Leaves crumbled under the feet of Cerulean’s gym leader as she trudged through Viridian Forest. The last time she walked these woods she wore her short hair in a side ponytail, while wearing short denim jeans and a yellow halter top with red suspenders running over her shoulders.
Now her hair was down, letting the ends kick up to frame her face, a pale blue tank top, short denim jeans and a slightly darker jacket replaced what she once wore.
So much has changed. Misty thought as she looked around. Sometimes change scares me. To make sure not all her old life was gone, Misty hugged the Official Pokémon League cap Ash had given to her before he left for Hoenn. I miss you.
As the water Pokémon trainer wandered through the woods her mind started drifting, to memories of the boy that changed everything.
“You and I will be married someday too,” Misty said while looking at Brock as he struggled to shake off Temacu. Hoping the day would come sooner, Misty squeezed Togepi. Time seemed to move too slowly.
Half hearing what Misty said, Ash nodded. “Hmm…” Quickly the words became clear to the young trainer, who jumped in surprise. “Wha!”
If only he knew how serious I was. Snapping out of the past Misty held the cap tightly against her body as she started running through the woods. Running from the past, well she was trying to. At the same time Misty never wanted to stop thinking about the past. More confused than ever, Misty ran faster. Regret, jealously, rage and hope. Hit her in a landslide, forcing her to the ground. The gym leader slumped over in defeat. Unaware of the small electric mouse in front of her.
“Pika!” Hearing the familiar voice Misty’s gaze shot up to meet that of a Pikachu, Ash’s Pikachu!
“What is it buddy?” Ash asked while looking at the clearing in front of him.
His voice is so… different. Ash’s voice now sounded deep and rich, easily carried by the wind whipping around the clearing. Misty stared at the back of him, blown away by the transformation.
“Pikachu, Pi! Pika, Pikachu!” Pikachu said frantically.
“What happened to Bayleaf? You’re talking too fast buddy,” Ash chuckled without shifting his gaze. Misty looked down as heat ran across her checks.
If his voice alone has this effect on me, how will I react to actually seeing him?
“Pikachu, Pi!” Pikachu cried out while pulling at Ash’s jeans. Shrugging Ash turned around.
Misty gasped at her best friend. He had another Official League cap over his overgrown black hair, his old blue jacket was replaced by a red and white one that covered a black shirt, he wore pale blue jeans that ran down to his ankles. Ash’s face had changed to show off a deadly smile and wider set eyes.
Ash moved a lock of hair out of his eyes, he froze seeing the familiar red head sitting on the forest floor. Her eyes reminded Ash of the rolling waves that Misty loved. Ash felt his heart beat harder the longer he looked at her. You’re certainly not the small little red head anymore, that’s for sure. You’re a woman.
“Oh, hey Misty,” Ash said in what he hoped to be a casual voice as butterflies fluttered inside of him. Misty stood up slowly while keeping the cap close to her.
“Ash?” Misty took a small step toward the trainer. Ash nodded and pulled a small pink hankie with a red sun and yellow rays on it. Why is he bringing that out? Does he understand why I gave it to him? For some reason I doubt it. He’s too dense for that.
“I think you forgot something,” Ash said holding the hankie out. Misty felt her heart drop. She knew it was too good to be true.
“I guess so.” Misty reached for the hankie, jumping when Ash pulled it out of her grasp.
“Did you really think I was just going to hand it over? It…really means a lot to me.” Ash held the hankie behind him. Frustrated Misty lurched toward the trainer, reaching for her gift to him. Smiling, Ash put himself between Misty and her gift, causing Misty to run into his taut chest.
Smiling Ash wrapped his arms around her, causing Misty to blush again.
“It’s been a while, huh?” Ash asked the struggling Misty. “I really missed you.” At that moment Misty stopped struggling.
“Oh really?” Ash cringed; he knew what Misty was hinting at.
“I’m sorry, for not calling or visiting you. My life just kept moving after you left.” Misty frowned in thought at Ash’s words. “Do you remember when you got your bike back?” Misty nodded against Ash’s shoulder. “I knew that moment after the phone call with your sisters that you’d have to leave .I remember you always used to talk about the fact that you were only following me about your bike, so-”
“Let’s get something straight here!” Placing her hands on Ash’s shoulders she pushed away from the trainer. “I didn't just follow you for the bike. If that was the only reason I would've looked really silly.” Noting Ash’s confused expression, Misty continued. “At first it was just about my bike, but after seeing how much you cared for your Pokémon I saw that I could learn from you, next thing I knew I was falling for you.” Misty ended quietly.
“How long were you travelling with me before that started?” Ash asked, hoping that she hadn't been waiting for too long.
“A few months,” Misty said carelessly.
“A few months!” Ash stopped and looked at the ground as a sinking feeling inside of him started to spread. “How long have you, you know, been waiting.” Ash looked up at Misty, Misty looked at the ground as she tried to put a timeline in her head.
“Around ten years.” Misty felt something sink as she saw Ash’s expression change to pain. Flustered Misty said the first thing that came to mind. “I did date other guys in that time, one even proposed.”
In an instant Ash forgot about what Misty had said before. His eyes directly met Misty’s. “What! Who was it? Where do they live? Did you like him?” Ash started walking around the clearing while muttering things to himself. Confused, Misty giggled.
He’s so cute when his all jealous. Misty looked up again to see Ash’s eyes were filled with a fire that Misty knew would only get bigger once she mentioned who. “Gary Oak proposed.” Taking a step back Misty saw Ash curl his hands into fists. “I said no, I didn't feel anything for the guy,” Misty said quickly. “I’m pretty sure you know where he lives,” she added quietly. Ash nodded before turning toward Pallet Town. Panicking Misty grabbed Ash’s arm. “Forget it, Ash. He hasn't come anywhere near Cerulean since I turned him down.”
“Gary has always been one step ahead of me, been better, and got everything he ever wanted. He could've taken you away from me.” Ash ended in a sad tone. Misty stared at the trainer for a few moments, not sure how to react. “I thought about staying at the Gym with you at one stage, but I knew if I was going to become a Pokémon master I had to keep travelling.” Ash looked up at the sky and smiled. “Even though I didn't know it as a kid, I've always seen you as more than a friend. I know someone that was more than a friend would interrogate my opposition in front of a huge crowd, because they thought my opposition had done something to stop me from attending our battle.”
“I didn't want you to miss the match because your Richie didn't have the guts to face you.” Misty said with a giggle. Suddenly remembering the cap Misty held and the one on Ash’s head, Misty tilted her head to the side. “Where did you get another one of those caps?”
Ash spun around to look at Misty. “I got it from Kanto Pokémon league officials. Didn't you hear the news? I’m the Pokémon master of the Kanto region.” Misty jumped as joy shot through her frame. Quickly the joy took control of her limbs, carrying her into Ash’s arms.
“That’s great, Ash!” Misty said while squeezing the trainer. Ash lightly tilted Misty’s head up so he could look into her eyes.
“I came down here to ask you to join me.” Confused Misty pulled away. Chuckling Ash continued. “Give me a second.” Ash got down on one knee and started untying the knot in Misty’s handkerchief.
“I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, and a lot’s changed, but I still feel like we were never apart.” Misty looked at Ash with a confused look on her face. “You always tried helping me, most of the time I never listened because I thought I knew everything, plus doing the opposite of what you said annoyed you,” Ash said with a chuckle. Misty glared at Ash which made him smile.
“Get to the point, Ash. I don’t know what you’re getting at here, and it’s really bugging me. And why are you down on one knee. It’s not like we’re getting engaged or anything.”Ash froze after hearing Misty’s last words. Shaking of off, Ash smiled while pulling the handkerchief off a gold ring with two small blue diamond’s framing a large white one.
Misty jumped away from Ash and placed a shaking hand over her mouth.
“Funny you mention that.” Ash paused. She doesn't look happy to see the ring. Maybe I should have waited. I guess it’s too late to turn back now. “Misty Waterflower, will you marry me?” Ash held the ring between shaky hands, expecting rejection.
Misty pinched herself and squeezed her eyes shut. This has to be a dream. There’s no way the real Ash would propose. Misty opened her eyes to see Ash still down on one knee holding the ring out in front of him. Misty felt tears of joy forming as she nodded while holding out a shaky hand.
Ash froze in shock, almost going to pinch himself to make sure this wasn't his dream. She said yes? This can’t be reality, can it? Shyly Ash slipped the ring onto her finger.
Misty looked at the diamonds sparkling on her finger, the picture was soon blurred by her tears. This has to be the best day of my life so far. Without a doubt beats all those years I spent at the gym. Not wanting to ruin the moment for herself, Misty erased all thoughts of the gym from her mind.
Both felt like they were walking on air, as they shakily got on their feet. Auburn met turquoise quickly before both looked in opposite directions and blushed. Misty smiled remembering how many times that happened during their journey. “Just like old times, huh?” Misty said while glancing at Ash, who was doing the same.
“Yeah,” Ash said quietly. Shyly Ash wrapped his arms around Misty. Misty happily swung her arms around Ash’s shoulders. “So who do you want to tell first?” Misty paused in thought. Someone important to both of us.
“Hello Mrs. Ketchum.” Misty said with a friendly wave. Delia looked up from her garden to see a red haired woman walking through her gate.
“Who might you be?” Delia took off her gloves and motioned Mr. Mime over to her. Misty smiled while moving a lock of red hair away from her eyes “It’s me, Misty.” Delia’s eyes bulged as she looked over the water Pokémon trainer again.
“Of course you are! My, you’ve grown a lot haven’t you?” Misty looked down at herself and giggled.
“I guess I have changed a lot since I last came here.” Delia nodded while patting Mr. Mime on the head. “So, how have you been?”
“I’ve been great. It’s even better when Ash stops by.” Delia went back to her gardening to hide the smirk forming on her face.
Misty paused considering the fact that Ash may be in town. Deciding it was worth a shot Misty asked if Ash was around. Delia shook her head. Misty’s looked at the ground as her heart dropped. Delia turned away from her gardening to place a reassuring hand on Misty’s shoulder.
“I hope he opens his eyes soon.” Misty looked up confused. “Something similar happened to me and Ash’s farther.
“Oh, I’m not-”
“I’d know that look on any woman’s face from a mile away.” Misty opened and closed her mouth a few times, but no words came out. Defeated Misty looked at the ground. “One thing I know is my son’s one lucky trainer.”
“Thanks Mrs. Ketchum.” Misty smiled. “Would you like some help with your gardening?”
“Yes please.” Misty got down on the ground and looked at the variety of plants in Delia’s garden. “Would you like to stay for dinner?” Delia asked suddenly. Misty nodded. “There’s one condition though.” Misty looked over at Ash’s mother suspiciously. “You have to tell me the moment you two get engaged.” Looking at the plants Misty nodded, trying to hide the fact she was blushing.
“Your mother,” Misty said with confidence in her voice. Ash looked down at Misty, completely confused by what she said. “I made her a promise.”
Shrugging Ash lead Misty to Pallet Town.
“I still remember when you forgot about the bike, but Brock reminded you after my victory at the Cinnabar gym,” Ash chuckled.
“Yeah, and I was still following you.” Misty jokingly shook her head at her younger self.
“I know,” Ash smirked. Misty pushed Ash playfully as they approached Pallet Town. Ash took in the town as it came into sight. This was where he had started his journey, now he was returning as champion of this very region. I wonder how much has changed around town. I doubt the local radio station has retired. Ash smiled remembering the elderly lady that made all the towns announcements. One time she was told by Professor Oak to keep something quiet, but she proved to be untrustworthy.
As the couple inched closer to town, Ash caught sight of his house. I was so desperate to get out of there as a kid. I’d just grab my bag and go without a single word to mom. Mom. I wonder how she’s going.
Misty stopped Ash in front of his mother’s house. Ash looked up at the house, his shoulders crept up to his ears nervously. “It’s been awhile, I wonder if she’ll recognize me.”
“Of course she will! She’s your mother.” Nodding Ash knocked on the door, the sound that once annoyed him now filled him with joy.
The door swung open seconds later Delia looked at the man in front of her door for a moment before swinging her arms around him.“Oh, Ash. It’s so good to see you again.” Without hesitation Ash hugged her back.
“Long time no see, huh?” Ash asked. Pulling away Delia nodded, and gestured Ash inside. After Ash walked in Delia noticed Misty behind him. “Hello, Misty. What brings you here?” Misty grinned.
“I made you a promise, remember?” Misty whispered while holding up her hand, feeling joy well up inside her once more. Delia squealed in delight as she hugged Misty.
“I knew he’d come to his senses,” Delia whispered back. Overhearing the conversation Ash turned around, far from impressed.
“Hey! I heard that!” Delia grinned at her son, patting his check as she walked past him.