Chapter 1

She was a vision, a breath taking beauty. She looked heavenly in her flowing white gown as she walked towards him. He couldn't take his eyes off of her or wipe the grin off of his face. It wasn't a huge dress; it was simple and elegant, plain white with just a little bit of lace. A halter top kept her looking sexy while the long veil made it more appropriate. Her hair was down to the middle of her back and he could just barely see the blues in her eyes through the thin white lace.

"Ash?" She asked pulling the veil away from her face, "What do you think?"

Ash broke out of his trance and glanced around the room. It was pink and girly and he was sitting on a heart shaped seat. Why would any self respecting man find himself in a place like this? Ash liked to blame the eyes, they were what really roped him in, but the protruding lower lip didn't help matters.

"Isn't there a girl you could have brought here with you?" he asked too afraid to answer her question.

"Oh, everyone has already seen it." She said twirling in front of the full length mirror.

"Who's everyone?" he leaned back onto his elbows; he had to admit for a very feminine chair, it was comfortable.

"My sisters, May, your mom, Brock, Tracey, Prof Oak…" Misty ticked them off one by one on her fingers.

"So if all of these people have seen your dress, why am I here?"

She finally stopped admiring herself and looked at him, "I want to know what you think of this dress. You are my best friend and the only person I can trust to tell me if I look horrible. So please, what do you think?"

Ash stood and began to circle Misty deep concentration showing on his face. Her heart raced as she watched him, waiting for his verdict. Finally he stopped and smiled at her, "You look gorgeous Misty, Jordan's a lucky guy."

She squealed and leapt toward him, wrapping her arms around his neck. He hesitated slightly but hugged her back loosely.

"I'm so glad that you like it!" She turned to look at their reflection in the mirror, Misty in her wedding dress with her arms wrapped around Ash. If she had been paying attention she would have noticed the sadness in her friend's eyes. She would have seen the way that he distanced himself from appearing too intimate with her. She wasn't watching that, all she saw was herself, in her wedding dress.

"This is it. The perfect dress," she sighed, "I knew bringing you was a good idea!"

"Glad to be of service, now can we go? I'm losing testosterone as we speak." Ash joked pushing away from her and going back to his seat.

Misty rolled her eyes and groaned, "Yeah, yeah. Just let me get changed and we'll go."

"You promised lunch!" Ash called after her, but she ignored him. Once he was sure she was gone, he leaned back putting his hands over his face.

Why? Why did she have to bring him here of all places. No one was thrilled that Misty had accepted Jordan's proposal, but if anyone had a reason it was Ash. It had been a year since the accident and while the scars and bruises had healed, Misty's memory had not. She still didn't remember marrying Ash, and Ash still hadn't told her. He did manage to have the marriage annulled without anyone figuring it out. Well, except Brock who found the picture and was still trying to get Ash to tell her everything. He thought that if Ash made some grand romantic gesture, Misty would realize that she loves him and not Jordan. Although Ash was sure he would be hit.

It wasn't so bad, really, to watch the girl you were in love with marry someone else. See, just then Ash almost convinced himself. Truly, it was getting easier. He just had to keep reminding himself that kissing, touching, or holding Misty would not end well for him. Sometimes he'd even snap his fingers at Pikachu so that he would send an electric shock throughout his body. Still he could put himself through the worse pain and it wouldn't keep those thoughts out of his head.

Love wasn't something you could argue with. His mother told him that when he was younger. She said it whenever she read him a bedtime story where the hero would go through great trials and tribulations for a girl. One he had particular issue with was The Little Mermaid. Not the fluffy Disney version, the original. Where the mermaid falls for the human prince and gives her tongue to the Sea witch in exchange for legs. The mermaid is told that she will be human until the morning after the prince marries another woman then she will turn to sea foam. The prince did marry someone else and although she had the chance, the mermaid couldn't kill him so she turned to sea foam.

"Why?" He argued every time his mother read it, "Why would she give up all that stuff for him? She could have lived with her family, or she could have killed him and she wouldn't have died."

"Because, Ash, she was in love."

This answer never satisfied him, "But why? He didn't even love her back? She could have found someone else!"

"That's not love, Ash. Love is feeling the same way no matter what, even when the odds are stacked against you. You can't argue with love."

She said it again when he was older, when he walked into the house after an argument with Misty. They were teased a lot when they were younger; everyone thought they were made for each other. Sadly, his mother was one of those people. So, upon seeing her only child stomp into the kitchen and flop down at the breakfast bar, she laughed a little to herself.

"What did she say this time?" Delia asked setting a glass of milk down in front of Ash.

"How did you know it was Misty?" Ash looked up at his mother, stunned.

"She's the only person I've ever seen put you in this mood. Not even your arguments with Gary got you this upset."

Ash drank the milk then set his glass down and sighed, "She was teasing me about my skills as a trainer. She's so mean! I wish she would just go away!"

"No you don't."

"Yes I do! I wish she would leave me alone."

"Ash, I know you may not realize it now, but if Misty was to ever leave you, you'd be very sad."

"No I wouldn't. I'd finally get some peace, I'm sure I'd be a lot smarter. Everything would be better if Misty was gone."

"Ash, if Misty wasn't there, pushing you to be better, would you even try?"

"Huh?" His brown eyes looked at her in confusion.

"Yes, Misty teases you but she does it because she loves you. You two are best friends, she pushes you to be better and you are because she pushes you. Do you understand?"

"I…I guess I do…but Misty loves me?"

"Yes, she loves you like you love Pikachu. And like you love her right back."
Ash opened his mouth to protest, but then shut it again and sighed.

"See, you can't argue with love." Delia smiled as Ash got down from the chair and ran back outside.

Those words had never seemed true to Ash until he lost Misty. You can't argue with love. He watched her now coming out of the dressing room in her clothes, teal shirt with a white skirt and matching flats. Her leather designer bag slung over her shoulder.

She smiled as she caught his eyes, "Ready to go?"

"I was ready before we got here," He smiled back as she linked arms with him and they walked out the door.

The two friends slid their sunglasses over their eyes as they reached the sidewalk in Saffron City. It was busy, almost overly so considering that it was a Tuesday afternoon. Ash blinked a few times in the bright sunlight before he felt Misty's hand grasp his own and he was pulled into the crowd.

"Misty, where are you taking me?" He asked catching up to her quickly.

"I saw this cute little diner on our way in, I figured it would be good for lunch." She called back.

"Cute? Why do girls feel the need to describe everything with the word cute?" he mumbled.

"Because it's what most everything is!" She laughed surprising him.

They ran the rest of the short distance in silence, composing themselves when they reached the diner.

Ash and Misty slid into the cool vinyl booths and scanned the menus. Neither one of them spoke to the other. He seemed extremely interested in the options the menu gave him, while she glanced around at all the movie paraphernalia on the walls.

"Are you guys ready to order?" the tired looking waitress asked walking up to their tables. Both of them were silently thankful for their small hometowns, where you didn't get overworked waitresses too tired to fake a smile.

"Sure, I'll have the chicken Caesar salad with a diet coke please," Misty smiled over at Ash who cleared his throat.

"Can I get two cheeseburgers, an extra side of fries, and a chocolate malt?" he asked.

The waitress glanced from Ash to Misty with a smirk. Ash's face turned a little pink while Misty giggled.

"Actually, can I get a chocolate malt too, and a side of fries?" she grinned as their waitress rolled her eyes and walked away.

"You did have to do that, you should know by now that I don't care what people think of my eating habits," he smiled leaning back into the seat.

"I know that, but every time I go out with my sisters or Jordan I always feel like I should be watching what I eat. I know that I don't really need to, but I just feel like I should. I can be myself around you," she leaned forward resting her elbows on the table, "I have a confession to make, showing you the dress wasn't the only reason I asked you to spend the day with me in Saffron City."

He looked up at her, his heart pounding in his throat. What could she possibly have to tell him? Her face was starting to turn pink, was she having second thoughts about the wedding? Has she been recalling some of her memories?

"I know that you aren't happy that I'm getting married," she started with a sigh.

"Misty, it's not the fact that you're getting married that I'm not happy about. It's the man that you're marrying."

"I know, I know. No one likes him, but I'm telling you, he's changed!"

"How do you know that he's changed? You don't even remember what he was like before!" As soon as the words left his mouth, Ash regretted them. That wasn't fair to Misty, he was just frustrated.

She looked down at the table and sighed, "This is what I wanted to talk to you about. I know I don't remember what happened after the accident, but I know how you were before that, before the parts that I can't remember," she looked back up at him, into his eyes and Ash swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat, "You used to like Jordan. I understand that there are things you remember that I don't and that affected your opinion of him. But I'm a smart girl; don't you think that if I can find it in my heart to forgive him, you can too? For me?"

Ash hesitated, but shook his head, "I can't. There's too much. But if you're happy, then I'm happy for you."

"And that's all you can give me?"

"Isn't it enough? No matter how much I don't like the guy I will still be sitting in the front pew among your best friends and family smiling as you marry him."

"I wish it was more. I wish you were happy about who I was marrying," Misty grumbled as the waitress brought their food.

They ate in silence, grateful for the distraction until Misty suddenly slammed down her fork.

"Dammit, Ash!" She exclaimed, "What happened between us that I don't remember?"

His heart stopped, "Wha-what? Nothing happened; I don't know what you're talking about."

"Jordan and I were talking a few nights ago and he joked about you being angry that I was marrying him. He said there's, like, sexual tension between us," she said as his face turned pink, "I told him he was being ridiculous, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was right."

"You think there's sexual tension between us?" he asked trying to compose himself.

"Well, maybe not sexual. But just tension, did we get into a fight? Cuz I was thinking that might have happened, maybe you and I fought about something and we weren't friends anymore. But, because of the accident, you've been pretending so that you wouldn't have to tell me the truth," her expression was so fearful but he couldn't help but smile in relief, "because if we aren't friends anymore it's fine, you don't have to pretend."

"Misty, if we weren't friends, why would we have been in the same car on our way to lunch with everyone else? Why would we have still lived together?" he laughed a little, "There was no fight, there's no tension."

"Yes there is!" she protested. When Ash didn't say anything, she continued, "You never look at me anymore. I mean you look in my direction, but you always see through me. If we're in a group you go out of your way not to talk to me and if we're alone you find a way to surround us with people," Misty looked near tears.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Ash lied, "I don't act differently around you, and if I do, it's not on purpose. Are you sure you're not just hormonal?"

She looked him dead in the eye, "You never call me 'Mist' anymore."

He froze, how was he going to talk his way out of this one? Of course he didn't call her 'Mist'. Her nickname conveyed a closeness that he was trying so hard to get rid of, "I-I guess I didn't notice. I never plan calling you Mist or Misty; it's just whichever slips out."

"Ash, I'm getting married in a month. I want to know that when I do, I'm not going to lose you. You've been my best friend for over half of my life. If we're drifting apart now, when we still live together… What's going to happen when I move out and am married?" She asked.

He sighed; part of him was hoping that they would rely on each other less once she married Jordan. It would make things easier on him to have her away. Though the other part felt the same way she did, he didn't want to lose his best friend either, "Misty, Mist… You're twenty-seven years old; don't you think that you can make it on your own?"

"That's not what I'm asking! I want to know that I'm not going to be shut out because I'm married to someone you don't like! Even after I get married, I still want to go out and do things with you. I don't want us to get so far away from each other that we aren't friends."

"That's not going to happen. You moved back to Cerulean City and I traveled to God-knows-where and we were still as close as ever. You being married won't change that, but we probably won't hang out as often because you will be married," He faked a smile hoping that she would buy it.

She narrowed her eyes slightly but went back to eating.

"So, what's the plan when we're done here?" He asked going back to his own food.

"Umm, I didn't really have a plan. Is there anything you want to do?" She asked innocently looking at him.

I want you to marry me instead of Jordan, he thought, but what he said was, "Not really. I don't have any shopping to do or anything like that."

"Then maybe we should just go home, I have some wedding stuff I should probably do…" she trailed off.

"…Yeah, I promised Mom I'd help her with some yard work this week," he sighed.
She nodded somewhat sadly and stabbed her fork into her salad.

*****
"You forgot to do the dishes again," Misty groaned upon hearing her roommate's footsteps behind her.

"I didn't forget, I'm only just now getting home," Ash laughed dropping his stuff on the floor and coming up beside her, "Besides, it's very domestic when you do the dishes, I kind of like it."

"Oh, really?" she scooped up a handful of soapy water and flung it at him.

"Hey!" he exclaimed doing the same to her, thus starting a war. The two giggled and laughed as they soaked each other and the kitchen floor.

Finally Ash decided to turn the hose on her, causing her to shriek and run up to him, trying to get it out of his hands. Amidst the struggle, Ash kissed her. Misty felt herself growing dizzy with the intoxicating combination of his smell and taste. It was obvious now that the battle had been abandoned as he lifted her up onto the counter, their lips still connected.

Hands were everywhere as they explored each others bodies. She moaned and struggled to unbutton his jeans. For the first time, Ash pulled away.

"Here?" he asked.

"Why not? It's not all that different from our first time…" she grinned kissing him again.

He chuckled, "You mean our first couple times."

"Mmhmm, that was a good night," she pulled his wet t-shirt over his head.

"That it was, but on the counter just seems so…unsanitary…"

"Well if you would quit whining and take your pants off I just might let you reenact the first time." She laughed as he lifted her up and set her back down on the floor.

Misty sat up in shock; her heart was racing as she tried to catch her breath. She looked to her side and saw Jordan sleeping peacefully.

Was that a dream? She wondered, but it seemed so real. Almost as if she could still feel his lips against hers and his body hovering just an inch away.

Trying to shake the feeling, she stood up and walked quietly to the bathroom. She was still shaking as she turned on the water and splashed it on her face. There was no way she was going back to sleep tonight, so she decided to take a hot bath. Misty turned the tap and let the steaming water fill the bathtub. She slid her silky nightgown over her head and stepped into the water.

These dreams were becoming more and more concerning. It wasn't as if she had never had a dream about Ash, and some of the ones she had as a teen were much more graphic than these. It was that they seemed to be coming more frequently as the days went by, and they followed a particular storyline.

She sank deeper, letting the water cover more of her. It was odd, not all of the dreams had to do with sex, sometimes they were sitting on the couch watching TV. Either way it was unfamiliarly intimate. She couldn't figure it out, Jordan and she had fun together. They liked each other. He still satisfied her. So why was it that as she came closer and closer to their wedding day, she thought about Ash?

He was starting to bother her. She knew that no one liked the fact that she was marrying Jordan, but he was being the worst about it. He always made sure that he was gone whenever Jordan came over. He hadn't paid any interest in the wedding. He was being a brat and she couldn't figure out why.

Groaning her irritation, she got out of the now cold bath water and put on her robe. She quietly tip toed out of her bedroom and out into the dark hallway. That was when she noticed that there was a light on downstairs. It was three-thirty, what was Ash doing awake?

Misty reached the bottom stair and saw him sitting at the kitchen table with a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk. He looked up at her and they silently stared for just a second.

"Couldn't sleep?" He asked.

"Uh-uh, mind if I join you?" she gestured to the chair across from him.

"Not at all," he stood and poured another glass of milk. Setting it in front of her, he sat down and pushed the cookies toward the middle, "I promise I won't tell Jordan."

She smiled as she took a cookie and tore it in half, "So, why are you up?"

"Same reason as you," he answered before taking a bite.

She froze; he was having crazy dreams about her? Then she remembered what he had asked when she first came down, "Oh, why can't you sleep?"

"Just something on my mind."

They were both silent for a few moments, chewing thoughtfully. Misty swallowed, "Anything you want to talk about?"

"Not really," he said filling up his glass.

She sighed, "Is this how we are now?"

"What are you talking about?" He asked.

"You used to tell me everything. We used to stay up all night, just talking. Now I can't get more that a few sentences out of you."

"What do you want me to say?"

"Whatever it is that's bothering you! I know that you share with Brock! What makes us so different?" She exclaimed.

"I don't talk to you because it's uncomfortable. But if you really feel that you have to know what's bothering me, it's a girl. Okay?"

"Why is that uncomfortable? I'm a girl; I'm a hell of a lot better than Brock to talk to! So tell me, what's your problem?" She leaned back into the chair looking at him expectantly.

"It doesn't matter, it's over!" he groaned.

"Obviously not, if you're still thinking about her." Misty snapped.

"I don't want to discuss this with you."

"Why not?"

"Because you can't help me! And because you're engaged and I know that anything I say will be brought back to Jordan! You want to know the real reason why I don't talk to you? Because last time I tried to open up to you, you told Jordan and it was a big joke between the two of you. I'm not here to be your source of entertainment!" Ash's voice rose.

Misty didn't say anything right away. Of course, no wonder he didn't want to talk to her about girls. Last time he told her that he broke up with someone because of something shallow and she had teased him. Not only that, she had told Jordan and he had teased Ash as well. She had to think of a way to earn his trust back, "Lately I've been having sex dreams about you!" The words exploded out of her mouth before she had the chance to think about it. Her cheeks turned red as her eyes met Ash's.

He raised an eyebrow slowly as a faint blush spread across his cheeks, "You've what?"

"For the last month or so…I've been having dreams about you and me. Sometimes they're harmless, but sometimes…"

"Sometimes we have sex?" He asked, the corners of his lips turning up into a slight smile.

"Yes. That's why I'm awake now. I had one of those dreams tonight."

"One of the harmless ones?"

"No."

"One of the sex ones…?" His smile grew as she realized that he was teasing her.

"Yes!" She exhaled loudly, "Now can we please move on to why you're up?"

"Not yet, I have just one more question."

"What?" She narrowed her eyes, daring him to tease her.

"Was I any good?"

"Ash!"

He started to laugh, "No seriously, Jordan or me? Who's better?"

Her expression turned serious, "I can't answer that honestly."

"Why not? Ashamed that you're about to marry someone so inadequate?"

"No, all I have to compare Jordan to is Dream Ash. I can't compare a real person to a dream one."

"So compare Dream Ash to Dream Jordan."

"I can't."

"Why?" He grinned, "Do you not dream about Jordan?"

"That's not it! But Dream Jordan is based on Real Jordan, so it would be the same as comparing Real Jordan to Dream Ash," she sat back thoughtfully chewing her bottom lip, "There's really only one way to solve this."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"We're going to have to sleep together."

"What?" The smile dropped from his face.

She stood and walked over to him. His body tensed as she sat on his lap and began to caress the back of his neck, "It's the only way to answer your question fairly. Don't worry, Jordan's a heavy sleeper. You can pull out all your best moves and we won't wake him up."

"M-Misty?" He didn't know what to say or do. If she was offering, it was going to take all he could to decline. But really, who said he had to decline…if indeed she was offering. Ash didn't have time to decide as her face broke into a smile and she began to giggle.

"Oh, Ash! You are just way too easy!" She laughed.

He hesitantly joined in, "Get offa me!" he exclaimed shoving her slightly.

"I'm sorry, I had to," she went back to her own seat still giggling.

"Yeah, yeah. So I guess the dream thing was a joke too?" He laughed.

"Oh, no, that actually happened. I really have been dreaming about us."

"Oh…"

"It's weird huh? Do you have dreams about me?"

He paused; he could tell her the truth. He could tell her that she was all he ever thought about. She was the lead in every day dream and fantasy. Any girl that ever approached him was instantly compared to her.

"Yeah," he mumbled, "I've had dreams about you. I think its normal, when you're as close to someone as we are."

"That's good. I was worried that something was wrong with me," she sighed in relief.

Ash crossed his arms over his chest, "You know, as hard as it may be for you to believe, some women find me desirable. It's not weird to want me. It's weird not to."

"That's because they don't know you as well as I do, all they see is the surface."

"There's nothing wrong with me! I may not be perfect, but at least I don't cheat. My mother raised me better than that."

"That's not fair, Jordan made a mistake. I forgave him. Even you, the almighty Ash have made mistakes!" She exclaimed, her voice rising slightly.

"Yes, I've made mistakes. But nothing like that, you may not remember how it felt, but we were all there while you dealt with your broken heart. We all watched you pick up the pieces, how do you know he's not cheating on you now?"

"Because I trust him!"

"Once a cheater, always a cheater."

Misty slammed her palms down on the table, pushing herself up, "What do you even know? You've never been in a meaningful relationship in your life! You flit from girl to girl like they're all some conquest. Whoever this girl is that's keeping you awake, she's better off without you!" She pushed the chair in and started towards the stairs, "I'm going to bed."

Ash watched her walk away chewing thoughtfully on his cookie. She probably is better off.