Single By 30 @shinygrowlithe12
Chapter 13

Chapter 13

"Psy?"

"Not you too." groans Misty as she shuts her eyes. Totodile forced her to take a break after an afternoon of working. Currently, Misty is laying in the pool as she listens to the rhythmic sound of the rainstorm outside pelting her roof. It's supposed to be an intense storm, which she assumes is the reason she hasn't had any challengers since lunch. Her Pokemon are swimming around her. Of course, Psyduck in his inflatable tube has to ask her the obvious. The obvious question all of her Pokemon have been avoiding out of respect for her. Only this dense duck would bother her.

How long has Ash been gone now? A week? She doubts he'll be returning in this storm, but she won't ask him. It's been too long, and she's looking forward to his return. Misty hates herself for falling for him again. For letting her love him again. Ash has been texting every night, though Misty is glad he quit trying to call her again. At least he got the hint on that. His nightly texts are something she is eager for, and they're usually along the lines of him missing her.

Why is Ash sending her these messages? That's something people in long-distance relationships pine over. Not people who are just together for appearances. People who are not going to be anything more than acquaintances this time next year. Ash already expressed his feelings towards Misty, so he needs to stop trying to be her friend again. How selfish can he be? Does he not realize how broken he's left her twice already? And does she not realize that she's willing to let him do it again?

"Psy psyduck?"

"Shut up." mutters the woman.

"Corsola cor corso!" Corsola scolds Psyduck.

"Psyaya?"

"Cor!"

All Misty wanted to do was take a nice break. Swimming always helps, but now she has to deal with her bickering Pokemon. Although Misty appreciates Corsola coming to her rescue, she misses the rock type would leave Psyduck. Psyduck is too dense to argue with. He reminds Misty a lot of the man who has her heart. Maybe that's why Misty and Psyduck have worked so well together? Because she knows how to communicate with the idiot.

Hearing Corsola unleash an annoyed watergun at Psyduck, Misty sighs. Psyduck falls out of his innertube and into the water. "Psy!" He flaps his little flippers fast, but he's still sinking.

"Really, Corsola?" Misty dives underwater to rescue the water type who can't swim. Bringing Psyduck up to the poolside, Misty glares at the relieved yellow Pokemon. "You need to learn how to swim."

"Psy?"

Deciding that she'll be wasting her breath on Psyduck, Misty turns to face Corsola who is still in the water. "And don't kill Psyduck."

"Cor corsola cor."

"Just because you'll rescue him anyway doesn't mean you drown him whenever you want." Mew. Why can't she ever get a break?

"Poli." Politoed notes.

"Guys!" Misty shouts, earning her looks from all of the Pokemon. "No drowning Psyduck! That's not nice!"

"Tchaa!" Totodile pouts.

"And, Psyduck, stop picking fights you can't win!"

"Psy?"

Rolling her eyes, Misty decides she now needs a break from the Pokemon. Why have children when she's got these characters with her? Noticing the time on the wall, Misty decides she should get back to work. "If I find out anyone is bullying Psyduck, playtime is over." Despite enjoying battling, Misty's Pokemon also like their free time. Whenever there's a storm, they know they'll be having a really relaxing day. Thus, everyone will listen to the really real threat. It's not like the Pokemon want to bully Psyduck. He gets on their nerves, but they will never hurt him.

Drying off, Misty leaves the arena to head back to her office. The good thing about her childish Pokemon is that they somewhat distracted her mind from that man. However, thoughts of Ash are now back, irking her. The divorce isn't going to occur for a couple more months. She knows she can't wait that long. Maybe she can send Ash on a longer errand further away? If she wasn't a gym leader, she'd leave, but she can't abandon her challengers.

Once Misty sits at her desk and turns on the computer, she sighs looking at the incomplete application. It hasn't been publicized yet, but Jimmy is going to challenge the Johto champion this year. If he becomes the champion, then his Elite Four spot will be open. Thus, only few people have been sent the potential Elite Four application. The position is contingent of how Jimmy does. Back when Agatha retired, Misty didn't even bother with the application. She always figured she'd be the Cerulean City gym leader due to familial responsibilities and Misty was content.

Lately, though, she feels like there's still more to her life than being a top gym leader. That she can accomplish more and she's destined for greater things. Of course, she didn't start thinking about this until Ash had brought it up weeks ago. Stupid Ash Ketchum. Out of spite, she wasn't going to apply, but Misty can't bring herself to close the tab, much less delete the email. She's constantly looking at the application throughout the day. If her mind isn't on Ash, it's on this. Maybe she should just apply? There's no guarantee she'll get the position because there are so many other great trainers. Plus, its opening is dependent on Jimmy being the Johto Champion.

Screw it. Misty starts typing in her name, contact information, and address. There is no chance she'll get the position, so it won't hurt to apply. Then, if Ash wants to come at her for not achieving more in life, she can tell him that she tried. At least she tried, right? Trying is more important than success. Misty mentally curses herself for once again, allowing Ash Ketchum to dictate her life. How can that quiet timid man get her to do so much without even asking anything from her?

As Misty fills in the basic information on the application, she is thinking about Ash. How is he doing? He seems to be enjoying himself, based on his nightly texts. Will be start ignoring her again after a few months? That's usually how it goes, so she's been trying to speed up the process by ignoring him. Okay. And she's also still upset about the effect he has on her heart.

Everything he does is so selfish just because he doesn't know how much he's hurting her. It's not fair. Just because he's been working out again could get any woman he wants, that doesn't mean he can just touch her as he pleases. He can't just kiss her and hug her. He can't just act like he loves her when he doesn't. It's not fair, and it just breaks her.

There she goes again. One moment, she'll try to distract herself, but in an instant, the thoughts of Ash cloud her again. Stiffening up in surprise, Misty blinks at the application she's been working on. "Shit." She mutters and quickly throws on her sweatsuit. There's a rainstorm outside, which her clothes will fully absorb. Grabbing an umbrella, Misty sprints out of the office and out the backdoor. She doesn't need to worry about reporters because of this intense storm.

The moment she's outside, Misty is hit by the sharp wind and rain. At least she threw on her rain poncho and boots by the door, but that might not be enough. She's gone out in a blizzard before, but this rain is up there. Although Misty usually likes to avoid these terrible conditions, she has obligations and responsibilities that often send her out. Unlocking her bike under the canopy, Misty petals her way through the storm. She would've walked with her umbrella, but it seems like this wind would have just sent her umbrella away. Besides, the rain poncho is helping.

The roads are basically empty because of this hurricane level storm. It's taking a lot for Misty to pedal uphill due to the wind blowing against her. Even if she had a flying Pokemon, she wouldn't make them weather this storm. Not being able to see much through the rain, Misty doesn't notice the small pebble on the ground, which her bike hits. Add in the slippery condition, and she topples over.

"Ow." Hisses the woman. At least she wore a helmet, but that's futile with the state her bike is in. The front tire is completely bent, and the bike is even starting to drift away slowly from the wind. "Fucking now? Really?" Misty yells into the howling wind. No human can hear her, though she's just frustrated. Ash is the pinnacle of her frustrations, and now she's out here getting hurt.

Standing up, Misty holds her gentle wrist. It feels like just a sprain, but it still hurts a lot. This sucks. She brings her good arm up to shield her face from the wind and rain while she walks up the slope. Why didn't she use the bridge? Because she's supposed to be discreet. She's always used this sidepath. Nevertheless, Misty eventually makes it to her destination, despite her still not being able to see more than 5 ft in front of her. She's drenched, has a sprained wrist, and she's fed up with the world.

There definitely are no reporters out right now, and she doubts any normal human can hear anything besides the wind. "Where are you?" Being at the usual spot, Misty doesn't see anything, and she sure as heck isn't going to walk around the Cape in these conditions looking for this guy.

Getting a response, though weak, Misty isn't as upset anymore. She's worried. Mew. Misty should know he knows better than to call her out at an inconvenience. With this storm, she knows he wouldn't ask for her unless it's urgent. Therefore, Misty walks deeper into the brush until she's at the side of the rocky hill. They never hide in closed spaces because it'll be harder to escape if they're found. They could get cornered.

Deeper into the cave, Misty rounds many corners. At least she's protected from the rain and wind now. She's only been here once before, but she has a guide telling her where to go. Trying to hurry before anything bad can happen, she finally arrives in a dark part of the cave behind come boulders. It's difficult climbing over the boulders due to her sprained wrist, but she manages.

Seeing the sight of her Cape guy, Misty gasps. "What happened?" He winces. It's been too painful having to communicate with her already. Instead, he moves his arm to show her the very bloody gash on his body. Misty quickly falls to her knees and takes off her backpack. "I don't think a full restore will do the job this time."

It's okay. Just do what you can. He knows she isn't a nurse or doctor. However, she's the only one he can trust.

"Stop talking. You're already very weak." Misty sprays his body, and like she expected, he's still bleeding. "We need to take you to a Pokemon Center."

No!

"Mewtwo, please!" The redhead worriedly meets his intense gaze. "I can't let you bleed out."

I'd rather die than let those humans touch me. Mewtwo doesn't trust other humans. They could take him in for testing after healing him. This isn't the worst wound he's had, but last time, he barely survived. Misty is scared this will be the time he doesn't make it.

Digging through her bag, Misty doesn't find anything else of much help. She's already used three full restores on him, and nothing has improved. The wounds on his body are much worse than simple pokemart items can handle. "Please listen to me." She knows he won't. He never does.

You did what you could. Just leave me now. He already feels like he has some energy. Thus, Mewtwo will just hide in his cave to heal up.

"You know I can't leave until I know you'll make a full recovery." That's the reason she spends so much time at the Cape when she does go. She waits until he's healthy enough to move again. Mewtwo lays down to rest, which worries Misty more. "Don't close your eyes."

I need rest. He reminds her.

"But…" Misty doesn't know what to do. She hasn't felt this helpless in a long time. The last time was his other terrible wound last year, which she spent a few days with him to make sure he was okay. Mewtwo seems to be growing more pale.

Just go.

"I can't leave you alone." Nor can she be alone. Going back to the gym now will just make her even more stressed. These conditions outside are not suitable for a heavily injured legendary Pokemon. However, seeing Mewtwo's head fall to the side limp makes Misty panic. She shakes his arm. "Mewtwo! Mewtwo! Talk to me!" No response. With her eyes glossing over, Misty shakes him more roughly. "Mewtwo, wake up!"

His breathing is faint and ragged, and the wound won't stop bleeding. Misty needs to wrap it up, but she can't focus right now. She's scared and alone. She doesn't want to be alone anymore. Mew. She's been so lonely this week, and now she's at the end of her rope. Misty just wants company. Well, she wants company from one person only.

Thus, without thinking twice, she calls the very person she's been ignoring all week. After a few rings, he picks up, "Hello?" That voice she's missed so much. Regardless of how much he hurts her and annoys her, she always loves hearing his voice. She always loves him.

"Where are you?" Comes her shaky voice, which she is trying to control. All Misty wants is for him to hug her like he does whenever she is anything but happy.

"Misty?"

"Where are you?" Why won't he just answer that damn question already? Did he not check his caller ID? Of course it's her, but she was ignoring him all week, so no wonder why he sounds so confused.

"At the professor's house. Why?"

Her heart sinks hearing that. It's expected that he'd be waiting for the storm to pass. She should've known he isn't anywhere near her right now, and he won't be for a while. However, she needs him now, but her pride won't let her say it. "Nevermind." Misty quickly hangs up before she can let him know how much she wants him. Before she can make a fool of herself. There's no use doing so when he won't come to her. He's too far away, and she won't make him or his Pokemon risk their lives in this storm.

Gazing back at the pale Pokemon, Misty decides to bandage his wound. She has to do something because she won't let him die on her. He's the only friend she's had in this city. Misty is so focused on bandaging Mewtwo that she doesn't notice her pokenav ringing from Ash's calls. Even if she saw them, she wouldn't pick up because she doesn't want to trouble someone who she obviously means nothing to.

Flying through the storm is terrible. Charizard is upset about it, but he hasn't complained because Ash told him ahead of time that Misty is in trouble. Misty is one of the few people Charizard actually likes, so he can tough anything out for her. A little rain is nothing. Well, this isn't exactly a little rain, but he's been through worse. Pikachu is currently curled up in Ash's jacket. Everyone is drenched, though still on the search for Misty.

They flew into the storm after passing Saffron City, and it's been getting more severe the closer they get to Cerulean City. Ash really hopes Misty is safe, but she hasn't responded to any of his messages. What if something happened? He couldn't live with himself if she got hurt. Ash has finally come to terms with most of his past; thus, he needs to tell Misty the truth. She needs to be okay. She needs to hear him. She needs to know he needs her.

"We need to land!" Ash yells into Charizard's ear. The howling wind is too loud, and it's pushing them back. Figuring it'll be just as fast walking, Ash would rather Charizard get out of the rain. It's not good for the fire type. Plus, they're near the Cape, so Ash is pretty sure Misty is hidden in the forest rather than out in the open. It's just better having Charizard in his pokeball, away from this vicious storm.

Seeing that Ash is correct, Charizard reluctantly lands. He doesn't realize how exhausted he is until he's inside his cozy pokeball. "Pikapi?" Pikachu worriedly gazes up at his trainer who is shielding his face from the stinging rain drops.

"I know it's hard with the rain, but can you let me know if you can sniff out Misty?"

"Pi." Nods the mouse.

Charizard had landed along the forest path next to Nugget Bridge. The way they were flying, they were moving diagonally instead of going up the bridge and then traveling miles east. Ash was cutting northeast, so one he saw land rather than the Cerulean river, he had Charizard land. Unbeknownst to him, he's on Misty's usual back path whenever she'd go to the Cape.

Eventually, Ash can see something up ahead. Fighting against the rain and wind, he makes his way to the muddy red bike and freezes. "Pikachu." He calls to the mouse hiding in his coat. "Is that Misty's bike?" Ash and his Pokemon have seen the shiny red bike in the yard every time they train. He'll never be able to forget Misty's bike because that thing means a lot to them.

Peeking out of the jacket, Pikachu look ahead. That definitely looks like Misty's bike. He jumps out of the warm jacket to sniff the bike and nod. "Pikachupi."

"Shit." Ash lifts up the upper half of the bike to see the front wheel is crooked and flat. Worriedly gazing around the limited visibility path, Ash doesn't see any other indication of Misty. He pulls out his pokenav to call her again but gets sent straight to voicemail, indicating that the pokenav must be dead. "I don't think she went back to the gym." Else Misty would've responded to him with a charging pokenav.

"Pika pikachupi pika pikachu." Pikachu agrees. He sniffs the bike again and then motions ahead. Despite the heavy rain, he will use his limited sense of smell to find Misty. She's his friend.

"Let's keep going." Ash treks on with Pikachu back in his jacket. What is Misty doing going out in this storm? Just how important is this Cape guy? Actually, just how important is Misty to this Cape guy who will have her venture through a dangerous storm for him? Ash is going to give the Cape man a piece of his mind when he finds Misty and that guy. No one uses someone Ash cares about and puts them in danger like this.

Arriving at the Cape after some time, Ash is disappointed to still not have run into his wife. Due to the flight and the storm, it's very late into the night now. He's sent Misty a few texts already telling her that he's at the Cape searching for her. Thus, regardless of her anger towards him, Ash knows Misty wouldn't leave him out like this. She'd call or text him back as soon as she could to let him know that she's safe and that he should come back safely too.

The good thing about the storm is that Ash doesn't have to watch out for reporters. Plus, there is no one outside, so he avoids all people. Nevertheless, Ash knows that even if there were crowds outside, the fact that Misty could be in danger would make him push through without a second thought. She's important to him, and he needs to let her know that. Ash is done being a cowardly man who hides his feelings.

"Pikachupi pika pikachu pi pika kachu?"

Pikachu's words break Ash out of his worried thoughts. C'mon, Ash. Positive thoughts here. Misty is tough. She's not a damsel in distress. They've gone on many adventures as young children in far worse weather, so he trusts Misty is safe. "You're right, buddy. Maybe she did find shelter, but I don't think there's much shelter out here."

Bill's house is on the other side of the cape, and Ash doubts Misty would swim through this storm and its raging waters to go to Bill. She doesn't have any flying Pokemon. Moreover, if Bill was Misty's mystery man, the world would know about it by now. Thus, Misty is somewhere out here where no one can find her and her mystery man. "Are there any caves nearby?" Why is he asking Pikachu? They're both rookies in this city. But someone he has is not!

Ash throws out Kingdra's pokeball, which makes the water type wince against the intense rain. If he didn't like Ash before, he definitely hates Ash now. Why would Ash summon him out in this weather? "Dra!"

"Misty's in trouble!" Ash can tell Kingdra the details later when they're not in a raging storm. "We lost her scent here, Kingdra. Do you know any places nearby she could've gone for shelter?"

Kingdra hasn't been in this city in years. Fortunately, the Cape still looks the same. Whenever Misty would take him and his friends to the Cape, they'd just play here. She wants water, so she wouldn't take them to a cave or anything. Although, there was one time Psyduck had ventured off after his floatie popped, meaning he couldn't be in the water anymore. He somehow ended up lost in a cave, but Kingdra recalls the cave not being too far away. It was very hidden, making it nearly impossible to find Psyduck that day. Could Misty be there? She knows where it is, though it has been years. Unless she's been there recently?

The water type shakes his head to focus on the current task. His trainer, who he hasn't seen in years, is missing and possibly in danger. Kingdra needs to stop thinking about Psyduck's stupidity and figure out where this cave is. He knows it's not far, but which direction was it in? It's impossible to see more than a couple feet in front of them due to this heavy rain. Seeing a distant blurry shadow in the distance, Kingdra assumes that must be a hillside. It's the only place that looks like that while the rest of the area around them seems to be level ground. "King!" Kingdra points.

"Thanks." Ash returns the Pokemon. "C'mon, Pikachu." The longer they go without finding her, the more anxious he gets. How can she call him like that and then not answer him at all? How can she worry him to this extent? How can she be so selfish? Does she not understand the effect she has on him? To make him not care about anything else but her. Ash doesn't care that his clothes are drenched, nor the dangerous conditions he's in. All he cares about is making sure Misty is safe.

Luckily for them, Kingdra was correct about a large rocky hillside. Pikachu suggests that there might be a cave opening, but they don't see anything. Walking along the wall, Pikachu is the one who eventually finds a small crevice. That's their only lead right now, so they enter the cave. If Misty isn't in here, they're at least taking a break from the rain. However, the moment they enter the cave, Pikachu's ears perk up. Her scent is strong in here. "Pikachupi!"

"Find her!" Ash chases after his starter Pokemon. This is good. With Pikachu running, that means Misty must be in here. It's the only explanation for her strong scent. When Pikachu climbs over a boulder, Ash quickly follows. He doesn't have as graceful of a landing as Pikachu, so Ash winces from the fall. "Wait, Pikachu." groans Ash.

"Ash?"

Opening his eyes, Ash searches for that familiar voice he's missed. The voice belonging for the only person who's been on his mind all evening and night. "Pikachupi!" cries out Pikachu happily, which now brings Ash's eyes to them. Misty is sitting nearby with Pikachu in her arms snuggling up to her.

"You're all wet." Misty softly speaks to the mouse as she brushes his fur.

To add to her surprise, wet large arms wrap around her into a tight embrace. "You're okay." Ash breathes out in relief.

Misty melts in his arms just hearing his voice. It sounds like he's been searching for her. Just for her. When she heard the sound of running, she was ready to fight off whoever might discover her and Mewtwo behind these boulders. Pikachu arriving confused her a lot, and then his trainer soon followed. Misty is still in disbelief that they're here because she thought they'd still be in Vermillion City waiting out the storm. Is this even real? Or has she been pining over Ash so long, along with the fact that she's not in the best situation right now, that she's hallucinating?

"What are you doing here?" Misty whispers.

"Looking for you." Ash hugs her closer. He's afraid that she won't be here when he releases her. Although he finally found her, his heart is beating quickly with worry. "Are you okay?"

She nods as her eyes gloss over. This man affects her so much, and she hates it. What she hates the most is how much he makes her feel loved. Whether he's doing it intentionally or not, Misty believes this genuine moment right now. She at least knows Ash well enough to know that he's not lying or faking anything. As happy as she is to see him, he's just as happy too. "I missed you."

"I missed you too." There is no hesitation about that. "I've missed you so much, Mist."

That nickname that only he has for her makes her sniffle into his wet chest. After braving this stupid storm, she deserves to bask in this happiness. She'll deal with her head hating her later, but right now, she just needs this man's kindness. "Thank you for finding me, Ash." Misty chokes out.

Worried by her voice, Ash pulls away slightly to look down at her. He can't make out her face due to his height. "What are you even doing out in this storm? Couldn't you just reschedule your visit?" Ash slightly scolds her, recalling the reason he had to come search for her.

Remembering why she's out here, Misty's face flushes as she leaves Ash's warm embrace. She turns around to the white and purple figure she bandaged hours ago. "You wouldn't know how to heal a Pokemon, would you?"

Ash and Pikachu peer past Misty and freeze. "Mewtwo?" The man has run into Mewtwo plenty of times to easily recognize him. There were rumors that Mewtwo stays in the Cerulean Cave, but Ash has never searched for Mewtwo. Ash doesn't believe in capturing legendaries because they're very important to the world, though he does allow Goh to capture legendaries since Ash knows Goh treats them well. Plus, Goh lets his legendary Pokemon come and go from Cerise Park as they please.

Misty nods while moving closer to Mewtwo. She had built a fire to keep them warm because Mewtwo was also wet. "He got really hurt. After I bandaged him up, and he warmed up from the fire, he started breathing better. I'm still worried though."

Ash approaches Mewtwo to see he looks very battered. There's a neatly wrapped bandage around Mewtwo's side. Misty has always been great with first aid. "I only have lava cookies." Ash recalls all the lava cookies he bought this week. "And one hyper potion."

"Those won't work." Misty defeatedly leans her back against the cave wall where Ash joins her. He's sitting right next to her, so she rests her head on his shoulder for warmth and comfort. Being back by the fire, she's feeling a lot warmer in addition to Ash's bodyheat. Ash also feels much better than out in the cold rain. "I already tried a couple full restores and max revives on him. There's only so much those can do."

"What happened to him?"

She shrugs, watching Pikachu sniff Mewtwo. "He never really tells me, but I can figure it out."

"Why does it sound like this happens often?" inquires the man who takes off his drenched coat to dry before wrapping his arm around Misty's shoulders.

"What if I told you it happens about once a month?"

"You see Mewtwo once a month?"

"He's my Cape guy, Ash." Misty forgot she needs to spell everything out for this dense man.

Blinking at her in confusion, Ash tries to find any words. All he can do is hang his mouth open, but Pikachu speaks. "Pika pikachu pi pikachupi pika?"

"Yes." Misty welcomes Pikachu into her lap. "Mewtwo is the one I see when I go to the Cape. He lives in Cerulean Cave, so lots of trainers try to capture him. Sometimes, he gets really hurt, and that's where I come in."

"How did this start?" Ash has his voice back now.

Misty shrugs. "Years ago, I was at the Cape with my Pokemon. We stayed late into the night, and on my way back to the gym, I heard a crash. Mewtwo had fallen into the river, so I saved him and saw how injured he was."

"It was random?"

"I guess? But when Mewtwo woke up after we got to shore, he wouldn't let me take him to the Pokemon Center. He recognized me from when I traveled with you." Misty giggles. "One thing led to another and then I became his designated healer. In return, he'll help me if the city is in a crisis where we need a strong psychic type." Despite the lack of contact, Ash Ketchum still continued to affect Misty's life by bringing Mewtwo into it consistently.

"So you're saying you heal him every month?" Ash wants to make sure he's understanding this. Misty does go to the Cape about once a month.

"More or less. I usually see him more often in the summer because that's the tournament off season. Trainers are bored, so they try to catch legendaries." Which then involves Mewtwo battling a lot and getting hurt often.

Looking back at the legendary, Ash asks, "Why didn't you tell me? I know Mewtwo."

"You weren't exactly in the best position for me to tell you." They both know the depressed Ash wouldn't handle the news this nonchalantly. He'd be very confused and overwhelmed, even if it's not his problem."And Mewtwo wanted this to be a private engagement."

After the first time they got caught by the media, Misty and Mewtwo decided to let the public assume Mewtwo is a mysterious man who is her lover. That way, everyone suspects she's seeing a human rather than the legendary. It's worked like a charm. Usually, Mewtwo will wear a hood, but Misty assumes he had to rush out of his home due to his wounds. Ash is the first person to know the true identity of her Cape guy.

"Wow." Ash is still in disbelief. "So the Cape man wasn't a man after all."

"I never said he was a man." Misty notes. "I always referred to him as a guy, which doesn't necessarily mean he's human."

"You had me fooled."

"I've had the whole world fooled."

If Misty and Mewtwo want their relationship to be private, then how come she's so comfortable with Ash here? "Why'd you call me?"

Misty blushes shyly, causing her to bury more of her face in Ash's chest. "Um… I don't know…" Why did she call him? Yes, she missed him, but she's held back from contacting him. Actually, she was stressed and very worried. Scared for Mewtwo. Misty didn't want to be alone in this. She was tired of being lonely. She wanted comfort, and only Ash can give her that comfort she so desperately needs.

"I'm glad you called." Admits Ash. If she hadn't, he'd have no idea what she was enduring right now. What if she was seriously hurt? And he wouldn't find out until whenever he decided to come back. Or the fact that Misty would be in this cave worried, scared, and cold while caring for a very injured Pokemon. It's a good thing she called Ash so that he can keep her from being lonely.

"Why?" Can she be hopeful?

"I think I've made it pretty clear that I've missed you." He blushes, but he won't hide from his emotions anymore.

Misty too is blushing profusely. Rather than respond, she just listens to the fast thumping coming from his chest. The two haven't been near each other in weeks. She's missed it a lot. Even before the airport, they would hug or interact closely. There were many opportunities for touch, which she's missed. Anything involving Ash has always been her favorite. She deserves to splurge right now after this shitty day.

When Pikachu shifts in her arms, Misty flinches. She gingerly moves her arm as Ash curiously watches her. Why did she flinch like that? "Misty, are you okay?"

"Yeah." Misty lies.

"Pi?" Pikachu sits up to gaze into Misty's eyes.

"I'm fine, guys. Just cold, but you're both keeping me warm."

Although Ash is usually dense, he doesn't believe her. "We found your bike. Did you fall? Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine." exasperates Misty.

He saw her walk earlier, so her ankles and legs must be fine. Is it her body? No. Misty would've winced from that movement. Hand? She's able to control what her wound touches if it's on the hand. Thus, that could be why she only flinched now that Pikachu had moved towards it. Sighing, Ash reaches into his pocket to pull out the familiar pink handkerchief. "Let me see your hand."

"I'm fine."

Ignoring her, he grabs Misty's arm to move it towards him. Seeing her wince again, Ash tells her, "No, you're not."

"I will be."

"Just let me take care of you for once." When Misty opens her mouth to retort, Ash cuts her off, "And I know you're not a damsel in distress." He reiterates her words and gently wraps the handkerchief around her hand and wrist to support the sprain. "We'll have to use some wrap when we get back to the gym." This handkerchief won't suffice.

Blushing from his care and contact, Misty whispers, "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

Gazing down at the familiar pink handkerchief, Misty's chest tightens. He really does carry it everywhere. Why does he treasure this cloth so much? Just because she gave it to him? All of his traveling partners have given him something. Misty uses her other hand to gently touch the fabric, making her eyes water. Ash curiously watches her, wondering what she's thinking. Misty is lost in her own world of questioning the meaning behind this cloth. Does Ash find it useful, or is it more than that? Can she read into it more?

They can still hear the intense rain outside, so no one will be leaving soon. Plus, Misty wants to make sure Mewtwo wakes up. Speaking of Mewtwo, she awkwardly shifts her gaze from her hand to the still sleeping psychic type. "You two are the same."

"Hm?" The man inquires as he too looks at Mewtwo. "How?"

"You're both stubborn… and you both worry about me for no reason."

"Mewtwo worries about you?" Ash feels slightly jealous of the Pokemon who has been having these intimate moments with Misty. It's better than a man, like everyone suspects, but he's still not fond of knowing Misty has basically had dates with someone else.

Still cold from their damp clothes, Misty moves closer to Ash's side. His arm is back to being around her shoulders. "He's not as annoying as you, but yes. I'm pretty sure that's how he got this bad." Mewtwo tries to hold off on calling Misty unless he needs her. He most likely didn't want her venturing out into this storm, but realizing his wounds were too large, he finally asked for her after bleeding for who knows how long. All of their communication is done through telepathy, which also helps in case the media somehow hacks Misty's pokenav.

"You're more annoying." grumbles the man, making Misty giggle.

Pikachu has fallen asleep in her lap after the very eventful day. "I'm not as annoying as you."

"Yeah, cuz you're more." Misty elbows his side, causing Ash to flinch. "Hey!"

"Be nice." scolds the redhead. "We're both tired, so let's not argue." Plus, she doesn't want to wake up Mewtwo. He's in a lot of pain, so sleeping it off is best for him.

Tightening his hold around her, Ash lets out a breath. Out of everyone he knows, Misty is the one who pushes his buttons the most. She's the one who he can argue with about anything. She's the one who pisses him off the most. However, Misty is also the one Ash always feels closest to, even before this whole marriage thing. Even during his relationship with his ex. It's the reason he had to cut Misty off.

"Chloe thought Goh was cheating on her."

"They were there?" Misty has heard about Goh and Chloe a few times from Ash. She also knows Chloe is Professor Cerise's daughter. Misty has never met Goh and Chloe, but she does know they are the last people Ash traveled with.

He nods with a smile. "Yeah." Misty's head is on his chest, so she can't see his face. But judging by his voice, she can hear the smile on his lips. "Apparently, they started dating after I left."

"You were the cockblocker." teases Misty.

Chuckling, Ash replies, "I guess I was."

Going back to Ash's initial statement, Misty asks, "So why did Chloe think Goh was cheating?"

"I'm not too sure." Ash shrugs. "But I guess Goh was sneaking around and lying to her."

"That's exactly why, Ash." Misty deadpans. Anyone would be suspicious of that.

"But Goh had a good reason!"

"And what was that?"

"Um. Well, the other morning, we snuck out of the house really early. We went to a lot of places to kill time until this one woman was awake."

"You're making it sound like you helped Goh cheat."

"No!" Ash furrows his brows. "I don't wanna ruin the story, so just let me explain, Mist."

Rolling her eyes, Misty snuggles closer to him. "Fine."

He's relieved that she'll let him continue. "So we went to this one woman because Goh's grandma knows her grandma. She makes jewelry, and she was working on a ring for Goh."

"Is this what I think it is?" Misty now raises her head in excitement to meet Ash's unamused gaze. Loving anything having to do with romance, Misty is eager for Ash to continue.

"It's my story." He repeats.

"Then hurry up already! You suck at telling them." Misty is pretty sure she knows what kind of ring Goh got.

If Misty didn't have those excited cerulean blue eyes, Ash would be more upset. Nevertheless, he finds her very cute right now. After weeks of awkward limited interaction, this is very nice. Trekking through the rain for this moment is worth it. He never thought twice about these horrible weather conditions because he feared for Misty's safety.

"You already ruined it." Ash playfully groans, which earns him an adorable pout.

"I'm letting you tell your story."

"You seem to have already figured out my story."

"No." She innocently grins. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Ash. Please finish your story."

"Will you be quiet?"

"Yes."

Chuckling, Ash pulls her head back to his chest. "The woman was working on an engagement ring. She's been doing it for months, so Goh sneaks off to see her. Chloe is smart, so she questioned him, but he'd always lie, and Chloe would know."

"She is a professor's assistant." Notes Misty.

"What happened to listening?"

"Sorry." The woman quips. "Continue, Mr. Master Story Teller."

Rolling his eyes, Ash says, "When Goh and I left the inhome jeweler, Chloe cornered us. I guess she's been spying on Goh a few times and figured that he goes to that house. She yelled at him for seeing another woman and sneaking around." Ash shivers, recalling Chloe's anger, but Misty assumes he's cold. Thus, Misty wraps an arm around Ash while her other one is resting on Pikachu. Ash relaxes from her touch, bringing a smile to his face.

"And then?" presses Misty. Her assumption about the ring was correct.

"Chloe flew away." Ash laughs slightly. "Goh was like so confused he didn't know what to do. I had to force him on Noivern, so we could chase her. She got away, so I let Goh fly on Noivern to the Cerise house while I went to get Charizard from the lab. On my way to Cerise Park, I found Chloe in one of the lab's supply closets."

"Poor Chloe." Even though Misty understands it was a miscommunication.

Nodding, Ash continues, "We talked for a bit. I convinced her to at least listen to Goh. He met us at Cerise Park, and Mew." Ash runs a hand through his hair. "Goh really didn't want to tell her about the ring. He didn't want to ruin his perfect proposal."

"He won't be having any kind of proposal if he doesn't tell her the truth."

"That's what I told him too!" Ash and Misty meet each other's eyes with knowing looks. Have they been hanging out so long that they're starting to think similarly? "Chloe was going to walk away and break up with him, but he finally proposed. Yamper wouldn't let Goh get close to Chloe, so he had to propose like across the park."

"Aw. That must've been so sweet." Misty's heart eyes are back. The same ones Ash sees on her during romance movies. As a child, these eyes used to make him disgusted, but as he got older, he wished she would look at him with those eyes.

"Yeah. Chloe said, 'Yes.' And the day was saved by Ash Ketchum again."

Giggling, Misty shakes her head at his old antics she's missed. The big headed Ash Ketchum who is actually very humble. "It's been a while since you saved the day."

"I'm starting to miss it." He teases.

"You can save as many days as you want, but just don't put your life on the line anymore." Misty knows it's futile telling him this, though she may as well let him know she's tired of worrying over him.

"I doubt I'll be saving the world any time soon." If anything, it'll be Misty saving the world before him. She already has a trusting relationship with a legendary.

"That's good."

"Wouldn't you normally want me to fulfill my Chosen One responsibilities?" the puzzled man inquires.

"Obviously, you have to fulfill your responsibilities, but I'd prefer you not to give me a heart attack when you do." Yawns Misty. With her pokenav dead, Misty doesn't know the time. She assumes it's early in the morning.

"Heh. My mom says the same thing too." Ash sheepishly rubs the back of his head. Feeling Misty's light head on his chest makes him blush. Ash is surprised that she hasn't complained about his rapidly beating heart yet. It must be loud because he's sure he can hear it. Remembering why he even told her the Goh and Chloe story, despite it also being something he wants to share, Ash softly whispers, "Hey, Misty?"

"Hm?" Her eyes are shut while she enjoys the warmth he's given her. Warmth on the outside and the inside. Mew. She's missed him so much.

"I remember why I cut you off."

Taking in a deep breath, Misty contemplates whether she wants to hear his stupid excuse. Ash doesn't think. Ever. Whatever comes out of his mouth will just anger her and ruin whatever peace they've somehow formed today. "That was years ago. Don't worry about it."

Ash shakes his head. "My reason still matters now." If it only applied to the past, Ash wouldn't bother bringing it up. It'd be unnecessary, but his reason applies to the present too.

"I don't wanna hear it." She just wants to sleep on his chest without any hostility between them. Haven't the past couple of weeks been enough for Ash? Or does he like it when they ignore each other?

"Fine. Just sleep, and I'll talk."

"No fair."

"I'm gonna talk." Ash knows she won't leave Mewtwo's side, nor go out in that horrendous storm.

Pulling away, much to both of their dismays, Misty glares at him. "I'm warning you, Ash. You better not open this can of Wurmples when we're finally getting along again."

In addition to his fatigue and immense worry from today, Ash is tired and peeved that Misty won't listen to him. Thus, he challenges, "Kiss me if you want me to stop."

Now, Misty's glare intensifies. This is how all of this tension started between them! And now Ash wants to make it worse again. He really doesn't think. "Screw you. It was your rule!"

"And you broke it first!" snaps the man. Misty blinks at him in confusion, resulting in Ash hissing, "After the Oak wedding, you kissed me."

The two fall in uncomfortable silence once again. Despite having this same silence for weeks now, they still can't get used to it. Eventually, the blushing redhead quietly asks, "I did not?"

Ash is also just as red, though he's glad he finally got this off his chest. "Yeah, you did." She kissed him, he kissed her, and they shared a kiss. Now, they're even, so Misty can stop being upset at him over that airport kiss. "We were in my room after the wedding."

Misty never knew her face could get anymore red. "All I did was kiss you right?" Seeing Ash hesitate makes Misty hide her face behind her hands. "Shit."

"We didn't do anything." He doesn't take advantage of drunk people, especially Misty.

"But I tried."

"Uh." Ash now also looks away shyly. It was never his intention to embarrass Misty, so he, once again, attempts to explain his past self. "I lied."

Letting out a relieved breath, Misty says, "So I didn't try to sleep with you."

Ash waves his hands in front of him. "Oh. No. You did. You kept asking why I wouldn't."

Mew! Misty blushes again. "Then what did you lie about?" Context, Ash! And now she got him to verbally admit that she tried to have sex with him.

"My crush on you." Ash weakly replies. "It um...never really went away…" Misty peeks through her fingers to see the man who is looking at the ground. "I don't know when it started, but I'm pretty sure I liked you since halfway through Kanto or something. And, um, I lied when I said it was just a childhood crush…"

Feeling his ears become burning hot makes Ash take in a deep breath. "I don't know, Misty. It's like, every time I'm with you or I think of you or I am just reminded of you, my chest hurts. But it's not a bad hurt. It's like a good hurt, and I feel warm all over, even in the winter." He pauses because he had started speaking faster into somewhat of a ramble.

"And that's why I made that dumb marriage pact with you, but then uh, she asked me out, and I didn't wanna hurt her feelings. And you and I hadn't talked in years, and I did kinda like her because she was my first kiss, and I don't know. I panicked. I thought being with her, someone I knew liked me, would make me stop liking you." Ash shakes his head while running a hand through his hair nervously. "But it didn't. And then when my mom told me you were coming over for dinner, I had to bail. My ex couldn't make the dinner, which is fine because I would've just eaten with my mom, but you were there."

Raising his head, Ash meets those curious, hopeful, expectant blue eyes he's always adored. "How could I date someone else when I'm friends with the woman I love?"

Despite the confession, neither of them are feeling awkward. Instead, Ash is lost in her gaze while Misty is thinking over his words. Did she hear him correctly, or is this a dream? Maybe it's the fatigue? However, everything in Ash's warm brown eyes tell her he really did say those words. These past few months, she's been upset at herself for loving him. For never being able to get over him. For allowing him back into her life to hurt her without him realizing it. Come to find out, he's always felt the same way about her too.

"What about now?" Misty's voice is a barely audible whisper.

"Being in love with someone never goes away."

They both know this is true because they've each tried getting over the other. The closest Misty got was burying her feelings, which just came out quickly after she accepted Ash back into her life. Ash distracted himself with his ex, but that never helped him. It also led to the end of that relationship. Being too shy to pursue Misty, Ash wanted to wait until he was a Pokemon Master to gain that confidence. He just never expected Serena to confess to him.

"I'm glad you made the marriage pact." Misty eventually speaks. "So don't call it silly. It's my happiest memory of us." Back then, Misty read deeply into the pact, thinking he made it because he must see her in a romantic view. Nevertheless, a few years later, he started dating Serena, so Misty figured he did make the pact out of jest.

Smiling slightly, Ash agrees, "Me too."

After resting Pikachu by the fire, Misty scoots back towards Ash. He's surprised because she still hasn't said much regarding his confession. Misty grabs Ash's arm to raise it above her so that she can resume her place under it and on his chest. Hearing his fast heartbeat alleviates any worries she has because her own heart is beating just as quickly. She wasn't sure if this was a dream, so she had to touch him. Knowing this is actually reality, Misty snuggles closely to him.

"I've always loved you too, Ash." she confesses, content with her life right now. If time were to stop, Misty would love it. Just being able to stay in this moment with the man she loves is all she's ever wanted.

With his arm protectively around her, Ash relaxes knowing she feels the same. He wasn't expecting a confession from her because he just wanted her to understand his reason for pushing her away. After seeing Goh and Chloe almost break up over a misunderstanding, Ash knew he and Misty were on that same slow path. Knowing Misty feels the same makes him want to hold her and never let her go. The very thing Goh had mentioned to him. "Can I ask my question?"

"We're still doing this?" Misty giggles tiredly. She was starting to fall asleep in this comfortable embrace. Moreover, Ash already found out the identity of her Cape guy, so doesn't that mean the questions are done with? Or he has to tell her about the breakup she doesn't care about anymore. Ash is doing a lot better. There's no point in dwelling on a dark part of his life.

Ash shyly shrugs. "Um. Are we not?"

"I'm assuming that's not your question." MIsty smirks up at his nervous gaze. "What is it?"

Mew. Seeing those blue eyes make him lose his confidence, though he does manage to ask, "Can I kiss you? Um. You know, since you said we couldn't kiss anymore and uh-"

Warm soft lips on his mouth stops Ash from his rambling as he falls into her kiss. This is an even better kiss than the New Year's one because they both know each other's feelings. The uncertainty isn't here. It's pure raw emotions, causing them both to melt into each other. When they pull away for air, Misty shyly inquires, "Can I ask my question now?"

"Mhm." Ash nods because his voice is still caught in his throat.

"Can you kiss me now?" She was the one who kissed him just now.

Giving her a wry smile, Ash slowly brings a hand up to her chin. He rests his forehead against hers to whisper, "I love you, Mist." He then closes the space between them with a kiss that he's been wanting to give for years now. Thus, Ash snakes his tongue past her lips, which Misty allows as her own tongue explores his mouth. Life isn't perfect. He knows this better than anyone, especially because he's saved the world many times. However, Misty makes it feel like his life is perfect. Just her presence, her care, her love… It gives him strength, and it makes him very happy. He really was an idiot keeping her away from him all of these years.

Hours later, the two wake up to Ash being lifted off the ground. Misty and Ash had fallen asleep in each other's arms, which was very comfortable until now. Seeing the purple glow around Ash instantly alerts Misty while Ash is still trying to comprehend why he's not on the ground. "Mewtwo!" Misty snaps her attention to behind her where she recalls Mewtwo sleeping.

What is he doing here? The injured psychic type bellows angrily.

"I called him!" Misty exclaims as she watches Ash struggling. "Let him go!"

"Pika!" Pikachu alertly stands with his cheeks sparking threateningly.

Misty is lucky that Mewtwo recognizes Ash, else Ash would still be in the air right now. Instead, the Pokemon drops Ash, and Pikachu scurries over to check on his trainer. You know our arrangement.

Before Misty can retort, Ash coughs out, "You put her in danger!"

Mewtwo glares intensely at Ash while Pikachu protectively stands between them. Pikachu's cheeks are sparking again. Misty takes a step in front of Mewtwo, blocking him from Pikachu's attacks, if Pikachu chooses to do so. "You're in no condition to fight."

I've been through worse.

"Mewtwo!" exasperates the redhead. "I risked my life through that stupid storm. The least you can do is listen to me!"

After a few more tense seconds, Mewtwo backs up. Very well.

Misty lets out a relieved breath as Ash now stands, his breath back in him. "You know I won't tell anyone." Ash informs the skeptical legendary. "I never told anyone back then."

What is your relationship?

Both adults blush intensely and shy away from each other's gazes. "Um." Misty furrows her brows. "I told you about him." Mewtwo had asked about her wedding ring months ago, and she somewhat gave him an answer.

Eying Ash up and down, Mewtwo smugly replies, This is your fake husband?

Ash exclaims in offense, "What's wrong with me?"

Mewtwo shakes his head. Humans. Being a psychic type, he's able to read their emotions and thoughts. The past couple of years working with Misty, Mewtwo has figured Ash to be the cause of her loneliness and heartache. After learning about Misty's sham marriage with Ash, Mewtwo was skeptical of Misty's decision. Why would she involve herself with someone who her heart pines for? Now that Mewtwo can also read into Ash's heart, Mewtwo finds that these humans are both the same. Why they put themselves through so much heartache, Mewtwo will never understand. Humans are complex beings.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Misty fires back.

Ignoring the argument, Mewtwo narrows his eyes at Ash. If you tell anyone, I will end you.

Ash gulps. "I won't. Everyone thinks it's me who meets Misty at the Cape."

Satisfied with the answer, Mewtwo gazes back down at his bandaged wound. He feels a lot better now that he's dry and well-rested. Misty follows Mewtwo's gaze to his wound, which causes her to quickly dig through her bag. "Let's use one more full restore on you. Just in case."

I am okay.

"I may not be able to read your mind, but I know you're not okay." Misty sprays the item all over Mewtwo, especially near his wound.

The Pokemon is more refreshed. Thank you again, Misty. Mewtwo has enough energy to teleport back to Cerulean Cave. That way, he can avoid going out in the daylight. Because Misty usually waits until he is better, then Mewtwo can always avoid the media by teleporting away. It's usually his journey to the Misty that involves them getting caught.

Before Mewtwo can leave, the curious man inquires, "What is your relationship? Who is Misty to you?" That was the very first question Ash ever asked Misty during their one question a day. She said Mewtwo is kind of a friend, but he's mainly just someone who helps her and who she helps. There has to be more to that if Misty is willing to risk her life for him.

"Ash." Misty hisses.

However, Mewtwo raises a hand to let her know he'll answer it. We help each other out. She heals me, and I assist the city when called for.

"It seems like she's helped you more than you've helped Cerulean City." Cerulean City doesn't have many disasters, but Misty is constantly gone monthly for Mewtwo.

Despite being annoyed with Ash's questions, Misty is surprised to see his unwavering confidence. Is this really the Ash Ketchum she married? The shy timid invisible man who only wanted to stay in bed all day. He's now challenging Mewtwo with no fear. This Ash reminds Misty a lot of the Ash she fell in love with as a child. Has his progress really risen this much?

I try not to put her in danger, if that's what you are inquiring. Mewtwo recalls Ash's words from before.

Biting his bottom lip, Ash contemplates what else he wants to ask Mewtwo. Misty already explained the relationship last night, and according to Mewtwo, she's telling the truth. Their answers lineup, but Ash is most confused on their commitment to each other. The two say they're not friends. They just help each other occasionally. Nevertheless, is this seemingly insignificant relationship enough for Misty to risk her life for Mewtwo?

"If she's ever in danger again, I'm coming with her."

"Ash!"

Very well. Mewtwo would rather not put Misty in danger anymore. If she is with someone else she trusts, then that's better for her. Moreover, Mewtwo trusts Ash from the various times they've met throughout the years.

Misty is shocked at how easily Mewtwo agreed. "If we all get caught together, our lie will be revealed!" There's a reason Ash can't come to the Cape. He's supposed to be Mewtwo!

He will only come if the weather is bad. No one is outside when the weather is bad. Mewtwo usually can detect when they're being watched, but whenever he's heavily injured, he cannot. It takes all of his energy to call out to Misty to find him. Thus, they've gotten caught a few times.

"Yeah. I'll be careful. And I'll bring Pikachu, He can hear if people are close." insists Ash.

Sighing in defeat, Misty decides not to argue with these two. Instead, she sternly places her hands on her hip as she looks at Mewtwo. "Your wound isn't going to heal for about a week. Stay away from trainers or get the cave Pokemon to better protect you."

I do not need protection.

"Then you'll die! You're in no state to battle!" Misty recalls his deep wound under those bandages.

"She's right." Ash steps up, earning him another glare from Mewtwo. "You claim you care about her. If you do, then you'll recover. If you battle, you'll get hurt again, and she'll have to come heal you again. Mewtwo doesn't seem like he enjoys asking for Misty's help, or any kind of help for that matter.

Farewell, humans. Mewtwo then disappears before anyone can say anything else.

Groaning, Misty grabs her bag off the ground. "I had it handled." Ash just annoyed Mewtwo. Mewtwo is stubborn, but Misty has learned how to speak to him. Similarly, Mewtwo knows how to communicate with Misty too after all of these years. Therefore, they're always able to get their points across to each other, but Ash just had to speak up unnecessarily.

The man concerned man mutters, "Will he listen?"

"He was already listening when I told him." Ash didn't need to reiterate it because saying things twice always annoys Mewtwo. Mewtwo already has an inferiority complex for being a clone. Thus, Mewtwo doesn't need others telling him multiple times like he's dumb.

"Didn't seem like it."

"You don't know him like I do. He always listens to me." defends the redhead who tosses his coat to him before she stomps out the remaining embers.

Pikachu hops onto the jealous man's shoulder. "Then how do you know him?" Ash slips on his jacket.

Raising a curious eyebrow, Misty peeks over at Ash. Seeing him pout, she can't help but giggle. "Do you really wanna know?"

"Do I?" Ash follows Misty who walks towards the boulders. He's unsure if he can handle the answer.

Stopping in her tracks, Misty turns on her heel to smirk in his face. Pikachu is riding on top of Ash's head, but the mouse is thinking he should probably hide in Ash's jacket or Misty's bag. "Hm. Guess I won't tell you then." Misty then climbs over the boulder as Pikachu hops over too.

Grumbling under his breath, Ash does the same. Misty is still smirking to herself up ahead while Pikachu is choosing to hide in her backpack. Ash is a few steps behind, but once they near the exit, Misty waits for him. The man is still upset at Misty's testing, so his frown is very evident. "What?" He asks the expectant woman who rolls her eyes at his tone.

"It's daytime. There might be people out, so we have to act like a couple." Misty extends a hand towards him, which Ash just stares at. "Hold it, dumbass."

"Why?"

"Do you not listen to me?" She just explained it. Mew. And he's making her blush darken in embarrassment. "I said, we have to act like a couple."

"But why do we need to act when we are a couple?"

Alright. Misty's blush is getting darker, though not from embarrassment this time. She slowly raises her head to meet his nervous shy eyes where she's glad to spot the same dark blush on his face. "We're a couple?"

"Uh." Ash sheepishly rubs the back of his neck. "I mean. We like each other and kissed and uh…" He lets out a loud exasperated breath due to his nerves getting the best of him. "I don't know."

Grabbing Ash's hand on her own, Misty squeezes it. They were always able to touch each other so easily before. Being able to hold hands, link arms, hug. Now that they know each other's true feelings, it's just awkward. However, seeing Ash's cute demeanor, Misty decided to take the initiative. "Do you wanna be a couple?"

In the backpack, Pikachu is sweatdropping. "Chuuu." He softly mumbles and shakes his head. These adults are really acting like they did as children. They have not grown up. Pikachu needs Brock's help again. This sexual tension is the reason Pikachu chooses to remain in the gym rather than the living quarters with the humans.

When Ash feels Misty's warm soft hand, his heartbeat quickens. How can he be this excited for the same person for 20 years? This has to be love. If Ash has learned anything from all of Misty's sappy romance movies she makes him watch, it's that love is not fleeting. Love does not ever go away. This feeling never will, and Ash has always known deep down that he loves her. Gently squeezing her hand back, the man quietly replies with a warm smile, "Yeah. I do."

"Then I guess that makes you my fake husband turned boyfriend?"

Chuckling slightly, Ash pulls her closer towards him. "Shh. Someone might hear you." It may be too soon, but Ash does not date for no reason. He dates with the intention of marriage. Maybe someday, Misty will be his real wife? No. She has to be. She's the only one because she's the only one he's ever been in love with. It'll take time, but it will happen. Ash will make sure of it.

Once the two walk outside hand in hand, they are relieved to see no one around. It's still damp from the rain that had stopped a few hours ago. "Can we fly back?" Misty tiredly asks. It's been over a decade since she did not sleep in a bed. Add in age, and her back is sore. Thus, she's still tired and would rather not partake in the far, most likely muddy, trek back to the gym. There might be people and reporters along the way who she'd rather avoid. The gym leader is too tired to engage with civilians and nosy reporters.

"Yeah. We'll use Noivern." Ash wants to let Charizard rest after flying in the rain yesterday. Although Ash knew Charizard wouldn't fare well in the rain compared to Noivern, Ash used Charizard because Charizard is much faster than Noivern. The trip to the gym isn't too far, and they don't need to get there in a rush. Charizard needs rest.

"Sounds good." Misty stretches her arms with a loud yawn. After a nice warm shower, she'll fall blissfully to sleep. It is Friday, so she'll just close the gym for the day. Misty hasn't taken this much time off from the gym ever. Being married to Ash involves Misty having to work with another person's life besides her own. And Ash knows many people they often visit.

When Ash calls out Noivern, Misty releases his hand to climb onto the dragon type. Watching her walk away in dismay, Ash subconsciously grabs Misty's hand again. Seeing her back just reminds him too much of all the times she had to leave him. That's painful, so he'd rather not think about those times. Pulling her towards him as he turns her around, Ash captures her lips with his own. It's a soft warm kiss, which both can feel the love from each other.

Separating, Ash gazes into those enchanting radiant cerulean eyes. "I love you, Mist."

Even though she heard him say that last night, Misty still can't believe it. Yes, they've kissed a few times since his first confession, they've slept in each other's arms, and they agreed to be a couple, but it's still so surreal to know the man she's always loved loves her too. Actually, he's always loved her too. "I love you too, Ash."

"You don't need to say it." Ash now shyly looks away. "I already know it, but I just like saying it to you." He doesn't want Misty to feel like she has to admit her love for him everytime he does that to her. He wants it to be natural, like it is for him.

"I want to." Misty wraps her arms around his neck, causing them both to blush darker. "I had to keep these feelings to myself for 20 years, so I'm gonna let you know how much I love you all the time." With that, Misty pulls Ash in for another kiss where she slips her tongue inside his mouth. Twenty years of painfully buried emotions are finally out and here to stay. Ash Ketchum will learn how much love she has for only him.

What would've happened if she confessed to him all those years ago? Would that have saved him from heartbreak and depression? Would they have even dated? In reality, Misty knows she the main reason she avoided confessing was not because of her fear. Fear of ruining their friendship, fear of rejection, or fear of losing him for good. Despite being friends, they never maintained their friendship after separation, so Misty had nothing to lose in confessing. Was the lack of a relationship the cause for her holding back her feelings?

The reason Misty did not confess, and the reason she was trying to rebury her feelings again, is because she doesn't want to be an obstacle in Ash's life. Back then, he wanted to be a Pokemon Master. He was so focused on his goal, and he was getting close to it too. All Misty could do was cheer for him from afar. That's all she would allow herself to do. There's no way she will be the one who stops Ash from his dreams. Misty just never expected Serena to be the one to make Ash stop, nor did Misty expect Serena to break up with Ash.

Lately, Misty had been reburying her feelings because Ash is making a lot of progress on his own. He's going out more, socializing, and returning to the old Ash. Misty doesn't want Ash to be dependent on her, thinking that she is the cause for his return. What if they break up? Then Ash would relapse again since he thinks his success is due to her. However, hearing Ash's confession, one that pertains to decades of feelings, alleviates Misty's worries enough to know they won't break up.

Misty won't break up with the only person she's ever been in love with, nor will she do anything to jeopardize losing him. If what Ash has been saying about his feelings is the same as hers, then Misty is sure Ash won't risk their relationship either. Her fear of being a burden is gone given their point in their lives. Ash is not an aspiring Pokemon Master anymore. Even if he chooses to go back to that dream, Misty fully believes in them to make it work. If this fake marriage has taught them anything, it's that they've been able to work successfully together.

Climbing onto Noivern, with Ash's help, Misty grabs Ash's arms to wrap around her as soon as he is on the dragon type. Ash is sitting behind Misty who melts into his embrace. They have not felt this content in a long time. A feeling they have only ever experienced with each other. As Noivern takes off, Ash has his face buried in Misty's hair while her hands are cupping his around her waist. All they can think about is the love they have for one another, and Pikachu is sitting in front of Misty to avoid seeing the public display of affection.


Some of you hinted this in the reviews, but for sure WhiteKnightofHyrule guessed the Cape guy was Mewtwo way back in Chapter 6 lol. Good job. ;) Misty's mystery is solved, but Ash is our main character. He's still got a bunch of secrets that are slowly unraveling.

This was a short chapter because I don't wanna just throw a random scene in when the chapter is pertaining to the Cape. Plus, I'm not too sure what else I want to address in this chapter. If I were to add another scene, I feel like it'd take away from this chapter's focus. We've got some intentional pokeshipping coming up in the next few chapters, but since we've already set up the back story and everything, only drama will ensure now. We're in the dramatic second half of the story!

Also, sayuri1468, I agree with everything you said about Sonia and Leon. They are totally Ash and Misty! Sonia does resemble Misty a lot. Leon's personality seems like that of an older, more mature Ash, but the kindness and honor is still there. I'm excited to see more LeonxSonia in the anime so that I can possibly write a one-shot or short fic of the two. There needs to be more SoniaxLeon fanfics on here!

Anyway, thanks for the loyal reviews and reads, y'all. I love reading your reviews, though I don't comment on any of them haha. See ya when I see ya. :)

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