Chapter 4: Snapshot
CLICK! Misty sighed as her eyes rolled at the familiar sound, trying to ignore it in favor of finishing the paperwork sent to her by the Pokemon League committee. She tapped her pen and reread the sentence concerning qualifiers for the representation of water type gym leaders in this year’s championship; between herself, Wallace, Crasher Wake, Cress, and Marlon there were a number of possibilities, though Wallace had already mentioned that he’d be opting out due to ‘personal’ reasons. Misty really didn’t want to be present, again, this year so she started plotting ways to ask one of the other three water type males for---
CLICK! The pen was slammed down and Misty twisted quickly in her spinning chair to face a tall, well built and handsome male with cinnamon colored spikes and a face hidden behind a polaroid camera. Her expression was upset but that didn’t deter the male from clicking the camera once more. When the scrolling of the photo came from the camera, he peeked from behind his toy to collect it before readying for the wrath of one Misty Waterflower.
And wrath he did receive when the girl bounded up and stomped towards him with pure anger written across her features. She attempted to grab the photos from his grip, but Gary thanked every pokemon god that existed for his towering height that prevented this action as he held his arm high above the ginger haired girl’s head.
“Gary! Give those here!” She hopped up in hopes of successfully snagging the photos, but he twirled away from her and hid them behind his back with a wink. “Seriously, are you five years old? Stop taking pictures of me! It’s creepy!” Her irritation peaked at his childish manner.
“It’s not creepy. You’re cute.” He winked again, but Misty was used to his flirtatious behavior and ignored it easily. She took up her regular post of shoving him in the chest with her index finger as she scoldingly spoke to him.
“Irrelevant are your excuses and what you think of me! Don’t you have, oh I don’t know, paperwork to be filling out for the Pokemon League?” She gestured to the forms and letters scattered upon her desk while watching him with determined cerulean orbs. “Someone is the gym leader of Viridian City and will need to fill in for the Ground Type Competition, or am I mistaken?” The water type trainer began tapping her foot in annoyance as she continued to poke him.
“Mistaken,” he teased as the girl trying to push him frowned even further. “I convinced Clay to take the post since I don’t do single type specialization~,” he sang teasingly. “Besides, I was the Champion once, so I know the ropes. No need to crush every baby soul out there who’d be taking me on in a match.” There was an infuriating look of smugness on Gary’s face as he waved his camera holding hand flippantly, but Misty was getting more irked with each passing second. If he wanted to play that game, she was going to play hard.
“True, except you seem to forget your championship reign lasted all a matter of what? Ten minutes?” Her companion frowned and lowered his gaze to her warningly. Misty knew she had prodded him on a sore topic from his facial expression. “And who was it that defeated you so easily?” she questioned, tapping her chin girlishly. The redhead also noticed the way the gifted trainer’s hand fell from behind his back and down to side.
“Stop it, Red,” he cautioned. This was always a touchy subject with Gary. He hated admitting his loss to his childhood rival. Misty wasn’t ready to let up quite yet though. Her friend needed to be kicked off his high horse once in awhile. She ignored his whitening knuckles and the way his normally glistening forest green eyes darkened to a stormy shade.
“I believe your crumbling loss of title came from Mr. Ash Ketchum, no? Your mere snapshot of a victory torn away from you by a boy you claimed to be less talented, less capable, less skilled than yourself. That same boy took out the Great, Unbeatable Gary Oa---” The shorter girl didn’t expect Gary to throw both the polaroid camera and the photos down in rage to grab her by the shoulders and steer her into a wall harshly. Misty’s breath absconded from her for a half a second before she regained her composure to the sight of her fellow gym leader huffing icily and glowering her like a hungry Braviary.
“I am still ten times the trainer that Ketchum is, Red. I may have lost to him once, but I am not weak or unskilled.” His voice was venomous, but Misty could read in his dark and serious eyes the hurt behind his ego. Even though they had resolved their rivalry and become closer friends, Gary still experienced shame and pain anytime someone mentioned his biggest loss to Ash. And the Viridian City gym leader was not the same person he had been all those years ago, so despite his occasional jokes using his arrogance as a medium, the Cerulean City gym leader knew she’d gone a tad too far.
Feeling guilty for eliciting such hurt from her friend, Misty slowly brought up her hands to cup Gary’s tense cheeks and gave him the most sincere look she could muster. She watched the windows of his soul shift between many emotions before they settled with a wounded and sullen expression.
“Gary, I never meant to imply you weren’t a good trainer. It’s just you were skipping out on work while I was trying to work, and then you were being annoying with those stupid photos, and-” She stopped short when his face fell into further pouting, so the water type trainer tried a different tactic. “Look, I was wrong. You are a great trainer Gary. I’m sorry.” He nodded and released her from the wall pin, but Misty didn’t drop her hands and followed him as he tried to step away.
“I mean it.” He looked at her with a slightly shocked expression before mimicking his hands on Misty’s own cheeks. He gave the redhead a genuine smile before speaking.
“I know, Red. And I’m sorry I’m such a jerk and so irresponsible sometimes. But I guess that’s why I keep you around.” At this, his fellow gym leader’s raised brow, so Gary continued his statement. “You know how to put me in my place, that’s for sure.” Misty sheepishly looked away before her eyes landed on the abused camera and polaroids scatter on the floor a short distance away.
The idea clicked in her mind before she consciously realized what she was doing, and she removed her hands from Gary’s face before latching onto his hand and dragging him over to the cause of their argument. Squatting down to retrieve the item and then standing back up to face her green eyed friend, Misty dropped his hand in favor of jumping behind him and reaching forward to throw her arms around his neck. Then the gym leader reached her arm forward and positioned the device before them, angled so both their faces would be in the shot.
“Smile!” she shouted as her finger clicked the button and then watched as the little photo scrolled out through the front opening of the camera. Gary collected it and waved the plastic paper to develop it faster; when they looked upon the shot, Misty still hanging off of Gary’s shoulders, they both smiled at the cute photo of them.
“I really like it,” Misty commented.
“Me too. It’s a good snapshot.” He looked at her out of the corner of his eye and she nodded in agreement.
“A snapshot of two great Kanto gym leaders. And friends.” When the redhead glanced again at the still scattered pictures around their feet, she was a bit surprised to see all the flattering and candid shots of herself that Gary took. It made her feel even more guilty for calling him creepy. She never knew polaroids could look so professional. The youngest Oak really was a talented and skilled person.
“Right you are, Red,” he said as he freed himself from her and turned around to look at her clearly. Taking the camera from her grasp, he gently set it on the ground and when their glances returned to each other, he smirked at her with his returned smugness.
“So, does this mean you’ll stop being a workaholic and take pictures with me?” Being cute, he grabbed her shoulders, tenderly this time around, and placed their foreheads together in a sweet gesture meant to make Misty cave. He had forgotten that she was immune to his antics however.
“No, Gary Oak. We can take photos after you read and sign all the League paperwork that was sent to you.” Her flushed face didn’t reflected her refusing tone, but Gary was enjoying the situation regardless.