Hello and welcome to my Masumishipping Halloween one-shot! This is my first fic involving Masumishipping (Misty x Max) - not a popular 'ship, I admit, but I'd been wanting to write a one-shot for it for quite some time since I do think it has a lot of very cute potential fic-wise.
This fic is probably more PG than PG-13, but I'm giving it PG-13 just in case people find the featured 'ship undesirable. This is part of my one-shot collection which features Bayleef-tan as well as an Advanceshipping Christmas one-shot I wrote last year. The stories take place in the same "universe", so-to-speak, but their events don't really affect each other much, meaning you don't have to worry about reading the others for any of them to make sense.
If anyone reading dislikes the pairing of Misty and Max I highly suggest you STOP READING NOW. Otherwise, please feel free to continue and enjoy the show! ^^
Pumpkins and Spice
It was yet another typical, late Fall night in the forest that lay just on the edge of Professor Oak’s laboratory grounds. Pallet Town was usually known as a quiet place to live - quite possible the quietest community in the whole of the Kanto region, in fact - except for this part of the forest, that is. Though no human really knew much about what went on in these deep, dark and uninviting woods, there were three Pokemon who knew exactly what went on around here. And that’s because they were in charge of this place.
Oh sure, it didn’t look like much and the occasional unsuspecting Bug-type Pokemon would sometimes wander into their territory, but it wasn’t the contents of this forest that pleased its three owners; it was just the fact that it was theirs. And that meant that they could do whatever they liked.
Gengar, a short, stubby little humanoid-shaped Ghost Pokemon with a dark-lavender hue to its ethereal skin and a large, grinning maw stared up at the moon, occasionally shifting its body as it lay on the branch of its favourite oak tree, watching the clouds sail slowly past. The wind was so still tonight - such a perfect Halloween.
The creature then sat up on its branch, grumbling slightly as it did so. Perfect except for the fact that they were stuck here, doing nothing. The Pokemon snorted slightly in disgust at its predicament, then suddenly felt the crash of a large, soft object slam into the back of its head.
“What the heck!?” Gengar yelled, turning on the spot and getting ready to throw a Shadow Ball at its assailant, when it realised exactly who its assailant was. “Are you kidding me...?”
Gengar’s good friend and fellow member of the Ghost Team of Pallet Town, Banette, was rolling from side to side on its own tree branch, unable to contain its laughter. Banette appeared very similar to its friend, with short, ethereal legs and contrastingly long arms. It also possessed a yellow tail that looked similar to a ghostly pinwheel, and from its head came a long protrusion which could only be described as looking like a sock. Its mouth was a slightly discoloured copper zipper and its entire body was coloured an eery, spectral black.
“Man, you are such an easy target!” Banette mocked Gengar as it tried in vain to contain its laughter.
“I’ll show you easy target, you little punk!” Gengar retaliated, readying a Shadow Ball before suddenly noticing what exactly Banette had thrown. “A... Pińata?”
“I found it at the lab.” Banette explained, and Gengar immediately knew that it was talking about Professor Oak’s laboratory which lay just on the outskirts of Pallet Town. “Hey, Halloween’s out of season this year so I figured no kids would be coming around anyway.”
Gengar tore open the stolen goods that lay in its hands and frowned as it removed a few of the goodies that lay inside. They were green and felt somewhat damp.
“What moron would put celery in a pińata!?” Gengar cried, clearly outraged by this act of negligence.
“Wow, are you serious?” Banette replied, folding its arms and leaning against the trunk of the old oak tree the two Ghost-type Pokemon were standing on. “Probably that weird assistant kid. You know, the one who always wears that green shirt and never seems to change his clothes?”
Gengar sighed, throwing the pińata down to the floor and watching as it fell into the hazy distance of the night.
“What are we doing, Banette?” he asked, not really expecting a sensible reply. “It’s Halloween and we’re not out haunting! What kind of Ghost Pokemon are we?”
“Hey, Halloween is for kids in costumes.” Banette protested. “Besides, everyone’s expecting to be scared so it’s no fun to harass people. It’s like the worst night for a ghost.”
The two friends sighed in unison, glancing down towards the distant, forest floor. Such irony.
They were both snapped out of their depression, however, by the sound of a beautiful voice humming from down below, where the mist and haze of the night covered the entire forest like an eery scene from an old, cliché horror movie. The two ghosts were attracted by this haunting sound and quickly levitated their way down to its source.
Once they were at ground level the two friends glanced towards where the voice was coming from. A large, human-sized hole had been carved out of the enormous trunk of the old oak tree and neither Pokemon needed to glance inside to realise who the voice belonged to.
“Oh, you are looking good, Mismagius!” the voice ceased its humming, its owner admiring its ethereal form in a large, Victorian-style mirror that was propped up against the inside wall of her tree home. “If you were a candy you’d be one of those purple Skittles! Yes! Oh, yes, you would... No stupid Gardevoir’s gonna upstage you tonight, nosiree...”
“Big night out, Mismagius?” Gengar groaned, causing the female ghost to raise her translucent eyebrow curiously. She was a strange looking ghost, with a mostly humanoid appearance, though from the waist down she consisted of nothing more than what appeared to be ethereal robes. On her head she wore a large, pointy witch’s hat to cover her flowing mess of curly, spectral hair and she had no visible arms, instead using her powerful telekinesis to manipulate objects from far away.
“You two should really learn some manners, you know.” Mismagius retorted, returning her attentions to the mirror where she began brushing her hair with a levitating hairbrush which obeyed her every command. “It’s rude to watch a lady getting herself ready.”
“Ready for what, exactly?” Banette asked, causing the female ghost to chuckle to herself.
“You two are so cute.” she giggled. “For Halloween, of course! There’s a big party tonight!”
“Aren’t you a little old for kid’s parties, Mismagius?” Gengar sneered, prompting Banette to chuckle with laughter himself.
Mismagius dropped the hairbrush on the floor, giving herself a final twirl in the mirror and winking at her reflection before hovering out towards where her friends were watching her.
“This isn’t a kid’s party.” she explained calmly, arching her back a little and doing her best to look as good as possible for the upcoming night. “It’s where that professor guy is going.”
“You mean Professor Oak?” Banette replied, watching Mismagius curiously as she nodded her response.
“That’s the one.” she continued. “He’s left his assistant in charge of his lab while he goes to party the night away with his friends in the Hoenn region. Petalburg City, to be precise.”
“You mean you’re going to the Hoenn region?” Gengar hazarded a guess, only to be greeted by another nod from the ever-graceful ghost.
“I didn’t realise boring scientists were your type, Mismagius.” Banette sniggered, causing Gengar to burst out laughing. Mismagius gave them both a glare.
“Actually,” she growled, doing her best to talk over the two ghosts’ cackling laughter, “he’s bringing along that cute Pokemon trainer friend of his. Ash Ketchup!”
The ghost glanced up at the stars, her eyes glistening as she spoke.
“He’s so dreamy!” she sighed, giving her best movie star pose.
“Are you serious, Juliet?” Gengar mocked the ghost, his laughter now fading into confusion. “I always thought he looked kinda dense to me.”
“Well,” Banette added, “it’s not as if Mismagius has ever wanted a guy with a brain.”
“Actually I really don’t care about that kid,” Mismagius corrected her two friends, “but I did have a heck of a lot of fun when I messed with his Chikorita that one time.”
“Oh, now we’re talking!” Banette declared, launching his fist into the air excitedly. “That’s the Mismagius we all know and love! Good, old-fashioned prankster! So when are we leaving?”
Mismagius smiled to herself, blowing a few loose strands of hair away from her forehead.
“As soon as you clowns figure out how to follow me without getting lost!” she yelled playfully, lifting her body up from the ground and rushing up towards the cloudy night sky, prompting her two friends to swiftly follow her as fast as they could.
“Why do I have a feeling we’re gonna regret this?” Gengar grumbled to himself as he tried his best to keep up with his fellow ghosts, their eery silhouettes zooming up out of the forest and towards the distant shore of Hoenn.
“Hurry up, Dad!” the voice of a young, seven-year-old boy yelled. “They’ll be here any minute!!”
“Woah, woah, woah!” the boy’s father retaliated, leaping up from the couch and nervously backing away from his son in the green shirt and black spectacles, who seemed as if he was ready to spontaneously combust from worry at any given moment. “Max, don’t worry! It’s just a Halloween party!”
Max growled, angrily shaking his fist at his father. The entire house was littered with decorations - large, black and orange party banners lined the ceiling with several carved pumpkins and creepily-themed candles lying on every mantelpiece and shelf with even an inch of available space. On the wall beside the front door hung a large, model skeleton and the central table which lay in the middle of the living room was literally covered in large, glass bowls filled with all kinds of different candy. It was amazing that May hadn’t already eaten all of it.
“I know it’s a Halloween party, Dad!” he exclaimed as his mother Caroline continued to vacuum the living room in the background of their large Petalburg home. “But everything has to be perfect!!”
“Ah, of course; you’re right!” Norman agreed, suddenly snapping into action. “It’s been a while since we’ve seen Ash and his friends, after all...”
Norman’s thoughts were interrupted by the sudden ringing of a doorbell which echoed throughout the house, though this sound was quickly drowned out by Caroline’s constant vacuuming.
“Argh!” Max cried, looking around in a panic. “They’re here already! They’re early! That’s not possible!”
“I’ll get it, Dad!” Norman’s daughter, May, called out as she excitedly made her way over to the front door. She was dressed in a beautiful black dress with a ruffled skirt which flowed down towards her ankles, and her long, brunette hair hung in its traditional pose with the help of a few well-placed black hair clips that were fashioned into the shape of miniature skulls.
“No!!” Max screamed, then dashed up the stairs towards his bedroom to get changed as quickly as possible. Norman watched his son as he went, scratching his head in puzzlement.
‘Just what has gotten into that boy?’ he wondered to himself.
May turned the handle and opened up the front door to her family’s Petalburg home. On the doorstep stood several familiar figures, and she smiled brightly upon seeing her good friend Ash at the centre of them all.
“Hi everyone!” she greeted her friends. “Long time no see! Come in, come in!”
In total there were six people and one Pokemon standing on the doorstep. Of course there was Ash, the boy with the dark, raven-coloured hair and the small, yellow Pikachu sitting beside him. May was pleasantly surprised to see that Ash had decided not to wear his trademark cap today; instead his hair was free to see the light of day and instead of his traditional Pokemon trainer attire he wore what appeared to be a tuxedo with a long, trailing cape attached to the rear. May smiled warmly at the boy - Ash had never been very creative when it came to costumes.
Her friend Brock, whom she had also travelled with for a long time, followed Ash into the house. His costume was slightly more inventive than Ash’s, the young Pokemon breeder opting for a dark-brown leather pirate costume, complete with fake sword at his belt and a large, red scarf covering his dark hair; he had even gone so far as to find himself an authentic eye patch.
Then there was Misty; the young Pokemon Gym leader from Cerulean City in the Kanto region. She and May had met several times previously and though they hadn’t always seen eye-to-eye, May respected the girl for her accomplishments and her talent as a Pokemon trainer, though she wondered if this respect was mutual. Nevertheless May had to admit that Misty looked quite stunning tonight; there was no costume in sight for her, instead she wore a traditional, red, Chinese-style dress with golden trims and her fiery orange hair was held up in a bun by two chopsticks. Her jade-green eyes met May’s for a moment and the two nodded to each other in greeting.
After Misty came Dawn; the girl she had met during her time in the Sinnoh region where she had participated in the Wallace Cup with the fellow Pokemon coordinator. Dawn’s typical navy-blue hair was complimented by a pair of small, plastic bat wings which stretched out from either side of her head, while on her back she wore a pair of much more intimidating wings which spread out a few feet on either side of the girl. The rest of her outfit appeared to be made mostly out of black leather, and she wore a mischievous grin as her dark-blue eyes sparkled under the porch light.
The last two visitors were none other than the esteemed Professor Oak and Ash’s mother, Delia Ketchum. May always marvelled at how pretty Delia was, and tonight was no exception. She was wearing a costume, much like Ash and Brock, though hers was rather more unusual in that it was basically a black, flexible undersuit with a small white jacket which covered her upper torso and shoulders and an accompanying skirt that ended just above her knees. Had May never seen the design of the suit many times before she would have assumed Delia was simply masquerading as a superhero, but the giant red “R” emblazoned on the front of her jacket easily gave away her costume’s identity.
Professor Oak’s costume showed slightly less imagination than Delia’s, with a large cowboy hat tilted at an angle sitting on his head, and an accompanying Wild Western-style attire, complete with gun holsters and a Staryu Sheriff badge proudly displayed on the breast of his leather jacket.
“Why, May!” Delia exclaimed cheerfully, looking the girl up and down once everyone was inside. “You look so adorable! What are you, a princess of the night?”
“Something like that, Mrs. Ketchum!” May giggled in response, somewhat embarrassed by the woman’s praise. “And you look amazing yourself! I never knew Ash had a sister!”
“Oh stop, May!” Delia giggled back, putting her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “You’re making me blush!”
“Yeah, May, you look amazing!” Ash added, oblivious to Misty’s eyes which were burrowing into the back of his head as he spoke. Brock noticed the girl’s glare and decided to quickly change the subject.
“Uh, anyway!” he began, not entirely certain of which direction to steer the conversation in. “Where’s Max? He normally always rushes to greet us.”
May turned to face her friend, placing a finger to her cheek as she did her best to figure out how to explain it all.
“Well, as soon as we heard the doorbell he rushed up into his room.” she explained. “He wasn’t in his costume so I guess he had to get ready. He’s been acting pretty weird all night, though; overseeing the decorations, ordering us all around... He seems almost nervous about something...”
“He’s probably just excited about seeing the great Professor Oak again!” Ash chuckled, making his way deeper into the living room where Norman and Caroline were waiting, eager to exchange pleasantries with their guests.
After the greetings had all been exchanged attention was soon divided amongst the different guests: Norman and Professor Oak began to discuss the different kinds of Pokemon that were native to the Hoenn region, whilst Delia, Misty and Caroline headed to the kitchen in order to do their best to prepare for the upcoming Halloween dinner. Meanwhile Ash, Brock and Dawn listened eagerly to May’s tales of her adventures throughout Johto after her recent return to the region and its contest circuit following her participation in the Wallace Cup.
Unbeknownst to any of the new guests, however, was the fact that they were being watched. From the top of the stairs leading up into the upper level of the Petalburg household, sat Max, his hazel eyes watching intently as the guests went about their business, discussing old times and occasionally stealing a few candy bars out of one of the bowls which sat on the living room table. As he watched the action unfold he sighed under his breath, his eyes glancing down to the beige carpet where he sat all alone.
He wasn’t unhappy to see anyone - though he had to admit it would be nice if his sister would leave for a few hours. She was so annoying! Always bossing him around and acting like she knew everything... If it wasn’t for him she wouldn’t have gotten to where she was today! Things had started settling down between the two siblings during their adventures in the Kanto region with Ash and Brock, but ever since she had returned from her adventures in Johto she had seemed much more independent. Almost too independent, for Max’s liking.
Max counted who he could see in the living room. Professor Oak, his dad, his sister, Ash, Brock and the new girl Dawn, who May had mentioned previously, were all sitting around chatting excitedly. Max had noticed Misty and Ash’s mother enter into the kitchen almost immediately upon their arrival, but unfortunately the boy’s current position made peering into the kitchen an impossibility.
Max sighed once again, getting to his feet and taking a deep breath. There would be only one way to do this.
Slowly, doing his best to hide his extreme case of nerves, Max made his way downstairs and into the living room. May couldn’t help but gasp a little as she saw her brother - his hair was immaculately combed and he wore a very distinguished-looking suit. He also had his best pair of glasses on, making him look almost like an esteemed accountant or lawyer, albeit a very short one.
“Pika!” Ash’s Pikachu greeted the young boy, rushing over to his feet and waiting anxiously as its former travelling companion picked up the creature, scratching underneath its furry chin.
“Wow, Max.” Ash commented, getting to his feet and wandering over to the boy. “Looking slick. What’re you supposed to be? A butler?”
“N-no!” Max frowned a little at the boy’s question. Ash was still as dense as ever. “Costumes are for little kids! I just wanted to look my best, that’s all.”
“I’ve never seen you look so...” May stuttered as she tried to grasp the right word in her mind. “So... Formal.”
As May spoke Max noticed out of the corner of his eye his mother, Ash’s mother and Misty all emerge from the kitchen, their eyes set firmly on the boy.
“Hey, Max!” Misty greeted the boy, smiling warmly at him. “It’s been a while since I last saw you.”
“Ah!” Max stammered, slightly taken aback by the girl’s sudden greeting, his face glowing a bright red. Misty raised an eyebrow slightly at the boy’s flustered reaction before he could regain his composure. “H-Hi M-Misty!”
Dawn watched the boy carefully, when suddenly she realised what was going on and another mischievous grin painted itself on her face.
“Hi Max!” she said, making her way over to the boy and shaking his hand. “I’m Dawn, and the others have told me all about you!”
“Aha!” Max exclaimed, adjusting his glasses knowingly in response to the girl’s greeting. May groaned, knowing what was about to happen. “So you’re the girl with the Piplup!”
“That’s right!” Dawn chuckled. “Did your sister tell you?”
“Yeah!” Max continued excitedly. “And she told me how you used Whirlpool so effectively in the Wallace Cup!”
“Oh, well...” Dawn began to blush, though Max quickly began to speak over her.
“Though if I were you I would’ve used Drill Peck instead.” the boy continued in as scholarly a voice as he could muster. “I mean it would have been a lot more surprising and also has much more power than Whirlpool!”
“Oh...” Dawn stammered, her eyebrow twitching slightly at the boy’s rudeness.
“Did you teach it Surf yet? I would have! I mean it seems crazy not to teach a Water-type Pokemon Surf! It’s one of the most powerful Water-type attacks available!”
“Um...” Dawn did her best to stop her voice from turning into a growl, though this was proving a difficult task.
“Wow, Max!” Misty complimented the boy. “It sounds like you’ve really been studying up on Water Pokemon!”
Max’s attention immediately turned from Dawn to Misty and his cheeks reddened once more.
“Oh, um, of course, Misty!” the boy responded eagerly. “I want to learn as much about Water-type Pokemon as you do! Um, I mean, I hope I can learn as much as you know! I mean, you’re a Gym leader and all and that’s so amazing! I really want to be able to know as much about Pokemon as you!”
“Hey, Max!” Norman laughed in the typical way he always did. “You sound like you’ve never seen a Gym leader before!”
“Alright Max, settle down!” Caroline giggled - her son was always so full of energy. “Dinner will be ready in about five minutes, so I hope everyone is hungry!”
“Yeah May, so don’t fill yourself up with candy!” Max added, waving a finger at his sister disapprovingly.
“What’d you say, Max!?” May growled, and Max grinned to himself as he heard Misty chuckling at his comment from the kitchen.
The rest of the party eventually began to return to their former activities and soon Max and Dawn were left alone near the foot of the stairs.
“So can I see your Piplup, Dawn? Can I, please, can I?” Max insisted, whilst Dawn just grinned knowingly.
“Listen Max, I’ll cut you a deal.” the coordinator began. “I’ll let you see Piplup, but only if we can do it somewhere private. Okay?”
Max eyed the young girl curiously, not entirely sure what having to be alone had to do with getting to see her Piplup. However Max knew that she was trustworthy - she had travelled with Ash, after all - and ultimately it was up to her whether or not he would get to see her Pokemon; with these facts in mind he had no choice but to agree.
“Alright.” he accepted the girl’s offer and began to make his way up the stairs. “Follow me.”
“Aww wow!” Max stammered in awe. “It’s so awesome!”
The small, blue penguin Pokemon which stood at only one foot tall eyed the boy curiously, not entirely sure why he was so amazed.
Dawn’s eyes scanned Max’s bedroom. It was nothing out of the ordinary for a seven-year-old boy’s bedroom; or at least what would be considered the norm for a seven-year-old boy. The walls were littered with posters of different kinds of Pokemon and other Pokemon-related merchandise, whilst on the large, wooden desk were several more scientific pieces of apparatus, such as a miniature microscope and several encyclopaedias.
“So Max...” Dawn began, her smile returning to her face. “Tell me what you think of Misty.”
“Huh!?” Max coughed, turning up and staring at the girl in disbelief, his face suddenly turning a bright red colour. “Wh-what do you mean!?”
Dawn couldn’t help but giggle at the boy’s innocent reaction, although she soon regained her composure.
“You are so adorable, you know that?” she chuckled, winking at the boy knowingly.
“I...” Max mumbled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Dawn kneeled down beside the boy, her eyes looking straight into his while her expression suddenly took on a more serious appearance. Piplup watched the two, puzzled by their strange behaviour. Though its trainer generally did tend to act stranger than most humans...
“I know you’re majorly crushing on her!” Dawn declared, causing the boy to take a step backwards. “And don’t you try to deny it either, mister!”
Max glared at the girl, folding his arms defiantly as he sat on the navy blue carpet of his bedroom.
“Yeah?” he replied. “So what if I do? What’s it to you, anyway?”
Dawn grinned once again, the wheels in her mind turning as she began to devise the best plan she possibly could.
“I just think it’s so cute, that’s all!” she explained. “And I have a mission... I guess you could call it my destiny...”
Both Max and Piplup eyed the girl in confusion as she began to rant, more to herself than to anyone else who might have been in the room.
“You see, Max,” she continued, “I’m a born matchmaker. I can make any couple fall in love with just my great advice and a bit of positive thinking!”
“You’re even girlier than my sister...” Max grumbled.
“Hey, stop complaining!” Dawn snapped, getting back onto her feet and placing her hands on her hips in an effort to look as teacherly and as grown-up as possible. “I’ll have you know that I’ve gotten dozens of couples together in my time!”
Both Max and Piplup stared up at the girl, a mix of awe and disbelief painted on the young human’s face. She was certainly a very convincing person.
“R-really...?” he asked.
“P-Piplup...?” Piplup echoed.
“Well, no, but that’s beside the point!” Dawn answered firmly. “All you need is some alone time and you two will express your feelings for each other once and for all! I guarantee it!”
“Yeah, that’s great and all...” Max sighed, frowning as his eyes glanced down to the carpet where he was sitting. “But how am I gonna catch her alone? There’s way too many people here to do that...”
Dawn folded her arms, tapping her foot firmly on the ground and smiling at the boy as he glanced back up towards her, clearly confused.
“That’s where I come in, Max.” she explained, then knelt back down beside the boy. “Now listen up. Here’s the plan...”
The sound of knives and forks clanging against plates filled the dining room of the Maple residence as everyone finally finished off their meals. Everyone had enjoyed their dinner, and it was another testament to Caroline’s great cooking abilities - Delia had made numerous comments about how great much of the food was, and she was also not too shy to ask Caroline to share some of her recipes with her. There had been a lot of talking and conversation throughout dinner - even Pikachu seemed content in the corner with its own personal bowl of Brock’s specially-made Pokemon food; however Max had remained virtually silent the whole time; instead choosing to glance nervously at Misty whenever he could - all the while hoping that she wouldn’t notice his awkward stares.
Even now the young boy couldn’t help but gaze at how beautiful she looked - her dress fit her perfectly and her hair was fashioned just as he imagined a princess’ would be. Her jade-green eyes sparkled against the light of the candles which were generously arranged across the dinner table and every time she smiled he felt his heart skip a beat.
“Well,” Caroline began, bringing an end to the brief silence that had fallen upon the table, “can I interest anyone in dessert?”
Almost immediately Ash, May and Dawn all reached out eagerly with their bowls, signifying a resounding yes. Caroline chuckled at the sight of the three of them and quickly got to her feet.
“Delia, would you mind helping me in the kitchen?” she asked Ash’s mother, who was more than happy to oblige.
“So Mr. Maple!” Dawn suddenly announced, capturing the attention of everyone who was left in the room. “Since you’re the leader of Petalburg Gym, does that mean you keep some of your Pokemon here with you at home?”
“Well of course, Dawn!” Norman replied. “Sometimes I do a bit of training here at home over the weekends, so I like to keep a few nearby. Slakoth and Vigoroth are in the yard right now, in fact.”
“Oh, wow, really?” Dawn exclaimed, doing her best attempt at feigning excitement. As she did so, she cast a quick wink towards Max, who glanced around nervously. “I’d love to see them, if that’s okay with you, sir!”
“Yeah, that sounds great!” Ash agreed. “I’d love to see how much stronger your Pokemon have become, Norman!”
“Well,” Norman chuckled, obviously pleased that the children were taking such an eager interest in his Pokemon, “you all can, of course! Come on, follow me!”
The group then proceeded to exit through the kitchen, picking up their dessert along the way, before finally entering out into the Maple’s somewhat expansive back yard, where a sleeping Slakoth and an energetic Vigoroth were waiting.
It was around nine o’clock and much of the yard was disguised by shadows, a few of which had been cast away by the light of the rear patio which projected out a few metres in all directions. Up above them a few stars could be seen lining the night sky as clouds weaved in and out of the moonlight.
Slakoth, a small, monkey-like Pokemon which measured just under three feet tall and possessed light brown fur with two dark stripes lining its back, seemed oblivious to the group’s entry into its territory and simply continued to sleep on the roof of the Maple’s wooden shed at the end of the yard. Norman’s other Pokemon, Vigoroth, meanwhile, seemed delighted to see its trainer, and came bounding towards the group. Immediately Dawn flipped out her Pokedex, using it to analyse the energetic creature.
“The sleepy one is Slakoth,” Norman explained to Dawn, pointing each Pokemon out for her benefit, “while this little guy is Vigoroth.”
Vigoroth, a tall Pokemon with long forearms and white, scruffy-looking fur waved a paw towards Dawn in greeting.
“Aww!” Dawn cooed. “What a friendly little Pokemon!”
“Vigoroth is the evolved form of Slakoth, Dawn!” Ash explained. “This guy put up a good fight in our battle with Norman, didn’t you, Vigoroth?”
Vigoroth snorted respectfully at the sight of Pikachu, who remained happily perched on top of Ash’s shoulder.
“Yeah!” Max spoke up, always eager to talk about Pokemon. “And Dad also has a Slaking, which is the evolved form of Vigoroth, but he always keeps it at the Gym, don’t you, Dad?”
“Yes,” Norman admitted, “Slaking doesn’t like to be taken out of its territory, I’m afraid.”
A few more minutes passed as conversation continued amongst the group, though this was mostly between Norman and Professor Oak, the professor showing particular interest in the different species of Pokemon in the Hoenn region.
“Oh!” Dawn suddenly exclaimed, immediately becoming the centre of attention amongst the group once again. “I, um! I think I just heard the doorbell!”
“You did?” Ash replied. “I don’t think I heard anything...”
“It must be trick-or-treaters, Ash!” Dawn insisted, grabbing the boy by the arm and dragging him towards the kitchen. Come on, Brock! Come on, May! We’ve gotta go get those kids their candy!”
“All of us...?” Brock stammered, though Dawn was not a woman to be argued with when she set her mind to something. As soon as he felt her glare switch to him he immediately complied and the four of them headed into the kitchen. As she left, Max noticed Dawn winking towards him, signalling his time to move.
“Oh, uh, Dad!” he managed, doing his best to think of some excuse as to be alone with Misty. “Don’t you think you should show Professor Oak your, um... Your files on all the Pokemon at your Gym?”
Norman considered his son’s words for a moment before answering.
“Ah, you’re right, Max!” he agreed. “I’m sure you’d find it most interesting, professor!”
Professor Oak made no attempt to argue and soon the two adults had left the couple alone underneath the gentle night sky and the twinkling stars. Max couldn’t quite believe it, but it seemed as though Dawn’s plan had actually worked!
“Your Dad sure has some impressive Pokemon, Max.” Misty began, watching as Vigoroth began to make its way back towards the rear of the yard where a large tree was just begging to be climbed.
“Oh but they’re nowhere near as cool as yours, Misty!” Max responded eagerly. “I mean, I can still remember when you used your Gyarados against that guy’s Shedinja in the Mirage Kingdom! That was so awesome! And I know it takes real skill to train a Gyarados!”
“Oh, well, um...” Misty began to blush a little at the boy’s sudden barrage of compliments. “It wasn’t exactly easy...”
“I’ll bet it was, Misty!” Max continued excitedly. “You’re the best Pokemon trainer I’ve ever seen!”
“Come on!” Misty giggled, her blush intensifying as the boy continued to throw high praise on her. “Ash has beaten the Battle Frontier challenge! I’m nowhere near that level!”
“Well...” Max felt himself begin to blush as he attempted to convey some more meaningful words to the girl standing beside him. “I think you could do it... You can do anything, Misty! You’re just... Amazing...”
“Max...” Misty stammered, a little taken aback by the boy’s words.
“And, um!” Max stuttered, his blush spreading from his cheeks all over his face. “You’re not just the most amazing trainer I’ve ever seen... You’re...”
Misty watched the boy closely, somewhat confused by his strange behaviour. Come to think of it, he hadn’t really seemed himself all night - he had seemed almost... Worried about something.
“I... I...” Max struggled to speak the words he had been working up the courage to say all night. “I think you’re the most beautiful woman in the world!”
Misty remained silent, her eyes widening slightly as the boy stared at the ground, his heart pounding with worry. What if she laughed at him? What if she called him stupid? What if she told everyone and his sister made fun of him forever and ever?
“M-Max...” the girl mumbled under her breath, her entire face flushing a deep red. “That’s... That’s so sweet!”
Max glanced up at the girl, amazed by her reaction.
Misty proceeded to kneel down beside the boy, smiling warmly at him.
“I had no idea, Max.” she spoke to him softly, causing his blush to grow an even deeper shade of red than before.
“Um, w-well...” Max stammered, then suddenly remembered something. “Oh, that’s right!”
Misty watched the boy curiously as he reached into the side pocket of his suit jacket and withdrew a small, square box with several pumpkins and Water-type Pokemon doodled on top of it. It even had a bright, red, silky ribbon wrapped in a somewhat haphazard bow, though despite its ramshackle appearance the gift still made her smile. On the side was a small tag with the writing “To Misty, from Max” etched in black marker.
“This is for you, Misty!” he offered, handing the girl the box which she gratefully accepted. “I made it myself...”
“Aww, Max...” the girl replied, both her smile and blush intensifying as she examined the gift closely. “Can I open it?”
“Of course!” Max exclaimed. “Um, I mean... If you want!”
Misty chuckled at the boy’s demeanour and began to unwrap her gift, excited and very curious to see what exactly it could be.
Soon she had opened the box, being careful not to damage it in any way, and immediately upon removing the lid she was greeted by the inviting fragrance of freshly-baked chocolate muffins and the girl’s smile quickly turned from happy to beaming.
“Oh, Max!” she exclaimed, pulling the boy into a tight hug. “Thank you! They look delicious!”
“Well I hope so!” Max replied, chuckling nervously as he shoved his hands into his pockets somewhat nervously. “I baked them myself...”
“I can’t wait to try them!” she insisted, closing the lid on the box and wrapping the bow around it once more. “Thank you, Max.”
Max grinned to himself, rubbing the back of his head with his hand in embarrassment, his blush refusing to go away.
“Aww, it was nothing!” he laughed, his gaze falling onto Misty’s beautiful eyes once again. “Happy Halloween, Misty.”
Misty leaned forward, giving the boy a small kiss on the cheek in reply. Max froze instantly on the spot, his hand reaching up towards his cheek in a moment of indescribable disbelief and happiness.
“Happy Halloween, Max.”
“So, uh...” a ghostly voice began as three ethereal figures continued to shoot across the dark, wide ocean like shadowy missiles. “Where exactly did you say the Hoenn region was, Mismagius?”
“Um...” the female ghost replied. “It, uh, should be around here somewhere...”
“I knew we were lost!” Banette growled. “This is the last time I follow one of your stupid plans, Mismagius! You don’t even know which direction we’re flying!”
“Hey, at least I can ask for directions,” Mismagius retorted, “unlike you stupid men!”
Gengar groaned to himself as his two fellow companions began yet another long argument to add to an already sizeable collection.
“I knew we should’ve turned around when we saw that first iceberg...”