This won't exactly be a typical story because the time intervals won't exactly be consistent… However, they aren't exactly the usual one-shots or drabbles either. This story takes place over the course of three years.
This starts off on the day that Misty gets a phone call from her sisters in "Gotta Catch Ya Later!" Ash, Brock and Misty are currently staying in the Viridian City Pokemon Center. Over three years have passed since Ash started his journey, which would make Ash, Misty and Gary around thirteen, and Brock around eighteen.
This is an egoshipping fic, which means that it will focus on the relationship between Gary and Misty. If you don't like this coupling, then please don't leave flames about it.
DISCLAIMER: Unfortunately, Pokémon is neither owned nor created by me.
Misty tossed and turned, desperately trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in without disturbing the sleeping egg-Pokémon next to her. It wasn't working, however; she just had way too many things on her mind.
The red-head grudgingly got out of bed and quietly tip-toed towards the door of the room that she was sharing with Brock and Ash. She opened it wide enough to get out and then silently shut it. She walked down the brightly lit hallway and made her way towards the front doors- perhaps a little fresh air would help.
"Excuse me, Miss?"
Startled, Misty turned around and came face to face with Nurse Joy.
"May I ask where you are going?" the nurse asked, a worried look donning her facial features. "It's rather late," she added, glancing over at the clock. It read 1:27 a.m.
"I couldn't sleep," the water-Pokémon trainer admitted. "I just thought I would get some fresh air."
"Okay, but please don't wander too far from the center. It's dark and-"
"I'll be fine, Nurse Joy." She lifted her jacket a bit and revealed a small flashlight attached to her belt loop, and an outline of a Pokéball in her pocket. "Thank you for worrying, though. I'll be back in a bit."
The nurse smiled and nodded.
Okay, so maybe walking the forest in the wee hours of the morning wasn't such a good idea. However, she had passed by a rather familiar tree a few minutes ago, and she knew that the riverbank was nearby- the same riverbank where she literally fished out Ash Ketchum. She figured it would be the perfect place to think. She walked forward for a few more minutes before she saw some moonlight streaking through some trees in front of her.
A clearing! she thought happily, picking up her pace. The trees became more sporadic and soon enough, she could hear running water. She finally found herself by the bank, her surroundings being lit by the moon overhead.
Looking ahead, she noticed a lonely figure sitting by the edge of the water. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she slowly took a few steps toward the person.
"Gary?" she called.
Gary jumped when he heard someone say his name from behind. Turning his head, he came face to face with the red-headed trainer. Recognition let him relax his body.
"What're you doin' here, Red?" he asked.
Misty frowned. "You don't remember my name, do you?" She crossed her arms.
"Of course I do!" he said defensively. "It's… It's… Uh…" Damn it.
"Misty," she finished, a little annoyed.
"Right, right! Misty. I knew that."
"Sure you did."
They continued their somewhat awkward eye contact for a few moments before he spoke again, "Are you gonna sit down or what?"
Misty rolled her eyes before taking a seat next to him. "So… what exactly is the Gary Oak doing sitting outside by himself in the middle of the forest?" she asked, looking at the water below.
"I asked you first," he retorted.
She glanced over at him quickly before looking back down. "I… I just needed a place to think. The Pokémon center isn't exactly the best place to do it…"
"Well, me too," he admitted.
"So, why are you here?" asked Misty. "In Viridian, I mean. I thought you were going straight home."
"I was, but then grandpa asked me to run a quick errand here, and I got delayed."
The two young teens sat in silence for a few minutes before Gary decided to speak again.
"What's bothering you?"
His voice snapped Misty out of her reverie. "Excuse me?" She tilted her head.
"You heard me. What's bothering you?" he repeated, a little impatient.
Jeez. Aggravated, much? Regardless, she decided to answer. She really needed to vent her feelings to someone and Gary was sitting there, offering just that. "I… Well, y'know the Cerulean Gym, right?"
"Of course. I beat all three of those girls with only one of my Pokémon," he said, smug.
It took all that she had in her to not come back with a smart comment. "Well, those three girls are my sisters," she informed.
"Huh, really? That's interesting," he mused.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, no offense, Red, but your sisters suck at battling."
She wanted to hit him for insulting her sisters (even though she knew that it was true), but refrained from doing so when he continued speaking: "I'm surprised that they're the ones running the gym when you're clearly a better trainer than all of them combined."
Misty blinked. Did he just say something nice to me? She was obviously dumbfounded. After years of hearing him say nothing but insults to her and her friends, she never would have expected to be spoken to civilly by him, much less be complimented.
"How do you know how I battle?" she asked.
"I saw you training with Ashy-boy at the conference," he admitted, shrugging his shoulders.
She wanted to ask why she was watching them train, but decided against it. Wait, what were they talking about again?
"Anyway, what were you saying about the gym?"
Oh, yeah! "Well, my sisters won some trip to go around the world, and now I have to go back to Cerulean to take it over again."
"Uh huh. Well, what's the problem? Now, you might be able to reverse that gym's reputation."
Misty sighed dejectedly. "I don't have a problem with that. It's just… well, I have to go by myself. I have to leave Ash and Brock."
Gary suddenly realized why she was so upset, and his eyes softened. After all, he had been traveling alone in Johto, and he knew how it felt to long for a companion. How it felt to come out victorious in a battle without anyone to share the feeling with.
"The worst part," Misty continued, her fists clenching at her sides, "is that they didn't even seem bothered by it, especially Ash. Brock is a gym leader too, and understands what I have to do, but Ash practically pushed me into leaving so early. It's like he doesn't even care that I'm leaving them… He won't even take my feelings into consideration." Tears were welling in her eyes and she blinked furiously to try to make them disappear. "We've traveled together for over three years, and he acts like it doesn't matter… Like none of it matters." She took a deep breath before continuing. "There's a reason I left Cerulean in the first place… Being a gym leader is fine and all, but I was always stuck at home because of it. And now… Now, I have to go back for who knows how long."
The boy looked at her sympathetically, but became alarmed when he saw her body shaking. She's going to cry…
Tentatively, he raised his arm and gently placed it on her shoulder.
Misty tensed for a moment at the sudden contact but visibly relaxed. She then looked over at her unlikely companion, who was smiling at her. It was subtle, but it was a smile nonetheless.
"Ash is just… dense," he stated bluntly, almost making her laugh. "I'm sure he doesn't take you for granted like you think, Misty. He's just like that, you had to have learned that by now."
Misty smiled. "Yeah, I know."
"You feel alone, I know. But even though your friends may not be with you physically, they'll always be there for you if you need them… Just like how you'll always be there for them."
To say that the redhead was shocked at the boy's words would be an understatement. Who would've thought that so much wisdom and kindness would be underneath his arrogant exterior?
She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket. "Thanks, Gary."
"No problem," he replied, retracting his hand and letting it rest on the grass next to him.
They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes before Misty decided to speak.
"Why… Why are you really here?"
"I…" Why was he here? Why was it that after sitting in his spot for hours, he was still unable to come up with the right words to explain it.
"Is it… Is it about what happened at the conference?" she asked timidly.
Gary shook his head. He desperately tried to fish for the right words in his mind, but was coming up with nothing. "To be honest, I don't really know what's wrong with me…"
"Oh… well, maybe I can help you?"
He raised an eyebrow. "How?"
She shrugged. "Just answer a few questions for me, okay?"
"Does it have to do with the conference at all?"
"Partly," he admitted, "but I've come to terms with it for the most part."
"Alright then." Misty thought for a moment before asking, "You said before that you wanted to become a Pokémon researcher, right?"
He nodded. "I've always found it interesting… I don't really want to battle anymore. It's not because of Ash, but I think losing to him really made me think of my priorities. When I lost, I thought about what I was going to do next. I mean, if I continued to be a trainer, I would basically keep doing what I was doing… And it was getting old, y'know? I just… don't like it anymore." He paused before continuing, "I was always just focused on winning and getting better. I never took the time to really think of why I was doing this, or why the league is how it is, or why my Pokémon are the way they are. I want… I want to learn about them and understand them. There's so much information that's just waiting to be discovered."
"You sound like your grandfather," she remarked.
He looked at her curiously.
"You have no idea how many times he's given us lectures when we get to Pallet," she said jokingly.
Gary smirked. "Well, I probably wouldn't be doing any of this if it weren't for him."
"Are you really just… sick of training and battling?" she asked.
"I…" Again, he was trying to formulate the right way to express his feelings. "Don't get me wrong: it is fulfilling to see all of my Pokémon grow and improve, and I do love them, but other than that… My heart wasn't really in the battles… well, not as much as they should have been. Battling is just expected of you when you decide to do anything with Pokémon at such a young age… But I only decided to do it on a whim a few weeks before I started my journey."
"Really?" Misty asked, clearly surprised. "Well, for something you did on a whim, you're really good at it."
"And it's really clear that your Pokémon love you."
"I thank Arceus every day for that," he admitted. "Initially, I was only concerned in making a name for myself, but I found out some things of more importance." He looked down at the Pokéballs attached to his belt and smiled. Suddenly, realization sunk in. My Pokémon… What am I going to do with them now that battling won't be a regular activity? Battling is what they live for…
Misty noticed him tense and freeze up and tried to snap him out of it. "Gary?" No answer. "Hey, Gary." Still no answer. She extended her arm and put her hand on his.
Gary almost jumped. He almost forgot that he wasn't alone.
"What's wrong, Gary?" Misty asked with worry on her face.
"My Pokémon… I… I never even really told them. I…" He sounded a little frantic. "I can't believe…"
"You're worried that they won't be happy not battling." It wasn't a question, she realized that this was what he was battling with internally.
He looked at her and nodded.
"Look, Gary," she started, trying to find the best way to phrase what she wanted to say, "It's… It'll be difficult telling them, especially since you've battled with them for so long. And they obviously love it—I saw it in their eyes when you battled with Ash—but they aren't going to hate you or anything for it."
"How do you know that?"
"They love you, Gary. You've been there for them since Day One, and they've been there for you as well. Sure, it won't be easy to break the news to them, but they'll support your decision and help you in any way they can."
"You really think so?"
She nodded. "When I decided to leave the gym three years ago, I was afraid that my Pokémon wouldn't come with me. I mean, they've been at the gym for years: it's what they knew and were comfortable with. I didn't think they'd want to take the risk of leaving home with me, but they did. It wasn't easy for any of us, but we did it, and I think we all turned out pretty well." She gave him a reassuring smile.
He smiled back. "I… Thanks."
"Anytime. I—" Suddenly, Misty jumped up from her seat.
"What's the matter now, Red?"
"What time is it?"
Gary looked at his watch and his eyes widened. "A quarter to three," he announced.
Misty cursed under her breath and took hold of Gary's hand, forcing him up, before running into the forest.
"H-Hey! What's the rush?" he asked in between breaths.
"I told Nurse Joy that I would be right back," she replied, almost tripping over a tree root.
"When was that?"
"Over an hour ago."
After a few minutes, they found themselves in the lobby of the Pokémon center, muttering apologies in between breaths to the nurse.
"It's alright, kids. Just don't do it again," she said kindly. "Now, go get some rest." She bid goodnight and went to the backroom, leaving the two by themselves.
"When are you leaving, Gary?"
"Early tomorrow morning. I want to get to Pallet by evening."
"Oh, okay. I probably won't see you then, huh?"
He shook his head. "Probably not."
An awkward silence set in before she decided to speak again. "Well, then good luck on your journey."
"Thanks, Red. You too, okay?"
Unexpectedly, he extended a hand towards her. Although she was a little caught off guard, she took his hand and shook it.
"Good night, Misty," he said with a small smile.
"Good night, Gary" she replied before they let go and went to their respective rooms.
I'm currently in the process of revising all of the chapters before updating. This story was pretty much written, but my computer crashed last year, so I lost ALL of my files and really didn't feel like writing after that… Anyway, I've been on an egoshipping kick lately, so I've started writing again. I WILL finish this story. I don't know how long it will take, but it WILL happen. Don't worry. Haha.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and I promise to update this as regularly as possible now.