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After Galar, What’s Next?

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Ash: 16

Misty: 16

Brock: 23

Gou, Marnie: 16

Pikachu: 16 (in PokéYears)

(Kantonian is Japanese and Unovan is English, thanks for the concept, Sapphiria!)

(Zebstrikahead is a parody of the punk rap band Zebrahead)

Ash, who was recently stationed in the Galar Region to help out in a lab and to research the “Dynamax Phenomenon” was coming back to Kanto.

“To be honest, I’d say I’m just coming back to Misty.” he thought. Even mentioning her in his head made him blush.

He was taking a plane because he didn’t want to work his Pokémon too hard. Although he had taken them to the Pokémon Center after an impromtu title match against his friend Gou, (who unbeknownst to Ash had been completing the Island Challenges while Ash visited his friends in the island nation of Alola) he wanted them to get time off in their comfy and spacious Pokéballs.

Gou valiantly fought with his Pokémon and even his just-caught Mew, but his careful strategies and cleverly-picked team wasn’t much of a match against the heavily unpredictable enigma known as “Ash’s battling”.

Ash had breathed a sigh of relief once he won that battle. Not that he had thought that he would lose, but it was one of the first times where he felt that he had some type of honor to defend.

“But...” Ash thought. “I better think about other things. I want to tell my whole story to Misty.” Oh, and to everyone else too, haha!” he slyly thought.

“So...where to begin?” he whispered to his best buddy Pikachu.

“Pikapi, chapi chuu ka pi.”

Ash thought that roughly meant “Start at the beginning, Ash.”

So he did.

“First, I ran into Gou at a cool new Pokémon Lab but we were sent to Galar and we hung out there. Later, we travelled to some other regions too. Misty should remember when we said hi to her!” he quietly cataloged out loud.

“In the middle of that, we went to a bunch of places in Galar! Let’s see...” he said, while taking out his Rotom Phone and swiping through the pictures to jog his memory.

“Ah! We went to all the gyms, and remember that one big city where there was that punk rock concert?”

“Chuu pi pi kachu...” Pikachu said while making one of his PokéFaces, this one of an exasparated Psyduck. “Of course, Ash. The guitars were loud...”

Even the thought of one of her Pokémon made Ash miss her. The funny thing was that first, he hated her. But, when he had to leave, it changed his perception of her for good. She wasn’t the angry ginger that smacked him with a mallet frequently.

No, to him she was the cute redhead that always made him laugh, he realized on the day he had turned 12, on the last day of his journeys in Johto.

It wasn’t until she was gone and until he met May that he began to think that he...liked Misty. He knew then that his relationship with Misty was way different from any other one with a girl that he had met.

By the time Serena had kissed him, he was completely oblivious to all girls wanting him. (There were actually a lot, he later learned.)

He felt nothing when she kissed him. He only liked her as a friend, and although she was pretty she wasn’t his type.

Ash was in his own little Ted Talk by then, daydreaming.

Pikachu was just confusedly staring at Ash, as he had never been so focused on a task other than battling.

Or interacting with Misty, come to think of it.

“Oh! Ash is thinking about Misty again!” he thought.

“Pikapi. Pikapi. Pi. Ka. Pi.”

“Ash. Ash. Aaaaash.”

“Huh?” Ash snapped out of his Misty daydream.

“Pikachupi pi ka kachu chuchi kapi!” he said with a giggle.

“You were dreaming about Misty?” he said, not realizing those words.

“AHH! NO I WASN’T!!!” he frantically (yet quietly, he was on a plane after all) while blushing.

“Your face says otherwise” was Pikachu’s reply.

“Gwaaah, you know me so well!”

“I’ve travelled with you for...6 years. That’s kinda a lot of years, ya know” Pikachu quietly chirped.

“Anyways, what was I talking about?” Ash said while turning his phone on. The background was of Misty, and he figured that he should change it to something else before they land.

He suddenly remembered.

“Ah, I forgot Spikemuth! We met Marnie there, and she’s super cool! Haha, I know that Gou has a crush on her, and I actually had asked her and she admitted to liking him...so we have to get them together sometime, right buddy?” to which Pikachu enthusiastically nodded. (He was friends with Marnie and her Morpeko.)

“Marnie also introduced me to punk rock! That’s a genre of music as well as a Pokémon Abillity! One of my favorite bands is Zebstrikahead!” Ash happily said.

“I even set Misty’s contact to a song from Zebstrikahead! It’s called ‘Anthem’.”

“Wanna listen, Pikachu?”

Pikachu had already heard it a few times because Ash got called by Misty but he always replied at the start, but not until the opening lyric “I got a girlfriend only she don’t know it yet!”, to which Ash sang along to.

Pikachu replied “Chaa!” which was his way of agreeing, Ash figured. The thing is, Ash couldn’t set headphones or earbuds onto Pikachu’s ears (how would those fit!?)

But, he remembered the set that he got specifically for his buddy, ones that covered the black part of his ears. So, they listened to all of it, and Pikachu did enjoy it.

It seemed more laid-back than some of Zebstrikahead’s other songs. Just like how Ash was laid-back, mostly. (Unless if he’s battling!)

“Oh, and that first line... that’s sorta why I set it to Misty. Guess it reminded me of her!” Ash thought.

“Now, I’m not that egotistical, but the song makes me happy, just like how being with Misty makes me feel! Get it?” to which Pikachu confirmed his understanding.

“Now landing! Please stay seated!” said a robotic-sounding voice in both Kantonian and Unovan.

“Well, that’s it! Brock’s gonna pick us up!” Pikachu was happy to see his brown-haired friend!

So, the plane landed and Ash and Pikachu were picked up. Misty called Ash, who instantly blushed at the familliar song. Brock raised his eyebrow at Ash when the first line played (they were in traffic so he could turn around), but then Ash took the call.

“So, you landed safely?” Misty said excitedly. It was so nice to hear Ash’s voice. Although they were able to email each other, time differences sucked, so they weren’t exactly able to talk much.

“Yeah, Mist. I’m super excited to see ya, actually.” he said, blushing.

“Oh, really? Why’s that, Mr. Pokémon Master?” she said in a sarcastic tone.

Such teasing was a normal part of their relationship because they did it so often and made up so much that it didn’t really matter to them. They just wanted to hear the other’s voice.

“Hey, that’s the “Defending Alolan Champion” to you!” Ash laughed.

“Well, whatever. It’s good to talk to you, Ash. I’m so excited to see you!” Misty said sweetly.

“Aww, you’re too kind, Misty! Hehe...” Ash blushed and fumbled with the phone.

Little did Ash know, Brock heard everything because of Bluetooth earbuds. So, that gave him more solid proof of them liking each other. He called the thing a “ship”, named after their obvious changes to each other after the whole “saving Ash from the spooky water” incident, because they went onboard a ship (or boat, he supposed) afterwards.

“I have to get ready, but I’m super excited to see you, Ash.” she said, standing up (not that he could see!).

“Okay, Mist.”

Brock was struggling to hide his laughter (they were so awkward!) and shared a knowing look with Pikachu.

Not thinking at all (like he usually did, even though he’s gotten more mature), Ash said:

“You’ll look cute whatever you’re wearing.” and then he hung up.

“Umm...Ash?” Brock said, raucously laughing.

“What’s up, Brock?”

“Two things. First, I heard everything thanks to the almighty Bluetooth,” he said while taking his earbud out and gesturing it to Ash).

“Aaaaand, you do realize that you just—“ and was cut off by Pikachu yelling the last part.

“Pikapi ka Pikachupi chu pichuchu. Chu. Pi. Ka...” Pikachu said, giggling.

“You said that Misty was cute. On. The. Call.” he said, obliviously.

“OH ARCEUS, WHAT DID I JUST DO!!” was his scream.

“Whoa, Ash! Easy. Okay. We’ll take this easy...” Brock calmly said.

Ash had pulled his hat underneath his eyes by then because he wasn’t feeling too great then.

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“So, I have to get ready, but I’m super excited to see you, Ash.” Misty said happily. The thing was, she heard Brock sniggering in the background of the call. What was up with that? Oh well. She had more important things to do. Like picking out clothes. It was 10 AM and she still hadn’t done much.

It still would have been a slow day even if she hadn’t closed the Gym for a little while so she could be with Ash.

“Okay, Mist.” Misty had hated that nickname at first, but it had grown on her. Now she loved it, just like how she loves Ash—. No, she wasn’t supposed to make herself more nervous! Gah, her feelings for him had started when she had rescued him from drowning.

Strangely enough, he hadn’t gotten any girlfriends although plenty of girls were interested. Misty wondered if he liked someone. Could it be her? No way. There was that Serena girl, but she turned out to be a little crazy. With how many people he traveled with, the odds had to be against her, right?

“You’ll look cute whatever you’re wearing.” he said before hanging up.

Misty was shocked.

Did she just imagine what Ash said?

No way.

This could mean...something...

Oh wow.

Misty flopped back onto her bed, suddenly overwhelmed.

10 minutes passed, with Misty being snapped out of her own Ted Talk because of a text from Brock. (Luckily Brock was just in traffic so he could stop and text her.)

“We’ll be here in 15 minutes”

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“Brock, how do I take this easy? This could actually ruin everything I have with her! She doesn’t like me! So many people are into her, there’s no way that she could be holding out for me! I mean, it was weird that she rejected Rudy to stay with Tracey and I, you know that, but I didn’t think so much about it then! I feel as confused as a Psyduck right now!”

“Ash, just take things slowly. Think about why she may like you. Listen, I’ve known y’all for 6 years. I’ve compiled a mental list of the big moments in preparation for times like this.

Number 1: The “spooky water” incident. She saved you from drowing and gave you CPR, saving your life. She was on the verge of a breakdown. I mean, as a friend anyone would be, but she was... heartbroken.” Brock solemnly said.

“But wait, there’s more!” Brock said in the famous “infomercial” voice.

“Not one, but TWO things that I’m gonna tell you! All for the low price of 19.99!” Brock goes on. He could be a comedian. Or he could run an infomercial.

“You see, Misty sang a special song one night. Really quietly, you see, but I actually had stayed up to read a new book in this series of manga I got. It was great! What was it called? My Hero Academia. The first volume. Anyways, so I’m reading it and then quietly I hear a song. Misty makes it clear that she cares about you a ton.”

“Anyways, that’s it. Now give me 19.99” Brock quipped.

“Chuu pi pika kachuu?” (Can I pay in ketchup packets?)

Brock laughed. He was in traffic (sheesh, it was around Christmastime, but that was in a week! Why this much traffic?), so he looked in the mirror to check on Ash. He looked a lot better.

“So, Ash, how do you feel now?”

“Better, actually. I’m still scared but not as much.” he said.

“Better change my wallpaper on my phone!” he thought.

Ash changes it to a picture of Pikachu and him hanging out by a tree. They were really happy in that picture, those simple days were great. Now today was just strange.

2 minutes until Ash and Brock arrived:

“Hey, Ash and Brock are almost here.” Misty said to her famous sisters, the Cerulean Sisters. “Like, okay. Sounds good. Anyways, like, when are you, like, going to, like, I dunno, confess your feelings to that guy? What was his name?” Daisy, the oldest sister said.

Misty blushed and said “Ash. But, I never told you I liked him, how would you know if I did?”

“Like, Misty, I’m your sister. I know these things.” Daisy said with the other sisters nodding in agreement with her.

Misty just walked off and waited outside of the Gym for them. They should be coming right about now.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Ash stared out the window, tense. He normally was very relaxed, but the only time when he was this nervous was before he faced Gladion for the Alolan title, and once he battled, the feeling went away.

This was different.

Really different.

Ash was fighting a new type of battle, where luck and fate collided to make an unknown, seemingly unchangeable outcome.

Ash and Brock (and Pikachu, carrying a ketchup packet from Torchic-Fil-A (don’t worry, Torchic is their mascot and they don’t use real Pokémon meat) get out of the car.

“Where is she?” Ash wondered aloud.

5 seconds later, he got a call from Misty. He was right outside the Gym but he couldn’t see her. Maybe she was sneaking up on him from behind? His ringtone played. And the opening line played. “I got a girlfriend only she don’t know it yet!” Ash yelped because, he thought to himself, “Misty could’ve heard that!”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

She was right behind Ash. Pikachu had spotted her already but she slid him a ketchup packet from McDiglett’s to keep him quiet. Brock sent her a quizzical look but played along, saying “I don’t see her, Ash.”

She decided to take out her phone and call him.

His ringtone rang and Ash sang along.

Wait, come on. This is a dream. No way that that’s his personal rington for her.

Well, Ash does have a ringtone for every person in his contacts. But this just seemed too good to be true.

Then he made a noise that sounded like a cross between a shrieking Pikachu and a Groudon’s deep roar.

“Roar!!” Misty yelled, springing in front of Ash.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Haha, I was right! She was behind me! DID SHE HEAR THAT TOO? OH, ARCEUS, IF YOU’RE LISTENING PLEASE HAVE THINGS END WELL SOMEHOW!” his inner monologue continued.

“Aah!” was the beat response that he could muster.

“Haha, gotcha.” said the still beautiful readhead.

A blushing Ash stood there, somehow unable to form a coherent sentence.

Sensing that his buddy was in trouble, Pikachu leaped into action and gave Ash a small shock. This snapped him out of it and Ash finally did something.

He hugged Misty.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Ash was standing there, looking as red as a Darminitan.

Pikachu gave him a shock (was Ash okay? He probably had been shocked enough tines on accident that it didn’t hurt).

He stepped forward and pulled her tight to him.

It was unexpected.

It made their hearts race.

They beat in the same pattern.

It felt right.

“It’s been a while, Mist. I missed ya.” Ash said.

“You too, Ash. I’m so glad you’re finally here.”

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Where do I go? Ash and Misty are hugging, and I don’t want to mess anything up...Maybe I’ll just hang out with Brock...” Pikachu thought. And he did, making a nest in Brock’s black hair.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Haha, I bet this would happen. Tracey owns me 20 bucks!” Brock thought.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

It seemed like an eternity that they were together, but it also seemed too short when they both pulled away. They were holding each other’s hands, and they never realized. They stared at each other. Pikachu (who decided to be a wingman,) sick of the awkwardness between the two, jumped off of Brock’s hair and pushed Ash’s head slightly. Their lips touched.

Ash’s head seemed to get redder than before!

Pikachu laughed.

The two looked at Pikachu.

“Do it again, Pikachu.” Misty smirked.

Pikachu obliged because he decided to be extra nice (after all, Christmas was in a week!), so he did.

Ash and Misty finally kissed. Brock was beaming like a proud parent.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Tracey owns me a ton of money now. But, I’m so proud!! I was hoping something like this would happen when Ash said that. He freaked out for nothing!

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Wait, is this how humans get married? I’M RELATED TO PSYDUCK!

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

How is this possible? Haha, I’m a lucky guy.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

How did this happen? Guess I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

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The Cerulean Sisters were screaming (inside the gym) because their little sister got a boyfriend before them.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Well, I did expect something like this to happen sometime. Brock is...making money off of this? That’s one way to get the news out.” Delia said.

(Brock is now streaming this on PokéTube and shared it to all of Ash’s friends. There’s gotta be news articles about how the world-renowned Pokémon Master and Alola’s first Champion who now has a girlfriend.)

Team Rocket’s POV:

The trio of villans were walking to the Cerulean Gym not to make trouble, but to congratulate Ash on his title defense (okay, and maybe to make a little trouble on the way).

“We’re almost there.” James said.

“Why are we doing this again? We just got fired by Team Rocket, ya know. We need to prove ourselves to the boss! Or maybe just give up...” Jessie emphatically said.

“Roight, we can nab that Pikachu on the way! Or work at McDiglett’s!” Meowth slyly said.

They stopped because they were at the Gym.

“Maybe that can wait for another time.” they all said. They were frozen, gawking at what they saw.

Ash and Misty finally broke apart.

“So, Ash...I like your ringtone. But I think you’ll have to change it. You have a girlfriend now, but she knows it.” Misty said with a wink.

“Anything for you, Misty.” Ash said with a laugh.

“I hate to interrupt, but...”

“Congratulations!” the team of villans said.

“Team Rocket!?” everyone yells.

“Not anymore.” James says.

“Ash, can you help us find a job with the Alolan League? We can help with security against evil organizations.” Jessie says.

“We’re NOT joking, you got it?” Meowth says in his funny accent.

“Maybe. Only if you promise something first.”

“What?”

“Battle me.”

“That’s an odd request...”

“I want to have one last battle with you. Team Rocket, let’s fight! One last time!”

“Inkay, go!” James yells. “Pumpkaboo, go!” Jessie yells.

Ash sends out his Pikachu.

“Pikachu, THUNDERBOLT!”

Pikachu lets loose the biggest Thunderbolt Ash had seen.

It shocks all of their Pokémon, and makes them faint.

The evil trio gets blasted off! “For the last time, we’re blasting off agaaaaaaaaain!”

*BING*

“Alright Pikachu, let’s hope we blasted them all the way to Alola. Maybe that Bewear will catch them? Either way, I think we took care of their travel costs.”

Everyone laughs, and Misty falls into Ash’s arms again.

THE END