When One Door Closes, Two More Open

On the first day of his journey with his rebellious starter, Ash befriends a Spearow and a Rattata. Ash is seriously injured by Pikachu after saving the young spearow from a Thunderbolt, but the Spearow, her flock, and the Rattata save his life. With not one but two new starters, a strange new ability to understand Pokémon, and a calmer and smarter attitude, a new journey begins.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10779528/1/When-One-Door-Closes-Two-More-Open

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13. Of New Friends And Old Bullies

After having to get out of a sunken ship, surviving a massive cyclone, landing on a deserted island, and facing an attack by giant robots, all Ash, Misty, and Brock wanted was a day to relax. They decided to skip training for the day and spend the whole day on the beach, having fun in the sun.

Their first stop was the beach shop, where Brock and Ash quickly picked up swim trunks. Ash also found something else, a plastic protector that latched onto his belt, keeping Poké Balls from accidentally being washed or blown away. It could withstand hurricane force winds and rough waves, and Ash snatched it up upon seeing it. After coming so close to losing his team for good, he wasn't going to let that happen again. Trevor, in his usual spot on Ash's shoulder, spotted a tiny little inner tube that was just his size, so Ash bought it for him as well. Judy and Aidan laughed at how funny he looked wearing it.

Misty was still looking for a bathing suit, so Brock and Ash told her they'd meet her on the beach. Brock and Ash set up their towels high up on the beach and Ash released Kiara and Venom. Aidan sat on the beach and began digging in the sand while Venom relaxed on Ash's blanket, making many beachgoers give him weird looks.

Brock, Ash, Judy and Trevor rushed towards the water, Trevor dragging his little inner tube by the handle. Kiara waded in with them. They dived in and made a huge splash, laughing. Trevor floated on his inner tube and Judy waded around, then splashed Trevor. The Rattata looked indignant, then paddled up to Judy and shook himself off, spraying water all over her.

Ash took out Levi's Poké Ball and let the Gyarados out. "We're having a beach day, Levi, I thought you might want to swim…" But Ash was cut off by a sudden scream.

"GYARADOS!" someone yelled, and people began running out of the water.

"Calm down, everyone! He's mine and he's very friendly!" Ash called. He reached up to pet Levi, who slowly bent down to Ash's level so Ash could scratch his head. Levi began to let out a low, soft rumble, almost a purr. People quit freaking out and looked incredulously at the young boy and the Gyarados that was putty in his hands.

Suddenly a little blond girl in water wings waded up to them. She smiled up at Levi. "Hi. You're pwetty." She then gave him a big hug. Some beachgoers gasped. Both Levi and Ash looked shocked, then Levi bent down, keeping his movements slow and careful, and very gently nuzzled the girl. The people who knew Levi smiled, and the ones who didn't looked shocked, their eyes as big as dinner plates. A few even grabbed their cameras and took pictures.

"Andrea!" a male voice called and a young blond haired man ran up to them. "You know you're not supposed to run off." He looked at Ash. "Sorry about that. My daughter has a Gyarados at home that acts just like this one." He smiled at Levi, completely unafraid of the Gyarados.

The little girl grinned. "His name is Bubbles. He 'volved to save me from a big, mean, ol' Arbok!"

Ash smiled. "He must love you lots!"

She nodded vigorously. "Yep, he does! He gives me rides all 'round the lake! I wanted to bring him to the beach with me and he wanted to go too but Daddy said no 'cause he might scare people. But Bubbles is really, really, really nice. I dunno why people be scared of him. And you're Gardos is nice too, just like Bubbles! May I have a ride on him? Pwetty please with lots of sugar on top?" She gave Ash the most adorable puppy dog eyes.

"If it's okay with your daddy." Ash told her.

Andrea gave the puppy dog eyes to her dad, who gave in and turned to Ash. "If I can go on with her and it's okay with you and your Gyarados." he agreed.

"What do you think, Levi?" Ash asked Levi. Levi nodded, turning sideways and lowering himself so they could get on more easily. Levi liked having people not be scared of him, and the little girl was simply adorable. The little girl and her dad climbed aboard Levi and some beachgoers began smiling and taking pictures. Everyone began to relax and go back into the water.

"You really made that little girl's day." Brock told Ash.

"And she made Levi's day and mine. No one will be afraid of him now, and he got to make a new friend. I'll have to thank her when she gets back." Ash said, smiling.

"Hey, I thought you guys were going to meet me by the snack bar." Ash heard Misty's voice say and turned to look at her. His jaw nearly dropped at what he saw.

She was wearing a simple pink two piece, which fitted her perfectly and was holding a beach ball colored like a Master Ball. Alex fluttered beside her and Loki stood by her side. Ash thought Misty looked incredibly pretty, and his mind went into a fog. He forgot everything else and simply stood there staring at her. Judy, Loki, Kiara, and Trevor started chuckling, but Ash didn't even hear them.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Misty asked.

Ash managed to register the question. "Um…uh…I…Nothing!" Misty raised an eyebrow and Ash struggled to make the words come out right. "Um…I mean…I….you… Wait, what was the question?"

"Never mind." Misty told him, blushing a little herself.

Kiara turned to Judy. "I think our Ash has a little crush on Misty." she whispered so that Ash couldn't hear.

Judy snorted. "Little? He's head over heels for her!"

"And he makes it way too easy for us to tease him about it." Trevor added with a laugh.

Levi came in with the little girl and her father on his back, thankfully distracting everyone from Ash's little blunder. Levi lowered himself so they could get down and they hopped off. Andrea hugged Levi, then Ash. "Thank you!" she said happily before running back to the beach. "Daddy, can we bring Bubbles to the beach next time?" they heard her call to her daddy.

Her father laughed. "Yes we can, princess."

"Um, did I miss something?" Misty asked. Brock and Ash told her, and she smiled. "That's so cute!"

Misty let all of her Water Pokémon, out including Mel. Loki, Staryu and Starmie paddled around lazily in the shallows. Tabitha relaxed on the towel with Aidan, who by now had dug a very large hole. Brock let out Bulbasaur, Neptune and Geodude but left Onix and Nightwing in their Poké Balls, as the rock snake absolutely hated water and the sun hurt Nightwing's eyes.

Ash climbed on Levi. "Wanna race?" he asked Misty.

She grinned. "You're on. I bet you an ice cream cone from the snack bar that Mel can beat Levi!" Mel gave the Gyarados version of a grin and nodded.

"In your dreams!" Levi said.

"I'll take that bet!" Ash said.

"Okay, then! Ready….setgo!" Mel took off before Levi and Ash could even react.

"Hey, that was cheating!" Ash yelled, laughing as Levi took off full speed. They were soon neck and neck, each trying to cut in front of the other.

"Let's head back. We're pretty far out." Misty said after a few minutes. Ash nodded.

Mel grinned. "Beat THIS turn, Levi!" She did a quick hairpin turn and Misty grabbed on tight to avoid flying off. Levi attempted to copy her, but took the turn too hard and Ash DID go flying off into the water.

"Ash!" Levi cried in worry. Mel and Misty stopped in their tracks. But thankfully, Ash surfaced a few seconds later, sputtering. "Sorry." Levi said sheepishly before diving under and lifting Ash out of the water. Mel and Misty took off again, and Levi and Ash chased after them, quickly gaining, but Mel and Misty beat them by several feet.

"Now you owe me an ice cream!" Misty said triumphantly as she hopped off Mel.

Ash didn't argue. "What flavor?"

"Chocolate."

"You want an ice cream, Brock?" Ash asked his other friend, who was watching them and smiling.

"Sure." Brock said. "Chocolate for me too please."

"I'll pick up some Poké Puffs too." Ash told them.

"I'll come with you to help you carry it." Judy volunteered. That would be a lot of stuff for Ash to carry by himself, and knowing her trainer, he'd trip and land on his face.

"Where's Aidan?" Ash asked as they walked back to their towels so Ash could get his wallet. Tabitha, Bulbasaur, Geodude, and Venom were still on the beach blanket but Aidan was nowhere in sight.

"I'm down here." Aidan's voice said, and Ash looked down to see Aidan's blue eyes staring at him from the bottom of a big hole.

Ash laughed. "What's with the hole to China, Aidan?"

"I was digging for stuff." Aidan replied simply.

"Find anything?" Ash asked.

"A few shells, a rock, and this." Aidan said, climbing out of his hole and handing the items to Ash. "It looks like some kind of scale, but I don't know what it's from."

Ash took a look at the scale, which was light blue and oval shaped. It didn't look like one of Levi's, and he wondered what Pokémon it came from. Maybe he could ask Professor Oak the next time he called him. Ash put Aidan's little treasures down on his towel and grabbed his wallet, then he and Judy walked off towards the boardwalk.

"Hi, I'd like three Cokes, three chocolate ice creams, and two dozen assorted Poké Puffs. Oh, and two of those mega-sized Poké Puffs." Ash told the man at the snack bar, pointing to the mega sized Poke Puff, which was about the size of a small birthday cake. The normal sized ones would probably qualify as crumbs to Mel and Levi.

The man rang up his order and started boxing up the Poké Puffs. "Thanks for coming to help me, Judy. Don't think I would have been able to carry all this by myself." Ash told his Mankey as the man piled his purchases up, putting the ice cream cones and drinks in a carrier.

"No problem." she said with a smile, taking the two boxes carrying the regular sized Poké Puffs and also one of the mega sized ones. She looked like a walking stack of boxes after she had them all balanced in her arms.

Ash carefully balanced the drink carrier on top of the other box with the giant Poke Puff. "You sure you've got that, Judy? Can you see past that top box?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." she reassured him.

They started to head back to the others, but heard a voice behind them. "Ash?" Ash and Judy turned to see Professor Oak.

"Hi, Professor Oak." Ash said with a smile. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm part of the Pallet Town Volunteer patrol. We took a weekend to come down here and help clean up the beach. Your…" But his sentence was cut off by another voice.

"Ash! Hi, sweetheart!" Ash heard his mother call. He turned and smiled as she came running up to him. "How are you doing, honey? I bet you're surprised to see me here!"

"I'm doing fine, Mom. Just getting some snacks for me, Brock, Misty, and our Pokémon. Want to meet them?"

"I'd love to meet your friends." Delia said happily. She turned to Judy. "Who's this cute little one under all the boxes?"

"This is Judy." Ash said with a smile. "Judy, this is my mom." he told his Mankey.

Judy peeked out from behind the pile of boxes and gave Delia a smile. "Nice to meet you."

They walked back to the others and Brock went over to Ash, removing the drink container so Ash could set the box down. "If you told me you were getting this much, I could have helped you….Oh, hello!" he said upon seeing Delia and Professor Oak.

Misty came running in from the water, Loki, Alex, Trevor, and Kiara behind her. "Oh good, you got the… Oh, hi, Mrs. Ketchum, Professor Oak." she greeted.

"Hello." Delia greeted them with a smile. "Brock and Misty, right?" They nodded. "It's wonderful to finally meet my Ashy's friends in person. I see you've been taking good care of him."

"Mom!" Ash protested, blushing. "You make me sound like a baby!"

"You'll always be my baby." Delia told him, smiling and hugging Ash. Brock, Misty, and Ash's Pokémon tried to hide their laughter, but Loki didn't.

Delia's attention turned to the Pokémon. "Aww, they're all so adorable! Which ones are yours, sweetie?"

Venom got off his towel and flew right over to Delia, hovering in front of her. "Hi, I'm Venom!" he said cheerfully. Delia backed up a step in nervousness and Venom looked a little downcast.

"It's okay, mom. This is Venom, my Beedrill." Ash told her, scratching Venom behind his wings. "He's really friendly."

Delia hesitantly reached out to scratch Venom on the head, then smiled and relaxed as he leaned into her touch.

"Wow, I've never seen a Beedrill act that friendly before." Professor Oak said in awe.

Trevor jumped into Ash's arms and looked up at Delia. "And you remember Trevor, right mom?"

"Of course I remember cute little Trevor!" Delia cooed, scooping Trevor out of Ash's arms and hugging him tightly. Trevor squirmed uncomfortably.

"Mom, you're squishing Trevor." Ash warned her gently.

Delia blushed and handed Trevor back to Ash. "Sorry, Trevor." Then she saw Kiara. "And this must be little Kiara, all grown up!" she cooed, going over and petting Kiara, who nuzzled her. She noticed Aidan standing next to Ash. "And who's this little cutie?" She reached down to pet Aidan, but he hid behind Ash's legs nervously, not wanting to be picked up and squeezed by a total stranger.

"Aidan's a little shy." Ash explained to his mom, who was looking a little sad that Aidan was afraid of and hiding from her. "Don't be afraid, Aidan." Ash told his fire type. "This is my mom. She'd never hurt you." Aidan came out from behind Ash and cautiously approached Delia, who knelt down and let him sniff her hand before gently petting his head.

"I like her." Aidan said.

Judy came up to them and handed Aidan a Poké Puff and Delia reached over and rubbed her head. "Your Pokémon are so adorable." she said.

"They're the best." Ash told her, smiling as he ate his ice cream. He saw Levi and Mel swimming out in the ocean and realized his Gyarados must not have seen him come back. "Oh, I need to call Levi in so he can get his Poké Puff!" Ash set the remainder of his ice cream back in the holder and grabbed Levi's Poké Puff.

"So what type of Pokémon is Levi?" Delia asked. Just then, Levi and Mel saw Ash and started to come in.

"A Gyarados, but don't worry, he's very friendly." Ash told her, starting to wade out, carrying the giant Poké Puff. Delia gasped as the huge Gyarados approached her son.

"Hi, Levi." Ash said, petting his Gyarados. Levi glanced at the visitors with a questioning look. "This is my mom and Professor Oak."

"Hello." Levi said, letting out a low rumble and slowly approaching them, but they backed up nervously, so he stopped.

"Here Levi. It was the biggest Poké Puff I could find." Ash said, holding out the pastry to his Gyarados, who took it from his hands with extreme gentleness. Ash scratched Levi's head as he ate, and Levi let out a rumbling purr.

Professor Oak and Delia gaped at Ash, their eyes as big as saucers. Ash was petting a huge Gyarados and it was purring like a Meowth kitten! How was this even possible?

Ash noticed them staring at him. "Why are you looking at me so weird?" Ash's Pokémon, Brock, and Misty burst out laughing. "And why are you guys laughing? What'd I do?"

…...

After Delia and Professor Oak snapped out of their shock, Ash managed to coax his mom into petting Levi. She was a bit nervous at first, but was soon petting him and telling Ash how sweet he was. Misty gave Mel her Poké Puff, and Professor Oak's eyes bugged out again after seeing a second Gyarados that was just as friendly as Levi.

Delia and Professor Oak still had some time left, so Delia offered to treat Ash and his friends to lunch, which they happily accepted. Ash recalled Kiara, Venom, and Levi, and Brock and Misty recalled all their Pokémon except Loki, who had been absolutely refusing to stay in a Poké Ball since their adventure at Pokémon Island.

They discussed where to eat and Brock suggested Moe's, the restaurant the old man on the boat had told him about. The others readily agreed, and they set off.

As they entered the restaurant, they found it was nearly empty except for the old man and a brown-haired teenage boy who was sitting at the counter, an Eevee on his lap and a Ninetales by his side.

"Hello. Welcome to Moe's." the boy said, gently pushing the Eevee off his lap and hopping off his stool. He was tall and muscular, built like a linebacker. He wore a white t-shirt and black jeans with blue trainers. "I'm TJ."

"Oh hi, TJ, I didn't know you worked here." Professor Oak greeted him.

"You two know each other?" Misty asked.

"TJ has some Pokémon back at my lab. And by the way TJ, I don't know if my assistant called you, but your Arcanine had her egg three days ago and they're both doing just fine."

"He did, and thank you. I'm glad Amy's okay." TJ said, smiling. "And I don't work here; Grandpa just needed some help for a few days so my girlfriend and I came to Porta Vista to help him out."

TJ led them to a table and the group sat, Trevor hopping into Ash's lap and Loki into Misty's. Judy and Aidan shared the seat next to Ash. TJ gave them their menus and took their drink orders.

"So what would you recommend here?" Ash asked TJ.

"Well, I like everything." TJ said with a laugh. "But I'd have to say the deluxe super burger and fries is my favorite."

"I'll try that, then." Ash said with a smile. "Your Eevee and Ninetales are beautiful by the way." At that, the little Eevee started purring and leaped into Ash's lap, nearly landing on Trevor.

"I like you!" the Eevee said cheerfully. Ash could tell by the voice that it was female.

"Hey, you're in my spot!" Trevor objected and the Eevee looked at him with wide, cute eyes. Trevor instantly fell under the spell. "But it's okay. I'll share." he quickly added, a small goofy grin on his face. Judy burst out laughing, but Trevor didn't even notice.

TJ burst out laughing. "You just made a friend for life, mate. Eva loves to be fussed over."

The Ninetales walked over to Ash. Ash held out his hand and she sniffed it, then rubbed her head against his hand.

"May I pet her?" Ash asked.

TJ grinned. "I think she'd be disappointed if you didn't. She must like you. Nicki doesn't usually take to strangers." Ash gently scratched Nicki behind the ears and the Ninetales lay at his feet as TJ took the rest of their orders.

Suddenly the door to the kitchen opened and a humanoid Pokémon with green hair, a spiked face, a red horn on its chest and a white body that almost looked like it was wearing a dress came out, carrying their drinks on a tray. She levitated their drinks and placed each one in front of the person who had ordered it, not making any mistakes. "What type of Pokémon is that, TJ? I've never seen anything like him or her in Kanto before." Ash asked.

The Pokémon smiled at him, amused. "I'm a Gardevoir, little speaker. My name is Luna."

TJ snapped his head around to look at Luna, then stared at Ash in shock, but quickly snapped out of it. "She's a Gardevoir, a Psychic Pokémon from Hoenn. Her name is Luna." he told Ash. He left to go take their orders to the cook.

The old man came over. "Hello, my friends. I forgot to introduce myself to you last time we met. I'm Moe, though you probably guessed it from the name of my restaurant." he said with a laugh. "How have you been enjoying your stay in Porta Vista?"

"It's been wonderful. I love the beach." Misty said happily. TJ came out and they all chatted for a few minutes more, then TJ and Luna went back to check on their food. They came out with the steaming plates after a minute.

Ash took a bite of his burger. "Okay, this is probably the best burger I've ever had."

"Mmm." Misty nodded. "Good suggestion, Brock."

Suddenly the restaurant door banged open, and a short red-haired old woman walked in, smirking. "Well, well, it looks like you don't need a reservation in here any more." she said in a taunting tone. Eva leapt off Ash's lap and stood next to TJ, glaring at the woman.

"Brutella." TJ growled, glaring at her. Moe and Luna put their hands on his shoulders.

"If things keep up like this, you might have to go out of business." She seemed enormously pleased by this. "And with all the accidents that I heard have been happening here, I don't blame your customers for not showing up. This place is a death trap."

"Accidents?" Misty asked, but TJ cut her off.

"Accidents, my a…rear end. I'm pretty sure SOMEONE was sabotaging us. And I have the feeling I know who was behind it." He glared at Brutella.

"Listen, you big brute, don't make accusations you can't prove." Brutella snarled before turning to Moe. "And as for you, you'd better pay me back that dough you owe me."

"You'll get your money." Moe said angrily.

"Well, I want it by tomorrow night. And if you don't pay me back every penny, I'll just take that boat of yours instead." Brutella retorted.

Moe looked horrified. "No, please! Take anything you want, but not that boat!"

"You can't steal my grandpa's boat!" TJ yelled.

"TJ, calm down." Moe told him. "Don't make things worse. I don't want you to get in trouble."

Brutella smirked. "See you tomorrow." Then she left.

TJ started pacing. "She can't just take your boat, can she? That's not even legal!"

"I'm afraid she can, TJ." Moe sighed. "And if I don't hand it over, she could sue me for everything I have."

"But that boat is your most prized possession! There has to be SOMETHING we can do!" TJ argued.

"Unless we can make that money by tomorrow, I'll have no choice." Moe murmured.

"That's so sad." Misty murmured.

"Maybe we can help." Ash said, drawing everyone's attention. "If we can bring in a lot of customers, you can earn the money to pay that lady and you won't have to lose your boat."

Misty brightened. "We could make posters and hand out fliers."

"You would do that for me?" Moe asked, his eyes wide. "You barely even know me."

"You helped us when we entered Porta Vista. Now it's our turn to help you." Brock said.

"Well, thank you. But how can we get enough customers to make all that money in less than forty eight hours?" Moe wondered.

"Might I make a suggestion?" Professor Oak asked. He handed Ash a newspaper. "The annual Porta Vista Beach Beauty and Pokémon Costume contest starts tomorrow. It draws thousands of people in each year, and they'll all be hungry, so why don't you advertise this place? You'll clean up, and you'll make the money you need by tomorrow night."

"That's a great idea." Ash told him.

"I'd like to enter the contest." Misty said.

"You should, Misty. There are cash prizes for both the beauty and the Pokémon costume contests." Professor Oak told her.

TJ smacked himself on the forehead. "I can't believe I forgot about that contest, especially after my girl got hired as photographer. It completely slipped my mind!"

"Where is your girlfriend anyway? I thought you said she was helping you." Misty asked.

"I sent her shopping after the last "accident." TJ told them. "Someone poured oil on the floor and she slipped and fell while helping wait tables. Thankfully, she wasn't hurt; just ruined her outfit. Knowing her and shopping, she'll be gone for hours."

Delia's watch beeped. "Oh, we have to get back to our shift!" she exclaimed. She gave Ash a kiss on the head. "We've got to get to work. See you tomorrow at the contest, sweetie." She and Professor Oak both left after paying the bill.

Ash turned to TJ. "You said someone was sabotaging the restaurant. What happened?"

"Just about everything imaginable." TJ sighed. "Someone broke in last night and trashed the place, and we had to open an hour late because of cleaning up; the posters we set up were torn down, the vegetable oil on the floor…. And even worse, someone poured gas on the grill from the window while Grandpa, Nicki, and I were cooking! If Luna hadn't rushed in and set up a psychic shield, a huge fireball would have blown up in our faces! And I saw the guy who did it run off, but Luna and I couldn't catch him. Luna did find out from his mind that he was hired by Brutella, but we can't prove it!" TJ took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down.

"That's awful." Misty breathed. "Why would she do something like that?"

"Moe's is her biggest competition." Moe told her. "She'd do anything to run me out of business, even sabotage."

"Maybe someone should stand guard." Brock suggested.

"I will be." Luna said. "I'll make sure the restaurant's safe; you guys just work on the posters and fliers." Ash and TJ looked at her, then at each other. "Will one of you two please translate?" Luna sighed. "Ash, TJ is a Speaker too and Moe knows, so no one is going to reveal your secret. TJ, Brock and Misty know about Ash's ability, so you don't have to hide yours from them."

"Luna says she'll stand guard and we should just work on the posters and fliers." Ash said finally. Moe looked shocked, but quickly composed himself.

"I've got the same gift as Ash and Grandpa knows." TJ told a shocked Brock and Misty.

"Why aren't I surprised when weird things happen anymore?" Misty sighed as she sat down at the table and grabbed a piece of poster board.

"It's good to meet another Speaker." TJ said. "I haven't met another one since Psychic school and there was only one other Speaker in our class. Well two if you count Sabrina, but I don't think mind reading counts."

"Psychic school?" Ash asked.

"Yeah, the one in Saffron City." TJ explained. "It was originally run by Sabrina's dad, but now she runs it as well as running the gym. I'm surprised you haven't heard about it. Did your parents teach you at home or something?"

Ash shook his head. "I've only had this ability for a few months. My mom doesn't even know about it."

"You didn't come into your ability until a few months ago?" TJ asked, surprised. "I was born with it, and so was my friend Zoey."

"I got it through an electrical shock." Ash said, not wanting to tell a total stranger the full story. Luna looked concerned and Nicki nuzzled his hand. Both could sense that something bad had happened to Ash that he wasn't talking about.

"Huh. That's strange." TJ muttered. "I've never heard that happening before. You should go to the Psychic School. They'll be to tell you what's going on. I would, but it probably involves a lot of scientific jargon and science was my nap class." he added with a chuckle.

"Thanks, I will." Ash said.

The restaurant door opened. "TJ? Moe?" a female voice that sounded vaguely familiar to Ash called.

"We're in here, babe." TJ called back and the girl walked in. Ash, Misty and Brock gasped. It was Misty's older sister, Lily. A green and black jackal-like Pokémon stood shyly behind her, carrying a few shopping bags. Lily gave TJ's credit card back to him and gave him a quick kiss.

"What are you doing here?" Misty asked, a little more harshly than she had intended. Ash moved to sit next to her, looking warily at Lily, as did Judy and Trevor. Aidan just looked confused.

Lily looked down. "Hi, baby sister." she said in a somewhat subdued voice. "TJ and I were about to head off on our journey, but Moe called and needed help, so I came here with TJ." She walked over to Misty. "Can I talk to you? Alone?" Misty looked conflicted, but nodded, picking up Loki and following Lily to the other side of the room. Ash kept an eye on them, just to make sure Lily didn't insult Misty.

…...

"What did you want, Lily?" Misty asked.

"I'm sorry." Lily blurted out.

Misty blinked. "W-What?" Had Lily just apologized to her? Lily never apologized.

"I'm sorry." Lily repeated. "Your boyfriend was right. I acted pretty ugly back at the gym. I shouldn't have said such mean things, not to my baby sister."

Misty blinked, struggling to take in what Lily had said. Then the first part of the sentence registered to her. "Ash isn't my boyfriend!"

Lily snorted. "Oh please. Have you seen the way he looks at you and how protective he is of you? That boy is head over heels for you. And the way you smile at him… I think you like him too." Then she sobered. "What I'm trying to say is I'm sorry I hurt you. I shouldn't have treated you that way. I was mean and vain and cruel and I'm sorry." She placed a hand on Misty's shoulder. "Mist, you do know that no matter what I said, I do love you, right?"

"You-You do?" Misty stammered.

Lily smiled sadly and pulled Misty into a hug. "Of course I do. And Daisy and Violet love you too. You're our baby sister! And I'm so sorry that we made you think we didn't. I hope you can forgive me." Misty stiffened for a second, then cautiously hugged her big sister back.

After a few minutes, Lily pulled out of the hug. "Let's get back to the others. Your boyfriend is probably worried." she said with a smirk.

"Ash isn't my…." Misty started.

"I'm not your what?" Ash asked, walking up.

"Oh, nothing." Misty replied nervously. Lily and TJ shared knowing looks.

"Everything okay?" Ash asked, still looking a little wary of Lily.

"Yep, everything's fine." Misty reassured him.

He smiled. "Good."

…...

They continued making posters, Lily helping them. Brock went to print out some fliers and hand them out. TJ introduced the gang to the shy jackal Pokémon who stuck close to Lily's side. Her name was Lucy and she was a shiny Lucario whose egg TJ had won in a competition in Sinnoh.

"So Lily, TJ told us you were photographer at the contest tomorrow." Misty said.

Lily nodded. "Taking photos has always been a hobby of mine. I never told you, Daisy, or Violet, but I've been wanting to do it professionally for a while."

"She's great at it." TJ said with a smile, putting his arm around his girlfriend.

"I'm entering the beauty contest." Misty blurted out. Then she looked worried, half expecting Lily to insult her.

But Lily smiled. "That's great, sis." she said sincerely. "But if you want to win first place, you need a makeover."

"Misty's just fine the way she is." Ash said defensively, thinking Lily was insulting his friend. Misty blushed.

Lily smirked and mouthed "Told you." to Misty before turning to Ash. "Easy, boy. I meant that she needs her hair done, she needs a manicure, facial…and when's the last time you had a pedicure, sis?"

"Aww Lily, you know I hate my feet touched." Misty complained. Then she turned to Ash. "Actually for a beauty contest, Lily's right."

"Yay!" Lily cheered. "C'mon, little sister; I'll do your hair, your nails…We'll have a regular girl's night! Let's go!" She grabbed Misty's arm and dragged her out the door. Lucy shook her head and ran after them.

TJ shook his head as he did the finishing touches on the last poster. "I have the strange feeling I'm going to be kicked out of our room tonight…. Mind if I crash with you guys?"

"That's fine." Ash told him.

Brock suddenly burst in. "Guys, you will not BELIEVE what just happened!"

"Please tell me you didn't get any more cruise tickets." Ash groaned. TJ looked at him in confusion. "I'll explain later."

Brock grinned. "No, this is MUCH better! When I was walking to the print shop, I found out that the announcer to the beauty contest had come down with the flu. I asked if I could help, and they gave ME the job! I get to announce all the contestants and have a front row seat to watch all the beautiful girls! Someone pinch me; I must be dreaming! Ouch! I didn't mean literally, Judy!"

TJ sweat dropped. "Does he always act like this?" he whispered to Ash.

"Yes." Ash whispered back.

…...

The next morning, TJ, Ash, Brock, and Lily met up again. "Where's Misty?" Ash asked.

"Hanging up posters and you can't see her until the contest." Lily said with a smirk. "Don't want to ruin the surprise. You're gonna LOVE what I did!"

The group filled some bags with fliers and attached them to Kiara and Drago, TJ's Dragonite. The two flying Pokémon spread the fliers all over the beach, and soon Moe's restaurant was packed with people. Outside the restaurant, Brutella seethed.

…...

"James, you idiot!" Jessie yelled, staring at their wrecked Gyarados submarine. "You hit the gas instead of the brake!"

"I only did what you told me to do!" James protested.

"I didn't tell you to crash our submarine!" Jessie shouted.

"Well, I think you both are idiots!" Meowth yelled. Jessie and James stopped arguing and hit him on the head.

"Mind if I interrupt?" a strange voice asked smugly, and Jessie and James turned to see a short red-haired old woman.

"Who are you?" Jessie asked.

"The name's Brutella. And you folks are Team Rocket agents, aren't you." It wasn't a question.

The Rocket trio stared at her in shock. "H-How…" James asked shakily.

"Your Team Rocket uniforms, you dipsticks." Brutella snapped. Her face grew crafty. "Now listen. I won't call the police AND I'll fix your little submarine, IF you do something for me in return."

The Rocket trio looked at each other and nodded. Jessie turned to Brutella. "What do you need us to do?"

…...

"Ladies and gentleman, we're happy to announce that the annual Porta Vista Beach Beauty and Pokémon Costume contest is about to begin!" Brock announced through the loudspeaker.

"Wow, Brock's good at this." Ash said, sitting with Trevor and Eva on his lap. Judy and Aidan sat in the chair next to him and his mom sat on his other side. Beside her sat Professor Oak, and then Moe.

"Keep your eyes on the stage; Lily said Misty was up first." TJ told him, gently stroking Nicki's head. The teenager was sitting next to Judy and Aidan, Luna beside him.

"I can't see!" Aidan complained, standing on tiptoe.

Judy stood up. "Here, stand on my shoulders."

"Thanks." Aidan said, scrambling up on Judy's shoulders. "That's better. Hey, why is everyone around us laughing?"

"Now, here's our first contestant!" Brock announced and Ash's attention snapped from his goofy Pokémon to the stage as the curtain opened. His eyes nearly popped out of his head at the sight.

Misty walked onto the stage, waving. She was in her pink bikini and her hair was down and styled, coming to her shoulders. Ash thought she looked beautiful.

"Hey, Ash, you in there?" TJ asked, waving a hand in front of Ash's face.

Ash barely even noticed. "Sure, Brock…" he murmured, still staring at Misty. TJ and Ash's Pokémon burst out laughing. Apparently Lily had done a good job.

"Yeah, he's gone." TJ chuckled.

"Aww, my little boy has his first crush!" Delia cooed.

Ash snapped out of it. "MOM!" TJ and Ash's Pokémon laughed harder.

"This is Misty, the lovely and talented Water Pokémon trainer who is sure making a big splash here today!" Brock said through the microphone. "Now let's look at the costume she and her Pokémon have created!" Loki, wearing an alien helmet, floated down on top of Starmie, who was hovering with its gem side down. "Well, this is a very imaginative costume! It's Starmie and Squirtle as extraterristrials in their flying saucer!" Starmie and Loki flew around Misty, and then Loki shot out a small spout of water. "Excellent job, Misty!" The audience went wild.

"And next we have two Pokémon calling themselves the Rocket Boosters, dressed as a legendary Pokémon." Brock announced, frowning at the name.

Ash slapped his forehead. "Please tell me they're not…"

But they were. Koffing floated onto the stage with a big clump of green grass over it's face, Ekans coiled around its head in a spiral.

"This is a…very interesting costume." Brock said. "I believe it's supposed to be Omastar, and the Pokémon are Ekans and Koffing."

Suddenly a foot kicked them out of the way. "Get lost!" a familiar voice said, and Ash stiffened. It was Gary, his fan club of six beautiful girls behind him.

"It's Gary." Ash murmured. Judy growled and dropped Aidan, and Ash reached out to catch him just in time. Trevor started hissing.

"Who's Gary?" a very confused Aidan asked.

"A complete jerk." Judy growled, glaring at Gary.

Gary noticed Ash sitting in the third row and smirked as Brock announced, "And now we have a surprise appearance by Gary Oak, an up and coming Pokémon trainer, accompanied by a squad of his adoring and adorable fans." Brock looked at Ash in worry.

"I forgot to mention that my grandson came along with us." Professor Oak said sheepishly.

"Ash, I know you're out there in the crowd somewhere!" Gary taunted through the microphone. "But I didn't come here to make you jealous of me, Ash. I came here so that my adorable fan club members could make you jealous of me!"

"Gary, Gary, he's our man! He'll trash Ash, we know he can!" the fan club cheered.

"Thank you, fans! Great cheer!" Gary congratulated them. He smirked at Ash. "I wrote that one myself, Ashy!"

"He's probably overcompensating for something." TJ muttered, only to be smacked upside the head by Luna.

"Do not talk like that in front of a ten year old!" she scolded.

"Sorry! What I meant to say is just ignore him. He's just a big jerk." TJ told Ash, but Ash didn't seem to hear him.

Judy looked at Ash, seeing her trainer withdraw further into himself with each hurtful word Gary said. "I'm going to kill that jerk! No one insults my trainer!" she screeched, starting to get up off her chair, ready to go onstage and pummel Gary. Trevor started to leap off Ash's lap and go with her, and the normally gentle Aidan let out a ferocious snarl that made the people in the row in front of him look back nervously.

"Mr. Oak, it is against the rules to slander someone on the contest stage!" Brock yelled. But Gary just ignored him.

Ash grabbed Trevor and handed him to his mom, then wrapped his arms around Judy and Aidan, who were trying to go beat up Gary. "Guys, please calm down! Don't attack him; it's not worth it!"

"He insulted you!" Judy yelled, struggling against Ash.

"Judy…please. It's okay." Ash pleaded. Judy's eyes softened and she nodded, starting to calm down.

Unfortunately, Judy's screeching and wriggling had drawn Gary's attention. "And there's Ashy boy right there." he taunted so that everyone could hear. "Looks like his own Pokémon don't want to be around him either!" Ash flinched. As always, Gary had hit him where it hurt the worst. His grip loosened on Judy and Aidan, and they broke free.

Judy walked towards the stage and Trevor and Aidan started to follow, but she held up a hand to stop them. "I've got this. You two stay here with Ash." They frowned but nodded, and Judy walked off.

"Judy, don't!" Ash cried, running after her. What if she beat up Gary? The Pokémon League might take Judy away from him if they thought she was too aggressive! He couldn't let that happen!

Luna gently grabbed his arm, stopping him. "Don't worry. She's not going to beat him up." the Gardevoir said soothingly. She patted Ash's hand, sending some calming emotions to get him to relax a little.

Ash watched worriedly as Judy jumped up on the stage. Some people in the audience gasped, seeing that the Mankey was clearly angry. Judy casually approached Gary….then promptly pulled his pants down to his ankles. Then she grinned triumphantly and hopped off the stage, heading back towards Ash and leaving a stunned Gary with his superhero boxers clearly revealed to the world.

There was stunned silence in the audience for about ten seconds, then thousands of people burst out laughing. The ones in the end of the rows reached out to pat Judy on the back.

"Nice boxers!" someone yelled.

"You deserved that!" TJ called, laughing his head off. Professor Oak had his head in his hands, and Delia looked stunned. Ash was simply standing there in the middle of the aisle, his mouth wide open. Gary glared at Ash, then pulled up his pants and fled the stage, his fan club behind him.

"Close your mouth before microbugs fly in." Judy said lightly as she walked up to Ash. She took his hand and led him back to their seats.

"What the…How'd you…Why'd you…?" Ash stammered.

"Are you going to be finishing any of those sentences?" Judy teased and Ash blushed. "I had a friend who was a Haunter and loved to pull pranks on humans. Pantsing was one of his favorite pranks to pull on human bullies that would bother his trainer. And as for why I did it, he was insulting you and deserved some kind of payback. You told me not to beat him up, so I decided to embarrass him instead." She reached over and hugged Ash. "And by the way, you ARE worth it."

Ash hugged her back. "Thank you." he whispered. It was the first time anyone had stood up for him when Gary had taunted him. It was the first time Ash hadn't been alone…

"Well, after that…rather weird…series of events, Gary has now disqualified himself from the competition. Our next contestant is…" But Brock's voice was cut off by a huge rumbling coming from the ocean. Everyone screamed as what looked like a gigantic Gyarados came out of the water. Judy pulled Ash behind her and took a defensive stance.

Ash knew instantly that it wasn't a real Gyarados, but what looked like a Gyarados shaped submarine. But still definitely dangerous, as it was running towards a group of screaming people, Lily being one of them.

"Luna, hold it back with Psychic!" TJ yelled. The Gardevoir held it back as everyone ran clear, but she was struggling to keep the several ton submarine still.

Ash reacted quickly. "Go Levi!" The huge Gyarados came out of his Poké Ball. He saw the massive machine and moved in front of Ash protectively. "Use Dragon Rage on that submarine! Hit it inside the mouth! Aidan, help him with Flamethrower!" Levi started to charge up a Dragon Rage, but it was a white beam of light that came out of his mouth instead. Levi had learned Hyper Beam.

The Hyper Beam, combined with Aidan's Flamethrower, hit the engine, causing it to explode. A shockwave went through the sub, blasting off Team Rocket as they were trying to escape through the safety hatch.

"Team Rocket's blasting off again!" they screamed as they flew through the air.

"Phew. That was close." Ash sighed. Everyone cheered, running over and thanking the group.

Misty and Brock ran off the stage and up to Ash as Lily and TJ's Lucario ran into TJ's arms. "Good thinking, both of you." Misty told them.

"Good thing Levi learned Hyper Beam." Ash said. "Thanks, guys." he told his Pokémon.

Trevor noticed Brutella hiding behind the stands, glowering. Following a gut instinct, he grabbed the microphone off the stage, remembering that the humans used it to amplify their voices, and sneaked over to her.

"Those complete fools!" Brutella growled. "I should have known better than to hire those Team Rocket agents especially after how idiotic they acted! Apparently if I want Moe's destroyed right, I need to do it myself!" Suddenly, people nearby began glaring at her, and two police officers started walking over. Brutella looked across from her and saw a Rattata standing in the seats above her, holding a microphone in its mouth. The rat had just amplified everything she said!

Angrily, she grabbed for the Rattata, but Trevor easily dodged her and ran off, jumping into Ash's arms. Then the police officers grabbed her, cuffing her.

"You're under arrest." one of the officers growled. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can be held against you in a court of law." The two officers led her away.

"Nice going, Trevor!" Ash said, hugging his Rattata.

"Yeah, thanks Trevor." TJ told him. "Now that b…" Luna smacked him upside the head. "Now that Brutella gets what she deserves." TJ quickly finished.

"And my restaurant is saved!" Moe said. "Thank you all so much!"

"The beauty contest is starting back up again." one of the judges told Brock and Lily. "We need you two over here."

"See you guys after the contest." Lily said. "C'mon, little sister, I think they'll want you back there too." Ash and TJ waved goodbye to them and headed back to their seats.

Delia came running up and hugged Ash tightly. "You nearly frightened the life out of me, young man!" She pulled out of the hug to look Ash in the eyes. "But I'm very proud of you."

"Thanks, mom. And sorry, Mom." Ash said, a little sheepishly. They all walked back to their seats and waited for the contest to start again.

…...

The contest had been going on for over an hour and Ash was bored. Incredibly bored. Apparently so were his Pokémon, because Aidan and Trevor were asleep, and Judy had gone over to talk to Lucy, who was standing with Lily a few feet away.

TJ took out a brush and began to carefully brush Eva. Nicki nuzzled Ash's hand to get him to pet her, which he happily did. "Want to brush her?" TJ asked.

Ash smiled. "Sure." TJ handed him a soft brush and Ash began running it through the Ninetales's coat, making her purr and raise her back so he could brush her tails.

"The judges have made their decision." Brock announced, making Ash stop mid-brush much to Nicki's irritation. She head butted his hand and he apologized and started brushing her again while listening for the winners. The crowd cheered, waking Trevor and Aidan up. Brock announced the winners of each category, then finally came to Misty's. Ash held his breath. "And the winner of Most Imaginative Pokémon Costume are Misty Waterflower, Starmie, and Squirtle!"

"Yes!" Ash cheered. "Great job, Misty!" Her eyes met his and she smiled at him as the judge put the tiara on her head and handed her her check.

"Good job, little sister!" Lily called up to her. Misty ran down and the group hugged her and patted her on the back.

Someone handed a piece of paper to Brock. He looked at it in surprise and read, "Will TJ Walters and Ash Ketchum as well as their Pokémon come onto the stage, please?"

TJ and Ash looked at each other in confusion. Then TJ shrugged and headed towards the stage, motioning for Ash to follow. Their Pokémon quickly followed behind them.

Once they were on the stage, a black-haired man walked up to them. "As mayor of Porta Vista, I would like to thank you for protecting our town. I hereby present to you these trophies for your courage and quick thinking." He handed them each a large trophy and the crowd cheered. TJ looked surprised, but accepted the trophy with a thank you. Ash blushed and shuffled, nervous about all the people staring at him. Judy gently squeezed his hand to reassure him. With a nervous thank you to the mayor, Ash took his trophy and left the stage as soon as he politely could.

"Congratulations, TJ." Lily said, giving him a kiss.

Delia hugged her son. "I'm so proud of my little man!" Ash blushed and his Pokémon tried to hide their laughter. She took the trophy from Ash. "Can I keep this?" A little embarrassed, Ash nodded.

"Good job, both of you." Professor Oak said warmly. "You both showed great skill out there, and quick thinking in a crisis." Both boys thanked him.

"Well, we'd better get going." Delia said reluctantly. "Our boat leaves soon and we don't want to be late." Then her eyes widened as she remembered something. "Oh, Ash, I have something for you." Delia reached into her purse and took out a small red and black device with a video screen and a wrist strap.

"What's that?" Ash asked.

"It's an Xtranciever." Delia told him. "It's from Unova and it works similar to the Poké Gear, but it's much more advanced. It does video calls, so you can call me and Professor Oak anytime you want to. And it even comes with a camera. Oh, and here's the instruction manual that goes with it."

Ash grinned. "Oh wow! Thanks, Mom!"

"You're welcome, sweetie. Don't forget to call and take lots of pictures so I can see all your adventures." Ash mentally winced, knowing his mom would freak if she found out about his last adventure….

Professor Oak and Delia said goodbye and left, though Delia still gave Ash an embarrassing reminder to change his you-know-what's. Moe invited the gang back to Moe's for a celebration dinner, telling them anything they wanted was on the house.

…...

"I can't thank you guys enough." TJ said as they waved goodbye to Moe, who was sailing away on his boat. The old man had decided to fulfill his dream of going on a cruise around the world. "You really saved the day, and Grandpa's dream."

"We're glad we could help." Ash replied.

"I'd like to give you something as a thank you." TJ told them, pulling what looked like a few Cds out of his backpack. "Do you guys have a TM machine?" They shook their heads and TJ took one out of his backpack. "Here you go."

"You don't have to give us your…" Misty started, but TJ cut her off.

"It's fine. I don't really use it anymore anyway." TJ reassured them. He handed Ash a TM first. "Here, this one is Thunderbolt. It's for your Gyarados." Then he laughed. "Actually, I think your Rattata can learn it too."

"Trevor can learn an Electric type move? How?" Ash blurted out.

TJ shrugged. "No clue. I just found it out while messing around with my Pokédex in the Pokémon Center. It was so weird, I guess I just never forgot it. Just let me double check…" He picked up his Pokédex. "Okay, search moves a Rattata can learn by TM or move tutoring…yep, it's there."

"The Pokédex can give you a list of moves your Pokémon can learn?" Ash asked.

TJ nodded. "Yeah, just say "Search," than whatever you're searching for. Or use the touch screen and hit 'search' then type in what you need."

Ash did what TJ showed him. "Who do you think I should use the TM on, Levi or Trevor?"

"Me! Teach it to me!" Trevor said eagerly. Then he turned a little red as everyone looked at him. "I have no distance moves." he explained. "Thunderbolt will help me be a lot more useful in battle and if we have to deal with those Team Rocket morons or some sort of other danger like we seem to run into on a weekly basis."

"Trevor has a good point." TJ said thoughtfully. "And I think Gyarados can learn Thunderbolt a lot easier without a TM than Rattata can. My Gyarados, Ariel, learned it without a TM. My Dragonite taught it to her. He had it as an egg move."

"Okay, that's settled then…." Ash started and realized Lily was standing there, looking completely unsurprised that TJ had responded to what Trevor had said. "Um, does she know about your…um, gift?" Ash asked with a whisper.

"Yes." TJ finished. "We've been friends since kidnergarden and she found out pretty quickly. Can't hide much from that girl. Ash has the same gift as me." he told a shocked Lily, who relaxed and nodded.

"Plus, TJ is the world's worst liar." Lily said fondly, wrapping her arms around her boyfriend.

"Sounds like someone else I know." Misty muttered, looking at Ash, who blushed.

"Sounds like we attract the same type of boys, little sis." Lily said with a smirk. Both Ash and Misty turned red, and TJ laughed.

"How do you use the TM machine?" Ash asked, mostly to change the subject.

"Okay, just load the TM in this slot and touch this end to Trevor's head, then press the button." TJ explained.

Ash put the Thunderbolt TM in the machine, then something occurred to him. "This won't hurt Trevor, will it?" he asked, concerned.

"No, it won't." Luna reassured him. "TJ taught me Grass Knot through a TM. Think of it as like an instructional DVD for Pokémon. It just shows us exactly how to perform the move."

Reassured, Ash touched the TM machine to Trevor and pressed the button. The disk whirred and some sparks came from the machine. After a minute, the disk stopped whirring. "Did it work?" Ash asked.

"Yes it did." Trevor replied happily. "All I have to do is supercharge the static electricity in my fur. Here, I'll show you." Trevor concentrated and began sparking. After a minute, a little lightning bolt came out. Trevor's fur stood straight up and made him look like a little puffball.

Trevor sighed. "That was a lot less impressive than I'd hoped…"

"Don't worry, Trev, I'm sure it will get stronger with practice." Ash reassured, reaching down to smooth the Rattata's fur. He yelped as he got a small static jolt. TJ chuckled and handed him a small brush with a rubber handle meant for electric types. Ash brushed Trevor's fur down and the static went away. Ash tried to hand the brush back to TJ, but the teenager told him to keep it.

TJ turned to Misty, taking out another TM. "Here, it's Scald. This move is awesome and I think your Squirtle can learn it." Misty thanked him and used the TM on Loki. TJ then looked at Brock. "Umm, I'd like to give you one too, but I'm not sure what type of Pokémon you have."

"An Onix, Geodude, Zubat, Bulbasaur, and Krabby, but you really don't…" Brock started, but TJ had started digging through his backpack.

"Here. It's Bulldoze. It will be perfect for your Onix." TJ told him.

"Thank you." Brock told him, taking the TM.

It was beginning to grow dark. "We'd better start getting ready to go." Lily told TJ.

"Okay, I'll get the car." he said, walking off.

Misty turned to Lily. "Car?"

"You didn't expect me to hike and sleep in the woods with all the dirt and bugs, did you, little sister?" Lily asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I guess not." Misty admitted. She HAD been pretty surprised when Daisy and Violet told her Lily was going on a journey of her own. Lily was NOT the outdoorsy type.

Several minutes later, TJ pulled up with in his car, a used blue convertible. Lily hopped in the front with Eva in her lap and Lucy, Nicki and Luna in the back. "Bye!" TJ called.

"It was great seeing you guys!" Lily said.

"It was really nice meeting you!" Ash called as the group waved goodbye to their new friend.

"He was pretty cool." Misty said. "Looks like you have another friendly rival, Ash."

The group headed back to the hotel, not knowing their next big adventure was only a few days away.

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