Hello, everyone. I'm back again. With another AAML. How can you not love this couple? Anyway, Misty is going through some things and they are all coming to head for her at one with New Year's on the way. She needs help getting through it. How will she do it? Will she do it? Read and see. The whole story is told from Misty's POV. Comments are awesome and so are all of you! :)

(UPDATE on 2-11-10: Since it had been suggested, I am going to do a story from Ash's perspective.)


New Year, New Beginnings

It's such a routine. This time of year. One more New Year on the way. Three more days. New things for the coming year. Whoop-dee-doo… Man, I can't stand it. Nothing ever really changes. Things are always the same. At least… they are for me. Heck, I even spend New Year's the same. Sitting at home, watching what others are doing to bring the New Year's on television. I really shouldn't be this cynical and depressed at 23 but I can't help it. I should've accepted Brock's invite to Pewter… or… I should have gone to the address I got Ash's letter from. At least, then, I can be with him. …What the heck am I saying? Ugh. I keep letting my mind wander like that. Get a hold of yourself, Misty. You don't have romantic feelings for Ash. You don't like him like that… you just miss him. He's your best friend after all. You haven't seen him in a long time. That's what it is. That's all.

"LIKE MISTY!" the lovely, and by lovely I mean deathly annoying, voices of my sisters rings, like the bells of torture.

"Like, we are about to go," Violet said, "Are you coming with us or not?"

"Go where?" I ask her.

"Like, do you ever listen when we talk?" Lily asked.

I try not to.

"She never does," Daisy said, "She thinks that she is soooo much smarter than us."

That's where you're wrong, Daisy: I know I am. I really need to say one these things out loud one day. "Where are you guys going?"

"Ugh," Lily said, "you like never listen."

"That's been established," I say, "Now, where are you guys going?"

"GOLDENROD CITY!" they all sang at the same time.

You know? It is really easier for me to take their voices one by one… but when they are all the same time… "Anyway, why are you guys going there?"

"For the New Year's Ever Party!" Lily exclaimed.

"Ever?" I ask, confused. I know that they are dumb but come on.

"Yeah," Violet said, "It's the New Year's Eve party to end 'em all!"

Great, I'm sure it will be awful.

"Sounds like fun," I manage to lie with a smile. How do I do that? When did I learn to do that?

Violet scoffed and said, "You're not gonna come?"

Not in this lifetime. "No, I'm just gonna relax here," I lie again, "Someone has to watch the gym." An old, yet good excuse.

"Okay," Violet said.

So, the girls are gone. Thank God. The gym is pretty much not gonna see any business anytime soon. So, what's left to do? It's the day before New Year's Eve; go for a walk, of course.

Duh.

…I'm a loser.

Must be karma for all the times I made fun of… Ash… I wonder what he's…

"Grr! Stop that!" Ugh. I need to get out of here for a while. A walk doesn't sound so bad all of a sudden. And note to self, hitting myself in the head to get thoughts of Ash out? Probably the dumbest thing I've ever done. Well… second dumbest. Not travelling with Ash anymore was the first…

I need to get out of here.

So, Cerulean is not empty… but I sure as heck wouldn't call it full. I guess most everyone had somewhere to go. And those that didn't, had someone coming here. Maybe staying at the gym would have been a better idea… especially, now looking at the couple sitting on the bench kissing. I wonder what kissing Ash would…

"Oh, come on!"

People are staring. …I yelled that out loud.

Alright, I'm embarrassed. Walking now. Faster.

I need to figure out somewhere to go. Fast. Café Shell. Perfect. Ms. Sarah's always been real cool and easy to talk to. I can hide out… I mean, go there.

…Great. Now I lie to myself. When will it stop?

I'm a few feet away from the café and I can already smell the pastries. Oh, I so need one right now! The second I walk in my ever faithful, six-year-old buddy Lisa greets me.

"Misty!" she screams. She runs up and hugs me. The smile on this little girl could brighten anyone's day, no matter how bad the day was or unhappy the person. She certainly does it for me. I'm glad she's here.

"Hi, Lisa. How have you been?" I let go of her so she can answer.

"Doing just fine," she replied, bouncing as always, "I'm gonna show you just how much better I am with my water Pokémon. I'm gonna beat you one day, Misty. You wait and see."

She is so good at making me smile. "I'm sure you will, girlie."

She wants to be like me. Honestly, I don't know why. She is so sweet. She always makes me feel better. Like… I'm worth a lot. I think she puts more stock in me than I put in me. "Where are your parents?"

"Oh, they went to Goldenrod City. Some kind of party or something. They told me to stay here with grandma."

Ugh, again with Goldenrod. Not that I blame her parents, though. It's good that they can get away. The Café Shell is their place and they put a lot of work into it. They always have. They've earned a break. "Okay. But you're grandma's here?"

"Oh, yeah. I'll go get her. Have a seat."

I sit down at a table by the window and watch people and cars go by. I spent a lot of time here and I've always loved it. Just watching people. Just killing time. Just having an ordinary day. But approaching me, is sooo not an ordinary woman.

Ms. Sarah walks up to my table and, as she sits down, says, "Your mother used to sit there just like that, Misty. So many years ago."

Ms. Sarah I've known since I can remember. She's 73, tough as nails, says what she wants, and doesn't take any mess from anybody. She's always been like a grandmother to me. I've always said that she'll outlive me. She always looked out for me and my sisters and she inspired to take my Pokémon journey in the first place. She… always looked for me ever since my parents… were gone. "Hi, Ms. Sarah."

"How are you, Misty?"

I would lie but she would know better. Ms. Sarah has always had this uncanny ability to read me like a book, no matter what. So, I take a deep breath and say, "Been better."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you feel better."

"Thanks."

"Where are your sisters?"

"Goldenrod City."

"Why didn't you go?"

I fall quiet a second longer than I should have. "Didn't… feel like going. Not up to it."

Then she became silent a little longer than she usually is. She folded her arms and asked, "And they didn't think to stay home with you?"

I don't want to answer but she's going to make me if I don't. "No, but even if they would offered I would have told them to go. I… just wanted to be alone."

She leans on the table with her arm. "Yeah, New Year's Eve had the same effect on your mother when your father wasn't in town. Until you girls came along that is."

Talking about my parents… always a way to start the tears. Ms. Sarah knows that. I've never been afraid to cry in front of her, though… "I… miss them still."

"I know, baby girl."

Tears are falling a little now. Only a couple, not many. She's seen me cry. I'm okay with that. Even Lisa seeing my cry is alright. I only feel that way about two other human people in this world. Brock… and Ash. I don't let anyone else see me cry. I can't. I'm the strong one. I have to be. I will be. I am. But… it does get hard. There was only one time when it… didn't seem so bad. When… I was travelling… "But it gets hard."

"Being strong all the time? Or being lonely?"

Her question hits hard. The second one, obviously. No sense even lying about it. "That obvious?"

"Only to those who know you."

Even through the tears, I look at her with my "really?" look, since my sisters' claim to "know" me.

She thinks about it and says, "Let me rephrase that: knows you… and pays attention to you. I love your sisters, baby girl, but they can be kind of… dim."

"Dumb, Ms. Sarah. Just say it." Lord knows I want to sometimes.

Ms. Sarah laughs but then refocuses. "Misty, I know that you're lonely. I know that you have had it hard. You have to be the adult among three grown children and you don't get to see your friends. You don't even get to travel anymore and I know how much you loved that."

More than I realized once it was over. "But, I can't worry about all that. That's not my life anymore. I can't just go back out there again."

"Says who?" Ms. Sarah was always blunt. "You listen to me and listen good. Alright?"

I nod.

"Your sisters need to start behaving like adults and stop leaving all the responsibility to you. You had to grow up quick and that just wasn't fair to you. I know that your parents would never have approved of that. You're the little sister. You should have gotten to be one for longer than you did. The second they get back I'm gonna talk to them."

Oh, I hope she does. Nothing like watching Ms. Sarah talk to my sisters to make me feel better.

"But Misty. I want you to take this time to think about what you want. Be it to travel, be a water Pokémon master… a boy." I caught that. "Or whatever. And I want to start to really change at midnight New Year's. I think you already know what you want. But even if you're still deciding, please, promise me that you will seriously consider it. That's what New Year's is for: new beginnings."

"I will."

After a few more minutes of more pleasant and less emotional conversation, it's time to go ahead and head home. Sweet Lisa has brought me some nice pastries and her grandma some coffee. I'm gonna pay for this, even though Ms. Sarah never wants me to. I reach for my wallet and after I pull it out, something falls out of pocket. Lisa picks it up before I can. It's a picture of Ash and Pikachu in front of a gym after they just won a battle. It came with the letter. I don't even remember putting that in my pocket.

"Hey, Misty, isn't this your boyfriend?" Lisa's question is one that usually wouldn't bother me but, this time… I'm tongue tied.

"Uh… uh… no… that's… uh… just… Ash. Yeah, Ash."

"I know," Lisa says, "From Pallet right? He's your boyfriend. Isn't he?"

I don't answer fast enough for either of them. Instead, I stammer some more. Why won't words come out the way I want them to?

Ms. Sarah puts her coffee cup to her mouth and says, "I'd call that a yes." She takes a sip.

"He's not!" Wow, my voice got loud.

"Mm-hmm," Ms. Sarah says, putting her coffee down, "Do you think about him?"

Of course, I was going to say until she finishes, "A lot?"

I can't answer.

"All the time?" she asks.

I won't answer.

Then came the key question: "When you think about him, do you stop and pause? Fall into a bit of a daydream?"

I'm… afraid to answer.

"Misty's got a boyfriend!" Lisa sings in a sing-song voice.

God, how much I wish that were true.

"Hush up, now, Lisa," Ms. Sarah says, coming to my rescue as always. "This is a more grown-up thing than you're used to." She turns back to me. "Misty, if you are feeling this way, which I know you are because you are not answering, you know that means that you are in love. Now, if it's this Ash boy, the same one you are always going on and on about, I have just one thing to say…"

Here it comes.

"Girl, go for it."

I'm shocked. Blown away. I can't help but stare at her. I expected a lecture about love and relationships. But "go for it." That's all. Even Lisa didn't say anything. She just gives me that cute girl smile that I love to see.

"Thanks, Ms. Sarah. And you, too, Lisa." I get up from the table. "I'm gonna head home. Thank you both… for everything."

As I head out the Café Shell door and make my way back to the gym, I think about what I was just told but… I feel like crying all over again. As much as I would things to change, they won't. My sisters won't grow up. I'll be stuck running the gym. And Ash…

Ash…

He'll never…

I'll cry when I get home. No one will see it then.

New Year's Eve… and a cup of noodles. I keep looking at the picture Ash sent of him and Pikachu as it sits on the coffee table. I… kinda propped it up against some movie cases. For reasons I really cannot explain, I keep… staring at it. I almost stared at him for ten minutes… Did I just say "him"? …Huh, guess I did. What Ms. Sarah said was true… When you have someone you just can't get out of your head… when they are on your mind all the time… Oh great! I'm in love with a guy I can never have! He's off trotting the world and making a name for himself and I'm stuck here! Ooooh! I should never have left him. Those were great times we had. Darn it. I was an idiot for giving all that up. This is gonna be a horrible New Year. It's about a half hour 'til midnight. Maybe I'll see if I can find the trio on TV. The Goldenrod City party is being broadcast on all the stations. Looking at it now, doesn't seem so bad a party. You know? As I sit on this couch, I think about all the other New Year's Eves I spent on this thing. And almost all of them sucked something awful. I would cry again… but there's no point.

10 minutes until midnight. My noodles cup is empty and I've moved on to a bowl of ice cream. Still haven't seen the girls on TV. Really don't know why I was expecting to. Oh, well. Another midnight, another new year. I doubt anything will change this year. Sorry, Ms. Sarah, but I guess… this time… you're wrong. The phone rings. Who could be calling now? I don't recognize the number on the caller ID. Ah, what the heck? I'm bored. And the night can't get worse.

"Hello?" I answer.

"Hey, Mist!" a voice I recognize somewhat answers.

"Who is this?" I ask because I'm not entirely sure if this is who I think it is.

"Oh, well, gee, that's nice that," the person said with a very familiar sarcastic tone, "We've only been best friends since we were ten."

"ASH!" I… I can't believe it's him.

"What's up, Mist?" he asks me, "You busy?"

"Uh, no," I admit. Couldn't think of a lie fast enough. "I'm just sitting at home."

"On New Year's?" he asks me, "I'd expect you to be out on a date."

Why would he say that? "No, just sittin' at the home."

"I'm surprised that no guy was lucky enough to be out with you tonight."

Alright, what is going on? Since when does Ash say things like that… to me?

"Um, no, no," I said, trying to find the right words, "Just… at the gym."

"Oh, okay," he said.

Ash got real quite all of a sudden, making me worry.

So, I ask him, "Ash, are you okay?"

"Um, yeah," Ash said, "Hey, Mist, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, Ash." Ash knows better than that. He can talk to me about anything, anytime and he knows that. "What is it?"

I can tell that he is nervous about something as he says, "Well… This is kind of hard to ask 'cause you may not get why I'm asking."

He sounds… different. Not just nervous but different. "Just ask me. I'll answer the best I can."

"Okay." I hear him take a deep breath. "Have… have you ever… wanted something… something that you want more than anything… but know that you will never have it? No matter how bad you want it."

It's like he can read my mind. Oh God, if only he could. I love you, Ash. I can finally admit it to myself. Please, please, come be with me. "And how. I've been there. I am there. You have no idea."

"What is it you want, Misty?"

His question catches me out of the blue… so, I'm trying to make up a lie real quick.

"Well… um… that is…" I'm stuttering, "I… can't… I mean…"

"Misty?"

Oh, crap. Now, whatever lie I come up with, he'll know I'm lying. I could never really lie to Ash anyway. He's always been able to see right through me. Not that I ever minded. So… maybe… maybe I can try the truth. Just admit to him… to myself. Well, out loud anyway. I can't hold it in anymore anyway. One quick silent prayer.

Please, help me.

"Alright," I give up and gathering any bit of strength and courage I have and take one, long deep breath and say, "Ash… one thing that I've always wanted, I've ever wanted… is you."

He's quiet. He's not saying anything.

"Ash?"

Nothing.

Oh, God, what did I just do? Why did I say that? Why…

"Do… you mean that?" he finally asked.

My words get caught in my throat and I want to cry again but I manage to breath out "…Yes."

Suddenly, there's a knock at my door. You've got to be kidding me! Someone is actually trying to visit now! I swear, as I open this door, if those dim witted sisters of mine are on the other side of this door I'm… looking at Ash… with a phone in his hand.

I… don't… know… what… to say.

He hangs his phone up and stares straight into my eyes. He might as well be looking at my heart. "Misty, did you really mean that… the way I think you meant that?"

He asks me. I did… I do… "Yes."

He's staring at me. What's he thinking? What's he…

Out of nowhere, his lips are pressed against mine. Oh, wow! I had no idea how good kissing him would feel… so… good. That party in Goldenrod's got nothing on this. I… don't want this to end… even if it's a dream… I don't wanna wake up.

Much to my regret, he breaks the kiss… but I can't open my eyes. If this is a dream, I can't open them… it'll end… this can't end. I won't let it.

"Misty."

I hear his voice. It sounds so real. I have to open my eyes. I have to risk it. So…

I open them. He's here. Really… here. This is real.

"Misty…"

Please, say it, Ash.

"…I love you. I always have. I don't want to spend any more time not being with you."

I'm crying. I know I am. I can't stop myself. I don't want to this time. These… are good tears.

He puts his hand on the side of my face, lightly touching my cheek. Even a touch from his hand feels amazing. …I had forgotten that.

"Ash… I love you, too."

He kisses me again. This one is way better than the first. I know, for sure, it's not a dream this time. It can't be. My dreams have never been this good.

As we are kissing, I hear shouting over the TV and explosions in the air over Cerulean City. Choruses of "Happy New Year" from the TV and from the fireworks over Cerulean.

We stop kissing and we take a quick minute to look at the fireworks. I'm smiling. I can tell that this smile is different. I looked up at Ash. He's smiling, too. A smile looks so great on him. After a few more fireworks, Ash looks me in my eyes and whispers, "Happy New Year, Misty."

I whisper back, "Happy New Year, Ash."

We kiss again. These just keep getting better. Ms. Sarah was right. My sisters may never change but this… this is what I want. Ash… here with me. Loving me. And me him. Just that alone… I can take everything else. I can face everything else. Things will be different. Be better. This is a New Year. This is my new beginning.


Well, there you have it. I hope you guys like. Comments, rates, those are all good. If anyone would like to continuation of this story, please, let me know. Alright, thanks everyone, later.