A/N: Please don't ask where this came from, I have no idea.
Warning: Gender-bender. So if you don't like the idea of a female Ash, please don't read.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon or the many, many characters that may or may not appear in this brain-child.
In his travels, Gary had met many interesting people, some with whom he eventually became friends and others who became rivals. However, one of his most memorable encounters would always be the one and only Ash Ketchum, his best and oldest friend.
Unfortunately, the last that Gary had heard of him, he had gone off into the world once again armed only with his Pikachu leaving behind his assurance that this journey would bring him back a changed person. Ever since then, there had been no word of him and Gary was starting to get worried. It was seemingly like he had vanished off the face of the Earth.
To get his mind off his currently missing friend, he had decided to go on a journey of his own; one that would allow him to meet and study new Pokemon as well as the various cultures and traditions of the people living in the region. During his wonderings, Gary had come upon his current companion, a girl named Ashley; she had not given a last name. The first time they met it was by pure chance; they just happened to be at the same festival and kept bumping into each other, literally. It appeared as though fate kept pushing them in each others direction and seemed determined enough not to give up. It was around the sixth time or so when they decided to give up and started talking and getting to know the other.
The next few days were spent having fun and becoming fast friends. Soon, the time came for them to go their separate ways. They shared heartfelt goodbyes, even going so far as to get teary-eyed, expecting never to see the other ever again. Or they did till they reached the next town; at the same time; on the same route.
It was quite an awkward encounter to say the least. The both of them exchanged embarrassed goodbyes and went on their separate ways; again, once more thinking that this would be the last time they would meet. Until they crossed paths yet again at the Poke centre and again at the café and then at the next town and the second one after and the one after that until Gary finally got fed up with the whole fiasco and asked her if she would like to join him on his journey. To his surprise, he accepted the offer and hence, they both gained a travelling companion, or at least a human one.
Ashley travelled with her Pikachu, one very much like Ash's, which could be found either under her cloak or on her shoulders yammering away about something or other. The both of them were very close, they did everything with each other, they even had the same eating habits! It was the only Pokemon that did not have its own Poke ball.
There were many times when he wondered how she kept warm, he guessed it was a mixture of her feisty attitude and the cloak she wore. Perhaps teenage rebellion had its uses after all. To tell the truth, the girl currently sitting across from him was not really dressed appropriately for the cold climate here. She was wearing a pair of baggy camouflage pants and her sleeveless turtleneck could hardly keep the cold out and her fingerless gloves would hardly do the trick either. When he asked her about this she had laughed and rubbed the back of her neck, a quirk Ash shared too, and stuttered something about having arrived in summer with an extremely sheepish expression on her face. After hearing this and figuring that she had no other suitable clothing, he decided to lend her an extra jacket.
Their time together soon came to an end after they had visited all the towns and cities in the region, some even twice. After all, before they had met each other, they had been travelling and visiting different places. The advantage to this was that it allowed them to meet the various friends that they had made before finally ending their journey and leaving. It was now their last night together and they were sitting around the campfire talking, reliving old memories.
"You know, you remind me of a really good friend of mine. Name's Ash Ketchum, he even looks kind of like you, except he's a guy. Even had a Pikachu follow him around like yours does."
It was around this time that Ashley's face froze and changed from politely listening to outright nervous. Noting the changes in facial expression, Gary continued talking.
"He was a great friend; we'd been buddies since we were kids. We used to do everything together, and then I made the mistake of letting my pride get between me and one of my greatest friends."
"It couldn't have been all you fault, I mean, I'm sure he had a part to play in it too." She said, looking positively green now.
"You're too kind Ashley." He said with a glint in his eyes. "No need to worry though, we reconnected several years later and reconciled our differences. I would like to believe that he has forgiven all of my mistakes and any wrong-doing I had done towards him, but I'll never know now." He said mournfully.
"Wh-Why not? What happened to him?" She asked her face ashen.
"He disappeared off the face of the Earth nearly a year ago, I haven't seen hide nor hair and I've been actively searching for him."
"I'm sure nothing bad happened to him, he can take care of himself." She said almost too forcefully.
"Oh?" Gary asked with a near triumphant look on his face. "Do you know him? You sound like you do."
"What, no no, I don't" She said, panic apparent on her face.
"Ah well," he sighed, "I guess it was too much to hope for. I wish I had the chance to strengthen our rekindled friendship with him before he disappeared. I'm sure that he wouldn't have gone then, if only I had been more supportive of him." He said in an overly morose manner.
"That isn't the reason I left!" Ashley shouted, causing Gary to give her an inquisitive look. She clamped her hands over her mouth looking at Gary with wide, troubled eyes.
Finally her shoulders slumped in defeat and she said in a near whisper, "Wait here a moment Gary, I have something I need to show you."
She moved away to the surrounding trees where Gary heard some rustling noises. She came back dressed like somebody Gary had not seen in what felt like years, one Ash Ketchum.
"I knew it! I knew it was you the moment I first saw at that festival! Well, not really it took some time to make the connection, but I figured it out eventually." He crowed.
"Wha – but how – I was dressed as a girl! How'd you recognise me?"
"Well, to be totally honest, I already knew you're a girl. I've known for years now."
"B-b-bu-but how?" She spluttered.
"Well, my first clue was when you hit puberty. Unlike the rest of us, your voice stayed boyish; in fact it may have actually gotten softer. Then when you seemed to realise that, your 'deep manly voice' sounded more like you were having a sore throat then an actual guys voice. In fact, listening to you talk, especially after the change, sounded like a girl putting on a guys voice, it was strange to say the least."
"Seriously? That's what-"
"Shh, let me finish. Now, my second clue was your growth, most normal boys would go through a growth spurt when they hit puberty, you however, never seemed to go through this growth spurt. There was a time when we were nearly the same height, but ever since I went through my growth spurt, I've towered over you."
"Not really, you're only a few inches taller." She protested.
"Yeah, yeah, now let me continue. The same could be said about your, well, most anything that develops when you're a boy going through puberty actually. At first I thought that you were malnourished, but I've been to your house enough times to know that your mother does not underfeed you. In fact, there are times when I think she overfeeds you, it couldn't be an effect of abuse either, if I didn't know your family any better, I would be worried about neglect. So I discarded all those thoughts and decided to go straight to the source, yes, I hacked into your birth records. By this time I was starting to suspect that something was a foot but it didn't really click until I saw your birth certificate. After all, with all those wistful looks you kept sending those group of girls and your enthusiastic participation, it wasn't that hard to figure out."
"You couldn't have just decided I was gay couldn't you?" She said sarcastically, "You had to suspect I was a girl. You know, I am starting to wonder about those trains of thought you have in your head. Next thing you know you'll be setting up practice as a P.I. back home and solving homicide cases." Groaned Ashley the girl formerly known as Ash.
"Actually, about that private practice you just mentioned …"
"Oh no, you're not really going to do it are you? I was kidding!"
"I was too." He said with a wide grin on his face and a slight laugh in his voice.
"Now, I believe that I deserve an explanation don't you? I mean, why didn't you trust me enough to tell me?"
"It wasn't that I didn't trust you, it's more complicated than that. I don't really know where to start."
"Why not try the beginning."
"Alright, the beginning then; I think it all started on the first day of kindergarten. I hadn't met you yet and I didn't have any friends, I was a little tomboy at the time. I never really fit in with the girls and the boys refused to let me play with them because of my 'girl cooties'. It was then that I got the bright idea to, well, pretend to be a boy." She trailed off into an embarrassed whisper causing Gary to strain to hear what she said.
"Anyway, I eventually got so used to it that I kind of forgot I was a girl. Eheh, yeah, pretty embarrassing huh. So that's more or less it, sorry I didn't tell you or anyone else really, I was just afraid that everyone would hate me for lying to them about my gender, it is a pretty big thing to keep secret. That's why I went on this trip it was so I could gather my courage to tell everyone, I think I may have lost track of time meanwhile." She muttered sporting a blush on her cheeks.
"Ah well, just so you know, your mother is really worried this time, she asked me to look out for you. Go to sleep, we have a long journey tomorrow, plus you have to store energy for your big reveal. I think that even your mother's forgotten she had a baby girl instead of a baby boy by now." He said with a big grin on his face.
She glared at him got up and hit him in the arm. They both glared at each other for a bit before bursting into laughter and went to their respective sleeping bags. Gary was right, they had a tough journey ahead of them, but it would get better, he had eased some of her fears and she had reaffirmed their friendship. No matter what came next the two of them knew they would remain friends.
It had been some years since Ash had home and most people had gotten used to the fact that Ash was really a girl. Of course the older adults had already known for some time remembering Ash's mom coming home with a beautiful baby girl.
Today was the day that many people had been anticipating since the day of the big reveal when Gary came home with Ashley. Many people had seen it coming and others had had even begun preparations for it in anticipation. When asked, they would always claim to have seen it in the way the two would look at each other and the way they talked to each other. Yes, they claimed to know love when they saw it, and so when Ashley and Gary announced their engagement, they just smiled their mysterious smiles, more like smirks really, and held superior airs.
Gary for one could say for certain that he did not see this coming at all. In fact he had no inkling that he would, on this day be waiting at the altar for his best friend, his love, so that they could be joined in holy matrimony, bound together for the rest of their lives. He remembered the day he proposed, it was just as spontaneous and surprising as nearly everything else in Ash's life was.
They had been training together all day long. Ashley had gotten really good since they last saw each other and had decided to take a break. They had just sat there talking to each other; it was around this time that he found himself staring at her talking instead of focusing on what she was saying.
He realised that he had been intent on her voice and the way she talked, lulling him into a sense of comfort and content. He started looking over the past years he shared with her and realise that he had been doing it a lot, staring off into space thinking about Ashley that is. He went over all the fun times and the tough times and some strange warm feeling welled up in him.
He suddenly blurted something out, something which he didn't even realised he had been harbouring in his mind. In fact, he didn't even realise he had said anything until she replied.
"Yes! Of course I will!"
"wha-what-what did you say?"
She replied with something akin to irritation in her voice, "I said yes, I'll marry you dummy. To be honest, I've been waiting for you to ask for a long time, I was really starting to wonder if you were too chicken." She said teasingly.
"Now come on, let's go back, it's starting to get chilly out here."
Now here he was standing at the altar looking at his future wife, as he lifted the veil the sight that greeted him nearly took his breath away. He spent the remainder of the ceremony in a happy daze until the crucial moment when he said "I do".
It was then that it hit him; he was getting married, to the person that knew him best, the person who had seen him at his lowest but still stayed by his side, the person who had forgiven every single one of his mistakes without even a second thought. It was also at this moment that he realised that, he could not be any happier than he was then. Or so he thought, until he looked into the eyes of his child his beautiful baby girl.
Whoa! This is the longest I have ever written! I am shocked. So, hope you enjoyed it. I may have given away the big reveal with the warning, what did you think?
P.S. Flames will be used to toast bread. :D