Well, it's been a wild ride, but I think it's time to send Ash, Misty and their Pokémon off with an ending that they deserve. Before that, though, I want to thank everyone that read my story (whether you left a review or not). I hope you had just as much fun reading this as I had writing.
And now, the final chapter...
Chapter 19: A Bright Future
The banquet wasn't scheduled to begin for another hour, but Ash insisted on getting there early (something Misty found very odd). The two of them had decided to get ready back at their cabin. Ash was already ready, dressed in a black tux. Though he despised wearing clothes like this he convinced himself to do this for Misty. Even Pikachu was slightly dressed up, wearing a black bowtie and top hat.
"You just about ready?" Ash called.
"Just a few more minutes!" Misty replied. Ash sighed. Misty and Elektra had been getting ready for the past 45 minutes. He looked down at Pikachu.
"I will never understand why girls take so long to get ready," he commented.
"Chu Pi Ka Chu Pi Ka Chu (Your guess is as good as mine)," Pikachu responded. "Pi Chu Pi Pikachu Pi Chu? (Are you sure everything is ready?)"
"Positive," Ash answered. "Gary called earlier and told me everyone's here and waiting for us to arrive. Besides…" He reached down and pat his pants pocket, where something of incredible value was stored.
"There's no way I'm going to let anything ruin this night," he said.
"Okay, we're coming out!" Misty called. Ash and Pikachu looked to the bedroom door, where their mouths hit the floor. Misty came out dressed in a shimmering blue dress that stopped just above her knees. Sparkling blue heels adorned her feet. Her hair was left to frame her face, and around her neck was the necklace Ash bought her. Elektra looked just as stunning in Pikachu's opinion. Her fur shined brighter than ever, and a small blue bow was tied around her right ear. Misty giggled upon seeing Ash's reaction.
"I take it by the way you're staring that the wait was worth it," she joked.
"Absolutely," Ash remarked. Smiling he offer his arm to Misty, which she gladly accepted. Pikachu did the same for Elektra, getting the same result. The two couples stepped outside, where Misty was shocked to see a black limousine waiting for them.
"A limo?" she gasped.
"I figured we'd arrive in style," Ash said. "Besides, I only want the best for you." Misty smiled as she let Ash lead her to the limo. He opened the door and helped her in before getting in himself. Pikachu and Elektra scampered in and hopped on Ash and Misty's laps.
"Okay, driver, we're ready," Ash announced.
"Yes sir, Mr. Ketchum," the driver replied. As the limo started to pull away Ash had one more request.
"Do you mind taking the scenic route? I want this trip to last as long as possible," he requested.
"Of course, sir," the driver responded. With that taken care of Ash turned his attention back to Misty.
"And just why did you want this trip to last so long?" she questioned, a slight smirk on her face. Ash smiled and took her hands in his.
"Why do you think?" he answered. Misty giggled and snuggled closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder. At that moment Ash had one more thing to say to the driver.
"Do you think you could drive a little bit slower?"
At five until seven the limo pulled up in front of League Castle. The door opened and Ash stepped out. He held his hand out for Misty, who accepted as she exited the limo. Pikachu and Elektra got out right behind her. He closed the door and knocked on the top of the limo.
"I'll give you a call when we're ready," he said. The driver nodded as he drove off, leaving the two trainers and their Pokémon standing outside of League Castle.
"Ready to head inside?" Ash asked. He and Misty linked arms as they headed for the entrance. Halfway there a thought popped into Misty's head.
"Hey Ash, remember back at the Pokémon Center after I lost to Dawn?" she asked.
"Yeah?" Ash replied, not really liking that memory.
"Well, I recall you saying that you were willing to tell me what you've been hiding from me just to get me to stay," she recalled. Ash gulped, remembering that all too well.
"I think I'm ready to take you up on that offer," she said.
"Oh… umm… well…"
"Come on, Ash. I want to know what you've been hiding from me," Misty said, this time with a bit of conviction in her voice. Ash continued to stutter, trying to find a way out of this.
"Well? I'm waiting," Misty said. Ash opened his mouth to reply, but then he noticed something.
"Hey… you hear that?" he asked.
"Don't try to change the subject, Ash Ketchum," Misty replied, growing a bit agitated with all the procrastinating.
"I'm serious, Misty. Take a listen," Ash said. Misty sighed and listened for whatever Ash had heard. However, she heard nothing.
"Just what am I supposed to be listening for?" she asked.
"Do you hear anything?" Ash asked.
"No, nothing," she answered.
"Exactly," Ash pointed out. "If they're supposed to be getting the banquet ready then why don't we hear anything from inside?" Now Misty understood what he was getting at.
"You don't think something happened inside, do you?" she asked.
"I don't know, but there's only one way to find out," he answered. With Misty clinging to his arm they slowly approached the door. As they got closer Ash reached for the door handle. Upon touching the handle the door opened.
"Ash, I'm scared," Misty admitted, tightening her hold on Ash's arm.
"Don't worry. I won't let anything happen to you," he told her. The two of them entered the building, finding all the lights out. Pikachu and Elektra stood in front of them, ready to defend their trainers should anything try to harm them.
"Where's the light switch?" Misty whispered.
"I think it's somewhere over here," Ash answered. He felt along the wall until he found the switch. He flipped it, turning the lights on. The minute he did…
"Surprise! (Pika!)" Misty nearly jumped out of her dress when everyone came out and shouted like that.
"What the? What's going on?" she shouted. She spun around to face Ash and saw him smiling.
"Okay, what's the meaning of this?" she asked.
"Take a look up there," Ash suggested, pointing towards the ceiling. Looking up she saw a 'Congratulations, Ash!' banner, but she gasped when she saw the banner right below it. She turned back to Ash, a smile on her face.
"Oh Ash…" She threw her arms around him. Ash hugged her back, whispering three words into her ear.
"Happy Birthday, Mist."
The celebrations that night, both for Ash's championship win and Misty's birthday, were filled with joyous laughter and upbeat conversation. Everyone who Ash and Misty met during the Sinnoh Championships were there that night, along with many who had just recently arrived including Ash's mom, Professor Oak, Tracey, Brock, Daisy, Lily, Violet, May and Max. As well as…
"Hey, birthday girl!"
"Sis!" Upon seeing Flannery Misty ran to her, the sisters meeting in a hug.
"How does it feel to be 18?" Flannery asked.
"It feels great," Misty answered.
"I hope you saved some of that for us." Misty looked towards the sound of the new voice and saw Mark, Gloria and Mr. Moor, all three of them smiling.
"Mom! Dad! Grandpa!"
"Happy Birthday, sweetie," Gloria said. Misty hugged each of them.
"Look at that. My baby girl is growing up strong," Mark commented.
"Well of course. She is my sister after all," Flannery said as she walked up next to Misty.
"And don't you forget it," Misty added. She and her family laughed at the comment. Off in another part of the room Ash was watching with May and Max.
"So that's who her real family was," Max said. "I have to admit I never imagined when we first traveled through Lavaridge Town all those years ago."
"Neither did I. In fact I didn't even know Misty was adopted until she told me right before I was to leave for Sinnoh," Ash admitted.
"Well I'm just glad she's been reunited with her real family," may commented. "I'm sure it must have been hard on Daisy and the others."
"Not as hard as it was to keep the truth from her," Ash answered.
"I can imagine," May said.
"Speaking of Daisy I think I see her," Max said. Sure enough when they looked they saw Daisy approaching Misty and her family.
"What do you think is going to happen?" May asked.
"More than likely something that Daisy feels she needs to do," Ash answered. The three of them moved a bit closer so they could hear everything that was about to be said. They could tell Daisy was nervous just by looking at her. However, Ash believed she wouldn't let that stop her with what she was about to do.
"I… I want to apologize," she said. "I know it wasn't right for my parents… or us… to hide Misty from you. It's just that… we had grown so attached to her that… in any case we were wrong, and for that I'm truly sorry." Even though she knew she wasn't her sister Misty still felt for Daisy. She wanted nothing more than to comfort her, but before she got the chance Gloria stepped forward. She stood in front of Daisy. The eldest Waterflower had her head down as if she were afraid to look Gloria in her eyes.
"Your name's Daisy, am I correct?" she asked.
"Y-Yes ma'am," Daisy replied. To her surprise Gloria's voice didn't sound angry or upset. She looked up and saw nothing but warmth and understanding in the older woman's eyes.
"For whatever reason your parents decided to keep Misty and raise her as their own child, giving her the warm and loving home I would want her to have, and for that I want to thank you," she said.
"You… want to thank us?" Daisy asked, slightly confused.
"She may have been away from us for 10 years, but we can tell that she was brought up in a family that loved her and cared for her," Mark said. This response was not at all what Daisy was expecting. After hearing her parents speak it was Misty's turn.
"It's like Ash told you, Daisy. It's time for you to forgive yourself for this," she said. Hearing Misty say this caused Daisy to tear up.
"Oh Misty…" Misty could see how emotional Daisy was getting, so rather than let her try to say what she was feeling Misty instead brought her into a hug.
"We may not be blood relatives, but I still love you like a sister… you, Lily and Violet," Misty said. Hearing this filled Daisy with indescribably joy. With a few tears running down her cheeks she hugged Misty back, thanking her for her and her family's kindness.
"That… was so moving," May said, wiping a few tears from her eyes. "I'm so glad they were able to work everything out."
"Yeah. Things always turn out better with a happy ending," Max agreed. Ash was about to agree with the two of them when something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.
"No way… that can't be…" He brought his full attention to what he saw, and couldn't believe his own eyes. There, standing by the door, was none other than Paul, and judging from the look of boredom on his face this wasn't somewhere he wanted to be.
"I wonder what he's doing here? Well, I'm sure it's not to congratulate me on beating him in the finals." As Ash continued to watch Paul turned and walked out the door. Seeing this Ash knew he had to act fast.
"Could you two excuse me for a sec," he told them. Without waiting for a response from May or Max, Ash took off after Paul. He ran out the door and looked around for him, spotting the Veilstone trainer walking down the road.
"Paul!" Ash called. Paul paused and turned around as Ash approached.
"You know, you were the last person I thought I'd see there," Ash admitted. "What made you come anyway?"
"I had my reasons," Paul replied. Ash was about to get on Paul's case about his attitude when Paul interrupted him.
"I want to get one thing perfectly clear with you… your win over me was nothing more than a fluke, a mistake, something that will never happen again. The next time we battle I will wipe the floor with you and your pathetic Pokémon," he explained. To Ash this was 'typical Paul attitude' here.
"Anytime… anywhere… we'll be ready," Ash answered. With those words exchanged Paul turned and kept walking. Though he didn't show it Ash knew Paul had heard what he said. As he watched the Veilstone trainer walk away Misty approached him.
"I was wondering where you were," she said. Her eyes then drifted down the road where she saw Paul walking away.
"Was that Paul?" she asked. "What was he doing here?"
"Issuing a future challenge," Ash answered.
"A… future challenge?" Misty asked.
"Yeah, but enough about him. We've got a night to enjoy," Ash said. He took her hand and lead her back inside.
The night continued on without incident. Many of the conversations included congratulating Ash on his victory over Paul in the finals, among other things.
"I'm so proud of you, Ash," Delia said. "You've really done Pallet Town proud."
"That you have. I'm quite sure the whole town was watching your battle," Professor Oak added.
"Thanks, but I couldn't have done it without my Pokémon or Misty," Ash admitted.
"Speaking of Misty I wonder where she is?" Delia asked.
"I think I may know," Ash answered. He started making his way through the crowd to where he believed Misty was when he ran across Dawn and Gary.
"Hey, Ash," Dawn greeted.
"Hey. Looks like you two have really hit it off," Ash commented.
"Yeah, Gary's a really great guy," Dawn said. "In fact he's agreed to be my guide around Kanto when I go there for the next Grand Festival."
"Really?" Ash said, a bit surprised.
"Sure, why not? It'll give me a reason to travel through Kanto again, not to mention that Dawn is a great conversationist," Gary replied.
"Well I'm happy for the two of you. Good luck with your contest battles, Dawn," Ash said.
"Thanks," Dawn said. "So, where are you heading?"
"To find Misty," Ash answered. "I think it's time for the highlight of the night. Excuse me." Ash as walked past them Dawn got an excited look in her eyes.
"Is he going to do what I think he is?" she asked.
"Oh yeah. He's about to make Misty the happiest girl on the planet," Gary answered. As soon as he said that Dawn grabbed his arm and pulled him through the crowd.
"Hey! What are you doing?" he asked.
"We've got to tell the others!" Dawn squealed.
Ash knew that with the night as perfect as it was there was only one place Misty would be. As he made his way up the stairs he began to think about what he was about to do, and the huge step in his life he was about to take.
"I know that I'm… we're ready for this," he said, psyching himself up. As he reached the top of the stairs he saw Misty. Just as he figured she was standing on the balcony, her eyes turned up towards the stars.
"Okay, Ketchum. You know what you have to do." Taking one last deep breath to try and calm his nerves Ash walked out onto the balcony and stood next to Misty.
"I should have known you'd come find me up here," Misty said, her eyes still looking up at the stars.
"With a view this breathtaking I knew you'd be up here," Ash admitted.
"Are you talking about the stars… or me?" Misty teased.
"What do you think?" Ash replied as he gently kissed Misty. Unknown to the two of them, though, they had quite the crowd looking on. Dawn, Jessie, May, Flannery, Pikachu and Elektra had all gathered at the top of the stairs to witness what was sure to be one of the most beautiful moments of the night.
"Are you sure he's going to go through with it?" May whispered.
"I'd be more surprised if he didn't," Dawn answered. "Trust me, he'll do it."
"Chu Pi Chu, Pikapi (Bring it home, Ash)," Pikachu said.
"You know, I don't think this night could get any better," Misty said.
"I know of a way," Ash said. Misty looked at him, a bit confused. The next thing she knew he was reaching into his pocket for something. He took out a small black box.
"Ash, what is…" She never got to finish. Her voice caught in her throat as she watched Ash go down on one knee.
"Misty, we've been through so much over the years. We've seen and done things no normal person would have ever believed possible. We've faced down legendary Pokémon, took on criminal organizations, and each time we've come away stronger people," Ash said. "And it's because of all of that… all of those experiences… that I believe it's time we take the next step in our lives." He opened the box, revealing a stunning diamond ring. By now Misty couldn't stop the tears from falling.
"Ash… are you…"
"You're a part of two absolutely wonderful families already. Now I want to add a third to your life… mine. Misty… will you marry me?" Misty was in utter shock. Her tears were falling freely.
"Ash I… don't know what to say," she stuttered.
"There's only one thing I want you to say… and that's yes," he told her. Misty was finding it hard to speak, but she did manage to say one thing.
"Nothing… would make me happier… than to be your wife," she said.
"Misty… does that mean…"
"Yes, Ash… I'll marry you!" When Misty accepted his marriage proposal Ash could have sworn his heart shot out of his chest and up to the heavens. The amount of joy and happiness he was experiencing couldn't be put into words. In fact he couldn't even think of anything to say as he stood up and gently slid the ring on Misty's finger. She looked at the ring, admiring how it sparkled in the moonlight.
"Ash… it's beautiful," Misty sighed.
"It is, but I know something even more beautiful," he said. Her eyes went from the ring to his. At that moment they became lost in each others' eyes, nothing else in the world mattering to either of them. Seconds later their lips met in the most passionate kiss of their relationship. During this Dawn and the others were silently rejoicing.
"Alright! Way to go, guys!" Dawn cheered, staying quiet enough to remain unnoticed.
"It finally happened," May said, her eyes filled with tears of joy.
"I always knew those two were meant to be together," Jessie said.
"Guess we've got some in-laws in our family's future," Flannery commented. Pikachu and Elektra were dancing around, making sure not to make too much noise.
"Come on. Let's give those two some privacy," Dawn suggested. All of the quietly walked back down the stairs, leaving Ash and Misty to enjoy their life-changing moment in privacy.
"Marcus! Emily! Are you two ready yet?"
"Just about, Mom!" Misty sighed as she stood outside the Ketchum house with the rest of her family. It had been a little over twelve years since Ash had asked her the question that would change their lives, and yet she remembered every little detail as if it had just happened yesterday. The wedding, which was held at the waterfall where Ash and Misty first met, was nothing short of perfect. Afterwards Ash and Misty moved into their new home, located on Dewford Island in Hoenn. From then on Ash continued to fill Misty's life with unspeakable joy and bring her every bit of happiness she wanted, including two beautiful children.
"They sure are taking a long time," Flannery commented. "Are you sure they don't need any help?"
"I wouldn't worry about that, dear. After all Ash was late getting his first Pokémon," Delia explained.
"Did you have to bring that up, Mom?" Ash whined.
"I don't think that was too bad," Misty commented. "In fact, if you were on time we never would have met." Ash brought a hand to his chin and thought about that.
"Well, when you put it that way I guess it was a good thing I did get to Professor Oak's lab late," he concluded.
"A very good thing if you ask me," Misty said, giving Ash a quick kiss on his cheek.
"Okay, we're coming out!" Everyone looked to the door as Ash and Misty's children stepped outside.
"Oh my… you two look ready to hit the road already," Gloria commented. Ash and Misty looked at their children, both of swelling with pride. Their son Marcus had decided to wear the same outfit his father wore when he traveled through Kanto, the Orange Islands and Johto. He looked just like Ash did when he was young, except his hair was a bright orange like his mother's. Their daughter Emily looked just like her mother, but she had her father's jet black hair color. She had opted for the outfit Ash wore throughout his journey through Hoenn.
"You two look good in my old traveling gear," Ash commented.
"Thanks, Dad," Marcus said.
"Don't forget to thank Grandma for keeping them," Misty told them.
"Thank you, Grandma," Emily said.
"You're welcome, kids," Delia said.
"So, have you two decided on what your goals are going to be?" Ash asked.
"I'm going to beat all the Gyms and become the greatest champion the world has ever seen!" Marcus declared. Mark looked to Flannery and smiled.
"Well then, it sounds like you've got a battle to look forward to, sweetie," he said.
"Don't think I'll go easy on you just because you're my nephew," Flannery said.
"No way! I want you at your best!" Marcus declared.
"What about you, Emily? What do you want to do?" Misty asked.
"I'm going to be the best coordinator in the world and have the most beautiful Pokémon," Emily announced.
"Well neither path is easy, but I know you two will give it everything you have," Ash said.
"Of course, Dad. We want to make you two proud," Marcus replied.
"You already have, son. You already have," Ash answered. "Now, I'm sure you two want to go get your Pokémon, right?"
"Oh yeah!" both children shouted.
"Well, your father and I have been talking and we've decided that you two deserve a couple of very special Pokémon to start your journeys with," Misty explained.
"What do you mean 'special'?" Emily asked.
"You'll see," Ash told her. "Okay, guys! Bring them out!" From the back of the house came six Pokémon: Pikachu, Elektra, Luxray, Vaporeon, a Pichu and an Eevee.
"Dewdrop and Bolt? Are you sure?" Marcus asked, looking at the Pichu and Eevee.
"We don't see why not. After all you two have raised them since the day they were born. If you ask me they're the perfect Pokémon for you two to start off with," Ash explained.
"We've already talked it over with the Pokémon and even they agree," Misty added. The four adult Pokémon nodded, letting Marcus and Emily know they had their permission to bring their offspring along with them. The two children's faces lit up.
"Wow! Thank you so much!" Emily cheered. She walked over and picked up Dewdrop the Eevee while Bolt the Pichu jumped on top of Marcus's head.
"Looks like you kids are just about ready," Mr. Moor commented.
"Just about. There's a few more things they need," Ash said. He walked over to them and handed them each a Pokédex and some Poké Balls.
"Wow… our very own Pokédex," Emily gasped.
"Yeah, and custom Poké Balls too," Marcus added. Instead of the usual red-and-white Poké Balls Ash and Misty had gotten them each custom colored Poké Balls. Marcus's were white and blue while Emily's were white and pink.
"Consider them one final parting gift from your parents," Ash said.
"Thanks, Dad!" she said as they each hugged him. Looking at the scene in front of her Misty had to wipe a few tears from her eyes.
"My little babies… I guess I shouldn't call you two babies anymore," she said. "The two of you have grown up so fast. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was changing your diapers." Emily and Marcus walked over to their mother and hugged her. Misty wasted no time returning their hug, holding them tightly.
"It's okay, Mom," Emily told her.
"We'll keep in touch," Marcus promised.
"I know you will. It's just… this day just got here faster than I thought," Misty admitted. As she hugged them Misty had one last message for them.
"Promise me… no matter what happens you'll always chase your dreams… and never stop chasing them until you finally achieve them."
"We will, Mom," Emily told her.
"You can count on it," Marcus said. The three of the reluctantly broke the hug after a few more seconds. Misty stood up just as Ash made his way to her side.
"We'll call once we reach Viridian City," Marcus said.
"We'll be here," Ash said. "Now go show the world what the Ketchum kids can do!" Upon hearing his words the two of them nodded.
"Consider it done, Dad," Marcus declared.
"We'll be waiting to hear about your journey," Mark said.
"Go have a great time out there," Gloria added.
"And make sure to…"
"Mom!" Ash interrupted, knowing exactly what his mother was about to say.
"We'll be waiting for you to arrive at the Gym," Mr. Moor said.
"Yeah. Don't keep me waiting too long for our battle," Flannery joked. Finally it was Ash and Misty's turn to speak.
"Remember kids, the journey isn't about getting from Point A to Point B, but what happens along the way. Don't forget to enjoy yourselves out there," Ash explained.
"You're going to run into a lot of other trainers and coordinators out there, so try to make as many friends as you can. You never know when you'll run across them again later on in your journey," Misty added.
"Okay," the children replied. By now the sun was high in the sky, bathing everyone in its warmth.
"Well, I guess it's about time for us to go," Marcus said.
"Be careful out there," Misty said.
"We will, Mom," Emily told her. "So long! We love you!"
"We love you too!" Ash called. He, Misty and everyone else waved as Marcus and Emily walked away from the house, Bolt and Dewdrop walking by their sides. After a few minutes the children and their Pokémon had walked out of sight. Misty sighed as a few tears fell. Seeing this Ash put his arms around her.
"There they go," she said. "Our children have embarked on their journeys. Are you sure they'll be okay?"
"I'm sure they'll be fine. We taught them everything we could, and besides they'll always have their Pokémon with them," Ash told her.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," Misty admitted.
"And besides that they're Ketchums, and we all know that Ketchums can overcome anything!" Ash joked. Misty giggled and playfully shoved him.
"To think, this is what I'll have to deal with while the kids are gone," Misty joked.
"Well get used to it, because you're stuck with me," Ash said.
"And you with me," Misty added. The two of them shared a brief kiss before looking out at the road that lead out of Pallet Town. With their children out creating their own destinies with their Pokémon Ash and Misty were left to live out the rest of their lives in peace, where they could look forward to a bright, and prosperous future.
And there you have it. After everything that Ash and Misty endured it all worked out in the end. Ash became the champion, married his sweetheart and started a family. No one knows what the future holds, but for them it can only be filled with happy days and good times.
Please review, and I hope you enjoyed the ride