I do not own Pokémon. Pokémon and all of its characters belong to Satoshi Tajiri and Nintendo.

A/N: Characters' ages: Both Ash and Misty are about 17.

This story was made mostly around 2003, when I wasn't as good at English as I am now. I decided to rewrite it to fix all my mistakes, changing some lines and eliminating the thoughts. Same story, same events, almost the same dialogs, now it's more enjoyable and easier to read.

When Hearts Are Aglow

Chapter 1: I Need You

It was almost Christmas Eve, and a whole month had passed since Ash received a call from Misty asking him to work with her in the Cerulean Gym. Daisy had gotten married, Violet was living with her boyfriend and Lily had recently accepted an offer to run a gym for a new league. So then, as the work might be a little boring and exhausting for only herself, she thought she could have some company. She thought, of course, of Ash.

The aspirant to the title of Pokémon Master happily accepted his best friend's offer, thinking it would be fun to help run an official gym and it would also be very good for his training. Since his arrival at the city, Misty and him spent many good times, they went out often and had lots of fun. But none of them was brave enough to confess their feelings yet. Deep inside, they both were holding back their want to be in each other's arms.

Lily was going to have a free week to spend this Christmas with her family, so she would go back to the gym as soon as she could to meet her sister and celebrate the great day.

It was December 19th when the videophone was ringing and Ash answered:

"Hello."

"Hi Ash, honey, how are you?"

"Mom? I'm fine, how about you?"

"We're great. Mr. Mime and I did a good job with the Christmas tree. How does yours look like?"

"Well, it's-"

"Ash, it's been a long time!" Somebody interrupted him.

"Professor Oak?"

"Yeah, how is my gym leader doing?"

"Oh, everything is pretty cool here! We're having a lot of work. I'm hoping to stay for a long time."

"That's fantastic."

"And they pay enough to go out every week, it's great."

"Good for you. You know Ash, I was wondering if you wanted to spend this Christmas at my lab."

"Really? That sounds fun."

"Right. I'm planning a good party for all the people in Pallet. What do you think?"

"I'm not sure, though... the gym will be closed, but Misty's sisters and their partners will be here and she wants to spend the night with them."

"Well, that's not a problem. They can all come here."

"Oh, alright. Then, I'll tell them and I'll call you back later to confirm, Ok?"

"Yes, Ok. Good bye, Ash. I'll be waiting for your call."

"Don't worry. I'll give you a ring after we talk about it."

His mother pushed Professor Oak a little so she could see Ash better. "Ash, keep in touch, will you?"

"I will mom. Good bye for now."

"Bye, sweetie."

Despite the many good things that had recently happened to Ash, he was still worried because of Pikachu. Since the pokémon left his trainer for a new life, with a female Pikachu he met in the woods, both friends had to part in different ways, just right before Ash received Misty's call to go to help her with the gym. Obviously Ash felt really unhappy when this occurred, but he understood that when one grows up there are many changes that have to be made. And even if it hurts for a while, you have to accept everything happens for a good reason. Until then he'd had no opportunity to see him again, and that's why he was becoming sadder these last days, remembering all the great times they had together, and thinking this would be the first Christmas without his best pokémon friend. Ash was really wishing to see Pikachu, and of course, a certain redhead noticed that.

Thanks to the constant training, Misty was becoming stronger everyday, and turned into an excellent gym leader. Contrary to Ash, she was looking very happy, maybe because of the surprise she was planning for Christmas.

After having an official battle with a trainer, she went to the living room and looked at Ash, who was feeding some pokémon. He smiled at her before speaking.

"You have another victory?"

"Not this time. This trainer proved to be very strong..." She sighed. "Oh, well."

"Hmph... It's late. Did you close the gym?"

"Yes, everything is ready for tomorrow."

"When are we going to have dinner, Misty? I'm hungry."

"If so, why didn't you cook something?"

"I was waiting for you because it's your turn to do it."

"I know. Well, what do you want to eat?"

"You've been improving a lot your cooking skills, so it's the same."

Misty raised an eyebrow. That comment kind of took her aback. "Ok. I'll see what I can do," she said, turning to the kitchen. "Would you turn the TV on? My favorite show is about to start."

"Sure," he responded, as he stood up to grab the remote control that was on the little table a meter away from him.

"Did you remember to buy the new light bulb for the kitchen?"

"Oh, no! I forgot." He gulped thinking he would hear some complaints. "Do you want me to go now?"

"No, it's Ok. It's dark and cold outside and it's not like we can't see with only the other two. Right?"

"Yes. I swear I'll go early tomorrow." He breathed in and out, surprised this time they didn't discuss as usual.

"Right, but try not to wake me up again, Ok? You make too much noise."

"Oh, I'm sorry, sleeping beauty, but if you want me to go that early you'll have to stand the consequences..."

She blinked twice. What did he just call her? "Fine, but just try. You don't have to argue."

"It's Ok, I was just kidding."

The next day, Misty had no scheduled battles with trainers. When Ash woke up, he decided to buy that light bulb as quickly as he could, because he knew he wouldn't like to see his friend angry.

While Ash wasn't home, Misty started to prepare the room to welcome Lily back until she received a phone call from Sakura, saying that she had moved to Pallet Town a week ago. She also said that she'd met a boy called Tracy, who told her where Ash and Misty were living. When Ash returned, Misty told him about it:

"You remember Sakura? She called me and said she's recently moved to Pallet. She met Tracy, too."

"Pallet Town? Oh, it's true! I almost forget. Professor Oak called yesterday asking if we wanted to go there for Christmas. Is that Ok with you?"

"What about my sisters?"

"He said they can all go with us."

"Well, I really like the idea but I should tell them first."

"Sure. Lily is coming tomorrow, isn't she? We can ask her then, and if she agrees we can call Daisy and Violet."

"Fine... You know what? I'd love to see our friends again."

"Yeah, me too..." Specially Pikachu, he thought.

Ash showed Misty the light bulb he had bought and climbed up the table to connect it. When he was done, Misty helped him to get down by putting a chair near him. But suddenly, Psyduck entered the kitchen running after Corsola, who was hidden under the table, and then it happened: they knocked over the chair on which Ash was standing, making him fall to the floor, hitting strongly his head. He fainted. Misty was really scared and became desperate. She dragged him carefully to the nearest couch and turned on the fan to give him some air.

"Ash, please, wake up... Come on. Ash, open your eyes. Please. Don't scare me... Come on!"

Ash could hear her loud and clear, but it was hard for him to react. He tried a lot, but managed to do it only about two or three minutes later, when Misty was crying on his chest. She went on talking to him without knowing he was already awake.

"Ash... please, don't leave me... I need you..."

"...I'll never leave you, Misty. I promise."

"Oh, my Gosh! You're awake!" She hugged him tightly.

"Yes, I am."

"...I thought..."

"Shh. It's Ok... I'm alive," he joked.

"Thank Gosh."

"No, thanks to you."

"What for? I did nothing."

"You begged me to wake up."

"Excuse me?"

"I heard you."

She frowned. "What exactly did you hear?"

"Ash, please, don't leave me!" he said in a girlish tone, laughing heartedly.

"It's not funny, you know."

"Yeah, whatever. You have to admit you sounded too desperate."

"I did not."

"Did too."

"Oh, yeah? How desperate was I?"

"Well, if I were you, I wouldn't say my secret feelings aloud. Even if I think the one I want isn't hearing me."

"What are you talking about?"

"I need you, Ash!" He said in her tone again.

"Oh, my Gosh. Is that what you heard?"

"Yes, why?

"Let me explain this. I didn't say it because I personally need you, Ok? I was just talking about the gym... I need your help with that."

"Yes, sure."

"Don't you believe me?"

"No."

"Well, that's the whole truth. Maybe you dreamt about it."

"...You know what, Misty?"

"What?"

"You can't lie to me. You can say whatever you want now, but I'm sure of what I heard."

"That's what you'd wish."

"Maybe... And if you want to come clean, I'll be watching TV."

"Fine."

"Fine!"

She started to walk to her room, only to stop in the middle of the corridor. ...Maybe?