I'll slowly post up all the chapters of the fic here as I can adapt them to the proper format for posting on the forums. It's still not complete, but hopefully before the end of this summer (And remember, I'm Australian, so it's summer here ATM), parts 6 and 8 will be complete.



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"All she has left to live for."
(Also known as "The Calm before the storm" [If you want to know why, it'll be in my Authors notes for this series, once I get around to doing them])

Part 1 of 20 of the ongoing saga "Love is such bitter sorrow."

She couldn't even bear to look the small stone tablet in front of her. She didn't want to accept the truth. That what had happened had indeed happened. She felt a hand on her shoulder, heard a voice saying what were meant to be comforting words, but she didn't acknowledge them. To everyone else there, she may as well have been dead herself. No matter what they did, she just sat there, with her head bowed, silent and unmoving. They could well understand her sorrow. They had all been affected by the tragedy to some degree. How could they not be? No one likes to lose a friend.

"Misty, I...."
Ash feels a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he sees Brock shaking his head, with a grim expression set on his face.
"Let her grieve Ash. Right now, she probably feels like that's all she has left."
There is a brief commotion among the others there. Turning back, they could see Misty has raised her head.

She could read now the words engraved into the stone. Though she didn't want to, she forced herself to read them.
Togepi
1997-2001
Your stay among us was but short. Your time came before it was meant.

Fresh tears streamed down her already wet cheeks. Her face fell and the sobbing began anew.



"Nurse Joy, are you sure my Togepi will be alright?"
"Of course I'm sure. It just has a little cold, that's all. It should be alright in just a few days."
"HOW DARE YOU QUESTION SUCH A BEAUTIFUL AND INTELLIGENT WOMAN SUCH AS NURSE!......"
"SHUT UP BROCK!" yell Ash & Misty in unison.
"PIKA PIKA......CHUUUUUUUUU!"
Simultaneous screams of "Owowwwwwwwwwwowowowowowowowowowowow!" are released by all in the general vicinity.
Looking rather like a piece of toast, or rather, a burnt piece of toast, Ash whimpers "Next time Pikachu, can you just shock Brock and not all of us?"
"Pika pika." replies Pikachu, with an embarrassed look on its face and a laugh in its mind.

"Yes folks, it sounds like a normal day in the lives of our three heroes."

"A...AAHHH.......AAAAHHHHHHHHHHCCCCHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOO!"

"Well, perhaps not quite so normal...."

The title screen pops up and one can hear all the main characters shout "All she has left to live for!" before they start talking to each other in wonderment and worry. The title screen is quickly replaced by a man sitting at a desk with a mic and script in front of him. The narrator.

"Hey, what sort of title is that!? What's this episode about anyway!"
Flicking through the script and authors notes in front of him, he answers his own question.
"What the ****! Alright, that's it, I quit! I'm not going to narrate any fanfic series that's going to end up kMMPPHHHH!"
A strange man clad in black with a cloak of darkest green has moved up undetected behind the narrator, and now holds his hand over the narrators' mouth.
"Heh heh heh. I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises for you all. Let's get back on track shall we?"
With that business concluded, the screen resumes its focus on the characters.

As they walked down the road, Misty couldn't help but have a worried look on her face. It certainly seemed worse than a cold to her.
"Well that got us nowhere."
Brock turned his head to her. "Don't complain Misty, at least we know it isn't something worse now, don't we."
"Yeah, Brock's right Misty. Don't worry about it. Nurse Joy said Togepi would be alright, didn't she."
"Well, I guess...."
"ACHOO!"
Misty takes a tissue from her pocket and wipes Togepi's nose, which is all red from repeated sneezing.
"I wish Nurse Joy could have given us some PokéPanadol or something. Togepi just seems to be getting worse and worse."
As usual, Brock races to the defence of his "perfect girl". "Well it's not like it's her fault she was all out now, is it? Considering the amount of trainers who've passed through here in the last few days, it's a surprise she was able to spare us the tissues."
Misty sighs. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I just hope that the next town's Pokécentre won't be so understocked. Where are we going anyway?"
"Back to Pallet Town! It's been ages since I was last home. I wonder how my Mum & Professor Oak are doing..."
"ACHOO!"
Misty sighs again. "Oh Togepi..."
She again wipes Togepi's nose, after which it gives out a few sniffles. "Is there even a Pokécentre in Pallet yet?"
"No, not yet I don't think." Brock replies. "Don't worry though, Professor Oak should be able to give it something. We could always take a side trip to the Pokécentre in Viridian on our way if we had to."
"Oh, not more walking." She turns to face Ash. "I wouldn't have to be walking if it wasn't for you!"
"Oh brother, here we go again..."
"Hey, I said I'd pay you back for it didn't I?"
"Well I haven't seen any money yet! You would think that after all you've somehow managed to do that you would have saved up enough to pay me back by now!"
"Excuse me, but all that money is what goes into feeding you! If you didn't pig out on desserts so much whenever we stopped for a meal!..."
"WHAT!!!!"
"And besides, you wouldn't even have Togepi if you hadn't started following me around. Are you saying you'd rather I had Togepi instead?"
"Stop twisting my words! You know that I would never!...."
"Hey now you two, stop fighting already. It's going to start getting dark soon and I'm not setting up camp all by myself, not if you expect to eat tonight !"
Both Ash & Misty looked around, seeing that the sun was indeed setting. As usual, they had both lost track of time while engrossed in their argument. Under protest, they stop and started to unpack their things, glaring at each other.

Hours passed without any incident. Not a word was spoken between either Ash or Misty while the camp was being set up, or during dinner. During the whole time, Togepi continued to sneeze, becoming even more miserable as time passed, just as Misty became more and more worried for it.
"ACHOO !"
"Oh Togepi.... I wish I could do something to make you feel better."
Togepi managed a weak "Toge." before it not so weaked sneased again with a loud "A..A..A...ACHOO!"
Misty wipes Togepi's nose, which is becoming redder by the minute.
"Don't worry Togepi. Colds don't last that long. You'll be alright soon enough."
Ash couldn't help staring at Misty while all this was happening. This was a side of Misty he didn't get to see that often. Whenever it did show, he couldn't help but thinking she looked cute. He just had to be careful not to let Misty see him staring at her like this. If she did, it would probably be the last time he saw anything, let alone her compassionate side.
Ash was broken out of his reverie by Brock walking up behind him. He turned to face his friend with a blush and a guilty look on his face. "Well, well, well... What do we have here?"
"Um...well....you see......it's like...."
"I wonder what Misty would think about this....."
"Think about what Brock?"
Both Ash & Brock jumped at the sound of Misty's voice, before Brock looked up with a cheeky look on his face.
"Just..."
Ash's hand shot up and covered Brock's mouth.
"AsMMMMMMPPHHHH..."
"NOTHING, NOTHING!"
Brock grabbed Ash's hand and freed his mouth.
"Nothing my foot! Ash.."
Ash quickly whispered "Professor Ivy" into Brock's ear, which gave the desired results. Brock curled up into a ball on the ground, mumbling to himself "Don't mention that name." Misty in the meanwhile had lost interest in the two as she answered the call of another of Togepi's sneezes. Ash wiped his brow of the sweat that had formed from the close call, and went back to watching Misty.

With the exception of Brock, still lying on the ground curled up into a ball, who Ash just threw a blanket over, they all went to sleep soon after. Their sleeps were restless, with them all being awoken more than a few times within the first hour by Togepi sneezing. The sneezing did stop though, and they all fell into much needed slumber.

The next morning, Misty was the first to wake up, and she did that with a load "Yawn!"
Turning over on her side, she could see that Togepi was still curled up into its shell.
"Morning Togepi. Feeling any better?"
Togepi didn't respond.
"He must be tired. I can't blame him, not after all we've been through recently. I may as well let him sleep in. The best cure for a cold minus Chicken Soup IS bedrest after all."
She moved to stroke Togepi's face, but her hand shot back after only a slight touch. Togepi was cold. Deathly cold.
"Togepi! Togepi, wake up!"
She started to try and shake it awake, but to no avail. Togepi made no motion other than the rocking caused by Misty shaking it. By now, tears were streaming down Misty's cheeks as she realised the enormity of the situation. Her frantic screams had awoken the others, and they now surrounded the crumpled form of Misty as she sobbed next to the still, silent form of Togepi. They too tried to revive Togepi, Ash showing that he indeed did have a brain in there somewhere when he tried to use CPR. Their efforts did nothing, for there was nothing they could do. Silently, they all sat down next to Misty, their faces showing their anguish & shock. Ash put his hand on Misty's shoulder and squeezed. She turned her face up, then suddenly threw herself onto Ash's shoulder, crying. Almost by reflex, Ash's arms enfolded Misty into a tight embrace, before he too layed his head on her shoulder and wept. Within moments, Brock surrounded them with his arms and they lent on him, while Pikachu climbed onto Misty herself and gave her the best hug he could considering his short arms. By the time they all separated, they were all soaked from their tears. None of them could believe this had happened. None of them wanted to believe.



The hill was bare now but for four things. The gravestone of Togepi, their dear friend and companion, a small oak tree, before which the grave stood, and two people. Misty, still grieving by Togepi's final resting place, and Ash, who had refused to leave his friend to morn alone. Slowly, he walked up to her and knelt down, before starting to speak to her in a soft voice. It took him more than a few goes, but he finally managed to get out what he was trying to say.
"Misty, I know you must be feeling like there is nothing left for you now but to morn for Togepi. We all feel like that. I just want you to know, that I'm here for you if you need me. I'll always be here for you Misty."
Misty didn't move, nor did she say a word. If she had ignored him, or simply hadn't heard, Ash did not know. All he did know was that he would keep his promise, and when Misty did finally leave the grave, Ash was still there, waiting for her.



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"What she wants."
(Also known as "Ash's unusual evening." [Yes, that IS a reference to all those "Unusual Morning" stories people have made. If you got the joke there, you have been warned.])

Part 1 of the 5 part mini-series "There for you."

Part 2 of 20 of the ongoing saga "Love is such bitter sorrow."


She worried about him. What her son was doing, while noble, bordered on obsession. She had tried to explain to her son many times that Misty would be better off in the hands of a professional carer, but Ash would have nothing of it. He had made it his own responsibility to care for her, to dress her, carry her, feed her and bathe her, and he wasn't willing to give up those responsibilities.

Ms. Ketchum looked out the window into the black night sky, and at the moon shining brightly up above.
"What am I supposed to do?"
But she already knew the answer. There was nothing she could do for him. Not until he wanted to be helped. And so she went back to washing up. There was nothing else she could do.

He worried about them. He hadn't seen Ash or Misty for months, not since the funeral. He'd called a few times, but they hadn't talked to him, though Ms. Ketchum had told him about what was happening. But he refused to accept that. They had all gone through rough times while they still travelled together, and not once had any of them given in to despair. But then again, they had never had one of their closest friends die before. He'd taken it better than Ash or Misty had, mainly because it had happened to him before, when his Mother died, where he'd had to take care of his little brothers and sisters and be like a surrogate parent to them. It was sort of like that now he supposed. Ash and Misty were like a little brother and sister to him, and he'd been a big brother to them all the time while they were travelling. Misty had no parents, and a family that you could hardly call a family, and while Ash had a mother, he had never known his father. He'd been like a surrogate parent for them, and he couldn't help but be concerned for them.

Brock looked out the window into the black night sky, and at the moon shining brightly up above.
"What am I supposed to do?"
But he already knew the answer. There was nothing he could do.
"Waaaaaaah! My dress!"
Well, nothing he could do for Ash and Misty anyway. But his little brothers and sisters,...
"Now you know I'm no good at sewing. Ask Brock to help you."
...and father, certainly be kept him busy.
"Alright. I'll fix it up right after I've finished washing the dishes."
And so he went back to washing up. There was nothing else he could do.

He worried about them. Pika-pi and Pikachaa weren't the same. Not since what happened a few months back. Not since Pipipi died. Pika-pi never had time for him anymore. He never played with him, made food for him, or even used him in a battle. He hadn't battled anyone full stop. He, who had once been so set on becoming a Pokémon Master. Now, he couldn't care less for Pokémon. He spent every day watching over and caring for Pikachaa. Pikachaa. She refused to let go of her grief and continue to live a life quickly passing her by. Pikachu hoped that Pika-pi wouldn't be like that if he died. He'd want him to live his life and be happy, not to be like this. Not like Pikachaa.

A tear rolled down his cheek as Pikachu looked out the window into the black night sky, and at the moon shining brightly above.
"Pika Pika Pi Cha Pikachu Chu Pi Pikacha?"
But he already knew the answer. There was nothing he could do for them. Not until they wanted to be helped. And so he went back to sleep. There was nothing else he could do.

He worried about her. She just hasn't been the same. Not since what happened a few months back. Not since Togepi died. Misty seemed incapable now of relating to anyone. She passed her days just lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling with unblinking eyes, and cried herself to sleep every night. She had to be physically carried downstairs at mealtime's and forcefed. She never resisted, but it was if her body had gone limp. As if she had lost the will to live. There was nothing he could do for her. Until Misty herself wanted to be helped, no one would be able to help her.

Ash took one final look outside before he closed the curtains and got into bed.
"What am I supposed to do?"
Closing his eyes, he settled down to get some well deserved sleep.

Ash didn't know how long he'd been asleep when he was woke up to the sound of a door opening. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours. As he opened sleepy eyes, he saw light. Artificial light, not the soft light of dawn, was streaming in from the hallway, through the open door to his room. Against this backdrop of light was a silhouette of a person, who entered the room and closed the door behind them, plunging the room into darkness once more. Ash froze in place, trying to not show he was awake. Who was this? A thief, creeping in, in the dead of the night? He could feel the quilt being lifted up on the other side of the bed, before there was a thump sound beside him, and the quilt settled back into place. He could feel someone up against him, a face buried into his back. And.......tears?
"Misty?"
He rolled over to be confronted by the image of Misty, a goddess on earth. Her red hair was unbound and cascading down her slender shoulders. Her face was the image of perfection. Her small nose, cute and dainty. Her lips, warm, red and inviting. Her blue eyes.... red and puffy, large and full of tears. Tears that were streaming down her cheeks and onto his sheets and pillow. No words escaped her mouth. Only sobs. She looked up into his eyes, then threw herself onto his shoulder. Almost by instinct, almost by reflex, Ash wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly to him, stroking her hair and whispering consoling words. Minutes passed, and still the sobbing continued. It was the last thing either of them heard before they went to sleep, there in each others arms.

She worried about them. She'd woken up the day before and not found either Ash or Misty downstairs. Usually, they'd already be down there, with Ash feeding her. Sometimes they might be finished before she came down, but there wasn't anyone in the bathroom. Ash couldn't be sleeping in. He used to, but that was long ago, long before what happened. These days, he'd be up with the break of dawn, eating breakfast and getting ready for when Misty woke up. She went up to his room, and opened his door. She wasn't prepared for the sight she saw. Ash and Misty were lying there, sleeping in each others arms. Misty, for the first time in months, with what appeared to be a smile on her face. How could he take advantage of her like this? Then she saw. He hadn't. They were both still in their bedclothes and there were none of the telltale smells present. They hadn't done anything but sleep together. Quietly, she left the room, not wanting to disturb them. Let them have a moment of peace she thought to herself. They deserve that at least.

This turn of events continued as almost a nightly ritual for the next few months. Every night, Misty would leave her bed, and make the short walk down the corridor to Ash's room, where she would get in bed with him, bury her face in his shoulder and cry while Ash held her in his arms. Every morning, for the first month at least, Ms. Ketchum would check up on them, to make sure that they hadn't done anything that they shouldn't be. After then, she stopped checking up on them, satisfied that they wouldn't be doing anything of the sort anytime soon. She shouldn't have been so trusting, for such is the nature of both the young, and people in such great pain that they will seek refuge from their sorrows in the arms of another, and such did Misty do.

He worried about her. She just hasn't been the same. Not since what happened late last year. Not since Togepi died. Misty seemed almost incapable of relating to anyone. There hadn't been much progress with her. They'd gone to a doctor a few months ago, at his mothers instance. The doctor had wanted to put her on Prozac, but after they refused he instead put her on a course of something called Fluoxetine. Whatever that was, Ash certainly didn't know. Some anti-depressant he supposed. Personally, Ash thought the guy was a quack. If what he had gave Misty was helping, it didn't show. She still passed her days just lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling with unblinking eyes, and crying herself to sleep every night. She still had to be physically carried downstairs at mealtime's and fed by someone. She either couldn't or more probably wouldn't chew or swallow for herself, and it took a long time to feed her the most basic of meals. She still doesn't actively resist, more like passively resist, as her body went totally limp. It had been as if she had lost the will to live. But now he wasn't so sure. She'd shown that she was still able to walk, and that was an achievement, and an amazement, for she hadn't moved under her own power for many months. She'd done no exercise and eaten only a bare minimum of food, food that had to be forced into her by Ash because of her refusal to eat for herself. He hated having to do it. While he knew Misty needed to eat, he also knew that it was hurting Misty, both because she didn't want to eat it, because she didn't want to live, and because her throat lay largely unused due to her self imposed silence. And while she still didn't talk...... it was as if she had finally made a choice. But what choice? Who was he kidding, there was nothing he could do for her. Until Misty herself wanted to be helped, no one would be able to help her. But maybe........

Ash took one final look outside before he closed the curtains, got into bed and closed his eyes. Misty would be coming in only a few minutes.
"What am I supposed to do?"
He already knew the answer. He would do exactly what he'd been doing every night for the past few months. There was nothing else he could do.

He heard the door open and close and he knew that Misty had come to join him again. With his eyes still shut, he felt the quilt being lifted up, a thump sound beside him, and the quilt settling back into place. The familiar form of Misty snuggled up against him, as she buried her face into the crook of his arm. Wait a sec...... Snuggled? He opened his eyes in time to see her arm go around him. She'd never done this before! He looked down, to find her already looking up at him. He couldn't see her clearly in the dim light, but what he saw shocked him. Her eyes weren't red and puffy, but that wasn't what shocked him. She wasn't crying, but that wasn't what shocked him either. It was the thin, sad smile on her lips. Her mouth moved, but if she said anything, Ash couldn't hear it. The arm she had layed over him now gripped his left shoulder, and she pulled herself up towards Ash's face. Slowly, softly, sweetly, their faces came together in a kiss.

Ash didn't know what to do. He'd often dreamt of this moment. Not exactly like this of course, but still, he had dreamt of it. Those dreams didn't give him any idea of what to do next. He couldn't shake the feeling that he was taking advantage of Misty, that he shouldn't be doing this. But she had started it, hadn't she? Didn't that make it alright? Their kiss broke and both their heads moved slightly back from each other. Ash made his decision. This time, they kissed each other, instead of her kissing him. He didn't resist as Misty's hands started to roam, slowly unbuttoning his shirt and removing his clothing. Neither did she resist when he did the same. They broke off their kiss again, and Ash saw that Misty's smile had grown more noticeable. Lovingly and sweetly, they drew together for another kiss.

They continued like this for several hours, their hands roaming over each others bodies, their kisses sweet and tender against each others lips. For Ash, it was like a drug. He lost all sense of time and place. Everything coalesced into the pleasure of the moment, and that was all he could concentrate on. That, and the kisses he shared with Misty. A slight pain brought him back to some measure of reality, and he found Misty now astride him, and he within her. It was the look in Misty's eyes that acted to sober Ash. Her eyes were empty. It was as if she had lost her soul and her body was now an empty husk, going through the motions. With that any pleasure he may have had from what they had just done was completely and utterly lost. As Misty settled to lay against his chest and fall asleep, with Ash still within her, Ash couldn't help but be horrified at his own actions. He had taken advantage of Misty. He vowed that he would never let something happen like that again, though he realised that his promise meant little. As far as he was concerned, the damage was already done. The fact that it had been her who had initiated their act never came into his mind, as he drifted off into a restless sleep, filled with nightmares fuelled by his own self-loathing.

The next day, Ash continued to go through the motions of what he had done for almost a year, getting Misty dressed, feeding her and bathing her. Not once did he even consider telling his mother what happened. Indeed, he went to great lengths to prevent her from finding out, washing his sheets and quilt and airing out his room before his Mother had even woken up. He knew she wouldn't suspect anything from these actions, used as she was now to his new industrious nature as he cared for Misty. He also knew what would happen if his mother found out, and found that he couldn't even conceive of not being able to be with Misty, as would likely happen if his mother did discover what had happened. And so, when finally day turned into night, Ash knew what he had to do.

He heard the door open and close and he knew that Misty had come to join him again. His eyes were open this time, and he sat up and watched as Misty walked towards the bed. As she stood beside it, she unfastened the buttons on her flimsy nightie and let them drop, standing naked before Ash. She them lifted the quilt, only to have her hand caught by Ash.
"No Misty. We can't do this. It's not right."
She looked at him, with the same vacant look as the night before, and then settled down in the bed beside Ash, starting to caress his chest with her free hand, which was swiftly caught by Ash.
"MISTY. WE CAN'T DO THIS."
She stared straight into his eyes, but the look in hers didn't change. Nevertheless, she wasn't struggling as she had been a moment ago, and Ash released her wrists. Moments later, she reached up to Ash's face and started to stroke it, before moving her face closer. Ash took hold of the hand stroking him and moved back from her.
"MISTY, don't you understand? I can't do this. We shouldn't be doing this. It's not right....... I love you too much to hurt you again Misty."

His response seemed to strike a chord in Misty, as the expression in her eyes immediately softened and lost a measure of the emptiness within it. A smile of contentment slowly crept onto her face, and she settled down to lay against Ash's chest and closed her eyes. A look of happiness was evident on her face, something that Ash had not seen in a long time. And with that look on her face, Misty drifted off into a restful sleep.

Ash meanwhile stayed awake. He thoughts were on what had just happened. What had happened to effect this change in Misty? What had he done? He played the nights events over and over in his mind before he finally realised exactly what he had done. Three small words had made the difference. "I love you". When Misty had Togepi, Togepi had given her a kind of unconditional and total love. When he died, Misty must have felt as if there was no one who loved her anymore. But she was wrong. He loved her. He had finally admitted to her what he had felt for a long time. What he couldn't understand was why Misty had chosen him. If it had been Brock who had been taking care of her, would something like this have happened? Would this have happened if Togepi was still here today? Was he taking advantage of her, or was this something that was meant to happen?
Ash....."
He looked down at her, to saw that she was talking in her sleep. He smiled. She was talking, for the first time in almost a year, she was talking. He settled down next to her and held her like he had used to, and then he too drifted off into sleep.

He still worried about them. But nowhere near as much as before. Pika-pi and Pikachaa weren't the same, and they could never be the same again. But Pikachu could accept that, and he was glad that his friends were getting on with their lives, and learning again what it was like to be happy. Pika-pi had time for him again. He might not play with him as much as he once used to, but then, he still spent much of each day watching over and caring for Pikachaa. Pikachaa. She had not let go of her grief, but it was no longer her sole reason for existence. The warm hugs she and Pika-pi shared when they thought no one was watching were evidence enough of that.

A tear of happiness rolled down his cheek and a smile crept onto Pikachu's face as he looked up into the bright noonday sky, with the sun shining brightly above.
"Pikachu Pika Cha Pi Pikacha Cha Pikachu Pika."
"Bulbasaur Bulba? Saur Suar Bulbasuar."
"Psy........duck."
Pikachu turned to the others and saw that they had started a game of tag.
"Pika!"
And with that, he raced over to play with the others.



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"What she feels."

Part 2 of the 5 part mini-series "There for you."

Part 3 of 20 of the ongoing saga "Love is such bitter sorrow."


If you have not yet read "All she has left to live for", or "What she wants", the first and second parts of "Love is such bitter sorrow", go read them now. Unlike parts 1, 7 & 17, this cannot be read as a standalone, at least, not without missing out on necessary backstory.

With her snuggled firmly against his side and in his arms, Ash and Misty, together with Pikachu, who was sitting on Ash's other shoulder, walked down the long corridor of the apartment building towards the current address of an old friend. It had been so long since they had last seen each him. They both couldn't help but wonder what had happened to him in the last few years. The last time they had seen each other was......well......a time that conjured up many painful memories. Togepi's funeral. Almost 3 years ago.
"Well, here's the place. Hope that he's home." Ash said as they reached the apartment they were looking for.
"Me too. The hotels around here certainly leave a lot to be desired." Pikachu nods sagely. "Pika."
A mischievous grin creeps onto Misty's face.
"Still,........ they do have SOME advantages, don't they Ashy boy."
And with that, she pinches his butt. Not too lightly either I might add. In any case, her pinching his butt startles Ash, causing him to jump, and sending Pikachu tumbling to the ground.
"Pika! Pikapika chu!!"
"Oh, I'm sorry Pikachu. Here, why don't you come over here and I'll carry you?" Misty offered.
Pikachu glared at her, before racing back up to Ash's shoulder. "One of these days, I'm going to start shocking them again." he thought to himself. It made sure though that it gripped Ash's shoulder tighter this time. Perhaps a bit more tightly than he needed to.
"Ow! Pikachu!
"Pikapi pika."
"Grr." Ash turned back to Misty. "Yeah, I guess they do. Still, wouldn't you rather sleep on a nice soft bed than those horrible ones we were forced to sleep on last night?"
Pikachu rolled its eyes. He'd gotten used to being ignored occasionally. These days, Ash's mind wasn't always on Pokémon training. Instead, it was always on Misty.
"Well, yeah, but who was doing any sleeping last night?"
Ash's cry of "MISTY!" reverberates throughout the hallway. Misty just giggles. Pikachu just shakes its head and lets out a small "pika.". He loved the fact that they had finally got together, but their antics sometimes really got on his nerves.
"You're so easy to tease."
"Excuse me?"
Ash and Misty both let out simultaneous cries of "Waa!" at the unexpected interruption. The door of the apartment was now open, with a young lady standing there.
"Can I help you?"
Ash stutters out a reply. "Oh, um, sorry miss. We must have got the wrong apartment or something. I could have sworn this was the third flo.."
Either that or Brock's fortunes have seriously changed Ash thinks to himself. The girls sudden loud cry of "Ash?!?" however, interrupts him from making further excuse. Taking a closer look, Ash & Misty suddenly burst out with an equally loud "DUPLICA?!?", and Pikachu with his own "PIKA?!?"
Both of the two groups stood still for a moment and Ash & Misty took this time to get a better look at her, as she no doubt did with them. It was obvious now that this lady was indeed their old friend Duplica. Just as they remembered her. Well, there were some differences. She was older for a start, and she was wearing her hair longer, and, oh yes, she was wearing a nightgown. A loose one at that. One that didn't leave much too the imagination. Ash would be having a nosebleed by now if he hadn't already seen Misty in more revealing situations. Duplica's Ditto was still there as well, blobbing around near her feet. Suddenly, a familiar voice call out in the background.
"Who is it love?"
You've GOT to be kidding Ash, Misty and Pikachu all thought simultaneously. It couldn't possibly be..... Not with..... Surely she had more taste than....
A guy walks to the door from inside the apartment, talking to Duplica.
"What's wrong honey? Who is i........... ASH?!
MISTY!?! PIKACHU!?! What're you doing here!?!"
Ash, Misty and Pikachu all, quite understandably, took this perfect opportunity, to faint. The idea of Brock actually GETTING the girl for once (And from the look of things getting her between the sheets as well.) was far too much for their minds to handle. Duplica let out a loud sigh.
"Brock, why does this happen EVERYTIME someone who knows you sees us together?"
Brock blushes and gets a guilty look on his face.
"Ah, um, ah, I couldn't imagine why darling !"
Duplica simply shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Ditto, not really having a head to shake, just rolls its eyes.
"Yeah, I'm sure you can't."
"Ditto!"
"Heh heh heh."
"Well what's up with those two anyway? You never told me they were an item."
"They aren't, or at least, they weren't when I last saw them. I guess they finally admitted their feelings for each other."
Duplica gets an amorous look and a mischievous smile on her face.
"Like us."
General scenes of a lovey-dovey nature between Brock & Duplica follow, as Ditto, who is getting thoroughly sick of being ignored by its trainer, goes over to the kitchen to grab a bite, knowing that Brock and Duplica will be quite awhile. I'll spare you all the horror of Brock actually having a romance. One wonders what he must have done to get the girl, before quickly deciding that one may be better off not knowing. We skip to later that night, after Brock & Duplica have remembered that they have guests, and have used smelling salts (Which, due to this happening so often, they have an abundance of.) to wake Ash, Misty and Pikachu up.

"Hey Ash? You okay dude?"
"Ugh. Yeah, I think so. I just had this weird dream. I thought that you and Dup....."
Ash sees Duplica, and promptly faints again.
"Dang. That's the third time he's fainted." Brock observes.
Duplica shrugs and says "I guess the shock was simply too much for him."
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean!"
"Oh come on Brock." says Misty. "We all know how you used to be."
Pikachu nods its head. "Pika."
"She's right Brock. I wouldn't believe it myself if I didn't know it first hand."
Brock just glares at her. "Grrrr."
Duplica ignores him. "Why don't we just let Ash sleep off the shock?" she suggests.
Misty doesn't seem too keen on the idea. "Well......"
"It's not as if the smelling salts are working anyway."
Misty lets out a sigh. "I guess you're right."
"Come on, we can all talk about what's happened since we last saw each other while we're waiting for Ash to wake up.
"Yeah. I'd like to know how you and Ash got together."
"Well, you see.........

The night is passed by them all reminiscing and discussing what had happened to them since they had all last met. Even by the time they were tired enough to stop and go to bed, Ash had not yet woken up, so they all helped and dragged him to the guest bedroom.

The next morning.......
Ash yawned and stretched out. Boy, THAT was a weird dream. As he opens his eyes and wipes the sleep out of them, he sees an already dressed Misty standing above him.
"Ugh. Morning Mist. I just had the strangest dream."
"It wasn't a dream Ash. Brock really did get together with Duplica."
Ash's eyes glaze over and he starts to fall back onto the lounge.
"Oh no you don't! You aren't fainting on me again."
Misty slaps Ash once in the face and gets no response. Seeing that that tactic won't work, she hits him once more, this time in the place where the sun doesn't shine. Hard. Now THAT woke him up. In the kitchen, the sound of the slap and Ash's subsequent scream starts making Brock reminisce about all the times he was rejected. Back in the lounge room, Ash has come to his senses. Well, almost.
"OWWWW!!!! WHAT?!? You're kidding, right? Brock couldn't have..."
"Could have and more it seems."
"More? What do you mean more?"
Misty raises her eyebrows. A look of understanding washes over Ash's face.
"OH. THAT more. Okayyyyyyy. Um, are you SURE it wasn't a dream. If fact, are you sure you're alright? I mean, Brock & DUPLICA? If they did get together, where've they gone?"
"Yes Ash. I'm certain. Brock & Duplica have gotten together. As for where they are, look behind you."
He follows her instructions, and looks over his shoulder to see Brock & Duplica walking closer, arm in arm.
"I know it might be a bit hard to believe Ash, but it's the truth." explained Duplica.
"You two could have waited outside until I was finished explaining everything to Ash to know."
Duplica shrugs. "Well it's not like we've done any harm. See, he hasn't fainted yet."
"What I'd like to know is WHY is it so hard to believe that I might get the girl?!?"
Misty giggles. "I think you just answered your own question there Brock."
"HEY!"

The day passed with no real incident. Brock, Duplica and Ditto showed Ash, Misty and Pikachu around Pewter, showing them the changes since they were last there. It started raining halfway through the day though, so they had to return to Brock & Duplica's apartment before they had planned, before they had the chance to go most of the places they had wanted to.

And so, with nothing else to do for the day, the two couples exchanged pleasantries and their Pokémon, talking about what had happened since they had last seen each other and so forth, all steering well clear of one certain topic until a time much later that night, after Brock & Duplica had the chance to get a bit tipsy off what little wine they had. (And I mean HAD. They finished all the bottled.) Alright, maybe Brock was more than just a little tipsy. Ash & Misty have both become more than a little uneasy of them, as they start to become more and more effected by the drink. Both of them wonder if this is how Brock managed to get Duplica between the sheets in the first place.

"Well, *hic*, oh, 'scuse me. What I really want to know, is how you two *hic* got together ! I mean, what happened? Did he ask you out, or was 'id you who fff..fess up to him Misty?"
(Hmmm, not quite the topic you were expecting, was it? ;) )
Duplica's voice is rather slurred from being so Tipsy.
"Ah, something like that."
"Ah. I fhought so. So what'dya two do?"
"Um, well..." stammers Misty in reply.
Brock interrupts before Misty can finish. "Hey, wait a second.
Somethinks not light here. Exactly WHEN did you two start going out? You weren't doin' anythan behind my back while we we're stil in Johto, were you?"
"Of course we weren't." denies Ash.
"Than when could you two possibly get together? I mean, I don't know what's happened to you two since tog, tego, toge, ah geez, ya know, thhat egg thing, went weeeeeeeeeeeee plop." Brock makes suitable hand gestures to go with his sound effects. Misty face contorts into an unreadable look, while Ash's boils up in anger.
(Now THAT's more like the topic you were expecting, wasn't it. Geez, Brock can be an arsehole sometimes, can't he? ;) )
"Brock!" yells Ash, as Misty runs out of the room with tears streaming down her face.
"Woahhhh. Wa'hs 'ith 'er?" comes back the slurred reply.
"Now look what you've gone and done Brock. You've gone and made Misty cry. And people call me an insensitive jerk."
Ash storms out of the room towards where Misty fled to. In the dining room, Brock & Duplica could hear Ash comforting Misty. Or at least they would be able to hear them if they weren't engrossed in other alcohol induced activities. I don't think I need to explain to most of you on what those are. Let's just say you'll find a full description in part 20.
(Tentatively titled "Lemon Tree very pretty and the Lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon tree is impossible to eat." BTW. I think you all understand now. (And yes, for you people who know where that line comes from, that IS a hint of what is to come. HEH HEH HEH.))

The next morning.....
Ash & Misty are standing at the front door with their bags, facing Brock & Duplica. Pikachu is on Ash's shoulder, while Ditto lounges at Duplica's feet.
"We're leaving." announces Ash.
"So soon?" Duplica asks. "But you only just arrived two days ago. We haven't had the chance to show you around Pewter properly yet. You haven't seen Brock's brothers and sisters. You..."
Ash shakes his head. "I'm sorry, but after last night, I think it might be better if we just left."
Brock nods. "Yeah, I can guess how you probably felt."
Ash glares at him. "You have no idea."
And with that, Ash & Misty walked down the hall with her in his arms and leaning into his shoulder. Neither of them spoke until they had entered the elevator to go down to the lobby and the doors had shut, despite the calls from Brock & Duplica.

Duplica turns to Brock. "Do you have any idea what happened last night?"
"Only the obvious. We got ourselves drunk again."
"Well, yeah, but there must have something else that we did. I mean, they looked really upset."
"Don't ask me to think right now, alright? I've got the mother of all hangovers."
"Same here. I guess we'd better phone them later and apologise."

"I can't believe Brock & Duplica would do something like that, let along Brock say something like that. You would have thought he would have realised how sensitive you are about that, even if he was drunk. It's not the kind of thing you forget."
Misty just stands silently in her corner of the elevator.
"Mist? You okay Mist?"
"I..I'll be okay. It's just that, what he said brought up some....some painful memories."
Neither of them spoke again as they began the long drive home.


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