++==Cerulean Frost==++

//This is a serious attempt at idolshipping, my first true future fic unless you count perfect Happiness. The events are set four years after the Orange Islands series – Misty is eighteen, and Prima has left the Elite Four. Chapter titles are attacks used by water or ice pokémon, considering the two ladies this story focuses on. Feedback is gratefully received.

This is, obviously, femmeslash – yuri, shoujou-ai, whatever you prefer to call it. So if the idea of two women in love bothers you, go read one the thousands of Ash/Misty stories out there, instead.

Standard disclaimer: This story uses concepts and characters from the Pokémon World, in the spirit of a fanwork and not to claim ownership or make profit /

For my true and fated love.//

==Chapter One: Acid Armor==

There were four Gym Leaders in Cerulean City, these days. But only one of them, the youngest reflected grimly, ever bothered to answer when a trainer rang the doorbell.

Misty surfaced, shaking water from her red hair, and pushed herself out of the pool. She really wasn't in the mood for a battle right now. Under the water was the only place she could shut herself out from all the pain and confusion and noise of the outer world. It was her home… Nothing but blue shadows and her beloved pokémon, darting in and out of view. It was the one place she really felt free of the depression which had clung to her shoulders for three years now.

Still, she knew better than to ask one of her sisters to face the challenger. After all, it was Misty's job to do all the boring jobs, while her older sisters posed for admirers… She snapped firmly down on her encroaching bitterness. Blaimg her sisters for being who they were wouldn't help the situation at all.

Misty may have made a complete mess of the rest of her life, but there was no reason to fail as a gym leader as well.

She wrapped a towel around her shoulders, not bothering to dress. What did she care, if some little kid saw her in her bathers? She could feel her brows drawing together as she called her pokémon back.

"I swear, she muttered to herself, "if this little brat gives me trouble, I'll pound them into the water." She stomped into the main gym, Togetic chirruping soothingly into her ears, ready to blast some unfortunate beginning trainer into oblivion.

The last thing she expected to see was an adult… very adult… woman leaning over the counter, turning in her hand one of the little glass figurines of water pokémon that resided there. At first all Misty thought was that the lady was a little on the mature side for a pokémon journey. Some part of her mind that she could never quite repress slid her gaze assessing down the intruder, appreciating the full curves and the way her purple hair fell forward in a gentle curve to shield her face from view. The rest of her mind scolded her for it.

Then the woman unhurriedly lifted her head to see who had entered, and light reflected from the main pool glinted off her glasses.

Rich curves… purple hair… glasses…

It was her.

Misty felt hot blood rush to her cheeks, staring into the face of the woman she had obsessed over for years. In the space of a moment, she was no longer the confident, impatient gym leader, but a teenaged girl, unexpectedly in the presence of her idol.

"Prima!" she gasped.

The woman smiled gently and distantly. "Which of the beautiful Cerulean Sisters am I addressing?" she asked, her usual ultra-relaxed drawl feeling as sweet and warm to Misty as hot molasses.

Misty suddenly felt very exposed in her aqua swimsuit, ridiculously aware of her bare legs and arms and the small breasts pressing against thin material. She resisted the preposterous urge to cover herself with her hands. . "Um – M-Misty." She pushed back damp, stringy hair with one hand, wishing she had taken the time to brush or style it. Violet would never be caught at a disadvantage like this.

"We met before," she added eagerly, and then ground her thumbnail into her palm, feeling it press painfully against the skin. Stupid, stupid… Meeting some random children wasn't likely to be such an event to a member of the Elite Four as meeting her idol had been to her. Don't be such a moronic fangirl, she berated herself. You sound like an idiot.

"The streams of memory flow into the sea and disperse among the foam," Prima murmured. It sounded more or less like an apology.

"It's okay," Misty said quickly. She distracted herself from her illogical plummeting disappointment by examining Prima – well, she could hardly help looking at Prima. The difficulty was in not eating her up like a ravenous street urchin with her first meal for days – and noting how much she had changed in the intervening years. Very little, she decided. Prima's already voluptuous figure had softened still further since she had been knocked out of the Elite Four. Her tiny waist was not so tiny anymore. But her hair was even longer and silkier, and she wasn't any less beautiful than she had been when they had last met… More beautiful, in fact.

Misty herself had changed a lot more in the last few years than Prima. She turned away, as much to disguise her mangled emotions as for any other reason, and stole a glance at her own reflection in the training pool. She saw a tall girl with well-muscled arms and legs, a long lean body with no more bust than she had at twelve, reddish hair cut straight across at the shoulders. Her bathing suit mercilessly revealed her lack of feminine curves, and the way her hip bones jutted above her thighs.

She couldn't make out her face in the water, but she knew it was still red enough to light the way through a fog for any flying sleigh. This was a joke. She was too old for crushes… And she had never really been girlie enough to excuse them.

"How can I help you, ma'am?" she belatedly, remembering her job as representative fo the Cerulean Gym.

She startled as a soft hand was laid on her arm, and turned to look into lobelia-blue eyes, glittering at her behind the spectacles. "Tiny wavelets do not always know of the pounding depths. But they are the same ocean." Prima's dreamy words were in sharp contrast to her piercing gaze.

Misty, trying to live up to that gaze, frowned thoughtfully. Maybe Prima meant… No, it was no good. She didn't have a clue what she was getting at. "I – I'll remember that," she lied brightly.

Prima's sweet mouth curved, as if she was sharing a delicious private joke. "I mean that I remember you. You were the little girl with the Tracey Sketchit and the future pokémon master."

"Oh." Misty tried to decide if she was overjoyed at being remembered, or humiliated at being described as a little girl… and little girl only to be remembered because of her companions. "Yes, Ash Ketchum," she added, the name bringing memories flooding back. She didn't want to think of Ash… Of her ex best friend. Her pain and guilt were still too bright and poisonous, like Arbok's venom. Funny that was the simile her mind unconsciously produced. It had been three years since she had seen an Arbok… The poison pokémon belonged back with her bittersweet memories. "

"Yes, that was me," she said at last. "I'm surprised you remembered." She stressed the 'you' a little, betraying that she felt Prima was, somehow, on a different sphere to other people… One that could not be expected to remember mere humans.

Prima shrugged, the action doing amazing things to an already fascinating cleavage. "The child you were with was one to be remembered. If he learns to respect his pokémon, he will go far. In any case… Many paths intertwine, and cross again and again on knife's journeys. Perhaps it is fate." Prima paused, and abruptly seemed to remember the destination of her meandering stream of conversation. "I was visiting Professor Oak, and Mr. Sketchit sent me here to find you," she finished.

"To find – me?" Misty sent a sudden prayer of gratitude to her old friend. Kind, sweet Tracey… She'd always liked him, well, once she had become used to the idea of an interloper replacing Brock. He had stood by her through… those very bad days… and now – now he had sent Prima to her. He was such a sweet boy, she reflected fondly.

"How did Tracey think I could help you?" she asked curiously. "Not that I won't do anything I can…"

"I need an assistant," Prima explained. "A secretary really… but one who understands water and ice pokémon. I mentioned my need while I was visiting Professor Oak, and his young assistant reminded me of you, and suggested that you might be willing to find a new path in life." She paused, delicately. "He intimated that your feet are perhaps on the wrong road."

"I'd love to!" Misty gasped. She could feel the corners of her mouth stretching up so hard that it hurt. "Thank you.."

Prima smiled. "Wonderful."

"Yes… it is," Misty agreed breathlessly. For the first time in ages, she was bubbling with anticipation for the future. She was working for Prima… Prima, formerly of the Elite Four, world-famous expert on ice and water pokémon and motivational writer…

When Misty was twelve, she had started filling scrapbooks with articles and pictures of Prima, the youngest and prettiest of the Elite Four. She had pored over this face for hours at a time, wondering if she would ever get a chance to see the woman for real and maybe, if she was really lucky, speak to her or get her autograph. Perhaps her admiration had held elements of sublimated lesbianism, at first. Prima, with her water/ice speciality, was a safe idol for a girl growing up in a water pokémon gym. And she was as comfortably distant as a pop star a more conventional girl might have obsessed over.

When Misty had first met her for real, the more… direct… aspects of her crush had been difficult to conceal. Tracey had understood all too well, and been indulgently amused. Ash hadn't had a clue what the fuss was about… Well, that was Ash, for you. And Misty was not going to think about him.

And now – Misty would be working closely with her idol. Hearing her thoughts, sharing her air…

"Wonderful," she breathed to herself.

She just hoped she could keep her crush under control.