Intro: Quick oneshot about Ash dealing with his feelings for Misty. This is a little bit of a stream of consciousness thing and as such some of it is rather snappy, with short repetitive sentences, but that part was intentional to try and get you into the frame of mind Ash is in in the story. If you do, or don't either is fine and appreciated, please review and let me know

This took about 3 hours to write, which for me is impressive since I don't usually stay focused for that long so I am impressed with myself lol.

Oh and some background admin stuff:

'X' is internal monologue

"X" is talking

And X (if you can't tell that X is in italics but with no single quotation marks) is any other communication I need to use lol

Ages: Ash is 20, so is Misty or 21 about.

Also I don't own pokémon... Nothing would be truly different if I did... Let's face it they gave us what we wanted and had Misty and Ash got together, what would we write cheesy fan fics about?

Anyway thnx in advance for reading and possibly reviewing and hope you enjoy

It was warm. He shifted uncomfortably in his bed. 'Bed' he scoffed inwardly. When had he started sleeping in beds instead of sleeping bags and tents? When had he given up the life of an adventurous young trainer?

He got up slowly and walked over to the window. Pikachu lay quietly at the foot of the bed, not even noticing when a cool breeze wafted through the room. 'That's better', he needed the fresh air. It was time for a walk. He put on his pants and a ratty old t-shirt; it was warm out so he wouldn't need anything thicker. He considered waking the electric rodent who had now moved to take over most of his bed, but previous experience had taught him better. Reflexively he grabbed his wallet and phone before leaving.

He walked the small path leading away from his backyard, unsure where it would take him. 'Just follow your feet'. There was no one particular place he needed to go. Unlike his many trips he didn't have a goal in mind, for once he couldn't get lost. Ash chuckled at that thought. 'Follow the path, and see where you end up' he silently instructed his feet.

It was cooler outside but he still felt restless. Not the kind of hyperactive feeling he was used to. No, this was different, he thought about the last ten years and how the world had changed for him.

The stroll had gotten him to Professor Oak's lab somehow. 'Let's see if anyone's awake' he though as he headed towards the back gate. Being one of Professor Oak's protégés had definite advantages. Who else had keys to the most advanced Pokémon research facility in Kanto?

He remembered when he started all those years ago; oversleeping for the most important day of his life. Looking back, it couldn't have turned out for the better. That was when he got Pikachu. He'd been so naive then.

He chuckled inwardly remembering those first few years. He'd had some good battles, and shown promise; there was no denying that, at least not in his mind. But it was mostly a chain of lucky breaks. His pokémon loved him, and he loved them. In the end that's what gave him the power to go on and achieve his goal. They wanted it as badly as he did; they felt the same determination and drive that he did. He instilled it in them.

It wasn't always easy; actually, come to think of it, it was almost never easy. Many of his closest friends had disliked him at first. Pikachu resented him, while Charizard tried to burn him to a cinder. It had taken him a good few years to earn Charizard's respect. He was proud of that; he wasn't proud that it had taken him a good few years to figure out he needed to earn it.

Ten years on the road, with friends and rivals, with good times and bad, with laughter and tears. He wouldn't have changed a thing even if he could. Even the bad times had helped, the times spent nursing his pokémon, and the times spent nursing his own ego. They all taught him invaluable lessons. Winning wasn't everything, it wasn't even all that important; it was the bonds you made that mattered.

He had made human friends on his travels too. Dawn and May, and Tracy and Max, and Brock and... , he smiled inwardly as he realised where his thoughts had taken him; he often through of her when he was pensive, or tired, or happy, or well... alive; that ridiculous, bossy, commanding, overbearing, infuriating, and entirely amazing red-head. She'd saved his life, and more times that she knew it.

Most of his pokémon were asleep in the back garden. Ever since he'd won the pokémon league the previous week he had decided they all needed a bit of rest. Everyone but Pikachu was here at professor Oak's, enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation.

Ten years was a long time. At first their training was sporadic, relying mostly on luck and their natural skills. It wasn't until he had suffered several defeats that he realised he had to be smart about training. For four years or so they had trained every morning and every night, and sometimes in between. He would run with them, swim with them, and fly with them. They got better together, and they learned together. They weren't just his pokémon; they were more... they were his closest friends and family.

Since the League he'd decided to let them rest, they deserved it. 'So do I'. That didn't last long though. By this point he was hard wired to get up before dawn and start his training; and he soon found out his pokémon were too. On the second day back he'd woken up without meaning to, and wondered out to the back yard for a light morning run. It wasn't long until they found him.

"How'd you know I was even gonna wake up?" he had asked.

We know you better than that buddy, Pikachu replied smirking. Charizard just nodded at him, indicating he approved. Monferno had been ecstatic; the little guy was just a packet of energy. They all understood, which was more than he could say for himself. They had met every morning for the last four days; never overstretching themselves, or really even breaking a sweat. It was just a silent promise. A promise he made them, and one they made him. This was a break yes, but soon a new adventure waited, and who knew where it would lead them and what new friends, rivals, dangers, and experiences it would bring. They weren't going to just sit there and be happy with being champion; and neither was he.

He had reached his dream, he was Pokémon Master; the youngest Master in history even. So why did he feel empty. He knew they understood; they knew him better than he did. And they knew this was something he had to figure out by himself. Their presence was the strength and support he needed, and so without being asked, or told, or even thanked, they came to him each morning and shared a quiet session. It was a tranquil time. It those few hours before sunrise he wasn't the champion, he wasn't a sensation for the media to fawn over; he was just Ash, their trainer, their friend.

As he stood in Professor Oak's garden watching his sleeping pokémon, he felt a large sigh behind him. He didn't need to look around to know who it was. Charizard bent its neck and offered Ash his back. Again his friend had known what Ash needed before he had known himself. There was no need to talk, the understanding they shared was deeper than words, as with all his pokémon.

They took off and he felt the wind rushing past his face his, t-shirt rippled as he held onto the large fire dragon's neck. The moon hung low over the canopy of trees they glided over. Somewhere in the back of his subconscious he absentmindedly noted they were passing over Viridian forest. The cold bit at his face and arms; Mew, but it felt good. This was living, feeling the elements, not knowing what would happen next.

Charizard came to a stop on the summit of Mt. Moon. Ash got off and appreciated the view; most of Kanto was laid out before him. Looking back he could see in the far distance the ocean; that must be where Pallet town was. Closer in he could see Pewter city. The gym was prominent in the city; Brock was doing a really good job with it. On the other side was a grassy field, and beyond that Cerulean. He knew the gym leader there too. Well he knew them all now, but she was different. Different even than the way he knew Brock. Brock was and always would be his best friend... his best human friend at least. But there was something different about the quick-tempered water trainer from Cerulean.

He stared absentmindedly towards the gym; they had spent so much time together when he had first started. She had been his first companion. To be honest, she had been many firsts for him; his first crush, his first heartbreak, his first regret. Leaving her five years ago was the hardest thing he'd ever done. But she had the gym to take care of, and he had his dream to chase. Neither one of them would have truly wanted the other to give up their path. Still, he regretted it. 'If I had told her then... maybe' he shook his head dismissively; 'what's done is done' he sighed.

Charizard nudged him from behind, pushing him slightly towards the distant city. Maybe the pokémon hadn't brought them here by accident. Surely she was asleep. Besides which he'd barely talked to her in the last few years. It hadn't been intentional. At first it was because of the pain; each conversation reminded him of the lost opportunity. As time passed, he realised what he'd had; how wonderful it had been to have her by his side. Then they both got more and more involved in their respective lives. Whenever they'd meet up it would be like old times, and yet it wouldn't. They'd try to recreate the carefree days they once had. But deep down they each new that in a day or two they'd part ways, and potentially for a long time. When he finally won the tournament she had been there, with his family, and his friends.

He nearly lost track of everything when he saw her running up to him; hugging him, congratulating him on his victory. She'd grown up herself. But her scent stayed the same. He couldn't name it or describe it, but he could always recognise it. It filled him as she hugged him, and dulled his senses to anything else but her; awakening the deepest and most repressed corners of his soul. Her scent had gotten slightly deeper over the years, but it was the same. Another nudge from behind snapped him out of his train of though.

"Okay, okay. I'll send her a text all right?" he chuckled as the dragon seemed to consider this and deemed it acceptable. She was sure to be asleep anyway so it wouldn't matter. "But what do I say?" Charizard shrugged its wings indicating that was not its concern.

Hey, you awake? He pressed the send key and instantly self conscious doubts began to fill his head. What would she think? Texting her at some unmewly hour... he checked his phone '4 AM!!!' he thought. "She's gonna think I finally lost it or something," he told no one in particular. The mild panic attack he was having was interrupted by a small melodious three-tone sound coming from his phone.

Yeah, can't sleep. You too eh? He looked at his phone in disbelief. Charizard had taken the sound as obvious evidence that the red-headed girl its trainer was obsessed with was awake. It gave Ash a final shove, this time more forcefully, and bent its neck down once more offering him its back.

"What the hell," he thought, feeling happiness and excitement run through his veins. "What have I got to lose?" Meet me on the roof. He texted her as he climbed onto Charizard's back.

"Let's go see Misty buddy," he said more for his benefit that the pokémon's.

Another three-tone beep emanated from his phone. Now?!?!? was all her text said. He didn't bother answering, if he knew Misty she was just gripping, she loved complaining; but he knew she'd go up to the roof.

He saw Misty waiting on the roof as he drew near. On instinct he urged Charizard to go in close, but not land. "Grab my hand!" he screamed hoping the wind would carry his voice. Whether she heard him or not, his outstretched hand sent a clear enough message. As he swooped in she caught it and he swung her over and onto Charizard behind him. He didn't have to tell her to hold on, as she had already wrapped her hands around his waist. A smile crept onto his face, one that was not entirely unrelated to the girl sitting behind him.

Ash had no idea what he was doing, or even where he was going; luckily for him his pokémon had more concrete plans. Charizard swooped down near a lake in one of the forests near Mt. Moon. They disembarked, and a small bud of sadness formed in Ash's stomach as Misty let go of his waist. Once they had dismounted, Charizard took off, presumably to get a midnight snack.

On the flight over they hadn't said a word, not that they could have with the wind blowing by their ears; but now the silence that filled the air between them was deafening.

"So... What's up Mr. Pokémon Master extraordinaire? How come you whisked me of my roof?" she asked trying to sound light and humorous. Ash didn't quite know where to start. And the very distracting girl in front of him didn't help at all. She had clearly thrown something on at the last minute. She was wearing a fairly old worn through pair of jeans and one of those t-shirts that had "sleeping shirt" written all over it. And she looked beautiful. Her unbrushed hair haloed her face as the moon shone into it from behind. It wasn't the kind of messy hair that indicated long periods of neglect, it just looked natural. The plain t-shirt hung tightly to her body, and the jeans accentuated her natural curves, and not for the first time in recent memory, Ash realised she had grown up allot since they traveled together. Her eyes were deep blue pools and he loved the way she looked so natural and at home in nature. He'd always loved the way she looked when she was just being herself, not trying to be beautiful, it was then her inner beauty shone through the most.

Realizing, mostly by the growingly more worried stare she was giving him, that he had been quiet for quite a while now, he tried his hand at speaking, and hoped his voice would not betray his nervousness. "Let's look at the stars together... like old times." He grabbed her hand and lead her down to the lake shore, and plopping onto his back he looked up to the sky and tried to work up the courage to say what he'd come here to say. To his relief she bought the excuse, or at least saw through it enough to know not to push. She plopped down perpendicular to him, using his stomach as a pillow. It was a habit they'd gotten into in the last few years, a comfortable intimacy. When he visited Cerulean, or if they met somewhere, they would spend hours lying like this and watching the stars, telling stories about their latest battles or anything in their lives.

There were no stories now. It wasn't uncomfortable, each enjoyed the others presence, and they both felt something was going to change tonight, so for now they just laid there and thought. His hand absentmindedly reached up and started stroking her hair; an action that did not go unnoticed by the water trainer, but one that did not go unappreciated either. What was going thought her mind, he had no idea, but he would have given almost anything to know.

"So how come you can't sleep?" she finally asked turning her head towards him. It felt so comfortable and intimate Ash didn't want the moment to end.

"I was restless," he said honestly. She looked thoughtful for a moment then turned back to look at the stars. Her demeanour suggested the answer wasn't satisfactory, but she was willing to wait for him to make the next move. "I didn't initially mean to go to your place," he said half to her, half just out loud. "I just kind of ended up there."

"Hmm..." she said contemplatively as she turned her head towards him again. She noticed he'd grown up somewhat since the last time she saw him. When she saw him at the League, it was all hustle and bustle, not time to really catch up. But now she got a good look at him.

He was well built, and she could tell from the muscles she was lying on that he had been working out, thought that didn't surprise her. She loved his smell. It was a rough sort of smell, not dirty exactly, but not clean. It wasn't bad, just ... unique.

She didn't want to admit it but his text had made her very happy; especially the second one. She'd though of taking a quick shower or throwing some make –up on, but it was Ash for Mew's sake, she didn't need to impress him. He'd better like her like she is, or Mew help him.

"It's always like that, you know?" he added, fully aware he was probably just babbling. " ... You don't know what's wrong with you, and you start walking, and next thing you know you've subconsciously walked to your solution," Another pause ensued.

"Or you've flown there... as the case may be," she added with a grin.

"You've always been there for me," he continued, almost ignoring her joke. He was on a roll now, he had to keep going, or he might never work up the courage again. "When I needed you most, when I doubted myself, and when I needed someone to tell me my ego was getting to big," he paused for a second, realizing not for the first time the amount he owed to amazing girl lying on his stomach. "Thanks."

"That's what friends are for," she replied warmly, though slightly taken back. This was slightly out of character for him. He wasn't usually the thoughtful type. 'I guess the last few years have changed him' she thought 'well they better not have changed him too much'. "You still haven't told me what was bothering you in the first place though."

Ash chuckled slightly. She always knew when to press him and when to wait for him to work things out in his head, it was one of the many things he loved about her. "It's funny... I didn't know myself when I left the house tonight. All I knew was I had some walking to do... and I guess flying," he added, finally acknowledging her joke. "You know, I'm really sorry we haven't stayed in better touch these past few years. I've been looking into the gym records every now and again, but what with the time difference and all it's been hard."

"Oh I know. I haven't been calling you daily either; it's not just you... I dunno it's just hard."

"Yeah..." he trailed off. "What if I didn't want it to be that way anymore?"

"What do you mean?" she asked as she shifted onto her elbow to get a better view of his face.

"What if I've had enough of being away from the people I really care about? What if I want to spend some time with old friends?"

"That'd be nice..." she replied slowly, unsure where he was going with this.

"Misty, what if I wanted to spend more time with you?"

"You mean like this? Hanging out in the middle of the night like we used to?" she asked hoping secretly his answer would be no. She loved what they had, but she nursed her own hopes of where this was going.

"Yeah..." he said, momentarily deflating her hopes. "And maybe more?" The pause that ensued was laden with the implied question. Had he just asked her out? Was this happening? Was she dreaming?

Her silence was turning Ash into a nervous wreck. He was quickly losing confidence in this impromptu plan of his.

"I mean... uhm... not that... well I..." he stammered trying to figure out a way to back out of what he'd just said.

"No, I'd like that." She said as she moved up so her face was closer to his.

"Good," he breathed. She was close enough now he could feel her breathing. "I was hoping maybe we could, go out sometime; see where it went...?"

The nervous tension in his voice nearly made Misty laugh. "I'd like that," she repeated. She felt his words travel in shivers down her spine as his breath traveled around and behind her neck making her hair stand on end.

"I mean, I could still compete every now and again, but it would be more casual... we could make vacations out of it and stuff..." his head filled with visions, him and Misty living together, him opening his own gym someday, them sharing a bed, maybe even children someday. He cast these thoughts aside... 'One step at a time lover boy' he scolded himself.

"I'd like that too," she repeated for the third time, this time with a small laugh.

The distance between them had grown smaller and smaller as they talked. And the last words out of Misty's mouth were said almost directly into Ash's. No more was said afterwards for the proximity of their lips and their feelings for each other had taken over.

Misty felt Ash lean up to touch her lips and she pushed back into him. He wasn't some Don Juan, but he wasn't entirely inexperienced with this either. But this time it was different. This wasn't some girl he'd met recently, or someone who'd thrown themselves at him after some victory or other. This was Misty; this was the girl he'd pined for and loved for all these years. He was nervous and unsure, and Mew but it felt like the most exhilarating thing in the world.

They stayed there for a little while longer, kissing, talking, and teasing each other about all the time they could have been doing just this. But they both knew that time was necessary; they'd needed that time to find themselves and to realise what they had in each other.

After a while they were both exhausted and Ash whistled for Charizard to come pick them up. The fire type showed up quickly, almost as if it had been keeping itself hidden so as not to disturb the new lovers.

Ash dropped Misty of at the gym and, with a last kiss goodnight and a promise to come by in the morning, though, as Misty jokingly pointed out, not too early, he took off again. The world felt light on his shoulders as he let go of his pokémon's neck and let the wind blow by him. He felt like nothing could possibly be better. After all, what greater and more exciting adventure could be had than life with ones love?

That's all folks... I apologise for Misty having such a small role in, what is after all her love story, but

a) That's just how this turned out, I didn't have a plan before hand I more of just started writing, and

b) That's probably for the best as I probably wouldn't know how to write female reactions well enough lol (working on it I swear lol)

Also, I know I gave the impression at the beginning that he wanted another pokémon adventure. My reasoning there was that Ash, being as thick headed as possible, could only conceive of one kind of adventure, and the story is about him discovering the adventure he really needed to embark upon.

Anyway, as I've said before, and as many others have said, please review, whether you hated it or loved it, or felt Swiss about it, I would like to know, criticism helps me learn

Thnx =D