Leave me be
Disclaimer: Standard AAMR belongs to other authors, the Pokèmon cast belongs to Nintendo and some other people, the plot belongs to Alnykleo because she actually was the one who came up with it and told me to write it and finally, the title is a line from the song Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean by Nightwish, which is more or less the only music I listen to right now. Did I mention that I suck at coming up with titles?
Also a thank to my pal Togepi, who helped me come up with some of the girls on Misty's list.
Rating: Pg-13, because of what Brock gets James to learn him... or rather why.
Notes: I still can't say that Ash/Misty is my favourite pairing in the world, and I still find most of it unbearably occ... but it's still nice to know that I'm able of doing it.
As always, Brock and Tracey does miraculously appear at the same place at the same time, Ash still has the pokemon from a long time ago and is somewhere in Kanto, and nobody could care less.
Misty was away. Were she had left to Ash wasn't really sure about, but truth to be told he as grateful for it. When the baby pokemon wasn't around he did at least not have to listen to "Toke - tokeprii!" the entire day... or spend it yelling at the master. Now, it wasn't always Ash really had anything against yelling at the master... it was just that today he needed to think. As if that wasn't hard enough, with Misty around it would become totally impossible.
Brock and Tracey at least knew how to keep their peace. They had been doing a lot of pokemon studying together the last weeks and thus spent most of the time away from the younger kids, but the last few days had mostly been Brock running away alone, and not saying anything about the rare Weedles in Viridian forest which was the camp at the moment. Funny that.... Ash had always thought Weedles were common pokemon.
"I..." Ash looked up at Brock, who had stopped brushing his Vulpix and raised up, "I have an appointment." He announced and glanced at his watch.
"In the middle of Viridian forest. Of course." Tracey muttered acidly without looking up from his book. The comment made Brock look a little uncertain, but he shrugged and turned to leave.
"Brock!" Ash suddenly shouted and leapt to his feet, "I need to talk to you!"
His friend looked a bit nervous.
"Ash, I really need to go now... look, why don't you talk to Tracey about whatever it is?" Brock said hurriedly and walked off into the forest faster than Ash had seen anybody walk without actually running. Sighing, he turned to see Tracey smack the book shut and grab his sketchpad, and then started drawing something in a rather violent way, his face set in an angry scowl.
"What?!" the pokemon watcher snapped back, his eyes still set at his drawing.
"Uh..." Ash intelligently repeated, most of his brain busy figuring out how to step around Tracey, more grumpy than Ash had ever seen him before.
"If you didn't have anything to say..."
"Well what?!" Tracey groaned and rolled his eyes.
"I thought I'd ask Brock this but he ran away..."
"So..." Tracey actually looked dangerous... or as dangerous as Tracey could manage to look, which was quite impressing taking in the fact that he was a 17 year old, male, wore a pink headband and at the moment had a bit of rubber sticking out between his front teeth.
"How is it like to be in love?" Ash at last blurted. The tip of Tracey's pencil broke with a sharp crack, as his friend suddenly was completely silent, his face contorted in pushed-back emotions, before he at last gave in to the angry glare again.
"It sucks." He spat and reached for his pencil sharpener, his words blurred by the rubber.
"Oh." Ash replied, more than a bit disappointed. That was not the answer he had hoped to get...
Ash was greatly confused. Not confused in the usual way when he could get somebody to explain things over again and then he'd get it, because this was... just a thing he didn't really thing anybody at all could get.
Misty was not really that far away. Actually, a few hundred meters into the forest she sat and performed the beautiful art of chucking cones into a little lake while she considered her life situation.
Misty appreciated her friends, all of them, nice guys and good in their own special ways. Of course Brock was too girl-crazy, but he was also smart and caring. Of course Tracey was a bit wussy, but he had a lot of knowledge and determination. Of course Ash was dense, but he also was brave, and zealous, and... cute.
The last thing bugged Misty. A lot.
The thing was that Misty wanted love. Sure, everybody wanted love, and sure, Misty had three boys to choose between.... But she also acquired certain... qualities... from a possible future lover, which none of her best buddies could show up with.
And that was why she now wondered why Ash was considered 'cute' in her mind.
"One thing is that girl use to fall for gay boys....And it is right that giving that impression might help. But when it comes to straight crossdressing you have to be careful... I was extremely lucky with that one..."
"I am not going to..."
"Most girls gets turned off by crossdressing, that is the main point. And no makeup can actually hide the fact that your eyes are not at all like officer Jenny's..."
"What I am going to do is none of your busyness!"
James gave him a pitying look.
"Look, I a just trying to help you here! And I would suggest you rather take that silent fem-boy mode, grow your hair a bit longer and start using..."
"Just show me and stop your damn fashion advises!" Brock snapped, and the older boy shrugged.
"Well, if that's what you say, so..."
Ash knew that he would return to Pallet town within the next week. He knew this probably would mean he also would run into Gary. He knew this most likely would turn into Gary whooping his butt like he had done all times before. What Ash didn't know, was why he for some reason wanted Gary to whoop his butt...
Ash was a confused boy. Somewhere in his 14 year old mind he knew that he was not supposed to want to battle somebody he would most likely loose too, but it couldn't be denied that he actually did.
For some reason, he also wanted to battle Misty. Or at least to talk more to her. Now, as they already spent 99% of the time together he couldn't really figure why he wanted to talk to her, but somehow, he did.
Perhaps he just wanted to talk to Gary as well. That could be nice. Yeah. Ash could like to talk with Gary...
He groaned and threw his body backwards on his sleeping bag, and stared up at the clouds whirling over the sky.
"Tracey?" he said silently, hoping not to make his friend's obvious bad mood worse.
"You see, when I asked how it was being in love, I didn't really mean it that way..." he didn't move his eyes from the ever-changing pattern over his head, but heard the annoyed sight from the older boy. Ignoring it he continued, "I meant... how do you know you are in love?"
"Oh great..." Tracey muttered, "Ash, you just know, okay?"
"But how does it feel when..."
"Can we please not talk about this?!" Tracey actually yelled by now.
"Uh..." Ash looked over at him, "Sure..."
Misty was making a list over her last crushes.
It wasn't hard to see where the pattern broke. This was disturbing. Very so.
Misty had settled with the fact that boys weren't her path to walk a long time ago, and never in her wildest imaginations fallen for somebody who thought that The Art of War was a better movie than Titanic. She had never been interested in boys like that.... And if she was falling for one, wouldn't it be somebody like James? Or maybe even like Tracey... but not somebody like... Ash.
Yet, it was not to be denied.... Whatever feelings she had nursed for about every other girl, she now also felt when the thought of her Pokèmon master to be took over her brain. Which, as already mentioned, was disturbing, confusing and impossible to explain.
"Ash is a moron." She told herself as she buried her face in her hands, "He is stupid, annoying, ignorant, reckless, and not to mention..." she sighed, "Totally adorable when he does that little.... NO!" she got to her feet and started pacing around the stone she had been seated on.
"Ash is NOT adorable! Ash is just your stupid best friend who you do NOT love because true love is not like that and...." She slumped down again.
"Jesse." She though, "Think about Jesse. She has so many other great things than Ash does... she is beautiful... she has breasts... she..." Misty suddenly realized how hard it was to come up with good qualities about a person who daily tried to steal your pokèmon, "At least she is female!"
"Yes...?" his voice was laced with sugar, and Ash started regretting that he spoke again.
"If you want to.... um... talk to somebody, does that mean you are in love with them? Okay, it sounds stupid, but... I mean... Uh..."
"You wonder if you're in love, is that so?"
"No! Girls are gross and... I mean..." his head slumped down, "Yes, I do."
Tracey rolled over on his back and placed a hand over his eyes and muttered something that sounded like "Damn you straight to hell, Brock."
"Does that mean you are not going to tell me?" Ash asked.
"It means that if it shuts you up, yes!"
"Let's get over with it. Tell me everything and I'll see what I get out of it."
Why Ash? There was nothing likeable with Ash! Ash was... Ash.
Okay. Then there probably wasn't completely without reason she had joined in with him that time in the exact same place a long time ago. Ash was a likeable kid except during his worst ego-trips, and Misty did consider him her best friend. But when she got a crush on her best friend... it was like if she was straight and got a crush on her best friend of the same sex. The though had made her shudder when she was eight and her best friend changed about twice a week. It didn't feel any better now.
Tracey looked wearily at the young trainer sitting across of him. What he needed at the moment was a huge stack of chocolate, not a boy with love problems.
"You think you are in love with both Misty and Gary at once?" he asked once more, and Ash nodded.
"I don't really want to be in love... I mean if I am in love then it feels sort of funny, but..."
"It's either your rival or your best friend, and you are not sure." Tracey ended, and Ash nodded again. For about the 50th time that day Tracey cursed Brock for picking that moment to run away, but when he looked at the utterly confused boy he drew a deep breath and started talking again.
"I think..." Ash was fourteen. It was about time he started being interested in something else than pokèmon, and there was nothing to do but accept it, and as his friend, help him decide what was best for him.
Tracey stopped talking there and bitterly looked back at his own experience about love. Really, he didn't want that to happen to Ash, so that way the advice looked clear. But he wasn't sure how good he could handle it if Ash and Misty became a couple now, right after this...
"I don't know what to tell you. But you know, boys are not to be trusted, they run away with the first and best they get the opportunity to..." he suddenly realized what he sounded like and bit his tongue, "You have to decide for yourself, okay?" Ash nodded, and Tracey sat back down to sulk some more. He really needed that chocolate.
James giggled giddily as he walked through the forest and counted the bills in his hand. The horny twerp had paid well for his little favor, and now he could afford that new dress with that delicious embroidery and pretty lace sleeves and all those...
A stab of guild went through his mind as he remembered that it was his partner's birthday in two weeks, and that she had been drooling over that dress as well.
There was basically two reasons to get her a birthday present. One was that if he didn't, she would kill him or at least give him a severe trashing. Number two was that if he got her something really nice, then maybe she would think he cared for her, and not only be happy because she got something expensive. But James really wanted that dress for himself... he knew he would look gorgeous in it, and it matched his hair way better than hers anyway.
"...and we can have two perfect children, a daughter and a son... the son can be named Steve and play football at the school team, and his sister is Lara, who is a cheerleader and has lots of pretty friends, and when she gets older and start dating..." Misty was lost in a reverie about her and Ash's children, telling Togepi absent-minded about how their life would be,"... and in our wedding he is wearing a white tuxedo, and Brock is his best man and I will walk down the isle when the..." she suddenly realized what she was doing and screamed as she clutched her head.
"No! Not Ash! Not Ash! Jesse! Jesse! JESSE!"
Ash looked up to see Brock come out from the forest again, carrying a paper bag in one hand.
"Oh, hi, Brock... I hope you had fun with whoever you was meeting." Tracey said flatly without looking up at him. Brock looked hurt.
"I really need to talk to you..." he tried.
"I don't think you and I have anything much more to say to each other."
"That is really nice, because I need to ask you something, Brock..." Ash peeped in.
"This is not what it looks like, and I only did it for you!"
"If that is so, then why couldn't you tell me why, and who?" Tracey yelled back.
"Because if I did it would ruin it all, and..." Brock shot Ash a nervous glance, "Just let me explain, okay?"
Tracey snorted in reply and crossed his arms angrily over his chest as he glared in the other direction.
"Look, Brock, I need to talk with you...."
"Please!" Brock took Tracey's hands and looked pleadingly at him, "I... I only wanted to make you happy..."
"Funny way of doing that, by..." Tracey glared at him and yanked his hands away as he paused, "Studying pokèmon with other people."
"But I didn't ... study pokèmon with anybody else!" Brock desperately cried and took his hands again.
"It won't take long, I swear..." Ash's comment was promptly ignored.
"Really?" Tracey looked at Brock, his angry scowl now gone.
"I would never study pokèmon with anybody but you!" Brock told him.
"Really?" Tracey repeated, a tiny smile starting to light up his face.
"Brock?" they looked back at Ash who looked puzzled at them.
"What?" Brock pulled his hands to himself again and took a step away from Tracey, his cheeks slightly flushed.
"Tracey couldn't really give me any answer, so I think I'll rather talk to you about it." Ash said, giving them an odd look.
Brock looked back at Tracey, then took his paper bag and grabbed Tracey's wrist as he started walking into the forest again.
"Later, Ash, I have to show Tracey some... um... really fancy Oddishes I saw back there!"
"And I really think that is something you need to figure out yourself!" Tracey added and barely managed to snatch his sketchpad from the ground as Brock hauled him past it.
Ash looked confused after them, and then sat back down, patting Pikachu as he wondered if Oddishes were hard to catch.
James looked at the redhaired girl in front of him screaming his partner's name, and then picked up a stick and walked over to her, poking her in the side with it.
"Ah!" she screamed and jumped in the air, before she saw that it was him and her face was sat in an angry scowl.
"Why did you do that?!" she yelled and tried to take the stick away from him, but he held it out of her reach.
"Why are you screaming Jesse's name?"
Misty looked a bit more friendly, and then got an annoyed glare.
"Because I am suddenly falling for stupid best friends which I don't want to fall for when I thought I loved other stupid people with partners and talking Meowths and I really don't want to love my best friend like that but I do and..." she screamed once again, and he looked a bit scared at her.
"You have a crush on Jesse?"
"No I don't anymore though I really wish I still did!" she cried and took the stick and hit it into the stone beside her with all force she could muster, barely missing her baby pokèmon.
It looked at her as its small black eyes filled with water, and then it burst into tears.
"Toke -priiiiiiiii!" it wailed, and she immediately clamped her hands in front of her mouth and gasped.
"Togepi!" she exclaimed, and picked up the crying pokèmon and dropped to her knees as she cradled it in her arms, "I'm sorry, Togepi... Mommy is just having a bad day, that is all..."
James looked down at her as she continued to cuddle it, and the turned back to camp.
It was either Misty or Gary. That was the choice. Misty, friend, or Gary, rival. Misty, girl, Gary, boy.
If Ash was to date somebody he would probably pick Gary. One thing was of course that Gary was better than him... but at least Gary wouldn't want to go to stupid romantic movies, or eat at expensive restaurants, or run into the bathroom to fix his makeup five times every hour.
But then there was the fact that Gary was better than Ash. He could of course try to deny it, but if he did, it would probably only cause problems... but if he did admit it Gary would probably spend all the time talking about how much better than Ash he was. No, he corrected himself, if Gary really cared about him he would not.
All over the choice seemed pretty simple.
And Gary's hair looked way better than Misty's anyway.
It was settled. James knew his partner, and if that little redhaired brat would start hitting on her his position could be threatened. It wasn't like he didn't know about Cassidy or anything either...
Tracey somehow managed to look guilty as he looked up at Brock.
"I'm really sorry..." he said with a pout, "I have been a bad boy..."
"You sure have." Brock sternly replied, "I think I need to take you to jail." He smirked and loosened the handcuffs from his side, "You shouldn't mess with Officer Jenny, you know." He said and shook his head.
Tracey was too busy not grinning to wonder where he got that outfit from.
Misty returned to camp to find Ash alone, rubbing Pikachu's stomach. He didn't notice her at all, and she didn't notice that she smiled as he broke in laughter as the pokèmon jumped up on his shoulders and started messing up his hair. He then at last managed to Pikachu down from his head again, and turned to look at her. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything at all, just stared, and Misty found herself staring back at him, his hair ruffled and cheeks still a bit red from the laughing fit... looking... just adorable.
And all her decisions went down the drain as she walked over to him, bent down, and pressed her lips to his.
James admired himself in the mirror. He really did look gorgeous.
The dress was full length in dark blue, the bottom and neckline decorated with embroideries in silver thread and small glass pearls, and the sleeves reaching down to the elbow done in only lace.
With a last wistful sigh he stepped out of it and left the changing room and hung it up again, and took down another in a size smaller as he went over to the counter to pay for it.
Well, he comforted himself, if he couldn't have it himself then at least the second best option was no loss either. She was going to love him for it... James figured he could sacrifice the dress for that.
Misty and Ash looked at each other, blushed, and looked away again, what they had spent the last hour doing. Yet, Misty was holding Ash's hand, and he didn't have any intentions of letting go either.
They looked up when Brock and Tracey returned, Tracey franticly sketching something and Brock whistling on a Vengaboys tune as he stuffed the paper bag into his backpack.
"Where have you been?" Misty asked.
"Studying Pokèmon." The replied in unison as Brock seated himself beside Tracey and took his sketchpad, looking down on it, meeting Tracey's eyes. Then they both broke down giggling.
Ash and Misty exchanged glances, and Ash tried to pull his hand away from Misty, but she tightened her grip and he gave up, and instead reached out for his pokèdex. After some intense typing he looked up at Brock and Tracey again.
"There are no Oddishes in Viridian forest." He stated.
"Oh, there are." Tracey assured him.
"Definately." Brock agreed.
"Are you wearing lipstick?" Misty asked and narrowed her eyes at him.
Tracey started rubbing his neck.
"So, ehrm, write a twerpshippy comedy thing. Preferably with Ash desperately trying to figure out WHY he wants to have a pokémon battle with Gary so much, and with Misty having problems to decide whether she should stay with her stupid pokémon master wannabe or go find something... bustier. You can even have a Brock/Tracey subplot, to mess things up. With splatters of delicious rocketshipping. Or something. It would be fun. A "queershipping" AAML fic, if you know what I mean. If you wrote this I'd be eternally grateful, of course... ^^"
So, Sara, you got what you wanted: I'm sorry it didn't get more rocketshippy, but it was hard getting that into a plot like this, but I think the rest is what you asked for.