I'd have had this up earlier, but the site disables new account access for 12 hours after creation.

DISCLAIMER: Pokemon isn't mine, I have no money, insert standard stuff here.

Her side hurt.

This would not be an uncommon complaint considering her current predicament, which was, namely, being crammed into the coach class of a 747 like a sardine can for far more hours than would be considered healthy under any other circumstance. For Misty, however, it was arguably worse as she was recovering from some very serious injuries. A month after the Kalos incident with Team Flare, and she still had at least a month to go in terms of healing, probably more. If it weren't for the boy sitting next to her, however, she'd probably not be here at all - both because she'd have sat out the semester (the whole school thing was at her insistence, anyway), and because his quick thinking was the reason she wasn't dead right now.

Not that this was surprising. Considering the kind of trouble they got into on a regular basis, and how they were almost never away from the other for long, saving each other seemed to have become something of a passtime for the two. Aside from a few months during part of his trip through Hoenn (and he thankfully supported and pushed her to fight back against her airheaded sisters and their plans dumping Cerulean Gym on her), she and Ash Ketchum had hardly been separated for more than a day in years, since she fished him out of a river complete with a half-drowned Pikachu.

Speaking of Pikachu, the electrical mouse currently sat on her lap as he inspected the area carefully. Leaving the plane was always a pain, and with her stiffness, she doubted it would be a lot of fun. She broke from her thoughts to hear the pilot's canned speech as the aircraft rolled towards the gate.

"And welcome to Alola International Airport. Current local time is 1:52 PM, current temperature is a comfortable 78 degrees with clear skies. Total flight time was 14 hours and 32 minutes. We hope you enjoyed your non-stop flight from Lumiose City, Kalos. Plane-side checked baggage is available on a cart to your right off just outside of the boarding gate, and displays near the terminal can refer you to connecting flights. At the moment, the airport is experiencing no significant delays, and we've arrived slightly ahead of schedule. If this is the last leg of your trip, checked baggage can be picked up on the lower level. On behalf of myself and the rest of your Kalos-based flight crew, I'd like to thank for flying with Pidgeot Airlines, where if you can't outfly it, it's probably a Pidgeot. Good afternoon."

The plane stopped with a jerk, lights flickering as the engines swapped to auxiliary power and everyone stood up almost as one. This was going to suck.

"...lemme go first, Mist," Ash said, standing, apparently ready to prevent her from getting too many facefulls of people's bags as they egressed.

"I can take care of myself, y'know," she said, pointedly, with a faint, audible grump. Truth be told, though, the aggravation was fake; in their strange, practically-married-but-not-even-boyfriend-girlfriend-honest-for-sure-never-with-him/her relationship, their barbs, insults, and hissy-fits had somehow become flirting. In fact, she was rather touched he cared enough to watch out for her, and appreciated the help, even though both knew full well she'd never admit to it. However, she didn't really need to fake the aggravation this time, because what rankled her was the fact that she was rather tired of needing the help as opposed to accepting courteous gestures. It wasn't fun when moving more than a few inches was usually painful.

She brooded to herself. This may have been a bad idea, but Ash wasn't going to leave her in Kalos, and Misty didn't want to see him miss a whole semester because of her. So she slowly, sorely made her way out of the plane, Pikachu bringing up the rear of the group. Both Ash and Misty made sure their Pokeballs were readily accessible - it wouldn't do, after all, to be ambushed by Team Rocket, and this was the sort of place they'd love to try for it.

As they made their way to baggage claim, Misty leaned up against a support. She'd hauled along her backpack, whereas Ash dragged most of the rest of the stuff along with him. She sighed quietly, knowing full well that she wouldn't be of much use to help with the luggage. She hated, hated feeling like a burden, even if she knew she'd just irritate Ash by saying so, and he'd tell her - for the thousandth time - that she was never a burden, and probably pick a fight with her specifically to get her mind off of it. To a point, she regretted coming... should she have even pushed Ash into going to school? They'd been essentially vagabonds for years now, and while they'd both become extremely formidable battlers and Pokemon experts, it had occurred to her that maybe a year or two getting some formal qualifications would help them in the years to come. After all, they'd be hard-pressed to wander forever. But still, it felt like she was just dragging Ash down, both with the school he was sure to cringe through, and with taking care of her.

She tried not to think about it, glancing around to people watch. And were there ever people to watch - the signs that were in twelve languages weren't there for no reason. She couldn't even identify the countries of origin of some of them, and idly wished her Pokedex wasn't packed away considering she didn't even recognize some of the Pokemon, including a water Pokemon that looked surprisingly like a sea cucumber bouncing around.

Of course, no large airport is complete without tacky decoration, including indoor palm trees.

...indoor palm trees? Yes, apparently, indoor palm trees...

...one of which was tilting...

...no... falling...

...straight... for...

"ASH!" Misty yelped out, Pikachu seeing what she saw simultaneously. "PIKAPI!" he chorused, as the two scrambled for him. The girl ignored the pain in her side - injuries be damned, she wasn't going to let him get hurt!

As it turned out, however, her speed was unneeded. Ash's reflexes had saved him from the palm tree, causing him to hit the ground and roll away, his cap flying off in the process.

Another thing that saved him, however, was the fact that it WASN'T a palm tree.

It sure looked like one from a distance, but now that the three were closer, what appeared to be coconuts were now the faces of an Exeggutor, which for some inexplicable reason appeared to be part of this massive, tree-like body. It looked unconcerned and unhurried as it bent over, ignoring Ash entirely as it went after its objective.

His cap.

It snapped up the headwear in its jaws before righting itself and calmly walking away with its prize.

Ash's eyes widened, now looking considerably more angry at this than at the prospect of a palm tree nearly killing him.

"MY HAT!" Ash exclaimed. "MY MOM GAVE ME THAT HAT!" He took off like a race car, dashing after the palmy Exeggutor, which seemed to be entirely indifferent to his protests. "GET BACK HERE, YOU!"

Misty watched the commotion... and sighed. "...five minutes in and already in trouble?" She shook her head, unable to suppress the smile on her face even as she facepalmed. Pikachu mimicked her expression, paw on her face and looking as though he were developing a migraine. "Pika piiiiii..." he lamented quietly.

"Welcome to Alola, Ash," she quipped to herself, in an altogether better mood now.

Maybe this trip wasn't such a bad idea after all.