Izzy here, with my fanfic, "Before," an Ash/Misty piece churned out after seeing the series for the first time in years. This is based on the episode of Pokemon:Masterquest which ends with Ash and Misty learning they've been pitted against each other. I've heard different things on who owns it, and I'll just concede my headache.


By Izzy

"I'm just excited to be a part of all this."

Not the response I was expecting. Misty is many things, but humble usually isn't one of them. Sometimes I think a number of our arguments result from the fact that we're both very ambitious. I've heard that can lead to clashes. I'm not sure how, but if it does, it does.

I get up and join her at the window. "You've always wanted to be, haven't you?" She nods. It takes me a second in the darkness to realize she's blushing. "Um, Misty, why are you blushing?"

"I'm not," she says, and turns quickly away. I reach out and try to pull her back around, "Come on, Misty, I know you're blushing. It's okay, you can tell me why."

She's giggling now. "No, I can't! Oh my goodness, why now?"

"Why now what?" But she only giggles harder, and I can tell there's no getting an answer out of her. At least she's turned back around.

I watch as she calms down. Then looks up at me. And suddenly, it's all strange. It's been strange for a long time, between us, I mean. Maybe it's always been strange. But she never broke down into helpless giggles before.

Feeling awkward, I reach out and place a hand on her shoulder. I've got a vague idea of saying she's going to win tommorrow, but suddenly she moves towards me, so swiftly there's no time to react before her head is on my shoulder and her arms are around my neck. Feeling even more awkward, and that doesn't seem strange, I wrap an arm around her.

Neither of us speaks. It just doesn't seem appropriate. I can feel her breathing. She's very warm. After several seconds I don't feel awkward, and I don't feel strange anymore either. I feel good, calm. I don't know what I'm doing, but it's the right thing to do it.

Finally I say, "We should get some sleep."

"Yes." I let go of her as she pulls away. Then I turn and return to my bunk. I've pushed the blankets up and lain down when I discover she's followed me, and she's standing right in front of the bunk. She's definitely blushing again. "Ash...can I sleep with you tonight?"

"Why?" My mind flies. Of course, I know what "sleep with you" usually implies, but I don't think she means that.

She shrugs. "I don't know. I just want to." Not knowing what to say, I don't say anything. It's a few seconds before she adds, "Please?"

I don't know if it's the "please," or if I just needed to get over the shock, but I find myself willing to grant her request. "Um, all right, if we both fit." I slide to the far side of the bunk, and she climbs in and pulls the blankets back up. We're pressing against each other, but we both fit fine. She snuggles in a little closer, and I actually find myself pleased. She sighes softly, and I can feel her body settling down. So close to mine.

Suddenly I feel my groin twitch. Desperately I try to will my body not to do anything, though I've learned by now there's no controlling it. I shift, hoping she won't notice anything.

She does. She pulls back. "I'm sorry, Ash. If you want me to go back to my bunk-"

"No!" How do I explain this? I've never felt so embarrased. "I just...I've got a problem." I finish lamely.

Lame, maybe, but she gets the message. "Oh." I watch as she tries to figure out what to do.

Then she grins, looking a bit embarrased herself, and snuggles back in. Come to think of it, her breasts are soft. I never knew breasts were so soft. I shouldn't be thinking about that.

"What if Brock finds us like this tommorrow morning?" she asks.

"Well," I respond, "we'll explain that you got nervous about your upcoming match, I tried to comfort you, and we both fell asleep. He'll accept it." That isn't the truth, exactly. But I'm not sure I would be able to explain the truth to anyone. I'm not even sure what it even is.

I reach out a hand, and place it on her shoulder, and she does likewise. We're much closer than the bed requires, but right now, I wouldn't have it otherwise. I really wouldn't.

"You're very special, Ash." she says.

"I am?" I have the feeling there's another meaning to her words.

"To me you are." Now I'm sure there's another meaning. One I could convey in kind. But should I?

I do. "You're very special to me too, Misty." I wonder what I've just said. No, I don't. I know just what I've just said, and what she's just said too. Even I can spot that one. But we won't confess to those deeper meanings. Not yet.

I lie there, Misty in my arms, slowly falling asleep.

The Following Night

She's by the window again. I'm sitting on my bunk, watching her, not knowing what to do.

After we left the wall where the matches for the next round were posted, it seemed to be an unspoken agreement to not discuss our next match against each other. We've gone through the rest of the day talking about other things, but this one thing seems to be hanging over us, driving just a bit of a distance between us. I'll be glad when it's over, whichever of us wins.

Maybe then she can sleep with me again, because I'm not sure I'll get any sleep until then. For the past hour I've tried to get to sleep, but I keep think about her body pressing against mine, her breathing in my ear, and I want it. I need it. I can't sleep without it. One night, and I've developed a desire to spend every night with her by my side.

Really, that's a pretty bad problem to have, the night before a match. But I can hardly ask her to help her opponent out. Even if she might do it simply out of a sense of fair play, it still feels wrong to ask.

She turns and looks at me, and for one horrifying moment I think she's been crying. There would be no doubt what she was crying about. In an instant I'm out of bed and by her side, ready to do something-*anything*-to cheer her up. At the expression in her eyes my heart sinks. She hasn't been crying, but she will be if she stands here much longer.

"Misty-" I start, though I have no idea what I can say.

"You're going to win, you know," she says softly.

"No..." Her head's down, she doesn't want to look at me. "Misty..." I grab her chin and force her to look at me. "Don't give up."

"I'll give you a fair fight, if you want it," she continued.

"Do that," I say, "but don't do it for my sake, Misty. Do it for yours. Fight for yourself. And don't ever assume you're going to lose a match, no matter who it's against."

"Oh, Ash!" Now she is going to cry. At first I think I've done something wrong, but then something makes me think it's all right. And then she throws herself into my arms, and I hold her as close as I can. Her tears roll onto my back. "You're so amazing!"

"No more amazing then you are," I murmer back, and I mean it.

"Me?" she laughs through her tears. "What have I done?"

"Well, for starters, you've made me dependent on your sleeping with me with only one night."

She pulls away from me and stares at me, stunned. "Don't be upset, Misty, please," I plead. I move back towards her, and suddenly I realize I'm going to kiss her. I barely touch her lips before I pull away hastily, then I stare, waiting for her verdict.

Her smile is slow to form, but the relief it brings with it is wonderful. "Lets get some sleep." she says. "Together."

Together we back back to the bed and slide under the covers, then squirm around, trying to get comfortable, until we settle. I feel my groin twitch, but this time I don't feel embarrased, and she doesn't react at all. We smile at each other, and words just can't convey what we feel, what is shared between us.

Let us have to fight each other, and others, and let us suffer other hardships like the ones we have already, and worse even, and let us argue all we want. As long as at the end of the day, I hold Misty in my arms and she sleeps contented, I will be the happiest person in this world.