(Written in reply to a prompt—I was asked how Ash could be spontaneously sweet to Misty if they were dating.)

—-

Surprise

Sometimes Misty wishes Ash could be a little more romantic. Not always, of course—that wouldn't be him, and she wouldn't want to change him that much. Just a little, sometimes.

From the outside you could barely tell that they are a couple. Sure, they've kissed, but most of the time it was her taking the initiative. He always seems to enjoy it enough; but despite that, whenever they have some alone time he'll mostly sit awkwardly and wait for her to make a move first. They were sitting on a bench outside, once, and only after a while she started to realize he was moving his hand towards hers one millimeter at a time. She sighed a little and took his hand herself. He jumped and almost pulled back as if caught red-handed.

Eventually she decides to bring it up. "You know", she sighs, shaking her head—they've been looking at each other for a couple minutes, neither saying anything—"you could at least try".

"Try what?" he looks confused. She crosses her arms.

"To act like I'm your girlfriend."

His cheeks flush a bit red. They've been together for nearly a month now, but putting it into words still embarasses him. "Girl…friend, right", he says, trying out how it sounds, then frowns: "Don't I already do that? I mean, we… kiss, and all…"

"I kiss you", she points out. "If I don't, you never do anything."

"Oh". She can see the gears spinning furiously inside his brain. "Do you… want me to kiss you?"

"I shouldn't have to ask."

He bites his lip, unsure. Misty shakes her head again. "I can't even tell if you actually like me sometimes."

"Of course I do."

"I mean like-like". She's still not all that sure he actually knows the difference. "You don't do much to show it, you know. Sometimes a girl likes to feel a little more appreciated. You can kiss me without me having to do it first, if you want—if you actually want to. Or, I don't know, tell me when you think I look pretty."

"But you always look pretty."

He says it so naturally that for a moment she's completely taken aback and left wondering if she actually heard it. When she realizes she did, it's her turn to blush.

Ash looks at her. "Did, huh, did I say something wrong?"

She lets go a little embarassed laughter, hiding her face with her hand for a second. "You didn't", she assures him then. "Alright, alright. I'll give you this one."

He still looks puzzled. "So you aren't mad at me?"

"I was". She leans against his side with a little sigh. He tenses up at first, but after a moment she can feel his body relax and accommodate to hers. "I'm not anymore."

—-

He does it a few other times, too.

One evening he surprises her with a flower. It's a beautiful deep blue, like water, with soft jagged petals. It looks freshly picked. He only brought her flowers once before, the first time they went on a date; that time, it was a store-bought bouquet, wrapped in plastic, and he managed to instantly ruin everyting by telling her "Brock said I should bring you some flowers".

This time, he handles her the flower with a shrug. "I saw it while I was coming here", he says, "It reminded me of you".

He says it with the same spontaneity, not even seeming to realize the sweetness of his gesture. Misty holds the flower in her hands for a few moments, looking at it, then wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him. When she lets go, he's surprised and red in the face.

"Thank you", she smiles, "It's beautiful".

Ash still looks not quite sure of what he did to obtain that reaction, but he can tell it made her happy, and he smiles back. "Okay", he says, shrugging his shoulders again. He takes her hand. "Are we going?"

She nods. She leaves the flower on the table, after looking at it one more time, then follows him outside. Sometimes she wishes he could be a little more romantic, but sometimes everything is perfect just the way it is.