I had typed the first 3k words or so weeks ago, like in early March. But then things got hectic and I went on a mini vacay. I've spent the past week typing when I could to try and get this chapter out to y'all.
Anyway, I know I have a lot of incomplete stories on here, so my goal is to finish this one first because I have more of a clear idea of where I wanna go with this story. I'll update my other ones periodically, but this one is my main concern. Enjoy!
"Needs to be kept away from Azumaril. I know, Misty." Tracey sweatdrops at his worried friend. His Azumaril and Misty's Kingdra do not get along at all.
Chuckling, Ash gently tugs at Misty's arm. "C'mon, Mist. We're gonna be late for our flight."
Misty furrows her brows. "Goldeen eats-"
"She has to eat with Staryu. I know." sighs Tracey.
"Like go already, Misty." Daisy states.
Tina nods enthusiastically. "Yeah, Auntie Misty! You're gonna be late!"
"You heard her." Ash mutters under his breath,which Misty hears.
She elbows his side, causing him to release her arm. Taking in a deep breath, Misty calms down. Usually, she's not this nervous about leaving the gym. Mew. She left it in Officer Jenny's care when she was gone for a whole month in Pallet Town and Johto. If anyone knows how to care for Misty's Pokemon, it's her own family. However, the whole Elite Four thing has gotten her on edge. She still isn't sure what to make of it, though she did accept the position.
Apparently, the league was prepared with an ordered list of Elite Four candidates as Jimmy advanced in the tournament. Knowing they only have this summer to transition everyone, they contacted Misty, who was at the top of the list, as soon as they knew the position was open. When Misty accepted while at the Oaks, Ash passionately kissed her. The Oaks deemed that they really had to celebrate. The news learned of Misty taking over Jimmy's previous position, meaning Misty has more media attention.
Due to Misty being an Elite Four member now, someone needs to takeover her gym. The League allows her to pick a suitable leader, else they will search for one. Fortunately, Daisy the Sketchits were already in conversations about moving to the city and helping at the gym. Tina hopes to take over it someday, so for now, Daisy and Tracey will try their best to keep its reputation up. Misty doesn't find that too promising. At least not until Tina takes over in a decade or two. Nevertheless, the redhead wants the gym to stay in her family. Thus, Daisy is the best option. Misty prefers Daisy over Lily and Violet.
The Sketchits are starting the move into the gym, but they still live in Goldenrod City for now. Misty and Ash have been packing up their stuff and helping the Sketchits move in. Ash will bring his belongings back to his mother because he'll be traveling this fall. Misty is still searching for an apartment at the League. Well, the League will provide her one, but she's still debating where she'd prefer to live. Will it be Viridian City, the Indigo Plateau, or Pallet Town? Pallet Town is the only option if she and Ash choose to stay together.
"I trust you, Tina." Misty tells the young girl grinning at her.
After hugs and goodbyes, Misty and Ash are finally on their way to the airport. The gym is getting a lot of publicity, especially with Ash and Misty's outdoor camping event they're planning in the coming weeks. This summer is very busy for the two, which doesn't help with all the unwanted attention they're getting. Misty still can't believe she got Jimmy's position. She never thought she'd get it due to her poor attendance record at League events. Maybe the League really does choose the best trainer for the job?
"We can't be late to May's wedding." Ash scolds Misty, getting her head out of her thoughts.
"It's in a week." Misty rolls her eyes. Being a bridesmaid, she has to be there early to help plan the wedding, practice, and get ready for it.
"But rehearsal. And Dawn is the wedding planner." Ash reminds her. How Dawn can be both a bridesmaid and the wedding planner, no one has any idea. However, that's just the way Dawn is. She loves weddings and planning. She enjoys making things pretty. While this wedding may have been stressful due to her dual roles, she loves every moment of it.
Misty, who has only met Dawn twice (once through May and another time when she had to go to Sinnoh for a gym conference), isn't too sure what Ash means by that. Misty hasn't hung out with Dawn. Rather, they only exchanged pleasantries and made small talk that didn't last too long. When Misty heard from May that Dawn traveled with Ash and Brock, Misty got sad. She didn't want to hear about Ash's adventures with another girl, so Misty cut her interactions with Dawn short.
Although Misty knows May also traveled with Brock and Ash, Misty already had a friendship with May. Thus, Misty couldn't cut off her good friend. How can she do that when her best friend cut her off twice? At least Dawn is always so bubbly and carefree that she didn't notice Misty's lack of interest in her. Misty does maintain a conversation, but she allows Dawn to venture off to other guests. Dawn knows so many people.
"What? Is Dawn strict?" Misty innocently asks.
Ash nods. "About weddings? Yeah." He's glad he doesn't have a role in the wedding. Being demanded around by Dawn will be exhausting. Gary's and Leaf's wedding was so last minute and carefree, like the couple. That was an easy one to be a best man for.
"Isn't she engaged to Paul?"
"How do you know Paul?" Ash is slightly jealous.
Misty shrugs. "I had to go to a conference in Sinnoh a few years ago, and he is the champion. I saw him there. Dawn was his girlfriend at the time, but I didn't really talk to them." Well, Paul does not talk, so Misty had no reason to interact with him. Dawn was constantly mingling with other leaders and bickering with Paul that Misty got to avoid her.
Frowning, Ash mumbles, "Yeah. They're engaged." He got the wedding invitation the other year in the mail. His mother told him about it, but Ash told her to toss it. Back then, weddings made him sad. He wishes he still had the invitation, though he knows Dawn will give him another one. Paul and Dawn were supposed to get married this year; however, the many Galactic attacks caused them to push back their wedding.
For one, their wedding would be one large target to Team Galactic, which would put all of their loved ones in danger. Two, and the main reason, Dawn and Paul find it unfit for them to take a break to celebrate their love when the region is in trouble. Therefore, there has not been a new set date for their wedding. Fortunately, the attacks in Sinnoh have died down enough for Dawn to attend May's wedding. The authorities and the rest of the League can handle a week or two without the Champion and Top Coordinator.
"Are you gonna go to their wedding?"
Ash nods. "Yeah. I'll have to ask for another invite. Were you invited?"
"I don't know them like that." Misty reminds him.
"Right. Well, you can be my plus one!"
Blushing, Misty thinks about how that will only happen if they're still together. She wants to give them a chance as he travels this year, though what if he abandons her again? Then she definitely won't be his plus one to whenever the Shinji wedding is. The thought of being Ash's plus one to anything does make her heart beat. He's thinking about her. She loves it almost as much as she loves him. "It's a date."
Chuckling, Ash pulls into the airport parking lot. "We haven't gone on one of those in a while." He faces her when he parks. "We should go when we're in Hoenn!" They haven't gone on a real date in a long time. The last time they had a romantic date was when they went to the Cape. Other than that, they've had spontaneous moments alone, but nothing planned. Nonetheless, going out and enjoying a romantic anything has not happened in a while.
Mew. Her heart is racing again, especially as she looks into his excited eyes. Leaning over, she kisses his lips. "I'm looking forward to it, Mr. Pokemon Master."
They eventually get on the plane, and Ash whispers, "I can't wait to see Brock again."
"And Lucy and Annalise." Misty adds.
Nodding, Ash's smile grows. "And everyone else." But he's looking forward to seeing Brock the most.
"It has been a while since we've spoken to Brock." Misty ponders. Going from seeing Brock every day with Ash to not seeing him much has been tough. Misty felt so abandoned the day Brock moved to Hoenn, despite her being happy for him. She didn't have Ash, and then she lost her only friend from her traveling days. It hurt a lot. Now, Misty is very happy because she has Ash again. Prior to Ash returning, Misty grew compliant with her lonely life. She won't go back to that.
"What do you think he'll say when we tell him we're dating now?" Whispers Ash after looking around for eavesdroppers.
"He's gonna tease us." sweatdrops the woman.
"Pi pikachu." Pikachu agrees with a giggle, causing the adults to glare at him. "Pi?"
"You're lucky you're cute, Pikachu." Misty pinches his cheeks.
"Chuuu." Pikachu melts from her touch.
"I feel like we're always getting teased." Ash sighs. The Oaks, Tracey, the Sensational Sisters, Brock, and even Pikachu.
"Apparently, we make it 'too easy'." grumbles Misty in annoyance. Tina has even had her knack for teasing Misty.
"Well, I'm glad I have you on my team. Getting teased by myself would be too much."
Mew. How can he continue to make her blush like this? Trying to cool off, Misty responds, "I will still tease you."
Ash rolls his eyes. "Then I'll tease you right back."
"You have nothing on me."
Furrowing his brows, Ash stops leaning towards Misty. In the past, he used to tease her about her cooking, but she's a much better cook now. What else did he use to tease her about? "You're still hot headed."
"And you're still an air head."
"Excuse me." A flight attendant shyly cuts in on the fuming couple. "We have other passengers. Could you two keep it down?"
Still glaring at each other, Ash and Misty only nod. Normally, they'd be embarrassed, but neither one is backing down right now. Pikachu, though, sheepishly smiles at the attendant who now walks off. "Pikapi. Pikachupi." He scolds them.
Misty is the first to break eye contact by turning her back to Ash and crossing her arms over her chest. "Why do I even like an idiot like you?"
Ash does the same with his body. "Why do I like a temperamental person, like you?"
"Pi." Pikachu facepalms as he sits in between them. This is a good time to have Brock around now.
"You're the one who insisted we get married twice." mutters the redhead.
"And you agreed twice."
"But you initiated it."
"Fine. Then should I take it back?" Ash challenges as he faces her again. Seeing Misty pout, Ash's lips twitch up into a smirk. He kisses her cheek, causing her to blush. "I'm never gonna take it back."
Misty's heart beats quicker from his comment, so she opts to swatting his face away. "Whatever." Despite her grumbling, they both know she loves him and his comments. They know each other so well.
Chuckling, Ash leans back in his seat and shuts his eyes. "You should sleep too. You're the one who has to rehearse."
"Don't remind me." Misty yawns as she rests her head against his shoulder. "Did you pack enough shirts?" They can't have a repeat of last time happen.
"Why do you even pack clothes when you always wear mine?"
"In case I decide to wear mine."
"Did you pack enough clothes?" Misty repeats, and Ash inwardly groans. "Yes." Like Misty, he playfully comes off as annoyed, but in reality, Ash loves it when she wears his clothes.
Landing in Petalburg, Ash and Misty get a cab to their hotel. May and Drew are too busy with the wedding, along with their families, to pick up the late couple. Misty doesn't mind because then she can see everyone at once. She knows how stressed May and Drew must be right now. Max is also one of the groomsmen, so he won't be picking anyone up from the airport. Misty and Ash were supposed to arrive with everyone else yesterday, but they had to wait for Misty to send the League some more paperwork regarding her new position.
After they check into their hotel room, which Drew's family has reserved for all the guests, they head down to the rehearsal hall. The Haydens reserved this whole small hotel in Petalburg. All the rooms are for the guests, and the ballroom is magnificent. The wedding will be taking place in the courtyard, which is also beautiful.
"Am I allowed in there?" Ash whispers before they open the door leading to the courtyard.
"Because I'm not a part of the wedding party. What if I get in the way?" Ash would rather not be subjected to Dawn's anger.
Misty rolls her eyes and grabs his arm. "You know these people more than I do. It's awkward if I go in alone." Plus, Misty is sure there must be close people watching who are not in the wedding party, like Paul.
"But I haven't seen some of them in years…" Specifically Dawn and Paul.
"You saw May, Max, Drew, and Vivi at Annalise's birthday." reminds Misty who tugs Ash towards the door. "I am not about to walk in here late and alone. We're doing this together." Before Ash can make up another excuse, Misty shoots him a sharp glare that even makes Pikachu shiver. "You put this marriage on me. It's only fair that I make you walk to the courtyard with me."
Sighing in defeat, Ash reluctantly nods and allows Misty to lead him out the back. They walk along a path in the direction of the noise. Past the wall of flowers, they see the wedding party up ahead rehearsing, and there are a few people helping with decorations all around. No one seems to notice the new arrivals until, "Mama Misty."
Misty grins widely and picks up the young girl. "Hey baby Leesee!"
Smiling beside her, Ash pinches Annalise's cheek as Pikachu hops on his shoulder to nuzzle the girl. "Hey, Annalise! How are you?"
"I good!" Annalise giggles, enjoying the hug from Misty. Being older, the girl is retaining her memory better. It also helps that they video call every few weeks. "Daddy over der!" She points across the courtyard where a tall tan man is standing on a ladder to hang up lights. Drew's family could pay for decorators, but May wanted to contribute to the wedding too. Thus, her friends are helping decorate while Drew's family provided the venue and hotel rooms.
"It's about time!" Ash and Pikachu jump up startled at the voice they haven't heard in years.
Sighing, Misty whispers to Annalise, "Dada Ash will play with you. Mama Misty has to go help." Misty passes off the obedient girl. Misty is relieved seeing Ash easily take her. Ash is getting a lot better with children. He and Tina get along great, and now he and Annalise are fine. He really is overcoming his fear.
"Come here, Misty!" Dawn grabs the redhead. "And hi, Ash. Talk to you later. We're on a tight schedule." The whole time Dawn is dragging Misty away, Ash sheepishly smiles at his wife. Although this is the third time Misty has met Dawn, the two are never this close. Ash is right when he said Dawn takes weddings seriously. Dawn is not shy about making sure everything is perfect. Misty likes that about her. She makes a mental note to speak to Dawn more, especially since Dawn is one of Ash's friends.
"Should we go to your dad, Annalise?" Ash asks the girl who Pikachu is making laugh.
On the way over to the unsuspecting Brock, who is too focused on his task, Ash gets stopped. "Ketchum."
That voice is deeper than he remembers, but Ash knows it. Awkwardly turning his head, Ash gives the purple haired man a shy smile. "Hey, Paul."
Paul nods. "Troublesome said to make sure you help Brock hang up the lights." Dawn figured Ash would be comfortable working with someone he knows. The old Ash would be outgoing and wouldn't care where he was placed because he can make friends with anyone. Apparently, Paul is on manager duty for Dawn, making sure everyone is on track.
"Oh. Uh. Sure."
Ash starts to continue heading towards Brock, but Paul speaks up again. "You look better." Paul is not one to compliment or cheer people up, though he still considers Ash a rival. Ash is the reason Paul even met Dawn, and Ash is who got Paul to initially change the way he treats Pokemon. Paul owes a lot to Ash, a man who never asks for anything in return.
"Thanks. You too." Looking past Paul, Ash spots Dawn directing Misty how to walk down the aisle. It makes him smile seeing a lot of his friends all together. "I'm uh, gonna need another wedding invite. When you guys pick a new date."
Shyly turning to his feet, Paul mutters, "Uh. If you're up for it, Dawn says I need another groomsman. Something about matching numbers." The man mentally groans thinking about all of the wedding talks they've had.
The Galactic attacks have only been good in distracting them from the wedding, and giving Paul more time. Dawn says if Paul doesn't find 3 people, then Dawn will pick them for him. So far, Paul has Reggie as his best man, and surprisingly Drew as a groomsman. Why Drew? May and Dawn are best friends who hang out often, meaning Drew and Paul see each other a lot too.
Despite Drew's flamboyant annoying arrogance, Paul prefers him over anyone else. Dawn's bridal party consists of May, Zoey, and Marina. Dawn knows so many people, so she could have more bridesmaids, though she's being considerate of Paul. Dawn's choice for Paul's third groomsman is Barry because Barry is the only one who is willing to do it for Paul. Kenny still is not a fan of Paul. Therefore, Paul is left with one person he finds least annoying of whoever is left.
Ash smiles warmly at Paul. Fortunately, Ash knows how Paul talks and how Paul asks for things. "Sure. I'd like to be a groomsman."
Awkwardly rubbing the back of his head, Paul motions towards Brock. "We'll let you know when we pick a date." Paul then walks off to end the conversation, and Ash can't help but grin at Pikachu and Annalise.
"Bye, Uncle Paulie!" Annalise waves to the man who waves right back. Wow. Paul has a soft spot for children. In reality, children love him. Annalise was sticking around Paul when she noticed Misty and Ash walked in. Paul doesn't know why children like him, though he doesn't mind them too much. Well, he doesn't mind the ones he has to interact with.
"C'mon, Annalise." Ash tells her while walking. He is slightly jealous that Annalise is close to Paul. Annalise is usually really shy. The fact that she's initiating conversation with Paul first means that she's comfortable around him. Ash holds her a little tighter and kisses the side of her head. "What do you wanna do while we're here?" He regrets not spending more time with her the last time he was in Hoenn.
"Uh." Annalise thinks. "Ice cream?" It is summer.
Chuckling, Ash replies, "How about I take you to see a lot of baby Pokemon and then we get ice cream?" Ash is sure Brock and Lucy won't mind him taking Annalise for an afternoon one of these days while Misty is practicing.
"Yeah!" The girl excitedly exclaims.
"It's a date." Before they speak up to the overly focused Brock, Ash whispers, "Let's keep it a secret. Just for us, okay?"
"Tay." Annalise links her pinky with Ash's, and he sets her down.
"Pikachu, you're on duty." Ash tells the mouse who salutes him. Now, Brock quickly looks down at the new voice, causing him to almost fall off the ladder. Ash hurries to steady it while Pikachu and Annalise worriedly watch the men balance Brock again. "Mew, Brock! Watch out!"
"When did you get here?" Brock climbs down to hug Ash. "Where's Misty?" As soon as he asks, he spots her at the altar with the rest of the wedding party. "I'm glad you guys made it!"
Ash laughs because Brock wouldn't let him get a word in. Pikachu and Annalise run off, so Ash says, "We had some last minute things to do with the League, but we caught the earliest flight we could."
"I'm glad. Most of us just got here yesterday, so you're not too late."
"Dawn thinks we are." Ash winces recalling Dawn's angry shout, though it was directed at Misty more than him.
"That's Dawn. She's more stressed about this wedding than May." Brock chuckles. "Help me make sure the lights don't get tangled, will ya? Paul says the sooner we finish with today's tasks, then the sooner we can all leave, including him. Dawn has him on people duty, so he's also on babysitting duty."
"It's weird seeing Paul with kids." Ash helps steady the ladder as Brock walks back up it. "It's a good thing he's nice to them."
"Paul has a heart. I think you helped him find it." notes Brock.
"Uh. Well, I think Dawn's helped more." The shy man mutters. Deciding to change the topic, Ash asks, "Where's Lucy?"
"She wasn't feeling too well. I told her to go back to the room and rest." Brock winks down at Ash. "I'm thinking she's pregnant, but we have an appointment next week to confirm it."
"What? Congrats, Brock!" Ash practically shouts, which makes Brock startled. Fortunately, Ash helps Brock stay on the ladder. "Heh. Sorry. I was excited."
"I'm more surprised to hear your loud voice again. You really are yourself." Brock can't be mad at Ash for finally returning to who he once was. The iconic Ash Ketchum everyone knows and loves. The one everyone misses. The one Ash misses. "And thanks. But don't tell anyone yet. You can tell Misty, but we just want to be sure, you know."
"Yeah. I get it. Wow. You're about to have 2 kids, Brock." Ash is truly happy for his friend who is like an older brother to him.
"Yup. I'm gonna call you up for babysitting duty whenever I want it." teases Brock. Although Brock would like for Ash to start thinking about his future with his own family, Brock knows it's too soon. Ash just recovered this year. The future can wait.
"That's if I'm not already on all the babysitting duties in Kanto." Despite loving all the children in Kanto, Ash knows it will be exhausting. Tina, who is older, is already exhausting enough. Add in two newborns. Ash isn't sure how Misty did it when Tina was a baby.
"Oh yeah. Daisy and Gary had babies. You and Misty must've been busy these past few months." Brock still needs to congratulate Misty in person on her Elite Four position. She really deserves it. "Man. We're all getting old. Babies, marriages, promotions." Brock grins at Ash. "And you've grown a lot too, Ash."
"Thanks, Brock, but I couldn't have done it alone." He was alone and had his mother and Gary before, and he was still a recluse.
Brock hangs up as much of the lights as he can reach before having to blimp back down the ladder. "I know. Misty is the reason." He's glad his friends were able to reconnect.
With Brock back on the ground, Ash whispers, "We're dating now."
"What?" Brock yells, earning them some looks. Ash starts shushing him, reminding Brock that only he knows this marriage is fake. Now talking quietly, Brock eagerly says, "That's great! I always knew you guys had chemistry! Lucy's gonna love the news. When did this start? Have you gone on real dates? Hav-"
"Brock!" Ash hisses because Brock's many questions are getting overwhelming and confusing.
"Heh heh. Sorry. I'm just excited for you guys." Like how Ash was excited about Lucy's possible pregnancy. "So you're gonna move to the Indigo Plateau with her? Or is she going to move to Pallet Town with you? How are you guys-"
"Brock!" Ash goes again. Brock really is excited about this. His two friends who he had to watch crush on each other for years are finally together. Brock knows Tracey would love this information if Tracey knew the marriage was fake. Tracey must've been just as happy back when he found out about the marriage too.
"Okay. Okay. I'll stop." Brock takes in a deep breath to calm down. Then he shifts the ladder over.
Before he can climb back up and talk more about how happy he is, Ash grabs Brock's shoulder, keeping him down. Ash has also been trying to muster up the courage to speak to Brock about this. The main reason Ash has been eager to see Brock is this. Brock curiously meets Ash's gaze in the corner of his eye, and Ash's face turns bright red at his impending comment. "I want to properly propose to her. I wanna have a real wedding. One she deserves. I mean, I should, right? Because I love her, and I want her to be happy, and-"
Strong arms wrap around him tightly, cutting off Ash's rambles. Brock is crying tears of happiness into Ash's broad shoulder. First, he finds out they're finally dating, and now he hears they're going to get married. A real marriage. Brock must be dreaming because this is all too good to be true. Since when did his young friends, who are like siblings to him, grow up so fast? They've all come far from the children they once were when they traveled together.
"I think that's awesome, Ash. I fully support it."
"Do you think it's too soon?" Ash whispers with his face fully flushed. He should normally be asking Misty's family for her hand, but only Brock knows this is a fake marriage. Therefore, Ash can only talk to Brock and Lucy about it. That's fine because Brock is like an older brother to him and Misty.
"I think it's taken you two long enough." Brock waves. "Look, Ash, the heart wants what it wants. Whether it's 20 years or 20 days, if you know, then you know. And I'm telling you, you know, Misty knows, I know, everyone knows you two are meant for each other!"
Letting out a relieved breath, Ash nods. "Thanks, Brock. I wanna do it before I travel again. To let her know I'm serious about us, and I won't abandon her like I did before."
Brock claps Ash's back. "I'm rooting for you."
The last time Ash was here, he and Misty were not dating. They told Brock that Ash is going to hopefully travel this fall. Thus, Brock has no idea about the strain in Ash and Misty's relationship once fall arrives. The whole traveling talk is somewhat taboo between them now, and Ash prefers to keep it that way. It maintains the peace. After their Cerulean City campout, they'll have a lot more free time to discuss this upcoming fall. Ash would rather they plan the campout together and on good terms, which Misty agrees with.
Brock then starts back up the ladder while Ash holds it. The two spend the next few hours placing the lights all around the courtyard. Once rehearsal ends, they're allowed to stop. The lights, along with the rest of the decorations, will take a few days. Fortunately, Ash and Brock are not the only ones on light duty. With wedding planning done for the day, everyone gathers, and Ash and Misty greet them all properly. Misty gets congratulated about her promotion, Dawn catches up excitedly with Ash, and Max eagerly challenges Ash to a battle.
"You better not have avoided having a wedding because you didn't want me planning it." Dawn teases as she playfully leans against him.
Chuckling, Ash welcomes the side hug. "No way, Dawn! I always want you at my wedding!" Some day. Ash hopes to give Misty the wedding of her dreams, and Dawn can help plan it. Misty is currently off speaking to Brock and Annalise since Ash already caught up with them earlier.
Dawn smiles up at Ash. He's a lot taller than she remembers, though that is because she hasn't seen him in years. The last time she saw him was on the news, and he looked really depressed. This Ash Ketchum is a lot more chipper, despite not being quite his old youthful self. "Good." Dawn then nods over towards Misty. "So tell me more about her cuz I've been itching to ask about this surprise marriage of yours."
"Heh heh." Ash sheepishly rubs the back of his head as his cheeks tint pink. "What do you wanna know?"
She rolls her eyes. "Everything, Ash! Tell me when you two started dating! How did it happen? Who confessed first? Who asked who out? How was the proposal?." Dawn reads the tabloids, so she already knows Ash and Misty spent a few years traveling together. During Dawn's travels with Ash and Brock, they had mentioned once or twice about an old Kanto girl friend of theirs who they are close with. Dawn assumes that must be Misty, especially since Ash's treasured special lure resembles the redhead.
"Well, uh." Ash's blush darkens. "It just kind of happened."
"That's what you've told everyone! But I'm your friend. I deserve details."
Mew. Dawn. Ash's ears heat up while he lets out a long defeated breath. "I don't know who confessed first." When Dawn's glare deepens, Ash quickly adds, "But I was the first one to confess sober. I mean. Like. I feel like we were tip toeing for so long, and then I finally said it, and-whew!" Ash smiles slightly. "I'm happy I did. Our feelings grow a lot every day now that we know how much we like each other."
The two fall silent for some time as Ash admires his wife from afar. He soon remembers he's in a conversation with Dawn, so he directs his attention back to the bluenette giving him a soft gaze. "That's so sweet, Ash."
Ash awkwardly nods. Why did he tell Dawn so much? Everything is true, and he usually likes to keep the details between him and Misty. However, seeing the redhead play with Annalise, and being at this wedding, Ash's heart feels huge. He couldn't help himself in telling Dawn. "Uh. But you and Paul. How is the issue in Sinnoh going?"
Dawn waves off his comment. "Work can wait, Ash. We're here for May's wedding, so let's keep things happy."
More comfortable silence. "I'm sorry I wasn't there…" He raises a curious eyebrow up at the now frowning woman. "When you were going through that break up. As your friend, I should've visited-"
"Dawn." Ash offers her a comforting smile. "I didn't wanna see anyone."
"But I still should've came!"
"You had your own things you were going through. It would've been a waste of time for you to try and see me when you wouldn't have."
"It's okay." Ash reassures her. "I wasn't in a good place then, and seeing anyone, especially you, wouldn't have helped."
Sighing in defeat, Dawn reluctantly nods. "But Misty helped." She's glad there was someone who could reach Ash and pull him from the darkness.
Ash's heart speeds up again as he glances back at his wife. They happen to make eye contact while she's holding Annalise, causing Misty to smile brightly at Ash. "Yeah. She's the only one who can." Misty is the only one in his heart. The only one who can reach him and whip him into shape. It's always been her.
Following his eyes, Dawn grins warmly seeing Ash watching Misty. Ash truly is in love. "I'm happy for you two." Dawn wants to find her fiance now because all this love is making her miss him. Where is that grouch?
"Thanks, Dawn. I'm happy for you and Paul too." The world is moving. While Ash used to hide away in his bedroom living at a still time, the world continued on. His friends and colleagues grew and found significant others. So much has happened that he once used to shy away from. How the times have changed in just this one short year he's been with Misty.
"Hm?" He hadn't realized how long he had spaced out.
"Paul will never say it, but I know he's eager to battle you again. Whenever you're ready, please challenge him."
Breaking his gaze from Misty, Ash whips his head in a different direction of the room where Paul is currently at. Paul is one of Ash's strongest rivals. The rival Ash learned and grew the most from. They both grew a lot from each other. Ash is glad that he still has a connection to Paul through Dawn. "I'll be coming for him, so make sure he keeps training hard."
Giggling, Dawn replies, "He's a lot stronger too. Make sure you train hard." Times have changed a lot. In the past, Dawn always stood by Ash. Now, she stands with the love of her life. Regardless of how old they all get, their friendship and rivalry remains intact. Normally, Dawn would be annoyed with Paul battling and training because it takes time away from her, but just this once, for Ash, she'll allow it.
That night, Ash and Misty enter their room, ready to crash from the long flight and day. Pikachu is sleeping with Brock's family to be close to Annalise. All the socializing and setting up and practicing. Today was exhausting. Both adults land on either side of the bed, though they know they need to shower before sleeping. "I'm so tired." Mumbles Misty.
"Mhm. Same." Ash knows most of the guests here, so he's been talking to them all day. If he was a part of the wedding party, he doubts he'd still be awake right now.
"You should shower first."
"You usually shower first." Their eyes are shut as they're mumbling to each other.
"I'm too tired. You go first. But be quick or I might fall asleep like this."
"Fine. But if I take all the hot water, don't complain."
"It's a hotel. They have plenty of hot water."
Groaning, Ash musters up the energy to push himself off the bed. He stumbles over to his suitcase to grab a change of clothes. "I'll be back."
When Ash exits the bathroom, he is a little more awake from the water. Spotting the dozing redhead on the bed, he rolls his eyes. Of course she'd fall asleep, despite saying otherwise. Nevertheless, Misty is the one doing rehearsals, so she has a right to be more tired than him. She was also the one working to support him this year. Ash finds Misty's sleeping face adorable. He contemplates allowing her to just sleep here, but then he'd have to deal with her wrath in the morning. She'd be upset that he let her sleep in the clean bed all sweaty.
Bending down over the bed, Ash gently shakes her shoulder. "I'm done."
"You should shower."
Alright. Well, he tried his best. Standing up, Ash glances around the room and remembers there is just this sole king sized bed. Although he and Misty have shared a bed a few times in Johto, Ash still feels awkward about it. He didn't pack a sleeping bag, but at least there's a small couch next to the bed. Unfortunately, it's not a pull out couch.
However, when he begins to walk towards it, he feels a slightly tight latch on his wrist. Glancing back down, he spots the half open eyelid of his wife. "Where are you going?" She sounds awake now.
"Couch." Ash absentmindedly points.
Sitting up, Misty stretches her arms over her head. Despite how tired she is, she knows she needs to shower off this filth. "You're tall. You get the bed." She starts for her suitcase.
"It's fine. You're the one practicing."
Too exhausted to argue, Misty decides, "We'll both sleep on the bed."
"We did it in Johto, Ash. We'll be fine here." And they're a lot more tired than in Johto. Misty then heads into the bathroom, leaving a very flushed Ash Ketchum alone in the room.
Falling to the bed, Ash leans his head into his hands and groans. Misty is right about them being fine in Johto. With them being a lot more exhausted, they're more likely to just fall asleep rather than let anything further happen. Maybe he'll just pretend to be asleep on the couch? Misty can't force him off, can she? Nevertheless, Ash is excited at the possibility of sleeping beside his wife.
While he's in deep thought about his sleeping predicament, Misty makes her way out of the bathroom. She's eager to get to sleep, so she kept the shower quick. So quick that Ash is mentally cursing himself for not sleeping on the couch already. It's too late. Misty won't let him. Seeing her in his tshirt makes his heart beat faster. His body springs awake with excitement, all fatigue now gone.
Eventually, Misty shuts off the lights and slips under the covers. Ash is still sitting on his side of the bed. "What are you doing?" They have a long day tomorrow. He should've been asleep by now.
"It's only awkward if you make it awkward."
Letting out a nervous breath, Ash nods. He climbs into the bed next to her, though he does place a pillow between them. "Good night, Misty."
How can she just fall asleep so easily? She must really be tired. Ash can't sleep due to the thumping in his chest. His blood is rushing, and he is trying to keep himself from doing or saying anything he'll regret. Misty always looks very stunning, especially in his clothes. He hasn't seen her in the bridesmaid dress yet, though he's sure she'll look magnificent. Stop it, Ash! Mew. This is so hard. He'll slip away to the couch once he's sure Misty is asleep.
"Go to sleep."
"How do you know I'm awake?" They can't see each other due to the pillow between them.
"I can hear you moving. It's distracting." Plus, her own racing heart is preventing her from sleeping. She was trying to be quick about going to bed so that she could avoid allowing her body to wake up from being beside Ash. It didn't work. Fortunately, Ash putting the pillow here is helping her a bit.
"Oh. Sorry." Mutters the man.
And, awkward silence. This is a lot worse than Johto. Why? Because they know they don't have to fear Tina bursting through the doors? "What are your plans tomorrow?" Misty will talk about anything, and hopefully, her body will calm down enough to sleep again.
Ash shrugs. "Decorate."
"But you won't be decorating all day." Misty has rehearsals most of the day. With her and Ash having different roles at this wedding, they rarely spend the day together. It's a huge difference compared to this past year of them being constantly together.
"If I have time, I'll go explore." Ash hasn't been in Hoenn in years. The beaches west of Petalburg would be nice to see, but he'd rather go there with Misty. She's the one who loves the ocean.
"You should go with someone. Like Paul. Aren't you guys friends?"
Ash chuckles in amusement. "I'm not sure about that, but I'm pretty sure Paul will not be taking a break." Paul is engaged to Dawn, the wedding planner. She's going to work him to the bone. The Maples will be busy with the wedding planning, so Ash can't hang out with them. Brock will be doting on Lucy who doesn't feel well from her current pregnancy. Pikachu most likely will want to hang out with others instead of Ash who he sees every day. Maybe Ash will just have a day alone?
"Or train. I don't know. Get out. I don't want you cooped up." Misty mutters.
"I could catch up on sleep."
She lightly kicks his leg, alerting both of their bodies from the physical contact. "You're here for a wedding, but you should still enjoy yourself, Ash. And you don't need extra sleep!"
Playfully groaning, Ash moves his legs more towards the edge of the bed and away from her. He can't allow her to keep exciting his body like this. "Alright. Fine. I'll find something to do, but don't get mad that I'm having fun without you."
"Rehearsing for May's wedding is lots of fun." Misty loves interacting with her old friend. Plus, meeting Dawn, Misty likes the bluenette a lot. Dawn is more bubbly and extra than those Misty usually interacts with, but Dawn is nothing like Misty's sisters. Misty feared Dawn would be another Sensational Sister. Fortunately, Dawn has a brain and a personality.
"We'll see who has more fun tomorrow." Ash grins.
"Wanna bet?" Misty annoyedly responds. How can Ash have more fun than her? He'll be alone. She will be working, but she'll be working with people who she likes.
Turning back to face her, Ash uses his elbow to lift himself up slightly so that he can see Misty over the pillow between them. "Sure. If I have more fun, then you need to do a favor for me."
The redhead rolls her eyes. Ash and his favors. She has yet to do one for him because she continuously beats him in battles. Ash is a worthy rival, though Misty isn't a future Elite Four member for no reason. She's been able to defeat him, despite recent attempts being narrow. Propping herself up on her elbow, Misty reaches her hand over the pillow. "Okay. And if I win, you have to help Daisy unpack next week."
Ash nervously gulps. Out of consideration for him, Misty has allowed Ash to help Tracey with the Sketchit's move. Therefore, Misty has been left to deal with her needy sister. Ash's pride gets the best of his thoughts, so he shakes her soft warm hand. "Deal." Daisy shouldn't be too bad, right? He hasn't interacted much one on one with Daisy, though Ash doesn't plan to lose this bet.
However, before either adult can release the hand of the other, their eyes lock. With them being a few inches away from each other, only separated by a meager pillow, Ash's fingers lace with Misty's. They both want to toss this pillow away so that they can ravage each other's bodies. All fatigue is now completely gone as they're just lost in each other's gazes. Luckily for their reason, Ash is clumsy enough to face plant on the bed while he was trying to lean closer towards Misty. Thus, their eye contact is broken along with the spell compelling them towards each other.
Misty quickly lays back down with her back towards Ash. Her heart is racing, and her face is a very hot shade of red. The embarrassed man has kept his own face in his pillow, but his face is red due to the thought of what he wants to do to this woman. If he gets off the bed now, it'll make it more awkward. This is going to be one long week. Eventually, the two fall asleep from the long day, grateful that nothing occurred between them.
"Dawn says I should let you guys go for the day." comes the bored voice belonging to none other than Paul.
Ash and Brock whip their heads around since they were so focused on their own conversation to notice Paul approaching. Ash and Brock are currently helping decorate the part of the field where the reception will be. Thus, Ash hasn't seen Misty since early this morning. "I don't mind sticking around some more."
Paul furrows his brows in annoyance. "Just go." He doesn't want to deal with Dawn's wrath about overworking her friends. Plus, they're doing pretty well with decorating, so they can afford to end things early. Although Paul would like a break, he'd rather stick near Dawn. He'll train once everyone is gone as he waits for his fiance.
Brock claps Ash on the back. "Well, I'm gonna go check on Lucy. I hate leaving her alone for so long." Brock does periodically check on Lucy by videocalling her throughout the day. He would stay back with her, but she makes him come help at his friend's wedding.
Paul grabs the decorations from Ash's hands. "Leave too, Ash." The purple haired man then walks off to lock up the decorations for the day.
Ash faces Brock and shrugs. "I don't know what to do around here." Last night, he made a bet with Misty that he'd have a lot of fun today. More fun than her, but he isn't sure how to do that. Misty always brings out the most competitive part of him.
"The beaches west of here are nice." suggests Brock.
"I'd rather go to them with Misty." Ash blushes slightly, making Brock smirk.
"Alright. Well, if you're up for it, can you watch Annalise? I'm sure she'll have more fun with you and Pikachu than cooped up in a hotel room with me and Lucy."
At the sound of her name, Ash's gaze shifts over to where Annalise is playing with the Pokemon. Pikachu is her babysitter. Ash does want to interact with Annalise more, especially since he will be traveling soon. Who knows when the next time he'll see her be. For sure, he'll come to her birthday, but he'd like to see her more often. "Sure, Brock. We'll find something to do."
"Thanks, Ash." Brock gratefully smiles. "Drop her off whenever." Brock then heads off to his hotel room, leaving Ash to approach his goddaughter.
Ash squats down to Annalise's eye level as she curiously looks up at him. "Where's daddy?"
"He went back to your mom." Ash warmly smiles. He recalls all of his Pokemon except for Pikachu. "Did you want me to take you to him?"
"Where are you going?" Annalise shyly inquires.
Chuckling, Ash reaches a hand out towards her. "I don't know. I'm bored, so I'm trying to find something fun to do. Do you wanna help me instead?" Annalise eagerly nods as she takes his hand to stand. "Alright. Let's go have fun, Annalise!"
"Pi pikachu!" Pikachu jumps on Ash's shoulder.
Ash continues holding hands with Annalise while walking out of the field. "What should we do?" He thinks about their conversation yesterday. "Ice cream?"
Eagerly nodding, Annalise's large eyes open up at him. "And baby Pokemon!"
Oh yeah. He had mentioned that. Picking her up, Ash whispers, "We'll get ice cream and then go on our baby Pokemon date."
"Okay." Annalise quietly hisses back.
After Ash makes a quick call, he and Annalise buy some ice cream and then hop on Charizard to fly out of the city. There's no way Misty will be having more fun than him. He's going on a date. A date with a beautiful little girl who wants nothing more than to spend time with him. Ash was nervous about being alone when he isn't decorating. To think, a year ago, he preferred being alone. And being in public made him anxious and scared. He's changed a lot this past year, which is due to Misty. Ash never wants to be alone again.
Once rehearsal ends for the day, which is right before dinner, Misty tiredly makes her way into the cool hotel lobby. Although she's in rehearsals all day, they have a lot more fun than rehearsing. There's only so much rehearsal that can go on, especially while they're here for the week. It's a lot of trial and error on Dawn's part to see how she wants everyone to coordinate and with the music. She is a perfectionist when it comes to anything regarding beauty.
Misty comes back downstairs after realizing Ash and Pikachu aren't in their hotel room. She sent Ash a quick text she hasn't heard from yet, though she runs into the Maples and Birches in the lobby. While Misty is looking at her pokenav, May calls out to her. "Hey, May!"
The redhead snaps her surprised attention up. Drew must be with his family since May isn't with him. "Hey, May. Hello, Norman, Caroline, Max, Vivi."
"Have you met Professor Birch and his son yet?" Max grabs Misty into their group.
Waving slightly at the two men, Misty smiles. "I don't believe we've formally met." She extends a hand towards them. "I'm Misty Waterflower."
Professor Birch shakes the hand. "The newest Kanto Elite Four Member. It's a pleasure to meet you, Misty. I'm Professor Birch!" The professor then motions over to the young man beside him. "And this is my son, Brendan."
Misty shakes Brendan's hand. "Aren't you the Hoenn Champion?" She recalls hearing the champion having Bs for initials.
Chuckling, Brendan nods. "Yes, but I'm here as May's childhood best friend."
May rolls her eyes. "And Wally. He is my neighbor." Wally is currently off doing something, or in his home with his family. He helps out with the decorating too. "Where's Ash?" May curiously asks Misty.
Max practically jumps in the air. "I wanna battle him again!"
Sweatdropping, Vivi tugs on her boyfriend's arm. Max should be challenging Brendan because Brendan is a much stronger trainer than Ash. Ash needs more time to train back into the shape he once was in. "Max!" She hisses.
"I thought I saw his Charizard flying east of here." Caroline mutters to herself, though everyone hears. She was running errands in town earlier and noticed a Charizard. Charizards are not native to Hoenn; thus, she figured it must be one of the guests here. There are not many guests here with Charizards.
"Actually, I have no idea where he is." Misty frowns slightly. Although she made a bet with Ash about who would have more fun today, she was expecting to spend time with him when they were both free, which would be when she's free since she is busy most of the day. Could he be having so much fun that he's forgotten her?
"Dad?" Brendan raises a suspicious eyebrow up at his pale father. The moment May started asking about Ash, Professor Birch quieted down and has been becoming more uncomfortable the longer they stay on the topic of Ash.
Now, Norman faces his old friend. "Birch." Norman too can tell the professor is hiding something.
Professor Birch nervously gulps. "Heh. I forgot you're married to Ash, right, Misty?" All eyes are now suspiciously on him as Misty nods. What is Professor Birch so anxious about? "Well, uh…" Groudon! Ash Ketchum really put him in this predicament. Professor Birch will need to have a word with him later. If either of them are still alive.
"Dad." Brendan scolds the older man who now reluctantly throws his hands up in defeat.
"Okay! He's at the lab!"
"Why were you so scared to tell us?" Max inquires.
Professor Birch buries his face in his hands to mumble, "He said he was going on a date…" The older man then apologetically faces a stunned Misty. She isn't sure she heard him clearly. "When he asked, I thought he was going with you! I had no idea!"
May worriedly watches her friend who goes from a shocked expression to a hurt one. Before May can console Misty or offer another alternative to Ash's date, Misty's face turns a dark shade of red as everyone can feel the rage radiating off of her. Her eyes show intense flames, causing May to take a step back. "Where is the lab?"
Despite Misty's calm voice, everyone can tell she's furious. This is going to be the end of Ash Ketchum. "Uh. Little Root Town." May quietly pipes up.
Storming out of the hotel while polishing her trusty mallet, Misty hales down a cab. Ash is really dead now. So this is why he was so secretive yesterday? He was talking like he'd be bored all day. He must've been talking down this date of his. Misty is completely blindsided. She never expected this from him, especially with the state his mind is in right now. Regardless, Professor Birch's words were: date. Ash is on a date with someone, and Misty is going to find out who it is. How can Ash do this to her when she's always been by his side? He's going to answer to her and her mallet along with his hussy.
At the lab, the man in question has no idea his wife is coming to kill him. Instead, he has been enjoying his afternoon with his goddaughter. They've played with the baby Pokemon, ate ice cream, and toured the field. It's about dinner time, and Ash is very hungry. He's always hungry, but the fact that it's his usual time to eat, his stomach won't stop growling. Therefore, when it growls once more, Annalise giggles.
"What's so funny?" Ash smiles at the cute girl.
"Your belly is talking. It's saying, 'grrrr.'"
Chuckling, Ash rubs his aching stomach. "I guess you're right. He's telling me he's hungry. Are you hungry, Annalise?"
She nods. "A little, but I'm having fun." A lot of baby Pokemon are cuddling next to her as she's sitting beside Ash.
"Okay. Let me know when you're hungry. We can get some food here before going back to your parents."
"Tay." Annalise moves a little closer to Ash. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Go for it." Ash wraps an arm around her shoulders.
"Are you gonna have a wedding too?" With the Hayden wedding occurring, Annalise has had a lot of questions pertaining to marriage. It was brought up by her father that her godparents never had a wedding.
He thinks back to his conversation with Brock yesterday about proposing to a certain redhead. Letting out a soft breath, Ash's heart feels full. "Someday. I want to."
"I think Mama Misty wants one." Annalise has witnessed how much Misty enjoys the wedding rehearsals, despite all of the work and time too.
"Me too." agrees the man who lays back and shuts his eyes. "Annalise?"
"Yeah?" She curiously looks at his peaceful face.
Turning his body towards her, Ash props himself up slightly by using his arm. He gazes into her large innocent orbs. Pikachu, along with the other Pokemon, watch their trainer intrigued. "I love you."
Ash wasn't there for her birth. He didn't even know she was his goddaughter, and when he found out, he wanted nothing to do with the role and her. However, like a lot of things this year, he's realized he wants what he once feared. What he once tried to protect himself from. What he hid from. Everything and everyone he thought was detrimental to him has turned out to be the reason he's grown to return to who he once was. This innocent child hasn't done anything to hurt him, so he shouldn't push her away. She doesn't deserve it, and Ash knows all about being pushed away unfairly.
Grinning widely, Annalise tackles Ash in a hug. Her small arms wrap around his neck tightly. "I love you too, Dada Ash."
Ash envelops her closely. This has been a very fun day. A nice date with his goddaughter. A time to relax and take a break. If today ended right now, he'd be very content. He already is. The two are blissfully hugging and enjoying each other's embrace so much that they don't notice a certain redhead storming towards them. Even Pikachu is in on the hug now too to realize the pending danger.
And while Ash continues thinking about the peace he is having right now, he soon feels an intense pain on his head, causing him to release Annalise. "Ash Ketchum!" Due to approaching them from behind Ash, she hasn't noticed the little girl Ash is next to. Instead, the woman only saw Ash embracing someone. Wielding her mallet over her shoulder, Misty places a foot on Ash's side, pinning him to the ground. "You have some nerve!"
Still wincing from the pain, Ash now flinches from that angry tone. It's terrifying, especially coming from her. Fortunately, the young girl, in slight fear, quietly mutters, "Mama Misty." Pikachu leaps into Annalise's arms to provide some comfort.
Misty's attention snaps from her glare on her husband to who he is cheating on her with. Spotting her goddaughter, Misty freezes. She mentally curses herself for scaring the most sweetest purest person in the world. Quickly getting down to Annalise's eye level, Misty offers a warm smile. "Hi, Leesee. What are you doing here?"
"Dada Ash said it's a date." comes the mumbles response into Pikachu's fur.
With Misty's knee now on his side since she knelt down, Ash releases a labored breath. Misty doesn't notice because she's still worried about scaring Annalise. "Aw, baby. Did you and Dada Ash have a fun date?"
Annalise nods. "Why are you mad?"
Blinking in embarrassment as she tries to hide and forget what she just did, Misty sweetly responds, "I'm not mad. I was, uh, just yelling so that I could find you."
"Misty, please!" Ash coughs out when Misty's knee digs deeper into her side.
Now, they recall the man still laying on the floor. Misty quickly removes her knee and helps Ash sit up. She dusts off his back while still grinning innocently. "See. Everyone is okay, Leesee. You don't need to be scared!"
Ash shoots Misty a side glare. If Annalise wasn't here, he would tell Misty off, though he'd probably be dead. Annalise is the reason Misty didn't beat him to the ground with her mallet. Also giving his goddaughter a reassuring smile, Ash adds, "Yup! I'm all good!"
Annalise continues eyeing them in silence until it's broken by a grumble. This brings a small giggle out of her, and both adults relax. "Your belly is talking again, Dada Ash."
He sheepishly rubs the back of his head. "Yeah. He's really really hungry. How about we get some food now?"
"Tay!" Annalise eagerly nods. "I'll get 'Zard!" She then runs off with Pikachu in her arms. Charizard, like usual, is napping in the sunlight. The baby Pokemon follow her, leaving Ash and Misty alone.
Ash now faces Misty with a deep glare. "What was that for?"
Misty shyly looks away while digging the top of her shoe into the dirt. "Nothing."
That was definitely not nothing. She was pissed, and she hit him so hard, his head still hurts. "What did I do?"
"Nothing. Let's just go eat." Please drop it, Ash!
"No!" He needs to know why she felt the need to practically kill him. "It's not fair, Misty." When she continues ignoring him, Ash grabs her wrist to make her face him. "If you're not gonna tell me, then I think it's fair I hit you back."
Now, Misty narrows her eyes at him. Did he really say he'd hit her? Crossing her arms over her chest, she challenges, "Do it, and see what happens." At least then, she can justify beating him to death.
Annoyed with his childishness as well as still embarrassed, Misty easily gives in. "Fine! One hit! But it can't be harder than I hit you!"
"Good." Ash grabs the mallet from her hands. After getting beaten by this mallet for years, it feels great wielding the power.
Although Misty knows she deserves this for unrightfully hitting him, she still is scared. Shutting her eyes in anticipation, she exclaims, "Get it over with already!"
Ash rolls his eyes. Despite weidling this power, the last thing he ever wants is to hurt Misty, even if she did hit him for no reason. Lowering his arm with the mallet, Ash takes a step towards her. He uses his free hand to tilt her chin up. The moment Misty opens her eyes in curiosity, Ash softly places a slow kiss on her lips, causing her to reciprocate the sensual touch.
"Charrr!" the irritated roar makes the adults jolt away from each other.
"Let's go!" Annalise giggles from Charizard's back as he lands.
Sheepishly passing the mallet back to Misty, Ash rubs the back of his head. He and Misty exchange small shy smiles and climb onto Charizard. Misty is sitting in the middle, so her arms are around Annalise, and Ash's arms are around Misty. Relaxing in the embrace, Misty thinks about how much of an idiot she was to really believe Ash was cheating on her. One, he's too kind for that. Two, he wouldn't be dumb enough to cheat on her in public. Three, he's in love with her. No matter how much she doesn't deserve his feelings, he continues to give her more. So much that Misty is really starting to believe that they'll survive no matter how long Ash travels for.
After dinner with Annalise, the girl isn't scared anymore. Everyone has forgotten about Misty's wrath earlier. Ash and Misty drop off Annalise and Pikachu at Brock's room and then return to their own for the night. A few showers and light conversations later, and the two find themselves once again laying on the same bed in awkward silence. At least the pillow between them is helping, though this is going to be one long week.
"I'm pretty sure I won the bet." Ash mutters. "So you should let me sleep on the couch for the rest of the week."
"The one we made last night. I had more fun, so you need to do something I say." He reminds her. Although Ash would prefer to save this request for something else, being on the same bed as Misty is unbearable. They still have a few more days of this too!
"I had fun too!" Misty counters.
"But I had more fun! While you were rehearsing, Annalise and I were playing!"
"Rehearsing is fun!"
"Is not!" Ash recalls his brief rehearsals at the Oak wedding.
"Well, you're not sleeping on the couch because you didn't win the bet!" No way will Misty give in and lose to him. Having fun is subjective. Ash may think rehearsals aren't fun, and they're not all fun, though with the right people, anything is fun, even chores.
He furrows his brows because he knows this is a losing argument. Neither one is willing to give in. Ash should've expected this last night. Inwardly groaning, he gets as comfortable as he can on the bed. There's no way he'll be able to sleep on the couch. "Fine. Let's call it a tie, so we both get a favor."
"That's dumb. Favors are won. Ties are losses." Misty knows she can get a favor from him any day. She is the one who always wins their battles. Plus, she has no idea what Ash will ask for, so she's being cautious.
"You never let me get anything! That's not fair!"
"Favors are earned, Ash!" Misty repeats. No way will she baby him. She never has and she never will.
"Fine!" Ash exasperates in defeat and shuts his eyes. Of course he can't win any battle against her. Tracey has taught Ash to be more complacent when speaking to a Sensational Sister. It makes his life so much easier.
The two fall in silence, thinking about their day and who could've had more fun. Ash is a bit annoyed that Misty never gives in, but that's who she is. That's who he fell in love with. Misty always stands her ground. Since neither one is able to sleep right now, Misty, who is still feeling guilty about before, whispers, "Sorry for hitting you earlier."
Ash's back is towards her, but he heard it clearly. Fighting the urge to turn and face her, he asks, "Why'd you do it?" She looked pretty pissed this afternoon.
Ashamed about her anger getting the best of her, Misty mutters, "It's embarrassing."
"I think I deserve an explanation, Misty."
Having had a few hours, Misty isn't as upset. She's also come to terms more with what happened. Therefore, she takes in a deep breath while swallowing her pride. It's always difficult for her to set her ego aside. That's why she conflicts with Gary the most, even more than Ash once argued with Gary. "I heard you were on a date."
They already talked about this at dinner with Annalise. "Yeah. With Annalise."
"You didn't have to call it a date." It could've just been a hangout. That way, Professor Birch wouldn't have been so confused about the situation, and all of this could've been avoided.
Ash shrugs. "I don't know. It just sort of became one. But is that really why you hit me? Because I went on a date with Annalise before I went on one with you?" He recalls telling Misty they should go on a date here in Hoenn.
Mew, he's dense. Misty is already embarrassed enough, and now she has to make it worse by spelling it out for him. Of course, typical dense Ash Ketchum would need a detailed explanation. "I didn't know you were with Annalise...I thought you were with another woman…"
Now, he quickly turns and removes the pillow to look at the back of her head. "Misty." No response, though her face is still a dark red. "Misty." Ash places a hand on her slender shoulder. "Look at me."
"No." One, she's embarrassed. Two, she doesn't want something like last night to happen again. What if they can't stop themselves this time? They only stopped last time because of Ash's clumsiness.
Sighing, Ash removes his hand since he fully understands Misty not wanting to see him. They are alone in a dark room on the same bed, and they share strong feelings for each other. On the inside, his heart is dancing happily knowing Misty was jealous. That she fears losing him, like how he fears losing her. The fact that she was that angry means she loves him a lot. Maybe she'll reconsider breaking up with him when he travels again?
"I would never cheat on you."
"I know!" Misty exclaims. "I wasn't really thinking." After a long day of rehearsals and not seeing him much the past two days compared to seeing him all day every day, messed with her head.
Ash's gaze softens on her. There is no way he'd cheat on her or anyone. He was cheated on, and it hurts. Nevertheless, regardless of his past relationship, Misty is special to him. Gently kissing the back of her head, Ash turns his back towards her again. "I love you, Mist. More than you can imagine."
"I know." Comes the whispered response. His kisses always take her breath away. The two fall in silence while Misty's heart is racing. Ash is pretty content with the day, so he's easily succumbing to his fatigue. When Misty hears his light snoring, she finally turns to face him. Holding down the pillow between them, she gazes at his back slowing rising and falling with his snores. Misty kisses the back of his head, keeping her lips on it longer than he had hers. Since Ash is a heavy sleeper, he won't wake up from this. Thus, Misty feels safe keeping herself on his side of the bed a little longer. "I love you too." Every day, she finds herself loving him more and more. While he doesn't know how much she loves him, she also doesn't know how much she loves him. Nevertheless, she does know that she loves him, and she's always only loved him.
The week flies by pretty fast, and before anyone knows it, the wedding day is here. Ash hasn't had a chance to see Misty at all due to Dawn being on everyone, especially the wedding party. The wedding ceremony itself goes off without a problem. Pikachu and Brock do smirk, noticing Ash pouting when Misty walks down the aisle with Drew's older brother, Zane.
Solidad gives a very touching speech since she's the maid of honor. Surprisingly, Harley is Drew's best man, though Ash did tell Misty it's because Harley and Solidad have always been there for May and Drew. Dawn is satisfied with the fruits of her labor going smoothly. Paul has been trying to get her to stop stressing, but she can't help herself. Fortunately, the wedding is moving along great.
Everyone is enjoying the dancefloor and food along with the rest of the festivities. Everyone but Ash. Even Paul is on the dancefloor, though he was dragged by Dawn, the wedding planner. Where is Ash's wife? Although he's excited to see her after this very long day without her, a part of him is nervous. Why is he so nervous? Well, she plops down next to him just as he's lost in thought with himself.
"Mew." exasperates the redhead while taking off her heels. "I need a break from weddings." Why is everyone getting married around the same time? Misty understands it's because her friends are her age, and they're all at that stage in life, but really? The same year? There was the Oak wedding months ago, now the Hayden wedding, and in a few months, it'll be the Cerise wedding. Who knows when the Shinji wedding will be, though it seems soon. Misty is all wedding-ed out.
Ash nervously chuckles while thinking about his own engagement ring for her. He does understand where Misty is coming from. How come no one got married those three years he was a recluse? Brock was married prior to that. The only wedding anyone knew about was supposed to be Ash's. Were people waiting for him? No. He doesn't believe that. Fate does work in mysterious ways.
Having taken off her heels, Misty faces him in annoyance. Why is he laughing? He's had it easy, especially today. He got to enjoy the wedding while she was working it. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing!" Ash quickly raises his hands in fear. His eyes then dart to the item Misty brought over when she sat down. Nervously biting his bottom lip, he mutters, "You did catch the bouquet."
Misty groans. "That's because Psyduck came out of his pokeball!" That duck always gets her into so much trouble. Psyduck had to come out, and as Misty was chasing him down, she came into the line of fire of May's bouquet. The bouquet happened to land in Misty's arms when she had reached out to grab Psyduck. Of course, the guests laughed since Misty is already married to Ash. Nevertheless, throwing it again would lose the charm, so Misty has the bouquet as a gift.
Leaning towards her, though there is no one by them because everyone is on the dance floor, Ash whispers, "That means you'll get married next, Mist. A real marriage."
Misty slaps his chest and worriedly looks around. What if someone heard him? There are countless media members around due to this being a huge famous wedding. "Shh!" Moreover, Misty is blushing from his words. Can she read into them? Does he see a future with her? A real one? Maybe they'll have a real wedding some day?
Happy that this whole wedding planning is over, meaning he can spend time with Misty again, Ash stands and offers her his hand. He's been somewhat moping in his seat this whole time, waiting for her. Ash always has the most fun with her. He's learned that the hard way these past few days since he had to figure out what to do. Although he has enjoyed his time catching up with old friends, he prefers being with Misty the most. "Wanna dance?"
"Really?" Misty smirks despite her ecstatic heart. "Ash Ketchum is asking me to dance?" He's always so clumsy, and he never asks her to dance. It's always her asking, especially since Ash has been shy this year.
He rolls his eyes. "Guess I'll just find Annalise." He'll dance with the little girl later. Ash wants his first dance at this wedding to be with Misty.
Misty latches her hand in his to drag him towards the dance floor, barefoot and all. "We're at a wedding. We need to have fun." They've both sat enough. Now, it's time to enjoy themselves. Furthermore, Misty always has fun with Ash. Being around him just makes her want to have more fun. He really does bring out the joy in life, despite his once gloomy mood.
Ash's heart picks up speed while following the beauty in front of him. When he saw her in the light red bridesmaid dress, walking down the aisle, his jaw dropped. He fell in love with her all over again, and it took everything in him, and Pikachu's light shocks, to keep Ash from tossing aside Zane to continue walking down the aisle with Misty instead. Looking at her exposed back now, Ash's face blushes darker. He's glad he didn't wear a suit jacket in this summer heat, but he is feeling like he needs to shed more layers.
Once on a clear part of the dancefloor, Misty stops to face him. Her warm smile illuminated under the string lights make Ash just want to kiss her and more. However, they're in public, and this is a fast paced song. "Are you having fun?" Misty shouts, breaking Ash from his thoughts.
"Uh. Yeah." He responds shyly. What is with him? He's not that timid man anymore. Misty really has all sorts of effects on him.
"You don't look like it." She teases.
Letting out a breath, Ash smirks back at her. "If I look like I'm having more fun than you, will you do me a favor?" He reminds her of their bet a few days ago where neither one won.
"I doubt you can have more fun than me."
"I'm pretty sure you were the one who worked nonstop before I married you."
"And I'm pretty sure you were hiding from the world before I married you."
Touche. Nevertheless, Ash was only hiding for three years while Misty must've been living her routine life for decades. "Think about it, Mist." He gives her his boyishly handsome goofy grin that always makes her legs weak. Tearing her gaze away from him, Misty dances deeper into the dance floor.
Eventually, a slow song comes on, which both have been waiting for. They shyly wrap their arms around each other and swing to the beat. Although they've danced plenty of times before at various events, they are still anxious. Now, they're actually a real couple with real feelings for each other. It just makes everything more awkward, but both are very happy.
"I'm surprised you haven't stepped on my foot yet." Misty playfully says to break the tenseness.
"You're barefoot. I'm being careful." Also, can't she just give him credit for being better coordinated now? He has had to dance with her a lot.
Misty giggles, and Ash just wants to capture her lips. He loves hearing her so joyful. "I'm lucky to be married to such a gentleman."
Alright. The compliment does it for him. Ash lowers his forehead to rest on hers, making Misty's smile fall as she curiously gazes into his loving brown eyes. They're both lost in each other's orbs, the people around them are ignored. All they see is the person they love right in front of them. "I'm the lucky one." Ash breathlessly whispers.
No. Misty is sure she's the lucky one. Fishing him out of that river two decades ago. Getting to travel with him. To be his friend. To fall in love with him. And then to meet him again right at the time of their pact. Right at the lowest point in his life. Right at her midlife crisis. Their relationship has proven to be hectic, but in the end, they've always had each other. They always will have one another. Therefore, with her heart full of love only for this man, Misty tiptoes to close the space between them. She loves him, and she's lucky that he loves her too.
Right when they have to pull away for air, the song changes to another slow one. The flushed adults give each other small smiles. Before either one can break the silence between them, a hand claps onto their shoulders. They snap their attention over to a pretty tipsy bride who soon wraps her arms around both of their necks. "Thanks for coming, guys! I was worried when Misty said you'd have to be late because of the League, but I'm so happy you could make it!"
Laughing from her friend's behaviour, Misty helps steady Mat from clumsily falling over. She's normally clumsy, and now she's drunk. It's not a good combination for her. "Of course, we'd make it, May! You're our friend!" One of the few close friends both Ash and Misty share.
May hugs them closer. "Thanks, Misty! You guys are my friends too! That's why I'm so happy to see Ash back to himself!" The bride looks at Misty again. "I always knew you two liked each other. You better have a wedding. I don't care that you've been married for a few years. I wanna be at your wedding! That's why you caught the bouquet!"
Misty sheepishly giggles while Ash becomes increasingly more sweaty. Luckily for them, Drew finally reaches May. May is so quick, especially when she's drunk. Drew is pretty intoxicated himself, though he can still function and is aware of his actions. He grabs May to try and gently pry her hands off of her friends. "Sorry, guys."
"Congrats again, Drew." Ash smiles. The day has been too busy for him to officially congratulate them. "You too, May! I'm happy for you two." Brock has told Ash about the chemistry between May and Drew years ago, but oblivious dense Ash Ketchum never realized it. Ash still doesn't remember anything, though he trusts Brock's words.
"You two are finally married." Misty chimes in as May releases her friends.
The brunette staggers back into Drew's arms where she sweetly grins up at the handsome man. "Drew! We're married!" She's been in disbelief all day that she's a Hayden now. That she's married to this man she loves and who loves her. Their relationship has come a long way, and they can't see themselves spending their lives with anyone else. It's always been them. "I love you!"
Although slightly embarrassed, Drew loves this about May. Her childishness and carefreeness. Her expressions and love for everyone. He loves her. "I love you too, May Hayden." Groudon. He can't get enough of saying her name. She's a Hayden now. They finally share the same last name.
"May Hayden." May whispers with her smile growing.
When May reaches for Drew's cheeks to kiss him, Drew pulls back. Drew is sober enough to know they're in too public of a place to be making out. May pouts, but Drew grabs her to drag her off the dance floor. Smirking over his shoulder, he waves at the couple. "Invite us to the wedding!" Everyone has speculation that Ash and Misty will have a wedding someday. They may have bypassed it due to Ash's reclusiveness, but now that Ash is better, people believe the wedding is coming.
"I shouldn't have caught that bouquet." Misty mutters in annoyance. People just won't stop asking when she and Ash will have their wedding. They're not even really married!
"Didn't you say that you didn't catch it?" Ash reminds her, earning him a slight glare.
"You and Psyduck are exactly the same."
"Hey!" Ash takes offense to being in the same group as the always confused duck.
"You're both oblivious to the world. All you do is eat and cause trouble."
Ash rolls his eyes. "I can at least battle."
"Psyduck has his good battles too."
"C'mon, Mist. You don't really think I'm just like Psyduck." frowns Ash.
Misty can't help but find his pout adorable. She inches closer to him while they continue to dance. "Well, luckily for you, I love Psyduck unconditionally." No matter what stupid thing Psyduck does, Misty can't see herself without him. It's the same with Ash. "Besides…" Her soft slender fingers trace up the nape of his neck towards the back of his head.
Ash shivers slightly from her touch, especially when he feels her running her hands through his hair. "Besides what?" He presses, pulling her closer by the waist.
With her lips mere millimeters from his, Misty quietly replies, "Besides, you're not exactly like Psyduck." She then kisses Ash again because that's something one Ash can give her: his love and his kisses. Mew. Misty can't get enough of this man. On this very happy celebratory day after a stressful week. After a wild year. All she wants to just enjoy herself to the fullest, and that's only when she's with Ash. Moreover, with them being in public, Misty doesn't have to fear them doing more than they're comfortable with.
"Get a room already!" a loud slurred voice rings in their ears, making them once again, separate from their loving kiss. This time, the voice belongs to none other than a very drunk wedding planner. Brock's family had since left due to Lucy feeling ill and Annalise getting tired. Pikachu always goes where Annalise goes.
"Troublesome, stop!" Paul hisses. His hands are on Dawn, steadying her from falling. She's still in her heels, and surprisingly, she hasn't stumbled yet, though she is wobbly.
"They're so in love, Paul. And they've been married for years. We're not even married yet! Why can't you look at me like that?" whines Dawn.
Paul groans. Of course Dawn would down as many alcoholic beverages as she can. Is she really going to get him to proclaim his feelings for her in public? No. She's drunk, so she won't remember this in the morning. He's been trying to drag her to the hotel, but she saw Ash and Misty and made a Beedrill-line towards them. Drunk Dawn is very strong. So much that she pulled Paul around effortlessly.
Looking past his fiance, Paul nods at the couple. "Ignore her. She's drunk."
"I can see that." Ash sheepishly replies.
"I'm not drunk!" Dawn shouts, earning her looks from nearby dancers. "I wanna dance, Paul! Let's slow-dance!"
No way. They've danced enough for his liking. And Paul had to serve as her partner for dance rehearsals. Mainly because he didn't want her dancing with someone else. "You can barely stand." Only Dawn would still be functioning in 3-inch heels.
"But I'm still standing!" she challenges and wobbles over. All three reach out their arms, but Paul readjusts his grip on her to keep her upright.
Alright. He's tired. Tired of weddings and tired of a drunk fiance. Regardless of Dawn's antics, he will always love her. She's the only one. Swinging her over his shoulder, he tells her, "We're going to sleep."
"I don't wanna sleep! I wanna partayyy!"
"Stop being troublesome!" Dawn is struggling in his arms, so it's becoming difficult for Paul to carefully hold her.
Ash releases Misty to help Paul steady Dawn. "You should listen to Paul, Dawn." offers Ash's shy voice.
"Since when did you ever agree with Paul?" Dawn raises a confused eyebrow at her old traveling companion. At least this stops her from moving.
"Sometimes, we agree on things." Ash shrugs. "Uh. But you should go to sleep. We'll see you for breakfast." Maybe the promise of more time together will get her to finally listen to Paul?
Letting out a long defeated sigh, Dawn relaxes on Paul's shoulder. "Fine. But we won't be sleeping right away." She loudly whispers, "I wanna have-"
Paul rushes off. He will not allow her to embarrass them any longer. They're already getting stares due to Dawn being on his shoulders. Moreover, he is eager to finally have Dawn to himself. No more stressing about the wedding. No more anger. Just a purely happy lustful fiance he loves. They both deserve a relaxing night after this week, especially Dawn. Paul may not express his love as much as she'd like, but it's enough for both of them because they both know each other's feelings.
"Seems like everyone's getting drunk but us." Misty mutters to Ash who nods. Ash and Misty each had a few drinks respectively, though that was some time ago. For the most part, they've been sober. Lots of water later, and they're completely fine now while dancing.
Furthermore, they're afraid to get too tipsy since they have to share a bed tonight. It's already hard enough staying away from each other sober. Add in alcohol, and mistakes can be made. "It's kinda fun."
"What is?" Misty asks.
Ash chuckles. "Watching our friends get drunk and do and say silly things."
Misty follows Ash's gaze to see May and Zane had convinced Drew to down as much wine as he can. Whatever soberness Drew had earlier will surely be gone. It's okay because today is his wedding. He needs to celebrate it. "When did we get so old?" Misty laughs.
"I know, right? One moment, we were just kids traveling Kanto." recalls Ash as nostalgia hits him. Every time he thinks about his old travels, which is often, he gets anxious. Like he can't wait to leave and be out there. A feeling he hasn't had in years. "And now Brock is married and expecting a second child."
"And May's married." pipes in the redhead.
"And Dawn is engaged. To Paul too!" Like many others, Ash can't grasp his mind around that relationship.
"Oh my Mew. And freaking Gary Oak is married with a kid too!" Who would've thought Gary Oak could be a loving family man?
"And Goh and Chloe." Ash thinks about his last traveling group. That was only a couple of years ago too.
"And us." Misty teases despite them both knowing this marriage is fake.
Ash blushes. "Well, everyone's advanced in their professional lives too. They're Champions, Top Coordinators, Professors. Breeders." He smiles down at her. "And you're now an Elite Four Member! I'm still an aspiring Pokemon Master."
Pausing, Misty curiously gazes into Ash's shy brown eyes. The past couple of months, she's brought up him being an aspiring Pokemon Master, but he's never brought it up himself. The fact that he's saying this now warms her heart because he's finally himself again. That was just the missing piece to Ash Ketchum. Although, he will need to express it more to be annoying, but he's getting there. He's dreaming again, and it sounds like he'll be traveling once more. Well, he has to; Misty will make sure of it. Ash Ketchum is back. The Ash Ketchum she's missed and initially fell in love with.
Forgetting the song, Misty grabs Ash's wrist tightly. Many guests have already turned in for the night, and most of the rest are piss drunk. Drew and May will soon be leaving too, whether they make it out on their own or need to be carried out. Regardless, no one will notice Ash and Misty leaving early sober. Misty briskly passes their table where the bouquet and her heels are.
Ash thought she wanted to sit down, so he eyes the table they're getting further away from. "Where are we going?"
No response, causing Ash to get nervous. Misty only ignores him when she's mad at him. What did he do? All he said was that everyone is advancing in life. Is she mad that he subliminally hinted at traveling? But she knew he'd be traveling again. Are they going to a private place to talk about this? C'mon. Not right now. Not on a happy day. Every time they talk about Ash traveling, they get into a huge argument, and Ash does not want that right now!
They enter the hotel; once in the elevator, everything is still enough for Ash to try again. "Misty, I-"
"Not here!" She hisses. She hasn't looked at him since the dancefloor, increasing Ash's nervousness.
Ash doesn't want to argue. "Where are we going?"
However, when the elevator stops, Ash knows exactly where they're going. It's their room. Well, whatever Misty wants to discuss is inevitable. Maybe he can try to talk around it? Or sneak out? Why Misty wants to ruin a beautiful day like today, Ash has no idea. Hopefully, he can get her to go back down and enjoy the wedding. Also, avoid this impending conversation that can wait until the end of summer.
Inside the room, Ash is practically thrown in first before Misty shuts the door and locks it. Rubbing his sore wrist from her tight grip, Ash once again asks, "What are you doing?" He's annoyed that she won't tell him anything.
The moment Misty raises her head slightly to meet his eyes, Ash's breath hitches. He's seen these eyes on her a few times before, though they seem more intense now. Misty takes a couple of steps closer to him until she's directly in front of him. Both of their hearts are racing, neither one wanting to move anymore. "Ash."
Phew. She broke the silence first. "Yeah?" Comes the cautious response. Their hands are at their sides, too scared to touch the other. To Ash's relief, Misty's lips curve up into a small happy smile. The happiest Ash is sure he's ever seen despite its size. Her eyes gloss over as a few tears escape, which now makes Ash cup her cheeks worriedly. Forget his nerves. "What's wrong, Misty?" Why is she crying? He hates seeing tears on her.
Sniffling, Misty attempts to wipe at her tears, even with Ash's hands on her face. "I'm just so happy." She croaks out. Mew. She probably looks really ugly right now, but she can't help herself. These tears won't stop. "You're finally okay, Ash. You're you again!"
And Ash freezes. She's crying for him. She's crying tears of joy because of him? He really doesn't deserve her. Kissing her endless flow of tears by alternating between her cheeks, Ash thinks over her words. She's almost right. Although Misty may think he's 100% back, Ash knows he's not. He's still missing something. Something he doubts will ever be filled, but he's almost back. This is the most normal he's felt in years, and he knows, with more time, especially with Misty, he'll return to 100%.
"Ash." Misty says with a voice of a giggle and a sob. His kisses are relentless. He won't stop until her tears do because he doesn't like seeing her cry. "Ash." Misty tries to push his chest, but Ash is strong, which she knows all too well now. He's not that timid man she could easily push around last year. He's a confident man who holds his head up high again. He's Ash Ketchum again. He's her Ash Ketchum again.
Managing to move her face in his hands, she gets his lips to hit hers when he comes down to attempt to kiss her cheeks again. This time, Misty slips her tongue into his mouth, causing Ash to loosen his grip in surprise. While he would have ended the kiss to resume dealing with her tears, he's melting in the passion of her lips and tongue. This allows Misty to push Ash to the bed where he topples backwards onto it, separating their faces.
With the kiss gone, Ash has some reason return to his head right when Misty climbs onto his lap. Ash quickly shoots his hands to her waist, stopping her from moving closer. "Misty." He sternly speaks.
Her nervous blue orbs meet his worried brown ones. "Uh…" Misty's face flushes darkly. Ash may be dense, but he seems to know exactly where she's going with this. "Sorry. I'm just-" Everything sounds like an excuse. What should she say? That him being himself again excites her? That the wedding is making her feel extra lovey dovey? That her two glasses of champagne from hours ago is making her do this?
In embarrassment, Misty starts to get off of Ash, but he tightens his hold on her waist, keeping her on top of his lap. Sitting up, Ash wraps his arms around her. They're mere inches in front of each other now. Eye locked, heart racing, faces hotter than either can imagine. Ash gives her a small anxious smile. "I don't want you to feel rushed."
"I don't want you to feel rushed!" counters the woman. Ash is the one who was depressed for years over a break up.
Ash shakes his head slightly, still maintaining eye contact. "I never feel rushed with you." It's true.
While he's progressed the most with Misty in under a year, Ash never felt rushed. Misty never tried to change him. In her own way, her support got him to want to change. It got him to be this man he is today. The man he once was. No. A better man than he was before. Ash has wanted all of this woman for a long time now. That's what makes it so difficult sharing a room with her, more so, a bed.
Bringing a hand up to tuck a strand of hair behind Misty's ear, Ash softly tells her, "You said I'm your first boyfriend, right? So that means...uh…" This is a lot harder saying.
Misty shyly nods. After separating from Ash and Brock 20 years ago, she was only focused on being the best gym leader possible. Plus, her crush on Ash kept her from getting a boyfriend. Seeing him in Alola at 18 reignited her love for him, and she used the pact as an excuse to keep waiting for him. By the time she realized he had forgotten about her again, which was when he started dating Serena, Misty was too engrossed in her routine life to date. She's had her fair share of admirers and people who confess, but no one could ever compare to the man who has her heart.
Life was just easier focusing on work rather than risking another heartbreak over someone. And Misty always knew she couldn't fall in love with anyone else. Furthermore, once news about her Cape affairs came up, less people confessed to her out of respect for her relationship. All confessions stopped the moment Ash announced their marriage, though there was that one love letter she got in the mail in the first month of her marriage that had Ash asking lots of questions. Ash had assumed it was her Cape guy, but of course, Ash knows the truth now.
Therefore, decades flew by without Misty showing any interests in any males besides for Ash Ketchum. And like Ash speculates, he is her first. Her first love, first kiss, first boyfriend...and more. "Ash." Misty responds with a small smile. "I love you so much, Ash." Always him. "I uh want to…" Clearly, Ash has done this plenty of times before since he was engaged at one point. However, Misty knows a few things. She did grow up with three very sexually active sisters who blabbered nonstop.
Nodding, Ash gently rubs his thumb along Misty's soft cheek. "I love you too, Mist." Now would be a perfect time to pop the question, but it's May's day. Ash doesn't want to be that person stealing May's thunder. Besides, Ash is too preoccupied with the request of the beauty in front of him. The moment Misty's eager lips kiss Ash's mouth, he allows his lust to take over. A lust he knows she shares too because he saw it in her eyes when she closed the door earlier.
They've been suppressing their lust for each other out of respect and nervousness, but tonight is the night. Misty trusts that their love can survive anything, even if Ash ends up traveling for much longer than expected. Ash trusts that Misty will make the right choice for them. There's no way she'll just end this relationship when she's had to go decades without him. He won't let her end it either. His love for her burns just as strongly. They're both going to fight for this relationship that they need. A relationship that they cherish.
This past year has taught them a lot. So much that they know their biggest lesson is their love and commitment to each other. In this year of hiding a huge lie to the world, of growing together, and of healing and reliance. As they two are furiously undressing each other between hot kisses, they feel closer than ever. Soon, the night gets later, but neither one is showing any sign of fatigue. They love each other, and, to their hearts' content, they are able to finally fully show one another.