She really loved nights like these. The stars were out, the moon was shining brightly and they had set up camp near a beautiful lake. The fire was still burning and looked as though it would stay that way for another few hours. Everyone else had already gone to bed, so she was the only one awake. Not that she could blame any of them, it was two in the morning!

The seventeen year old red head sighed in content as she laid back and gazed up at the stars. Yes, she really did enjoy nights like these. They gave her the opportunity to really think about things.

Misty had been travelling with her best friends Ash and Brock for just over a month now and it sure was different than back when she and Ash were ten and Brock was fifteen! For starters, she wasn't exactly a little girl anymore. In fact, she had won an award for being the most beautiful girl in Cerulean City. Her body had filled out perfectly, her breasts had grown to a size that wasn't too big yet they weren't too small and also her body now had curves in exactly the right places. Also, instead of her old shorts and crop tops she now wore black shorts and a white tank top with blue high top converse and blue fingerless gloves, which showed she was still a tomboy sort of girl like back when she was ten. Her hair was now just below her breast and was more or less straight and she usually left it down or had it up in a messy bun. So yes, it was safe to say that she wasn't some scabby kneed, scrawny little kid anymore.

And she wasn't the only one who had changed either.

Ash was now a lot taller than her and all those years of walking all over the world and training had really paid off as he was now very well built. He wasn't like those body builders who were too muscular yet he still had quite a lot to show off. He still had the same messy hair style and the same big, warm brown eyes that she just adored.

Brock stayed pretty much the same except that he had grown a couple of inches and his hair was slightly longer. Really, it was only Misty that had changed so drastically.

At first, neither of her best friends could believe their eyes when the saw her. The two had come to visit her at Cerulean Gym when they were passing through the Kanto region. It had been quite a while since they saw Misty or since Misty saw the two and it was definitely a big surprise, but it was a pleasant surprise. Just the look of pure shock of their faces when they saw it was her made her day, no, it made her year. Before he realised who exactly it was, Brock acted as though she was one of the many Nurse Joys' or Officer Jennys' but as soon as he realised who it was, he snapped straight out of it. However, it was a little harder for Ash. It was like he was mesmerized by her but what really made her heart beat rapidly was that he wasn't looking at her chest or any other part of her body like most guys did, no; he was looking at her face. He looked at her like she was an Angel or a Goddess.

He wasn't too bad on the eyes either. Even back when they were kids she always thought of him as attractive. Although now he was hotter than most male celebrities!

It had been a little awkward when she first re-joined them on their adventures once again but after a couple of days; they fell back into old routine like none of them had ever been separated. Of course, there was still a lot of evidence that they had been separated at some point. For starters, Togepi well, Togetic was no longer with them. Misty released her beloved Pokémon so she could be with her own kind. It seemed like the best thing to do and Togetic seemed really happy but she just missed her so much. But as long as it was what was best for Togetic, that's what mattered most right?

A twig snapped from nearby and Misty quickly sat up and looked behind her to see who was trying to sneak up on her.

"Sorry Mist," Ash smiled and scratched the back of his head. "I didn't mean to scare you."

"You didn't scare me," Misty said defensively, "I was just thinking."

Ash nearly chuckled at his best friend's fiery temper. Even after all of these years, he still enjoyed having her around and he wasn't ashamed to admit that he did in fact cry when she left to go help out at Cerulean Gym. Of course he cried! She was his best friend, his first real friend. Well, besides Pikachu of course but she was his first human friend. He never really got on with kids his own age when he lived in Pallet town which was another reason as to why he wanted to be a Pokémon master so badly. He wanted to prove all the kids who picked on him wrong.

"Can I join you?" Ash asked as he walked closer to the welcoming warmth of the fire.

Misty nodded, "Sure." She replied before lying back down on her back and staring up at the stars.

Ash copied her as he led down beside her. When he was younger, he never really understood why people would just stare up at the stars but then again, he didn't really understand as to why Brock was so obsessed with beautiful girls. However he now understood why they did it. It was because the stars were just so… enchanting. He also now understood why Brock drooled after every beautiful girl in site. After seeing Misty for the first time in years, it felt like he was a blind man seeing the sunset for the first time. Like the stars, she was enchanting.

"So what were you thinking about?" Ash asked, trying to start a conversation. The silence wasn't awkward or uncomfortable. No, he just wanted to talk to her.

Misty kept her eyes on the stars and after a few seconds of no reply, Ash looked at her and saw that she was in deep thought. She felt his gaze on her and without taking her eyes away from the shining stars, she answered, "I was just thinking about how much things have changed, you know? Also, I was thinking about Togetic."

"I know what you mean, Mist. It seems like it was just yesterday that we first met."

The two teenagers smiled fondly at the memory. If it hadn't of been for that stupid bike, Misty would never have set off on an adventure with Ash. Sure, after a few weeks she developed a crush on him but it all started because of that bike. If she was completely honest, the feelings she felt for Ash were still there. There had never been anyone else. She got asked out a lot but she always told them that there was someone else even though there wasn't anyone else. As far as she knew, Ash didn't return her feelings; he just thought she was attractive like every other boy.

"Do you ever think about what could have been and what ifs?" Misty asked as she looked at him after another moment of silence.

Ash shrugged, "Sometimes, I guess. What about you?"

Misty sighed, "All the time." She said before sitting up so that her arms were wrapped around her legs.

"What are your could have been or what ifs?" He asked as he copied Misty and sat up only he left his legs stretched out in front of him and leaned back on his hands.

"I often think about what if you didn't destroy my bike or what could have been if my sister's never left on that trip."

Ash looked at the red haired girl but she kept her eyes on the lake as small waves lapsed around. "Do you regret any of it?"

Misty finally looked away from the small waves and looked at the dark haired boy with a confused expression evident on her face, "Do I regret any of what?"

"Anything," Ash shrugged again as he looked back at Misty.

She thought about it for a second before nodding slightly, "I regret leaving you and Brock to go back to the gym. But if I hadn't of left, the gym that my parents worked so hard for would have been closed down and my sisters would have hated me for it."

"I doubt they would hate you Mist," Ash gave her a small smile and nudged her arm.

She shook her head sadly, "They were a lot closer to our parents than I could have ever dreamed of being. Mainly because they're eight years older than I am so they got to spend more time with them. I was around five when they died so I don't really remember them."

Ash sat silently and listened to her words. He couldn't help but feel sorry for his best friend. She had grown up without all the things he had grown up with. He had been showered with love, praise and affection whilst Misty had to grow up with her sisters. Of course her sisters loved her and she could go to them for help or advice but it wasn't the same as going to your mom.

When he noticed tears falling down Misty's cheeks, he wrapped one arm around her shoulder and rested her head on his shoulder.

Misty couldn't believe what was happening. She and Ash had never gone passed holding hands before because they were just friends but she had to admit, being held by Ash had to be one of the best feelings she had ever experienced. She felt so fragile in his arms and he was just so warm and perfect.

They both sat without saying another word as they watched the fire flicker and burn.

Ash had to admit that he didn't expect to feel so… good… from just having his arm around the red haired girl and having her head resting on his shoulder. He had only wanted to comfort her, so why did he feel like he was the one being comforted? It was like there was something missing inside of him and as he pulled Misty a little closer, the hole inside of him was slowly beginning to fill up.

"I've missed you a lot," Misty smiled as she played with her hands on her legs. She just didn't want this to end. It was like there was a completely different side to Ash that she had never seen before, that no one had ever seen before.

"I missed you too. Travelling just wasn't the same without you, Mist." He answered truthfully.

It really wasn't the same without her. Sure, he argued with Dawn, May and Iris but it was never the same as it was with Misty. When he argued with the fiery red head he somewhat enjoyed the arguments whereas with the others' it was boring and predictable. With Misty, she always does the thing you least expect her to do and that was one of the many reasons why he liked having her around.

Misty's heart beat increased and she blushed slightly. She pulled away from Ash even though she suddenly felt cold the minute she sat up and gazed into his chocolate brown eyes. He looked at her with a confused look in his eyes as she looked down at the ground and then looked back up at him with a fierce determination shining brightly in her eyes.

"What's wrong, Misty?"

"Ash, I need to tell you something." Misty said seriously, "And I don't want you to interrupt me until I'm finished, okay?"

"Sure, just tell me what's wrong." He said suddenly worried as he sat up in front of her so they were both now facing each other.

Misty took a deep breath and started her story right back to when they first met right up until today. She watched with a wary expression as many different emotions played across Ash's face from confusion to joy to more confusion to disbelief until it finally landed on understanding and something that seemed to look like happiness although she wasn't too sure. "So you see I never really cared about the bike. I followed you around for so long because I love you and I have loved you from the day we first met when I saw how much you cared for Pokémon and your friends."

"Brock knew this entire time?" Ash said sounding a little angry and hurt. He had spent years away from Misty with only the odd phone call every so often to see how the other was doing and Brock knew about Misty's feelings this whole time?

She smiled slightly and shrugged, "He's always known, everyone has. I think even Team Rocket knew about my feelings. They were kind of obvious Ash."

Ash looked at the girl before him with guilt in his eyes. He had been so obsessed with being the best trainer and becoming a Pokémon master that he had never taken into account how his friends were feeling. Now that he looked back and now that he was more mature, he could see all the signs and every single one of them felt like a slap in the face because they were just so obvious. From the time she saved him by pulling him out of the river, to the blushes whenever someone mentioned her liking him, to the kiss from Melody which led to her almost killing Melody due to her jealousy to her almost crying when she thought he was dead that time in the towers.

But what did he do now? He wasn't experienced with girls. He had just had his first hug with a girl only a couple of minutes ago and it wasn't even a real hug!

Misty could see the unsure look in his eyes and smiled at his innocence. He may be older now but at heart he was still the little ten year old kid who destroyed her bike.

Without warning, Ash leaned forward towards Misty and gently placed his lips on hers. Misty's eyes widened slightly before closing and returning his kiss. Her heart felt like it was about to leap out of her chest it was beating so fast and a warm feeling inside of her stomach was making itself known as Ash placed one hand on her waist and ran the other through her hair.

After a few minutes, they broke a part to catch their breaths but they didn't even stop for thirty seconds before Misty sat on Ash's lap and started to kiss him again.

"I love you," Misty whispered against Ash's lips as they parted for air once again.

Ash smiled, "I love you too, Mist." He whispered, "I'm so glad you came back."