Disclaimer : I don't own any of there characters. I'm just messing around. :P

A/N : This was written for Pokeshipping Week 2014, a couple of months ago.

..

Ruining Bikes

The first time Misty sets eyes on him, she can almost smell impending disaster. Little did she know impending disaster would involve a fried bike, an injured Pikachu that she would come to love as if it were her own and a person so special that she would literally fish him out of the water with her fishing line.

"I'm just borrowing it," he yells, his cap threatening to fly off in the wind, as he rides away, clearly having stolen her bike. It takes her a moment to realize what is actually happening, that the random boy has just run off with her bike. He sounded like he was facing a disaster himself, and maybe she can understand that but that's no excuse for stealing!

So she runs after him, chasing the beginning of an adventure that would last a lifetime.

..

Realization

Realization is a slow, painful thing. But it can also be beautiful. For Ash, opening his eyes to the truth involves giving in sometimes, bickering all the other times, blushing and avoidance.

There are many things he is slowly beginning to realize on his adventures with Misty and Brock, and one of them is that of late, he always lets Misty have her way. So when they stop at a small town by the shore that is hosting the New Years' Festival that night, he doesn't indulge in his usual protests of "But I have to get to the next gym!", he suggests that they stop here for the night and leave once the festival is over.

There's the ocean, festival, lights and fireworks. Everything that Misty loves. So why not?

"Ash," Misty calls, beckoning to a spot on the edge of the cliff from where you can see the entire town, people bustling around in preparation for the festivities to take place that night. The stalls were being put up, the lights being hung and Ash could feel Misty soaking it all in, just like the sea breeze ruffling her hair.

It's weird, he thinks, his thoughts are preoccupied with things like this these days, her hair, her eyes, her smile. And he isn't used to it. He decides to ask Brock about this when they get a moment alone. He is the expert on all things female after all.

"You'll go with me, right?" she asks, gesturing to the festival preparations, eyes alight with excitement. It's a stupid question, he thinks. Doesn't he always? He wants to say yes, that he'd love to, but these sort of words have been taking longer to form in his mouth these days, especially when it comes to Misty.

Ash's silences have been growing in frequency and she isn't used to it, they make her jittery. So she does what she does best, she teases him. "It's not like anyone else will be willing to go with you," she says, sticking her tongue out. "Am I right, Pikachu?" she winks at the yellow Pokemon, and flashes a satisfied grin, getting a noise of agreement and a hi-five in return.

That brings out the desired response. "What?!" he splutters. He had been this close to agreeing. Thank goodness he hadn't. "I don't need you," he retorted haughtily, wanting to wipe the cocky grin off her face. "I'll just find someone else to go with!"

And if he had just looked at her face before stomping off, uncaring if Pikachu was following or not, he would have seen that he had succeeded.

"Whatever, Ash," she huffs, looking away, barely recovering from his thoughtless words. He could go on and be immature with whomever he pleases, for all she cares. She is tired of having to be the one always insinuating things, tired of him being a dense little boy, and tired of their fighting. Trying to ignore the sting in her eyes which always follows his callous remarks, she wonders why that despite all this, she never really tires of him.

..

She may have picked out her best kimono, the one which brings out her sea-green eyes, done up her hair in a way that her sisters would be proud of, applied some color to her lips even, but of course noneof that has anything to do with wanting Ash to see her that night. What a ridiculous thought.

She isn't going to let their earlier exchange affect their evening, she's decided. The town is vibrant and colorful, the girls dressed up in their prettiest kimonos, the boys trying to win their affection and the traditional dancing dragon is making its way across town. She can smell the ocean, heavy and calm in the air and this is everything she loves, but something is missing and it hurts that she knows exactly what it is.

She walks past the food stalls, sampling a few of the town's delicacies and spoiling Togepi with some of its favorite treats, but despite her polite smiles her eyes are searching everywhere for the black-haired boy along with a girl, one he seemed so confident of bringing along to the festival. Like it didn't even matter who he comes with. She wonders if he already visited the food stalls. It didn't look like it, she thinks with a smirk, most of the food was still intact.

"Misty," calls a voice from the distance, and she whips around in its direction only to see a smiling Brock, evidently happy at the prospect of spending time with the lovely ladies in this town. She only hopes that he's able to settle on one for the evening. "Hey Brock," she says, grinning. "Who's the lucky girl today?"

And who do I have to save from you, she adds silently, not wanting to dampen his spirits. "I think I found her," he sighs dreamily, pointing towards the games stall. She peers into the distance and focuses at the girl Brock was probably referring to and laughs. They were always far too pretty and out of his league. "Good luck," she says sarcastically, "I think you'll need it."

He dismisses Misty's cynicism completely, with a broad grin, and just before leaving, he asks, "Anyway, what's up with Ash? Why didn't he want to come to the festival? He hates to miss out on the food." He watches her shocked expression and sighs. He should have known. "Did you two fight again?" She looks away, because the answer is obvious, really, there's hardly a time when they're ever not fighting, and of late she's ashamed to admit it's mostly her fault. Shaking his head in the condescending manner that she absolutely hates, because he's usually right, he says, "He said he was going to train for the next gym battle." He looks at her, and the guilty expression on her face and wonders if she's even listening to him. "Probably by the beach," he adds, in case she hasn't gotten the hint.

But she had. She isn't stupid, whatever the reason was that he hadn't come to the festival, she should be with him helping him train, she reasoned, as she set out towards the beach. She isn't a hundred per cent ready to say sorry, because it isn't like she was wrong or anything, because Ha! Looks like hadn't found anyone to come to the festival with, after all.

"Oh, Togepi," she says, giving in to the sinking feeling anyway, squeezing the baby Pokemon tight as it reaches its tiny hands up to her face, stroking it lightly, its own way of showing comfort. "Why do we both have to be such idiots?"

Removing her wooden slippers, she carries them in one hand, relishing the feeling of sand between her toes as she walks toward the seated silhouette of a boy and his Pikachu. She doesn't need night vision to know it's Ash. She'd recognize that spiky mess of hair anywhere.

She smoothens out her kimono, folds her legs and sits beside them. She decides to enjoy the moment, sitting beside the boy she knows she has the hugest crush on, although she can't understand why, sitting on the sand and staring out into the moonlit water before they both decide to ruin it with their words.

Just because I'm here doesn't mean it's my fault, she reminds herself before she realizes she has to be the one to talk first. "Looks someone's training hard," she says lightly, and she can't help but cringe because here she is, being the exact opposite of nice. Well, he's the one who said he didn't need me, she thinks in her defense, trying to feel better about it because Ash is still quiet, not even looking at her.

"You look really pretty," he says, words tripping over each other and Misty is positive that she's heard him wrong. She looks at him with the biggest question in her eyes and he is careful to avoid her gaze, cheeks red with a blush. She is instantly glad that she spent that extra half hour in front of the mirror trying to brush her hair straight.

"Misty," he exclaims, as he feels her fingers entwine with his to rest on the sand. He regrets the outburst the minute it comes out because she's probably just going to think it's really immature. But he can't help it. He can feel his heart do the weird flippy thing Brock goes on and on about in his poems to Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny and he's not sure he can keep quiet about it. Her grip is firm yet soft but she shows no signs of actually looking at him her eyes resolutely on the water. He isn't sure if her skin is actually flushed or if it's just the moonlight doing funny things to his vision, but he can't take his eyes off of her.

"Don't ever say you don't need me Ash," she says softly, and he realizes an apology is definitely in order. She may have been teasing him but what he had said was plain mean. But he doesn't even know where to start. "Because that isn't true." She looks at him, hitting him with the full force of her sea-green eyes and he takes a moment to just exhale because he can't remember feeling this flustered around anyone, ever. This is the point where he should be agreeing, telling her that she is right, that he needs her more than anyone and that he can't imagine what it would be like travelling along this never ending journey without her. But as always, Ash Ketchum's infamous habit of not saying things when it is most needed kicks in and he wants to punch himself because he's never short of things to say when they're fighting.

"I'm sorry," he says, a poor excuse for everything that's going on his head, but she takes it, smiling and getting up, pulling him along with her. For a minute, all she can see is him, and his lips and she wonders what it would be like to kiss them.

Her train of thought is interrupted by a steady stream of vibrant fireworks, colourful, loud and sparkly and interrupts her train of thought. Looks like that can wait.

"Let's go to the festival," she says, tugging on his hand, trying to divert her mind from her embarrassing thoughts. "You don't want to miss out on all the food!"

His stomach, in tune with the positively romantic setting, grumbles audibly and he can't help but grin sheepishly. How could he have ever said that he didn't need her?

"Misty," he says, gripping her hand when she tries to let go, "I don't know what I'll do without you." She smiles to herself and looks away, knowing that she's blushing a little too hard right now, knowing that this will be one of those days that she just won't forget.

Because today when those dark eyes look at her, it is the first time she spots a different kind of tenderness in them, one she has never seen before.

..

Saying Goodbye

A part of him always knew this was going to happen. She had always said this was what she wanted. To take over the gym someday and go back home to her sisters. To show her skills as a Water Pokemon Trainer.

But he hadn't known it was going to happen so soon. And he sure as hell hadn't known it was going to hurt so much.

"Ash," she says, cutting into his reverie. He looks up at her and offers her a weak smile, patting the seat next to him on the deck of the pool. He remembers today afternoon when her sisters had forced her into taking part in one of their shows, a welcome home present they had called it.

"You looked amazing today." He's finally learnt to look her in the eye while giving her compliments because looking away is just a moment wasted not looking at her.

She still hasn't learnt to take them though, so she just takes his hand in hers and says, "Really now?"

It's a shame, she thinks. She hasn't even gotten used to his compliments yet and they already have to part. She still hasn't gotten used to the way he grips her hand tightly when he's tense, and it's already time to say goodbye.

Life just isn't fair on so many levels.

"Let's go for a swim," she says, her words rushed. There are too many emotions swirling in her mind right now and she, no both of them need to calm down. It is probably different for him but the water always manages to soothe her so she changes into her swimsuit in practically no time at all, grinning at Ash because he has to jump in wearing just his boxers because his swimming trunks aren't handy.

She pulls him in with a loud splash and for a while he tries to get his revenge splashing at her ferociously, their laughter echoing in the large, empty building but eventually all that weighs on their minds is that things aren't going to be so playful anymore, that they wouldn't have each other to play with anymore and it gets hard to keep the tears in check. So she decides to take a swim, turning abruptly into the comfort of the water, letting it wipe her tears away, erasing it from existence.

But she isn't fast enough for him to miss the first drop roll down her cheek, so he just climbs out of the pool and sits with his legs swinging lightly in the water, leaving her to her own devices because he's pretty sure he can't handle her tears right now; he is this close to breaking down himself.

The tears can wait, he thinks, he'll have time when he's on his way to Brock's house.

Misty takes her final lap and surfaces, holding onto his legs. She looks up and she finds him looking right at her, dark ovals into pools of sea green, and she can't breathe straight any longer. She tugs on his arms and he bends down, pressing his lips to her open mouth and cupping her face to his. They have kissed a hundred times, probably, since their first but Ash has never held her this way, like he never wants to let go.

"I don't want you to go," she breathes into his mouth, in her moment of weakness, the desperation seeping into their kiss. "I don't want to go," he mumbles between wet, messy kisses and she wants to laugh because Ash is being a whiny little kid and this is one of those times where she actually finds it endearing.

Later, much later, Misty is sprawled on Ash, her swimsuit still damp from her swim and she can hear his breathing trying to drop from their previous erratic rhythm down to a steady one.

She props herself onto her elbows and looks at Ash, who looks peaceful with his eyes closed, damp hair sticking to his forehead. She knows he's awake and toys with his hair, pushing it back. "Hey," she says, a whisper that dances across his lips. "The floor's probably cold, huh?" She makes a move to get off of him, thinking that it's time they go inside, back to the comfort of her warm bed, which she is determined on dragging Ash into this time.

He catches her in place, winding an arm around her hips and holding her to him, chest pressing against her bare skin. "I'll call you, you know, every week," he says solemnly, looking at her earnestly.

"Ash," she takes a deep breath, there's no point being delusional about this, "let's not make promises we can't keep okay?"

He looks a little offended by this statement but he doesn't refute it, seeing truth in her words, there are times when he doesn't get to a phone for weeks. "I'll visit you whenever I can."

She nods. Yeah, she'd like that.

"Misty," he says, closing his eyes and bringing her face down to his so that they lay nose to nose. His lips which were now back on hers did nothing to ease the lump in her throat. "I'll think of you every single day."

..

Saying Goodbye… Again.

At times Misty wishes she had let him promise her that he'd call every week, because Ash Ketchum, she realizes with pride, is a man of his word. He visits her whenever he is in the region, whenever he visits home, whenever Brock needs to check in on his little sibling, and basically whenever he has an excuse. It has been 3 years since he has made those promises and he hasn't shown signs of letting up even once.

Absently, she wonders if he has held on to his other promise, she wonders if he thinks of her every day. Because she thinks of him all the time.

He is late this time, she thinks, he had told her he would be here two days ago. Shaking these thoughts out of her head, she concentrates on the trainer who just stepped into the gym, challenging her to a battle.

She's frustrated and takes it out on the poor boy, a beginner by the looks of it, so much so that she feels sorry for him, apologizing even and telling him to try again tomorrow.

A part of her isn't really sorry though because she's sure Ash had been much better when he had tried battling her for the badge.

She trudges back into her room, thinking that a shower would probably do her some good, when she feels a hand on her shoulder slow and gentle, and she literally jumps out of her skin, her yelps probably reaching the next building. While catching her breath it strikes her that there is something painstakingly similar about the touch and she is prompted, against each of her better senses to turn and look back.

He stands in front of her, now a couple of inches taller and she likes this height difference, she decides, even though she definitely does not like the way he scared her upon entry or the way he's laughing and imitating her scared expression right now. She huffs impatiently, "Don't be a jerk, Ash!" and his eyes light up at this familiar gesture. "Oh Misty," he says pulling her into his arms and hugging her tightly. "It's nice to see that some things never change."

She returns the hug, burying her face into his chest, which is wider now and she wants to say but you've changed and I wonder just how much, but she can't bring herself to lift out of his embrace. She breathes in his smell, of earth, grass and Pikachu and when they pull apart to actually look at each other, it hits her like a truck as to just how much she's missed him.

In no more than an instant, his mouth is on hers, tugging at her lips for entry, teeth knocking into hers. He grabs her face eagerly, tasting, licking and simply taking her mouth, like a man starved. "Door," he mumbles into her mouth, allowing her the opportunity to breathe, because oxygen is needed for her brain to process that yes, he's asking her to open the door that they're leaning against so that they can get to her bedroom, where he wants to take more than just her mouth.

They fall onto the bed clumsily, reveling in the pace of pure desire and pent up frustration that they have kept locked away for nearly a year. His hands are reaching for her shorts, determined and unapologetic and he lets out a groan when she complies eagerly, thrusting against his probing fingers. She makes short work of his jeans flinging them off of him and he doesn't even bother with their shirts, he just wants to be inside her in any way he can.

Later, after their urgency is somewhat appeased, he takes the time to strip her naked, tracing an apology with his tongue over every part that he ignored the first time.

..

"Sometimes I wonder if this is what you come back for," she teases, sleepily, eyes threatening to snap shut. "Mmm," he murmurs, his breath hot on her neck, "It's definitely one of the reasons." She grins despite the sleep taking over. At least she knows that she's still the one that he wants.

..

He watches her the next day, sitting in the far corner of the gym as she battles the same boy who had come in the previous day. His condition was ostensibly the same, if not worse and he ended up losing in no less than fifteen minutes.

Misty, being the compassionate and generous soul that she can be should decide to be so, feels truly sorry for the kid and puts an arm around him, suggesting battle strategies and areas he can work on, because there's truly no point in him repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Ash watches the kid blush seven different shades of red at her proximity and he grimaces, a frown still visibly present when she makes her way to him later. "Don't," she says, eyes wide in mock warning, "I can smell your jealousy a mile away." He doesn't say anything, just pouts because denial, he's realized, is futile.

"Besides," she quipped, "you're the one with all the different girls around you all the time." She tries to sound nonchalant but she fails, her poker face marking its absence, as usual. He uses every excuse to touch her, wrapping his arms around her waist and looking up at her, completely dismissing her fears with the earnest look in his eyes. "It's just till I finish my quest, Misty," he says softly, his voice breaking just a little. "Then I'll be back home."

She nods, she understands completely, she knows the feeling of wanting to be the best. She just wishes it wouldn't take so damn long.

..

Homebound

One of the skills Ash seems to have picked up on his travels is learning to pick locks and it alarms her slightly, when she stops to think about it. But when he's picking her lock in the middle of the night and slipping into bed with her, it is the farthest thing from her mind.

She wakes up the next morning, tangled in his limbs and it's enough for her to decide that it's going to be a wonderful morning, even before she notices the weight on her fingers. There is something, a stone by the looks of it, a diamond maybe, shining brightly with the morning rays, right into her eyes and it's a mystery how Ash manages to sleep through the inhuman squeal she lets out when she finally wraps her head around it.

She is overwhelmed by her early morning present but she just can't remember when he slipped it on.

She remembers him sliding into bed with her, kissing her awake with hot, branding kisses down her neck, she remembers him sucking at her bottom lip in time with each thrust of his, she remembers him making her fall apart as he whispered that he loved her, but she can't for the love of him, remember when he put this on her.

"Ash," she says shaking him impatiently, uncaring that this is probably the rudest way to wake up the boy who had probably just – "What?!" he asks, snapping awake, worrying that some emergency has befallen the place, judging by the way Misty shakes him awake.

She plops herself on him, looking at him with a seriousness that is too much for anyone who has just woken up, and holds up her left hand where the diamond glitters away, right in his eyes.

He squints under the discomfiture of the bright light and takes a moment to focus. "OH," he says eloquently, gulping audibly. "You know," she starts, the warning evident in her voice, "when you put a ring on a girl's finger, you leave room for a lot of assumptions." But she can't help the grin from breaking out onto her face.

"Oh thank goodness," he says, visibly relaxing, "so you're not freaking out about it?" She raises her eyebrows, knowing him well enough to realize that he was bailing on the tough stuff. "Ash Ketchum," she says, firmly, "I'm not asking you to go down on one knee, but the least you can do is ask me!"

"Why?" he asks, tensing up all over again, "you mean there's still a possibility of getting a 'no'?" He looks so genuinely nervous, that she is this close to letting him off the hook. But she gives him her most unrelenting glare, pushing him till he's left with no choice.

He sighs, formulating the question in his head and she laughs, which is when he realizes her game. Abruptly, he pins her beneath him as she lets out a meek squeak in response, startled at the loss of her position of authority.

"Misty," he says, lowering his voice, trying his level best to sound the level of solemn that he does every time he vows to become a better trainer, "Will you marry me?" and by the look on her face he can tell he's nailed it.

"Yes," she sighs, dreamily and Ash doesn't want to smirk, so he kisses her instead, long and deep with a promise that he's here to stay and that even if he ever does leave again, he isn't going anywhere without her.

..

A/N : Even though I've shipped these two since childhood, it's the first time I'm actually writing for them. Tell me what you think? :)