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Archived Sex Stories

The Courier


The Courier


Nikolai Mirovich

The courier looked up from her tea, startled from her quiet contemplation of its
steaming depths by the sudden sounds of an argument. She glanced up, as did a
dozen other of the restaurant's patrons. What she saw made her scowl in
annoyance, but what she perceived took her breath away.

Two people had entered the establishment, obviously hoping to escape the heat of
the mid-Summer's day, and had brought their argument in with them as a mid-sized
pikachu looked on in dismay.

"I can sympathize," the woman said more to herself than to the pokemon, sizing
up the two figures.

One was a boy who seemed to be enjoying the argument, which consisted mostly of
name-calling and accusations of physical and mental inadequacy, far too much. He
seemed to hold himself with a fool's confidence, a prideful fellow with nothing
to be truly proud of.

The other was a girl, who seemed to have been pulled from their silent
observer's very dreams. She was certainly dressed for the weather, which only
served to extenuate her subtle beauty. The boy's harsh words seemed to be the
antithesis of the truth. He called her ugly, yet the observer was filled with a
sudden admiration as she saw the fire in the girl's sea-green eyes. The boy
claimed his companion was scrawny, yet the woman could easily make out the
subtle curves of her firmly muscled legs, the demure swell of her hips, and even
the rise of her small breasts through the tank-top the girl wore.

"He's quite insane," the observer commented to her pokemon over a sip of her
green tea. The little rattata nodded in agreement, sipping tea from a small cup
made just for him. "But he IS just a child," the woman continued, "I suppose
that it is to be expected."

The argument soon wrapped up with the traditional exclamation of "Well fine!"
from both parties, and the two stormed off in different directions, the boy
leaving the restaurant, while the girl found a table.

"Come on, Pikachu!" the boy grumbled, the automatic doors sliding open for him,
"I know where we're not wanted!"

"That's a surprise," the woman chuckled under her breath, pulling out a small
slip of paper and a pen, "But I suppose he has to make up for his lack of
interpersonal skills." She quickly wrote something on the paper and handed it to
her pokemon. "He doesn't even respect his pokemon enough to give it its own
name. Here you go, Nezumi dear, I need you to do me a favor."

The rattata took the now rolled up piece of paper in his paws. "Ratta!" he
exclaimed happily.

The woman smiled. "Now, listen carefully, dearest," instructed Nezumi's trainer,
scratching him under the chin affectionately, "here's what I want you to do..."


"That absolute jerk!" grumbled Misty; practically throwing herself into a seat,
hoping to alleviated some frustration. To her disappointment, however, the chair
was comfortably padded, giving way as she sat down heavily, and not helping to
alleviate her mood.

Instead she sat, quietly fuming, for several moments, elbows on the table, her
hands holding her head against the pain as her delicate fingers rubbed her

"Why?" she asked herself, the beginnings of tears forming in her soulful eyes,
"Why do I even bother-? What-?!" She suddenly demanded, looking up as the sound
of an almost polite squeak interrupted her anger. She expected to see a waiter,
the sound reminded her of the noise their shoes made on the linoleum floor, but
was surprised when she found herself clearly waiter free.

Misty glanced around for a moment until a small, almost apologetic voice caught
her attention. "Rattata?" the small rodent pokemon inquired as it stared up at
her with big moony eyes.

"Gah!" the girl exclaimed, practically leaping out of her seat in startled

The little pokemon drew back at her reaction, seeming to pout even with his
severe over-bite. "Ra..." he muttered dejectedly, turning away from the girl and
slowly ambling away on his hind legs.

"Oh! I'm sorry, little one," apologized Misty, containing herself once again,
"You just startled me."

The pokemon stopped in his tracks and slowly glanced over his shoulder with a
sad look in his eyes. "Tatta?" he inquired in the gibberish most pokemon spoke

"It's alright," assured Misty, leaning down to the little creature's level.

The rattata turned around fully, extending his snout forward to look Misty
squarely in the eye. He narrowed his gaze and sniffed the air between them
before exclaiming loudly holding out the small rolled out piece of paper he held
in his paw.

Misty couldn't help but chuckle at the little pokemon's antics, and found her
animosity slipping away with every smile that he brought to her lips. "Is, is
that for me?" she inquired sweetly, trying to be nicer to the rattata.

The pokemon nodded with a wide grin.

"What's it say?" inquired Misty without thinking.

The rodent pokemon's grin became even broader as he dramatically unfurled the
scroll and took a deep breath. "Ra, ta! Rattata, ta ra. Atta, rat ra!"

Misty couldn't help but laugh as the rattata went on and on, pretending to read
allowed from the scroll as though her were the town crier. "Alright! Alright!"
laughed Misty in spite of herself, holding her stomach and struggling to stay in
her chair, "I'll read it! I'll read it!"

Misty took the little scroll and squinting against the necessity of the small
but legible print, read the words she found to herself in a quiet whisper...
"You enter this lonely room,
And your light fills my hollow heart,
But your companion's cutting words,
Threaten to tear your soul apart...

I can see your eyes burning with fire,
As your whole being is filled with pain,
And by virtue of those harsh words,
It shall be a miracle if you manage to stay sane...

So let me hear of all your troubles,
Give on to me the tears that you would cry,
Allow me to banish this tormented sorrow,
And just let this tragedy die..."

"Wow," she said almost too quietly, looking up at the little Rattata as he
leaned against the napkin holder, idly spinning the end of his tail with one
paw, "Did you write this?"

The rattata stood proudly at attention and nodded. "Ratta!" he exclaimed
happily, and gave a little bow.

"You're too much!" laughed Misty, scratching the rattata between the ears with
her index finger as she rested her head in her free hand, one elbow on the
table, "I was only teasing, Rattata."

The pokemon shrugged as a dark shadow fell across him. "His name is Nezumi,"
came a soft, self-assured voice, making the rattata look straight up into the
air with a happy exclamation.

"Oh! Sorry, I didn't know," Misty apologized, looking up at Nezumi's trainer
with a polite smile.

The woman who stood before her seemed to be taken back for a moment, loosing her
train of thought. "I- Yes, it's okay, miss," she assured, her glasses not quite
hiding the emotion that filled the clear gray of her eyes.

"Please, call me Misty," she said, offering her hand to her new friend's
trainer, "I guess I've already met Nezumi."

The woman's eyes widened for a moment, blushing as she took the girl's hand.
"Oh, I'm sorry," replied Misty, "Was it something I said?"

"No, no," the woman assured her with a smile, "I was just... distracted."

"Ne! Ne! Ra!" laughed Nezumi, causing to Misty to glance wide-eyed at the
pokemon in amazement.

"He can talk?" she inquired, not noticing that the woman hadn't relinquished her

"Um, no, not really," she assured her, by way of explanation, "But I've been
trying for the last year or so to teach him to say his name. Rather than just
his species."

"Oh, I see," replied Misty, taking her hand back without noticing the flash of
dismay in the trainer's eyes.

"Please forgive my manners," she continued after swallowing hard, "My name's
Lilcamp, Miranda Lilcamp."

"Of the Lilcamp Trading Company?" inquired Misty, turning back to Miranda.

She nodded. "The same," Miranda explained with a shrug, "I'm currently working
as part of the Courier Crew, though. It... Gets me out of the house a whole lot
more, and let's me see the world."

Misty smiled, suddenly remembering the commercial she'd seen for them. "Ah! A
cross between Fed Ex and the Road Warrior!" she laughed as the woman sat down
across from her.

"That's the one," chuckled Miranda with a nod, seeming to enjoy the sound of
Misty's laughter.

"So, what brings you here?" the girl inquired as Miranda summoned a waiter.

"Oh, I was just dropping off some medical supplies," replied Miranda with a
shrug, "But, if you don't mind me asking..."

Misty found it difficult to meet Miranda's cautious gaze as she found the words.
"The argument was nothing," she assured, "It's the same old crap every time. I
don't know why I even bother with him."

"You seemed to be kinda related," pondered Miranda, "I've only seen siblings
fight like that."

"No, we're not related," muttered Misty a little more bitterly than she'd
intended, "But sometimes he's worse than my sisters."

"They don't appreciate you either?" the woman inquired with careful concern.

Misty shrugged, her gaze contemplating the table between them. "Not at all," she
admitted, "They only want me around when they want something."

"That's rough," sympathized Miranda, "So, if you don't mind me asking... Who is

"Ash?" inquired Misty, with a bit of a laugh, "Just some kid I'm stuck traveling
with until he replaces my bike.

"Oh, I see," replied Miranda with a nod as the waiter brought them more tea,
"But why endure his company if he's so inconsiderate of your feelings? A bike
can't be worth your sanity."

"I guess it's better than traveling alone," Misty continued.

"It's not that bad," the woman responded a little forlornly.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" apologized Misty, "But you have Nezumi to keep you company,

"Ne-ratta!" called Nezumi, adding in his own confirmation of the fact.

Miranda smiled down at her pokemon. "Yes, of course," she assured them both,
"Nezumi's been my friend since we were both little. I found him stealing food
from the pantry when I was a kid. My parents would have freaked if they'd known
about him back then, so I raised him in secret, and I think we have a pretty
good understanding."

The rattata nodded in agreement and Misty smiled. "He certainly seems
intelligent," she commented, "Unlike some people I know..."

Miranda's smile faded as she carefully reached out with her hand, taking Misty's
and giving it a reassuring squeeze. "It's alright," she assured the girl, "I'm
sure once he's older he'll see how pretty you are."

"You, you actually think I'm pretty?" inquired Misty, a look of complete
bewilderment crossing her face.

The woman's expression became one of deep concern. "You don't agree?" she
inquired, her patient voice seeming puzzled.

Misty shrugged. "It's not that," she said, turning away reminiscing, "It's just
that not many people seem to notice, especially not my family. And the few
people I've met who've mentioned it always leave, or don't really mean it, or
are just plain not interested in me beyond physical attraction. It's kinda
pathetic really."

"Well, well you are," stammered Miranda, looking pensively down at the table

Misty turned back. "Thanks," she replied, giving the woman's hand a squeeze,
before relinquishing her own and reaching for the tea.

"Careful, it's hot," warned Miranda, pulling out three porcelain teacups, two
normal sized and the third far too small for a human, but perfect for Nezumi.

"Oh wow!" Misty commented, noticing the intertwined dragonairs that encircled
the full circumference of each cup, "These are really nice!"

"These two were my Father's," explained Miranda, "But the little one I had
specially made. I suppose I'll have to let Nezumi use a full size one once he

"Were?" inquired Misty with concern as she poured them both tea before carefully
giving some to the rattata.

Miranda nodded thoughtfully. "Yes," she explained, blowing over her green tea
before taking a sip and continuing, "My father had two dragonites when I was
younger. They helped out with the business now and then, and when I was old
enough I was given one of the eggs from one of the only clutches they
successfully had. They're very slow to reproduce, but that's how I got my
dratini. Her name's Umi."

"You have a dratini?!" exclaimed Misty loud enough for the entire restaurant to
hear, but by now the other patrons were used to her sudden energetic outbursts.

Miranda nodded again, and sipped her tea. "If you'd care to accompany me later,
I'll show you," she offered without looking up into Misty's suddenly wide eyes.

"Would you?!" exclaimed Misty, completely awestruck by the concept.

Miranda blushed, looking up at the girl over her thin-lensed glasses. "You must
like dragons," she commented, her voice wavering a little.

Misty shrugged. "Well, if their water dragons, yes," she explained.

"I've never known any other kind... Unless you count charizards and gyaradoses,
of course. Gyaradosi? Oh well, whatever," pondered Miranda thoughtfully, "So,
what do you have?"

Misty cringed for a moment. "Oh, with me I just have my staryu, goldeen and my
err- um, Psyduck," Misty stammered, feeling embarrassed.

"Hm. I see," Miranda responded thoughtfully, "There's definitely some potential
there. Assuming you intend to challenge the Indigo League some day."

"Me?!" exclaimed Misty with a wry grin, "I think I'd only do it to annoy Ash!"

Miranda laughed. "People've challenged them over less," she assured.

"How about you?" inquired Misty.

Miranda shook her head and took a quick gulp of tea before refilling her cup.
"Me? No way," she explained, "Those who wish to challenge them have to follow a
strict code of conduct, and well..."

"Well?" asked Misty, suddenly feeling concerned.

"There are times when I've had to protect some one or something, and I haven't
been able to abide by their rules," the woman explained only a little sadly, "I
may have collected three badges in my time, but to me they're just trinkets.
Little more than pretty souvenirs."

Miranda reached into her pocket and pulled out her three badges. Misty leaned
forward to see them and cringed as she noticed the Cascade Badge. "You, you've
been to Cerulean City?" she inquired rather pensively.

"Indeed," responded Miranda, letting the tea calm her nerves as she stole a
quick glance at Misty in the mirror on the far wall, "I was delivering some
water stones to one of our clients and I thought I'd stop in. Not much of a
challenge, I'm afraid. Barely gave Nezumi much of a work out, and the three
trainers there were so self absorbed it was pathetic!"

Misty gave a nervous laugh. "Um, Miranda," she explained, "They're my sister..."

"Oh! I'm so sorry!" the courier apologized, her already pale skin draining of
colour, "I- I didn't mean to offend you."

"Oh, no!" laughed Misty, waving her hand dismissively, "I can't stand them
either! It just bothers me that every one goes gah-gah over them, 'tis all."

"They weren't that great," pondered Miranda thinking back, "And I could hardly
see the resemblance. Sorry."

Misty nodded. "Yeah, I'm used to that," she continued bitterly, "No one thinks I
could be related to the beautiful Cerulean sisters-"

"They're hardly beautiful," commented Miranda, cutting the girl off.

"Oh, you're just saying that to make me feel better," replied Misty with a
slight smile, Thanks, it's a nice gesture."

Miranda looked up, meeting Misty's eyes with a determined look. "No," she said,
"I mean it. They're beauty is so... Artificial. It doesn't come from within.
It's make-up and cosmetics that they use to enhance themselves. It's not the
inner light of their soul shining through that makes them beautiful. Not like

"That is one way of looking at it," replied Misty, her smile broadening, her
argument with Ash all but forgotten, "And it's very poetic too."

"I did write that note Nezumi gave you," Miranda said shyly.

"Oh, oh yeah!" laughed Misty, "I almost forgot. It's very nice, thank you."

Miranda shrugged. "It was spur of the moment," she explained with calm self-
assuredness, "Give me a hot bath and good night's sleep and I could make that
look like nothing."

"Well," suggested Misty, "I hear they have a hot spring here, "It's not very
popular in the Summer because everyone just goes to the beach, but it's better
than just taking an ordinary bath."

Miranda's eyes widened and she turned away blushing. "Yes," she answered, "I
know. I've been here quite a few times, and the woman who owns it lets me bring
in my pokemon when there's no one else around."

"Well, they do work a lot harder than we do," chuckled Misty, "they deserve a

"Ra! Tatta!" agreed Nezumi, making both women laugh.

"Hey, if you'd like, we could go right now," offered Misty, "I'm sure the lunch
crowd will all be down at the beach wallowing so we'll probably have the place
to ourselves."

Miranda nodded slowly, covering her embarrassment at the thought with her hand
and trying to look contemplative. "I'll definitely take you up on that offer,"
she replied, somehow keeping the quaver out of her voice as she pulled out some
money and left it on the table.

"And no grabbing the bright and shinnies!" teased Misty, waving a finger at
Nezumi who did his best to look innocent, and then hurt.

"He's not a pack-rat," assured Miranda with a laugh, standing up and running her
hand through her sweat matted dark hair before grabbing her jacket and backpack.

"Oh! Don't forget you cups," reminded Misty, collecting the small porcelain
objects that held more semimetal than monetary value, "Your Dad would be fit to
be tied if you lost them!"

"My father is dead," Miranda said simply, taking them from Misty's suddenly
paralyzed hands without further comment.

"I-I'm sorry, Miranda," she choked out.

"It, it was a long time ago, Misty," the woman assured, tasting the name upon
her lips for the first time, "Now Umi and the cups are all I have to remember
him by."

"But, but what about the other eggs in the clutch?" inquired Misty with utmost

"Selece and Undine sacrificed them rather than allow them to be stolen,"
explained Miranda, pausing and looking distant, "Then my father died trying to
save the two dragonites. Later we found that the thieves had killed them both
because they refused to obey any other trainer..."

Misty stood up, trying not to let the woman's height make her feel insecure as
she walked over and glanced into her sad gray eyes. "Miranda, I'm sorry," she
said quietly, her voice filled with compassion.

"It's okay, miss," assured Miranda, wiping away a tear and trying her best to
smile, "It was a long time ago, and no one's seen the thieves since. I've made
it part of my life's work to find them, and I've given their descriptions to the
twenty-five or thirty Officer Jenny's I've met in my time as a Courier, but
nothing's turned up."

"Twenty-five or thirty?!" commented Misty, taking a step back as her mind
suddenly boggled.

"That's what I said last time I counted," offered Miranda, smiling weakly
through her tears, "I've even been to places that have two or three."

Misty giggled in spite of herself. "I know a guy who'd kill for that!" she

"There's way too many men like that," Miranda agreed, encouraged by Misty's
levity, but suddenly becoming half serious, "Funny, though, I wanted to cheer
you up, but all I succeeded in doing was upsetting myself."

"No," assured Misty, taking her hand, "It was my fault. But you did succeed in
cheering me up."

Miranda smiled. "It's alright," she said, closing her eyes and nodding
contentedly, "I'm used to it. And besides, I feel like I've accomplished


"Yes," answered Miranda with a sly smile, "But you wouldn't believe me if I told

Misty's continued questioning was suddenly cut off by the maitre d's coming up
to them with an expectant look. "Ms. Lilcamp?" he inquired without really
expecting a response, "There's a call for you."

"No rest for the wicked," sighed Miranda, shouldering her backpack as Nezumi
hopped into one of her coat's many pockets.

"Business call?" inquired Misty, following her friend into the restaurant's
foyer where the vid-phone was located, "Or family?"

"Probably both," commented Miranda, becoming moderately more businesslike.

The maitre d' was nice enough to depart as soon as the phone's blinking light
was visible and Miranda picked up the receiver before hitting the hold button.
"This is Lilcamp, how can I help you?"

The face that came to life across the screen was that of a man of indeterminate
age, whose force of personality made him seem younger than he probably was. His
dark hair was kept short and he seemed to have a perpetual smile plastered to
his face. "Miranda!" he exclaimed as though he hadn't seen her in years, "I hate
to cut your little vacation short, but I just got a call from Sylph. Apparently
their Transposition Array is down for repairs and they need someone to transport
some experiment of theirs to one of their field offices. They'd really
appreciate it if you could drop by tomorrow morning."

Miranda smiled. "You can count on me, Bob," she assured him, "Tell them I'll be
there for nine, but not a minute sooner!"

The dispatcher laughed. "You're just like you Mom!" he commented, "Anyways, I'll
say hi for you."

"Thanks, bye," the connection was severed and Miranda hung up the phone.

"Friends of yours?" inquired Misty, her expression implying something more.

"Oh!" gasped Miranda, trying to contain a sudden laugh, "Goodness no! He's my

"Oops! Sorry!" apologized Misty, "I shouldn't jump to conclusions."

Miranda shrugged. "No worries," she assured the girl with a smile, "I get it all
the time. I suppose it's just that my mom likes younger men. It's nice to see
her happy again."

"But what about you?" Misty asked, "Does he meet with your approval?"

"Mostly," replied Miranda, "But as I said, my Mom's happiness is more important
than my constantly comparing him to my real Father. I'm not worried."

Misty nodded. "Well, how about we hit that hot-spring?" she suggested, "You have
to be up and out of here early tomorrow and it'll serve Ash right to be ditched
for the rest of the day!"

"Well, if you're only hanging around with him until he buys you a new bike, why
not ditch him all together?" inquired Miranda, reaching into her pocket and
digging though various things as they left the restaurant and entered the hotel
it was attached to.

"Um, I err-!" stammered Misty.

"You could always tag along for a while if you want," the woman offered, "I
could even get you a new bike."

Misty's eyes widened at the sight of the rectangular card Miranda suddenly held
up in front of her. "Lilcamp Trading Company 'Courier Crew Platinum Card'," it
read, in the background there was a cyclist clutching a package and careening
off the head of a gyarados like it was some kind of ramp over flaming spikes to
where an expectant family waited. The slogan "Any time, anywhere!" was also
stenciled across it, and of course there was the name "Miranda Lilcamp".

"I can write it off as a business expense," explained Miranda with a sly smile,
"I'll just say that I needed a little a body guard because what I was
transporting was so valuable. And the only way you'll keep up with me, is if you
have your own bike!"

Misty only vaguely heard Miranda's explanation. Possibilities were playing out
in her head, and the new opportunities had to be sorted out. "I- I think I need
a hot bath," she commented, "I need to think."

"As you wish," assured Miranda with a nod, and lead the way to the hot springs.


As promised, no one was else seemed to be requesting the use of the naturally
heated pools of water that resided on the south facing side of the Vermillion
City Hotel. Far below the fenced in area was the harbor and the beach, both of
which promised to be crowded, but here there was blessed solitude. Or a
reasonable facsimile there of.

The woman at the desk looked up from her copy of War & Peace and smiled warily.
"Oh! Hi, Miranda," she commented in a bored tone, "Back again? Oh! I see you've
brought a friend."

Miranda nodded. "Her name's Misty," she explained, and then quickly asked, "Is
there anyone in there right now? 'Cause Umi hasn't been out in a few days."

The woman chuckled. "Oh, it's just fine!" she assured Miranda, "I'm sure all
your pokemon will enjoy themselves as much as you do. Just please, don't let
your gastly hide in the women's change room again, it scares away customers."

"Sorry!" laughed Miranda, "But you can't blame poor, Wraith! It WAS Halloween,
after all."

The woman laughed, nodding in agreement. "I'll give you a shout if anyone comes
by," she commented, "Not everyone like bathing in the same pool as a dragon. No
matter how cute it is!"

Miranda nodded and walked past the desk to the change room. "Thanks again!" she
called and was through the door before the woman could get her raveled up in any
other conversations.

"She seems nice," commented Misty as Miranda led her to a locker-bay where she
dropped her coat and backpack on the bench in the center of the aisle.

"Yes," explained Miranda mirthfully, "But this time of year, Nancy'll talk your
ear off!"

Misty laughed and opened the locker next to the one Miranda had chosen. "There
should be fresh towels on the bottom shelf," the woman commented, "I don't think
anyone's been here in about a month, but they keep it fully functional just

"I see," commented Misty absently, grabbing a long white towel and sitting down
on the bench to remove her shoes.

"It's been way too long since I've been here," Miranda mused as she removed her
glasses, seemingly unwilling to turn around as she simply kicked off her shoes
and dropped her ripped at the knees denim jeans down around her ankles before
pulling up her dark violet t-shirt, all almost in one fluid motion.

"Miranda?" asked Misty, noticing both the edge in the woman's tone, and the way
she kept her back to her, "Is there something wrong? It's not embarrassing for
you to get changed in front of someone is it?"

Miranda stopped in the midst of another void filling conversational tidbit, her
shirt temporarily binding her arms together. "A- a little," she admitted
nervously, "But it's okay, I'm fine."

"I see," replied Misty, as Miranda took her time sliding her shirt the rest of
the way off. She could hear the rustling of clothing as the girl disrobed behind
her. The quiet sound of static electricity as Misty's shirt came up over her
head and ruffled her orange-ish hair. The half thud as her denim shorts hit the
cold floor, and stretching of elastic as Misty's undergarments were casually
removed before the towel was donned.

"Okay, it's alright now," replied Misty, trying to sound understanding.

Miranda opened her eyes, which had been squeezed tightly shut the whole time,
and relaxed her jaw, giving her teeth a chance to recover. "I'm sorry," she
half-lied, "Sometimes I get strangely self-conscious, 'tis all."

"It's alright," assured Misty, "I'll just meet you outside, okay?"

"Okay," responded Miranda with a nod, but deep down she wanted the girl to stay.

She waited until the door to the outside slid back into place before turning to
Nezumi. The rodent Pokemon, who had been sitting quietly and obediently on his
mistress's coat, gave her a quizzical look as she turned to face him.

"She's beautiful, isn't she?" Miranda asked the rattata.

"Ne! Ne! Nez!" the pokemon exclaimed, suddenly getting a prideful grin on his
face as he mastered yet another bit of his name.

"I know," replied Miranda, scratching him behind the ears, "I'm crazy..."


Miranda stepped out into the humid afternoon air after sliding the door open
with her foot, and sliding it closed the same way after her passing, all the
while juggling three poke-balls. She glanced over at where Misty was lounging
waist deep in the warm waters, the girl's hair had been set free, and she seemed
somehow different with it down. After a few steps, Misty noticed Miranda and
laughed as she applauded, her pokemon moving to watch the performance.

Miranda smiled, somehow managing to keep her towel securely fastened, and called
out her pokemon. "Nezumi! Umi! Wraith!" she called, "Bath time!"

Instantly, two of the three poke-balls opened, and out sprang a dratini and a
gastly, but the third remained closed. "Nezumi?" inquired Miranda as the ghost
and the serpentine dragon looked up at their trainer expectantly, "Are you in

She cast a glance by way of Misty, and noticed that she not only had her
attention, but also that of the staryu, goldeen and even the psyduck Misty had
brought with her. "Nezumi?" she called one more time, sounding a little annoyed,
as right on cue the rodent jumped up from behind her and landed in her hair.

Their audience began to laugh, and Misty clapped her hands in her amusement. 'So
full of life and joy,' Miranda thought inwardly before returning to the act.
"Nezumi! Where are you?!" she demanded as Misty nearly fell over laughing, "Come
out, come out wherever you are!" Miranda made a production of looking left and
right, all the while juggling the three poke-balls, while for his part Nezumi
made faces at their audience, making even the staryu laugh.

Finally, though, both trainer and pokemon looked at each other. Miranda looking
up, and Nezumi looking down. "There you are!" she exclaimed as Nezumi cried,
"Rattata!" and they both laughed.

"Okay, show's over," replied Miranda with a grin as Misty applauded and Nezumi
bowed before diving off his trainer's head, and into the water.

"That was amusing!" laughed Misty as Miranda stepped carefully down into the
water, slowly submerging herself and finally sitting near her friend, "Do you
have any other hidden talents I should know about?"

Miranda blushed again. "Oh, one or two," she said with a shrug, leaning back and
relaxing as her gastly floated up to her where he hovered in front of her face.

"Gastly?" he inquired, glancing down at the water with a fearful look.

Miranda opened her eyes and gave the little ghost a stern but loving look. "You
too!" she ordered, grabbing the pokemon by the top of the head and pushing him

She laughed as a cloud of bubbles erupted from the water, and a muffled voice
seemed to call out from each one that exploded, "Gast! Gast! Gast! Ly! Ly! Ly!"

She let go of the pokemon and he immediately popped out of the water taking
several deep breaths and looking overly anxious. "Oh! You're fine, Wraith!"
Miranda laughed as Misty looked on, her eyes more on Umi as the dratini
swam/slithered a path towards the trainer, the dragon's luminescent eyes glowing
eerily just under the surface.

Noticing this, the gastly stopped panting and laughed before flying off to
pester Nezumi, who was apparently trying to teach Psyduck to swim. "Don't forget
to scrub behind your ears!" teased Miranda, feeling truly at peace, and idly
flicking water at the approaching dratini, causing the pokemon to dive under.

"I don't think gastlies have ears!" chuckled Misty, as the two groups of pokemon
seemed to be having fun introducing themselves to one another.

"And Dratini aren't supposed to be afraid of water," laughed Miranda, splashing
water every time Umi tried to surface, until finally the pokemon sprang up in
front of her and playfully water-gunned her.

"Gah-!" exclaimed Miranda, standing up as Umi tore off in the opposite
direction, her eyes gleaming and amused pinkish, "Come here you!"

Misty didn't even bother to contain her laughter as Miranda half dove after the
fleeing serpent, and caught the dratini's tail. "Ha!" the woman exclaimed,
seeming almost half her age as she played with her pokemon, "I gotcha girl!"

Umi turned around and wrapped herself around Miranda's arm before nuzzling her
trainer's neck affectionately. "Dra..." she cooed, as Miranda sat in the center
of the pool and scratched the little dragon's eye ridges affectionately.

"I love you too," she assured Umi before turning to face her companion with a
broad grin.

"Well, I feel better now," Miranda stated, her just past shoulder-length back
hair thoroughly wetted, and hanging in tangled strands across her face.

"And a little less self-conscious!" laughed Misty.

"Huh?" inquired Miranda, looking down and noticing that her towel was missing,

Misty would have laughed as Miranda dove under water for a moment, only to pop
her head up so she could breath, but her lungs were exhausted. "You're too
much!" she sighed, leaning back on the bank and stretching out.

"You've had a stressful day," replied Miranda, moving closer as Umi swam off to
save the suddenly downing Psyduck, "I'm just doing my best to take your mind off

"Is that another one of the services the Courier Crew provides?" inquired Misty
lazily, closing her eyes and sinking a little lower into the water.

"Only from this CC girl," corrected Miranda, sitting beside her and sinking back
down to the point where only her head was visible above the water.

"Misty smiled and turned to her. "You know," she commented with playful
suspicion, "You're awfully nice to some one you've only just met."

"Well, actually I've seen you two or three times," amended Miranda with a shy
smile, "Here and there in the places I've been called to."

"But you've never talked to me before," said Misty, turning to the woman and
opening her eyes, "If I'd known you were such a nice person I wouldn't have
objected, that's for sure."

"I- I'm just shy around certain people," explained Miranda as best she could, "I
guess that the argument you had was something of a blessing in disguise. It gave
me the courage to finally talk to you."

"Careful," laughed Misty, "You're starting to sound like my secret admirer!"

Miranda laughed nervously and replied, "I think it's just that I've always
routed for the 'underdog', and I have these rather hyperactive maternal
instincts at times. So when I see someone who looks like they need protecting, I
just can't help myself..."

"You a regular paladin!" chuckled Misty, finding Miranda's hand and giving it a
squeeze, "But can you do me a favor? Scrub my back?"

Miranda nodded, reluctantly relinquishing the expectedly offered hand and
watching carefully as Misty turned her back to her. The woman swallowed hard as
she watched Misty's damp towel slowly slide down into the water only to be
snatched away by a suddenly returning Umi who then quickly darted away

"Hey!" laughed Misty as Umi chased Goldeen, whom Nezumi was using as a
surfboard, around the pool with Misty's towel clutched in her teeth, "Silly
pokemon! They're like children sometimes."

"And thus they need us to protect them as much as we need them to protect us,"
concluded Miranda, taking a cloth and wetting it in the water beside her.

"Maternal instincts again?" inquired Misty, sighing contented as the warm cloth
was pushed slowly up the middle of her back to her neck.

"Personal experience," replied Miranda, carefully moving Misty's hair to one
side, and bringing the damp cloth up to the girl's hairline before dragging it
back down.

"I see," sighed Misty, finding Miranda's strong fingers more than sufficient to
no only bathe her, but to work the tension from her wary muscles.

"You're all knotted," the courier commented, letting the cloth slip from between
her fingers and slide almost silently below the water.

"Yeah, I know," muttered Misty, leaning back slightly as Miranda's fingers
pushed against her spine as they dragged their way up to her shoulders, "It's
all the running around and dealing with idiots that I have to do. I guess it's
better than being at home all the time, though."

"Back to your self-absorbed, unappreciative sisters, eh?" the woman's hands
moved left and right, her fingers wrapped slowly and carefully around the curve
of Misty's neck before sliding down over her shoulders, Miranda's thumbs working
slow circles over Misty's shoulder blades.

Misty nodded lazily, all the tension in her entire being seeming to flow out
through Miranda's soft, yet firm hands. By this time she couldn't even hear
their pokemon's antics let alone the sounds from the beach some distance away.
"I have to go home eventually," she said almost drowsily, as Miranda's fingers
traced long lines down her back, before the woman's hands moved back up to
encompass joints of her shoulders, "I have two pokemon there that I'd like to
have back at some point."

"The horsea and the starmie?" inquired Miranda, her fingers pushing their way up
the back of Misty's neck, causing the girl to let her head fall all the way
forward as Miranda made her bones feel like Jell-O.

"How-? How'd you know?" she managed, her eyes half closed, but unseeing.

"The gym leaders mentioned something about them belonging to their younger
sister," Miranda explained, somehow finding the willpower to resist the urge to
bring her lips down upon the back of Misty's neck, to taste the heated water
upon her skin, "Although they blatantly lied about you."

"Not... Surprising," murmured Misty leaning back against Miranda, her head
finding a resting place on the woman's shoulder as she sighed contentedly.

Miranda bit her bottom lip as she settled back against the edge of the natural
pool, getting comfortable as Misty sat between her legs, leaning back against
leaning her. Miranda then ran her hands around the front, her fingers sliding
across the soft skin of Misty's flat stomach until both hands rested comfortably
in either side of the girl's hips.

The courier listened carefully to the girl's breathing and found that Misty had
fallen asleep under her ministrations, and was probably dreaming contentedly.
"Poor me," Miranda muttered, resting her chin on Misty's shoulder and glancing
carefully down at her friend's pleasantly curved body listened to the wonderful
sensations her legs were giving her about the way Misty was half sitting in her
lap and half just leaning on them. Yet she dared not act on the impulses that
ran through her synapses.

The urge to run her lips across the sensuous curve of Misty's neck, or to give
in to the hunger her fingers felt to either reach up and lovingly cup Misty's
small breasts in hands that would be both gentle and persistent, or to wander
down and run slow circles over her clit. But as powerful as the temptation was,
it was not overpowering.

Instead, Miranda contented herself with simply paying attention to what every
synapse was telling her about the feel of Misty's body against her own. The way
her right ankle hurt slightly with the girl's leg was propped up on it, the way
her breasts tingled at the feeling of Misty leaning against them and
occasionally moving ever so slightly, but enough to deliver muchly desired
friction to her hardened nipples. The way the girl's soft breath filled her ears
like the sound of the sea in a vacant seashell, downing out all other sounds,
the tantalizing, yet blurry, glimpses of Misty's naked form, concealed as it was
by the constantly rippling water, the way her exquisite legs stretched out not
quite as long as her own, almost begging for the firm touch of Miranda's loving
caresses, the continual aching desire to kiss the sleeping girl's ear, down her
neck, and all the way down to the beads of water that reflected Miranda's face a
dozen taunting times back at her.

"Sometimes life is as painful as it is pleasant," Miranda comment, closing her
eyes and listening to the sounds of the frolicking pokemon not far away, "But
I've never been one to complain..."


Misty woke up in an unfamiliar bed, with an odd pressure against her chest. She
opened her eyes and couldn't help but smile as she saw Nezumi staring back at
her with a smile on his face.

"Hello, you," she said, reaching her hand from under the covers to pet him.

"Hey! You're up," commented Miranda, coming from the other room already fully
clothed, "Sorry for the inconvenience, but you fell asleep and you were starting
to turn the colour of a krabby."

Misty smiled. "That's okay," she relied, stretching out on the large bed, "I've
never felt quite so refreshed and relaxed!"

Miranda shrugged. "This place does that to you," she explained, "Oh, and I hope
you don't mind that I brought you back to my room and gave you something to
wear. It would have been difficult to explain why I was carrying an unconscious
naked person up to my room!"

Misty laughed a little self-consciously, sitting up before swinging her legs off
the side of the bed as Nezumi bounced away. "So, what time is it anyway?" she
asked yawing and stretching again, causing her hotel bathrobe to fall open a bit
in the front.

"A little after three," answered Miranda, a little distracted, and handed Misty
her clothing.

"Wow," her guest commented, "I feel like I slept for a week! I'm definitely
coming back here."

"I always do," replied Miranda with a shrug, "And if you're still willing to
accept my invitation, I'll more than likely back this way again."

Misty paused in the midst of pulling her denim shorts up under her bathrobe.
"Yeah," she answered after a moment's thought, "I really need to get away. Who
knows, maybe I'll even challenge the League like you suggested!"

"If that'd make you happy, I'd have no problem with it," commented Miranda,
affixing her poke balls to her belt, "But right now I was thinking about getting
some food, and seeing about getting you a new bike."

Misty clapped her hands together loudly, her eyes going wide as she shuffled
over to Miranda. "Really?!" she exclaimed with a wide grin.

Miranda chuckled, and ruffled Misty's shortish hair. "I never make a promise I
don't intend to keep," she assured the girl.

"Oh, thank you!" exclaimed Misty, throwing her arms around Miranda
enthusiastically, not caring that her robe had fallen open completely.

Miranda gulped down her nervous feeling and returned the embrace. "It's nothing
really," she assured her in a soft, compassionate tone, "It'll be nice to have
another human around for once."

"But, don't you get to go home at all?" asked Misty looking up into the depths
of her clear gray eyes, concern creeping into her voice.

Miranda shrugged. "Not very often," she explained, looking a little distant,
"Usually I just stop by once or twice a year. Too many bad memories."

"I guess I have an idea of how you feel," replied Misty, leaning her head on
Miranda's shoulder and giving her a reassuring hug.

"Well, it's not as though no one cares about me there," Miranda continued,
tilting her head so that her lips brushed against Misty's silky feeling hair as
she spoke, "It's just that it hurts be there. And to see Mom."

"Why? What's wrong with your Mother?" Misty asked, her words full of concern.

Miranda took a deep breath. "One of the pokemon the thieves used," she began,
tears already falling from her eyes to dampen Misty's orange-ish hair once
again, "It was just a machop... It hit her so hard that she's been paralyzed
ever since."

"I-I'm so sorry," replied Misty, holding Miranda tighter, hardly minding the
falling tears.

"If only I'd had Wraith back then," the woman muttered, shaking her head
regretfully, "Even a strong machop is no match for even the weakest gastly. As
I've said before, it's part of my life's work to find these people, and when I
do, I'll show them as little mercy as they showed my family."

"Um, Miranda," Misty asked tactfully, a sudden idea coming to mind, "These
thieves didn't have a talking meowth with them, did they?"

Miranda paused, her dark reverie broken. "Meowths can't talk, dear," she told
the girl, "It's taken me a few years to get my pokemon to the point they're at
now. Of course I only try in my spare time."

Misty let out a long sigh of relief. "That's good," she breathed, relief
flooding her, "I was worried I might know these people."

"Your associate Ash steals pokemon?!" inquired Miranda, a startled expression
crossing her pale features.

"No! No! No!" laughed Misty, "But we've met a trio of pokemon thieves. They keep
pestering Ash about his Pikachu."

"Why not try Viridian Forest?" offered Miranda, pulling back a little and
looking down at Misty curiously.

"Oh? Why- Why's that?" she inquired with an involuntary shudder, "The place is
just full of bugs!"

Miranda smiled. "I can handle the bugs," she assured, "But every time I'm biked
through there, I've spotted at least one or two pikachu.

"You're joking," replied Misty with a bemused grin.

Miranda shook her head, tossing her dark hair about. "Not a word of a lie," she
stated, "Although it's possible that they're looking for an experienced pikachu.
But I've never understood pokemon thieves. You can't just steal someone's
pokemon and expect it to obey you!"

"I know," responded Misty, shaking her head in dismay, "But at least these
thieves are allot less competent than the ones you had a run in with. Although
I'd have to say that they're more persistent. Say, they didn't have some stupid
speech to recite when they first showed up did they?"

Miranda shook her head. "No, but I was so young I'd hardly remember."

"Oh, oh well," said Misty, trying to change the subject, "But what do you say we
get going?"

"Good idea," agreed Miranda with a thoughtful smile, taking a step back and
adjusting Misty's white bathrobe to protect her modesty, "But I think you should
finish putting your clothes on first, eh?"

Misty glanced down and gave a surprised look that made Miranda laugh. "Ooops!"
she exclaimed, "Sorry! I suppose I was just getting a little to comfortable
around you."

"It's okay," said Miranda with a dismissive shrug, "You're not exactly the sort
to crack mirrors and curdle milk."

"If you keep complimenting me," warned Misty with a slight blush, "I'm going to
get an ego as enormous as Ash's stupidity!"

"Well, just don't get all conceited on me," warned Miranda with a sly smile.

"Never!" assured Misty, turning around before dropping the protective garment to
the floor and pulling on her shirt.

Behind her Miranda sighed inwardly, watching the girl's muscles shift just
beneath the skin as she moved. 'I would never grow wary of you the way others
have,' the woman thought loud enough for a sleeping abra to hear.

"Ready?" asked Misty, her voice full of its usual enthusiasm and life, as she
turned to face her friend.

"Our motto is 'Any time anywhere'!" assured Miranda with a smile, and once she'd
called Nezumi to his customary place upon her shoulder, the trio left the
unspoken tension of the room behind...


By seven o'clock, Miranda and Misty satiated their hungers for both food and
shopping, with Miranda's still smoking credit card as evidence. Their backpacks
were heavy with new clothes, and trinkets they'd seen found in Vermillion City's
various seaside shops. Not to mention the new bicycle Misty was now proudly
riding down the winding streets, laughing joyfully the entire way.

"Whoa! Hey, Misty!" called Miranda, skidding her dark blue mountain bike to a
halt, "Check it out."

"What-?" she inquired, pulling up beside her friend and looking to the right.
"Oh my-! Is that what I think it is?"

Miranda nodded. "The Vermillion Gym," she said, speaking the words almost
solemnly and glancing back at Misty meaningfully, "You said you might want to
challenge the league one day."

"I know," replied Misty, taking a deep breath and glancing at the sky, "But it's
getting a bit late, and I really only have water pokemon with me. It'd be kind
of a one sided fight, don't ya think?"

"I'd let you borrow Nezumi," Miranda offered with a smile, and the little
rattata gave a silly grin as he uttered words of encouragement.

Misty blushed and held out her hand to the pokemon. "It's a very tempting
offer," she admitted as Nezumi hopped from Miranda's shoulder to Misty's hand,
"But if I have Nezumi's support..."

"Nezzz!" the rattata exclaimed excitedly, soliciting a surprised look from
Misty, and a laugh from his trainer.

"He's been practicing," Miranda explained as Nezumi ran up Misty's arm to her
shoulder where he leaned against her ear and made happy noises.

"And he certainly seems to like me," Misty commented, carefully petting the
little rodent.

"Like trainer like pokemon," Miranda said under her breath, and then to Misty,
"Oh, you should know, in the process of training him, I've given Nezumi's
techniques some unusual names. It tends to throw off opponents."

Misty nodded thoughtfully. "Okay, let's hear them," she said, smiling as nezumi
showed off.

"Only if you're going in," teased Miranda, pushing her glasses farther up her
nose, making them shimmer.

"With out a doubt!" laughed Misty, giving her most determined pose.

"Very well," explained Miranda, "They are as follows..."


The extremely butch woman at the door greeted them with an amused grin. "Hey,
were all just about to have dinner!" she said in a voice almost too deep to be
female as she stared down at the two humans and one rattata, "What's the big

"I've come to challenge your gym leader!" pronounced Misty, stomping her foot on
the cement floor and holding out her fist dramatically. Nezumi on her shoulder
did his best to copy the action, but only wound up looking silly, "I've come for
a Thunder Badge!"

The woman laughed out loud, holding her stomach with both hands, a look of
disbelieving amusement in her dark eyes. "You?!" she demanded with an amused
callousness, "One scrawny little girl wants to challenge OUR gym! HA!"

Misty scowled, having had enough of this gym's quirkiness the last time she'd
been in town. "Look, if you aren't willing to live up to your responsibilities
as the Vermillion Gym, I'll just-!"

"Now hold on, little lady!" the woman laughed, the amused grin never leaving her
face, "The Lieutenant is out of town this week, so all that I'm saying is that I
think you should just come back again some other time."

"Then I'll challenge his second!" growled Misty, knowing better than to appear
weak before these people.

The woman's expression became less amused and more satisfied, if not a little
smug. "That's the spirit, young lady," she replied a little more levelly, "The
League rules allow for that. I was just testing your resolve. Anyway, I'm
Surge's second, Sergeant Hamilton and if you still want a match, then follow

Misty drew back with a satisfied grin on her face. "No problem," she assured,
following the woman with confidence as Miranda trailed behind.

The arena was as Misty remembered it, Spartan in its décor, but meeting all of
the Indigo League's stringent conditions, nonetheless. She glanced around the
huge hall and couldn't help shivering against the cool air caused by the central

"Afraid?" the woman asked, bemused.

"No way!" assured Misty, glancing back at Miranda who smiled encouragingly.

"So, who's the little friend you brought this time?" the large woman inquired a
little too condescendingly.

"I am Miranda Lilcamp, Courier Crew," Miranda announced proudly.

"You here for a challenge too, little girl?" the woman called out across the
field as she took her place, "Or did someone order pizza!?"

"Only if you can't keep that smart mouth of yours shut!" called Miranda from
Misty's end of the field.

The muscular woman turned to face them, her short-cropped hair somehow catching
the air-conditioned breeze. "Well, maybe if when I'm finished kicking this
little twerps butt I'll have you for dessert!" she laughed, pulling out her poke

Both Miranda and Misty scowled. "You're on, steroid breath!" challenged Miranda,
letting her jacket fall from her shoulders and clutching a poke ball tensely.

"One at a time!" the sergeant laughed back, turning her attention to Misty,
"Okay, little girl! This is a one on one battle. Two pokemon enter, one leaves!
Well, conscious, anyways."

Misty glowed for a moment. "Stop calling me that!" she demanded, "Nezumi! Kick
her butt!"

"Rattata!!!" exclaimed Nezumi, jumping off Misty's shoulder and landing on his
hind legs before her, trying to look threatening.

"That's it?!" their challenger exclaimed in disbelief, Hamilton's eyes growing
wide, "That little rattata is going to kick my Shockers butt?! HA! Don't make me
laugh! Shocker! GO!"

The gym leader's second tossed her pokeball into the arena zealously, a second
later it opened to reveal a rather frighteningly muscular Raichu. "Hm. Another
Raichu," commented Misty nonchalantly, doing her best to look unimpressed, "You
guys aren't very original. Oh well! Nezumi! Burrow!"

"Rattata!" exclaimed the little pokemon, diving into the floor and tearing his
way through the concrete like it was sand before disappearing out of site.

"That's it?!" the butch woman laughed, "he hides his head in the sand?!"

Both Sergeant Hamilton and her pokemon both laughed at Nezumi's expense but
Misty put her hands on her hips and smiled confidently. "You'll see!" she
assured them, just as Nezumi burst out of the ground behind the raichu, "Nezumi!
Lock jaw attack!"

"Nez!" the rattata exclaimed triumphantly, not giving the other pokemon time to
react before latching on to the back of his neck and gnawing away.

"Shocker!" the woman exclaimed, apprehension creeping into her voice, " Ground
zero thunder shock, NOW!"

The Raichu drove the end of his spiked tail into the ground and gritted his
teeth, focusing all his power on generating an electrical field around himself.
Nezumi, however, was too quick, leaping backwards with a tuft of reddish fur in
his mouth just as Shocker's body seemed to explode in a shower of sparks.

"Not bad," the soldier commented, "For a newbie! Shocker! Turn and fire!"

The buff raichu swiveled with surprising agility and faced Nezumi. Both pokemon
snarled at each other for a moment, sizing each other up before Shocker's
trainer called out, "NOW!"

"Raiiiii! Chuuu!!!" the electrical pokemon exclaimed, taking in a deep breath as
static electricity formed all around him, and he prepared to let it loose on his
smaller opponent.

"Nezumi!" called out Misty determinedly, "Bubble blast! Now!"

"Ratta!" responded Nezumi, taking a quick inhalation before sending a stream of
swirling bubbles from his maw like some kind of strange dragon's breath-weapon,
straight into the raichu's open mouth.

Shocker's beady eyes went wide as the bubbles filled his lungs. "Rai!" he choked
out, clutching his throat as the electrical field he was generating gave out and
he collapsed to the floor.

"Shocker!" his trainer exclaimed, running to his side, "Are you all right?!"

The large pokemon, who was left lying on his back and nearly coughing up a lung,
looked up at his trainer imploringly, only to smile happily as she returned him
to his pokeball.

"Very well," growled the raichu's trainer, "you've earned your badge."

Misty grinned and leaped into the air exclaiming her joy for all to hear, which
almost seemed as music to Miranda's ears as Nezumi ran back to her looking

"That's two for you now," she told him, chuckling as the rattata ran circles
around both her and Misty.

"Two?" the girl inquired, expressing an immediate mood change from ecstatic to

Miranda nodded. "Nezumi won me a boulder badge," she explained with a shrug,
"This makes two he's won. Silly geodude..."

Misty nodded, noticing that their opponent was ready to go again. "I think
you're up, Miranda," she commented, quickly stepping off the field.

The woman nodded and held her pokeball before her. "Are you ready to loose twice
in one day?" she inquired.

At the other end of the field Hamilton let out a harsh bark of laughter that was
as to Misty's as sandpaper is to silk. "Bring it on, little miss!" she
challenged in her gym's traditionally condescending manner.

Miranda nodded and the pokeball in her hand opened, sending a puff of white
smoke into the immediate area. From within the smoke a pair of sinister eyes
glowed red, glowering at all who dared meet them.

"Gaaaaaasty!" Wraith hissed melodramatically, making the opposing trainer laugh.

"Is that it?" she taunted, tossing a second pokeball into the arena.

Miranda gave a slight smirk as she saw the voltorb come out. "Too easy!" she
chided, "Wraith, dear? Would you be so kind as to hypnotize the silly voltorb?"

The floating gastly grinned evil as the smoke cleared, the whites of his eyes
suddenly swirling with strange colours like florange and octarine. In response,
the opposing voltorb's eyes took on a glazed look as the same colours swirled
within them.

"Zapper!" ordered the voltorb's trainer, "Snap out of it!"

The floating orb tilted to one side, its tongue lolling out as it slowly spun in
place and Wraith laughed.

"Now, soldier!" its trainer commanded, the voltorb somehow regaining some of its
former equilibrium before flying straight for Wraith at top speed, "Zapper!
Tackle attack!"

The ethereal pokemon's grin widened, his fangs gleaming as he grew to twice his
normal size, and swallowed the incoming voltorb. There was a gasp from its
trainer, causing Wraith to let out an involuntary chuckle as he tweaked the part
of Zapper's brain he still had his psychic finger on.

"Now Wraith!" called Miranda, unable to keep the amusement from her voice,
"Nightmare attack!"

"Zapper!" Sergeant Hamilton exclaimed in sudden fright, "What are you doing?!"

"Volt! ORB!!!" came the eerier ethereal voice of Zapper from within the wispy
confines of Wraith's body as charged particles filled the air and the gastly
seemed to be holding his breath.

"What the-?!" the voltorb's trainer exclaimed as Miranda dropped down to her
knees and held her ears just before the voltorb invoked its self-destruct

"Zapper! NOOO!!!" Sergeant Hamilton exclaimed as the inanimate pokemon dropped
out from beneath Wraith, hitting the floor with a metallic clang, and rolling
away all covered in sulfur stains.

Miranda stood up, the tension draining from her muscles, but the excitement
remaining in her bones. "Looks like you loose, chummer," she called out as the
suddenly concern trainer returned her pokemon, "Nice going Wraith!"

"Gaaaasssstlyyyyyy..!" responded Wraith triumphantly as he swayed back and forth
unsteadily, smoke coming out where his ears would be.

"Oh come on, now!" laughed Miranda, aiming a pokeball at him, "It's not that

"Way to go, kid," commented the Vermilion Gym's stand in leader, walking up to
Miranda and Misty, "You definitely earned these."

Miranda shrugged as Wraith was returned and Misty scurried over. "It was just
for fun," the woman explained, "and it gives my pokemon a bit of a work out
before dinner."

"What Miranda's trying to say," chuckled Misty, accepting her Thunder Badge, "Is
that you're welcome."

The woman nodded, a satisfied grin without a hint of contempt or sarcasm,
appeared across her face. "So be it..!"


The desk clerk looked up as the two staggered back into the hotel just after
10pm. He shook his head in dismay at the sight of Misty leaning against Miranda,
the girl at the brink of exhaustion.

"Long day, Miri?" he inquired, shuffling through some papers as he spoke.

Miranda let out a sigh and nodded. "Yeah, we hit the gym and then went for
supper," she explained, "But it seems Misty's not as used to biking as I am. Too
many hills in this town, I suppose."

"Oh, I'm fine," defended Misty, trying a little harder to stand, and not minding
when Miranda had to keep her from falling, "It's just that my legs feel like

"I'll take you to your room, then, I suppose," Miranda offered in dismay.

"Oh! No, I'm fine," proclaimed Misty a little warily, "I just need to sit down.
Besides, 'he' might come looking for me there."

Miranda nodded. "Understood!" she announced formally, "And as a member of the
Courier Crew it is my duty to deliver you safely to my room!"

Both Misty and the man behind the counter laughed. "Goodnight, Miranda," he
chuckled, focusing his attention on his paperwork.

"Goodnight, Jerry," replied Miranda, stepping into the elevator and carefully
leaning Misty against the wall.

"What a day," sighed Misty once the doors had slid closed, and put her arms
around Miranda for support, "But thanks, it was fun."

The woman nodded, returning the casual embrace and helping to keep Misty on her
feet. "I take it's been a while since you've been on a bike," she commented,
trying to make conversation and distract herself.

"Yup," replied Misty warily, "Not since Ash stole mine and trashed it. Now,
though, I have this feeling like I have muscles I never knew I had before, and I
hurt in places I didn't know I could! I guess I'm just out of shape."

"No," assured Miranda, "Just out of practice. It happens. A week or so of
following me around and you won't even notice a day's travel."

"So, what do you do out there?" inquired Misty, the mechanical sounds of the
elevator lulling her to sleep, "All alone in the places between cities?"

"Depends," replied Miranda with a shrug, "Sometimes it's dangerous and exciting,
but usually it's dead dull and boring. If it weren't for my pokemon to keep me
company, I'd go stir crazy. And maybe I am a little, teaching them to say the
names I gave them."

Misty chuckled. "No," she assured, "I've met crazy. And you're not crazy."

"That's almost reassuring," pondered Miranda, mentally reviewing a few of the
stories Misty had related to her, "But please don't make any harsh judgments
until you really know me."

Misty adjusted herself and stared up at Miranda with inquisitive eyes. "Look,"
she said, "You're the first person I've ever met in my entire life that's
actually treated me like an equal. You've yet to make fun of me, and you don't
think I'm ugly. Heck, you even think tentacruel are cute!"

"You're not! They are!" laughed Miranda, "Cute that is..."

"Am I?" inquired Misty, tilting her head to one side, making the woman's pulse
race for the hundredth time that day.

"Are you what?" asked Miranda, her voice becoming quiet, her tone a little more
serious than Misty's.

"Cute," she stated, in her worn out condition her voice was a little off, but it
still reminded Miranda of wind chimes on a spring day.

"Yes," breathed Miranda, her hands that currently held Misty about the waist
suddenly shaking.

Misty nodded and leaned forward. "Just making sure," she said with a contented
smile, "I've met so many two faced people in my life, I have to make sure
people's opinions don't change on a dime."

"I can assure you that mine will never change," replied Miranda as the elevator
stopped and she reluctantly let go, "Friends forever?"

Misty smiled, stepping backwards out of the elevator and holding up her little
finger. "Friends forever," she assured Miranda as the two linked fingers and
shook on it, "Now then, what's your number again?"

Miranda glanced around and walked over to one of the closed doors, fumbling with
her keys as she went. "Nine-fourteen," she replied, glancing over her should and
smiling as Misty walked over and leaned against the wall beside the door, "Enter
and be welcome!"

"I'm not a vampire," Misty chuckled; following Miranda into the room and
dropping her backpack just inside the door, fell face first onto the bed.

"A little wary are we?" the woman teased, letting the door slide shut behind her
as she turned on the lights and set down a bowl of food for Nezumi.

Misty's affirmative response was muffled by the pillow her face had landed in.

Miranda smiled, giving Nezumi an affectionate scratch between the ears before
kicking off her shows and tossing her coat on a chair before sitting down on the
bed, quietly admiring the girl in the dim light.

"Here," she said quietly, leaning over and pulling off one of Misty's shoes, "if
you're going to steal my bed tonight, at least take off your shoes."

"Oh, I'm sorry," apologized Misty, turning her head to one side, "I'm not
actually sleepy, just worn out. And I can just use the chair or something."

"Not on my watch," replied Miranda, pulling off the other shoe with an
exaggerated effort, "I've slept in trees, I think I can handle the floor."

Misty shook her head, sighing heavily as her leg fell back onto the bed. "You're
far too good to me," she said with a contented smile, "Anyway, the bed's more
than a double. It'll hold both of us without effort."

"I-! Um, thank you," stammered Miranda, turning away to hide her sudden

"No problem, ow!" replied Misty, absently flexing her legs and unconsciously
gritting her teeth.

Miranda turned back and a look of concern crossed her face. "It has been a while
since you've been on a bike, hasn't it?" she observed, to which Misty nodded a
little sadly, "Here, I can fix you right up."

"Is there anything you can't do?" Misty laughed quietly as Miranda repositioned
herself on the bed.

"Cook," the woman answered absently, carefully placing her shaky hands upon
Misty's ankles and applying just the right amount of pressure.

"Really?" inquired Misty with a surprised laugh.

Miranda nodded, listening more to the sense of touch than the sound of Misty's
voice. "I tend to carry quick fix rations. I can usually boil water, just not
always," she confessed, running her hands up the length of Misty's claves and
swallowing down her nervousness as she felt the silky smoothness of the girl's
thighs beneath her fingers.

"I used to travel with a guy who could cook," added Misty, sighing contentedly
as Miranda gently rubbed the tension out of her knotted muscles, "But he was
such a letch!"

"Hm, well, I guess the bright side is, is that he at least 'noticed' you,
right?" inquired Miranda, feeling a slight pang of envy.

Misty shook her head. "Not even once," she sighed half sadly, making Miranda
feel as though her heart were trying to sink into her stomach, "He was always
after Joy's & Jenny's. One time I accidentally walked past him naked and all he
did was tell me to go and put something on incase I caught a cold or something!"

Miranda shook the image from her mind. "Is every man you meet completely
insensitive?" she inquired, a hint of anger falling into the confused and
conflicting mix her emotions were becoming.

"No, I suppose not," she said with a shrug, "But as I've said, anyone who's
taken notice was either kinda scary, or really wasn't interested in anything
long term. Just my luck, I suppose. Silly me, being an incurable romantic..."

Miranda paused, her hands half way up Misty's slim but firmly muscled thighs.
"There's nothing wrong with being a romantic," she assured, her voice becoming a
bit shaky, "You just have to be careful that your romantic notions don't get you
into too much trouble."

"Anything I should know?" inquired Misty, her soft voice as full of concern now
as it had been full of life when she'd won a Thunder Badge.

Miranda shrugged, leaning forward to push her skilled hands up to just below
Misty's denim shorts before reluctantly dragging her nimble fingers back down
the exquisite length of the girl's legs.

"It's nothing much," she lied, her eyes tracing invisible patterns of desire up
Misty's legs, across her back, over her neck to her slightly parted lips, "I
just have a bad habit of falling for the wrong people. It's always the one you
can't have that you want the most. But I suppose that unrequited love far
sweeter than one easily obtained..."

"Sometimes you sound so sad," replied Misty, rolling over onto her back and
meeting Miranda's distant gaze, "is there anything I can do to keep you happy?"

"Oh, probably," Miranda sighed, the hint of an embarrassed smile touching her
lips, "But I wouldn't worry."

"Okay..." said Misty, far from totally convinced, and just a bit concerned about
her new friend, "But if you need to talk, you know where to find me."

Miranda gave a nervous laugh. "I know," she sighed thoughtfully, silently
reveling in the mixed feelings of joy and longing her careful motions brought
her, "And I will when I need to."

Misty nodded slowly, shifting about to make herself more comfortable as
Miranda's talent for muscle relaxation threatened to send her into a contented
unconsciousness once more.

"Alright then," she sighed, closing her eyes and smiling happily, blissfully
oblivious to the fact that her every sigh of contentment sent guilty chills down
Miranda's spine, making the woman bite her bottom lip lest she say or do
something she'd regret. Misty was blissfully unaware of the woman's deep desire
to place teasing kisses upon her gently rising and falling stomach before
sliding up the length of her body and just holding her.

"Is, is that better?" Miranda inquired, keeping her desires in check, if not her

Misty nodded. "Yes," she whispered with a happy smile upon her face, "my legs
have gone from led filled Jell-O, to just Jell-O."

Miranda smiled and crawled beside her, leaning on one arm facing Misty. "I am at
your service, M'Lady," she replied melodramatically causing a quiet giggle to
escape Misty's lips.

"Just what I've always wanted," she chuckled, "a knight in shining armor."

"Yeah, but I'm missing the armor," replied Miranda thoughtfully, "And I think
I'm technically the wrong gender. Maybe 'samurai-ko'?"

Misty opened her sea-green eyes and smiled up at her friend. "Does that mean you
have to commit seppuku if you fail me?" she asked with a teasingly cute laugh.

"Hmm," Miranda answered thoughtfully, "I could always use my bokken..."

"Really?" inquired Misty curiously.

"Yup," the woman replied with a nod, "I have it around here somewhere. It comes
in handy for particularly unruly wild pokemon. And the occasional brigand."

"You're truly a jack of all trades," chuckled Misty, rolling onto her side to
face Miranda.

"Jill," her friend corrected with an amused smile, "I may not be terribly lady-
like, but I assure you that my plumbing is in order!"

"You're crazy!" laughed Misty, yet her expression spoke of admiration.

"You're just noticing this now?" teased Miranda, feigning surprise.

"Should I be afraid?" Misty teased right back, her eyes going wide with mock

"Mmm, no," her friend replied with a wry grin and her best wicked witch
impression, "I only gobble up girls on the weekends. The rest of the time I
settle for devouring the souls of those who I defeat in pokemon battles!"

"Remind me not to challenge you!" laughed Misty, yawning unexpectedly.

"Maybe you should get ready for bed," offered Miranda.

The girl nodded. "Yeah, we do have to be up early tomorrow," admitted Misty a
little sadly, "But it's just so hard to tear myself away sometimes."

"I'll be here in the morning," assured Miranda with a shrug, "I'm not one to
abandon my friends."

"Unlike some people," replied Misty a little too bitterly, "Oh, sorry."

"'Tis okay," said Miranda offhandedly, sitting up and slid off the bed, "I'll
just go get changed in the other room. I seldom get the opportunity to not have
to sleep in my clothes. It's something of a luxury!"

"I know that feeling!" agreed Misty, watching Miranda grab a long t-shirt and
slip into the bathroom before sitting up and scanning the room for her backpack.

"Nez?" inquired Nezumi, hopping up onto the end of the bed and looking up
inquisitively at her.

"Go find a pokeball," Misty teased him as she walked over to her back pack and
removed a carefully wrapped garment, "I have to get changed."

The rattata gave her a downcast look and jumped down onto the floor. "You've
more personality that some of the people I've known!" Misty chuckled, quickly
tossing off her clothes and yawning as she unfolded the silky nightgown she'd
picked up in town.

"It'll probably be a while before I get to wear this again," she sighed,
slipping the garment over her head and standing straighter so that it unfolded
properly, "Best to enjoy it when I can."

"I agree," commented Miranda, stepping out of the other room wearing the long t-
shirt she'd taking in with her, the garment hanging most of the way to her
knees, "It's good to stay in nice places like this every once in a while.
Reminds us that we're human."

"That's rather melodramatic," said Misty with a smile throwing the blanket back
and crawled into the bed's comforting warmth.

"I get it from Wraith," Miranda replied with a shrug, "I suppose our pokemon rub
off on us as much as we do on them."

"I've noticed," said Misty with a yawn as Miranda hesitantly got in beside her.

"Um, look," explained Miranda, "If this is too weird for you I can make other

Misty smiled in her most endearing and reassuring way. "No, it's alright she
assured, "I'm fine. It may sound strange, but I feel completely at ease with
you, even though we've only just met."

"Thank you," replied Miranda, lying on her side and looking up at Misty who was
still sitting, "By the way, silk suits you."

"I think I'd feel guilty not wearing it after how much you paid for it," she
replied a little shyly.

Miranda shrugged. "It's alright," she explained as Misty slid farther down to
lay on her side facing her friend, "I have so few real expenses that a little
splurging on my friends is easy every once in a while."

"That'll take some getting used to," Misty chuckled, "Ash eats so much we're
always broke!"

"He must eat like a snorlax," Miranda commented a little too bitterly.

"That's right!" laughed Misty, surprising herself that she could laugh about the
person who's constant verbal and psychological abuse had finally driven her
away, "If I hadn't met you, I'd have never gotten a new bike. Thank you,

"It was nothing," the woman remarked, a contented smile tracing across her lips,
"I just wish I could take away all the bad things he said about you. And banish
all negativity he's sown in your soul..."

"You're being poetic again," commented Misty, brushing Miranda's dark hair away
from her eyes and seeing the distant look in the cloudy gray depths.

"It comes and goes," she replied, "I should remember to write more of it down."

"Probably," said Misty with a yawn, "Hm, sorry, I should get some sleep now."

"'Tis okay," assured Miranda, snapping her fingers and causing the lights to dim
into nothingness until only the light of the moon shined through the windows
that lined the wall the bed was pushed up against, "We have to be up early any

Misty nodded, rolling over, and as an after thought let her hair down again.
"Goodnight, Miranda," she whispered, moving a little closer and half curling up
under the blanket.

"Sleep well, dear friend," said Miranda a little sadly, and placed a tentative
hand upon Misty's shoulder before sliding closer. Biting back her nervousness,
she slid her arm around the girl and hugged Misty gently against herself.

"Does this bother you?" Miranda asked into the near darkness.

"No, Miri," came Misty's distant reply, "I feel safe with you..."

Miranda waited for her nerves to settle, listening to the soft sounds of Misty's
breathing as she drifted to sleep, before placing her hand on Misty's shoulder
and holding her protectively.

"Safe," she whispered quietly to herself as Nezumi hopped back onto the bed and
curled up at her feet, "I suppose I should be thankful for that."

Miranda let out a mournful sigh, Misty's hair tickling her nose, but hardly
bothering her. With curious fingers, she touched Misty's hair and smiled. 'It's
as soft as her skin,' she mused half sadly, ennui being as both joy and pain,
'its colour as unblemished as her soul, and as beautiful as her heart...'


Misty awoke alone, her ears filled with the sounds of the morning's song birds
and the suddenly truncated rushing water as Miranda ended her shower. Shivering
against the early morning chill, she reluctantly squirmed out of bed and threw
on the hotel bathrobe Miranda had thoughtfully left out for her.

"Did I wake you?" inquired Miranda, coming out of the bathroom, drying her hair
with a large towel and wearing another of the hotel's infamous robes.

"No, I just found myself cold and alone," joked Misty, causing a pang of guilt
in Miranda.

"Sorry, but I wanted to be presentable this morning," she explained, sitting
down on one of the room's few chairs, "Even if I'm just going to meet a handful
of scientists who barely even know what a woman is!"

Misty chuckled and made her way to the shower. "I hope you saved me some water,"
she teased, "After abandoning me all alone with these dangerous pokemon!"

"Ra-?!" exclaimed Nezumi, looking up from his breakfast with a startled look,
making both humans laugh.

"Sorry, Nezumi," apologized Misty, walking across the worn carpeting to pat the
rattata on the head, "I know you were up half the night watching over us."

"Ra..." the little pokemon sighed happily, leaning into Misty's hand.

"He rarely sleeps," commented Miranda with a loving smile, "He's always watching
over me."

"Think you can watch over both of us?" Misty inquired with a chuckle, causing
Nezumi to stand on his hind legs and pose confidently.

"Ne, rattata!" he called out, clenching one forepaw into a fist and grinning.

"I'll take that as a yes, then," replied Misty with a smile, heading into the
bathroom, "See you guys in a couple of minutes!"

Miranda gave a half wave, and proceeded to take out a clean set of clothes. "I
should have asked to have these washed," she muttered before getting dressed and
flopping back down on the bed.

"Nez?" inquired Nezumi, hopping up onto the bed and standing an inch away from
her face.

"It's nothing dear," she assured the pokemon, "just catching a few more minutes
sleep. So, any idea what it is Sylph Corp wants us to transport?"

Nezumi sat down and gave her a puzzled look. "Some new healing potion?" pondered
Miranda, "or maybe a three headed tauros?"

Nezumi laughed in his peculiar way, distracting Miranda from the sounds of
Misty's quiet humming, barely audible over the sound of the running water that
was by now cascading down her lithe body.

"I'm silly," commented Miranda, rolling onto her back and staring up at the
ceiling, "Being envious of water of all things! Gah!"

Her pokemon leaped up onto her sternum and stared down at her. "Nez?" he
inquired, tilting his head inquisitively, trying to make sense of his trainer.

"Sorry, little one," she replied, idly scratching his fur from head to tail,
making him stretch out like an affectionate persian, "I've been absolutely
infatuated the last little while... It's so unlike me."

"Raaa... Ne!" cooed Nezumi, arching his back as Miranda scratched it

"I'm usually so self assured, so in control," the woman went on, "I've passed up
dozens of 'offers' in my lifetime, yet now her I am. Obsessing over someone I
can't have. We always want the one's we can't have, don't we, dearest?"

The little rattata let out a helpless sigh and flopped down, his cold nose
poking at the hollow of Miranda's neck. "Ne..." he responded, looking up at her
with eyes that were filled with concern.

"I don't know what's more difficult," Miranda confessed, unconsciously fiddling
with Nezumi's tail, "Telling someone you love them for the first time, or
figuring out why you do..?"


"Ready to go?" inquired Misty, waking Miranda from her short nap.

Miranda sat up so suddenly that Nezumi was tossed to the foot of the bed,
letting out an overly dramatic wail as he soared through the air and landed
between Miranda's feet.

"Oh, sorry," she apologized, picking up the uninjured pokemon and brushing his
fur back into place, "Um, yeah, just give me a second."

Misty was already dried off, dressed and was just shouldering her backpack as
Miranda got the rest of her stuff together.

"Hey, I'm forgetting something..." the woman pondered, glancing about the room
as the rattata on her shoulder copied her motions in an exaggerated manner, "Oh

Miranda knelt down and lifted up the edge of the mattress. She then reached in
and pulled out a length of carved wood, made to resemble an average length

"Almost forgot my bokken," she replied, spinning the wooden blade over her hand
and catching it by the hilt in one well practiced motion before slipping it
through a loop on her belt, "Well, let's go!"

Misty nodded and opened the door. "Oh, I should probably stop by my room in case
there were any messages," she said as they left, "I also left my extra pokeballs

"No problem," assured Miranda as they walked down the hall to the elevator.

"Oh, by the way," commented Misty, blushing and looking a touch embarrassed, "I
just wanted to thank you."

"For what?" inquired Miranda, her voice going soft as thoughts flooded her mind.

"No one's cuddled me to sleep since I was a child," she confessed a little
distantly as the elevator doors closed shut behind them and she idly hit a
button, "It was very nice of you. I don't think I've ever felt so safe, or slept
so well."

"I see," whispered Miranda in a barely audible voice, trying to hide her
uncontrollable embarrassed grin, "You, you're welcome."

The elevator stopped again and Misty's attention was pulled to the floor number.
"Oh, here we are!" she said cheerily, and walked out into the hall in search of
the room she hadn't really used.

Miranda took a deep breath and followed, waiting patiently as Misty dug out her
keys. "I think it's this one," the girl muttered rhetorically, fitting a key
into the lock and pushing it in, "Oh my-!"

Misty let go of the door, watching in horror as it pushed open with nominal
effort to reveal a sight that made her heart sink.

"Oh, Misty!" exclaimed Miranda, the sight of Misty's room, trashed and in a
thorough shambles, filling her with sadness and sudden anger, "Who-?! Who could
have done this?"

But Misty just stood there, the annoying pulsing tone of a phone left off the
hook for too long filling the empty silence. "I..." she stammered, "I can't
believe he'd do this..."

Miranda put her hands on her friend's shoulders and felt her fall limply against
her. "Misty, I'm so sorry," she whispered sympathetically. I- I know what this
is like."

The girl nodded. "I know," she replied quietly, her eyes suddenly focusing on a
peculiar object just inside the door. "Flowers?" she questioned rhetorically,
slipping free of Miranda's supporting embrace and kneeling in the pile of
scattered stems and yellow petals.

Miranda knelt down as well, and picked up the remains of a yellow rose. "An
apology, I suppose," she pondered quietly.

"He came to apologies," Misty stated, her eyes unfocused and filling with tears,
"But when he didn't find me, he freaked out and trashed the place..."

She stood up and stepped farther into the room, absentmindedly hanging up the
phone. "Misty," Miranda called after her, carefully stepping over bits of broken
furniture and moving to stand beside Misty as she stared down at the broken
remains of three pokeballs.

"They were empty," the girl replied hollowly, turning to face Miranda as tears
fell and rolled down her cheeks, "Just like his apology was going to be..."

Miranda met the girl's saddened gaze and put her arms around her. "I wish I
could change this," she said, hating the same helpless feeling that had consumed
her the day her father and his pokemon died, and her mother had been paralyzed
for life. The feeling of not being able to help the ones you love, no matter how
much you may want to.

"It, it's okay," replied Misty, holding Miranda tightly, not caring about the
tears that were blurring her vision, "I can always buy some more pokeballs. But
I don't think I can buy the power to forgive him."

Miranda nodded, carefully wiping the tears from the Misty's cheek with the backs
of her fingers. "Shh, it's alright," she soothed, staring in wonder at the
devastation reaped by Ash's childish anger, "We'll get in touch with the
authorities and let them take care of this. Even though I doubt that he's still
in the city."

Misty nodded, closing her eyes tightly against the scene. "I hate to think of
what he would have done if he knew where I was last night," she replied, her
voice shaking.

"We could have handled it," assured Miranda, cradling Misty's head with one hand
and rubbing her back with he other, "But it worries me to think that some one
you spent so much time with would be capable of doing something like this."

"It's never happened before," explained Misty, looking up at Miranda sadly, "But
Ash has always been such a child..."

"I understand," said Miranda, turning Misty away from the room and leading her
into the hall, "But I think right now it's better that we leave."

"Your appointment," stated Misty, feeling rather numb.

"No," corrected Miranda shaking her head and looking serious, "They can wait
five minutes, but you need to get some air, and we need to report this."

"You're strange," commented Misty, a small smile coming to her lips, her usual
youthful joy showing signs of returning, "But in a good way."

"Is compassion really so rare, dear friend?" inquired Miranda sadly, "that it
strikes you as odd?"

Misty sighed heavily and leaned against Miranda as she was lead back to the
elevator. "You obviously haven't met Ash," she replied half sadly.

"I'm not sure I want to," shuddered Miranda...


Once they had gotten down into the lobby, Miranda paid for the rental of both
their rooms, and did her best to explain the condition of Misty's. "We're going
to the police right now," she assured the desk clerk, just as the glass doors to
the hotel slid open almost melodramatically and an officer Jenny strode into the
lobby, followed by half a dozen lackeys.

"Alright people!" she proclaimed in her annoyingly gravelly voice that grated on
Miranda's nerves every time she heard it, "This is a crime scene! No one enters,
and no one leaves!"

"But-! But-!" stammered Jerry the desk clerk.

"No buts about it Mister!" explained Jenny, forever unwilling to listen to an
explanation until at least three innocent people had been arrested, "There's
been a kidnapping, and I intend to investigate!"

Miranda stepped in front of Misty, surreptitiously pulling out a pokeball and
expanding it. She glanced over her shoulder as it clicked open. "Wraith, we need
an illusion," she whispered as Jenny's underlings flooded the area.

"Gasssst!" hissed Wraith as he appeared, chuckling quietly as he wove an
illusion that blended his trainer and her friend into the background, making it
seem as through there were just a bare wall where they were standing.

"Let's go!" Miranda whispered as Jerry argued with Jenny, grabbing both Misty's
hand and Wraith ethereal tail before heading out the back way through the

"It must be love," muttered Misty bitterly, glancing over her shoulder in time
to see Jenny pull out her handcuffs as Jerry looked like a magikarp out of
water... Or in water for that matter...


The Sylph Corporation's lab was locating in an office tower several blocks away.
The mega corp. owned the entire building out right, but had rented much of it
out to several smaller businesses that took up the bottom twenty floors. Sylph
Corp used the other five for mainly computer research, the pharmaceutical, and
main pokemon labs being located at their home office in Saffron City.

Miranda and Misty were met at the doors by a man in a lab coat who had
previously been staring up at the repair crew on top of the building fixing the
transposition array.

"Idiots!" he grumbled, shaking his head in dismay, before yelling up at the
workmen who couldn't possibly hear him, "Hey! That's a delicate piece of
equipment! Be careful with it!"

"Excuse me," Miranda interrupted politely, causing the man to turn around with a
startled expression.

"Oh!" he exclaimed, his glasses almost falling off his face, "Ms. Lilcamp!
Sorry, I didn't see you."

"No problem, professor," she assured him with a shrug, "I'm just hear to pick up
the package..."

"Ah! Yes, yes! Right this way," the scientist babbled; still distracted by the
construction as he led them into the lobby, "Dr. Iago is expecting you."

The two followed the techie into a huge lobby complete with three sets of
elevators, men in women in suits and lab coats going about their business and an
air headed receptionist to top it all off.

From there, they took a special elevator up to the twenty-fifth floor, and their
escort had to use a special key to open the doors once the elevator had stopped.
"This is Dr. Iago's office," he said almost reverently, "I'll be waiting for
you. Good luck!"

Miranda smirked at the comment and put on her most ingratiating grin as she
walked into Sylph Corp's regional VP's expansive office. She almost felt guilty
as her old running shoes padded silently across the plush carpeting, and
couldn't help but chuckle as Misty oohed and ahhed at the scientist's collection
of what was mostly aesthetically pleasing junk.

"This is pretty impressive," commented Misty, her eyes passing over statues of
rare pokemon, strange inventions she'd never seen before, and even a prototype
pokeball in a display-case.

"Why thank you, young lady!" replied a friendly voice from across the room,
followed by a golf ball rolling it's way past the two, only to be caught by an
obliging shellder.

"Good morning, Professor," replied Miranda, bringing Misty's attention to the
diminutive figure in the traditional lab coat and glasses, wielding a golf club
and waiting for the ball to return.

"Ah! Miranda Lilcamp!" he replied all too happily in a tone that was both
ingratiating and sinister, "So good of you to come!"

"No more problems with gastlies, I hope?" chuckled Miranda, walking over and
waiting politely for the eccentric scientist/VP to knock another golf ball
across the room.

"Oh, no! No problems with that," he laughed, "But it was nice of you to take
that little ghost off our hands. No, this time the ghost is of our own

The golf ball was tossed back, and the scientist thwacked it as hard as he
could, sending it rebounding off the wood paneled wall, and back in his
direction. The man turned at the last moment, picking up a new golf ball off his
desk as the previous one shattered its way out through the window.

"Have either of you ever heard of a 'porygon'?" he inquired, dropping the ball
at his feet, "No? I didn't think so. They're still fairly rare, but soon they
won't be! Soon every business and lab from here to the Orange Islands will have
one on staff, servicing their computer systems, managing files! Fighting off
hackers! Deleting viruses! They're the wave of the future! Anyway, I need you to
transport one to our lab a ways south of here."

"How far south?" inquired Miranda, bending like a reed to avoid being hit by a
golf ball.

"Oh, about a day's travel if you walk it," the man explained, "But I'm sure you
can make it there in half that time. Oh, please forgive my manners. Who's your
new friend?"

Misty came forward, holding out her hand. "Hi, I'm Misty," she said a little
pensively, watching the ball roll back, "I'm going to be helping Miranda out for
a while."

"Taking on an apprentice, Ms. Lilcamp?" the scientist remarked with a sly smile,
or is the job getting to dangerous for you?"

"A little of both!" laughed Miranda, "So, professor, where's this pokemon I'm
supposed to deliver?"

"Oh! Sorry," he apologized, walking behind his huge oak desk and opening a
drawer, "I almost forgot. Here you go!"

He tossed Miranda a pokeball that she caught one handed. "Mind if I take a
look?" she inquired.

"Not at all!" Dr. Iago assured, "Just don't ask it to interface with that beaten
up old pokedex of yours. It's been trained for this task and I don't want any of
its data being corrupted."

Miranda nodded, and Misty looked on with interest as the pokeball snapped open,
sending a cone of soft red light shining forth towards the ceiling. A second
later, a strange creature who seemed to be comprised of poorly pixilated yellow
and orange light appeared. The peculiar pokemon seemed to resemble some kind of
bird, but it was probable that birds would be offended by the comparison.

"Pory?" it inquired, swiveling its whole body to face Miranda and fix her with a
blank stare that somehow gleamed with intelligence.

"It's cute in a ridiculous sort of way," commented Misty as Dr. Iago handed
Miranda a slip of paper, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

"Its brainwaves were patterned off my assistant Erich's," the man explained
thoughtfully, "So I suppose that in theory, it's a 'boy'. But it's just an AI.
Oh, and we call it 'Polygone'. Because we're handing it off."

"Interesting techniques," interrupted Miranda, putting the paper in her back
pocket and ignoring the pun, "Hopefully I won't need them."

"You might," confessed Iago, returning to his golf game, "The accident with the
array was no accident."

"It never is," muttered Misty, her hand covering her face in dismay.

Dr. Iago nodded, bouncing the golf ball off the shellder and into a clay pot.
"I'd be careful out there, but please don't take any more than two days. We'd
like to optimize the system over there."

"So, if you don't mind me asking," inquired Misty, her tone careful, "What is it
that you're doing down there?"

"Studying water pokemon," the scientist said nonchalantly with a shrug, not
noticing Misty sudden need to go flying thought he ceiling.

"We are sooooo there!" she exclaimed excitedly, making Miranda smile.

"Your enthusiasm is inspirational," she commented with a happy sigh, "Very well
then, professor. We're out of here!"

"Have fun!" the man called after them as they turned to go, bouncing a golf ball
off the elevator button and causing the doors to open.

"Is he always like this?" inquired Misty.

The waiting assistant in the elevator nodded enthusiastically. "Yes! Absolutely!
All the time!"

"It's almost scary, isn't it?" chuckled Miranda.

"What do you mean almost?" laughed Misty, "He's almost more frightening that the
musak in this elevator!"

Their escort signed heavily and shook his bowed head. "Kids!" he muttered as the
elevator's rapid pace brought them to the lobby in almost no time at all.

"Until next time, Dr. Kipp," Miranda said politely as the doors opened, "I'll be
sure to have the package delivered as soon as I can."

"That's good!" the man called from the elevator, "One less thing to worry about!
Stupid workmen..."

"Is every one here a little kooky?" inquired Misty as they walked down the steps
to where their bikes were parked.

"You don't know the half of it!" laughed Miranda.

"Oh?" pressed Misty, "Are there people worse than Dr. Iago and the guy from the

Miranda paused, straddling her bike and looking thoughtful for a moment as
Nezumi awoke from a short nap he'd taken in her coat pocket and crawled on her
shoulder. "Firstly, yes," she explained, a little bemused, "And secondly, Dr.
Kipp's a woman."

"No way!" exclaimed Misty with a laugh.

"Yup," replied Miranda with a nod, "She flips a coin every morning to see what
she'll be that day. Scares even me! And I have a gastly in my entourage..!"


As the two headed off down the road that would take them out of town, three
figures watched with interest from a near by rooftop. "This plan is actually
working quite well," the shortest of the trio chuckled, "Not that I'm

"Yes, you've certainly done it again, old friend," one of his companions
replied, his voice befitting his bishonin lifestyle.

"We'll have that porygon before the day is out, and have it in the boss's hands
in time for lunch!" agreed the third, a woman with strange red hair, "Now come
on, we have to get ahead of them as quickly as we can..!"


The ride out of Vermillion City was uneventfully, and the travelers soon found
the paved road turning to gravel. Fortunately, though, it ran parallel to ocean,
giving them a beautiful view as well as cool breezes.

"I wish every trip was like this," Miranda commented, staring out at the ocean
as Nezumi clung to the handlebars, enjoying the wind in his fur.

"I take it not every delivery is to a lab studying water pokemon by the sea, is
it?" replied Misty rhetorically, her voice bordering on disappointment, but not

"No, it can be a beautiful seascape one minute, and a damp swamp the next!"
chuckled Miranda, "But you've done your fair share of traveling. I'm sure you've
had time to take in quite a few of the sites."

Misty shook her head, watching a passing ship on the horizon, surprisingly
unenvious of its freedom. "No," she explained, "With Ash, it was always rush to
this gym, rush to that gym! Servers him right loosing on his first attempt at
taking on the Indigo League."

"That must have hurt his ego," Miranda commented, slowing her pace so Misty
wouldn't be left in her dust, "Might explain his earlier conduct."

"Well, Ash never did take rejection well," Misty replied thoughtfully, "I just
hope he doesn't take it out on his pokemon."

"You think he would?"

Misty shook her head. "No way, he loves them more than people," she explained,
"He's rude, overbearing, and thick headed when it comes to humans, but he treats
his pokemon with respect. I can at least give him that. But you..."

"Me?" inquired Miranda, embarrassed by the sudden scrutiny.

"You don't just care about your pokemon," Misty explained carefully, thinking
through her words before speaking them, "It's like they're an extension of you!
Like they're your children. Love just isn't a strong enough word to describe
their apparent affection for you."

Miranda bowed her head, blushing profusely as Nezumi stared up at her with eyes
full of endearment. "As I've said," she managed to reply, "In some ways they are
like children. And they need us as much as they we need them."

"Nez!" called out Nezumi, suddenly ending the conversation with a shrill

"Hey look!" called Misty, pointing down the road to where three figures were
busily digging a hole in the middle of the dirt road.

"City workers?" questioned Miranda.

"Oh no, not them again!" muttered Misty, recognizing them even from a distance.

"Friends of yours?" inquired Miranda, skidding to a stop some distance away.

"Team Rocket," spat Misty, glaring across the distance that separated her from
her old enemies, "With another of their lame traps."

"Let's check it out," commented Miranda in amused tone, dropping down the
kickstand and hopping off her bike.

"Um, are you sure about this?" Misty asked nervously, following her friend's

"No problem," replied Miranda, "Besides, I can't just allow brigands to
vandalize the road. I'm Courier Crew after all!"

Miranda strode confidently up to the two humans and a meowth who were hurriedly
digging. "Excuse me," she inquired politely, but with a hint of humor, "Don't
you have a pokemon that can use the 'dig' technique?"

The man stopped in mid shoveling and stared blankly at her for a moment before
turning to his companion. "Jess?" he inquired.

"What is it?" she demanded impatiently, a pile of earth forming just behind her.

"Can't your arbok use 'Dig'?" he asked a little sheepishly.

The woman paused for a moment, her left eye twitching. "Hey!" exclaimed the
meowth, a suddenly angry epiphany crossing his furry face, "It can, can't it?!"

"Then than means we've been digging all these holes ourselves for the last
goodness knows how long, for no reason!" the man concluded.

The woman, seemingly having no control of her anger, made a fist and clenched
her teeth. "Shut! UP!" she hissed, glaring evilly at her companions, "It's
obviously Moewth's fault for not reminding me of this fact sooner!"

"My fault?!" the feline exclaimed as Miranda walked back over to Misty, leaving
the argument to settle itself.

"I can't stand arguments," she confessed with a shrug, as Misty shook her head
at the trio.

"They never give up and they never learn," the girl muttered.

"What is it you suppose they want?" inquired Miranda, the infighting behind her
becoming a furious dust cloud of in-party fighting.

"Oh, they're probably after Ash again," she replied bitterly, "Oh, I think
they've settled it."

Miranda turned back as James, his clothes ripped and torn, his face and hair
dirtied by the work and the fighting, clambered out of the hole and pointed an
accusing finger at Miranda.

"You there!" he called out dramatically, "Are you the member of the Courier Crew
who was assigned to deliver a rare pokemon?"

"Oh no, not again!" muttered Misty, hiding her eyes and shaking her head in

Miranda grinned, pleased that the day wasn't going to be completely boring.
"That I am," she told him, her voice full of confidence, "My name is Miranda
Lilcamp, a rightly appointed member of the Courier Crew, and if you stand in my
way, the consequences will be dire."

The man laughed loudly at this, as did his companions as they extricated
themselves from the pit they had dug, none of them noticing the small pokeball
rolling out of Miranda's sleeve and landing in her hand.

"Are you implying that there might be 'trouble'?" the woman inquired hopefully.

"That's up to you," said Miranda with a shrug.

"Well in that case!" laughed Meowth, the terrible trio taking dramatic poses.

"Wraith, dear," Miranda nonchalantly ordered, "Silence Wall."

"Gastly!" the ghostly pokemon exclaimed, popping up behind his trainer and
hovering over her head as the members of Team Rocket found their intro speech
cut short.

"Well, that's original," chuckled Misty as Jessie and James attempted to give
their speech, only to find no words escaping from their mouths.

The trio shook their fists angrily and mouthed more words at them, but the
Miranda and Misty merely laughed. Finally, though, Jessie could take no more and
pulled out a pokeball.

She tossed it gleefully at them, and tried to call out her pokemon. But to no
avail, Wraith's field of silence made it impossible for the pokemon to hear its
trainers command.

The woman glared angrily, and stomped forward until she was out of the barrier.
"That's no fair!" she exclaimed, "As the villains we have an obligation to our
fans to give our dramatic opening speech every episode and you've just ruined

"That's right!" argued James, finding the edge of the field, "Aren't there some
kind of league rules against that sort of thing?"

"Probably," replied Miranda with a shrug, "Wraith, hypnosis."

"Gasssst!" hissed Wraith, his eyes swirling with colour.

"Oh no not again..!" were James' last words before the members of Team Rocket
fell into a pile of sleeping bodies.

"Too easy," muttered Miranda, getting back on her bike.

"Wow," commented Misty, "You must have to deal with this sort of thing a lot!"

"Not really," assured Miranda, thanking Wraith and returning him, "But it's nice
to have an opportunity to give my pokemon some exercise. Okay, let's go!"

The two rode off, carefully avoiding the half completed hole in the road, as
Nezumi waved good-bye from the safety of Miranda's shoulder...


As the sun began to set out over the water, the Sylph Corporation's water
pokemon research lab became visible through the semi-tropical trees just ahead.
The main building was fairly tall, it's transposition array seeming to be in
working order several stories off the ground. Around it were several smaller,
more makeshift buildings and a few large tents that were centered around the
main building. Down by the ocean, was a small harbor and beach. A few small
boats were moored to the wooden dock and three people were fishing off the end
of it.

"Hey, they even have a beach!" commented Misty happily as the voices of those on
and off duty became clearer, "I thought this was supposed to be a research lab?"

"Not every science lab is in some climate controlled, white walled room a
hundred stories underground," teased Miranda, giving Misty an amused grin.

"I suppose not," she amended, watching as several people brought out half a
dozen long tables for the evening meal, "And actually, we did sort of leave
Brock in a place kinda like this."

"Well, I have no intention of just 'leaving you somewhere'," assured Miranda,
noticing the thoughtful look on Misty's face, "So, what'cha say we go and
introduce ourselves, eh?"

Misty nodded in agreement and the two walked their bikes onto the compound
grounds, over to where an official looking woman was supervising the group of
lackeys who were setting up the tables and bringing out plates and cutlery.

"Excuse me," called out Miranda, smiling amicably as she caught the older
woman's stern eye, "I'm with the Courier Crew, we have a package here for you

The woman's stern expression faded somewhat and she gave a relieved sigh. "The
porygon?" she inquired, her voice as stern as her appearance.

"His name's Polygone," offered Miranda, pulling out the virtual pokemon's
pokeball, "Dr. Iago's joke. Not a very good one if you ask me."

The woman nodded thoughtfully. "He wasn't a very good husband either," she added
mirthlessly, accepting the pokemon, "Anyway, my name's Dr. Forester, feel free
to stay the night if you wish. We were just about to have dinner, as I'm sure
you can see, so if you'd like we can accommodate you and your apprentice,

"Lilcamp," offered Miranda, "But just call me Miranda. And this is my friend,
not my apprentice, Misty. She's the world's greatest water pokemon trainer!"

Misty blushed at the introduction. "Well, maybe the second or third greatest to
be honest," she replied, holding out her hand, "Nice to meet you."

"Water trainer, eh?" the scientist inquired, ignoring the offered hand, "As you
probably were told we study water pokemon here. You might find some of our
work... Interesting."

"Definitely!" agreed Misty, "Especially if I can see your collection of

"All in due time," Dr, Forester replied, "But just now our test subjects have
had quite a work out and need a rest. Perhaps tomorrow-"

"Test subjects?!" demanded Misty, suddenly offended, "Is that all they are to

The scientist sighed heavily and shook her head. "Pokemon are tools, nothing
more," she explained, "With the proper training the more intelligent ones can
serve humanity and help us obtain our goals cleanly and efficiently."

"And what about the less intelligent ones?!" demanded Misty, soliciting and
amused smirk from Dr. Forester.

"We simply let them go," she explained, "Our work here is far too important to
waste time on stupid creatures."

"If I may ask," inquired Miranda, hoping to stave off Misty's anger, "what sort
of research are you doing here?"

"It varies," Forester replied with a shrug, motioning to the main building, "On
the top floor we're developing special enzymes that increase a water pokemon's
resistance to electrical techniques. Over at lab 13 we're running some
experiments on evolution-stones. In theory, we can alter the energies they
radiate to affect all evolvable pokemon. Thus making it possible to force evolve
a pokemon that cannot be normally affected by an evolution-stone. We're also
working on a cure for forced evolution that allows a pokemon to maintain any
techniques it acquired in its more evolved form once it's been devolved to its
original state."

Misty's eyes lit up, she barely heard a thing after hearing the part about
making non-forced evolution pokemon evolve. "Does, does that mean-?!" she
stammered scrambling in her back pack for something, "That I can make this
stupid psyduck of mine finally evolve into a golduck?!"

She pulled out a pokeball and wasn't surprised when Psyduck popped up and stared
up at her blankly. "Psi?" he inquired, as always holding his head.

"In theory, one day," assured the scientist, giving the pokemon the once over,
"Hm. But I think this one will evolve before we perfect the technique."

"Think so?!" inquired Misty, full of hope and optimism.

"It's possible," the woman replied noncommittally, "We'd have to run a few tests
to tell for certain."

"Oh well," sighed Misty, returning Psyduck and stashing the ball in her
backpack, "It was worth a try."

"Don't worry, dear," assured Miranda, putting a hand on Misty's shoulder, "I'm
sure I'll be old and gray before I see Umi make her third evolution."

"What is this 'Umi'?" inquired Dr. Forester, eyeing Miranda suspiciously.

"A dratini."

"Really?" the woman pondered, "Interesting. Well, thank you for the porygon. I'm
certain that it'll be full of my ex husbands usual quirks and we'll have to
spend a week trying to adapt our computer system. But for now enjoy our

The woman turned and strode off, her bare feet leaving deep holes in the sand as
she went, her hard eyes cold and calculating.

"We'd be crazy to completely trust her," muttered Misty, half expecting Miranda
to inquire as to why. So much time spent with Ash had made her used to being
questioned about even the simplest leaps of logic. But she was quite pleased
when the woman merely nodded.

"I'm mildly afraid to ask what sorts of tests they run in their other labs," she
commented, "So I'm keeping Umi where I can see her."

"Good idea," agreed Misty, smiling inadvertently as the little dragon popped out
of her pokeball and draped herself across Miranda's shoulders.

"Say, would you like to hold her?" inquired Miranda, almost feeling Misty's
intense stare as Umi and Nezumi said hello to each other.

"Would I?!" the girl laughed, holding out her arms with a wide grin.

Miranda sighed, savoring the feeling of endearment Misty's enthusiasm filled her
with as she carefully removed Umi and placed her in the girl's gentle hands. "Be
careful with her," she teased as Misty's eyes went wide with delight, "that's a
VERY rare pokemon you're handling."

Misty could only nod as she took Umi in her arms. The little dragon turned to
the water trainer and let out a small happy sound, showing her approval by her
eyes swirling emerald green. "She likes you," Miranda observed, knowing her
pokemon well enough to understand their limited vocabulary.

"She-! She's-!" stammered Misty, laughing as Umi coiled happily about her
shoulders and rubbed her head affectionately against Misty's cheek, "Beautiful!"

"And so are you," sighed Miranda under her breath, half wondering which one she
was feeling jealous of.

"Oh wow!" one of the younger scientists exclaimed, running over as soon as he
spotted the dratini, "Is that what I think it is?!"

"Yup!" laughed Miranda, grabbing up Nezumi and holding him out proudly, "It's a
real rattata!"

"Rattata!" agreed Nezumi proudly.

The young man stopped dead and stared at Miranda with a state of slack jawed
confusion for the length of time it took his brain to reboot.

"I, um, meant the dratini..." he said meekly, causing Miranda to smile and
resist the urge to ruffle his hair.

"Yes," she agreed, trying not to laugh, "Umi's for real."

"And she's the cutest thing I've ever seen!" exclaimed Misty, unable to take
either her hands or her eyes off the dratini, who seemed more than happy about
the attention, as made evident by the contented turquoise her eyes became.

"I probably shouldn't be mentioning this," the young scientist replied watching
Umi with fascination, "But Kathy's trying to catch herself a dragon. That's why
she has people out on the water day and night. We've had no luck so far though."

"They are rare," agreed Miranda a little bitterly, "Not that I can blame anyone
for wanting one, but why does this Kathy want one so badly?"

The scientist glanced around a little nervously, the smell of food tempting him
out of his sudden confession. "Well, you see," he replied, staring longingly at
the platters that were being brought out, "Dr. Forester found out that dragons
are resistant to electricity, and she'd kinda like to isolate the gene that
makes them that way. It's part of her plan to make tougher water pokemon."

"I see," commented Miranda, suddenly feeling a little possessive, "Well, tell
her that once Umi matures and I can find a male I'll be sure to send an egg her
way. Of course that won't be for quite some time. Dragon's are slow to grow and
to evolve."

The man nodded, carefully reaching out a hand and carefully petting Umi's tail.
"They-! They're not scaly!" he replied, taking his hand away as Umi focused her
attention on him.

"That's like saying ekans are slimy," commented Misty, giving Umi's eye ridges a
gentle caress and causing the dratini's eyes to shifted back to a contented
blue-green colour.

The scientist nodded in agreement. "Yes, well, the food is here," he said,
changing the subject, "Would you ladies do me the honor of accompanying me to
the table?"

"Of course, kind sir," replied Miranda with a slow nod of her head and knowing
smile, "We've been traveling all day and we're absolutely famished!"

"I guess we won't get to find out how bad your cooking really is until later,"
teased Misty.

"Another job perk!" agreed Miranda, "people are usually so glad to see me, I get
a free meal now and then."

"Wow!" laughed Misty, "Maybe Ash should have become a courier! All he thinks
about is food! And pokemon... And himself..."

Miranda stopped and put her hands on Misty's shoulders as the girl stood staring
distantly at the ground at her feet. "Are you going to be okay?" she inquired
quietly as Umi and Nezumi looked on with worry.

Misty nodded and stepped closer to Miranda, letting the woman's arms embrace
her. "Sometimes he just makes me so angry," she admitted, being careful not to
squish Umi between them, "I just can't imagine how he could be so insensitive to
someone else's feelings. He's so in touch with his pokemon, almost as much as
you are, but it's like humans are completely alien to him."

"Did... Did you have feelings for him?" stammered Miranda, her heart feeling
heavy in her chest.

Misty was quiet for a moment before letting out a long held breath. "I- I don't
know..." she replied, "I just don't know. Maybe I just wanted him to notice me.
Maybe I just wanted him to stop being so surprised any time someone paid me a
compliment. Maybe I was just being more childish than him..."

"No," said Miranda, holding Misty close and staring up at the darkening sky,
"You just have a deep desire to be loved and cared for. And there's nothing
childish about that. You're a strong, independent young woman, but even loners
need someone some times. He just caught you when you were vulnerable."

Misty looked up, her sea-green eyes searching the stormy gray of Miranda's. "Do,
do you suppose the flowers he had with him," she pondered aloud, "Were because
he finally learned to like me?"

Miranda met Misty's gaze and felt as though her soul was going to shatter at any
moment. "No," she said levelly, shaking her head as she thought her words
through, "If that were true he wouldn't have trashed the room. He especially
wouldn't have gotten help from his pokemon. I get the feeling that you were more
of a possession to him than a friend. Friend's don't freak out and do that to
each other. Even if they can't understand one another's feelings."

Misty nodded, trying to stem her flow of tears, unfortunately her hands were
mostly wrapped up in Umi's serpentine body.

"Hey," said Miranda with a weak smile, gently brushing the tears from Misty's
face with the backs of her fingers, "Don't cry, Misty. Eyes as beautiful as
yours were never meant to harbor tears."

Misty smiled in spite of her feelings. "Always the bard?" she asked pseudo-

"Amongst other things," replied Miranda, reluctantly taking a step back and
linking arms with Misty, "Now then, I believe that we're keeping a real
gentleman waiting."

"Okay," said Misty with a genuine smile, her stomach making longing noises for
the food a dozen or so scientists and generic techies were enjoying, "Let's get

The two quickly caught up to the young scientist who was respectfully waiting
for them a short distance away. "So!" inquired Miranda, smiling broadly, "What's
your name?"

"D-Dave," he stammered as Misty and Miranda linked arms with him and led him to
the table.

"Then get us a good seat!" laughed Miranda as several of Dave's friends smiled
and made amused remarks about the eight shades of red he was turning. A few
people made room for them, and Miranda sat beside the younger man as Misty took
a seat across from her, Umi still wrapped about her shoulders.

"Do you always make friends so easily?" inquired Misty, her tears all but
forgotten as people graciously passed down platters of food, all the while
commenting on Umi.

"It's good for business!" chuckled Miranda handing Nezumi some kind of fish

"You, your Courier Crew, right?" inquired Dave, noticing the insignia on the
sleeve of Miranda's jacket as she slipped it off and stashed it safely under the
table with her backpack.

"Guilty as charged," she replied awkwardly, opening the pack and fishing out her
teacups, "Because of myself and Misty, you guys have yourselves a brand new

"Oh good!" said Dave thoughtfully, "I'm really quite close to perfecting my
latest experiment and I need access to one of those. I have the feeling it's
conversion technique and ability to project realistic holograms are exactly what
I need to test out theories."

"You people are really dedicated around here," commented Misty, more concerned
about feeding Umi than herself.

"Oh! We have to be!" assured Dave with concern, "Otherwise Kathy'd have our

"So what is it that you're working on here?" asked Misty.

"Oh, just a de-evolution stone," replied Dave as Miranda handed Misty one of the
dragonair decorated teacups and grabbing the handle of the tea pot someone
passed down.

"Actually I'd prefer something cool right now, sorry," apologized Misty.

"As you wish," assured Miranda with a smile, "So, de-evolution stone? This is
the second time we've heard something to that effect."

"Oh! Yes," stammered Dave nervously, "I'm studying the effects of the standard
evolution stones, and trying to track the effects they have on pokemon. That way
I can back track the process and find a way to reverse it. I believe that if I
can cause, for instance a water stone, to emit opposite energy waves, it may
return the pokemon's DNA to its original state. I'm close. VERY close."

"We've also heard about a special evolution-stone that can force evolve a
pokemon who isn't usually affected by evolution-stones," Misty commented with
interest, "Is that one of your projects too?"

"Nope," confessed Dave, swallowing what he was eating, "That would be Victor.
He's got it easy! He even has Kathy helping him out most of the time."

"It must be important to her," commented Miranda, "Even if pokemon are just
'test subjects' to her."

"She's just clinically detached," explained Dave dismissively, "Also, I heard
awhile back that as a child her seel left her. Just swam out to sea one day.
Never came back apparently."

"How horrible!" gasped Misty, the thought of loosing any of her pokemon making
her shudder, and causing Umi's eyes to swirl red with alarm.

"I suppose that's why she studies the water types," Dave continued, "To try to
find out more about them and maybe find out why her seel took off. I know she
seems a little cold, but Kathy does care about pokemon. Why else would she be
trying to weed out the gene that makes them weak against electrical attacks?"

"I suppose you're right," replied Miranda, glancing up at the windowless top
floor of the main building.

"Don't worry too much about it, miss," assured Dave with a laugh, noticing the
look of concern on Miranda's face, "She mostly only uses magikarp for her
experiments. It's practically all there around here."

"Their still living things!" defended Misty, banking her fist down on the table,
making Umi coil tighter and utter an unhappy sound.

Dave leaned back in his seat and swallowed hard. "I-I'm sorry miss!" he
stammered, "I didn't know they meant that much to you... If it helps, we also
have a few tentacruel-"

"Hey! I happen to like tentacruel!" exclaimed Misty, causing Dave to slowly
slide under the table.

"Is there a problem here, Ms. Lilcamp?" inquired the voice of Kathy Forester, as
stern and unyielding as ever, but with a hint of amusement.

Miranda looked up at their hostess with an apologetic smile. "No, ma'am," she
assured, "Everything's just peachy keen!"

"I see," replied Kathy in a slightly disapproving tone, "I just came to tell you
both, that I've arranged for a place for you stay tonight. Assuming you still
wish to."

She glanced at Misty who was now pointedly paying attention to Umi, before
motioning to a double row of prefab buildings made to resemble straw huts, even
though they were mostly made of modern plastics.

"Yes, and thank you, Dr. Forester," Miranda agreed with a nod, all the while
maintaining the pleasant grin she didn't feel.

"Very well then," responded the scientist coolly, "If you need anything else,
seek out Dr. Lazarus. He will see to your needs. I also won't be around to see
you off tomorrow, due to complexity of the experiment I'm working on. Good
evening, ladies, David." Dr. Forester then turned and walked away once more, her
path taking her ever closer to the main building.

"That's a bit more than clinical detachment!" commented Misty, a little

"More like clinical callousness," agreed Miranda with a smirk, "But then I'm
used to the more goofy variety of mad scientists. No offence!"

Dave extracted himself from the awkward position he'd gotten himself into with
the table and sat up straight. "None taken!" he assured as volunteers came to
clear the dishes away, "But don't be too hard on Kathy. She's just that way with
new people."

Miranda shrugged and stood up as several people began heading off, some back to
work, and some just to sit by the beach where a fire had been started to ward
off the chill of the night air. Or possibly Kathy's personality.

"No worries," Miranda assured him, grabbing her jacket and backpack before
picking up the all too sated Nezumi and placing him on her shoulder, "I'm not
sure when we'll be down this way again anyway."

"That's too bad," remarked Dave wistfully as Misty shouldered her pack and
headed for the their temporary accommodations.

"Want to go swimming later?" she asked Miranda, still a little touchy about the
tentacruel thing.

"In about an hour," replied Miranda, giving Dave a polite good-bye before having
to run to catch up to Misty.

"I always thought Sylph Corp was about helping pokemon," commented Misty a
little distantly.

"They are really," replied Miranda quietly, desperately wishing that she could
brighten her friend's mood.

"But who knows what their doing up there late at night!" continued Misty,
turning to Miranda with a look of deep concern in her eyes, "I dread to think
what she's doing to those poor tentacruel..."

Miranda put her hands on Misty's shoulders as a sign of support. "Hey, if it
makes you feel any better, I'll send Wraith to check it out," she said

"You will?" asked Misty, looking up and meeting Miranda's gaze.

The woman nodded and a gentle click sound came from one of the pokeballs on her
belt. A heartbeat later, Miranda's gastly was hovering to one side of them.

"Nez! Nez!" called Nezumi, frantically pointing at the main building.

Wraith turned towards it, his smile broadening. "Gassssstly!" he chuckled.

"This is strictly recon, dear," Miranda told him in a motherly tone, "If you
inhabit the computer system this time, I won't take you to the graveyard in
Lavender Town this Halloween!"

"Gah!" the little ghost exclaimed with sudden fright and nodded repeatedly,
making affirmative noises all the while before fading from site.

"It must be a ghost thing," pondered Misty with a shudder.

"It's not as scary as it sounds," replied Miranda thoughtfully, "The city puts
on a huge Halloween party every year in an unoccupied part of the graveyard.
Just about every gastly, haunter and gengar trainer for leagues around show up
to show off their pokemon. The tourists seem to enjoy being scared almost as
much as the ghosts enjoy scaring them."

"I think I heard something about that once," admitted Misty with a shrug, "But
I've always been a little bit afraid of ghosts."

"They're just pokemon," said Miranda, keeping a defensives tone from her voice,
"They may be pranksters, but their just as loyal and loving as any pokemon."

"Ratta!" agreed Nezumi before letting out a loud belch that seemed to reduce the
size of his bloated stomach by at least half.

"I think you needed that!" laughed Misty, brightening a little and scratching
the rodent under his chin.

"I think that one was on purpose," Miranda commented, eyeing the rattata
suspiciously, but silently thanking him for bringing the light of joy back into
Misty's eyes, "Anyway, we should go and drop off our stuff. By the time we're
settled in it should be safe to go swimming."

Misty nodded, her smiled still present. "You know," she commented as they walked
between the rows of mostly high-tech plastic, pre-fabricated buildings, "I think
I'm getting used to biking again. My legs don't hurt much anymore."

"Hey, that's great," Miranda half-lied, easily disguising her sorrow at loosing
any further opportunities to massage Misty's legs back to a functional state,
"We'll make a Courier Crew member out of you yet!"

"I'm not that used to it!" laughed Misty as they found a door that had had note
hastily tacked to it.

"Must be for us," commented Miranda, ignoring the fact that "Lilcamp" had been
spelt "Lillencamp".

She reached into the little mailbox and after digging out the key, opened the
door. "Lights!" she commanded, causing the uncovered light above them to
illuminate the main room.

"'Be it ever so humble'," quoted Misty as Umi and Nezumi slithered and hopped
down to explore their limited surroundings.

"As a child I once had to sleep in a linen closet," replied Miranda half
jokingly, "And as a baby my crib was the second drawer of a dresser. So for me
this is luxury!"

She dropped her gear between the two mattresses that served as two beds and fell
backward on to one with a contented sigh, her arms and legs sprawling out in
four directions.

"Hey, it's not like I'm complaining," assured Misty lying down on the other bed
and staring up at the ceiling where a fan slowly spun, "I've slept outside more
time than I can count."

"When you go camping, does it entail going into the city and finding a cheep
hotel?" laughed Miranda, lazily turning her head to see Misty.

"Yeah!" laughed Misty, her right hand hanging off the bed tantalizingly close to
Miranda's, "And when we were roughing it we'd go to an expensive one!"

Miranda's smile faded as the girl's expression became more neutral, her eyes
idly following the blade of the ceiling fan. "You okay?" asked Miranda.

"I'm fine," assured Misty, "it's just been a long few days."

"Do you... Regret leaving with me?"

Misty took a deep breath and held it for an excruciatingly long moment. "No,"
she breathed, "No, I think that Ash had it coming."

Miranda quietly watched her for several minutes before sitting up. "I-I'm going
to see if we have a shower in this place," she said, but wasn't completely sure
she'd been heard. Misty seemed thoroughly lost in thought, and Miranda had run
out of things to say.

Instead, she stood up and walked over to the small bathroom that had been wedged
into the east-facing wall along with the small closet. With an unsteady hand,
Miranda turned the handle and stepped into the small, cramped bathroom. She then
quietly shut the door and leaned against the paper-thin wall, sighing heavily.

'I'm insane,' she thought to herself, sliding off her glasses and placing them
carefully on the small counter, 'absolutely crazy. Why do we always want the
one's we can't have?'

Miranda shook her head in dismay, disrobing without really thinking about it,
her mind still on Misty. 'Although I suppose she's a little crazy too,' she
pondered mirthlessly, turning on the shower, 'She's still clinging to him. Even
if she won't admit it...'

The warm water felt cold as she stepping inside the stall and let it cascade
over her. "Must have forgotten to pay the electric bill," Miranda muttered,
turning the temperature up until she could feel her skin protesting the abuse.
"That's better," the woman commented, tilting her head back and leaned against
the shower wall, letting the hot water claim at least one layer of skin, as she
tried to clear her head.

"Miranda?" came a polite but muffled inquiry, followed by the gentle click of
the door opening and a slight exclamation at the amount of steam trapped in the
small room, "I, I just wanted to apologize."

Miranda opened her eyes and stared at the tap for a moment before adjusting the
temperature so that it wouldn't melt human flesh. "What for?" she inquired,
glancing at the vague silhouette she could make out through the shower curtain.

"For shutting you out," came Misty's quiet reply, "It's just that when I think
about Ash... It hurts."

"I understand, it's okay," Miranda assured the girl, her heart twisting in her
chest, "There are things I find it hard to talk about too..."

Misty stepped closer and Miranda heard a strange sound as Misty went on. "I, I
really don't want to be alone right now," explained Misty in a quavering voice.

"Neither do I," agreed Miranda distantly, "I shouldn't have just left you. I'm
sorry, I guess sometime I forget that you just can't return people to their
pokeballs when you're not sure how to deal with them."

Misty laughed nervously at the comment, and nearly caused Miranda to slip and
fall as she pulled the curtain back. "M-Misty!" stammered Miranda, taking half a
step back and staring with conflicting emotions as the girl stepped naked into
the shower with her, "Misty, I-! I!-!"

Misty looked up at Miranda, her eyes full of sadness, her face betraying
embarrassment. "Please, just hold me," she said quietly, moving towards Miranda
with her arms held apart.

Miranda gulped down her nervousness, and took the girl in her arms. "I'm sorry
if this makes you uncomfortable," said Misty, her head upon Miranda's shoulder.

"N-No, it's fine," she replied, feeling a chill run down her spine despite the
warmth of the water that Misty was now blocking, "I'm more than happy to help
you in any way I can."

"Thank you," said Misty; looking sadly up into Miranda's eyes before continuing,
"You're the best friend I've ever had."

"It's nothing," assured Miranda, absently rubbing Misty's shoulders, "But you
sure picked a funny time to tell me that."

Misty smiled in spite of herself. "I suppose," she agreed with a shrug that made
Miranda tense up, "But I suppose it's just my affinity with water."

"That'd do it," agreed Miranda, hoping her smile didn't seem too silly.

"Here," offered Misty, reaching for a bar of soap, "You've helped me time and
again, let me help you for once. Turn around, I'll wash your back."

Miranda blushed and reluctantly turned around. The woman gritted her teeth as
she felt Misty's small hands upon her, an unaccustomed feeling of vulnerability
coming over her. Miranda bowed her head, crossing her arms over her chest,
leaving Misty to her work.

"You know," commented Misty, smiling at the memory that came to her as she
lathered her way across her friend's back, "You never did write me a better poem
like you promised."

Miranda glanced over her shoulder and smiled. "Yeah, you're right," she agreed,
turning around to face Misty, who's hands were cloaked in soap-suds, "Now, allow
me to derive some inspiration."

Misty gave a slightly confused look as Miranda took her hand and slid the soap
out from between her fingers. "Yes," the woman said thoughtfully, the bar of
soap in one hand, her other still holding Misty's fingers, "Yes, I think I have

"Have? Have what?" inquired Misty, looking down at the soap.

"Inspiration," whispered Miranda, relinquishing Misty's hand so that she could
untie the girl's hair before putting her soap-wielding palm against the side of
her neck.

Misty sighed in response, tilting her head to one side as Miranda gently
caressed her neck before moving down to her shoulder. "Your eyes are the
turquoise colour of the sea that you love so much," she whispered, her free hand
upon Misty's opposite shoulder as the other made it's way down her left arm,
"And your voice is whispered upon every Summer's breeze I feel. Where as all
others seek solace in the vastness of this world, I seek only the small
contentment that can be found in your arms. And only the taste of your sweet
lips can make you seem more real..."

Miranda stopped, turning away and blushing profusely as she cursed her muse. "I,
I'm sorry-!" she stammered, feeling tears welling up in her eyes.

"No," whispered replied Misty softly, touching the side of Miranda's face and
turning her head back, "It's okay. Please, continue."

Miranda took a deep breath, observing the strange mix of emotions in Misty's
eyes. "Where as others have overlooked all that you have to offer," she managed,
letting her muse speak through her, the words she couldn't have articulated
otherwise, "I long only to savor every treasure that you hold, as though they
were a sacred gift of the magi. Where as others take you for granted, ignoring
the finely honed skills you posses, my respect for you is as unquenchable as my
desire. Even though I am well aware, that there can never be a you and I..."

Misty wiped the tears from Miranda's eyes, before leaning in close and sliding
her arms around her. "Go on," she whispered, the look in her eyes making Miranda
want to both laugh and cry.

"The severity of their contempt for you, is equaled only by my devotion," she
continued, finding herself holding onto Misty as though her life depended on it,
"While so many others seek only to be rid of you, I would willingly spend the
rest of my days with you, making love on a beach by the ocean..."

There was silence between them for a time, Miranda's words filling the small
cubical. The woman felt tears pressing against the backs of her eyes, her heart
full of both relief and regret at admitting such things. Miranda tried to speak,
but her words were lost to her, and only her tears, which flowed from her eyes
unhindered, were able to express her feelings.

"Don't cry," soothed Misty, a sad smile upon her face, "'Eyes as beautiful as
yours were never meant to harbor tears'..."

Miranda smiled, trying not to laugh. "You're memory's too good!" she chuckled,
shaking her head slowly in dismay before asking, "Misty? Can you forgive me?"

Misty looked up at her sadly for a moment, brushing Miranda's wet hair over one
ear. "What's to forgive?" she asked, her voice full of the compassion, "Maybe
this is the answer I've seeking all my life."

"And you are a yang to my yin," replied Miranda, suddenly awash with
inspiration, "A sun to my moon, a light to my darkness. And if I could only hold
you for forever, eternity would come far too soon..."

Miranda leaned down, every muscle in her body tense with nervousness she sensed
in Misty as well. She paused mere centimeters from Misty's lips, watching
carefully as the girl sighed contentedly, tilting her head and closing her eyes
in anticipation.

"I've never believed in love at first site," admitted Miranda, brushing her lips
so lightly against Misty's that the girl wasn't even sure the woman had done
anything, "But when I saw that fire in your eyes, and heard the passion in your
voice, I knew that I could not live without you."

"Please," came Misty's barely audible but faintly pleading response, "Please,
Miranda, kiss me..."

Miranda swallowed nervously, seeking out the reserves of self-confidence she
used in every other situation. "As you wish, my beloved Misty," she replied so
softly that not even the water could hear, and with aching slowness brought her
lips closer.

Miranda trembled as she felt Misty's fingers dig inadvertently into her back,
the anticipation an almost physical entity. Then, banishing her last bit of
apprehensiveness, Miranda pressed her lips against Misty's.

New tears fell from Miranda's eyes as she felt all her longing drain away in one
simple act. She did her best to resist her urge to express the full depth of her
longing in one passionate kiss, however, still fearful of frightening Misty.
Instead, Miranda drew back, kissing Misty lightly upon the lips twice more
before the girl returned the gesture and returned her head to its normal

Miranda sighed contentedly, drawing back again, and looking longingly into
Misty's now open eyes. The girl's pleasure and longing were now clearly visible,
yet Miranda felt a tinge of guilt.

"Misty?" she asked quietly as they both caught their breath, "Are you sure-?"

Misty cut her off by pulling her head down and kissing Miranda lightly upon the
lips, "It's alright," assured Misty, her voice a little shaky, "Maybe this is
just what I need. Something to make me forget about all my bad memories, and
maybe make some new good ones."

"I don't want to take advantage of you, though," explained Miranda, still
feeling a little guilty.

"That's okay," said Misty with a shrug and a reassuring smile, "If anything, I'm
probably taking advantage of you! You've done so much for me lately. You gave me
the opportunity to start over, you bought me all kinds of nice things, and
you've given me back some of my self-confidence. But yet, you barely know me."

"I can't help it," admitted Miranda a little sadly, "From the first time I saw
you I only wanted to make you happy. I don't know, maybe it was a maternal
instinct. But there's just something about you that just makes me want to hold
you forever. I don't know what it is, maybe I've just been alone too long-"

"Maybe you're just an incurably romantic and didn't know it," offered Misty,
leaning her head on Miranda's shoulder.

Miranda blushed, nodding in agreement. "I can't deny that," she replied, "But
I've just never believed in love at first sight. Yet, when I found you... Oh
Misty, please forgive me."

"No," said Misty soothingly, "There's nothing to forgive, Miranda."

"But I'm love you!" blurted Miranda, her heart feeling heavy in her chest, her
face flushing hotly with sudden embarrassment, "I thought it was just lust at
first. And I tried to ignore it, telling myself it wasn't what I thought. But
here I am jeopardizing our friendship."

"No, you aren't jeopardizing anything," Misty told her, running a gentle hand
down the side of Miranda's face, "Please, just kiss me..."

Miranda gave the palm of Misty's hand a gentle kiss before leaning forward and
placing another upon her lips. She pulled back and waited for Misty's reaction,
but the girl simply stood there, her eyes closed, her lips slightly parted in

"This will only go as far as you want it too," promised Miranda, bringing both
hands up and cradling Misty's head before kissing the girl again, this time
pressing harder in hopes of releasing the passion she felt.

Misty let out a little sound of contentment that caused Miranda's heart to melt,
and she couldn't help but pull back to run her hands down over Misty's neck,
before her fingers traced lines over the girl's chest to her small breasts.

Misty opened her eyes, her breathing shallow and her eyes focused on nothing but
Miranda. She clenched her teeth, smiling unconsciously as Miranda's skilled
fingers traced a teasing path across bother her breasts at once, carefully
avoiding her nipples.

With little thought, the girl took Miranda by the wrists, holding her hands in
place as the woman massaged her in a way that Miranda had longed to. With a
short sigh of ecstasy, Misty tilted her head back, laughing as the warm water
from the shower sprayed in her face, sending water cascading down her body in
little rivulets.

Miranda leaned forward with half closed eyes, all the dread and worry she felt
being pushed so far back that her whole world was consumed with the single
motive of bringing Misty to the point of ecstasy as many times as the girl could

While continuing to caress the small twin rises of Misty's firm breasts, Miranda
knelt gave her lover an open mouthed kiss between them, not caring about the
water that splashed down into her face. Almost hungrily she made her way up to
Misty's neck, teasingly nipping at her skin once she reached her mark.

Misty let go of Miranda's wrists, and found herself instead gripping her
shoulders for support, spreading her legs to more firmly plant her feet against
the slippery surface on which they both stood. She looked up as Miranda kissed
her way back down, blocking the spray of water, and shivering in anticipation as
Miranda kissed her navel.

"Mi-Miranda!" she gasped, feeling her feet slipping, "I think I'm going to

Miranda chuckled, reaching behind Misty and standing up straight as she swept
the girl into her arms. "I'll never let you fall, dearest," she promised,
kissing Misty before the girl could utter another word, "Even though I already

"I- I know," responded Misty breathlessly when Miranda pulled away, "And I'm
very flattered. Thank you."

Miranda nodded, brushing Misty's orangish hair over her ear. "Love is as fragile
as an egg," she whispered, giving the girl's ear a loving kiss, "Let it go and
it shatters. And I only shall if you so desire it, my dearest Misty. Such is the
strength of my devotion for you."

Misty pushed her back a little and met Miranda's serious gaze. "You'd be willing
to end this right now?" she replied, her voice full of bewilderment.

"Only if it is what you desire," Miranda explained a little sadly, "Otherwise, I
am yours for eternity. The light of your soul is as a beacon in the darkness
that I travel. How can I not love you? You the most exquisitely beautiful
creature on this planet. How can I not adore you? You've filled the emptiness in
my heart by simply being. How can there be anything that I would not do for

"You're being poetic again," replied Misty with a smile, and gave Miranda a
quick kiss.

"Can't help it," admitted Miranda slyly, "You inspire me. To more than just
poetry, I'm afraid."

"No worries," assured Misty, suddenly shivering as the hot water ran out, "But I
think we've out stayed our welcome."

Miranda nodded, and reached behind Misty to shut off the water. "We should
probably get out of here anyway," she said sadly, "Wraith's probably gotten
himself in all sorts of trouble by now."

Misty chuckled, shaking her head. "I don't think I could handle a ghost
pokemon," she admitted, "But so long as you can keep yours in line, I won't
worry about it."

"That's good," said Miranda, reluctantly stepping out of the shower and into the
cold air and chilly floor of the bathroom, "But really, you shouldn't be afraid
of most to them. Their surprisingly harmless... Well, except for that whole
dream eating thing..."

Misty accepted Miranda's help in stepping out of the stall, and smiled as the
woman draped a huge fluffy towel over her shoulders. Even if it did have the
Sylph Corp symbol in one corner.

"I hope my other pokemon aren't too lonely out there without us," commented
Miranda as she helped Misty dry off, "They tend to get into things when they get

"So long as neither of the eats everything in sight," chuckled Misty, raising
her arms as Miranda rubbed the towel along her flanks, "Ash has a snorlax like

Miranda looked up, and seeing the sudden sadness in Misty's eyes, gave one of
the girl's breasts a kiss before running her tongue in a spiraling circle around
her nipple and suckling gently against it.

Misty's dark reverie was instantly broken, and she let out a quick gasp as she
grabbed at Miranda for support. "Hey! Oh-!" she exclaimed, panting as Miranda
stood up straight.

"If you keep crying, you'll run out of tears," the woman said with a careful
smile at Misty's questioning look.

"I know," replied Misty, looking a little downcast, "But it seems like there's a
lot more of them that I need to cry before I can move on."

"Then I'm here for you," assured Miranda, taking Misty's hands in her own, "I'll
gladly you hold you until they stop."

Misty sighed with thoughtful contentment. "It's like you're trying to make up
for my whole life being awful," she commented, "But it's not your fault I made
the wrong decisions now and then."

"I know," Miranda told her sincerely, "I just wish I could change the past for
you. And for myself..."

Misty reached out and put her arms around Miranda. "I'm being selfish. Aren't
I?" she asked rhetorically.

"No," assured Miranda softly, "You have as much right to your pain as I have to
mine. Let's just try to get through it together, okay?"

"Okay," agreed Misty, nodding slowly before looking up at Miranda with a gentle
smile, "But for now let's go, get some air, and see what your gastly has to

Miranda dropped her arms and reached for another towel. "Alright," she
contemplatively, feeling more at peace than she had in several days, "Then let's
take advantage of the beach and maybe count a stars..."


Nezumi rolled over on to his back; his front paws behind his head as he lay upon
Miranda's pillow, his tail twitching idly as he listened to the muffled sounds
from the bathroom. Umi sat, coiled like a serpent upon Misty's pillow shaking
his head in wonder.

"You know, I really don't get humans some times," she admitted in dismay.

"Eh, what's not to get?" inquired Nezumi nonchalantly, "You just act cute, and
they treat you like a king. Or queen in your case, draco-babe."

"Well," explained Umi thoughtfully, ignoring the rattata's usual wisecracking
remarks, "If Miranda loves Misty so much, why not just tell her?"

Nezumi opened one eye and glanced at the naïve dratini. "What makes you think
she hasn't?" he chuckled, his ears picking out his trainers words of adoration
even over the sound of the water.

"She has?!" exclaimed Umi, extending her body and raising her head up to stare
intently at the closed bathroom door, here eyes turning a combination of red and

"Yup!" explained the rattata, "And if I'm not mistaken, I'd say they're doing
things in there."

Umi turned back to the chuckling rodent. "Things?" she inquired, eyeing him
suspiciously, here eyes shifting to a dark lavender, "What sorts of things?"

Nezumi sighed heavily, shaking his head in dismay as he stared at the ceiling.
"You'll understand when you're older, kid," he assured her, the gleam in his
eyes betraying his thoughts.

"'Kid'?!" exclaimed Umi, partially offended, her eyes swirling yellow, "I'll
have you know I'm older than you!"

"Yes, but in relative time, I'm older," Nezumi explained in his most paternal
tone, "We rodents grow up a lot faster than dragons. When you get to be my age,
relatively, you'll understand."

Umi looked thoughtful for a moment, her eyes turning slowly greenish. "Does that
mean," reasoned the dragon, "That you'll evolve soon?"

"Ha!" laughed Nezumi, his right paw against his chest, "I'm 35th level, draco-
babe! I can evolve anytime I want to!"

"Then why don't you?" the dratini inquired in the patiently inquisitive manner
of most dracoforms.

"Eh, yeah know," replied Nezumi with a shrug, "I'm just milkin' this small and
cute thing for all it's worth!"

"Did I miss anything?" inquired an ethereal voice as Wraith materialized between
the two pokemon.

Nezumi shrugged. "Eh, not much, fang-face," he assured with a dismissive wave of
his paw, "Just the boss lady finally gettin' around to gettin' around to it!"

Wraith laughed at the remark, but as a ghost pokemon, he found nearly everything
funny. Especially the confused look on little Umi's face. "Well, I can guarantee
Miranda's not going to like what I found," he explained once the humor faded.

"Bad?" inquired Nezumi.

"Worse," replied Wraith, "I made a deal with the porygon they installed, though.
Seems he doesn't like that scientist lady too much, and after what he saw on her
system, he's willing to alert the authorities!"

"Oooh! Sounds juicy!" exclaimed Nezumi excitedly, leaping to his feet and
staring eagerly up at the gastly, "Go on! Go on!"

Wraith chuckled in self-satisfaction for a moment, before concentrating on
weaving a room filling illusion. The walls and ceiling seemed to melt away, to
be replaced by two stories of wall-to-wall fish tanks of varying sizes that
would make a marine biologist drool.

Within each of the tanks was a water pokemon. As promised, over 90% were old and
young magikarps, but a few held unhappy looking tentacool and tentacruel. There
were even two staryu and an ancient starmie, kept company by a few shellder two
cloysters, three goldeen and a kingler.

Wraith's image became hazy as he simulated his invisible observation of the
scene, and the stern figure of Kathy Forester came into view. She gave one of
the magikarps an evil smirk as she walked over to an elaborate workstation and
fiddled with the controls. After a moment, she turned her attention back to the
suddenly frightened looking fish, her grin broadening as she threw an oversized

Immediately, the lights in the room dimmed, as several hundred volts of
electricity filled the test subject's tank. The fish let out a terrified scream
of pain, as Kathy laughed and hit a button, causing a purple coloured liquid to
fill the tank.

"Breath deeply!" laughed Kathy, as the magikarp unwillingly inhaled to

To the fish's surprise, the pain of being electrocuted subsided and the magikarp
stared out at the mad scientist with an even more bewildered expression than

"How's the new serum coming along?" inquired a male voice.

Kathy spun around, taking a defensive posture and pulling a pokeball. "Victor!"
she exclaimed, her voice angered yet pleased, "What did I tell you about
sneaking up on me?!"

The man who stepped out of the shadows was at least a foot taller than Kathy,
and looked more like he'd been made in a lab. From his confident, winning smile
to his broad shoulders and intense blue eyes he seemed more like some kind of
model than a mad-scientist.

"I'm sorry, dear," he said almost sincerely, the smile never leaving his lips
"But when I heard your laughter I couldn't resist seeing how the experiment was

Kathy did her best maintain a disapproving look, but all too soon gave in and
found herself kissing Victor. "Only you," she warned, running a fingertip down
his chest, "Would I allow to do this."

Victor chuckled, smiling in self-satisfaction before turning to the magikarp.
"It seems to enjoy it," he commented, tapping on the glass.

"Yes," commented Kathy, "The altered DNA sample from specimen 'Mv04' seems to
integrate with the test subjects better than expected. I'm certain that our
employer will be most pleased!"

The scene faded out as the two embraced, kissing passionately, leaving the two
observers to ponder what they had witnessed.

"That's so cruel..." commented Umi barely above a whisper, her eyes turning a
deep blue in her sadness.

"It gets worse," replied Wraith, for once not smiling, "It seems that Poly had
his program altered so that we can't access certain files."

"A porygon who can't access a database?!" exclaimed Nezumi in disbelief, "That's
not possible! I thought those holo-hackers could go anywhere in a computer."

Wraith gave a helpless expression, unable to shrug without arms. "He says they
added some kind of subroutine that makes him forget what he's doing every time
he tries to access the files on Subject Mv04," the gastly explained, "But that
didn't stop me!"

"Ah!" laughed Nezumi, leaping to his hind legs and bowing dramatically, "Our own
little ghost in the machine strikes again!"

Wraith chuckled to himself and nodded. "It took some doing," he explained, "Some
nasty black IC they got gave me a run for my money, but I managed to access the
file and download them into Poly."

"So... What is 'Mv04'?" inquired Umi, her eyes ablaze with lavender hued

Wraith attempted to look stoic as he spoke, but found it difficult to remain
serious for more than a few moments. "Well, you see," he began but immediately
lost it as a smile came across his face, "No one can be told about 'Mv04'. They
have to experience it!"

Umi gave the gastly a disapproving look, her eyes glowing deeply red and seeming
to swirl violently. "Wraith!" she growled menacingly, a jet of water forming in
the back of her throat.

"Okay! Okay!" laughed the gastly as Nezumi looked on in amusement, "I'll tell
yeah, but you're NOT going to like it..."

"That's fine," assured Umi, her serpentine body tensing as Wraith formed yet
another illusion. It came as no surprise to the little dragon, that what she saw
displeased her greatly.

"Wraith!" exclaimed Miranda as she bounded into the room wearing only a towel,
running up to the fuzzy purple and black shape floating on the edge of her near-
sighted vision, "You're back!"

"Gast!" he greeted her, dropping the illusion that only Umi and Nezumi could

"Find anything?" inquired Misty, drying her hair as she entered the room.

The gastly nodded sadly.

"It's bad, isn't it?" inquired Miranda in a serious tone.

All three pokemon nodded.

"Alright then," their trainer replied, steeling herself against the inevitable.
"Let me have it..."


Somewhere on the top floor of the Sylph Corp Water Pokemon R&D branch's main
building, three figures emerged from the darkness. The trio crept silently from
their hiding place in one of the air vents, and quickly scanned the fish tank
filled room.

"This is it?!" exclaimed James in a harsh whisper, "Nothing but magikarp!"

"Pokemon, are pokemon," replied Meowth with a shrug as he walked around there
corner, "Besides, there's more than just magikarp here."

"You're just bitter," chuckled Jessie, turning on a of the computer terminal,
"And you know better than anyone what magikarp evolve into."

"Quiet you!" the man demanded, turning his back to her and glaring
disapprovingly at pitiful looking fish, "Am I not aloud to make one little

"One?" inquired Meowth with surprised sarcasm.

"Hey, I think I got something!" interrupted Jessie, causing her companions to
crowd in close.

"What is?!" they demanded in unison, the glow of the monitor illuminating their
faces in the dim light.

"There's another pokemon they're not keeping out in the open like the others,"
replied Jessie, her gloved fingers flying across the keys as she broke through a
surprisingly easy password encryption.

The screen shifted, and a window popped up showing a live feed view of a huge
tank of water, taking up at least two floors of the building. The camera panned
down towards the water, showing a dark shape looming ever closer, causing the
trio to lean in expectantly, waiting for the pokemon to become visible.

"It's-!" began Meowth as another image transposed itself on the screen.

"That stupid porygon!" all three Rockets exclaimed.

"Porrrry!" warned the pokemon on the screen, closing the window behind him.

"Oh, you think so, do you?!" growled Jessie, bringing up a rocket launcher.

"Don't you think that's a bit excessive?" inquired Meowth, backing away slowly.

"No one keeps secrets from Team Rocket!" she proclaimed, pulling the trigger,
and sending a high-powered projectile through the monitor and into the wall
behind it.

"I wonder if she got it?" pondered James as he ran from the flying rubble.

"I'd better have!" grumbled Jessie as the smoke cleared and she found herself
covered in soot.

"Well I suppose it was therapeutic," commented Meowth.

"You fools!" exclaimed a voice, ending further speculation, "What have you

The trio turned to the sound, and saw a diminutive figure approaching through a
cloud of dust and smoke.

"You're the fool if you think you can oppose Team Rocket!" countered James,
striking a dramatic pose.

"Idiot!" Kathy growled, startling James as she came out of nowhere to grab him
by the lapels, "I am a member of Team Rocket!"

"Oh no," muttered Meowth, burying his face in his hands, "Not again!"

"Now look what you've done!" exclaimed Kathy, pointing to where Jessie had
partially blasted a hole in the concrete wall, "You're on the verge of ruining
over twenty years of careful plotting!"

The small crater sent out small cracks in all directions, which then began to
spray water. As the water increased in pressure, more fissures appeared,
threatening to flood the room.

"We're going to be fired for this, aren't we?" asked James rhetorically as
sirens and klaxons began sounding all around them.

"That's the least of your worries!" assured Kathy, dropping James and running
towards the door as two sheets of metal moved to seal the only way out.

"We're going to drown again!" gasped Jessie, running for the exit, only to find
herself banging futilely against the blast doors.

"It's all your fault!" accused James, grabbing up Jessie's discarded rocket
launcher and glaring evilly at one of the trapped pokemon, "Stupid magikarps! If
I have to die, I'm taking you with me...!"


Miranda led the way from the living quarters to the main lab building with
Nezumi on her shoulder, and a thinly veiled anger. Misty found herself staying a
step behind the woman, carrying Umi over her shoulders, with Wraith trailing
behind. She knew better than to ask Miranda what was wrong. The images Wraith
had sent to them seemed to loose their impact when they saw the pokemon Kathy
Forester had locked up and tortured for the last two decades.

"So, what exactly are we going to do?" inquired Misty carefully.

"If she's lucky, I'll have her charged with breach of contract," grumbled
Miranda as the building loomed ahead, "But I don't think this is her lucky day."

Just outside the lab was mostly deserted, those not on duty were hanging out on
the beach, listening to music or fishing off the dock, so Misty and Miranda were
the first humans to see what caused the noise they all heard.

The East-facing wall of the building suddenly blew out, sending chunks of
concrete in all directions, and a cloud of dust into the air. Miranda grabbed
Misty by the hand and ran back the way they came, just in time to be missed by
one of the larger pieces of wall, and turned back in time to see a jet of water
blast out the large hole.

"What are they doing up there?" asked Misty rhetorically, as the water filled
with a horde of flailing magikarp, most falling to their deaths as they hit the

"Nothing good!" commented Miranda, glancing at her rattata, "Nezumi, I need you
to dig a hole where those pokemon are falling! I don't want any more to die than
have to!"

"Nez!" the rodent exclaimed, bounding off and burrowing into the ground.

"He's fast," commented Misty in amazement as the rattata disappeared under the
soft, muddy ground.

"I just hope he's fast enough," commented Miranda, taking Misty's hand and
giving her a concerned look.

Misty gave her a grim smile, squeezing her hand reassuringly. "I think he was,"
she commented, pointing to the flood of pokemon just as the ground gave way
beneath them, carving out a pool of water at the base of the building.

Miranda smiled. "That's my Nezumi," she replied as the rattata leaped out of the
water and shook himself off.

"Hey!" called a familiar voice, "What's going on?!"

Misty and Miranda turned in time to see Dave leading the group from the beach.
"I'd say your boss just had a little accident," explained Miranda, "Do you have
access to the top floor?"

Dave shook his head. "Only Kathy and Victor do," he explained, looking up at the
impromptu waterfall in dismay, "But if they're up there, they're going to need
help. Anyway, I can get you most of the way."

"Great!" replied Miranda, "I knew we could count on you. Now let's get in

Dave nodded and headed towards the front doors, followed by Miranda, Misty, and
several curious on lookers. "Do you think they're still alive?" one of the off
duty scientists asked.

"It'd take more than a little water to kill Kathy!" assured Dave over the alarm
bells that filled their ears the instant he flung open the front doors.

As they crossed the lobby, the group found their passage momentarily hindered by
a flood of escaping lab technicians, fleeing from the water that was draining
down from the upper floors.

"I think you'd all better join them!" cautioned Miranda, giving the rest of her
entourage a concern look, "I think the three of us can handle it."

"This installation's our home," replied an older man, "Sylph Corp's taken care
of us for a long time. We owe this company, and we owe Kathy. She's not all that
friendly at times, but she's a good scientist. And I for one respect that."

Miranda nodded. "As you wish," she commented with a shrug, silently hating to
have to shatter so many people's allusions.

"We'll have to take the stairs," came Dave's concerned tone, "The elevators shut
off in case of fire, flood or plauge."

"That's just brilliant," muttered Misty, waiting for Miranda to follow Dave up
the stairs, "And I'll bet the all the doors seal themselves too...!"


By the time the assembled group had reached the small foyer on the top floor,
the stairs were flooded with water up to their ankles, causing several people to
fall back and head for safety.

"Beyond this door is Kathy's lab," explained Dave over all the noise, pointing
to the impressively armored door, "The only problem is, is that none of us have
the pass code to open it."

Miranda gave a sly smile and glanced over at Wraith. "You know what to do," she
replied, bringing a wide grin to the gastly's face.

"Gaa!" he replied happily, phasing into the electronic locking mechanism.

"This may take a minute," commented Miranda, as the machine made several
distressful sounds and a few sparks shot out from it.

"Gastly!" came Wraith's triumphant exclamation as he popped back out and the
door hissed open, only to reveal a set of sealed blast doors just beyond.

"Couldn't you have opened those too?" inquired Miranda, giving Wraith a
disapproving look.

The gastly pouted as he shook his head. "Wra, ga..." he muttered sadly.

"I see," commented Miranda thoughtfully, turning to Dave. "It seems that your
porygon doesn't want us to get in there," she explained.

"Why not?" asked Dave, full of concern.

Miranda shrugged. "Apparently he doesn't like Dr. Forester too much," she

Dave's eyes widened with concern. "He'd let her die?" he gasped in surprise.

"Well he was programmed by her ex-husband," offered Misty as Dave ran over to
the intercom beside the door and frantically hit the button.

"Porygon! Can you hear me?" he called into it frantically.

The little wall screen came to life, and an image of the porygon appeared in it.
"Pory?" he inquired politely.

"You can't do this!" exclaimed Dave half panicked, "There's someone in there,
porygon, and she'll probably drown if you don't open the doors!"

"Polygone," corrected Misty, "He was named Polygone by the scientists who made

Dave nodded, and was horrified as the pokemon turned away and the screen began
to fade. "Polygone!" he beseeched, "Don't you understand? If you let someone
die, they'll take you off-line!"

The porygon turned back and did his best imitation of a shrug.

Dave took a step back. "Don't you even care about your own survival?" he
implored, "It's bad enough you're killing a human, but come this time tomorrow,
you'll be joining her!"

Polygone looked away sadly and nodded. "Pory..." he muttered defeatedly.

"You don't want to die? Do you?"

The pokemon shook his head in dismay.

"Then why?" inquired Dave compassionately, "Tell me why you're doing this?"

The porygon gave him a meaningful look and faded out as a window popped up. The
assembled group gasped as one at what they now saw on the monitor.

"It- it's just like what Wraith showed us..." commented Misty sadly, glancing up
at Miranda who seemed on the verge of tears.

On the little monitor was a real-time image of a haggard looking dragonite.
Dozens of wires and tubes were hooked up to it in various places as it floated
in stagnant looking water, kept in place by heavy chains and shackles. Small
mechanical orbs armed with vicious looking serrated blades and horrifically long
needles floated around it, poking at the poor creature now and then, making it
whimper as it could no longer scream. All the while the tubes and hoses that had
been cruelly implanted into its body took samples, weakening the dragonite all
the more.

"Tha-that can't be real!" exclaimed Dave in disbelief.

"I'm afraid it is," replied Miranda grimly, drying her eyes and turning to the
group. "This is the secret that Dr. Forester has been keeping here. This is her
plan to breed water pokemon that aren't affected by electrical attacks. By
torturing this poor creature and extracting it's DNA in the cruelest possible
way, then torturing the captured pokemon with blasts of electricity. Not just
low currents, but near lethal dosages! This goes way beyond inhumane, but I'm
willing to put that aside to save someone's life if you're all willing to help
me free that dragonite."

There was next to no discussion, and Miranda couldn't help but smile as the
group's disbelief became support. "We're with you, miss," assured the old man
from before, "But how do you suggest we get that door open?"

Miranda looked thoughtful for a moment, and was about to speak when a tall
figure emerged from the stairwell. "Stand aside!" he ordered, his deep voice on
the verge of controlled panic.

"Dr. Victor!" gasped Dave in surprise, "I thought you were in there too!"

The man smiled confidently in an attempt to reassure the others. "No, I was
downstairs conducting some very important experiments," he explained, "But I
hope I'm not too late..."

With that, the scientist took out a pokeball and tossed it into the air.
"Tashiro! Go!" he commanded, causing the ball to pop open and send out a
familiar red glow that soon coalesced into a tall, muscular, green skinned

Miranda gritted her teeth taking a step back, as Nezumi growled a low warning.
Even Umi let out a hiss and Misty felt her body tense as Wraith moved to protect

"I hate those things," muttered Miranda, moving protectively closer to Misty.

Victor's machoke flexed his muscles and grinned broadly at his master.
"Tashiro," Victor ordered, "Take down that door!"

The machoke nodded, banging a fist into his open palm before turning to the
door. He looked thoughtful for a moment, before pulling back his fist, which
suddenly burst into flame before hitting the blast doors with all his might.

A series of loud clangs filled the room, making everyone's ears ring as Tashiro
battered a dent in the center of the blast doors until water sprayed out into
his face. "Machoke!" he growled, reaching forward and prying the two halves
apart with his bare hands. With a loud grinding protest the doors gave way under
the pokemon's strength, sending a torrent of water into the small room and down
the stairs.

"Misty!" exclaimed Miranda, grabbing the girl's hand as she caught the worst of
the blast.

"Sorry about that!" apologized Victor as Miranda pulled Misty back from being
carried back down the stairs.

"Whatever," grumbled Miranda bitterly as the water died finally died down and
the room ceased to be flooded, "You okay, Misty?"

Misty nodded. "I'm a water trainer, remember?" she teased with a reassuring
smile, "I'm fine. It's you I'm worried about."

She motioned towards the proud looking machoke as his trainer recalled him.
"I'll be fine," replied Miranda unconvincingly, "I just don't know how anyone
can use those things."

Victor ignored the comment, rushing into the room as soon as he could, followed
by the other concerned scientists. "We'd best get in there," replied Misty, "I
don't think a lynching is what you had in mind."

Miranda shook her head. "No, I'm willing to let the authorities take care of
this so long as we can set that dragonite free," she replied warily, following
Misty into the unsealed room.

The once sinister lab seemed to loose a lot of it's dread ambiance once Miranda
and Misty saw the condition it was now in. The florescent lights along the
ceiling had all died, and only one or two of the emergency lights flickered
dimly, casting and eerie red glow over everything. There was shattered glass and
bits of broken wall everywhere, with several floundering water pokemon that were
quickly being saved by compassionate Sylph Corp scientists.

The banks of fish tanks had all been broken open by the blast that had blown a
hole in the outer wall, and the first breach in the room's central pillar had
finally stopped leaking.

It was there that Wraith headed to, making encouraging noises as he motioned for
Miranda to follow. "Is that were it is?" asked Miranda, carefully picking her
way thought he debris.

Wraith nodded by bobbing up and down before moving out of the way. His trainer
leaned forward over the blackened husk of a computer terminal and looked through
the window-sized hole in the wall behind it.

"This is it," she replied grimly, "Wraith, think you can find the door?"

"Ga!" the gastly assured, floating up to one of the security cameras near the
ceiling and phasing into it.

A moment later, he returned with Polygone. "You!" exclaimed Dave, spotting the
AI and running over.

The pokemon gave a frightened noise and hid behind the gastly. "Go easy on him,"
cautioned Miranda, "He was only obeying his conscience."

Dave nodded and smiled reassuringly. "It's okay, Polygone," he said calmly,
holding out his hand, "I forgive you."

"Pory!" the porygon exclaimed, leaping into Dave's arms and making happy noises.

"I think he likes you!" laughed Misty.

"Well, I hope he likes me enough to help out a bit more," Dave replied
nervously, unsure about how do deal with the peculiar pokemon who seemed intent
on making the bewildered scientist his trainer.

"Porygon!" assured Polygone in a strange tone, turning his attention to the
remains of the computer terminal.

After a moment's concentration, a beam of amber light shined from his snout,
hitting the wall socket where the device had been plugged in. A second later,
the sound of stone on stone filled the suddenly shaking room as a section of
wall slid open in the room's central pillar. From within the secret alcove, came
a pitiful cry for help, sending nearly everyone running to look.

"Just as I said," replied Miranda sadly, staring down at the chained dragonite
who rested half submerged in fowl smelling water in dismay, "This is what Kathy
called 'Specimen Mv04'."

The room filled with various comments of disbelief as several people moved to
free the trapped creature, and Dave politely walked up to Miranda with a concern
in his eyes.

"Do you think it will forgive us, Ms Lilcamp?" he inquired meekly.

"I'm sure it will," she responded, watching the dragonite with the greatest of
concern, "They're extremely intelligent, and I'm sure this one knows who's to
blame. Speaking of which!"

She turned away from the scene, satisfied that the others could handle it, and
marched off to find Victor and Kathy. She found them standing near the hole in
the outer wall. Kathy looked like she'd live once she'd forced the remaining
water from her lungs and dried off, and Victor seemed full of concern despite
the smug look on his face.

"It's over Dr. Forester," said Miranda in her most authoritative tone, Nezumi
posing dramatically on her shoulder to add effect, "No more innocent creature
will suffer at your hands. The Lilcamp Trading Company here by finds you in
breach of contract, and thus forth will afford no support to you or your cohort.
This will of course not effect our contract with the rest of Sylph Corp, but I'm
sure they'll still have a thing or two to say to you."

"Oh, boo hoo!" replied Kathy sarcastically, "This operation is over anyway! What
do I care?"

"You'll care when the police arrive," responded Misty, walking up behind

"Let them!" laughed Kathy as a dark shape rose up outside the hole in the wall,
"Cause we're out of here!"

"I don't think so," glowered Miranda, all three of her pokemon giving their most
menacing looks.

Kathy smiled broadly as Victor picked her up from behind. "Catch us if you can,
Ms. Lilcamp," the man chuckled, leaping backward out of the building, and
landing in the basket of a rapidly rising hot air balloon, "But I doubt you want
to share your Father's fate!"

Miranda stopped and stared in stunned silence at the comment, but Nezumi needed
no encouragement. He leapt to the floor and ran to the opening in the wall.

"Nez!" he exclaimed threateningly at the laughing group of five Team Rocket
members as they floated way, "Nez! Nez!"

The rattata took a deep breath, and sent out a stream of bubbles that impacted
harmlessly against the balloon's surface.

"Is that the best you can do?" taunted James as the others laughed.

"Nezumi..." whispered Miranda, barely able to move as she realized just who
Kathy and Victor were.

"Nezzz!" growled her pokemon, his fur standing on end and he glared menacingly
at his departing mortal enemies, "Nezzz! Uuuu! Miiii!"

With that, Nezumi's entire body began to glow with a brilliant white light,
before more than doubling in mass until his evolution was complete.

"Nezzzummmiiii!!!" he cried as the light faded and the newly evolved raticate
was revealed before taking a deep breath and sending out a beam of crackling
blue tinged energy from his mouth and impacted with the balloon, and caused the
air within freeze.

"Not again!" cried Jessie, James and Meowth as their balloon shriveled to nearly
nothing before beginning to fall, only to be caught up in a strong wind and be
sent out far over the ocean.

"Nezumi!" exclaimed Miranda, tears falling from her eyes as she ran to embrace
her pokemon, "I'm so very proud of you!"

"Nez, nezumi," the raticate commented nonchalantly with a shrug before happily
leaning against his trainer with a self-satisfied grin.

"He... Evolved!" stammered a voice from behind, causing Miranda to glance over
her shoulder, a proud grin on her face as she looked up at Dave.

"I-I heard the commotion," he commented, clutching a small obsidian stone in
both hands.

"I seems that your fearless leader was working with Team Rocket," explained
Misty, somehow not surprised.

"That's, that's awful!" exclaimed Dave, making his way carefully to the hole in
the wall, "On top of everything else, Kathy was with the Rockets? When it rains
it pours I guess."

"So what's with the rock?" inquired Miranda, still clutching her raticate

"Oh! This? It's one of the stones I was working on," explained Dave, turning
back to face Miranda and Misty, "I found it here in the lab for some reason. I
guess it was in case Kathy evolved something she couldn't easily control. Hm.
She must have gotten it to work..."

"Does that mean it's a Devolution Stone?" asked Misty with interest.

"This? Oh yes!" stammered Dave, his brain still a little frazzled, "She must
have worked out some of the bugs I guess, but we'll never know until we use it.
Oh well."

"Nezumi!" exclaimed Miranda's favorite rodent, causing the woman to look back at
him in surprise.

"Really?" she asked, a little startled, "Your volunteering?"

Nezumi nodded.

"Are you sure? You've only just evolved and all-"


"Okay! Okay!" laughed Miranda, giving her super-sized pokemon one last joyful
hug before turning to Dave. "He wants to try it out, Professor. If your

"Um, sure," replied Dave a little nervously, shaking as he held out the stone to
the raticate.

Miranda stood up and walked over to Misty as Nezumi took hold of the Devolution
Stone and held it close to his chest.

"You think it'll work?" whispered Misty, taking Miranda's hand in a show of

"If it's what he wants, I hope so," she answered, giving her friend's hand a
squeeze as the ebony rock glowed faintly purple, and Nezumi's body was enveloped
in a blinding white light for a second time.

"Nez..." he commented in wonder as his body shrank to its former size and the
stone fell from his grasp, a small piece breaking off and skittering across the
floor to rest at Miranda's feet.

"Hey, it worked!" laughed Misty as the light faded, revealing Nezumi as a
rattata once more.

"Amazing!" commented Dave, grabbing up the larger chunk of stone, "It's going to
take me weeks to figure out how she got past the instability problem!"

"But you'll enjoy every moment of it," chuckled Miranda as Nezumi ran over to
snatch up the smaller piece of stone in his now smaller jaws, before scrambling
up his trainer's pant leg and shirt to sit happily upon her shoulder.

"For me?" the woman inquired with a shy smile as her pokemon held out the small
black stone.

"Nez-umi!" assured the rattata, dropping the piece of Devolution Stone into
Miranda's open palm.

"You can still say it!" exclaimed Miranda happily, resisting the urge to hug

"Nez, nezumi," the rattata commented nonchalantly.

"Can you still use the ice beam?" asked Misty.

Nezumi gave the girl his most confident grin fore aiming his snout towards the
opening in the wall and taking a deep breath.

"Dave!" exclaimed Miranda in alarm, "Get down!"

The scientist hit the deck just in time for Nezumi's somewhat smaller ice beam
to fire over his head and light up the sky outside.

"Yikes!" he commented both alarmed and impressed, "The stone works perfectly!"

"Well, that remains to be seen, Professor," corrected Miranda, "But we'll be
sure to keep you updated."

"Thanks," replied Dave, struggling to his feet, still clutching the spent, yet
still precious stone, "When I finish my research, I'll be sure to send you a few
samples! But right now I think we should deal with that pool of pokemon we have
down there..."

A few of the other scientists came forward and looked down at the water filled
hole Nezumi had dug and shook their heads. "Can your rattata dig a trench to the
ocean?" one of them inquired.

Miranda and Nezumi nodded in unison. "No problem!" she assured and turned
towards the exit, followed by Misty and Dave...


At the base of the building, the group found a small crowd of spectators and was
immediately assaulted by questions, which Dave politely decided to take care of,
leaving Miranda and Misty to save the stranded pokemon. "Brave man," chuckled
Miranda as Dave led the group away from the impromptu pool of water.

"But I think he'll make a good leader," commented Misty, kneeling down and
peering at the menagerie of water pokemon, "Probably a thousand time better than
their old one."

"We can only hope," replied Miranda scratching Nezumi under the chin and giving
him an affectionate look before ordering him into action. "We need a trench out
to the ocean," she explained, "Think you can handle it?"

The rattata stood on his hind legs and nodded confidently. "Nez!" he assured,
jumping from Miranda's shoulder to the ground where he began burrowing his way
towards the beach.

"It'll probably take him two or three passes," explained Miranda, nodding to
Umi, "Plenty of time to get our other pokemon in position. Time to come out,

"You need one of my pokemon?" inquired Misty, as Umi slithered from Misty's
shoulders, "What for?"

"Staryu's got 'water gun', right?" explained Miranda, to which Misty nodded,
"Well, I think between the two of them, Umi and Staryu could make a pretty good
river. At least long enough for us to herd those fish back to where they

"Oh! I see," responded Misty, releasing Staryu in time for Nezumi to return and
head back to the ocean in an unerring line from the pool to the sea, "But how
are you planning on convincing the pokemon it's safe? They're probably all
terrified of humans now... Poor things."

"This might seem to be a bit of a cruel trick," she replied, thoughtfully, "But
it's for their own good. Wraith! You're needed!"

"Gaaaastly!" the ghost exclaimed, floating around to face Miranda.

"We'll need you in a minute, dear," his trainer explained, "Just as soon as
Nezumi's done with he trench, and Umi and Misty's staryu flood it."

"Ga?" he questioned, looking puzzled.

"I need you to make something really scary appear!" replied Miranda with a
mischievous grin, "Something that'll really get those pokemon moving!"

"Ga'ly!" the ghost pokemon laughed reassuringly as he faded out of sight and

"All done?" inquired Miranda, turning her attention back to Nezumi as he popped
out of a pile of sand to one side of the trench.

"Zumi!" he exclaimed proudly, grinning broadly and flexing his muscles.

Miranda shook her head wearily and Misty laughed as the rattata made a show of
pretending to accept the adoration of his fans.

"Don't let it go to your head!" chuckled Miranda before turning to Umi, "Ready?"

The dratini nodded to the woman before giving Staryu an odd look, to which the
water pokemon stood up straighter before aiming an arm at the trench.

"Umi!" exclaimed Miranda dramatically, glancing at Misty who nodded in reply.

"Staryu!" the girl ordered.

"Water Gun!"

"Hydro Blast!"

Both pokemon let out a blast of water at the same time, Umi spitting it out like
a draconic breath weapon, and Staryu firing it from his top most arm. Umi
glanced over at the other pokemon as the torrent of water eagerly reached for
the ocean, and tensed her serpentine body, forcing the water out at an
accelerated rate. Not to be out done, the rounded red gem-like object on
Staryu's chest glowed more brightly as he too increased the output until the
current was so strong that almost no one could have swam to the other side
without being carried partway out to sea.

"Wow! Looks like we have a bit of a rivalry!" laughed Miranda, shielding her
face from the spray.

"But it seems to be working!" replied Misty, barely able to hear herself over
the sound, but pleased as a few either very brave or very stupid magikarp jumped
into the river, only to be swept away by the impossibly strong current.

"Okay, now for the rest of them!" Miranda said determinedly, "Wraith! I need
that fear factor now!"

The gastly appeared momentarily as a hazy wavering image, which rapidly changed
into the one thing that would scare the stranded pokemon into action. An image
of Kathy Forester solidified between the pool and the building. She then raised
her arms menacingly, her evil laughter echoing through the night as bolts of
blue tinged electricity radiated from her thin fingertips and crystallized the
sand around the pool, all the while her image grew to three stories tall,
scaring a few unsuspecting onlookers.

Almost as one the cowering pokemon bolted into the stream created by the twin
water gun attack, swimming for all they were worth for the ocean. Misty gave a
worried look as several of the smaller magikarps were pushed aside by their
larger brethren, but as the water spilled out over the sides of the trench, it
became something of a non-issue.

Finally, though, after a frantic five minutes of listening to an illusionary
Kathy spout obscenities and threats while firing ineffectual lightning bolts,
the water in the pool calmed to nothing, and two exhausted pokemon fell over to

"That should about do it," commented Miranda proudly, taking Umi up in her arms
and cuddling the worn out dratini.

"Um, no, I'm afraid we missed one," corrected Misty, kneeling down and staring
into murky water.

Miranda came closer and looked over her glasses. She could just barely make out
the shape of a single magikarp floating near the surface, staring almost angrily
at the illusionary Kathy. "I think we made him mad," she said rhetorically,
"Wraith, I think you'd better-"

The courier was cut off as a suddenly glowing white magikarp broke the surface
of the water and began to expand in size. "It's evolving!" screamed Misty in a
sudden panic, grabbing up her staryu and heading for cover.

Miranda nodded, planting both feet firmly in the sand as the light faded to
reveal a newly evolved gyarados which reared up and roared menacingly at the
illusionary Kathy. "Wraith! Get out of there!" the woman ordered, "Nezumi!
Lightning bolt!"

The rattata leaped off his trainer's shoulder and opened his mouth, letting fly
an ark of electricity that hit the dragon in the back of the head, the attack
enveloping the gyarados's entire body. The pokemon didn't even so much as
flinch, not so much as acknowledging Nezumi's existence. Instead, the apparently
unharmed water dragon let loose a burst of flame that some how managed to hit
the still invisible Wraith dead on.

The illusionary Kathy vanished instantly as Wraith was wreathed in searing hot
flames that not even his phased nature was proof against. "Wraith! No!"
exclaimed Miranda, reaching to her left side with her right hand and gripping
the hilt of her bokken.

"Miranda, no!" exclaimed Misty, running and jumping over the still flooded
trench of muddy water, "You'll only get hurt!"

The woman paused, her whole body shaking as Wraith went unconscious and fell to
the ground in a puddle of purplish ooze. "Wraith..." whispered Miranda, tears
flowing freely from her cloudy gray eyes.

"Let me take care of it," replied Misty as Miranda fell to her knees, her bokken
dropping to her side, "I can handle it."

Miranda looked up at Misty, meeting the girl's determined gaze, and falling in
love all over again with her sea green eyes. "I have faith in you," she
whispered, watching silently as Misty turned around and tossed down a pokeball.

"Psyduck! Go!"

Miranda's heart sank as the only psyduck in existence who couldn't even swim
appeared before his trainer with a confused look on his face, and his hands on
his head.

"Psy?" he inquired in a pained, nasal voice.

Misty turned back to Miranda, her face betraying the depths of her
determination, and snatched up Miranda's bokken. "Alright psyduck!" she ordered,
holding the weapon over her head in both hands, "It's time to kick some gyarados

"Psi?!" the pokemon exclaimed fearfully as the dragon turned his attention from
the slumbering ghost to his next victim.

"Psyduck!" commanded Misty, bringing the wooden sword down on top of her
pokemon's head with all her might, "Confusion attack!"

"Duck!" the pokemon exclaimed, staggering forward from the force of the blow,
causing the gyarados to chuckle before rearing up and preparing to bite psyduck
in half.

"Now, you stupid duck!" exclaimed Misty, thwacking her pokemon on the head
several times until her arms became a blur and Psyduck stopped clutching his

"That's it!" laughed Misty, leaping back as Psyduck's eyes glowed red and he
levitated a few feet off the ground.

His opponent gave a quizzical look, but decided to attack anyway. With a
triumphant roar, the gyarados surged forward, his gaping jaws widening in
anticipation until the hungry pokemon snapped them shut like a vice.

To the gyarados's infinite surprise, he found himself blocked by a translucent
sphere of energy. The sea serpent blinked loudly and reared up before shaking
his head from side to side in an attempt to dislodge the orb from his clamped
jaws. Unfortunately for him, though, all the gyarados managed to do was jostle
Psyduck all the more, thus intensifying his headache.

"Psy..." growled his opponent menacingly from the center of the sphere, raising
his arms dramatically as his eyes glowed brighter, "DUCK!!!"

With a blast of white light, the gyarados was thrown backwards through the air.
It sailed end over end away from the hovering Psyduck, and finally landed in a
heap amongst a grove of palm trees. In almost no time at all, the serpent rose
above the trees, shaking his head until his jaw snapped back into place.

"Gya..." he growled, letting out another jet of flame.

Psyduck's eyes blazed all the brighter as he raised his hands. As the flames
washed over his barrier, the pokemon summoned forth a blast of blue/white
crackling kinetic energy from his palms and sent it back along the path of
flame. The gyarados gave him a surprised look and intensified the blast, his
dark eyes gleaming with anger.

"Finish him off, Psyduck!" called Misty from the ground, jumping up and down

Her pokemon obliged by increasing the strength of the hyper-beam until it
doubled in girth and began to overwhelm the jet of flame the gyarados was
issuing forth. The once more surprised dragon actually had to slither backwards
as the beam intensified, moving ever closer, until it was in danger of
smothering the flames.

"Now!" exclaimed Misty, clutching a vacant pokeball in one hand, and Miranda's
bokken in the other.

Psyduck nodded, and every last bit of energy he had went into channeling his
power. The hyper beam easily cut though the remainder of the flame, and caught
the gyarados square in the mouth. The beast let out one last unhappy roar, and
toppled over backwards as the rest of his flame-jet fired off into space.

"Way to go Psyduck!" laughed Misty, tossing the pokeball into the air and
preparing the thwack it with the bokken even as the unconscious Psyduck fell to
earth, only to splash down in the pool of stagnant water, "Gyarados! You're

Miranda couldn't help but smile as Misty hit the pokeball and sent it sailing
across the landscape at an incredible speed. It descended at a near perfect
angle, bouncing twice off of the gyarados's scales before opening and absorbing
the unruly pokemon.

Misty stood perfectly still, Miranda's bokken clutched almost painfully in both
hands as the slightly dented pokeball landed in the sand and rocked back and
forth several times. "Stay in there you pain in the butt..." grumbled Misty
under her breath, her eyes never leaving her prize until the red and white orb
stopped, and let off a small cloud of steam.

"I think you got him," commented Miranda warily, but still proudly.

Misty relaxed only a bit, staring in disbelief at the silent, non-mobile
pokeball that sat in the midst of several felled trees. "I, I caught it?!" she
stammered as several people rushed out of hiding and began applauding and

"Yes, yes you did," replied Miranda, struggling to her feet and rushing over to
Wraith. "You okay?" she asked the puddle of ooze.

A moment later, as the woman took out a pokeball, a pair of half closed eyes
appeared in the ephemera. Miranda smiled lovingly down at them and asked, "You
okay, dear?" Wraith let out a weak pitiful sound and was more than happy to be
returned to his pokeball.

Misty glanced over at Miranda as she stood up and walked back towards her. "I-!
I-!" stammered Misty as one of the techies ran out to retrieve the pokeball for

"Caught a gyarados," finished Miranda, putting her arms around Misty and smiling
down at her.

"Imagine that!" she laughed, blushing at the adoration and graciously accepting
her newly filled pokeball from a grinning techie.

"So, what are you going to name him?" asked Miranda, slipping her bokken out
from Misty's lax grip and sheathing it.

"Um, how does Leviathan sound?" the girl inquired, to which several onlookers
gave their wholehearted approval.

Miranda glanced down at the pokeball in Misty's hand. "I think he'd approve,"
she responded with a sly smile, "And after that battle, I'm sure he knows whose

Misty held the occupied ball up to eye level, at which point Nezumi leaped onto
Misty's shoulder and ran down her arm. She laughed as the rattata sniffed at the
pokeball and chattered excitedly. "Nezumi seems to think you've won him over,"
replied Miranda, "but I'd still give Leviathan a few days to cool off."

Misty nodded, giggling as Nezumi ran back up her arm to sit on her shoulder.
"Yes," she laughed, "But I think you might need to remind your pokemon who their
trainer is!"

Miranda glanced down and sighed heavily in mock disapproval as Umi wrapped
herself partially around Misty's bare leg and made contented noises, her eyes
swirling a happy green.

"Traitor," grumbled Miranda with a grin before sliding her hands up Misty's arms
and drawing her close. "So," she asked in a quiet tone, with a sly grin as the
onlookers went back to whatever it was they'd been doing previously, "It seems
that we've rescued the hostages, defeated the villain; at least for now, saved
humanity, and even slain the dragon. Does this mean I get the girl...?"

Misty looked up at Miranda with eyes full of respect and adoration. "Yes," she
whispered, ignoring Nezumi's approving nod, "Yes you do."

"And when I kiss you," asked Miranda, moving so close that their auras surely
overlapped, "What if I should fall in love?"

"Then I shall be there to catch you," replied Misty, running her fingers through
Miranda's dark hair, and not caring who saw as she pulled the woman's head down
to kiss her...


The only illumination in the small room was provided by a few emergency candles
from Miranda's backpack. The quiet, slow, soothing music that filled it came
from the small radio/cd player she usually had attached to the handlebars of her
bike. And the subtle ocean breeze that cooled the air passed through the open
window, stirring the thin curtains until they resembled ghosts, waving
approvingly in the dim light.

Miranda put her arms around Misty, holding her carefully as they swayed slowly
to the soft music. She smiled in what she hoped wasn't a silly manner, noticing
that her nervousness was echoed by Misty.

"Y-you're sure you're alright with this?" stammered Miranda, her heart feeling
heavy in her chest as she searched the depths of Misty's eyes.

The girl nodded, bringing her hand up to hold hone side of Miranda's face. "I
wouldn't be here otherwise," she assured, gently coaxing Miranda to within
kissing range, "I just hope you're alright with it."

"The feel of your skin beneath my hands has haunted my thoughts since we went to
the hot springs," Miranda confessed, "And I feel as though part of my soul has
broken off and taken up residence in your beautiful eyes..."

Before Misty could respond, Miranda covered the distance between them, pressing
her lips firmly, yet not forcively against her friend's. She pulled back as she
felt Misty's fingers entwine her dark hair, and a soft moan escaped the girl's

"And the taste of your kiss has become a vice that I am far too weak willed to
overcome," whispered Miranda before kissing Misty several times in a quick
teasing manner.

Misty could only look longingly up at Miranda as the woman pulled back and
smiled at the blush that had come to her companion's cheeks. "Every new emotion
that crosses your lovely face, makes you seem all the more beautiful," Miranda
went on, running her hands down Misty's spine until she found the bare skin of
her lower back, "And I only fear that at the high point of your ecstasy, I shall
be so overwhelmed with love for you, that my heart shall surely burst..."

Misty smiled and leaned against Miranda, her small hands wandering over the
woman's back, soothing Miranda's tense muscles. "You've already seduced me,"
giggled Misty, closing her eyes and trying to suppress her suddenly compulsive

Would you have me stop?" inquired Miranda; brushing Misty's hair aside before
nuzzling her ear, "Say the word and you shall be granted my silence."

"No!" exclaimed Misty, laughing at her own outburst, "No way. I'm not giving up
on a fellow incurable romantic that easily!"

"I'm glad," sighed Miranda softly, giving Misty's ear a gentle nibble before a
quick kiss, "I know what it's like to have to deal with being the only romantic
around. It's not fun."

Misty nodded, tracing her fingers down the woman's back as Miranda traced her
lips down the curve of her neck, pushing Misty's shirt aside before planting a
kiss upon her bared shoulder.

"When I'm with you I almost forget what that's like," sighed Misty, pulling
back, leaning into Miranda's embrace as the woman's kisses moved up the front of
her neck and over her chin before stopping a frustratingly small distance from
her lips.

"Then I shall write you poetry every day," Miranda promised, quickly kissing
Misty to just one side of her mouth, "On the anniversary of the day we met, you
shall find roses where you least expect them," again Miranda kissed Misty, this
time on the opposite side, "And I promise to fulfill every desire that you
present me with, for as long as you shall have me-"

Misty cut her off by leaning forward, kissing Miranda a little roughly, and
causing the woman to take a step backwards into the wall. Misty giggled as
Miranda struggled to maintain both her balance, and lips pressed against

Instinctively she flung her hands hard against the wall behind her, shaking the
foundations of the pre-fab building, and making Misty laugh all the more.
Miranda shuffled her feet further apart in an attempt to stay upright as Misty
relentlessly pressed their lips tighter, cushioning Miranda's head from the thin
wall with one hand.

"You okay?" inquired Misty in an innocently sarcastic tone that made Miranda
smile, and her gray eyes flash with desire.

"You're passion is overwhelming, yet appreciated," chuckled Miranda in reply,
smiling as she kept her arms away from Misty in an inviting gesture of mock

"And so is yours," assured Misty, putting her free arm around Miranda near the
small of her back and kissing her lovingly, "So long as we don't tear this
building down."

Miranda laughed, brushing Misty's short hair from her eyes and kissing her on
the forehead. "Then it'd be one more thing for the clean up crew to deal with in
the morning," she joked, slipping her arms around Misty once more and spinning
her around.

"What are you doing?" inquired Misty with a laugh as Miranda danced her around
the room in several slow circles before sitting down heavily on the edge of the
bed with Misty still standing before her.

"Nothing..." teased Miranda, giving Misty's navel a kiss that ended with her
running the tip over her tongue around it.

"Miri-!" exclaimed Misty, leaning back and taking twin handfuls of her
companion's hair as her body quivered in response to the sensation.

"What?" teased Miranda, kissing a line across Misty's stomach where her denim
shorts met bared flesh.

Misty caught her breath and glanced down in time to see the woman bring her
hands around long enough to undo the button on her shorts. Miranda then looked
up, meeting Misty's intense gaze before sliding her hands around and giving the
girl's bottom a firm yet gentle squeeze.

Misty bit her lower lip, watching with both apprehension and longing as Miranda
took down her zipper using only teeth, and pushed the opened fabric aside with
her face before kissing Misty through her undergarments.

Misty gasped, taking a firm hold of Miranda's shoulders as she felt Miranda's
tongue probe the cotton surface her lips had encountered, teasingly moving
lower, but not far enough.

"It- It's hard to stand!" confessed Misty, shuffling a bit so that her legs were
farther apart and she was leaning on Miranda's shoulders for support.

"It'll only get worse," promised Miranda with a barely suppressed giggle,
running her hands down Misty's legs, her fingers taking full advantage of the
taut muscles just beneath the soft skin.

"What, what if I fall?" asked Misty a little hesitantly as Miranda admired the
girl, running her hands back up until her fingers pulled lightly at Misty's
denim shorts.

"Then I shall catch you," replied Miranda, quoting Misty's earlier promise, and
chuckling unconsciously at the mild embarrassment she still felt.

Misty smiled and shook her head, secure in the knowledge that with a word she
could end Miranda's explorations, but without an ounce of desire to do so.
Instead she encouragingly adjusted her stance to allow Miranda pull her shorts

The woman gave her a mischievious smile as the denim garment slid easily down
over Misty's firm thighs, and leaned forward to follow it's passage with a
string of crisscrossing kisses down her lover's legs.

Once Misty's denim shorts had hit the floor and were in a heap around her
ankles, Miranda stood and took Misty by the shoulders, guiding her in a small
circle until Misty's back was to the bed. Miranda then smiled, and after running
her hands down Misty's arms to her hands, gently pushed the girl down onto the

"I think I'm trapped," commented Misty, her voice full of mirth as she bent her
legs at the knees, bringing them up where Miranda could help her out.

"Oh, good..." chuckled Miranda with a mischievous smile, running her hands up
the backs of Misty's legs before taking hold of her nearly discarded shorts,
"But I promise not to take advantage of you too much!"

Misty laughed, hiding her embarrassment with her hands and letting Miranda pull
the garment the rest of the way off. "Unless of course you want me to," amended
Miranda, pushing Misty's legs back down before moving her hands back up to just
under her panties.

Misty relaxed and smiled at Miranda trustingly. "I'm not worried," she
encouraged, chills running along her spine as Miranda began to kiss her way back
up her legs, the woman's hands tracing their way back down.

"You should be," teased Miranda, giving Misty's inner thigh a careful nip with
her teeth before moving to rest upon her forearms, her face so close to Misty
that she could feel the warmth emanating from the girl as a result of her
heightened tension.

Misty didn't respond, instead she gave Miranda a nervous smile and simply
nodded, gritting her teeth and falling back into the pillows as the tip of the
woman's tongue traced the line between her inner thigh and undergarments before
moving across the thin fabric so lightly that Misty imagined she felt it more
than she actually did.

Miranda pulled back, observing Misty's reaction, and only resumed once she'd
caught her breath. Once more, Miranda ran her tongue over Misty's panties, this
time pressing harder, but not with as much pressure as the girl would have

In response, Misty took two handfuls of the bed sheet beneath her, her small
hands clenching into fists as she closed her eyes against the tingling that
traced invisible paths all through her body until she almost wept.

Miranda smiled as she looped her index fingers over the top of Misty's panties
and began to slowly slide them down. The girl arched her back in frustrated
anticipation, her whole body suddenly aching for Miranda's touch. The woman was
forced to oblige, as her own hunger for Misty flaring within her, making Miranda
plant a slow, deep kiss just above where Misty wanted her the most. Misty cried
out in response, her half anguished exclamation of desire muffled by clenched
teeth as Miranda's breath touched her skin, nearly setting her off.

Miranda closed her eyes against the sound, the realization of Misty's passion
filling her entire being with overwhelming emotion. "Patience, patience," she
whispered, more to herself than to her lover as Misty's panties clung for a
moment as she pulled them down past the girl's sudden wetness.

"Miranda, please..." came Misty's quiet voice, causing Miranda to look up,
"Please don't tease me."

Miranda smiled reassuringly, and reached out her hand to hold Misty's. "I always
finish what I start," she promised, catching her breath and giving the girl's
hand a squeeze, "I just want to make sure this is both special and memorable. I
don't want you to regret this."

"I won't," assured Misty with a weak smile, reaching down to run her fingers
through Miranda's hair, "I wouldn't be here if I thought I would."

Miranda nodded, sighing happily as Misty's hand moved across her cheek, giving
Miranda the opportunity to tilt her head to one side and give Misty's palm a
playful kiss.

Misty smiled, blushing at the gesture, almost forgetting her vulnerable state
until Miranda surreptitiously slipped her undergarments off and leaned forward
to give the girl's stomach a teasing kiss.

Miranda soon found her companion taking twin handfuls of her hair, keeping the
woman's raven locks from interfering with her handiwork. She looked up; catching
the desire in Misty's eyes as she slowly traced a line of slow kisses downward
before pausing with her lips mere millimeters from Misty's clit.

Without breaking eye contact Miranda moved slightly parting her lips and letting
her tongue slide between them. Misty gulped down her nervous tension, her
breathing becoming difficult as her body screamed out for Miranda's touch.

Miranda took a deep breath as she moved closer, trying to keep her own desire at
bay, not wanting to end the effect she was having on Misty by rushing herself,
no matter how much she wanted to.

Instead, Miranda carefully slid the tip of her tongue in a slow, random pattern
across Misty's infinitely soft and supple skin. The girl cried out in response,
the sound causing Miranda to involuntarily shiver. With infinite patience
Miranda explored until she found the small, hard object she longed for.

With a hint of satisfaction, Miranda ran her tongue around Misty's clit, coming
close, but never actually touching it as her hands ran up the girl's legs,
feeling goose bumps rise along her skin as she went. When at last Miranda's
fingers were in place, she gently pushed aside the folds of Misty's outer labia
and rested the end of her tongue against her lover's clit.

Misty let out a sound that resembled a long whine mixed with a moan as Miranda
probed her new found prize gently, barely touching it with her tongue, yet
feeling the undeniable heat of Misty's body. The girl closed her eyes in
response, slowly letting out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding,
as Miranda wove her tongue in careful circles around her clit, both teasing and
satisfying her lover, yet leaving Misty needing more.

With a gasp, Misty let go of Miranda's hair and clawed her fingers across the
mattress, arching her back, and pushing herself against the woman's mouth.
Laughed with a touch of hysteria, Misty found herself overcome by joy as
Miranda's lips closed about her, beginning a pleasant suckling of her clit.

Misty fell back down, nearly crying as Miranda's mouth came away. "Please-!" she
managed, sitting up on her elbows and catching her lover's gaze, "I- I-!"

"Don't want me to stop?" teased Miranda a touch breathlessly, running her tongue
over her teeth in anticipation.

Misty nodded weakly, her toes curling of their own accord as Miranda's index
finger traced a line up between her labia and spreading moisture across her
clit. Misty could only quiver as her lover licked her again, this time making
approving sounds before moving a little lower, and allowing her fingers to do
more of the work.

Misty soon found that Miranda's fingers were as nimble as her hands were strong
and comforting. As she slid her tongue slowly down between Misty's labia,
tasting the girl's sweet wetness, Miranda's finger traced playful circles around
her clit, occasionally rubbing it gently.

"As I thought," commented Miranda with a little sigh of satisfaction.

"Wha-?" began Misty, her vision blurry as her mind swam in near ecstasy, yet she
managed to see Miranda's smiling face clearly as she slid her tongue back down,
this time pressing a little harder.

"It's like sweet mana," Miranda replied with a bit of a giggle; separating
Misty's labia with her probing tongue and finding the girl's body complying as
she hoped.

"Don't say such things!" gasped Misty, loosing her train of thought as her
lover's tongue changed from its slow caressing penetration, to pushing itself
forward, testing her resistance.

Miranda only chuckled under her breath, covering Misty's womanhood with her
mouth and suckling gently as her tongue explored inside, and her fingers took
turns teasing Misty's clit.

"You-!" moaned Misty, her body squirming against the all consuming sensation
that seemed to well up from Miranda's ministrations and fill her entire being
with desire, "You're going to-!"

"To what?" teased Miranda, pulling away again as she felt Misty's body coming
close to sensual release.

"Ohhh!" Misty cried out pleadingly, as Miranda ceased all contact and watched
her lithe, athletic body quiver beneath her.

Miranda waited for a few agonizing seconds, letting Misty's body calm down a
little before leaning down to take the girl's clit gingerly between her teeth
and slowly assault the captured protuberance with her tongue.

Misty felt as though she were rising and falling through layers of ecstasy at
Miranda's slightest whim, but was far to enraptured to care. She both laughed
and cried, breathing shallowly and letting out a pitiful sounding moan of
longing as one of Miranda's fingers poked tentatively at her labia. Misty only
vaguely heard the woman's quiet exclamation over her own, as one of Miranda's
fingers slowly slid its way inside of her, testing for resistance at each step.

Miranda could see Misty holding her breath as the girl's inner walls clung
tightly to her finger, but only offering a token resistance. Miranda smiled at
the way Misty's body tensed up as she pushed her finger forward, only to allow
her passage as she leaned down and lovingly rubbed Misty's clit with her tongue.
Miranda caught her breath as her finger disappeared completely into her lover,
and looked up in time to see Misty let out a held breath and arch her back

Miranda then waited for Misty's breathing to slow before pulling her finger
back, and sliding it forward slowly, still finding the going a little difficult,
but well worth the effort.

"Is this alright?" Miranda asked as Misty's body writhed beneath her, Miranda's
finger moving carefully back and forth, collecting moisture as it went.

Her lover let out a long sigh, and looked up, her eyes sparkling in the
candlelight. "It-" Misty managed, her vocabulary unsuited to describing her
current situation at the best of times, "It's alright, I like it!"

Miranda chuckled at the sight of Misty blushing again, continuing to slide her
finger back and forth, this time running her free hand up, over Misty's stomach,
and under her shirt. After a moments teasing, Miranda moved her hand to cup one
of Misty's small firm breasts, causing the girl to grab Miranda's wrist almost

"What's wrong?" Miranda inquired, her voice full of concern.

"I, I'm just self-conscious," Misty replied, moving her head to one side and
staring out at nothing.

"You have nothing to feel self conscious about," assured Miranda, pulling her
finger free, and sliding it across her tongue experimentally, "nothing at

Misty turned back to face her, her eyes going wide as Miranda suckled her own
finger for a moment. "Oh! Sorry!" the woman exclaimed, blushing in embarrassment
and covering her face with both hands, "Force of habit..."

Misty giggled at the comment, and struggled up to a seated position. "That's
okay," she replied, leaning forward and kissing Miranda gently on the backs of
her hands until the woman moved them.

"You sure?" Miranda asked in mock concern, reveling in the feel of Misty's soft
kisses upon her lips.

"Yes, definitely," Misty responded a little distantly, her thoughts still
scrambled as she moved onto her hands and knees so that she was looking down at
the still kneeling Miranda, "Now stand up for a minute."

Miranda gave her a smiling questioning look and got to her feet, as Misty looked
up at her hungrily, moving forward until she was sitting on her knees, and
undoing Miranda's pants.

"But I'm not done with you, yet!" protested Miranda with a laugh.

"I just want to level the playing field," assured Misty with a coy smile as
Miranda's jeans dropped to the floor before her small hands moved up under the
woman's shirt.

"Careful," cautioned Miranda, sighing contentedly and leaning her head back as
she felt Misty's carefully placed hands run experimentally across her breasts,
"It wouldn't take much to set me off right now."

"Really?" inquired Misty innocently, her hands moving along Miranda's breasts as
though she were handling some ancient artifact of unimaginable value.

"Yesss," hissed Miranda, biting her tongue as Misty's soft touch drowned out
nearly all other distractions, "Far too easily..."

Misty laughed quietly, coaxing Miranda a few steps back before struggling to her
feet and lifting off Miranda's top. The woman opened her eyes and smiled
reassuringly as she lifted her arms and let the garment hit the floor.

"I think I'm a bit jealous," Misty commented thoughtfully as she ran her hands
down from Miranda's shoulders to cup her breasts once more.

"Don't be," said Miranda seriously, running her fingers though Misty's hair and
tilting her head up to make eye contact, "You're beautiful in your own way.
Please don't feel inadequate over nothing..."

Misty nodded, her eyes seeming to search Miranda's. "I, I think I love you," she
admitted, the beginnings of tears forming in her eyes.

Miranda smiled, choking on her words, joy flooding her heart as she held Misty's
face in her hands for a moment before kissing her beloved with all the passion
she could muster.

"I've loved you since the first time I saw you," whispered Miranda, her lips so
close, that Misty could almost taste them, "And I think that even if you could
never love me back, it wouldn't matter..."

"But I do!" protested Misty, her hands around Miranda's waist as she pressed her
lips against her lover's and slid her tongue between them. Miranda let out a
surprised, but muffled exclamation, accepting Misty's probing tongue and
wondering if the girl's flavor was still upon her own.

Misty pulled back after what seemed like a life-time holding Miranda's gaze as
she ran a hand down Miranda's body to her simple undergarments. "If I do
something wrong, tell me," she urged, but Miranda only chuckled.

"I doubt you will," the woman told her, placing reassuring hands upon her small
shoulders and waiting expectantly.

Misty nodded, carefully watching Miranda's expression as she slid her fingertips
tentatively inside her lover's panties and slowly moved them ever downwards.
Miranda swallowed hard as the sensation of Misty's caress slowly began to
overwhelm her. Patiently she allowed the girl to carefully probe about for her
clit before rubbing her finger back and forth experimentally across it until
Miranda's breathing quickened.

"Not so hard!" she cautioned, leaning forward and kissing Misty's should her as
she hugged the girl, trying to contain herself.

"Like this?" inquired Misty, her tone full of curiosity and then triumph as she
laughed at Miranda's reaction to the slower more random movements she tried.

The woman only nodded, her breathing heavy in Misty's ear. "But I don't know if
I can keep standing!" Miranda warned.

"I said I'd catch you if you should fall," assured Misty, rubbing Miranda's back
with her free hand as she made slow circling motions against her lover's clit
with the index finger of her other.

Miranda failed to respond, her combination of physical stimulation and love for
Misty overcoming her self-control as gritted her teeth and leaned against the

Misty watched in bemused amazement as Miranda cried out joyfully as she slid
finger inside her lover. "Wow," commented Misty under her breath, slowly
rotating her wetted finger, feeling Miranda's inner walls contract tightly
against it after only a few seconds as Miranda reached orgasm.

"Misty-!" the woman almost pleaded, holding onto her beloved as if for dear life
as she whispered harshly, trying to contain herself, "I- I love you!"

Misty sighed contented, a feeling of deep satisfaction filling her as her pulse
quickened. She tilted her head up and nuzzled Miranda's neck before kissing her
just under the ear. "I know," she whispered back, uncertain as to whether the
woman could hear her words, "And I love you too..."

Misty stood as still as she could manage, supporting Miranda as her body
spasmed, she seemingly on the verge of toppling both of the them to the floor.
After what seemed like hours, Miranda's breathing slowed, and she found the
strength to open her eyes long enough to kiss Misty.

Her lover accepted Miranda's kiss with equal fire, pushing harder than she meant
to in attempt to express her feelings. As Miranda began to come to her senses,
she found Misty's probing finger still at work, and she moved her body just
enough to reach one of her own hands between them.

Misty jumped in surprise, giggling into Miranda's mouth as the woman's fingers
teased her clit before sliding another up inside of her. She broke their kiss to
catch her breath, panting as Miranda slid her thumb across her clit in opposite
time to her middle finger's penetration.

Miranda smiled as the girl stared up at her in amazement, and used her free arm
to draw Misty close once again. "I fell so... 'Close' to you like this," she
admitted, blushing at her odd choice of words.

"It's wonderful," agreed Misty, her inexperienced, but nimble fingers doing
their best to copy Miranda's movements, "But it's hard to keep up with you."

Miranda chuckled, kissing Misty on the nose playfully, "Just follow your
instincts," she instructed, trying to keep her voice level, and free of
perceived condescension, "Just do to me, what you'd like done to you."

Misty nodded half thoughtfully, sliding her free hand between them and watching
carefully as her fingers traced their way across Miranda's breast. Miranda let
out a small sigh of appreciation, catching her breath as Misty squeezed her
nipple between two fingers.

"Am I hurting you?" Misty asked, her voice full of concern at Miranda's sudden

"No! Goodness, no!" laughed Miranda, running her strong fingers up Misty's
spine, and over her neck to playfully run her finger's through her lover's
shortish hair, "Just sensitive. Like here!"

Misty cried out in surprise, laughing at her own reaction as Miranda's slow,
patient fingering became more hurried. Misty's breathing soon matched the
harried pace, and she found herself gripping Miranda's arm for support as her
own body was wracked by pleasure induced spasms.

Miranda watched intently as Misty leaned back, her pretty face contorting as her
mind flooded with the unfamiliar sensation of orgasm, causing Miranda to want
her all the more.

"Come on," she urged as Misty squirmed about, her sweet voice altered by the
half formed words she uttered, "It's easier if you lie down." Miranda easily
turned the smaller girl towards the bed and carefully guided their fall onto the
joined mattresses.

Even with the change of position and suddenly plummet to the bed, Misty still
seemed lost in the sensation. Seeing this, Miranda smiled and didn't let up,
even when Misty's wetted fingers came free and her arms wrapped around Miranda's

"Oh! Oh, Miri!" Misty exclaimed, not caring who heard her through the thin
plastic walls of their cabin, "I love you!"

Miranda caught her breath and slid onto her side, one leg draped across Misty's
as her fingers continued their work. This time, her buried middle finger made
slower curling motions, Miranda's thankfully trimmed fingernail gently scraping
against top most surface within Misty.

In response to both the slower pace Miranda was taking, and to her own sudden
lack of energy, Misty managed to calm down. She looked up at Miranda with the
beginnings of tears in her eyes and a happy smile as the woman leaned down to
kiss her.

"I don't know if I'll ever get my fill of you, dearest," Miranda promised,
kissing Misty lightly upon the lips before bringing her hand up and soliciting a
slight sigh of disappointment from her lover.

Misty watched in fascination as Miranda examined the wetness of her fingers for
a moment. "One day," she replied, absently licking the liquid from her fingers,
"I'm going to find out what you need to eat to make you taste so good!"

Misty blushed, laughing as she hid her face. "You're embarrassing me-! Oh!"

Miranda silenced her by dragging a finger up between the folds of Misty's labia,
before teasingly poking her wetted finger against the girl's nose.

"Hey!" laughed Misty; pulling her hands away and suddenly stopping dead as
Miranda playfully traced her finger across the girl's lips, "Oh..."

Miranda watched with interest as Misty tasted herself upon her lips and glanced
away shyly. "You're right," she admitted, "It's interesting."

"And I just can't seem to get enough of it," admitted Miranda, running her hand
up under Misty's top, "But do you know what's really unfair?"

"What?" asked Misty, her voice full of concern, even as Miranda dragged four of
her fingers across her lover's nipple in sequence before holding the small
firmness of Misty's breast.

"That I'm completely naked, and your not!" Miranda announced with a silly
expression that made Misty giggle.

"Then do something about it," Misty offered, sliding her hands behind her head
and looking relaxed, even as her body still hungered for Miranda's touch.

"And so I shall," assured Miranda dramatically, "For your most frivolous whim,
is my greatest desire..."

Misty sighed happily as the woman's words echoed in her ears, and Miranda sat up
before straddling her. "This may take a while," Miranda commented, moving her
hips so that she rubbed herself against Misty's clit.

The girl took a sharp intake of air and laughed nervously as Miranda's soft but
firm hands slid their way over her flat stomach. Misty slowly let out her breath
as the woman's hands disappeared underneath her tank top, her breasts seeming to
tingle in anticipation. Miranda smiled at Misty's expectant expression, the look
of longing and desire in her lover's eyes filling Miranda's entire being with a
wonderful sensation.

Without rushing herself, as part of her so longed to do, Miranda brought her
hands closer together, just barely avoiding the small rises she could just make
out underneath the faded yellow of Misty's shirt. Then, lifting her hands so
that only her fingers touched Misty's skin, Miranda dragged her fingertips
around the girl's breasts in a slow circle before resting her palms against
Misty's ribs. Miranda paused, feeling Misty's chest rise and fall in time with
her breathing, and slowly moved her hands upward, pausing whenever Misty

Misty tried to hold Miranda's intense gaze, finding the love and longing in her
stormy gray eyes fascinating, but as her body tensed in anticipation, she found
herself watching Miranda's hands beneath her top, willing Miranda to continue.

Seeing that her lover had held her breath, Miranda paused and waited, smiling as
Misty stared up at her with wide, pleading eyes. "Let it go," urged Miranda,
moving her hands up farther as Misty slowly exhaled, catching her breath as
Misty gasped in response to her hands taking firm hold of her breasts.

Miranda caught Misty's glance, and closed the gap between her index and middle
fingers, effectively trapping Misty's nipples between them. "See?" she commented
as Misty arched her back slightly, her pulse quickening in response to Miranda
moving her fingers back and forth, causing the girl's already hard nipples to be
twisted ever so slightly back and forth.

"Uh, huh..." agreed Misty, nodded slightly as Miranda gave them a gentle
squeeze, before bending down to kiss her on the lips.

"I just want you to know," replied Miranda in a more serious tone as she
continued fondling Misty's breasts, "That I'd still love you, and still want to
travel with you, even without 'this'."

Misty nodded, her lips barely an inch away from Miranda's. "It's okay," she
assured, taking hold of Miranda's wrists, "I like it when you... When you make
love to me..."

"You know," replied Miranda mischievously, taking her hands reluctantly away
from the warm soft skin of Misty's bosom and sliding her fingers through her
lover's, "When you say 'making love TO you', it implies something."

"Oh?" inquired Misty hesitantly as Miranda brought their joined hands up her
mouth where she kissed each of Misty's knuckles in turn.

"Yes," continued Miranda, slowly moving Misty's hands back down, and maneuvering
them so that they rested on either side of her with Miranda mere inches from her
face, "You imply that someone's holding you down and doing things 'to' you-" she
accentuated her point with a kiss, one which found her tongue passing between
Misty's lips as she held her down, "-As opposed to 'with' you."

Misty smiled in response, stretching out as Miranda leaned back, the woman's
hands sliding down the length of her lover's arms before moving across Misty's
sides, causing her to giggle at the tickling sensation.

Miranda sighed contentedly, enjoying the feeling of Misty's skin beneath her
fingers as she slid her hands up under the girl's top and leaned down to kiss

"Oh, and I'm glad," commented Miranda as their lips parted.

"For what?" inquired Misty, running her hands through Miranda's hair so that she
could see her lover's face.

"I'm glad that you you're enjoying yourself," Miranda responded, closing her
eyes and focusing on the sensation of Misty's nimble fingers tracing careful
paths across her earlobes, "Just tell me if it gets to be too much..."

"You'll have to try harder," assured Misty teasingly, giving Miranda a quick
kiss upon the chin that was followed up by another that touched her lips.

Miranda sat back up, letting Misty's hands slide their way down her neck and
over breasts. "I won't put too much effort into it," replied Miranda with a
sharp intake of breath as Misty's small fingers pinched her nipples
unexpectantly, "I like to take my time."

Misty simply smiled, finding no reason to complain, even as Miranda began
pushing her tank-top farther up and adjusting her positioning to allow her to
kiss Misty's stomach.

From there, as she slowly pushed her lover's shirt higher, Miranda traced a path
of playful kisses up and over Misty's upper torso, carefully avoiding the girl's
hardened nipples that seemed to demand further attention.

"Lift up for a moment," Miranda requested, pulling Misty's top up over her head
and chuckling as the static electricity caught her lover's hair in it's grip.

"Hey!" laughed Misty as she struggled to extricate her arms, "No fair laughing!"

"I'm sorry," assured Miranda with a tone full of both amusement and desire,
before kissing her lover full upon the mouth and sitting up as she pulled the
garment the rest of the way off, "It's just that sometimes you're just so...

Misty blushed at the comment, shivering as she found herself completely naked.
The strangely pleasant feeling of vulnerability gripping her as a breeze blew in
from outside, rising goosebumbs across her skin.

"You are beautiful beyond words," replied Miranda, sitting back and admiring her
lover, even as the girl covered herself self-consciously, "And I think that it's
going to take several years for me to express the depth of my affection for

Misty turned away, a shy smile showing upon her blushing face. "When you tell me
I'm beautiful, I almost believe you," she commented a little sadly.

"But you are," assured Miranda soothingly as she slid her legs down and moved to
embrace Misty, "And you've even said yourself that some people've noticed..."

"I, I guess it's just an ego thing," commented Misty, burying her face in
Miranda's hair as the woman rolled the both of them onto their sides, "Always
wanting to be acknowledged by the ones with the coldest hearts. Ignoring those
who would have me, and only winding up hurting myself..."

Miranda shifted again so that she was on her back and Misty was lying on her
chest. "You're beginning to sound like me," she chuckled, brushing Misty's hair
from her eyes and kissing her lover affectionately on the forehead, "But I know
how you feel. I actually thought you'd never think of me this way."

"Sometimes it's good to be wrong," mused Misty, lifting her head and leaning up
to kiss Miranda lightly.

"Intuition isn't infallible," Miranda replied with a shrug, feeling her unstated
desire for Misty still gnawing at her psyche, "But sometimes just going with
your instincts isn't a bad thing."

"You mean like now?" inquired Misty, reading Miranda's expression with ease, and
slowly sliding herself down.

Miranda caught her breath as Misty dragged herself across her, kissing Miranda's
neck as she descended before reaching downward with curious fingers. Misty held
her lover's gaze as she ran her fingers downward, teasing Miranda's clit as she
passed it, and lightly rubbing her fingers over the sensitive skin of Miranda's

Her lover gritted her teeth in anticipation as Misty's middle finger found
moisture, and slowly began pressing against it. For her part, Miranda had to
admit that Misty's fingers were a bit clumsy, but the girl's lack of experience
was more than made up for by the woman's desire for her.

Miranda nodded assuringly, closing her eyes as Misty's finger entered her at the
same time as her tongue found one of Miranda's nipples. She ran her tongue
around it in slow circles as her fingers explored, finding Miranda's sensitive
spots, and causing her lover to cry out.

Miranda arched her back, giving into the moment, and gasping out her release.
She surprised herself at the how easily the orgasm came, but Miranda knew it was
only because of how she felt about Misty.

As the sensation faded, and she felt Misty's free hand upon her opposite breast,
Miranda placed her hands upon the girl's shoulders and pushed lightly. "I-I need
something more..." she pleaded, her words catching in her throat.

Misty made an affirmative sound and slid the rest of the way down, dragging her
nipples across Miranda's suddenly sensitive skin, and making the woman's body to
jump at the sudden sensation.

Misty paused for a moment, licking her lips nervously, and willingly allowing
Miranda to requisition her hands. Miranda moved them back up to her breasts,
pressing them against herself, causing Misty to cup them gently.

At the same time, Miranda felt Misty tongue tentatively licking her, immediately
causing Miranda cry out, her limbs flailing at the sudden loss of control.

Misty pulled back, suddenly panicked by her lover's reaction. "Miranda!" she
exclaimed, sitting up as best she could and half scrambling to her feet.

"No!" Miranda half laughed/half gasped, grabbing Misty's shoulders in an attempt
to keep her from leaving, "Don't stop-!"

Misty looked at her in amazement, and unconsciously touched her lips as Miranda
stared back at her. The look in the woman's eyes suggesting tears at the sudden
end to her second orgasm.

"Oh..." replied misty, feeling the wetness upon her lips and pulling her hand
back to stare at her fingers curiously.

"Please, don't do that again," Miranda said in a pitiful voice, "It's a shock to
the system when you stop so suddenly..."

"I-I'm sorry," replied Misty blushing, "I thought I'd hurt you. It was all so

"You just have that effect on me," Miranda responded, smiling as Misty shuffled
back to her original position.

"Okay," promised Misty, lapping up the sweet wetness she found, "I promise not
to stop this time."

"Good!" laughed Miranda, loosing her ability for coherent speech the instant she
felt Misty's tongue slide inside her.

Misty couldn't help but giggle as Miranda squirmed beneath her, but was
surprised to find that her inexperienced tongue was enough to drive Miranda so
close to the edge with so little effort.

'She'll probably laps into a coma once I get good at this!' Misty thought
mirthfully as she dragged her tongue up to Miranda's clit, tracing circles
around it as Misty carefully slid her index and middle fingers where her tongue
had previously been.

It took Miranda several minutes to find release again, her body adapting to the
overpowering sensations. And as her body began to shiver, Misty reached up,
taking Miranda's hand as she continued licking her lover's clit, prolonging the
woman's orgasm to the point where Miranda was thoroughly exhausted by the time
she came down.

"No fair," panted Miranda with more than a hint of mirth, her body shivering as
the sensation of Misty sliding up to hold her was almost painful.

"What is?" inquired Misty coyly, kissing Miranda's neck before sliding her arms
around her beloved.

"Sapping all my energy like that," replied Miranda happily, running her hands up
and down Misty's back affectionately, "Especially when you have more than I do!"

Misty smiled, sighing contentedly as she laid her head on Miranda's shoulder.
"But I like making you happy," she whispered, giving Miranda's ear a gentle

"And you do," replied Miranda, sighing contentedly, "But would you object to me
seeing if I could lower that energy level of yours a little more?"

Misty stifled a giggle, hiding her blushing face in Miranda's hair. "No," she
admitted shyly, "But I... I had no idea I was so... Insatiable!"

Miranda laughed, holding Misty tightly and kissing repeatedly until she found
the girl's lips. "I love you!" she replied rhetorically, holding Misty a little
tighter, "And in that way, I'm just as insatiable."

Misty closed her eyes, smiling as she tried to regain control of her emotions.
Miranda's words and affection that evening had dislodged her feelings of self-
doubt, giving her new self-confidence and making her feel truly loved for the
first time.

"I think I can live with that," Misty commented happily.

"Good," Miranda replied with a glint of mischief in her eyes, "Because I have
every intention of getting my fill of you this evening."

"I thought you already had," giggled Misty, running her fingers down Miranda's
cheek affectionately.

"Only in some ways," the woman amended, "Yet, my ears still hunger for the sound
of your sweet voice so impassioned. My fingers still long to caress your soft
skin, and feel of your muscles beneath. My eyes thirst for the taste of your
beauty, and my heart cries out to know your ecstasy one last time..."

Misty closed her eyes as her body shivered in response. "I love you so much,"
she whispered, her eyes on the verge of tears, "I just wish I could tell you how

"I already know," assured Miranda, carefully wiping away the beginnings of
Misty's tears with the backs of her fingers, "Now let me show you the depth of

Misty opened her eyes and gave Miranda a soft kiss. "I don't know why I'm
crying," she replied.

"It's just an emotional release," explained Miranda with a gentle smile, "It's
good for you."

Misty laughed at the thought, but had to agree. "So, how do you want...?"

"Just sit up," instructed Miranda, keeping her tone soft, and watching intently
as Misty moved to sit upon her knees, straddling Miranda, "Okay, now come

Miranda reached out her hands, placing them lightly against Misty's bottom,
guiding the shuffling girl closer to her mouth. "That's it," she urged, licking
her lips unconsciously in anticipation, "A little closer..."

Misty glanced down, and already her breathing became shallower as she realized
what Miranda had in mind. "Oh wow..." she muttered, feeling Miranda's tongue
trace a careful path along each her labia in turn, all the while gently
massaging the firmness of Misty's bottom.

Miranda closed her eyes, sighing contentedly as she felt Misty's body shift so
that she could hold onto the windowsill, not far above the headboard. As she
continued her tongue's slow caress, Miranda coaxed Misty forward and back by
gently pushing and pulling with hands, making it so that Miranda barely had to
move her head.

Above her, Misty gritted her teeth and closed her eyes as the wind blew the
curtains of the open window into her face, tickling nose. "This is too much,"
whimpered Misty euphorically, opening her eyes half way, and seeing the deserted
beach through the sparse palm trees outside. The gibbous moon hung just over the
water, giving the dark ocean a more silvery tinge, and the wind seemed to
whisper its approval as Misty felt her body tense up.

"Oh, oh Miranda..." she muttered under her breath, taking a firm hold of the
window sill, "I think I- OH!"

Miranda opened her mouth and surrounded Misty's womanhood with her lips before
sliding her tongue in as far as she could, desperate to taste her lover's
passion. As she felt and heard Misty climax above her, Miranda let out a long
stifled cry of desire. She bent her legs at the knees as her toes curled and
pushed against Misty's gently rounded bottom in an attempt to bring the girl

All the while, Misty kept muttering her name over and over again as her ragged
breathing sounding almost like sobbing as she squirmed upon Miranda's tongue.
Her body seemed intent on holding onto the feeling, and Misty was more than
willing to let it. She closed her eyes tightly, letting go of the windowsill and
reaching back for Miranda's hands. The woman responded quickly to her lover's
need, and the two linked fingers as Misty attempted to ride out the storm of her

For her part, Miranda suckled gently against Misty's labia, her tongue swirling,
and darting in and out in random patterns. She forced her eyes open and felt her
heart almost burst at the look of passionate joy upon Misty's face. Miranda
quickly closed her eyes, holding onto the image as Misty leaned against their
joined hands and moved her hips against Miranda's mouth, desperately trying to
force out every ounce of pleasure she could get.

At long last, Misty cried out one last time, catching Miranda off guard and
smearing wetness down the woman's chin as she fell back onto the bed exhausted.
Miranda took a moment to catch her breath, and quickly sat up on her elbows. She
then tried not to laugh as she saw Misty lying with her limbs far apart,
breathing heavily and staring at the ceiling.

"Are, are you okay, love?" asked Miranda half concernedly.

"Uh-huh..." Misty managed as Miranda struggled to her knees.

"As long as you're sure," replied Miranda with a mirthful smile and the deep
desire to hold the girl.

Miranda soon got her wish, as she walked on her hands and knees over Misty's
small body and slowly lowered herself to one side. With one hand, Miranda slid
her arm under her beloved's head, cushioning Misty with her arm and draped one
leg across Misty's as she her free hand idly explored the girl's sensitive skin.

"Thank you..." whispered Misty, closing her eyes and turning on her side to
snuggle closer to Miranda.

"You're very welcome," the woman replied, holding Misty with her free arm and
quietly observing as Misty rested until the candles had burned low...


When she opened her eyes, Misty found herself lying on top of Miranda, her head
resting on her lover's chest. As she looked up, Miranda stirred, and smiled down
at her.

"Did I wake you?" Misty inquired sleepily.

"Not really," confided Miranda, shaking her head, "I always have trouble
sleeping after making love. Usually about five minutes after I get just a bit
hyper. No big deal, though. Oh, and don't worry, I didn't take advantage of

Misty bowed her head, chuckling softly. "Don't worry," she assured, "I have no
problem with your hands going anywhere they want."

Miranda sighed happily, and hugging Misty before kissing her. "I hate to say it,
but I have to put the candles out," she replied sadly.

"You could have done that while I was asleep," commented Misty quizzically.

"No," said Miranda, shaking her head, "I'm afraid I just didn't have the
strength to tear myself away from you."

Misty smiled, sighing happily as she rolled off Miranda and reluctantly out of
her arms. "I'll still be here when you get back," she assured.

"I hope so," responded Miranda with an exaggerated look of loss as she sat up
and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, her hand running the length of her
lover's arm as she stood, until her fingers at last lost their grip on Misty's.

Misty watched patiently as Miranda circled the small room blowing out candles,
watching her naked form seeming to fade out as the lights dimmed until only the
light of the moon and stars revealed the path back to Misty's open arms.

"See?" inquired Miranda a touch mellow dramatically as she crawled across the
bed towards her beloved, "I would walk naked and unshielded though the darkest
night for but a single kiss from the woman I love..."

"Any one I know?" inquired Misty teasingly, laughing aloud as Miranda pounced
upon her, holding the girl down and tickling her mercilessly as she repeated
kissed Misty's face all over.

"There!" replied Miranda, half out of breath, "That'll teach you!"

Misty let out half a giggle, her pulse still racing. "Sorry, couldn't resist,"
she replied, leaning up to kiss Miranda.

"I think I can forgive you," Miranda told her with a smiled, "But only if you
say you love me."

Misty paused, teasingly looking thoughtful for a moment before replying. "Okay,"
she said softly, as they held each other, "I love you, Miri."

"As the Moon loves the Sun?" inquired Miranda in mock sadness, "Only to feel the
full force of your lover's light but once a year? Or as the Night loves the
Stars? Holding them forever in its never ending embrace?"

"I love you as I love you," Misty whispered, her lips almost touching Miranda's,
"As I've never loved another, as I never will again."

Miranda leaned down, and kissed Misty with all the passion she could muster, her
tongue passing between their lips to find Misty's and moving her hands to take
handfuls of her now unkempt hair as the woman pushed one of her legs between

"I love you, so much," repeated Miranda, leaning down to kiss Misty as she moved
her captured leg back and forth, rubbing her bare thigh against Misty in a
pleasurable manner.

Misty caught her breath and let out a long sigh, relaxing and giving into the
sensation. "That feel so nice," she professed, "But I don't know if can

Miranda chuckled as she rolled onto her back, taking Misty with her. "I'm sorry,
I was only teasing," she replied sincerely, "It's just so hard not to now that I
know I can. I love you so much, and I just want... I dunno. I guess I just want
to let it all out somehow."

"There'll be other opportunities," assure Misty, optimistic as always.

"I know," admitted Miranda, laying back, holding Misty, "We have the rest of our
lives ahead of us..."


Miranda was awakened by the sounds of shouting voices and hammering. 'They're
fixing the hole Team Rocket made...' she thought wistfully, glancing down at
Misty, still cradled protectively in her arms, sleeping contentedly. "At least
you're not a light sleeper," Miranda told the girl's sleeping form, a happy
smile etched across her pretty face, "Now if I could remember what I did with my

Miranda looked around the room, feeling a little disoriented until she
remembered that the two were sleeping backwards in relation to where the beds
were positioned, and spotted their pokeballs sitting on the small dresser.

"Hey! Nezumi!" she whispered, trying not to wake Misty, "Yo! Come on out!"

But the ball containing the rattata remained closed. "Jerk," muttered Miranda,
surreptitiously reaching over the side of the bed with her foot and grabbing the
first garment her toes could find.

She lifted her leg and gave Misty's panties a startled look. "Oh well, they'll
have to do," Miranda muttered quietly, and swung her leg in the general
direction of the dresser, tossing the undergarment in the process.

Misty's panties hit Nezumi's pokeball, causing it to roll backwards to the wall
the dresser was against, and roll sideways along it to the edge of the dresser
where it promptly stopped.

Miranda gave the stubborn object and annoyed look, and reached her foot under
one of the pillows they hadn't bothered using. She then kicked up, tossing the
pillow into the air and caught in with her hand.

'Wake up!' Miranda thought as loudly as she could, and threw the pillow at the

It struck the fake wood and caused the whole dresser to shudder, fortunately
causing Nezumi's pokeball to fall off the end. The pokeball bounced several
times, and rolled to within a few feet of the bed, just out of Miranda's reach.

Miranda sighed warily, wiping the sleep from her eyes. "I have to have the voice
activation system in those things upgraded," she muttered, hoping the pokeball
was close enough for it to respond to her whisper, "Nezumi, dear. Could you come
out for a moment?"

The pokeball rattled, shaking back and forth before splitting open and sending
forth its arching beam of crimson light. As it faded the still sleeping form of
Nezumi materialized.

"Maybe I should just give up," muttered Miranda, looking at the beam of sunlight
that was shining through their window and trying to judge how long she'd been
asleep, "But it would be sorta impolite to just lie here all day."

"...say something?" mumbled Misty, stirring a little under the bed sheet Miranda
had thrown over them during the night.

"It's nothing dear," whispered Miranda, as Misty snuggled closer.

"Nez?" came Nezumi's quiet inquiry, followed by the small rodent scrambling onto
the bed and giving Miranda a wary look.

"Hello, dear," Miranda replied happily, reaching over to scratch him between the
ears, "Could you find my watch?"

Nezumi gave his trainer a curious look, and glanced over at Misty before meeting
Miranda's eyes with a sly grin.

"Don't even think it!" chuckled Miranda; blushing as she covered her eyes and
shook her head, "Just find my watch, okay?"

"Nez! Umi!" the pokemon assured her with a sarcastic salute before bounding off
the bed and riffling through the pockets of Miranda's jacket.

He came back a minute later and dropped the object into Miranda's waiting hand
before scrambling up to the window to watch what the humans were up to.

Miranda glanced warily at her watch. "9:32" it told her. 'I suppose it's about
that time,' she thought reluctantly, hitting the bottom on the side to make the
device go into pager mode. "4 New Messages" scrolled past the display. "Mom must
have heard what happened," reasoned Miranda, dropping her hand and staring at
the ceiling, "She's probably worried."

Misty stirred again, this time leaning up on one arm to look Miranda in the eye.
The woman glanced back and couldn't help but smile in amusement at her friend's
disheveled appearance.

"We should get up," admitted Miranda, and Misty nodded with half closed eyes
before falling back down and giving Miranda a hug before sliding off the bed,
trailing the bed sheet behind her.

"Hey! No fair!" laughed Miranda, leaping up and chasing after Misty before
wrapping herself up in the sheet and grabbing the girl from behind.

"Sorry," responded Misty with a weak smile, holding onto Miranda's arms and
nuzzling her neck, "I'm still asleep."

"I think I can fix that," replied Miranda with a chuckle, kissing Misty's neck
as she lead her into the bathroom...


Miranda stepped into the shower first, spreading her hands before her to test
the water before gesturing for Misty to follow. "I should warn you ahead of
time," said Miranda as Misty followed her, "We may have to take a trip to
Lavender Town today."

"Oh?" inquired Misty through tightly closed eyes, adjusting the showerhead so
that the running water hit her in the face.

"Yeah," explained Miranda, finding the soap, "My mother left a few messages when
she found out what happened last night."

Misty tensed up for a moment, and Miranda laughed as she adjusted the water's
direction. "Not about us, silly!" she teased, giving Misty a hug and kiss from
behind, "About the thing with Sylph Corp and Team Rocket."

"Oh, yeah!" misty laughed a little nervously, turning to face Miranda, "You
scared me for a second there."

Miranda shook her head smiling. "My personal life is my own," she explained,
rubbing her hands against the bar of soap she held, "But the business with
Kathy's experiments is another matter."

"Do you think it'll reflect badly on the entire corporation?" inquired Misty as
Miranda began washing her skin.

"Unlikely," assured Miranda, lingering on Misty's breasts with her soapy hands,
waiting just long enough to get Misty's attention before moving on, "It'll
probably spark and internal investigation, but the Lilcamp Trading Company isn't
likely to walk away from our number one client that easily. Our company IS
completely 'Jenny Free' after all!"

Misty laughed at the comment, stepping forward as Miranda's hands went around to
her back. "But seriously," she continued in a worried tone "what will your
Mother say... About us?"

"Not much," replied Miranda with a shrug, turning Misty around and lathering her
back, "I think she'll be happy just to see that I've finally found someone.
She's worried that I'll turn into one of those silly pokemon trainers who's
never satisfied and has to collect at least one of each and every single kind.
But mom seems to think that more human contact will stem any of those urges. Not
that she really needs to worry or anything."

Misty gave a nervous laugh as Miranda's fingers sought out her tense places. "It
is silly, isn't it?" she commented, bowing her head contentedly as Miranda
rubbed her shoulders and neck, "If someone were to catch one of each kind of
pokemon, how could you keep track of them all?"

"I'd be worried that I'd be neglecting most of them," added Miranda, reaching
for the shampoo, "I only have Nezumi, Umi and Wraith to take care of, yet I feel
like I'm neglecting them sometimes."

"Will having me around change that?" asked Misty in a more serious tone as
Miranda's fingers began washing her hair.

"No, I don't think so," Miranda replied, "If anything, I might slow down a
little and spend more time with them. If I hadn't met you, I would probably
would have left last night, and been half way home by now. See? You're a good
influence on me."

Misty smiled, tilting her head back and sighing happily, Miranda's fingers
massaging her scalp as they ran through her hair. "Do you think I have too
many?" she inquired, suddenly worried by the fact that her collection was so
much larger than Miranda's.

"Misty, dearest," assured Miranda, turning the girl around and holding her
close, "You have a big heart, and you have a lot of love to give. There's no
doubt in my mind that you cherish each and every single one of them. And hey,
our pokemon are like an extended family. And after meeting your sisters, I'd
have to say that you need all extended family you can get!"

Misty surprised herself by laughing. Usually the thought of her three self
absorbed siblings either made her angry or sad, but today she could laugh at
them. Just as they always laughed at her.

"Well, I'm very glad that you've accepted me as part of yours," Misty said
happily as Miranda tilted her head back and rinsed her hair.

"You're more than that to me," chuckled Miranda running her fingers through
Misty's hair so that the water could catch all the left over shampoo, "I feel as
though you're a part of me that I've been missing for a very long time. And I'm
glad to have finally found you."

Misty tilted her head back up as Miranda's hands slid down her neck, over her
chest and around to her lower back. "That just comes naturally to you, doesn't
it?" inquired Misty, bringing her hands up to take a careful hold of Miranda's
breasts as the woman pulled her close.

"My muse gives me little rest," replied Miranda forlornly, yet with a subtle
smile upon her lips, "Nor does my desire for you."

Misty closed her eyes, smiling contentedly as Miranda leaned forward to kiss
her. "I love you, my dearest Misty," the woman continued, "You've given my life
new meaning, and I shall always treasure you."

"And I you," promised Misty contentedly, leaning into Miranda as the woman's
hands caressed her back and ran downwards towards her bottom.

"I'm glad," Miranda replied a little sadly, stepping back and kissing her
lightly, "But we should probably hurry. I wouldn't want to out stay our
welcome... And I have that phone call to make."

Misty nodded, managing to move behind Miranda without slipping. "Alright," she
said, reaching for the shampoo, "But first I return the favor."

Miranda smiled, chuckling happily to herself as she leaned back and let Misty
wash her long, tangled hair. "You know," she commented, sighing contentedly as
Misty's fingers ran through her raven locks, "I sincerely doubt that I could
ever say no to you."

"I'm sure I could think of something you'd say no to," giggled Misty, bunching
up Miranda's hair to capture it all on one soapy tangle.

"Well, I doubt that I could deny you anything serious," Miranda amended.

"Dang," teased Misty, pushing Miranda's hair forward into the spray of water,
"And here I was hoping for a first class trip to the moon..."

"Would settle for second class?" inquired Miranda with equal mirth as the shower
caught her hair.

"Only if I'm with you," replied Misty, putting her arms around Miranda and
kissing the back of her neck, sending chills down the woman's spine.

"No fair taking advantage of the helpless victim," Miranda teased as she felt
Misty's hands upon her breasts, the girl's fingers rubbing against her nipples
until they hardened.

"Sorry," replied Misty, almost sounding sincere as she leaned against Miranda's
back, "I guess I'm just suffering from an old trainer's habit."

"Oh?" inquired Miranda, reaching up and covering Misty's hands to guide her

"Yup," explained Misty laughing, "When you get a new pokemon, you just can't
help playing with it!"

Miranda laughed, understanding the sentiment. "So long as you don't trade me I
won't worry," she said with a laugh, flinging her hair to one side and leaning
her head back.

"No way," Misty continued, rubbing her check against Miranda's face
affectionately, "You're my favorite!"

"Hm. I don't know," responded Miranda with a chuckle, "I saw the look on your
face when you had Umi over your shoulders..."

"Yeah," agreed Misty, hugging Miranda as best she could, "But you're much more

"Ooo! Ooo!" called out Miranda, doing her best impression of how far her dratini
had come to saying her name, and making Misty laugh.

"Although I think she'd hold me a little more securely," Misty teased, causing
Miranda to spin around and grab her before she could react beyond laughter.

"How's this?" inquired Miranda with a grin and a look of passion in her eyes as
she moved one leg to hold both of Misty's in place. Her arms wrapping around the
girls small frame to the point where Miranda's fingers touched her own ribs.

"I feel very secure!" laughed Misty, reaching out and grabbing the shower
curtain as she leaned against the wall, "But not very safe. The tub's a bit

"Sorry," apologized Miranda, acquiring a more secure footing and releasing
Misty, "I'll be sure to only do that when there's no chance of falling."

"Well, into the tub at least," corrected Misty, reaching around Miranda to shut
off the water that was already starting to grow cold...


Miranda exited the bathroom wrapped only in a towel, and shivered against the
cool air. "Nezumi?" she called out, her intuition giving her a bad feeling,
"Where are you, dear?"

"Something wrong?" inquired Misty, following Miranda out of the bathroom a
moment later.

"I think Nezumi's off getting breakfast or something," replied Miranda
nonchalantly, not wanting to worry the girl, "I'm sure he'll be back soon."

"Oh, there he is," commented Misty, pointing to the window as the little rattata
leaped up onto the windowsill from outside.

"Nez!" he exclaimed in a panic, waving his small arms and jumping up and down,
"Ratta ra! Nezumi!"

"A trainer?" pondered Miranda with a curious expression as she tried to make out
what her pokemon was trying to say, "Who? Anyone I know?"

Nezumi shook his head, a panicked expression crossing his furry face as he
pointed a paw at Misty. "Nez," he replied in a serious tone.

"Are you sure?" inquired Miranda, her eyes widening as Misty gave her a confused

"What is it?" inquired the girl as Nezumi gave his trainer a sarcastic look and
pointed at his nose.

"Rattata," he replied flatly causing Miranda to laugh nervously.

"Yeah, yeah," she assured him with a wary smile, walking over to the window so
the rodent could jump onto her shoulder, "Your nose never lies."

"So who is it?" asked Misty again, a deep sense of dread filling her.

Miranda paused, taking a deep breath before walking over to Misty and putting
her arms around her. "I'm sorry, my love," Miranda replied forlornly, trying
desperately to find the right words, "It's Ash. He's here, and he's come looking
for you..."


All work had ceased as Miranda and Misty ran from their temporary living
quarters to the open field between the main lab and the beach/docks. The
scientists, techies, and even the catering staff had dropped everything in order
to get good seats for the coming conflict. Many people sat at or stood on picnic
tables, quite a few had lawn chairs, and some simply sat on beach towels that
had the Sylph Corp symbol embroidered on them. Looking around, the two spotted
at least three people moving about the crowd offering concessions, but there was
no sign of Ash.

"Oh good!" exclaimed Dave, running over to Miranda and Misty, "You made it!"

"How long has 'this' been going on?" inquired Miranda, keeping her voice level,
and gesturing to the crowd.

"Oh, only for a couple of minutes," the scientist admitted, feeling a bit
embarrassed, "But when they heard about the challenge, they all wanted to watch.
The thing with the gyarados really turned some heads around here!"

"Challenge?" inquired Misty, "What challenge?!"

"Oh! Sorry!" apologized Dave, "The trainer, he... He asked of you were here, and
when it turned out you were, he..."

"Decided to challenge Misty," finished Miranda with barely veiled contempt.

"I see," commented Misty, her voice loosing its emotion.

"You don't have to do this," said Miranda, taking Misty's hand and giving it a
gentle squeeze.

"You know I do," replied Misty, holding back her feelings as she stared straight
ahead at the open field, "He's had this coming for a long time."

"That's the spirit!" encouraged Dave, happily running to the center of the field
and waving his arms to quiet the crowd.

"Now everyone!" he announced, causing a restless stir, followed by thunderous
applause, "The moment you've all been waiting for! Behold! The heroine of Sylph
Bay! Capturer of an angry gyarados! And Thwarter of Team Rocket! Misty of
Cerulean City!"

Misty gave a weak smile as she stepped forward onto the field, the cheering
crowd making her feel a little self-conscious. "Aren't you over doing it a
little?" she asked Dave, but the scientist only smiled, and gestured
dramatically to the other end of the field.

"And now her challenger!" continued Dave unabashed, "Some guy named Ash from
some obscure little village called Pallet Town!"

"I'm not just some guy!" exclaimed Ash, his voice cracking badly as he stormed
out of the crowd and onto the field, full of self-righteousness, "I've collected
all eight Indigo League badges and I've caught over seventy pokemon! And I'm
going to be a pokemon Master!"

"But only nine different kinds!" taunted Misty, gritting her teeth and forcing a
smile to her face even with the encouraging laughter that followed.

"I'll show you!" cried Ash, his feeble mind not quite able to formulate an
appropriate reply as Pikachu finally ran up behind him.

"So tell me, Ash," continued Misty confidently, her anger boiling just beneath
the surface, "do 'great pokemon Masters' always trash their friend's hotel rooms
just because they can't get their own way?!"

Ash glared back at her coldly, shaking with rage as he responded. "That wasn't
me!" he lied, shaking his fist at her dramatically, "When I heard about that, I
thought you'd been kidnapped!"

"I'd rather be kidnapped than spend the rest of my life following you around!"
replied Misty, taking a step forward and practically crushing the pokeball she
was holding, "I'm sure my kidnappers would treat me a whole lot better!"

"I don't know what you're talking about!" continued Ash, his pikachu nodding in
agreement, "I went up to your room to apologize and I found your room completely

"And that's why you came all the way down here?" inquired Misty, her eyes
narrowing, "To apologize by challenging me?"

"When I found out that you ditched me I ran all the way down here!" he blurted,
not helping his case any, "If you hadn't run off, none of this would have

"None of what, Ash?" Misty asked, a terrible calm overcoming her.

"You know!" he replied bitterly.

"Oh, you mean you wouldn't have taken a temper tantrum and had your pokemon
trash my room?" stated Misty rhetorically, "You know, there's a Jenny looking to
ask you a few questions about that."

"I called her," admitted Ash, a sly grin coming to his face, "That's how I found
out you were here."

"Okay, so I'm here," Misty conceded, folding her arms across her chest
impatiently, "Now what? Did you come here to challenge me, or argue?"

"I came here to challenge you!" exclaimed Ash, "One on one! Chose your pokemon,

"Why, Ash?" Misty inquired with a hint of mirth.

"To-! To try to knock some sense into that thick head of yours!" shouted Ash,
throwing a pokeball towards his opponent, "Charizard! Attack!"

"At least I'm not a juvenile delinquent!" countered Misty, tossing her pokeball,
"Leviathan! Go!"

The two huge, dragon like pokemon materialized at about the same time,
soliciting "ooh's" and "aww's" from the assembled Sylph Corp employees. The two
gave each other an appraising look, their eyes gleaming with malice as they
sized each other up.

"What's wrong, Charizard?" asked Ash, "Not enough of a challenge?"

Charizard glanced down at this trainer, and back over at Leviathan. He brought
his hand to his chin for a moment and made a rumbling noise deep in his throat
before giving a toothy grin and nodding slowly.

"Great!" laughed Ash, "Then go get him, Charizard!"

Leviathan growled quietly as he watched his opponent leap into the air on huge
leathery wings before swooping towards him. "Charizard!" ordered Ash, "Flame
Thrower now!"

"Is that the best you can do?" taunted Misty as the flames cascaded harmlessly
off her pokemon's scales, "Leviathan! Bite attack!"

The monstrous serpent seemed to grin hungrily as Charizard began his ascent.
Seeing an opportunity, Leviathan lunged forward, arching upwards and biting down
hard on the flying reptile's throat.

"Charizard! No!" exclaimed Ash, adrenaline making him panic, "Get out of there!

The great orange dragon struggled to free himself from his Leviathan's maw by
flapping his wings hard, sending swirling tornados of sand in all directions,
blinding most of the spectators.

"Don't let him get away!" ordered Misty, coughing and shielding her eyes, "Use
wrap attack!"

Leviathan let out a booming reply and Charizard roared out his anger as the
serpent's tail wrapped around him, pinning his wings to his body and sending
both opponents crashing to the ground.

"There's too much dust! I can't see what's happening!" complained Ash as the
ground beneath his feet shook under the weight of the two battling dragons,
"This isn't fair!"

"There's nothing in the League rules against it," corrected Dave from the

"Who asked you, anyway?!" demanded Ash, just as a gout of flame shot into the
sky, burning a hole in the cloud that obscured the battle, "Charizard?"

Without bothering to reply, Charizard tore Leviathan free from his throat with
his forepaws, tearing the skin from his own neck in the process, but hardly
caring. With his three fingered hands upon the gyarados's neck, Charizard
slammed Leviathan's head into the ground. Leviathan let gave an outraged howl,
snapping at Charizard menacingly every time the dragon pulled him closer, only
to slam his head back down even harder.

"I've got you now, Misty!" laughed Ash, "Once my Charizard beats that over grown
fish, your mine!"

"I'm NOT a possession!" screamed Misty, forgetting about the battle for a
moment, "I don't belong to you! I never did and I never will!"

Ash smiled evilly, chuckling as Leviathan neared unconsciousness. "You should
have used a more experienced Pokemon, Misty," he taunted, "Even I know that!"

Misty balled her fists and gritted her teeth as she tore her anger filled gaze
away from Ash. "Leviathan!" she commanded, raising her fist into he air
dramatically, "Thunder attack!"

"Ha!" laughed Ash, "At this range your pokemon'll hit himself! Charizard's
barely getting started, and your gyarados is almost finished. Looks like I win!"

"We'll see," promised Misty determinedly, watching as her gyarados came to his
senses and glared menacingly at Charizard before arks of electricity danced
across his teeth.

His opponent looked down at him and grinned. With an over confidence he borrowed
from his trainer, Charizard let go with one hand and drew back an awkward fist.
Just as the electrical attack was forming in Leviathan's mouth, Charizard
struck. His heavy fist came down hard, but was stopped short as the electrical
blast issued forth, paralyzing Charizard as the voltage filled his body.

Both trainers looked on, their eyes full of determination as both their pokemon
were wreathed in sparks of dancing electricity, casting eerie shadows that would
make an arc welder envious. For several long moments, both pokemon seemed unable
to move, their roaring and snarling barely audible over the crackling energy
that enveloped them.

Finally, though, as everyone watching felt as though they could hold their
collective breath no longer, the electrical field abruptly died, and both
pokemon fell to the ground in a huge tangle.

"Leviathan!" exclaimed Misty.

"Charizard!" cried Ash.

As both trainers ran to the center of the field, Leviathan raised his head
wearily and seemed to smile hungrily down at Ash. "Char... izard?" the boy
inquired meekly as he stared up at the monstrous serpent.

In response Leviathan growled menacingly, daring Ash to make the first move.
"Had enough?" inquired Misty, walking over and leaning against her triumphant

"How-? How-?" stammered Ash.

"It worked!" Dave laughed nervously before throwing his arms into the air and
shouting, "Our winner! Misty of Cerulean City!"

The crowd cheered as Miranda ran towards her beloved with Nezumi a few steps
ahead of her. "I'm glad to see some good came of Kathy's evil," the courier
laughed as Misty practically leapt into her arms.

"Huh? What do you mean..?" inquired Ash, looking dumbfounded.

"Oh, nothing," replied Misty with a satisfied grin she knew would last for the
rest of the day, "We just blew the lid off a Team Rocket plot to make an army of
indestructible water pokemon. That's all."

"That's right," agreed Miranda, looking appreciatively up at Leviathan, "And
because of the experiments they were doing here, this gyarados is the only one
of it's kind to be immune to electrical attacks, despite being a water pokemon!"

"That's-! That's no fair!" shrieked Ash, nearly having a tantrum, "I demand a

"Nezumi, dear," replied Miranda calmly, "Please be so kinda as to use
cryokinesis on this hoser. Thank you, dear."

Nezumi grinned broadly and took a deep breath. "Oh, and what's a little rattata
going to do?" scoffed Ash, laughing even as the temperature air around him
dropped to below freezing, "What the-?!"

Nezumi stuck out his tongue and laughed as Ash found himself frozen in a block
of ice from the waist down. "You were saying?" inquired Miranda politely as she
put her arm around Misty.

"That's-! That's against the League rules!" yelled Ash as loudly as he could,
while Pikachu looked on in dismay, "You can be banned from League competition
for attacking a trainer!"

"And I care, because?" inquired Miranda with a smirk, "As I've said before,
these badges are pretty little trinkets. Souvenirs of my travels, and little
else to me. As far as I'm concerned, they belong to my pokemon more than they do
to me. And besides, I have no intention of challenging the League. I'll leave
that to Misty."

"But Misty can't challenge the Indigo League!" exclaimed Ash, tears forming in
his angry eyes, "I'm going to be a pokemon master! Not her! She's can't!"

"Bite me dough-boy," laughed Misty, holding up a pokeball and returning
Leviathan, "Come on, Miranda, I hear there's a nice gym not far from here."

Miranda laughed to herself and took Misty's hand. "Now, now," she cautioned as
they walked away, "You're bitterness is showing love."

"Actually," commented Misty as Ash's screaming and yelling mixed in with
Pikachu's trying to melt the ice with repeated thunder shocks become more
distant, "I feel a whole lot better. I feel as though I've taken something back
that he stole from me a long time ago."

The two lovers stopped at the shoreline and turned to one another. "Your self-
respect?" inquired Miranda.

"That too," Misty agreed, putting her arms around her, "But also my freedom, my
courage, and my ability to love."

"I'm glad," Miranda replied, her heart feeling heavy in her chest as tears
formed in her eyes, "I'm just so happy for you."

"Miranda, what's wrong?" Misty inquired, wiping her tears away.

"It's, it's nothing," Miranda assured her, "It's just that I love you, Misty.
That's all."

"And I love you too, Miranda," Misty replied, leaning forward and accepting her
lover's kiss.

"But just one thing," said Miranda as they pulled apart, "What about... Him?"

Misty glanced over at the still struggling Ash, yelling at Pikachu to help him
as the Sylph employees laughed and went back to work. "Oh, Ash is stubborn," she
replied, "I think we'll see him again."

"Well, life can't be perfect," Miranda sighed, "Now then, I hate to cut this
short, but I think I'd better go call mom..."


Copyright September 13, 2000
Nikolai Mirovich (Nikolai_Mirovich@Rogers.Com)


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