Title: Gary's Admirers
Pairing: PalletShipping (Ash/Gary)
Note: Dare from airisuflower.
Gary Oak had had throngs of attractive women following him around since he was ten years old. Back then he’d been a minor celebrity—the grandson of the famous Professor Oak and a rising star of a Pokemon trainer in his own right.
Ash reflected as he sat in Gary’s lab in a chair that he’d pulled around backwards, that it had all seemed so unfair back then. But, then again, everything about Gary had seemed unfair when he was just starting his Pokemon journey. The oohing and ahhing of his fanbase had always struck a particularly bitter note, though.
It hadn’t taken this many years for Ash to recognize what he’d felt back then was jealousy. After all, he’d trained hard as a Pokemon trainer and pulled off some impressive victories, but a mob of adoring fans had never followed him around. Why had Gary deserved that more than he had?
But now that explanation seemed slightly unsatisfying. Sure, Gary had cast off the life of a Pokemon trainer and as he’d delved into his calling as a researcher, his ego had calmed and he’d matured as a person. Of course, the female attention hadn’t stopped just due to a career move. Even then in the lab several pretty assistants were peeking up at him over their notes and sighing and chitchatting with one another. Someone with exquisite, manicured nails brought him coffee every morning and a scrap of paper with a phone number and a few scrawled hearts sat on his desk.
Ash watched, feeling slightly sullen, as one of his fellow scientists, one with exceptionally beautiful auburn hair, flirted comfortably with him. Yet, the bad mood that this attention stirred up in Ash couldn’t be as easily explained as the feeling from his youth. The fact of the matter was: he knew Gary deserved this attention.
How could he not? Brains, charisma, confidence that had been refined from its childish brashness into a mature sort of assurance. He had vision, he had a quick mind, he was a great conversationalist. And he had that hair. Chicks dug the hair.
But that bitter jealousy was still with Ash.
He knew he could try to tell himself that this just reminded him of old times—times when their rivalry had hurt their friendship and Ash desperately needed to prove himself to him in any way possible.
That wasn’t in, though. This was jealousy, sure. He knew the feeling. But it wasn’t quite that.
“…And so I was thinking we could get some dinner and see a movie,” the scientist whose name Ash had deliberately not bothered to learn asked. “You gotta have some fun, right? It can’t be all research.”
The feeling of being excluded washed over Ash. But it wasn’t being excluded from Gary’s admirers that bothered him, it was being excluded from…
“Sorry, but I can’t Melinda,” Gary said, putting his hands in the starched white pockets of his coat. “My best friend’s come for a visit and I wouldn’t miss hanging out with him for the world.”
Ash straightened up. The feeling of being excluded receded.