Rating: G
Fandom: Pokemon
Genre: General
Status: Complete
Pairings: Pokeshipping, Pearlshipping

Notes: This was originally a drabble dare given to me by Espeon 114x for the Truth or Dare thread, but... well, I guess I'm writing longish lately because I went over the two-page limit for a drabble (though not by too, too much. It's still pretty darn short.) so here it is as a oneshot. Honestly, I'm a Pokeshipper but I have nothing against Pearlshipping and I think it's just a matter of perspective as to which pairing comes off worse/better in this oneshot. Hope you like it!

Cheering Styles

“Come on, Piplup!” Dawn gushed, punching the air with her pompom and kicking a knee up into the air. “We’ve got to do our best to cheer Ash on!”

Piplup adjusted the skirt that Dawn had put on him. “Pii-plup,” he responded, in what could be roughly translated as: ‘I don’t know why I continue to let you impugn my masculinity.”

“Awesome! Thanks you two!” Ash said, pumping his fist. “With you two cheering me on I just know me and Buizel are gonna win today.”

“Bui bui!” Buizel agreed.

They had just come across the Soul Springs aquarium in Marinejet Harbor on the day that an annual water Pokemon battle competition was being held. Ash only had to glance at the poster for a second to decide he just had to enter. The competition bug never let him just sit these things out. So he’d signed up and Dawn had happily agreed to cheer him on in style. Good thing she’d brought her cheerleading outfit.

“Ash?” a voice called. “Ash is that really you?”

“Huh?” Ash turned around in the direction of the voice. “…Misty?”

A figure in a light blue swimsuit with short ginger-colored hair went running up to him. “Oh! I can’t believe it’s you Ash! It’s been too long!” she enthused, smiling brightly.

“Wow, what a surprise to see you here, Misty!” Ash said, smiling back. “You changed your hair.”

Misty twirled a finger around the short lock and looked significantly pleased that he’d noticed. “Yep! Do you like it?”

“Sure,” Ash said, not fully appreciating the gravity of the question. “So, what are you doing here?”

“Oh? I’m actually a guest judge for the competition,” Misty answered.

“Whoa, really?” Ash responded, impressed.

“Well, I won last year’s competition,” Misty said, with a sly grin.

“Guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” Ash said, “water Pokemon and all. But me and Buizel are going to win this year!”

Misty gave Buizel a sweet smile, and in doing so her eyes were drawn to Dawn who was holding her pompoms together and watching the conversation curiously.

“I didn’t think we had a cheer team for the competition,” Misty said with a frown. “I certainly don’t remember one last year.”

“Oh, sorry!” Ash said, putting his palm on the back of his head in an apologetic gesture. “This is my friend Dawn. Dawn, this is Misty.”

“Nice to meet you!” Dawn said with a smile.

“Nice to meet you too,” Misty responded, looking faintly concerned. She cocked her head to one side. “So… you’re here to cheer Ash on?”

“You bet!” Dawn said, with an enthusiastic fist pump.

Misty gave Ash a sidelong look. “Ash, do you remember back when Gary used to travel around with all those cheerleaders?”

“Huh?” Ash responded. “What about it?”

“Do you remember when you said that a real trainer didn’t need that kind of support?” Misty pressed on.

“Uh…” Ash said, sensing that he was about to be backed into a corner.

“That a real trainer needed to focus all his attention on battle and shouldn’t be distracted by, and I quote, ‘ditzy girls and their mindless chanting’?” Misty said, with a little more sharpness in her voice.

“Well, y’see…” Ash began, sounding rather nervous.

“It’s not ditzy or mindless!” Dawn said, not sure whether to be mad at Ash or Misty. “It’s a great way to show my support and help Ash get fired up about a battle!”

“Yeah, ‘course it is,” Ash said in a placatory voice. “I didn’t really mean anything by it. Honest. I was probably just mad at Gary when I said it.”

Dawn turned on Misty with her fists clenched behind the pompoms. “Come on! Didn’t you used to cheer Ash on back when you traveled with him?”

“Of course I did,” Misty answered sounding genuinely affronted now. “But I didn’t feel the need to dress up or anything! I managed to keep my dignity intact, thank you very much!”

“And how much dignity do you have going around in a bathing suit all day?” Dawn shot back. Then she put her pompoms over her mouth. That had just sort of slipped out…

The temperature in the room decreased noticeably as Misty stared at Dawn. The competition technicians getting the pool ready for the battle were baffled by the sudden layer of ice that formed over the water.

Finally Misty turned her nose in the air. “If you need me, I’ll be at the judging table giving Ash real constructive criticism that will help make him a better trainer. You can keep shouting ‘Go team, go!’ if you want.” And with that she flounced off.

“Misty, wait—come on!” Ash called after her, but she feigned deafness and kept on moving.

Dawn stared slack-jawed at the departing Misty. “What,” she finally said, “was that all about? What did I ever do to her to make her hate me that much?!”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Ash said apologetically. “Misty just gets in these moods sometimes. Don’t take it personally. When you get to know her she’s actually really nice.”

Dawn watched perplexedly as the swimsuit-clad Misty made her way to the judging table. Somehow she couldn’t bring herself to believe that last statement.

What did I do to offend her? We just met!

“No, really!” Ash said, sensing the doubt behind Dawn’s eyes. “I mean, when we first met she couldn’t stand me. But now she likes me.” He gave her an encouraging smile as if to show that there was still hope of getting into the good graces of Misty Waterflower… at least… if she was very lucky.

…Could it be that she…? Ooooh.

Comprehension, well… dawned.

“Yes,” Dawn said with numb certainty. “I can see that she does. A lot.”