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Thread: Devil's Party (Multishipping, R)

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    Default Devil's Party (Multishipping, R)

    Here it is, a sequel to Perfect Strangers. If you liked Perfect Strangers, you'll like this. If you didn't like Perfect Strangers, I don't know why you're still reading this now. If you haven't read Perfect Strangers, you can read it here.

    So here's the list of contained Shippings:

    PokeShipping
    AdvanceShipping
    OrangeIslandShipping
    PearlShipping
    StrangersShipping (DanteXMay)
    CodeShipping (RichieXTania)

    So let's just get right into it then with chapter one. Once again, all chapters will be named after songs.


    EDIT: Here's the quicklinks list

    ACT 1
    I: Oh No, Not You Again
    II: Us
    III: On the Road Again
    IV: Train Kept A Rollin'
    V: Listen Like Thieves
    VI: The Reed and the Growl
    VII: Fall Together

    ACT 2
    I: Kiss the Dirt
    II: Buried Alive
    III: The Killing Moon
    IV: Search and Destroy
    V: Used to Bad News

    ACT 3
    I: Attitude Adjustment
    II: Devil's Got a New Disguise
    III: Never Tear Us Apart
    IV: Ordinary World

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I
    Oh No, Not You Again

    MISTY
    November 10, 4.00pm


    ‘How did you find me?’

    I sipped my iced tea and swirled the liquid around my mouth for a moment before answering.

    ‘Just luck.’

    I hoped that this meeting wouldn’t take too long. I wanted to catch the five fifteen train back to Saffron City so that I could be back at the Gym by opening time tomorrow.

    ‘Luck?’ May repeated. ‘Of all the cafes in all the towns in all the world you walk into mine?’

    ‘You’re starting to talk like him, you know.’

    ‘Like who?’

    ‘Like him. Like Dante.’

    Dante had, until recently, been leader of the Gym in Point Noir, a city in the far north of the Stralis region. Along with all of the other Gym Leaders in the world, last year he had been required to travel down to the Indigo Plateau in Kanto for the Gym Heroes Exhibition, a week-long event that showcased the skills of the varying Gym Leaders. It was during this exhibition that he had met May, daughter of Norman, the Petalburg City Gym Leader, and her friends. And that was where all of the trouble started. But you know all this already. I’m not going to tell you the same story again.

    ‘Listen May, I know he’s here with you. It doesn’t bother me. Sure, the guy jammed a gun to my head, but that’s really none of my business.’

    May furrowed her brow. She couldn’t tell if I was being sarcastic or not, and that’s the way I like to keep it in these sorts of situations.

    ‘I don’t expect you to understand,’ she began, setting down her own empty glass on the table that sat between them. She watched a bead of condensation run down the glass onto the stained wood, where it sat in its own private puddle.

    ‘I’m not here to understand, May, and I’m not here to talk about Dante.’

    What a relief. She was so transparent I could almost see her thoughts.

    ‘Then what are you here for?’ May asked. ‘I don’t really buy that you just came to visit me.’

    ‘Come on, May. I don’t hate you. I never did.’

    ‘Mmm-hmm.’ It was obvious that May didn’t believe me. But that’s her problem, not mine.

    I gulped down the last few mouthfuls of her horrible tasting tea and put the glass down heavily on the table, breaking the bead of condensation that May had been watching.

    ‘How did you find me?’ May asked again.

    ‘I told you, it was luck that I found you.’

    ‘You must have had some clue of where I was. The world’s too big for this kind of coincidence.’

    ‘The only thing I knew was that you weren’t in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn or Stralis. The rest was just luck, like I keep telling you.’

    ‘How’d you know that I wasn’t in those places?’

    ‘You weren’t in Kanto because that’s where Ash is. You weren’t in Johto because that’s where Giovanni is. You weren’t in Hoenn because that’s where your family is, and you weren’t in Stralis because that’s where Point Noir is.’

    ‘And why would Giovanni and Point Noir bother me?’

    ‘Because you’re with Dante!’ I cried. This Petalburg ***** was really starting to grate on me. May was playing dumb, but she was playing it so badly that it was more infuriating than misleading. And she wonders why I don’t like her?

    ‘I don’t know what you think-’

    ‘You idiot, I don’t have to think, I know. You dropped Dante’s Pokemon and yours off in the same bag, for crying out loud! It was pretty obvious. Everybody knows that you’re with him. Including Ash,’ I added for effect.

    ‘I’m not coming back.’

    ‘I never asked you to!’ I got to my feet, ready to storm out at any second. Then there was a loud bark and I was suddenly sitting down again, and a large Houndoom was trying very unsuccessfully to clamber into my lap. I pushed him into a sitting position on the ground and patted him on the head, all the while watching May in case she tried to run for it. She wasn’t listening. She still thought I was here to try and convince her to go home.

    ‘Alright then,’ May said, sitting back and crossing her arms. ‘What are you here for?’

    ‘I’m here to talk about Ash.’

    ‘I remember Ash. Funny little guy, afraid of the dark.’

    ‘I’m serious, May. And when was he ever afraid of the dark?’

    ‘Never mind,’ she refilled their glasses from a jug that sat half-full on the table. ‘Start talking.’

    I didn’t like her giving orders. It seemed to bizarre, to out of character for her to be so assertive. That’s Dante’s influence for you.

    ‘Well, I suppose the biggest question is, are you done with him?’

    May paused, more for effect than anything else. She already had the answer. I already knew her answer. But I needed to hear it from her before I could accept it.

    ‘Yes. I’m finished with Ash. If you can say anything ever really started.’

    ‘Are you sure?’

    ‘Misty, I’m almost married, for god’s sakes.’

    I noticed for the first time the engagement ring wrapped around her finger and spilt tea all over myself. Ignoring the spreading heat, I stood up again.

    ‘You’re marrying him?’ she spluttered.

    ‘That’s what I said, yeah.’

    ‘How?’ I demanded. ‘You’re under age! And I doubt your father would give you permission to marry the man who shot him in the leg in his own home.’

    ‘You let me worry about the logistics,’ she replied coolly. ‘I’ve got everything sorted out. We’ll be married before the end of the month.’

    ‘How much before?’ I asked.

    ‘About a week,’ she replied immediately, then slapped her head. ‘I didn’t need to tell you that! Let me guess, now you’ll bring the whole crew down and have some sort of intervention and try and bring me back, right?’

    ‘No!’ I bellowed. ‘I don’t know how many times I have to tell you this, but I’m not here for you!’

    Houndoom growled and I stopped yelling immediately. His protectiveness seemed to have extended to May since they had been living together. I’d seen what this Houndoom was capable of – I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.

    I sat down and resumed patting Houndoom’s head, and I could feel him relaxing next to me. Good. Keep the fire-breathing dog calm. Take it easy, take it slow.

    ‘Look May,’ I said, trying to be at once calm and threatening without arousing the anger of Houndoom. ‘I’ll leave right now if you promise to stay here. If you keep living as you’ve been living, and don’t try to make contact with us. Especially if you marry Dante. You may have been able to see some sort of redemption in him, but don’t expect the rest of us to.’

    ‘We’ll be fine staying here,’ she replied evenly. ‘We have no need to go back. But I want you to sweeten the deal. Not only do you leave now, you don’t tell anyone that you even spoke to me. Especially not my family.’

    ‘Deal.’

    We shook hands and I got up to leave.

    ‘See you round,’ I said out of habit.

    ‘Don’t count on it, babe,’ May replied.

    I headed back to the train station. Looks like I would make the five fifteen to Saffron after all.

    MAY
    November 10, 6.00PM


    I knew that Misty would blow my cover as soon as she got home. When she made the promise she believed it, but she was never the type to just leave well enough alone. When she thought she was acting in somebody’s best interests, who knew what she was capable of.

    ‘Did you invite her to the wedding?’ came a deep voice from behind me as an arm encircled my waist. My fiancé had entered the room, and evidently had been listening to our conversation. Or at the very least he had noticed Misty at some point while she was here.

    ‘No,’ I replied. ‘In fact we made a deal to stay out of each other’s lives forever.’

    ‘Well that’s a bit no good,’ Dante replied, brushing his face where a fly had attempted to land. ‘You can’t live a life without any friends. What kind of life is that?’

    I turned around and clasped my hands around his neck.

    ‘Well, my friends wouldn’t really be very happy to know that I’m still with you.’

    ‘Why ever not?’ he asked, feigning surprise.

    ‘Well, maybe torturing them was a bad idea,’ I said.

    ‘Maybe,’ he conceded. ‘But everything worked out okay in the end, didn’t it?’

    ‘Not really. You lost one of your favourite Pokémon, and my family lost their greenhouse.’

    ‘I sent the money to fix that,’ he protested.

    ‘And I’m very proud of you.’

    We headed inside for a drink. It was surprisingly hot here, even though we were very far south. Still, if it gets hot in Australia, why not here?

    Dante put together a Long Island Iced Tea for me and as I sat drinking it I found myself actually wondering whether or not I should invite my former friends to the wedding. I was actually considering it.

    ‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ I thought to myself. ‘They’ll make a scene and get in the way. Everyone will be better off it you just keep them out of it like we agreed.’

    It probably sounds to you like I had “voices in my head” but that was just the way I thought things through these days. Dante had taught me a lot. He’d taught me not to be ruled by my emotions. Using himself as a case study, he showed me the destructive power of emotion. These days I was far more logical. I’d even go so far as to say I was smarter.

    I found myself sucking air and staring at the bottom of an empty glass.

    ‘That went down quick,’ Dante said, getting up. I noticed his drink, a neat scotch, seemed untouched. ‘I’ll fix you something stronger.’

    ASH
    November 10, 11:30pm


    Tap.

    Tap.

    Tap.

    What the hell was banging on my window at this ungodly hour? Okay, so maybe it wasn’t ungodly, but I was tired. The only reason I even stopped off at home was to get a few nights of decent rest before heading out again. But no, somebody has to go and throw rocks at my window.

    Tap.

    Tap.

    Tap.

    I got out of bed and flicked on the light. It took a few moments before my eyes adjusted to the brightness and I staggered over to the window still half-dazed and opened it far enough to lean out of and see who the hell was interrupting me.

    And I got hit in the face by a small stone for my troubles.

    ‘Watch where you’re aiming,’ I croaked, leaning cautiously out of the window and looking down at Misty.

    ‘Sorry, Ash,’ she apologised.

    ‘What the – what are you doing here?’

    ‘I’ve got something important to tell you.’

    Two minutes later we both sat on my bed.

    ‘I would have told Brock, and was planning to since he lives so much closer than you, but he wasn’t in and I have to tell somebody tonight.’

    ‘What about Tracey?’ I offered, still clinging desperately to the prospect of reasonable sleep.

    ‘Tracey lives even further away. By the time I got there it might be too late.’

    ‘Too late for what?’ I wasn’t sure if she’d told me or not. I was too tired to follow this conversation.

    ‘Too late to stop the wedding,’ she pressed on, starting to become agitated.

    ‘Whose wedding? What are you talking about, you dizzy broad?’

    She punched me in the arm, but even that wasn’t enough to wake me up.

    ‘Ash, listen to me carefully. This morning I got on a train that took me from Saffron City into Sinnoh. It took me hours of asking around, but I found May.’

    Now I was completely awake.

    ‘May’s in Sinnoh?’ I repeated.

    ‘Yes,’ she said urgently. ‘And she’s-’

    ‘Getting married,’ I said slowly, piecing it all together.

    ‘Getting married to Dante,’ Misty concluded gently.

    ‘I see,’ I said sagely, not really knowing why I was saying it. ‘You’re saying we have to go there and stop them?’

    ‘No,’ Misty said simply. ‘It was just too much information for me to keep to myself.’

    She lay down and pulled the blanket over herself.

    ‘What are you doing?’ I demanded, getting up as she kicked me in the lower back.

    ‘Cerulean’s a couple of days walk from here,’ she said. ‘You surely can’t expect me to set out tonight.’

    ‘How did you get here?’

    ‘Hitchhiked.’

    ‘So I’m sleeping on the floor of my own bedroom on one of the three nights a year that I actually inhabit it?’ I said incredulously.

    ‘You can sleep in the bed if you like, Ash, but there’ll be nothing more than sleeping in here.’

    ‘Fine,’ I growled. ‘I’m not sleeping on the floor.’

    She moved over and made just enough room for me to clamber in next to her.

    ‘Why don’t you just sleep on the floor?’ I grumbled.

    ‘Because I’m the guest. And a real gentleman wouldn’t make a lady sleep on the floor when there’s a perfectly good bed wanting.’

    ‘I don’t see any ladies around,’ I said, ducking a wayward punch as I switched off the light. ‘And besides, the bed wasn’t-’

    ‘Ash, just shut up and go to sleep.’

    It sure is true what they say about red heads and tempers. If anything, Misty had become more aggressive since May left. She even rode a-

    ‘Where’s your bike?’ I demanded suddenly.

    ‘In the garage at the Gym. Why?’

    ‘Why didn’t you ride it here? Was all this just an elaborate scheme to get into my bed?’

    ‘Tickets,’ she sang, then rolled over and didn’t say anything more till morning.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To be continued... some time soon.
    Last edited by Zubeon; 5th July 2007 at 4:16 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hey, you're doing a sequel! Awesome. I didn't post much, but I did read all of Perfect Strangers and I liked it a lot. Danté's Inferno is no exception, you're a good writer and I'm looking forward to reading more of this

  3. #3
    Negi-Bozu®'s Avatar
    Negi-Bozu® is offline 僕は。。。パックンです、よろしく。。。
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    I've just finished reading this 1st chapter and Perfect Strangers so now I know what's going on on.
    I just have to say I really like how you put the whole thing, different from everything I've read, nice to see some sort of change. I think it's really cool how you put the characters telling the story from there point of view.
    Great Job on both fics. Hope you keep up the good work

    My Rating: 9.8/10 - Excellent

    ~Negi-Bozu®
    HECHO EN MEXICO

    Shiny Count: 7(3 RE,2 SR,2 Egg)

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    Sorry I haven't continued this yet, I've been away from computers for four days. With any luck I'll have it up tomorrow or the day after.

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    Here it is, at last. Chapter 2.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    II
    Us

    ASH
    November 11, 8.00AM


    ‘Ash, you are so busted.’

    ‘Good morning to you too, Tania.’

    As I would explain to Misty a few minutes later, my cousin Tania was staying at our place for three weeks while her parents got divorced. She was nineteen, of average height and had shoulder length, light brown hair that she must have combed more than Marcia Brady to get it that straight this early in the morning.

    ‘So what are you doing in my bedroom at…’ I turned and looked at the clock, ‘eight in the morning?’

    ‘I heard talking coming from here last night and wanted to see who was here. You know, you really should hang a tie on the door or something.’

    ‘I don’t own a tie,’ I croaked.

    By now Misty was up and putting her shoes back on.

    ‘Listen…’

    ‘Tania.’

    ‘Tania. Nothing happened. Nothing apart from sleeping, because I live in Cerulean and didn’t have time to get home again last night. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell anybody.’

    ‘Damn, Ash,’ Tania said. ‘You’d better work on your game.’

    I gave her a withering look and shoved past her out of my room. I’m not rough with girls but Tania doesn’t count: she’s family.

    ‘I’m going for a shower, Misty,’ I called over my shoulder. ‘I’ll see you later. Then we’ll talk about stopping this wedding.’

    ‘Wedding?’ I heard Tania repeat as I shut the door to the bathroom behind me.

    BROCK
    November 11, 9.30AM


    ‘No way, not no way and no how am I getting involved in this in any way whatsoever.’

    Misty didn’t look surprised. She shouldn’t be. Of all the abysmally foolish ideas she and Ash had concocted… well this one ranked somewhere in the middle but it was still a ridiculous idea and I would have no part of it.

    ‘Come on,’ Ash wheedled.

    ‘You’re going to have to come up with a more convincing argument than “come on,” Ash. You’re talking about the guy who tied me to a chair and electrocuted me. And you want me to… what was it you wanted me to do?’

    ‘Come with us to Sinnoh, and bring back May.’

    ‘Break them up?’ It seemed simple in theory, but I still wasn’t interested in getting myself shocked again. I couldn’t forget what he did to Giovanni, either. The guy couldn’t walk or use his arms and could barely even speak anymore. He had one eye which couldn’t close and had to be moistened by an endlessly puffing sprayer. And Dante did that to him. I didn’t want to do anything that could get me on the bad side of a monster like that.

    ‘I’ve got a better idea,’ I suggested. ‘We leave them alone and accept that May is gone forever. Then everybody’s happy.’

    ‘Except May,’ Misty said.

    ‘What? She agreed to marry him, she can’t be too unhappy with him.’

    ‘Come on, Brock,’ Ash said again. He still wasn’t much with words. ‘It’ll be just like old times. The three of us, travelling through Sinnoh.’

    ‘I didn’t go with you to Sinnoh,’ Misty interjected, “accidentally” placing her elbow on Ash’s hand which rested on the kitchen table. They were calling me from Ash’s house, together. I don’t know what Misty was doing there, and frankly, I didn’t want to know. I was happy staying at the Gym with the occasional correspondence with them. I didn’t need a whole new expedition with them.

    ‘I’ve got an idea,’ Ash whispered to Misty whilst rubbing his hand. ‘Keep him busy.’

    I scowled at Ash as he smiled goofily and exited from the left.

    ‘Brock, I didn’t want to ask you to come either. I don’t want to go myself. But we’ve got to put ourselves second. We’ve got to rescue May, she could be in terrible danger.’

    ‘You saw her,’ I pushed. ‘Surely you can tell if she’s in danger or not.’

    ‘She seems relaxed,’ Misty agreed tiredly. ‘More relaxed than I’ve ever seen her before. That’s what’s making me so suspicious. I think Dante might have brainwashed her or something.’

    ‘Have you been reading Hannibal again?’

    ‘Maybe.’

    ‘Look, Misty, my hands are tied. I can’t leave the Gym.’

    ‘You can’t, or you won’t?’

    ‘Pick one.’

    Ash reappeared, pink with barely controlled glee. Whatever his plan was was obviously working. Or at least he thought it was.

    ‘Brock, you haven’t met my cousin Tania, have you?’

    My God, she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. A hundred Joys and a thousand Jennies smashed together would describe but three eighths of her beauty.

    ‘Nice to meet you, Brock,’ she said in her elegant, swan-like voice. ‘Feel like taking a trip to Sinnoh?’

    ‘I’ll be ready in four minutes.’

    ‘Great! See you this afternoon!’ Ash said, and hung up the phone.

    I stood with the receiver in my hand for a few moments, before I realised what had just happened.

    ‘****!’

    November 11, 10:30AM
    MISTY


    It would only be the three of us going. I called Tracey. He sounded like he wanted to help, but claimed he just couldn’t get away from Valencia in time. He was probably right, but I think he was lying just a little bit.

    Apparently Ash didn’t have the same problem with Drew – he just refused to help point blank. Didn’t even consider it, Ash says. I don’t think Drew wanted to see any of us ever again. It had been a pretty traumatic time, especially for him, since he found out that life-changing fact about himself. I don’t blame him for not wanting to re-live it all. I wasn’t too keen on doing it myself, but I didn’t have the excuse to get out of it.

    Max was incommunicado, according to Brock. He had tried to ring him but couldn’t get through at all. He was probably in Mount Moon or Rock Tunnel, but we didn’t have time to go looking for him. He’d just have to sit this one out, and it would just be the three of us on this rescue mission. Just the original three.

    I walked outside and headed down the main street towards Professor Oak’s laboratory. Ash was there, picking out his team for the trip.

    ‘What about Kingler?’ I suggested, tired of watching him scratch his chin and look at each Pokemon in turn. ‘He really came through for you in the Indigo League, remember?’

    ‘You’re right,’ he agreed absently, looking directly past Kingler at Snorlax.

    ‘Ash, are you even listening to me?’

    ‘Of course not.’

    I punched him in the shoulder and that made him start paying attention.

    ‘Who do you have so far?’ I asked.

    ‘Pikachu-’

    ‘Of course. Who else?’

    ‘Swellow, and Donphan. I’m trying to remember what Pokemon Dante has in case I have to battle him. I don’t want to get caught off guard like I did last time.’

    ‘All of Dante’s Pokemon are here, except for his Houndoom,’ I said. ‘That’s why you ought to take Kingler. Or Totodile.’

    ‘Or Corphish.’

    ‘Ash, Kingler and Totodile have been stuck here for a long time. They deserve to get out. Pick one of them, not Corphish.’

    ‘What’s wrong with Corphish?’

    ‘Nothing, but it’s not his turn.’

    ‘Kingler, come here a minute,’ Ash called. Kingler scuttled over, waving his smaller claw enthusiastically. ‘Do you want to come with us to Sinnoh?’

    Kingler made an affirmative noise.

    ‘Alright then.’

    Ash produced Kingler’s Pokeball and called the crab back inside. He then shrank it and clipped it to his belt.

    ‘So that’s four.’

    I sighed. This was going to take a long time.

    November 11, 11:00AM
    BROCK


    ‘I never really gave him to you, Forrest. I said you could look after him for a while. I’m going on a very dangerous trip and I need my strongest Pokemon with me. That’s why I’m taking Golem and Crobat. That’s why I’m taking Swampert. That’s why I need Steelix.’

    ‘You suck,’ my brother said, passing me Steelix, already inside his Pokeball.

    ‘Cry me a river,’ I growled, snatching the Pokeball from his hand. ‘It’s not like you don’t have any Pokemon of your own. You can use Graveler and Rhyhorn while I’m gone.’

    ‘They aren’t the same,’ he grumbled.

    ‘No, they’re not the same. They’re yours. And you can use them while I’m gone.’

    I turned and walked away before he could complain anymore. Last time I underestimated Dante I got electrocuted. This time I wasn’t going to take any chances. I’d be ready.

    November 11, 12:00PM

    The respirator breathes for Giovanni, hissing and puffing for each tortured breath. The former tycoon can barely move at all anymore. He now relies entirely on his major-domo Reyne to do everything for him. He could still talk, still form sentences, though many consonants are lost when he speaks.

    He regards the bounty hunter in front of him through his single, lidless eye and it makes the seasoned soldier of fortune very uneasy. He was called here because he was renowned as the best in the world. The fastest, the deadliest, the most expensive. He was known only as Boeing.

    The respirator speeds up as Giovanni starts to talk.

    ‘I don’t know… exactly where he is… But I can tell you… he isn’t in… Johto or… Kanto.’

    Giovanni’s voice, once refined, is a hoarse, high-pitched scratch, like static on a turntable.

    ‘He isn’t in… Hoenn… either… The girl’s family live there… they wanted to leave the family.’

    ‘Do you think he’s hiding out at the Point Noir Gym?’ Boeing asked, scribbling down notes in a small notebook bound in black leather.

    ‘No,’ Giovanni croaked. ‘The Gym is… running again. It has… a new leader.’

    ‘You mentioned a girl,’ Boeing said, turning over a page and tapping his pen impatiently on the blank lines. ‘What does she look like?’

    ‘Reyne,’ Giovanni said.

    The major-domo entered the room with a large envelope, which he passed to Boeing after a barely noticeable nod from Giovanni.

    Boeing put his hand inside and drew out a handful of photographs. They were probably about a year old. They showed the girl, photographed at a karaoke bar in Petalburg City. Another of her standing outside of the Petalburg Gym with Norman and what was probably her brother. The mother had probably taken the photograph.

    Thumbing through the pictures he comes across one from several years ago. The girl as a finalist in the Hoenn Grand Festival.

    He’d seen enough. He could recognise her based on this. And of course, he had already seen enough photographs of Giovanni’s son to know him when he finally found him.

    ‘Remember, Boeing... I want them… alive… and completely… unscathed.’

    The last word caused him great difficulty.

    ‘I understand.’

    ‘You may leave,’ Giovanni said as the eye-moistener puffed out another small cloud of water vapour.

    Boeing had never been so grateful to hear anything before in his life.


    November 11, 12.30PM
    ASH


    We walked out of town, me having finally chosen which Pokemon to take. I had Pikachu riding on my shoulders, and clipped to my belt were Swellow, Donphan, Kingler, Cyndaquil, and a Pokemon that Professor Oak had specifically asked me to take.

    The Professor told me that Muk had been more amorous than usual. So much so that the Professor was now having difficulty getting anything done at all. I agreed to take Muk with me to give him some space. Besides which, Muk was always stronger than he looked. Perhaps I could use him to surprise Dante.

    ‘Hang on!’ Somebody called as Misty and me reached the signpost pointing to Viridian City.

    I turned around to face the voice, and sure enough, it was Tania, my spare backpack strapped to her back and a sleeping bag in her hand.

    ‘I can’ t believe you left without me,’ she panted indignantly when she caught up with me.

    ‘Of course we did, you’re not coming with us,’ I said.

    ‘Yes I am, Brock’s expecting me.’

    ‘But if Brock actually sees you he’ll be completely useless.’

    She didn’t answer for a few moments, then: ‘I don’t care, I’m coming anyway. Even if you don’t let me walk with you, I’ll follow at a distance. You couldn’t lose me if you tried. May as well let me tag along.’

    She was right. I couldn’t really stop her. Besides, she might be useful.

    The three of us continued on to Viridian City. We told Brock that we’d meet him at the Pokemon centre. We thought he’d be surprised to see Tania. But we were more surprised by who he brought with him.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Next chapter coming.... well, hopefully sooner than this one did.

  6. #6
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    Hey Zubeon, it's me! I see there is a sequel to your crazy multi-shipping story. So Ash still cares for May? I can't wait for the next chapter!

  7. #7
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    What? People are still reading this? Okay, I'll get to work on the next chapter right away.

    (don't worry, I have the entire plot outlined already)

  8. #8
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    Actually, I was looking through my post and found Perfect Strangers, then I saw you had a sequel to it, so I came here to read it.

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    Glad to see you back! Fantastic stuff as always, and again really good song choices. Hope you continue.
    Altaria
    ~

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    Wow, awesome fic! Can't wait for the next chapter!


    Xx|Divinity|xX


  11. #11
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    I can't believe that I'm actually reviewing here !!! you do know that I consider "Perfect Strangers" as the best Multishipping fic ever ?

    but if I remember correctly, you said that it was the absolute end of it...well...so the plot continues !! I was in awe in front of "Perfect Strangers", and so far, I really love the beginning !!

    just please keep on writing this...you have a big fan of this plot here !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  12. #12
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    Wow... the best ever... I'm not a big reader of shippings so I'll have to take your word for that.

    It was the absolute end.... of Perfect Strangers. But then I came up with a few scenes that I really wanted to write that involved Dante and Ash, and since a prequel is out of the question, this was the logical choice.

    And now, the much anticipated (apparently) next chapter. It's a slow one but necessary. Bear with me.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    III
    On the Road Again

    November 11, 12:35pm
    ASH


    ‘I didn’t think I’d ever be seeing you again,’ I said.

    ‘Believe me, I didn’t count on seeing you guys again either,’ Richie replied.

    ‘Richie was passing through Pewter City and he stopped in at the Gym for a rematch. I was halfway out the door at that point,’ Brock explained.

    ‘He told me what was going on and I wanted to help. After all, you and May really came through for me, the least I can do is lend you guys a hand.’

    ‘Well, glad of the help, I guess,’ Misty shrugged. ‘At least now we’ve got someone who knows the way Dante thinks.’

    ‘Well…’ Richie said nervously, ‘I never really had much to do with Dante. I took my orders directly from Chris.’

    Misty looked a little disappointed.

    ‘But I can still be useful!’ he said. ‘Just give me a shot.’

    ‘Of course!’ I said. ‘The more the merrier. Worst case scenario, we’ve got just one more to restrain Dante.’

    ‘Restrain?’ Tania’s ears pricked up. ‘I thought we were just going to break them up?’

    ‘You don’t know Dante,’ I replied. ‘He’s not going to go down without a fight. It’s going to take a lot of work to get May out of there, and it’s going to be dangerous. This would be the moment for you to turn back, Tania.’

    ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ she said stubbornly. ‘I said I’d help and I will. Besides, I want to get to know your cute friend,’ she winked at Richie.

    ‘You know he looks almost exactly like me?’ I said.

    ‘Thanks for that, Ash.’

    She shoved me playfully and then we all headed to the train station. We’d catch the one o’clock train to Saffron, then head onto Sinnoh this afternoon. If all went to plan, we’d be sleeping there tonight. But of course, not everything went to plan.

    November 11, 1:00pm
    MAY


    I had a strange feeling about something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Something just wasn’t right with the universe. I didn’t tell Dante because I didn’t want him to worry, but I’m sure he noticed anyway.

    I walked over to my wardrobe and opened it, seeing the white wedding dress hanging there. It looked awfully small. Maybe I should take that as a sign that I’m too young to get married. But that’s not what’s bothering me. I feel about ten years older than I am. Was it the white? I don’t think I can really count Ash as anything, and Drew… well, we were young. No, it wasn’t the white either. But something was out of place. Something, somewhere.

    I walked into Dante’s Study. It was a dark room, about the size of a double garage. In one corner was his computer and its various bits and pieces. The wall opposite it was covered in books. A lot of them were leather bound. Weird books that I’d never heard of and could never understand. Books like The Philosophy of Time Travel. What did he need to know about time travel for? The weird thing about the studio was the painting hanging above his desk. Of all things, the subject was a Weezing. I kept meaning to ask him about it, but always forgot. Or got… distracted.

    The radio was playing as I walked past it.

    ‘…several instances of seismic activity barely registering on the Richter Scale have been reported from the area surrounding…’

    I switched off the radio. It was a waste of power when nobody was listening to it.

    ‘Buongiorno, May,’ Dante said. I jumped a little bit and turned around. He had been sitting in the corner next to the door when I walked in.

    Oh right, the Italian thing. Dante doesn’t really like speaking English, he says it’s an unpleasant language, so he’s been teaching me Italian. I think it sounds better, but its hard to learn. I racked my brain for the right response.

    ‘Salve,’ I replied, probably after too long a pause.

    ‘Molto bene,’ he said. ‘See, you’re picking it up easily.’

    ‘I guess.’

    ‘So what brings you in here?’ he asked, tenting his fingers.

    ‘I heard the radio…’ I began, knowing he would shoot down the lie immediately. Which he did with a wave of his hand. ‘I like to come in here to think,’ I said truthfully.

    ‘Thinking is the purpose of a study,’ he replied with a slight nod. ‘Your ruminations concern the wedding?’

    ‘Yes.’ I didn’t know what ruminations were, but I guessed it was just a fancy word for “thoughts.”

    ‘What is amiss?’

    ‘I have no idea.’ I sat down on the edge of his desk, by back to the painting. ‘Something feels wrong. That’s as specific as I can be.’

    ‘Well then analysing your thoughts will not be very easy.’

    ‘What’s with the Weezing painting?’ I asked.

    He watched me for a few moments while he chose his words.

    ‘That is a story for another day.’

    November 11, 1:45pm
    ASH


    The train’s still not here.

    November 11, 2:30pm
    MISTY


    The train finally arrived and we started our mission. We had a couple of hours before we’d be in Saffron, so we talked about what each of us would have to do.

    ‘Tania,’ I said, ‘May’s never met you, so you’ll have to be the one to distract her. Don’t mention that you know any of us, especially me and Ash.’

    ‘Uh-huh.’

    ‘Convince her to go shopping with you. We’ll meet you at the mall and be ready to abduct her.’

    ‘I bet this sounds innocent to the other passengers,’ Brock said to Ash. Ash laughed.

    ‘So Tania, you have the safest job. I’m going to need your phone number, and you’re going to need everyone else’s. A lot can go wrong here, so can’t afford to take any risks.’

    ‘Yes, Misty,’ Ash said. I could tell he was making fun of me.

    ‘Misty, you’ve got to relax a little bit. Sure, Dante’s dangerous. But he’s not dangerous to her. He loves her. That’s what caused all the trouble in the first place,’ Brock said. ‘Going in there and kidnapping her from right under his nose is only going to make things worse.’

    ‘If you’re going to be so negative about it why did you even come?’ I was sick of being the only one serious about it all.

    ‘Because you two tricked me into it!’ he snapped.

    ‘Hey, guys, just relax a little,’ Richie said. ‘We’re going to be stuck together for a long time. No sense ripping at each others’ throats now.’

    November 11, 3:45pm
    RICHIE


    These guys are supposed to be friends? I’ve never seen anybody argue more than them. I reckon Misty’s being a bit over-dramatic about it all, especially since May apparently asked her never to come back. Misty thinks that Dante’s hypnotised her or something. I don’t believe that.

    Meanwhile, back in the train carriage… Ash and Brock are asleep, Misty’s trying, and Ash’s cousin keeps flirting with me. I’m surprised she’s not creeped out by the whole “dead ringer” thing. Ah, well. She’s pretty hot, anyway. No, don’t think thoughts like that. They’re against the code. You’ve got to stick to the code. You’ve got to distract yourself.

    ‘So Misty, do you know when the wedding actually is?’ I asked.

    ‘It’s a week before the end of the month. The twenty-third. That gives us twelve days to get her out of Sinnoh.’

    ‘You think it’ll take twelve days to get her?’

    ‘Egad, no. I already know where she lives, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find her. It’s just a matter of whether or not Tania can tail her effectively. The way I see it, we’ve got twelve tries. One per day.’

    ‘Right.’

    ‘But we should only need one.’

    ‘Okay.’

    Misty shut her eyes again and tried to go to sleep. I was far too awake to do the same. Besides, when I sleep during the day, I feel like cra p when I wake up.

    Tania wasn’t sleeping either. She slid over next to me.

    ‘Lightweights, huh?’ she said, nodding at the others.

    ‘Yeah. How can they sleep in the afternoon?’

    ‘I can’t do it. It makes me feel like cra p.’

    ‘Same.’ I smiled at her. ‘So why are you staying with Ash?’

    ‘My parents are getting divorced.’

    A split second too late I realised I was still smiling.

    ‘Sorry to hear that,’ I said.

    ‘I’m not. They’ve been fighting for years. It’s about time, really. The only bad thing about the situation is having to stay with Ash.’

    I laughed. She had a sense of humour too. But it’s against the code.

    Or is it?

    November 11, 4:22pm
    MAY


    I climbed out of bed with my head feeling far too big. Dante was already dressed and in the kitchen, cooking for tonight’s dinner. He always did the cooking.

    I dragged the sheet with me and draped it around my shoulders, holding the two corners together in front of me as I walked regally into the kitchen.

    ‘Practicing already?’ Dante said, looking up for a moment from the cutting board where he had an array of vegetables I couldn’t even name.

    ‘I have to tell you something,’ I said nervously. Immediately he put down the knife and sat down at the bar. Whenever I spoke seriously to him he gave me his undivided attention. Sometimes his undivided attention scared me, but not today. ‘There’s no easy way to say this,’ I began, ‘but Misty’s coming here.’

    ‘For the wedding?’

    ‘You could say that. She’s coming with Ash and the others, and I guarantee we’ll see her at the wedding.’

    ‘She’s coming to stop the wedding then, I take it?’

    ‘She must be.’

    ‘She told you?’

    ‘No. I can just tell, though. She’s not the kind of person who can leave well enough alone. She’s coming to break us up.’

    ‘And will she?’ Dante had a way of asking questions that made it impossible to lie to him. The best way to answer is to avoid the direct questions and hope he doesn’t ask them again.

    ‘She’ll bring the police into it. She’ll tell them what you did.’

    ‘They already know.’

    ‘Not everything. The only thing we reported was you shooting my dad. We didn’t tell them about what you did to Brock, or Ash, or Drew…’

    ‘I did nothing to Drew.’

    ‘Not directly, but the fire-’

    ‘I did not light the fire. It was a wayward attack from the Arcanine I was battling.’

    ‘Okay, but-’

    ‘It is important that you believe me, May,’ he said, focused very intently on my eyes. Now it was the scary attention.

    ‘I do,’ I said timidly.

    ‘I don’t want you to fear me, May. I only want you to trust me.’

    ‘I trust you.’

    He didn’t say anything or shift his gaze. I knew he didn’t believe me. I don’t know that I believed myself.

    ‘You have two real options on how to deal with Misty. If you want to proceed with the wedding, then you must avoid her at all costs. If you have any doubts, you must speak to her. I don’t want you to stay here out of fear. You, May, will never be the object of my aggression.’

    ‘But my friends will be?’

    ‘I cannot deny the possibility. You know how…protective… I am of you.’

    He turned back to his cooking and I left the kitchen, listening to the repeated hammerings of his knife against the cutting board and wondering what I would do when the cavalry arrived.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm on a bit of a roll again now so expect the next chapter in 1-4 days.

    Z

  13. #13
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    Huh...Ritchie...the Ritchie who was plotting with Ash's ex-girlfriend and held a gun to his head ?....huh....awkward anyway...

    time travel....what is that man planning...

    Man...Ritchie's code ? what the hell is that ? in order not to get in the same situation like Christina ?

    oooh Tania...what will she do with Ritchie ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    ‘I cannot deny the possibility. You know how…protective… I am of you.’
    that's nothing but human...


    Well, as I said on another fic, for the Favourite Character Within a Shipping Fic, I'd nominate one character from there, but Dante would really be one of my picks as well...

    Another thing I've been wanting to ask you : how do you choose the dates when characters begin their POV ?

    great chapter !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_shipper View Post
    Huh...Ritchie...the Ritchie who was plotting with Ash's ex-girlfriend and held a gun to his head ?
    Yeah, the same Richie who owns Sparky and Zippo.


    time travel....what is that man planning...
    You'll see, but not for a while.

    Man...Ritchie's code ? what the hell is that ? in order not to get in the same situation like Christina ?
    He's referring to the generic male code between friends, and the three cardinal rules.

    Don't get with the
    1) Ex Girlfriends
    2) Possibel Girlfriends
    3) Relatives
    of your mates without permission.

    oooh Tania...what will she do with Ritchie ?
    Haven't decided yet.

    Another thing I've been wanting to ask you : how do you choose the dates when characters begin their POV ?
    I pick them based on the weather conditions I want to feature in the story. I.e in Perfect Strangers I chose June because then the area is in fire-risk conditions. November is just to show that it's after the events of Strangers, but I do have a completely unfounded fixation with the date November 11.

    great chapter !
    Thank you.

  15. #15
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    ok, thanks for the explanations on the dates...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon
    Don't get with the
    1) Ex Girlfriends
    2) Possible Girlfriends
    3) Relatives of your mates without permission.
    that's good to know...This could be interessting...
    if you're on a roll, I think I won't have to wait too long.
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  16. #16
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    Yay, new chapter! Hmm, Richie is back, Tania is smitten with him, mysterious Weezing picture, Time travel, Danteness and Riche has a code?!?! Good chapter, many plot points and TaniaXRichie? DUH DUH DUH! By the way, Perfect Strangers is also on my best multishipping award.
    Last edited by flamingoozaru; 10th March 2007 at 2:41 PM.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the nominations, it's a shame they didn't get through, but that's because I finished it earlier than the cut off date. Appreciate the effort, though.

    Here's the next chapter. Told you I was on a roll.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    IV
    Train Kept a Rollin’

    November 11, 6:00pm
    RICHIE


    They were all asleep, every one of them. Not me. I was too hungry to sleep, but food wasn’t available until seven. So you see the bind I was in.

    Tania had fallen asleep with her head on my shoulder. I couldn’t feel my right arm now but if I moved her she might wake up, and I hated waking people up. Besides, we still had two hours on the train before we got into Sinnoh, and another forty minutes before we got to the stop Misty said we needed to get off at. She wouldn’t tell us which one it was. I don’t know why.

    Suddenly the weight on my shoulder disappeared. I looked across and saw that Tania was now awake and sitting up. She smiled at me and stood up, stretching her arms above her head. Her top edged up a bit, exposing her mid-riff. Don’t let her see you looking.

    Then she reached into her pocket and dropped a small piece of paper into my lap. She winked at me again and walked out of the compartment. On the note were two words. Follow Me.

    It was an ethical dilemma, it was against the code. But at that moment, I didn’t care.

    I followed her.

    November 11, 7:00pm
    MAY


    I was back in the Study again, but this time I wasn’t thinking about the Weezing Painting. I was looking at the books that lined the shelves. Most of them were non-fiction. Or at least supposed to be non-fiction. Reference books, as they’d call them in a library.

    I looked past J Ching and The Zen Way of Martial Arts towards a smaller book, this one not leather bound. It seemed so out of place. It was a deep blue, with nothing written on the spine. Knowing this was exactly the sort of book I shouldn’t read, I took it off the shelf and turned it over in my hands.

    On the front cover in the bottom right hand corner was scrawled a number: 20040819.

    ‘What does it mean?’ I whispered to myself as I re-read the number.

    ‘It’s a date,’ Dante replied from behind me, chilling my blood to the bone. ‘The nineteenth of August, two thousand and four. Just over two years ago.’

    ‘Oh,’ I said weakly, reaching to put the book back on the shelf. Dante sat down on the couch that faced the desk. I perched on the corner of the desk, looking guilty.

    ‘What attracted you to that book?’ he asked calmly. I couldn’t tell how he really felt. It was creepy.

    ‘It was different,’ I said lamely. ‘It’s smaller and not leather. And there was nothing on the side. I was-’

    ‘Curious,’ he finished the sentence for me. ‘You were curious, as you should be when confronted with things that are different. Curiosity is an opposite of fear.’

    ‘I’m sorry I took it off of the shelf,’ I gushed.

    ‘You did what was natural. I expected you to select it. That’s exactly why I put it there.’

    ‘What?’ What the hell was going on?

    ‘Read it,’ he said, gesturing to the shelves.

    ‘Is this a trick?’

    ‘It certainly is not.’

    I took the book down from the shelf again and opened it. Dante sat completely still, watching me.

    What was in there was hand-written. I flicked ahead; there were only about three pages with anything on them.

    ‘Read,’ Dante repeated. ‘I will be in the kitchen. Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.’

    He got up and left the room, moving in complete silence. I turned my attention back to the first page of the book.

    ‘The Gym Heroes challenge is going pretty much the same way that the book-keepers had predicted. Koga’s had a clean sweep from the start; he’s already knocked out four opponents and is highly tipped to beat the next one. I hope he doesn’t, the next one’s me. If I use Steelix, his poison attacks won’t have any effect. But I need four Pokémon, and I only have Steelix and Magneton who can resist the poison. So we’ll see.

    Whoever wins out of the two of us goes on to fight Norman in the first semi-final. I’m not too worried about Norman. I think that if I get past Koga I’ve won it. Normal types? I’ll just use Steelix again. Then who am I up against? Either Sabrina or Clair. I’ve got Houndoom and Cloyster to deal with them. Bring it on.’


    The rest of the page was blank. I turned over, knowing that there was writing on the other side.

    ‘Well, Koga crushed me. He played off Steelix’s ground sub-type with a Tentacruel. Pretty clever. And then he whips out a Skutank with flamethrower to get rid of Magneton. Tentacruel even brings down Houndoom, and Kingler can’t hold out against his Crobat. I don’t even take out one of his Pokémon. I was completely, totally outgunned.

    But it wasn’t too bad. I got to watch him battle Norman after that (Koga won). It was a pretty good battle but I wasn’t watching it most of the time. I was thinking about the girl sitting next to me in the stand. She’s probably only about fifteen but that’s close enough. She’s really hot. Seems a bit stuck-up though, she didn’t even look at me when I sat down next to her.

    So anyway she turns out to be Norman’s daughter. What are the odds, huh? That means I’ll probably see her again next year.

    Next year at the Indigo Plateau!’

    That was all that was written there.

    I carefully put the book back on the shelf and walked out of the Study into the kitchen. As I reached the doorframe, Dante, with his back to me, said:

    ‘Doubt many things, but never doubt my love.’

    I knew not to say anything. He came towards me with dinner plates in his hands.

    ‘Please set the table. I’m ready to serve.’

    November 11, 8:45pm
    ASH


    We got off the train and milled around on the platform for a bit while Misty tried to remember which way she had gone from here.

    ‘We’re not going straight there, are we?’ I asked anxiously. I was still hungry and didn’t want to have to fight Dante on an empty stomach. Actually I’d prefer not to fight him at all. May could handle herself.

    So why this rotten feeling in my gut? Every time I thought about going back without her made me feel ready to hurl. It didn’t mean anything though, did it? I’d feel the same way about any of my friends.

    Misty decided she’d found the way and led us out of the train station into the city.

    ‘Where are we going?’ Tania asked from the back of the group.

    ‘We’re going to a hotel. I made a booking before you left.’

    November 11, 9:00pm
    MISTY


    ‘What do you mean I don’t have a booking?’ I bellowed. I wasn’t going to accept this.

    ‘The name you’ve given isn’t in the computer, Miss,’ the snooty clerk said. I was about ready to brain him when Brock grabbed my arm and turned me around.

    ‘What room numbers did you have?’ he asked.

    ‘Aha!’ I turned back to face the clerk. ‘I had rooms thirteen and fifteen. The ones that have a door joining them.’

    ‘I’m sorry but those rooms are already booked.’

    ‘I know that! I booked them!’

    ‘Are you Alphonso Boeing?’ he asked snidely.

    ‘No,’ I gave him my withering-est look.

    ‘Then you don’t have them booked.’

    ‘Or maybe you just double booked it. I called yesterday and they said there was no problem.’

    ‘That’s impossible. Mr. Boeing reserved these two rooms four weeks ago.’

    ‘Oh, I get it now,’ Ash said, sidling up to the counter. ‘You’re on the take, aren’t you?’

    ‘On the take?’ repeated the clerk with a scoff. ‘What is this, nineteen thirty-five?’

    Ash scowled at him.

    ‘I don’t know what to tell you. Every room in the hotel is booked. There’s no room for you. You’ll just have to stay somewhere else.’

    ‘But where else can we stay?’ Ash asked.

    There was only one place we could stay.

    Just the one place.

    ‘Ash, where does Hikari live?’

    November 11, 11:11pm
    BROCK


    Ash knocked twice on the door. Misty, Tania and Richie hung back, since they didn’t know her very well. The door opened.

    ‘Oh, shi t,’ Hikari said when she saw us. ‘What do you two want?’

    ‘To stay here for twelve days,’ Ash said. The idiot. He had no idea how to butter up the ladies first.

    ‘No.’

    Ash nodded slowly. ‘How about two days?’

    ‘You can stay here tonight, but tomorrow you’ve got to find somewhere else. It’s just the two of you, right?’

    Misty, Richie and Tania stepped forwards.

    ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Where am I going to find room for five people?’

    ‘We’ll sleep in the back yard,’ I offered. When asking for a favour of this size, the most important thing is making it seem smaller than it actually is. Ash has a lot to learn about women.

    ‘Alright, you can sleep in the yard. But I warn you now, the sprinklers come on at six thirty.’

    She opened the side gate and we traipsed around. The grass was nice and soft and there was one hammock, which Richie won fair and square in a rock-scissors-paper tournament.

    I’d slept on the train on the way here but I was still really tired and fell asleep almost straight away.

    November 12, 12:45am
    RICHIE


    Why couldn’t I sleep? The others had slept on the train and still they managed to doze off pretty quickly. But not me. Maybe I was becoming an insomniac.

    I lay in the hammock with my eyes shut. The weather was perfect – no need for blankets, which was just as well because Hikari hadn’t offered us any. She was really ****** off that we were here. I bet something went on between her and Ash. No girl is that icy without some semblance of a reason. Even if it’s not a real reason.

    Suddenly the hammock depressed and I opened my eyes and realised that Tania had climbed in and was now lying on top of me. I wanted to say something really dashing or sleazy but the only thing that came to mind was:

    ‘Hi.’

    ‘I never understood the concept of rock-scissors-paper too well,’ she said. She talked the talk, alright. Without another word, she kissed me, hard and I kissed her back for a while before pulling away.

    ‘We shouldn’t,’ I said. ‘It’s against the code.’

    ‘What code?’ she said impatiently, moving her elbow slightly so that it was digging into my ribs.

    ‘The – guys – code. The one that says you can’t go around with ex girlfriends or – possible girlfriends or – girls they’re related to.’

    ‘That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,’ she said. ‘You and Ash aren’t really close friends anyway.’

    ‘We’re close enough for the code to take effect,’ I argued.

    ‘It’s not like I’m his sister. I’m a cousin he sees once a year, if that. Besides, the code didn’t mean so much to you on the train.’

    ‘I’m not breaking the code again. Last time I broke the code I got thrown out of a window.’

    ‘What?’

    ‘Don’t worry,’ I slid out from underneath her and rolled off of the hammock onto the ground. ‘You stay there, I’ll sleep down here tonight.’

    She sighed angrily and turned her back to me. Maybe I’d blown it. But it didn’t matter. I wasn’t here to hook up with girls. I was here to make up for past wrongs. And that’s exactly what I would do.

    If I ever got a decent night’s sleep.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You can expect the next chapter some time this week. Probably around Wednesday.

    Z
    Last edited by Zubeon; 11th March 2007 at 7:28 AM.

  18. #18
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    Wow, new chapter... So Dante met May before, Richie did something with Tania and Hikari is mad at Ash for some reason... Great chapter, wonder if we will find out why Hikari is so angry at Ash (and or Brock) anytime soon.

  19. #19
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    Da*n, you ARE on a roll....won't see me complaining...

    ----


    Ritchie...yeah...I mean...it's human, right ?

    Man...Dante really loves her...
    As Christina said in "Perfect Strangers" :
    Brunettes are your Kryptonite
    Huh...does the Hikari reaction have something to do with, in Perfect Strangers, the talk May and Ash were having, about that night Ash got drunk and told May he loved her, May says that he said that just to get over his previous one-night stand, and she mentionnes Hikari...
    well...does it have something to do with it ?

    ok, yeah, what flamingoozaru said : something did happen in the train between Ritchie and Tania...huh...well...code or not, who can blame him...

    ---

    I still love your work...either it's the plot, or your style with changing POV so often, but I simply worship these two fics...

    thanks for the fast update !
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  20. #20
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    If you've been re-reading Perfect Strangers (or if you just know it really, freakishly well) then you're going to have a lot of fun when I get up to Act 2. You've raised some good points here. If you want to get everything out of Dante's Inferno, I suggest you keep an eye on Perfect Strangers as well.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    If you've been re-reading Perfect Strangers (or if you just know it really, freakishly well) then you're going to have a lot of fun when I get up to Act 2. You've raised some good points here. If you want to get everything out of Dante's Inferno, I suggest you keep an eye on Perfect Strangers as well.
    as I said : Perfect Strangers = Best Multishipping fic ever = read a few times = know it nearly by heart

    ok, so let's wait and see...






    EDIT : I've got a few ideas for Dante x May and Ritchie x Tania ship names

    Ritchie x Tania : obviously CodeShipping
    Dante x May : WeaknessShipping / KryptoniteShipping (both from the quote I've mentionned from Perfect Strangers)
    Last edited by shadow_shipper; 11th March 2007 at 4:01 PM.
    Because of serebiiforums, my Life has been put on hold...

    ...wait, that sounds wrong...
    ...yeah, it's the other way around.

    My Works : A, B, C, D, E

  22. #22
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    CodeShipping I like.

    WeaknessShipping I don't like so much because it contains the word 'weak.' I don't like to think of either Dante or May as weak.

    KryptoniteShipping sounds too long in my opinion, but it's on the right track. Maybe something like AchillesShipping?

    Keep thinking them up.

    Z

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zubeon View Post
    CodeShipping I like.

    WeaknessShipping I don't like so much because it contains the word 'weak.' I don't like to think of either Dante or May as weak.

    KryptoniteShipping sounds too long in my opinion, but it's on the right track. Maybe something like AchillesShipping?

    Keep thinking them up.

    Z
    How about Emotionlessshipping? Since they both are pretty much like that or strangersshipping? They kinda meet each other as strangers....

  24. #24
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    Emotionless has too many sylabbles I like the names with two sylabbles, like "Pokeshipping," and "contestshipping."

    A similar note would be "RobotShipping" or "LecterShipping."

    If you guys are going to keep working out shipping names, do it quick, because I've got something more important for you to do soon. There'll be more on that after we reach Act 2. And in order to do that, Act 1 must continue.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    V
    Listen Like Thieves

    November 12, 8.34am
    MAY


    When I woke up Dante was already out of bed and, as it turned out, out of the house. There was a note on the kitchen counter.

    May, amore.
    I have some last minute wedding business to take care of today. I will be home at dinner time. Try to learn something new today.
    ArrivederLa, D


    Learn something new? I decided to take that as a hint and headed for his Study. I was keen to read that book about time travel. I was curious about why he even had it, but wasn’t going to read it without asking first. I didn’t want to get in trouble. But he as good as told me to read it today, and read it I would.

    Except that when I looked at the bookshelves, something else caught my eye.

    In the space where Dante’s journal had been yesterday was another book, dark green. also not bound in leather, also with a numeral that turned out to be a date scratched into the side. 20050729. A year after the last book, and a little less than a year before we first met. Well, before we went on the run.

    I was disappointed but intrigued by it. Sure, it wasn’t time travel, but it could prove to be far more interesting. I opened it. There were only two hand-written pages.

    ‘Koga went down in the second round this year. Beaten by Sabrina. I made it to the semi finals this time, but ended up losing to Murray from Juniper City. It was only because he had water types and I had chosen a pair of fire types. I don’t blame Houndoom and Quilava for our loss. I put them in a very difficult situation. But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

    I saw Norman’s daughter again this year, but only from afar. This time she was watching Misty from Cerulean, in Kanto. She went down pretty quick, by the way. Once again I didn’t get to talk to her.

    Later that night when I was smoking a joint I saw her again. She was wearing blue jeans and a tight, black, armless shirt with those little strappy things that go over the shoulders. She came and knelt down in front of me and whispered something in my ear:

    “Take me to the place where the darkness is white.”

    Then she got up and walked away. It wasn’t until this morning that I realised it was all a hallucination. But it was so vivid. The place where the darkness is white. What does that mean? Is it a sign? I’m going to find out.’


    That was all that was written. I shut the book and replaced it on the shelf. I had starred in a drug trip of his? I didn’t even know he did drugs.

    I wondered if he’d worked out the riddle about the white darkness yet. I wanted to know where he was taking me. Then my eyes fell upon the time travel book, which stuck out slightly from the other books, a tasselled bookmark just visible.

    November 12, 10:00am
    BROCK


    ‘What are you all still doing here?’ Hikari demanded of Ash. We had made a fire in a metal bucket that we had found outside of the garden shed and were attempting to cook breakfast. But I didn’t expect Ash to tell her that. In fact…

    ‘We’re trying to stay warm, since you froze us out both literally and figuratively.’

    Quite good word play from Ash.

    ‘Well, you brought this upon yourself, Ash.’

    ‘Look, I’m sorry I got you thrown in the penguin-house, but it really wasn’t my fault-’

    ‘It was entirely your fault!’ she replied, slapping the side of his shoulder.

    ‘It was Christmas! There was mistletoe!’

    ‘There was my eighty-five year old Catholic battleaxe of a grandmother,’ Hikari said. ‘And my equally religious mother.’

    ‘They were the ones who over-reacted, it wasn’t my fault,’ Ash persisted, turning away and trying to head back to the fire. The exchange was fun to watch.

    ‘Yes, they over-reacted, but I was still the one sent to the convent. There go my chances at professional co-ordinating.’

    ‘What do you mean?’ Ash demanded. ‘You’re only sixteen! There’s plenty of time to become a professional co-ordinator. And anyway, they let you out quickly enough. You couldn’t have been there more than three months.’

    ‘Okay Ash, you spend three months with nuns and tell me it’s not a big deal.’

    It was a ridiculous fight that was reminiscent of the way Ash and Misty used to fight. Of course, they were in love with each other so they never needed a good reason to fight. Still, it was nice to know why Hikari was so mad at him. This was the first I’d heard of her being sent to a nunnery.

    ‘Breakfast is ready!’ Richie called cheerfully. Ash took the opportunity to end the argument with Hikari and sat down, taking a rasher of bacon from the frying pan with his fingers.

    ‘Thanks, Richie,’ he said as he gnawed away at it. ‘You’re in a good mood this morning.’

    This was in stark contrast to Tania, who stared death at anyone who even looked her way. I guess she didn’t sleep very well last night. Unless… no, she’s definitely mad at Richie. I can tell from that body language. But why, that’s harder to work out. I’ll do it later. Breakfast is ready.

    November 12, 12:00pm
    TANIA


    Misty took me aside and the two of us set out to where May lived. She thought it was best if just the two of us went. With the others there, she reasoned, the group would be too big and she’d notice us too quickly. I didn’t care. Anything to get away from that jerk Richie.

    I mean who does he think he is, saying ‘yes’ on the train and then ‘no’ on the bed? Does he think I’m the kind of girl who just goes around having one-night stands with random guys? He’s not showing me enough respect. But now I’m not listening to Misty so I’d better start paying attention again.

    ‘It’s going to be a pretty boring day for you, I’m afraid,’ she was saying. ‘Pretty much just lurking in these bushes unless she comes outside, then you follow her, and arrange to meet with her somehow. You suggest going to a specific bar – the Articuno – where the rest of us will be waiting. Obviously you don’t tell her that last part.’

    ‘Obviously.’ Obviously, she thought I was an idiot.

    ‘Will you be alright here by yourself?’

    ‘Oh sure, it’ll be a gas.’

    ‘Okay. I’ll see you at the bar, otherwise I’ll meet you back here at eight, okay?’

    ‘Yep.’

    ‘Now remember, don’t do anything unless she leaves the house.’

    As soon as she was gone I knocked on the door. May answered. I don’t know what Ash was making such a big deal about. Sure, she’s cute in an obvious kind of way, but so are a lot of girls. Really I don’t see why he lost his head so bad over this one. Better say something, she’s staring at me.

    ‘Good afternoon, ma’am, I’m Tania from Hitchings Psychiatric Institute. I was wondering if I can have a moment of your time.’

    ‘Psychiatric Institute?’ May repeated. I could see the fear in her face. I had to lighten the mood quickly.

    ‘Yes. We have just established a practice in town and are on the look out for potential clients.’

    ‘Potential clients? Do you think I’m insane?’

    ‘Of course not,’ I said, trying to sound breezy. ‘You seem to be a very collected young woman. Therapy is not a matter of sanity. Therapy is also useful as a means to get secrets off of your chest in a context where you know that they will never be repeated to others. It’s a way to talk about concerns with somebody who will never judge you.’

    She didn’t say anything but I could tell she was relieved.

    ‘In an effort to meet new clients, we are offering a free one hour session to all neighbourhood residents. You inhabit my zone, so if you want to talk, I’ll give you my telephone number and-’

    ‘Can we talk now?’ May said suddenly. I was surprised, but pleased with this development. And Misty thought I was an idiot.

    ‘Of course. The office is-’

    ‘Can we do it here?’

    ‘Well, I do not have my books with me, but it would be possible. I simply cannot cross-reference with other psychiatrists if we do.’

    ‘That’s okay. It’s just talking, right?’

    ‘That’s right.’

    She led me inside. Everything was going to plan. Not Misty’s plan, my plan. I’d show them all. I was in the lair of the beast, and with any luck, I was about to get some inside information about him.

    November 12, 12:30pm
    RICHIE


    I thought now would be the perfect time to talk to Ash about Tania. Like it or not, she was driving me crazy. I’d made up my mind not to tell him what we did on the train, just to tell him that I was attracted to her and that I thought the feeling was mutual. That shouldn’t cause any problems.

    ‘Hey Ash,’ I began, ‘can I talk seriously to you for a minute.’

    ‘Sure,’ he said. He sat down and Pikachu climbed into his lap.

    ‘I mean alone. It’s important,’ I added for effect.

    ‘Okay…’ he said. Pikachu looked indignant but walked away anyway, heading towards Misty. ‘So what’s going on, Richie? Why so serious?’

    ‘Well, it’s about-’

    Suddenly I heard, and felt, a rumbling. Ash noticed it too but didn’t make a big deal about it.

    ‘What was that?’ I said.

    ‘Probably just Pokémon,’ Ash said indifferently. ‘The Pokedex says there are a lot of wild rock types around here. Rhydon, Onix, Graveler, you know the sort. Now what did you want to say?’

    ‘Well, there’s no easy way to say this, so I’d better just be honest with it. I’ve got feelings for Tania.’

    Ash’s face solidified instantly.

    ‘You’re going to break the code again?’ he said incredulously.

    ‘No, no!’ I assured him quickly. ‘That’s why I’m telling you. I don’t want to break the code again. Last time led to my defenestration.’

    ‘Your what?’

    ‘I got thrown out of a window.’

    ‘No, that was because you kidnapped Max.’

    ‘Whatever. Anyway, you don’t have to worry about me. I won’t do anything unless you say it’s okay.’

    ‘Glad to hear it,’ Ash said. He got up and walked away.

    Not quite the response I was hoping for.

    November 12, 1:30pm
    MAY


    ‘When we first met he was like Humphrey Bogart. All charming and gentleman like, and he had this really distinct film noir quality to him. I think that was one of the things that attracted me to him. It was like he was from another world, a vanished, romantic past. But now he’s more like Hannibal Lecter. He’s still charming, and always polite. But there’s something ominous about the way he focuses his attention. He’s got this… power over me. I’m uncertain if I like him, but I know I really love him. And he really loves me.’

    ‘I see,’ Tania said, scribbling down notes on her pad. It sure was handy having someone to talk to. Since I moved here I didn’t really have any friends. All of my conversation was with Dante, and usually very serious. ‘Well, I’m afraid our time is almost up. Is there anything else you’d like to tell me today?’

    An hour gone by already? Well I’ll be, she was right. And there was just one more thing I wanted to say.

    ‘Well… It’s only a been couple of days so it might not be anything, but…’

    I heard the faintest of clicks and sat up as though I’d been electrified. Dante had entered the room.

    ‘Buena Sera,’ he said.

    ‘Dante!’ I spluttered. ‘You said you wouldn’t be home until later.’

    ‘Yes, I did. The person I was meeting was otherwise occupied. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Who is this?’ he turned his gaze towards Tania, who had also leapt from her seat like it had tried to bite her.

    ‘This is Tania, from the Psychiatric Institute,’ I said. ‘I was having a free trial.’

    ‘Well, I am very sorry to interrupt, then,’ Dante said. ‘I’ll be in the Study if you need me.’

    He moved softly out of the room.

    ‘I really must be going,’ Tania stuttered. ‘Here’s my number.’ She tore the corner off of her pad and gave it to me. ‘Give me a call if you want to meet with me again.’

    ‘But-’

    ‘Goodbye.’

    She was out the door within seconds. I headed towards the Study.

    Dante was hunched over his desk, a bright lamp over his right shoulder shining on the book. I noticed as I walked past the bookshelf that both today’s journal and The Philosophy of Time Travel were gone.

    ‘You’re seeing a psychiatrist.’ It wasn’t a question.

    ‘Just the once. I can’t talk to you about everything.’

    ‘Of course you can,’ he said, still not turning around. ‘You can tell me anything.’

    ‘There are some things girls can only say to other girls,’ I said, feeling myself starting to get angry. He was trying to control me again.

    ‘What did you learn today?’ He let me have that small victory.

    ‘I learned that you smoke dope.’

    ‘I used to. I don’t anymore.’

    ‘Is there some in this house?’

    ‘Of course. But I do not use it.’

    ‘The me that appeared in your hallucination wore the same thing that I was wearing the night we went into hiding,’ I said, changing the subject.

    ‘That is indeed true.’

    ‘How?’

    ‘Destiny,’ he said, finally turning his chair around to face me. He gestured to the couch that faced the desk. I sat down upon it. ‘There are many who interpret drug induced hallucinations. No interpretation I have ever received has satisfied me. I am attempting to interpret it myself. That is what I occupy myself with when I work in here.’

    ‘Using a time travel book?’

    ‘That is a separate matter. I can tell you have many questions.’

    ‘I do. I have hundreds of questions I want to ask you.’

    ‘Choose one and ask me now.’

    ‘Do you really love me?’

    He didn’t hesitate.

    ‘Always.’

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    That chapter's not one of my best, admittedly, and I was a little bit high when I wrote the first half, but it's a necessary one. Arguably the most important one I've written so far.

    Z

  25. #25
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    Wow, Hikari got send to a nunnery due to Ash kissing her under a mistletoe during Christmas? That settles the hate between the two. Dante is/was doing drugs and saw May in the suit she was in when she ran way with him? And time travel might fit in it somehow? And Tania is a really good psychiatrist? Wow next facts and more craziness, you still can put on that "Man, I must really read the next chapter soon" feeling into people, I applause for that.

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