First off, I'm back to finish the alphabet! :D Sorry for taking so long, guys. Life and stuff. But I'm here now, and more importantly, so is the ultimate chapter of Twenty-Six! In this one, we don't really get to the prompt until the very end, but it still works. As always, I apologize for any weird writing conventions that are bound to happen. I always write when I'm dead tired, because for some reason, that's when ideas manifest themselves. XD

Secondly, a couple of my mistakes have surfaced: Ash's attitude toward type disadvantages is rather OOC, and I always always always forget that Gyarados is not a dual water/dragon type. I mean, he LOOKS like a huge dragon! I still think they should just give him the title. :P but, while I was writing this I wasn't even thinking about it, so I accidentally gave him the qualities of being a dragon type. Pretend he is? I tried to add some little things to make both the problems make more sense, but it still might be a bit off. Anyway, thanks for understanding!

Enjoy the final one-shot in the series, and don't forget to leave a review! :)


Zesty

Misty Ketchum walked briskly down the east corridor leading to lobby of the Cerulean City Gym at exactly 4:59 on Wednesday afternoon. This particular Wednesday had been quite productive for the redheaded gym leader. She had beaten six different challengers, worked out with the Pokémon, fed them all, and finished up before it was time to leave, for once in her career, all with minimal help from Violet, who happened to be the Sensational Sister working with Misty on this particular Wednesday afternoon.

"Misty, you have a challenger!" a voice rang from the end of the corridor.

Misty skidded to a halt. She made out her bluenette sister's head poking through the doorway to the lobby.

"Are you kidding me?" Misty shouted back. "It's time to go! The gym closes at five!" She jogged the remaining steps to the foyer of her family's gym. Looking around, she found no one but Violet herself.

"Uh, yeah, it's only like 4:59!"

"Well, where's the challenger?" Violet rolled her eyes.

"Outside, Misty," she sighed exasperatedly. "And you think I'm the dumb one!"

Misty sweatdropped. "Just bring them inside!"

Misty stormed back through the corridor, gritting her teeth all the way to the battle arena.

"Stupid kids," she muttered. "Don't they know I have a life?"

It wasn't the kid's fault, really, Misty inwardly admitted. Still, though, I have better things to do then crush one more kid with a stupid Caterpie! I need to go to the supermarket, I need to figure out what to make for Delia's Christmas party next Saturday, I need to actually go to Delia's with Ash for dinner tonight, I need to buy Pokémon food, broccoli, something to cook the broccoli with so Ash doesn't know he's eating it—

Promptly interrupting her train of thought, Misty heard a not-inconspicuous cough from the other side of the battle arena's pool. Her head snapped up as she turned around to get a look at her challenger.

A boy of about fourteen stood poolside, opposite Misty. He was tall and thin with sandy blonde hair that cascaded over his temples, high cheekbones, and icy blue eyes. He wore a pair of too-tight, faded black jeans, a white, half-unbuttoned oxford shirt, and a fitted, black leather jacket. On his feet were stiff leather boots that had obviously never been scuffed before, and over his hands were a pair of simple, black trainer gloves. Misty figured the kid, while he was much too young for her, looked to be what society called a "teenage heartthrob."

Or maybe what society called "metrosexual."

"I'm Jason York and I'm here for a cascade badge!" the boy called to her, over the still, aqua water of the Olympic swimming pool. His voice had a smooth, honey-like quality, and, Misty noted, was rather high-pitched for a boy of his age.

Well doesn't this kid just scream confidence, the gym leader thought sardonically.

"I'm Misty Ketchum, and I don't plan to give you one once I defeat you!" she cried back confidently.

"Fine! I'll just take one from you!" Jason scoffed snidely, pulling a minimized Pokéball off his belt. He shifted his weight to his hip and waited for her to respond.

The nerve of this guy! He kind of reminds me of a James without a Jessie...

"As if!" Misty yelled back. "I'm not letting a badge go to the one kid who showed up right as I was getting off work!"

Granted, it was in Misty's job description as a gym leader to treat all challengers with respect and dignity at all times under any circumstances, and she was usually very cordial and polite, there was no way this York kid was getting away with being annoying... Even if the only real annoyance was delaying her plans to head to Delia's for dinner.

Misty shook her head, forcing her brain to focus on the battle ahead. She pulled off the first Pokéball to the right of her belt buckle, maximized it, and ritually kissed it before chucking it at the one of the pool's battle platforms.

"Misty calls... Gyarados!"

With half a smirk, Misty opened her palm for the red and white ball to return to her waiting figures while the enormous blue water dragon materialized before her.

"Beat that, Jason York!" she called triumphantly, widening her smirk.

Wow, I am really acting unprofessional today. Eh. Kid causes me to miss Delia Ketchum's food, kid gets Mean Misty. Simple logic, the redhead reasoned.

The handsome teen looked at Misty's prized Gyarados unimpressed, lazily lobbing his Pokéball into the air.

"Sylveon!"

Misty's smirk faltered.

"Great, a fairy," Misty whispered to herself.

Jason allowed his stony facade to momentarily break as he watched Misty's change of expression as she looked back and forth between the water dragon and his prized Sylveon. His Pokéball returned itself to his palm, and Misty swore upon the graves of her ancestors it was hot pink.

Maybe James had a son...


Ash flipped his Pokégear shut and sighed from his place on his mother's sofa. He turned his head toward the kitchen, searching for a sign of his mother.

"Mom?"

No answer.

"Mooomm?"

Ash sighed. Propping his socked foot on the coffee table and exhaling once more, Ash summoned strength from his diaphragm.

"MOM!"

A rustling of pots and pans came from the kitchen accompanied by a familiar, feminine voice.

"Ash Ketchum, how many times have I told you not to shout? You'd think you'd have figured it out by now, especially at your age! For goodness sakes, you're nearly twenty-two!" Delia Ketchum strode out of the kitchen, her pink and blue outfit covered by a white apron and two bright yellow oven mitts. Placing one mitt on her hip and pointing the other at her son, Delia narrowed her eyebrows.

"Now, what did you need?"

"I just wanted to tell you that Misty isn't coming."

Immediately, Delia softened. Her arms fell to her sides and her raised eyebrows quickly descended, allowing her face an obviously disappointed appearance.

"Oh, no! Why not, dear?"

Ash sighed again.

"Apparently she got caught up at the gym. Some fairy kid walked in right before she left and challenged her, and the match lasted so long and exhausted six of her Pokémon, so now she has to stay even longer to feed them and all." Pikachu, who had previously been lounging on the pillow at Ash's side, pouted. Ash noticed and took his starter in her arms.

"Don't worry, buddy, we'll see her tonight!"

Delia, rather than responding to Ash, smirked at poor Pikachu's dismayed reaction.

"Sometimes I wonder if Pikachu loves Misty more than you, Ash!" she laughed.

Ash grunted.

"Me too, Mom. Me too." The brunette playfully rolled her eyes, a wide smile still playing on her face.

"So, did Misty at least win the battle?"

"Actually..."

Delia's eyes widened. "She lost!?" Her son shrugged back at her, itching the nape of his neck.

"I guess the kid had all fairy, grass, and electric types. Technically, there's no way Misty could have beaten him, really, what with using all water Pokémon... But I still think types shouldn't have that much to do with battling..." Ash trailed off once he noticed his mom's dazed expression. He sighed for what felt like the umpteenth time that evening and crossed his other foot over his ankle on the table before the sofa.

"Mom?"

Delia shook herself. "Sorry, sweetheart... I had a thought."

"And that thought would be...?" Ash watched as his mother's face took on a very rare feature: deviousness.

"Well, if Misty isn't coming to dinner, we could... change the menu, a little..." Delia's eyes darted towards the red and green peppers sitting on top of the microwave, still wrapped tightly in the produce bag from the market.

The look of elation on her son's face took Delia back to a time when Ash was five years old on Christmas morning.


"You're hiding something."

"No, I'm not!"

"Yes you are."

"I am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Not!"

"Too!"

"Not!"

"Ash?"

"What?"

"I smell the peppers."

Misty rolled over in bed to stare at Ash through the darkness.

"W-wha-what peppers?"

"The peppers you ate."

"I didn't eat any-"

"Yes you did." Silence followed. "You know the rule."

"Misty," her lover whined. "I hate the rule!"

"Tough luck, mister! You break the rule, you brush your teeth six times. Go."

"Fine."

"Good."

"...Misty?"

"Yes?"

"I love you."

Silence ensued.

"Are you mad?"

Silence.

"Sad?"

Silence.

"Disgusted?"

"Yes."


There you have it, folks! Peppers are zesty.

Thanks to everyone who reviewed, followed, and favorited this story. And a special thanks goes out to nyislandersgirl because part of what inspired me to fiinnaalllyyy update was my competitive nature and thus wanting to finish my alphabet before her. ;) The support I've gotten from everyone means so much! Happy Pokéshipping, lovelies! :)