The Way We Will Be @thecartoonfanatic01
Shop Till You Flop

A/N: Hey, everyone! I'm so sorry that it took me so long to update this for you all. Some things got in the way over the last few months, quite unfortunately. Of course, school was one of them, what with my final exams and whatnot. Also, I actually spent the last month intentionally trying to keep a low profile. If you've been following my profile, you probably know why already. And if you don't, you're free to shoot me a PM about it, and I'll gladly answer any questions you have through that venue. (Not that I think you're that invested in my well-being and whatnot, but I digress. :P)

Fortunately, my fall semester at college has finally ended and I am in the throes of winter break, thus giving me all the time I desperately needed to get back on this fic. After all, I can't afford to leave you guys hanging for any longer! I do hope all of you have been waiting patiently for this despite the longer-than-usual wait!

Alright, I am rambling yet again. Let's get on with this overdue chapter! This is going to be chock-full of AmourShipping hints, so consider this an appropriate atonement for the three months or so that it took for me to update this fic.


P.S.: Also, I want to announce that my family and I will be going going on a trip to Southeast Asia for the new year. We'll be visiting my parents' home country, the Philippines, among others. I will take that opportunity to draft a myriad of new chapters for this fic and others! Hopefully the mosquitoes aren't in the mood for some of that exotic American blood... :P

P.P.S.: I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! My New Year's resolution is to write here more frequently, and to broaden my horizons. What're your New Year's resolutions? Let's hope 2019 is not a particularly cruddy one, and even so, just keep advancing forward into the future!

Laurier Maison

"Serena?" Miette asked, staring at the disguised Aria with curiosity. "Who's she?"

"Oh!" Serena gestured to Aria, who gave the other Performers a friendly little wave. "This is Ariana! I met her after the Coumarine Showcase. She's the one who helped me out of my little slump."

"Oh, don't say that, Serena!" Aria replied. "You helped yourself out. I just gave you a little helping hand, that's all."

"Either way," said Shauna, "it's nice to meet you. I'm-"

"It's alright, I already know your names. I've seen you all in prior Showcases. Let's see." Aria pointed at each Performer in the group in turn. "You're Shauna... You're Miette... You're Nini..." When those three Performers nodded in affirmation, the redheaded girl continued. "Blanche, Kazalie, and..." She paused for a moment when she settled on Shulin. "Shulin, is that right?"

"That's right!" Shulin cried as she rushed forward and shook her hand. "It's so nice to meet you, Ariana! So, so nice!"

Aria sweat-dropped a little at the green-haired girl's enthusiasm. "O-Okay..." Then, she spotted Yancy and blinked. "Wait a minute, I've never seen you before. And who would you be?"

"Y-Y-Yancy!" the pink-haired girl stuttered, overwhelmed by the presence of her honorary aunt's past self. Indeed, even if she was in disguise, Aria's beauty and grace were on a whole other level. "I-I-It's s-s-such an honor to m-m-meet you!"

"N-Nice to meet you too..."

Aria stared at Yancy with suspicion, but before she could think about her physical appearance any further, the redheaded girl suddenly felt an intense gaze on her. Craning her neck by an inch, she was greeted by Shulin's grayish-blue eyes.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Aria exclaimed. "You're kinda invading my personal space there, Shulin..."

Shulin giggled and took a step backward. "Oh, I'm so sorry about that, Ariana! It's just, for some've got this really fine aura about you..."

Serena could easily see Aria's throat strongly pulsate once in her throat as the Kalos Queen gulped. Remembering that she was in disguise and didn't want the public to know her true identity, the honey-blonde abruptly slung an arm around her friend's shoulder and chuckled loudly.

"Well, it's 'cause she's a Performer too!" she replied, thinking on the top of her feet. "And all Performers need to have a, uh, fine aura about them!"

"Wait, Ariana's a Performer too?" Blanche asked, surprised by this revelation. "How come I did not see her in any of the PokéVision coverage videos for this season?"

"I-It's because I decided not to participate for this season!" Aria exclaimed in response, the Kalos Queen thinking on the top of her feet as well. "I-I've never had the best winning streak lately. B-But I do follow the Showcase coverage closely, regardless! There's no way I'd miss out on any of this year's competitions!"

"Oh, I think I know what you mean by that," replied Shauna, the tan-skinned Performer smiling sympathetically.

Then, Aria noticed Tierno, Trevor, Grace, Meyer, Calem, Layla, and Moose. "Oh! And I assume you're all Serena's family?"

"Nah, me and Trevor here are just friends here to support Serena and Shauna," Tierno replied. "The name's Tierno."

"And I'm Meyer, Clemont and Bonnie's father," Meyer introduced. There was a toothy, ear-to-ear smile on his face as he patted Clemont's shoulder and the top of Bonnie's head, much to the former's embarrassment and the latter's irritation.

"I see," Aria replied with interest. "It's very nice to meet you all." Then, she turned her face to Grace, Calem, Layla, and Moose. "So I guess you're Serena's family."

"That's right," Grace replied. "The name is Grace." She suddenly smiled kindly and passionately at the redheaded Kalos Queen. "Oh, I'm so glad that I could meet even more of my daughter's friends. I can't thank you enough for helping my little jockey out when she needs it."

"MOM!" Serena squeaked, her voice cracking comically. "S-STOP CALLING ME THAT!"

"I'm Calem, Serena's cousin," Calem interjected, before Serena's embarrassment at her nickname could escalate. "It's so nice to meet you, Aria."

"And I'm Layla, Serena's aunt," added Layla before she gestured to Moose, who simply waved. "And this is my husband Moose. We traveled all the way from Sinnoh to watch Serena compete, and I must say, Kalos is such a nice place. You're quite lucky to live here, Ariana."

"Thank you very much," Aria replied humbly. She scanned the entire group one-by-one, and Serena could've sworn she saw a glimmer of emotion pass through the Kalos Queen's eyes. "Anyway...I hear you want to do something while you're all waiting for the break to end?"

"You bet!" Ash exclaimed, his fists raised with excitement.

"Pika!" Pikachu added.

"You had a suggestion,," Serena said, her sapphire-blue eyes sparkling inquisitively. "Or rather, you knew what Shauna was gonna suggest. So what is it?"

Aria's eyes merely twinkled, and she gave the group a sly, knowing wink, prompting all the other Performers to gasp with overjoyed understanding. As for the boys, they instantly knew what fate awaited them. Even Pikachu was left paralyzed on his Trainer's shoulder.

"No," Ash moaned with a horrified realization. "No, no, no, no, no..."

"Pika-pika!" squeaked Pikachu.

"Yes!" Selene suddenly exclaimed with excitement. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!"

"Pichu-pichu!" Pichu chirped, the Tiny Mouse Pokémon smiling from ear to ear.

Several minutes later

"This place has stores too?!" Tierno exclaimed with dismay as the entire group emerged from a small boutique. The girls were shoulder to shoulder, talking a mile a minute about all of the impressive clothing and accessories that they spotted in the store, while the boys were all carrying almost a dozen shopping bags each.

"Of course!" Aria replied, winking at the rotund Trainer. "As a landmark of southern Kalos and an ideal Showcase Theater, the Laurier Maison is a center for everything fashion-related. It'd be bad for tourism if everyone had to leave the Maison and shop at the nearest store about a mile away!"

"But why'd you have to make us carry all of the bags?!" Ash cried, his voice wheezing from exhaustion.

"Well, Ash," Serena replied, giving him a wink, "as the guys of the group, it's your shared duty to be the gentlemen and help the ladies out."

"You say that, but we're the only ones busting our backs here!" snapped Trevor.

"Oh, come on, Trevor," replied Shauna, twirling around to look at her friend. "The ladies are doing a whole bunch of work too. You know, it takes a lot of knowledge and precision to pick the best clothes and accessories for Showcase outfits!"

"I call shenanigans on that logic!"

"Why am I getting a sense of déjà vu...?" Calem asked flatly, addressing Nate, who merely shrugged his shoulders.

Meanwhile, Moose was enduring a similar struggle. He staggered as quickly as he could after Grace and Layla, with many shopping bags hanging from every inch of his arms.

"Why do I have to carry all the bags by myself again?" the poor glasses-wearing man asked.

"Like I said, honey," Layla replied, "I'm pregnant. I can't afford to be lifting any weights right now." She then gave him a knowing stare. "You don't want any harm to come to our children before they're even born, do you?"

Moose's eyes widened a little. "O-O-Of course not, b-but-"

"Then be a man and suck it up."

"Ouch," Grace added teasingly, giving her younger sister a soft and playful bump to the shoulder. "You tell him, sis." She then glanced at Moose as well. "Come on, Moose, be like Meyer and carry those bags like a real man."

Indeed, out of all the males in the group, Meyer seemed to have no physical or emotional problems in carrying a number of shopping bags for the females. He actually had the largest workload out of everyone, but he carried his burden with a rather surprising expression of confidence, a look that refused to waver even with every bag that was added to his arms. Upon hearing Grace's statement, Moose's lips broke out into a toothy smile.

"Is that a compliment I'm hearing from you?" he asked.

"I'd rather compliment a Tentacruel over you," Grace replied flatly, all the while giving him a deathly stare.

Meanwhile, Moose, realizing the magnitude of Meyer's strength, got an idea. Without a second thought, he looked up at him pleadingly.

"Hey, it's Meyer, right?" he asked.

"That's me, alright," Moose replied, looking down at the wiry man. "You need anything?"

"Could you carry some of my load, please...?"

"Sorry, no can do." He raised his bulky arms; every last inch of them was bearing the thick strings of shopping bags. "As you can see, I've already got a lot on my plate as it is."

"Oh, come on, Meyer! There's no way you're struggling with that much bags! A couple more wouldn't hurt-"

"You wanna impress your wife and not have her be on your case like this?" Meyer interrupted. Then, he flexed his arms, shocking Moose with his bulging, tanned muscles. "Improve that body of yours. Put a little more mass on those arms and legs!"

"I-I do exercise!" Moose snapped defiantly.

"Obviously you're not getting enough. You're not that far of a cry from my son." Meyer glanced at Clemont with concern as the inventor buckled under the combined weight of his bags. "Even if I know he'll be getting a girl in the future, I am still quite concerned about how he'll be able to get to that point..."

Meanwhile, Clemont sneezed. Then, he was the first to notice the girls heading towards another boutique.

"Oh, no!" the inventor exclaimed with exasperation. "N-Not another boutique! We...We just came out of one!"

"Face it, Clemont," Trevor replied, his voice low and glum as many of the girls skipped towards the store's entrance. "The moment the girls see a store they like, they'll be shopping in it no matter what, and we'll be left to deal with the physical work. You can't stop it."

"It's like a law of nature of its own..." Tierno added, his voice exhibiting a combination of exhaustion and curiosity about the mannerisms of females.

The group immediately entered the boutique, and the girls immediately gasped with awe at all of the products.

"Wow!" Serena cried as she examined row after row of clothes. "Look at all of these clothes! I've never seen these before in any of the other stores and boutiques I've been to! The ones at Kiloude don't even have these brands!"

"Awwwww, these hats are so cute!" squeaked Blanche as she gawked at a table of various hats and caps. She then took a couple from the counter and examined each of them in turn. "I should buy these for my Meowstic! They'll be helpful for the final event!"

"Ta-da!" Miette cried, having just put on a pair of stylish deep-orange glasses. "What do you guys think?!"

"Hmmm..." Aria examined every angle of the blue-haired Performer's face before replying, "It matches your eyes pretty well, but I think it needs a lil' more pizzazz to it..."

"Oh, I've got just the thing!" cried Nini. She approached Miette and placed a small blue fedora on the top of her friend's head. "There we go! I think you look fabulous, Miette!"

"Yeah, they really do bring out the best parts of you!" added Aria.

"Really?" Miette chuckled sheepishly. "Th-Thanks..." She took off the sunglasses and fedora and looked at them. "I guess I'll be buying these!"

Meanwhile, Serena was scouring through a row of jean shorts and comparing two different products that had caught her interest when she felt someone tugging at her vest. She looked down to see Selene staring back up at her, with Celebi in her arms and Pichu on the top of her head.

Then, Serena noticed what her future daughter had done to Celebi.

"A Sewaddle vest...?" the honey-blonde asked.

"I found it, Mommy!" explained Selene. "And since everyone keeps mistaking Celebi for a Sewaddle, I wanted to have it! So, can we buy this for Celebi, Mommy?" Her blue eyes shimmered pleadingly. "Pretty please?"

"Pichu-pi?" Pichu added, its eyes also having a similar shimmer. Meanwhile, Celebi cooed and shifted comfortably within its impromptu disguise.

"Why, of course, Selene!" Serena replied, while patting the side of the little girl's head. "We gotta hide Celebi from those big, bad poachers anyway, and this should be the perfect disguise for it!"

"YAY!" Selene hopped and twirled around for a couple of times with excitement before abruptly stopping. Her eyes were shining with awe as they stared off somewhere, intriguing Serena.

"Selene?" Serena approached her future daughter and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Is there something wrong?"

Selene merely pointed towards a shelf of hats and caps, and Serena followed the direction of her index finger. That was when she saw what had caught the girl's attention in the first place: a red, flower-like toque with a cubical, Poké Ball-like symbol at the front.

"I want that, Mommy..." Selene said with wonder.

Serena blinked. "You want that?"

The teenage Performer approached the toque, took it from the shelf, and looked at the price tag. At first, it looked rather expensive, but Serena then remembered that her aloof, wealthy Uncle Dawson would be paying for every last purchase in Kiloude. So, she smiled brightly and looked back at Selene.

"Of course, Selene," she replied. "We can buy this too!"

"HOORAY!" Selene immediately hugged the girl's leg tightly. "YOU'RE THE BEST, MOMMY!"

"Mommy...?" another voice asked. Serena looked beside her and saw, to her shock, Aria, who was standing just a couple of feet away. "Wh...Why'd she call you 'Mommy', Serena...?"

The gears in Serena's brain whirred at high speeds as she struggled to come up with an excuse.


The honey-blonde was suddenly interrupted when Yancy literally crashed through a row of jeans and stood between her and Aria. Her face was as pink as her hair, and she was struggling to hold back her panting.

"Se...Se...Selene thinks Serena's...our...mother..." Yancy said between intense pants. "Because...Serena...looks like...our mother...Selene...makes...those mistakes...sometimes... Phew!" Yancy heaved out a sigh of relief and slumped over, her hands clasping her patellas.

"Oh..." Aria replied. Then, her red eyes bulged with surprise. "Wait a minute, these are your sisters, Serena?!"

"Y-Y-Yeah..." stuttered Serena.

"You never told me you had sisters, Serena!" To the relief of Serena, Selene, and Yancy, Aria smiled enthusiastically. "I've never really had any younger sisters. It must be nice to have that kind of luxury."

"I-It has its drawbacks..." Serena looked down at Selene, just in time to see the girl coddling Celebi rather adorably. "But I think the perks definitely outweigh them..."

Aria smiled at Selene as well before looking at Yancy. "Yancy, is that right?" When Yancy nodded, the Kalos Queen asked, "It must be really nice to have such an accomplished older sister as a Performer... Even moreso since Serena nearly beat me- I mean, Aria during the Master Class. You must be really proud."

"We-We all are," Yancy replied quickly.

Then, the girl's friendly smile widened. "You know, I may not recognize you anywhere from this year's Showcase season, but I'm sure you're a really great Performer as well."

"I-I guess..." Yancy then looked at Serena, who was talking with Selene. "But no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to beat my mo- uh, sister. And even if I wanted to..." She sighed softly and smiled. "I...I just can't bring myself to... She is just too amazing to beat..."

"Oh..." Aria stared at Yancy with sympathy. "I know how you feel..."

Yancy stared at her. "You do?"

"Yeah." The Kalos Queen smiled fondly as she reminisced. "My mother meant the whole world to me. She taught me all the things I needed to know about Showcases. And she was a natural onstage." She sighed. "Everyone was blown away by her. She knew how to make an entire audience smile..."

Yancy watched on as Aria recounted the memories she had of her mother. As she listened in intently, the happy, excited look on the pink-haired girl's face gradually subsided and was replaced, bit by bit, with sadness and empathy. Being fully aware of Aria's childhood, Yancy could tell where this story was going...

Just then, Aria paused, and Yancy could see a disconcerting look reflecting in her eyes...

"A-Aria...?" Yancy asked with concern. "Are...Are you okay there...?"

Her words seemed to have shaken the Kalos Queen from her absentmindedness, for she shook her head and gave Yancy another wondrous smile.

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine!" she replied. "Oh, I'm sorry, I-I guess I just got a little absorbed there." She chuckled and rubbed the right side of her neck sheepishly. "E-Enough about me, why don't we go shopping some more?"

Yancy stared at Aria for a few seconds, mentally debating whether she should dig deeper into the matter. However, she quickly decided against that and replied with a smile, "O-Of course! Let's!"

Aria smiled back at her, before the two teenage Performers joined Serena and Selene in taking the latter's new toque and Celebi's Sewaddle-themed vest to the cashier's desk, where several other people in their group were already waiting. As they proceeded towards the front counter, Aria suddenly remembered something and glanced at Yancy with confusion.

"Wait a minute," the redhead thought. "Did...Did Yancy just call me by my real name...?"

It didn't take long for the entire group (or all of the girls, rather) to find for all of the items they decided to buy. Serena, Yancy, Shauna, Miette, Nini, and Aria got themselves new clothes and accessories; Blanche got the two hats she picked out earlier for her two Meowstic; Kazalie and Shulin both got Kiloude City-themed shirts that they planned to send over to their parents; Grace and Layla got more souvenirs for their relatives overseas; and Bonnie convinced Clemont to pay for a new Icy Snow Vivillon-themed costume for Halloween.

As for Selene, she had Serena purchase the red toque and Celebi's disguise for her. The latter item was a hassle to pay at first because the cashier required the girls to remove the vest from Celebi so he could scan its tag, thus jeopardizing the Time Travel Pokémon's hiding spot. Fortunately, Ash kept the cashier occupied for a brief moment by inquiring about his assistant Caterpie while Serena and Selene worked together to remove the Sewaddle costume from Celebi.

Right now, the group was at a changing area of the boutique, where Serena, Selene, Bonnie, Yancy, Shauna, Miette, and Nini were sampling some of the clothing they got or were planning to get, namely their swimwear. Blanche, Kazalie, and Shulin were also in stalls of their own, having been provided with some of the clothing the other girls bought.

"Yo, how long is this supposed to take, Shauna?!" exclaimed Tierno.

"Yeah!" added Trevor. "Isn't the Showcase gonna start any minute now?"

"Not really," Aria replied. "I just learned they're extending the break by a few more minutes. They still need to clean up the stage after Amelia went nuts on it."

"I guess that makes sense..." Nate said as he held the disguised Celebi in his arms.

"Even so, I'm so tired, and I'm starving!" moaned Calem. "Can we just get a move on already, girls?! I wanna go back to the food court and scarf down on something delicious!"

"Just a minute!" Nini responded in a singsong voice.

"Great," Ash replied with exasperation as he held Selene's Pichu. "I could've spent this precious time battling someone!"

"Pika pika!" squeaked Pikachu, the Mouse Pokémon nodding with agreement.

"Same here," Nate said. Then, he looked at the raven-haired Trainer. "Speaking of which, we should remember to finish our battle from earlier today. I'd love to see who comes out on top."

Ash looked at him with a determined expression. "I wouldn't forget it for anything else in the world, Nate!" He then lifted a clenched fist. "But know this, Nate; I'm gonna beat you for sure!"

"Oh, we'll see about that!"

Just then, the two boys heard Miette sigh from inside her closet.

"Boys," she said. "Battling this, battling that. Is that all they think about?"

"You should spend an hour with Tierno and Trevor, Miette," Shauna replied. "They can't go a minute without mentioning Pokémon battling in some form. Or, in Tierno's case, doing some cool dance move."

"Uh, excuse me!" Trevor said, affronted. "Who out of the three of us spent thirty minutes straight going on and on about Aria and the upcoming Pokémon Showcases back at the summer camp?!"

"And I thought you of all people would sympathize with my love of dance moves, Shauna," Tierno added angrily.

There was silence from Shauna's stall. Then... "Touché, guys. Touché."

"Hey, uh, speaking of guys and their love of battling," Miette piped, "I think I now understand why you're having such a tough time with Ash, Serena."

"WH-WH-WHAT?!" Serena's voice squeaked from her stall; her mother's outburst made Selene giggle. "I-I HAVE N-N-NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, MIETTE!"

"Wait, what are you guys talking about...?" Blanche asked, confused.

"Yeah, come on!" Shulin exclaimed. "Fill us in on all the juicy details!"


"Oh, come on, Serena," Shauna suddenly replied, and everyone outside could easily imagine her shaking her head with disappointment. "We all know you've been trying to make a move on A-"

Serena immediately cut off her friendly rival with a blatantly fake cry. "AGH! Ooh, I, uh, I think I-I tore something!"

"Ohhhhh, sure you did..." Miette replied, unconvinced.

"No, I seriously tore something in my bikini!"

"Do you want me to help out?" Aria asked, stepping towards Serena's stall. "I can sew up any tears really good-"

"No, no, no! You don't need to do that,! I can manage just fine!"

Aria blinked. "Are...Are you sure-?"

"Yes, I'm sure! Look, I got my bikini on. I'm coming out right now!"

With that, the door to her stall flew open, and Serena stepped out into full view of all the others. Just a split-second later, the jaws of Ash, Nate, Clemont, Tierno, Trevor, and even Calem dropped open with shock, while their faces turned as red as ripe Tamato Berries. Even Aria couldn't help but gawk with total wonder.

Serena was wearing a rose-pink two-piece bikini, though the strings and clasps that held the articles of clothing together were as blue as her ribbon. The bikini did rather surprising wonders to show off her exposed body with her fair and silky skin, her modest curves, and her voluptuous legs. Her beauty was further accentuated by her neck-length honey-blonde hair, her sapphire-blue eyes, and her shy but somehow charming smile.

Ash would usually have something complimentary to say for his friend, but this was a completely different situation, one that deprived his ability to speak for some mystical reason. Instead, he simply stood there, gawking in awe at Serena, as if her beauty cast a spell on him. To any impartial third party, it would've been hilarious to see the experienced Trainer in that position, open-mouthed and utterly blown away by his traveling companion's looks.

"Wow, Serena!" Tierno exclaimed as sweat dripped from his forehead. "You look AMAZING!"

"Huh..." Aria added, scanning Serena from head to toe. "You sure know how to captivate an audience, Serena..."

"Wait, is Serena showing herself off?!" called Miette, a tint of jealousy in her voice.

"Aw, no fair!" Kazalie moaned.

"Hey, there's no way that girl's gonna hog all the attention!" Shulin snapped. "I'm coming out as well!"

"Me too!" Nini added.

"Same here!" Blanche cried.

"W-Wait for me!" Bonnie squeaked.

With that, the girls stepped out of their stalls, one by one, wearing their new clothing.

Yancy, Shauna, Miette, and Shulin were wearing two-piece bikinis of their own, but the colors and styles differed. Yancy's was white with light-pink outlines, Shauna's was green with white polka-dot patterns, Miette's was light-blue with orange stripes, and Shulin's top was green while her bottom was light-green with turquoise patterns. Like Serena, their choice of clothing showed off their bodies as well, entrancing the boys.

Unlike most of the other girls, Nini, Blanche, and Kazalie were wearing one-piece swimsuits. Nini's was orange with just a few light-blue stripes, Blanche's was a very light shade of blue, and Kazalie's was light-brown with light-green Poké Ball patterns. Blanche and Kazalie pouted at the attention the other girls were receiving from the boys, but Nini saw from the corner of her eye Tierno looking at her with a seemingly muted interest.

Selene and Bonnie were the only girls who were not wearing any swimwear. Instead, Bonnie was wearing the Icy Snow Vivillon Halloween costume, which was not all that different from all the other Pokémon-themed cosplay that she liked to wear. As for Selene, she switched out her old straw hat with the red toque, while Celebi was back in its Sewaddle vest.

As soon as Bonnie noticed Selene's new toque, she pointed at her and started laughing loudly and rambunctiously.


"I DO NOT!" Selene snapped back.

But Bonnie didn't listen to her. Instead, she clutched her sides as she kept laughing, while Dedenne and Squishy looked at her with disappointed expressions.


"Bonnie!" Clemont snapped harshly, as Selene pouted angrily at her aunt. "That's not a nice thing to say!"

"But doesn't Selene look like a little Torchic, Clemont?" Bonnie asked defiantly.

"Bonnie," Meyer suddenly said, and the tone of his voice silenced the blonde seven-year-old immediately. He crossed his arms, while Clemont stared at his father with immense relief. "What do you say to Selene?"

Not wanting to infuriate her father, Bonnie turned to Selene and said reluctantly, "I'm sorry, Selene. You don't look like a Torchic. You look nice in that...thingy."

Selene immediately smiled brightly at her aunt. "Thank you, Auntie Bonnie!" She then looked down at Celebi. "What do you think, Cele- I mean, Sewaddle? Do I look nice in this hat?"

"Bi!" Celebi replied, nodding its head in agreement.

Selene looked up at Pichu, who was still in her father's arms. "What about you, Pichu?"

"Pichu-pi!" the Tiny Mouse Pokémon squeaked, giving its caretaker a thumbs-up.

"Well, I think you look really cute in that, Selene," Serena said as she bent down and patted her future daughter lovingly on the head. "The toque makes you look like a pretty little flower."

Selene blushed at the praise, but continued to smile. "Thank you, Mo- I mean, Serena!"

Serena giggled childishly at Selene's bubbly nature, while Bonnie merely scowled at the two. Meanwhile, Miette, instantly seizing her chance, stood in front of Ash and made a rather provocative pose.

"How about me, Ash?" she asked seductively as she showed off the better parts of her bikini. "Do you think I look really cute in this?"

Ash's crimson blush intensified upon seeing Miette's own curvaceous body up-close and personal. It was bad enough that Serena had to unwittingly catch his attention like that, but to have Miette be up in his personal space in similar attire was almost not enough for the Pallet Town native to handle!

"Um, uh, um..." he stuttered, his frame trembling. "I, uh, I-I think-"

"Yeeeees?" Miette batted her eyelashes at him teasingly, reducing Ash into a further mess. "What do you think...?"

"I-I think..." Ash gulped reluctantly. "I-I think-"

"Pikapi..." Pikachu said, shaking his head with disappointment.

"Pichu pichu-pi," Pichu added flatly.

Ash started to sweat profusely as he and Miette stared at each other. He struggled to find the right words to say, but who in the world could find the right words to say in such a situation?!

"I, uh... I-"


But it wasn't Serena who intervened. Yancy pushed Miette away from her father, while her face was as pink as her hair.

"Y-You get away from him right now!" she squeaked with embarrassment. "Y-You shouldn't be fl-fl-flirting with him!"

At the corner of Miette's eye, the blue-haired Performer could see Serena subtly breathing out a heavy sigh of relief. She frowned with disappointment before seeing something else transpiring in the peripheral of her eyesight. Upon registering what it was, the familiar smirk returned to Miette's face.

"Are you sure you should be defending him, Yancy?" she asked tauntingly.

"O-O-Of course!" Yancy replied defiantly. She took a brief glance towards Blanche and Kazalie before saying in a hushed voice, "You know who Ash is to me, Miette!"

Miette's eyes twinkled knowingly, and she pointed over Yancy's shoulder. "And you say all of that...while someone else is trying to steal your man under your watch?"

Yancy's eyes bulged with shock, and she whipped her head around only to see the unthinkable. Shulin was standing right in front of Nate, making a provocative pose similar to Miette's. The poor brown-haired Trainer merely stared helplessly as the Performer flaunted her bikini-clad body just for him.

"I noticed you had an eye on my swimsuit, Nate," the green-haired girl said, her voice surprisingly sultry. When the poor boy merely let out a strained squeak in response, she smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder, making sure each of her fingers lightly tapped him sequentially. "Tell me, Nate, do you like what you see...?"

Steam was literally coming out of Yancy's nostrils and ears as she witnessed this. Miette giggled momentarily before she placed her hands on the other girl's shoulders and leaned her face close to her ear.

"I think you'd better stop this before it gets out of hand, Yancy," she said.

Yancy did not waste another minute dawdling, for she dashed forward a little too quickly and knocked Shulin over in her outburst. As chaos erupted amongst the group because of this, Miette trained her sights on Ash again, all for the sake of Serena...only to realize the raven-haired Trainer was conspicuously absent.

As was Serena.

She looked down at Selene, who was coddling Celebi again, and noticed that Pikachu and Pichu were with them now. She knelt down and asked, "Selene, sweetie, where are Ash and Serena?"

Selene looked up at her honorary aunt, tight-lipped from a few moments. Then, after seemingly considering her options, she smirked, looked back down at Celebi, and replied, "In one of the other closets."

Miette immediately smirked as well.


Ash stared incredulously at Serena as she held the door to one of the farther stalls shut. They could hear Yancy causing some sort of ruckus a few feet away, which apparently involved Nate and Shulin. However, they ignored what was going on outside when Serena breathed out a sigh of relief and addressed Ash.

"I'm...I'm sorry about that, Ash... I...I don't know what came over me..."

Ash blinked at his friend before turning his head away, his face pink. Unfortunately for him, Serena didn't get anything to modestly cover herself up with. As a result, he was stuck in a dressing stall with her while she was wearing nothing more than a two-piece bikini. An admittedly cute bikini at that...

Upon realizing what he was thinking, Ash shook his head rapidly and started panting a little to expend some of the heat building up within him. How in the world did this K+ story become a T-rated one?!

Meanwhile, Serena noticed her crush's reaction and blushed just as intensely as him.

"Oh, my goodness!" she squeaked. "I'm so sorry, Ash! I should've grabbed a towel or something-"

"N-N-No, it's okay," Ash replied with a slight stutter. "You had to act quickly. I can understand."

Serena briefly sighed with relief before narrowing her eyes. "That Miette! Sometimes I wish I could get my hands around her neck and shake that stupid smile off her little face! Agh! She just knows how to get under my skin!"

Ash briefly chuckled. "Oh, come on, Serena. She's just trying to have a little fun, that's all."

"Yeah, at my expense! She knows we're supposed to be married in the future and all, yet she goes all willy-nilly and still flirts with you! Who knows what kind of effects her actions will have?!"

"What about you, Ash?! Do you want to marry Serena?! ...Like, do you want her as your wife?"

Ash blushed upon remembering Nate's own words back at the food court. It was even more awkward now, being in such an intimate situation with Serena, with the realization that he was destined to marry her in mind. He never tried to give Nate's question any serious consideration, on the basis that it was so awkward to think about in the first place. But now that Serena brought up their inevitable civil union, the Trainer started to actually think about it.

For most of his journey throughout the Kalos region, he had always seen Serena as a very good friend and nothing more. Sure, there were moments where he felt there was an unusual level of intimacy between them, but those moments were always fleeting, and they passed before he could have a second thought about them.

But ever since they started journeying to Kiloude City, Ash realized there were even more emotionally charged moments between them and them alone. Their conversation on the balcony of their hotel suite was the first example that came to mind. He still couldn't believe how passionate he had been that night. (That came out wrong.)

However, as he continued digging deeper into the context of their relationship, the Pallet Town native suddenly realized something: the catalyst behind these strange but welcome series of events had to have been before Kiloude City, before their arrival at Vaniville Town.

Of course, Ash was thinking about their emotionally-charged conversation in the Winding Woods, right after his defeat at Wulfric's hands. He could still feel the feeling of snowballs pelting his face.

Ever since that time, Ash had been seeing Serena in a totally different light, a feeling that had been subtle until now. But even then, he could still recall the startling amount of enthusiasm and energy he exhibited around the honey-blonde.

"Man, I can't wait till I get to Vaniville Town! I've never been there, after all. I'd really like to see what your home is like, Serena!"

"I just wanted to see where you grew up, that's all."

"What was that for, Empoleon?!"

"Wow, so that's how the people in Vaniville live! And look at those streams and fountains! And all of the people and Pokémon! I wish Pallet Town was a little like that!"

"For a small town, Vaniville has a very nature-y feel to it! I like it! And it's in the middle of a very wide field! Where I come from, Pallet Town is in the middle of a valley. We have some fields and plains, but mostly it's just mountains all around. It's not like I hate how Pallet Town looks, but...I do wonder what it's like to live in a different place such as this."

On a surface level, Ash would have been mistaken into believing he was just acting like his usual self back then. But now that he was grappling with whatever feelings he had for Serena, the raven-haired Trainer realized his enthusiasm for any and everything Serena-related was probably a sign of something more...

But...if it was something more, then...did that mean...?

"What about you, Ash?! Do you want to marry Serena?!"

"Do I really feel that way about her...?" Ash thought, his mind reeling from the overload of information. "Do I want to be with Serena for the rest of my life? Is it something that would make my heart flutter...?" He then gulped. "That's a pretty stupid question. Of course my heart is fluttering at that possibility! But... But what? What's the problem here? Why do I believe there may be a problem with this...?"

"Hello, Ash? Ash? Hey, Earth to Ash Ketchum!"

Ash screamed and nearly fell over the moment he returned to reality. He realized that Serena had leaned her face about an inch closer to his own, perhaps unknowingly so.

"S-S-Se-Ser-Serena!" Ash managed out. "D-Do-Don't st-startle me like that!"

"Oh, I'm sorry!" the honey-blonde replied. "It's were spacing out a moment ago." Then, her face turned even more red, and she shyly covered as much of her skin as possible. "Pl-Pl-Please don't tell were-"

"I was what?" Ash tilted his head like a confused Lillipup. Then, he seemed to come to a realization. "Did...Did you know what was thinking about?"

Serena's voice cracked as she squealed, "I-I don't even wanna know!"

Ash blinked obliviously. " don't wanna know what you think about all of this?"

"I don't!" Then, with her face still red, Serena relaxed and stared intensely at Ash's auburn eyes. " want us to think about it..."

"So you want us to think about our future?" Ash blushed as well. "T-Together?"




"That's what you were thinking about?" Serena asked flatly, her arms falling down to her sides lifelessly.

"Well, yeah..." Ash crossed his arms and looked away shyly. "What else would I be thinking about?"

"I've got about a hundred ideas." Then, the honey-blonde awkwardly leaned against the closet door. " wanted to think about our future together? Is that what's going on?"


"Okay. Let's." Serena crossed her arms as well. "But I mean, what's there to think about? I-It's gonna be a thing, isn't it? Whether we like it or not, we will be married and have kids and be happy together, the whole package..." Serena's lower lip quivered ambiguously. "It's inevitable, as my mom would say."

Ash hesitated a little as he remembered Nate's words again.

" do you feel about it?" he asked slowly.

"How do I feel about it?" Serena smiled a little, but even then, her smile radiated a great amount of joy. "I...I feel great about it! I mean, you've seen me interact with Selene and Yancy!"

"Yeah, but..." Ash gulped. "How do you feel about having them with me?"

Serena blinked. "C-Come again?"

"I mean, how do you feel about marrying me? Having me as your husband? Is that something you want? I-I mean, there are so many guys out there in the world, guys you could have as husbands!" Ash's heart tugged a little at the suggestion for some reason, but he pressed on. "I know we already know what's ahead of us, our future, and Selene and Yancy are good people. But I ask this because I want this whole thing to be on our own terms. I want us to decide our own future-"

"Of course!" Serena interrupted suddenly, before she could help herself. "I'd like to have you as my husband!"

Ash's eyes widened with surprise. "You...You would?!"

"Ye-Yeah!" Serena paused briefly, unsure if Ash was interpreting her words the way she wanted to, or if he was being his oblivious self as usual and being misled by some outlandish but cute misinterpretation. "W-Well, I mean..." She twiddled her fingers nervously. "I... I..."

Her heart stopped as she realized what she was about to do. She was going to confess to Ash. She was going to confess to Ash, the one boy she loved in her life. And it was not some imaginary confession, some perfect scenario conceived by the most pleasant and unbelievable of dreams. It was going to be a full-fledged, legitimate, no-holds-barred confession. There was nothing in this world that could stop her now-

Their stall was suddenly filled with a blast of bright light, and a peculiar shadow.

"There you guys are!"

Except for Miette, that is.

"Well, well, well," the blue-haired Performer continued with a snicker. "What do we have here? As if this whole affair was not juicy enough already! But you chose to take it from one to ten right away, Serena! I'm quite impressed!"

"MIETTE!" Serena screeched, her voice echoing throughout the boutique and seeping outside into the rest of the Laurier Maison, for everyone else to hear.

As Ash watched Serena engage in yet another heated exchange with Miette, he blushed and looked away. The nature of their conversation was about to get somewhere important, but Miette HAD to butt in with her shenanigans. However, the interruption did make him realize something.

"Perhaps it'd be more appropriate for us if Serena was wearing real clothes before she told me how she felt..." Then, the boy looked down at the floor and sighed sadly. "Still though...what was she gonna say to me...?"

A/N: And this marks the end of this literally heated chapter! I was planning on making it a little longer, but I felt happy with this ending and I didn't want to give the chapter unnecessary bulk, so I just went with my gut. I sincerely hope you guys enjoyed those AmourShipping hints! Those were my favorite parts.

I'd like to thank the following people for reviewing:


1) Where do you think Amelia gets that recklessness from?

2) In regards to Aria and Foster, that would be telling, would it?

-Amourshiper35: Indeed, Ash is starting to catch on! And he's catching on even more in this chapter!

-Dragon King Ryouga:

1) Huh? Miette is a mother in the future. In case you forgot, her daughter's name is Millefeui (a.k.a. Millie) and she was featured in the trilogy of chapters that were set in the future. However, Miette's parenting skills are not that good...

2) Archimedes was a real person from ancient Greece. He was a physicist among other things, hence my joke about the law of density and Ash.

3) I'll give your fic a shot when I have the chance. I'm glad my original Theme Performance gave you some inspiration!

4) Yes, I did. At this point, I'm trying to marathon "My Hero Academia" without using my computer, but I have only been able to get through the first halves of the first and second seasons. Still...IT'S SO DAMN AWESOME!

-bankerrtx01: If I made them do that, a third of the story would already be over and there would be no more point in life. :P

-8manS: Thanks! Is there anything about the story you liked so far? Anything you disliked? Any comments? I need more specifics in your reviews so I can make this fic an even more enjoyable read for you!


1) Don't worry. As you can see, Ash and Serena are starting to truly come to terms with what's supposed to be ahead of them in twenty years' time. They just need some more pushing...

2) I think this chapter just proved it for you. XD

3) Thanks! I wasn't so sure of that Theme Performance at first because I've been watching Pokémon Showcase episodes and looking up the sport on Bulbapedia, but I guess I've exceeded your expectations once again!

-Rajiv A. Rajaram:

1) Thanks! I was kinda miffed on how Pokémon Showcases lacked battling for the most part, even if such a feature (or a lack of one, for that matter) is supposed to distinguish them from something like Contests. But I digress.

2) I'm so glad my characterizations are spot-on, even after all of this time!

-Bailey radcliff (guest reviewer): Thanks! Is there anything about the story you liked so far? Anything you disliked? Any comments? I need more specifics in your reviews so I can make this fic an even more enjoyable read for you!


1) Yes, there's more. Hopefully you liked it! I can definitely say it was fanservice-y for everyone. XD

2) I see your "My Hero Academia" fic right now. The plot summary looks very intriguing. I think I'll give it a shot.

-Z (guest reviewer):

1) Yes, that's the plan! It's only natural that I take this route because I'm juggling with three other fics at the same time and with more to possibly come!

2) Thanks! I enjoy AmourShipping moments too, no matter how big or little they are!

-Trick Sterling:

1) You're welcome for the ruined sleep. XD

2) There's actually a very logical explanation behind Bonnie's rude behavior, and it will show itself as the chapters go on by. Though she's being OOC right now, it's actually supposed to be a calculated decision on my part.

3) Future tech, and the fact that the EHS likes to cheat.

4) I wouldn't exactly say Miette's overlooked; she's a favorite supporting character for AmourShipping writers. But I am so glad I'm doing her justice right now.

5) I know. I think I also said that the final chapter count is fluid and could change at a moment's notice.

-pokemon fan (guest reviewer): You could check out my profile, which you can access through the link that's on my username. I have two other "Pokémon" fics that might be well within your taste.

Well, hope you enjoyed this chapter! TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE!

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