Pairing: Ash/Misty

Genre: Humor/Romance

Rated: M (For Adult humor/situations and alcohol)

Prompt by: Guest Reviewer, Kasumi: "Oops, we slept together and now we're too afraid of talking things out because I don't know if she/he really likes me or hormones." (I also took a "the Hangover" approach because it made me laugh, and I needed to end and start the new year with a laugh)

Summary: Mistakes happen; maybe not all as big as sleeping with your best friend, but hey, what is new years about if not starting from rock-bottom? One-shot.

XOX

Alcohol was evil.

The opening line of every terrible error ever made, ever. Mix in a broken heart, sickness, beer goggles, the world spinning on an opposite axis, drinking more to feel better, washing it down with food and water, stumbling into broom closets, hanging with friends, royally screwing up somewhere along the way. Honestly, alcohol gave the proper, and most inviting mistake Ash Ketchum had ever made.

Sleeping with Misty Waterflower.

Why not just get it out there; he himself, staring down at the sleeping red-head couldn't believe it either. Couldn't beat around the bush, convince himself otherwise. It already happened.

Black hair a frayed mess on his head, clothes strewn about the god-knows what place hotel room he was in, and covers questionably wrapped around certain places that reminded him with friction how royally he screwed up. Actually, it could have been worse. He could have had a painful headache, stomach cramps, and a sore throat. Oh, wait. He had all of those things as well. Along with a nagging pain on his right calf, and a jabbing pain in his side—oh, wait, no, that last one was actually she-who-will-not-be-named elbow pivoting into his rib cage.

Blissfully, she snored, and Ash tried to think of the best way to get out of this situation without disturbing her. No immediate escape route jumped out at him, but he hoped one would come soon.

Saucer wide, brown eyes, Ash tried to quietly clear his throat. Despite the dryness of his mouth and the spinning motion of the ground and ceiling, he was still fairly focused on running away. First, he had to somehow untangle their limbs before any fleeing could be done.

One of her leg's wrapped around his, one arm propped over his chest with a thigh way too close to personal body parts she was not supposed to be anywhere near, and once more, the painful elbow jammed into his rib cage. Her face was right beside his, a constant reminder of his predicament because of the horrible morning breath she blew into his face.

Desperate, he tried to glance about, but his neck was stiff. He made a noise with his lips, hoping that maybe in this mess he wouldn't have lost pikachu—but the mouse didn't pop to his rescue, and then Ash thanked god that pikachu didn't, and swore at himself for wanting the mouse to be here. How in the world was Ash supposed to explain this to his best friend?

Yeah, don't mind me pikachu, I may or may not have slept with Misty—the problem is I can't really remember if I did or not because my head really hurts and everything is still kind of foggy, but could ya' lend a hand and bail me out?

Yeah, that would get him thunder bolted into the next room for sure.

Instead, Ash tried to gently move Misty aside without looking. Her skin was soft in the palm of his hand as he shifted her arm away from his chest with his one free arm. His left arm was currently pinned beneath her shoulder and had long gone numb. The tingly sensation was what probably woke him up in the first place.

Her hair was sprayed out above her face like a halo, and if he wasn't in such a panicked stupor; he might have paused to enjoy how pleasant and peaceful she looked. Her lips were gently pursed, swollen from things Ash did not want to think about, and her cheeks a nice rosy color.

Her make-up was smeared slightly, but since she hardly wore any, it wasn't enough to make her look like a melted wax-monster.

Ash shifted, and she stirred which froze him.

Don't move, don't move. He watched her face as she moved on her own, tearing away the jabbing elbow; Ash exhaled gratefully, but then winced all the same when that same arm twisted beneath his back, and tugged on him until her face was nestled against his chest. Strands of red hair tickled.

Shit. Shit. Don't panic. You've seen this maneuver before—on television lots of time—just...push here and-

As he was trying to free himself from her grasp, her eyes snapped open like a viper's; green, blood-shot eyes staring up at Ash's brown eyes. He smiled awkwardly.

"...ah...Hi...Misty."

Misty wasn't as calm when she observed the situation. She sat up against the sheets—letting them fall to her waist without much thought, revealing far to much that had Ash covering his eyes, and then immediately realized the horror.

She let out a scream that brought tears to Ash's eyes. Rolling, he fell out of the bed and held his ears. The ringing went on forever, an endless echo while he whined. Too. Much. Pain.

When he finally got the strength to sit up and stare across the bed at her, Misty had dashed away from the bed, taking the sheets with her and was bouncing in her frantic nature.

"What the fuck happened last night?!"

Ash threw up his arms.

"Stop yelling!"

"I can't!" Misty screeched and Ash winced. He shushed her and then added in a hoarse, muted voice.

"I don't know! I can't remember. My head is killing me! Just stop screaming for two seconds!"

Misty clamped down on her teeth, and then settled in for a long hard look at the raven-haired trainer who looked three times worse for wear than she did. His eyes had bags under them and he yanked his bangs out of his eyes to get a better grasp on his headache.

"It's not that bad...just..."

Ash gazed at her who stared blatantly back at him with lost eyes. Despite their situation, with the glow of the window behind her, and the creaminess of her skin, she was glowing and scarily beautiful.

He opened his mouth to speak, and the words caught there. Having caught his stare, Misty cowered into her blanket-dress further and scampered.

"I need to shower." Misty urged, bursting away from the situation with lightning speed, leaving Ash staring at the wall behind her. "...For sixty years." She added quietly with a slam of the door, and a click indicating it's lock.

Ash put his head down, listening to the water turn on and prayed for the world to stop spinning and his head to stop aching.

Great start to the New Year. Absolutely wonderful.

XOX

Twenty-four hours earlier

"C'mon Ash, you can't mope around the hotel room all day—it's the eve of the new year. Biggest party night of the year and you're in the Indigo Plateau where there are a parties being hosted by thousands of beautiful women," Brock, one of Ash's oldest friend, gestured with his hands to indicate the worthiness of the moment, smiling happily and shrugging his shoulders.

"So c'mon, whose a better wing man than me?"
Ash, sulking under his blankets, held a chocolate bar that Brock previously tried to bribe him with. Pikachu was seated at the end of the bed, sighing at his trainers behavior.

"I don't want to meet other women."

Brock groaned loudly, and threw down his arms, this time viciously tugging on Ash's blankets.

"Get out of bed you stubborn child!"

"I am not a child!" Ash shouted back, "I'm twenty-one and heart-broken, can't you just leave me alone!?"

"You're a drama queen!" Brock shouted back, successfully prying the blankets from the trainer, though Ash still curled into a ball and slammed his pillow over his head despite his retaliation.

"Okay, I'm gonna try to level with you again..." Brock inhaled. "She dumped you! Move on! Do you really want to start your new year crying over a girl that went with you to Christmas dinner at your mom's house, and then ripped out your heart two days later?"

This time, Ash sat up with puffy eyes and pouting lips.

"That was kinda mean..."

"Exactly—besides, you two only dated for a few months. You hardly knew each other."

Ash frowned. "We've been friends since we were kids."
"For the last time, Ash. Spending thirty minutes with each other when you were seven at a pokemon camp does not make you friends. You knew her for less than a year when you traveled with her and thought you could manage a relationship without talking for years! A relationship in which you only participated in part-time."

"Are you saying it's my fault I wasn't around?"
"No, I'm saying that she expected too much and didn't really know you if she expected you to dedicate all of your time to her—now, I'm going to ask you again. If you didn't pay attention to her when you were together, why do it now?"

Brock exhaled, crossing his arms with a shake of his head. Ash could tell that Brock thought his argument was flawless; but he was still unsure. Ash had never been broken up with, nor ever been told he favored his job over his relationship before. Not that it was a lie but... Serena was his friend and she wedged a dagger into his chest.

Frustrated, Brock let out another sigh.

"I swear you've spent more time with her now than you ever did when you two were dating."
Ash scowled, this time rolling his eyes. "That's not true." dejectedly, he exhaled. "I just didn't appreciate her like I should have..." He trailed off and Brock threw up his arms once more.

"Don't repeat her! For the love of..."

"Chuu!" the mouse pounced, electricity sparking, frying Ash and Brock and leaving them a crumpled mess on the floor. The mouse pounced on Ash, and let lose a few choice phrases that had him nodding and then standing on the sidelines with Brock, and arms crossed.

"See, Piakchu agrees with me." Brock adjusted his clothes and smoothed out the static in his hair. "Now, can we please go invest all of this depressing sulking, to partying like normal twenty-somethings?"

Ash hummed for a few moments and then grabbed his cap and nodded motionlessly.

"Fine; but I'm not interesting in women."

Draping an arm around one of his best friends, Brock led him to the door, laughing.
"The first step is admittance, buddy."

Ash brushed off Brock's friendly pat as they walked out of their shared hotel room, and into the fit of the New Year Celebration.

Every year, the Indigo League participated in several New Years parties that typically ran over into the last weekend of December, and into the first week of the January. They had festivals, battle tournaments, and of course; parties. Anyone who shared a seat on the league attended them; it was the perfect place for trainers of all ages to start off the new year. For the young-bracket they had games and festivities; for the teenage bracket they had safe carnival rides, fairs; advanced sections in league tournaments, and finally, for anyone over the age of twenty, and in most cases working for the league—they had parties and dancing and alcohol.

Nothing that Ash was interested in. He used to attend the festivities regularly when he was a teenager because of the amount of tournaments he could participate during the week, but since reaching the big two-zero, he neglected his duties as a Kanto native, and usually spent New Years with his mom. Unfortunately, the last year brought him into a line of success, operating as a pokemon specialist for the Indigo League, which gave him, and plus one, a free ticket into all of the planned events.

Originally, he planned to bring Serena with him; his girlfriend of a few months, but after she heartlessly dumped him a few days ago, he invited Brock in her place.

Sure, he could enter tournaments now, but given the bracket, people said it was 'unfair' to have a soon-to-be frontier brain, former champion of two other regions, and student in training to become a pokemon master in the battle line-up. Even if he used weaker pokemon, they informed him that he had too much battle experience, and it wasn't fair to the kids participating from over the world.

Yeah, well; when he was a kid, no one bat an eye if a champion joined a tournament with a bunch of newbies; it taught them respect, valor. Commitment.

"Earth to Ash." Brock waved a hand in front of the occupied trainers face, and Ash snapped back into reality and observed his surroundings. Brock led him to the first festival of the night; food stands and street performers.

Wait, food stands?

"Oh, look, Brock—they have fried squid!" and in a split second, Ash was gone from vendor to vendor, leaving both Brock and Pikachu in the dust.

"Chu..."

"I swear, for as much as he eats, I don't know how he manages to stay his size."

But at least he wasn't sulking in his bed in the fetal position anymore. Maybe now they could actually enjoy the all-inclusive passes that Ash received from the Kanto League now.

XOX

Every end of the year started like this for Misty, it was the last day to submit all of the paperwork that her sisters promised that they actually did, but never actually did, to the league.

Lucky for Misty, she smartened up over the years and only assigned Daisy, Lily, and Violet the least important tasks; like how much money they made on water ballets. Lucky for Misty, she kept that information at her desk just for this moment. With her time at the gym lessening, and opportunity to replace Lorelei as an Elite Four member rising, she had no room for screw ups.

Sipping a glass of wine she poured for herself, she sat back and smiled, clicking submit. Another New Year off to a great start.

"You work too hard!" Daisy shouted, disrupting her peace and running into her sisters hotel room.

"Excuse me?"

"It's New Years eve! Live a little!"

"Live a little?" Misty's eyes dodged to the window, where she saw a build up of frost; the festival of the Indigo League in the distance, and narrowed her eyes.

Like all Kanto Gym leaders, Misty was staying in a lavish hotel room paid for by the league in order to attend the annual league kick off. January first would introduce the changes, events, and celebrations in the new quarter, but also acknowledge powerful trainers and give out awards. Misty, as a future Elite Four member, was a recipient of one of those awards for her marvelous improvement and research regarding the growth of water pokemon.

Not only would she be announcing upcoming annuals, but she would receive one of the highest honors the Kanto Region could give to an aspiring Water Pokemon Master: the title of official water pokemon specialist. Years of hard work and schooling were about to pay off.

A red brow quirked.

"I'm not here for fun, I'm here to receive an award and participate lawfully in the announcements this year. I can't do that if I'm hung over."

"Oh, what good are all of these achievements if you have a stick stuffed up your butt? How are you ever going to meet someone? Who are you going to kiss when the clock strikes midnight? These are the things I worry about for you, baby sister."

Over dramatic much? Misty rolled here eyes.

"My hand."

Shifting across the room, Misty waved her hand in Daisy's face while she grabbed a water bottle from her mini-refrigerator. The sun had long since died under the horizon, and the years-end league bash was about to start in the contest hall. Her gym leader friends, Erica and Sabrina were supposed to be going; but Misty never made any promises.

As if waiting for a proper reply, Misty finally leaned against her nightstand and raised her eyebrows.

"It's just a stupid, justified frat party that leads into midnight. Usually there's a fight, someone always gets sick, they light the candles on the stupid tree and people wear ridiculous dresses. If there was something like a round robin tournament instead of half-drunk match-ups I'd be more interested in going; however, I don't feel like being bullied into participating in some drunken brawl to see who looks the prettiest and who finds the quickest hook-ups."

Daisy's eyes narrowed at her sister; wondering how they could ever be from the same family.

"Do you know how to have fun?"
"Yes. Nine to five Monday through Friday, and weekends only if I'm wearing protection." her voice reeked with sarcasm as she rolled her eyes and continued, "Of course I know how to have fun, Daisy. I just don't feel like making an ass out of myself in front of all of my future colleagues. Lance, Bruno, Koga, Agatha, Wallace and maybe Cynthia are all going to be there tonight. I don't want to be remembered as the red-haired-crazy-drunk outside of Marco's in Cerulean City, okay?"

"Oh, you're not that bad." Daisy waved off Misty's complaints, while the later deadpanned.

"Last year I pushed Casey into a frozen river and skated around without shoes on. The year before that, we were playing darts and I accidentally hit Rudy with one and we spent the New Year in the ER." Misty put her shoulders down, sounding totally rational. "This year, I just want a quiet, undisturbed start to the New Year."

"That's very mature." Daisy nodded, lips pursed as she kicked her legs over the armrest on the couch, showing off her sparkly silver shoes. "And dreadfully boring."

Misty shrugged.

"Where are Lily and Violet, anyways? Aren't they usually your destruction buddies."

"Since I've been dating Tracey, they don't think I'm as fun. You know, since I won't hit on other guys."
Misty stifled her laughter. "I'm sure Tracey would be happy to hear that though."

"Shame he couldn't be here..." Daisy paused for an unreasonable amount of time, letting the long sigh float from her lips. "...He would go to the party with me."

At that, Misty's shoulders twitched. Daisy licked her lips and sat up.

"But no... without you, I'll have to go all alone, around people I don't know...you know, you're right. We should just stay in tonight." Daisy kicked off her shoes, stooped her head low and sighed miserably waiting patiently for what came next.

"...oh..." Misty started, uncomfortable in her own skin. "Fine, but I'm not dressing up."

"But I already got you a dress." Daisy countered, her sadness seemingly vanished. Misty got played. Damn her soft heart.

"Fine, but I'm not wearing heels or putting my hair down."

"Deal. But you have to let me style the ponytail still." Daisy extended her hand in their arrangement, and Misty exhaled, then shook her life away.

XOX

For a league party, there was a lot more gyrating on the dance-floor than Misty suspected there would be. The main party room had dimmed lights, and blasting array of colors that melded everyone together. Misty stood frozen at the dance floor entrance while Daisy was already washing down her first glass of champagne. There were no battles—in fact, people suggested leaving pokemon at home. No candles, or trees, or stuffy old people.."

"Wow, it's way cooler than last year." Daisy hummed, stepping around a crowd, Misty was practically attached to her sisters hip, mortified by the craziness around her.

Now, Misty was a wallflower by no means, but she was far from a party girl. She liked to go out with friends every so often; partake in social events—but raging madhouses of lights were not her idea of fun—even more so when she saw respectable friends taking shots off of other peoples belly buttons.

"Could you like, not cling onto me?"

"Sorry Daisy, I just don't want to get lost in here."

"Oh, c'mon baby sister. Like, live a little-" Daisy froze, seeing someone from the corner of her eye, then a loud high pitched scream erupted that nearly burst Misty's ear drum.

"Like oh my god! I haven't seen you girls in forever!" Daisy screamed and Misty held her ear and looked horrified up at them. They jumped up and down frantically screaming at the tops of their lungs incoherently—worst of all, no one else seemed to care.

"Like, oh my god," One of the girls with an accent just like Daisy's fake one started in, watching Misty. "Your kid sister like, hasn't grown up at all—I mean, look at your shoes."

Misty looked past the royal blue dress her sister bought for her, that was cut above her knees, and long in the back, to her red sneakers she insisted on wearing, and felt horribly embarrassed.

"We're just kidding lil' red!" one shoved her upper arm hard, and while grasping at Daisy. The high-spirited women drug her through the mess of mashing bodies, to the center bar where people were serving alcohol and dancing in cages.

"Like try some."

The loudest girl shoved an acidic smelling drink in her face, causing Misty's nose hairs to curl.. She coiled back. Misty didn't even know these people!

"No thanks." Misty offered back and the look-alike scoffed her answer off, and gave the drink to Daisy who swallowed it excitedly and then they bounced up and down again, much to her avid horror. It was like the college parties in movies—only, she wasn't in college, and this was supposed to be a league event. The frat party thing was supposed to be a jab, not a reality!

Daisy promised she wouldn't leave Misty's side, but when her eyes wandered to the excitement around her, Daisy was already bounding off.

"We're going to dance, wanna come with us?"
"No thanks." Misty said again, robotic and terrified. Her nails were practically digging into the bar counter, Daisy shrugged and left her.

It didn't take long for her absence to be noticed by circling men, and one by one, the seats filled up around her; and Misty folded into herself, keeping her arms around her chest, and legs crossed over one another.

"Hey little miss, you drinking tonight?"

"No." Misty urged, she couldn't even make eye contact.

This was so far out of her element, she wasn't even on the periodic table anymore. She was in the middle of space, floating in an unknown destination with no chance of returning home. Daisy was lost in the mashing of bodies and she could either hunt her sister down, be picked off piece by piece by imposing eyes, or make a run for it.

The only slight coward that she was, she went for the latter, and made a dash from the bar stool she was seated on; only, without the tug of a stronger, more dominant woman guiding her through the mess of people, her efforts were toasted, and she was thrashed through the regurgitation of bodies and nightmare fuel until her back was up against the wall, and a strand of hair fell into her face.

Awestruck—she looked for any familiar face in the wave of moving limbs. The pounding music was getting to her head, vibrating through her body and heart and she used the adrenaline created by it to pounce. She needed to find a safe space—any safe space.

XOX

Ash wasn't fazed by the loud music, the terrible dancing, or the strobe lights. In fact, he found it average for the level of mayhem usually going on in his own mind. He and Brock managed the crowd well enough, shifting and busting a move when they had to, and making their way to the middle of the dance floor with questionable moves. Given their attractiveness, most people didn't mind their gawky movements, and found their awkwardness endearing.

A few girls circled Ash, but he laughed off their advances and stayed close to Brock, who was in heaven as they found the center bar.

"What can I get you?"

"Water." Ash answered automatically, and Brock stuck up his nose at the menu. "I want..." he paused. "I want... you know—hmm... I'll have a martini."

"And one martini." The bartender gave Brock a look, shaking his head as he slid Ash's drink to him.

"This is pretty fun, Brock! I'm glad you dragged me out of my bed for this."

"That wasn't sarcasm, was it?"

"No! It's been great! I ate so much food, and pikachu really enjoyed the rides."

"Shame he couldn't come with us."

"That's okay, he loves staying at the league provided daycare." Ash shuddered, sipping his water. "Usually he tries to make his personal army though, so I should probably pick him up before morning."

"Personal army?"

"Pikachu gets a little crazy with power." replied Ash, nonchalant while Brock's martini was placed in front of him. He twisted the olive, and then slurped it back, and sipped the deliciousness.

"Well, pikachu amassing his personal army or not, we need to find some ladies."

"Nah." Ash hummed, bobbing his head to the beat.

"We have to kiss someone at midnight, and while I'm sure girls would line up to kiss you, I need a wing man."

Ash's shoulders slumped. "But...Brock..."

"Oh shut up, Serena did not ruin all girls for you; now let's go!"

XOX

Brock wasn't wrong; Ash had a main protagonist, dark-haired, dark-eyed heroic aura, while also nursing a heartache—so women did swarm him when they moved into the lounge to sit around fancy tables and talk more privately.

That included people like Erica, scary Sabrina that still gave him the creeps; Koga's daughter, who he could never remember the name of; and a bunch of girls with pretty faces, nice dresses and grabby hands.

Brock owed him for this!

Ash swore if he had one more girl try to feel him up, he was going to have a melt down—only...

One, two, three bodies sat down. Two at his sides on the armrest of the chair, and a woman with long blonde hair on the corner of the coffee table that was in front of him.

"Ash Ketchum, my goodness! I never thought I'd see you at a party this size!"

Ash's brows raised, taking a few moments to recollect who this woman was. He looked to his right, then his left, and knew right away. He laughed nervously.

"Hey Daisy—I'm just here with Brock, he's.." Ash trailed off, looking over his shoulder as Brock's over-the-top display of affection scared away another potential date and scrunched his face. "He's...doing something."

"And you're sitting here, all tough and brooding," Daisy winked as Lily continued, patting his black hair.

"We saw you earlier! You sure have... some dance moves."

Ash pursed his lips. "I know I don't dance well-" Defensive, he added. "What do you guys want, anyways?"

He almost inquired as to where Misty was, but knew this kind of scene wasn't her bag. She was probably at the gym with her water pokemon.

Containing a depressed sigh, Ash wished that he was at the gym with her water pokemon right about now. At least she wouldn't drag him out of his comfort zone, into a swarm of people. She would let him sit on her couch with a blanket and hot cocoa, watching those sad chick flicks he only watched when he was with her—mostly because he couldn't justify watching them alone. He did have an image to uphold.

"We just wanted to say hi, you seemed so lonely sitting over here by yourself." Daisy insisted, looking over her shoulder at Brock's next sad attempt. "Shouldn't you help him more?"

"Nah, he does this every year."

"Harass people?"

"...It's not harassment. He just says too many nice things all the time."

"Nice things?" Violet's ears perked up and she slid off the side of Ash's chair. Lily was after her in a heart beat.

"You have had way too much to drink if you think that's a good idea." Lily barked, grabbing Violet before she could approach Brock. Both Daisy and Ash laughed, though the later immediately sighed.

Daisy pat him on the leg and smiled widely at him.

"Well, it was good to see you squirt!" She stood up, excusing herself and smoothing out her dress before pausing. "Oh, but if you do see Misty, would you let her know I'm sorry for abandoning her. By the time I got back to the bar she already ran for it—let her know I'm sorry and that Lily and Violet are here if she wants to go back to the hotel?"

Ash blinked what felt like a hundred times, if Daisy hadn't walked after her sisters in such a hurry, he might have questioned how they ever managed to convince Misty to come here of all places. Suddenly, he was looking around the lounge for familiar red hair. Misty was a much better wing-woman than Ash was, and then at least if she was here, they could make fun of Brock together, and the three amigos would be together for new years! That would be much better than some strange lady!

Ash stood up, walking around the lounge until he found the balcony, and of course, his eyes had to betray him.

In the people below, he saw blonde hair, pink dress alongside blue hair; red eyes, and long brown hair, green dress. He nearly threw up the water he drank earlier.

So she came anyways—one would think she would go back to Kalos after the embarrassment she caused him! Sticking around for his home-region's new years party was evil; how was he supposed to operate with her around? Ash looked down, sullen and depressed, and in sudden need to spiral out of here. She looked so happy, drinking and dancing with her friends; he probably looked like that, too. Only, it hurt him much more than it did her to see her that way.

No regrets.

She didn't care after all. She was the one who pinned over him for twelve years, and then broke his heart.

Ash kicked away from the balcony, rushing back into the lounge. He felt sick, and the rosy, smoky air was suddenly very suffocating as he fled the scene, leaving Brock without back-up in case of emergency. Hopefully, the pokemon doctor would understand, given Ash's current predicament.

Every hallway seemed to lead back to the dance floor, every door took him back into the lounge, and he felt like a rat caught in a cage—it was only when his wandering took him into direct confrontation with his ex-girlfriend, that he finally broke into a full panic.

"Ash—oh—wow, I didn't think you'd be here."

Then there was anger, and a lot of it, but he couldn't express himself, so he turned and walked away as quickly as his feet would carry him. Why wouldn't he be here? He worked for the league, it was technically his job to be here! She was the one that was supposed to go!

Just when he thought he was finally over this horrible downhill spiral of emotional agony—his hand brushed against the cold of a doorknob, and he threw it open after briefly reading "janitor" and tucked himself inside discreetly, away from the booming music, and smoke dispensers. He let his forehead slam against the closed door, and finally exhaled so loudly, the other body in the room piped in her two cents.

"What are you in here for?"
Ash recognized the voice immediately, turning to face green-eyes in the darkness. When he pulled the light switch, nothing happened. Once again, the voice answered.

"Yeah, that doesn't work... You're not a creep or anything, are you?" She asked immediately, and Ash scoffed.

"What? No way." He answered, trying to find a seat opposite of the voice; he found what he thought may have been a turned over bucket, and parked himself there.

"Don't think this is weird, but I'm going out on a limb." Ash cleared his throat, trying to adjust to the darkness. "Misty?"
"What's it to ya'?" She smacked her lips, listening to him shift around.

"It's me—Ash. Don't you recognize my voice?"

"Oh, hey." She sounded surprised, and a little embarrassed. "I didn't expect you to be hiding in a broom closet is all."

"Me? Forget about that, why are you even here?"

"Daisy tricked me."

"Ah—that makes sense." Nervous to avoid why he was sitting in here of all places, he immediately added. "She told me to apologize for her if I saw you—must have jinxed me then, because I was already looking for you—and ah—here you are. Hiding right under our noses, in the one place no one would ever look for you; except for me, I knew you'd be here."

He could practically hear the eye roll in her next comment.

"So... you knew I would be in a janitors closet?"

"Yep"

"Oh you are so full of shit." She countered and Ash deflated, his confidence shattered. "You couldn't find a red wall in a room with four of them, let alone me in a broom closet. Why are you really ducking the party? You live for these kinds of events."

Ash muttered his reply, sitting back and crossing his arms over his button tee-shirt and vest.

"Sorry, what was that?" Misty asked, blinking at him. Now that his eyes had adjusted, he could see that she was seated on some boxes of paper-towel, and was leaned forward eagerly to listen to him.

"I said." he cleared his throat. "Serena is here."
Misty shrugged. "Why are you avoiding her? Aren't you two dating?"

Ash got really, really quiet. So quickly that Misty knew immediately what had happened, and that quick retort and silver tongue vanished in an instant; it was a switch only Misty could manage.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. When did it happen?" Suddenly, she was reaching forward, her hand pat his knee—and he realized just how small the closet really was. Her voice was soft though, and a bit soothing.

"A few days ago... Right after Christmas."

"...That's harsh."

Glumly, Ash sighed reveling in the warmth brought by her hand. "Yeah, Brock said the same thing."
"Brock's here too?"

"Yeah, trying to find that New Years kiss."

"Oh, I hate that tradition." Misty scowled, Ash nodded his agreement. Misty returned to the issue at hand.

"She didn't fly home after...?"

"I figured she would, but I guess not. She ruined Christmas, she must be determined to ruin New Years, too."

"That's pretty harsh." Misty replied, then shifted a little. "Did you at least talk to her?"
"No, I saw her, ran away, bumped into her anyways and ran away again."
"Harsh." As if she couldn't say that enough! Yes, it was terrible. Ash brushed her hand off of his knee and rubbed his gelled hair.
"You're telling me..." Ash grumbled, shifting forward to lean on his arms. For once, he didn't feel like complaining about his falling out, and wiggled his eyebrows at Misty.

"Why are you in here?"

"I loathe huge parties like this. I thought it was supposed to be like some kind of ball, or sophisticated event, since it's being put on by the league, you know? So I thought to myself, it shouldn't be too bad. A few people get drunk, dance dirty, make a fool of themselves-Then I get here, and it's all booming music and flailing bodies and I'm the odd one out."

"The flailing bodies is the best part." he mocked her, and Misty rolled her eyes again, this time, he caught the shine in her green eyes.

"So, I bailed...I just... couldn't find the exit and I felt stupid wandering around back and forth so I ducked in here for a little while."

Ash pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. "How long ago was a little while."

"Give or take three or four hours."

At that, Ash laughed without restraint, but Misty remained silent as a mouse.

"That's awful." Ash chuckled, wiping at his eyes.

Misty smirked in the darkness: "Well, now I have company, so my plan worked!"

"You should be having fun out there."

"Yeah, well, so should you—but we're not."

A moment of sad silence passed, holding onto their thoughts, biting their tongues. What a way to ring in the new year—they couldn't even see the fireworks from here. Ash wracked his brain for something else to say, but he had nothing; no good words of advice, no confident phrase. So he gnawed his nail, and waited quietly until the wrestling of boxes drew his attention back to her.

"Come sit over here, it was funny that you were sitting on a wet paint bucket at first, but now I just feel bad for you."

"What!? Oh shit, Mist! These are the only good pants that I brought with me!" he whined, while she howled in laughter.

Patting his bottom on his way to sit beside her, she wiped at her eyes and snorted.

"I was just kidding—it was just water.. I think."

"Thanks." Ash scowled.

"You were the one that didn't notice." She laughed harder. "I sat on it for two seconds and realized it was damp."

"Maybe my ass isn't as sensitive as yours!"

"Pfft, it's way more sensitive! You're hiding in a broom closet from a girl."

Ash gasped, that wasn't what the meant! He raised a finger to her; ready to retaliate when the janitor's door opened once more, breathing light into their little cave. It hurt their eyes, but when they adjusted to the light, they felt their stomachs turn.

Two bodies, mangled together slammed into the shelves, and took their words away. Instead, Ash and Misty both disappeared into the hallway before the door shut, and listened for a few minutes before feeling dirty, and backing away.

"I don't even think they saw us."

Ash nodded, wincing at the door; then finally saw his long-time friend. He hadn't seen her in practically a year, her hair was much longer now, but still tied into a pony tail. She wore cascade earrings, and what little make-up she had was light and accented her green eyes, rather than muting them. Her dress was a well fitted, halter-top, royal or navy blue, it was some kind of blue, dress that cut before her knees, and had what Ash would have described as a transparent tail around the back. It fit her well, showing off more of her feminine charm, but also her broad shoulders and muscular build—signed off with something only Misty would wear to a party: red sneakers.

"Nice shoes." he said instead of replying to the strange assortment of events that pushed them back into the light. Misty spun at him, catching his eyes and sly grin and stuck out her tongue.

"Shut up Mr. 007." She playfully pushed his shoulder. "Black vest and white button up, black slacks and shoes to match? Something tells me you borrowed a few things from Brock."

Indicated accurate by the way she pulled on his shirt, and the shoulders were too wide for his smaller frame. Brock was built like a stone wall, whereas Ash had more of a lean build. He flinched out of her touch.

"Daisy only partially dressed you, huh? Otherwise you might have showed up in shorts."

"Please," Misty smacked her lips, then lifted her dress to show off her black, tight shorts. Ash's face flushed red, having expected something different that made his stomach flip.

She winked: "Don't underestimate me."

He whooped, doubling over while holding his stomach and shaking his head.

"Oh... I'm so glad you're here." Ash sighed in relief as she stood next to him, watching the party with her hand securely on the middle of his back.

"I'll go if you go."

Ash hesitated a minute, then smiled. "Well... we still have to find Brock—I hope he hasn't gotten himself thrown out yet."

"Then it's a date." She pushed him forward, still too nervous to lead the way. "After you."

XOX

When Ash was around, he somehow always managed to bring out the wilder side of Misty. She instantly grew more comfortable in her surroundings; whether it was because of security, or having a more reliable friend than her sisters; she would never know.

Ash was comfortable wherever he went; big party or private affairs—he typically stole the show, and his friends were okay with that, especially when Ash's athletic timing gave Brock props with the ladies that was instantly thwarted off by Misty's warnings. For a little while, as the clock ticked past eleven, they were friends having a good time, swinging into the dance floor; leaving the dance floor because Misty would nearly always get assaulted, finding the fun part of the lounge—with pool tables and darts; to sitting at the bar and watching Brock fall on his face flirting with women.

"...maybe if you'd start by ordering them a drink you weirdo." Misty criticized his attempts as he leaned against the bar and held his head

"But, what kind of woman doesn't like flowers?" Brock whined and Misty gave him a look while adjusting his tie.

"I don't even know why you're trying so hard, it's almost midnight, just sit back and enjoy it with us." Ash suggested, gesturing with his arms, but Brock exhaled.

"But that isn't tradition! I have to have someone to kiss by midnight."

"I'll do it if you pay me." Violet winked, coming around the bar, and standing over Misty's shoulder. The redhead blew a strand of hair out of her face.

"Violet, no."

"Awh, why not? He's cute."

"He's also my friend."

"Oh, we know Ash is off limits—but why not the other ones? Daisy is dating Tracey." She threw out there, and Ash sat up.

"Why am I off limits?" he asked, but the question was thrown away when Lily and Daisy both bounced over to their little sister. Daisy hugged Ash affectionately, and then arm-punched Brock.

"Your friends!" Daisy sang. "You found them, like, I'm so happy for you."

"Yep." Misty raised her eyebrows, looking between her sisters. "How much have you drank?"
"Not enough—have you had any?"

"No a sip."

"Really? Misty... It's new years." Lily suggested, and Misty shrugged.

"I'm not going to cave to peer pressure. The idea of throwing up and hang overs doesn't appeal to me like some."

"When did you stop having fun?" Brock asked, already eight drinks in; slightly buzzed. Misty crossed her arms.

"I'm having lots of fun." Misty offered, and Ash, still curious why he was off limits stared between all of them.

"But you'd have more fun if you drank." Daisy said, shoving her own blend of fruit and tequila in Misty's face, and she turned her nose up at it.

Ash, who had been dodging Serena all night, watching his feet to make sure he didn't step on anyone's toes, and minding his manners finally cocked his jaw to the side and waved over the bartender who smiled at Ash; everyone else watched in awe.

"Six shots of tequila, please."

"So the future champion finally breaks out the money—I dig. This one's on the house." the bartender nodded proudly, then pulled out six shot glasses, and expertly poured the drinks without missing a beat. Ash took one, Brock took the second, and then Misty's sisters took the remaining, with Ash offering her the final one.

She looked offended, a little alarmed, like all the controlling bombs went off in her head at once. "No."

"C'mon, Mist. If you get drunk now, you'll probably be violently ill by midnight, and then it's only up from there."

"Have you ever drank before?" She asked seriously, and Ash held his glass to his lips.

"First time for everything!" and he threw it back simultaneously with Brock, Lily, Daisy and Violet, and Misty watched in awe.

He slammed the glass back down on the counter and exhaled, shaking his head. "That is terrible." he coughed, but Brock pat him on the shoulder and ordered another round.

"It gets better the longer you drink."

Panicked, Misty held onto her drink, and looked around her again. Then, she focused on Ash, who said.

"Don't worry so much. It's okay to lose control sometimes. Besides, you're with friends."

Misty blinked, blissfully listening to white noise and then swallowed the drink and made a face as she flipped the glass over, and handed it back to the bartender, shaking her head.

Daisy, Lily, and Violet all cheered. "And the mighty have fallen."

Misty cleared her throat. "Shut up, you know I can out drink you." Misty turned to face the bartender, warding off the tequila and moving straight into ordering high balls and kamikazes.

"If we're drinking, we're doing this right."

"Oh, I love it when you finally unwind!" Daisy praised, pumping her fist in the air, and clinking all of their glasses together when Ash realized he might have bitten off more than he could chew. Misty tilted her head at him expectantly, and then it was bottoms up.

Unfortunately for both of them—the rest of the night was such a blur... they would have never imagined ending up where they did.

XOX

When Misty was finally out of the shower, she couldn't look at Ash. That was fine, because he couldn't look at his own reflection, or the ceiling, or, well, light. His face was buried in the pillows.

His head hurt so much.

Misty found the mini-refrigerator without effort, and threw a water bottle at him that woke him from his stupor.

"You need to drink more water. That's how you curb the hang over." She was racing around the room, staring at the clock. "Shit. Shit, shit." She whined, she had her first announcement in under an hour, and her head was still spinning. This is exactly what she didn't want to happen!

He sat up, holding his head. He managed to find his pants, that cleverly had a giant tear in the side of them, and watch her. Everything felt so wrong, he felt miserable.

"We're lucky we ended up in my room." Misty grumbled, rubbing her forehead, trying to recall how they ended up here. She had hangovers before, but none as blind and memory robbing as this. Ash never had a hang over, and his head hurt so much; he was perfectly fine with their predicament, whatever it was he was panicked over before was nothing he couldn't sleep on.

"Your room? This is your hotel room?"

"Yeah, my room." She shot back, no patience for his rhetoric. "Put your shirt on, I need to think."

"You can't think with my shirt off?" He grunted painfully, catching the shirt mid-flight. Misty paced again, her movements made his stomach churn. Somehow, he had a feeling, based on how dry and raw his throat felt, he had done his share of throwing up.

"I can't believe this happened. This is why I don't drink! We were having a normal party before the drinking and then this! God, I can't even remember what we did last night—or when we—or...or..."

Ash grabbed her wrist. She had to stop moving before he blew chunks.

"Yeah, I know, but could you sit still? You're making me dizzy." When his hand touched hers, lightning filtered through his veins and he remembered not-to-be-remembered sounds of ecstasy and his eyes boggled out of his head, staring up at her in complete panic. The pain temporarily subsided, and he frantically attempted to stand, throwing his shirt on as quickly as possible—inside out, and buttoned wrong.

"You're right, we really screwed up."

Misty, with wide eyes that seemed to linger just a bit below his waist, Ash fled.

"I need to shower!"
When the door slammed and he was gone, she couldn't breath. Her lungs physically hurt, and no oxygen could work its way through her airways. Ash had bits and pieces, but as her hangover was more flavorful in experience, she recalled far more of last night than he did and she stared wide-eyed at the floor, clutching the dresser behind her. She closed her eyes, it was wrong, but the sensation of his fingers running down...

Damn... damn, damn, damn, and no. Misty threw herself forward and started to strip the bed until her arms were tired and the thoughts burned out of her mind. She then raced for the balcony door, and yanked it open in a whip of violently cold, fresh air.

Then a subtle knocking that she couldn't determine was a faint rocking from her memory, or her own door. When she turned to look, she saw that it was her door. Misty searched the room quickly for any damning evidence that may have been left behind by their actions, threw the sheets in a knot by the pillows, then tossed the comforter over the top before marching to the door.

There was no one in the shower, she left it running. She was about to have a bath. Shit, her hair was wet. She was one of those weird people that had to shower first, and then bath for relaxation. Misty's nose curled as she peeped through the spy hole into the hallway, and saw someone she barely recognized. She unlocked the door, and pulled it open only a fraction of the way.

"Hey-" the blonde, blue-eyed beauty smiled. "I hope I'm not bothering you."

Misty's eyes shifted around, "I'm sorry, who...?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Serena, it's nice to meet you." She extended her hand to Misty, and Misty's eyes went wide and her poker face went into the garbage. Grateful for the door, Misty forced a smile.

"Can I help you?"

"Again, I hope I'm not bothering you. I asked the hotel manager which room you were staying in... I just—well."

This was Misty's personal hell. She was stuck in one of those horrible chick flicks—not the ones that had heart and a story, but one of the dreadful ones that her sisters enjoyed. Pack full of raunchy sex and bad filler.

"I saw you and Ash hanging out last night and... well, I wanted to tell him that I was sorry last night, but I got the feeling he was avoiding me." She shrugged innocently, and offered a very sweet smile. "I was sort of hoping you knew where he was?"

Misty felt a shiver run down her spine. Honestly would have her burned at the stake, lying would have many consequences. Misty frowned, and shook her head, regardless.

"Uhh.. no, we broke off around midnight..."

"Really?" Serena blinked. "I saw you guys around four at the carnival. Ash was trying to fish for a prize... you guys saw me, he threw a giant magikarp at me...and you guys ran away."

Misty tried to imagine that, she really really did, but the more she tried, the more ridiculous it sounded.

"I uh.. I don't remember that."

"Really?"

"Nope. Are you sure it was us?"

"I'm pretty sure... so you don't know where he went after that, huh?"
"Nope. Maybe try Brock?"

Hope returned to her eyes. "Brock! That's a great idea, thank you!"

"No problem, you...uh, go get 'em." Misty pumped her arm in Serena's direction, and when she was sure that Serena was disappeared into the hallway, she slammed the door, locked everything including the bolt, and then flew into the bathroom.

Without breathing, or pausing, she screamed: "SerenawasjusthereandshewasaskingwhereyouwereandItoldhertoaskBrockandIcan'trememberifheknowsanythingorhowwegotherebutapparentlywewereatthecarnivalatfourand... Oh my god you're not wearing pants."
"I just got out of the shower!" He retaliated, holding a towel over his private parts the instant she burst in. "Breath when you talk!" he shouted when she shut the door between them.

"Serena was just here!" Misty shouted, clearly and this time Ash opened the door to peek at her.

"She was?"

"Yes!" Misty added, grasping the sides of the door.

"What did you say..?" he asked weakly, and Misty threw up her arms.

"I lied, of course! She was talking about how she wanted to apologize and was looking for you and so I lied and said I didn't know and that she should ask Brock."

"Great, that's great—so! We just have to call Brock and.." he looked down at himself, then back at her.

"I might have some sweats that will fit you." Misty turned away quickly, and dug through her bag. She was wearing jeans and a long sleeved tee-shirt; her hair was still wet and over her shoulders, but she still managed to look so dainty and pretty. Ash tried to pry his mind from that thought, and focus on the positive.

Serena probably stayed in town because she wanted to make-up with him! He cheered for himself, and then when Misty handed him a pair of her old sweat pants and a baggy tee-shirt, he tugged them on. The sweats were a little short on him, and the baggy shirt was tight against his toned features, but it left nothing to the imagination—which was bad because when he returned from the shower Misty pointed at him simultaneously as he pointed at her.

"Your neck." they said in unison, and Misty grasped hers and turned around to look in the mirror. Ash looked into the slightly fogged mirror of the bathroom and placed his hand over the bruises. They were all over his chest, too.

"I can't go out like this. I'm announcing the first quarter. I'm going to be on national TV with hickies all over my neck." She threw a coffee cup with one hand out of frustration and then turned at him.

"We need to fix this." She warned him dangerously, and Ash put up his hands.

"We will—we just...first we need pain killers, second we need better clothes. There's a shop just around the corner, right?"

Misty narrowed her eyes dangerously.

"How did you know that?"

"I dunno, spots in my memory?"
"How are we going to get from here to there?"

Ash looked over her shoulder, and grabbed the bath robe hanging in her closet, and threw it over his shoulders.

Misty shook her head.

"You wait here, I'll be right back." Misty said, turning to grab her jacket and scarf, which made much more sense, and then pat Ash on the shoulder. He moved aside and she looked for her wallet—which she couldn't find. Noticing the dilemma, Ash tried to help. Laying down offered the temptation to never get up again, when he checked under the bed, he found a multitude of things: her bra, her purse, which he held up for her to grab, and listened to her mutter a quick 'thank you' and disappear into the hallway—and while he was down there, he grabbed a piece of paper that he instantly put back on the ground, sat back up and stared wide-eyed into nothing.

What the fuck was drinking, and since when did it have such major consequences?

XOX

Misty raced from her room, looking through her purse. A phone that wasn't hers was stationed there, tickets to some chapel, and raffle tickets for the carnival there. The were time-stamped just after three, and according to Serena, they stayed there until four. It was a quarter to ten now, which meant they were missing the time between eleven and three, and four until nine. Nine hours, poof. Gone.

At least some of those were spent playing the twosome wrestle, and another getting so wasted they were both struggling with damning migraines and memory loss. Misty's stomach was tied into so many knots, she wished she could have stayed in bed for another couple of hours, but since that bed was also occupied by Ash, she would weather the sickness and headache. Thankfully, her feet refused to betray her unlike her heart.

It wouldn't stop beating or recalling or sending strange vibrations down her body. Stupid emotions. Stupid New years.

"Mis-MIsty!" Misty recognized Daisy's voice instantly, and she bounced from one corner of the building to her, where she was trying to leave incognito.

"I thought you'd be up already. I knocked at your door earlier, but no one answered. Are you ready for you speech? You drank way more than I thought you would last night." concern. Daisy was actually concerned; though this was mostly her fault!

Misty turned to Daisy with a sharp eye.

"Next time I say no, I mean it." and she whipped back around, and left, leaving Daisy confused and scratching her head.

Ash's memory didn't fail him, there was a clothing shop around the corner—the only problem was that it wasn't open. She put her head against the windowed door, and then kicked at the door before going around the side to look if there were any other shops available that would sell men's clothing. Misty walked back and forth—then stopped at a billboard sign; and her face went snow white.

In large, red writing; spray paint not required was the phrase: "A LOVES M." surrounded by a huge heart—and one lonely guy up there, trying to scrub it off of the face of the most recent league champion of the region.

Misty stopped to look around, lucky for her, no one recognized her face, but she looked down at her hands, then looked back up at the sign, and then retreated. Now her heart definitely betrayed her. This was more than just a drunken mistake. This was a nightmare born of flares and dramatics—how could Ash do this?!

Defeated, she raced back into the hotel room, to find Ash had already dressed back into his normal clothes, but rolled his pants up; where that painful culprit of the tear was a big, ugly cut, slightly stitched by novice hands. His hands were on his hips, and he was as mortified as she was when they made eye contact.

"We need to talk." They both said, but it was Ash who held up his hands first, which were slightly stained red. Misty's heart swooned, but her stomach was sick.

"I found something questionable earlier when I was looking for your purse and..." While he was talking, Misty approached the curtains to the balcony over looking the city, and ripped them open while he was mid-sentence to see the billboard that stopped her in her tracks.

"...oh dear Arceus." Ash muttered, staring at it wide eyed. Misty looked back at him with the same expression, and they met mid-way until Ash backed up, snatched the paper he tried to forget about, and held it out for Misty who looked at it, and threw it down with a quivering lip.

Fitfully, they both shouted:

"How drunk did we get last night?!"

XOX

They were sitting at the cafe, having shared a bottle of ibuprofen, and waiting for death. Misty still had a speech at eleven, Ash still had to attend the award ceremony, but he probably wasn't going to. They were both ruined.

Quietly they sat there, sipping the darkest coffee imaginable, even Ash, who usually preferred sweets sipped in hopes that it would curb the headache. Neither of them ate, their stomachs couldn't be trusted, and Misty was already on the border of throwing up from an anxiety attack.

"We need a plan."

"Right." Misty swallowed her coffee and cracked her neck. "We run away and disappear for a few years."

Ash snickered, but put his head down. He couldn't disagree.

"Well, at least we didn't get married." Ash chuckled, trying to make the best out of the situation. "That could have been pretty bad."

"Worse than signing a legal document as a witness to Violet and Brock's wedding?"

Ash put his head back down. "At least we have all of our limbs attached."

"Grateful for the small things." Misty muttered, holding the coffee beneath her nose to take the entire scent it. Usually, it calmed her nerves, made her relax...right now, it made her sick to her stomach, she slammed her drink down.

"You need to talk to Serena."

"I do, and you know... it's not like it was that big of a deal, last night. I mean, neither of us remember it, so that means...maybe it didn't happen?"

Misty gave him a look that refuted his nonsense. She licked her lips and raised her eyebrows, and quietly exhaled.

"It doesn't work like that, but whether or not we had sex shouldn't deter us from our duties. We were both really really drunk and clearly beyond rational thought; so I don't think it would be bad to put it behind us, and pretend like it never happened."

Ash snapped up, and clapped his hands together. "Yes! That one. Let's do that."

"Great, then it never happened."

"Never happened."

But when he looked at her, it was like looking at a completely different woman. Woman he wondered when Misty became that in his eyes. A bit ashamed, he looked away from her, and let the silence eat at him until she excused herself for her speech.

Ash looked at the clock; and realized it was about time to get Pikachu from daycare. The mouse was going to be furious with him for leaving him over night; especially since Ash didn't have a valid reason because he was never going to tell another living soul about what happened.

Oh well—it was all uphill from here, right?

XOX

Pikachu wasn't happy, and he made sure to let Ash know when he went to pick him up that morning. The entire walk back to their hotel room, Pikachu swore at him about the infant pokemon, and the complete animals that ran the place. He complained about the sleeping arrangements, and all Ash could do was apologize.

"I'm sorry, buddy. I just... fell asleep. I drank too much." He added as an after thought while Pikachu sniffed the air and narrowed his beady eyes at Ash as they entered the hotel.

"Pikachu-pi, pikapi?" He questioned, and Ash cleared his throat.

"What? Well, yea, of course you can smell her on me, we hung out until super late last night." Ash winced at his own lie. Pikachu wasn't going to believe him. In fact, he believed him so little, he tugged on the small part of Ash's hair that covered his neck and smacked him for lying.

Indiscreetly pointing out the marks, Ash covered them with his hands, and shushed the pokemon.

"Not so loud!"

The mouse deviously grinned with suggestive, bouncing eyebrows. "Pikachu-piiiii?"

"No, it's not like that! It was a mistake. To top off the rest of the things that went wrong last night! Now, we have to go find Brock—he screwed up more than I did."

"Chu?" the mouse asked, uncertain it was possible for such a thing to happen.

"You just wait, buddy... you just wait."

But neither of them wished that they had.

"Brock! That's Misty's sister!" Ash screamed into the darkness of their shared room, turning the lights on. Brock and Violet were snuggled into bed, probably doing questionable things before Ash burst in.

Violet pouted at Ash, covered to the neck with blankets.

"So? She gets me." Brock countered, love drunk.

"And he's a great cook." Violet winked at Ash who stepped back

"You two do remember that you got married right?"

"Well, yeah. You and Misty were the ones who wouldn't put the bottle down. We were totally prepared for our decision."

"...kay." Ash stared at them, "I'm... I'm just gonna grab my bag and go..."

"Hey, man, it's all good." Brock nodded to Ash and the raven-haired trainer collected his stuff, and then backed out of the room, and shut it quietly.

"...Chu, pika chu pika."

Ash looked questionably at Pikachu who sat on his shoulder looking at the closed door.

"Really? That long? I give them a week."

"Pikapi pi." The mouse agreed and they walked out feeling like stumps on a log. Needless to say, Serena probably didn't get a hold of Brock yet.

XOX

The good 'ol pokemon center. It always knew the many ways to cheer Ash up. From the way each room was exactly the same, to the poor shower quality, the squeaky mattresses, the chairs and tables that were extremely uncomfortable, and the old dinosaur televisions. It reminded him of his childhood; of simple times.

Well, at least he hadn't whined over Serena at all today, especially if she was trying to find him.

Which, reminded him... he dug through his trousers from the day prior for his cellphone, which was lost on him—and instead, found a box.

More exactly, a ring box. An empty ring box. For a second he shuddered, felt a pang through his heart, and inhaled sharp.

"Must be Brock's—Has to be Brock's." Ash urged, setting it aside. His phone was no where to be found; but that was okay. He had Serena's phone number memorized; surprisingly, when he sat down to call her, his fingers wouldn't dial the number. He held the phone up to his face, staring down at the eleven o'clock time while pikachu watched his trainer quietly, and then placed the phone back on the receiver and grabbed the remote.

He flipped the channel to the Kanto Battle Network and staring back at him was the endearing, feisty red-head, wearing a scarf and jacket because of the weather—and for reasons other than that. He hair whipped in the wind as she delivered the annual announcements for the beginning of the quarter, unlike her greatest fears, she didn't stutter or make a fool of herself; regardless of the hangover, she was as professional as ever. When the Champion, Lance stepped forward he kissed Misty on both cheeks, who scrunched her nose at him, and he gave her a short applause for her eloquence.

"It's a tough time, new years. Every year we make new resolutions, plans to start over, to change things we didn't like last year. But we must also remember those who have worked exceptionally hard over the last year. Here are the recipients of awards after their dedication last year."

At that moment, whoever the camera guy was zoomed in on Misty's face, and Ash coiled the remote into his hand and held it close to him, staring doe-eyed at her image as Lance read off the title that Ash, himself, earned only a few years prior.

"Our newest Water Pokemon Specialist and Elite Four member nominee and the wonderful speaker this morning: Misty Waterflower."

Misty, trying to fight the grin on her lips walked from her line-up at the back, shook hands with Erica on her way, and approached Lance to receive the official document, and get a picture she was sure to wink at the camera for.

Ash felt his heart sore, and while there was still a faint drumming in his head, and his stomach was empty; it felt full of something. He smiled, watching her step back to allow her fellow gym leaders the same opportunity to be appreciated, high-fived a few of them on their way up and then stepped forward again to end the ceremony, and kick off the new year with the first battle tournament of the season.

When they cut away, back to the news casters, he felt very cold and empty. He clicked the television off, and then shifted forward to stare at his hands which he only realized now where still slightly painted.

"Chuu?" The mouse questioned, sitting in Ash's lap.

"Yeah, I know buddy." Ash muttered, scratching pikachu's back. Ash rose, grabbed a change of jackets, and stomped out of the room with pikachu on his tail.

Ash had to talk to Misty, this wasn't some small event they could brush under the rug, or pretend never happened. It was overly cliché, but they shared something. Ash's mom always said alcohol made a person more honest, and they sure shared a lot of...something.

Turning the corner into the lobby, his thoughts were torn out of him by a shrill voice, a hushed whisper, and Serena approaching him from across the way.

Oh, great... just what he needed.

" I thought I would find you here." Serena smiled, hugging him affectionately. Ash kept his hands up, and lips locked in a frown. Noticing his odd behavior, Serena backed up and offered him a kind smile.

"I tried to talk to you last night, but you seemed pretty busy."

Unable to find the strength to speak, he blinked instead. Serena scratched the back of her neck.

"When you ran away from me at the party last night... I felt really bad..." She glanced, lips pursed. "It's a new year, I don't want you to be upset over me!"

She laughed nervously. "I didn't break up with you to hurt you—we..we just don't fit!"

"I know." Equally as surprised by his answer as she was; Ash's brows furrowed and he regained his ability to speak.

"I mean, I didn't know it before, and I was actually really upset about it but—you know. I shouldn't start the New Year off upset." Ash said, patting Serena on the shoulder, relieved it wasn't a confession of some sorts, asking for him back.

Relieved. Ha. If Ash could tell himself twenty four hours ago he would be relieved of all emotions when Serena didn't beg for his forgiveness, he would surely laugh at himself.

"So we're okay? We can still be friends."

That one, Ash had to consider carefully. "Ahh, friends... someday." he laughed nervously, and then hugged her.

"But, I have somewhere else I'm supposed to be, so—uh, Happy New year?"

Serena gave him a slight arm pump of appreciation. "Happy New Year."

Ash was off without missing a beat. He wasn't sure what he was doing, and running was not a good idea because he was three steps in and started heaving while Pikachu pat his back, but he was definitely going to do something. That something was what made his stomach burn and head fuzzy. Made the knots of fear feel like knots of pleasure. That something he was missing and avoiding was something Misty had—he just had to figure out what it was.

Part of him already knew, but he wouldn't cave to it until he knew for sure it was reciprocated.

XOX

In a dark lounge in the league headquarters a few blocks from where the announcements were made, and the matches for the New Years battle tournaments were starting, Misty held a bag of ice to her head. Proud of herself; she kept it together despite the bright lights, or her stomach violently turning. She threw up for the better part of the morning following her speech—but that was routine hang overs for her.

Her throat was hoarse, and she sipped water gingerly in attempt to curb stomp the headache. Part of her wondered if Ash was as miserable as she was—but another part didn't dare even think his name. If it took years to move on from a childhood crush on that ridiculous trainer, she was in a world of hell if she thought this was going to be cured after one coffee and saying it didn't happen.

Like hell it didn't happen! Her body was still marred with the fragments of their ordeal. She was bruised from running a ruckus through the festival, aching from throwing up, and sore in all the right spots below the waist. Not to mention the purple splotches on her neck. She wasn't going to be able to look into a mirror for a week, and it was all turtle necks until then!

Worst of all, Ash was probably standing with Serena some where, once again reigning in the New Year exactly where he was supposed to be, and not making a complete mess of things alongside Misty. She was the only one starting from rock-bottom, so just like Ash said, it could only be uphill from here.

When the door to the lounge opened, she grunted a hello to whomever it was until a light fluff ball of yellow pounced onto her stomach and she sat up with a jerk.

"Bad pikachu, don't just on me right now." She groaned, brushing him off at first without surprise, and then immediately jerking backwards when she recognized what that meant.

Standing across from her in the small room was Ash Ketchum, having taken off his stupid cap, tucked it behind his back, and blinking questionably at her.

He looked around, there was no one around, and all the lights were off. He would be lying if he said it didn't help his hangover.

"What are you doing in here?"

"Avoiding direct sunlight." Misty answered, wincing as she adjusted to having pikachu in her arms. "Why are you here? I thought you were ditching league duties today."

Ash scratched his neck and made a face while approaching her. He very awkwardly took a seat beside her, all gawky movements and crossed his arms.

"Yeah... but I have no where else to be, and Brock has pretty much taken over our hotel room."

Misty snickered at that, watching his movements carefully. Good. He was as uncomfortable as she was.

"Violet's there, isn't she?"

"It's just so weird."

"I give it a week."

Ash laughed dryly. "I said a week and a half."

Misty snorted.

"You don't know my sister. She's as flaky as a kid with dandruff."

Ash winced. "That's gross, Mist."

"Eh, I blame the hangover. Apparently all of my good analogies are lost to the void of space that was last night."
Ash waited a few beats before asking the burning question. "So...uhh... do you remember...anything?"

"Not enough to write a book about it." Misty put the ice pack back on her face to hide her expression from him. "I remember bits and pieces. Trying to win at those stupid carnival games, and watching the fireworks. Parts of Brock's-" she shuddered, "-sham wedding. Really, it's just a mess. It'll probably come back more as the hangover wears off."

"You think so?"
"Oh, yeah, it usually does. The cool thing about hangovers is that it's like reliving stuff that you actually didn't do—so it's like memories that are more like movies."

"You sound fairly experienced." Ash grinned slightly and Misty shrugged.

"This unfortunately wasn't my first black-out rodeo. A few years ago Daisy and I put together a version of an under-water nut cracker. The entire cast was well-meaning schools of fish. When we recorded it, it seemed funnier at the time..." she trailed off, thinking of the memory, then shook it off. "I don't have the greatest track record."

"Thus the non-drinking."

"Precisely." Misty smiled at him, that glowing smile that made his heart melt and stomach hurt more than it already did. "But that's okay, this year definitely marks the worst—so like you said, it can only be better from here on."

"The worst?"

Misty inhaled, then closed her eyes. Pikachu, feeling the discomfort, crawled off of her while she adjusted herself for the confession. The light on her face faded and she was dark and gray when she answered.

"I slept with my best friend, and ran rampant through the Indigo League, publicly marred a billboard, signed off on a sham wedding between my sister and oldest friend, and probably broke into a carnival and apparently did some questionable things that Lance asked about this morning—so yes, socially and emotionally, this is the worst New Years yet and I'm frankly not too excited to remember all the little bits and pieces that are escaping me right now."

Ash wasn't sure how to reply, he wasn't expecting such raw honesty and emotion. She seemed genuinely disturbed by her actions. Now he felt a little guilty that he thought she would just laugh the whole ordeal off. It made coming here all that more important.

"...I mean... I can't say that it was all bad... I remember some of the better parts."
Misty sat forward, challenging that statement. "Really? Like what?"

Only, when she sat up, his lips met hers before she could retaliate. Brushing her hair behind her ear, he ran his fingers through her hair, while cupping her neck and chin with the other. Tenderly kissing her in a way that made her eyebrows knit, and entire body shiver, she leaned in, arms glued to her sides and the buzzing memory looping back to her when he pulled away. Eyelids partially slit open, she watched him leaned in to peck her lips once more for good measure; then grin that stupid half-grin and chuckle. Her eyes slipped closed.

"Remember?"

They had been dancing with the rest of the group, since Misty had finally loosened up. They lost Daisy and Lily to the bar, but Brock, Violet, Ash and Misty were mostly just throwing their arms around to the beat of the music when the countdown to New Years began; there was no one else around.

Violet kissed Brock prematurely, before her sisters could stop her—not that any of them cared enough to now, but when Ash looked at Misty; she looked right through him and it shook him to the core. She took two steps forward, brushed her right hand against his cheek, then wrapped it around into his hair, the other delicately pressed against his neck, and then she brought his lips to her own, kissing him tenderly the very second the disco balls fell and the lights kicked back on in a vibrant display. When she pulled away, his eyes were lowered to a slit, and then she leaned forward, and kissed him again.

She winked. "For good measure."

When she opened her eyes, she was staring at him again, licking her lips. The rest of the night fit together in pieces; their drunken stupor started there, but ended at her hotel room. They ate food, threw up for a few hours in random bathrooms; followed Brock and Violet for a probably-not-legal and pricey wedding, and then well.

The rest was history.

She hugged him immediately; forget the kissing or anything else, she just needed to feel his arms around her again. The way his body fit so neatly against hers was magical. She leaned, and kissed his neck then squeezed him tightly.

An affectionate moment that was usually lost on Ash, he snuggled into the oddly familiar scent of her hair, and pressed his lips against it.

"See... it isn't rock-bottom."

Misty was about to protest when he squeezed her harder. "There were a million ways this could have ended horribly for the both of us."

"I mean, if you hadn't been here, Serena might have been and well—dodged that bullet."

Misty tried not to let her elation show, but he felt her up-turned smile against his chest when she spoke. "Dodged a bullet?"

"Yeah, according to her we don't fit." he nudged Misty gently, implying that they did fit.

"So...I'm rebound?" She chuckled and Ash frowned.

"You're never rebound—just a first choice hiding in plain sight."
Misty chuckled. "Your mom always said alcohol makes you honest."

When they pulled apart Ash held up his faded red hands and laughed embarrassingly. "I'd say it does a little more than that."

Misty covered her lips with her hand. "We probably shouldn't drink for a very long time."

"At least not until the headache goes away."

Laughing, and finally in good, comfortable company, they cuddled on the sofa in the lounge quietly, until a subtle ringing emerged from her purse that forced her to groan. She sat forward, and snatched the device out of her hand-bag, to which Ash immediately snatched.

"My phone!" he cheered, turning off the noon alarm.

Misty turned up her nose at him. "Why do you have an alarm set for noon?"

"Lunch." Ash answered nonchalantly, unlocking his phone only to immediately set it down as if it caught fire. He tucked it away from Misty and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her head in close to his chest to thwart off what he imagined was going to be unimaginable rage.

"What?"

"It's nothing—just remember that A loves M and don't worry about it."
Misty inhaled and pried herself away from his body, glaring at him. "What's on your phone, Ash?"
"Nothing important."

She took it from him, nearly scratching him with her nails, and looked down to what he made his screen saver and her face turned beet red. She immediately set it down.

"You're a pervert."

"I am not!" Ash replied, equally as red while pikachu put his ears back. Humans were so weird. "You're just as bad as I am, you were clearly posing!"

She hit him to keep his fingers from collecting his phone, and begrudgingly opened the photo gallery which started with the first major event of the night: Brock's wedding. It was in some small chapel where the dress didn't fit right, and Brock and Violet posed aggressively for pictures. Ash and Misty took a large amount of blurry selfies, some of them kissing, some of them smiling with Brock and Violet—there was one of them with Brock and Violet with the writing "just married" written on the bottom of the photo that Ash decided was a great picture to share all over their social media accounts.

"Well." Ash muttered, but it didn't stop there. They jumped a barbwire fence to get into the carnival they had free passes for, Ash cut his leg, they had pictures of them breaking into the first-aid building because he hurt himself after they were closed. Ash took grotesque pictures of Misty trying to stitch is wound and laughing like a maniac before the wrapping and binding turned into fondling and grinding.

Misty swiped as quickly as her fingers would move through the section of questionable clearly accidental photos that made her face feel like it was on fire, until they returned to the normal antics that had them playing with fire, buying spray paint trying every carnival game, riding rides, getting violently ill—and finally Misty recorded the very moment this entire night spiraled into chaos.

Ash was tied with rope and cables and Misty was watching as he shook a spray can and painted over the billboard that they probably knocked the lights out on. They could both hear her maniac laughter and Ash rambling on and on about how much fun he was having and Misty screaming with laughter and shaky camera movements.

"I love you, too!"

Sitting on the couch both Ash and Misty stuck up their nose, but Ash looked at her. She had pursed her lips stubbornly as the rest of the poorly taped video recorded Ash bounding down from the billboard, Misty helping him untie his ropes and the tiniest bit of the phone's camera that she had clutched in her hands catch a glimpse of Ash's full-swoop kiss.

The next few pictures needed to be burned along with the phone, but probably like he had last night, Ash removed the phone from an unsuspecting Misty and tucked it away into his pocket before she could protest. Her face was so red, she looked like a magikarp and it was far too cute not to kiss her once more.

"Delete those or I break your phone."

"You have to get it first."

Misty reached, but he caught her hand, guiding it someplace other than his phone, but close enough.

"Oh, that is not appropriate!" She whined, but didn't move away. The heat from her face practically burned away the headache left over from the night prior, and he chuckled deep and affectionately.

"You know... I think I have an office in here somewhere."

Ash practically wailed beneath him, and he felt so giddy to hear her so embarrassed. His face flushed red.

"Just give me your phone!" she laughed when he lunged forward, pressed her against the couch cushion once more, and kissed her neck past he scarf she tried to hide it away with. Her leg kicked up straddling him between her by the time his lips connected with hers once more, and her arms wrapped lovingly around his neck.

"Pi..." the mouse, in full disgust and panic flinched. "KA-CHU!" it screamed, sending off an electrical volt that stopped them in their tracks.

Ash fell off of Misty and onto the floor and they both squeaked. Ash was the first to sit up, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment and avidly apologizing.

"You're right, that was way too fast. Sorry buddy."

Scolding them, the mouse pushed and poked at them until they were both standing up, adjusting their clothes and being shoved out of the lounge by the mouse. Pikachu didn't care if they were sick or dying, he was not going to witness humans mating. He had to witness more than his share of scarring material over the years and that was not making his list. When they were out in the hallway, Pikachu jumped safely onto Ash's shoulder and pulled on his hair just to be sure he understood.

"Alright, I know. Hands to myself." Ash groaned, swatting small paws away from his face.

Pikachu let out a spark of electrical warning from his cheeks while Misty snickered, then ran her hand across the back of Ash's pants, then took off.

"Hey! Give me back my phone!"

Ash was not impressed when she threw it with a pitch off the second floor balcony and into oncoming traffic. She turned at him, finger raised and eyebrows quirked.

"It never happened!"

"Misty—" He gasped. "I actually needed that—I could have—I can't believe you just threw my phone!"

"I told you I would."

"Yeah, but you can't actually do that! I had important contacts on there."

Misty put her hands stubbornly on her hips. "Then next time, you should delete the photos."

"But I liked them! Plus now if it didn't break, someone else could easily get access to those!" he whined, and grabbed her into a hug, dragging her back into the building to chase down what was left of their dignity. Misty swore vividly as she did.

Start their New Year off in jail for vandalism. That would be great on her resume—everything else was just icing on the cake.

"Rock-bottom Ash! Rock. Bottom!" She screamed as they both ran onto the street.

She may have been convinced it was rock bottom... but he didn't think so.

He couldn't have asked to start the New Year off with anyone else—now, if they could only get their story straight, that was another. Explaining this to his mom was going to be one hell of a show.

XOX

Bonus:

Ash had to deal with Brock, who was coming down from his spiral the same time as Violet, so when Misty returned to her hotel, it was by herself. They promised to meet up later and have dinner—no alcohol this time, and really figure out where they stood. With both of their careers blowing up, they didn't want to miss a beat and over dedicate, but boy, they sure wanted to commit.

Misty stopped to check herself over in the mirror before going back up to her room via the elevator. Her stomach was still tied in too many knots to justify taking the stairs, and she would be lying if the entire situation with Ash didn't leave her legs weak to begin with.

After retrieving his phone from oncoming traffic—to both of their surprise mostly undamaged- Ash deleted every questionable and blurry photo, except for two: an image of him kissing her while they were still at the carnival, and her kissing him when his hands were still stained bright red.

A trait he shared with his phone which had a red hand print, and one that she would later find out was shared with the bed sheets in her hotel room upon closer inspection. Overall, the images he decided to keep were cute, a little unorthodox, but affectionate. After Misty's approval he kissed her, answered a call from Brock; and they parted ways.

She was still over the moon and breathless when her back brushed against the cold metal of the elevator. She could hardly wait for what came next.

It stopped at the second floor, and three other people got inside of the small space—including Daisy who crossed her arms.

"I was trying to be nice earlier, but I can't stand by."

Misty snapped out of her dopey stupor and pursed her lips. The other two people in the elevator kind of looked at one another, and Misty wished she knew them because she could have used them as a reason for Daisy not to rip into her.

"You used the condoms I gave you, right?"
Misty nearly choked.

"W-what?"

"Before you and Ash ran off to your bed room I handed you a fistful of them, you used them, right? I was a little worried because you almost missed your announcement this morning but you seemed so pissy this morning—anyways, I can't sit back just because you're mad at me. I have to know you were safe."

Misty stared so blank faced at her sister that the other two people in the elevator clicked the next floor so they could leave sooner. The air was surprisingly thin, and Misty was radiating a frost from her body. However, she was brave enough to admit when she...might have screwed up.

"...I...may have forgotten. I don't actually remember, really." though she desperately tried to pull up the memory of ripping open plastic packaging, but like everything else from last night, it was like pulling needles from a haystack.

Daisy threw up her arms.

"See! This is exactly why you shouldn't drink!"

Misty's head nearly tilted off of her shoulders, and the guys behind her desperately started pounding the button to flee this murder scene. Misty's brows disappeared behind her bangs and her eyes opened wide and hostile.

"Excuse me?"

Somewhere, Ash was assisting Brock with trying to figure out the proper procedure of annulment, noting that both he and Misty lost the bet. It barely lasted two hours before both Violet and Brock awoke from their drunken mess. In the distance, he felt a twist in his stomach that made his ears twitch, and his back straighten as he looked around.

"...something is wrong in the world."

Brock held up papers in unison with Violet, who both admitted they never made it past second base before passing out in a gross mess of bodily fluids.

"You're telling me! I'm never celebrating New Years again!"

Ash had a daunting feeling that Misty would feel the same way.

Author's Note:

Pokeshipheart asked when I was going to update Mad Season, the answer was probably when I can update everything else; or when I have time to only write a one-shot. I know this isn't an update to one of my bigger stories; but it's the best I could do in the middle of moving! (Yes, I'm moving again. It's been a crazy year, when I thought things were finally going to go back to normal, things just got crazier ha)

I've recently wrote a list of the remaining requests that reviewers have made, and I'm going to start doing that!

THIS ONE WAS A LITTLE RAUNCHY, I'M NOT SORRY? I wanted to write a bit more out of my comfort zone, and I don't know how I did. ha. If there are any errors, I apologize. I'm really out of practice and I wrote this for a little over an hour and gave a quick proof read.

I love you guys. Happy new year. I hope to see you all more often. -hearts-

(Leave me a request for the new year and help me get into the swing of writing again!)

NINT