Disclaimer - Everything you're about to read belongs to someone else. You know, except for the total compilation of ideas. That would be mine. Yup yup.

Author - Chibi / Warlordess

Notes - Okay guys, this is a weird one. I think it definitely qualifies for the fantasy genre I picked for it. Plus it's almost sickeningly romantic. Ugh, I hope I come out of this one unscathed. Even if you don't understand something or don't like or appreciate it, I hope you'll stick it out til the end and also - maybe, just maybe - give me a review and tell me what you thought.

So, without further ado. . .


Title - "Undine's Thread" / part six



"I don't think it's coincidence."


"It can't be just coincidence that. . ."


". . . I met you of all people!"

Meant to happen.

"We were meant to meet and become best friends!"

The final pieces of the wall leading to Ash's emotional depth. . .

"Does there have to be any more of a reason?"

. . . finally, doubtlessly crumbled away.

No, there didn't have to be anymore of a reason for his concern. . . but there was.

"Unless there's a speculative vow in preparation, there's nothing that can change what's happening. And we're not allowed to make contact with humans. Pokemon are barely aware of our existence. They're in tune with the elements, yeah, but we are the elements. Even this form is procured for the sake of humankind's peace of mind.

"My sisters are gone, like I said. . . and now it's my turn." Misty picked up where she'd left off before, unaware of the internal struggle that Ash was going through now that he comprehended how he felt. Fearing his silence to mean that he'd finally given up as well, she pushed onward, "All I have to do is state my original name and it'll be over in a flash." There was a slight waver in her voice as she stared up at them from the water, though she never dared to look away.

"Maybe I'm grateful for this after all. Maybe it's the reason I didn't run as far as I should have. I just couldn't go without saying goodbye first."

"There's gotta be something we can do, Misty! There are plenty of contracts or purposes in the world; you just have to find one for yourself! If you'd told us earlier," Brock finally interrupted again, "if we could only have a little more time, I'm sure we could do something. . . We could look for one together! I mean, we didn't come this far just so we'd have to forget you! And you can't tell us that you wouldn't miss us!"

"It's stupid to assume that," she told him shortly with a biting tone.

"Then why-"

As if she needed to feel anymore alienated from them anymore! But they just wanted to keep dragging their time on, as if it would strip them of the end.

"-Because my kind doesn't work like that, okay? I'm not human! Of course I'll miss you! I wish the spell would work on me too, that way I wouldn't have to live with the pain of remembering you guys, of thinking of you everyday, wondering if you're okay and knowing that, even if you are, you won't even be able to think to call me and let me know."

So, yes, of course they were lucky. They could so easily forget her and move on with their merry lives while she spent the rest of hers thinking back and reflecting and regretting and wondering.

"Misty. . ." her two human friends murmured while Pikachu affectionately did the same with his version of her name.

"Stop delaying the inevitable. It's time to say goodbye."

And they knew it was definitely, finally time as the streetlights along the edge of the pier flickered into life just in time for the sun to finish setting behind the distant edges of the water. The darkness played eerie tricks on their eyes, most of all Misty's, which were illuminated gold thanks to the distant flickering lights.

And Ash couldn't stop the faint buzzing in his ears. His hands itched to grab something, to hold her, the words he'd grown to know over the past few minutes telling him that they needed to be said before he lost his chance. But he also knew there was nothing for him to grasp, nothing to convince him that there was still a chance. This was too soon, too sudden, too much, too late.

He couldn't be late this time. He couldn't lose.

All except her head vanished below the tide. They heard her voice clearly as it shouted the last word they'd ever hear from her.

Her original name.


Ash didn't know the word she planned to speak but he knew that was it. This couldn't happen to him!

"-Don't you dare, Misty!" He was now more sure than ever that it couldn't end.

He leapt forward and jumped into the water again, leaving Brock and Pikachu to watch him go alone a second time.

"No, wait, Ash!" the future breeder wailed, falling to his knees and leaning over the edge of the pier once more, an arm out to grab the younger trainer but hesitantly holding back. This would be considered their last ditch effort in turning everything around. . . He just hoped the boy had a plan for once.

"You know, I'm really tired of saving you from your deathwish. . ." Misty's voice began once more, clear as a bell chiming, though she was still quite invisible to Ash underwater despite his surroundings growing a little warmer due to her presense.

"You? Saving me?" he glubbed and blubbered. Somehow she must have understood him just fine because she responded.

"Of course. It wasn't meant to be noticed. When we were shipwrecked with Jessie and James and Magikarp evolved into Gyarados and wanted to eat us whole? When we were on Shamuti and you fell off Lugia and nearly drowned? How about a little while ago when you first stupidly leapt off the boardwalk and I raised the tide so that you could climb back up on land? Who else do you know that's lucky enough to escape death so many times without some other powers-that-be helping out? I didn't have access to all of my abilities but I've always been able to manipulate the tide."

He let the explanation for all of his aquatic adventures ending in nearly full health and survival float around his head. He'd never thought of any of that before. . . Somehow, the knowledge seemed useful.

"Anyway, that's not the point. I told you it was goodbye, Ash. Don't make me keep saying it."

There was a strange, invisible push on his back - the same as the last time he'd followed her into the water - and he knew it was her again, even as the now familiar tingling took over. He felt himself being shoved towards the surface once more.

"Now go."

His head slipped above the waves and he took the opportunity to catch his breath once more before diving back down again, ignoring Brock and Pikachu's cries for his attention.

"No!" he blubbered again when he was sure he was deep enough to be heard. He still wondered how it was possible when he couldn't even understand his own sorry excuse for words but decided to pocket the mystery until a later date. "I won't! I can't leave you now b - because. . ." he faltered, embarrassed as he tried to think of a valid response.

Again, all that she'd told him a few moments before mulled around his mind.

". . . Because I owe you now!"

"Owe me?" the voice echoed into his ears despite the waterlogged effect he should have been suffering from. But he still heard her, and she still spoke as though they weren't even remotely in this situation.

"Y - yeah," Ash coughed, expelling even more of that important oxygen he'd been holding on reserve, " of course. I mean, we can use that, can't we? If I'm indebted to you, then. . . if you've really saved my life so many times. . ."

"Oh. . . Is that right?"

"Uh. . . yeah. . ." Ash couldn't help the anxiety he felt at the fact that his best friend's voice seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once. "A - and so, if you need a contract then I'll give you my best shot! If you need a vow, then why not make it so that you'll stay by my side forever?"

The jumbled mess of bubbles that should have been words expelled from his mouth without him realizing or thinking them through. Then again, it wasn't like he really had the time to do such things. A few more seconds and she'd be gone forever, no matter how much he fought against it.

What was worse than the fear of not knowing what he, himself, meant by what he'd said was the god-awful silence he had to suffer through afterwards. More than anything else, he just wished Misty would say something. He even wondered for a split second if she'd gone away despite his fighting her on it. . . but the fact that he remembered who she was must have meant she was still there contemplating his decision, right?

"Forever, you say? That's a long time, Ash. . ." she sighed after having thought it over, and he could hear the exasperation in her tone, "You can't possibly need a friend like me for that long. . ."

"Then not as friends!" he attempted next, though after considering what he now knew about himself, how he felt, he couldn't help the unfortunate flush that blossomed on his cheeks and the back of his neck as he made the insinuation, "I - I mean, who knows when I'll almost drown again and need saving?"

Though he suppressed a bitter chuckle, wondering if that time would come sooner rather than later. The vision at the corners of his eyes was already beginning to darken and he was pretty sure the only reason he was still conscious was because Misty had done something to the small area of water around him. And then he couldn't help the slight laugh that escaped him because, half-an-hour ago (or else any other time over the course of the past five-plus years), he would have thought it crazy that she could do any such thing to the water at all.

"If not as friends, then what would you suggest?" There it was again, the voice that came from everywhere and nowhere, eerily finding its way to his ears without the slightest distress or effort.

"I. . . I don't know, as family maybe?" But he knew that wasn't right, felt completely wrong after what he'd figured out awhile ago. Those words still planned to make their escape from his heart, but he was fighting them all the way.

There was another moment of hollow silence. Ash hoped he could hold his breath long enough to hear Misty's reply.

"Well. . . I guess as long as it's forever, there will be enough time to work out the details."

He felt a sudden shift in the currents, a pins-and-needles grip on both sides of his face and a rather strange pressure on his lips, leaving them quite tingly after, and then a wave rose from below him, forcing him into the air so that he could roll around and land on the pier again beside Brock and Pikachu. He had trouble opening his eyes at first, perhaps afraid of what he'd see, but it became much easier to bear when he heard a vastly anticipated shout.

"Misty!" Brock bellowed, running towards her with Pikachu beside him the entire time.


And then he saw her, kneeling forward on her hands and knees and choking for air as if she'd nearly been suffocated. The idea caused Ash's own chest to tighten.

Still, she was fully-clothed and, other than some shortness of breath, seemed to be completely back to normal. Everything was back to normal. . .

Ash gulped back the new lump in his throat. Forget the fact that Misty may or may not have been some underwater being. . . But what had he just done? What had he inadvertantly promised his best friend just so that she wouldn't be forced to leave him forever?

It seemed that normal was the last thing his life would be from now on.

"Ash, are you alright? I didn't throw you that far into the air, did I?" Misty muttered, one pale hand gently placed on his shoulder. Other than sitting upright, he hadn't made any move or noise since reappearing on land.

He turned to blankly stare at it, unsure as to how he should react. Somehow, that hand there felt completely different than any other time it'd been there. His whole shoulder tingled as if it had fallen asleep. That was strange. He had thought that the sensation of Misty touching him underwater had been due to the lack of oxygen and her being a mythical creature. . . but there was no excuse suitable for him experiencing the same thing when they were both human again and back on land. What was more, it felt exactly the same as his lips had felt a few minutes ago. . . but what about this basic form of contact was suddenly so special?

What about Misty was so special?

"Ash?" Misty continued, beginning to shake him out of concern, "Brock-"

"-No, no, I'm fine, Myst. Sorry. Just winded." Ash finally had the will to respond, "I'm good now. . . I promise."

"Are you sure?" Brock coaxed, leaning forward as if to examine him, "You do look a little worse for wear, but I guess the situation can call for that kind of thing. What happened down there anyway? How'd you get Misty back onto the boardwalk?"

Ash blinked. So. . . So Brock hadn't heard any of that? Well, it sort of made sense. Even if Misty had been visible, they had still had the conversation underwater.

He pursed his lips together. They still tingled. Then he looked at Misty, noticing that her cheeks had blushed a flattering pink and that she'd grown suddenly interested in her own hands, now tangled within each other in her lap.

"Uh. . . nothing, Brock, we just reached an. . . an agreement."

He and Misty stared at each other for a second before looking away again. It took Brock clearing his throat and Pikachu nibbling his trainer's hand before they finally decided that they'd better get up and move on.

But having another chance to look at his best friend, the knowledge that he would be able to continue looking at her for awhile yet, caused a great wave of relief to wash over him. All of his fears and concerns, the worries and doubt that had consumed him over the past two or so days. . . It all washed away to nothing just because he knew he could look at and talk to her whenever he so pleased.

He hadn't realized until now how scared he'd been that he'd never be able to do those things anymore.

Later on in the Vermilion PokeCenter, after they had been given a couple of nice, hot mugs of tea and she a towel to dry her rust-colored hair, Misty saw Ash approach her from the front desk.

"Are Pikachu and the other Pokemon okay?" she asked wearily.

"Yeah, just a bit tired. They haven't had much rest or food since before Brock and I left Pewter. Which reminds me. . ."

He pulled his backpack up into his lap and unzipped the main compartment, rummaging through it until he'd apparently found what he wanted. Then he turned and held a handful of Pokeballs out to her.

"Brock and I got them from Cerulean's Nurse Joy," he explained to her as she stared blankly, or else in awe, "After I got your note, Brock and I were able to convince her that it was the best choice that we should take them with us. But I think this one is still better." And he forced her hands open so that he could hand her Pokemon back over to her. "I don't have Azuril though, so. . ."

"Uh. . . yeah," Misty nodded in response, "I decided if I couldn't keep her then I'd send her back to her real mom and Tracey."

"I know. Brock told me all about it after Tracey called him. Here, take this too."

Misty accepted the small card with her name and trainer identification on it and stared curiously.

"Thanks but, uh, what is it?"

"It's a temporary visa since you have more than six Pokemon. Nurse Joy wanted to give it to you but you'd already gone AWOL from the hotel in Cerulean. She gave it to me when I told her Brock and I were going to look for you. It's only for now though. Since you're a private resident, you can't carry more than six in your posession so tomorrow we'll all go to Pallet so you can fill out the paperwork needed for Professor Oak to house your other Pokemon at his preserve," he finished explaining in one gulp, as though he couldn't bear to waste anymore time on it.

"Plus my mom's been really worried about you so we should stop back home too."

"You mean your place?"

"I mean home."

Misty felt the flattery wash over her again. She'd already lost the one place she could call home. It was rather sweet of Ash, really, to immediately offer up another. She wasn't sure she trusted her voice enough to say so though.

It was quiet for a few minutes after that. Brock had gone grocery shopping because, according to Ash, taking care of ten siblings and traveling for years with half-a-dozen different youths had taught him how a nice, home-cooked meal could rejuvenate the soul. Misty couldn't agree more with that statement, especially after having lost her soul up until an hour or so ago. She had a feeling her friends hadn't eaten any more than their Pokemon had over the past couple days either.

"Is something else wrong, Ash?" she asked, despite feeling so weary and tired.

Ash jumped. True, he'd refused to leave her side ever since they'd come back from Vermilion Harbor, but he'd hoped she would just put it off as concern or fear that she might disappear again. Surely that was embarrassing enough? But now it seemed she knew better.

"N - not wrong, really. I was just curious, I guess." He said it as though he weren't curious at all though as though he really didn't care too much. Man, his acting skills had really improved!

"About. . . ?" Misty probed after waiting a minute for him to continue on his own. She actually had a few fears of her own eating away at her conscience and wondered if he was thinking the same thing. Being a truly outspoken and stubborn person, though, she overrode his silence and was first to speak.

"If this is about the way you agreed to turn me human, like if you thought I manipulated you by explaining how I helped you out in the water those few times, I just want you to know that I hadn't been thinking that way at all, okay?"

"Huh? No, Misty, that's not really. . ."

"I mean, jeezus, Ash Ketchum, if you think for one moment that I'm really that kind of person then I guess you never really knew me at all, did you?"

"I think I did, thanks, and I wasn't thinking about tha-"

"I only said it in the heat of the moment, on a whim, that kind of thing, I promise! But if you're still having doubts, I guess we can stop this now-"

"Look, it's not about that, okay?" he asked overtop her berating tone. It was enough to stun her to silence, though it didn't last nearly long enough for Ash's tastes.

"Then. . . what is it about?" she asked hesitantly when she'd next gathered enough courage to do so.

"Uh. . . the details? And. . ." he faltered long enough to breath inward before pursing his lips tightly again as he'd done earlier on the pier. He wanted to ask what she'd done to him underwater - what had caused that strange tingling sensation? - but thought that doing so straight forwardly would prove his stupidity. Besides, he was pretty sure already that it had been a. . .

"Well, there really isn't much to discuss, I guess. The contract has already been sealed anyway. Since I'm not the Cerulean Gym trainer anymore, it'll be pretty easy to follow through with it. Basically you just need to always want me with you."

"Th - that's it?" Ash croaked, flabberghasted. He'd thought the bylaws would be far stricter than that. "I mean, you don't have to, like, be glued to my hip or stalk me for the rest of my life or. . . ?"

"Nah, nothing like that. Don't worry, Ash; I have no intention of standing outside your bathroom and waiting for you to finish doing your business. That would be highly uncomfortable for the both of us, I think."

"A little bit, yeah."

"So, because of situations like that, the restrictions are pretty loose. It's alright for me to stay away, thank goodness. But let's say, god forbid, we got into a really big fight and you wanted me gone forever or wished me dead. I mean, you'd really have to feel that way from the bottom of your heart but doing that, feeling that, would definitely be enough to nullify the contract. Other than that, we're good."

"Oh, well, then I know you'll be okay." Ash responded without another thought, unable to help it. Misty blushed brightly, reading in between the lines.

Like I'd ever feel so little for you.

"But I don't have to, like, sign on the dotted line or anything?"

"Nah, I used an alternative revenue stream."

And though Misty's tone was the epitome of cool and calm, Ash couldn't help noticing the way she averted her gaze as his own breath locked up in his throat. He knew. She knew. He thought he knew anyway, which gave him enough strength to properly ask the question.

"It, ah, wouldn't happen to have been a ki-," he started, clearly embarrassed, before she took the opportunity to interrupt him.

"Hey, you know, I didn't tell you before because it wasn't necessary or top priority or anything, and maybe I was a little worried about your answer because I thought it might be worse than not knowing, but," she took a moment to catch her breath, possibly also using it as an excuse to collect herself at the same time, "I think I should say it now before we get any deeper in this. . .

"I love you."

Ash just continued to sit there as if listening for her to further explain herself. Either that or maybe he was still digesting the information she'd just allowed him.

"Hey, did you hear me? I said I love you!" She waited another minute before her temper started to flare up.

"Hey, Ash!"

"I, uh. . . huh?" He blinked at her, looking quite bemused. Part of him knew too that those words were probably, definitely going to have to be said at some point, but he thought that maybe they should have been planned out better, maybe even that they should have come from him first.

Somehow, sitting in the PokeCenter lobby, still damp from their unfortunate swim, while one friend was out on business and all of the others were being examined by a doctor, right after discussing how the two of them would never be able to emotionally separate from one another ever again. . . It seemed to bend and nearly break the two opposing sides of the spectrum, from dull and normal to strange and eccentric.

And yet. . .

"I guess it's true what they say about the third time being the charm. . . I said I love you. And not like we're-best-buddies-of-course-she-loves-me or best-friends-who-really-care-about-each-other-and-can't-be-replaced-by-anyone. . . It's not puppy love or popstar love. I mean it as in a boy and a girl, nearly a man and a woman, who have gone through almost everything together, who think of each other all the time, who enjoy nearly every waking moment they've experienced together, no matter how furious or nervous or dangerous. . . I'm talking about one thing that means more than nearly anything. That's. . ." A deep sigh after finally explaining it, ". . . That's what I mean. The kind you have to bear on your sleeve or else your heart will stop. The kind where there's simply nobody else."

How is that so easy?

"I. . ." Ash swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry again. He didn't think there would be anything Misty could say to him after what had happened earlier that day that would cause him to lose his breath more than once. "How did you know?"

How is it defined?

"Huh? How'd I know what?"

How can you say it so fearlessly?

"That it feels like that when I think of you? Nobody else, just you. How could you possibly know that? How could you dare to put a name to it? I just thought it was normal, for us anyway."

And indeed he had. Ash had considered the possibility that his bond with Misty was different than his bond with anyone else, even though it had always felt different only in small, insignificant ways that slowly managed to add up and up. It had all just been a part of them and he'd spent so much time getting used to their dynamic that it was hard to see much further. In fact, the few times that he had tried, his psyche had immediately taken over and pushed it all away to a place within him that he barely knew existed.

Misty shrugged, not trusting her voice after his confession. Truthfully, she obviously hadn't known. If she had all that time ago that all of her fears and worries would have been abated had she only given a definition of how it felt, she would have done so forever ago!

"That means. . ." Ash started anew, gasping for breath. Any thoughtful or philisophical words of wisdom that Misty had thought might come to him at this crucial moment flew out the sliding double doors of the PokeCenter. "That means. . . that was a kiss earlier today!"

Misty blinked, mouth gaping slightly open. Oh no. . . It had really come to this?

"Uh, yeah. . . Yeah, Ash, it was."

Before he could respond, someone else butted in their conversation.

"What was what?"

Apparently Brock was back.

"Uh. . ." Ash and Misty fumbled in unison, turning to stare at one another, unsure of whether to confirm or deny anything.

"Did you just say something about a kiss, Ash?"

"N - no! Uh, maybe. . . I don't know?"

"Something happened when you guys were at the pier, didn't it?" the future breeder deadpanned, walking towards his two friends and depositing his bag of groceries in one of the seats beside them. Then he stepped back and crossed his arms, brow furrowed. Surprisingly, he rounded on Misty for more information.

"I knew something was up. It's not like it could have been simple for you to turn human again after you'd gone as far as accepting that you had no other choice but to return home. So what happened? Ash, I hope you didn't do something crazy!"

"Whoa, hold on! She was the one who kissed me! All I did was promise she could stay with me forever! And sure, it was sorta in the heat of the moment, but still. . . !"

"So she kissed you?"

"Yeah! And as a way of binding me to a verbal contract of all things!"

"C'mon Ash, it's not like I had a pen handy or anything! And I doubt you did either!" Misty leapt from her seat in agitation, throwing her arms open as if to envelope the entire room.

"Well," Brock intruded before Ash could respond to her sharp tone, "I never expected you to be bold enough to make the first move anyway, Ash. . ."

"And then she goes on like it doesn't matter, talking about details and. . . wait, what? I'm plenty bold!" the raven-haired trainer leapt up in arms too, daring either of his friends to doubt what he called his nerves of steel.

"Just be quiet, Mr. Pokemon Master! At least I admitted to what happened after! You should consider yourself lucky!"

Finally, Brock took a step back to further examine the situation. What he saw beyond the obvious signs of frustration and stubbornness that he'd grown so accustomed to seeing on his friends' faces during their rare moments of deep conversation or emotion were the awkward red patches on their cheeks caused by embarrassment and the half-smiles at the corners of their lips due to the familiarty of the argument, as well as the light in their eyes.

Dear goodness, they were happy to be fighting! And even moreso than that. . .

"Can I take his panic as a delayed response to you finally telling him how you feel?" the breeder-to-be asked.

"Yeah," Misty sighed, ruffling a hand through her mostly dry hair, "I guess so. . ."

"Lucky? How the heck am I lucky? You forced yourself on me, Misty! And now I'm stuck with you forever, no hope of escaping unless I break my vow to you which I could never do 'cause I'm such a good guy! Just 'cause I love you too doesn't mean that everything else has blown over!"

"Ash, okay, I admit that forever is a pretty long time; you probably should have given a more precise timeline. But you might maybe still be overreacting here. . ." Brock attempted to disarm him but neither he nor Misty were in the mood.

"So tell me again, Myst, just how am I lucky here?"

"Because, Mr. Pokemon Master, a few hundred years ago it wouldn't have just been a kiss! Instead, would you rather have been married on the spot and made to bear a child? 'Cause that's what would have happened way back when!"

Ash and Brock were both respectably silent as Misty huffed and puffed before allowing herself to calm down. The three of them continued to stare at one another, bathed in the quiet, as each of them tried to find the right words to respond to that statement with.

Finally, Ash came up with something.

"Shut up, Myst," he started with what seemed to have been a callous tone, ignoring her appalled expression, before he continued, "By the way, I love you too."

He had thought he would be the first one (maybe even the only one) to vocalize those words, that feeling. Back at the bay area, when he was sure he'd lose her, his mind had split into two separate entities. One had been stubborn, refusing to believe that any of this was real and repeating over and over that everything would somehow magically work out. The other part had burdened and pushed at that wall he'd built up when he was younger, intent on staying a kid forever. Or, well, as long as it would take him to pursue and succeed his dreams.

He would not grow up for anything.

He would not change.

"Oh? Do you really?" she asked him skeptically, hands on her hips and an eyebrow quirked. Though the pink patches on her cheeks gave her away.

He was fine as he'd always been, and if he lost focus, if he started seeing, being, dreaming differently, then he would maybe one day feel inclined to abandon the journey he'd started when he was ten years old, and that first half of him simply couldn't bear to do that. He had been sure that there would always be time for those other things, things that Brock and Misty and his mom and a few other people in his life had attempted to discuss with him before being blown off.

Brock had been the first of all of his friends to realize he'd started growing up, even if neither young man ever mentioned it aloud. Perhaps it was even the reason for him using Misty's disappearance as a way to bring up what dare not ever be spoken of.

"Think for a second about why you're acting out so much just because of what happened to Misty."

He'd wanted Ash to figure it out on his own, of course.

"You don't even wonder why this is so important to you?"

It was silly, really.

"I get it, you're worried, you feel guilty, etc., but that's no excuse."

Because how could he be tempted to figure out something he'd already known for awhile now?

When it came down to the wire, he knew it was worth saying anything, everything, doing whatever was needed. If there was no more time to be found or had then he'd have to make it on his own by whatever means necessary. And so Ash Ketchum finally decided to start growing up.

"Yeah. Really."

The plunge.

All rationality was lost to him when Misty was involved, for better or worse. Thinking calmly had allowed him the opportunity to find out her place of hiding. . . but losing his temper had given him the strength needed to force her to stay. He had finally found a gray area.

"Well, I should hope so, Mr. Pokemon Master! I mean, after all, at this point you're pretty much stuck with me anyway!" she replied with a mild scoff, wagging a finger in his direction though he only smiled cheekily at her in response.

The water is a little chilly now. . .

He grately appreciated the middle ground he'd found his way onto. After all, certain things were going to take some getting used to.

. . . but in time it'll feel just right.


Notes - The end! I think. I kept getting told by the time I was knee-deep in chapter three that this would be awesome as a novel but I'm really not in the mood to change my plans and keep this project going any longer than it has been already. The point of this story, other than to give me the opportunity to work on my suspense genre skills and also to have my first chance at handling fantasy, was simply to bring Ash and Misty back together. And not just romantically, but also as friends. As a team. Because they had one of the greatest bonds of the anime. . . Plus I got to use the end of this chapter to explain away how Ash's maturity has declined as the series went on.

Or maybe I'm the only one who thinks that way. It's just that he seems a lot more two-demensional than he did during the first through third seasons! Lol. Well, I refuse to rant on it anymore. I'm just happy this is over and done with.

Darn, there was something else I know I wanted to say and I just can't remember what it was. . . Ugh, well, maybe one of you guys will point it out in your review and I can edit these notes after. . .

So, yeah, the end! Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed the previous chapter, despite my lying to you about it being the last one. But maybe now you'll understand why I divided it in half. Whew, it was a long one! And I'm tired of giving away too much at once! Believe me, this was better for everybody. Lol.

Good day!