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 fluff ball 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 flame-thrower from Charizard.
Comments to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Part 8: Confession
"So, are you girls going to be okay?" Gary asked as he and the Cerulean sisters arrived at their hotel.
"I guess," said Lily. "I mean, it's not, like, Fletcher's gonna show up, right?"
"He was flying quite far," said Violet. "I bet he landed, like, real far away."
"I hope it hurt." mused Lily. "He, like deserves it."
Gary sweatdropped. "Uh... yeah."
"How can you two be so CALM!!!???" cried Daisy suddenly, she had been silent throughout the walk. "We've been ruined by that $@$#@!!! Cerulean City Gym is done for!"
Lily turned fearful eyes on Gary. "That's right, you said the League was going to shut us down!"
Gary wished, for once in his life, that he'd kept his mouth shut. "Er... it might not be as bad as that." he demurred.
"I think what Daisy was, like, referring to was that we're broke." said Violet soberly.
"Are things _that_ bad?"
Daisy sniffled. "The Gym is mortgaged."
Gary's jaw dropped. "Whaaat??!! How... WHY?"
"I was dumb, okay?" sobbed Daisy. "It was to get... get that... _pig_ out of prison!"
Gary swallowed. "How much?"
They told him and he blinked. Then a thoughtful look crept into Gary's eyes along with a slightly malicious gleam. "Actually, ladies, I might be able to help you out..."
"I think we're all done in here, Misty!" said Joy as she placed the last basket of flowers on the piano.
"_Finally_!" Misty stretched. "Joy, would you mind if I run out on you now? I really need to sit down quietly for a while!"
Joy smiled. "Of course, Misty! It's been a tough day for you, what with Pond Scum turning up _and_ your sisters!"
Misty grinned as she reflected on what had happened earlier. "I think my sisters learnt a _valuable_ lesson today! And I don't think Fletcher will show his face again - not if he wants to live anyway!"
"I'll bet you're relieved that whole mess is over." Joy observed.
Misty giggled. "It's strange, I was _so_ scared of Fletcher, and I keep asking myself 'why'? He was such a loser and a complete coward, hiding behind my sisters all the time!" she twisted a piece of hair around her fingertips. "I feel so much better now, the only thing to make the day perfect would be..." she stopped. "Oh, never mind, I'll see you later, Joy!" She scooped up Togepei and called to Psyduck.
"Don't be too long or you'll miss dinner!" Joy called after Misty as she dashed outside. "Brock is cooking his extra-special hotpot - with Jesse's help!"
"I'll be there!" Misty promised.
Joy frowned once Misty had left. She was sure that the 'only thing' Misty had mentioned was a certain Pokemon Master called Ash Ketchum. Joy hoped everything was going to work out with them, she'd been having her doubts despite what her sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, aunts and third cousins twice-removed kept saying.
Misty jogged out into the garden, Psyduck on her heels. Finally she pulled to a halt in front of a swinging seat overlooking the flower garden which Sasha had planted a couple of years ago. With a sigh she flung herself into the seat and began to swing. Togepei thought this was great fun and waved it's little arms around and trilled happily. Psyduck stood staring blankly at the seat and, of course, was clobbered as it swung towards him.
"You are so stupid!" Misty sighed, she stopped swinging and picked Psyduck up, placing him beside Togepei.
"Psy...duck?" Psyduck put his head on one side and gave her his familiar confused look.
Misty shook her head. "Simply hopeless!" she leaned back and gazed up at the darkening sky. "It's going to be a lovely night, guys, and a beautiful day tomorrow." she commented idly.
Footsteps sounded, startling her. Misty sat up straight and turned to face the newcomer.
Ash rounded the corner. "Misty!" he cried.
"Hi, Ash," said Misty in a calm, controlled tone. "What can I do for you?"
Ash stood in front of her. He looked nervous, rubbing the back of his head or stroking Pikachu who was on his shoulder.
"Uhmm... I need to talk to you in private." he said.
"Well, go on, there's only you here."
Ash cleared his throat. "I mean _just_ you." he said and looked meaningfully at the Pokemon.
"Oh..." Misty fought to keep her expression neutral. "Sure. Uh... Psyduck, Togepei, you two go and explore with Pikachu."
Pikachu jumped down from Ash's shoulder. "Pikapi!" it said to the other Pokemon. "Pikachu!"
Togepei and Psyduck followed Pikachu to a spot underneath some bushes, a couple of metres away from Ash and Misty.
"Do you want to sit down, Ash?" Misty asked indicated the space next to her.
Ash hesitated. "Um... well, maybe not yet." he said. "Misty, I need you to answer a _very_ important question, without overreacting, can you do that for me? Please?"
Misty stared at him. What had come over Ash? "Uh... okay."
Ash took a deep breath. "Do you love Richie?" he asked quickly.
Misty blinked rapidly. "Wha-wha-wha... WHAT?"
"I heard you!" Misty snapped. "I just didn't believe it! Do I love Richie?" she shook her head. "Of course I don't! Well, not in the way I think you're meaning anyway."
Ash closed his eyes and he exhaled in relief.
Misty reached out and grabbed Ash's hand, with a yank she pulled him down beside her. Ash's eyes opened and he looked at her.
"What made you think I was in love with Richie?" Misty asked softly.
Ash blushed. "Well, you were seemed very keen to get him alone these past few days and..."
"And naturally you thought I'd fallen in love with him."
Ash fidgeted. "He's so... so good! Fun and nice, whereas I..." his voice trailed off.
Misty smiled suddenly. "You big moron," she said lovingly. "How could I be in love with Richie when I've been in love with someone else for eight years?"
"Who?!" Ash demanded in panic.
"_You_, dummy!" cried Misty in exasperation.
"Me??!!!" Ash felt his whole body blush with delight. "Really?"
"No, I'm kidding," said Misty sarcastically. "I'm really in love with James, but since he's married I guess I'll have to have you..."
"You're not listening to me are you?"
"Me... oh, Misty!" Ash's eyes brimmed with tears. "That's so great - cos I'm in love with you too!"
"You don't say," Misty laughed at him. "Like it wasn't obvious from your reaction just now." Inside she felt like a giant bubble of happiness had inflated inside her chest. "And not to mention from last night." She teased lightly.
"Last night?" Ash looked blank.
Misty blushed and pulled The Photograph out of her pocket. "Jesse took it," she explained.
Ash stared at it, horror, embarrassment and pleasure shooting through him. "Oh my... Er... Godammit!!!"
"Huh?" Misty blinked.
"Well - I can't remember this at all!" Ash complained.
"Um... I do..." she said, staring at her hands. Suddenly she felt his arm come around her and she looked up into his face. It was very close.
"So I'll just have to make some new memories," said Ash softly, and kissed her.
Later in the evening, Ketchum house:
Brock glanced over at Jesse. "Ah... Jesse, the carrots need to be cut... um... evenly." he said.
Jesse growled. "I'm _trying_!" she waved the large kitchen knife she was using in frustration. "This isn't easy!"
Brock eyed the knife nervously. "Calm down, you're doing just _fine_," he said soothingly. "I washed the blood off the potatoes and they're _really_ well peeled!"
Jesse lowered the knife and sighed. "So are my fingers."
The door opened and Joy walked in. "Hi honey," she said to Brock giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. "How's it going?"
Brock smiled broadly at her. "Just fine, Jesse's a natural cook!"
Jesse dropped the knife in surprise. "I AM?" she squeaked. "That's news to me!"
Brock crossed his fingers behind his back. "You'll be turning out gourmet dinners in no time!" *Slight exaggeration, but I am not telling a temperamental woman with a knife that!*
Jesse looked thrilled. "Really?"
"Yes, you'll be _quite_ the housewife!" interjected a new and mocking voice.
Everyone stared at the door, Jesse gritting her teeth. May Oak smiled sweetly and stepped inside, letting the door close behind her. "Why, hello everyone!"
"Hello, May." said Joy cheerfully. "You were invited to dinner also?"
"Well, not _exactly_," said May wandering around and looking in the pots on the stove. "But since Gary and I are _practically_ family, well, we just _had_ to come along!"
"Gary's here too?" Brock cast a eye on the food. "That should be... okay." *Just*
"Mmmhmmm... he also brought those three airheads from the Cerulean City Loser Gym with him." May added.
Brock paled. "Them too??" *There is NOT enough food!* "Uh... Jesse, perhaps you should cut some more carrots!"
Jesse grimaced. "Can't we just send twit-face and her brother home?" she complained.
May stiffened. "I _am_ here you know!" she objected.
Jesse shot her a death glare. "I _know_." she said flatly.
May blinked, but recovered her composure and giggled.
"Oh, what _cute_ manners you have," she said. "But I'm afraid they won't quite fit in around here. Good dress sense and, er, _feminine_ behaviour is what we folks like in Pallet Town." She smiled and swanned out the door.
Jesse sucked in her breath and lunged forward with the kitchen knife in hand. Brock yelped and yanked her back. "Jesse! Don't do it!"
Joy also tried to placate the enraged woman. "Brock's right, Jesse. You'll go to prison if you try to knife May - not that anyone would blame you for doing so!" she added fiercely.
That stopped both Jesse AND Brock short. They stared at Joy who shrugged.
"She's a very spoilt girl," Joy stated. "It's a pity that she's one of the bridesmaids, the wedding would be so much nicer without her."
"That can be arranged." said Jesse grimly.
"Now, Jesse..." Brock started but Jesse interrupted.
"Don't worry! I won't _kill_ her, I promise." Jesse smiled evily. "Can you handle things in here, Brock? I need to find James."
"Er... sure." said Brock.
"I'll help!" Joy offered. "I think you'll find James outside with Richie and Mrs Ketchum." she said helpfully to Jesse.
"Thanks!" Jesse left through the external kitchen door.
Brock looked at Joy in reproach. "You shouldn't encourage her like that! Jesse has a lot of bad habits that aren't dying!"
Joy hugged. "Don't worry Brock, I'm sure everything will be fine. Now what do you want me to do?"
Richie shook his head. "I'm sorry James, but I really don't know how to help you."
James drooped. "I thought you were a Pokemon Master!" he whined. "You _must_ know!"
Richie shrugged. "I may be a Master, but I don't know of any way to stop your Victreebell from trying to eat your head! Sorry."
James sighed. "And it was such a _nice_ Pokemon before it evolved!"
Sasha patted James on the arm. "There, there, I'm sure your Pokemon loves you very much." she said soothingly.
Gary raised his eyebrows. "So much that it wants to _eat_ him?" he muttered.
"James!" Jesse charged up to him. "I need to talk to you!"
James stared at his wife. "I thought you were cooking." he said in confusion.
"Come on!' Jesse tugged his arm. "There's something important we need to talk about!"
James looked faintly alarmed. "Oh no..." he whispered. "Don't tell me that... that..."
"What, James?" Jesse asked in exasperation.
"WHAT???!!!" screamed Richie, Gary and Sasha.
*WHAM!!!* Jesse belted James over the head, knocking him out.
"Honestly!" she huffed stalking away and dragging him behind her. "I don't know _where_ you come up with these nutty ideas!"
Gary shuddered. "Ugh, I'm glad he was wrong. Can you imagine lots of little Jesses and James' running around?"
"Gary!" Sasha reproved him. "That's not very nice, Jesse and James are a _lovely_ couple."
Gary sighed. "There's no use in arguing with rose-coloured glasses."
Richie frowned. "Speaking of couples, has anyone seen Ash and Misty? They should be here by now!"
Gary smirked. "Maybe they found something more... er... interesting to do!" he said wickedly.
Sasha bit her lip. "But they're so young..." she murmured.
Richie sighed. "Well, I hope they get it together before I get too old to look good in a tux!"
Gary stared at him. "What are you talking about?"
"Well, I'm going to be Ash's best man of course!"
Gary snickered. "Ha! If anyone should be Ketchum's best man it should be _me_!"
Richie glared. "_You_? Ash doesn't even _like_ you!"
"I've known him the longest," bragged Gary. "And I know _lots_ of juicy secrets to spill during my speech!"
Richie moved forward, fists clenched. "Why _you_..."
"Boys!" Sasha stepped between them. "This is silly! Ash will choose on his own!"
Richie and Gary held their glares for a moment longer, then looked away.
"Sorry 'bout that." Richie apologized to Sasha.
"That's alright, dear." Sasha smiled. "Now let's go inside, it's getting a bit dark out here." she walked towards the house.
Gary and Richie followed, carrying on a running, whispered, argument.
"It'll be me!"
"And then they fleeeeew awaaaaay..." James mimicked flapping wings. "Bye bye Team Rocket!"
The table exploded into laughter. Gary banged his fist on the table and tears formed in Brock's eyes as they howled at the image.
"Oh man, talk about karma," grinned Richie. "So, how the hell did you two manage to get your hands on a Raichu? Pass the vegetables please Joy?"
"Hey... leave some for Ash and Misty," said Joy as she handed them the bowl.
"It was a wedding present from my parents to my bride," grinned James, winking at Richie. "So, I gave it to my bride!"
Richie snorted in laughter.
"Where _are_ Ash and Misty?" asked Professor Oak. "I want to discuss the Hitmonchan incident with Ash, it proves my theory that trainers habits are picked up on by their pokemon."
There was a pause.
"So... how does that explain my Victreebel?" James asked slowly.
"Ermmm... pass the salt please!"
"Like what's wrong with your Victreebel?" asked Lily.
"DON'T ASK!!!" chorused Richie and Jesse.
"Like, okay. More stew Gary?" offered Daisy.
"Don't mind if I do," said Gary. "What does that say about Misty then?"
"What does WHAT say about me?" Misty demanded, walking into the room. Ash followed along behind her, a goofy grin spreading over his face.
"Well well Ketchum, we were starting to think you'd invalidated the argument by eloping," sniggered Gary.
Brock and Richie glared at him. "It's going to be ME!" they both shouted.
"What ARE you talking about?" asked May.
"Ummm..." the entire table sweatdropped. "Nothing May."
"Ahem," said Ash. "I have an announcement to make."
Sasha held her breath.
"Misty and I are going steady!"
"You mean you weren't already?" asked Violet.
"Oh, is that all," said Brock. "I thought it was going to be something important."
"B-wha???" Ash looked devastated.
"WHAT???!!!" shrieked May, jerking to her feet.
"Sit down May," said Professor Oak.
"What's the matter May?" asked Jesse, flaunting her wedding ring. "Feeling... alone...? Abandoned...? DUMPED?!"
"Eruuuugggh..." May gritted between her teeth. She glared across the table as Ash and Misty took their seats. "Excuse me please, I believe I have just remembered an important DATE I have across town. With an INCREDIBLY handsome, talented, intelligent man."
"Oh, okay," said Ash. "Have a nice time." He started piling food on his plate.
Misty, Gary and Jesse tried not to laugh. They really did. But could you expect them to not even snicker a little bit?
As May stomped out of the room, Ash filled Misty's mug full of tea. They smiled at each other.
"Oh please," said Gary. "We're trying to eat here."
They both blushed and looked at their plates.
"Pikachu!" Pikachu scolded Gary.
"So, I guess that means you're definitely going to be staying in Pallet Town, huh Misty?" asked Lily.
"Mmmm, yeah..." Misty smiled shyly. "Besides, I'm going to help Ash build his gym. He needs all the help he can get!"
Ash didn't even complain, he merely smiled fatuously. Richie felt ill.
"But, you can borrow some of my pokemon if you need them for a while, to help get the Cerulean Gym back on its feet," offered Misty.
Ash perked up, "Great idea! Take Gabby!"
"NO!!!" shouted Lily, Daisy, Violet, Misty and Gary.
"What are you complaining for?" Ash asked Gary, taking a mouthful of his food.
"Mmmm, and I'll come and help get things back on their feet too if you like," said Misty, sipping her tea.
Daisy and Gary exchanged a look.
"Actually," said Daisy with an evil grin. "That won't be necessary..."
"Because _I'm_ taking over the Cerulean City Gym!" finished Gary.
Ash and Misty coughed, choked and spat, tea and food flying as they reacted to this extraordinary statement.
Gary and Daisy would have been laughing, had they not outsmarted themselves and underestimated the size of the surprise and the respective spitting ranges of Ash and Misty.
"AHHH! My hair is ruined!!!!"
Ash choked and clawed at his throat while Misty rapidly wiped tea off her chin.
"It's your own fault!" she shouted. "That was a mean trick and it serves you right!"
"That was a bit mean," said Professor Oak.
"But damn funny," laughed Richie. "Right Ash? Ash? Umm... is he supposed to be turning blue like that?"
Mayhem ensued as the group tried to dislodge whatever it was from Ash's throat.
"Air... air good..." Ash finally wheezed out.
"Oh Ash, I'm so glad you're alright!" Misty hugged him.
"Windpipe!" yelled Brock.
Ten minutes later, they all managed to settle down again.
"Alright," said Ash. "WHY are you taking over the Cerulean City Gym?"
"Well, Pallet Town doesn't need two," Gary glared. "You... Thief... Person who got in first!"
"What?" Ash looked insulted. "You've had plenty of time to get your lazy, arrogant backside into gear and apply..."
"But that's not important right now," said Gary hastily. "Anyway, this way I get a gym set up before you!" He grinned at Ash. "Loser."
Jesse looked at James.
"You know, this is rapidly deteriorating into the immature level!" she said.
"Hmmmm?" asked James, who was licking his plate.
Ash prepared to take umbrage at Gary's attitude and then stopped and shrugged. "Oh well," he said. "If it makes you happy..." *And keeps you FAR away...*
"Hmph!" said Misty. "I'm not sure if it makes ME happy!"
To be continued
Go ON to Part 9