Okies, the Epilogue. It's longer than predicted, but hey, what else is new? Hopefully it is a good ending, if you think it is or isn't, just review and tell me! Big thanks to Dragoness, Cultnirvana, Lightning-strike and Donnie Marco, who went to the trouble of sending me an e-mail while reviewing while the site was down. And also to Heironeous, who has been a huge help!

Disclaimer - I do not own the characters in this story, but I did create Ashley the ex-phoenix and the Phoenix badge. Ownership of Pokemon is by people I don't know.

Okay, the conclusion.

Child of the Light One - Part 9 - Epilogue.



:I have been busy. And for good reason..:



"Misty?" Ashley, calling me. I can't seem to hear her right.

("Are you okay?") And Pikachu..

"Hello? Misty, what's wrong?"

"Where are you? What do you mean Ash? What do you mean, someday soon?" I call out to Ashs' voice, trying to find its source.

("Misty! Ash? Where?!")

"Wake up!"

*Yes, wake up. I mean what I say, someday soon.* He seems to be speaking straight into my mind.

"Ash? Please don't leave me again.."

*Parting is such sweet sorrow..*

"Shakespeare again..there is nothing sweet about this sorrow.."

("She's nuts!") Pikachu perhaps seems angry. I can't tell.

("Just because we can't see him, doesn't mean he isn't there, Pikachu.")

"Right Cyndaquil..Ash must be creating a psychic bond."

("But, but, why would he exclude us Ashley?")

"Because whatever he has to say it's to her. Perhaps she'll tell us herself."

*Goodbye for now, but don't lose faith.*

"No! Don't go! Please! You can't leave!"

*I prefer the word.parting. But things which part may join again.*

"What are you saying?"

*I can say no more. Stay still, sensational sister.*

"Ash!" A flash of light, and then..just a room, the room I was in those weeks ago, when I nearly threw it all away, and got it back only to have it snatched from my grasp..but with writing in chalk on the wall.."Nothing is set in stone."



:I knew it from the day I was reborn. I knew this day would come. Because, as the Phoenix, it was my right to know..:



I think I may have been calling out to him, I may not. But what I do know is that when my eyes opened to the real world and reality clicked back into focus, I felt suddenly refreshed, determined.

"Are you with us now?" Ashley cranes over me, Pikachu and Cyndaquil in the edge of my vision.

"Uh.what happened? Wha.Ash.." I sit bolt upright, coming within a hairs breadth of cracking my head against Ashleys. I find myself babbling - "He said he would explain it to me someday soon, and I saw the writing on the wall, nothing is set in stone..What does this mean?" Ashley and Pikachu look puzzled. Cyndaquil on the other hand..he's smiling..

("Interesting.")



:I have not had two seconds to speak to my loved ones for these two years, since I have been searching, searching far and wide. This time, the one will not only be great and caring, but willing.:



I'm preparing, I don't know what for. But every hair is soaked in shampoo, the clothes are on the washing line, Chikorita is currently floating in the huge bath tub with me, trying, with a determined doggy paddle, to reach the soap floating the far end of the bath. Cyndaquil is finding this quite amusing, but not to the point where he'll join us in the water. Well, Until Pikachu sneaks up behind him and shoves him in. After a second there's a glow, and the water heats up a few degrees. He surfaces, looking as dignified as anyone can be while coughing up water and frantically treading to keep afloat. But he takes it in good humour, a good humour we all seem to share. I think Cyndaquil knows something, something good, and it's that suggestion along with the contact Ash made with his own cryptic clues has put everyone into a fabulous mood. To my surprise a mini tidal wave soaks me whilst in mid-thought, and I look around frantically for its source.

"Gotcha." Ashley stood just within the doorway, looking smug.

"Sneaky so-and-so." I growl good naturedly back, remembering when she'd rediscovered her abilities to manipulate wind, water and fire. It was a splashing contest in the pool about a fortnight ago, and she'd somehow created a massive wave from nowhere. Needless to say, she won.

"Well, if you got it."

"Flaunt it." We share a grin, and she shuts the door and disappears off down the passage. I soap up an arm, and rinse it off as Cyndaquil chases Chikorita around the tub playfully. Those two should get a room.



:Another blast strikes my left wing as a lightning bolt hits my chest. I flame frantically, trying to ignore the pain, and manage to defeat the Pokemon, all six of them eventually, which the trainer sent out to try and capture me. It was my own fault, I'd strayed far too close to people, and eventually was going to get seen and challenged. My luck, or lack of it, meant it was one of the best trainers in the world. Now I'm flying away, but there's a pain still lingering, one which I can't ignore..:



The television is blaring, some news broadcast I think. It usually is at about Nine in the evening. I'm edgy though, curled on a chair in my azure blue pyjamas, fiddling with some of the green trim. It's like I know something is happening subconsciously, as if I've just woken up and know something important going on, but can't quite work it out yet. As usual while my mind is drifting, it turns to thoughts of Ash. At first the thoughts were wishful, wistful. Typical of regrets, encased in whatifs, wherefores and maybes. Once I'd realised life went on, they became more of a dream. I don't think I've ever given up hope, but neither have I really believed. Like a metronome once set in motion, my moods swinging from side to side, from deathly pessimism to reckless optimism without ever really finding a middle ground. One day I'd be thinking that it was hopeless and I should perhaps go to that party on Friday Night, the next I'd be pining for him, fantasising his return in a hundred different ways, all tinted by rose glasses. Hell, I'd even planned out the wedding. Chikorita is exactly the same, I saw her a while ago sketching plans for evening wear and a design for Cyndaquil for Ash to make her when he gets back. The next morning I found her ripping them to shreds before, as is customary to her, bursting into tears. Pikachu is similar to us, but typically more phlegmatic and less of a dreamer. Feraligator can usually be relied on to perform some form of cabaret if one of us is on an "off" day. And his jokes.risqué isn't saying half of it. Ashley herself doesn't suffer from the swings, but instead contracts a bad case of guilt whenever one of us is having an off day. Cyndaquil remains the stable one, god knows how. Out of all of the Pokemon, the one who would be expected to react most would be a fire type, with their reputation. He even suggested that Chikorita try making the designs, "As I really like them, especially that one. Who is it for?" Of course he knew it was for him, but it did the trick, Chikorita smiling and telling him bashfully who it was for.

("Misty!") Cyndaquil calls from the floor, voice tinged by excitement, and I look to him. Ashley is sat on the seat opposite me, and the Pokemon are on the floor, but they all look totally nonplussed by Cyndaquils sudden reaction.

"What?" He points to the screen, still showing the news broadcast.

("The news! Look!") I redirect my gaze to the screen, and see the "And finally" section.

"And today, we have a record." The newscaster, her red lipstick clashing horrifically with her off-blue outfit smiled benignly at the camera, before continuing in the same neutral-yet-friendly tone of voice (Obviously the product of some acting class or other). "Just outside Viridian City earlier this evening possibly the brightest rainbow on record was seen through the air, descending into the woods nearby. It was most remarkable sight many people have ever seen, especially it being overcast and nearly dark. It remained in the sky for several minutes, before fading to a strip of gold and vanishing. Some say it was a Pokemon, some a lights display, some even magic. It is most likely we will never know. This was followed by a brilliant flash, and what appeared to be a shooting star flashing across the sky. This was obviously the day for natural wonders, right Derek?"

"Right, Angela." The screen cuts to a weatherman stood in front of the traditional map with the traditional smile which is worn before the traditional forecast of rain. "Now as you can see, there is a cold front sweeping across." It's about here the significance of the report slams into me.

"Oh my god.." I look down to Cyndaquil, who is doing his best not to look smug. "You knew, you understood it before now, didn't you!" He scratches his head idly, now fighting embarrasement.

("Well, I didn't want to get anyones hopes up.")

("About what?!") Chikorita looks confused, Ashley bemused. Pikachu, however, has made the calculation.

("He could be on his way!") She's getting over-excited, to the point she has to ground herself against a chair because of the static.

("You don't mean.") Chikorita has caught up. And I thought Pikachu was getting over-excited, now I know that it was just mild anticipation. Chikorita goes off like a Catharine wheel. I can see why Cyndaquil said nothing.

"Sorry to pour cold water on this, but there's no certainty that if this isn't just a co-incidence, Ashs' choice will become the next Phoenix.Although I hope like crazy he or she does." Reality check, courtesy of Ashley. Well, she wasn't being nasty, just trying to control us. And it's sort of worked. But there's still a current, an energy coursing through the room. We've been hit by lightning, and like Frankenstiens monster, something has come to life in all of us.

"You're right. But I'm still gonna hope." I try to ease back into the chair, but failing. Easing means to relax, whereas I'm stiff as, well, a thousand metaphors come to mind, and (It must be Feralgators influence)about half of them don't bear thinking aloud. Or quietly. Well, perhaps on a Friday night..Aaagh, it's like I'm seventeen again. Now that was a weird thing to think. I mean, I'm only nineteen, and I sound like I'm forty-five. At this rate I'll be talking nostalgically about things "in my day" by the end of the month. By the end of the year..

("Misty, you're zoning out on us again..") Pikachu shakes her head, laughing. ("No question what about, eh Chikorita?")

("..Uh?") Cue huge sweatdrops from Cyndaquil, Pikachu and Ashley. They're wrong about me, but I bet Chikorita was only thinking of one thing.

"Anyway." A sound stops chatter with the effectiveness of a gunshot. A knock at the door. We all look at each other. And then at the passageway. And then at one another again.

"I'll get it!" An interesting experiment in physics - What happens when four people try to get through the same door, at a run, at the same time? Cyndaquil, the only occupant of the room not to take off like the latest space shuttle, calmly trots over the heap comprised of me, Ashley, Pikachu and Chikorita, and off down the passage. The simultaneous movement of everyone trying to get free of everyone else also proves interesting. And painful. I think I've almost lost an arm..But it doesn't seem to matter when I'm pelting towards the door, the others in my wake. I get there, to beside the patiently waiting Cyndaquil, open the door..And stare into the smiling face of the Nurse Joy from Viridian city.

"Oh.hello.." I don't think the fact it isn't Ash has sunk in yet. My mind was so made up that the possibility never actually came to it. The noise of the others bursting into the reception area and simultaneously groaning only broadens the smile on her face.

"Hey, why so glum? I'm here to return a..Pokemon who, some might say, belongs to you." And a wink. It couldn't be Psyduck off wandering, and all the others are accounted for. So.Who? And how did whoever it is get to Viridian City from Pallet Town? It's a day or so on foot, about an hour by car..She steps to one side, and I'm left with an odd sight. It looks like Nurse Joy's older sister perhaps, Joy being tall but this person is taller, the Nurse outfit clashing just a little with sheer height. And black hair.It is, isn't it? I'm already flying towards the figure when he lifts his head, and his brown eyes light up.

"Ash!" He somehow catches me, swinging me around before placing me down on the floor. Without the need for thought I'm craning up to him, he's bending down towards me.

("Wooo Hoooooo!") And we're both sent sprawling by a three-point tackle. Courtesy of three Pokemon who didn't quite grasp the romantic edge of the scene. Ash doesn't seem to mind though, just laughing and squeezing them in reply. While doing so, he leans over and whispers in my ear.

"Don't worry, we'll finish that later.." I can't wait. I think that the ecstasy express has just arrived at platform one..

"Yes! Yeeeessss!" I punch the air, and ignoring the comment Ash just made, proceed to glomp him. Full on, mouth to mouth, tongue to tongue.. Well, I have been waiting a while. Out of the corner of my eye I catch the reactions. Ashley, embarrassed. Joy, laughing. Chikorita, indignant at my actions. Perhaps she wanted to be in this position. Pikachu doesn't know where to put her face. Cyndaquil is just watching with a happy expression. He can be almost as much of a romantic as me, in the right mood.Ah, sod'em. Forget everything else. Just concentrate on this moment. His touch, his embrace, the way he smells, feels, tastes.It's like Romeo and Juliet, sharing the forsaken kiss they never thought they could never have.

"I think that it'd be a good idea to have a cup of tea. And a bit of a chat." Joy interjects, but I ignore her. It'll take a winch to get me off him.I feel him get up and scoop me up, without breaking the lock. Ah, It's almost being carried across the threshold. Never really thought that he would be the one to do it..dreamed maybe, but.Ah, forget it. Where did he learn to be such a good kisser anyhow? I finally break off the kiss as he plonks himself down on the settee along one side of the room. Ashley and Cyndaquil have gone to make drinks, and Chikorita and Pikachu are both squeezing onto the settee with us. Joy sits herself in the seat I was on a few minutes ago, and gives me another wink. Now I get it..a "Pokemon" who "belongs to me", she must know about the Phoenix, the legend, and Ash. I just settle back into him, savouring each moment as it fleetingly passes, and wait for the drinks. And the story.



"So, you've adapted my recipe to coffee?" I raise my eyebrows over my hot chocolate, as the smell of coffee infused with a familiar smell wafts across my nose.

("Yep. It wasn't difficult.") Pikachu laughs, sipping on her own drink.

"What's in it?" Joy pecks at her coffee, nervously at first.

"That'd be telling wouldn't it?" I jokingly reply. "There's just a few herbal extracts which act as a relaxant." She looks a little more relaxed, now taking a large gulp.

"So?" Misty looks up at me with aqua eyes almost overflowing with desire. "Care to tell us what happened?" How can I argue with that?

"And how you retained your memory?" Ashley adds. She's still worried that perhaps I blame her.

"I guess I kept my memory..because I never really became the Phoenix. I may have taken the form, but I never really became the Phoenix in spirit. Also, I was only the Phoenix for a short time."



"The message scorched into me from the moment I felt the change move to me, leaving the last Phoenix. It's said that it is the right of a Phoenix to know when I will die. And I knew, knew I only had a matter of two years in this life. But you always said I was bloody minded when I wanted to be, Misty. And that night, I used every ounce of stubbornness I had, just holding onto, well, me. It worked. I kept my human mind. I knew one thing, that if I was the Phoenix, it was my duty to watch over and protect those entrusted to my care. But other things, things which were accepted, I wanted to challenge." I pause, trying to make sure I had everything in the right order.

("Like?") Pikachu prompts, earning a shushing from Cyndaquil who, with his typical sense of humour, has acquired a box of popcorn and is scoffing it while watching me closely.

"Well, I wanted out of that life, obviously. So, I set about finding a heir. I've been doing so for the last two years. But I wanted one who was not only suitable, but willing. Someone with little to hold them back to their current life, someone whose prime desire was to help whoever he or she could, but not having the emotional ties to fight the change. Eventually, I found her. She lived in a small house outside Viridian City. Alone, except for a few wild Pokemon who would go to her for food or help. The fact she was trusted completely by the wild Pokemon, but had no Pokemon who actually lived with her or any real connections made me feel she was perfect. Sometimes she got so lonely.It made me feel that doing this, giving her this life, would be an improvement to her way of living. I even let her see me, to asses her reaction. One night, she was on her way back from picking fruit, I landed in the clearing. I made it seem as if I didn't know she was there, just preening while sensing her thoughts. Obviously she was shocked, but she was more overjoyed that she could see me than wary. Perfect. So, it came to the time to challenge the law which I worried about.." Ashley breaks in, the first words she's spoken to me since I arrived.

"But I remember that rule! You couldn't have chosen someone only months before the due time..could you?" Yes, Ashley. You remember that rule, I'm not surprised.

"The key to that part of the legend.You see, the Phoenix is told that naturally, by something within. But the reason is obvious, really. It's supposed to be impossible for the new Phoenix to recognise it's predecessor in case the person feels resentment to their predecessor for settling this fate on them, but a few dragging memories might cling on. So, the Phoenix is made to believe that it must pick a heir person from birth and follow him or her to a responsible age in order to for the change to work. This ensures that if, as was the case in my life, the life is short, the Phoenix will not fall out of the cycle while there is still a chance she knows who her predecessor was and wishes to make contact. In this case, it wouldn't have made a difference if I'd had to wait twenty years, I knew from conversation between Misty and you, Ashley, that you were who I was." She now looks nervous, I don't think she realises that I'm not picking at her.

("Ashley, don't worry. Ash doesn't feel any resentment to you!") Chikorita is so vehement that even if I did, I wouldn't be able to defy her. Ashley relaxes a little, and gestures for me to go on.

"But I was strong enough to fight the legend. I don't blame you, Ashley, for telling me those lies of nurturing me and raising me as your own. To you, they were probably true as well. I found that time scale really made no difference."

"Of course, the writing is on the wall, noting is set in stone.." Misty murmurs, wriggling into a more comfortable position in my lap. It doesn't make any difference to me, I'd find her comfortable right now even if she'd had her elbow resting in my crotch.

"Right. I found a successor could be chosen at any point, up until the point the transition would have to take place. I made psychic contact with Sarah, she was delighted to accept the life once I'd explained the situation, if she was a little scared. It was tonight I'd made my mistake, got too close to a trainer, a very good trainer. But he was very ambitious too, tried to defeat me in a battle, and capture me. He set out all of his battling party, and very nearly did. I escaped, but I was fatally wounded in the fight. And you all know what happened from there..Or at least Cyndaquil did when he saw it."

("Ah..") Pikachu is puzzled by something. Then I realise what it is. The fact I look like Mr. Transvestite 2002, dressed in full nurse attire. Misty doesn't seem to mind, buried as she is into my chest, just breathing slowly. As I watch her, she reaches over to fiddle with the silver fob watch pinned to my blouse.

("What's with the clothes?") Chikorita is more direct. And she finds it funny, judging by the way she speaks like she's going to burst.

"Well, Ash left a message to us too." Joy settles back, voice drowsy. The patented drinks must be having their usual effect on the uninitiated. "He left it with one of my relations, in a City over in west Johto, Morston City." Of course, everyone realises which one she's talking about before she does. "She said that the night after you'd gone, she was sent a message - In two years time, follow the shooting star to the base of the rainbow. - She spread the message between us, explaining what it meant. Of course, we observed full secrecy, didn't tell anybody about the truth. And this evening, I saw the rainbow, then what looked like a shooting star.and when I got him back home, the only thing not in the wash was my spare Nurse outfit.And the rest is history. And the result you see now." I'm too tall for this outfit, for sure. The skirt is riding up like a mini.And Chikorita and Pikachu, now sat on the floor, giggle. I think that says all that needs to be said. Joy made sure I could pass for a Joy (The black hair aside, but I could be a sister-in-law..) with more dedication than was really needed. Probably so she could get a few laughs. Cynndaquils eyes also flick open like a switchblade. I can see him chewing over so many lines that he can't say them because his mouth is too full.

("Pret-tty, right Pikachu?") Chikorita sniggers, while Misty and Ashley both send me blank looks. Well, if I'm going to be embarrassed, might as well go down laughing.

"And they cut in like hell too." Pikachu and Chikorita both do impressions of Pacman, mouths opening so wide. Cyndaquil and Joy meanwhile roar with laughter, and Ashley looks nonplussed. Misty, I can't see from this angle, but she seems to be listening.

("I don't supposed they're made with you in mind..") Cyndaquil puts in, finally overcoming punners block.

"No, but I think they suit me. My colour?" The conversation has taken on a surreal twist.

("Oh, I would think so. Goes well with the red cross, y'know?") Chikorita and Pikachu are now totally lost, watching the conversation like a tennis match. Joy, meanwhile is almost drowning in tears of mirth and Ashley has put two and two together, and is hoping like hell that she has, against all evidence, made five.

"So red? Not blue? The red goes with the outfit. But does it suit my eyes?" I'm enjoying this. So is Cyndaquil.

("I don't think that your eyes come into it Ash.") Cyndaquil cheekily cuts back.

"No, but I think it's my preference which matters in that department." Misty stuns everyone in the room, even me. She looks up, mischief glinting in her eyes. "And I say that red is just fine."



Joy is snoring in an unladylike manner, after ringing up someone to cover for her tomorrow (or should I say today) sounding like she was drunk. Well, she was. The night had turned into an impromptu party, and I'd gone to find something more comfortable to wear (Not easy in a house occupied by two women). I'd eventually found my old pair of black shorts, the pair that I'd given Misty to use on the day of my ascension, tucked in a chest of drawers, and a loose purple shirt. And a pair of socks, and for aesthetic reasons, a pair of fluffy slippers. Pink. The laughter almost matched the remark about my lingerie and a "Butchers Window" that Cyndaquil made before I'd gone to change - And if you don't understand, don't ask. Just don't. Spread-eagled on the mat in the middle of the floor are the three Pokemon, snoozing away. Well, Cyndaquil and Pikachu are, Chikorita is currently more than a little cross at being used as a cushion. I just watch them for a moment. These are the things I knew I would miss most, little scenes which are never written about or painted, but remembered fondly. Just the three of them on the off-green mat, one snoring with their mouth wide open, one eyes tight shut and snuggling harder into the third, who is getting uncomfortable but doesn't want to wake them. After a moment I catch her eye, which she then glances to heaven with as if to say "God help me!" Well, I may not be a god any more, but I can still help her. Gently I ease Pikachu and Cyndaquil onto cushions, and let her get up.

("Thank you.") She cranes up towards me, and I take her in my arms.

"Don't mention it." I notice something - she's wearing those clothes again. The same ones I'd made, a little less crisp, a little tattered around the edges, but the very same. She sees me looking, and smiles sweetly.

("The laundry is costing me a fortune, but it was worth it!") I pet her idly, casting an eye around the room again. It's a nice little room, very nice. Wooden floor, rug, two armchairs, sofa, table and wooden chairs, widescreen TV, the lot. Walls in delicate blue, no question who chose that, lit softly by two lamps on the far wall. Very nice indeed. But there's something I notice. On one of the narrow walls, there is a fireplace, just a few feet from the corner the TV occupies. Over it a mantelpiece, and in the middle of the mantelpiece..nothing. Not a thing. Chikorita, not noticing my change of attention, just talks on sleepily. ("You don't know how much I missed you, we all did. At first I wouldn't take this off, as it reminded me of you.I realised life went on, and did my best, so did we all, Misty, Pikachu.but we never forgot you. I think at times we lost hope, but never once did we lose faith.I love you Ash, please, never ever leave me again.") The last few words become a yawning sigh, and she dozes off into a deep sleep, with a hushed "Chi-ko." I set her on a soft cushion, and turn back to the mantelpiece. The fact there is nothing there still bothers me.

"It's the space we never were able to fill. You know what it is.." Misty murmurs from the foot of the stairs, still wearing my creation. Slowly, she slinks over to me, and drapes herself across my shoulder. "It's the gap you left when you went.Now, finally, I can fill it.." Her wistful tone just melts me, her fluid fingers tracing over my cheeks, trailing burning desire in their wake.

"What with?" I just want to here again what I mean to her. To hear the dreams she's had of me for the last two years, dreams we shared but never really thought we could live.

"Well, first perhaps a picture of us, just together, then one of our wedding, then one of us with our children, then one of us with our Grandchildren."

".And one of me mending a hole in your stockings, as we sit by the fire." We both chuckle, before she moves around to face me, obscuring the mantelpiece from my view.

"I want to know something.You don't resent Ashley do you?" I can sense she's concerned by this. Since she realised Ashley was just a pawn to the will of the Phoenix, that she was desperate to escape the prison of a millennium, they've become close as sisters.

"No, I'd never resent her. It was almost outside her control. She knows I don't, we still have that psychic ability, I told her everything. She's okay."

"Good." A touch of disquiet in her tone? A hint of distress in her eyes?

"Mist don't worry that you haven't got the abilities I've got. They're as much of a hindrance as anything else. I mean, people don't trust someone they believe is different. Be glad that you are who you are, and that's why I tried so hard to get back to you." She relaxes again, and leans up to me, stealing another kiss.

"You still have a way with words, Ash Ketchum." She purrs, cat-like.

"And you have a way of saying them, Misty Waterflower." I reply, before we both walk to the settee. I flop down on it, and she leans against me, neither of saying a word for a moment.

"So, what was it like being the Phoenix? Actually having that power?" Her voice drops to a seductive growl, arms encircling my waist. I've been waiting for her, or anyone, to ask. Even Ashley, who can't really remember. But when I'm asked, I realise something. I can't explain.

"I really don't know what I can say Mist. How can I explain something so far outside human experience that virtually nothing can be compared to it? It's like describing colour to a blind man, the scent of a rose to someone who could never smell." My throat is choking up, it's been such a strange and wearing day. From the euphoria of knowledge that I may be home soon, to the agony of the fight and my injuries, the fear that the change may not take place, the nausea and confusion of waking in a strange wood, the frantic trip here..The all-consuming delight of seeing everyone again, all settling into a lump in my stomach.

"Hey, what's wrong love?" Misty notices something, she cuddles in closer to me, fire hair invading my face. Not that I mind.

"Well, it's.it's like I've been on a cloud somewhere, for the last few hours, and now I've just floated back to earth.It's strange." She tilts her head upwards, aquamarine eyes boring into mine.

"I'm sure I can help you get back up there if you want me to, I'm not ready to come down off my cloud just yet. There are lots of ways I could do it too." Punctuated by a silken wink. She's grown up in more than looks, she wouldn't have said that two years ago.

"Well, I'm sure you could. I'm just trying to work out how to put life as the Phoenix. Uh, it was a bit like, like living the biggest thrill in life combined while dragging the heaviest anchor. In one direction every sense seems to gain another dimension. Sight sharp as an assassins dagger, hearing to pick out the rustling of one leaf, a single blade of grass. Smell to track scent in a hurricane." As my voice slides from reflection to sadness, Misty reaches up and strokes my hair in reassurance. "But, perhaps as I retained my own self, it was always tainted. My sight let me see some terrible things, things most normal humans will never see. Violence, beatings handed out to children by their parents, Pokemon fighting to the death, atrocities of the worst kinds. Everywhere, by all groups of people and Pokemon. Hearing to listen to cries and screams which would have been whispers on the wind. Smell which could lead me to someone dying, blood.to do what I could or bless them..like I did for Horsea that day. And always, always, I had my memories." I shake my head, dislodging memories struggling for a hold.

"But it's over now. And at least, if you have lost you advanced senses, they can at least all sense me, and this time forever." For emphasis, she pulls herself up to my level and rests her cheek against mine. I can hear her breathing, feel her warmth, smell her hair tinged by tangerine. See the three Pokemon, curled on cushions, heavenly smiles on their faces. This is all I ever wanted. Ambition is for the dissatisfied, but why should I need more than this?

"Come on, it's time for bed." I nudge gently, but Misty only sighs.

"I'm comfortable as I am. Aren't you?" I am, most definitely.

"Well, if you want to wake up with backache." She giggles with warmth to melt chocolate.

"Still Mister practical, are we?" My cheeks warm up, memories gorgeous as her flooding back, all those little comments, our first way of saying "I want you."

"Of course! You wouldn't want to wake up grumpy on our first day back together?" I croon.

"Our first night together is what matters right now." Can't argue with that.

"I guess I've lost my touch." She giggles again.

"Yes, you have." An open invitation.

"That was when you're meant to jump and defend my pride, again." I chuckle too, revelling in each second as it passes.

"Better to know the truth.."

".than live in ignorance." I finish for her, and she pecks me on the lips. Remembering that night in Morston, the one I thought to be our last, one of the best yet one of the worst of my life at once.

"Give up?" She taunts, eyes flashing minx like.

"Never." I reply, my own eyes narrowing in mock anger.

"Perhaps I could persuade you." My heart jumps, but I feign coolness and put on a Western accent, in a poor impersonation of John Wayne.

"Go on then li'l lady, gimmie the best you got." Slow as the dance of the stars, she leans up, across.and gives me a slow seductive kiss. I just savour it for a moment, before returning the favour, kaleidoscopic colours swirling through my mind. Slowly, we break, and pause for breath.

"So, was it worth giving up your wings for?" Yes, oh yes.

"Well, that was for my wings, what about my tail?" She looks at me again out of those lagoon eyes, before answering me with another kiss. A god may see all, hear all, but what is that worth? I'm here with my dearest friends and first love, our mouths smouldering, hands bringing warm caresses. Life isn't about war, peace, power, profit, what matters is love, trust, companionship, those little moments you want to frame and look at whenever life is hard. And right now, as we move yet closer, I know this is a picture I want to keep forever.Romeo and Juliet, re-united in a embrace created from beyond life and death itself.

Okay, that's all folks! (As the good pig once said...) I've got plans for a few more stories, but I might take a bit of a break through the summer. So, Don't forget to R&R, and see you all soon I hope!