Dreams of an Absolution
Chapter 3: Surprise!
A/N:I'm sorry for taking so long with this chapter, but as promised, here is Chapter 3.
Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon. Blah blah blah...does this disclaimer bullshit, like, do anything...?
Italics means the translation of whatever a Pokemon is saying, or somebody's thoughts. Given my writing style, both can be determined by paying attention to context.
May 25th, 2002, Vermilion City Harbor
Perched on Pidgeot's back, Ash felt a sudden thrill of liberation. Feeling the rush of wind against his face as the majestic bird took flight gave him a rare opportunity to forget his concerns.
He was back in Kanto.
The Vermillion City harbor fell away behind them as they gained altitude. The city gleamed with a sea of sparkly lights, displaying the buildings as if they had been built simply to marvel at in the darkness of night. The traffic below was light yet still gave away that the city knew nothing of sleep. It was late in the evening, so it made sense to assume that most of the moving lights Ash saw belonged to cars being driven by people returning home from a hard day at the office to the comfort of their homes and the arms of their husbands or wives. He could relate in a way.
Only his work had lasted two years. Two years since she had been forced to stop traveling with him. He'd often wondered why he'd chosen to keep going with his journey rather than stay with Misty in Cerulean, help her run the Gym. Even then as he thought about it he mentally kicked himself for choosing the former. The idea of living with Misty would've made running the Gym worth the boredom of being confined to one place.
Still though, there was always a way to have both, Ash mused, and that's what satisfied him.
He turned to Pikachu, who was dutifully perched on his shoulder. The small electric rodent's eyes were shut and his mouth curled into a smile. His long black-tipped ears were folded backwards in response to the stream of the cool nighttime air, and his fur ruffled in the breeze. Ash smiled in amusement.
The sound of Pidgeot cawing over the noise of the wind rushing by redirected his attention.
"You should look down and enjoy the view." If he lacked a beak, Pidgeot would have been sporting a cunning smirk.
"That's an airplane flying under us! You know how I am with heights."
"Yet you're on my back a thousand feet up and going seventy-five miles an hour."
Ash laughed. "Only out of necessity. Besides, it's good to be back home." Pidgeot beat his wings in agreement, and Pikachu chirped heartily on Ash's shoulder.
"Indeed it is," agreed the massive bird. "It'll be nice to not have much to do."
With a snide chirp, Pikachu joined the discussion. "Speak for yourself, Pidgeot," hesneered. "I'll still be busy keeping an eye on loverboy and Princess Jasmine." Pidgeot let out a squawk of laughter and Ash's cheeks went pink as he silently looked away. Leave it to Pikachu to give him crap about him and Misty, though it hardly came to him as a surprise. But he was not without banter.
"Didn't I once open the fridge door to find you and Buneary all over each other next to a bottle of ketchup, Pikachu?" Ash grinned wickedly in silent victory as Pikachu's ears dropped like an anvil. The electric rodent said nothing more and hastily opened Ash's green backpack and hopped inside. Pidgeot glanced around and gave Ash a chuckle and a wink. "Instant shutdown."
The rest of the flight went largely without much more conversation, which was okay, because it didn't seem like long before Ash began to make out the glittering Cerulean City skyline along the horizon. He gave his bag a slight nudge, signaling to the now drowsy Pikachu that they were getting closer. Pidgeot's wings gave a flick as he readjusted his feathers for a low-speed approach in a small clearing.
"I need to make a call when we touch down," Ash explained. "Pidgeot, I'll leave you and the rest at the Pokemon Center for the night.
Pidgeot glanced back at him briefly before contacting the ground.
"Off on a little fun are we?" The bird gave Ash a knowing glance, who responded by unhooking and brandishing a shiny red PokeBall.
"You know me, buddy. Return."
Pikachu remained on Ash's shoulder as the bird disappeared into his ball. Fumbling around in his pocket, Ash pulled out a circular device with what looked like two hinged paddles on either side of a circular screen. He pressed a button and the paddles folded out, revealing a number pad on one and a screen on the other. A holographic display emerged from the center, showing a dome-like list of options. Ash pressed the option labeled "Contacts", and proceeded to scroll down the list.
"Pika?" Pikachu inquired.
"We arrived here a bit later than I thought," Ash explained. "Mom was expecting us tonight, but she's probably already asleep by now. There's something I need to do here first before we go back home."
He selected a name on the list. The phone rang for a few moments before a small figure rose from the center of the phone.
"This is the Cerulean City Pokemon Gym. My name is Daisy. How may I help you?"
Ash smirked, momentarily pleased upon seeing that Daisy didn't seem to recognize him, which made sense, because it'd been years since she'd seen his face. Then again, he was standing outside in the middle of the night.
Ash, however, could see Daisy perfectly. It appeared she'd recently had a shower, because her long blond hair looked wet and hastily combed down to appear presentable. Her voice was clear and businesslike, a far cry from the teenage and girly voice he'd grown used to hearing out of the corner of the video screen during calls to Misty.
"Y-Yeah," he said tentatively. "What are your hours for Gym battles?
Daisy appeared to look off to the side for a moment before speaking.
"Our hours are from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon on weekdays and from nine to midnight on Saturdays," she recited. "Would you like to schedule a time for a battle?"
"Are walk-ins acceptable on Saturdays?" Ash knew Saturdays were extended because of the recent rise in popularity of nighttime battles. Different Gyms had different reactions, but most jumped on the chance for the added income, and it had the side-effect of increasing how well-known they became and how many more people came from other regions. It was no surprise to him that the Cerulean Gym had chosen to extend their hours. The three sisters never seemed inclined to give up their water ballet shows, and the added trainers meant added attendance to their performances.
"Yes, of course," Daisy replied. "Which Sensational Sister would you like to battle against? There is Violet, Lily, and myself." She smiled hopefully, as if she were giving her best in a beauty pageant.
Ash noticed how she'd left out Misty. This didn't surprise him either. Annoyingly, they never did like to include her in anything related to their title of Sensational Sisters, often mocking her as if it were normal. Despite this, he saw his chance.
"Actually, I was hoping Misty was around."
It was late. Misty groaned as she sat in her desk chair and ignored the glow of the computer in front of her. Why should she have to sit idly by like this? She would rather have been rewatching the Unova Championships; her heart leaped at the very thought of it. Seeing him battling at his fullest, just like years before, excited her more than anything else. But it also welled up something she'd fought hard to keep secret from her sisters, which ever since her return to the Gym two years before had been difficult at best.
She'd hoped they hadn't caught on about her and Ash.
Thinking about him again made her wonder, why hadn't he called? He usually made it a point to get her on a video call every time he found a Pokemon Center in a new town. Usually it only took a couple days to get from one town to the other. Granted, sometimes that did take longer, and she'd prepared for that; one particular occasion a week went by without a single word from him. It was hard to not worry. Misty knew the kind of trouble he usually managed to get himself into and was well aware of how his reckless attitude clashed with the situations he encountered.
Mt. Silver was no exception.
A faint buzz wrenched her from her reverie. She looked to the desk and scooped up her vibrating phone. It was her old flip phone she'd gotten after returning to the Gym. From the hinge dangled a small keychain with a tiny stuffed version of Ash on the end of it. Misty flipped the phone open.
"Yeah?" She was still on the clock. She knew who it was.
"Hey baby sister, you, like, have a challenger," Daisy squealed, but Misty knew she wasn't quite as excited as her girly voice played it out to be.
"Please tell me it's not that guy with the Zoroark again," Misty complained. "I thought we banned him."
"No, this one sounds a lot younger," Daisy replied.
Misty rolled her eyes. "Just don't flirt with him this time. You already have a boyfriend."
"Like, speak for yourself, baby sister," Daisy teased. "Don't think we haven't caught on about you and your Pokemon Master boyfriend."
Misty felt a blush creep across her face and felt thankful her sister couldn't see. She hastily dodged the accusation. "Whatever, did the challenger offer to reveal his party Pokemon?" She silently hoped for another wannabe Bug Catcher. Part of the recent Gym rules stated that every challenger, whether new or returning for a rematch, must always be asked if they'd like to reveal the Pokemon they wished to battle with, but could refuse if they wanted. It potentially gave the Gym Leaders a way of planning accordingly should the Trainers reveal their party, thus choosing tougher Pokemon to compensate, but this option was usually only chosen by returning Trainers wishing for a tougher fight.
"No," said Daisy. "But it's weird. He said he only had one Pokemon with him."
The redhead groaned again. Of course her time had to be wasted by some asshole with only one Pokemon, as if to tease her. There was only one person she knew with the guts to deliberately fight an Indigo League Gym with a single Pokemon. "Alright, fine. Have him meet me at the pool."
Click. She snapped the phone closed. A moment went by before she retreated upstairs to fetch her PokeBalls.
Probably another fucking Absol trainer.
Ash walked through the set of automatic doors and into a large entry area. In front of him was a small hallway extending from the lobby and into what he remembered to be the water arena. Off to either side of the lobby were two additional hallways that curved around in a circle and met on the opposing side of the building.
The smell of chlorine filled his nostrils as he turned to the right and began down the hall. Daisy had told him to wait by the pool, but he knew enough about how Gyms work. Until a challenger arrives, Leaders tend to stick in their offices performing other, mostly monotonous and boring, tasks, such as replying to emails sent from previous challengers or invitations to League events.
He knew Misty better than that. Over their video calls, she'd never miss an opportunity to rant and moan about how boring it was sitting in the office for hours when she could be off tending to her Water Pokemon, and he'd always known her to be a fun type of girl, so he figured she would keep her Pokemon away from her work area.
Not that Ash could blame her. Knowing his own inability to sit still for very long, it would be worth the walk upstairs to her room.
Ash could sense Pikachu's excitement as they advanced down the long hallway. He'd been sure to be rather quiet about his intentions, but now it seemed obvious what he was about to do.
Passing a set of offices and a nearby staircase, Ash climbed it and found himself on a level with a large center area cut out to allow overlooking into the massive pool below. For a place to live and work, it still struck him as a magnificent structure, one that, from an inside vantage point, could only be appreciated from the railings of the second floor. Not only did it allow a bird's eye view of the pool below (which undoubtedly would have cost significantly more to view shows from), but the elevated floor wrapped around the entire inside of the building much in the same way the hallways did a floor below. This allowed different rooms to be placed around the perimeter of the walkway, which, Ash soon realized by stepping on it without looking, included a moving path that circled around it.
After staggering for a moment, Ash saw what he recognized as Misty's room. It was in a perfect spot. Big windows provided the feeling of being a wide-open space instead of cramped and small like conventional houses. He'd seen a bit of the inside through the video feed the times he'd called Misty, but never had the chance to experience it from her point of view, mostly because it was rare to have called her with her window blinds not pulled down.
He peered inside the room, and his heart gave a tremendous leap. Misty stood in front of a shelf that held many different rows of what Ash realized were different teams of Pokemon for different challengers. She was surveying a group of teams labeled "Saturday Night".
Ash felt Pikachu quiver on his shoulder, like a dog who's about to greet his owner after he gets back from work. He silenced the Pokemon by giving him a pat on the head and a twitch of the head. Dismayed, Pikachu understood the unspoken command and hopped off his shoulder and took off down the hall behind him. Ash took a quick look around the room, his heart racing
Unsurprisingly, he found several pictures of himself scattered throughout her bedroom. There was a desk on the far right wall that was sandwiched by her bed, and on top of the desk were an array of different photographs of her in between Ash and Brock. It was almost as if she'd ordered them as they had happened along their journey through Kanto and Johto. One in particular stood out to him. It was closest to her pillow, yet oddly tucked back behind a couple frames, but Ash could clearly make it out. It was the two of them at Maiden's Peak during the Summer Festival. He recalled Brock having snapped a picture of him and Misty dancing. The memory of seeing her in that beautiful dress was vivid.
Seeing her reach for one of the PokeBalls snapped Ash from his thoughts. Hastily, he tried to clear his throat to get her attention, but she seemed too engrossed with her battle strategy to look behind her.
"If you're here to challenge me," she said flatly. "You'll have to wait for me down at the pool." Ash sensed her irritation of being issued a challenge at such a late hour, but yet again he saw a perfect opportunity.
"As much as I'm sure you'd loved to have a rematch," he said with a big goofy grin on his face. "I was hoping that wouldn't be necessary."
Misty paused for a moment, but continued selecting Pokemon. "There's only one person I've ever wanted to rematch," she responded dryly.
Wait, what...? Ash's smile quickly faded. He thought for sure she'd recognize the sound of his voice. Nevertheless, he reacted quickly.
"And who might that be?"
Misty pointed to the small TV set that stood on a small table to the left of the shelf she faced. Frozen on the TV was Ash's own face, contorted into a look of frenzied determination.
"Ahh, the Master himself!" he said proudly, continuing to play the part of anonymous outsider under the disguise of his own voice. "That was quite the battle he fought. I was there. You know him I suppose?"
Misty still kept her back towards him, but paused again. "Y-Yes," she stammered. It was clear she wasn't expecting the conversation to drift to Ash. "We've known each other for a very long time."
Alright, dude, fucking focus! She doesn't recognize your voice somehow and she thinks you're creeping on her. Just go with this. Let's have some fun here. Ash thought to himself.
"I see," he said. "So you and him have some history."
"More or less, I suppose."
Misty reached for a Great Ball and tossed it on her bed, still keeping her back to him. "N-No, we've traveled together a lot."
Well, at least the last part's true...
Ash nodded his head. "You make it sound like there's more to it than that."
"Why do you say that?"
"Intuition and a bit of research," he replied, wondering to himself how long he could keep this joke up for. "I've had my eye on you two for quite some time. I hear a fair bit on my travels. Meeting countless legendary Pokemon, shutting down Team Rocket. Oh and the broken bike that started it all, can't forget that." He gave a small but hearty laugh at the memory. "You know how the media gets when they see a history like that."
C'mon, Misty, fucking take it, Ash thought furiously to himself. It was as if he had simply thrown a fishing line out randomly in hopes of keeping her in his charade.
Misty continued her selection, but choosing her Pokemon slower now that her attention was diverted to this strange new challenger that seemed to know a lot about her. Still, she kept her back turned. She wasn't even sure she wanted to look the stranger in the eye. "Alright fine," she admitted defeat. "I am dating him and I've loved him since I fished him out of the Viridian River. How do you know all about us?"
Ash felt a familiar and powerful lurch in his stomach. Oh my God, that worked! This girl has no idea what's going on!
"Same way I know you tried to get him to bypass this Gym on his first run through the Kanto Region but ended up getting the badge anyway," Ash said. "You know, people have been saying a lot about him lately."
"Yeah? Like what?"
"Like he has a secret girlfriend somewhere far away." The effect was immediate. Misty's hand froze above a Net Ball and gave a couple shakes. Ash smiled as he saw his taunt strike her weak spot.
She's so going to kick my ass for this.
"Just as I thought," he continued. "You miss him, don't you."
"D-Does that shock you...?"
"No," Ash replied. "I suppose it might if you hadn't traveled with him for years, but considering the circumstances."
"How did you guess so easily?"
Ash, who had been leaning up against the side of the doorframe, advanced upon Misty. "Masters always do their homework, Mist, and besides..." He wrapped his arms around her, moving his face close to her ear where he whispered, "Water is weak to electricity."
Misty jolted in surprise as if she'd just stepped on a Lego. She felt his firm embrace around her arms and the sensation of him kissing the back of her head. Her heart jumped and began to race as she turned her head around to look him in the eye.
Ash smiled at Misty radiantly. For a few silent moments they simply stood there, Ash happy to feel the warm softness of her skin upon his, and Misty riding a wave of relief at his sudden appearance. She was elated to feel the worry she'd bottled up leaving her in an instant.
Ash loosened his grip enough to let her face him properly, and Misty wasted no time in pressing her lips to his in a powerful and long-awaited kiss. Happiness seemed to well up inside her, tears lightly rolling down her cheeks as she felt the warmth of his grasp and the firm brush of his lips. She didn't care about anything else at the moment.
She finally had him back.
After a few moments that felt like several hours, Misty parted the kiss. She smiled at him contently.
"You're a real asshole, Ash Ketchum."
A/N: I apologize once again for how long it has taken to produce this chapter, and every chapter for that matter. I'm out of school at the moment, so the best excuse I guess I have is laziness. Sorry. In any case, this chapter has been definitely the most difficult so far to write, and I'm beginning to notice a bit of a trend. Chapter 3's always seem to trip me up for some reason. I dunno. Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed this chapter. I would like to thank ThatOneDwarf for getting me back in gear on this fic. I admit, it wasn't any of his/her fics that provided an inspiration. I'm a huge Pokeshipper and was simply very disappointed with how one fanfic was ended after being a big fan of it for years. I believe it could have been done better, and promptly working on this chapter into the early hours of the morning was simply my way of righting what I felt was a wrong. Literary revenge, I admit.
Before I forget, I am planning a complete rewrite of Whispers in the Dark. I will keep the original online for those who like it, so I'll label the remake as such. I am going to continue work on Dreams of an Absolution using plot structure belonging to the remake of WITD, not the original, but rest assured, for the sake of plot I will try to keep the remake as close as I can to the original. I want to improve on the story. Both stories will remain Pokeshipping, as promised, though I may throw in a few kinks for good measure.
Thank you for reading, and please don't forget to REVIEW! ~^_^~