~Chapter Four: Icy Wind~

Misty sat at the computer, typing enthusiastically if not particularly quickly or accurately, heartily glad of the spellchecker.  Biting her lip in concentration, she determined to begin some serious work with the typing tutor soon.  She did not want to let her employer down in any way, no matter how slight. If Prima wanted her to type up notes from her recordings, then Misty was determined to break all records for typing speed.

Only… It would take her a while, she realised, sighing with frustration over how little she had achieved.  She had spent the last few years either traversing the wilderness or battling new trainers for the Cascade Badge, and apart from a casual email to Tracey or Marina every now and then, reasons for sustained typing did not really arise. 

The fact that children on the Kanto Plains generally finished school at ten years old probably did not help, either.

It also did not help that her job involved listening to Prima's recordings. It made it too all too easy to float, dreaming, on the cadences of her voice… At this rate, it was going to take her hours.

Misty was beginning to give up on the idea of ever overcoming her infatuation for her employer.  It was Prima's fault, she thought as she banged the keys, for being so damn sweet and fascinating.

On a sudden impulse, Misty minimised her window, and opened up her email programme.  Ash's address was there in the "to" field before she was even consciously aware of typing his name.

She stared at it a long moment, trying to remember if she had ever emailed Ash before.  On consideration, she did not think so.  At first there had never been a need. She had been with him all the time – email, like video phone calls, was for his mother to check that the pokémon master was having his underwear regularly laundered. And afterwards… She had not felt he would want to hear from her, had been afraid to open communication herself.

Afraid… She felt a sudden wash of disgust with herself. For all her faults, Misty had never been a coward.  She had faced Mewtwo, Entei and Team Rocket, even if none had turned out to be much of a real threat. She could write an email to her best friend. Ex-best friend.

She began to type, slowly, awkwardly, not pausing to correct errors for fear that her courage would fail again.

"Deat Ash and Brock.  I guess you weren't expecyting to hgear from me agina. I just wanted to let yu know"

She scrunched her eyes closed a moment. What exactly did she want him to know? That she was alive, that she was… sorry. That even though she did not think she deserved to be forgiven for what she had done, she still wanted to be.  That she wished they could be friends again. That she missed them… and Pikachu. Especially the little yellow pokémon, to be honest. She knew Togetic missed it, too.

It had been so much easier when she was guilt free and comfortable with her inner bitch, and all she had to do, if she had a misunderstanding with Ash, was scream at him that he was a moron and give him a good hearty whack over the head. This apologising business did not come easily to Misty.  It was far easier to lose her temper than to say sorry.

The world had been far simpler when she had always been sure she was in the right, and had been willing to back it up with the mallet of doom, if necessary.

…"that I'm ok/  I'm in Cerulean, where I've been lkiving with my sisters.  Tracey probely gas told you. Its been weird being a gyl leader again."

She always half-expected the next challenger to be an obnoxious boy in a Pokémon League cap, with a cocky attitude and a surprisingly powerful Pikachu.  But of course, Ash already had his Cascade Badge, and was far too old and famous to be chasing such low-level goals right now.

"I've got a new job now. Do you remember Prima, who used top be in the Elite Four and specialied in water and ice pokemon?"

She paused. Any other heterosexual male would have no problems at all remembering Prima. Ash… She nodded, and helpfully added,

"She had a cloyster and a jynx."

 There, that should do it.

"Well, IUm working for her now."

There had been surprisingly little actual work, or at least what Misty thought of as work, since she had come under Prima's employ.  Very occasionally, she would be asked to do what she thought of as proper assistant duties, looking up references in old tomes, calling Oak, Ivy or Elm for advice, doing a little typing.  Those occasions, however, rarely arose. She helped with Prima's pokémon as much as possible, and played with them frequently.  Togetic, she sometimes thought, was of more help than Misty herself. The happiness pokémon shed a warm radiance over the other pokémon, so that they emerged from the games refreshed and happy.

Misty burned to prove herself to Prima.  The chance never seemed to arise.  And meanwhile, day slipped into day like honey gathering into a slow stream from a spoon.

When she had asked Prima about her apparent lack of value, the older woman had given her one of her faraway smiles, and said that, as a water pokémon expert, Misty should know that spring water was at its most pure when gathered in a basin of untouched snow.  The girl had nodded wisely, and that night agonised over what Prima could have meant. 

In the end, she decided it meant that Prima's strange combination of pokémon research and motivational writing was facilitated by having someone completely clueless to absorb her wisdom. She was not quite sure how she felt about that.  But the last thing she intended to do was talk herself out of her miracle job.

"Ui suppose you can guess what that means to me. It means pretty much what working with Profssor Oak means to Ytracey."

Her typing faltered again. Maybe that was not the best thing to say, considering how Oak and Tracey had worked out.  Soppy May/December couple of the year.  Actually, more like May/April next year…

She was probably safe, though. That kind of thing always went over Ash's head, and Brock saw the world in purely heterosexual terms. So it didn't really matter that Misty was not likely to end up practically married to her employer.  It did not mean she was making false implications at all.

Togetic chirruped concern in her ear, and she stroked its head reassuringly.

"I can learn a lot abouyt water pokemon from her. It feels good to be finally chasing my own dreams."

Instead of yours. She wondered if he would read that between the lines. But she had never minded, really, being swept up in Ash's quest to become a Pokémon Master – his dreams had seemed so real, so concrete, and it had been only natural to put her own dreams of becoming a water pokémon expert aside to focus on Ash's badges and tournaments. If it had left her with nothing, that was her own fault.

"If you wouyld like to write back to me it would really mean a lot. I want to know hoe you and Brock are. Even if you don't want to be fiends anymore."

She sat still for a long time, staring at the mistyped words on the screen. Finally, she typed,

"I just wanted you to know that Im happy.

              XXX Misty."

And she was happy.  Despite her inability to prove herself, Misty was happy.  So happy that it almost hurt with a clean bright pain.  So happy that even her nights seemed touched by sunlight.  So happy that her sisters could barely touch her blissful mood with their superficiality and teasing.  So happy that she had almost let go of old regrets and guilt, ceased to think about Ash and Brock and… her. 

There was really no room for anyone or anything in her thoughts but Prima.  Prima's warm dreamy voice, the lush femininity of her physical presence, the sparkling intelligence in those ice-blue eyes belying her apparent vagueness, and… most of all… the way she smiled at Misty. Smiled with eyes before lips, as if Misty's conversation genuinely gave her pleasure, as if Misty was essential to her rather than paid for being almost useless,  as if Misty's company was something to be desired.

Misty, the eternal tag-along, was not used to having her presence openly welcomed, let alone by one of her idols… Well, her only true idol.

It wasn't, she told herself, with a stab of grieving loyalty, that Ash, Brock and Tracey had not actually wanted her along. But… they never would have taken the time to let her know.  Prima let her know with every look and intonation, and  apparently with complete unconsciousness of what she was doing, or how it made Misty sparkle like a firework every time she realised she was wanted.

Wanted as a friend and assistant, that was. Possibly as a younger sister, or even daughter.

In her waking moments, Misty never let herself toy with the idea that her voluptuous employer might one day want her for far more. There were too many reasons why encouraging her infatuation was a bad idea.  She was not going to risk this job, this chance to be by Prima's side, for any reason. And besides…

She had learned the hard way that she herself was not exactly the zenith of feminine allure.

She sighed, and deleted the email unsent.  What was the purpose in just upsetting her former friends?  Instead, she pressed "play" on the little recording machine again. Prima's voice rolled in her ears.  "Desire is the turbine which powers pokémon growth. The desire of a trainer for glory, the desire of a pokémon to prove itself, the desire of both to merge and reach their full potential…"

Misty was not responsible for her own dreams.  They came with what would have been tedious consistency, if each one had not left her heart full and aching, and her body… She flushed as she typed, trying not to remember.  As if she ever had a chance…

Last night had been most vivid of all.

She was naked, standing alone in the centre of a room.  There was ice and snow, or the suggestion of ice and snow, even if she could not see them directly.  Her nipples hardened under the frigid air, or perhaps for another reason again, as she was not really cold at all, despite the ice. 

The hands came from behind… Trailing fingertips down the curve of her face, tickling the nape of her neck where the baby hairs curled softly, rounding her shoulders.  They lingered on hr upper arms for a moment, then inevitably curved around, brushing down over Misty's small breasts, leaving her breathless.  Then she was turned, and stared at the ground, too nervous to seek her lover's face. And the hands swept up from her waist again, cupped her breasts and played with the hard nipples, feathering lightly against them.

For a moment Misty wanted to apologise for her meagre endowments, felt shamed and somehow guilty for the small breasts that had been mocked often enough in her life, for having so little to offer when her beloved's body was so rich with curves. But then she raised her eyes again to her lover's, smouldering behind the twin circles of glass, and read love and lust there… and realised, suddenly, how perfectly her small breasts fit into the hands that were worshipping them. She smiled despite herself, and the smile was echoed on the other woman's lips.

She wanted to kiss those lips, oh, so much it hurt… But she simply could not. She was too shy, too nervous.  But those caressing hands slipped lower and lower, until tension and fear pooled and tingled together so closely in her core that she could not tell which was which, and she felt the small, hard intrusion of a finger press between her lower lips and find the one place where it could push deeper…

And she awoke, bathed in sweat and aching, and wondering why, if she had to dream erotically of her idol, her dreams gave her such miserly pleasures. No kisses, no chance to embrace or be embraced and feel Prima's body soft and warm against hers, no chance to touch her, not to feel her mouth on herself, or to  reach climax… not even the feeling of her finger actually breaching her body.  No real intimacy, and no fulfilment.  No soft words. Only a few light caresses and the promise of something more.

Except… except for that moment when she had looked into her eyes in the dream world, and seen herself beautiful and beloved, and they had both smiled.

That was a moment worth dreaming for, after all.

She felt rather than heard a step behind her, and Misty realised that, good intentions or not, she had stopped typing and was merely staring into space, Prima's recorded voice lulling her. Her fingers began to flurry on the keyboard, with more haste than good aim.

Gentle fingers slid the headphones off her ears, and something within her convulsed at the touch.  It was a sure a sign as any that the woman behind her was not one of her sisters.  Or if it was, Misty had really embarrassing unconfronted issues.

"You're working so hard." It was difficult to tell whether Prima approved, but her voice was whisper-wind soft, and her eyes were smiling. Or perhaps it was just a flash of light reflecting off the planes of her glasses.

"I wanted to get this finished for you." Misty caught the sycophantic pleaseapprovepleaselikeme note in her own voice, and winced a little at herself. Show some spirit, girl, she silently implored herself. You're a gym leader.

"It will keep." Prima hoisted half a curvaceous bottom onto a free corner of the computer desk, and tilted Misty's face up with one finger. For one crazy head-swimming moment, Misty thought she was planning to kiss her. Instead, the older woman looked searchingly into the girl's face.

"Misty, haven't I seen all your pokémon but one? Don't you have a pysduck?"

Oh crap oh crap, what have my sisters been saying to her? Her giggle came out high-pitched and unnatural.  "Oh, yes, but I don't use it for battling. It's more a… pet."

"Even the weakest stem can support a rare flower."  Prima stood, probably because her perch was uncertain. Misty could have remained seated on the corner of the desk indefinitely, but then, she was much thinner than her employer.  Still, it would have been rather nice if Prima had toppled forward into her arms…

She stifled the thought.

If Prima wanted to see Pysduck, she was probably in enough trouble already.