We do not own Ash, Misty, Brock, Team Rocket, Pikachu and the other 150 Pokemon, who are far too many to name individually. Though we'd like to catch them all - except Jigglypuff because we'd kill the little fluffball after listening to _that_ song too much (if we could stay awake)! *Achem* Anyway, Pokemon belongs to it's owners, Japanese and otherwise - you know who you are.
This story takes place about eight years later than the current Pokemon TV series.
C & C welcome, but flames will be answered with a flamethrower from Charizard.
Comments to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Part 4: Intruders
"_OH_, so THAT'S what Pond-scum looks like," said Richie.
"WHAT?" screamed Fletcher.
"And we're off to a _great_ start," murmured Brock. He edged away from the buffet table. Richie edged TOWARDS the buffet table, his eye on the cream pies.
"Don't even think about it," muttered Joy as she picked us the soda canister. "He's soooo mine... The things I've heard about this guy..."
"Joy!" Brock stared at her in shock, then thoughtfully pulled out his pokeball that contained Vulpix.
Fletcher was breathing harshly. He absolutely couldn't believe this. He'd driven hours to get here, mad with rage that Misty would dare flout his authority, and planning to drag her back by her hair if necessary, and when he'd burst in she was making eyes at that Ash creep, and then suddenly everyone seemed to know who he was and was insulting him.
"You... you... How DARE you???!!!" he spluttered.
"How dare who?" asked Professor Oak, who was casually holding a vase. "Who are you and why are you crashing my pre-wedding party?"
"I'm Fletcher, the new master of the Cerulean Gym..."
"WHAT???" shrieked Misty. "Since WHEN you overblown half-witted..."
"Shut up Misty, you're in enough trouble!" Fletcher cut her off. Misty paled and Ash protectively stepped in front of him.
"You should be more polite," he gritted out, flexing his muscles.
Fletcher sneered up at him. "Gonna hit me? Gonna beat up someone smaller and weaker than you in front of all these people, tough guy?"
Ash snarled and tried to ignore Richie, who was making frantic *pick me, pick me, I'm the same size as him, I'll fight him! Pick me! I'll clean his clock, I'll wipe the floor with him!* gestures.
"You have no right to be here," he said slowly. "This is a private party. You were not invited. I think you should leave. NOW!" It was getting increasingly difficult to ignore Richie. Some people weren't even trying.
"He's really very good," said Joy. "What's that one?"
"I think it's 'disembowel him with a blunt spoon'," said Sasha. She examined the fork she was holding and then cast a glance over the crockery on the table behind her.
"Now _that_ would HURT!" said Gary. "Can you do that with French bread?"
"It has to be fresh," said May.
"Pikapi!" put in Sparky.
"Really? I thought sesame was better."
A sweatdrop trickled down Ash's face, but he refused to back down from Fletcher, or to move out of the way.
"Ash," said Misty nervously. "Perhaps we should discuss this calmly and adultly outside?"
"Why?" Ash replied. "The case is very simple. He's trespassing." His eyes narrowed.
Fletcher's eyes narrowed too. "I don't think you want to make a big deal out of this," he murmured softly. "After all, I'd hate to see my little sister-in-law in jail."
"_Prospective_ sister-in-law," gritted Ash. "And what the hell are you talking about?"
Fletcher grinned. "Easy, when she absconded with you - her accomplice - she also took all the Cerulean City assets with her!"
"I never!" said Misty indignantly.
"You took ALL the gym Pokemon!" Fletcher accused. "You're nothing but a common thief."
"Okay, he's lost me now," said May.
"'Roasting over an open fire coated in honey surrounded by beedrills with spikes driven into the ground beneath him hooked up to an electric shock device.'" said Gary.
"You worry me."
"Do you MIND???" demanded Ash and Fletcher. Then they both stared at each other and shuddered. "Eurgh."
"Okay okay, knock it off, this isn't charades hour," said a familiar voice.
"Officer Jenny!" said Fletcher in surprise, as a familiar form pushed to the front of the crowd. "Ummm... what are you doing here?"
"_I_ was invited," said Officer Jenny. "I've recently been assigned here, and Sasha was kind enough to invite me. I know I'm not officially on duty but I'm having fun at this party so let's sort this out. What's your complaint, ummm... Lecher was it?"
"Okay, Fletcher. You claim that Misty stole Pokemon, can you substantiate this claim?"
"Of course, I'm sure she has them all with her!" Fletcher grinned in triumph.
"Well of COURSE I do," said Misty, stepping out from behind Ash. "They're MY Pokemon. They're all registered to me! The only pokemon not with me is Dewgong, a couple of Goldeens and a Magicarp - the only Cerulean Gym registered pokemon!"
"Cerulean City Gym has that few Pokemon?" Jenny asked. "How are they managing to continue?"
Misty blushed. "I've sort of been supporting..."
"Propping up..." interrupted Richie. Ash slipped past him and homed in on Gary.
"_Supporting_ the Gym with my PERSONAL pokemon," said Misty. "But they belong to ME! Not to the Gym."
"I see," said Jenny. "Well, that can be easily verified. Is there a Nurse Joy present?"
"Over here!" said Joy. "I'm not on duty either, but I have the registration data in my mini-computer. It won't take me a minute to check it."
"Alright then." Jenny looked at Fletcher. "Are you willing to wait while this gets checked?"
Fletcher had gone pale. "Er..." *Why weren't these people being intimidated? Why were they all defending _Misty_?*
*Why is everyone defending me?* Misty wondered. *Usually, everyone agrees with Fletcher!* She looked around at the group of supportive and armed people. "*Sniff.*" Everyone was watching carefully, and many of them were smiling at her. The only ones not concentrating on the situation were Ash and Gary, who were whispering urgently to each other.
"Well?" demanded Jenny. Fletcher wiped his forehead. "Er... considering that this is a private party, and a private issue, I'll sort this out with Misty later... Alone!"
"I don't think so!" came a loud voice. Everyone snapped around to regard Ash and Gary, who were walking towards Fletcher. Fletcher went pale when he saw Gary.
"That's the guy!" said Gary loudly. "That's the one who sold me a stolen Pokemon!"
The crowd gasped. Officer Jenny paused.
"Can you verify that?" she asked. Misty bit her lip, *Oh no, Daisy!*
She cast an appealing look at Ash. Gary spotted it and winked back at her.
"That's definitely the man who sold me a pokemon I recognised as belonging to Ash Ketchum." he stated. "He approached me alone and didn't seem to be representing anyone else when he offered to sell me this pokemon!"
He pointed to Kingler.
"The records will show that Kingler was staying _in the care of Misty at the Cerulean Gym_," said Ash. "He's registered to me, and neither myself nor Misty gave permission for his sale."
"This... this is all an elaborate lie!" Fletcher protested.
"Behold!" said Gary. "The receipt!"
*Gary you little...* thought Brock.
Jenny took the piece of paper. "I'm going to have to investigate this," she said. "Pokemon theft is a serious crime. On the basis of the evidence here, I'm afraid I'm going to have to place you under arrest Mr Lecher."
"Sorry." Jenny moved to put handcuffs on him.
"Well - I want to charge that guy with assault!" yelled Fletcher, pointing at Ash. "He set his Pikachu on me!"
Everyone looked at Ash, who folded his arms. "I never laid a finger on you," he said. "You provoked the attack from Pikachu by threatening one of his friends. In my presence, you threatened Misty, me and her Pokemon. Bad move."
Jenny nodded. "Pokemon are notoriously protective of their friends," she said. "Especially Pikachus. Is your Pokemon willing to indicate that he did it of his own free will?"
"Pikachu!" said Pikachu, bouncing up to Jenny. He looked at Fletcher.
"NONONONONONONONO!!!!" yelled Officer Jenny. "I don't need proof! I think I've seen enough now!"
"Thank you, come with me Mr Lecher."
"It's FLETCHER! FLETCHER FLETCHER FLETCHER!!!!"
Jenny cuffed him and led him away.
"Well, that was a bit of excitement wasn't it?" asked Professor Oak. "Please everyone, replace the food and other impromptu weapons and resume the party!"
Misty sank to her knees. "I can't believe it," she said.
"Exit scumbag, stage left." said Ash with satisfaction. "With any luck he won't be bothering us again!"
Misty looked up at him. "Ash..." she started.
"That was GREAT!" Richie pounded Ash on the back. "Fantastic!"
"Brilliant!" agreed Brock, shaking Gary's hand.
"Thank you," said Gary modestly. He seemed unusually pleased.
"How clever of you," said May, patting Ash's arm.
"Uh... yeah." said Ash. "Are you okay Misty?"
"I'm just... everyone was so nice and protected me and... and... I'm not going to cry I'm not going to... waaaaaahhhh!" Misty burst into tears of relief and cast herself at Ash.
"Awwww... Misty..." Ash nervously rubbed his neck as she sobbed into his jacket. "You know we all care."
"How did you all know?" Misty sobbed.
Ash looked at Richie. "That's what I'd like to know!" he said.
Richie grinned at him and began whistling. Ash rolled his eyes. "Bigmouth," he muttered. Then he looked down at Misty and his expression softened.
"Do you want me to take you somewhere more private?" he asked her quietly. Misty sniffled.
"'Kay, there's a room upstairs where you can, you know, wash your face and stuff." Ash gently led Misty up the stairs.
May fumed as she watched them go. *How could that big lummox do this!*
Richie and Brock smiled, "They really do make a great couple," Brock said.
Gary watched them go, a speculative look in his eye.
Misty splashed cold water on her face and fumbled for the towel.
"Here." Ash handed it to her. Misty wiped her face and glanced at herself in the mirror.
"So much for trying out a new look," she said ruefully. "My mascara has run and my face is all blotchy, wonderful!"
Ash put his hand under her chin, tilted her face up and leaned forward. "You don't look that bad." he said.
Misty gulped. "You're just being nice." she protested shakily.
"When have I ever just been nice to you?" Ash teased, trying to cover up his own nervousness.
Suddenly feeling bold, Misty took one step closer to him. "I bet I don't look half as good as May Oak."
"May who?" Ash quiped. His expression sobered as he looked at Misty's face. *Now,* he decided, *I have to do this properly, no more teasing.* He dropped his hand to Misty's right shoulder and put his other hand on her left. Misty's eyes widened slightly but she didn't object. Ash took a deep breath.
"Misty... I know this might be a bit quick, but there is something important I've been meaning to say to you."
"This isn't about Pokemon is it?"
Ash sweatdropped. "No, no." he assured her. "It's... " he brought his face closer to hers. "...about you and that I..."
Misty tilted her head as his mouth was millimetres away from hers. "I?" she echoed, wanting to hear him say it.
Ash and Misty sprang apart and looked around wildly for the source of the laughter ringing through the room.
"Who's there?!" Ash demanded. "Show yourself!"
"Can't you guess?" asked an arrogant woman's voice.
"Perhaps they need a clue?" said a aristocratic man's voice.
Ash clenched his fists. "Oh please God, not _them_!" he groaned. "Not _now_!"
"Prepare for trouble!"
"And definitely make it double!"
"To protect the world from devestation."
"To unite all peoples within our nation."
"To _annouce_ the joys of peace and love!"
"To extend out reach to the stars above."
"Grrr..." Ash lunged for the curtain at the other end of the room and pulled it back revealling two familiar posing figures on the window seat.
"Jesse!" cried Misty.
"James!" growled Ash.
"Hi!" Jesse, originally Jesse of Team Rocket, waved cheerfully. Then she frowned. "How many times have we told you _not_ to interrupt the motto?"
"Eh heh," said James into Ash's glaring face. "Well, we don't really have an ending anymore, so it probably is a good thing that you _did_ interrupt."
"You're just in time for the party! What timing!" said Misty.
"Yes, what timing," gritted Ash.
James smiled at him. "I'm sorry, did we interrupt a romantic moment?"
Ash and Misty went beet red.
"NO!" Misty shouted. "Of course not! Why does everyone keep making bad jokes like that?"
"So, you're back then," said Ash, giving up. "You didn't blast off again?"
"No, actually, the last few weeks have been WONDERFUL!!!" Jesse grinned. "I'll tell you all the details later," she said to Misty.
"Oh hush James, you know I'm kidding."
James relaxed. Jesse and Misty exchanged mutual smiles. Jesse fished two pokeballs out over her jacket pocket and gave them to Misty. "Here's Staryu and Starmie," she said. "Thanks for letting me borrow them."
Misty shook her head. "I was happy to help," she said. "I take it that everything went smoothly?"
Jesse beamed. "Oh, it was a bit tough, but the results..." she held up her left hand. "...made up for all the trouble!" (This will all be explained in a separate fic -Orla)
Misty yelped. "You're wearing... you guys got _married_?!"
James laughed and rubbed the back of his head. "Er... well, it wasn't exactly planned." he stared curiously at Ash. "Um... why is he banging his head against the wall?"
Everyone stared at Ash who stopped and cleared his throat. Jesse raised
an eyebrow and smirked. "Feeling frustrated?"
she asked him.
Ash glared at her. "So what are you two troublemakers doing here?" he demanded. "If you're after Pikachu..."
Jesse looked at Misty. "Didn't you tell him that we're no longer with Team Rocket?" she asked.
"Yes, but I guess he forgot."
James walked over to Ash and held out his hand. "I realise that we caused alot of trouble for you in the past." he said. "But Jesse and I are no longer interested in stealing Pokemon. Truce?"
Ash found his anger slipping away. It wasn't Jesse and James' fault that they had bad timing, and if they were really prepared to put the past behind them, then he could too. Ash reached out and firmly shook James' hand. "Truce."
"OW!" yelped James as his hand was crushed. "That _hurts_!" he whined as he nursed his crushed hand after Ash released it.
Jesse looked Ash up (and up) and down. "You've gr..."
"I KNOW!" Ash yelled and loomed over the pair (causing James to pale and bravely hide behind Jesse). "What's the big deal? It would've been weird if I hadn't grown, so will you all _stop_ making such a big deal about it!"
Jesse pursed her lips. "Sensitive aren't we, (James stop that! You're so pathetic sometimes!) well, I guess I can't call you a 'little' twerp now, how about big and muscular twerp?"
"Thanks." said Ash drily.
"Would you like to join us at the party?" Misty asked. "There's dancing and really good food."
"Food?" James perked up considerably.
Jesse sighed. "I don't know, twenty-four years old and he still acts like a dimbulb."
"But you... love James the way he is, right?" asked Misty.
Jesse went red. "Well, yeah." she admitted. "But I can still complain."
"And hit me."
Ash opened the door. "Let's go down." he said.
Jesse and James preceded him and walked down the stairs, Misty bringing up the rear. Closing the door, Ash grabbed her arm before she could go.
"Misty," he said. "I..."
"Oh my god! It's Team Rocket!!!!"
"AAAAAARGH!!!!" Ash screamed and sprinted down the stairs. "No Officer Jenny, it's okay. Pikachu, DON'T...."
Lightning blazed. Guests screamed as they were blasted by Pikachu's thunder shock. All the lights shorted out. Ash tripped down the rest of the stairs and fell on his face in the corridor where he lay for a few moments before getting shakily to his feet.
To be continued.