"Boy, what a great day!" Ash practically sang out. "I’ll bet I catch a million Pokemon today! I can just feel it! Nothing can possibly go wrong."
"Ash?" Brock tapped him on the shoulder. "Two things. One, the last time you said that, it started to rain, we nearly ended up falling over a waterfall, and you caught the flu. Don’t you remember?"
"Oh yeah." Ash frowned, thinking that one over. "Well," he ammended, "Nothing can possibly go wrong today! I can feel it."
Misty sighed. "Mr. Certainty… I’ll bet not a single thing goes right today!"
"I bet you’re wrong!" Ash shot back. "Today’s going to be great! I can feel it!" He turned back to Brock. "So what was the second thing, Brock?"
"Well…" Brock smiled in a deceptively casual manner. "If you let breakfast get cold, then you’re not going to see the rest of the day!"
"Wah – OK, OK!" Ash practically ran past his older friend to get to the food. "Let’s eat!"
"Ash! Hey Ash!" A running figure waved at them, taking Ash’s attention from the tempting smells in front of him. "That is you! Remember me?"
"Richie!" The food forgotten, Ash left the table and ran to greet his old friend. "Long time no see. So what have you been doing since we left the League competition?"
"Oh, training… You know, the usual." Richie grinned. "I saw your cooking fire, and thought I’d come say hi. I didn’t know I’d be seeing you again, though. You guys haven’t changed a bit!"
"Hi Richie." Misty came over, smiling. "You haven’t changed much, either."
"Thanks… I think." He laughed. "Good to see you again, Misty. And Brock, too. Hi!"
"There’s plenty of breakfast if you want to join us," Brock said, by way of a greeting.
"Sure, don’t mind if I do!" Richie slid into a place at the table. "Wow, this looks great! You must be some cook, huh, Brock?"
Brock grinned. "You could say that."
"Mmm… you bet!" Ash took his place at the table again and picked up a fork enthusiastically. "Time to eat!"
"Well, well, well. If it isn’t the sucker squad." A familiar laugh sounded from behind them. "I guess losers like you don’t bother getting up early to catch more Pokemon, eh, Ash?"
The fork dropped back onto Ash’s plate, and he spun around. "Gary," he growled, facing down his rival. "What are you doing here?"
"Looks like just about everybody’s showing up this morning," Misty commented, watching the two exchange glares. "That’s kind of funny."
Richie watched in confusion. "Who’s that?"
"Oh, it’s just Gary," Misty explained. "He’s Ash’s rival. But he’s awfully good looking, isn’t he?"
"Uh…" Richie glanced back and forth from Ash to Gary. "Am I the one you should be asking?"
"I’m just looking for new Pokemon to capture, of course," Gary said, in answer to Ash’s question. He smirked. "That’s the way real trainers work, you know. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?"
"You wouldn’t know a real trainer if you fell over one!" Ash shot back. "And what makes you think I wouldn’t know? I’ve caught plenty of Pokemon!"
"They do this all the time," Misty explained to Richie, watching the two boys bicker. "I think they’d rather die than admitt that they’re actually friends."
"They don’t look much like friends to me." Richie watched Ash as his hands balled into fists and he shouted at Gary furiously.
"Oh, they are." Misty waved a hand. "They just don’t want to admitt it. It’s funny, two cute guys who can’t seem to stop fighting with each other." She squinted at them. "I really like Gary’s hair, you know… I think that Ash would look just perfect if he had that color of hair…"
Richie shrugged, a bit uncomfortably. "That’s the color of my hair, too. But… I don’t look like Ash. I mean, we’re totally different. I’m sure his face is shaped differently… And he’s got different eyes…"
Misty’s eyes wandered to Richie as he babbled on about the differences between himself and Ash. Nonexistant differences, actually. Hmm…He does look like Ash. And with Gary’s hair… The Pokemon trainer had big blue eyes where Ash’s were dark brown, but that was just another point in his favour, in Misty’s opinion. How could I not have seen this? He’s… he’s perfect!
"Misty? Are you listening? Misty?" Richie glanced up and saw the predatory look on his conversation partner’s face. "Er… Misty?" he said nervously. She put her hands on the table and started to lean toward him. "M-Misty?" Richie shrank back a little from the look in her eyes.
"Something the matter, Richie?" she cooed. "Just relax." She reached out to grab him.
"Eep!" Richie leaned backwards, and fell right off the bench. "Wah… Misty’s gone crazy!" he yelped, taking off in the direction of the forest.
"Wait! Richie, come back! I was just fooling around!" She bit back a smiled, running off after him. Well, maybe I wasn’t fooling around just yet…
"Hey Misty!" Brock called. "Where are you going?" He started off into the woods after his retreating friend.
Meanwhile, Ash and Gary had not even noticed their absense.
"You’re just saying that because you know I’m the better trainer!" Gary announced smugly. "I mean, look at how many Pokemon I have compared to how many you have. It’s no contest!"
"I’ll bet you all the money I have that my Pokemon could clobber yours in a battle!" Ash retorted angrily. "I’m stronger than you any day!"
"Oh yeah?" Gary faced Ash down, nose inches from the shorter boy’s.
"Yeah!" Ash glared at him.
And then – Boom! Up against a tree. Gary pressed Ash against the rough bark as they passionately explored each other’s mouths…
"AAAAAAA! Misty, leave me alone! I’m not good looking at all, I swear it! I’m really bald and this is a wig! I don’t have hair like Gary’s at all… Misty, stop it!" Richie ran desperately through the woods, trying to stay out of reach of the love-struck female.
"Just wait up, Richie! I only want to play! Don’t you want to play?" Misty ran faster, making sure to keep her ‘prey’ in sight. "It’ll be fun!"
"No! No fun! I’m scared!" Richie grabbed the closest tree branch and hoisted himself up onto it, climbing up the tree like a frightened squirrel. "Leave me alone!"
"Richie!" Misty scowled up at him. "Come on down from there!"
"You can’t make me!" Richie stuck out his tongue. OK, so I’m acting like a five-year-old. I don’t care right about now… Wah!
"That’s right, Staryu!" Misty cheered. "Hit it again! We’ll knock him out of there." She smiled up at the now terrified Richie. "Don’t worry, I’ll be here to catch you!"
"Aaaa… That’s what… I’m worried… about!" Richie clung to the tree as it shook and tipped. "Save me, somebody! Brock!"
In another part of the forest, Brock leaned confidently against the tree that Officer Jenny had been standing beside. "So," he began, taking her hand, "You’re patrolling the forest, huh...?" He tilted his head.
"Did I just hear someone yelling?" Jenny asked, puzzled.
"Ah, no, it was just the wind!" Brock answered hastily. "So, anyway, Officer Jenny…"
"AAGGHH!!!" Richie nearly fell out of the tree, barely clinging to his branch. "This isn’t happening! It’s got to be a nightmare!" Another sharp crash nearly knocked him out. "ASH! GARY! SAVE ME!"
Back in the clearing, Ash gave up on his futile efforts to get Gary’s shirt over his head and just ripped the cloth apart. He perked his ears up. "I thought I heard something…"
"Does it matter?" Gary wrestled him to the ground and gave his shirt the same treatment, kissing him desperately. "We’re a little busy, wouldn’t you say?" he breathed.
"Oh Gary…" Ash turned his attention back to the more important matter right in front of him. Whatever he’d heard could wait.
"NOOOOOOOO!" Richie lost his grip on the tree branch and fell toward the ground, grabbing desperately at anything that could keep him from landing…
…right in Misty’s arms. "Gotcha!" she cried triumphantly, squeezing the breath out of the unfortunate boy.
Richie groaned. "I give up."
"Yay!" With that, Misty planted a long, passionate kiss right on his lips. "Mine, all mine!" she said happily. "Oh, just you wait, Richie! It’ll be a great wedding! We’ll have flowers and candlelight and a whole bunch of romantic music! Ash can be your best mand, and I’ll have my sisters as bridesmaids, and we’ll have a huge church with decorations and…"
"Can I at least pick the color of the place cards at the reception?" Richie asked weakly.
Misty glared. "What?" Her eyes showed no mercy.
Richie gulped. "Fine, fine. I’ll just sit to one side and pretend none of it’s happening…"
"Oh, good!" she chirped. "Then we’ll have to have blue and green decorations, of course, and my gown will be one of those beautiful old-fasioned ones with the lace and frills…"
"Somebody kill me now," Richie moaned.
"You know," Gary said to Ash, quite a bit later. "If I didn’t know any better, I’d say somebody planned all that. It’s like some weird, obsessive fan fiction author wrote us into this situation or something." He glanced at his shirt. "I don’t think I’ll be wearing that again any time soon."
"I don’t think you’ll be wearing anything again any time soon!" Ash pounced, knocking Gary to the ground with another passionate kiss.
The taller boy considered the situation for about half a second, then decided it didn’t really matter. Ah… who needs a shirt, anyway?