Abnormal Ball 2: Tainted Love

(Cubed Cinder)

Our heroes were on their way out of Lilycove City to get back to Fortree City, but a big crowd of people was blocking Route 121, the only way along with Route 120, to get back to their destination.
"Hmmm... I wonder what the big crowd is for?" Ash said.
"Maybe they're having a Pokemon battle." May suggested.
"There couldn't be this many people to watch a wild Pokemon battle!" Max said.
"Guys! We should check it out for ourselves." Brock said. The group of pals then fought their way through the crowd before getting to the very front. It was there that they discovered what the holdup was for.

A Snorlax was blocking the road!

"Huh!? A Snorlax?" Ash said, with a stunned look on his face.
"But Snorlax are very rare around Hoenn! Where did this one come from?" Max said.
"Well, whatever. It's here now, and it's blocking our way back." May said. The four could hear all the murmurs from the crowd as to how they were going to move this thing, especially since Poke Flutes were just as rare in Hoenn. Finally, after watching many trainers fail to catch the Snorlax for themselves, Ash stepped up.
"All right! Watch how a real trainer catches a Snorlax! I choose..." Before Ash could say any more, he was interrupted by Brock.
"Wait! Hold everything!!!" Brock shouted.
"Huh? What's the holdup?" Ash asked.
"Ash, I don't mean to doubt your abilities as a Pokemon master, but I feel I'm the only one with the proper tools to catch a Snorlax." Brock said.
"What kind of tools are you talking about?" May asked.
"Nothing... except this!" Brock said. He then flashed before everyone's eyes something that Ash wasn't expecting the very least.

"Ack!!! Brock, not the Heavy Ball that Kurt made a long ways back!" Ash said.
"Yes, Ash. With this, the rare sight of a Snorlax in Hoenn, now is the perfect opportunity to put this special gift of mine to good use!" Brock said.
"Uh... don't you have to weaken the Pokemon first?" Max asked.
"Not with this. This ball was designed to easily catch Pokemon over 1,000 pounds, regardless of their strength!" Brock said.
"He's certainly into this." May said.
"Tell me about it. I haven't seen him sound this determined since Butterfree Mating Season." Ash said. Brock then walked up to the Snorlax and carefully aimed his Heavy Ball.
"Okay! Go Heavy Ball!" Brock shouted as he threw the ball right at Snorlax's face. Hitting the stomach wasn't a good idea as it would just bounce right off. As soon as the ball hit Snorlax's head, the red beam emerged from the ball and pulled the Pokemon inside. It then landed on the ground, and everyone watched in a tense feeling as the ball shook back and forth.

Then, it stopped. Brock had caught the Snorlax. Ash and May wanted to drop their jaws in surprise.
"Woohoo! I got a Snorlax!" Brock said as he cheered happily. The rest of the crowd didn't care much. They were just happy to see the roads open up again as they moved along. Only Ash, May, Max, and Brock holding his Heavy Ball remained.
"Brock... I can't believe you just caught that Snorlax that easily!" May said, stating the obvious.
"Ditto. I know the Heavy Ball is strong, but it's not that strong, is it?" Ash asked.
"Yeah, I was kinda surprised myself. It was just that simple throw to clear a roadblock. This is nothing compared to all that hard work we used to do with the Snorlax in Kanto." Brock said.
"Never mind that! I want to see that Snorlax you caught! I've always wanted to study one up close and personal!" Max shouted in anticipation.
"Okay, okay... come out Snorlax!" Brock said as he threw the Heavy Ball into the air. It fell down on the ground and opened up.

What the kids were looking at next was something they couldn't believe... Yeah, Snorlax was there. But the kids absolutely dwarfed over it like it were a Caterpie.
"What the...? This is impossible! Normally a Snorlax is 6 feet, 11 inches and weighs over one thousand pounds!" Max shouted. May walked up to the tiny Snorlax.
"Well, I guess we're the roadblocks for this little Snorlax now." May said.
"Brock, what do you suppose went wrong?" Ash asked.
"I don't know... I just caught it in this Heavy Ball, like I normally would." Brock said. Then, suddenly, Brock was taken by surprise as the red laser came shooting out of this ball and towards him! He didn't have time to get away before he was pulled inside of the ball.
"Brock!" Ash shouted.
"What!?!? Again? How often does it occur that a Pokeball malfunctions and captures its own trainer?" Max shouted.
"About as often as you actually shut your mouth." May said.
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean!?" Max shouted.
"Alright, guys. That's enough." Ash said. He picked up the heavy ball and opened it up in manual fashion, only to find his worst fears come true.

Brock was the one now shrunken.

"Uh... Brock, are you okay?" Ash asked.
"Yeah, but Ash, aren't you a lot shorter than that?" Brock asked. Ash thought at least he still had a sense of humor. He then showed the ball to May and Max.
"Well, Brock, I guess you know how it felt to be Ash last time something like this happened." Max said.
"Yeah, I sure do. But isn't it amazing? I don't think anything like this has ever happened." Brock said.
"At least you can get up close and personal with the ladies now." May said, giggling at that remark.
"May, please. Let's be serious for a moment. We gotta keep you someplace safe while we go find the antidote." Ash said.
"Where are we going to find it?" Max asked.
"I don't know. We might have to go all the way to Johto, which is where Kurt lives. If he helped me, surely he can help Brock." Ash said.
"I'm okay with it. I've always wanted to see Johto, after all." May said.
"All right. But first, let's go back to the Pokemon Center." Ash said.
"The Pokemon Center? But won't Brock go nuts over Nurse Joy? He might forget that he's been shrunken to the point where she can crush him like a bug!" Max said.
"We don't have much of a choice. Okay, Brock?" Ash said.
"Sure thing, Ash. Whatever works for me." Brock said. May then took the ball from Ash's hands and looked straight down at the little Brock.
"But please promise us you won't go mad over Nurse Joy?" May said.
"Oh, I promise. I'll keep a tight lip!" Brock said.
"Why is it I don't particularly trust you?" May asked as she closed up the ball.
"Wait! What about the tiny Snorlax? We can't just leave it out here!" Max asked.
"You're right. Bring that too." Ash said. Then the gang started to head back towards the Lilycove City Pokemon Center.

Inside, Nurse Joy was busy as usual, helping heal other trainers' Pokemon on the spot. Ash, May, and Max all approached the front of the desk.
"Oh! Hello there. You must be Ash." Nurse Joy said.
"Yeah. The one that was shrunken earlier thanks to a malfunctioning safari ball." Ash said.
"So what brings you back here so soon?" Joy asked. Ash took a deep breath. He knew Joy was going to be in for quite a surprise.
"Well, would you believe it happened again?" Ash said. He then took the heavy ball and opened it up, revealing to Joy the shrunken Brock. Joy just gasped.
"Nurse Joy!!! We have been destined to.... whoa!!!" Brock started stepping towards Nurse Joy, but forgot about the fact that he was standing inside a heavy ball and started to fall towards the desk. May was quick enough to catch him in mid-air.
"You said you wouldn't let Nurse Joy distract you!" May said.
"Well, I can't help it, May. It's like the dream girl you always think about when you're young." Brock said with a smile. May just shook her head and then held him close to her chest so that he couldn't get close to Joy again..

"My goodness... it happened again!?" Joy said.
"Yep. We had volunteered to help move the Snorlax out of the way, and Brock used a heavy ball that he hadn't used in over a year. When we captured it, it shrunk the Snorlax down to a tiny size, and that's when Brock got zapped the same way I did." Ash said. Max put the tiny Snorlax on the desk as Joy looked closely at it.
"Unbelievable." This was all Joy could say.
"Yeah, that's pretty much what we thought as well." May said.
"Can you help us, Nurse Joy? With Brock, I mean. We don't care what you do with the Snorlax." Ash said.
"Well, if your friend shrunk in the same fashion, then perhaps Kurt from Johto could help you out again." Joy said.
"We thought about that, but we're not sure how we're going to get all the way to Johto in such a short time." Ash said.
"Someone need a lift to Johto?" A familiar voice said. The group looked to see it was Officer Jenny walking in to the center.
"Officer Jenny?" May said.
"I have something that might be able to help you guys get to your destination." Jenny said. She then pulled out a Pokeball and threw it to the ground. Out came a Tropius.
"Wow! A Tropius! A mighty Pokemon that could resemble a floating island! If you think about it, anyway." Max said as he looked over the Tropius.
"You mean, we can use this Tropius to fly all the way to Johto?" Ash said.
"Sure. I'll do anything to help on your quest to get your friend back to normal." Jenny said.
"Alright! Then I'll fly to Johto and go look for Kurt to help us." Ash said.
"Wait! Take us with you, Ash! We'd like to see Johto." May said.
"What!? Are you crazy? Who's going to watch over Brock?" Ash asked.
"I'll watch over him. You guys go to Johto and get the antidote from Kurt." Joy said. Ash nodded as he took Jenny's Pokeball that contained Tropius and ran outside. May set Brock down on the desk as she and Max left as well.

Now it was just Joy, Jenny, and the tiny Brock at the desk. Though that would change rather quickly.
"Well, I have to get back to work. Take care, Joy." Jenny said. Joy nodded as Jenny left. Brock looked straight up at his Nurse Joy. His bigger Nurse Joy, I may add...
"So, Nurse Joy, what time are we going out?" Brock asked.
"(sigh) Okay, first off... we're not going out on any date. I'm only going to be protecting you for the next several hours while your friends are off in Johto." Joy said.
"Ah... okay. Can I at least help you out with your job?" Brock asked.
"Well, alright. Just don't get in the way!" Joy said, letting off another sigh as she prepared for what could possibly happen from someone as Joy-crazy as Brock, no matter how tall he is.

A customer soon approached the desk, laying a Pokeball or two forward.
"Can I help you?" Joy asked to the young girl.
"Just heal these Pokemon, please." The girl said. She then looked down to see the miniature Brock climbing up onto the desk. She gasped at the sight.
"Hey, beautiful! Welcome to the Pokemon Center, where Nurse Joy is always available for assistance!" Brock shouted. The girl took a closer look at the mini-Brock before she fainted to the ground. Joy ran over to pick her up just as soon as she placed the Pokeballs in the healing machine.
"Are you alright, miss?" Joy asked.
"Yeah... I'm fine, I think. But what was..." The girl started to say, but Joy put a finger over her mouth.
"You were just seeing things... it is a hot day, after all." Joy said. She then ran over to pick up the Pokeballs after they have been healed.
"Here are your Pokemon, miss. Have a good day." Joy said, patting the girl on the back as she left. She then walked back to the desk and let out a big sigh before looking down at Brock.
"Well, I'd say she's thrilled to have her Pokemon healed." Brock said. Joy then leaned in as close as she could to Brock without scaring him. She didn't have a happy face.
"It's not that! You practically scared her by showing yourself! What did I just tell you?" Joy said.
"You told me not to get in the way, right?" Brock said.
"Yeah, but when I say that, you should know what I mean. Just stay put until your friends get back." Joy said. Brock then sat down low enough so he couldn't be seen over the counter. He sat down through two customers, staring up at Joy's body moving back and forth from the front of the desk to the healing machine. He wanted so badly to help out Joy so that she could perhaps get to know him better. After all, the poor guy has tried for so long to impress all the Nurse Joys he has met from Kanto to Johto to Hoenn.

So when the next customer came and left his Pokeballs to Nurse Joy, Brock waited for her to place them down next to him so that she could warm the healing machine up. That's when Brock started pushing one of the balls towards the machine. Joy gasped when she saw the ball rolling, and then looked behind it to see Brock was rolling it. The trainer only noticed the ball moving and gave a confused face.
"Uh... automated process. A tiny conveyor belt is moving your Pokeball across. Saves me some work." Joy said. The trainer just nodded while Joy had a face of 'what the heck was I talking about?' The trainer looked around the place as he waited for his Pokemon to heal, not bothering to see Brock place the ball on the machine. Joy afterwards activated the machine and the Pokemon was healed.
"Here you go. Thanks for stopping by the Pokemon Center!" Joy said as the trainer left. As Joy looked over at Brock once more, he offered a thumbs up to his protector. Joy just shook her head as she met with the next customer.

This kind of thing would continue for the next several trainers as Brock would try with all his might to push the Pokeballs to the healing machine. Joy didn't want to take the balls from him for fear that the trainers would see a tiny person and faint like that one girl earlier. But this only made her job more frustrating. Soon, it appeared Brock was getting full of himself, speaking out once again to congratulate Joy for a job well done and to the trainer for choosing a nurse like Nurse Joy to take care of their Pokemon. Of course, even though they couldn't see Brock, Joy still felt worried for him.

Finally, it got to a point where Brock almost did everything for Joy. Greet the trainers with only a voice, then push the Pokeballs to the machine. He had started to forget to seclude himself from sight of shocked trainers who saw a person that small on Nurse Joy's desk. Joy was doing all her best to keep her emotions in check, but this was proving difficult. Finally, when one happy trainer left and Brock commented on how much they agreed that Nurse Joy was beautiful... she snapped.

Joy then formed a fist with her right hand and slammed it down inches away from Brock's tiny body. The gym master found himself jumping off the ground in shock as he turned to see one furious-looking Nurse Joy.
"What in the name of Hoenn is your problem!?!?" Joy shouted. Brock was about to say something, but Joy just cut him off.
"All I ask was that you sit tight and wait for your friends to return, but nooooo!!! You had to come out and make my job miserable!" Joy said.
"What do you mean? I helped you with your chores, didn't I?" Brock said.
"That may be true. But I'm not about to let you scare trainers like that! No wonder my sisters have said weird things about you..." Joy said. She then put up an "AWAY" sign on the top of the counter and stormed away, walking towards an open hallway and leaving Brock all to himself.
"Was it something I said?" Brock asked himself. He was having mixed emotions right now. On one hand, he was happy to be small enough to literally fit into Joy's hands, something that he used to dream of ever since he met her for the first time in Ash's travels. But on the flip side, he started to feel that maybe he did go overboard in hurting Joy's feelings. Did he do it because he loved Joy very much? Or was it out of trying to get out of boredom while waiting for Ash, May, and Max to bring back the cure from Johto? One thing's for sure, he was at a crossroads as to what to think.

"I see Joy's a little busy." a familiar voice said. Brock turned around and looked to see Officer Jenny had returned.
"I guess you could say that." Brock said.
"So what's going on? It's not like Joy to leave her desk often." Jenny said.
"I think I upset her by trying to help out... she just stormed out of here a couple minutes ago." Brock said.
"I see." Jenny said.
"I really feel bad, actually. Now I admit I was being a jerk about this whole thing." Brock said.
"It may not be all your fault, actually. Sure, all Nurse Joys work very hard to run these Pokemon Centers, but this Joy probably works the hardest of them all. She cares so much for Pokemon. Only the Joy in Kanto's Porta Vista Harbor is more passionate." Jenny said.
"No kidding?" Brock said.
"Nope. So you can imagine how secluded she feels as hard as she works. Sometimes even added help is too much for her." Jenny said.
"Oh..." Brock said, putting a hand on his chin like he was thinking of something.
"Well, I'm going back to work. Stay safe." Jenny said as she walked away. Brock wouldn't look up at the significantly taller Jenny, but was instead thinking about what she had said about Nurse Joy. Was Joy really such a hard worker that added help was too much for her? If this was true, then she absolutely needed some comfort value, and as he looked around, he felt he was the only one that could provide just that.

But how? It was a long way down both to ground level of the Pokemon Center, as well as to the hallway where Joy's office was located. Brock looked over to see a Chansey walking over to behind the desk, and he saw opportunity as the Chansey was very close to the edge of the desk. Brock then made a leap of faith from the desk and landed on Chansey as he slowly slid down its soft body. He had to hang on tight for the ride he was taking from Chansey walking around was quite rough.

Finally, Brock jumped down to the ground when he was close to the open hallway. He looked around in awe. The place was so much bigger from his current perspective, not to mention those pretty female trainers... what? You thought he wasn't thinking about that? Anyway, Brock wasted no time running towards the hallway. Once there, he kept close to the walls so that he both wouldn't be easily spotted as well as not be crushed so easily. As people walked back and forth, Brock slowly crept along the wall, not wanting to draw attention. He was able to do just that as he had made it to the door to Joy's office unharmed. Brock crawled underneath the opening.

And there was Nurse Joy, sitting at her desk with one hand on the side of her face, and another writing away over something. Brock took a few steps forward before stopping. He didn't want to get too close as she wouldn't be able to see him.
"Uh... Nurse Joy?" Brock said. He of course had to elevate his voice in order for her to hear him. And it worked out, 'cause she looked up and almost leapt out of her chair.
"What the... what in Hoenn are you doing here!?" Joy shouted. She then walked over to where Brock was standing and kneeled down to look closely at him.
"Well... I, uh... wanted to say something to you." Brock said.
"Did it have to be right now? How did you get down from the desk? You could've gotten killed, for crying out loud!" Joy shouted.
"I had a little help from Chansey. I stayed against the walls so nobody could see me or step on me." Brock said.
"Still... you had every right to make me nervous if I saw you sneaking through the hallway like that." Joy said. She then held out both of her hands, allowing Brock to jump onto them. Then Joy slowly got up and walked over to her desk. She sat down as she laid her hands down on the table, allowing Brock to walk down from them and face his protector from the desk.

"I take it you have something on your mind?" Joy asked.
"Well... uh... yes. But how did you know?" Brock asked.
"What else would it take for you to make it all the way from the front room to my office when you should be busy waiting for your friends to come back with a cure?" Joy said.
"Well. I wanted to say that I'm sorry." Brock said.
"Sorry?" Joy said.
"Yeah. For being a jerk back there. I just can't resist someone like you or Officer Jenny, and my mom always said to me that a real man would step up and offer any kind of assistance to the most beautiful of women. I never realized until today that I had been driving myself too far." Brock said. The expression on Joy's face changed. She now had a face of concern.
"I see." Joy said.
"But I know that's not saying a whole lot, especially since I'm this tiny compared to the rest of the world." Brock said.
"No... it's okay." Joy said. Brock lifted his head to look up at the good nurse.
"I have to admit... I think I acted like a jerk too. Us Nurse Joys always have to be caring for other Pokemon because we realize how important their lives are. But... I have to admit. Maybe I'm feeling a bit too protective." Joy said.
"Really?" Brock asked.
"Yeah. Last year, I kinda annoyed one trainer because I made such a big deal over a minor injury to his Charizard. And even one of my sisters, who was on hand to watch me care for it, told me afterwards that I'm too passionate for caring about Pokemon. Sure, you want to treat it with the most care possible, but you don't want to make every situation seem life-threatening." Joy said.
"So what do you mean?" Brock said.
"My point is that it's my fault that I was angry for you. I was being too overprotective of you. And I can understand why... this is the first time I've had to care for a small human like yourself. I mean, there was that one friend of yours, but his girlfriend protected him for me." Joy said.
"Well, Ash and May aren't exactly close mates yet, but I don't see how you could blame yourself. This is new for both of us!" Brock said.
"True, but the way I handled the situation was wrong, and for that... I'm sorry. I promise I won't go as far as to force you to stay in one place." Joy said, lowering her head in shame.
"I'm sorry too. I promise I'll try not to scare you like I did." Brock said.
"Well, that makes two rights then." Joy said, cracking a giggle at that remark. Brock couldn't help but laugh as well. She then smiled.
"Come here, you." Joy said. She then grabbed Brock and gave him a soft hug close to her chest. To Brock, this was quite an experience to be stuffed so close to her body as well as be engulfed by her hands.

As the hugfest went on, Brock's body started to emit a light gray color from his clothes. Joy didn't notice it until the light got extremely bright. As Joy was looking at this, she could feel something else happening... Brock was growing! But how? He shrunk by way of a malfunctioning Heavy Ball? How could a hug help bring Brock back to his normal size? This was all that Joy was thinking as she was forced to put Brock on the ground because he was getting a little heavy now.

Finally, after the light died down, Brock was back at his normal size. He looked around him to see the scenery looking a little more normal, and Nurse Joy not as "big" as she was before.
"What... just happened?" Brock said.
"I don't know. All I did was just hug you... well, nevertheless, you're back to your normal size now!" Joy said.
"Well, that's great! I guess we don't need that antidote now!" Brock said.
"Nope... let me go call Kurt, just in case your friends have already been there." Joy said as she walked out the office. When Brock was by himself, he threw a fist in frustration. He wanted so bad to be cuddled by a bigger Nurse Joy for just a little longer.

One hour later

Ash, May, Max, and Pikachu were walking back to the Pokemon Center with mixed feelings. Sometimes they would show happiness, while other times they would show frustration.
"So, what did you guys think of Johto?" Ash asked.
"I think it's an amazing land. So many diverse Pokemon, including strong ones, and really tough trainers to boot! It kinda puts Hoenn to shame, now that I think about it, though I still think this land is a nice home." May said.
"I was impressed by all the Pokemon there, and how strong they were! And they even looked amazing! Like that Xatu we ran across!" Max said.
"(sigh) But in the end, we still didn't get the cure we asked for." May said.
"What could he have possibly meant by only the power of love saving Brock?" Ash said.
"If that means hugging and kissing him, then count me out!" May said.
"And there's no way he can get someone like Nurse Joy or Officer Jenny to kiss him!" Max said.
"If the past is any indication, we may be in for quite a problem. All we can do is tell Nurse Joy." Ash said. The other two nodded as they approached the Pokemon Center. Ash was the first to open the doors, and the three looked and almost found themselves filled with shock.

There was Nurse Joy... and by golly, there was Brock! At his normal size! He was standing behind the counter helping Nurse Joy with things like moving the Pokeballs from one part of the desk to another as well as greeting and waving off the customers one by one. Ash and friends ran up to the desk.
"Brock!" They all shouted.
"Hey, guys! What took you so long?" Brock asked.
"I guess you could say Max and May were fascinated with Johto." Ash said.
"So what happened?" May said.
"Yeah! Last time we saw you, you were smaller than a Diglett!" Max said.
"Well... it's a long story, guys." Brock said.
"Basically, I made an apology to Brock after yelling at him for trying to help out too much. I ended up giving him a hug, and the next thing I knew... he grew back!" Joy said. Ash's eyes then lit up.
"Ah! I get it now! That's what Kurt meant by the power of love!" Ash said.
"What do you mean?" Joy asked.
"We were coming back to tell you that the only proper antidote for shrinking from a malfunctioning Heavy Ball was having the victim show a little appreciation and a lot of love for someone they think of more than anything else." May said.
"It was strange, we thought, but that's all he would offer us. And obviously... it worked out." Max said.
"Well... I'm glad I could at least get your friend back to normal size." Joy said.
"Yeah. So... can you be my girlfriend now?" Brock said. Joy then just slapped him on the face.
"Nice try, Charming." Joy said. The others just laughed at Brock's continued bad luck with Nurse Joy.
"Hey, come on, Brock. We really should get going to the next gym now that you're all better." Ash said.
"Okay. Thanks, Nurse Joy." Brock said.
"Anytime, Brock. Please come visit again! I promise I won't be as uptight as I was today." Joy said. Brock nodded as the group of heroes walked outside the Pokemon Center, leaving behind the Heavy Ball that Joy already decided she'd take and have experts look over it.

As soon as they got outside and started to walk towards their next town, Ash suddenly stopped.
"What's wrong, Ash?" Brock said.
"Everyone check their Pokeballs. I don't think I want to go through a mess like that again." Ash said. Everyone smiled and felt that Ash had a good point. So they spent the next several minutes trying out all their extra Pokeballs.
"All of mine are okay." May said.
"Same here." Brock said.
"Yes! Everything's a-go here too. Hopefully that's the last time any one of us has to go through being small." Ash said.
"Dang... and I was hoping May would be going through that." Max said.
"Hey! What is that supposed to mean!? You're lucky you didn't shrink because I would've kicked your little butt!" May shouted in frustration. The two continued to argue as they walked along with Ash and Brock down the open path towards their next challenge. Ash and Brock didn't bother to stop the two. Instead, they just smiled because they were happy to see life returning to normal.