Just Turn Around
…You got a boy,
You got a girl,
Sitting underneath a tree,
They sit there everyday…
Blink and you would have missed it. But Ash didn't. He wished he had. His mouth grew dry and his palms clammy. No no no…this was wrong. They were just friends. Friends. Maybe that had just been a friendly kiss. Maybe, maybe…
Okay that was a slightly friendlier kiss. And that kiss was…was…dammit Tracey get your mouth off her!
Ash's face flushed and his chest pinched painfully. Sure Tracey and Misty had been spending a lot of time together since he, her and Brock had arrived back in Pallet from Johto. Sure they had grown a lot closer and had been spending almost everyday off 'on walks' together. Sure Misty had been acting weird, and quiet, and…well that's what had driven him to spying on them right? He'd followed them as they walked hand in hand from Professor Oak's lab to this quiet, secluded, deserted, romantic hilltop, and saw them sit down close to each other underneath a huge and leafy tree.
And now, kissing softly, they looked like the perfect couple.
…And even though you might think
This is the way things should be
It may not always be that way…
Ash broke out of his semi-trance like state as his fingernails dug deeply into the palms of his clenched fists and drew blood. He whimpered slightly, and licked the small spots of blood off his palms. The two of them were still kissing. Ash swallowed deeply, and was horrified to feel wetness in his eyes, and forced the tears back. What was wrong with him? It's the shock, he told himself.
But, he thought, reluctant to let the wondering free, why Tracey? Why…why not me?
…You can't take nothing for granted,
You've got to live life today…
What did that mean? His head recoiled from the revelation from his heart. Did he like Misty? As in like her like her? Ash tilted his head, and observed the couple underneath the tree. Tracey had pulled out Misty's hair-tie and his fingertips were only slightly visible, poking through her orange hair as they ran through it. Ash tried to imagine himself in the clinch instead of Tracey, found it surprisingly easy, and he blushed and looked away.
Sinking to a sitting position, Ash pulled his hat forwards off his head with one hand and began to twist it as he assessed the situation. He was bombarded with images of Misty – her glaring down at him after she fished him out of the river; her dancing with him at Maiden's Peak; her battling him for the CascadeBadge; her blushing as Team Rocket accused them of eloping; her happy, but slightly confused face as Rudy took her away from him and Tracey on Trovita; her worried face and wet hair dripping down onto his face as she leant over him after rescuing him from the ocean by Shamouti; her shyly handing him a congratulations card after he won the Orange League, and kissing him quickly on the cheek…and even one from the previous night, where she had knelt on his bed in her nightclothes, holding out one of his Nintendo controllers tauntingly, and then her jumping up with his victory pose as she thrashed him at Goldeneye…
Ash sniffed, and clenched his eyes tightly shut. His mouth opened and a little gasp came out. Oh God, oh God…I want her, he realised too late.
…I turn around, I can see what's behind me,
I turn back around, I can see what's ahead…
Anger swept through him. Anger at Tracey, anger at her, anger at himself. But…hadn't he known? Hadn't he known deep down since they both started acting weird what was going on? No, it went deeper than that, he could trace it all the way back to the Orange League if he thought hard enough. But he could trace his feelings for her all the way back to the beginning – it just wasn't far; he had known her much longer than Tracey his mind childishly argued.
Then why didn't I say anything, he argued back. He just hadn't. His imagination grew wild, and he frantically imagined having to sit through their wedding, having to buy them a blender, and having their kids calling him 'Uncle Ash'. He imagined Misty and Tracey living happily ever after, sailing off into the sunset on the Love Boat, and Ash pitifully and dotingly swimming in the freezing water behind them…
"We'll have to tell Ash and the others soon,"came Misty's voice from under the tree, snapping Ash out of his daydream. He groaned. Now he simply couldn't pretend he didn't know, that he hadn't seen what he had. He couldn't forget. He sniffed again, and violently rubbed his sleeve across his face to catch any tears that had dared to fall.
He watched Tracey and Misty get up, and Tracey put his arm around Misty's waist. They walked off, down the hill, leaving Ash alone. Quietly, he walked over to the tree, and ran his ungloved fingertips lightly over the rough bark of the tree, into which was scratched the words Tracey 4 Misty, surrounded by a crude heart shape. Ash suddenly felt an urge to strip the bark off the tree with his fingernails, but didn't. A deflated feeling came over him.
…And if you don't believe,
I've been here, all along…
Absently, Ash turned around and followed the distant couple down the hill, back towards his house. All of Pallet lay at his feet, and it was a beautiful view, but he could only blankly stare at Misty's back.
Whatever makes you happy, he suddenly thought. I can wait my turn.
…Just turn around…