Symbiosis

In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7917071/1/Symbiosis

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10. 10

It should have been a bright and peaceful day on the path leading to Cerulean City. It really should've. The sun was gently draping light over the landscape and providing the sort of warmth that would warm one to one's bone. No breeze rustled the small trees that populated the wild area outside the city but the air was dry and free without it. Clouds dotted the sky, occasionally passing before the sun for a brief moment before letting light shine down once more. All the elements were there to make it a bright a peaceful day, they really were.

But certain noisy individuals had to spoil it.

"Come on. You really don't want to go to Cerulean City. Let's go to Vermillion City instead!" Misty was almost pleading at this point.

"No. Cerulean City and its pokémon center are nearer. We're going there" Ash replied firmly try not to scratch his zubat bites. Ugh, so many zubats and so many Leech-Lifes and Supersonics. It was nice to be out of Mt. Moon.

He still couldn't believe Brock caught one of those pests. (And Brock's zubat had the gall to complain about it. What was he expecting, attacking a group of trainers like that).

"Yes, but Vermillion City's pokémon center is much better. You really don't want to go to Cerulean City. All the pokémon there are scary ghost-type pokémon with-" And Misty made what was supposed to be a scary face. "Fwaces dike dis."

Ash and Pikachu merely laughed.

Oh now I'm really scared of all the ghost-types in Cerulean City now, Pikachu said through his giggles. Which reminds me Ash, next time we get a moment free I want to ask you about when we're going to Lavender Town to meet that ghost pokémon that used to be on the same team as Poison Lance and Pocket Watch.

"I thought most ghost-types lived near Lavender Town," Ash stated. "Is there a colony near Cerulean now too?"

"No," Brock answered, sounding amused. "Misty why don't you just tell us why you really don't want to go to Cerulean City?"

"No reason," Misty replied hurriedly.

"Obviously there's a reason or you wouldn't be trying to convince Aaron to go somewhere else," Brock calmly stated.

"You want to go to Cerulean City! Fine go to Cerulean City. See if I care. I'll just meet you in the Vermillion City pokémon center," Misty said, starting to storm away.

"Wait," Ash called out, rapidly digging in his pack for something. Misty paused for a moment and waited while Aaron searched. He pulled out a camp dinner.

"Take this," Ash said holding out the dinner.

"Uh, why are you giving me this?" Misty asked in confusion, reaching for the food.

"You need to eat more. You're too light. Are you sure you're not malnourished?"

Misty's face turned several different shades of red over the course of Aaron's sentence, from a shade attached to an emotion Ash couldn't identify, to what Ash had come to identify as rage.

"I'm not malnourished!" Misty insisted, indignant. "How do you even know that word anyway?"

"Read a book on it once," Aaron answered.

"You know your vocabulary is ludicrously sparse considering your literary pursuits," Misty commented

...

"You don't know many words considering how many books you read," Misty replied in answer to Aaron's unspoken question.

"Oh. Why didn't just say so? If you're not malnourished, then why are you so light?" Ash inquired, confused.

Misty's face turned the shade of red that signaled an emotion Ash didn't recognize.

"Are you a runt or something?"

And it was back to angry.

It was the most secure building in the area. The most well guarded. Local thieves had completely given up on it. They considered it impossible to get in undetected.

Other people didn't bother listening to underworld gossip before breaking in.

The security system posed no trouble to the intruders. Laser tripwires were laughed at. Electronically locked doors were hacked open with ease. Expertly set up zip-lines allowed for the easy bypass of pressure sensitive floors and walls. The security cameras had been tampered with the day before and the inserted code was starting to take effect.

The Sliph Co. building in Cerulean City stood no chance against the Rocket Trio.

They snuck down the final hallway and reached the final door. It was an office door guarded with a keypad. The code could be any of the millions of combinations of numbers, capitalized letters, un-capitalized letters, symbols, and a microphone for voice recognition.

Unfortunately Jessie knew the flaw in the production model and used the exploit to gain access to the room. It was small room, only containing an old fashioned safe. It would take the team about minute to crack it.

"You know I still say the maintenance people are messing with the vending machines," James whispered. "I wanted orange but it gave me lemon lime."

"Is that why you tapped that guy on the shoulder and smacked him in the face?" Jessie asked in a whisper.

"And why you hacked their computer and read their emails?" Meowth added.

"Sort of," James replied, shrugging. "And I wanted to see if they had any security robots. But let's focus on this. We just need this piece of technology and then-"

A beeping noise from his pocket interrupted him. A panicked expression of realization crossed their faces.

"It's six'o clock!" James somehow managed to shriek that silently.

"On a Friday!" Jessie added.

"I can't believe we forgot!" Meowth finished. "Screw this, we need to get going."

"There's a window! Let's get going."

And with a shattering of glass and the piercing call of dozens of alarms, Team Rocket exited the building.

"Well I'll meet you at the pokémon center later," Brock told Aaron.

They were standing in a small walkway in the suburban looking residential area of Cerulean City. The sun was beginning to set, covering all the houses on the gentle hill with an orange tint. Long shadows covered the ground and splashed onto the walls, adding black to the mix of colors.

"Cool. How long were you planning to stay here anyway?" Ash asked.

"Not too long. I have ... business to take care of here."

That didn't seem ominous at all, Pikachu commented.

Hush you, Ash whispered back, out of the corner of his mouth. He glanced around to see if there was anyone around. The area seemed to be deserted. Everyone must have been inside eating dinner. Ash released Pidgeotto and Butterfree as well.

Ah. A bit of time to stretch my wings before stopping by the pokémon center, eh? Pidgeotto said, hovering over Ash's head.

And a bit of time of time to talk! Butterfree trilled happily.

We still get to talk, Ash responded.

Only during training. Thankfully they bought you're 'prefer to train in privacy and I want to try and do this on my own' excuse, Pikachu said. Still it's not so bad traveling with them.

Yeah, they're nice folks, Pidgeotto admitted. Even if they do that weird training. Why does Brock need to train with a spiky metal club anyway? And why does Misty have those weird looking knives. Still, they're okay folks.

You just like Misty cause she strokes you all the time and calls you 'pretty bird'. Though she seemed really nervous at first. Wonder why? Ash pondered.

She was attacked by a flock of flying-type pokémon, remember? She's probably spending so much time with Pidgeotto so that she doesn't develop a fear of flying types, Pikachu answered.

I feel so used now. But on the other hand, preening is preening, so I'm not going to complain. Pidgeotto said, still hovering. 

It's better than when she's getting mad at Ash, said Pikachu. Although everyone gets mad at this idiot so-

She only gets mad because it looks like I'm being rude, Ash told Pikachu. Poison Lance warned me about this. Since I'm pretending to be a normal kid, people expect me to know all the normal stuff and when I mess up due to ignorance people think I'm being rude because it's the most likely explanation. Like the time she got mad at me for not going far enough from camp to relieve myself.

You were behind a tree and had dug a hole. I really don't see what the matter was, Pikachu spoke. By pokémon standards you're being prudish.

But not by human standard, Ash raised a finger. And then there's my table manners. Poison Lance did his best but I've only learned the very basics and I haven't learned those very well. And chopsticks still give me trouble. I keep forgetting not to eat a bowl of rice with my hands. Or that incident with the stew.

Don't remind me. But that's another plus of travelling with them. Brock's cooking is awesome! Butterfree exclaimed. And they both were great at helping us get through Mt. Moon, after we helped those clefaries. I was surprised that we didn't run into the Team Rocket group. Maybe they've gone away!

Ash, when was the last time you were that lucky? Pikachu asked.

When I got a over-powered pikachu for my starter, caught an awesome caterpie, and ran into a pidgeotto, Ash countered.

My point exactly, Pikachu said without missing a beat. You've used up all your luck on us. We're not free of Team Rocket yet.

So no ditching the extra humans yet. Gotcha, Pidgeotto replied.

You just said they were nice folks. Why would you be wanting to ditch them already? Ash asked.

For the same reasons I didn't want them with initially, Pidgeotto answered, shrugging her wings. People are much more likely to discover your secrets under these conditions. We're just lucky that Team Rocket decided to hide your name back in Pewter City. Also, I don't like all the pretending we still have to do. Them being nice people simply makes it easier to bear.

I'm sorry, Ash looked down and grimaced.

Don't be sorry Ash. It's not your fault, Pidgeotto reassured her trainer.

Well it sorta is for being human, Pikachu interjected. But that's okay. We all have our faults.

For example, some of us aren't flying-types, Pidgeotto shot a look at Pikachu.

And some of us can't take a little electric shock, sparks flew from Pikachu's cheek.

And some of us can't do math very well, Butterfree said, jumping into the back and forth.

Uh, Butterfree, Ash said hesitantly. I think you missed what was going on there.

Again! Aww! Buttefree cursed.

It's okay. Even we flying-types make mistakes sometimes, Pidgeotto puffed out her chest.

Like annoying an electric-type, Pikachu shot back.

Enough with the type chauvinism everyone, Ash said.

Says the human type who stuffs us into little red balls, came Pikachu's retort.

I don't stuff you into a little red ball.

'Cause I'm awesome. Now what's the plan for today?

Go to the pokémon center. Go to the gym, Ash listed. Get our butts kicked. Hope to do good enough that pity is taken upon us and we get a badge. Go back to the pokémon center. Maybe get some ice cream.

Ice cream? What's that? Is it good? Butterfree asked.

It's a cold dairy desert. It's pretty good. Lots of sugar, Ash informed his bug type.

Oh, that sounds great. We butterfrees need a lot of sugar in our diet you know.

Can get a berry pot pie with extra meat? Pidgeotto requested. That would really hit the spot, especially after a gym battle.

Why are you guys focusing on the food part of Ash's plan and not the 'get our butts kicked' part, Pikachu said crossly. You two took Brock and as long as this gym doesn't focus on ground-types, I can assist as well.

We took Brock because he underestimated us and he's a newish gym leader, Ash calmly stated. We got lucky. These guys- err, wait, I think Brock said it was a bunch of sisters co-leading- will probably know that we've got at least one badge. They'll be merciless. It'll be an utter defeat.

Only if you go into with that attitude, Pikachu told his trainer.

Oh, we'll get the badge. We just won't win.

I guess that's better than nothing. I wonder how that Gary person did.

Don't know, Ash replied. Not very well probably, considering how impatient he seems. He didn't need to vandalize that sign to tell me to hurry up.

How'd he know that you were still coming, Pidgeotto asked.

Must be talking to his grandpa, Ash guessed. I hope nobody's hacked the video phone networks or it would be pretty easy to track us. Can't believe Brock and Misty make me check in with him almost every time we go to a pokémon center. It's annoying.

"Why are you wet and shivering? Is that ice?" Ash asked a trainer in the waiting room. The teenager was huddled in a chair, with bits of ice on his person, and was dripping water everywhere.

The trainer turned to Ash.

"I- I- I'm sworn t-t-t-to secrecy" the boy said through chattering teeth. "I n-n-never expected this t-t-to happen when I left Pall-Pall-Pallet Town."

"Oh, you're a trainer who started out in Pallet Town too?"

"Th-th-third one who s-s-set out. You must be A-a-a" The trainer sneezed mid sentence. "Aaron Autumns."

"Yep."

"Arceus have m-m-mercy on your soul."

The three sisters dove into the waver accompanied by the cheering of their fans. They sliced into the clear cool waters below with nary a splash and resurfaced briefly in perfect unison to grab a breath of air while doing a spin with their arms splayed out.

It was a new routine, one that they had started a few weeks ago. Unlike their previous routines the music here alternated between mournful and nervous, sorrowful strings and anticipatory drums mixed with brass. The movements of the sisters themselves reflected the music, from slow graceful strokes and spins to frantically expanding and contracting patterns.

Rumors abounded among the fans as to the origin and reason of this new routine. Some thought that a lover of one of the sisters had died, others thought there had been a death in the family, and others pondered that it might be a reaction to classified information from the League.

Whatever it was that had spawned the routine was irrelevant. The routine was still great and the fans loved still loved it despite its relatively unusual nature.

Though some did wonder if it had any connection as to how recent gym battles had been conducted.

I had a rather strange encounter today, in the pokémon center. Some poor trainer was wet and frozen in the waiting room. When I asked him what had happened he said that he had been sworn to secrecy and then when he found out I was a trainer from Pallet Town he said 'Arceus have mercy on your soul.' Ash told Pikachu as they wandered into the lower levels of the Cerulean city gym. The hallway was lined with tanks of water filled with aquatic life.

Is there a legendary going around attacking Pallet Trainers? Has the professor offended Articuno? Pikachu inquired nervously.

No, I doubt its anything that serious- Oh hey, those aren't pokémon in that tank.

Course they're pokémon- oh, wait you're right, Pikachu peered intently at the lifeforms in the tank.

Right, they're animals. Those non-sentient things that we use to get most of our meat, Ash commented.

Yeah, I never really got that. I'm a herbivore and all, but I don't see anything wrong with eating pokémon. Don't see why you humans tend to shy away from doing so, the pokémon said to his trainer.

We prefer that our mass food production doesn't include the deaths of thousands of sentient creatures, Ash answered, thinking that he preferred all of his food not to come from sentient sources. We'll still eat the occasional pokémon dish, we just refuse to raise them for the slaughter and kill them by the millions.

Wait you raise animals just to eat them! That's just wrong! Pikachu's ears twitched to an upright position.

Non-sentient, and if we didn't raise them most of them would be eaten by pokémon a lot sooner, Ash explained. I've actually read books on the subject, and some postulate that the only reasons any land based animals survived is because humans domesticated and protected them. Animals in the sea were protected by the immense size of their habitat but they remain somewhat rare. Wow, there are a lot of fish in this gym. It's like an aquarium.

Huh, I wonder what pokémon these sisters will have, Pikachu pondered. Wait, I hear footsteps. Time for you to be another stupid human.

They rounded a bend in the hallway and came across three damp women with towels around their shoulders. The best way to describe them was curvy. Their hair was wavy, their clothes were wavy, and their waists and hips were, well curvy. Their... upper assets were of a moderate size but still made another curve. All of the sisters were wearing different color garments that seemed to be a cross between a one piece swimsuit and a very short dress. There was a strawberry blonde wearing red, one with blue hair wearing green in the center, and one with pink hair wearing orange and a blue bow-tie on the other side.

"And they totally dug today's performance."

"I know. I guess- oh hi there. What do you want?" The blue haired sister asked when she noticed Ash. "We don't do autographs this late after the show."

"Umm, I'm looking for the gym leaders. Ya know, for a match. Do you know where they are?" Ash asked, rubbing the back of his head.

"You're, like, looking at them" the strawberry blonde said. "I'm Daisy."

"I'm Violet" the blue haired sister announced.

"And I'm Lily" the pink haired one finished.

"And we're the Sensational Sisters of Cerulean City!" They said together in unison, smiling at the surprised kid.

After Team Rocket I'm a bit wary of people of people who say things like that in unison, Pikachu said from atop Ash's head.

"Where did you start out from, by the way?" Lily asked.

"Uh, I started out from Pallet Town," Ash replied.

The sisters smiles changed somehow. They became empty and hungry, while keeping a thin rotting veneer of sweetness.

And that isn't helping the issue at all.

"You know we've had a couple other trainers from Pallet Town come through here," Daisy commented to Ash as they entered the arena. "Those were devastating battles. They ended in utter defeat."

"I mean it's gotten to the point where this is the best pokémon we've got to face you right now," Violet said, releasing a seal from a pokéball.

Oh great another Pallet Trainer. We're going to do the same thing to him that we did to the rest? The water-type asked its trainers, rolling its eyes. And I have to act weak and stupid?

It was obviously a well-trained pokémon. It was easy for one who had spent as much time among them as Ash had to tell. Its fur was in pristine condition, there was absolutely no hesitation in any of its movements, and its eyes were sharp.

The arena was a giant pool with a platform for trainers to stand on place at either side. The ceiling was high enough for flying type pokémon to maneuver, but not high enough to let them completely remove themselves from the attack range of the pokémon down below.

And there was that trainer from Pallet Town that Ash had met in the pokémon center. Wet and frozen. And here was a water gym and a pokémon with ice type moves.

Despite what some may occasionally say about him (namely Pikachu), Ash Ketchum wasn't an idiot. He could be over enthusiastic and extremely thick headed at times but that didn't mean he was completely stupid.

He could put two and two together. But didn't Daisy just say they had lost. He went over the sentence in his head. Closely, like Poison Lance had taught him. Okay she said they ended in defeat. But unless the battle was a draw, the battle had to end that way for at least one party. Shouldn't she have said 'in our utter defeat'?

No, from the looks of their pokémon, she meant 'in their utter defeat'. And from what the seal had said she had tried to trick him. It probably would've worked if he couldn't understand pokémon.

Ash gulped. This was going to hurt.

"Before we begin, Pallet trainer, what's your name, " Lily asked, smiling in a predatory manner. She must have picked up on Ash's nervousness.

"Oh yes, please tell us your name," Violet asked, starting to pace around Ash. The other two also started to circle Ash. It reminded him of Pikachu's tale about being cornered by three persians when the electric-type was young. He really wanted to leave this situation. Oh why did Brock and Misty have to abandon him today. He could use a pair of human shields.

"I'm Aaron Autumns," he managed to squeak out.

"Aaron Autumns," Violet said, a thoughtful expression overcoming her face. The name seemed familiar for some reason. Wait, wasn't it the name of- Why yes it was.

"Wait, you're Aaron Autumns?" asked Lily.

"Like really?" Daisy said.

"Um, yeah," Ash Ketchum responded.

And suddenly he was caught in a triple embrace.

They're trying to smother us with their chests! Pikachu screamed. Help! Murder!

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." And they all murmured. They sounded upset. Ash would've looked at their faces to confirm this, but he was too busy trying to breathe.

I think they're crying, Pikachu stated.

"Oh thank Arceus you came along. If you hadn't she would've died," Violet sobbed.

Ash, as stated earlier, wasn't an idiot. He could tell what they were referring to.

"You're all Misty's sisters?" His voice was muffled, so he had to tilt his head up and repeat himself.

"Yeah, the Three Sensational Sisters of Cerulean City, and the wandering Sensational Sister. But never tell her we call her that. Her ego would grow to big," Lily chuckled through her tears. She wiped her eyes. "Damimit, she could've died there and we would have, like, never known about it."

"I can't even think about it," said Violet, falling back to sit down on the floor. "I really can't. It hurts too much. Oh Arceus, it hurts too much to even imagine. I don't want to go through actually losing her."

"We were worried at first when she left the gym to go travel the rest of the world and get better," Daisy stated, futilely trying to still the stream of tears. "But she seemed skilled enough. And then that happened and I just to want hug her and make sure she's alright. And then never let her leave our side again."

"She hasn't even tried to contact us again," Violet sobbed. "She's trying to keep it a secret or something but she almost died and we haven't been able to talk to her or anything."

"We only learned about it from the Viridian Nurse Joy and that's because it's required that a pokémon center contact a gym when a member of the gym is treated at that center. If it wasn't for that little piece of bureaucracy we wouldn't even know that we almost lost our little sister" Lily said through her tears.

"I know we haven't been dealing with it in the best manner, taking it out on the trainers from Pallet Town. But dammit, someone should've been keeping an eye on the wild pokémon and Pallet Town obviously wasn't," Daisy began.

"Hey!" Ash interrupted. "That flock was new. I also have it on good authority that an attempt was going to be made to deal with them that day." Ash was just leaving out the part where it was an old weedle who was planning on dealing the murderous flying-types not any humans from Pallet Town.

"Maybe, but a fat lot of good that would've done given Pallet Town's record. You would think that the town's secure and all, being near the center of League power, but you've got menaces like that stupid flock and then there were the Ketchum murders," Violet retorted. "A large scale attack on a single family and Pallet Town didn't even know about it until the next morning. That town needs to step up and shape up. It needs more trainers like you Aaron Autumns."

"Yeah. I know that none of us doubt that you deserve this," Lily said, holding out a tear shaped badge.

"Just don't tell any of the other Pallet trainers how you got it," Daisy said smiling even as the tears flowed. "We wouldn't want them getting jealous after all."

"Aaron, did you stay at the Viridian center until Misty woke up? Did she say where she was headed next? We haven't been able to find her in any of the pokémon center records we've looked at. Please tell us" Violet pleaded.

"She said that she'd meet me and Brock at the Vermillion City pokémon center. For some reason she didn't want to come here."

"Wait, you've been travelling with her? No wonder we couldn't find her in any of the center records. We never thought that she'd start travelling back towards Cerulean City. But if she's going with you," Daisy said.

"Why's she traveling- Oh! How cute! Misty's got her first crush!" Lily exclaimed.

What did she mean by that? The fearow was trying to eat her eyes, not use intense pressure to damage her body.

"And its on the boy who rescued her! It's so romantic," Lily cheered with sparkles in her eyes.

How was trying to kill him by using pressure to break his bones and reduce his organs to pulp romantic? He must be missing something here. Ash hoped that he was missing something here or this gym was led by crazy sadists. He'd have to ask Brock later. That guy had to know all about romantic stuff, considering the way he wrote poetry for the nurse Joy at the Mt. Moon pokémon center.

"But wait, if she's in the area" Daisy said, thinking out loud.

"Then she would..." Violet continued.

"Aaron, here's your advancement. Where were you going to meet up with the other kid you mentioned?" Lily said to Ash, handing him a wad of bound currency.

"At the pokémon center. Why?" Ash replied.

"Go wait there for a bit. We'll send someone over with a message in a little bit," the pink haired sister told the young trainer.

"Okay."

Wonder what that's all about?

She had managed to find her spare sweater and some long pants that fit as well as the tools to repair her current set of clothes. Misty also managed to grab an extra set of her favourite outfit, the usual jean shorts and yellow tank top.

For some odd reason she decided to grab her pink kimono. She was just doing this on a whim, she told herself, fighting that stupid blushing habit that she had picked up.

Perfect. She had gotten all the things she needed from her old room and her sisters should be distracted battling Aaron. Or doing synchronised swimming. One of the two. Now she just had to leave the gym and leave her sister none the... wiser.

And there they were in the doorway, all three of them. Daisy was tapping her foot and giving Misty a dirty look. Lily was trying to give Misty a dirty look as well, but the effect was ruined as she had to hold back tears. Violet was smiling at Misty, with tears slowly leaking out of her eyes.

"Thought you could stop home without saying hi to your sisters?" Daisy growled, stepping into the room.

"Misty, we've been worried about you," Lily scolded, following Daisy into Misty's room.

Violet didn't say anything. She simply entered and then enveloped her youngest sister in a hug. Lily folded and followed suit.

"Dammit Misty. You didn't call or write or anything. You thought we wouldn't hear about you nearly being killed by a bunch of spearows and a fearow!"

"Hey I don't remember much about the fearow. I was out at the time," Misty protested. "How did you even know I was in town?"

"We asked Aaron about your travel plans and he revealed that you were travelling together," Violet explained with her eyes closed, pulling Misty into an even tighter embrace.

"And when we heard what you told him," Lily continued, also tightening her embrace. "That nonsense about meeting up in the Vermillion City pokémon center. It was easy to see what you were really up to."

"What's wrong with you!" Daisy shouted. "You're sneaking into your own home just to avoid us! Why! Why couldn't you at least tell us that you're fine! Misty do you really hate us that much?" She had started crying again.

"No!" Misty responded desperately. "No, that's not it at all. I swear." Tears started to well up in her own turquoise eyes.

"Then why?" Daisy sobbed, catching the group of sisters in a hug.

"It was... nothing. I'm sorry. I guess I didn't want to worry you," the youngest sister replied. "How'd you even find about it?"

"Pokémon centers are required by the League to report to a gym when one of their members stops by for medical treatment. Not for their pokémon, but for themselves."

"I forgot about that," the red head replied. "That explains a lot."

"Now put your stuff away. We'll go out to a nice restaurant, oh and you have to go to the pokémon center to tell Aaron and that other kid that you're not coming with-" Violet started.

"What! No! I'm not quitting my journey!" the red haired sister protested.

"It's much too dangerous for you out there," Daisy said. "This incident just proves it. You're staying home until you've had more training."

"No. I'm travelling to get stronger. More training here won't help me," Misty protested. "It was a freak occurrence. Who could've ever predicted there'd be a flock of psycho spearows led by a fearow strong enough to counter a Thunder with a Mirror Move Thunder."

"It doesn't matter," Violet began.

"And I'm travelling with another gym leader as well" the youngest Sensational Sister continued. "Brock used to be the Pewter City gym leader, but his father came back and now he's free to wander. Plus Aaron's also going and he's a complete newbie. Talented and he's got some strong pokémon, but a complete newbie all the same. He's been having trouble with a group of Rockets and its my duty as a member of a League gym to help him."

"And not because you have a crush on him," Violet teased as she held her youngest sister close.

"I do not have a crush on that- that- that boy!" Misty screeched, face starting to match her hair.

"Misty," Daisy pleaded. "We nearly lost you once. Please don't go."

"It'll be okay Daisy," Misty reassured her old sister. "I'll be fine. Really. As long as Aaron doesn't go around trying to punch legendaries or something I should be able to handle it."

"At least stay for dinner," Lily asked. "It's the least you could do."

"Alright. You win there. But you'd need to let go if we're going to go eat," the youngest sister answered, smiling.

"But I don't wanna," Violet protested. "Just a little bit longer, okay?"

"Okay."

Isn't that Misty? Pikachu asked, observing the latest person to enter the pokémon center.

"I thought you were going straight to Vermillion City. What are you doing here?" Ash asked the water trainer.

"Change of plans," Misty replied taking a seat next to Aaron. "Where's Brock?"

"Still hasn't shown up yet. I met your sisters. They're nice people."

"Yeah. They're not so bad." Misty smiled. "It's a good thing you weren't older, or they might've tried to thank you some other way."

"What does age have to do with thanking people?"

Misty face-palmed.

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