by: Hugo Reed
Chapter 2: The Idea
Ash closed his eyes to try and get a bit of shut eye. However, fate had another plan.
"Well hey there, Ashy boy!"
Ash flipped the bill of his hat up to see who was talking to him, and saw a girl with bushy green hair and eyebrows. It took him a long second to remember her.
"Oh, Duplica!" he said, recognizing his old friend. "It's been a while."
"Oh, Duplica!" she said mocking him. "Come on lazy boy get up! You could at least act happy to see me again!"
She pulled him into a hug and he smiled. This was the Duplica he remembered alright; happy and hyper as all hell.
"Sorry," he said, hugging her back quickly. "I'm beat, just finished my last battle and all."
"No you didn't," she said as they pulled away from one another.
He raised his eyebrow at her. This girl was a good friend, but sometimes she just didn't make sense, how would she know what was going on in the league?
"Duplica, I lost my battle against Riche."
"I know, I watched it."
"Then you know I... wait you watched my battle?"
She smiled at him.
"I've watched all your battles in the stadium, duh! You're the one who helped me and ditto, and you reminded me that the trainer has to be just as good as the pokemon. You didn't think I'd just forget about you did you?"
"Well, I hadn't really thought about it." he admitted. "But anyway, what do you mean that's not my last battle? I'm out of the Indigo Plateau now."
She sighed and rolled her eyes at him.
"This year yes, but even so you've got a lot of battles ahead of you. Don't ever see anything as the last battle. I never think of anything as the last show! You taught me that dummy."
"Good point, so what are you doing here?"
"What do you think? Almost everyone in all of Kanto comes to this thing. I had to come if I wanted to keep getting business. Actually got another show coming up in twenty if you want to hang around until then. You didn't look like you had anywhere to go."
"I didn't," he said smiling. "Thanks. So what you have you and ditto been up to?"
"Mostly shows, we almost have too much business now that ditto's transform is working well. I still find plenty of time for fun though. How about you and Pikachu? Also how are Brock and Misty?"
"Pikachu and me have never been closer, but my Charizard's going to kill me someday. Brock's doing fine, still hitting on every Joy and Jenny he can find. Misty is... well Misty, still insulting me and begging for her stupid bike back. I seriously wish I'd never annoyed those sparrow."
Duplica laughed lightly.
"That's funny, what were you saying about Charizard? It won't listen?"
"No, that's why it fell asleep in the middle of my match. I would've won otherwise."
"I was wondering about that. I thought you might've thrown the match for Riche."
Ash shook his head.
"Nope," he said. "We both promised to try our best. I wouldn't have just tossed in the towel like that. It's that stupid lizard."
"Well why doesn't it ever listen?"
"It acts so independent and won't fight anything it doesn't think is strong enough. Even when it does fight, it just does whatever it wants and doesn't listen."
"I've got an idea. Ditto come here."
Duplica's pink pokemon showed up from the side of the street.
"Do you have Charizard with you?"
"No, I left it with Brock and Misty."
She stood there tapping her foot occasionally. Finally Ash cocked his head at her, confused.
"What?" he asked.
"Are you going to take me to them or not?"
"Alright! Alright! Man you are pushy woman."
"I'm excited! I've never tried this before, you'll enjoy this."
Ash gulped, not sure of exactly what Duplica had planned.
This crazy girl is going to kill me.
He lead her down the street to the pokemon center, still catching up. He had to admit, he'd missed her. She was a fun and free person, with no concern except how to enjoy life. He had some of the same in him, but was also confined within the regulations of contests and always trying to be the best. Maybe he could learn a thing or two from her too. They reached the pokemon center and Ash grinned softly. The music flowing through place was highly infectious.
Ash turned and saw Brock, Misty and Pikachu running towards him.
"How are you feeling?" asked Misty.
"Pika? Pikachu chu," added the yellow rodent.
"I'm doing a lot better guys. Look who I ran into!"
Duplica chose that moment to pop out from behind Ash, smiling lightly.
"Hey guys long time no see! Listen, do you have Ash's pokemon?"
"Yeah," Brock responded, curious. "Here you go!"
He tossed Ash the bag and no sooner had he caught it then Duplica was wheeling him out again. The others gave each other a quick look and followed. The imitator lead Ash by the hand to a plain grass battlefield.
"Now then, Ashy boy," she said, smiling. "Let's see this wild Charizard of yours!"
Ash heard Brock and Misty give a sharp intake of breath. The young trainer ignored them and tossed the lizard's pokeball into the field.
"I chose you! Charizard!"
Duplica laughed softly.
"Go Ditto! Transform!"
Charizard appeared just as Ditto turned into it's copy. It examined Ditto with a wary eye.
"Oh I see," said Ash smiling. "If Charizard saw anything as a challenge, it'd be one of it's own! Great strategy Duplica! Alright Charizard, remember, it's transformed so it's a fire type like you. Fire attacks are going to..."
Charizard spat flames at it's opponent, and Ditto nimbly avoided them. Ash groaned.
"Ditto!" called out Duplica. "Give it your wing attack!"
Charizard spat more flames at Ditto, but the transformed pokemon took to the sky before slamming hard into the giant lizard time and time again.
"Charizard! Flamethrower isn't going to work! Try using your dragon rage!"
The giant pokemon ignored him to shoot another tower of flame into the air. Duplica sighed softly, then looked up to her Ditto.
"Ditto," she called. "Go ahead and use the seismic toss!"
Ash almost turned away. He already knew what was going to happen to his pokemon. Charizard did fight, trying to grab back at it's copy, but it was powerless. Ditto also wasn't going easy, it slammed Charizard down with all the force it had in it's new body.
"Charizard return," said Ash, holding out the pokemon's pokeball.
"Come back Ditto."
Ash looked at Duplica as she approached.
"This is what I'm talking about," he said. "It just refuses to listen. I'm a good trainer. I don't know why it doesn't want to."
She laughed again softly.
"You've been going about it all wrong as usual Ashy boy! You've been trying to prove yourself to Charizard by winning battles or gaining badges. Charizard doesn't care about things like that. He wants you to prove yourself to it physically."
"What tells you that?"
"I could tell from the way Charizard fights. To it, the only thing that matters is being the biggest and baddest pokemon it can be. Charizard sees you as a coward who hides behind his pokemon, that's why it won't follow you."
Ash growled lightly.
"I'm no coward!" he shouted.
"I know," Duplica said softly. "I know believe me, but Charizard doesn't. You need to find a way to prove yourself on it's terms."
"Oh," he said softly. "You know, I'm starting to get jealous. We've been trying to find out what the hell Charizard's problem is for a while now, then you come in and figure it out almost instantly."
"Part of the training for Ditto. Ditto can copy shape and techniques, but not attitude. I have to know what the opposing pokemon will do based on it's behavior."
Ash smiled softly.
"You're insane, but in a good way. It's got to be wicked hard to know everything about pokemon."
Duplica blushed slightly.
"I don't know everything about pokemon, not by a long shot. There's so much to know and they constantly surprise us. They're saying that we've found a whole new region with it's own type of pokemon now too, so I may have to start all over again if Ditto and I want to do shows there."
Ash gasped slightly, remember.
"That's right, you've got a show to do! We should probably get you there."
Duplica smiled. and lead them all to her tent. The trio got front row seats and while they were waiting Brock leaned over slightly to speak to Ash.
"So what's up with you and Duplica?"
"Us?" asked Ash. "What do you mean? I just met up with her and we're hanging out."
"But I always thought... never mind."
Ash raised his eyebrow slightly, but chose to ignore it. Brock was a bit weird normally, so he might just be talking about things only he'd understand. Then, Duplica and Ditto walked out onto the stage-or more properly, Duplica walked and Ditto slid.
"Welcome all! I am the amazing Duplica and this is my assistant Ditto!"
The show went off perfectly and Ash could see that Duplica loved what she was doing, and so did the crowd. After a few impressions, she turned to look at the crowd directly.
"Now I will need a few pokemon to have my assistant Ditto transform into. You sir, how about your Pikachu!"
Ash smiled, not much in the point of subtly between them at least, but the crowd at large didn't know any better.
"Go on, Pikachu."
"Pika!" called the yellow pokemon happily.
It ran up on stage to be face to face with Ditto, who transformed perfectly into a Pikachu. Pikachu and Ditto posed for a few moments while the crowd cheered and whooped. Ash and the others joined in happily.
"Alright thank you Pikachu!" said Duplica as Pikachu returned to Ash. "Now how about that Sandshrew in the back?"
The show continued with a few more demonstrations ending in a dual impression of a Caterpie by both Duplica and her pink pokemon. As the curtains closed, Ash and the others walked backstage to meet up with Duplica again. She had just finished changing back into her normal clothes and smiled at them as they approached.
"Great show Duplica!" said Misty.
"Yeah real impressive and Ditto's done great work too!" Ash added. "Brock don't you... Brock?"
The tallest trainer among them was nowhere to be found. They looked around and then saw him shuffling towards them with a red hand imprint on his face.
"It happen again?" asked Misty.
"I don't want to talk about it." said Brock softly.
"So Ash," asked Duplica. "What are you gonna do now that your out of Indigo for a year?"
Ash paused, realizing he hadn't even thought about it.
"I'm not sure," he admitted. "I've heard some about other leagues, maybe I'll go and attend on of them until it comes up again. There's were Gary's supposed to be going."
"Who's Gary?" asked Duplica with a puzzled expression.
"Don't ask," said Brock and Misty at the same time.
Ash smiled lightly. For some reason, he didn't feel angry about Gary, not nearly so much as he normally would've. Perhaps it was because he'd beaten him flat in the league. He'd checked the stats before the show. Gary had been number 31, which by his own 16, looked pathetic indeed. Duplica started talking about how she'd been arguing with herself to do some traveling and shows on the road.
"What do you think Ash?" she asked.
"Hm," he said softly, seriously considering. "Well it's a good way to spread around your act, and there's few things as fun as seeing the world like that."
She nodded thoughtfully.
"So Ash," said Brock. "What are you going to do now?"
"I think I'm gonna go see Professor Oak. I want to pitch Duplica's idea with Charizard to him, and see all my old pokemon again!"