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Thread: Tricks and Treats (Palletshipping, PG-13)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    56

    Default Tricks and Treats (Palletshipping, PG-13)

    I started this around Halloween, and was wondering if anyone would like to read it. I also have it posted on FF.net (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3857474/1/Tricks_and_Treats), if anyone prefers to read it there. This will contain Palletshipping (Ash x Gary) stuff from the next chapter on (the first chapter is just setting up the story), but nothing graphic. Hope you enjoy, and feedback of all types except flames is greatly appreciated ^_^

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    Disclaimer: I don’t own Pokémon or any big thing (company, character, etc.) tied to it.
    Rating: PG-13
    Notes/rambly bits: Naturally, this was inspired by the Halloweeny season (…::giggle::). I love the holiday as well as Pokémon, so I thought, “why not combine the two?” Also, I wanted to write a relatively light piece involving my favorite couple ^_^. Finally, I wanted to keep this story in the same (or a very similar) tone as the episodes, so I don’t think there will be anything too deep or dramatic, just mostly lighthearted stuff with some action (or at least, that’s what I’m going for) ^^
    Warnings: Bad writing (it’s been years since I’ve really written a fic, and I wasn’t exactly good to begin with…), OOC-ness (though I tried really hard to keep them in character), future shonen-ai (guy-guy romance), and perhaps some other stuff that I’ve forgotten ^^;

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    CHAPTER 1

    “Ash, Brock, hurry up!”

    Piles of leaves, transformed to various shades of gold, red and green with the changing of the seasons, crunched and snapped as Dawn, Brock, and Ash continued to make their way to their latest destination. Dawn led the way, briskly striding several meters ahead of the older, wearier boys, who struggled to keep up as Dawn’s figure alternated between disappearing among the slender shadows of trees, all in different degrees of bareness, and suddenly halting in her tracks, throwing increasingly eager and impatient looks at her companions.

    “Guys, come on! We’re almost there!” she said with an encouraging smile as she began to ascend a long, gently sloping hill.

    Ash and Brock looked at each other and sighed once more as they continued to trail her.

    “That’s what you said yesterday, Dawn,” Brock replied.

    “And the day before that…” Ash added.

    “Piiiikaaa,” Pikachu cried, hoping to win Dawn’s pity, but to no avail.

    Dawn sucked in her breath as she turned around and snapped. “Well, I mean it this time! Come on! It’s already freezing – you don’t want to get stuck out here again tonight, do you?”

    “No…” Ash and Brock chimed, as they began to pick up their pace and walk up the slope, shielding their eyes from the final, bright rays of sunlight of the day.

    “Dawn…” Ash hesitantly uttered after a few minutes of trudging, “if you keep being all…” The words would not come to him.

    “Insane?” Brock suggested.

    “Right!” Ash confirmed. “Yeah, if you keep being all insane, and we’re not there by nightfall, I don’t care if I have to see this town to believe it, tomorrow I’m turni…”

    Brock and Ash had caught up to Dawn, who had stopped at the top of the hill. Its height afforded them a vast view of the surrounding area below, which included a large town already awash in multicolored lighting in the twilight. All was silent for a few moments, save for the soft murmurs of activity in the town below, as the three trainers and Pikachu gazed in amazement.

    “And why are they” – Brock gestured to various townspeople as he broke the silence – “doing all this again?”

    Dawn smiled, happy to be the knowledgeable one for once. “It’s called Halloween. It’s a tradition out here! Kids dress up in different outfits and go to different houses asking for candy.”

    “You mean, outfits like suits and ties?” Ash asked, scratching his head.

    “Er, usually not those kinds of outfits,” Dawn replied as Brock chuckled. “I meant outfits that you normally wouldn’t wear everyday, or that people in general wouldn’t wear everyday. Costumes, like angels, witches, ghosts, monsters, giant pieces of candy, that sort of stuff.”

    “Ohhh,” Ash uttered as he understood – partially. “But why?”

    “Hmm…” Dawn’s brow furrowed. “I actually don’t know, now that I think about it.” She balled her fists and jumped a bit in excitement. “But who cares?! Like I said, we get to dress up as whatever we want and get free candy from strangers!”

    Ash grinned. “I could always use free candy!”

    Brock, on the other hand, frowned and folded his arms. “Candy from strangers…it’s one thing to ask for directions or help from them, but this could lead to some bad stuff…”

    “Well, no one’s forcing you to eat the candy,” Ash interrupted, eager to enter the town.

    “And,” Dawn added, “it’s usually perfectly good people giving it out, including a bunch of girls!” She ended her sentence with a grin and a wink at Brock.

    “Ahhh!” Brock moaned as he blushed in anticipation. “How could I have not thought about that?! I have to find a good outfit! Something that’ll show off my best qualities - my good looks, intelligence, charm, skill…”

    He took off towards the town before he finished his sentence, leaving a barely-visible dirt cloud in his wake.

    “Brock, wait!” Ash and Dawn cried in unison, as they themselves took off on the long path leading into the town.

    As Ash, Dawn, as well as Pikachu’s voices and steps grew softer and softer, five cloaked figures emerged from the shadows – one per tree that they had each been hiding behind.

    “Aha!” Jessie’s deceptively-sweet voice rang out. “The twerps! I knew something good would come out of camping out here all day!”

    You knew? It was my idea in the first place!” Meowth countered. “You’re the one who kept insisting we sneak into town a whole day early!” He punctuated this last statement with an indignant huff.

    “Guys, can we stop arguing and stick to the plan?” James implored. “I’m starving and I’d like something decent to eat for once…”

    Everyone’s stomach growled in agreement, to their embarrassment.

    “Wooobuffet.”

    “Mime!”

    “Ugh…” Meowth smacked a paw against his forehead. “Fine. Let’s go over the plan again, since I don’t expect you two buffoons to remember it!”

    “Hey!” Jessie growled as she lurched forward to strangle the cat pokémon, only to be stopped by James.

    “Pull yourself together, guys! The hunger is driving us crazy!” He took another look at Jessie, whose teeth were gritted and whose veins were threatening to pop in several places on her forehead. “Er, crazier…”

    “If I had more energy I’d strangle you next!” Jessie screamed as she tore herself from James’ grip and prepared to smack him. To the wincing James’ relief, however, she suddenly put down her hand, sighed in resignation, and turned to Meowth.

    “Let’s just get this over with and get some food,” the redhead said. “Now that I think about it, I don’t remember much of the plan myself…”

    “And neither do I,” James added, with a sweatdrop.

    Meowth, now calm as well, closed his eyes and smugly smiled as he began.

    “This is virtually foolproof! Remember? We go into town – in our costumes, of course,” he added, eying Jessie and James, clad in their standard Team Rocket uniforms underneath their cloaks - “check into the pokémon center, bide our time until the evening, and go into the central square and start handing out the candy. About three hours in, everyone’ll be wrapping things up and settling down to eat the candy, and we should start noticing things getting a lot quieter…”

    Meowth, Jessie, and James giggled wickedly as the cat Pokémon trailed off.

    “I remember now,” Jessie continued. “The brats, their parents, and their pokémon will all fall asleep, and we’ll steal all the money, pokémon, candy, and food” – the redhead emphasized that last object longingly – “that we can carry –”

    “And make a clean getaway, hours before everyone wakes up!” James finished gleefully.

    Meowth nodded. “And get rewarded by the boss. You two remembered a lot though. Maybe you aren’t so stupid after all!”

    Jessie and James paused in their good cheer to glare at Meowth, but their indignation faded when they heard a long, high-pitched moaning sound. It could not be the wind, for the air stayed perfectly still, and not a single leaf, of the few still precariously attached to tree branches, stirred.

    Meowth gulped and backed closer towards his shuddering companions, now barely visible in the near-complete darkness where they all stood. “C-come to think of it, m-maybe we should head down a little early…”

    “Good idea…” James and Jessie replied nervously, and the five crooks scampered to their costume bags, changed their outfits – neglecting to put on their wigs and makeup for the time being – and rushed towards the safety of the town below.

    To be continued...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    56

    Default Chapter 2

    The fic has some shippiness now! ^_^

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    Disclaimer: Again, I don’t own Pokémon or any big thing (company, character, etc.) tied to it. Nor do I own Burt’s Bees (the company, at least – I have some lip chap from them somewhere in my room).
    Warnings: Same as before – not the highest quality writing, OOC-ness, etc. And this chapter is really, really corny XD

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    As Team Rocket discussed their plans, Ash, Pikachu and Dawn caught up to Brock, and the four of them arrived in their long-awaited destination proper. However, after making their way through numerous winding, haphazard rows of shops and houses, all adorned with Zubat, ghost pokémon, skeleton, pumpkin and other macabre decorations of varying sizes and colors, they were dismayed to find no Nurse Joy greeting them at the local Pokémon Center. No one, for that matter, was present in the unusually large and heavily decorated building’s lobby.

    “H-hello?” Ash called as he and his companions hesitantly walked around the room. “Nurse Joy? Anyone?”

    “Sorry to barge in like this,” Brock added. “So late and…”

    He trailed off as he heard Ash’s stomach growl loudly. The younger boy blushed and sheepishly grinned as Pikachu and Dawn giggled.

    “Uh…all?” Brock tried to finish as he lost his train of thought.

    “I think we could all use some food,” Dawn said sympathetically. She gave the room one more glance-over and huffed. “But where is everyone?! It’s not that late – the sun only set a few minutes ago!”

    “Yeah…”Ash and Brock agreed, sighing.

    Dejected, Dawn walked towards some large, overstuffed furniture covered in red and black sheets and accented with pumpkin pillows, and plopped down on the sofa. “Guess we’ll stay in the lobby tonight…”

    “You think anything’s open?” Ash asked hopefully.

    “Every store we passed was dark,” Brock answered.

    “Oh yeah…” Ash replied, now dejected himself. “That’s not gonna help us.”

    “No, it’s not,” Dawn agreed. “We’re gonna miss the town’s morning events looking for costumes, and there’ll hardly be any costumes left to buy in the first place!” She pulled at her hair. “This isn’t how I planned things at all!”

    “It’s okay, Dawn!” Ash replied comfortingly. “We’ll figure something out…”

    As Ash and Pikachu offered words and, “pikas” of encouragement to Dawn, Brock’s attention was diverted by a sound that seemed to come from the center of the room, behind the receptionist’s desk. It sounded suspiciously like a Chansey – giggling…

    Puzzled – as he could’ve sworn he had looked behind the counter already – Brock quickly strode towards the desk, stepping on a loose tile in the process. A long cackle seemed to emanate from the floor, echoing through the lobby and sending chills up the gang’s spines despite their better judgment.

    “Pikaaa,” Pikachu wailed as it clung tighter to Ash, and its human companions shuddered.

    “G-guys,” Dawn tried to reassure everyone through her shaky voice, “n-no need to worry…t-this is all j-just part of the hol –”

    At that moment a figure shrouded in black robes popped up in front of the receptionist’s counter and yanked the nearby – and now screaming – Brock closer to it. Upon better inspection, Brock noticed the grinning figure’s golden, crooked teeth and pale complexion, marred by pockmarks, boils, and gashes. Brock’s stomach lurched as his throat went dry. His revulsion turned to confusion, however, when the mysterious figure let go of him and began to laugh hysterically. That laugh sounded like angels singing…

    “Welcome to the Booville Pokémon Center!” the figure cheerfully cried as it expertly removed its skin-tight mask and lowered its hood, revealing the light peach skin, soft eyes, and strands of curly pink hair that signified a Nurse Joy. A smiling Chansey, clad in matching robes and fake vampire teeth, emerged at her side from behind the counter.

    “Booville?” Ash and Brock asked, wondering if they had heard correctly.

    “Yup!” Joy replied with a smile and nod. “We all love Halloween out here, and I just can’t resist scaring visitors around this time of the year!”

    “That’s…nice,” Dawn replied as she rubbed the back of her head and the gang sweatdropped at the nurse’s misplaced enthusiasm.

    Joy cleared her throat. “Well, it’s getting late, so you kids should eat if you haven’t already and head off to bed.”

    “But the sun only set a few minutes ago!” Ash protested, confused.

    “Exactly!” Joy replied with a smile, adding a bit of force to her voice. “Tomorrow’s going to be a busy day! We need to get all the rest we can get so we can enjoy all the festivities! Follow me,” she commanded the resigned trainers, grabbing some food from a cupboard behind her counter and leading the group up the staircase at the other end of the lobby.

    She led the trainers up several floors and through a long, dimly-lit hallway, covered in fake cobweb and bug Pokémon decorations. Occasionally, a Gastly or Haunter, sensing the presence of new arrivals, would materialize and frighten the trainers. By the time they arrived at their room, Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Pikachu’s stomachs hurt both from being frightened and nervous so much as well as from laughing at their reactions.

    “Here’s your room!” Joy cheerfully announced. “You guys are lucky – it’s the last vacancy in the whole building!”

    “Wow, that is lucky!” Ash agreed, relieved he and his companions hadn’t had to spend another night outside, especially with the type of people that seemed to inhabit the town.

    Joy nodded. “Well, sleep tight, everyone. Tomorrow’s going to be great!”

    “Thanks!” the gang replied.

    “And sleep tight yourself!” Brock added. “You’re always welcome to my bed – er, our room – if something real scares you!”

    Ash laughed and sweatdropped in embarrassment as Dawn and Croagunk – who silently emerged from out-of-nowhere as he was wont to do – dragged Brock into their witch-themed room. After apologizing to the nurse, Ash followed them.

    ~~~~~

    “I’m excited already!” Ash piped as he scarfed down his Golbat-shaped sandwich. The trainers were sprawled out on their respective beds, as their Pokémon, including Pikachu, rested for the day.

    “Me too!” Brock seconded through a mouth full of ‘ghoulash.’ “I wonder if all the girls around here get as touchy-feely on Halloween as Nurse Joy was today.” Hearts filled the older boy’s eyes as he blushed. “Ahhh…just think, Ash! Cute girls giving out candy and dressing up in…creative?…yeah, creative (cough)…outfits…and getting affectionate…” Brock trailed off, lost in yet-another fantasy of his, as his dinner was forgotten.

    Ash chuckled, amazed at how someone who had been rejected so many times could still go so crazy over the thought of romance. As usual, he himself was unable to get as worked up over the opposite gender as his older friend.

    “Anyways,” Dawn cut in as she finished her salad and snuck Brock’s meal out of his hands for a taste. “I wonder why this holiday isn’t as popular outside this town.”

    “Hmmm…me too…” Ash softly uttered as he tried to come up with logical answers for Dawn’s thought. “It seems like something everyone would really like,” he added as he gave up. “Oh well, we can tell other people about it as we travel!”

    “Ah.” Dawn snapped her fingers. “Good idea!” she ceded, and they moved on to other topics.

    ~~~~~

    Drowsiness took hold of the trainers as they finished eating, and a yawn suddenly overtook Ash.

    “Guess it’s time for bed,” he said as he stretched and yawned again, louder and longer this time. He lazily rose to prepare for sleep, and as he got up a small, half-spherical object fell out of his pocket. He gasped and hurried to return it to his pocket once more, but the object’s glint had caught Brock’s eye, and the older boy spoke up.

    “Still carrying that around?” Brock asked, amused.

    “Uh, yeah…” Ash replied guiltily.

    “What is it?” Dawn asked, vaguely recognizing the object, but unable to definitively label it, or what it was part of.

    “Do you remember Gary Oak, Dawn?” Brock asked helpfully.

    “Professor Oak’s grandson? Of course! I could never forget his poetry, or his grandfather’s!” Dawn beamed and blushed, fondly remembering her first meeting with the talented – and handsome – researcher, frantic as it was. “But what does that have to do with anything?”

    “…uhh, i-it’s a long story…” Ash replied, trying to avoid the subject.

    “Yeah,” Brock agreed, finally sensing Ash’s discomfort. “The pokeball just has some sentimental value for Ash and Gary.”

    “Oh,” Dawn replied, disappointed at the lack of juicy information. “…well, that’s…good…”

    Ash sighed pensively. “Yeah, it is…”

    Silence lingered in the air for a few moments until Brock, wanting to dissipate the awkwardness, spoke up.

    “Well, ‘night everyone, I’m going to bed. You remember what Nurse Joy said – tomorrow’s gonna be great!” He walked giddily to the bathroom, a newfound spring in his step.

    Dawn and Ash likewise said their goodnights and prepared for bed. However, while his companions managed to doze off quickly, Ash tossed and turned long after the lights went out, stirred by the memories of his and his former rival’s shared keepsake of each other. Habitually keeping it in his pants pocket every day rarely led him to ponder over it, but seeing Brock and Dawn’s reactions had brought all the emotions tied to it to the surface once more. Childhood adventures, shared hopes and dreams mixed with the later taunts and insults, hurt and confusion, and partial relief at the end – somewhat – of his and Gary’s rivalry. Ash’s eyes stung and his throat hurt, and he could barely keep everything inside…

    ~~~~~

    He heard noises on the other side of the door. Thumping noises, and voices, calling for him, getting louder and louder.

    …cheering? For me…?

    Ash tried to rise out of bed as fast as he could, but his feet weighed him down like lead, and the sheets tangled with his legs.

    After some struggling, he stumbled his way to the door and opened it, only to find the dark, empty hall he and his friends had traveled to get to the room. Not a soul out, much less any that were cheering him on.

    Annoyed, he went to close the door.

    “Psst! Ashy-boy!”

    “Huh?!” Ash reeled at the sound of that voice. Only one person had ever called him by that name…

    “G-Gary??” Ash stuck his head out the room, but as before, didn’t see anyone out. He hesitantly stepped out into the hall.

    “Gary, where are you?” Ash whispered loudly, trying not to disturb the other visitors. He gasped and jumped as his room door slammed shut.

    “Out here, Ash,” the brunette called out as Ash saw him further down the hall.

    Ash’s voice caught in his throat. It had been so long since they had seen each other, and now they were staying in the same town…?

    His thoughts were interrupted when Gary turned away from him and began walking away.

    “Gary, wait!” Ash yelled as he took off towards his former rival. The more he ran, however, the farther away he seemed to get from the brunette.

    He ran and ran, keeping his eyes on his fast-fading friend. Suddenly, he found himself in a familiar field, and, even more confused, he stopped running, tripping over himself in the process.

    “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

    Ash looked up to see Gary, the latter with his hand outstretched to help the former up.

    “Y-yeah, it has,” Ash agreed, holding on to Gary’s firm hand and rising. He dusted himself off. “W-where are we? What are you doing here? Er,” Ash corrected, taking note of their surroundings, “what were you doing, back at the Pokémon Center?”

    “I should ask the same of you,” Gary replied, a hint of his old smirk showing.

    Ash gritted his teeth. “Well, I asked you first!”

    He shook his head and tried to calm himself down. Gary was probably there for the same thing he was, he reasoned – Halloween. However, without him knowing – or even hearing – Gary had made his way to the edge of the field, which was in fact, as Ash realized upon catching up, a hill overlooking the shore. They were in their hometown again, the waves crashing steadily against the rocks below, and the moon casting a white glow over the boys and everything in their line of sight. Relief flooded over Ash – it was good to be home again, with his old friend. Even if said old friend was playing coy again.

    Neither of them spoke for the next few minutes, taking everything in: the sight of the aforementioned scenery, the smells of the fruits and flowers they would play with and eat as children, the feel of the grass they would roll around in, and the sounds of the waves and winds that would calm their fears.

    “How…how’s research coming along? Since we saved the Shieldon.” Ash finally broke the silence, peering sideways at Gary. It was a safe topic, he thought.

    Gary turned to him, and Ash’s knees felt wobbly under the brunette’s intense gaze.

    Gary looked down and sighed. “Same old, same old. Lots of reading, mostly. Been doing some excavating, but we haven’t found anything exciting in a while.” He picked his head up and smiled, and the look in his eyes grew warmer. “How’s training coming along? You ready to enter the Sinnoh League?”

    Ash’s stomach fluttered, and he smiled. “Not yet. But I have two badges!”

    The smile on Gary’s face faded and was replaced by annoyance. “After all this time?” He stepped back and turned away from Ash. “Same as always.”

    Ash’s face – and heart – fell. “W-what do you mean?” He couldn’t mask the hurt in his voice.

    Gary turned back to him. “You’ve been at this for…” He tried to remember. “…how long now?”

    Ash looked down. “Yeah, I’ve been doing this for a while.” He chuckled nervously. “I can barely remember life before I started traveling.”

    “Exactly.” Ash brought his head up and found himself inches apart from Gary, who was staring straight at him again. Ash swallowed and barely managed to keep himself from jerking backwards.

    “You can’t get sidetracked so easily,” Gary continued, his voice softer. He continued looking into Ash’s eyes, and the latter felt uncomfortable, almost as if by not avoiding the gaze, he had unwillingly revealed everything – thoughts, memories, pent-up emotions – to the brunette.

    Seemingly satisfied, Gary buried his hands in his pockets and turned to look at the moon, his voice still soft. “I know what you’ve been up to, Ash. It’s one thing to help someone, and another to go along and help them on their own quest, and enter random contests –”

    “But I can’t help myself, Gary!” Ash blurted out, causing the startled brunette to turn to him once more. Ash sighed. “I don’t think you’ve ever really understood that about me. Just because I want to be a pokémon master, doesn’t mean that’s all I’m gonna focus on. There’s so much to take in in the world, in life…you know?”

    A small smile, with a hint of sadness, reappeared on Gary’s face as he approached Ash and, to the latter’s surprise and relief, clasped hands. Ash felt his face burn up, but didn’t mind the brunette’s gaze as much this time around even as he felt himself being pulled closer to him.

    “Believe me, Ash…” Gary softly uttered as Ash hung on to every word, not caring about anything else in the world. “I know what you mean.”

    Gary unclasped their hands, revealing the two halves of the old pokeball they had hooked long before, joined together once again.

    “But…”

    Thump, thump, thump…

    ~~~~~

    A loud knock at the door stirred Ash out of his sleep. He opened his eyes a millimeter to see the room lit up in sunlight.

    …a…a dream…?

    He sighed as whoever was at the door knocked again.

    “Can someone get that?” he groggily mumbled after a few more pounds on the door, and buried his head under the pillows. Memories of his dream faded quickly, but the emotions lingered.

    “Chansey! Chansey Chansey!” the voice on the other side chirped.

    “Dawn?…Brock?…Pikachu?? Ugh!” Ash cried as he finally rose out of bed, only to find himself alone in the room.

    Resigned as well as puzzled, he opened the door to find the same Chansey from the night before, this time dressed as a Togepi.

    “Chansey!” the large, pink pokémon happily cried as it handed Ash a pumpkin-shaped bag full of treats, as well as a small note. Before Ash could say thanks, it quickly made its way back into the pokémon center’s hall, which Ash could tell, even from his distant vantage point, was crowded with both human and pokémon guests.

    “Hmm, hopefully this’ll answer things,” Ash thought out loud as he made his way back to his bed. He instantly recognized the curly-q, bubbly writing.

    Ash,

    Brock and I are leaving for Burt’s Bats, down by the grocery store (we waited for you but you didn’t seem to wanna wake up). Pikachu’s coming too. Hope to see you soon! (please…)

    ~ Dawn


    Ash remembered the store, as well as its motto – “Great costumes, no pokémon testing!” – and wondered why anyone would think of dressing pokémon up in costumes made for humans.

    Oh well…Ash thought as he started planning out his day. Guess I should see what time it is…

    Ash glanced at the clock on the nightstand.

    12:38 pm.

    Oh, okay……12:38?!


    Now in a panic, Ash rushed to clean up and dress. Not bothering to eat lunch – the pokémon center’s famous Halloween breakfast buffet had ended at 11 – he tore through the costumed crowd gathered in the lobby and made his way to Burt’s Bats.

    ~~~~~

    Dawn was organizing her purse after making her final purchase when Ash virtually flew into the store, making her and Pikachu jump.

    “Finally! Geez, we didn’t go to bed that late!” Dawn huffed, relieved yet exasperated with her friend. Pikachu echoed her sentiment as it darted for Ash and lightly smacked him on the shin.

    “S-sorry,” Ash managed through his wheezing. “I-I’m not sure what happened.” He softly apologized to Pikachu, who ended its punishment with a stern, “chaaa.”

    Dawn rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Whatever. Brock’s talking to a girl in the stock room, but I think he’s got something picked out.”

    Ash looked around the store – which was completely empty of costumes at that point – and scratched his head.

    “Er, you mean he settled for the last costume in the store?”

    Dawn looked around and sweatdropped. “Guess so. Boy…” Dawn looked at the sparkly green costume she held. “I immediately saw this one and decided I was gonna wear it! How lucky for me, right?”

    “I guess so,” replied Ash, barely paying attention to Dawn and still angry with himself.

    “Anyway,” Dawn continued, “Brock and I started talking to the owner of the store and his daughter. This town is even more amazing than I thought! I guess we got so caught up in the conversation that we didn’t realize that all the other costumes were gone. So now…” Dawn looked over Ash, “we need to find you something.”

    “Any other stores open?” Ash asked doubtfully. “Seems like everyone in town is outside.”

    “That’s the thing,” Dawn answered nervously. “All the other stores have signs saying they’re closed today.”

    “Oh man, what am I gonna do…?” Ash hung his head.

    “Don’t you worry, child!”

    “Huh?” Ash and Dawn’s attention was drawn to a short, older man with a wavering voice, dressed as a Psyduck.

    “I said, don’t you worry!” the man repeated.

    “Ah, the storeowner!” Dawn told Ash.

    “Yes, and I have just the costume for you! My daughter wore it a few years ago…her favorite, but she grew out of it so fast…such a beautiful costume…” The old man continued to mumble as he scuttled to the stock room.

    Daughter?” Ash whispered nervously to Dawn.

    “Now that I think about it, that Psyduck costume suits him well,” Dawn whispered back with a nervous chuckle, sweatdropping again.

    The man quickly emerged out of the room, gripping a large, gray bag. He brought it to the front counter, with Ash and Dawn following, and opened it up, pulling out the costume.

    “Ahhhh….” Ash wailed quietly, trying to be as polite as possible despite his humiliation.

    “Wow! This is gorgeous!” Dawn cried, hearts flashing in front of her eyes.

    On the counter in front of them lay a small, ruffled pink skirt made out of a felt-like material. Purple and yellow polka dots adorned the skirt, and the image of a Delcatty was embroidered into its lower right side.

    “You’re lucky – it’s the last costume in the whole store, even in our back room!” the owner exclaimed, ecstatic for Ash.

    “We’ll take it!” Dawn cried, reaching into her purse to get some money.

    “DAWN!” Ash protested.

    “Ash,” Dawn reasoned, “he just said it’s the last costume in the store, and this is the last open costume store in town!”

    “But -”

    “Here, try it on!” the storeowner cried, unclasping the skirt and tying it around Ash’s waist, on top of his jeans. Before Ash could stop him, he also removed the boy’s cap.

    “Waaaugh!” Ash screamed in horror as he looked himself over in a nearby mirror.

    “Heeey, you don’t look so bad!” Dawn said, surprised at how the skirt alone made Ash look so much more feminine, and picturing how she could complete Ash’s transformation into a temporary girl.

    Ash gawked at Dawn. “You’re kidding, right?”

    “Ash?” a deeper male voice called from just outside the stock room.

    “Brock!” Ash cried, relieved to hear what he hoped would be the voice of reason.

    “Is this one of your sisters, Brock?” asked the tall, thin redhead standing next to him.

    Brock sweatdropped as his face screwed up in panic. “Uh, y-yup…o-one of my sisters!”

    The girl beamed at Ash. “Awwww, she’s adorable!” She turned to Brock. “What’s her name?”

    Brock grinned nervously. “A-Ashley!”

    “What a pretty name! And my costume looks so good on her!”

    “Heh…heh…” Brock chuckled uneasily as Ash glared at him, just out of the girl’s eyeshot.

    “Tell you what,” the girl declared, looking over Ash and pointing to the skirt, “this one’s on the house.”

    “Wow, really?!” Dawn asked, shocked at the girl’s generosity concerning what was obviously something very precious to her.

    “Sure!” the girl replied. “I’m just happy someone’s wearing it again!”

    “Wow, thank you, Samantha!” Brock cried, taking the redhead’s hands in his. Now it was Samantha who blushed and chuckled, and she pulled away from the love struck youth.

    “It’s my pleasure, Brock! Be sure to visit our home when you trick-or-treat tonight, girls! It’s the skinny blue house at the top of the big hill. And be sure to bring your brother along, Ashley.” She punctuated this with a suggestive wink at Brock, who blushed and giggled anxiously.

    “Don’t you worry, Samantha!” Brock replied. “I would never miss out on a chance to see you!”

    Dawn and Ash looked at each other, baffled at Brock’s sudden good luck, and wary of Samantha’s intentions.

    “O-okay guys!” Dawn cut in nervously as she started to back up towards the exit. “Thanks for the costumes!”

    “See ya’ll tonight!” Brock added as he and Ash followed.

    “Bye,” Ash huffed.

    “Bye, guys! Enjoy the rest of your day!” Samantha replied, her angelic smile never wavering.

    “Good day, children!” Samantha’s father said, and the two of them walked to the stock room as he mumbled something about Exeggcutes and creamed spinach pie.

    “Well, it’s pretty late in the day, but I think there are still some parades and parties we can catch before we trick-or-treat.” Brock reassured his human companions and Pikachu as they made their way back to the Pokémon Center, each of them carrying bags filled with their costumes and assorted goodies they had received from passersby. “I’ll check our guides when we get back to the pokémon center. Is there anything that you guys can think of off the top of your head that you want to do?”

    “Um, guys,” Ash glumly announced, “you do whatever you want…I think I’ll stick inside the pokémon center tonight…I’m not feeling well and – ah!”

    Brock had dropped his bags and was suddenly grabbing Ash’s shoulders tightly, violently shaking the younger boy.

    You’re my ticket to her, Ash! After all this time, I finally have a shot at being happy and doing what I want, and you are not ruining this for me!”

    Ahhhh!” Ash cried, suddenly fearful of Brock, who he had never seen like this.

    “Brock, let go of him!” Dawn yelled as she separated the boys. “Ash, it’s alright, no one knows us around here,” she continued once they calmed down. “And with my beautification skills, we’ll make you look completely like a girl in no time! (cough) Not that I’ll have to do much to you anyway (cough).”

    What?” A rare vein popped up on Ash’s forehead.

    “Er, nothing!” Dawn replied, a small sweatdrop forming on her own forehead.

    Ash sighed in resignation as the Pokémon Center came into view.

    Well…we did come all the way out here, might as well enjoy it as much as we can. At least no one we know will see us…I hope…

    To be continued...

    ------

    Feedback is appreciated! ^_^

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    56

    Default Chapter 3

    Notes: The normal disclaimers and warnings apply (the latter probably even moreso as the story goes on!). And, if you’re reading just for the shippiness, there’s none this chapter, so you can skip it if you want XD


    Chapter 3

    Officer Jenny, clad in a white lab coat, her blue hair gelled so that every strand reached for the sky, led a kindly-looking elderly couple and their pet Meowth through the winding streets of Booville. The sun was once again in its final stages of setting, and already the streets of the town were filling up with eager trick-or-treaters of all ages.

    After some time, they reached a long alley covered by tarp and guarded by several other officers. Small stalls, booths, tables and chairs, all covered in Halloween decorations, filled the alley, and heat lamps added to the brightness and coziness of the area. Several seniors had already made themselves comfortable in their designated spots, none looking up at the newest additions as Jenny stopped a few yards away from them.

    “Well, here you are!” she exclaimed, gesturing at a few simple, yet comfortable-looking, fold-out chairs and a table. “We have a whole place just for seniors, so you don’t have to worry about having to stand in the Central Square all night!” She smiled.

    Upon seeing everything in the alley and getting their bearings, the couple and their Meowth grew very nervous. Sensing this, Jenny laughed.

    “Aww, it’s alright! See?” She pointed to the guards around them. “Everything will be just fine! Besides, crime is virtually nonexistent here. There’s never been a murder or robbery in this town ever!”

    “Really?” the gentleman of the group, purple roots peeking out from underneath his gray hair, blurted out. He pinched his chin. “That’s…somewhat surprising…”

    “Nonsense!” Jenny replied. “Our police force is world-renowned for its effectiveness!” She pulled out a small photo album and showed the pictures within to the trio, pointing them out rapidly and turning the pages as she spoke. “We’ve been honored by mayors, magazines, contests, pokémon league competitions, businesses, government officials, and…” - her eyes sparkled as she blushed – “…celebrities…!”

    The elderly couple and their Meowth all sweatdropped at Jenny’s antics, confused over her reaction to that last point, but not really wanting to know the reasoning behind it in any case.

    Jenny cleared her throat. “Anyways…” She calmed down, putting her photo album back in her pocket. “So yes, nothing to worry about here! I have to get back to escorting other people, but make yourselves comfortable! And if there’s anything you need, or want to return to your home, feel free to tell a guard and we’ll assist you right away!”

    “Thank you very much!” the woman of the group, red hair poking out from underneath her own gray cover, sweetly chirped in response.

    “See-ahhh!” the Meowth blurted out, but was quickly clamped shut by the purple/gray-haired man next to him. “We’ll be seeing you!” the latter sing-songly called as he held the cat pokémon, with a wide – almost too wide – grin. He and his wife waved to the officer as the latter began to leave.

    Jenny, oblivious to the purple-haired man’s actions, grinned and partly turned her back to them, waving as she walked away. “Have a nice – oh!”

    Jenny stopped speaking mid-wave, and returned to them.

    “Before I forget…”

    The couple and their Meowth gasped slightly, wondering what the officer had remembered.

    “Almost forgot!” Jenny said sheepishly. “I’ll need to inspect your candy.”

    “I-inspect?” the elderly woman repeated hesitantly.

    Jenny nodded. “Standard protocol. I just need to see one of your candy pieces. It’ll only take a second.” She reached into the large, brown bag being held by the elderly man, and pulled out a round candy with purple wrapping. The elderly couple and their Meowth looked at each other, then the officer nervously as the latter held the candy close to her eyes, squinting in deep concentration as she analyzed every millimeter of the wrapper. Removing said wrapper, she then did the same to the candy itself, sniffing it, rubbing it, and finally putting it in her mouth and carefully tasting it, to her charges’ surprise. Thoroughly chewing on it for a moment, she swallowed the sweet, smiling and licking her lips.

    “That was really good! The trick-or-treaters will love it!”

    The trio sighed in relief, and the elderly woman smiled. “Well, we sure hope they do! We want to make others happy, after all!”

    Jenny smiled. “I’m sure you do!” She turned to leave. “Sorry about that! Happy Halloween!”

    “No problem at all!” the elderly man replied.

    “Happy Halloween to you too!” the elderly woman finished off as they waved goodbye and Officer Jenny left the scene.

    Once she was out of eyeshot, the trio looked at each other and grinned deviously, keeping their voices low as the alley continued to fill up with more seniors and officers.

    “For such gullible idiots, the people here sure are lucky!” Meowth softly exclaimed, relieved to be able to speak like a human again.

    “Heh, no robberies in their entire history…! I think it’s time it’s time to end that lucky streak, don’t you?” Jessie asked her companions, the aggressive desire in her voice still laced with a sweet-old-lady impersonation.

    “Oh, definitely,” James agreed, his eyes narrowing as he sneered.

    “Time to put this plan into action!” Meowth gleefully cried.

    Team Rocket shared a hearty laugh, but quickly calmed down and blushed once people started to stare at them.

    ----------

    After an afternoon of playing games, dancing, and other Halloween-themed social activities (none of which required costumes, to Ash’s relief), the gang and their pokémon were back in their room, putting the finishing touches on their costumes before they set out to trick-or-treat. Or at least, Ash was finishing up, with Dawn’s help.

    Brock, already in his doctor’s outfit, knocked on the bathroom door.

    “You guys almost done in there?” he asked its occupants.

    “Yup, just about!” Dawn yelled back cheerfully. A moment later the door clicked and swung open, revealing a grinning Dawn, clad in her short, sparkly, bright green skirt and wings, wearing matching makeup, heels, and clutching a small, likewise matching wand in her hand. She had let her hair loose for the night, adorning it with matching pins.

    She exited the bathroom excitedly, yanking Ash out with her. “Ta-da!” she cried, letting go of the stumbling Ash and positioning him straight up again.

    Brock and the pokémon struggled to hold in their laughter. In addition to his pink Delcatty skirt with purple and yellow dots, Ash was sporting a surprising amount of makeup – light brown eyeliner (smudged in a few spots), pink eyeshadow and blush, dark pink lipstick, and a hint of mascara. To finish off the look, a Skitty pin lay fastened in his hair, and he wore pink tennis shoes with white socks. Despite Dawn’s attempts at posturing, he slumped over slightly, looking at the floor with a slight pout on his face.

    Brock let out a small chuckle and peered at Ash. “So, we all ready now?” he asked eagerly.

    “Yeah!” Dawn chirped, grinning.

    Ash picked his head up and sighed. “Guess so…” Their pokémon cheered as everyone headed out, Pikachu staying close to its trainer as it “piiiika”d and patted Ash’s shin supportively.

    “Everything’ll be fine, Ash, like always,” Brock assured as the trainers gathered their candy bags and made for the exit. “If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought you were a girl myself!”

    “And would you have tried to get a date with him like you do with every other girl?” Dawn quipped as she walked through the door, giggling.

    “Uh…no…” Brock replied, peering out the door to answer her as he waited for Ash and the pokémon to leave. The blush and sweatdrop on his face said otherwise.

    Ash sweatdropped himself as he exited into the pokémon center hallway, reliving bad memories from another time he had had to cross-dress. He shook his head and followed the crowd as Dawn and Brock continued talking and walking, lost in his thoughts.

    It isn’t fair…why do I always get stuck doing this? First to………I can’t even keep them straight anymore! But this costume is for sure the worst one yet! Huh?

    The sound of laughing caused Ash to pick his head up. Without him realizing, the group had already made their way to the lobby, joining people and pokémon of all types and ages dressed up an array of costumes. A few baby pokémon, dressed up in such costumes as vampires and pirates, were chasing each other around the first floor, as older pokémon and their trainers lounged around and socialized before heading out to trick-or-treat themselves.

    Ash sighed as a slight smile crossed his face, and he turned to his companions to see them laughing over a joke he had missed. His smile grew.

    Whatever… he concluded as the friends and their pokémon made their way to the Center exit. A spring entered his step.

    I’m sure it won’t be that bad…I have my friends with me, and nobody seems to care what others have dressed up as. Let’s just get some candy and try to have fun!

    ----------

    The trainers and their pokémon were greeted with a blast of frigid air as soon as they exited the pokémon center. Trick-or-treating was in full swing – night had fallen, the streets were packed, and decorations seemed to light up every corner of the town.

    “Man, it’s freezing!” Ash blurted out.

    Dawn gasped. “Ash, remember to use your girl voice, or the whole act is ruined!”

    “Girl voice…?” Ash wondered out loud. “Oh yeah…that again…” He remembered, with some dismay, Dawn’s instructions as they were prepping him up. “Sorry. Um…boy, it sure is cold out here!” he reiterated, making the last part higher-pitched.

    Dawn laughed. “Perfect!”

    Brock chuckled. “This is gonna be an interesting night.”

    Ash answered with a chuckle of his own, reverting to his normal voice. “Tell me about it.”

    “Anyways,” Dawn cut in, “where should we start?”

    “How about there?” Brock suggested, pointing to the top of a distant hill. His voice dripped with eagerness, almost to the point of desperation.

    Dawn and Ash squinted to see said hill.

    “Um, I was thinking we could start a little closer than that,” Dawn said.

    Ash realized something. “Hey, isn’t that where –”

    “Exactly!” Brock interrupted. “Samantha lives there, remember?!”

    “Oh yeah,” Dawn remembered, sweatdropping. “But Brock, we can make our way there as we –”

    “No, we can’t!” Brock cut off again. “We have to go now!” People began staring at the lovesick teen and his mortified friends as well as their nervous pokémon.

    Now Ash was sweatdropping as well. The more people staring at them, he feared, the greater the chance of his “true identity” being found out.

    “Brock,” he pleaded, “calm down!” He looked at the now-very annoyed Dawn. “Maybe we should just humor him this time?”

    Dawn huffed and rolled her eyes. “…fine.”

    “Alright!” Brock cheered, and tore off for the hill. Dawn sighed while Ash laughed as they walked after him.

    “Where’s Croagunk when you need it?” she muttered as she stared at it. The poison pokémon, wearing a tuxedo costume, was listlessly following the group, in a world of its own.

    “Maybe it’s got a crush on Samantha too?” Ash, donning his “girl voice” again, suggested with a grin.

    Dawn’s spirits lifted as she laughed herself. “Oh, boy.” She shook her head in amazement. “Brock was right – this is gonna be an interesting night…”

    ----------

    “So this is Samantha’s house…” Brock murmured as Ash, Dawn, and the pokémon caught up to him and two-story house he stood in front of.

    Like all the other houses they had passed on their way here, this one was heavily decorated for the holiday. Samantha and her father seemed to like Psyducks even more than Ash and Dawn realized, as an oversized, inflatable one, lit-up from the inside and wearing a witch outfit, sat on the patch of grass in front of the house, just to the side of a few steps leading up to the porch. Said steps as well as the porch railing were lined with small, but detailed and alternating Psyducks and pumpkins. On the porch was a solitary bench, with another inflated Psyduck – this time dressed as a vampire – sitting in it. Glittering orange lights and confetti-covered cobweb, spread over the windows and door, completed the scene.

    “Pika!”

    Ash jumped slightly as Pikachu, dressed as a pirate, took off from beside him to climb onto the bench. Reaching through faux cobweb and bat pokémon confetti, it pressed its paw against the button to ring the doorbell. The resulting tone was clearly audible to the trick-or-treaters as it echoed through the house, and the clicking of footsteps inside quickly grew louder and louder as one of the house’s inhabitants approached the door.

    “Trick-or-treat!” Ash, Dawn, and Brock cried, with their pokémon joining in, as the door to Samantha and her father’s house opened. Warm air and the faint scent of cinnamon wafted outside as the redheaded girl looked out and noticed them, their hands gripping open bags in anticipation of free - and possibly new and exciting - candy.

    Samantha, clad in a witch’s outfit and holding a large, pokeball-esque bowl of candy, grinned at the gang.

    “You all look so cute! Here,” she said, bringing her candy bowl towards them, “pick two pieces.”

    “Oooh!” Dawn squealed.

    “Wow, awesome!” Ash cried, barely maintaining his feminine voice.

    The trainers and their pokémon took a closer look inside the bowl, and proceeded to spend the next few moments hemming and hawing over which pieces to pick. There were so many to choose from - gummy pokeballs, badge-shaped pretzels, as well as small, assorted chocolate bars.

    “Thanks for everything, Samantha” Brock added with a grateful smile, as the trainers and their pokémon slowly picked out their candy.

    “My pleasure, Brock!” Samantha replied with a smile. She hesitated to utter her next words, clearing her throat and lowering her voice before she did so. “Um, Brock?”

    “Yeah?” Brock perked up at her change in tone and stepped closer to her, as his companions obliviously continued to decide over their candy.

    “I was wondering…” she turned her head and leaned in even closer to him, so that he could feel her breath on his ear. She looked over him quickly, with a twinkle in her eye, before finishing her sentence. “…would you like to come inside and…talk some more?”

    Brock’s cheeks burned up as he gasped loudly, snapping his friends out of their sugary daze. Samantha sweatdropped.

    “I…I would love to…!” Brock cried out as tears of joy poured down his cheeks.

    “Huh…?” Ash uttered as he tilted his head in confusion, as did many of the pokémon watching.

    Dawn, her hands on her hips, huffed exasperatedly. “Boy, when I said he might meet some girls, I didn’t think they’d actually like him back!”

    “Um, guys,” Brock said to his friends as he turned around, “you can go on ahead without me. I’ll meet you later at the Pokémon Center.” He grinned giddily as he turned back to Samantha. “Much later!”

    Samantha, still smiling, sweatdropped more as a blush spread over her face. Looking past Brock to his companions, she reassured them. “Don’t worry, guys, we’re just gonna get to know each other a little better. You can come in too, if you’d like…” She didn’t sound as enthusiastic when uttering the last few words.

    “No thanks, Samantha,” Dawn replied. “We’re gonna continue what we came here to do!” Her last sentence was clearly meant for her lovestruck older companion, but it was too late for him, as he quickly grabbed the candy bowl, set it on the ground, and took Samantha’s hands in his own and led them inside.

    Samantha quickly turned her head back to face Ash, Dawn, and the pokémon. “Have a nice night, guys! And sorry about this!” she quickly said before Brock slammed the door shut, her tone of voice more excited than apologetic.

    Dawn sighed defeatedly as her shoulders slumped. The pokémon chattered among themselves as Ash scratched his head, dropping his girl voice again. “Wonder what’s so important that they had to talk about it right now…”

    “I don’t know…” Dawn replied gloomily. “Croagunk,” she started, turning to Brock’s main pokémon, “why didn’t you –”

    She paused when she noticed the poison pokémon’s expression. Like Dawn, its shoulders were slumped, but it had an unusual look in its eyes. Almost as if it were about to…

    “Croagunk? Are you okay?” A surprised Dawn asked the tearful pokémon gently.

    “This day just keeps getting weirder and weirder,” Ash thought outloud with a sweatdrop.

    “Pika,” his first pokemon agreed, amused.

    “Bun, bun,” Buneary, dressed as a princess, urged as it held Pikachu’s hand and gently began to drag the latter towards the other houses.

    “Buizel! Bui…” Buizel, dressed a ninja, said as it ran to Dawn and Croagunk, comforting the latter. Croagunk seemed to brighten as its orange friend gestured to all the houses below, and the group’s candy.

    “Happeenee! Hap, hap.” Happini, dressed as a pumpkin, added, skipping over to Croagunk as well, patting it supportively.

    Ash and Dawn smiled and looked at each other, touched by their pokemon’s comrarderie.

    Pachirisu, however, was growing increasingly fidgety by the second. The squirrel pokémon, itself dressed as a large candy bar and finally completely fed up, took off down the hill with a loud, “chipaaaah!”

    “Ahhh! Pachirisu!” Dawn cried, mortified, as Ash and the remaining pokémon gasped.

    “Heh heh, guess that’s our cue to go too,” Ash replied with a smile.

    Dawn looked at Ash and lightened up, chuckling. “Seems like it…”

    The two of them and the pokémon collected their bags (including the overexcited Pachirisu’s) and made their way down the hill to continue trick-or-treating.

    ----------

    “Ash, wait!” Dawn called, her breaths slightly ragged as she chased him. Her candy holder, barely filled and holding her wand, swung haphazardly. Her, Ash’s, and Brock’s pokémon, their little candy also in tow, likewise trailed her at various distances, piquing the interests of more than a few trick-or-treaters as they passed by and narrowly avoided collisions.

    “Pikaaaa! Pikapiiii!” Pikachu cried to its trainer.

    “Piiiipluup!”

    “BUI-!”

    Dawn and the pokémon screeched to a halt when they noticed that Ash had stopped running and was lingering at the entrance of the one place in the town apparently not lit up with blinding decorations – a dark, dingy alley.

    “Ash…” Dawn weakly said as she approached her friend, his back turned to her and the pokémon.

    Dawn placed her free hand on Ash’s shoulder, gently shifting him towards her. Ash’s fatigue was clearly visible, as he slightly squinted his bloodshot eyes and his makeup and hairdo were coming apart.

    Ash sighed, slumping his shoulders and looking despondently at the ground.

    “What’s the point? I’ve tried to be cheerful this whole time, and all I’ve gotten is a ton of teasing and a handful of candy.”

    Dawn sweatdropped and sighed as well, taking her hand off Ash’s shoulder. “Yeah…”

    Besides Samantha and her father, the citizens of Booville hadn’t been as friendly as she had imagined they would be. Half of them managed to figure out Ash’s real gender, and were consequently too shocked or disgusted to bother with giving anyone in the group any candy. The other half apparently preferred younger trick-or-treaters. Though Ash and Dawn were by no means old, they seemed to exceed some maximum age limit in the candygivers’ minds so as to deserve only single pieces of the smallest, oldest-looking reject candy pieces from Halloweens before.

    All this eventually led to Pachirisu and Happiny breaking away in an attempt to collect candy on their own. But, like many of their schemes, the baby pokémon wound up causing even more problems. Dawn figured the damage they caused each time before scurrying away totaled a few hundred dollars.

    A distant squeal of excitement, rising from amidst the rest of the hubbub, brought the young coordinator back to the present, and she shook her head to clear out the recent memories.

    “Ash,” she repeated determinably, balling her free hand up, “surely not everyone in this town can be so weird about giving out candy! Please…”

    Her eyes shone with hope as she peered down to meet with Ash’s.

    “…Let’s just try one more time? I promise, if we don’t get candy, we’ll go back to our room and try to forget this ever happened. And you can even have all my candy!” She smiled weakly at her last statement.

    Ash slowly lifted his head and considered the proposition. After a few moments, he made his choice.

    “…okay.”

    “Great!” Dawn replied with a wide grin, as she and her friends’ pokémon cheered. She knew he couldn’t resist candy, no matter the lengths he had to go to get it.

    “But where do we go?” Ash asked unenthusiastically. “It feels like we’ve gone through the whole town already…”

    “Hmm…” Dawn placed the same free hand on her waist as she thought. She suddenly gasped and snapped her fingers.

    “I know!”

    She grabbed Ash’s hand and led him, pokémon following, through the town, until they reached another alley. Unlike the last one, however, this one was covered by tarp and completely outfitted for the holiday, with decorations adorning furniture and everything else in the area.

    “I remember passing this on the way to Samantha’s house!” she explained upon arrival.

    She, Ash, and the pokémon facefaulted, however, when they realized that all the people sitting in the well-lit, cozy-looking alley – all elderly – had fallen asleep. All, Ash realized, except for one couple and their pet Meowth. The trio sat, clearly awake, alternatively checking their candy bowl, talking to each other, and peering around, jerking back in surprise and hurrying to ready their candy when their eyes met with Ash’s.

    A smile spread across Ash’s face as he pointed at the trio.

    There’s candy!”

    The group darted to the elderly couple’s stand, eagerly holding up their candy holders and crying out, “trick-or-treat!” before they had even reached said stand.

    “My, my!” the elderly woman of the trio sweetly chirped, grinning widely. “Such wonderful costumes!”

    “Thanks!” Ash and Dawn replied.

    The elderly woman turned to her husband. “Honey, why don’t we give them some of our best candy?”

    The elderly man and the couple’s pet Meowth looked at each other, then their female companion, in puzzlement.

    “Uhhh, ‘H-Honey?’” the elderly man inquired. “T-there’s no one named Honey here, dear…”

    A vein rose to the top of the still-smiling elderly woman’s forehead, just out of sight of the younger trainers and their pokémon. She gritted her teeth and lowered her voice so that it was audible only to her companions.

    “Just. Give. Them. Some. Candy!” she growled.

    Panicked looks and sweatdrops crossed the old man and Meowth’s faces as they gasped and scrambled to grab large, multicolored handfuls of sweets and, with nervous chuckles, plopped them in the eager trainers’ and pokémon’s bags.

    “Here ya go!” the old man chirped, his voice breaking to a more youthful pitch.

    “Dat’s – hack – Meowth!” the cat pokémon added.

    No one seemed to notice the slip-ups, as Ash, Dawn and the pokémon momentarily sifted through their candy in amazement.

    “Wow, this is awesome!” Ash exclaimed, forgetting his girl-ish voice.

    “Yeah! Just look at the variety!” Dawn agreed. Their pokémon chirped and cried happily, agreeing as well.

    “It’s our own recipe!” The old woman cheerfully exclaimed, her voice and appearance back to normal. “But it goes bad quickly, so make sure you eat it all tonight!”

    “Wow, that soon…?” Dawn asked, somewhat suspicious.

    “Who cares?!” Ash cut in, the troubles of the past few hours forgotten. “I’m eating all this as soon as we get back to the Pokémon Center!”

    Dawn sweatdropped as her face scrunched up in nervousness. “Er, Ash…”

    “That’s the spirit, Boy!” the old man cut in, ignoring Dawn and patting Ash on the back.

    “Yeah!” The old woman joined in. “Don’t worry, Little Girl,” she added, turning to Dawn, “you have nothing to fear from us! We just want to give all you trick-or-treaters something special to remember!”

    Dawn grit her teeth slightly at being called a little girl, but brushed her annoyance and suspicions away as she glanced at Ash and the pokémon, whose jubilation was rapidly becoming more apparent.

    She sighed softly and smiled at the couple. “Well, thank you very much for all this!”

    “You’re very welcome, dear!” The old woman replied with a wide grin and a hint of relief in her voice.

    “We hope you like it!” the old man added, his grin equally wide.

    “Oh, we will!” Ash assured. “Bye!” he added, rushing off past his companions and the sleeping seniors to the nearest house, his enthusiasm reawakened in anticipation of even more candy.

    Dawn and the pokémon sweatdropped, both in amusement as well as embarrassment. Chuckling, she turned back to the elderly couple.

    “Happy Halloween!” she wished. “Hope you all have a great night!”

    With those words, she took off after Ash, the pokémon following.

    “Hope you all have a great night too!” the old woman called, her reply barely reaching Dawn’s ears.

    Once the young trainer and the pokémon finally disappeared from sight, the couple and their Meowth slowly, cautiously peered at each other, then exploded into triumphant giggles.

    We’ll definitively be having a great night, dat’s fer shore!” Meowth said, his mirth giving way to cackles.

    “Oh, if only it was this easy every time!” Jessie cried, sneering.

    “And the hardest work is done!” James added. “Now all we have to do is wait…!” He trailed off, rubbing his hands in eager anticipation.

    “Mm-hmm!” his companions replied. The three criminals punctuated the event with another gleeful laugh that echoed into the night, this time unhindered by any other potential witnesses.

    ----------

    Things began to look up for Ash and the gang as well. Almost as if a switch had been flipped upon receiving candy from the kindly old couple and their pet Meowth, every house the trainers and their pokémon visited afterward gave out generous amounts of delicious candy, and cooed and awed over everyone’s costumes – including Ash’s. The next couple of hours flew by as the group, unaware of the nefarious plans being put into action, was finally able to truly enjoy trick-or-treating.

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