That night Ash couldn't sleep. The events from earlier had his brain racked.
He kept his eyes on Misty the whole time going over and over of who would try and steal her away from him.
But the more he thought about it, the more rage he felt.
He even noticed Pikachu darting it's eyes to her every so often. Without even realizing what he was doing, Ash began stroking Misty's hair. He looked down and saw her red locks tangled in his fingers.
He smiled in spite of the anger from his thoughts. He wanted to get up and look around where her supposed captor was to try and figure out who it might have been. It was silly, he knew he couldn't tell just by looking but he would feel better. At the same time though he didn't dare leave Misty's side.
Ash knew it wasn't a wild pokemon either. It was a person, he saw hands. And what did it want with Misty?
He began to grit his teeth.

Poor Misty, he thought. Ash sighed and shook his head. Then he felt his eyes get heavy. He's had been fighting sleep for half the night.
He gently eased himself next to Misty. He was scared to sleep but he was so tired. He was laying on his side and wrapped a protective arm around her. This way if anything were to happen to her, he would know it.

James was getting quite the telling off from a very tempered Jessie. She had been yelling at him for about an hour now. James counted.

"You unbelievable nimrod! What EXACTLY were you thinking?!" She was screaming so loudly that nearby Pidgey took flight.
"I wasn't, I-" James stammered but Jessie cut in.
"THAT'S RIGHT! YOU WEREN'T THINKING! DID YOU WANT TO GET US CAUGHT?!?! BECAUSE THAT'S NEARLY WHAT HAPPENED!!" She screamed. James recoiled. Meowth stood crossing it's arms and shook it's head. "I told ya" it scoffed.
Jessie rounded on him next. Uh oh, he thought.

"I was trying to get him away Jessie, honest! He wouldn't listen, he--" but she cut him off.
James and Meowth shrunk back nodding as they stared at the floor.
"We can NOT mess up again! Next time, DO AS I SAY!" She fumed. Then she turned on her heel and slammed the door behind her as she continued to plaster up the windows.
James and Meowth sat back to back and sighed in unision.

The next morning..

Misty stirred softly and noticed an arm around her. The green glove on his hand told her right away that it was Ash. Misty smiled.
How cute,she thought. She felt the familiar flutter of butterflies that set off in her stomach. But then she dreadfully remembered yesterday's incident. She felt like ice cold water had been poured down her back and fought the urge to shiver. Then Pikachu came bounding up to them. "Pikachu?" It asked. Misty was confused. She never had been able to understand what the little electric pokemon was saying. But maybe that's because Ash was it's trainer, for he always had no problem translating.
"He wants to know if your okay." Said a deep voice. Misty turned her head, looks like Ash was awake as well.
"I was wondering the same thing myself" He added sitting up. Misty only half smiled. "I'm...okay. It was scary but it's over." She replied. Ash squinted his eyes as if he didn't believe her, but didn't press it.
Truth was, Misty was terrified. But she wouldn't let her weakness show. It's just not like her.

"You sure Misty?" This time it was Brock who spoke. He kneeled down and smiled kindly at her. She returned the smile again only halfway and nodded.
"Does it hurt anywhere?" He asked again. She stretched out her arms and winced. Upon closer look, she inspected that there had in fact been some damage done after all. Bruises and small cuts surrounded both of her wrists. That was a definite yes to Brock's answer. He was horrified, but quickly shook it off once Misty glimpsed his face.
Then she captured Ash's gaze next. His eyes flashed dangerously and he had a look of pure murder on his face. She had never seen him look so angry- and truth be told, it frightened her slightly.
"It'll go away," Misty mumbled, hiding her arms. "Stop playing hero with us Misty. If your hurt, say something." Brock insisted. "I'm fine, really." She said sitting up. Brock studied her for a few moments and sighed.
"Alright. Speak up if something hurts." He said. She nodded again as he stood up.
Then her backpack toppled over, and an egg-like pokemon made it's way out.
"Toke Toke!" It squeaked. Misty picked it up and held it.
"Togepi what are you doing honey? It's much warmer in my backpack, please stay in there" She said as she kissed the pokemononce and tucked it back inside. "And you'll be safer," She mumbled.
She looked over at Ash and approached him cautiously.
"Uhhh...Ash?" She asked timidly. His eyes were set in a hard gaze, but softened once turned to Misty. "Oh" He shook his head.
"Sorry... I was just mentally burying the body of whoever was trying to take you." Misty laughed a little. So did Ash. "Come on, let's catch up with Brock. I'd feel better if we were all together." He stated. "Right behind you," Misty answered. And the two of them set off with Brock.

But as the trio were in their state of togetherness, Team Rocket were watching from a distance.
"Well well well." Jessie snared lowering her pair of binoculars.
"Anything intresting?" James asked. This was the first time he spoke to her since her outburst this morning.
The look she returned him told him that she had not at all yet forgotten his mistake.
"They think it's best not be seperated." She smirked. "But of course we're lucky they're still even around after your dimwit blunder!" She snapped returning her attention through the binoculars.
James decided not to answer. Meowthwas watching his silence from beside him.
"Nice timing on choosing when to use your common sense!" the feline retorted in refrence of James staying quiet.
And still he remained without a word.
He was distracted however with a gleeful grin from Jessie. "Finally. I have the most rotten of ideas." She said with her eyes glittering maliciously removing the binoculars from her face once more.
James and Meowth stood.

"The twerpy girl has a lone pokemon like the brat and Pikachu. And she carries it in her backpack." She said.
"And it looks like an egg. That thing would be breakfast if it were in my hands!" She added.
"Are ya's thinking that we steal it?" Meowth questioned. "No. One kidnap at a time Meowth. But... we could use the little runt. I have an idea"
James and Meowth leaned in curiously.


"Pikachu! Hand over my hat!!" Ash called after the yellow pokemon as he chased it.
Pikachu had fastened the hat on and was imitating Ash himself. This had Brock and Misty on the floor laughing.
"Pikachu!!" Ash laughed. "It's starting to get hard telling you two apart now!" Brock joked. Misty laughed again.
Pikachu then bounded up to her and placed the hat on her head. Misty stood up and was next to imitate Ash.
"I'm Ash Ketchum, I'm the world's greatest pokemon trainer!" She said winking and holding up the peace sign.
"Whoa. That is scary good." Brock applauded. Misty laughed as Ash made his way to her.
"Ha-ha Mist!" He said towering over her.
She started to back away smiling. "I don't think so, I want my hat!" He laughed holding his hand out.
"You'll have to catch me first!" Misty said breaking into a run.
"Oh it's on!" Ash said chasing her. Misty's giggling could be heard as he sprinted away from him.
Brock and Pikachu looked at eachother as if to say, they need to get a move on it.
Ash pounced forward tackling Misty to the ground. "I win." He smiled looking down at her. Misty's eyes widened at their closeness. He was on top of her!
She could feel his soft breath on her face. She was suddenly reminded of that scene in The Lion King when adult Simba and Nala were chasing eachother and rolled down the hill. And then Nala kissed Simba's cheek...
Just then Brock cleared his throat. Ash and Misty's heads snapped up to him, he was looking down at them with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh! Right!" They both exclaimed scrambling to their feet.

Moment much? Brock thought to himself holding a laugh.
Misty hastily handed Ash his hat avoiding his eyes. Her face must resemble a tomato at this point. Brock had great difficulty restraining himself to laugh.
They really just can't get more obvious than that, he thought shaking his head.

Ash, Misty and Brock were having a much better time today. Up to where Misty was actually starting to forget about yesterday.
That was until a loud crash that sounded like a bomb went off over in the other direction from the campsite filling the area with smoke. The color left from Misty's face as nothing but cold dread ran through her veins.
Ash was on it. Before Misty even had a chance to think, he grabbed her wrist and tugged her forward prompting her to follow him. She did without question. But then..wait.
"Togepi!!" Misty cried. She stopped in her tracks and ran back.
"Misty NO!!" Ash and Brock shouted after her.
"PIKA PI!!" Pikachu cried as well. Ash tore after Misty. "ASH!" Brock yelled. Misty finally reached her bag and with a smile, tried pulling out Togepi. But she was unsuccessful.
"NOW!" A voice shouted.
Misty barely even so much as blinked when that sickening feeling of being forcefully taken ahold of returned.
"GET OFF ME!!" She screamed. She started kicking and clawing, trying desperatly to free herself. But she just couldn't get away this time. Before she knew it she was being dragged through the bushes, it's thorns cutting at her.
"No, Misty NO!" Ash and Brock's panicked cries could be heard.
Misty was out of sight. They were too late....she was gone.
Suddenly the smoke cleared. Ash and Brock looked up after seeing a giant shadow on the ground. They recognized the shadow immidiately as Team Rocket's hot air balloon.

Ash's blood boiled. "YOU!" He shouted.
"We meet again kid!" Meowth jumped up perching itself on the balloon's handle grip. "Where's Misty? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!" Ash bellowed furiously.
James and Jessie smirked.
"We haven't done anything to her...yet. We want a trade. Your precious Pikachu for your little girlfriend." Jessie snared.
Ash and Brock's jaws both dropped. "You can't do this! RELEASE HER RIGHT NOW!!" Came the shouts from both boys.
James cut in.
"Oh yes we can, and we will. Until then, she'll be in good hands." A scream that came from none other than Misty filled the air. The sound pierced through Ash's heart like a knife. She was somewhere in the balloon so they couldn't see her, but she was there. And soon the balloon was accelerating upward, Team Rocket's cackles could be heard as they faded away off into the sky.
Ash lost it.
"NO! No! This can't happen!" He was on his knee's pounding the grass with his fists.
"Ash! Get up and send Pidgeotto to follow them!" Brock commanded.
Blinking back tears of fury and panic, Ash released the pokemon.
"Follow Team Rocket and come back with directions on how to get to them, hurry!" Ash choked out. The bird pokemon took flight. Ash ran his hands through his hair and lowered his head staring hard at the floor gritting his jaw.
Brock surveyed his friend with great sympathy. He was scared for Misty too, but it was different for Ash. He sat next to him.
"She'll be okay." He said softly.
Breathing hard, Ash turned looking at Brock as if he were an alien.
"You don't know that! How can you be so calm about this, HOW?!" He swore loudly. Then he took a couple breaths and sighed rubbing his face.
"I'm sorry." He mumbled.
Brock nodded in understanding. Though he chose to remain silent.
"I'm going to kill them Brock. I swear I'm going to kill them." Ash growled, clenching and unclenching his fists.

It was then that Pidgeotto flew back. The two boys stood up immidiately.
The bird pokemon faced Ash still in flight and pointed one of it's wings off to a direction.
"Pi Pikachu!" Pikachu said. It turned to Brock and Ash and motioned for them to follow him. And so they did. Ash was up ahead running.

"Ash wait!" Brock called from way behind him.
"I won't let them take Misty!!!" He replied.
It was useless to try and de-rout anything Ash had his heart set on. A.K.A, Misty.
Brock eventually caught up to him. He took a glance at Ash and saw nothing but hard set, raw determination. And he knew, just from that look by itself, there was no way in hell Ash would leave this place without her. Come hell or high water, Ash will have Misty back by his side.
"Pika!!" Pikachu suddenly cried. The boys looked up to see a broken down house.

"What the...?" Brock started to ask but was pulled by Ash. "Come on!" He urged starting forward.
Brock resisted. Ash looked back half confused, half angry by his hesitation.
"What are you waiting for?! Misty's in there, let's move!" He hissed.
"No Ash, don't you think we should have a plan first? I don't think it's a good idea to just walk in with nothing planned. Who knows what they've come up with." He said.
Ash looked from Brock to the house as if he were thinking about it.
"Like what?" He said hurredly.
"I at least think we should have one pokemon out. Or me at least," Brock added seeing Pikachu and Pidgeotto by Ash's side.
And with that, Brock took out a pokeball and released Vulpix. Onix was too big for the place, and Geodude was still injured from it's last fight in Cinnabar.
The fire pokemon stood by Brock. He looked up at Ash.
"Ready?" He asked. Brock nodded.
Both boys ran up to the door, their pokemon right behind them.
Ash tried to slowly turn the doorknob, but it was locked of course. He backed away.

"Stand back." He warned. Brock held off the pokemon as Ash kicked the door in with such a force that it almost closed before they had a chance to walk in.
They bolted in just as malicious laughter could be heard. The place was dark, until one of the TR members flipped a light switch on illuminating the place.
The scene before them was horrendous. There had been water all over floor. And there was....Misty. Oh god.. Ash thought letting out cry.

She was held standing on the water, but suspended by her wrists so she couldn't get away.
Misty looked so hurt and helpless. The sight of it all caused Ash to begin feeling physical pain. Then he saw James emerge from the shadows with a smirk. "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" Ash shouted as he tried to tackle James to the ground, but was held back by Brock.
"Get OFF ME!" He struggled. "Ash don't! You'll just make things worse!" Brock answered.
"HOW CAN IT GET WORSE?!" Ash shouted. He turned to Pikachu.
"Pikachu, THUNDER-" He was cut off again by Brock.
"Brock, I swear to god-" Ash said furiously.
"No Ash.. don't you see? The water...and Misty..she's on it.. if Pikachu did a thunder attack..." Brock trailed off.
It all came together.

"Maybe now you'll see just how serious we are." Came the voice of Jessie as she joined up beside James. "That's right kid! If 'dat rat does any thunder attacks, you can kiss your little girlfriend goodbye! Water and electricity don't mix ya see? Fire wouldn't be a smart choice either!" Meowth said eyeing Brock's Vulpix. It growled baring it's teeth at him.
Ash was staring at the floor, clenching his fists and began to shake with fury.
"How dare you take something so innocent....SHE'S DONE NOTHING TO YOU!!" Ash shouted. He was sobbing.
He wiped his face quickly and turned around.

"We don't see shades of grey, brat." Jessie snarled. Brock placed a hand on Ash's shoulder keeping an eye on them. "You have no hearts. Any of you. You won't get away with this!!" Brock said angrly.
"Well we ain't after a heart, just dat Pikachu!" Meowth hissed.
"Now hand over that pretty little pokemon." James smirked. Ash turned back around. "NO! I won't let you take either one! I'D RATHER DIE!" Ash yelled, his chest heaving with emotion. Brock stood defiantly at his side.
Hearing this, Misty found her voice and quickly spoke.

"Don't Ash! Don't say that! Please no!!" She cried in a raspy voice. He whipped around at the sound of her voice.
"Misty..." He said barely audible. Then he rounded on the destructable trio.
"I swear on my life... if you do anything to her...ANYTHING... so help me god...I will find you... and I will kill you." Ash ended in a dangerous tone of voice, his glare at them unwavering.

The words he spoke even shook Misty a little. He sounded dead serious, as if the look on his face didn't say it all.
"Ash..." She barely managed to whisper. But she knew he couldn't hear her.

Team Rocket even flinched slightly. Just enough that Ash caught it. And in one swift motion, he unclipped a pokeball from his belt and released Bulbasaur.

Brock was the second to take action.
"Vulpix, Take down attack!" The fire pokemon charged at them. "Vul!" It cried.
"Bulbasaur, vine whip! Tie them up!!" Ash commanded.
"Bulba!" It lept into action releasing it's attack. "Arbock, Weezing, GO!" They heard Jessie and James cry, but were taken down soon after by Vulpix's attack.
"Weezing, smog attack!" James shouted. "Arbock, bite!!" Jessie commanded. The pokemon fought before their eyes. Weezing's smog had diverted Bulbasaur's attack, and Arbock had bitten Vulpix. "Vul!!" It cried in pain.
"Vulpix, no!" Brock shouted coughing. "Pidgeotto, whirlwind attack now!" Ash cried.
Pidgeotto did as it was told, blowing Arbok and Weezing away with it's powerful wind effect. Also clearing up the smoke.
Bulbasaur sprang forward at it's chance and released another vine whip attack. This one didn't miss. Jessie, James and Meowth were in a vine whip lock. Ash beamed. "Nice work!!" He praised the pokemon. "Saur!" Bulbasaur answered happily but then looked back at the trio with an angry stare.
Then the house started to shake.
"What's going on?!" Brock shouted over the movement.
"Pidgeotto's attack must have been too much for the house to handle!" Ash replied. "IT'S CAVING IN! WE HAVE TO GO!!" Brock exclaimed in panic.
Ash took off toward Misty almost slipping on the water. "Bulbasaur, use your razor leaf to cut this rope! But still keep a grip on them!"
"Saur!" It said and released an air of leaves that sliced right through the ropes that hung Misty by her wrists.
"Oh Misty I've got you! We're leaving!" Ash cried as she fell into his arms. He caught her and rushed off carrying her bridal style. Brock then rounded up the pokemon and exited the building with them just in time before the walls caved in collapsing. The explosion was so powerful, Team Rocket went flying through the air into the sky.

Once Ash, Misty, Brock and the pokemon were away from the explosion, they noticed Team Rocket's balloon.
"We need to get her to a hospital, fast! Let's go!" Brock instructed, and they climbed into the hot air balloon. They were extremely careful and gentle adjusting Misty with him.
Ash returned all the pokemon except Pikachu and Vulpix to their pokeballs so that there would be more space.
Brock started the balloon, using Vulpix as it's engine.

Ash whispered looking down at the girl in his arms. She let out a tiny whimper. "Shh shh, I'm right here, it's okay, everything is okay. Your safe I promise, I won't let anything happen to you." He whispered to her. He steadily removed his jacket and placed it over her as he cradled her in his arms.

Brock wished he could give the two more space, but being as small as the balloon was, he didn't have that option.
He kept his back to them and kept an eye down below looking for any hospitals with Pikachu.

Misty lifted her head and reached Ash's eyes. They were both fighting tears. "Shh.. lay back down" he said soothingly.
She let her head fall back and rest against his chest. He was so warm. And she was so cold. Ash wrapped his arms around her and held her close. He could feel her breathing.
He then placed a gloved hand over the side of her face and rested his cheek against her forehead.
Misty began to relax against his chest. She wanted very much to hold him back, but just couldn't because it hurt so much to move.
He began stroking her hair tenderly.

You never know what you've got till it's gone... Ash repeated this phrase to himself over and over. And today he almost lost Misty.
A single tear escaped him and fell into her hair.

Then Brock spoke.
"Ash, I see a hospital" he said.
Ash raised his head from Misty's. Before he could say to land the balloon, Brock had already started lowering to the ground.
Finally, they landed softly in front of the giant white building.
"Careful Brock... careful.." Ash said worredly as he watched him lower Misty into his arms.
Once out of the balloon, they rushed into the E.R.

"I need help over here!" Ash cried. Brock raced over to the bell and rang for assistance. No one came.
"What the-" He rang it more persistantly. "I told you damn kids, that's not a toy---!" Came a voice from behind the desk.
"Oh!" The receptionist's expression immidiately softened once he saw the three of them.
"I'm so sorry, come in come in!" He ushered them inside. They followed him quickly to an examining room.
A doctor was called right away as they gently layed Misty on the bed.
"I'm sorry gentlemen, but you'll have to exit the room." One of the doctor's said kindly.
Ash was about to protest when something took ahold of his hand. He looked down to discover Misty had grabbed it in her own.

"Please...can he stay?" She said. The doctor looked like he was about to decline her request, but one desperate look from Misty's cerulean eyes convinced him otherwise.
"Oh...alright. One of them may stay." He said. She smiled greatfully. Brock looked at Ash and nodded his head for him to go ahead and stay. He mirrored Misty's greatful look to Brock and turned back to her.
And with that, Brock turned and left them with the doctor's.
"Alright sweetheart, what's your name?" Asked one of them as he took a seat next to her.
Ash grasped her hand tightly in his and sat on her other side. "Misty.. Waterflower" She responded barely audible. "Okay Misty, don't worry about a thing. We'll fix you up." The doctor said with a smile. He reached over and began the process doctor's do to mend up their patients.

Ash was with her through the whole thing. Misty's mind was reeling. She couldn't believe all that happened today. Her thoughts were quickly interrupted though when the doctor applied something to her arm that made it sting.
She let out a tiny cry of surprise. Ash held her hand between both of his.
"It's okay, it's okay," he soothed her. It carried on for about 10 minutes before the doctor pulled away. "Alright Misty, your all done." He smiled. She sat up on the bed and Ash placed himself beside her.
They thanked him as he turned to leave. "I'm going to talk with the other friend you arrived with. It's only protocal though, nothing to worry about." The doctor answered as he left the room leaving Ash and Misty alone.

A few moments of silence passed between the two. Then Misty spoke.
"Did you mean what you said back there? That.. that you'd rather.. die and all?" She asked.
This took Ash by surprise for a second.
"Of course I did. I'm not living without you." He felt his face heat up at what he just said. Almost losing her today... it made him realize though that he should say what's on his mind. No matter how tough.
"I meant that too." He added in deep hush looking at the floor. He felt Misty lay a hand on his wrist. He looked up and met her eyes.
She leaned into him and mumbled in his chest.
"Thank you"

Ash held her and blinked.
"For what?" He asked softly. She pulled back and locked eyes with him again.
"For protecting me" She answered.
Ash tipped her chin up gently with a gloved finger never breaking their eye contact. He leaned forward ever so slightly.
"I will always protect you Misty." He whispered. His words sent a chill down her back.
She was very surprised that he didn't hear the mad pounding of her heart. She started to inch her way closer to his face. She's always dreamt of what his lips would feel like against hers...
Her face was flushed, her breathing got slightly quicker, she felt a dizzy rush in her head as she moved closer..

"Ash...I..." Misty started to whisper but Ash cut in.

Finally at long last, Ash closed the space between their lips and kissed her.
Misty just melted, right then and there. His lips were so soft and warm. Her senses went into overdrive as she kissed him right back.

Oh my god. Ash was kissing her!! And...wait.. what was he doing with his hands..? Oh...

The hand Ash was cupping her chin with had found it's way along her cheek. He placed his other hand underneath her hair at the back of her neck, gently pulling her forward deepening the kiss.

And the sparks flew.

Misty gasped into the kiss. She felt herself go limp and fall into Ash's arms. He tangled his fingers with her hair making her shiver.
"I'm in love with you" He whispered against her lips.
"I'm in love with you too" She whispered back against his. She then raised her hands running her fingers through his spiky jet black hair. Ash out a soft moan as he glided his tongue along her bottom lip seeking entrance. She accepted instantly and returned the gesture. It was a slow, passionate kiss that left Ash and Misty soaring. They were lost in one another.

Lips touching, tongue's battling, arms entwined... it was a kiss so powerful it could knock them to the stars. Ash held her with one arm as the other wrapped around her head massaging the back of it with his hand. Thank God Ash was holding her up, because Misty was pretty sure she didn't have the strength to stand. He made her go weak in the knee's.
Ash kept up with his fierce kissing, lost in the moment. It was fierce and strong, but loving. Just like him.
Misty was all up in Ash and everything that was him. And she had to admit, he was a damn good kisser. Knowing just when to tilt his head, where to place his hands, let out those breathy sighs...
She was falling... and she let Ash catch her.

"About time!" Brock walked in all of a sudden clapping. "Pika!!" Pikachu agreed.
"Oh!" Ash and Misty jumped apart surprised by Brock's sudden entrance. Both were scarlett in the face.

"Oh god...he's applauding us," Misty mumbled blushing. Ash laughed.
"Wait... how long were you standing there?" He asked. Brock smirked.
"Long enough." He answered smiling. "I just came back to get you both- we can go now. Course you two looked like you were anything but ready to leave." He added laughing.
"BROCK!!" Ash and Misty shouted laughing also.
Then Ash grabbed Misty's hand, still blushing. She took his hand back and they left the hospital together, hand in hand.

Alrighty that about wraps it up! It wasn't too bad was it? xD Please review!