It Will All Be Worth It

A/N: This is my first fanfic, but I've been writing for a long time. As such, I expect to be fully criticized for any of the following: a) grammatical errors, b) weak plot, c) mischaracterization, d) any combination thereof, or e) anything else you feel can be improved. C&C welcome.

Disclaimer: Pokemon belongs to Nintendo, Game Freak, 4Kids, and probably some other people I'm forgetting. In any case, it's not mine.

***

It's only been two months, and I miss him more than anything.

I'm not sure if it's really him I miss so much as the actual companionship; with my sisters gone and my parents long-since deceased, I'm completely alone at the gym. I may be a strong, tough fourteen-year-old girl who's quite capable of taking care of herself, but at night this place gets to be absolutely terrifying. Walking to my room at night requires a new kind of courage—the courage to ignore those dancing shadows the hall lights cast onto the walls that look so horribly sinister.

I think I've really taken Brock for granted all these years; now that I'm back on my own, I have to do all my cooking and cleaning for myself, as well as grocery shopping and laundry. Really makes me wish my sisters had given me a lesson in self-reliance when I was a child. Oh, well. I guess I'll have to keep learning as I go.

God, I'm so miserably lonely.

What was he thinking when he let me leave? Okay, yeah, he was just thinking of the fate of the gym, my sisters' primary income, but letting me come back to a completely empty house with no one to take care of me? I'm only fourteen, for God's sake! I shouldn't have to manage a household, do everything for myself, and run a Pokemon gym!

But that's not what hurts the most. He told me to leave; he wanted me to leave. It was as if those three years we had spent together, all those strange feelings I had experienced just by him being near me…it was all for nothing. He didn't care if I was with him or not.     

Okay, maybe that's a bit much; I know he probably misses me, but not the way I'm missing him. Maybe he's still too dense to realize it (he's thirteen now, but I swear he hasn't matured a day since the start of his journey), but there was a reason I followed him, something that only intensified as we grew closer…         

I love him.       

Now, I realize that love isn't exactly an emotion that the young experience very often, but there is a very distinct difference between loving someone and being in love with them. The latter takes maturity, for being in love is an incredibly powerful experience that, quite frankly, most people under the age of sixteen just aren't ready for. But infants have the ability to love; just loving something—or someone—is a basic instinct. It's one of the simplest emotions, along with grief and anger.

Ash has put me through all three over the years. He's so irresponsible, immature, and dense that it frustrates me to no end. But he's also sincere, kind-hearted, and generous. Maybe it's because he's so immature that he's retained his childlike innocence, but it's still so endearing to me. It's why he's my best friend; it's why I love him. And it breaks my heart to know that he probably doesn't feel the same way.

"Okay, Misty, that's enough deep thoughts for one night," I mumble aloud in a sleepy voice, reaching over and switching off the light on my nightstand. "You can feel bad for yourself in the morning."

***

"Yeah! We got a Cascade Badge!"

I roll my eyes towards the ceiling as I watch the young trainer twirl around with his Geodude, holding the blue, tear-shaped badge in the air triumphantly. He reminds me of a younger Ash, back when he still celebrated that insanely over each new badge.

No, wait, I take that back; he still does that. At least, I think he does. But what are the odds of him changing such an enduring ritual in just two months?

Leaving the trainer and his Pokemon to their victory, I head out of gym and walk outside, strolling over to the mailbox and retrieving my mail for the day. "Electric bill, political garbage, gas bill, junk, and a letter from—" I gasp as I observe the messy writing scrawled in the upper-left hand corner: "Ash Ketchum", followed by the address of one of the Pokemon centers he must have been staying at.

Collapsing onto the grass, I eagerly tear open the envelope. This is the first time I've heard from him since I left the group two months ago. My heart begins to flutter as I begin to read, noting in the back of my mind that Ash has the most horrendous handwriting I've ever seen in my life.

Dear Misty,

Hi! How are things in Cerulean City? I'm doin' okay, but I'm actually gettin' used to not being covered in bruises all the time (kidding!). Pikachu really misses you; he says 'hi' and wants you to come back soon.

I've got a new traveling companion now; her name's May, and she's really nice.

'She'? My mind freezes as I read that line, feeling my body go numb. My heart sinks to my feet as I think, He's already found another girl. I guess I'm a glutton for self-punishment, because I keep reading.

I mean, she doesn't call me stupid, or hit me over the head with a mallet, or yell at me about how we wouldn't be lost if she was leading…but, as crazy as this is gonna sound, having her around just reminds me of how weird it is not having you here with me. I almost miss you yelling at me and pushing me around (in a good way!).

It really is weird; when Brock left the first time, I missed him and all, but it didn't feel this wrong. I think it's 'cause you were still with me. But now that both of you are gone…I don't know. It makes me feel empty.           

Okay, you can start laughing now, but I'm serious. I miss you. There, I said it. I know you have to take care of the gym and all, what with your sisters flying around the world, but could you, like, call them and tell them to hurry up or something? It's not the same without you here. It's too quiet. ^_^

Nurse Joy is yelling at me to turn off the light and go to sleep, so I'll try to wrap it up. Um…I really miss you, Misty, and I wish you never had to leave.  Come back soon. And, um…I'm really glad I wrecked your bike. 'Cause if I didn't, you never would have followed me, and we never would've become best friends. And that's what you are, Mist—my best friend. And…and…I can't believe I'm actually writing this, but whenever I'm with you, I get this really weird fluttery feeling in my chest, like there are a million Butterfree in there. Is that normal?

Miss ya lots. See you soon!

Love, Ash

Smiling broadly, I walk back to the gym in a daze, clutching the letter in my left hand. 'Love, Ash'. He could've said anything, but he said 'love'. And I knew exactly what he meant by that 'fluttery feeling'; I'd felt the exact same thing more times than I could count.

Suddenly, I come to a realization—I was wrong. Last night, when I said he didn't feel the same way, I was wrong. He did; he does.

When night falls, I'm once again alone in my bed, but I am no longer lonely. I turn to my nightstand and smile at the letter upon it, then whisper 'goodnight' to Ash, wherever he is. Knowing that he feels the same way I do, knowing that he didn't want me to leave just because…that's more than enough for me.

Tonight, I have no need for self-pity; all I can think is that one day, my sisters will come home, and then I can return to him. Someday soon, we'll be together again.

And the loneliness, the doubt, the pain…I know it will all be worth it.

--FIN--

Well, what do you think? Good? Bad? Generic romantic fodder? I admit that it's the last one...oh well. R&R.