Listen to the Experts…


"I'm really grateful that you guys are here with me, to share in this special moment…" sighed Brock, dewy-eyed. "Now that I've reached the most special of crossroads, I truly feel, that I am a man."

"AND THERE GOES THE BATTLE!" hollered the N64, and Ash fell back against the sofa in disbelief.

"You know, for an actual Trainer," Tracey smirked, as the screen zoomed in on his triumphant Azumarril, "you SUCK at this game."

"Aw c'mon, Tracey, two outta three!" Ash begged, waving the controller around frantically as Tracey placed his down on the coffee table.

"Ash we've been playing this for hours and you haven't won once. No matter how many matches you cajole me into, I was, am, and forever will be, the Master of Pokémon Stadium." Ash sulked, and dropped the grey controller on the floor as Tracey smiled serenely, and removed the Stadium cartridge.

"Super Smash Brothers?" Ash asked, suddenly hopeful.

"NO," said Tracey, firmly, "my thumbs are clicking."

"Chicken…" Ash muttered under his breath, folding his arms and purposely looking the other way when Tracey shot him an irritated glance.

"I'm so glad that my friends are here for me," Brock interjected bitterly, and both Tracey and Ash looked around at him like they were just realising he was there. "I mean, I'm reaching an unprecedented level of maturity – I'm going to ask my girlfriend to move IN with me! I could use some support!" Tracey snorted.

"Brock, you're 26. Any levels of maturity you're making your way up to are waaaaaay over-due."

"Besides, aren't you the one who'd move in with her?" Ash added, innocently.

"Minor details," Brock waved his hand passively.

"Why dya wanna move in with her anyway?" Ash asked, through a mouthful of Doritos.

"It's all I've ever wanted!" Brock professed, growing dewy-eyed again.

"Then why haven't you done it before?"

"Never had a girlfriend for this long before…" Brock sweatdropped.


"I dunno guys," Brock sighed, looking around Ash's living room, "I guess I just want… all this."

"You want my living room?" Ash asked in confusion as he reached for more Doritos.

"No! I want… the female touch," he answered, simply, pointing to where a woman's magazine was open on the table, the crossword half finished and a pretty, flower-printed mug with some cold tea still left in it to the side.

Tracey smiled, as he swept up the Doritos crumbs from the table into his hand and funnelled them back into the bag.

"Brock, you wear a pink apron and have Soufflé Nights," he tried to be tactful.


"Brock, you're making a big mistake," Ash nodded to emphasise his point. "Living with a girl isn't all it seems."

"You've lived with a girl for two years," Brock pointed out. Ash scowled.

"It wasn't like I meant to, I just…" he shrugged, "got used to her. Plus it's not like MY girlfriend is particularly girly, you know." Ash opened his mouth wide and emptied the crumbs from the bag into it.

"And you!" Brock turned accusingly on Tracey. "You've been living with May for ages."

"Nine months, two weeks, three days," Tracey counted off, blearily.

"Seriously Brock, listen to the experts," Ash advised, ripping open another bag.

"Listen, I lived with my ten younger siblings, then travelled the world with two hormonal kids intent on diving into every dangerous situation they could find for six years!" Brock folded his arms obstinately. "You guys may not be able to deal with Misty and May, but Milly is different. And NOTHING," shuddered Brock, "could be worse than living with THAT Professor, in THAT research centre, on THAT island, in THAT southern region of islands…"

"Right," sighed Ash, swinging his legs around and moving the flap of his hat up out of his eyesight with a flick of his fingers. "Brock, remember we've been there… we know it's good at first… but… it just all goes downhill."

"Example," probed Brock, sitting on the arm of the sofa. Tracey ran his finger along his eyebrow in thought.

"They use your razor to shave their legs."

"Their legs only if you're LUCKY," shuddered Ash.

"You can't buy yourself chocolate and keep some for later," Tracey mused.

"No matter where you hide it," Ash agreed, gesturing widely.

"It's like they have some sort of homing device," Tracey sighed, bitter in the memory of his lost bars of Dairy Milk.

"They make you sit on the edge of the bath and talk to them when they're sitting on the toilet," Ash grimaced.

"And it's practically impossible to locate your own deodorant once your bathroom's full of beauty products," frowned Tracey. "The day you slip up and spray her Vanilla scented… body spray-" (Ash shuddered at the mere mention) "-is the day you get laughed out of work."

"Suddenly, little purple packaged squares are EVERYWHERE," Ash continued. "You can't walk to the toilet without slipping on one. You find them in your bag and then have to explain why *you* have one… usually to people like Gary Oak," Ash glowered, miserably.

"And there's that horrible noise as they rip the… used ones… out."

"Yeah, like she's ripping off a giant plaster," Ash winced. "I always feel so sorry for her…" Tracey stared at him.

"Ash, it's sticky side down…" Ash pretended not to heed his correction, and helped himself to more Doritos.

"Plus the toilet gets blocked with all kinds of things, and of course, the plunger goes missing, so you have to…" Tracey cringed, "stick your hand in."

"She hogs the covers!" Ash whined.

"You find things like celery and Slim Fast shakes filling up your fridge," Tracey shook his head, sadly.

"She hogs the TV!"

"You HAVE to turn the lights off when SHE wants to go to sleep…"

"She yells at me in her sleep," Ash frowned, brushing crumbs off his jacket.

"She wakes you up hoovering at 8am on a Saturday morning…" Tracey added, in a despondent tone. "Then they start asking you your opinions on carpet samples…"

"Yeah, they don't seem to understand that you cannot possibly have a view point on every single shade of blue that Carpet Right has!" Ash shivered at the repressed memory.

"Six words… does this make me look fat?" Tracey put it, bluntly.

"And the SHOES!" Ash exploded, randomly putting his hand down on the floor and grabbing a suede mule.


"Ugh, the shoes!" Tracey groaned, head in hand.

"I mean, WHY do they need so many?" Ash asked, turning the tan mule around and around in his hands incredulously. "Do they have extra feet that we don't know about?"

"Your life soon settles into monotony…" mumbled Tracey, clearly depressing himself. "You spend every night watching two-star movies on satellite…"

"She stops making you smiley-faced bacon and eggs in the morning…" sniffed Ash, clearly heartbroken over the loss of this special breakfast.

"The size of her knickers starts to double… you go from a skimpy thong to what looks like the material of a parachute arranged around the top of her legs…"

"Every time you move out of her sight for a second, she immediately asks what you're doing, where you're going! You have to make an announcement every time you need the loo!"

"Yeah, it's like as soon as you move outside a certain radius, some chemical in their brains think "Aaah! He's escaping! I don't want to be a fifty year old spinster in love with her Meowth – get him!"

"It's like a motion detector light!" Ash agreed.

"And then, the final step towards tedium, married life, and two-point-four children…" Tracey closed his eyes.

"The HEADACHES!" both he and Ash exclaimed at the same time, their heads bashing against the back of the sofa in exasperation.

"Seriously, it's not human," Ash shook his head. There was silence. Tracey was rubbing his eyes, looking seriously miserable. Ash sighed and raked his hand through his hair, before replacing his hat. "Girls…" he murmured, "who needs 'em, eh?"

"Evidentially not you," came a smooth voice from behind him, and Ash felt like an icicle had just replaced his spine.

"I tried to warn you…" sweatdropped Brock, as he backed towards the door, "but when you two rant… ehehehe… see ya!" The girls didn't look behind them as Brock sprinted out the front door, the slamming of which reverberated throughout the whole house.

Tracey put on a pleading expression, and looked up lovingly at May, who was standing beside Misty. Whereas Misty looked incredibly intimidating and like she was perfectly capable of dumping a corpse in the Cerulean Gym pool on her next trip there, May looked more embarrassed than anything else.

"Y-you're back… early," was all he managed to squeak.

"It was a short movie," May snapped back, portraying more annoyance through her tone than through her facial expression.

"So…" ventured Ash, still not daring to turn around, and with his shoulders hunched, "how long have… you been… there?"

"Long enough so that when I'm on trial for murder I'll be awarded temporal insanity; at the very least, crime of passion," came Misty's silky reply. Ash gulped, and his head seemed to retreat even further into his body.

May sighed, and with an entendre smile at Misty, she turned and walked out the front door. Tracey leapt up in alarm.

"May? May? Sweetie? What are you doing? Sweetie? Where are you going? Sweetie?" Tracey called as he scrambled from the sofa and followed her out into the night.

Ash was hiding in his collar, and trying his hardest to look at the blank TV rather than turn around. He swore he could feel a hot patch on the back of his head where he imagined her teal eyes were boring into him. He jumped as he felt pressure on the sofa, and turned to the side to see her sitting there, merrily stacking dirty plates and glasses.

"A-are you okay?" he asked. Misty smiled what he could have sworn was a seductive smile.

"Well I don't have a headache," she purred, standing up and carrying the dirty dishes into the kitchen. Ash sat still for a minute, processing the evidence, before grinning goofily, and rising expectantly as she re-entered the sitting room.

"And where do you think you're going?" she asked, as she looked at him trying to follow her to the stairs. He stared at her blankly, wondering how much she would need spelling out. "You're sleeping on the sofa," she grinned, oh-so-politely, "and will be for the foreseeable future," she added, as he gaped at her.

"Aw, WHAT?" he moaned, as she mounted the first few steps and he stood forlornly at the bottom. "The first night in weeks you haven't had a headache, and I'm banished to the sofa!?" Misty paused.

"Yeah, that's pretty much it. Goodnight!" she called as she disappeared into the landing. Ash stared uncomprehendingly for a second, before glaring up after her.

"Don't I even get a blanket? Misty? MISTY!?"


Ash awoke with a terrible backache, neckache and ironically enough, headache. Sometime during the course of the night, half of his lanky body had slipped to the floor, so that his legs were the only things left on the actual sofa. Due to his lack of blanket, he had been forced to keep all his clothes on for warmth, and he noticed with distain that he had obtained a rash where his jeans had been rubbing away all night.

Pikachu greeted him cheerfully, as he stretched out his sore form. He glanced at her bitterly.

"At least you had more room in that double bed than usual," he grumbled. "Ugh, Misty?" he called, squinting as he walked into the (far too bright for early morning, he noted) kitchen, still readjusting his clothes. She had obviously been up, because the kitchen smelt like fried bacon. He whimpered as he realised she'd already washed up, and not left little cold bits of bacon and sausage, dripping in grease for him in the frying pan like she usually did whenever he woke up later than her.

"What dya think Pikachu?" he asked sadly, kneeling down to his Pokémon. "Have I really screwed this up?" Pikachu wrinkled her nose in a smile, and pointed to the table with her tail.

Ash's face broke out into a smile of relief as he noticed a plate on the table, adorned with two eggs and three pieces of bacon arranged into a smiley face. There was a note under an empty glass, which he pounced on.

Here you go, idiot.

Ash smiled, imagining the loooooove behind the harsh words. Maybe she was waiting for him upstairs, ready to forgive and forget, and quit feigning headaches!

PS: There's a blanket in the downstairs cupboard. You'll need it for the next three or four months.

Ash facevaulted.