Disclaimer: Don't Own Pokemon! Or the song 'Amazing' by Janelle!
A/N: Okay, so I have been working extremely hard on this fic for some reasons I really can't explain. It has been playing on my mind a lot lately and I realized I wouldn't be able to write anything else unless I got this one published first. So anyway, this one is a bit different than my traditional fics. It is set in Delia's POV, a view I have rarely seen done in fanfics today. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and please let me know how I'm doing by sending me a little review at the end. Thanks and enjoy!
You're So Amazing
I never thought this day would come.
To me, you were always, and would always, be that little boy, eager for adventure, curious about the vast number of creatures that inhabited our planet, and anxious to learn. You were always so intrigued by the littlest of things, no matter how insignificant others might have thought they were. In your eyes, everything was just so amazing.
But a time had come where you had to leave my motherly arms and be set free. You had dreams, ambitions, and who was I to stand in the way of your goals? I had always wanted you to excel, to be the greatest person you could possibly be, and to achieve every goal you set yourself. Sure, there were times when you were uncertain about yourself and your abilities - no doubt your first day of pokemon training proved that – but you persevered, just as I knew you would. And I couldn't be prouder of you.
You had grown up right before my eyes. I could remember so clearly the day you were born, how your inquisitive dark brown eyes never left mine. The look you gave me, one of pure adoration and innocence, never left my thoughts and I knew that you would always be my little boy. From that day forward, you captured me and I realized just how amazing a person you would become.
Though I knew things wouldn't always be easy, I knew you'd be special, because you were, are, my little angel. No matter how old you got, no matter how tall you would become, no matter how your much your face would mature, those deep dark eyes would remain and, with it, my love for you.
I raised you from the ground up, teaching you everything I could possibly teach as a mother. I encouraged you to reach for the stars and to never be afraid to show your true colors, for your true nature would always shine through the cracks in-between. I did everything I could to possibly show you the wonders the world had to offer because, as precious as you were to me, I knew that, one day, I would have to let you go…in more ways than one.
I can still remember the day you left me, how you clearly defined your dreams to me and how you wished to travel the world in search of those mysterious creatures that we shared our planet with. You expressed your interest in catching, training, and befriending these creatures, even when you knew the road would, undoubtedly, be tough. You wanted to soar, far away to the lands beyond our tiny rural town of Pallet. And who was I to deny you that? Every time you spoke of your dreams, I hung off of your every word and watched as your eyes sparkled with ambition. I had fallen victim to those eyes once again.
The night before you left, I cried, knowing that my little angel would leave my protective arms and be left to the winds of chance. I cried for myself, I cried for you, and I cried for the heartache, pain, and discouragement I knew you'd receive as a result of how blunt the world truly was. Of course, you could never know these things. You were still a child, after all. As I recall, the closest you had ever gotten to being upset about anything was with your future rival and friend Gary Oak.
You two were quite a pair, always getting into mischief and wreaking havoc wherever trouble called, but it gave you a tiny taste of what life outside our house was like. I knew you were jealous of Gary, as he had such a famous grandfather, and I believe it was this feeling of envy that coerced you into following the rarely walked path of pursuing your dream of becoming a pokemon master.
It was something, I believe, I would always thank Gary for.
He gave you something to reach for, gave you a challenge to bypass. And you were never one to back down on a challenge, were you? But, I think, even Gary saw how you interacted with these pokemon and knew, deep down, how far you'd come in achieving that almost unreachable dream. And yes, I do believe Gary thought you more than just a mere rival…he truly considered you a good friend, a brother perhaps, and he, like myself, wanted to see you succeed.
And then, on your fateful first day, luck couldn't have been with you any less. You, of course, woke up late and missed getting your first, second, and even third choice starter pokemon. You were so downtrodden, but, as the words of another 'strange' pokemon filtered out of the Professor's lips, you knew you still had a chance. You took hold of that chance and, as a result, met your best pokemon friend, a friend that would stick by you to the bitter end. He was a friend that would fight any battle for you, stand up for you when the stakes were low, and encouraged you even when you started to lose faith in yourself. Though you started on opposite ends of the spectrum, your persistence in gaining his trust ultimately led you to a great, big adventure that I could have never in my wildest dreams hoped you'd be a part of. You two were a team now and nothing would ever change that.
And then, you met the single person that would change your whole world. Before she had come along, I was the single most important female in your life. Now, I realized, that role would have to be shared, though I knew you would never love me any less for it. She was special to you, that much was clear, and I knew the feelings were mutual. You always had this innate instinct to protect her, show off to her, and make her believe how truly amazing you were. But, in my eyes, you needn't prove anything. Yet you still tried and, believe me, she noticed. She cheered you on, gave you battle strategies even though you refused to take them, and gave you that little push in the right direction. Like Gary, she challenged you to be a better person, challenged you to be better than everyone else because, I suppose, she believed you always were. She put you on a pedestal and believed you capable of any feat…and, each and every time, you only solidified her beliefs in you.
The next time I saw you, you had changed. Gone was the innocent child that I had so lovingly raised and, in his place, was a learning, growing, changing young man, flanked on either side with new friends and a new place in the world. Even if you didn't notice it, you were changing right before my very eyes but, of course, you hadn't accomplished that on your own. Your friends, both esteemed gym leaders in the Kanto region, helped you along the way, teaching you what they knew, coaching you in your hard fought battles…giving you that extra step in reaching your goal.
Not too many people can say that they traveled the regions of Kanto and Johto with two gym leaders as back up, but that was just your luck. How ironic that your first day turned out to be your unluckiest, whereas the future would hold so much promise for you.
Brock Slate, the Pewter City gym leader that taught you about inner strengths as well as outer, guided you in your endeavors. He was your first ever gym battle and he showed no mercy against your tiny, disadvantaged Pikachu. And, for the first time in your life, Brock showed you something you had never come across – humility. He taught you that pokemon battling wasn't merely a game to be won, but a special understanding, a trust, between pokemon and trainer. And I believe it is that aspect that you respected most about him. Brock was like a brother to you and, with him, I knew you'd found a second home.
And then, who could forget how you met the young runaway Cerulean City gym leader? Your meeting wasn't exactly what I would call typical, but fate always had a funny way of dealing you a tricky hand. She had saved you on your first day of training and, I personally know, it will be a day that you will never forget, for it would mark the day you met your soul mate. The single girl that could steal your heart and cause you to think of something other than pokemon, had come into your life so unexpectedly. She never left your side during those five years where you journeyed through Kanto, the Orange Islands, and Johto and even when her gym beckoned her back, I know she never left your thoughts, nor had you left hers.
Your parting was truly sad. You were forced to separate, forced to leave behind all of the adventures, the fun, the memories…but you would never forget them, she would see to that. And though your parting words were few, I knew how scared you must have been to be losing her. She was a close friend, after all, and, I believe, it was in that instant that you truly understood what you meant to one another. It was a feeling I had hoped you would come to understand over the years as I could not be the one to teach it to you. It was an emotion that you and you alone had to experience.
And I knew it wasn't until you journeyed to far off Hoenn that you truly noticed her absence. She no longer berated you for your lack of thinking during a match, she wasn't there to challenge you physically and mentally, and she simply wasn't there as a presence to soothe your heavy heart. It was then that you noticed how much you truly missed her and, finally, had started to realize what she meant to you.
But, of course, she could never stay too far from you. She, like I, knew how amazing you were, after all. She returned by your side once more, though not permanently, but just long enough so that you didn't forget about her. But, as always, she was oblivious to how much you truly thought of her. Her smiling face, her carefree attitude, and her strong exterior were all aspects you admired about her and I, most of all, knew how much you missed her.
And I liked her, I truly did. At first, I was skeptical about you having a young girl traveling with you, what with you growing up and your hormones that were sure to follow, but my fears were put to rest and she instantly warmed my heart. Even though I never told you, I thought of her as the daughter I never had the pleasure of having and she was perfect.
You always deserved the best and she was as perfect as they came.
And, I suppose, none of it would have happened had I not set you free upon this world. My baby boy was no longer a child instead, you had grown into a handsome, young man with the eyes of a true fighter. While your eyes still portrayed innocence, something else could be found within those dark orbs of brown. Something only she could bring about in you. Love perhaps? Of course, you wouldn't realize this until much later.
Then, before I knew it, I was in the stands at the prestigious Indigo Plateau, a place where few had ever dreamed of being, let alone fighting. And here I was, amongst a crowd of thousands, cheering you on as you fought against the leader of the Elite Four – dragon master Lance. The fight was long and hard, but I knew you had expected it to be as much. This wasn't called a Master battle for nothing, after all. You were going for your dream, that ultimate goal that set you apart from all those other trainers. And, as I looked around at the people that surrounded me, I had realized, with a smile, how you had affected their lives so.
May and Max Maple of Petalburg City sat to my immediate right, their bleacher seats forgotten, as their legs couldn't stop the constant jumping and hopping with enthusiasm that you just might succeed. Dawn Diamond of Twinleaf Town sat just above the Hoenn siblings, her pink pompoms flailing wildly in the air above her, her faithful pokemon Buneary and Piplup flanking her on either side, cheering just as loudly as their exuberant trainer.
I turned my head yet again and saw Professor Oak to my left, a fatherly sort of look dominating his features as he looked upon you with as much pride as any father would for their child. And, even though the Professor was not your biological father, I knew you saw him as such. He had always been there for both you and me and for that, I would be eternally grateful. He was that male figure you so desired as a child and I couldn't be more appreciative of his presence in your life.
Next to him sat his grandson, trainer turned researcher, Gary Oak. He was seated patiently, arms folded in front of his chest, a confident grin dominating his matured face. Gary had grown with you, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I knew, even high up in the stands, that you felt his confident presence surrounding you, filling you with the kind of encouragement you desperately needed on days such as this. He challenged you as a child, continued to challenge you as a teen, and now he was watching you with an open mind as you continued to become challenged, though by the hands of another. In this way, perhaps Gary had known all along that you'd reach this pinnacle in your life and was preparing you for the long road ahead.
I knew you'd thank him for all this later.
With another swift turn of my head, I caught sight of Tracey Sketchit, current pokemon watcher and assistant to the Professor himself. Tracey had grown over the years too. He had learned much under the wing of Professor Oak and had even gotten credit for some startling research revolving around pokemon evolutions. He truly had become a remarkable young man since you met him all those years ago in the Orange Archipelago.
My vision quickly returned to the arena, having completed your circle of friends – well, the friends, anyway, that surrounded me - and I remembered smiling down at you and who you had become in your short life. You had met such wonderful people in your lifetime, each of them shaping you and molding you into the man you were today. They changed you for the better and I was glad that you had that natural instinct to attract good people wherever you went.
Of course, I had not yet completed your circle of friends. Looking down, I caught site of your two best friends, each of them standing and shouting encouragingly at you, the bench behind them forgotten. Brock, his short brown hair blowing in the invisible wind, had his arms folded, a look of pure determination set into his rugged features. He had grown considerably since you had first met him. He still had that short, brown, spiky hair of his, but he now stood a towering six feet or so and never let you live it down that he was and would always remain taller than you. But, as you knew, it was all in good, brotherly fun. Brock had become a fine, young man and I knew you wished to be as solid as him, but, if truth be told, you were just as solid, if not more so than Brock. You just never saw it through my eyes.
And then, there was her.
She had grown too. No longer did she don her hair in a childish side ponytail but, instead, had opted to grow it out well past her shoulders. She oftentimes let it down, after a compliment from you, however, it was only in tense situations, such as these, did she decide to throw it into a messy ponytail at the nape of her neck. She had grown taller too and had filled out quite nicely, despite the harsh comments often made by her sisters about her looks in her younger years. She was quite the beauty now and I knew you noticed this little fact too. You never gave up a chance to steal a glance her way or miss the way she smiled at you for your antics or tease her playfully about God knows what, only to start an argument with her that would, always, result in a fit of giggles and playful hitting on both parts. She truly was and still is your other half.
She and Brock adored you. They were your first traveling companions, after all, and you couldn't imagine how much they cared about you.
Perhaps these were your reasons for allowing them and only them to accompany you to your final battle. You had wanted it to be just like 'the old days,' as I recalled you saying to me. You wanted the 'original three,' 'the three musketeers' as you stated so easily. And that, oh so, famous saying sprung from your mouth so freely – 'all for one and one for all!' Though I knew you appreciated all of your friends support and encouragement, it would only be those two alongside you and no one else. You would not have it any other way and I know they felt the same.
They both knew how amazing you were.
Then, as your faithful first pokemon Pikachu released one final thunder and iron tail combination, Lance's most prized pokemon, a Dragonite, fell with a thud, the sound echoing off of the walls that surrounded the battling arena. A hush of silence filled your ears before an eruption of excitement from the crowd startled you from your thoughts. People, young and old, cheered for you, for their new master, and I could soon feel the tears running down my cheeks at what you had just done, for you could have never guessed that you'd reach this pinnacle so early in your life. But you had and I couldn't be prouder. Now, the whole world would know just how amazing you truly were.
The sounds of the announcer speaking the truth for all the world to hear, the fact that you had indeed accomplished your dream and proved to everyone, including myself, that no feat was too small, broke you out of your silent shock and I watched with pride as you broke out into a huge grin. Pikachu bounded happily into your arms and your arsenal of pokemon, your friends, emerged from their respective pokeballs and surrounded you with praise, hugs, and enthusiasm. I had never seen you look as happy as you did on that day. And, as you celebrated briefly with them, your two best human friends rushed you with excitement.
Misty was the first to reach you.
She engulfed you in a tight hug and gave you a much deserved kiss on the cheek and, even in my seat high above you, I could see the telltale signs of a light blush crawl to your cheeks. But, all the same, you wrapped your arms around her frame and fell victim to her once again. And I watched as you swung her high up into the air, giggles of pure happiness filtering out of both of your mouths. Then, you did something I never expected you to do and, from the look on her face, she didn't either.
You kissed her back.
Though not on the lips of course; it was a light one, perhaps a sign or a hint of your true feelings, sealed on her flushed cheek. She looked at you with a mixture of feelings and, though I knew at that time you could never guess where your relationship would go, you nodded at her, a small smile on your features. You were just content to hold her as you were, unable to hear the cheers from the crowd around you. And, as Brock reached your side at last, he clapped a friendly hand on your back and whispered a few choice words to you, away from Misty, which caused another blush to form on your cheeks. I could only imagine what he had said.
"Those two are unbelievable…" I heard Tracey sigh in reaction to what had been going on between you and your soul mate.
Gary snorted in response, "You've got that right. Seven years of dealing with each other and they're only just beginning to figure it out."
The Professor nodded at my side and turned to me, "You must be extremely proud of him Delia. A pokemon master at the tender age of seventeen…there's no telling what he can do, is there?"
I nodded at the Professor, not once taking my eyes off of you, "He can do whatever he sets his mind to. And I'll be there to back him up every step of the way."
Professor Oak nodded at my words of sincerity and it was then that I watched you turn towards me, your eyes sparkling with happiness at achieving your lifelong goal. I watched with pride as you gave me a thumbs up and a laugh, as if to say, 'can you believe it?'
I had to cover my mouth to suppress my tears of joy at your accomplishment. Though I always knew you'd be successful, I never thought the day would come so quickly, but it had and I was proud. I remember nodding at you in response, my actions saying something along the lines of 'yes, I can believe it and I'm proud of you.'
Then the announcer, as if you needed to be told, urged the crowd on further, "Please put your hands together for the newest and youngest pokemon master to grace Indigo Plateau…Master Ashton Ketchum!"
The crowd exploded once more at your success and it was then that I knew that you had found your place in the world. After years of training and traveling, undergoing hard fought wins and even harder defeats, you had finally done it. You had proved to everyone, yourself included, that you had what it took to prevail in the face of adversity. You were a fighter to the end and would continue to fight to uphold your prestigious title.
But I knew, deep down, that you realized the win was not yours alone. Sure, you had the title and the nice little trophy to go along with it, but there was more to it than that, wasn't there? The win, the title, the opportunity, would never have been there had it not been for your friends and, of course, your pokemon. Without them, you would have never gone as far as you did and I think you understood that concept better than anyone. I was proud to call you my son that day even though, I knew, I would now have to share you with the world.
You were no longer only mine, but you belonged to the masses and it was something that I just had to deal with. You had always just belonged to me; it had always been just the two of us, but just look at yourself now. Look at how huge your family had become. You gained the respect of your pokemon, though some were harder to convince than others, you rallied together and met some of the best friends you would ever have the pleasure of meeting, but most of all, you had endured. It was your persistence and willingness to never give up that I knew had brought you this far.
My little pokemon master truly was a man now.
Throughout the few years that followed, you continued to fight and continued to win, keeping your title and your reign over the pokemon league. But you never let that power go to your head, despite how arrogant you could sometimes be in your younger years. You were mature now, giving advice to those who had lost at your hands, helping those trainers that you knew would become discouraged, and guiding them towards bettering themselves and their pokemon partners. It was a part of you that people always admired; that willingness to help those in need, even when little was granted in return.
And, on top of everything else, much to my surprise and relief, you had finally confessed to Misty how you truly felt about her. I listened how you relayed every detail to me, how you had wanted so much to tell her, but had worried constantly over the idea that she may never feel the same. But, to your surprise, she had and I had never seen you happier than you were that day. She truly did make up your other half and, though I knew the road wouldn't always be smooth, you two would be okay. You had each other, after all, and, together, there wasn't anything the two of you couldn't do.
You only solidified my thoughts when you looked me in the eyes and said, "I love her Mom."
And I could only nod and hug you, for it was all I had the energy to do.
And now, I fast forward to the present day, nearly eight years since you achieved your lifelong goal of pokemon master, five years since you told Misty the truth, and I am now finally coming to the realization that I must let you go a second time.
The first time, I let you out into the world to explore and see places I could never in my wildest dreams have seen myself. If truth be told, I was skeptical. No, my skepticism was not geared towards you – it would never be aimed towards you – but of the world around you. With so many corruptions and dangers in the world, how could I be sure you'd be alright? How could I possibly know that you would find your way and not lose sight of what was truly important in life? Simple. I couldn't, yet I let you go anyway because I knew it would be the best for the both of us. You needed to go out and experience all of these things without my motherly arms there to hold you back. Had I held you back the first time around, you would have never become the master of the pokemon league, you would have never met some of the best friends you'd ever make, and you would have never met the girl whom you'd be giving your all to today.
For my ability to let you go a second time would be tested today and, unlike before, I knew it was for the best and it's what would make you happy.
The skyward trill of the nearby Wingull and Pelipper breaks me out of my silent reverie and causes me to gaze up at the afternoon sky with awe. The brilliant sun is just above us now and its rays of light break through the scattered clouds magnificently, almost as if the day is made just for you. The waves crash soothingly along the nearby beach, spraying its mist upon the sandy shores of the Seafoam Islands. The day is perfect.
However wonderful the day is though, I know your thoughts are elsewhere. I watch you with a small giggle as you continually run a shaky hand through your locks of black, a nervous look dominating your youthful features. You're wearing a perfectly pressed tux of black, a white dress shirt underneath, and a brilliant white neck tie. A white rose boutonniere pinned to the left side of your chest completes your look. I have never seen you look so handsome before…or nervous, for that matter.
Beside you stand your groomsmen in the forms of Tracey Sketchit and Gary Oak. They stand with ease and confidence, matching your outfit, piece for piece, aside from their ties, which are colored black. Your best man, Brock Slate, is not there though, for he has the dual responsibility of giving your bride away whilst performing his duties as a result of the aforementioned title. And I know it is times like these where you need his presence the most, perhaps a brotherly laugh or a word of advice before you enter the world of marriage.
But, I suppose, a motherly touch will have to do.
Hearing you sigh aloud, fresh with the concerns of rejection weighing heavily on your mind, I stand up from my seat in the front row and approach you with good intentions. You catch my movement immediately and give me a nervous smile, trying your best to assure me silently that you're okay, though I know the truth. After twenty-five years, do you truly believe you can fool your own mother?
"You look so handsome sweetheart," I tell you sincerely, brushing a piece of stray lint from your suit as I fuss over every little detail as any mother would.
"Thanks Mom," you respond sheepishly, rubbing the cuffs of your dress shirt in nervous anticipation.
I sigh at you and give you a warm smile, "Ash, stop it. You're only making yourself more nervous."
You immediately stop and bite your lip, "Sorry Mom…but, I can't help it. I mean, this is actually happening, you know? I'm getting…I'm getting married…"
And I see a look of dawning flash before your eyes and I know, instantly, that you are scared. But, for what reason, I am still unsure. Could it be fear of commitment? No, you wouldn't have proposed if you were not ready for the next step. Perhaps, failure? Of course not; you never ceased to amaze those around you who knew you long enough to vouch. Well then, maybe it is the simple fact that you are taking that next step towards adulthood…towards starting a family of your own.
I gently touch your cheek as a form of comfort and I can feel you instantly relax, "Yes, but you're marrying the single most wonderful girl you've ever met, am I right?" I wait for you to smile and nod before continuing, "And you love her Ash and she loves you and Misty's a beautiful, beautiful person…and she's very lucky to have you."
I watch as your nervous glare slowly slips away from you at my words. Soon enough, you are smiling fully, not an ounce of fear left in you. You grasp my hand in your own and nod at me, "I'm lucky too Mom…I have two of the most amazing women in my life that love and care about me so much. What more could a guy ask for?"
Despite myself, I start to tear at your gentle, sincere words, for I could sense every emotion in your voice and felt the truth behind those words. Reaching up, I give you a light kiss on your cheek and engulf you in a tight hug, an embrace saved only for me. You wrap your arms around me and I have to stifle a teary giggle at how much taller you are than me, another clear indication of how much you've grown over the years.
"I love you Mom."
Closing my eyes and, resting my head against your shoulder, I reply, "I love you too Ash."
You nod at me in agreement and, as soon as our moment has started, it has come to an end. You release me and give me a gentle kiss on the cheek, a sort of thanks for everything I had done for you over the years. I accept it with a tender smile and soon find my place back in my seat in the front row, my duties temporarily done.
As soon as I return to me seat, a soft harmonic melody fills the air and, immediately, all heads turn to the back, where the wedding procession has begun. The first to step out from behind the hung curtains of white is Lily, the second youngest of the Waterflower sisters. She is fitted in a beautiful strapless, knee length dress colored a pale green; a bouquet of brilliant white orchids is clenched in her tiny hands. Her pink tinged hair is down in gentle curls where her namesake, a white lily, is lovingly placed on the side of her head, securing some of her longer bangs in the process. I watch closely as she smiles jovially at the crowd of onlookers. As she nears the front, I see her gaze shift to you and something familiar passes through her eyes. It is the love of a family member, as you will soon become her brother in law, and she shares a final, loving smile with you before she turns to the left and makes her way to the end of your incomplete line.
Violet, the second oldest of the four sisters, is next. She wears a dress identical in color to Lily's, but thin, lacy straps come over her shoulders, a tiny difference from that of her younger sister. Her indigo colored hair has tights curls at the tips and is tied back securely at the nape of her neck, accentuating her neckline and shoulders. A single white violet, a stark contrast to her blue locks, is put in place behind her ear, giving her an almost exotic look as she walks down the aisle, a warming smile pulling at her pink lips. Like Lily, Violet looks to you, smiles, and gives you a tiny nod, almost as if granting her permission for you to marry her 'baby' sister. Before walking off to the left to stand beside Lily, she winks at you, perhaps as an acceptance into their family.
I watch as you nod as well, giving the second Waterflower sister a warming glance and acknowledging the wink as a sort of good luck, though I know you will not need it.
Lastly, Daisy, the eldest of the four sisters and your future wife's maid of honor, steps out into the light. Like her sisters before her, she also wears a similar colored dress, though, instead of thin straps, her dress is designed in halter top fashion. Her golden locks are controlled in a tight bun behind her head, with stray strands of hair framing her face and falling around the bun in loose curls. A single white daisy is pinned beside the bun, securing everything in place. She gives the crowd a confident smile as she holds her bouquet of orchids tightly in her grasp. As she approaches you, she gives you a knowing smile and then turns her eyes discreetly to her younger sisters. Lily and Violet look to one another and then to Daisy and smile, a silent understanding coming between the three of them. It is almost as if they all agree and are giving you their blessings in silence. They accept you into their family and, knowing this, you let out a breath of relief and I see a sense of reprieve wash over you.
You make their sister happy and, in turn, that makes them happy. Such a simple circle of understanding, yet I knew how hard you had worked to achieve their acceptance.
And, as if reading your thoughts, Daisy gives you a half-hearted laugh as she reaches her place beside her sisters. You smile back and I notice, in a flash, that your fists are now clenched nervously at your side. For, with Daisy's appearance, you know who it is that will soon grace our presence.
All of a sudden, the wedding march fills the ears of many, its familiar melody a precursor to what will soon happen. People start standing, acknowledging the presence of your fiancée, and they gasp and smile in happiness as she finally appears behind those pearly white curtains, her arm firmly in Brock's.
One word sums her up – beautiful.
Misty is wearing a gorgeous strapless, diamond white gown made of taffeta, her long train flowing elegantly behind her. Tiny diamonds accent her dress, starting at the bosom and making its way down to fan out over the whole of the dress, catching the sun in just the right spots and making the whole gown shimmer with grace. Her vibrant locks of orange are lightly curled and placed in a half bun, while her longer bangs are let loose upon the sides of her perfectly shaped face, framing it gently as the light wind plays with the tips elegantly. A shimmering, sheer veil of white is positioned just underneath, trailing down her backside and coming to a stop at her mid-back. She carries a bouquet of blue flowers, native to that of the Sinnoh region, in her hands. Of course, leave it to your bride to incorporate her love of water and the blue expanse that surrounds us in the wedding.
Nevertheless, she looks absolutely stunning and, as I look to you to gauge some kind of reaction, I have to stifle a giggle at how utterly speechless you look.
Your mouth is slightly ajar and I swear that you've forgotten how to breathe. Just by the look on your face, I can tell that you've never seen a more beautiful girl. And, I think, you're contemplating just how lucky you are.
I hear people all around us murmuring in excitement and marveling at how beautiful your bride is. Relatives and friends flash pictures of her, forever cementing this moment within the memories of their cameras as a memento and capturing her true beauty within the depths of time and space. But you are lucky. You need no photos or videos to remind you of this moment, for I know it will stick with you for the rest of your life.
And, as she finally begins her march towards you, I watch a tiny smile creep to the corners of her perfectly pink lips, confidence exuding from her very pores. But, as with all things, Misty is only acting herself. She thrives on confidence and it is easy to assume her wedding day would be no different.
Behind her, lightly grasping her flowing train, stand Togetic and Pikachu, your faithful first pokemon. Pikachu is dressed in his best little tux, a tiny bowtie wrapped carefully around his neck. Togetic is wearing a cream colored dress, a halo of flowers atop her spiked head, as she hovers several inches above the ground, a happy smile on her baby like face. Pikachu is also beside himself with glee, a cheeky grin on his face and a light sparkling in his eyes only for you.
Brock is also smiling, looking his best in a fitted tux and black tie, as he slowly leads Misty down the long, flower laden aisle, a smile planted on his chiseled face. I watch as he winks at you, giving way to a look full of adoration, pride, and happiness. He has been like an older brother to you and Misty, after all, and, with this day as a sort of seal to everything you all have been through together, it only seems appropriate that he take in the moment that has been building for the past several months or so.
For a brief moment, you look back at your best friend of fifteen years and a sense of understanding comes between you two. You show a mutual trust towards one another and Brock, being the protective 'big brother' of the group, gives you a look with a simple meaning. He says, 'take good care of her.' And you, of course, smile and nod as if to say 'she's in good hands.'
Finally, both Brock and Misty reach the front of the aisle. Brock releases Misty's arm and kisses her lightly on her cheek, whispering a few words of brotherly wisdom to his younger friend before taking her hand and placing it appropriately into yours. I watch tentatively as you stare into her sparkling blue eyes. She whispers something to you – something along the lines of how 'handsome' you look – and, in return, you respond by telling her how amazingly gorgeous she is.
Before you both turn to the minister, however, I watch with a surprised smile as she discreetly looks to me and winks. I give a half-hearted laugh in her direction and realize, with a start, how so very close she is to becoming a part of the family.
What a nerve racking thought that is. Wasn't it just yesterday that you started on your journey? Not too long ago, it had seemed that you were training for title of pokemon master. Weren't you still just a child?
No, I realize, urging my motherly instincts down, for I know that you are not. You are a young man whose goal of becoming the world's greatest pokemon master has come true and whose dream of sharing a connection with the one you love the most will soon be realized.
You are no longer that child I fawned over in your youth, nor are you that novice trainer that started off in Pallet Town with an unfaithful Pikachu and a headstrong rival ahead of you.
You've grown and, in that respect, perhaps it is easier this time around to let you go.
As the minister talks aloud about the love of two people and the connections that can sometimes result, I can't help but think about the reception afterwards. It's a moment that I know I will be able to fully express what you mean to me and how you've changed my life for the better. I will be allowed to tell you all the things I couldn't say now and let those around us, both family and friends, know how amazing you truly are.
Finally, I hear the minister ready himself with the familiar exchanging of the vows and I listen intently as you repeat them to your beloved. Misty hangs off of your every word as you repeat the minister and I can see the love she holds for you in her eyes.
I watch as you take her hands in yours and speak as clearly as I have ever heard you speak before, "I, Ashton, take you, Misty, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward," you give her a tiny smile here and I watch her expression turn to amusement, "For better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."
I smile to myself and watch the look of slight relief wash over your face for a brief moment. Misty only continues to smile and I can tell she has completely absorbed your words with the meaning so clear in both of your eyes. She takes a deep breath as the minister turns his gentle eyes towards her, signaling her turn for the exchanging of the vows.
You look pensive now and I have to wonder what exactly is crossing your mind. Do you worry that she will refuse to say her vows? Or is it, perhaps, that she will turn and run away from your arms? Neither are very realistic thoughts and I giggle lightly to myself at their mere fabrication.
Of course she wouldn't refuse her sacred vows that will inevitably bring the two of you together. Nor is it even fathomable that she would run from you. Trust me son, those would be the last things she would do.
And, as soon as that thoughtful expression of yours has come, it is gone in a flash with the sound of Misty's familiar voice speaking those familiar words of promise. A promise that she will never leave your side…
"I, Misty, take you, Ashton," and I could tell she was stifling a giggle at your full name. I watch with a smile as you playfully roll your eyes at her, "…to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part," she finishes, giving your hand a gentle squeeze, probably as a sort of reassurance that her words are true to their very core.
You stare into her eyes so intently, a fiery passion that I have never seen from you before burning within your brown irises and I suddenly find myself wondering to what lengths you two would go for love. It is a complex thought, yet, I know the answer is simple. You would go to great lengths to protect her, honor her, love her and cherish and nurture this beautiful thing the two of you have together.
With your vows, you are promising an eternal devotion to the other, a bond that can never be broken for I know you will do everything in your power to keep it that way. You love her more than anything and it makes giving you up a second time that much simpler. And, to know that she will be watching over you much the same way that I have watched you over the years, puts my mind at ease and I can instantly feel my shoulders loosen as a result.
"The rings," the minister smiles at Brock and Daisy separately as they both produce their respective wedding bands, one for you and one for her. They give them to you and her, respectively, and you turn to one another, awaiting directions from the minister whilst looking dreamily into each other's eyes.
I feel a swell of pride rise within my bosom and I can't suppress the trickle of tears that start down my pale face. Such beautiful symbols of love you hold within your grasps and so delicate the promises 'to have and to hold' are embezzled within your hearts and minds that I find it hard to realize that the time is finally here.
I continue to watch as you grasp each other's left hand delicately, holding your wedding bands in your right hands, mere centimeters from your waiting ring fingers.
"With this ring, I thee wed…" I hear Misty say so clearly, every word expelled with a passion reserved only for you.
She crosses that 'threshold' and gently pushes the ring from the tip of your finger, to the very end, securing a bond that the two of you have shared for forever.
You smile at her and prepare to say your words in turn.
"With this ring, I thee wed…" and you slip her beautiful ring of platinum across her left ring finger, joining her already placed, brilliant looking, engagement ring.
With the ring in place, she smiles wholly at you, taking in the moment and sealing it away in her memories forever. She watches you intently, that same gaze that you had bestowed upon her earlier, so evident in her sparkling blue eyes. Perhaps she is thinking what I have thought all along…the fact that you have grown and have amazed her in more ways than one.
And now comes the moment I know that two of you have been waiting for…
"Now, with the power vested in me by the great region of Kanto…" he pauses for a brief moment to look between the two of you, sensing the great excitement starting to bubble from the very words he will soon speak, "…I now pronounce you husband and wife…Ash, you may kiss your bride."
The minister looks to you with a wise smile on his older face, bowing his head a bit to you, a sign that you may now proceed with the rest of the ceremony.
You nod lightly and turn to her once more, your eyes shining with happiness. You lean down slowly, moving your hands away from hers to gently caress her cheek. She smiles meekly at your movements and wraps her arms around your neck, making equally slow motions towards your awaiting lips.
And, as soon as you had started, that space between your lips seals, forever marking this day as yours and yours alone.
Even as I watch you with pride from my seat in the front row, I can't possibly imagine how you must be feeling now. Elated? Surprised? Relieved? Or perhaps it is a combination of the three…regardless, a wonderful thing has happened here today and I know neither of you will ever forget those vows you spoke, the rings you exchanged, and that kiss that forever sealed your fate and, along with it, your everlasting promise to love and protect her under any circumstance.
Finally, the two of you find the need for air and release, breathless and holding each other close, as if the fear of losing the other is unbearable. But, you won't lose her, nor will she lose you.
Of this I am completely sure.
"Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Ash and Misty Ketchum!"
Upon hearing the minister's words of truth, an explosion of sound erupts from behind me. Clapping, whistling, encouraging shouts, and other miscellaneous noise reverberates from the seats behind the front row as both you and your new wife turn towards the masses, smiling at your friends and family in a triumphant sort of way.
And I can't help but stand along with the crowds, tears of happiness stinging my cheeks and leaving me breathless beyond compare. I clap along with them, wiping away my tears for you, and I suddenly stop to wonder, again, how this day could possibly be here so soon.
Then, as if your eyes are a magnet to mine, you turn and look at me, a look so full of promise, joy, and adoration. As the music restarts, you walk towards me, your bride attached joyously to your arm, and you smile. You wrap your free arm around me in a tight hug and kiss my cheek delicately, whispering softly into my ear.
"Thanks for letting me go Mom," you murmur, the sounds of the crowd mere background noise compared to your softness, "I love you…thanks again."
I nod and kiss your cheek in response, for lack of anything better to say. I know that had I opened my mouth, words would most definitely fail me. You always seem to know exactly what to say to me, even when I am unsure of everything myself.
But, unlike most things, you have it all backwards.
It is I that should be thanking you. Had you not been brought into my life, I would not want to think of where I would be. You were the light in my life that pierced the darkness that I oftentimes experienced and, for that, I will be forever grateful.
So please, son, don't thank me. Instead, allow me to thank you in return for restoring my life and bringing me more joy than I could have ever thought possible.
Misty then turns to me, briefly releasing your arm, and gives me a hug and a kiss. She pulls away and searches my eyes for any sort of regret, disappointment, or unhappiness. And I know she finds none, evidenced by the wide grin on my face and the endless tears that pour from my eyes. These tears, these smiles…are for you both and I couldn't be more sincere when I look at her and express my deepest gratitude.
She watched over you when I could not, took care of you when I was hundreds of miles away, and coached you in aspects that were foreign to me. But, most of all, she showed you an unparalleled amount of love that could only be rivaled by one…
As I uncurl myself from her warm embrace, I can't help but look at the both of you and marvel at how much you've both grown. Gone are the two children who would do anything to get under each other's skin, gone are the teens whose competitiveness brought about some of the most outrageous pokemon battles I had ever seen, and, now…
Well, you are both responsible, mature, young adults, very much in love with one another and perfectly ready and willing to risk it all for the safety of the other.
Suddenly, Misty flicks your cheek, causing you to glare, albeit, playfully and I realize that perhaps the two of you aren't as 'mature' as I had once thought.
But none of that matters anymore, for you are grown and happy and, as a mother, what more could I want for my only son?
You were meant for amazing things, after all, and it is only fitting that you have an amazing wife, amazing friends, and an amazing future ahead of you.
I swear, time seems to escape me so quickly that, before I know it, I am amidst your family and friends in the large room that houses your reception. I am sitting amongst some very prominent figures in your life – Professor Oak, May, Max, Dawn – and I'm left wondering how you would have ever made it this far without their combined help. I look around the table amicably, recognizing most of the faces that sit around me, though some are still foreign to me.
For instance, May's friend, Drew who, in fact, reminds me much of Gary Oak and how he would push you, much like Drew pushes May. They are cute together and I see much promise for them in the future. Perhaps when they are able to look beyond the prospect of being mere rivals, they will finally be able to see the chemistry they share together. Just watching them sit there, talking, arguing, and just plain enjoying each other's company (though I know they would probably loathe to admit it) reminds me so much of you and Misty. Perhaps you and her will be able to talk May and Drew into confessing something…though I know only time will tell.
Switching gears, I turn to see Dawn talking good-humoredly to a young man by the name of Kenny, yet another acquaintance of yours that you had the pleasure of meeting in the Sinnoh region. He seems nice and very taken with the young coordinator and it makes me wonder how close the two of them truly are. Again, they remind me of you and your new wife and I can't help the tiny smile that pulls at my lips as a result.
Next to them, sit your new friends and ex-enemies, Jessie, James, and Meowth. After trailing you and your friends for years and failing time and time again at trying to capture Pikachu, they have finally seen the error of their ways and have resigned to simple businessmen in the city of Viridian. By taking part in the disbanding of their former organization (with some help from you, of course), they are now free to do what they want, where they want, with no obligations to anyone, other than themselves. Despite their rocky past, I am truly happy for them. They are now happily married with a baby on the way, successful businesspeople and able to live their lives how they see fit without the hassle of someone constantly looking over their shoulders. They are free and I know that they thank you for that.
Yet another testament to how truly amazing you are.
I turn my eyes to you and Misty and watch as the two of you talk amongst yourselves, laughing, cuddling, and just plain enjoying each other's company. You hang off of her every word and your eyes sparkle with love and understanding for the woman beside you and I can't possibly imagine what you might be thinking now.
You've been incredibly blessed. You're the reigning pokemon master, you're married to one of the most gorgeous girls I have ever laid my eyes on, and you boast some of the most amazing friends that you could ever imagine meeting. And still, whenever I look at you, I can sense that you want more, that you will never stop battling. You have this indescribable drive to keep going, regardless of the challenges ahead. You want to battle on, not for the mere idea of winning and losing, but because the will to be challenged stirs within your blood.
And, I know, you, of all people, would never turn down a challenge.
Suddenly, the people around me start to clink their silverware against their champagne glasses enthusiastically, looking to you and Misty for some kind of understanding of this ritual. The both of you understand with crystal clarity and lean in for a nice long kiss. Whistles and calls sound all about as you gently caress her cheek, letting the kiss linger for a little longer than you would have anticipated, but what can you expect? She's your new bride and kissing her must be the most amazing feeling in the world for you.
After the excitement has died down some, Brock stands abruptly, glass in hand as he attempts at getting everyone's attention. The room immediately silences at Brock's presence, for it is time for the best man to say a few words and who more appropriate for the job than Brock, one of your closest friends.
"Wow…" he breathes, looking around the room and then laying his eyes to rest upon you and Misty with the most sincere expression I have ever seen him convey, "I mean, can you believe it? I sure as hell can't," he shrugs, getting a few laughs out of the crowd, "Well, I suppose as best man I'm supposed to say something uplifting to the two of you…something that you'll carry with you for the rest of your lives or something to that effect…"
He waits for a few moments and I can tell he's organizing his thoughts, as if he's trying to figure out how to express nearly fifteen years of friendship and sum it all up in one meaningful speech. But, this is Brock after all, and he will rise to the occasion as is the norm and I know, even before he speaks, that these words will stay with you for the rest of your life.
"Ash," Brock looks to you briefly and smiles before he switches his gaze to your wife, "Misty…no two people are meant more for each other than you guys and I should know, right? We've known each other for fifteen years…fifteen years…that's longer than I know some of my own siblings but, I guess, that's what I consider you two – my siblings," he pauses for a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing, "We've been through everything together…from journeying through Kanto and Johto to battling with Team Rocket almost every day of the week…" he winks at Jessie, James, and Meowth to show no hard feelings, "…and through it all, we stuck together and I feel like I know you two better than I know myself…it's almost a scary thought," he comments lightly, albeit jokingly.
You and Misty laugh jovially at Brock's lame attempts at humor.
Brock looks thoughtfully at the two of you before continuing, "It sounds lame…but I feel as if I'm letting you guys go, as if I'm fulfilling my duties as older brother by unleashing you unto the world as a couple. But I know the two of you will do great. You've always had such a wonderful, indescribable connection to one another, it's amazing that this didn't happen sooner."
As I absorb Brock's kind words of wisdom, I have to wonder if there is a slight bit of sadness lacing his voice. Though he smiles whole-heartedly on the outside, I am left to wonder if he truly thinks this pinnacle the end to all your wonderful journeys the three of you have experienced over the years. Does he truly think a thing like marriage could ever stop you from travelling, exploring, and learning more about our world? How could he even think that you'd stop living your life just because you now have a new commitment? I know Misty almost as much as I know you and I know that she would never give up this life the three of you have carved together. Sure, maybe one day you three will all settle down, have kids, and do the traditional family thing, but until that time, I am positive that you will all be roaming the Earth, capturing, training, battling, and learning all there is to know about the pokemon that inhabit this planet. Being that there's boundless information to discover about them, the journey will never be over…far from it, in fact.
And, as I gaze up at Brock, I see him exchange a knowing glance with you. You are looking at him and smiling simply, but your eyes have always spoken louder than your words ever could and I know that you're silently telling him all that I have just explained. You are telling him that the adventure has not yet ended, that you have much more to learn in the ways of pokemon and, though you have already achieved your status of pokemon master, it just goes to show that even the master doesn't know everything. There's still much to learn and much to gain and I know you know this. Brock smiles back, satisfied and looking a little happier (if that was even possible) than before.
Before anyone has time to think what Brock will say next, he pulls out three objects from underneath his table and places them in front of you and Misty. The both of you look at them with confusion and then recognition sets in and you stare at them in awe. It takes myself, as well as the other onlookers, a while to see what exactly Brock has set in front of you and once the recognition hits, I smile broadly at his methods.
Brock holds the first object up, "This, ladies and gentleman, is proof of years and years of abuse, many miles travelled, and the unwillingness to get it cleaned for fear that it will 'ware' down…" he, of course, is holding up your treasured, but battered first pokemon league hat. You stare at it in awe – which quickly turns to embarrassment – before giving off a light chuckle, awaiting a continuation of Brock's point, "Ash, you and this hat were like a ball and glove – completely inseparable and utterly in love with each other. And, the more I thought about how I was going to go about giving this speech, the more I started to relate your relationship to Misty to things that we came across on our journey. Of course, the first thing I thought of was your hat.
"As stupid as it may sound," he continues, twirling it carefully in his hands, "I found that your hat and you we're kind of like you and Misty, in a way. When you were younger, you never let this thing out of your sight, even in sleep, you oftentimes kept it on, constantly telling us that it had 'sentimental value' or whatever. And, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much you truly loved this hat," Brock then kneels down slightly to be closer to you and Misty and speaks from the heart, "You cherished this hat…and it only took me a while to realize that when you cherish things, you do it whole heartedly and I know that you'll cherish Misty the same way."
At this, you nod fully, taking in Brock's words of wisdom and allowing yourself the chance to realize what it is exactly he is trying to tell you. His next words, however, solidify your thoughts.
"Take care of her, buddy," Brock says, looking at you seriously.
"It's already been seen to," you respond confidently, placing your hand atop hers, causing a tender smile to make its way to her lips.
Brock nods at you, sure that you will make good on your promise, and then turns to Misty. He smiles at her and reaches into his pocket, pulling out something pink – it is the handkerchief Misty had given to you when both she and Brock left your side back in Viridian City all those years ago. Seeing it again brings a look of remembrance onto both your faces and I can tell both you and Misty are suddenly remembering that very day that the two of you were asked to part.
Clearly, I can also remember that day. I remember how you came home, back to my awaiting arms, though lacking the spirit that you had left with. By your side, ever faithful, was Pikachu and I was surprised to find no Misty and no Brock. Much to your dismay, you recounted the details to me, explaining Misty's obligations to her gym and Brock's worries for his family. Though you probably would never admit to me how alone you felt that day without your dearest friends by your side, I knew how very alone and abandoned you must have felt without their presence.
You were sad that day and no one knew your sadness more than I did. Though you said you were fine, I knew better, but I also knew that you had to experience these things for yourself. Life throws you curveballs and you find ways to adjust, like I knew you would.
Soon enough, the three of you were reunited. You kept those parting gifts from Misty and Brock, always remembering the value of friendship and how important that aspect in your life truly is.
And now, I can see in your eyes how that part of your thinking has never changed.
Keeping his eyes on Misty, Brock lays the handkerchief upon the table. Picking it up, she fingers it gently and silently admires its craftsmanship. Bordered excellently in a crimson red, with yellow streaks to accent its design and bring out its true colors, it truly is a simple work of art. And, as Misty, turns it over and back again, I can see it in her expression all of the implications that went along with her giving that present to you.
She had once explained to me, long ago, that it had been made by her great grandmother and, therefore, had been handed down from generation to generation. She had given it to you all those years ago because of the underlying emotions she felt towards you. Though she knew you wouldn't understand until you got older, she hoped that one day you would see what you meant to her.
As precious and meaningful as that handkerchief was, she gave it to you, discreetly showing you how precious and meaningful you were to her and I believe she hoped you would never forget that.
I doubt that you have.
Watching Misty's expression with a smile, Brock then proceeds to pull out something else from his other pocket. It strangely resembles a set of metallic utensils and, though it may not have much meaning to those around us, I know to the three of you, its presence is enough.
Wordlessly, Brock wraps the handkerchief around the set of utensils and places it into your old pokemon league hat. He places it in front of the two of you and patiently waits, letting the simplicity of his actions settle in.
"Congratulations you two," he finally says, wrapping an arm around each of your shoulders, "It was meant to be this way and all I can really say is that I wish the very best for the both of you and I've never wanted anything less for you. I love you guys…"
At this, I watch as Misty quickly engulfs her long time friend in a tight hug, the happy tears silently trickling down her delicate face. He embraces her back, rubbing her back and whispering words that are meant just for her and no one else. Releasing one another, I can see Misty gently rubbing away her tears as she lets out a half-hearted teary laugh.
When their moment is over, you stand and nod, shaking Brock's hand jovially and then bringing him into a friendly embrace. You stand with your brother for several moments before Misty stands as well, wrapping her thin arms around the both of you. You and Brock open up your little circle to her and embrace in a group hug which truly moves the crowd of onlookers.
Soon enough, people are standing – clapping and cheering – while the three of you are oblivious to the world. The only thing you three are concerned with are each other and the present moment – nothing else seems to matter. For, even though you may not realize it, your friendship will guide you through some of the darker things to come in life and it is something that I pray the three of you will cherish until your dying days.
Finally, you all release the protective and friendly embrace to face the crowds of onlookers. You are in the middle of your circle of friends, Brock and Misty taking up the sides, and I am suddenly reminded of that day so many years ago when you first returned to me from the first leg of your journey. Even then, Brock and Misty flanked you like they were now and, as I suspected when you first brought them home to meet me, they would never leave your side.
As you all resume your seats once more, everyone's eyes immediately turn to the oldest of the Waterflower sisters and maid of honor, Daisy. She stands elegantly and makes her way over to you and Misty, a piece of paper in hand and a smile lighting up her perfect features. When she starts speaking about your bride and a small history of how Misty came to be the young woman she is today, I find my mind drifting forward in time, pondering about what would happen after Daisy's speech.
As everyone very well knows, it will be my turn to speak next and, though my words will be few, I have prepared a very special something for you and I can only pray that you will like it.
More clapping soon pulls me from my silent reverie and I blink rapidly, wondering how on Earth Daisy's speech could have been finished so soon.
I watch with nervous anticipation as Daisy hugs both you and Misty separately and then resumes her seat beside her other two sisters. She is beaming brightly at the outcome of her speech and talks animatedly to the other two, completely lost within the sea of endless chatter.
Knowing it is now my turn causes my heart to skip a beat and my legs to turn to jelly. I know I must do this – that I want to do this – but, for some reason, my legs will not cooperate with what my brain is telling it. Finally, after what seems like forever, I stand, a little unsteady at first, but firm nonetheless. Though I have practiced what I will say multiple times prior to this moment, nothing could stop the constant pounding of my heart when it comes to pleasing you.
Seeing the sudden movement out of the corner of your eye, you stare intently at me, awaiting the speech that you know is imminent. You smile serenely at me and I can't help but wonder how beautiful your smile is and how radiant you look on your wedding day.
You nod at me in an encouraging sort of way and I acknowledge it with a nod of my own, sensing that you realize how nervous I've become in the past ten minutes or so. With a shaky hand, I numbly take the microphone that someone off to my right – perhaps the Professor – has offered to me and slowly bring it to my lips.
Taking in a deep breath, I begin my short, yet, heartfelt speech.
"I never thought this day would come so soon," I start, staring up at your warm, curious eyes, sensing your intrigue in my first words, "But it has and I couldn't be prouder of you."
I continue to watch as you flash me a smile, a hint of relief showing through your dark brown eyes. I smile back, feeling surer of myself and knowing that now, more than ever, my words will not fail me.
"Ash, you've brought me more joy than you could ever imagine and, as I've watched you grow and change from a little boy to a handsome young man, I can't help but think how truly amazing you are," my voice cracks a little near the end of my speech but I will not be deterred. I will continue and not let my emotions stop me from expressing what I've felt all along. "I love you with all of my heart and it makes me so happy to know that you've found your soul mate and you couldn't have found a better person to spend the rest of your life with."
At this, my glance shifts briefly to Misty. She smiles whole heartedly at my words of truth and I can see in her eyes the appreciation she has of me and how much she truly loves you.
Then, I turn to you. You have a look of pure warmth filling your eyes and I can't help but feel a flutter in my heart and a stinging pain in my eyes at the fact that you are no longer all mine. I must share you with another but, strangely, this idea has little to do with my tears. It, however, has everything to do with the fact that you have become a strong, intelligent, loving young man and that you have finally found a love truer than any I have ever seen.
I smile back at you and then direct my attention to a large projection screen off to the right. On the screen is the simple word 'Amazing' printed in large font and being projected onto the screen via a projector that Professor Oak has graciously let me borrow from his lab.
When you and Misty see this, a confused look overtakes your eyes. Misty, however, is quicker off the mark and a knowing expression lights up her face, causing her to giggle gently and look towards you in delight. She, after all, has aided me in finding the most appropriate pictures that seem to completely describe every fiber of your being and, being she knows you almost as much as you know yourself, I figured she'd have a picture or two that would lend me a hand.
You, still confused over what your bride obviously believes will happen in the next few moments, place your arm around her and shrug, ready for whatever it is I have set up for you.
"Consider this a little something from me to you," I explain.
Soon enough, the room is filled with the sounds of chimes and the sound of a piano playing a soft tune as accompaniment. I bring the microphone up to my lips once more, walk around the table I am standing in front of, and march myself right up in front of the bridal table – right in front of you. Hearing my cue, I begin the song that I had painstakingly practiced night and day as the photos of your past float elegantly off and on the screen.
"The morning cold and raining
Dark before the dawn could come…"
I watch you fervently and I can tell by the look on your face that I've surprised you with my singing. Until now, you've never heard me sing aloud to anyone, even you, but this, I believe, is a special occasion.
long in twilight waiting
Longing for the rising sun
My gaze switches to the images flickering on the screen and I catch a glimpse of one of the many pictures I have of you when you were first born. I am holding you so delicately in my arms as someone, though I can't remember who, snaps the picture and forever seals it away within the recesses of my mind.
came like crashing thunder
Breaking through these walls of stone…"
Another picture of when you were a baby flashes onto the screen and I hear the people around me giggle and remark about how cute you were.
came with wide eyed wonder
Into all this great unknown
A picture that I know well makes its way onto the screen. You are about eight months old and I am hugging your small form tightly to my chest in pure pride and adoration. You have just walked your first steps and the bubbly little smile on your little face shows the excitement you have, though you are unsure of why you are happy.
now don't you be afraid
I promise you I'll always stay
I'll never be that far away
I'm right here with you…"
The next picture shows you at your first birthday, surrounded by family, with me standing behind your highchair, my arms around your tiny frame. You have just said 'mama' – your very first words – I couldn't be prouder of you.
You shine like the stars
You're so amazing
The beauty you are
You came blazing
Right into my heart
You're so amazing
You are, you are…"
next picture causes another smile to light up my face. You are about
four or five here, a goofy smile plastered on your youthful face as
you attempt to wrestle a certain Gary Oak to the ground in playful
banter, and it is here that you have made your first true friend and
came from Heaven shining
Breath of God still fresh on you…"
Another picture of you at the tender age of seven shows across the large screen and I hear the people around us chuckling in amusement at the cuteness of the photo. You are alone this time, but, instead of your rival joining you in the picture, you are clutching a bright yellow stuffed Pikachu doll in your arms. Perhaps this is a precursor for what will be in your future.
beating heart inside me
Crumbled at this one so new
Yet another picture flickers by, this time, of you and I the day before you set off on your pokemon journey. You are sporting your favorite pair of jeans, forest green t-shirt, and white and blue sports jacket with that ever present pokemon league cap adorning your black haired head.
matter where, how far you wander
For a thousand years or longer
I will always be there for you
Right here with you…"
In another sudden flash, the picture on the screen changes and I find myself staring into the eyes of your eleven year old self. Nearly a year had passed since the previous picture had been taken, but there are still marked differences. For one, where I was once standing proudly in the picture prior, Misty now stands, her arms wrapped protectively around her egg-type pokemon, Togepi, and a bright smile showing on her porcelain features. Brock is standing off to your right, a wholesome smile lighting up his own features, as he places a friendly hand on your shoulder. Lastly, Pikachu rides atop your shoulder, nuzzling your cheek affectionately in the process.
Such a simple photo, but one that seems to represent your future as it is now, standing amongst friends whom you'd sooner take a bullet for than live without. Who could have known the effects these people – your friends – would have made on your life and all your future endeavors?
You shine like the stars…"
Another picture shows on the screen, this time of you, holding a golden trophy in the familiar shape of a pokeball, Misty, Tracey, your newest travelling companion from the Orange Islands at the time, and Brock. This is your second visit back to my awaiting arms and I am so proud that you have found yet another friend and confidant. And, along with friendship, you had also managed to win the right to be called the champion of the Orange League, yet another stepping stone towards your future success.
"You're so amazing
The beauty you are…"
The next photo shows you changed. No longer do you don the familiar clothing of your younger years, but, instead, you are wearing a black t-shirt underneath a blue and white hooded pullover. Another league cap, though different than your original one, sits atop your head proudly. Black and green fingerless gloves complete your look with, of course, Pikachu perched on your shoulder. However, unlike the previous two photos, Misty is nowhere to be seen and, in her place, stands the young figures of both May and Max Maple, your newest travelling companions from the Hoenn region. Brock resumes his usual spot at your right side, his arms folded in front of his chest, as he smiled back at the camera, glad to be back for yet another friendly snap shot.
"You came blazing
Right into my heart…"
Yet another picture shows you at the forefront, a slightly different group of people surrounding you this time around. Brock, as per usual, stands in his place on your right while Dawn Diamond, a native to the Sinnoh region and yet another new face to your adventures, has joined you and is standing off to your left, her adorable water pokemon, Piplup, posing for the camera. Pikachu sits atop your head and gives the camera a 'V' for victory pose.
And, again, you are changed. This time you have abandoned what are deemed as your 'Hoenn attire' in favor of a white t-shirt tucked underneath a black and yellow pullover vest and a slightly different pokemon league cap. Though your clothes style has changed, you remain the same headstrong, unselfish, and optimistic young boy you were when you first left Pallet Town with Pikachu by your side.
"You're so amazing
Another picture of you and me is shown after your completion of the Sinnoh League. Again, you've proved to the world that there is nothing you cannot do as you proudly hold your new league trophy as proof of your success. Like your other successes, you have dedicated this one to me and gave me your coveted trophy as a remembrance of your victory.
I have kept and cherished all of your certificates, awards, trophies, and newspaper clippings with your name and picture printed on the front as a reminder of your great triumphs and how you came to be a top trainer. But, as with most things, you did not do this alone and I know you know this fact.
"I hope your tears are few and fast…"
The previous picture changes and a new one takes its place. This one shows you talking to Pikachu after your first major loss – the Indigo Pokemon League. The two of you are sharing your concerns with one another, perhaps consoling each other, during this difficult time. Though I know you are upset that you have come short, I can see the faint signs of a smile pulling at your lips and I know it will be no time before you attempt the league again.
"I hope your dreams come true at last…"
This next picture only proves your determination and your incessant will to keep moving forward. You're seventeen in this one and are accepting the Indigo Pokemon League trophy, the prestigious title, and chance to say that your childhood dream has come true, a privilege that many could never hope to accomplish. But you…you are special and you deserve it all.
"I hope you find love that goes on and on and on and on and on…"
The next photo causes the smile on my face to shine a little brighter. It is the second candid shot of the bunch – the first being the one with you and Pikachu – and it fits perfectly in with the lyrics of the song.
You are seated on our couch back home, Misty in your lap, as your arms are lovingly wound around her waist. Her hands are resting naturally atop yours and she has her head craned in a half-turn to stare longingly into your eyes. I can only imagine what the two of you are thinking, but I know it probably has much to do with how much your love has blossomed over the years.
You both have light, gentle smiles gracing your faces and you gaze so intensely into each other's eyes that it's not too hard to see how in love the two of you are.
And I am happy for you…truly and deeply happy.
"I hope you wish on every star…"
A cliff top overlooking the ocean is the backdrop of the next picture. An inky black sky dotted with millions of twinkling stars in the distance adds to the ambience and, amidst it all, you and Misty stand firmly, your eyes on the scene before you. You two are holding hands, though, unlike the previous photo, your eyes are not on one another but, instead, on the sky.
Perhaps you are both wishing on a shooting star that is streaking across the dark sky.
If you ask me, I'd say your wishes came true.
"I hope you never fall too far…"
Yet another picture of you after a crushing defeat – another battle with Gary - flashes onto the screen but, for what it's worth, you always kept your optimism. How else would you have gotten your title without it?
This picture shows you kneeling down to cradle your injured Pikachu in your arms. Your pokemon – namely Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charizard, Bayleef, and Noctowl – are huddled around you as a means of comfort, for they know how hard you take defeat against your longtime friend and rival. Regardless of the defeat though, you have a wry smile on your face, as if you know that next time will most definitely be different.
And, from that day forward, it was.
"I hope this world can see how wonderful you are…"
The next picture appears on the screen and it truly cements who you are and how you grew up to be the young man you are now.
You are positioned in the middle of the group, one arm around Misty's waist and another arm draped casually over Brock's shoulders. Pikachu, as per usual, is in his reserved spot on your right shoulder, giving a 'V' for victory sign with his tiny paws. Your three friends are smiling jovially, displaying a friendship that has lasted and endured many trials over the years. And, as evidenced by the obvious love in the picture, this friendship is what has kept you afloat all those days when you thought your best simply was not good enough. It was Brock, Misty, and Pikachu that brought you life and I knew you would never, ever regret that.
Kneeling in front of you are Gary, Tracey, Jessie, James, and Meowth. Gary and Tracey are casually leaning against one another in an almost brotherly sort of way, their smiles bright and their demeanors positive as they playfully pose for the camera. The ex-Team Rocket members turned friends are posing next to the duo, flashing their pearly whites and throwing up peace signs for the camera. Like Pikachu, Meowth has found a nice little niche atop James' head, a toothy smile dominating his feline features.
To your immediate right stand May, Max, and Drew, your friends from the Hoenn region and travelling companions throughout the second leg of your journey (minus Drew, of course). May has her arm slung over Max's shoulders in sisterly affection and is smiling brightly at the camera. Max too, now taller than May, is giving a thumbs up and a wink through his black rimmed glasses, a playful smile plastered on his youthful features. Drew has his arms folded across his chest, an arrogant smirk lighting up his pale skin. From what I'm told, this is his personality, though he'd probably loathe to admit the fact that he may feel any kind of affection towards the young coordinator standing next to him, but that is who he is. He hides behind a tough and cocky exterior and, only when his friends are in danger, does he allow himself to yield to those withdrawn emotions of fear, anxiety, and worry. He'll learn soon enough though, when he will no longer be able to keep his feelings of longing hidden from her…he'll learn. You did too, after all.
And, last but definitely not least, Dawn and Kenny stand to your left, flashing brilliant smiles at the camera whilst having their arms around one another in an all too friendly gesture. Their flamboyant smiles and the way they are melded to one another speak of a greater bond between the two than meets the eye. Sure, they are friends on the outside but could there possibly be more to them than you may know? What is it that attracts them to one another? I remember once asking myself this same question with regards to you and Misty. Suffice it to say, I got my answer.
It's amazing what you've all been through together and, either knowingly or unknowingly, your group of friends seemed to have separated themselves according to their regions. You first embarked on your journey – hence the group in front of you - through the Kanto region, learning, capturing, and training the creatures we call Pokemon to really bring out their true potential. On your second journey – evidenced by the group to your right – you were the amateur turned mentor and gladly helped the younger companions in your group to understand and accept the pokemon as a part of your lives. You continued to play coach and mentor, though never forgetting that, above all, you were and continue to be a trainer, throughout your third journey – the duo to your left – and, whilst doing so, gained valuable information and learned some strategies that you could have never imagined learning had you stayed in Kanto.
So, I guess you could say your journeys molded you into the young man you are now. Your friends helped you, pushed you even, so that your true potential shown through the cracks in-between. Who or what would you be like without them all?
You shine like the stars
You're so amazing
The beauty you are
You came blazing
Right into my heart
You're so amazing…"
The second to last picture of your little montage is of you, Pikachu seated atop your head, with all your pokemon from the various regions surrounding you. I had wanted so badly to get a group shot of the pokemon responsible for your great victories that I went to great lengths to get into contact and track down some of your friends that you had, unfortunately, parted with while on your journey.
You are kneeling down in this picture, petting your old friend Squirtle while looking up and admiring your very first caught pokemon, Butterfree, in amazement. Charizard is showing a toothy smile behind you, his claw gently placed atop your shoulder. Primeape, a pokemon you only trained for a day though I knew to you it felt like a lifetime, is also present, its prized P1 belt hanging snugly off of its waist. Pidgeot has its massive wings around you in a 'hug' of sorts, its beak open in pure jubilation. Lapras is also at your side, nudging your face gently with its own, as it makes soft, gentle noises of happiness at seeing its old time friend and temporary trainer. Larvitar is there too, its protective mother at its side, as it attempts to reach you beyond the mass of feathers, claws, and flippers. And, last but not least, Haunter, your old ghost pokemon friend from Lavender Town who helped you defeat the Saffron City pokemon gym leader, Sabrina, is floating merrily at your side, laughing to itself in the only way it knows how.
What a bunch of misfits you've befriended over the years. But I know you wouldn't have it any other way. How else would you have made it this far had it not been for them? They are as much your 'friends' as your human companions are and I know you will not soon forget this, for they were the ones that sacrificed for you, they battled tooth and nail for you, and, most of all, they loved and respected you.
"You're so amazing
You shine like the stars
You're so amazing
The beauty you are
You came blazing
Right into my heart
You're so amazing
At this point, I chance a glance at you to gauge your reaction thus far and am amazed myself to find you wiping at your eyes with your hand, clear evidence of the tears you must have shed during my presentation. Did the lyrics of the song coupled with the memories of your past truly bring about this reaction? Had you really shed tears over my meager, little gift from your own mother?
Of course, it really shouldn't surprise me, given the love, devotion, and appreciation you've always had of me. You're every mother's dream child and you never once took me for granted or forsook me emotionally and for that, I am eternally grateful. You were and are the beacon of light in my life when things, sometimes, went awry and I know I probably will never be able to repay you for that. But, regardless, I love you with every inch of my heart and I know that will never, ever change.
Maybe this is why it is so easy to devote all of my time and energy to you. Perhaps these are the reasons why it is so unbelievable easy to love you. Misty loves you in a way I can never know, but, likewise, she could never feel the type of love I have for you. It is the motherly type of love that comes only with birthing and raising a child and I pray to whatever higher being there is that the two of you are able to experience it, as I have.
I find myself once more and lock my eyes with your teary ones. But, suddenly, almost as a shock to myself, I can clearly feel the salty liquid trickling down my cheeks as well. When had I started to cry, I wonder to myself. When did my tribute suddenly turn into such an emotional affair that I felt the need to cry without even being aware of it? I am not sure of this, but I know it probably has something to do with the way you are looking at me now.
voice cracks a little at the sincerity and the love I feel emanating
from your simple gaze, yet I force myself to continue, for there are
only two little words that separate me from finishing my song and
I'll be damned if I don't finish this tribute to you because,
like always, you are worth it.
As I finish the lyrics of the song and the melody softly tapers off into silence, I take a deep breath before speaking in a gentle, yet clear voice.
"I love you Ash and I hope you know just what an amazing young man you've become."
I let out a breath of relief and watch as silent emotions run their course through you. I can't possibly imagine what it is you're thinking but I can only hope they are thoughts of approval and love, for I know anything less just wouldn't be you.
Suddenly, you spring from your chair and walk briskly in my direction, a slow smile coming to the corners of your lips. Soon enough, you engulf me in a tight hug, burying your head into my shoulder like you used to when you were a child. I giggle at the remembrance of it all and wrap my arms around you too, relishing in our mother-son moment together.
"I love you too Mom," you say softly in my ear, "You're the best mother any guy could ever wish for and I know I probably don't say this enough but…thanks…for everything."
I almost melt at your heartfelt words of love and I can truly hear the sincerity in your shaky voice. Those words come from your heart, from your very soul, and I can clearly feel the warmth of their meaning surrounding me. I know your words are true to their core and that you have never thought anything less of me.
The meanings behind my actions were clear, I guess, and I couldn't be happier at the fact that you understand your worth to me.
You pull away from me slightly and I am finally able to look you over with pride. Placing a hand on your cheek, I give you a gentle nod and a smile reserved just for you.
"I think you have a special bride who's dying for her first dance with her new husband," I whisper, making sure that you are the only one who can hear me.
You look back at Misty and she smiles back encouragingly, her patience a prelude to what a wonderful wife she will, undoubtedly, be. Your gaze returns to me with the look of a person wishing for permission and I have to stifle a giggle at your innocence.
"Get out of here already," I scold playfully, gently pushing you out of my arms and towards Misty, "She's waiting for you."
nod at me and smile that familiar smile of yours, so full of warmth
and adoration, "Thanks Mom," you say as you give me a chaste kiss
on my cheek before leaving my side to stand by hers.
And I sigh contentedly when I watch with pride as you sweep your beautiful bride off of her feet and glide her elegantly across the dance floor to the sounds of the soft melody filtering out of the nearby sound system. The crowds of onlookers are watching the two of you blissfully now, sensing the emotions of love all around, whilst taking pictures at how right the two of you look together.
As Professor Oak asks to dance, I oblige willingly, having to suppress a reminiscent sigh as I watch you talking in hushed tones to your bride, words, I'm sure, that are full of love and devotion for the years to come.
And, I can't help but think that you have done it again. You have shown everyone here how amazing you truly are.
No, it was not enough for you to humbly steal the spotlight when the world realized you the newest and youngest pokemon master. You could never just sit idly by with your many victories in hand while the world zoomed on by. You just wouldn't be you if you did that, now would you? No…whether you know it or not, you continue to show everyone what you're made of and how truly hardworking you really are. You continue to amaze those around you…the world, Misty, Brock, your friends, your pokemon…
…and, most of all, me.
A/N: And there you have it! I really, sincerely hoped you all enjoyed that little diddy of mine. As I stated in the author's note at the beginning of this fic, I worked soooo hard on this that it would be awesome to know how I am doing. So, make my day and send me a review please! Anyway, thanks for reading guys and hopefully (now that this fic is out of my system) I can concentrate on my other fics (namely 'LUV') that I have been rejecting for the past few months. Well, stay cool everyone and AAML for life!