Okay. I'm back, but I recently started watching a 10 series Netflix show. Thus, I spend some time doing that rather than typing lol. Anyway, enjoy!
"We should've flown." mutters the man. Misty's driving makes him get carsick after awhile, so he's choosing to stay awake until the nauseousness is gone.
"Like you can carry a bunch of stuff on Dragonite." the redhead rolls her eyes.
"I'd get my other flying types to help."
"You're not cruel enough to make your Pokemon fly with your stuff across the region."
Ash frowns because Misty is correct. Taking her car is the better option despite it making the trip twice as long. "Let's be in and out. I'm not sure I can lie to my mom's face for long."
"It is a lot of driving, and I want to get back before it's too dark." Misty notes. Pikachu helped keep the reporters at bay while Ash and Misty left her place. The mouse is currently napping in the backseat.
Although annoyed by his tone, Misty prefers talking to Ash. The long drives are boring. There's only so much she can think about, but with Ash and Pikachu here, Misty feels like the trip isn't too bad. Of course, once they reach their destination, they'll be very stressed out. "We need to have a story. Your mom is gonna ask."
Ash sighs. "We'll keep the same story we told Brock."
"Which is?" They told Brock a lot of lies yesterday, and he bested them. Why would Ash want to use the same lie?
Blushing slightly, the man mumbles, "I'm the mystery Cape guy. Uh. I sneak out at night to see you, which is why I sleep all day."
"She's gonna ask why we kept our relationship a secret from her." Misty knows Delia will understand them keeping their marriage a secret from the media. However, the woman will be really hurt knowing she had to find out through the news.
Frowning, Ash tells her, "Let me do that. I don't want you hurting her feelings."
Misty quickly glances at him in confusion. "What are you gonna say?"
"She goes to events for Gary sometimes, so I didn't want her accidentally telling someone about us."
"She's gonna be so hurt." Misty feels herself getting sweaty as they near Pallet Town. "She's gonna ask how this all started."
Ash lets out a breath. So many questions, but they need to talk about this. He hasn't talked this much in years. These past few days with Misty have taken a toll on him, however, he's pulling through because he got her into this mess. Ash Ketchum doesn't want to be selfish. "When did you start meeting the Cape guy?"
The woman purses her lips. She's been so curious about Ash that she's forgotten that she has her own secrets. "I first got caught 2 years ago." That was when the media had taken their first photo of her and her companion.
"I came home three summers ago. Was it after then?"
She nods. "It was the spring after then."
Ash furrows his brows. He's curious about Misty's mystery man. What does she mean she got caught 2 years ago? Has she been meeting this man long before then? For how long? Nevertheless, he knows that if he pries, she will pry into his life. And he's not ready for that. He will never be. "Let's say we got married this past summer."
He shrugs. "My mom was gone for a week for some conference. I'll say it was during that time."
The woman groans. "She's gonna ask for the exact date, Ash. We should know our wedding date."
"I don't remember the days she was gone though. It was sometime in July."
"I feel better admitting to the media than lying to your mom now." the redhead defeatedly sighs.
Feeling slightly guilty, Ash glances at her. Misty looks more frustrated than him, but she has every right to be. Her whole life is being shifted while he only needs to deal with his mother. Ash and Misty had explained the fake marriage to their Pokemon who obviously know the marriage is a lie. "Just let me do the lying. You two haven't talked in awhile."
"It's been almost a decade." She doesn't want Ash undermining her absence from the Ketchum house.
The man is surprised that it's been that long. He figured it was a few years, but has it been nearly a decade? "Why?"
"Why'd you stop seeing her?" Ash recalls all the times his mother would tell him about his old friends visiting. This would mainly be Tracey, Brock, and Misty, though Misty visited the most. She always stayed the longest too.
Ash appreciated his old friend for keeping his mother company while he was away. One day, however, Ash quit hearing about Misty from his mother. He figured it was because he was in a relationship, and his mother didn't want to bring up another woman getting involved with their family. Eventually, his mother had mentioned that she sees Brock from time to time but not Misty. Once Brock got married, Delia didn't see either of Ash's first traveling partners again.
Gripping the steering wheel tighter, Misty takes in a deep breath. She can feel Ash's expectant eyes on her. "You were in a relationship. I'm not gonna overstep my boundaries."
"What are you talking about?" The man is confused.
Of course he wouldn't understand. "Ash, when you're in a relationship, your intention is to marry them."
Ash feels his chest ache at this. "I did wanna get married." Things just happened that were out of his control when he tried so hard to regain control of the situation.
She won't pry despite how tempting it seems right now. Instead, Misty continues, "It's weird if another woman hangs out with your mom when your girlfriend doesn't. I stepped back out of respect for your relationship."
"It would've been fine." Ash feels bad that his mother lost someone because of his relationship. A relationship that failed in the end.
"No way. No woman would be fine with that." It's like a sneak attack, and Misty isn't that malicious.
"She's not like that." Misty has no idea who she's talking about. Ash's ex is kind. She sees the best in everyone.
"All women are like this, Ash. They can come off as fine, but it's really not okay." Misty knowingly remarks. "Take my word for it."
"You never even met her." Ash gazes out his window painfully. "Can we change the topic?" He hates talking about his ex. It just hurts too much.
"Whatever." Mumbles the annoyed redhead. After a couple minutes of them cooling down, Misty says, "Your mom is gonna ask where we got married and how. There are no court documents too, so the media will unveil that soon."
"How about we say we didn't legally get married?" suggests the man, relieved that the topic has shifted. "Something about how we made that commitment to each other without documents."
Nodding, Misty replies, "Okay. So back in July two years ago, we say we married each other. Not an engagement. We skipped to marriage because we're ready."
"And we haven't gone to the court yet because that'll give us too much unwanted attention."
Misty smirks at him. "So you do have a brain up there."
"I got you into this mess. I should help." Ash awkwardly shifts in his seat. "July 22nd."
She raises a confused eyebrow at him. "Huh?"
Shutting his eyes, Ash takes in a deep breath. "She was gone on the 22nd for sure that year."
Frowning slightly, Misty asks, "How sure are you?" If the dates don't match up, Delia will know they're lying.
"You weren't sure earlier." Misty points out. "We can't let your mom cat-"
"It's my anniversary." Ash cuts her off painfully. "My mom didn't want to leave me, but I told her to go. It's the only July 22nd she's been gone since I came back…" He remembers because it was his loneliest day.
It doesn't take much for Misty to know Ash is talking about his anniversary with Serena. "But you said she's been at your other July 22nds. She's gonna assume we'd want to spend our anniversaries together."
"She always leaves me alone those days." Delia lets him sleep as she caters to him that week in July. She doesn't bother him after 6 PM, so she wouldn't know if he snuck out or not.
After a few silent minutes, Misty tells him, "I don't know how I feel sharing the same anniversary as your ex."
"It's the only day I'm sure of. We can take the risk."
Again, Misty feels like she's second to that woman. Despite traveling with Ash officially first, Misty has always been second to Serena. Serena met Ash first years ago. They traveled through the woods back then, which is what Brock told Misty. Serena kissed Ash. She confessed first. She got to date him first. She even was engaged to him. Furrowing her brows angrily, Misty thinks about how Serena is the first to break Ash's heart. Serena had Ash first, yet she's left him broken like this.
"Fine. It's a fake anniversary anyways." And a fake marriage. While Misty knows this is how she's supposed to look at their relationship, she feels her chest ache. These damn childhood feelings are resurfacing for a man who isn't the same Ash she fell in love with.
Sensing the upset tone, Ash keeps quiet. His stomach is feeling a bit better, and after mentioning his ex, Ash prefers sleeping his pain away. Soon, he falls asleep thinking about the details of his marriage. Hopefully, it'll be enough to convince his mother.
When they arrive at Delia's house, Misty shakes Ash awake. She sees Delia peek through the front window, which means the couple doesn't have much time to compose themselves. "Ash!"
Pikachu had woken up an hour ago to keep Misty company. Thus, Misty gives the mouse a helpless look. "Help me, Pikachu!"
Seeing Delia leave the front door, Pikachu quickly shocks Ash, jolting him awake. "What! Stop doing that!"
"Your mom is on her way!" Misty hisses, and Ash blinks in confusion.
As soon as Misty's words register, Delia swings Misty's passenger side door open. "Both of you. Inside. Now." The woman has no patience for them right now.
Wincing, Misty avoids eye contact as she turns off her car and exits the vehicle. Ash too shies away from his mother. "Uh. Hey, mom."
"Inside." Delia repeats. Her intense eyes cause the two to enter the house where Ash freezes, and Misty glares. There, on the couch, is none other than a very amused Gary Oak.
"What are you doing here?" Misty seethes.
Smirking, Gary innocently replies, "I heard you two were coming over, so I wanted to give my congratulations." Misty shoots him a dark glare as Ash looks away awkwardly.
Eventually, everyone is seated, and Misty wants nothing more than to wipe that smug look off of Gary's face. Delia studies the two new arrivals while Pikachu happily sits on her lap. "Is it true?"
"Is what true?" Ash weakly asks. He's trying to play dumb. However, he never expected Gary to be here too. Ash isn't ready to lie to two people right now.
"The marriage, duh." Gary rolls his eyes. "For a married couple, you two don't seem to be in love." Ash and Misty are very stiff. They have a gap between them on the couch.
"Habit." Misty lies. "We don't do PDA because we were keeping our relationship a secret."
"But in private?" the professor pushes the disgusting thought. His smirk grows when Misty's face heats up.
Fortunately for Ash and Misty, Delia takes over. "Is it true?" She repeats. By now, Ash has figured out somewhat of a voice. He nods, though his gaze is still on the ground. Delia sighs. "When?"
"July 22nd a few years ago." Misty answers as she ignores Gary's face. "Was when we started seeing each other. We got married this summer." Seeing Delia frown, Misty feels guilty. Ash is supposed to do all the lying, but it's her. For some reason, he's closing up. Were his words false during the car ride?
Delia's attention is on her quiet son. "Why the 22nd, Ash?" She really hopes Ash isn't using Misty as a replacement. No one should be replaced or be a replacement.
"It just happened."
"Look me in the eyes, young man." Delia sternly snaps. She's tired of his demeanor. Usually, she'd allow him to be like this, but now is not the time.
Ash still won't lift his head. Thus, Misty whispers, "Ash!"
The man shuts his eyes, hoping to escape from this. It's all his fault, and he put them in this situation. "You were gone, I was lonely. It happened."
Delia knows which July 22nd he's talking about, so she chooses not to dig too deeply. She doesn't want to send the fragile man over the edge. Deciding to give Ash a break, Delia turns her attention to Misty. "Are you aware of July 22nd?"
Misty nods. "Yes, Mrs. Ketchum. I want to make July 22nd a happy day for Ash." Mew, lying is so hard. Can Delia read her? Misty hopes Gary can't. That sly professor will get it once this interrogation is over.
"So like how come this is the first time we're hearing about this?" inquires Gary.
Once again, Misty is left to fend for them when it was Ash's idea! "The media is annoying. You know that. Ash and I don't need them butting into our lives."
"But according to you, you have been seeing each other for two years now. How'd you keep it hidden?" Gary curiously wonders.
"I snuck out at night. It's why I'm always tired." the raven haired man weakly mutters. "We made it work."
Delia sighs. "I don't get why you couldn't tell me at least." It pains her knowing her son was keeping such a big secret from her. She can't believe it.
For the first time today, Ash lifts his head to meet his mother's hurt eyes. "Mom."
"You know I'd be happy, Ash. Why couldn't you tell me?" Delia weeps into her handkerchief.
Ash hates seeing his mother cry. However, he expected this. Taking in a deep breath, he answers her, "Would you be happy, mom?"
"Of course!" Delia motions to Misty. "You know I've always seen Misty as a daughter!" Misty feels her heart ache from this comment. She views Delia as a mother too, which makes lying to the older woman so much harder.
Taking a deep breath, Ash nervously rubs his knee. "Would you be happy with someone like me being with Misty?" Delia looks at him in confusion. "All I do is hide in my room. I'm not someone who can stand beside a strong gym leader like Misty." Misty blushes from the compliment.
"Ash…" Delia's gaze softens.
Misty's shocked attention is on the man beside her. "Do you really think that?"
He nods, though he's still looking at his mother. "I wanted to keep us private until I was ready. Until I'm strong enough to be married to her." To Misty's surprise, Ash clumsily grabs her hand in his, which intensifies her blush.
Although Delia is skeptical of the two, she wants to believe them. There was a time Delia thought Ash and Misty would get married. Granted, she expected to be there, but she can take this. Nevertheless, Delia isn't sure about their shiftiness. Should she believe them like she wants to? Ash has changed a lot these past few days Delia has seen him with Misty. Maybe it is true?
When no one speaks for some time, Ash uncomfortably mumbles, "We're gonna grab some of my stuff, mom. We figured I should just move to the gym now."
Delia is worried about letting him go in his current state, but seeing how Misty can take care of him reassures her that Ash will be okay. The two are married, and they've been together for two years now. "Visit often." She looks at Misty. "That means you too, Misty."
Hearing her name, Misty is broken out of her trance. She quickly nods at Delia. "Yes. We'll visit! You should come to Cerulean City too!" No! Misty messed up. Seeing Delia more often may result in them slipping up. Mew! Misty was too flustered to think.
After a few more questions, which the two answer pretty well, Delia dismisses them to Ash's room. Ash is embarrassed to show Misty his messy room, so he tells her to wait in the hallway while he tidies up with Pikachu. And so that Ash can open a window to air out his room. While this is happening, Misty is confronted by a very annoying smirk.
"Hey, Red. Didn't think you'd tie the knot like this."
Before he realizes it, he's hit on the head by her mallet. "You're annoying! If you didn't trick me into going to that damn dinner!"
"Then you guys could keep lying to us?" inquires Gary as he rubs his head. "Or are you lying right now?" Unlike Mrs. Ketchum, who has an emotionally positive opinion of Ash and Misty, Gary is more of a realist. He is a professor.
Misty won't give them away, so she continues glaring at Gary. "Don't you have a lab to run?" The start of the tournament is tomorrow."
"This is more fun." He winks.
"This is why you and Leaf are best friends." The Viridian City gym leader enjoys teasing. Misty knew Leaf would hit it off with Gary right away, and Misty was right. The three sometimes hang out. Occasionally, Brock and Forest would join. Their gyms are close to each other, though Misty's is somewhat out of the way.
"Maybe we're already married too." Gary chuckles in amusement.
"Like she'd marry you." Gary Oak is a notorious playboy despite him lacking any women in years.
"Like you'd marry him?" Gary nods in the direction of the door Misty is standing in front of. "No offense, Ashy Boy is my friend, but c'mon, Red. You can't be trying to save him. I know you're too busy for that."
She narrows her eyes at him. "It's called love, Gary. Something you wouldn't understand."
Gary sighs because he knows she's somewhat correct. He just doesn't get how Ash and Misty reconnected. Like it doesn't make sense. Also, why would Misty take on Ash? This isn't the same Ash she was crushing on years ago. People are just around him for pity at this point. "So you still like him."
She nods. "Yes."
Surprisingly, Gary gives Misty a small smile. "I'm happy it's you, Misty. He seems a lot better already." Gary had wanted Ash and Misty to meet at the League dinner. He was hoping Misty could do something or talk to Ash. Gary never expected them to be secretly married already. If he hadn't set the two up, no one would've found out about this marriage.
Usually, kind words from Gary Oak are suspicious, however Misty has been around him enough to know when he's being genuine. She gratefully smiles back at him. "Me too, Gary."
Gary soon leaves, and Misty leans on the door to let out a relieved breath. Now, they just need to keep lying to Delia. Unfortunately for Misty, the door swings open, causing her to fall backwards. As she prepares for the hard impact of the ground, she hits something else hard instead. There's a stumble as the person stops himself from falling. He reaches his hands to Misty's shoulders to grab her.
"Are you okay?"
With a dark blush on her cheeks, Misty weakly nods. "Are you done?" She stands to face him where she sees a messy room. It smells, but she can manage.
Ash sheepishly rubs the back of his head. "I'm still working on it." There's a suitcase Pikachu is currently packing.
"Want some help?" Would Ash be okay with Misty digging through his stuff?
He motions to his dresser that he knows contains clean clothes. "Just pack clothes." That's all he needs anyway. The badges, trophies, and ribbons have long since been in a box. He took them to Kalos, but when he moved back, he kept them packed up. As Misty starts grabbing clothes, Ash cleans his room up a bit. He's embarrassed she sees him like this, though he really wanted to talk to her. "Is it true?"
"Huh?" Misty curiously looks at him, though his attention is still on the other side of the room.
"I heard you talking to Gary."
Misty's face heats up, so she turns herself back to his clothes. "Um. Was it true what you said downstairs to your mom? About you wanting to be strong enough?"
Ash doesn't respond. Instead, he's focused on his tasks. Is it true? He's not sure. It just felt like the right thing to say at the time. He wants to be stronger, but he doesn't think he can. Does he want to be stronger for Misty? Probably not. It's for himself mainly. However, he's curious about her telling Gary she's glad it's her married to Ash.
The silence causes the two to work efficiently. When Misty digs through Ash's sock drawer, her hand hits something hard. Digging through the unmatched socks to see what he could have lost in the drawer, Misty pulls out a small black velvet box. She curiously opens the box, and her breath hitches.
"I should probably get rid of that now." the man sadly chuckles. He forgot the ring was in his sock drawer. He rarely wears socks because he doesn't leave the house. Hearing a slight thunk, Ash turned his attention to her as she pulled out the box. Pikachu worriedly watches his trainer.
Misty closes the box again to hide away in the drawer. "Do it when you're ready." Their marriage is a lie. There's no reason for him to force himself away from something important over their lie. She is slightly upset hearing him not object. It shows that ring still means a lot to him. It shows that relationship still means a lot to him. It shows Serena still means a lot to him.
Once Ash's suitcase is packed with a few weeks of clothes, Misty and Pikachu help him tidy up his room. Ash is embarrassed when Misty grabs trash and dirty clothes, but she doesn't seem to be disgusted with him. He's glad she isn't saying much or questioning where all his accomplishments are. By the time they finish cleaning the room, Delia has prepared them a late lunch. Ash's room also smells better and one can see the floor now.
During dinner, Delia continues to question the young adults, though she does spend most of the time gushing over them. She wants them to have a large wedding ceremony some day for everyone to attend. Ash and Misty just patiently eat their meal while giving Delia fake smiles. Because of his depression, Ash doesn't eat too much. This has been worrying Misty since the Ash she knows has a large appetite. Ash excuses himself to his room for anything last minute, but Misty knows he just wants to escape this uncomfortable conversation with Delia. The worried Pikachu follows, leaving Misty alone with Delia. So much for letting Ash do all the lying.
Misty curiously looks up at Delia. The young woman hopes Delia doesn't notice Misty's face pale in worry. "Yes, Delia?"
Setting down her utensils, Delia sternly looks into Misty's eyes, making Misty even more nervous. "You've seen my Ash. He's not who he was."
Nodding, Misty replies, "I know, Delia."
"All I want to do is protect him from the pain." Delia sighs. "Can I trust that responsibility to you now?"
With Ash moving to Misty's gym, that means Delia won't be his full time caretaker anymore. That responsibility falls on Misty, who Delia knows is already extremely busy. It's one thing to care for Ash every now and then when they secretly meet, but now Misty will always be taking care of Ash. He has his episodes on his worst days. Delia doubts Misty ever saw that side of Ash because during those days, he shelters in his room and doesn't leave. It's like he's a dead body.
Can Delia trust Misty to care for the depressed man? Misty worriedly glances down at her hands. It's one thing to lie about their relationship. It's another thing to be the full time caregiver of someone. Even though the marriage with Ash didn't seem too tolling, Misty neglected to remember that he's depressed. What will she do on his lowest days? Would she have time for him? Would she even notice?
"I might call you for help." Misty finally speaks. "I don't know what he's going through, and I won't pretend I do." The redhead meets Delia's gaze again to give her a small smile. "But like you, I want to protect him from the pain. Ash doesn't deserve to be hurting like this. I'll try my best."
Delia isn't sure she's satisfied with that answer. She isn't sure she's ready to let someone else care for Ash. However, Misty seems genuine, and Delia likes Misty. Gary and Delia haven't been able to help Ash. Maybe Misty can? She's always had a different approach to Ash than anyone, and while Ash always was annoyed with it, he was receptive to Misty.
The brunette reaches her hand out across the table to Misty's. With a grateful smile, Delia says, "I'm happy it's you, Misty."
Misty's face heats up. Why is Delia saying the same thing as Gary? It just makes Misty feel even more guilty about this lie. Delia will be devastated when the divorce occurs next year. Maybe, Misty will help Ash return to himself? That way, she can return him to Delia without Delia having to take on the burden of caring for him again. Yes. Misty will spend this year trying to help her old friend be happier. It's for Delia's sake as well as Misty's guilt. "Me too, Delia."
After lunch, Ash and Misty had stopped by the lab where Ash's Pokemon were very happy to see him. They haven't seen him in years. He was overwhelmed by them all, though Misty could tell Ash was also happy to see them. While Ash wasn't as happy and energetic as he used to be, he did greet and hug all of his Pokemon. He had dropped off Dragonite and picked up Sceptile, Totodile, and Noibat.
Now that they're on the road again, Ash is taking a nap. Misty noticed that he likes sleeping...like all the time. Sighing, she looks at Pikachu in the mirror. "Does he do anything else?"
"Pi…" Pikachu shakes his head in disappointment.
"Well, we're changing that starting tomorrow." With the tournament beginning tomorrow, Misty is going to need Ash's help at the gym. "What can we do, Pikachu?"
The mouse shrugs. "Pikapi pikachu pika pichu pikachupi pika."
"Guess I'll just have to give it a shot then."
Mew. A week ago, Misty was living her routine life of getting the gym ready. Now she's married to her childhood crush who is depressed, and she has to help him return to his once normal self. Well, she doesn't have to, but she feels obligated to Delia. Moreover, Misty is too busy to have Ash mope around all the time. He will need to help at the gym because he is the one who got Misty into this mess. He added this burden of a marriage and himself onto her. Thus, he needs to help make her life easier.
About halfway through the drive, Ash wakes up slightly nauseous. He knew it was going to happen sooner or later. "Can you be more gentle on the turns?"
"Can you stop sleeping for once?" fires back the redhead. Pikachu had fallen asleep half an hour ago, leaving Msity alone to her quiet radio and thoughts. The woman is more exhausted than Ash. She's been driving all day. She's been doing most of the talking and lying, especially to Delia who she hasn't seen in years. Therefore, Misty should be sleeping instead of Ash, but Ash doesn't have a license. Plus, Misty doubts she'd let him drive if he did. Not in this state.
"It's what I'm good at."
"You're not gonna be napping anymore once we get back." She reminds him. "I'm gonna need your help at the gym."
"That's why I grabbed some of my Pokemon." They can help Misty while Ash hides away.
Giving him a quick sharp glare, Misty exclaims, "No fucking way! That was not part of our deal!"
"I can't help you without naps." Ash winces from her tone.
"Yes you can. Your mom may have let you sleep all day, but that's not happening with me! You made my busy life even worse! So you need to help make it not so busy." She clenches her steering wheel tightly. "I did most of the lying today after you said you'd do it. Don't keep fucking lying to me, Ash. Stop with the broken words."
Ash knows she's correct, so he just quietly sits in his seat with his head leaning against the window. It's not like he wanted to leave Msity to fend to his mother and Gary, but Ash couldn't speak once he was there. He wasn't ready to see Gary there. It ruined everything Ash prepared for. So much that he just closed up. Ash really wished he didn't just abandon Misty like that...again…
"So what can I expect tomorrow?" Misty knows she'll be making sure he wakes up at 9. She can have Politoed on Ash's ass, but that means she'll be without one of her strongest Pokemon. Misty doesn't trust Ash's Pokemon to keep him in check. Even Pikachu seems to have given up and allows Ash to do whatever he wants.
"I'll help. Just for tomorrow." comes the grumbles voice.
"No. Every day we're married. Marriage is a partnership."
Sighing, Ash shuts his eyes, hoping to escape this conversation. He doesn't want to make any more false promises to Misty. Will he even wake up tomorrow? Will he even stay awake? He's not sure. Every day, Ash just goes through the motions of the day. He doesn't know what he'll be doing if it's not napping. Or if he can do anything besides nap. "I don't know."
A loud screech as Ash is grateful for his seatbelt indicates that Misty has abruptly pulled over to the side of the highway. Angrily putting the car in park, Misty gets out. Pikachu is now awake because he had flown out of his seat. By the time he registers what has happened, Misty is at her passenger side with the door swung open.
She's glaring directly down at Ash. "Look, Ash, if you're not gonna help me, we can get divorced right now. I can handle the media, but I will not deal with someone who wants the world to be sorry for him." Roughly grabbing his shirt, Misty seethes, "I'm not gonna pity you. I'm not gonna let you do whatever you want. And I damn well won't be married to a bum. All I'm asking of you is to man the fucking reception desk. Clean up a bit. Feed the Pokemon. Simple shit!"
"Pikachupi!" Pikachu warily calls out to Misty who ignores him.
"So you can either help me, or you can leave me. I'm not dealing with this shit I never wanted to begin with!"
Normally, Ash would argue back at Misty, but this isn't the normal Ash. It's a shy timid Ash, so he hides from her tone. He doesn't like any of Misty's options, but she's right. He imposed this troubling marriage onto her. Although Ash is very nervous about what he's capable of, he knows one thing for sure. He needs to stop being selfish. It's how he lost her. Weakly nodding, Ash mutters, "Sorry."
Satisfied with the answer, Misty slams the door shut before entering the driver side again. She is already expecting the media to have a picture of their lovers quarrel, though what couple doesn't argue. Even this fake couple argues. When Misty is back on the road and calmed down, she quietly says, "Good."
After a few minutes, Misty assumes Ash has gone back to sleep. That is, until he speaks, "Can I get 3 days to myself every week?" It'll be tolling having to constantly help Misty.
"What for?" He better not say to nap.
Ash shrugs. "Sleep. It's a lot of energy being awake."
"Want me to pull over and kick you out again?" He shakes his head in fear. "Then stop asking stupid questions. As long as we're married, which I may remind you is your fault, then we need to act like a married couple. You're helping me at the gym every day." Even on weekends. Misty never gets a break from the gym. There's always something to do.
Eventually, the man nods in defeat. "Fine, but can I get at least one day." It'll be hard for him to transition from sleeping every day to not napping at all.
Misty groans loudly. "Fine. You can sleep on Saturdays, but I'll need you on Sundays."
"Mhmm." Her lips are pursed in a thin line. Being in a fake marriage is hard. Being in a fake marriage with a severely depressed individual is even more difficult. It's not like they have any love trying to help them. No. It's just an obligation at this point to retain their fake relationship.
"Are you mad?"
"That's a dumbass question."
Ash weakly smiles. "Sorry. I know I'm difficult." He's gone through these frustrations with his mother and Gary already. He'll just need to go through them with Misty, and then he'll be able to nap all day again.
Misty takes in a deep breath to calm herself down. "More than difficult."
"What do you want, Ash?"
"What do you mean?" He raises a confused eyebrow at her.
"Life. What do you want in life?" She repeats. "You don't plan to sleep until you die, do you?"
"What happened to being a Pokemon Master?" That's all he wanted to be when they were younger.
Ash shrugs. "It was a stupid dream."
"You did win the first ever Alolan League. You placed in the Top 16 and better every year you competed." Misty recalls Ash's first tournament, which she was able to spectate. He's always had a knack for battling. The young Pallet Town prodigy was destined to be a great Pokemon Master some day, though that stopped a couple of years ago.
"And then I didn't." Ash prefers not talking about his young aspirations. "Look, Misty, times changed. I quit competing."
"Why?" She knows he stopped long before his breakup with Serena.
"If I answer that, will you answer one of my questions?"
"It can't be about the Cape."
"This marriage isn't fair."
The snap makes Ash know he lost this argument. "Fine." He gazes out the window. By the time they reach Cerulean City, they'll be having a late dinner. "I was focused on my relationship. Being a Pokemon Master meant traveling a lot. I didn't wanna be away from her…"
Misty feels her heart ache. Ash quit traveling for Serena while he could completely ignore Misty, his first traveling partner. However, that's what love does to people. It causes them to do things they normally wouldn't do. "How long has it been?"
"I don't know. Five or six years." Ash lets out a pained breath as he tries to stop thinking about his past. His past lover and his past aspirations. "Okay, my turn."
The woman furrows her brows. What could he ask that won't be about her Cape affairs? "Shoot."
"Do you regret the pact?" Ash feels guilty making Misty's life harder. He selfishly tried to help her, which all backfired. Although he had this pact to fall back on with her wrath, he still was selfish. How does she truly feel about it?
The man is relieved to hear that. "Why?"
Misty's cheeks tint pink. "It meant I'd see you again. After we quit traveling together, we like never saw each other again."
"Sorry." He knows it's because he never visited. Even when he was home for the summers, Ash didn't take the time to see his Kanto friends.
Shaking her head, the redhead replies, "It's not just your fault. I was busy too." Though it'd be easier if Misty knew where he was. "Anyway, I can't regret a pact that means I'll see my best friend again. We probably shouldn't have made it a marriage pact though." She giggles, which brings a small smile to Ash's lips.
"Yeah. That was impulsive." He sheepishly rubs the back of his head as he recalls him being the reason it was a marriage pact.
"It was unique." Misty can't regret the pact. While it meant she'd see Ash again, it also made her feel special since she had those childhood feelings for him. "I can't believe we actually did it."
"Same." Ash chuckles. "It's kinda like fate." He's not too surprised with fate and destiny anymore due to all the journeys he's had. Nevertheless, what are the chances he and Misty made this marriage pact 12 years ago? The chances that they lost connection and happened to meet at 30? The chance that they are married without discussing it first? Fate continues to guide Ash's life even when he's just trying to be a recluse.
"Fate loves you." Misty reminds him. Fate seems to always follow Ash everywhere. He's always the chosen one. "Get some sleep while you still can." She informs the man. "We'll be back in a few hours."
Nodding, he shuts his eyes. "Thanks, Misty."
"You can thank me by not making my job harder than it already is."
"No guarantees, but I'll try my best."
"Guess that'll do." She mutters.
By the time they finally arrive in Cerulean City and unpack, it is late. Misty makes a quick meal that she scarfs down. Usually, it'd be Ash stuffing his face, but Misty noticed he eats slowly. Almost lethargically. At least he eats, so she shouldn't be too worried. Ash hasn't completely given up on his life if he's still doing the bare minimum to stay alive.
Misty soon puts her dishes in the sink. "I cooked. You clean." She tells him as she grabs her jacket.
"Uh. Where are you going?" Ash curiously watches her put on a black cap. He thought she was tired from the drive. Misty was very irritable too, thus Ash assumed she'd knock out as soon as they returned. Well, that's what he wants to do.
Misty sternly meets his eyes, causing Ash to shyly look away. "The Cape. Stay away from windows. You know. Since we're telling the media you're my Cape guy."
Ash blinks at her in confusion. "The Cape?" She's seeing her mysterious man? Misty claims to be single, but she seems devoted to this guy. Has Ash been more selfish than he realizes? Maybe Misty is crushing on this guy, but she can't be with him yet. Now that she's married, she'll be even further away from him.
"Don't question me." Misty places her hood up. "I'll be back late. Don't wait up." She doubts he will. All he ever wants to do is sleep.
Soon, Misty is gone. How she avoided all the media outside, Ash has no idea. However, he will do his part and clean up while staying away from the windows. If the media realizes he's here while Misty is at the Cape with someone else, that'll be a lot of trouble for them both. They've barely been married a weekend, and they're already at jeopardy of losing everything.
Once Ash finally makes his way into his room, he sees Pikachu is dozing on the bed. The mouse immediately wakes up when Ash lays down next to him. "Sorry, Pikachu."
"Pi." Pikachu shuts his eyes again. "Pikachupi?" He groggily asks.
Sighing, Ash scratches Pikachu behind the ears. "Am I doing it again, Pikachu?"
"Pi?" He opens one eye to cautiously watch his trainer.
"Am I being selfish? Am I gonna ruin me and Misty too?" While he's in a fake relationship with Misty, Ash fears him imposing this marriage is going to make him lose her for good too. Yes, he and Misty had lost contact prior to the League dinner, but this is different. Ash still had the possibility of seeing her again. If this marriage goes to shambles, Ash will permanently lose her. It's a fear of his.
"Pikachu." Pikachu shakes his head tiredly. The key difference between Misty and Serena is that Misty is tough on Ash. Misty won't let things get to the point that Serena allowed them to. Pikachu knows this too with the way Misty has been behaving towards Ash. She doesn't baby him.
As Pikachu sleeps, Ash tries his best to too, but he can't. His mind is on his ex. On Misty. On the Cape. Who is Misty's mystery man? Normally, nothing in life interests him, though Misty constantly has him curious. Maybe it's because he's curious what she's been up to. She is the friend he hasn't seen the longest. Moreover, he feels bad having disrupted her life.
Before he knows it, he's been tossing and turning in bed for so long that he hears footsteps in the hallway. Usually, he wouldn't care as he tries to sleep. However, he's bothered by everything right now. Is he being selfish? Too selfish? Why does Misty seem so dedicated to this guy, yet she agreed to marry Ash?
He swings the door open to see Misty just walking past. She jumps a bit from being startled. Expecting Ash to be long asleep, Misty wasn't prepared for the sudden opening of his door. She also is still getting used to having someone else in her home. "What?" Misty hopes she doesn't sound surprised. Maybe Ash is just using the bathroom?
"Who is he?"
"The Cape guy? Because if he's your lover, we can stop this now. I don't wanna make you be with me when you like some-"
"Stop, Ash." Misty sighs. She's exhausted from the very tiring weekend, especially from today. It's late, and the League tournament starts tomorrow. Misty wants to get in as much sleep as she can at this point. Plus, she's annoyed that Ash keeps asking about the Cape guy. She doesn't ask him about Serena this often! And he always directs her away from Serena, yet here he is pestering her about her Cape affairs: the one thing Misty asked him to leave alone. "He's not my lover and neither are you."
Ouch. Ash's chest aches from the hurtful words. Misty doesn't feel bad about saying this to him. She's sick of him right now. Who is he to question her when he never wants to talk about himself? When he never wants to talk at all? Besides, it's not like she's lying to him, though her own chest aches from her words.
Seeing as how Ash is finally quiet, Misty bids him goodnight and makes her way to her room. This leaves the man alone in the hallway with his thoughts. If the Cape guy isn't her lover, then who is he? Unless she's lying? Ash sighs as he recalls the second part of Misty's sentence. He always knew he isn't her lover, but why does his chest hurt so much hearing this?
Now that everyone knows what's up, we can move on with the romance... or making these two fall in love lol. Stay tuned!