Here is that promised Soulmate AU I said I was going to write. It took longer than expected, but here's a kind of AU, more like UA with my own twist at the end for Pokéshipping.

When she was younger, Misty wanted nothing more than for a name to etch itself onto her wrist. She'd heard stories from her mother about the fluttery feeling that accompanied finding a soulmate. Her sisters used to pretend that they'd found their soulmates as teenagers, but Misty knew that whenever a relationship went sour, her sisters cried and screamed. Misty knew it wasn't true because of that.

Her young self was hopelessly infatuated with the idea of finding a perfect match. She dreamt of growing up and being swept off her feet by a powerful Pokémon trainer with a heart of gold. He would be handsome and perfect. They would live happily ever after.

As she got older, she grew more disillusioned with the idea. Something deep inside her still thought it might be possible, but for some reason she couldn't rely on her dreams anymore. Her sisters and their silly obsession with finding the one. Lily's name had appeared when she was 15, and Daisy and Violet hadn't shut up since. That was a year ago. When she was twelve, she ran away.

The second week after she ran away, she was fishing when something pulled on her line. Excited, she reeled it in only to find not a Pokémon, but Ash Ketchum. Misty was furious. He not only ruined her fishing pole, but then he had the gall to steal her bike and get it fried by Pikachu! She eventually resorted to traveling with him to ensure that he paid up on his debt.

After a while of traveling with him, Misty started to understand him better. He loved Pokémon and his mother above all else. He was fiercely loyal and very dense. He wanted to be a Pokémon Master. While he may have been young and naïve, there was a strong feeling in Misty's gut that told her that he would one day accomplish his dream.

She grew to think of Ash as less of an annoyance and more of a friend. Each day their friendship evolved. Through him, Misty made life-long connections. By the time it came for Ash to compete in the Indigo League, Misty was genuinely invested in his goals as well as her own.

It was the hardest match of the conference for Ash when there was a tingle on her wrist. She was in the crowd with Brock, screaming and cheering for Ash with all that she was worth. Only when the battle was declared and he was not the winner, did Misty's pain intensify. She glanced down in surprise and found that the boy who had wormed his way into her life in a most unconventional fashion, now filled her life in a completely different way. His name, in small black cursive, lined the inside of her right wrist.

Misty made an executive decision that day, to put aside whatever conflicting feelings she had. She focused on her friendship with Ash and what they had flourished into something much more powerful. They had a bond that ran deeper than either could understand, but they were happy to classify it as the strongest friendship ever.

Three years later, and it was time for Misty to go home. He finally got her bike back to her. She punched him for it. The letters on her wrist were a constant reminder of everything that they stood for. She managed to hug him goodbye and bid Brock one too before they all went their separate ways.

It was almost a year later when Misty found him again. They'd made new friends and Ash had May and Max with him along with Brock as usual. The siblings were wonderful and kind and Misty really liked them. She was wary however, of May. The brunette was wonderful and sweet, but Misty couldn't help but wonder if perhaps May too felt a connection with Ash. When she left again, something in her heart ached.

Half a year passed and she met him again. She visited his mother monthly, hoping that she might one day hear word of his return. When she did, she made sure she was there. He was going to travel in their home again, and she made sure to stay with them as long as she could afford. May and Max were still around, and Misty finally got her chance to talk to May.

It had been dark out and the two had simply been sitting side by side. May had glanced at Misty sadly before revealing her own wrist. The name etched there was vaguely familiar to Misty and May explained that her rival's name has shown up at the end of the Hoenn Grand Festival. May asked for advice, and the only thing Misty could think to do, was to uncover her own wrist and show off her own marking.

May was surprised, but then she admitted that she probably could have guessed. They sat quietly for a while and then Misty let go. May was comforting and warm and it was nice to have a female friend who really understood. May cried too, and Misty finally managed to tell the younger girl not to hold off her feelings from Drew too long. May was grateful for the advice, but she had asked about why Misty hadn't told him. Misty simply replied that she hadn't wanted to ruin their friendship.

Eventually her short reunion with Ash and company came to an end and she had to return to her gym. She heard from Ash sparsely whether it be a phone call or a letter. She cheered for him through Sinnoh too and watched all of his battles. He had been home for a bit after Sinnoh, but she had been too busy to visit. Then when she finally gathered enough courage to come for a visit, she discovered from Gary Oak that Ash had gone off to Unova.

Gary had invited her to stay the night. She did and was silent for most of it. She was disappointed that he had not called and informed her. Gary had skirted around the topic of Ash and instead redirected most conversation to his research or Misty's gym. Finally, on her third night, he asked the question that had been burning the tip of his tongue. Misty slowly revealed her mark to him and he cracked a rare smile.

He then showed her his wrist. There was a name there that Misty vaguely recalled Ash mentioning once or twice as a friend. Gary explained that it appeared when he was five. He never got around to telling her before they all left on their journeys. According to him, his friend was now staying atop Mount Silver to find peace of mind. Misty remarked that being apart for so long couldn't be a good feeling.

Gary turned the comment back at her and she just shrugged, giving her standard response: it wasn't worth losing their friendship over. Gary simply replied that it wasn't worth being matched to him if she wasn't going to do anything about it. Gary then told her about his experiences with Sinnoh and the girl that Ash had traveled with there. He assured her that Dawn certainly didn't have a link to Ash the way she did.

Eventually, she couldn't bring herself to stay around Pallet or Gary any longer without Ash. She returned to the gym and focused less on the name on her wrist and more on the challengers standing across the pool from her. She tuned into the Unova League and watched him crumble again after hitting his peak. It had to be hard losing when he'd come so far.

It was only shortly after his match, that she received a phonecall. The girl who'd called her was nervous but still bright and peppy. This was Dawn, and she knew of Misty from Ash, Brock and May. Dawn asked Misty for advice and carefully showed Misty the mark on her wrist. According to her, it was the name of Ash's infamous Sinnoh rival. Misty gently gave her similar advice to that she gave to May. Dawn then replied softly that May had told her Misty's secret. The coordinator admitted she respected Misty for not telling Ash, though she thought that the gym leader should just be frank.

Misty grew closer with Dawn and May too, through a series of conversations. May had spoken to Drew and he revealed his own marking of her name that appeared somewhere around the third rose. They were happily together, but May still wished that Misty and Dawn could have the same happiness. Dawn eventually revealed she spoke to her own soulmate and he had her name too, but they were taking some time to figure stuff out.

Dawn even made a trip out to Kanto visit Misty, bringing stories of his new friends Iris and Cilan. Iris and Cilan had, apparently, separately shown Dawn their names. They had each other. Ash seemed well, more mature but still the same fun loving guy that they had known. Misty was glad for this. She wasn't sure she could love any part of him but the one she knew.

Another month passed and Ash still did not come home. He went to Kalos. Misty now decided that the little insignificant tag on her wrist shouldn't direct her life. She completely threw herself into being the best Gym Leader she could be and her win rate skyrocketed. Misty didn't think much of it, but was glad for the distraction.

Soon enough, her dedication caught up and she found an unexpected visitor on her doorstep. It was the Champion. Misty was surprised but naturally, she invited Lance in. Lance informed her that he was visiting to discuss Misty's PIA. Her heart sunk and she knew that she was going to have to throw a couple of matches.

Instead, Lance told her that Koga was retiring. He needed a replacement for the Elite Four and was courting her as a candidate. She was strong, no doubt, but young. Surge and Erika would have turned down the offer, Forrest and Janine were too young, Viridian was closed, Sabrina was too similar to Will, and Blaine was too old. While Lance could have picked from Johto or lesser known Kanto gyms too, he specifically mentioned that multiple sources had given him nothing but glowing reviews about her. When he left, offer standing, he asked if she might let him do the same.

Misty could not function after the champion left. She sat blankly on her couch and looked at her hands. Her index finger traced his name over and over again. She had always wanted to become an Elite Four member, it meant she was recognized as a Water Pokémon Master. That was her dream. Still, she couldn't help but feel that she should achieve her dream after or at the same time that Ash achieved his.

She thought for close to two months on the option, and eventually decided that she wasn't going to throw her own dreams away for a boy she had not seen in years. She accepted Lance's offer and began to ramp up her training. Unexpectedly one day, a package arrived carrying a Pokéball and a letter. The Pokéball contained a Milotic and the letter was from Ash.

He wished her well with the gym and told her he thought of her a lot. He found an injured Milotic while training alone one day and was reminded of her so he captured it for her. Ash spoke of Serena and Clemont and Bonnie. He said that they were very nice and wanted to meet Misty. He had even enclosed private notes from each friend for her.

Serena's simply addressed that Misty sounded like a wonderful person who she'd like very much to meet. Clemont expressed his admiration for her as such a powerful Gym Leader since he was the Lumoise City leader. Bonnie's was the most intriguing: she revealed Clemont had Serena's name but wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. Bonnie even guessed that Misty meant a lot to Ash and that maybe she had his name.

By the time the Kalos League came, Misty was in her final transition stages. The Cerulean Gym was prepped for shut down, and she would be announced as the new member of the Elite Four soon. Misty watched Ash fight a fierce battle in the League finals, but he lost. He and his partner did not seem too disappointed and they appeared to treasure the runner-up title. Misty was proud of him and once again, her fingers brushed along her marking. She did miss him.

Finally, she gathered the courage to call him. He picked up, but he looked exhausted. They sat, staring at each other through a screen for a moment. Pikachu touched a paw to the screen and chirped Misty's name in his language. The redhead smiled softly and waved. Then it was like a waterfall. They exchanged stories and jokes and jabs for hours. Inside, it was like someone had lit a fireplace in her heart where the hearth had previously been empty.

Misty soon realized that she had still yet to tell Ash what she had called to tell him. She slowly eased onto the topic of Milotic and how she adored it and it was becoming one of her most solid team members. Ash simply smiled cheekily and swore he knew Misty would love it. She then just blurted out her big surprise.

Ash's eyes got really wide and she studied the dark brown colour flecked with gold. Then his lips split into a smile and he started to babble. He congratulated her so many times and just rambled on how amazing she was and how proud he was to know her. He said he'd eagerly be watching the news for the announcement and that he would call her again once it was official. A pretty blonde girl peeked into the background, calling for Ash and his attention was directed away from her.

Misty knew at a glance that this was Serena. She was pretty and delicate and everything Misty was not. A spear of guilt thrust through Misty's heart. She had heard of people having a name and then that person having another name. Maybe the reason Ash had never mentioned having her name was because he never had it. Perhaps he really did just think of her as a friend. A sharp pain blossomed through her chest and she glanced at her hands. The ink in which his name was written had darkened dramatically. It had been a charcoal colour before, but now it was as black as night. It practically screamed to be noticed.

She tugged at sleeves of her sweater and looked back at the screen. Ash was still speaking to Serena in the background so Misty cleared her throat to get his attention. She gave him a less enthusiastic smile and bid him farewell and hung up before he could protest. Misty pushed her head into her hands and felt hot tears welling at her eyes. She chanted silently to herself that she was sacrificing her feelings for their friendship, which was one of the most important things in her life.

For the next few days Misty focused solely on her upcoming reveal. She spent time with her sisters and talked often with Dawn and May. Misty went out to the Plateau two days before her announcement. The afternoon of the reveal, she was surprised by Brock and Tracey who came out to support her. Daisy came out too and hung around Tracey enough to make Misty suspicious.

After confronting her sister, Daisy showed Misty her wrist and revealed that she'd finally found her guy and that she wasn't going to pretend anymore. Tracey also had Daisy's name and Misty was relieved to know that at least someone in her family had it easy with the whole 'soulmates' thing. Misty also interrogated Brock and the doctor revealed that he too had met his soulmate, but they had gone separate ways due to careers.

Another surprise visitor came right before the announcement when Misty was taking some alone time to calm her frazzled nerves. Gary Oak walked in unannounced, with a pretty brunette by his side. He introduced her as Leaf Greene and Misty knew this was the girl who had fled to Mount Silver. Despite her tomboyish ways, a grin spread across her lips as she embraced Leaf and Gary.

Gary left after a moment, but Leaf lingered. She took one look at Misty's hand, clenched around her wrist, and smiled sadly. She admitted to Misty she knew exactly what that was like. Just like Gary's, hers had appeared when she was five. As she grew older, it got further and further from her thoughts, but she still would absently trace his name whenever she missed him. Misty sighed and uncovered her hand, looking down at the name.

Even if he's not here, Leaf informed her, he's still made you who you are. Part of you is part of him. Misty blinked at the brunette and Leaf just smiled. She left the soon to be Elite in peace and went out to join Gary. Misty just studied her hand. Lance knocked on her door moments later, beckoning her out to the stage. Misty smiled; it was time. She was achieving her dream.

They ascended the stage from the right and the press was going nuts. Eventually they quieted down for Koga as he gave his resignation speech and promised that he was leaving behind a worthy successor. Misty bowed her head, honoured, and a smile graced her face. Misty then was called to give a brief speech herself. The whole crowd was silent and all eyes were on her. She vaguely remarked on her journey as a Gym Leader and how honoured she was to be replacing Koga. She promised she'd try and live up to the standard set by him. She gave a few other quick remarks and smiled at the crowd, waiting for the onslaught of media questions.

She deflected many questions about her personal life with a simple, no comment. Questions about her Pokémon and her plans for being an Elite Four member were routinely answered and shut down. When one reporter finally brought up the issue, everyone fell silent. Misty felt her heart jamming at her ribcage. The name on her wrist was burning, but she lied and said she had no soulmate. She did admit that the principals of the whole thing seemed a bit farfetched, but if they worked, they worked.

After that, Lance shut the interview down quickly. He commended Misty for her tactical responses and likable demeanor while onstage. Misty thanked her new boss and headed for her home. She drove back to Viridian City. Since closing down her gym in Cerulean, she'd moved to Viridian to be closer to the Indigo Plateau.

When she arrived home, Misty opened her door and stumbled in, exhausted. Her apartment was still shiny and new, but it made her a little uncomfortable. Cerulean had always been her home, so it was strange to call Viridian home even if it came with her dream being accomplished. She headed slowly into her living room, feet dragging and rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand.

As she crossed the room, intent on heading straight to bed, a thump nearly scared the life out of her. Ash Ketchum, who had been lying on her couch, had fallen onto her floor. Misty could do nothing but gape at him. He pushed himself up from the ground and smiled sheepishly. He greeted her normally and Misty barely heard him through all the confused thoughts swimming around in her mind. She asked him what he was doing at her place and how he even got in.

Ash scratched the back of his head briefly before tossing her the spare key she'd left with her sisters. He explained that he had gone to Cerulean, but her sister had told him that she had moved out and given him the spare key. He'd been there since late afternoon, expecting her to come home much sooner. He admitted he'd partially forgotten her ceremony was today, but he caught most of the announcement and the interview on TV.

Misty relaxed considerably. She moved to sit on the sofa and Ash plopped himself down next to her. Misty gently tucked her wrist to her side as she quietly studied the trainer next to her. She inquired as to why she was owed the honour of his visit. Ash was incredulous; he had wanted to congratulate her on her position and said that it would be better in person. He punched her arm lightly and confirmed that she was a real Water Pokémon Master now.

She smiled half-heartedly. She asked when he got back to Kanto. Ash told her he'd been in Pallet for a couple of days. In the back of her mind Misty wondered why Gary hadn't mentioned anything to her. Misty asked him, for lack of better conversation, where he was going next. Ash gave her a wide, familiar, childish grin that made her chest hurt.

He informed Misty solemnly that he was taking on Kanto again. Misty couldn't help but let a smile cross her face. Ash then proceeded to ask if she'd like to accompany him again. The whole atmosphere of happiness that she'd built around seeing him in person again came crashing down in that moment. Ash, she told him quietly, she couldn't. She was a member of the Elite Four now. Her responsibilities were far greater now then they were as a Gym Leader.

He looked hurt and Misty felt like someone had just punched her. Ash told her that he understood and he rose to leave. Misty grabbed his wrist to get him to stop. She asked him quietly if he'd like to stay the night, but he merely sighed. He gave her what he could muster of a smile and said that Pallet was too close for him to stay over. He looked down at their hands, Misty's clasped around his wrist, and Misty's eyes widened. She had accidentally grabbed him with the hand marked with his name.

From his angle, he couldn't see the name, just that there was one. Misty retracted her hand into her lap quickly, her face burning. Ash glanced down at her curiously. He asked her who her soulmate was. Something in Misty's chest tightened. She scoffed and replied that she didn't believe in soulmates. To her, she claimed, it was just a useless mark.

Ash nodded slowly, some of the life seeping out of his eyes. He looked liked someone had just punctured him with a pin and now he was a deflating balloon. Misty rose warily from the couch. Ash gathered her tightly into his arms and hugged her. Misty hugged him back and curled her fingers into the fabric at the back of his shirt. Ash congratulated her one last time before saying he'd seen her later. He left her apartment. Misty felt a lot colder than she did before and she sighed heavily, rubbing her palms against her tired eyes to chase away the moisture that had collected.

She heard from him more often from then on, and they stayed close friends. He was still the loveable immature boy she knew, but he was also more mature and intelligent now. His battling skills were incredibly strong, and according to some of the Gym Leaders, her colleagues, he seemed unbeatable to them. While Ash was winning his way through Kanto, Misty trained with the other Elite Four. While the responsibility she had been bestowed was immense, it was fun and rewarding at the same time.

When it came time for the Indigo League, Misty knew what to expect. Ash swept most of his early battles without breaking a sweat. He was very strong and Misty felt it in her gut that she would soon be facing him. With her status as a member of the Elite Four, Misty had to keep complete impartiality and she did so. It was a struggle because watching Ash battle brought her such a strong sense of joy that it made her toes tingle. His battle style had improved and he fought with excellent finesse.

Unsurprisingly, Ash won his way into the finals. Friends from all across Napaj and Asu were coming out to support him in his final push. May called Misty and asked if she would be joining them for a dinner after the match if he won. Misty then had to remind her friend that she needed to be impartial. The coordinator was disappointed. She had also wanted to introduce Misty to her soulmate. At the mention of the marks, Misty clammed up, avoiding all conversation pertaining to it past that point.

The day of the finals, Misty arrived to the Champion's Box and was pulled aside by Lance. He thanked Misty for remaining impartial despite the fact that Ash was her friend. He requested that she do the same for the finals and asked her to ensure she would still battle him with her full potential if it came to it. Misty was offended. She assured Lance that no matter whom she faced, it would be with her full strength. The champion apologized for doubting her and let her take her seat to watch Ash's big match.

Misty practically had to step on her emotions to keep a straight face as Ash ploughed through his opponent, finally winning his long coveted title. Even from as high above the crowd as she was, Misty could see the complete elation that surrounded Ash and his precious partner. They embraced and the whole stadium was buzzing with sound. Her fingers curled around her wrist and a smile lifted her lips.

Five days later and the crowd was still deafening. Ash had defeated Will, Karen and Bruno. She was the only thing that stood between him and Lance. The referee called them forwards and they shook hands at the centre line. Ash had that big dopey grin on his face. Pikachu was nowhere to be seen and Misty knew it was because the electric mouse didn't like battling against her. Misty was wearing a t-shirt and so was Ash. For the first time in a long time, her wrist was completely exposed. And from the light feeling in her chest, she didn't really care.

When Ash grasped her hand in his, it was almost like there was an electric spark between them. Their right hands were joined firmly and Misty spotted a matching black mark to her own on Ash's wrist. Yet for the first time in her life, it didn't really matter. Ash's own eyes didn't even stray to their hands, they stayed firmly locked in her own. They were both fired up.

In the end, it wasn't that big of a surprise. He was strong and so was she, but he had the experience from his travels that made him adapt to her style so easily she felt like a fish out of water. She conceded defeat and shook his hand at centre stage. He gave her his biggest smile and Misty felt like someone had shot her out of a cannon. Her heart was racing with exhilaration and all she could do was offer him her own smile.

After her match, Misty set out to find Lance. When she found him, he already knew what she was going to ask, and the answer was yes. She was defeated and now it was up to him, so she was freed from the impartiality clause. She was free to celebrate and cheer for him all she wanted as long as it wasn't in the championship box. Misty left him then, practically bouncing on her toes.

She phoned Dawn as soon as she could and asked if they had room for one more in their entourage. The younger coordinator screamed so loudly Misty could have sworn her eardrums burst. Misty joined them for drinks later that night and Ash couldn't keep his eyes off of her and his mouth from smiling. As they were all leaving, the green-haired guy who was with May cornered Misty. This was Drew, May's soulmate.

He thanked Misty for giving May courage. Misty just smiled and shrugged. Drew glanced in the direction Ash and Gary had gone, whooping as they went, and then looked back at Misty. You should tell him, he said firmly. Misty was surprised. Drew admitted he could tell almost instantly, and May hadn't even told him. He also told her that he had suspicions that there was a chance Ash had her name too. Misty shrugged it off and gave her standard response, but this time it didn't feel quite like the truth.

This time when the crowd exploded, Misty screamed right with them. Dragonite had fallen and Lance had lost. Ash and Pikachu both looked so startled that they'd won that neither of them even moved. Lance didn't look that surprised and Misty figured he'd seen it coming. Finally, the former Champion returned his felled partner and crossed the pitch to greet Ash. The Pallet trainer finally moved, running towards his partner and crying out in amazement. Pikachu shocked him in excitement and Ash swept him up tightly. Misty's dearest friend shook Lance's hand, ecstatic and still in disbelief.

Suddenly, Misty felt like she was in the wrong place. She knew exactly where she should be. She got up and squeezed past Leaf and Dawn into the aisle and practically ran from the stadium. She navigated the halls of the Indigo Plateau with practiced ease and headed for the challenger's prep room. She ignored the protests of the security team posted outside and burst inside. Heart pounding, she waited.

She only stood there for two minutes before the door at the other end swung open and the crowd's uproarious cheering poured in. Ash Ketchum stumbled in, Pikachu perched on his shoulder, both of them smiling uncontrollably. When he spotted her, he froze. Pikachu seemed to tell something needed to be said between the two because he leapt from Ash's shoulder and darted out the door, leaving the two trainers alone.

Misty, feeling a bit like an overstretched elastic band, snapped towards Ash and threw her arms around him. Congratulations, she said again and again. He just hugged her back and whispered to her that he didn't have any idea what was going on. He had just become the Champion of their region and he wasn't even sure what he was supposed to do next. He pulled away and locked their eyes. He'd accomplished his goal, but now what?

Misty grinned. You get better and you work harder, she said firmly. We both do, he agreed. He was still looking into her eyes and Misty knew that she was long gone. There was never going to be another Ash to her and she was never going to get this opportunity again. Kanto, she said slowly. Ash blinked. The final round in the Indigo League the first time, she explained, that's when it happened. She finally showed him her wrist and he saw his own name etched there neatly.

Ash let out a sound that was kind of like a half-strangled animal. He wrapped his arms around her so tightly that she could barely breathe. Ash, she gasped out. He released her and sighed deeply. He confessed he thought that she wouldn't care and that he was crazy. He offered Misty his own wrist and to her surprise, her own name is visible there. Ash explained that it happened in Sinnoh when he was using her lure.

Misty felt like someone had just swung a sledgehammer into her. She was surprised and out of breathe but also strangely lighter. She laughed loudly at both of their stupidity and pulled him towards her. He didn't resist, but reached for her right hand with his own, bringing their names closer as their bodies did the same.

Author's Note: More Pokéshipping! I love Soulmate AUs, I really do. I'm so sorry I haven't updated Sand, I'm working on it, but I've been distracted by the amazingness that is the PJO fandom again lately and by a lot of Colosseumshipping stuff. I'm working on it. I swear. And my original story, I'm working on that too. Follow me on Wattpad nicolewrites37 if you're interested in that whenever it will come out. I'm also on Tumblr, and fairly active there, nicolewrites

Don't forget to speak up!

~ Nicole