Hello, my friends, and welcome to my story! This is my third Pokémon fan fiction, and also my third fan fiction period (it's called dedication to your show, folks )! This, however, is my FIRST CHAPTER STORY, so give me a bit of a break on time in between postings of chapters. I'm a busy girl, so be glad I had Spring Break 2004 to write this first, incredibly long chapter! Though the plot synopsis below may not make this story seem novel or unique, I promise that it will be! Anyway, I hope that you will review, 'cause it SO inspires me to, like, keep writing, like, really, really fast. Like, really! (Geesh, I sound like Daisy, Lily, and Violet… ) Thanks a bunch and hope you find my story satisfactory!

Synopsis: This story takes place in Hoenn, but everyone is the age that they are in the show because it's easier to picture them, since they are exactly the same as we all know them. Anyway, the whole group, which includes Ash, Misty, Brock, May, and Max, are journeying to the next town for Ash's sixth gym battle. They stop for the night on Route 119 (you can find all places on an actual Hoenn map). The group decides to play a game, but when they get separated, trouble starts. Ash and Misty unintentionally fall down into a hole, but no one saw where they went. The pair finds themselves in a giant, mystical, labyrinth cavern, which doesn't seem too bad at first. However, when a strange and terrifying event happens, nothing is so fun anymore, and now the clock is ticking! Can Brock, May, and Max ever find and save Ash and Misty… before it's too late! This story's genre includes Romance, Suspense, Drama, Action/Adventure, Mystery, and Fantasy.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to all sincere, 100 "Ash And Misty Go Together" fans, whether you call yourself "pokéshippers", "twerpshippers", or "AAML-shippers" (as I call myself). We know that we are correct in our beliefs, as we are the only shippers, to my knowledge, that have any hard evidence for our shipping whatsoever. AAML-ers, don't give up on Misty and turn to Advancedshipping! There will ALWAYS be pokéshippers out there, so believe! AAML 4-ever!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon, Ash, Misty, Brock, Tracey, May, Max, Pikachu, any of the cities, any of the characters, any of the attacks, any episodes, or anything like that. I own the plot, though, so please don't steal it. I worked hard to come up with it! (Really, I did.) Thanks again!


by Eeveebeth Fejvu

CHAPTER 1: …From Now Until The End Of Time…

Ash Ketchum hadn't been this happy for a long time. Everything was now just perfect in his life. Well, as perfect as it could be while still not being the greatest Pokémon Master. Yet. Besides that, everything was just right and that made Ash very, very happy. He was on his way to the next gym in Fortree City, where he would battle to earn his sixth badge for the Hoenn league. He was fresh off of his last gym victory in Lavaridge Town, against gym leader Flannery's Fire type Pokémon, and was eager to snag another win.

Flannery had been easy to defeat, Ash considered, but really only because of her help. Well, being a Water Pokémon trainer, she did know all of the ways to defeat Fire types, and they all worked, too. That's right. Misty had come back. Misty. Misty Waterflower. His best and closest friend, though he had never ever told her that she was, because Brock would probably make some big fuss about it. Misty. Ash hadn't thought he would ever see her again, after her sisters made her go back to their gym in Cerulean City and run it while they were away on a cruise. For the first time since they had met, they had parted ways and, after a good month or so of her absence, Ash had really started to feel the effects of her missing presence. Sure, he now had May White and her brother, Max, to travel with. Sure, Brock Slate, Ash's second best friend, had come back and was traveling with him, too. Sure, Pikachu had never once left him alone. Still, traveling on his journey without Misty just never felt right. After all, he had never traveled a whole day in his life without her by his side.

Ash had found that walking from sunrise to sunset was very monotonous when you didn't have anyone to argue or quarrel with. So after a few months, only three gym badges, and only three newly-captured Hoenn Pokémon, Ash had sunk into a kind of deep depression in which he only contemplated where he would be now if Misty had never left. During his depression period, he had noticed Brock somewhat egging May on to get in a dispute over something with Ash. Ash never fought back, though, and just gave in immediately. Ash wondered if Brock was doing this for his own entertainment, since he had mostly seemed to enjoy Ash and Misty's little squabbles, or if he even knew that he was doing it. He also figured that Brock might be egging her on so that Ash would forget about Misty, that is, if Brock thought that missing Misty (hey, it rhymed) was Ash's problem. This made Ash rather sick. It was like May was a replacement for Misty! It reminded Ash of when Brock had stayed with Professor Ivy when he was traveling in the Orange Islands. Tracey Sketchit had seemed to fill Brock's position while he was gone. Well, no matter how Brock tried, Ash surmised, no one could fill Misty's missing place. May White was definitely no Misty Waterflower and never could be, and only Misty could fill Misty's place. So in Ash's mind, there was still a vacancy in the "best female friend and arguing partner" position in his group.

Ash's depression had gotten worse. Neither May nor Max had any idea why Ash was so melancholy, and Ash figured that Brock only had a small idea as to the problem. Brock probably thought that Ash was just disappointed for not catching a lot of Hoenn Pokémon or something. People never really understood that Pokémon weren't the only things that Ash ever thought of. Sometimes, Ash had gotten so upset that he wished that all three of them would leave him so that he didn't have to miss only Misty. He had even went so far as to buy May a Mach Bike when they were in Mauville City, to replace the one that Pikachu had damaged on his first day in Hoenn. He had kind of hoped that May would leave, but she didn't, and Ash had to endure strange stares from Brock, which he absolutely knew meant "why-did-you-buy-May-a-bike-and-never-replace-Misty's-one-that-you-broke?" No wonder May or Max had no idea why Ash was so down; neither he nor Brock had ever mentioned Misty in their conversations, so they probably didn't know that she even existed.

Then, one overcast and cloudy day, it had all changed. After a particularly nasty battle with Team Rocket, Pikachu had been poisoned badly by Jesse's Seviper's Poison Tail attack. He had rushed Pikachu to the nearest Pokémon Center, only to find that the Nurse Joy there was out of Antidote. Brock had raced off to the nearest Poké Mart to see if they had any Antidote there, while Ash, May, and Max waited outside the Center. Finally, Ash couldn't wait any longer. He ran over to the bike rack they were next to and chose the first bike he found that had a basket on the front. Placing Pikachu in the basket, he wheeled the bike off the rack and took off down the road, leaving May and Max behind. Max's PokéNav had shown that there was another Pokémon Center a few miles out of town and Ash knew that it was probably Pikachu's only hope. As he raced down the dirt path, all Ash could feel was this great sense of irony. A badly hurt Pikachu… a "borrowed" bike… a race to the nearest Pokémon Center… all alone… Ash had done this before, like a bad case of déjà vu. Even the bicycle he had snatched, it seemed… so familiar.

As he had sped down the road, Ash had no idea what was going on back at the Pokémon Center where he had left May and Max. Only after the event had he found out what had happened. While May and Max had been standing by the bike rack, waiting for Brock to show up, they watched a girl come out of the Pokémon Center and head towards them. She had short orange hair pulled up in a sideways ponytail and was carrying a strange looking egg Pokémon. When she had gotten over to them, they saw her pause, stare at the empty bike slot, and get a strange look on her face.

"Have you seen my bike?" she turned to them and asked, rather vaguely and distractedly, and gestured to the empty bike slot.

"Well," May spoke up, embarrassed, "My friend just took it, uh, borrowed it, I think."

"His Pokémon is badly hurt, and he needs to get it to the next Pokémon Center right away," Max piped up.

"He'll bring it back, I'm sure," May muttered, thinking of her own Mach bike that she had managed to stuff into her bag (it was one of those collapsible ones) and wondering why she hadn't let Ash use it. Oh yeah, it didn't have a basket.

May and Max watched the girl set her Pokémon on the ground beside her. She started to stare at the empty rack and looked almost on the verge of tears, like she was remembering something. May hoped that she wasn't upset because she was attached to her bike, for who knew what would happen to it in Ash's possession? Then the girl put her head in her hands for a moment or two, like she was trying to block her memory, if that was what it was. Suddenly, she jerked her head up and they saw that her face was now angry.

"Which way did your friend go?" she snarled.

"That way," May pointed down the road. Sweeping her Pokémon into her arms, the girl took off down the road in a rush. She started shouting illogically about something as she ran out of sight, but to May's surprise, she clearly heard the words 'Pikachu', 'bike', 'again', and most unexpected of all, 'Ash Ketchum'.

May and Max stood there for a moment. Then they turned to each other. "Did I hear wrong or did that girl just say 'Ash Ketchum'?" Max asked his sister.

May didn't reply for a moment, then answered, "I thought that's what she said."

"But how on Earth would she know it was Ash that took her bike?"

"I don't think she did," May responded, looking down the road that both Ash and the mysterious girl had disappeared, "but how does she know Ash? It has to be OUR Ash Ketchum, because she was yelling about Pikachu, too." After a pause, she turned back to her bewildered brother. "I'm going to follow them. Stay here until Brock comes back, so he knows where we went." With that, May sprinted off down the road, forgetting once again that she now had a bike. Max sighed and leaned against the bike rack, waiting for Brock to return. Even if Brock came back with Antidote, it wouldn't help now.

Ash, meanwhile, pedaled harder and harder down the bumpy dirt path. Pikachu was breathing very laboriously now and Ash was getting more worried by the second. The wooded area he had been cycling in fell behind him, and, as far as the eye could see, there was only open field. The dreary sky turned blacker and suddenly, it began to rain, mercilessly downpouring and soaking Ash totally through in less than thirty seconds. The déjà vu feeling Ash had intensified a hundred fold.

"Well, Pikachu," Ash gasped out through the driving rain to his injured pal in the basket, "At least… at least there aren't… any Spearow… this… time…"

Suddenly, he heard cackling behind him and he caught his breath. Not now, Ash thought, horrified.

"Ha, ha! Prepare for trouble, in the pouring rain!"

"Yes, and make that double, so don't complain!"

"WELL, I CAN COMPLAIN, CAN'T I? Cut the motto, the twerp's already heard it once today and I'm getting soaked! Meowth! I hate this dumb weather!"

"Shut up, Meowth! Don't you DARE interrupt our motto again, furball. The Main Twerp does that enough as it is!"

"I did say to not complain, didn't I, Jess? Though it is rather damp out here."

"How come Jimmy gets to complain, and I don't?"

"You shut up, too, James. I said 'be quiet', Meowth! I can't stand it when you all whine so much!"

"Team Rocket!" Ash cried out, and glanced over his shoulder at his three personal stalkers, Jesse, James, and Meowth, in their Meowth-head balloon. They had steered the hot-air balloon so that it was only a few feet off the ground and so that it was closely giving chase to the boy on the bicycle. Ash's chocolate brown eyes shot daggers at his loathed enemies, but suddenly, the bicycle hit a pothole in the dirt road. Ash jerked his head back to the road just in time to be thrown forward off the bike, face-first, into the muddy lane. He felt something hard and heavy hit his back, knocking all air completely out of him, and a second later, he realized that it was the bars of the bicycle. He felt paralyzed, completely unable to move, what with the crash, the bike crushing his back, and the driving rain. However, Ash's mind compelled him to look up, so with the last of his reserved energy, he forced his face out of the mud and surveyed Pikachu. The little injured electric mouse was basically motionless, and for a moment, Ash's heart stopped, until he saw Pikachu breathe in a deep, shuttering breath.

"Lookie here, James! Look what we finally caught! The precious little yellow rat," Ash murkily heard Jesse proclaim.

"Oooo, goodie! Hey, is that twerp all right? Hey, Twerp! You okay?"

"Shut up, James! It doesn't matter if the twerp's okay. Besides, being the Twerp, he doesn't die. You know that. Now go out there and get Pikachu."

"But Jesse! I'll get my boots all muddy!"

"That's why you wear boots, idiot! Now go get that Pikachu!"

"Fine, fine, I'm going! Hey, Jess, what's that behind us?"

"What do you mean, 'what's behind us'? Hey, looks like a kid running towards us."

"Well, its only one little kid. Hurry up, James, and get that Pikachu so we's can get outta this downpour!"

"Hey, Meowth, Jesse, you know who that kid kinda looks like? It kinda looks like the red-headed twerp that-"

"Go! Psyduck!" That voice, Ash thought blurrily, that voice is so familiar… so very familiar…

"Psy! Ay! Ay!"

"Psyduck! Use your Disable attack on Team Rocket!"

"Hey, James, you're right! It IS the- AHHHHHHHHHHH!"



Ash heard the muffled pound of footsteps on the mucky road. He felt the dead weight of the bicycle being lifted off of his body. Then, he felt a hand on his shoulder, turning him onto his back. As Ash turned over, he struggled to open his eyes against the torrent. He had to shut his eyes quick, but he thought, almost hoped, that he caught a glimpse of soft orange hair. Then he heard the voice again. The voice was calling his name. "Ash! Ash! Wake up! Ash!" That voice…her voice… it's her…it can't be…please, please be you…please…be-

"Mist…?" Ash muttered, in a garbled voice, questioningly. He couldn't get anything else out.

He felt a soft hand wiping his face free of muck as another hand pulled him into a sitting position. "Yes, Ash, it's me. It's me. Misty."

"Misty?" No…really…it can't be you…this is Brock making some sort of sick, dumb joke…really…is it really you…nah, I'm just dreaming…you're…back in Kanto…are you really here, Misty…my best friend…that I've missed…so very…much…is it…is it you…

"Yeah, Misty." Ash finally believed. Misty was here, really here. "Now Ash, are you okay?" Ash could still hear Team Rocket screaming, and though his head was whirling, and he still could barely believe that Misty was right there holding him up, the back of his mind was thinking about how Psyduck must have learned to use its psychic abilities (without having to get a huge headache) while she was gone. Then, he thought about-

"Pika…chu… poisoned… very… help… please…Mist…"

"Okay, I'm going to get Pikachu." He still hadn't completely seen her, but he felt her crawl away from him. A moment or two later, he felt her grab his arm, trying to drag him into a standing position. He struggled to get up, but finally, he managed to place both of his feet firmly on the un-firm ground. Weakly, he tried to wipe his face clear of water. It didn't work, but Ash forced his eyes to unfasten, and there came a fuzzy, distorted image into his brain. The bike was sitting back up, leaning on the kickstand, and Pikachu was lying, curled up, in the basket, along with a small familiar egg Pokémon wrapped in a blanket. He looked to the left, and saw… her. She looked just exactly like she did when she left, wearing the same clothes and everything. A…a misty…a misty image of Misty… Ash could have laughed at his own dumb thought, but his body knew that this was no time for laughter. His body did, however, wobble and he caught sight of her hastening to help him stand up. He felt her hand on his saturated back, pushing him towards the bike.

"Okay, let's go get Pikachu some help, and you some help, too. You were taking him to the next Pokémon Center, right? Because they didn't have any Antidote at the last Center?"


"All right. We're only about a half a mile away, so if we hurry, we can get there… in about ten minutes. Now, here," he saw her straddle the bicycle seat, and hold out a hand to him, "Get on the back and I'll get us out of here." As if in a dream, which Ash still wasn't sure he was not in, he reached out for her hand and grabbed it. She pulled him to the bike and he toiled to climb on behind her. Dazed, Ash turned his head to look at Team Rocket. They had finally stopped screaming, and were slumped over the edge of their grounded basket, unconscious and waterlogged. "Psyduck, return!" She held out a Pokéball and Ash caught a glimpse of the familiar yellow duck before it disappeared in its spherical enclosure. "Good job, too," she whispered to the Pokémon in the Pokéball, and put it away.

"Toge-bri!" Ash heard the call of the little egg Pokémon, Togepi. She sat, cuddled in a blanket, in the basket with Pikachu, calling to her unconscious long-lost friend.

"Don't worry, Togepi," Her voice came again, very gently, "Pikachu's going to be okay. Hold on, Ash, and I'll get us out of here." His eyesight still obscure, he felt the kickstand being kicked up and he blindly reached out for her. His arms ended up hugging her around the middle and, forgetting himself, he pulled himself close to her, to hold on so that they could leave for the Pokémon Center and also to hug her at their reunion. His body was so exhausted and in pain that he ended up leaning heavily on her back, with his chin resting on her right shoulder. The spray of rain in his eyes went away, and through clear vision, he saw her turn her head slightly and look at him with one, ocean-tinted eye. It was impossible to read her thoughts, but he could see emotion in her eyes. She smiled warmly at him and whispered back the message he had sent her with his own eyes. "I'm very glad to see you, too, Ash." He smiled. Misty. She. Was. Back.

Ash lifted his feet from the ground and Misty kicked off and began pedaling. The constant torture of the wind-driving rain and the grimy road kept the bike from gaining much speed at first, but soon, Misty was pedaling with great intensity and they gained momentum, covering much ground. Embracing Misty tightly, Ash gazed at his electric pal. "Hang on, Pikachu. Just hold on and you'll be all right. Don't let a little poison get ya down, buddy. Just hang in there. We'll be there soon."

May stood still, becoming completely drenched and looking rather pathetic, in the middle of the road, looking at the middle of the road. She heard two pairs of footsteps hammering the sloshy path behind her, coming closer. She could hear a voice, explaining the story in between breaths.

"… And so then…the girl… she just… ran… off… shouting about… stuff… and… we… think she said… something… about… Ash… maybe…"

"… She… what…?"

"… Yeah…"

"… WAIT A SECOND! … Max! What did… she… look… like-"

"May!" She didn't turn around, but let her brother come to a stop beside her before looking down at him. He wiped his glasses with the back of his right arm, but it didn't help. "Why… did you… stop here? … Where's Ash… or the girl?"

Brock came panting up on her other, left side. "May! What did this… girl look… like? … May? …What's the matter?"

"Look." She pointed to the strange patterns in the mud. The line of a bicycle track snaking though the grime had stopped and was replaced by a huge messy imprint that was indistinguishable. A pair of shoe tracks also stopped when it came upon the imprint. The single bicycle track appeared again on the other side of the imprint and continued on down the road and out of sight, but the shoe tracks disappeared. "Look over there, too." She turned and pointed directly behind them. The two boys looked. Besides their own three shoe tracks, there was a giant square indentation in the mud, indicating a rather large object had been there recently, but was obviously not there now. The three looked at each other in confusion.

Brock shrugged. "We should keep going. We need to catch up with Ash. This rain is getting worse." There was a loud resounding thunder, which made them all flinch and made Max jump. "This is no heavy shower anymore. This is a thunderstorm, and a really bad one at that. Let's go." They set off following the bike track at a run, May looking back over her shoulder at the imprints in the mud.

The sky cut loose another crack of lightning and rumble of thunder. Ash shivered slightly. Covered almost from head to toe in mud and completely drenched, his brain almost couldn't process what was going on. Misty had only been soaked in rain before, but now her back, arms, and stomach were covered in mud from where Ash was leaning deeply onto her for support. Her feet turned the pedals to the bicycle madly, but now automatically, for Ash could almost feel waves of exhaustion coming from her. She was now gasping for breath almost as bad as Pikachu was. Pikachu was sitting up in the basket now, despite all of its pain from the still-seeping poison, and was hugging the blanket-covered Togepi tightly to it. Pikachu was very, very fond of Togepi. Their hug reminded Ash of how he was hugging Misty at the moment, and he felt himself becoming self-conscious. She was breathing hard, so maybe he was holding onto her too tight, he figured, and so he slackened off his grip and took his chin off of her shoulder. At that exact moment, however, they turned a corner and Ash, almost falling off, resumed his former position. I… can't believe…I… took… her… bike…again…should have… known… it was… hers…

"Misty, why… I mean…?"

After a pause, "Yes?" Ash couldn't help grinning a little, but he wasn't sure if she noticed.

"Well, I mean… you have your bike again… so why?" Please… say it's because I'm your… best friend… please…

"Well… I… There it is!" Misty cried excitedly and nodded towards something up ahead. Ash looked. The Pokémon Center was there. Right smack dab next to the highway in the middle of an open plain. It was still far away, but it was in sight. Ash's heart jumped in happiness. We're going to make it, he thought, when suddenly, for the third time that day-

"Errr, these twerps are SO getting on my nerves! All right, for the final time! PREPARE FOR TROUBLE!"

"And… make it double… geesh, I'm tired."


"You know… when we say… the motto… we DO lose the… element… of surprise…"

"Shut up, both of you, and don't make ME say it again! Here, Twerp, give us Pikachu, or else!" Ash jerked his head around again to find Team Rocket and their drenched balloon tailing the bicycle down the road.

"GO AWAY, Team Rocket! You guys have cause enough trouble today!" Ash shouted with intense hatred at them.

"You'd think," Misty added stridently, her voice dripping with odium, "that they would have learned by now that THEY'LL NEVER CATCH PIKACHU!"

"Hey, Jess, I was right! It IS the red-headed twerp! She came back!" James cried out excitedly at his correct presumption.

"Hey, Twerp!" Jesse called out mockingly to Ash. Her spirits and confidence were high as the chance of actually capturing Pikachu grew. "Why'd your GIRLFRIEND come back, TWERP? I thought you DUMPED that freak!"

Not this again, Ash thought desperately. "She's NOT my girl-" he started to reply, but something else caught his attention, as he saw Pikachu setting Togepi to the side of the basket and shooting a look of pure detestation at Team Rocket. "Pikachu? What are you-"

"Pi…" Pikachu's cheeks began to spark dangerously. Ash's eyes grew wide. He glanced up for a second. They were almost to the Center. "…Ka…" Pikachu scrunched up, charging up its body.

"No Pikachu!" Both Ash and Misty cried out at the same time, trying to prevent the mistake. Too late.

"…CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!" Pikachu then let loose a Thunderbolt attack more powerful, more terrifying, more petrifying, than any electric attack that Ash had ever seen Pikachu, any Pokémon, or the sky, create in his whole life. The attack was so strong and formidable, that the sound of thunder accompanied the lightning! Team Rocket cried out as one in horrible agony, as they were shocked by the lightning. The high-powered volts were doubled in intensity because of Jesse, James, and Meowth's saturated state.

Pikachu's attack didn't hit only its target. Ash couldn't help his scream of torment as the Thunderbolt entered his own body, via Misty, who had received the attack's power even before he had. She screamed out in severe pain, too, and their voices, along with Team Rocket's, created a momentary chorus of horrifying, deadly shrieks. Ash and Misty's waterlogged bodies gave the electricity freedom to consume their entire bodies, and it took advantage of its own good fortune. The voltage also took full advantage of Misty's bicycle. The metal bars carried electricity right down to the spokes. For six paralyzed seconds in time, the electricity of Pikachu's Thunderbolt coursed its way sneeringly through Team Rocket, Ash, and Misty. Then, when the balloon couldn't take any more injury, it exploded upward and outward in a most terrifying explosion, sending Team Rocket flying though the sky without a chance to call out their 'blasting off again' valediction. The bicycle hadn't stopped moving the entire time and Ash felt his entire body, along with Misty's, lurch forward again towards the ground, in a third case of déjà vu. There was absolutely nothing Ash could do to save himself, Misty, or Pikachu and Togepi (who were both currently out of his range of vision), and this was one of the worst feelings that he had ever had, this feeling of complete helplessness. The bike's handlebars smashed with a sickening crunch into the road, snapping off the basket, and sending Ash and Misty to meet the road. Misty hit first. A split second later, Ash hit, too, landing in a heap almost on top of her. His head jerked to the side just enough to see the back wheel of the bicycle flying in a straight path for his head. He barely felt it hit him. His whole world went black.

Ash had woken up later to find himself in a white-sheeted hospital bed in a dark room. His brain was hazy and he was confused about his surroundings. He couldn't remember how he had gotten to where he was. Pikachu… poisoned… bike… rain… Team Rocket… mud… rain… bike… OH MY GOSH! Misty! Misty! Ash jerked his body into a sitting position, and immediately regretted it, for the back of his head had begun to throb painfully. Against the pain, he glanced around. He concluded that he was at the Pokémon Center that had been only a short distance away when he had blacked out. There, under a window which exposed a night sky full of stars, was a couch, and on that couch sat Brock, Max, and May. May was asleep leaning against one arm of the couch and Max was napping leaning against his sister. Brock was sitting with his head in his hands, but he looked asleep also. Ash looked to his right, and his heart jumped. There was another hospital bed beside his, and in the darkness, he could just make out a mop of bright orange hair sticking out of the covers. Misty. She was asleep, too. At least, Ash hoped she was, and he held his breath until he saw the sheet rise up and down with her breathing. Then he sighed and gazed over at her. He simply watched over her for a few minutes, his gaze never faltering, and let a sense of contentment wash over him as he rejoiced silently at her return. Ah, Misty, I'm so glad you came back when you did. Team Rocket probably would have gotten away with Pikachu for once if you hadn't come just in time… Why ARE you here, Misty? Did… did you really come back… to… travel with me, I mean, us, again? I hope so, 'cause I missed you so much. I didn't know how much I would miss you, and I've been doing terrible without you here to set me straight on stuff.

Ash wondered where Pikachu was, and hoped that he was feeling okay. The pain in his head had thankfully let up, and Ash had just decided to try to get out of the bed, when he heard a rustle. He looked over to see Brock waking up. Ash shot a grin at Brock and as soon as he saw Ash alive and awake, Brock grinned back. He got up and came over to Ash's bed.

"Hey, Ash. You feeling okay?" he whispered.

"Yup, I'm fine."

"Good. Everyone's been worried about you. You were unconscious the rest of the day, all night, and all of today."

"Really? Wow! I didn't know that I'd been asleep so long!"

"Well, Pikachu's Thunderbolt was really damaging, with all of the rain and storm and everything. May, Max, and I were following you on foot, 'cause May forgot about her bike again, and we had just turned a corner when we saw this humongous explosion. We saw Team Rocket and their balloon go blasting off, so we rushed over to see what happened. By the time we got to you, the Nurse Joy here and her Chansey were already carting you two and the Pokémon inside."

"Please, don't tell me you were slobbering all over that poor Nurse Joy."

"Well, I'll have you know that I resisted for once, because this was an emergency."

Ash laughed at Brock's irritated, yet playful tone. He suddenly realized that Brock had referred to Misty when explaining about what happened. "Misty!" he cried out excitedly and a little too loud. He lowered his voice a fraction. "She's back, Brock! Misty's back! She's really back! And…" He watched Brock trying his best to stop laughing at his friend by covering his mouth tightly with his hand. "What?" Brock just started laughing more. Ash realized that he may have sounded a little bit too enthusiastic about Misty returning, and his face flushed simply the tiniest bit, resulting in Brock crying out hysterically into his hand.

"Hey," Ash growled, "Cut it out."

"I knew it!" Brock managed to gasp out, "I KNEW that was the problem! I just KNEW that's why you've been sulking the whole time!"


"You were missing Misty the whole time, and I KNEW IT! You were, weren't you?" For once in his life, Ash recognized what Brock was referring to.

"Hey! I said cut it out! I mean, you missed her too."

"Not like you did! Boy, I hope she came back to travel with us, for your sake." Brock snickered, but Ash didn't reply. I… I think she said that she was, but… she never said why.

Ash heard a rustle and a slight sigh from the other bed. He whipped around quickly to look at Misty, resulting in frenzied tittering from Brock. Misty slowly sat up and shook her head. Her ponytail had been taken down while she was asleep, and her short hair rustled softly. Ash had always found her very striking with her hair down, but had never told her that. She finally looked up and saw Ash sitting up too, grinning happily at her like an idiot, he was so glad to see her. She automatically grinned just as ignorantly back at him, and they looked at each other in the eyes, something they hadn't done too many times before.

"Hey, Misty Waterflower."

"Hey, Ash Ketchum. Long time, no see."

The next morning, Nurse Joy had brought Ash and Misty's Pokémon to them in the room. Pikachu had been completely cured of poison and was at one hundred percent health. Pikachu, however, was miserable and had been moaning the whole time over his mistake that had brutally injured Ash and Misty. He cheered up when they both easily forgave him, and spent the rest of the morning divided between sitting on both of their beds. He looked almost as glad to see Misty as Ash was, and also spent a lot of time playing with Togepi, who had miraculously escaped all damage from the Thunderbolt, as she had been wrapped up in the blanket.

May and Max were introduced to Misty that morning, too. Max was very happy to meet Misty, especially when he heard that she was a Water Pokémon trainer and a gym leader, both equaling a good teacher of Pokémon. Max would do anything for a Pokémon teacher. Misty seemed to enjoy the fact the Max looked up to her already, since she had always been looked down on by her sisters and many others. May seemed happy enough to meet Misty, perhaps sensing a possible shopping partner, as they were both girls. Misty, Ash noticed, had a slightly pained look on her face as she shook May's hand. Misty seemed rather uneasy and possibly mistrustful towards May, but Ash had no clue why this could be.

After lunch, Nurse Joy (whom Brock had resumed fawning over) gave Ash and Misty permission to leave whenever they were ready. Both immediately jumped out of bed, as they had been feeling perfectly fine the whole morning. For the whole group, clothes were put on, bags were repacked, Pokémon healed, and soon everyone was ready to go (except Brock, who wanted to stay with Nurse Joy, but was pulled off of her by Misty tugging his ear, which brought chuckles of remembrance to Ash, Brock, and Misty and confusion to May and Max). As Pikachu resumed his position on Ash's shoulder. Ash couldn't help feeling a bit apprehensive. No one had mentioned Misty's rejoining the group or not since last night. What if Misty doesn't want to come with us? Oh, gosh, please come with us, Mist, and don't make me miss you again. I don't know if I could stand being away from my best friend again.

The five walked outside, and Ash, Brock, May, and Max looked over at Misty, silently awaiting her decision. She just stood there holding Togepi, not looking at them, silent. No one moved or said a word and everyone was uncomfortable. Finally, Ash absolutely couldn't take the dragging suspense any longer.

"So, Misty," he dragged out slowly and looked away from her, shifting his weight from one foot to the other nervously, "Um, do you, er, are you, um, going to… to come with us? Or…" Ash drifted off, looking back at her, and awaited her reply.

She sighed, and finally, Misty looked up at him. She opened her mouth to speak, but Ash saw her suddenly look past him. Her eyes grew wide. Everyone turned around to see what she was staring at. No. Oh. No. Her bicycle lay on the edge of the road still, for no one had bothered to fool with it yet. It was now simply a charred piece of twisted metal and rubber, finished off, once again, by electricity. I hate déjà vu, Ash cursed inwardly, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! Ash heard a thumping noise and turned slowly around to see Misty tapping her foot on the road in impatience. She had that look in her eye that Ash knew too well, that evil look that meant that he was in deep trouble. Ash could hear Brock start to chuckle again. Misty continued to glare at him, though the rest of her face was indifferent. Ash felt his cheeks redden. Now everyone was staring at him. Pikachu had abandoned Ash's shoulder, leaving Ash completely alone.

"Well?" Misty snapped fiercely, still tapping her foot.

"…Um…well…" Ash said meekly. His body had tensed up.

"Better make a run for it, man," he heard Brock whisper. Ash immediately took his advice and bolted off down the road at his top speed, which Misty had still been known to catch him at. He heard a pounding of feet immediately start chasing after him.


Ash looked back over his shoulder. Here she came, chasing after him. Why always déjà vu? Why? "WHAT, YOU THINK I'M DUMB ENOUGH TO JUST STOP AND SUFFER YOUR PATHETIC WRATH? WELL, I'M NOT!"

"I'LL CATCH YOU SOME DAY! YOU WILL PAY ME BACK FOR MY BIKE, OR I'LL FOLLOW YOU FOREVER!" That decides it, Ash thought, you just sealed your own fate, Misty. I'll never, ever pay you back, 'cause I'm never going to lose you, my best companion, again. Ash laughed aloud just to annoy Misty further.

"Ha, ha, ha! Hey, Ash, Misty, wait up for me, you guys!"

"Pika Pi! Pikachupi! Pikachu!"

"Come on, May! Hurry up! They're getting away!"

"I'm coming, Max, I'm coming! Hey, Brock! Did I miss something or did they always used to do this?"

"You have no idea, May. You have no idea."

Ash had been depressed no more. Misty was back, and she easily refilled her position of "best female friend and arguing partner". They argued pettily for the first few days, but Ash didn't mind. He constantly irked her and provoked her to, wanting to make up for lost months of time, and she seemed to want to do the same. After awhile, though, they went back to their old routine of only four to five arguments a day, and it was good.

As they traveled onward to the next gym, everyone settled into their positions. Max seemed to always be hanging around Misty, hoping she would talk to him about water Pokémon, since that element type was one that he was least knowledgeable on. She would usually comply, and Ash saw that she really enjoyed someone looking up to her. He looked up to her, too, for her ability to recognize what Pokémon had the advantage in battle over another, but he would rather do anything than tell her that. Brock hung out with Misty like they always had. Ash actually talked to her more, rather than argue so much, and began to realize why she had always been his best friend. Whenever he entered a double battle against two opponents, Ash always chose Misty to be his partner, and they and their Pokémon worked well together. Ash was surprised to find, however, that May and Misty didn't get along as well as he had thought they would. Both being girls, he remembered (though he had sometimes used to forget that Misty was a girl, because of the way she acted), he had expected them to become great buddies or something. They weren't. He would sometimes catch them slightly glaring at each other. Other than that, they ignored each other almost completely.

Team Rocket, who eventually returned to their own stalking schedule even after the Thunderbolt, resolved to take advantage of Misty's return and screech out about how she was Ash's girlfriend every chance they got. They both always denied it, but as they yelled their infuriated responses at the exact same time and in the exact same words, Jesse, James, and Meowth just cracked up with uncontrollable laughter before they were sent flying by Pikachu. They finally quit their teasing after Ash and Misty stopped responding and let Pikachu reply, via Thundershock, for them. Ash felt extremely lucky that no one in the group of five said anything about his relationship with Misty being anything other than friends. After his late-night conversation with Brock, Ash noticed Brock closely watching him and grinning every time he talked to (or yelled at) Misty, and this made Ash nervous. May seemed to pout a little bit whenever Ash paid attention to Misty. May had always sort of pouted a lot, even before Misty came, so Ash didn't really give it a second thought. Max didn't seem to think anything. Pikachu didn't bother Ash about it either, but Pikachu was still too excited at Togepi's return to notice anyway. Misty didn't seem to have anything to say on the matter either, and Ash definitely didn't.

At the next gym, Ash had an easy time winning a badge, probably because of Misty screaming at him from the sidelines about his lack of strategy. However, Ash's Taillow, his first captured Pokémon of Hoenn region, was injured pretty badly and even though he recovered well, his left wing was left a little bit lame. As much as he hated it, Ash didn't want to use Taillow to battle again, because he didn't want Taillow's wing to have a chance of becoming broken. Also, Ash didn't want to let Taillow go free, because it might be picked on by other, faster Taillow, and might not be able to catch something to eat. Ash felt distraught and stuck, until he decided, at the next town, to ask Professor Oak.

When they got there, Ash called, but Tracey answered instead. Ash went ahead and told Tracey his problem, since he trusted the watcher, and Tracey suggested that Ash send Taillow back to Pallet Town with Ash's other Pokémon. This kind of suggestion was exactly what Ash had needed; after saying 'good bye for a while', Ash put Taillow back in its Pokéball and let Tracey transport it to Professor Oak's lab and himself. Ash made Tracey promise several times to take good care of Taillow, until Misty butted in and told him to stop. Before Ash hung up the phone, however, Tracey was trampled by Ash's other Pokémon, who wanted to say 'hi!'. Bulbasaur, Heracross, Muk, Kingler, Cyndaquil, Totodile, and a few Tauros all stuck their heads up in the videophone screen to greet him, and Ash and his party just had to laugh. However, Ash noticed that two of his Pokémon weren't there, and so he asked Tracey where they were. Tracey explained that they, Noctowl and Bayleef, had been sulking lately because they had been missing Ash so much. Because Ash had room on his belt for up to three Pokémon now, Ash asked Tracey to transport the two of them to Ash so that he could take them traveling for a while. When their Pokéballs arrived, Ash let the two Johto Pokémon out so that May and Max could meet them. Noctowl immediately began soaring through the air in circles happily. Bayleef could hardly contain herself in her delight and held Ash so tight to her with her Vine Whip, that Ash was nearly strangled.

Now with Pikachu, Treecko, Corphish, Noctowl, and Bayleef, Ash had a pretty well rounded team. Misty had Corsola, Psyduck, Staryu, Wingull (she had captured it when she first came to Hoenn), and Togepi (who was still too young to battle, though). Brock had called home, like Ash had, and now had Lotad, Mudkip, Vulpix, Crobat, and Onix. May still had only Torchic and Beautifly, but she didn't care one bit. Even Max now had a Pokémon. It was a very small, but strong, Poochyena. Misty had captured it when they found it injured beside a road, one day, and seeing how Max was simply in love with it, gave him the Poochyena for his first Pokémon. Max was beyond ecstatic, proclaiming that when HE was a gym leader (which was his own goal), he was going to run a Dark-type gym, seeing as he didn't even know if there was one somewhere anyway. Max and Poochyena were soon best friends and worked great as a team. Max let Poochyena be out of its Pokéball about ninety-five percent of the time, so he was very close to everyone, like Pikachu and Togepi were.

The group of five continued on down the road, always ever onward. After Lavaridge, the next gym in Fortree City wasn't too far away. Soon, they hit Route 119, which would eventually bring them to their destination. Ash was all carefree and full of bliss, now. His best friend, Misty, was back now. He had two of his old Pokémon with him. Everyone was happy and healed. He had five badges, and a sixth one would certainly be easy to obtain. In very high spirits, Ash realized that he hadn't been this happy for a long time. Everything was now just perfect in his life. Well, as perfect as it could be while still not being the greatest Pokémon Master. Yet.


Well, whatcha think? Interesting? Not? I know, I know, this chapter really had nothing to do with the story. It's basically a story in itself! I really did need this chapter, though, to set the scene up, so no one gets confused. Believe me! It gets A LOT BETTER! Please review!

NOTE: Every chapter title is a line from a song, and all of the songs are songs from one of the many Pokémon CD's. If you have identified the song that Chapter 1's (or any chapter's) title is from, review and let me know, and I'll post your name with the correct title on my next chapter. :)