Well, as promised, here's chapter 25. As I said, this chapter isn't nearly as long as chapter 24, but I hope you guys enjoy it. Also, I'm going to my dad's for the next two weeks or so, so I won't be able to write a lot…but I promise that this story will not be abandoned, okay?

Good, anyways, enjoy!

I do not own any characters or events related to Pokemon, this story is solely fan made.

Changing Ways: Chapter 25: Finally!:

Previously…

"Misty! Wow, what a pleasant surprise!" they heard a voice say, which ceased their laughing, because that voice sounded very familiar. It sounded like the voice of…

"Rudy?" Ash blurted out in surprise.

Yes, in front of them, stood Rudy, the third crew member of the Orange League, with a smug smirk on his face…

"Rudy?" Misty echoed Ash's previous outcry as she looked at the boy in front of her with some degree of shock, her mouth agape and eyes wide.

Ash and Pikachu just continued staring at Rudy in shock. Of all the people that could be waiting for them here; it had to be him. An uneasy feeling immediately made its way to his stomach and chest area. He just knew that this spelled trouble. Looking over at Misty, he saw her expression of shock, which actually had a hint of pleasantness in it. He resisted the urge to glare at her and Rudy as the crew member suddenly spoke up again.

"Yep, that's me!" Rudy smugly replied as he walked over towards the three of them, more specifically to Misty. "It's nice to see you again, Misty." He said as he stopped in front of her. He then did something that surprised all three of the visitors to their core: He stuck his right hand out, and gently grabbed Misty's left one. Bringing the hand to closer to his face, he said: "It's been a while, hasn't it?" before he placed a soft kiss on the top of her hand, never once breaking eye contact with the red head.

This action got quite a few contrasting reactions from the three respective visitors.

Pikachu merely looked at the scene unfold in shock with wide eyes.

Misty, however, reacted much differently. Her eyes widened even more, her jaw slacked completely and her cheeks were burning redder than a ripe tomato. She definitely wasn't used to THIS kind of attention and affection, that's for sure. Rudy was very different from Ash. Ash was timid and rarely showed any affection. Rudy, on the other hand, was charming and knew exactly what to do when it came to the opposite sex. She simply continued staring at Rudy in shock after his actions.

Ash's reaction, on the other hand, was one of extreme rage. As soon as Rudy kiss Misty's hand; he released a low-pitched, predator-like growl. He then proceeded to glare daggerly in the crew member's direction, trying to kill him with his eyes, but sadly, he was paid no mind. To be honest, he was completely ignored by Rudy.

Deciding that Rudy's now done enough; Ash suddenly swung his arm between him and Misty, effectively breaking his grip on the red head's hand.

"So," Ash started as he kept his enraged glare fixed on Rudy. "What're YOU doing here, Rudy?" he asked rather harshly as his eyes narrowed further.

"Hm?" Rudy exclaimed as he suddenly turned his gaze away from Misty and onto Ash. He then looked at the Pokemon Trainer expressionlessly for a few moments, before a smug smile appeared on his face. "Oh, it's you. Ash." He nonchalantly remarked. "I didn't even notice you until now!" he added with a smirk as he looked down at Ash.

"What do you mean you haven't noticed me!?" Ash irritatedly asked. "I've been standing here the whole time!" he yelled into Rudy's face.

"Okay…well, 'Hi' then." Rudy casually said before turning back to Misty, causing Ash to seethe in anger.

"Hey!" Ash yelled at Rudy, getting his attention again.

"Yes?" Rudy asked as he turned back to face Ash. "What is it, Ash?" he asked in an exasperated tone of voice.

Ash growled at Rudy because of the way he answered his call. "You still haven't answered my question! What're you doing here?" he repeated his question, albeit a bit louder than the previous time.

"Oh, that's simple." Rudy stated. "You see, the news about the Trainer beating Drake spread through the Orange Archipelago quickly, along with the news that he would be facing the Orange League Champion in the near future. So, we, the Orange League Gym Leaders, were informed that we were all obliged to welcome the Orange League Champion, which surprisingly is you." He said pointing to Ash. "Here on Mandarin Island." He continued. "And since I live the closest; I happened to be here first. The others are on their way and should be here by tomorrow." He concluded.

"Oh, oka-HEY!" Ash suddenly erupted. "What do you mean 'which surprisingly is me'?" he irritatedly inquired.

"It means that I'm surprised that you became Champion, Ash." Rudy again replied in a nonchalant tone of voice. "I didn't think you had it in you to beat the rest of the Orange League Gym Leaders. I thought you beat me by sheer luck, to be honest." he truthfully stated. "I'm even more surprised that you managed to defeat Drake in a full six-on-six battle." He casually added.

"WHAT!?" Ash growled at Rudy, anger evident on his face and in his eyes. "I'm a great Pokemon Trainer! And I deserve everything I've achieved so far!" he proudly stated as he glared at Rudy, his teeth grinding and his balled fists shaking in fury.

"Yes well, we'll see." Rudy replied before turning his attention back to Misty once again, earning him a growl from Ash at being ignored. "Anyway, how have you been doing, Misty?" he charmingly asked as he grasped the red head's hands in his, staring at her with fascination.

Misty, who was still in her own little world after Rudy's earlier actions, looked up at Rudy's sparkly smile with a slight blush still evident on her cheeks. "Uh…I've been good…" she silently remarked before she nervously laughed.

"That's good!" Rudy stated with a slight laugh. "Anyway, seeing as I am a Gym Leader, I have my own private suite right next to the Pokemon Center!" he informed Ash and Misty. "So, how would you like to come over for some dinner?" he asked, holding Misty's hands closer to him and looking at her in anticipation.

"Oh!" Misty exclaimed. "You mean Ash, Pikachu and me?" she clarified.

"Well, uh…" Rudy uncomfortably started. In all honesty, he really couldn't care less about Ash and his little Pikachu. And he honestly had no plans of inviting them for dinner as well, but how does he explain that Misty without ruining his chances of her agreeing? Luckily, he was saved of answering that question by a resounding…

"WHAT!?" Ash suddenly yelled out from where he was standing, gaining the attention of Rudy, Misty and Pikachu.

"What's the matter, Ash?" Misty asked as she frowned curiously at Ash's outburst.

"I don't want to eat dinner with him!" Ash yelled in rejection as he pointed a finger towards Rudy.

Rudy was smirking inwardly at this. 'Perfect! This way I'll have Misty all to myself and I'll also have Ash out of my hair.' He thought.

"Why not, Ash?" Misty curiously asked. "It'll be a nice way to spend the evening. We've been stuck on a boat for almost a week, so to just relax and have a nice home cooked meal will be great!" she debated. "So, thank you, Rudy. We will gladly have dinner with you!" she politely stated, accepting the invitation for both her and Ash

"Hey, wait!" Ash yelled in disagreement. "I never said that we're going to have dinner with him!" he informed Misty.

"Oh come on, Ash." Misty exclaimed. "What's wrong with having dinner with Rudy?" she curiously asked as she looked as Ash with her brow lifted out of curiosity. "We're having dinner with you, Rudy." She repeated for both of them once more.

"No, we're not!" Ash objected loudly while crossing his arms.

"Yes, we are." Misty hit back, a glare slowly starting to form on her face. "It'll be fun, Ash." She added.

"No!" Ash vehemently objected. "I refuse!" he stubbornly added.

The glare that slowly started forming on Misty's face was now a full-out scowl directed at Ash. She was now slowly, but very steadily, getting more and more irritated with Ash's rude behaviour towards Rudy's invitation. It was just dinner, for crying out loud! Why was he being so objecting towards it? He loved food and would never hesitate for even a second when it came to filling his stomach, so what was wrong with him?

She kept her glare fixed on Ash for a few moments longer, before huffing and closing her eyes. "Suit yourself, then." She stated with a shrug of her shoulders. "I will be joining you for dinner, Rudy." She informed Rudy as she turned to face him. "If that's okay with you?" she added quickly, fearing that she might have crossing the line in just assuming that she's still invited after Ash refused to have dinner with him.

Rudy smirked outwardly at this, while his inward smirk grew comically wild. This was excellent! He should actually thank Ash for being such an idiot. It spared him of trying to explain to Misty that he actually just invited her for dinner, and not her two friends. "Of course, Misty." He cheerily answered. "That's just perfect. I would be happy to have you over for dinner!" he added with a friendly smile.

"Misty!" Ash yelled out in shock and anger. "What are you doing!?" he asked incredulously.

"I'm organising my dinner." Misty nonchalantly answered back.

"So you're going with him?" Ash asked in shock as he pointed to Rudy, to which Misty replied by nodding affirmatively. "But why?" he asked again.

"Because you're being childish, Ash." Misty answered back. "And I would enjoy a nice, home cooked meal." She added.

"But Misty!" Ash started his objections.

"Come on, Rudy." Misty started, ignoring Ash's protests. "Let's go." She said as she waited for Rudy to lead her to his suite.

Ash stared at Misty, a look of pure shock on his face. He looked down at the ground, the hurt, of Misty choosing Rudy above him, evident in his eyes. "Come on, Pikachu." He started in a defeated tone. "Let's go. We're camping out." He said before turning on his heels and walking back out of the Pokemon Center, with Pikachu hanging on his right shoulder.

Misty gave Ash and Pikachu a glance from the corner of her eye, seeing them head right after exiting the Pokemon Center.

"Well, come on, Misty." Rudy started as he too turned to the front doors of the Pokemon Center. "Follow me!" he smugly said as he started making his way out of the Pokemon Center, with Misty in tow…

"Well Misty, I hope you enjoy this meal!" Rudy stated with a smug smirk on his face from where he sat.

He and Misty had made their way next door to his private suite. And, true to the name, it was indeed a suite. Grand leather furniture decorated the large living room area of the suite, with a red carpet underneath. There were various paintings on the walls with a big, surround sound television set against the wall. There was a luxurious bedroom with a queen-sized bed and the softest sheets and pillows, accompanied by a rather large bathroom inside the room with a large Jacuzzi, a shower, toilet and sink. The kitchen was also expensively decorated with finest and most up-to-date appliances, along with antique cutlery and plates. And then there was finally the dining room, where he and Misty were currently sitting at the table in the middle of the room, which was decorated with a few lighted candles and all sorts of divine, luxurious meals for them to feast on.

When Misty had asked him why this suite was so expensively decorated, he merely answered by saying that he is paid a pretty decent salary and that he is a luxurious man that likes to spoil himself as well as his guests.

"Thanks, it looks delicious." Misty politely exclaimed from where she sat at the other end of the table, at the opposite side of Rudy.

The room was then filled with sound of food being served into their plates, courtesy of Rudy, and the air was soon filled with the delicious smells of the various dishes on their respective plates. He soon poured them both a glass of sparkling grape juice, seeing as they clearly weren't grown-ups yet.

"Dig in!" Rudy announced after he sat down in his chair again, looking over the table at the red head.

"Thank you very much." Misty exclaimed with a slight bow of her head, before she scooped some food up with her fork. Before she could get it in her mouth though, the sound of thunder rang through the building, causing her to startle on drop her fork back down onto her plate with a clatter.

"Hmm." Rudy exclaimed as he swallowed a fork full of food before he turned his head to the glass doors that led to the patio, which had a gorgeous view of Mandarin Island's harbour and the ocean below them. Unfortunately it was evening, so they couldn't see anything outside. "It looks like another thunderstorm's on its way." He remarked as he looked through the glass door at the lightning in the distance. "They're quite common around these parts, because of the humidity." He explained as he turned back to Misty.

The red head, however, barely paid attention to anything Rudy said after she heard the word 'thunderstorm'. She was currently staring out through the glass doors, with a worried and sombre expression on her face, to the thunder clouds that were rapidly descending upon the island, as she could see the lightning bolts cracking closer and closer.

"Hey, don't worry, Misty." Rudy suddenly spoke up after seeing the worried expression on Misty's face. "We'll be perfectly safe in here!" he reassured her. "The storm will never get to us inside this building, so don't worry!" he added.

Misty turned her attention to Rudy and gave him a weak smile and nod, before she looked down at her plate of food again.

"You know," Rudy started again. "My sister would really like to see you again!" he informed the red head. "Maybe we should go to the Gym tomorrow and…" he rambled on.

Misty slowly took a small bite of her food and turned her attention back to the storm clouds outside while slowly chewing. 'Ash…' was the only word she thought as she kept staring out to the raging thunderclouds, oblivious to Rudy's continuous ranting about who cares what…

Ash and Pikachu, in the meantime, were putting their resourcefulness to the test. Ash had proceeded to lead them down the shoreline as he sulkily looked down at the ground in defeat, Misty's 'betrayal' still fresh in his memory.

Pikachu, however, had been paying more attention to their surroundings and soon noticed the thunderclouds approaching them from afar. He had tried warning his Master several times. Ash had finally given the yellow mouse his attention after the seventh failed attempt and finally took notice of the oncoming thunderstorm, which, by that point, had moved in overhead with a slight drizzle.

Ash scurried and quickly found them some shelter: A hollowed out cave on the side of the beach, which was where the two of them currently sat, trying to light a fire after they had found some shored branches.

"Darn it…" Ash muttered as he hit two little stones together in hope of igniting the packed wood with a spark, asking himself why he didn't bring Cyndaquil along on the trip for situations like these. "Yes!" he cheered when a spark finally ignited the pile of wood, creating a fire and instantly warming his cold body.

"Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed, mirroring Ash's cheer.

"Alright," Ash started as he sat down on the ground, pulling his backpack closer. "Let's see what we've got to eat." He stated as he started rummaging through his bag. "Okay…one can of peaches." He said as he pulled the said can out of his bag and placed it on the ground before him. His excellent resourcefulness sure was ego-boosting in this cold weather. However, his ego-boosting resourcefulness quickly vanished when he realised that they only had that can of peaches for dinner tonight.

Sighing in defeat, the two of them proceeded to sit around the fire. Ash opened the can of peaches and started counting how many slices were in the can. He then divided the slices equally between himself and Pikachu.

"I'm sorry, buddy." Ash apologised as he took the remaining slice and bit off half of it before handing the other half to Pikachu. "I completely forgot to stock up on pokemon food before we left home." He explained as he looked down in shame. This meant that he and Pikachu were going to have to survive on the small amount of peaches and what little water he had left in canteen for the night.

"Pika Pika, Pikapi." Pikachu reassured Ash as he patted his back to comfort his Master and assure him that it was fine.

"Thanks, pal." Ash said as he smiled down at Pikachu. "I promise I'll some food for you first thing tomorrow!" he promised the yellow mouse, who nodded in understanding.

They ate a few of their peach slices in silence for a while before spoke up again.

"Well, at least Misty's nice and cosy…" he muttered begrudgingly, but deep down, he was glad that the red head was out of the storm and inside a building where he knew that she would be safe and warm, even though it was with Rudy.

He was snapped out of his thoughts though, as a shadow suddenly appeared in the cave's entrance, although it was too dark for him to make out who or what it was.

"Pikachupi!" Pikachu suddenly exclaimed excitedly as he stood up on his hind legs.

"Pikachupi?" Ash repeated. "Wait a sec, that's…MISTY?" he quickly realised as he turned his attention back to the mysterious figure.

The figure stepped forward into the light which was emitted from the fire and it was indeed Misty, soaking wet and carrying a small package in her hand.

"Hey there, you two." Misty greeted the two of them with a small smile as she walked around the fire and sat down in between Ash and Pikachu.

"What're you doing here, Misty?" Ash curiously asked. "And how'd you even find us?" he quickly added.

"Well…" Misty trailed off as she gathered her thoughts. "After the thunderstorm got kind of bad, I started worrying about you two. So I came out here to look for you!" she informed them. "I remember you walking this way after you left the Pokemon Center, so that helped me a little." She added. "And I found you quickly because I noticed the light from the fire, so I followed it! And here I am." She concluded. "Oh yeah! I almost forgot!" she quickly added as she held the package she had been carrying out to Ash. "Here you go. I thought that the two of you might be hungry, so I brought you some leftovers from the Pokemon Center and some pokemon food for Pikachu!" she explained.

"Misty…" Ash trailed off, awe evident in his voice, as he gently took the package out of her hands. But memories of her and Rudy quickly clouded his awe, and instead replaced it with bitterness. "And what about your DATE with Rudy?" he bitterly exclaimed as he put the package down in front of his legs and scowled at the ground.

Misty's eyes widened a bit after hearing Ash so bitter, and suddenly felt guilty for choosing dinner with Rudy over Ash. She let out a long breath before she spoke again. "I left." Was her simple answer.

Ash turned to her with a confused look on his face. "You left?" he repeated curiously.

"Yep!" she casually answered as she opened the package and gave Pikachu his opened can of pokemon food.

"Just like that?" Ash inquired with a lifted brow.

"Uh – huh." Misty exclaimed as she pulled her knees up to her chest and blew on it with her breath.

"But why?" Ash asked as he stared at her.

Misty glanced over at him out of the corner of her eye, before she sighed and looked back down at her knee. "Because I…" she trailed off, thinking about the right words. "I-I'd rather be out here with you guys, than with Rudy in there…" she answered softly. "And besides, he's too stuck up for my tastes. He can keep his fancy suite and food!" she added with a soft chuckle. To her surprise, Ash also let out a light chuckle next to her. Turning her head over to him, they both looked at each other before they both started laughing out loud.

After a few moments of laughter echoing through the cave, it slowly started dying down, until nothing but the rain and wind outside accompanied by the crackling fire could be heard.

Misty, now bearing a slight grin, silently looked at Ash, who mirrored her actions precisely. After a few more seconds of just looking at each other, Misty stretched her legs out in front of her again, before slowly turning herself towards Ash. Sitting up on her knees, she slowly crawled up to him on her hands and knees, before she slowly pushed herself up against him. She looked into his eyes for a second, before her gaze turned to his slightly-shocked-parted lips. Holding her breath, she slowly tilted her head to the right, parted her lips slightly, and inched her face closer and closer to him, closing her eyes, until her lips softly brushed up against his, before finally pressing up tenderly against it, their lips locked together in a sweet, innocent kiss.

Their lips stayed against the other's for about six seconds, before Misty slowly pulled her face away from his, her cheeks pink and her heart beating feverishly in her throat. Looking up at Ash, she saw that his facial expression was exactly the same as what it was before she closed her eyes and kissed him, except that his cheeks also had a bright pink hue horizontally over them. She then smiled as she shyly looked down at the ground in front of her, her blush only intensifying.

"Uhm…" she heard Ash exclaim next to her. Quickly looking up at him, she saw that he was running his hand through his hair and looking down at his shoes.

Seeing that Misty was looking at him expectantly, Ash took a deep breath and met her gaze. "Uh, can w-we maybe…do that again?" he stuttered out, causing his blush to flare up even more.

"You mean k-kiss?" an equally flustered Misty stuttered out. Seeing Ash weakly nod, she swallowed hard before taking a deep breath. "Okay…" she whispered out, before carefully crawling over to him again.

She slowly descended her face down in front of his, before she tilted her head to the right once more, but this time, Ash responded by tilting his head to his right as well, before he slowly moved his face towards Misty's, both of them with their eyes shut, until their lips tenderly pushed up together again. But this time, both Ash and Misty were slightly smiling against the other's mouth, keeping their lips bound together like that and enjoying this new, prickling sensation they both experienced.

Pikachu had in the meantime moved to the other side of the fire to give Ash and Misty some privacy, and was busy eating his pokemon food while looking out at the raging storm outside through the cave's entrance…

Please review and give me your opinions.

Also, thanks to all of you that have sent me you teams for Ash! It has been duly noted and taken into consideration.

So, until next time, stay safe, and remember to review!

Cheers!