It was a bright and sunny day and Misty had just defeated her last challenger of the day. It was a beautiful day outside with the Pidgeys singing and children laughing down at Cerulean's beach. Yet, after the gym was empty and Misty had finished taking care of the Pokémon and maintaining the gym, she drew the curtains of her room, curled up in bed with Ben and Jerry's Phish Food and watched Titanic. Nearly all of Misty's days ended this way anymore.

Misty's sisters were on their tour, so she had the gym all to herself. She had been fighting with this problem since Ash informed her that he had a new female traveling companion. Ash seemed so happy and talked quite a bit about how great May was during their bi monthly videophone calls. They talked about once every two week, with a few minor exceptions, yet, knowing that he had so clearly moved on and left her without blinking an eye hurt her so deeply that she couldn't find the will to keep up the smile once she was alone.

Misty was ashamed of how she was dealing with her troubles. She tried not to be alone if she could help it, it made denying easier. Along with her calls with Ash, she would visit Mrs. Ketchum and Professor Oak about once a week. Visiting them kept her from getting too into her cycle of self pity. Misty tried to avoid Mrs. Ketchum though, since visiting her always made her nostalgic and as a result, think of Ash. When she was at the lab, Professor Oak would always tell her the latest on water Pokémon and then she would wander around the ranch, loving to see all the different types of Pokémon it held. She would reminisce with Tracey when the Professor could spare him and Gary would make snide comments whenever they shared the same room, Misty went out of her way to avoid him because of this.

It had gotten to be a rather pathetic cycle. When Misty was being honest with herself, she had to admit, she was miserable. As she took a particularly large bit of her Phish Food, she couldn't help wishing her romantic life could fall into place like a chick flick, though without the heartbreak that often seems to accompany it. No Jack freezing to death, no cheating boyfriend, no stupid misunderstandings. Nothing but a perfect happily ever after. But there was no happily ever after for her. Ash had left her and forgotten her. Her chance at happily ever after was long gone.

There she went again. Damn self pity. It was a vicious circle that she never seemed to be able to break.

Finally fed up with herself and her pathetic rut, she decided to do what she generally did when this notion hit her. Run and ignore the problem. She turned off the TV, put the ice cream back in the freezer, and ran out to her bicycle. Desperate to be around anyone, she booked it to Pallet Town, drenched in repel to keep the nasty, creepy, disgusting bugs away. She was in no mood to deal with the little beasts.

When Gary opened the large wooden front door, he was greeted with the sight of a rather out of breath, bedraggled Misty.

"Well, look at what the Meowth dragged in," Gary sneered.

"Shut up, Oak and get me some water," Misty said as she forced her way in to flop down on the plush red couch residing in the center of the living room.

"I'm sorry, Red. I don't go out of my way for losers like you," Gary said, walking back to the stairs on his way to the study.

"OAK!" Misty screeched, using the boost of energy her anger gave her to get off the couch, grabbing the scruff of his shirt. "I am in no mood to put up with your attitude right now, so get me some water before I sick my Gyarados on your player boy ass!"

"Geez, Red. If you wanted to manhandle me so badly, you could have just asked." Gary said, chuckling on his way to kitchen, sporting that infuriating smirk that made Misty want to pummel him into little tiny irritating pieces.

"As if I would ever be interested in you, you egotistical pig!" Misty yelled, before flopping back down exhausted on the couch, her momentary burst of energy spent.

"Hey Misty!" Tracey greeted, coming in through the back door from the ranch, his sketchbook stashed under his arm.

"Hey Tracey! What have you been up to?"

"Just out sketching some of Ash's latest catches. It's always fascinating to see all the different Pokémon there are out in the other regions. They're all so different. Like…"

Great. Ash again. Just when she thought she'd escaped his memory for a little bit, he comes up again. She could just picture his excitement at this latest catch, the fire in his eyes. He would probably give her the play by play in their call, if he ever remembered to call, but it just wasn't the same. A wave of gut wrenching pain washed through her. Despite this, she forced a smile and feigned interest in what devolved into Tracey babbling.

Thankfully, she didn't have to suffer too long.

"Well Carrot-top, here's your water." Gary said carefully handing Misty the glass. Misty was about to take a sip when she noticed a small Caterpie clinging to the side to the side of the glass. Misty's eyes grew twice their normal size as she froze. She then dropped the glass, screaming and yelling for it to get away from her perch on the couch, and perhaps a number of mild profanities, spilling the water on the hardwood floor. Gary was doubled up laughing while Tracey simply rolled his eyes and entered the fray to rescue the very frightened and likely traumatized Caterpie.

"You should have seen your face, Red! Priceless!"

Oh. He was going down. But, Gary quickly took this as a very wise moment to exit to the lab. Misty had been around enough for him to realize that her mysteriously appearing mallet was something to truly be feared. He had the bruises to prove it.

"Get back here you spineless little Furret!" Misty screamed after him.

"You know Misty, he just likes to get under your skin. He's really not such a bad guy. I don't see why you two have to fight all the time. I swear he's not always like this. He's actually pretty cool, I promise," Tracey said.

And here we were. Back to Ash. Sure it didn't sound like it was about Ash, but she knew why she treated Gary like she did was all Ash's fault and she was pretty positive Ash was Gary's reason too. Gary was Ash's rival, so of course Misty had eventually just picked up treating Gary like the enemy after awhile as well.

But, then again, perhaps that was a way to break free of Ash. If she let go of her preconceived notions about Gary, then perhaps they could stop this war they had every week. Maybe trips the Oaks wouldn't always consist of her swearing she'd wring Gary's neck. Maybe she might actually relax while she was here.

But, he always seemed to start it with those jabs. She just couldn't control herself once he started.

"I doubt we'll ever get along, Tracey," Misty said. "But, I'll try. I make no promises for his safety if he pushes me, though."

"That's all I can ask for, isn't it? What do you say we take a walk? Maybe we could even convince the Professor to let us have a picnic since the weather is so nice."

"Yea. I'd like that!"

The two wandered around the ranch for a few minutes talking about all manner of things. Ash was brought up several times, from passing his herd of Tauros to Tracey spotting some of his latest catches, it seemed little bits of Ash were everywhere. It hurt Misty to see some of the Pokémon he used in his original journey here. They looked happy, but she could tell that they were missing Ash. So he'd tossed them aside, just like he'd done to her, in favor for the newest catch. They could only wait until he wanted them again. She was in exactly the same boat. It was cruel really.

Misty settled down beside the lake near the edge of the ranch. She released Starmie and Gyarados, letting them enjoy some time in the water with the other Pokémon. Tracey excused himself to pitch their picnic idea to the Professor. Misty was thankful for a chance to just relax. Sure, Tracey was a great guy, but Misty had grown rather accustomed to life alone anymore and sometimes a body of water was all the more companionship she really wanted or needed.

Misty noticed the sun was just starting to set, beginning to tint the few clouds a beautiful shade of orange. The ride back to Cerulean City was going to suck in the dark, but she couldn't bring herself to care. Besides, tomorrow was a Saturday and Saturdays had been the days when her sisters put on shows when they had been running the gym. Since there were no more shows, Misty decided to make Saturdays a day off. Professor Oak would probably let her stay the night if she asked. If nothing else, she'd get Gary to give her a ride back, no matter how much she'd rather hit herself with her own mallet as hard as she could than ask him.

There she went again being harsh on him. She had promised Tracey she would try to be nice to the devil and here she was already breaking her promise, even if it was just mentally.

She broke from her reverie long enough to realize that Gary was standing a few feet behind her. Speak of the devil.

His white lab coat was flowing around him, played with by the light breeze, which was also blowing the spikes of his hair ever so slightly. The sun's dying light was highlighting his strong bone structure, putting a strange gleam in his eyes that Misty wasn't sure she'd ever seen before. Then again, she'd never seen him the sunset either. Though Misty didn't mean to, she found herself gawking. She knew Gary was good looking, sure. But today she realized just how good looking he really was.

"This is one of my favorite spots on the ranch," Gary said, still staring out at the landscape. Misty turned back around to enjoy the scenery again. It truly was a gorgeous spot. In the distance, Pallet's shore could be seen. There were a few rolling hills speckled with foliage separating the ranch and the beach. Finally, the lake in which her Pokémon splashing completed the picture, the airborne water droplets catching the sun's light, making a spectacular light show. It was a peaceful place; that much was certain. "The only place that's better than this is the view from the roof," Gary mentioned. "Sometimes I go up there to escape from Gramps or just to think. You can see everything for miles around. On really clear days, you can spot Mount Moon from up there.

"I bet the view is really amazing up there," Misty sighed.


They stayed in a comfortable silence for a few minutes, Gary eventually plopping down next to Misty in the grass.

"So, what's been eating you, Red?" Gary asked.

Misty abruptly faced him, a mix of anger and fear in her eyes. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you've been pretty jumpy all day. And the fact that you look like you would happily shove your mallet down my throat at the moment is a pretty good indication I'm on the right track." Misty instantly blushed, irritated that he'd figured it out. She thought she'd been hiding it fairly well. "So, what's up?"

"Nothing I care to talk about. It's my problem and I can deal with it," Misty proudly stated, steeling her gaze back to the sunset.

"Pfft. Like you even believe that yourself. Talk about denial," Gary said, reclining on one elbow in the grass.

"And what's that supposed to mean?" Misty asked, her voice dripping with venom.

"Just that you can't deal with whatever this issue is or that you don't want to deal with it alone. If you were fully confident in your decision, you wouldn't show up at my door looking like an Ursaring almost got you only to spend the time here having light-hearted chats. So, I'd like to know just what's got miss hot head's panties all in a bunch."

Misty couldn't help grimacing at his reference to her underwear. She sighed. It was like he was Brock or something. Brock could always read her, no matter how hard she would try to hide something. From catching a cold and trying to hide it to her not so little crush on Ash, Brock knew everything, which is probably why he was always asking her if she was ok with that knowing look during their calls. But, this wasn't Brock. This was Gary. Gary, the egotistical playboy genius, was noticing her feelings. She wasn't sure whether to be shocked or flattered, really.

But, one thing was for sure, he probably wasn't going to take no for an answer. Despite this, she simply couldn't find a way to start. She sounded pathetic, even to herself. She didn't want to fathom how pathetic she would sound once she said it out loud.

"Alright. You don't have to tell me," Gary conceded.

Wait… What? Gary was backing down? But why? She hadn't told him anything yet, not even a bad cover up story!

"I just figured you wanted to vent, but hey, not my life, right?"

"Why are you backing down so easily?" Misty forced herself to ask.

"Because, you're probably not ready to tell. Just because something can be eating you up inside doesn't mean that you're always ready to share it with others, especially to someone you don't really get along with in the first place." Gary smirked making Misty giggle.

"Hey, we're having a civil conversation for once though. That's a start, right?" Misty inquired with a smile.

"To a new beginning?" Gary asked, sitting up and pantomiming a raised glass.

"To a new beginning." Misty said, clinking her invisible glass with his. Both look a mock swig.

They sat in a comfortable silence for about a minute, until Tracey came running down from the lab carrying a big blanket over his shoulder. "Hey! Professor Oak said it was ok to have this picnic. He'll be down in a minute with some of the food. I'm going to go back and get some lights so we can see once the sun is gone," Tracey yelled, waving the whole way down to their spot.

"I better go give Gramps a hand," Gary said, hoisting himself from his spot.

As Misty watched the boys trek back up the hill to the lab she couldn't help but wistfully think that this was a very blessed beginning indeed.

Wow! I haven't written a story in forever! And this is my first Pokemon story. I really hope it turns out well. Fingers crossed!

Sorry this chapter is so short! It was just a natural stopping point, so I figured it would make a good point to end the chapter. Honestly, the next one will probably be twice the size of this one with the way things are going right now.

I'm going to warn you, the title is subject to change, though I will avoid doing so as much as I can.

Also, despite the fact that I'm uber excited to be writing again, my thunder may be stolen from me sometime during this, but I'm praying that doesn't happen. I have a good idea of what I want to happen, but whether the flow of the story lets me get there or not may be another matter. (What? Sometimes the characters just go where they want to go, without my help. This chapter itself already deviated from what I'd originally planned in the first place thanks to them. I was trying to force something and when I read it again I realized that it just wouldn't work that way, so I let the characters tell me how they wanted it to go down and it works much better than what I had. It sets up a more believable foundation.)

But here's to hoping I finish this story! I'm already hard at work on the second chapter. We'll see where it takes us! I hope you guys like the story! Let me know your thoughts via that lovely button called "Review"! See you guys next chapter!