Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon; wish I did, but I don't

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon; wish I did, but I don't. Some ideas for this story-line was given to me by my grandmother, but she doesn't own Pokémon either! 'Fraid I have to do this now: 'A Piece of My Heart' (APOMH) is ©opyright Erina-chan 2000!

Same notes as for Gd'A. means thinking, ** means translation, italics means dream sequence, flashbacks will be marked like this: […=START FLASBACK=…]

Ages (for actual story, the Prologue is set a year before the story):

Ash/Mystic/Rudi = 16

Brock = 20

Jesse/James = 25

Butch/Cassidy = 23

Diana/Ross = 21

Giovanni = 40+

A PIECE OF MY HEART

Prologue

It was raining, and the sky was so dark it looked like evening, even though it was only 11am. The day was so dreary there was a silent agony to it. No Pidgey were singing and the only sounds were occasional sobs and the wind through the trees.

The gathered group of people looked up expectantly as the priest walked over to the makeshift podium in front of 4 wooden boxes. Ash had never seen anything worse than those boxes. One wooden prison. Full stop. Game over.

"Friends…" the priest began. "We are gathered here today to mourn the passing of the four Waterflower sisters of Cerulean City." He began to reel the sisters off, one by one. Daisy. Lily. Violet. Misty. After each name he spoke a few words, commenting on the achievements of their short lives. Lastly he spoke of Misty, the youngest Waterflower; the 'black-sheep' of the family. Ash knew his mother's hand was on his shoulder, but he couldn't feel it. He could feel nothing but an immense crushing pain in his chest. This is what let him know he was alive; apart from this he was numb all over.

Although his vision was slightly altered by the tears threatening to fall, he could see the older sister's friends and boyfriends, crying over those meaningless boxes; because, for them, each one held a memory of someone who had once been a part of their lives. The crowd around the fourth coffin parted to let the Pokémon Master, Ash Ketchum through.

Ash jerkily wiped his sleeve across his face and stared at the box. He was aware of people beside him; his mother, Brock, Tracey, Todd. The crowd had gone to the Reception Hall.

Man, he's taking this pretty badly. thought Todd. Ash slowly ran his finger along the gilded edge of the coffin.

"What's the point?" he murmured bitterly. "She's not even in there." Brock patted Ash's back reassuringly.

"Come on man, you have to let go."

"I know," whispered Ash, barely audible, "but I can't. I…don't want to." He turned suddenly, and his mother and friends were startled and moved by the pain that seemed to darken his already dark eyes. "You guys? If I'm going to do this, could I have some privacy?"

"Sure sweetheart." said his mum, cautiously. As they walked to the Reception Hall, Tracey turned to Brock.

"Do you think we should leave him alone?" he asked. Brock looked thoughtful.

"He'll be alright, he just needs closure. They never found her body, but her chances were so slim you can't even call them chances." He sighed. "Ash is trying to hold on, but there's nothing left but a dream. Just give him time, he needs to adjust. He's known, he knew Misty for years, longer than he's known me even."

Ash sat on the grass cross-legged like a 10-year-old again, pulling tuffs out of the ground and making a little pile by his feet. He tore his eyes from his little grass pile, and on to the smiling eyes of the picture of Misty, framed in gold and placed by the coffin, surrounded by flowers. He stared at the picture for ages as the clouds passed overhead.

"God Misty," he blurted out to the picture. "You drive me nuts, even when you're…not here." Ash stopped and swallowed. He reached over and took the picture, past caring if he was allowed to or not. He ran his thumbs up and down the patterned gold frame and squeezed back the tears. He was 15 years old and the Pokémon Master to boot, and he was damned if he was going to cry now. He'd already cried enough when the police had told them they'd found three out the four bodies, and exactly how they died.

He slammed the picture down on the grass, but the glass didn't break. The dams broke and before he knew it the tears were there, running down his cheeks, on to his chest, down his arms.

"Why?!" he screamed as he slammed the picture down again, but it still refused to break. He repeated this cycle till he was worn out. Ash stopped, and noticed the unshattered, unbroken glass. "Just as stubborn as you Myst" he laughed bitterly.

He leant against the coffin with his head in his hands. After a while, he tilted his head backwards so the soft rain gently fell on to his face, blending with his tears. He opened his eyes as he heard Brock's footsteps approaching.

"Come on man, let's go home." Ash rose silently, without protest. He took one more glance at the empty coffin.

I'll miss you Misty he thought to himself. There was no easier or truer way to say it. As Ash slowly moved towards the Reception Hall, Brock himself took a minute of silence in respect for his departed friend. He wished he had Ash's faith in the fact that she may be alive, but he just didn't.

As a final gesture, Brock took the carnation from his jacket button and laid it on the grass next to the coffin, and an empty gold frame.