in order to defend himself. "I just wanted to see what you guys were talking about!"

"That's called spying," Drew said, twitching aside his bangs and looking annoyed.

"Can't you just mind your own business for once?" May asked, glaring at her brother. She sighed in defeat and sank down onto the porch swing, the same swing that she and Drew had been sharing in what they thought was privacy only a moment earlier. The same swing where she and Drew had seemed so content to partake in a tongue wrestling match without much care over who would win.

At that memory, Max's brain shut down in its own defense.

"What are we gonna do, Drew?" May asked, turning away from her emotionally damaged brother. "If he tells Mom and Dad then they won't let you stay over for the summer."

"I know," Drew said glumly. Then his eyes brightened. "But that's okay, right, Max? Because you're not going to tell anyone."

Max stared blankly ahead, still lost in his horrified reverie.

"Max?" Drew tried.

"Jeez, snap out of it!" May scowled, crossing her arms. "You're acting like such a baby."

"Huh?" Max did snap out of it and fast-forwarded to what he'd missed. "I am not a baby!"

May shrugged expansively. "This is an adult matter, and I guess you just can't handle it. So just keep it quiet, alright?"

Max's lower lip started jutting forward. "What's so adult about that? Your face looked like a big stupid puffer fish! Doesn't sound very grown up to me."

May's complexion reddened. "Take that back," she demanded.

"Puffer fish! Puffer fish!" Max taunted.

"You—" May shot out of her seat and chased him.

"I'm gonna tell Mom!" Max called as he ran in the opposite direction.

Drew watched them fly across the yard, sighed, and sank onto the porch swing. I'd better start thinking of a contingency plan, he decided. As impossible as that sounds…

He leaned back and let a small smile slink onto his face. Nevertheless, it had all been worth it.

Life Uncaffeinated. ContestShipping – May/Drew.

May had never intended on traveling with Drew and Harley. Oh, certainly she'd hoped to see them in Johto while she was on the contest circuit. It's always nice to see a familiar face when you're far from home and besides that she knew that pitting herself against two such strong coordinators was sure to help her keep her edge and improve. And anyway, what are frenemies for?

It was only that… well, running into them was one thing, but being in their constant company was another. She was sure that Drew felt it too. They'd never really agreed to join up together. They'd just been pulled in by Hurricane Harley who informed them that he was "so glad" that they agreed to his suggestion without actually waiting for confirmation.

Spending even five minutes with Harley is exhausting; more than that… well… it was rough. Spending time with Drew was exhausting too for that matter, but she always felt like she got something out of her conversations with him. With Harley she just got the feeling that the floor had been pulled out from under her.

Needless to say, she was glad to have a little rest and relaxation to look forward to when they stopped at the next town a contest was being held in. There was a quite famous lounge there for coordinators only and she was looking forward to being off her feet for awhile and having a little refreshment.

Harley as always took the lead as they walked up to the counter where drinks and snacks were sold. "I'll have a tall, skinny caramel macchiato, hon," he said, one hand perched on his hip. "Not that I need it obviously," he commented, gesturing a hand toward himself, "but you know what they say: skinny is as skinny does. You'd better figure that out soon, Mayday."

May scowled at him but didn't reply. She was getting the feeling that Harley liked to make her lose her temper in public.

"Yeah… I'll just have a small black coffee," Drew cut in pulling off his best 'I am in no way with this strange person' mannerisms.

The barista tapped the orders into the cash register before turning a dewy smile on May. "And what can I get for you, dear?" she asked.

"I'll just have a bottle of water," May said.

"W-w-w-what?" Harley overreacted. "You mean to tell me that that's what you're getting here? Huh," he said, looking unpleasantly triumphant. "I guess it's no surprise that little Maybelline is too young for coffee. It'd probably keep her up way past her bedtime!"

May stewed in silent humiliation. It was just that… coffee was so bitter. Even when it was sweetened she didn't like it. Her parents always told her that she'd like it when she was older but… she supposed she wasn't old enough yet. Coffee in so many ways symbolized… maturity, which she never seemed able to reach. Drew drank coffee and now she looked like a kid in front of him yet again. She should've just gotten a coffee and dealt with it.

"Well," May quavered somewhere between rage and embarrassment, "I suppose instead I'll have a—"

"Actually, May has the right idea," Drew cut in.

"She does?" Harley responded at the same time May said, "I do?"

"Coffee tastes good and all, but water's always the healthier choice," Drew said, flipping his bangs out of his face carelessly. "A coordinator needs to constantly be aware of what the most healthy choices are, both for themself and for their Pokemon. They owe it to their Pokemon to stay hydrated and energized—not dehydrated and buzzed." Drew sneered slightly. "Skinny option or no."

Harley crossed his arms with his mouth agape. He looked like he was about to launch into his 'sistah you did not just go there!' routine, but couldn't quite manage it yet.

"So I think I'll change my coffee to a water as well, if you don't mind," Drew said to the barista.

"Absolutely," the barista said cheerily, passing him and May two ice-cold bottles of water.

May took hers, feeling strangely dazed and flushed despite the coolness against her gloved hand. It was perhaps because she was feeling so off-balance that she gestured with her bottle to Drew and said: "A toast?"

Drew apparently didn't think that that line was as silly and mockable as it sounded to May, who was currently cursing herself for opening her mouth. He said, "Sure," and tapped his bottle against hers. "To life uncaffeinated," he said with a little smile.

More to Life Than Pokemon. Pokeshipping – Ash/Misty.

It was at a place called the Marzipan Muk that they met. Marzy's, as the locals referred to it, was the very last word in Pokemon-shaped treats. Some might wonder why a person would want to eat a Squirtle-shaped chocolate, and some might even suspect that this represented a subconscious desire to eat Pokemon. All anyone knew was that the food was fantastic. It was currently family owned, but there was talk of selling to a larger corporation that was making employees and patrons alike nervous. That is where they chose to catch up.

"So, how are things going?" Misty asked with a forkful of chocolate-peanut butter Pachirisu raised halfway to her mouth.

"Great!" Ash said, as boyishly exuberant as ever. "I just caught a Flymar," he added, alluding to a rather ugly Pokemon discovered three-years previously that was said to carry disease.

"That's great," Misty said weakly.

"Oh," Ash said, realization dawning. "I forgot about you and the bugs."

"You would."

"So how's the gym?"

"It's doing fine," Misty said. The gym wasn't really what she came to talk about though. It was an important part of her life, but it wasn't always very rewarding. Last Tuesday a seven-year old girl had left in tears after her Pokemon lost. Is that supposed to be a victory?

"I'm thinking of joining the Myozo League. Me and Pikachu can handle it, right Pikachu?" Ash asked the Pokemon sitting next to him.

"Pika pi," Pikachu said with a bored expression as it sipped its Machoke Milkshake.

Misty frowned. Another league? "Did you ever think of doing something besides Pokemon battles?"

"What?" Ash asked, in disbelief. "But I'm gonna be a Pokemon master! It's my destiny!" He pointed out the window dramatically.

Misty gave him a withering look and took a deep breath. She wanted to be supportive but… "I know, I know. But look, there's more to life than just Pokemon. The fact is, you're turning twenty this year. Isn't there anything else you want to do with your life?"

Ash scratched at his cheek and tried to think. "Not that I can—"

"You know," Misty cut in, "Daisy's getting married."

Ash paused, trying to understand how this seemingly random statement fit into the larger framework of their conversation. "That's great," he said hesitantly. "Make sure to tell her congratulations for me."

Misty rolled her eyes. She should've known that hints wouldn't work. She put down her fork on the empty dish and looked him straight in the eye. "Sometimes I don't know why I fell in love with you."

In Ash's defense, he could have fallen onto the floor because he slipped while going to pick up a dropped napkin. His mouth could've been hanging agape because had just thought of a funny joke he wanted to tell about a Slowbro and a Poliwag who met on holidays. His face could've been bright red because he was suffering from a bout of Rosacea.

He could've. However, none of those reasons are correct.

Motivated. EgoShipping – Gary/Misty.

Gary put away his pen knife, his carving work complete. He stood back proudly to let Misty see his work. She leaned forward and squinted at the sign.

"'Gary was here. Ash is a loser!'" she read. She scowled at him. "I thought you quit this kind of thing. Aren't you friends now?"

"Well, sure," Gary said with a shrug. "But it's not serious or anything. It's just for old time's sake to let him know I'm in Unova."

"Maybe," Misty said, giving him a critical look. "But it sort of just seems like you're trying to get him mad."

Gary laughed. "When Ash gets mad, he gets motivated. And I think he needs all the motivation he can get."

Misty sighed. "When Ash gets mad, he makes stupid mistakes," she opined.

"I think he'll be really motivated when the two of us show up together," Gary said loftily.

"Really?" Misty said, blinking at him. "Why?"

"Oh, you'll see," Gary said teasingly, putting an arm around her shoulder as the two walked on.

No Law Against It. TwinleafShipping – Dawn/Barry.

Officer Jenny reclined in her squeaky office chair at the front desk. It had been an exhausting week. Team Rocket had held up another Pokemon Center on Friday. They hadn't been much of a problem after they'd been shot screaming into the sky by some kid with a baseball cap, but the homicidal vacuum robot they'd left behind… well, it had taken hours to get old Mrs. Johnston out of the tube, and at this point she was just hoping that the horrible old woman didn't sue the city for the suction marks and 'emotional damage' she claimed to have been exposed to. Then there was the rare candy trafficking. It was getting worse. Kids were getting a hold of that stuff and it was just… well, you saw some sights you'd like to forget in this business. Then there was the Spearow thing. Some genius had gotten the idea to release a flock of them to control the runaway Caterpie infestation, but now the Spearow were breeding like crazy and they had a Spearow infestation on top of everything else. Bird doings were everywhere and Spearow were in the midst of being reclassified as invasive.

And now on top of everything else, some kid was shouting at her.

"I want to fine this person!" the blonde kid shouted, pointing at a girl holding a Piplup who looked like she wasn't entirely sure what had happened. "She owes me money!"

"C-c'mon, Barry," the girl said, holding up a hand like she was sure this all had to be a joke as her Piplup hopped onto Jenny's desk. "You're not serious, right?"

"Of course I'm serious, Dawn!" he that was known as Barry shot back. He leaned over Jenny's desk. "I'm thinking at least a thousand dollars, and that's being generous!"

Jenny gave Piplup a slightly wary look out of the corner of her eye as it investigated her stapler. "…A thousand dollars… for what?"

Barry crossed his arms. "She refused to tell me whether she was going to the Spring Carnival over in Lilyville City! She's deliberately withholding information!"

"All I said was I didn't know if I was going or not," Dawn said, holding up her hands in a placatory way. "You know I've got a lot to do. I was thinking about lining up another photo shoot soon, or maybe even heading out to Unova to visit Ash."

"Ash?" Barry repeated, sounding affronted. "Why would you want to do that? The Spring Carnival happens only once every…" he paused for a moment, "…Spring," he finished lamely. "How are you gonna miss out on it for such trivial reasons?"

"They're not trivial!" Dawn said, and it was her turn to sound insulted. She might've said more on that score, but she looked over at Jenny's desk and got distracted. "Piplup! No!" She rushed over and lifted him forcibly away from the police officer's coffee mug. "I'm really sorry about that," she said earnestly.

"No trouble," Jenny said in a faraway voice as she looked at her beak-tainted coffee. "After all, it was the only thing keeping me going."

Barry smacked a hand down on the desk. "Enough stalling! Are you gonna help me fine this girl or not? There must be some kinda ordinance against such covert behavior."

"There isn't," Jenny said dully.

"Well, could'ya check?" Barry asked.

Jenny stared at him. Then she said: "No."

"I don't see what the big deal is," Dawn said, still trying to get to grips with the situation. "You always say you're going to fine people, but you've never tried anything like this. What's changed?"

"Well, uh…" Barry said, crossing his arms and looking off to the side, suddenly short of words. "It's just… I guess it's just important this time, is all."

Jenny looked from Barry to Dawn and back to Barry. She rubbed her forehead. Today was going to be a headache-inducing day.

She looked Barry straight in the eye and said: "Listen. You can't fine a girl for not going on a date with you."

Not Boring at All. BrunettShipping – May/Gary.

It had all started when May rolled into a quaint little village that's entire economy was based on making birdhouses for Hoothoot and Noctowl. The houses were cute in a crafty, twigs and pipe cleaners sort of way and apparently the villagers made a lot of money selling the houses to tourists. She'd made the mistake of asking the man at the stand in the village square how much a little cedar house would cost. It seemed like a fairly innocent, straightforward question to her, but somehow it had been a signal to the old craftsman that she would just love to listen to a never-ending lecture on whittling and birdseed.

She was trying to be polite and listen to what the old man had to say, but it was hard. Not only was the subject boring, but the smell of peanut-butter from the bird-feeders was making her hungry.

Her stomach growled and her attention strayed all the more. She looked over the old seller's shoulder where a boy with brown hair was talking to a man with a Noctowl perched on his shoulder. The boy appeared to be engaged in a much more interesting conversation than she was, and was taking notes.

"Amazing," the boy enthused. "So the entire town operates nocturnally for more than half the year?"

"Oh yes," the man said with a proud nod. "We only have daylight hours during the warmer months – for the tourists, you know."

"I'm sure that much mean a lot to the Pokemon," the boy said. "Hoothoot and Noctowl can adapt to a diurnal sleep-cycle, and often do so for their trainers, but they're really at their prime in their natural, nocturnal cycle. I'd love to compare the difference in strength and health between one of your town's Noctowl and one raised by another trainer."

The man gave a laugh. "Well, I suppose that's an attitude one might expect from the grandson of the famous Professor Oak."

May nearly fell down, much to the surprise of the stand owner who had been babbling away up until then. She stared at the boy, who had turned to look at her after the shocked sound she made. "You're—Gary?"

And so the two of them, having introduced themselves to each other as friends of Ash, decided to stop off at a sandwich shop and talk. Both were traveling alone at the moment, so it was nice to see even a second-hand friend around. And they got to make fun of Ash in the good-natured spirit that those with mutual friends always do.

May had to admit, as she stabbed a straw through her juice-box, she had been very curious about Gary. She'd heard some things about him from Ash… and plenty of them were contradictory. Depending on the mood Ash was in, and just what part of memory lane he was strolling down, Gary was either a 'conceited, big-headed jerk' or one of his closest friends. It was odd.

But May couldn't really account for some of the stuff she'd heard about Gary after meeting the real deal. He seemed so… nice. Polite, friendly, full of energy about what he was researching… She really couldn't believe that this was the same guy that Ash had told her used to go around with a horde of cheerleaders and a convertible.

The cheerleader part seemed to have left lasting scars on Ash. She recalled him saying something about a real trainer not needing that kind of support. She couldn't help but noticing that his opinions on cheerleaders had softened somewhat as of late. She rolled her eyes to herself. Typical.

But the cheerleader thing was kind of weird, and she was almost tempted to believe that Ash had made that up. Honestly… a ten-year-old with cheerleaders? No one with the kind of ego Gary had been described as having in the past would've actually hired a bunch of cheerleaders, which meant that they were just… following him of their own free will. Under his thrall or something. Can ten-year-olds have thrall? …I suppose his hair is kind of cool looking.

Oh God, I'm blushing.

Having a… thrall like that over people… he must be really popular. Kind of intimidating now, isn't it?

But he seemed so friendly and down to earth. She had to believe he'd undergone a major transformation. He couldn't be the same person Ash had described from when they first started out on their journey. She just couldn't believe it after talking to him.

…Except… except that in a way she could. She couldn't nail down what it was, but… he was just an inch too sure of himself. Not that a little confidence is a bad thing… but she wondered where some guys got off being so confident.

"So," Gary said, putting down his coffee cup. "I was thinking of interviewing some of these shop-keepers about their birdhouses."

May was just thinking that he was probably in for a boring time when he asked: "Wanna come with?"

She froze.

"Unless you think it'd be too boring," Gary added.

She honestly didn't know what possessed her to respond quickly with a: "It wouldn't be boring at all!"

Thrall. That's what it was. Thrall.

Not Really Much of a Telephone Guy. QuestShipping – Jimmy/Marina.

Jimmy scanned the contents of the vending machine. There were always only three options: Fresh Water, Lemonade, and Soda Pop. There weren't even varieties of soda pop. It was just… generic soda pop. Was it really too much to ask for a Cherry Dr. Pepper?

He dropped in his change to get some Fresh Water. After all, he was trying to set a good example for Typhlosion and the others by staying healthy. He was pretty sure Marina wouldn't want that though. She had a notorious sweet tooth.

"Hey, Marina," he said, turning back to see her hunched over on the bench tapping away at some little device. "Do you want—"

"2BZ4UQT," she responded nonsensically. "Could you wait a sec, sweetie-pie?"

"Uh…" Jimmy blinked. "What?"

Marina triumphantly pressed a key. "There!" she said. "All done. I was just responding to a fan question."

Jimmy rolled his eyes. Best not even question Marina's supposed fan-base. "What is that thing anyway?"

"You like it?" Marina said gleefully, holding up the device to her face. "It's my new Silphone. It can do everything! I've got a ton of shopping apps on it, and a musical program, and a daily fashion fails news feed! It's amazing!" She looked at him speculatively. "Hey, do you want to be a guest in my silphcast this afternoon?"

"Uh… no thanks," Jimmy said, though he wasn't entirely certain what he was declining.

"So," Marina said, doing her usual work of somehow speeding over to him and leaning in close before he could react, "what's your phone look like?"

"…What does it matter?" Jimmy asked, blushing and leaning backwards slightly to regain some personal space.

"C'mon, Jimmy, just let me see!"

Jimmy sighed and fished out his phone from his pocket.

Marina shot backwards and nearly screamed, then in an instant ran forward and was in his face again. "Oh my goodness! Does that have a cord on it? It honestly looks like it should have a cord on it and a rotary dial! How old is that thing?"

Jimmy shrugged. "About… six years, I think."

Marina narrowly avoided having a heart-attack, looked at him sternly, grabbed him by the wrist and led him forcefully down the road.

"Hey, what're you doing? Where are we going?" Jimmy asked, struggling only slightly against her grip.

"To Goldenrod to get you a real phone," Marina said decisively.

"What? But I already have a telephone. I don't need another one."

"Trust me, darling," Marina said, "you'll thank me for this later."

Rainy Days. FriendshipShipping – Mira/Sandshrew.

The rain pattered on Mira's umbrella. It was amazing how much it sounded like sand sliding through an hourglass. But rain is the antithesis of sand. To see that, she only had to look at…

"Shrew…" Sandshrew whimpered, edging closer to Mira under the umbrella.

She patted the brick-like skin on its head. "I know you don't like the rain," she said understandingly. "Just you stay with me."

It was pouring out, but it was still recess. So they'd all dressed up in their shiny yellow rain-gear and squeaky boots. Umbrellas had been opened with only minimal damage to fingers. Rain wasn't about to interrupt play-time.

…But it had been like this for a week. Mira didn't like it… playing out in the cold and wet. That had to be the reason for the nasty cold going around, and that was why she and Sandshrew were left alone that day, as her friends stayed in their beds to nurse away their illness with chicken soup.

Perhaps it would have been better to keep Sandshrew in its pokeball. A ground-type like Sandshrew didn't do well in this kind of weather… but… it didn't want to be left lonely either. So she was doing her best to shield it with her umbrella.

"Sandshrew," Sandshrew whined again, as a rain drop fell on its back, blown by the wind. It tried to move closer to Mira, but slipped on the moist ground and fell on its face.

"Oh! Sandshrew!" Mira cried out, picking the poor thing up. "You okay?"

"Shrew," Sandshrew said, clutching its nose.

Mira looked around. "It's all this mud making the ground slippery," she said, clucking her tongue. Mud. Ground and water. For someone like Sandshrew that had to be an almost blasphemous intermingling.

"Take this for a minute," Mira said, passing Sandshrew the umbrella.

She took of her boots first, and stretched them over Sandshrew's clawed feet. Then she took off her coat and wrapped it around Sandshrew like a cape. Then, for the final touch, she put her hat on its head.

"There!" she said with a grin, as the rain began to drench her. "Now you're totally protected from the rain and you won't slip on the mud either."

"Shrew?" Sandshrew asked, looking up at her in bewilderment.

"No, I'll be fine. Don't worry about me," Mira said, trying to stop her teeth chattering in the cold. "It's more important that you stay dry."

Sandshrew looked down at his new waterproof wardrobe appreciatively, but it still didn't seem entirely sure that this was all okay.

"Anyway, it's just your color," Mira pointed out brightly.

Solidarity Among Rockets. KokoShipping – James/Butch.

"Oh great, it's Botch," James complained as he walked into the Team Rocket lounge. All he'd wanted was fifteen annoyance-free minutes. Jessie and Meowth were his friends and all, but traveling with them was a headache with no cure. All he'd wanted was quiet, but instead he'd have to listen to Botch's unpleasant voice.

"I told you, the name's Butch!" Butch croaked angrily, pointing with his cigarette.

"It doesn't really matter," James said lightly before taking a seat in a blood red barcalounger next to the raspy rocket.

"It matters to me," Butch said, gesturing to himself with his cigarette so that he nearly set the R on his shirt on fire. Noting James indifference, he groaned put his boots up on the footrest before taking a long drag and asking: "So what are you doing here anyway? Shouldn't you be racing after that red-headed witch?"

"Jessie and Cassidy ran into each other in the exercise room," James said with a sniff. "They got into a fight over earrings and challenged each other to a treadmill race."

Butch raised a green eye-brow. "Treadmill race?"

"The first to fall loses," James explained.

Butch tapped his cigarette against an ashtray shaped like a Raticate. "Cassidy will win, no problem. That swoosh-haired bimbo doesn't stand a chance."

"Not even the most petite possibility!" James alliterated. "Jessie will triumph terrifically."

"No way," Butch said, waving his gloved hand dismissively. "Our team is far superior to yours."

"Au contraire," James countered, holding up an index finger as though to make a point, "Your team has an outdated, ripped off motto, ridiculously over-the-top posing, and dreadful taste in uniforms."

"Yeah?" Butch asked, slightly muffled by the cigarette in his mouth. "Well your team is a failure, you can't plan your way out of a paper bag, and aren't postmodern enough to understand what a favor we did to your motto."

James blanched. "We are so postmodern!" he shouted back. He didn't know what it was, but for some reason he wanted to be it.

"Yeah right," Butch said, shaking his head.

And angry silence past between them, which cooled moment by moment until finally Butch asked, somewhat quietly: "Do you really think our uniforms are that bad?"

James hesitated for a moment. For a fashion-loving rocket, he knew that insulting clothing was hitting below the… well, the belt. "They're not that bad," he admitted generously. "After all, black is slimming."

"You think so?" Butch said, brightening slightly. Then his eyebrows narrowed. "Then why don't you wear it?"

James puffed out his chest. "Because I don't need to wear black to look trim."

Butch mumbled to himself in a cloud of smoke and could-be-swear-words before coming out with: "That's probably just because you two are always broke. It's easy to go on a diet when you have nothing to eat."

James hung his head. That was technically true. He'd been thinking about writing a diet book singing the praises of poverty.

Butch noticed James's falling expression and felt some remorse for his comment. He took his cigarette out of his mouth for a moment, exhaled and looked thoughtful. "Hey," he said. "Do you ever wonder what it would be like if it was us instead?"

"What do you mean?" James asked, wide-eyed.

"Like… we leave the divas behind or something," he shrugged. "So's then it's just me and you as a team. We could do good, don't you think? What do you suppose would happen?" he asked, somewhat uncertainly.

"Oh, that's easy," James said, utterly sure of himself. "Jessie would strangle us with our own intestines."

"Oh," Butch said, somewhat let down by this admittedly likely-correct response.

"But…" James said, noting Butch's tone, "I guess it could be pretty good for the short time that we're alive."


"Really," James said.

There was a moment between them that was just so… nice. It was so friendly and so strangely familiar that it was a shame that the talking cat had to come along and ruin everything.

"Jimmy, we got problems!" Meowth shouted. "Jessie and that Cassidy broad broke da tread—" He paused as he walked into the lounge and took in the two. He pointed at James wildly with a clawed paw. "What are ya doing consortin' wit da enemy?" he demaned.

"I'm not consorting!" James explained, holding up his hands. "This is just a simple casual camaraderie between competitors!"

"Yeah?" Meowth said suspiciously. "Well quit wit da camaraderie! Jessie and da other one's got dere hair stuck in da mechanism and I can't get 'em out on my own."

"Oh dear," James said, putting a tired hand on his forehead. He stood up. "I'd better get to that then."

Butch waved idly with his cigarette. "See you later, James," he said, not unkindly.

"You're not coming?" James asked.

"Nah," Butch said. "Smoke break's not over."

"Alright," James said, turning away. "Good bye then, Butch."

"I told you!" Butch said, squeezing his cigarette between his gloved fingers. "The name's—" He cut himself off. "Oh," he said in surprise. "Oh." He smiled.

Sweet Dreams. HairWingShipping – Mira/Cresselia.

Mira tapped her mechanical pencil disconsolately against her desk. A worksheet with threatening columns of numbers and letters glared up at her, daring her to make sense of it. She glanced up at the clock which seemed to scritch out the seconds in slow motion. Too long before the bell…

She turned her attention back to the worksheet. After all, it wouldn't solve itself. Her pencil was poised to mark down an algebraic assumption when a drop of water suddenly sloshed onto the paper, leaving a rapidly expanding dot of dampness. It was followed by another, and then another. Drip, drip, drip…

She looked up. Water was dripping from the ceiling. And before she even had a chance to react, the leak became more severe, no longer droplets but a steady stream; a dam burst.

She blinked. Dam?

She looked around the room. Where had everyone gone to? Hadn't the class been full just a moment before?

Fighting panic she raced over to the window and pulled back the curtains. She jumped back, she fell to her knees… "No… it can't be…"

A wall of water, some dark whim of Poseidon's, was rushing toward the school; rushing toward her. And she knew, without knowing quite how she knew, that the dam had been built. They were flooding the valley. They were flooding the valley and they'd just left her there.

Water oozed through the hallways like something with darker intentions than a mere element. It began to fill the room. There was no way she could escape… The water was coming in at the door and a tidal wave beckoned out the window. She piled up desks and climbed to the top for higher ground. But she knew it was only temporary.

The water passed her neck. She turned her face upward, nearly pressed against the ceiling in order to keep her mouth and nose above the water line. A barrette washed away in the flood and her hair hung limp. She had seconds, seconds.

"This can't be real," she wheezed as water bubbled up to choke her. "This has to be some kind of bad dream!"

A swan-like shape floated majestically into the room; past the curtains, past the posters on the walls, past the large collection of stuffed animals, to where the girl lay, tossing and turning in her bed. A human wouldn't have been able to see the dark cloud hovering over her as she slept, but this creature was no human and could see it plainly.

She, for it was a she, fluttered, silhouetted against the night sky beyond the window. There was a sound like a harp and the dark cloud seemed to fade and Mira calmed.

The creature silently drifted out of the window once more, to whatever dream world it had come from.

Mira's eyes opened slowly. She rubbed them in the starlight. What… happened?

She could remember vaguely something scary going on at the school, but it was fading as consciousness took hold. But… yes, it had definitely been a nightmare, but then suddenly, everything had been okay again.

She crossed to her window, knowing that this time there was no threat of a catastrophic flood looming over the horizon. Just stars. She could've sworn though that, among the stars, she'd seen a flash of blue, yellow, and magenta. Just for a moment, but it was there…

She couldn't shake the feeling that she should say 'thank you'.

She crawled back into bed, confident that only sweet dreams awaited her.

The Day's Poisons. RottenEggSneakerShipping – James/Weezing.

It had all started with the gentle mixing of poisons. The lab deep underground in Team Rocket Headquarters had an abundant supply of those. Teamed up with an old friend who he thought he'd never see again and with the benefit of a rich boy's education… well, lab work had seemed the ideal after James's time in the field was up.

"Weezing, use Smog," he said—not an order, but a request.

"Weez!" Weezing responded, oozing thick plumes of sulfuric smoke into the containment chamber.

James played with the control panel, his gloved hands squeaking noisily along with his fellow workers—mad scientists, he had to admit, but James wasn't one of them. Not mad… just trying to get by.

When the pressure levels were just right the clouds of toxins turned to rain, collecting in the bottom of the chamber and then sliding through the reinforced tubing to a vial below. When all the liquid had run into the vial, James detached it from the tubes and hastily stopped it shut, glad of his breathing mask all the same. He wrote a number on it and put it on the shelf with the rest of the day's poisons.

He didn't know what they were used for, but he shuddered to think of it. Team Rocket had changed since the merry days of Kanto where he, Jessie, Weezing, Arbok, and Meowth had meandered about with the idea of stealing Pokemon and causing a general havoc. But back then… those were days of smoke bombs and disguises. The only thing they'd ever hurt in others was their feelings. Now… well, the poisons were piling up. They were made down in the lab by scientists, or those with an expertise in poison-types that were no longer fit for field work. If Jessie had still been around she'd probably have been down there too, charming the venom out of snakes. But that was… another story.

James didn't care, or at least told himself frequently that he didn't. Team Rocket had been his family for too long for him to start questioning the collateral damage now. None of it mattered so long as he could stay with his old friend—the last he had left.

"Come on, Weezing," he said, taking off his gas mask. "That should be enough for today."

The Same Side. FortuneShipping – Lucas/Dawn.

"Hey Lucas," Dawn said, her fingers laced together and cradling her knitted cap as she stared up into the sky while the two walked slowly along.

"What is it?" Lucas asked, turning slightly.

"I've just been thinking…" Dawn said, withdrawing from her daydream. "How come you and me never battle?"

Lucas's step faltered a little. "Why would we battle?" he asked. "We're friends." He paused, doubt creeping into his mind. "Aren't we?"

"Of course we are," Dawn said, breaking away from her staring contest with the sky to give him a soulful look. "But that's no reason we can't battle. I mean, I've battled with Barry dozens of times and we're friends."

"Oh yes," Lucas said, mostly to himself as he shuffled uncomfortable. "Him."

Dawn sighed and looked at her boots, more suited for the snowy weather of her home than for the dew-glazed grass they were striding through. Her boots were just one sign of how far she'd come. "You taught me so much when I was just starting out," she said softly. "About how to catch Pokemon, how to take care of them, just… how to get along out in this world by myself." She gave him a worried look. "Don't you think it's weird that we've never battled?"

Lucas squirmed. Her wide-eyed look usually had that effect on him. "Well…" he tried, "I guess I'd feel a little weird if we did battle."

"Why?" Dawn asked, a pinprick of hurt in her eyes.

"I guess it's because…" Lucas struggled, "because you and I…"

"Yes?" Dawn urged him on.

"Well… we belong on the same side, is all," Lucas finished as best he could.

Dawn was silent for a moment, the clomp of her boots on the wet ground was all that could be heard. Then she turned to him, gave him a smile and said: "You're right!"

Very Macho. RocketShipping – Jessie/James.

Officer Jenny was on jail house duty and wasn't too happy about it. The clinking of tin cups against the bars had been going straight through her gritted teeth to the pain center of her brain all day. And now some whack-job wanted visitation of their newest arrest.

"And why should I let you see him?" Jenny asked the woman in front of her.

"Because I'm his… umm… cousin?" Jessie seemed to ask, figuring disguise was the way to go, even if it was a bit of a rush job.

Jenny stared her down. "Really," she said finally. She sat back in her chair and surveyed the woman in front of her before saying, "So you're not his partner in crime?"

Jessie gave an especially fake laugh. "Whatever gave you that idea, officer?"

"Well," Jenny said., "it's mostly that giant R on your outfit. See, that's kind of the Team Rocket logo and all."

"Oh this?" Jessie said, her voice rising hysterically as she gestured to the emblazoned "R" on her outfit. There'd been no time to change. "This stands for umm… Ruby Tuesdays?"

There was a pause as Jenny glared blankly at Jessie.

"See, I'm a waitr-," Jessie said hurriedly.

Jenny cut her off by raising her hand. She rubbed her temples. "You have five minutes."

"Jessie!" James said, rushing to the edge of his cell, gripping the bars tightly, and looking at her pleadingly through the gap in between. "You've got to get me out of here," he whined. "You have no idea what it's like in prison!"

"Actually, you're not really in prison. This is just holding," Jessie pointed out, trying and failing to cheer him up. "They're planning to take you to prison tomorrow." When she saw James expression fall, she quickly added, "But don't worry. Me and Meowth are working on a plan to break you out before that even happens."

James sniffled. "Jess, I can't go to real prison. You know what they do to guys like me in prison."

Jessie looked questioning. "Guys like what?"

James muttered something miserably to himself that Jessie couldn't hear. "What?" she said and moved closer. James muttered again.

"Oh, no," Jessie said in disbelief. "No one thinks that."

"Really?" James asked hopefully.

"Really," Jessie said. "In fact I think you're very macho."

"Really?" James said again, his eyes shining as they met her's. They each held their breath and moved closer to each other, their cheekbones pressed again the bars, noses touching.

"No kissing through the bars!" Jenny shouted from the other room. As an afterthought she yelled, "Especially not your cousin!"