Disclaimer: Pokemon is not mine. Never was, never would be.

On A Winter's Night

She strolled down the main street of Viridian City, her hands stuffed in her coat's pockets. It was already late at night, and aside of some homeless and drunk guys, no one was out in the cold. The homeless and drunk guys are always there, though, so they don't count. Does she? She didn't know nor care. She didn't feel like thinking about it right now.

She kept on walking, the street-lights flickering, as if to tell her she shouldn't be there- she should be back at the hotel.

She was in the city with her sisters for a meeting of all Gym leaders, but she decided that sitting in the lobby was just plain boring, so she went out.

She didn't know where she was going, but that's what made it all the more interesting. The cold wind blew harshly on her tender face, and she tightened the heavy coat around her.

She decided that it was too cold to be outside now, and raindrops began to fall from the clouds above. It seemed like the sky cried with her.

'It will be thirteen years today…' She thought sadly to herself.

She stopped walking and looked up on a flashing neon sign: Bar.

Yup, it sure is perfect now; to drown her troubles in an alcoholic drink, sway back to the hotel, and maybe even have a wild-drunken sex with an anonymous guy.

She dusted herself a bit, and then entered through the wooden doors.

The place was almost empty. A couple sat by a table, and a few young boys sat near a farther table, drinking beer like there's no tomorrow.

Next to the counter sat a fat, full with tattoos, guy. He talked with the barman, who cleaned glasses with a towel.

The barman… he was the most handsome guy she have ever seen. He had a ruffled jet-black hair. Seemed like he never saw a comb in his life. He was tall, and wore a pair of dark sunglasses. He reminded her of someone, but she couldn't remember whom.

'No!' She thought, scared. 'There's only one handsome guy I know! One! But it has been thirteen years without him…' She sighed again. Is she allowed to leave behind the past and move on to the future?

She's a young woman now, twenty-seven year old- not married, not in a relationship.

'I'm so pathetic…' She thought and shook her head sadly. Of course boyfriends came and left, but none were serious.

She sat next to the counter and whistled. "Barman!"

The barman turned his head towards her. If it weren't for his sunglasses, she would be able to see how wide his eyes became. He didn't move and stared at her.

She looked down at her self. She didn't wear anything…revealing. So what was he looking at? "What are you looking at?" She demanded.

"E…excuse me, ma'am," he stuttered and went over to where she sat. "Do you want anything?" He asked.

"Give me beer," She said, tapping with her fingers on the counter, as if she was in a hurry.

He cocked an eyebrow. "Which…beer?"

"Are you deaf?" She was now annoyed. "I asked for beer, so give me one!"

"Yes, but…" He glanced up at the bottles loaded shelves. "We have about ten kinds of beer here."

"Really?" Now she was surprised. Beer is a beer, right? So why the heck are there so many kinds of it? It's like cigarettes: Endless times she heard her friends arguing which kind is the best. She, herself, didn't smoke, but it was still somewhat interesting. She only figured out that the "Blue-Togepi" is the strongest and the "Red-Garydos" is the lighter. 'It's supposed to be the other way around,' she thought.

"Just give me the…" She searched through the names. "Cerulean Beer!"

This was a surprise. She didn't know that her city is making beer.

"I knew you'd choose it," The barman said quietly and gave her the glass.

"What did you say?" She asked.

"Huh? Oh…No! Nothing!" He answered quickly. "Six bucks, please."

"That much?" She asked in wonder and gave him the money.

He shrugged. "It's a good beer, so they say," he said simply.

"My, it is!" She said after a sip. Who could have guessed that her city is making such a good beer? "There's nothing like the Cerulean's beer!"

The barman chuckled. "Actually, it's from Saffron."

"What? Why is it 'Cerulean Beer' then?"

"How the heck should I know? Maybe they decided that 'Cerulean' is a better name for it." With that he kept on with cleaning glasses.

While the young woman drank, she felt someone tugging at her arm. She turned her head and faced the fat guy, who sat next to her. He smiled viciously at her. "Hey, babe," He said with a low, hoarse voice. His breath had a strong smell of Vodka. "Feeling like buying me a drink?" He winked.

The woman thought she was going to throw up and was about the slap that man, when she heard the barman talking in a soft voice. That voice made her melt. Argh! What's wrong with her? She can't think that way about him! Especially not today!

"Enough, Bob. Come on, I'll give you a drink on the house if you'll leave that woman alone."

Of course that Bob agreed immediately, and even moved to sit farther from her. Was it just her imagination, or the barman protected her right now?

The barman faced her and said, "You'll have to excuse Bob. His wife left him two days ago."

"Let me guess," she said sarcastically. "Because he's drunk and a cheater?"

The barman chuckled. 'He has the prettiest smile…' she thought. No! She's doing it again! She has to think of something else… fish! Yeah! Fish are good.

"No," he said. "Because his drunk and a cheater… and out of work for nearly two years."

She shrugged and took another sip. "Close enough."

At that moment, another man walked into the bar. The barman smiled as he saw him. "Mark!" He called.

"Heya!" The other man called back. She hoped he'd say the barman's name, so she'll know it. He wasn't wearing a nametag, for some reason.

"What's up, man?" Asked Mark.

"Living," the barman said with his devastating smile. "The usual?"

"Yup," answered Mark. "The usual price? I heard that the beer prices went up today."

"In twenty five cents, yeah." The barman said and gave him a glass of…some beer.

"Oh, heck! Can you do me a discount?" Mark begged, giving him the strangest, scariest puppy eyes she ever saw. "I don't have the extra twenty five cents with me now!"

"Well, okay. It's not that much money, anyway." Mark smiled and handed the barman the money.

They talked about sports, girls, money…Guys' stuff. After about thirty minutes, Mark got up, whispered something in the barman's ear and left the place. The young woman could see a shade of red on the barman's face afterwards. 'Why did he blush?' She thought. 'Probably because of what that Mark whispered to him.'

"So…" the barman turned to her once again. She just finished her beer. "What a lovely young girl like you doing in this bar so late at night?"

"Drinking my troubles away, like everybody else here," she answered.

"Not quite," the barman said. "I'm here because, as you can see, I'm working here. The young boys over there are celebrating a birthday, and the couple over there are celebrating a month together."

The woman giggled and handed him the empty glass. "You know everyone, I see."

"Sort of. That's what happens when you work in a dump like this for eight years." He smiled a sad smile, more to himself.

"That long?" She was surprised. No one she knew worked as a barman for longer than three years or so. "And you aren't getting a rise? A better position?"

"Just a temporary job so I can pay the college. Heh, and to think I wanted to be a Pokemon Master. It was such a shame when I discovered that even though I became one, I don't get enough money, so I began studying in a college." He responded with a sigh.

"Oh yeah? What are you studying?"

"Pokemonology," He answered, laughing a bit to himself. "Guess I could never give up on Pokemon. Such amazing creatures, you know?"

She nodded. "Hey, give me another beer, okay?"

He handed her the refilled glass. "Which reminds me- in two weeks I have to hand a paperwork about the Pikachu." He said.

"Probably hard…" she said quietly.

"Not really," he responded. "I used to have a Pikachu when I was younger."

Okay, now it was scary! He reminded her too much of…him.

"Really? Cool…My friend used to have one, too." She said, sadness filling her eyes.

He probably noticed this, for he asked, "Is something wrong? Why so sad all of the sudden?"

"Because…" she began. "Drop it, I won't bother you with my troubles." She chugged the beer down, her face reddening because of the alcohol.

"Why not? That's what everyone doing here, and that's what making this job interesting." He said and poured himself a glass of coke.

"You're a barman and you drink coke. How ironic." She giggled and hiccupped.

"I hate beers and such. They're too bitter for my taste," he frowned. "And who are you to talk? Look at you! You're beginning to lose it after only two glasses!" they both laughed. "So…tell me about this friend of yours."

His voice was coaxing. It was like he knew something and didn't tell her.

She sighed. "I met him when I was eleven. He was ten when I fished him out of the Viridian River, and was on the verge of an exciting Pokemon journey. He was so dense, those days long ago." She smiled at the memory. The barman frowned, but she didn't notice and continued. "I traveled with him. I went after him wherever he went, did whatever he wanted me to do. We had many adventures together. After about three years of traveling, we separated ways. I haven't seen him since. It was thirteen years ago."

"Too bad…" he said with sympathy in his soft voice.

"As the years passed, I fell in love with him. I loved his determination, his adventurous spirit, his love for pokemon, his will to sacrifice… He was such a good boy. Always helped others, sometimes even risked his life for them. His bond with his pokemon, especially his Pikachu, was amazing too."

"And you don't know where he is now?" The barman asked, curios. He took another glass and cleaned it.

"No," she answered sadly. "I don't know if he's dead or alive, Master or not…"

"Or if he's just a regular barman trying to make a living…" the barman added quietly.

"Did you say something?"

"No! Not at all!" He waved his arms frantically. This was a close one.

She sighed. They sat quietly for another couple of minutes, and then the woman stood up and paid him the money she owned for the beer. "I'll be going now. It's getting late, and my sisters are probably worried."

He nodded in understanding. She was about to step outside when she heard the barman's soft voice calling for her.

"Oh, and Misty?" She turned to face him. "Ash is just fine." He said, smiling at her.

She nodded and stepped outside, closing the doors behind her. Only then it hit her: 'how did he know my name? Or more importantly, his name?' She thought, panicked. This was getting scary.

She didn't want to be there anymore, and hurriedly paced up the street, back to the hotel. Suddenly, she heard a shout from the bar: "Ketchum! How many times do I have to tell you? Stop flirting with the customers and start working!"

'The beer is probably taking it's toll now,' she thought, her face pale. She wanted to check it, tough. She wanted to make sure.

She turned around and walked slowly towards the bar.

When she was inside again, the handsome barman was still cleaning glasses behind the counter. He looked at her, smiled, took his dark sunglasses off…and she gasped.

The same chestnut eyes, which stared at her sixteen years ago on the bank of the Viridian River, stared at her now once again.

"Ash!" she called happily, tears of happiness filling her eyes. She ran forward, her arms spread.

He laughed, jumped above the counter and ran back at her.

They hugged.

The End

Author's note: I'm sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Please, feel welcomed to review ^^;