(Actual Notes or Misc Info)

A Forgotten Face

Ch. 13: The Journey Home

Light showers fell from the sky over the Hoenn Region and blanketed the land in a soft, cool mist. Two teens ran for cover through the thick woods, laughing as they jumped through puddles and avoided brush. They were able to find an overhang of rock and quickly ran for cover, even though they were already soaked.

It had been a year since young Ash and Misty left to travel the Hoenn Region. Together they explored learning not only about the region and its Pokemon, but about each other. Ash and Misty had no problem in gaining Ms. Ketchum's trust for the journey, they had traveled together before. Besides, Ms. Ketchum knew that this was about the time Ash would want more independence anyways. She, too, was a teenager herself once upon a time.

The teens huddled next to each other, ducking under the overhang, avoiding the raindrops as they steadily came to a stop. Ash had done much growing in only a short year. He had become taller and was now a decent 5'9'' while Misty still stood at 5'6''. Ash had also become leaner and more toned; His pubescent body had grown more into a man's. However, Ash was still hesitant to admit he hadn't started growing facial hair yet. He would be sixteen in only a few months. But none of this halted Misty's attraction towards her now official beau. Over the course of their journey, she watched Ash grow as well as noticing her own body changing more. Her own body resembled much of a girl in her early twenties. Misty was only seventeen, but had thickened and grown curvier, and her hair had lost its spikey, girlish look and become long, smooth, crimson locks.

Misty had also matured much more in the past year. She had softened some but still kept her 'tough' personality. Misty had learned what it meant to love and to be patient with her younger love. She gave him space when he needed it, especially when he was in one of his classic, angsty "I'm a teenager, leave me alone" moods. But Ash was just as perceptive and allowed Misty the same amount, if not more, when necessary, of space and independence.

The two had become closer than ever. They were the ultimate definition of partners and were sometimes even unable to function without each other. But even then they had the help of their trusted Pocket Monsters…

"Pikachu, give that back!" While Ash was unpacking the necessary items for a scrumptious lunch, his mouse-like Pokemon had snuck up and snatched off his hat. Pikachu simply looked up at his counterpart, hat in mouth, and cocked his head.

"Oh shutup, you know I look like an idiot without my hat, now give it back!" Pikachu flipped the hat up, catching it on his own head and scampered off, leaving Ash to grab at empty space. Misty, sitting across from Ash, giggled at the two best friends. She set Togetic down on the ground beside her, stood up and walked over to Pikachu. Misty knelt down and scratched the underside of Pikachu's chin, laughing at his almost purr-like noises.

"I think you look dashing with Ash's hat, Pikachu," said Misty with a wink.

"Don't encourage him…" replied Ash.

"Oh come now, Ash, he's only playing. Can you blame him for wanting the attention? Hmmm?" Misty lightly pinched one of Pikachu's red cheeks and took Ash's hat back.

"I dunno, I guess I'm just tired from the rain. I always get like this when it's overcast." Ash went back to preparing some basic sandwiches for lunch, ignoring Misty sitting down beside him. "I guess you wouldn't know," said Ash, "seeing you're into the entire water element thing. This would make you happy wouldn't it?"

Misty frowned. She took Ash's hat and pulled it back down over his head, covering his eyes.

"You were laughing only a few minutes ago when you were running through this 'depressing' weather. Besides…" Misty trailed off, "You should know that you make me happy. The water is just a bonus feature." She leaned over to peck Ash on the cheek, and then allowed room for Togetic to return to her lap.

The two laughed quietly. Lunch was prepared and they ate side-by-side while their Pokemon played in the distance. Misty knew Ash wasn't feeling like himself. Call it a woman's intuition, but she had the feeling that he wanted to go home, and she didn't blame him. Rarely had they stayed in an actual city, mostly in fear of finding a hurtful past. Besides, she was almost 18 and it was due time for her to take over the gym in Cerulean City. Her sisters wouldn't stay there forever…

Ash and Misty cleaned up after their meal. It was about mid-day and both teens were tired and full.

"Hey Ash, you wouldn't mind if we rested for a while, would you?" asked Misty.

"Nah… I could use the rest myself. But we need to stop somewhere to restock on food and stuff, we don't have much left." Ash rummaged through his pack, checking the supplies and rations left. "We have enough money to buy stuff. It's just a matter of finding a place to buy things."

Misty yawned, "Well… whatever's closest will be fine… all we really need is f…" Misty quietly sank into Ash's lap and dozed off.

Ash sighed and leaned back onto the overhang. Pikachu and Togetic had stopped their playing a while ago and had settled into a nap themselves. He gently tucked some of Misty's crimson hair behind her ear and rested his hand on her shoulder.

I don't want to force her to do something she doesn't want, but I would like to try and start making our way home. I can't leave Mom alone forever… And I'll have to get a job sometime. Hell, maybe I could see if Prof. Oak has any openings…

Ash glanced down at Misty again, taking in her beauty. He wiggled himself down the rock wall into a more comfortable position and whispered softly into Misty's ear. After saying "I love you," Ash drifted off to sleep.

After an hour long nap, Misty and Ash awoke feeling refreshed and ready to face the road. They cleaned and packed up, only taking a short time. With Pikachu on Ash's shoulder and Togetic in Misty's arms, the two set down a trail headed for the mainland.

"Say, Ash… What do you want to do when we get back home?"

"Sleep in my nice, comfy, big, soft, plushy, bed."

Misty frowned, "After that."

Ash dodged Misty's glare and tried to answer seriously. "I'm not sure, I've thought seriously about just traveling, but half of me says that wouldn't be the wisest course of action," laughed Ash, "But, I know I have to settle down at some point… I dunno, I suppose I could work back at home for a while until I think of something that really interests me."

"You know, you could open your own gym somewhere. It's not like you'd be bad at that," said Misty with a smile.

"I could, but I don't know if I could handle that responsibility," Ash admitted with a laugh, "I think it'd turn out to be more of a playground than a gym."

"You're such an idiot sometimes," giggled Misty.

Ash stuck his tongue out, "Yeah well what do you wanna do, huh?"

Misty blushed, "I… dunno… um…" she sighed, "I guess I would have to take over for my sisters, but I dread having to put on those goofy performances. I don't even know how they do it… I'm no mermaid."

"How long have your sisters been there anyways?" asked Ash with one eyebrow raised.

"Far too long," laughed Misty. "And they've been hounding me to come back, they want to stay on their cruises and tan and such." Misty ran off ahead, imitating one of her sisters as she twirled and batted her eyelashes. Togetic squirmed uncomfortably in her arms.

Pikachu laughed atop of Ash's shoulder, watching Misty make a fool of herself. Ash ran ahead to catch up with his delusional friend. He reached for her hand but Misty yanked it out of reach and skipped ahead.

"You'll have to do better than that" she cooed.

Laughing, Ash ran after Misty down the road towards urban life.

"Are you sure this will work?"

"I'm positive. It's worked with everyone else, why should this time be any exception?" hissed the strangers counterpart, "Quickly now, we don't have much time to prepare."

As the two strangers spoke in whispers, preparing some sinister plot, their third accomplice prowled the area, watching for any intruders. After seeing the area was clear or any nosey nuisances, he sat down. A toothy grin spread across his face. Soon everything fell silent… except for the sound of soft purring…

Well… it's taken me three years to write this. I apologize immensely for the wait and didn't mean to upset or anger anyone. What can I say? Life just happened. I was busy with other things and my tastes had changed. I can admit that this is difficult for me to write seeing as I was a completely different person than I was 3 years ago. However, I will try my best to end this as gracefully and as best as I can while still giving you a good story. Smile I will, also, try and fulfill some of your requests and cut down on some of the unnecessary cursing or stupid scenes. Anyways, tell me if this is any better or worse, if you guys are pleased with the turn-out, I will continue this to the best of my ability and try and give you guys a happy ending. Smile Please take the time to review, again sorry for the wait.

Thank you so much,

Night Mare579