This fic started out as a lengthy conversation in the Brock Fan Club, and we had so much fun with it, we decided to write it down together as a story...so here it is!
The Things We Do For Love
Episode 1: The Picture Worth a Thousand Songs
The morning sun shines high over Pewter City, but inside one particular house by the Gym, passersby can hear singing from inside. From the street, the words are unintelligible, but if they listen hard enough, they can make out the sounds of an acoustic guitar accompanying the still unintelligible lyrics. If they decide to come inside the house, they would discover the singer's identity: a brown haired boy around eighteen years old, singing to a crowd of younger children as he strums away on a beautiful yellow brown acoustic guitar.
The last lines of his performance are How will I know? Will her love show? Is she my own true love? With this, he adds a little flourish to finish. The children applaud the song for a moment, especially a girl and a younger boy, both around seven to nine years old.
"That was so pretty!" the girl raves.
"Where'd you learn that song, Brock?" the boy asks, enamored by his big brother's latest song.
"Well... Brock begins, strumming an expectant chord to signal to the other children he is going to be accompanying his own story. "I learned it thanks to a surprise meeting some months ago...." With this, he begins a calm melody as we swirl into a flashback of Ash, Dawn, and Brock walking on a road, with a lake in the distance. The Brock in the flashback is consulting the map.
"Hmm, Hiluna Town should be just on the other side of this lake." he tells the other two.
Ash, meanwhile, is thinking about eating a cheeseburger, hold the onions. He can almost taste the hot beef on the bun, the melty cheese, and the refreshing coolness of the lettuce and tomato all melding together in his mouth, making his mouth water a little. Pikachu gives his trainer a curious look, as if Ash has lost his mind.
They approach the lake, and see a girl with some Pokemon, painting the landscape. Or lakescape. We see Brock's usual reaction, of course. Ash and Dawn sigh, shaking their heads, thinking, here we go again as Brock's eyes turn into hearts. The guitar melody in the background quickly becomes a sultry Spanish tune.
He's about to go and introduce himself, when suddenly, out of nowhere, it seems, another guy approaches her, making the track fall apart and return to its original calm song.
This also seems to get Brock out of his little trance. The other two and Pikachu watch, interested.
"What's going on?" Brock asks.
"Maybe she already has a boyfriend." suggests Dawn.
They keep watching them. "Maybe not a boyfriend, but someone who wants to be her boyfriend. He reminds me a bit of like you, Brock." observes Ash.
This upsets Brock."What do you mean, he reminds you of me? I'm twice as smart as that...that stalker!" he almost yells. "It's obvious that she doesn't care about him! She's just trying to get away. See, he's stalking her!" he points out, a little more calmly. Sure enough, every time the boy approaches, the girl moves away, in an odd game of Meowth and Rattata.
Ash, Pikachu, and Dawn nod. "If he's anything like you, then I agree."
Brock seems not to hear, as he approaches the girl and her "stalker". Just as Brock approaches, he sees the boy glancing in the party's general direction, so he darts behind the bush. The boy, however, brushes off the ensuing rustling as Pokemon noises.
"That was close." Dawn notes.
"No crazy ideas." Ash cautions Brock as he picks up a thick branch and begins sharpening one end into a mouthpiece for a whistle. Not only will it make for some nice music, it would also serve the purpose of a signal if the party needs help or gets seperated, he figures.
Brock peeks from the bush and sees the girl alone with her Pokemon. Taking Ash's warning about crazy ideas to heart, he begins to approach.
"I mustered all my courage and tried not to do anything crazy." Brock narrates as his self in the flashback approaches the girl. "But deep down, I felt like I had a whole flock of Beautiflies in my stomach." The Brock in the flashback breathes deep a few times to quell the uneasy feeling, then says "Nice view out here..." to the girl.
The girl looks up from her painting. "Indeed it is...is this your first time here?"
"I wanted to bring up the other boy, but since we were talking about the lake and its nearby town, I decided against it unless she was the one to bring it up." Brock narrates as his self in the flashback answers "Yeah--we were on our way to Canalave City and decided to take a less traveled route."
Back in the brush, Dawn whispers some encouragement. "Keep it up, Brock!"
"You're doing great!" Ash agrees as he drills some fingerholes in the almost completed whistle. "I don't think I've ever seen Brock talk so calmly to a girl. Usually he just jabbers a bunch of meaningless phrases, or something." he tells Dawn.
"Maybe it has something to do with that other guy." she suggests.
Ash nods. "Probably."
"Finally, I asked a quesion to which I had to know the answer." Brock narrates, as his self in the flashback asks abruptly "What's your name?"
The girl looked up from her painting. "Trista."she starts.
"Ah, Trista. That's such a beautiful name." he replies. "And that's a beautiful painting." he compliments, admiring the lake scene taking shape on the canvas.
"I don't think he'll be calm for long." Dawn sighs.
"Pika pika," Pikachu agrees.
"He's starting to go back to his old self."
Ash looks up. "You're right on that."
"Thank you." says Trista, looking pleased. "I always like it when people compliment my work, although not very many people say the same about my name."
"They should compliment you always! Those people must be jealous they don't have names like yours!" Brock proclaimes, all the while trying oh so hard to keep the urge to do something crazy in check.
"Well, thank you again." Trista smiles. I'm hoping to get my work featured in the arts festival in town."
"A festival?" Brock is excited.
"The Hiluna Festival was started by a group of artists that settled here long ago after fleeing their homelands due to their unpopularity." Trista continues. "With the freedom to practice their art in peace, many styles of art sprung up and flourished. Before long, practitioners of other arts--musicians, actors, writers, and dancers--joined the artists here. The festival grew out of all of the artists' wanting to share their skills without fear of ridicule or persecution."
"Sounds fun!" Brock replies. "And a perfect place for a first date." he mutters to himself.
"What?" Trista is confused. "I didn't get that last thing you said."
In the bushes, Ash, Pikachu and Dawn also catch the last of the conversation. "A festival!" Dawn is excited. "And an art festival, too."She turns to Ash. "That does sound like fun. Let's go!"
Ash nods. "Although with Brock on a date, it might be a bit..."
"Awkward?" Dawn suggests.
"Hmm." Ash nods.
Dawn dismisses it with a wave of her hand. "Brock will be too busy trying to impress her, we won't even know either of them are around."
"I guess so. Although we might have to keep an eye on him, to not make a fool of himself."he sighs. "You know how he gets when there's a pretty girl around. Though he may not be able to say anything if she does date him. He sure didn't know what to say to Temaku."
"A date is just two people, Ash! That wouldn't include us." Dawn explains. "But we'd better hope he doesn't forget his wallet."she adds. "That'd be a recipe for disaster. If it's a festival, she'll be expecting cotton candy or popcorn at the very least. I know I would."
While listening to Dawn, Ash thought how lucky he was that he didn't have to ask a girl to go the festival with him. He'd probably need all his money for snacks for himself. Of, course, and Pikachu, he remembers as he lovingly pets the small electric mouse perched on his shoulder.
"I think it would also be fun if we participated in the festival!" she finishes.
"Hey, you're right!" he agrees. "Pikachu and I will come up with the best performance you've ever seen! Especially in battle!"
"But what are you going to perform?" Dawn asks. She eyes the whistle Ash made. "Play something on your new whistle."
Ash is shocked, but he bravely attempts a rendition of the air 'The Lakes of Hiluna'. While the performance is decent, Brock and Trista hear him too, botched notes and all.
Trista looks toward the bushes, and notices Ash's hat. "Is that your little brother?"she asks Brock. "How cute. If he keeps it up, he might be able to become a fine musician someday."
'I didn't know whether to say if Ash was my brother or not, I was worried about ruining my chances with Trista. She might think I had a really annoying little brother, even though she said Ash was cute, but Dawn came to my rescue, at least that's how it seemed at first' Brock narrates as his self in the flashback looks to see Dawn emerge from the bushes.
"No, they're not brothers."Dawn replies as she steps out from behind the bushes.
"Uh, your sister's spying?"asks Trista. The look on her face signals she isn't very happy.
"Not my sister." Brock hastily assures her. "Just, um, my friend's friend."
"We're all traveling on a Pokemon journey together." Dawn explains.
"Oh. How exciting." She turns to Brock. "Do you play any instrument, Brock? Or do any painting, sketching, sculpting? I guess in your case, knitting, crocheting, and embroidering are out. But acting, cooking, singing, even raising Pokemon. Those are all arts, too. Anything that takes talent. That's why battling Pokemon is also something which can be entered in the festival. You should see Mandi the Astounding. Although I think that's more towards the entertaining the spectators kind of thing, not really the battle itself, I think he's in it for the publicity, but a lot of people enjoy it."
"Mmm, that name sounds familiar." Ash muses. He thinks on this for a moment, trying to remember why the name rings a bell.
"Ha! Brock's cooking is definitely an art!" Dawn smiles, savoring the memories of some of the dishes Bock has made.
"Although against my mom he'd lose. Some dishes, anyway."Ash argues.
This causes Brock to comically fall in distress. Trista just giggles at this before asking "Do you play any instrument at all?"
"Yeah.." Brock stammers. "I play guitar." At this, he takes his instrument from his bag and nervously tunes up.
"My heart was nearly racing as I tuned up that time, I was so nervous." Brock narrates as his self in the flashback nervously tunes.
"Oh, what a pretty guitar!" Trista smiles. "Will you play something for me?"
"Just as Trista asked that, every song I knew seemed to disappear from my memory." Brock narrates as his self in the flashback swallows hard and strums a few uncertain chords. "A-any requests?" he stammers.
"My fingers couldn't even bring themselves to finger a chord, they were shaking so bad." Brock narrates as his flashback self shakily attempts to finger an A minor chord, but can't due to extreme nervousness.
Trista turns to face Brock, and sits on the grass, ready to enjoy the concert--but Brock's trembling concerns her. "Er, are you all right? You look a bit shaken? Are you coming down with something? We wouldn't want anyone else in town coming down with it. Then we might not have a festival if everyone's down with the flu, or something."
Oh, great, now she thinks I'm sick, Brock thinks as he tries to calm himself.
"I don't think I've ever seen Brock this nervous."Ash whispers to Dawn.
Dawn sighs. "This must be true love! The others must just have been crushes. This must be love at first sight. True love at first sight."
Ash nods slowly. She may have a point with Brock, however, Trista looks pretty calm and collected to him, as if listening to Brock play was something she does everyday.
"I really don't think you're feeling too well."Trista says, seriously. "And if you are coming down with something, we'd better do something to stop it now. You can't miss the festival! Here," She takes Brock's guitar, and handed it to Ash. "I know what we'll do, you'll come with me, drink some nice, warm tea, get a bit of rest, and you'll be good as new! I know a few remedies for stopping these things before they even begin. Your friends should come, too. In case you're all carrying it."she gestured to Ash and Dawn, and took Brock's arm, leading him into town. "Of course,"she went on, smiling. "you'll have to promise to compliment whatever pieces I choose to enter in the festival in return! You can't vote for anyone else!"
"I'd never vote for anyone else!" Brock confidently declares.
"I think the only thing he's coming down with is nerves." Dawn giggles.
"I think you're right." Ash agrees.
As Trista takes the Brock in the flashback to town, with the Ash and Dawn in the flashback not far behind, we are jolted out of the flashback by the doorbell "Coming!" Brock calls as he sets his guitar aside, comes to the door, and smiles once he sees who's on the stoop--Ash and Dawn have arrived with pizza for everyone. "Ash! Dawn! Come on in!" he smiles.
"Pizza!!!!" The kids mob both Ash and Dawn as they set some pizza boxes down on the table.
Some minutes later, everyone is eating pizza, save for Brock, who is preparing to play guitar again. "So what happened when Trista took you into town?" the girl asks as she bites into a slice of pepperoni pizza.
"I got checked out and was just fine, so I met up with Ash and Dawn again at the Pokemon Center..." Brock continues. He begins the calm melody again as we return to the flashback. When we rejoin the party in the flashback, Ash and Dawn are in line to get their Pokemon examined. Judging from the size of the line, the Pokemon Center is busy.
"Since Ash and Dawn were busy, I made myself comfy on a nearby couch, retrieved my guitar, wrote "TIPS" on a Styrofoam cup, and just started playing to pass the time." Brock narrates as his self in the flashback begins playing the Gerudo Valley theme. "I started off with instrumentals, but moved on to singing with my songs as more people came to listen..."
We fade to a later scene, where a large crowd of people have gathered to listen to Brock as he concludes another song. He acknowledges his applause, then launches into "Looking Out My Back Door": Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy! Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch. Imagination sets in, pretty soon I'm singing, doo, doo, doo, looking out my back door.
There's a giant doing cartwheels... Ash chimes in from his place in line.
A statue wearing high heels... Dawn also joins in the singing.
Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn! all three sing along with the guitar. A dinosaur Victrola, listening to Buck Owens, doo, doo, doo, looking out my back door...
Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band! Dawn begins to harmonize with Brock.
Won't you take a ride, on the flying spoon, doo doo doo... a few boys join in.
Wondrous apparition, provided by magician, doo doo, doo, looking out my back door! sing the other patrons in line. Nurse Joy leads the clapping as Brock breaks to solo. At the same time, the crowd swells even more as people run to join in the sing along.
By the time the solo finishes, the whole crowd joins in with the party in four part hamony as Brock continues: Tambourines and elephants are playin' in the band, won't you take a ride on the flying spoon? Doo doo doo...
Bother me tomorrow, today I'll buy no sorrows, doo doo doo, looking out my back door! Trista walks in the room as Brock solos again, and smiles as the entire Pokemon Center sings. Foward troubles, Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy! Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn! Brock slows down a little as the final chorus of Bother me tomorrow, today I'll buy no sorrows! Doo doo doo, looking out my back door! booms through the Pokemon Center.
Ash leads the clapping as Brock finishes the song to thunderous applause and calls for an encore.
Trista stands at the other end of the lobby, applauding. Brock hasn't noticed her walk in. She walks towards him, opening her purse."That was great! I'm glad you're feeling better."she smiles, dropping a few coins into the tip jar all the while.
Ash and Dawn retrieve their Pokemon from Nurse Joy, and return to the lobby."Didn't you notice this is the first time Brock hasn't noticed Joy?"Ash wonders.
Dawn has a look of superiority on her face."Of course not! I told you. It's true love."
"We didn't think we'd see you again so soon." Ash says, approaching Brock and Trista. "So, what do you think of Brock's singing?" he asked.
"Wonderful!"she told them. "I think you might just be the person I'm looking for, Brock!"
"I'll show you."she told them.
They walk out of the Pokemon Center, Trista and Brock not noticing the same guy who had been talking to her by the lake. However, Ash, Pikachu and Dawn notice him. Dawn laughs silently at him, and Ash strolls by, Pikachu waving good bye, and Ash turning his cap back, as if wanting to intimidate the boy.
Ash csn't really tell where he is, there are so many pictures in the room. All of them so life like, too, they look like the subjects could just climb out any minute. Some of the landscapes look so real, he thinks he can hear the sea and the sounds of the fields, even smell the flowers. The sculptures look just as realistic, as if they could come alive at any moment.
"You really are a good artist." observes Dawn. "I'm sure you'll win this festival with no problem."
"Thank you."Trista replies "What do you think, Brock?"
"Um, you'll win for sure." Brock stammers, still a little nervous.
Trista smiles. "The winning artist will paint a mural for the Pokemon Center in trompe l'oeil."she explains to them. "It's one of my favorite painting techniques, second only to impressionist. However, I've thought of the perfect performance for the festival." She took another painting, and shows them. It doesn't look like anything they've seen before--just colors and lines on the page.
"Oh, I get it." Ash remarks. He actually doesn't, but he doesn't want to look stupid. "It's really a work of art." Pikachu tips his head, as though trying to see better.
"It's only a practice one. I just need someone to play some songs for me to draw." Trista explains.
"Draw music?" Dawn is intrigued.
Trista nods. "I've tried several instruments, but the guitar seems to be the best. And from what I heard at the Pokemon Center, Brock is the best guitarist I've come across so far. The festival allows multiple entries. I can enter a few of my paintings for the painting competition, and then Brock and I can enter together for the art and music one. So," She turns to Brock. "Will you enter with me?"she asks.
"Uh, sure." Brock replies, half nervous, and half excited over the prospect of performing in public--not only is he performing for a girl, he's also getting a chance to prove to Ash and Dawn he knows more songs than they have seen him perform...
To Be Continued...