Pairings: FireRedShipping (Ash/Zoey), LightRockShipping (Brock/Dawn) and one sided in both PenguinShipping and MorpheusShipping (pairs of Kenny/Dawn and Ash/Angie, respectively). (Potential for more shippings to come.)
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/TAJ/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.
(Chapter 1- Getting Into the Picture)
"Aipom! Wait up!" Ash Ketchum says while he Brock, Dawn and pikachu chase, or rather attempt to chase Aipom through an indoor mall. To Ash, it seemed to happen on almost every day that ends in the letter 'y'. Aipom in all its unbridled cheerfulness would run off on her own and look for fun. From Ash's perspective, however, despite the love that he had for Aipom and his other pokemon, it always seemed that Aipom would find more trouble than fun.
"How many more times are we going to have to go through this before Aipom learns his lesson, Ash?" Dawn cries out while panting as she and Brock flank the trainer from Pallet.
"Just try not to think about us having to chase Aipom," Brock responds, consoling Dawn. "Think of it as you getting your daily exercise."
Dawn turns to Brock and gives him a somewhat jaded look, saying "Are you trying to say that I need exercise, Brock?"
Brock becomes frustrated and defends his statement to Dawn by answering, "Oh! Criticize me for actually trying to put a positive spin on an otherwise sorry episode. I don't like chasing Aipom three or four times a week either, but all I'm trying to say is that you have to look on the bright side of these types of situations, you know?"
"Will you two cut it out back there?" Ash vociferously requests of his comrades. "This isn't helping us catch up to Aipom at all!" Ash then looks forward once again. "Aipom! Please stop!" Ash then watches as Aipom goes inside of a instant photo booth and Ash becomes very worried. "Aipom, don't!" he screams, even though the purple ape with the funny tail had already bounced inside of the booth.
Aside from the obvious Ash, the two people who are most happy that the chase for Aipom has come to a halt are both Brock and Dawn, who quickly slow down their previously frantic pace of an Olympic sprint down to the speed equivalent to a brisk morning walk.
Dawn is especially happy, and shows her relief by exclaiming, "WHOOO! No more games of 'chase the Aipom' for me!"
Ash is very perturbed, especially by the last comment that Dawn made. He turns around, thereby halting his walk towards the photo booth, and explains to Dawn "You know, if you were that against looking for Aipom with Brock and I, then maybe it would have been better for you to just stay back and wait for us to retrieve my pokemon, Dawn!"
"Well, if you would have been a better trainer of Aipom, Ash, maybe he wouldn't run off all the time! Did you ever think about that, Mr. 'World's Greatest Pokemon Trainer?'" Dawn responds, becoming angrier.
Ash gasps at Dawn's remark, legitimately feeling insulted, but then the trainer counters, "Dawn! How dare you! Aipom is doing just fine with me as I am, thank you very much, and as far as Aipom running off all of the time, he's a free spirit, all right? Did you ever think that he just wants to have a little fun? Shame on you for even inferring that I'm a poor trainer just because Aipom likes to run off on his own a few times!"
Pikachu yells out a call of 'PIKA!' to the trainer in an attempt to calm him down.
"It's nice to see that you two are still getting along just fine," says the voice of a female off in the distance. Ash, Brock and Dawn turn from their heated conversation to see a girl who is about Dawn's age. She is wearing an purple shirt and her orange vest over that. But perhaps her most noticeable features are her wild hair, which is fire red in color, and the sunglasses fixated over her eyes. She is carrying a Glameow and an Aipom in both of her arms.
"Zoey?" exclaim Ash, Brock and Dawn.
"In the flesh," Zoey responds cheerfully. "So how is everyone doing?" the girl asks out of habit as she lets go of both Glameow and Aipom and removes her sunglasses.
"We're fine, Zoey," Ash tentatively responds. "So...you were the one that was in the photo booth?"
"Yes, indeed!" As Zoey clarifies, "I wanted to send some photos back home to Snowpoint City to give this person named Candice some proof of my ever-expanding team..."
"Wait a minute!" Brock interjects. "You're good friends with Candice, the Snowpoint City Gym leader?"
Zoey hesitates for a second before she admits, "Not quite. Honestly, I'm in...what you would call a friendly rivalry with this pokemon trainer that also came out of Snowpoint City. Candice saw that Tolon, that's the name of the trainer, by the way...Tolon and I had different philosophies as far as raising and training pokemon are concerned. Before we left, we both agreed to have the first year of each of our careers documented by Candice to see who had the most success in their rookie year."
As Zoey continues, "One of the objectives in our competition against each other is that we each send pictures to her gym address and pose with either our newly captured pokemon, our ribbons, or in Tolon's case, his badges. We have to mail them, because Candice is so tied up in her work as a gym leader, it's not often that she can answer a video phone. Because I don't own a camera, I go into photo booths like that one," which Zoey points to, "and I get about five different pictures. So I have one to myself, a few to send to the family back home, and one for Candice. At the end of the competition, the one who's career has progressed the furthest after one year in terms of pokemon captured and gym badges or contest ribbons won will be given automatic entrance into either our next Grand Festival or League Conference courtesy of Candice."
"My only issue is that," Zoey stops her speech to bring out the five photos to show to the attentive Ash, Dawn and Brock, and the girl matter-of-factly says while nervously chuckling "I don't raise an Aipom!"
Ash can see it clear as day. Aipom was able to cleverly sneak into the photo booth without the knowledge of Zoey or her Shellos and got its picture taken before Zoey could do anything about it. "Awww, man!" Ash sighs, putting his hand to his head. "I'm sorry, Zoey. I...I should've watched Aipom better than I did. I...gosh, I really feel awful."
"Ash," Zoey nervously consoles, "don't feel bad about it, man. I mean it."
"No, Zoey." As Ash reminds the girl, "It's my fault. Is there anything that I can do to...pay you back? It's not often that you get a chance for automatic entry into a Grand Festival, and neither Aipom or I had that intent. I'd just like the chance to at least atone for it. Aipom is my responsibility, after all."
"Well, Ash, that's really not..." Zoey stops for a second and considers what Ash just asked her. The boy, who she'll admit is quite the looker and very charming, especially when he is roped into a conversation about his pokemon is willing to do whatever he can to pay her back.
Even though she feels somewhat bad taking advantage of Ash in this manner, Zoey nevertheless asks Ash "You mean 'anything', Ash?"
Ash says "Yes. Anything that you want. Really. I feel bad about what went down, Zoey."
Zoey thinks about what she would like to do for a moment, and then finally answers "Okay. I'd like to have some ice cream. Your treat, and if you don't mind, I'd like to have it with just the two of us."
"What?" asks both Brock and Dawn out loud.
"But," Brock stutters in a confused haze, "why?"
"Why not?" Zoey remarks quickly. "He owes me, because for some reason, Aipom got loose and messed up my photos." Zoey then pats Ash on the shoulder twice. "Besides, it's the least that he can do for me. Right, Ash?"
Ash starts to become red in the face, which is something that Brock notices, but does not verbally respond to. "Uhh...yeah. You're right." Ash then nervously chuckles and adds "You and I will get whatever ice cream that you want." Ash then turns to his confidants and tells them "Brock? Dawn? Meet me back here in about half an hour. Okay?"
Brock and Dawn can only tell Ash 'Okay,' as he and Zoey head for the ice cream shop with pikachu standing on the trainer's right shoulder. While they walk away with Glameow, Aipom and Pikachu in tow, Brock can only think to himself 'What is Zoey up to? Those photos couldn't have cost that much money. Something fishy is going on here, and I'm not just thinking that because we're near a sushi cart.'
Meanwhile, Dawn's thoughts are far less critical of the coordinator. In fact, as Ash and Zoey walked off with each other so that Ash could pay back Zoey, Dawn thinks back to a conversation that she had with Zoey at a contest house about one or two months ago.
"Uhh, Dawn?" Zoey asks the raven haired girl while she brushes her hair in preparation for her contest appeal. "Do you mind if I get something off of my chest that's kind of embarrassing?"
Dawn looks towards her good friend and explains to Zoey, "Zoey, you can tell me anything. I promise you; there is someone out there in your shoes that is in all likelihood more embarrassed faced with the same kind situation you're faced with. And whatever it is, I'm sure it's not that bad. So what's this thing you'd like to get off your chest?"
Zoey nervously smiles to Dawn, and quickly tells her "I think I have a crush on Ash."
"Woah!" Dawn retorts. "Slow down, girl! All that registered in my mind was the word 'crush'. Now are you trying to tell me that you have a crush on someone?"
"Yes," Zoey softly answers.
"Who...do you have a crush on, Zoey?"
Zoey sighs and snickers for a moment before she says "Ash Ketchum."
Dawn couldn't believe what she just heard, and by instinct, she said to Zoey "What?"
Downtrodden, Zoey claims "See what I told you? Embarrassing! I knew you wouldn't understand."
"No, no, no, Zoey. Zoey," Dawn says in an attempt to redeem herself in her friend's eyes. "You misunderstood me when I said that. I wasn't making fun of you. I was just shocked. You...really do have a crush on Ash?"
"Yeah," Zoey laconically answers.
"What makes you so sure that you have a crush on Ash?" Dawn curiously inquires.
Zoey gives Dawn a goofy grin and explains to Dawn, "I know that...back at the contest in Jubilife, I really pre-judged him, especially after I found out that he was also going to compete in gyms. It wasn't until afterwards when you guys cleared up that the only reason why Ash was even in the contest to begin with was because Aipom wanted to be in it. After a while, I got to see the heart that he shows for his pokemon. He really, truly cares for them and loves them." Zoey sniffles for a moment, and Dawn can sense that her friend is becoming emotional reliving the highlights of Ash Ketchum.
"Now, I'd like to think that we are already good friends right now, and that's something that I don't want to change," Zoey admits. "But...I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't at least interested. What should I do?"
Dawn can see where Zoey is coming from as far as her budding feelings towards Ash. She herself has felt these feelings towards a young childhood friend by the name of Kenny, but has not acted upon them as of yet, as she does not feel that she is ready for that type of a relationship as of now. Despite this, she can feel for Zoey's situation; she thinks that she is in love, and it's quite possible that that is the case, but Zoey has no idea how to handle her situation.
Again, wanting to be a good friend, Dawn makes her suggestion to Zoey, explaining "Look, Zoey. First of all, I thank you for telling me this, and I do have some advice in how to handle this so that it turns out the way that you'd like. First of all, Ash can at times be absent minded, but very rarely is that ever the case with his pokemon. So if you're gonna pursue that type of relationship with him, remember that few people come between Ash and his pokemon. If you happen to be one of those people, then he truly does care about you...in that way."
"All that's well and good, Dawn," Zoey tells her friend, "but how do I go about expressing my feelings to Ash?"
Dawn gets up from her seat on the bench and holds her friend by the shoulders answering her by saying "Subtlety. After all, you don't want to overwhelm the boy. Now, I have to go do my appeal. Remember what I said," Dawn concludes as she walks towards the staging area. Zoey can only hang onto the advice given to her by her good friend and watch her as she prepares to make her introduction.
As Dawn relives that moment, all she can do is smile. When Zoey asked if Ash could pay her back for the photos with ice cream, it had very little if anything to do with Ash paying back Zoey for the messed up photos. Zoey was making her first move in an attempt to let Ash know of her feelings. 'Remember, Zoey. Subtlety,' Dawn cheerfully thinks to herself as she goes to do some window shopping while she has the next 30 minutes or so.
After about 25 minutes, both Ash and Zoey have finished their frozen treats, which Ash treated Zoey for in exchange of the Aipom photos, or so Ash thought. While Ash decided to make the best of an otherwise embarrassing situation and got a large banana split with all the fixings, Zoey went for a more modest route so as not to entirely exploit the boy by ordering a chocolate and banana milkshake. Ash also decided to treat his number one pokemon by giving the electric mouse a bottle of tomato juice, but Pikachu didn't have much if any of the vegetable puree.
Zoey got to get a firsthand look at Ash Ketchum eating a banana split and thought that it was extremely cute, especially when he would lick the whipped cream from the corners of his mouth and played with the cherry and cherry string afterwards.
The redhead decides that the only way that she can open the door to a deeper relationship with the trainer is to start conversation. She begins with the obvious question, "Did you enjoy your banana split, Ash?"
Ash smiles and rubs his stomach telling Zoey "Sure did! What about your milkshake?"
"Oh, yeah!" Zoey heartily but uneasily responds. "But I can't help but think that chocolate and bananas would be something that Aipom would really like."
Ash's cheerfulness is once again shot down at the mere mention of Aipom, and the trainer goes into 'apology' mode. "Again Zoey, I apologize for Aipom's..."
"Ash? Enough, alright?" Zoey says in frustration, although she is trying her best not to be rude. "I forgive you. I forgive Aipom. I've learned that your Aipom will be Aipom, and you're not the type of trainer that will stand in its way. I admire that, Ash."
Ash is surprised to hear that come from Zoey's mouth. "Really?" he asks.
"Really," Zoey responds. "And as far as the pictures, I'll call Candice. I'm sure she'll understand. And furthermore, you're going to meet Candice in my hometown, right?"
"Snowpoint City?" Ash inquires as a means of confirmation to which Zoey nods. "It's one of eight gyms, isn't it?" Zoey nods to Ash's rhetorical question again. "Then that means I'll be there, and I'll beat the pride of your city while I'm at it, too!"
At that point, you could have colored Zoey amazed. 'That confidence. I love that about him. Absolutely nobody can tell him that he'll lose,' thinks Zoey.
"Well," Zoey begins out loud, "when you meet Candice...and beat her," Zoey explains with a suffixed chuckle, "tell her that you know Zoey Aiken, and if I'm not able to get to her before you do, the Aipom in the picture still won't count against me."
"Yeah," Ash concurs, "but I doubt that any of the pictures are worth anything to you right now. I mean, you did say that you send them to not only Candice, but some of your family members, and...I doubt that they would be interested in a picture with you and my Aipom quite clearly on display."
"Well," Zoey begins, not really knowing where to start, "they might not be interested, but..." Zoey then takes out the photos once more, "I'd like to keep them, if you don't mind. Aipom reminds me of you, and..." Zoey stops and remembers Dawn's advice. She continues, saying "I like you, a lot. Every time I think of Aipom, I think of you, because naturally, Aipom and his attitude are both an extension of you. I get this...giddy feeling when I see Aipom's smile, and I know that he loves being your pokemon because you show him nothing but the best of your love. Whenever you decide to be in a serious relationship with another girl, I'm sure that they'll get that same type of love and affection that you show to Aipom, Pikachu and your other pokemon."
Ash is somewhat jolted by this lengthy admission from Zoey and is curious as to whether she is inferring something deeper than what she is speaking. "Are you...trying to tell me something that's on your mind, Zoey?"
Zoey decides to make her move here and now, as Ash has left the door open for her to truly speak her mind. She knows that by going this route, she is no longer following Dawn's sage advice to be subtle in her admission of affection, but if she holds in her feelings any longer, the girl feels as if she'll crack. Even if Ash doesn't return the feelings, she will be content knowing that she hasn't kept this secret from her friend before it becomes too late.
"Ash," Zoey says, shivering just thinking about that name, "When I say that I like you, I mean it...but not just as friends." Zoey then caresses the soft face of the trainer and continues "I like you Ash...as more than just a friend." Zoey takes a deep breath and admits "I'm sorry. I just had to get that out. You can say or do whatever you want, but I just had to let you know how I felt." Frustrated, Zoey stands up and tells Ash "Thanks for the milkshake. I'll see you around," and she leaves for the exit.
"Zoey? Wait!" Ash exclaims as he quickly walks towards the exit and to Zoey while Pikachu gets up from the counter to play catch up. The tomboy turns around and meets the glaze of the boy that she has become so infatuated with over the past few months. "You really mean it? You...love me?"
Zoey timidly smiles and admits "Yes. I know. It's quite embarrassing, but yeah. I do love you. You probably don't love me back, but if there is ever some time in the future..."
Zoey is not able to finish her impromptu admission to Ash, because she just got kissed by the boy on her right cheek. Zoey is left dumbfounded by the action, and finds it hard to even breathe knowing what Ash just did.
"You know, it's clear that you haven't learned much from the first time that we met, Zoey," Ash softly and carefully admits. "You said that I shouldn't be competing in contests and gyms at the same time, even though Jubilife was a one time only deal for Aipom. I must say that after your comments about having Dawn raise Aipom, I seriously considered it for a day or so. But then, I realized that I don't have to take advice all of the time, even if it is meant with the greatest of sincerity."
"I only said that," Zoey defends, "because I felt that if Aipom wanted to compete in contests so badly, she should be with a coordinator that can better focus her talents in that direction."
"Well, Aipom does get the chance to be in contests, though," Ash happily explains, "only this time, it's with Dawn, as she gets to borrow Aipom for appeals or battling. Anyway, what I meant after I kissed you was that you had said that I probably don't return your feelings, and you were willing to just walk away content with just letting me know how you felt. I was...a tad turned off, because, again, you were judging before you even gave me the chance to tell you what was on my mind. Who knows? I could be absolutely infatuated with you, and you would have never known because you're so stuck in your ways thinking that I could never return your feelings."
Ash's words have a great affect on Zoey. The fact is that Ash is absolutely correct, and it hits Zoey like a ton of bricks. Indeed, Zoey can go back in time and find several examples of being too quick to judge people, especially those that she cares for, extensively. Zoey prejudged Dawn for thinking that she was making fun of the fact that she harbored feelings for Ash. She sadly frowns, puts her head down and starts to tear up. Even if Ash didn't return her feelings, Ash made a great point that most of her relationships would be sabotaged from the onset because of Zoey's judgmental attitude.
"I..." Zoey tearfully begins, "I need to do better. You're right. I mean, I can't see inside of your mind and figure out what you're thinking. I-- I need help, though. I can't change overnight."
Ash carefully holds Zoey by the shoulders and then brings her chin up so that he can see the girl's face. He uses his thumb to get the tears out of the eyes and the face of Zoey. "Don't cry, Zoey. No more tears, now. Nobody is telling you that this has to be an overnight change, but the most important thing is that you make the change. We all have the ability to change if we just allow ourselves to do it. You wanna change, right?"
"I do," she sniffles, "but...how? I've done this without thinking about the people I judge for years, now. What can I do?"
Ash smiles and gives the grieving girl a hug. Ash answers Zoey by explaining, "You can take it one day at a time, and if you need help, I just want you to know that...someone who really loves and cares for you will be only one call away whenever you need him."
Zoey does not exactly comprehend what Ash just told her and asks "What do you mean? Who's this person that can help me?"
Ash releases some of the pressure from his hug, looks Zoey square in the eyes and tells her "Me," before he gives Zoey a kiss, this time, on the lips. Zoey is more than elated to return the affection, and kisses back while even more tears come out of her eyes, which are about as red as her hair.
The two kissed, and did so with animated emotion and vigor behind the action, but with no subtlety to speak of. They were showing this affection while each of them remained inside of the confines of the ice cream shop and a audience of about 15 people or so saw the entire scenario take place under a hushed silence as they didn't know what to think. The confession, the kiss on the cheek, the conclusion of Zoey's character made by Ash, the tears shed by Zoey and the confession by Ash Ketchum all came together to form quite the arena and the setting for love.
Regrettably, the newly formed twosome had to let go. As Ash gets a good look at his watch while in an embrace and a kiss with Zoey, he releases his grip from Zoey in shock. "Oh, Zoey! I'm sorry. I told Brock and Dawn that I'd meet up with them in half an hour and we've been here for over an hour! Oh! I wish we could stay together longer, but...they've gotta be worried sick! Come on! Let's find them together!"
"Uhh, Ash?" Zoey calmly states, "I don't think we need to go that far. Look." Zoey points to an area in the ice cream shop and Ash sees Brock and Dawn. Like just about everyone else in the shop, they are shocked. Despite this unexpected turn of events for both Brock and Dawn, Dawn has the trace of a smile on her face knowing that Zoey has accomplished something very important to her--and it has paid off.
"Umm, yeah," Dawn says, trying to subdue her elation for her good friend. Dawn drags the near motionless Brock near the direction of Ash and Zoey, and states "I think Brock and I can wait a little longer. I'm sure you two have a lot to discuss, so is another half hour all right for you?"
Ash and Zoey both give each other nervous glances knowing that their kiss has become public knowledge to their friends. Perfect strangers knowing about it is something that they could care less about, but friends are a different story entirely. But then Ash clearly sees the smile on Dawn's face. As far as Brock is concerned, he might be a little jealous that Ash has found someone, but the trainer gathers that he'll get over it eventually.
"Yeah," Ash answers after some apprehensiveness. "Thanks Dawn, and whenever Brock comes out of his trance, tell him that I said don't feel bad about it. Okay? Oh! Could you also watch over pikachu while you two are together?"
"Will do," Dawn says as she prepares to take Brock and Ash's pikachu out of the shop. Before she takes two steps, Dawn turns back to Ash, specifically, and says "Oh! I need to tell you something, Ash--actually, I need to tell you two things. One is that I need to first and foremost apologize for my comments to you earlier about you not being a good trainer for Aipom. I'm sorry. I acted like a jerk, and...it was uncalled for."
"It's okay, Dawn," Ash responds by patting the blue-haired coordinator on her right shoulder two times. "Besides, I don't feel bad about what you said. Not listening to every bit of criticism out there has its advantages. Imagine if I took everyone's advice? You would have been raising Aipom, I would continuously be doubting myself due to people doubting me over the years, and, well..." Ash stops to give a mouth to mouth kiss to Zoey once again. This time, the kiss only lasts a few seconds before Ash pulls away and explains to Dawn "If I had listened to Zoey when she said that I probably didn't return her feelings, I wouldn't be able to do what you just saw us do."
"Sometimes, it's good to not listen, especially if your heart is telling you something important, right?" Dawn states.
Ash tentatively says, "Yeah, sometimes. But...wasn't there something else that you wanted to say to me?"
"Yeah," Dawn admits. "I knew that Zoey has had a crush on you for a while, now. She confided in me, and I gave her the advice to be subtle in her approach," and Dawn directs her next words to Zoey, exclaiming "that she didn't follow!"
"I know, Dawn," Zoey humorously laments, "but to his credit, Ash left the door open for me to let him know my feelings. I had to seize the moment, you know?" Zoey dreamily looks at Ash and concludes "And I'm so glad that I did."
"So am I, Zoey," Ash agrees.
"Pikachu, Brock and I will leave you two be, for now," Dawn tells the pair. "See ya later."
"Dawn, wait!" Zoey exclaims as Dawn continues to maneuver the immobile Brock to and fro while Pikachu rests upon her white hat. Upon hearing her name, Dawn turns around to see Zoey come up to her in a hurry.
"Now, don't think that it's weird of me or anything," Zoey begins, "but I feel the need to apologize to you for something that happened about two months ago. I'm sorry for saying that you were making fun of me for having a crush on Ash before I got to know the whole story. That was wrong of me to pre-judge you like that, and I...need to work on it," Zoey then turns her head over to the direction of Ash Ketchum and grins. As she turns back to Dawn's direction, she finishes her sentence by proclaiming "and I will work on it, because I'm getting some help along the way from someone very special."
Dawn pulls her friend close to her in an embrace and says in her ear "Good for you." Dawn releases the embrace after about 10 seconds and explains "Now, if you ask me, I think that someone is sorta lonely right now," as she points to Ash, who is now sitting on one of the mall benches. Zoey gets the hint, and tells Dawn that she'll see her later. Zoey then joins Ash on the bench, but not before stealing a quick peck on the lips.
"So, what did you and Dawn talk about?" Ash inquires.
"Change," Zoey answers. "I made my first step to change. I apologized to Dawn for thinking that she had made fun of my crush on you."
"And?" Ash wonders.
Zoey shakes her head for a moment and then adds "It felt great. I know you said that this is something that I had to do one day at a time, and...taking that approach and coming to you for help and advice could be just what I need."
After 30 minutes or so of each party bearing their souls to each other and coming to a better understanding of their feelings for one another, Dawn and a rejuvenated Brock come back towards Ash and Zoey's direction. The new pair both sigh sadly in each other's direction with the reality of knowing that they must part at hand.
'Shakespeare was full of it,' Zoey silently ponders. 'Parting is not such sweet sorrow. Parting just sucks.'
"Well," Ash says out loud, "Unfortunately, Zoey, it's time for me to go. But, I'll be sure to talk to you in the near future."
"Okay," Zoey returns as they both get up from the bench and share a final kiss.
"I love you, Zoey," Ash says, almost despondent.
"I love you too, Ash. Hey," Zoey consoles, even though she is sad to see her new boyfriend go "Like you said, we'll see each other again soon. There's a contest coming up in about a week. Maybe we'll run into each other."
"Yeah," Ash remarks, even though there is clear sadness in his voice. "Maybe. Good bye, Zoey," Ash concludes as he depressingly walks away from Zoey to Brock and Dawn.
"Ash! Wait up!" Zoey screams out after 15 seconds or so.
"Huh?" the trainer exclaims as he sees his girlfriend quickly coming to him with a small object in her right hand. When Zoey opens her palm, Ash sees it first hand. It is one of the wallet sized photos with Zoey, her Shellos and Ash's Aipom altogether.
"Here," Zoey tells Ash. "I probably should have given it to you sooner, but...I want you to have it to remember me by, even though I know we'll see each other again soon."
Ash smiles and tells Zoey "Thanks! Maybe one day, I'll get into the picture."
Zoey laughs and informs her beau that "But you're already in the picture, Ash; my big picture, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Ash goofily chuckles and says "Aw, shucks," and leans forward once more. Before Ash and Zoey can lock lips again, however, Brock turns the tables on his love struck friend by tugging him by the ear and dragging him to the direction of the mall exit.
Brock remarks "Unfortunately, if we leave it in your care, this picture will be worth a billion words," and then Brock says "We'll see you later, Zoey," while he is dragging Ash. Everyone with the exception of Brock sweat drops at the scene and Zoey watches as Ash shrugs his shoulders upon his involuntary departure. Right before going through the automatic doors, Ash blows a kiss to Zoey, which causes her to return the action in kind before Ash and company are finally out of sight.
When Ash is finally gone, Zoey deplorably puts her head down. "He just...he just left! And I already miss him!" she laments as she starts to cry once again. "I'm not even listening to my own advice now that he's gone. I told him we'd see each other again, but I'm not listening because I don't wanna listen! I want Ash!" Then Zoey comes to the very real conclusion. "I'm lovesick," she says while sadly smiling. "I hate the fact that I don't get to spend as much time with him as I'd like to, but...the fact that I'm even with him is something I can't help but love."
Zoey then goes into her pocket and pulls out the now infamous pictures with Aipom in them. Sniffling, she can't help but love looking at the smiling face of Aipom. It reminded the girl so much of Ash Ketchum, but these feelings didn't make her sad. How could she be sad looking at the grin of Aipom and always thinking about that same grin on Ash's face the next time they saw each other.
"Thanks, Aipom," Zoey quietly says to herself. "for bringing Ash into the picture...and not listening, too."
Initially intended to be a one shot, this is now a chaptered story with two coming soon. Your thoughts?