It's been a long time, eh? Sorry about that. College has been throwing my schedule off like crazy. Anyway, I'm back. And I would like to present you with a story that, while not a continuation, is tied in with a previous story I've done. Call this a "Side-B" of the "New Year, New Beginnings" story I did before. This is from Ash's perspective. I hope you guys enjoy!


New Year, New Beginnings: Ash

Boring. Laying here, on my bed. Staring up at the ceiling. As much as I hate to say it, being back in Pallet, tends to lose its luster after a while. Maybe I should have stayed in Blackthorn… or not. I don't know. New Year's is in a couple of days and I promised Brock we could hit the road again after that. Finally. I'm starting to realize that I was born for the open road. Of course, it was a lot more fun when Misty was around. Not to say that Brock isn't cool, or May, or Dawn… but… come on, it's Misty. Alright, I've lost it. I'm talking to myself. Well, inwardly talking… is inwardly a word? Ugh. I need a distraction.

"Pikachu!" I call out to him.

Don't even know why I'm calling him.

…Oh, yes, I do. He always helps me, by just being there.

Huh.

No sound of his tiny footsteps.

Where'd he go? Guess I should go look for him. I was getting tired of laying here, anyway. Up out of bed I go.

He's nowhere upstairs.

Downstairs. No sign of him… or Mom. Huh. Weird.

Oh, here we go. Note on the kitchen table. "Ash, gone to the store. Pikachu went with me. Be back after a while. Love, Mom." Wow. She even put a heart on it. Geez, what a mom. Oh, well, she's the only one I got.

Hmm, I wonder what Misty is up to. Maybe… I should call her. After all… she's my friend. Just my friend. There's the phone, hanging up on the wall like it has since I was born. Come on, Ash. Just pick up the phone and call her. Nothing new or weird about that. So, just pick the stupid phone… and call her. Yep… nothing out of the ordinary phone call to Misty. Yep, just Misty. She's just… totally, extraordinary, amazing, beautiful…

"I wish Brock were here so I could complain to him."

Ah, I need to get my mind off of her… again. But what could…?

Food.

The trusty refrigerator. Yep, I can always find it… to be completely empty.

…Great.

Oh, well… there went that plan.

The phone rings. Wait… not the house phone. Cell phone! Upstairs!

Racing up the stairs to get the phone… I really need to remember to carry that thing with me. I spent all that money and forget it half the time. I look at the ID. Who else could it be? Trusty Brock.

"Hey, Brock," I answer.

"Hey," he replies, "what's going on, brother?"

"Not much, man," I answer, "What are you up to?"

"Nothing," he says, "I'm just getting ready to go."

Go? Go where? "Where you headed?"

"Goldenrod."

"The city?"

"No, the pastry shop. Yes, the city!"

We both have a good laugh. Guess that was a dumb question. I could almost hear him rolling his eyes. I have that effect on Brock. Always have, I think.

"Alright, alright," I answer after I calm down a bit, "Why you going there?"

"You hadn't heard?" he asks me.

"Duh! If I did, I wouldn't've asked."

He laughs again. "There's gonna be a huge party there. Everyone's gonna be there. It's called the New Year's Ever Party."

I laugh hard at that. For a few minutes, in fact. "MAN, that sounds so lame!"

Brock can't help but laugh, too. "Okay, okay! So it does. But some friends are paying, so, I'm going."

I let a few more laughs get out then say, "That's cool, man. I hope you have fun."

"Thanks. What are you going to do?"

I shrug, like he can see me. "I'm going to just chill here in Pallet."

"By yourself?"

"Yeah."

"By. Yourself?"

Huh? Why would we ask again and… all broken up. "Yeah."

He's quiet for a second… what's up with him? Suddenly I hear the house phone ringing.

"Hold up a sec, Brock."

I rush to answer the video phone in the kitchen, still with my cell phone up to me ear. I answer it…

"ARE YOU SERIOUS!" Brock's face and voice jumps at me!

I nearly fall on the floor… in fact… I do.

I get up, naturally hanging up my cell phone, and say, "DUDE, WHAT? You nearly gave me a heart attack!"

"You're gonna stay home? On New Year's? Where you could be somewhere else?"

Okay, I have act like I don't know what he's talking about. "I don't have any idea…."

"Don't even try it!"

Crap. I forgot… Brock knows me too well for me to do that.

"So, are you seriously not going to see her?"

"No!" I can't believe we are having this talk… again.

He groans. "You're so lame!"

Lame! Me? I think I'm offended. "What makes you think Misty would even wanna see me?"

"Is she still breathing?"

I laugh. "Far as I know."

"Then she wants to see you."

Okay, this is getting a little heavy. I shrug. "I dunno, Brock."

He looks at me, like he's trying to find something. "Look, I want you to make me a promise."

"Okay?" What the heck is this about?

"I want to promise me that you'll, at least, think about going to see her, alright?"

I roll my eyes.

"Promise!"

"Alright, alright." Wow.

He settled back a bit. "Cool. I want you to call me and let me know what you're gonna do. I'm leaving the day before New Years'. I'll be waitin' for ya to call."

I laugh again. "Cool, man. Later."

"Later."

I hang the phone up. Suddenly… I'm not so hungry anymore… but really tired.

It's been over an hour since I talked to Brock and my mind's been goin' ever since. I lay in my bed but I can't sleep. It's not a secret between me and him… and me and Pikachu… and me and Mom… that I've always had feelings for Misty. She's always been there for me. Ever since the beginning, Misty's been that friend I can count on… no matter what. I suppose… I've always had these feelings for her… but I thought those were just friend for friend feeling. But… after spending time with May and Dawn… I realize that the feelings I have for Misty… are very different. And those feelings… have only gotten stronger lately. They're keeping me up at night. It's funny how that works since I haven't been anywhere near her. I mean, May, Dawn… their cool… but… they were never… I don't know. They lacked something. No, they didn't… Misty just has something over me none of them had… she's always had it.

The door to the house opens.

Mom and Pikachu must be back.

"Ash! Honey! Are you up?" My mom calls out, "We're home!"

Yep. That's Mom.

"Pika pika!"

And Pikachu.

I go down stairs and see her putting food away in various places. Pikachu at her feet.

"Hey, guys," I greet them.

"Hi honey," Mom says.

"Pikachu," Pikachu says.

"Glad you're finally up," Mom goes on, "I could have sworn that you'd sleep right through New Year's."

Mom always has been one to take things to the extreme.

She moves over the kitchen sink, turns the water on, and starts cleaning some things. "I'd hate for you to miss that. Did you make your New Year's Wish card yet?"

Oh, forgot that. Been doin' it ever since I was little. Haven't done it yet. Wonder where my head's been?

…Oh, yeah… never mind.

"Ash?"

"Uh… no, sorry, Mom, I haven't gotten to it."

"Oh, okay. No rush, dear."

Dodged that bullet. At least, she didn't ask me why I haven't done it yet.

"You have any plans for New Year's, by the way?"

Why am I getting asked that question so much all of a sudden? Okay, it's only been two people but, come on. I fold my arms and lean against the wall. "Nah, not really."

She stops suddenly and looks at me through the reflection in the window over the sink. "Really?"

I just shrug my shoulders. "Nowhere to go."

She turns the water off. Never seen her do that mid-wash. She then turns toward me, drying her hands, "You know, I talked to Misty about a week ago. She told me that she had no plans, either."

Uh-oh.

"Maybe…" she continues, "you should go see her."

I shake my head. "Nah, I don't think I should. She's always so busy. Don't even think she wants to see me. Besides, this is Misty we're talking about. She probably has plans already. Maybe even… a date."

"Pika!" he shouts. He almost sounds surprised to hear me say that.

But… I have to admit: saying that she might have a date… was hard to get out of my mouth.

My mom walks to the kitchen table and leans against a chair. "Do you want her to have a date?"

There's a question I don't know how to answer. I could be the kind hearted friend and say 'Yes, and I hope she has a great time,' which would not be far from the truth. Except for it would be in addition with 'Yes, and I want that date to be with me' part.

I'll go the safe route. "It's her life."

My mom stands staring at me. Now, that I look down at him, so does Pikachu. But I swear he has a look that says, 'Ash, Ash, Ash.'

"Sit down, Ash." My mom motions.

I have feeling I'm not gonna like this.

Regardless, I sit down. Pikachu hops on the table and stands in front of me. Mom sits across from me, resting her elbows on the table, breaking a cardinal rule if we were eating, interlocking her fingers, and rests her chin on them, staring at me.

…She does this for about thirty seconds.

"Uh… Mom?"

"Why aren't you going to go see Misty?"

I'm surprised. I could use the typical 'you're my mother and I know how you feel about me being around girls' excuse. Haven't used it in a while. I'll go with that. "Because…"

"And before you answer, keep in mind that I know and trust you around Misty more than any other girl."

Okay, that didn't work. I didn't even get that one off the runway.

"That… and I like her more than other girls you travelled with."

Really? I give her my 'oh, come on' look. "Mom…"

"I didn't say that I didn't like them, Ash. It's just… when you travelled with Misty…"

She looks like she trying to find the right words.

"Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself when you were around Misty?"

"What do you mean?"

She sighs. "Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror when you're near her?"

I'm confused. "Well, yeah, Mom. I kinda lived near her for years. I had to brush my teeth."

Her turn to give me the look. I think I'm irritating her. "Ash…"

I throw my hands up in defense and say, "Alright, alright."

"For a minute, Ash, please, be honest and serious."

I've never heard Mom sound like this before. She sounds… so different. Like, still a mom, but… in a different way.

But I nod and agree to be honest and serious.

"Ash, when you left here to start your journey, I was so proud for you… and scared."

First time I heard her say that. I'm honestly surprised. She never gave the impression that she was worried as in scared for me. Sure, the typical Mom concern was there but… I never would have guessed scared.

"And it's not because you were going out in the world by yourself, as hard as you may find this to believe, that truly isn't it at all."

She's right. I do find that hard to believe.

But she's not lying. She never has. Not to me. Or anyone, far as I know.

"Then what?" I ask. Now I have to know.

"Pika?" Even Pikachu sounds curious.

"All your life, Ash," she starts, "you've been preoccupied with your dream. And I loved that and never stopped you but…"

But?

"You… never really had any friends around you. The closest you had was Gary… and he terrorized you since you were both little. I was so afraid that…"

She stops. I think I see tears forming.

"…That you would not make any friends… that you would be so alone."

She sniffs as she tries to keep herself from crying. I… never had any clue Mom felt like this.

"But… when I learned that you were travelling with people, I felt so relieved. Finally… you had friends. I'll admit that you travelling with a girl wasn't exactly an idea I was thrilled with but…"

I chuckle and Pikachu smiles.

"But you finally had friends… people you could trust. Friends… and Misty, I'm convinced, became more than that. I've just been waiting for you to say it. Of course, even before you told me, I knew you were different because of her. It was… just the way you looked. When she was around, when you talk about her."

I kind of look away.

"You have great feelings for Misty… you have to tell her. You shouldn't ever wait to tell someone how you feel about them."

I look around the room as Mom's words swirl in my head. I told her I had feelings for Misty a long time ago. I was just never sure what those were… never really felt like this before… about anyone. But… Misty… changed everything… even still…

"But Mom, how do you know she even feels this way?"

"Because I know."

I shake my head. "Yeah, you might… but… I'm… just not so sure."

"But Ash, think about it: you can tell her. Use the coming new year to change things."

I looked around run my hands over my face. I just keep thinking the same thing:

It's not gonna happen.

I get up from the table, feeling a little like I feel after taking on Paul or Gary: defeated.

"Thanks, Mom," I say, "but… I don't think this is gonna happen… this year or any other."

With that, I'm going to back to my room.

I get up from the table and start the "funeral march" toward my room.

I must have really sounded depressed. Pikachu isn't even following me.

Back in my room, laying back on my bed.

It's been hours I've been lying here, the sun's gone down and I've been looking at the stars for a while now. I'm nowhere near tired.

I keep thinking about Misty.

Brock and Mom just don't get it. They don't get how much I want to tell her. How much I wish I could tell her.

I need to get my mind off of this. At least for a little while.

I turn on my radio…

Turning it back off.

It's like a love song was every single station.

And I'm not falling for that trap of turning the T.V. on. Probably nothin' on anyway.

Well… there is one activity I can do: the New Year's card. It's a tradition for me and Mom to do what we love to do. Just a little card that make every year on what we want to do with that year. We like to look back at them just for fun.

…Funny… This year, this thing is so hard to write.

I hear my door creak open and look to see my faithful buddy, Pikachu, walk in.

He has the same look Mom and Brock have both had lately.

"Don't start."

"Pika Pikachu pika" ("Stop acting like this").

Even thought I can't translate, I know what he's saying.

"Why are you on my case about this too?"

This time, he's throwing in arm gestures.

"Pika pika Pikachu pika pi" ("Because I'm your friend and I care").

"I know you're my friend and I know you care but you don't…"

"PIKA PI!" ("STOP IT").

I shut up.

"Pikachu."

He doesn't just say that so often when we're talking.

I look at him…

Then back at my blank piece of paper…

Then back up at Pikachu…

"I'll make you deal: if I right something along the line of what I think you just said as my New Year's Eve wish, I'll go do it. Deal?"

"Pika!" ("Deal!").

I take hold of my pencil, put it to the paper, and start to write.

Funny. It's the hardest thing the world to admit and say but so easy to write.

I finish it in seconds. Hold the paper to Pikachu and let him read what it says:

"This New Year's, my wish is to tell Misty that I love her."

Pikachu smiles.

"You said to go see her… didn't ya, pal?"

He gives me two thumbs up.

I smile at him. "Thanks, buddy."

I get up, Pikachu looked at me funny while I did. I think he's thinking, "Where is he going?" He follows me to find out.

I go downstairs where my mom is watching T.V.

She looks up and asked, "Ash? What's wrong?"

"I'm going to Cerulean. Need anything while I'm out?"

She smiles at my joke… and I think more than that.

The next night, I'm in Cerulean. It's New Year's Eve. Funny, it was seems like seconds after I told my mom that I was leaving… and I'm in Cerulean on New Year's Eve and in a taxi cab, sitting outside the Cerulean City Gym. I can't help but stare at the gym, knowing what I'm about to do.

"Hey, pal, you gettin' out?" the cab driver asks me.

"Wha? Oh, yeah," I said. His question broke my concentration… which is probably a good thing. I shouldn't over think this… then again, when do I ever?

But for some reason, I'm…

"Hey, I know that you probably aren't the expert or anything but I gotta ask someone, if you were in love with girl, how would tell her?"

The cab driver looks at me and said, "Love, eh?" He chuckles and says, "Kid, let me tell ya, you just gotta do it. There ain't no secret to it. Ya say it. Ya be honest about it. That's how it's gotta be done."

I smile and say, "Thanks, man."

"No problem."

I start to hand him the money for the cab ride but he put his hands and says, "Keep it. Buy your girl somethin' nice."

I'm blown away. "Thanks… a-again."

"No problem, kid. Happy New Year."

"Happy New Year."

I get out. He drives off. Both of us waving at each other.

I stare at the gym, thinking about that beautiful, fiery, redhead who's always had a hold on me.

What do I say?

How do I say it?

What will I do if she doesn't feel the same way?

No. Stop, Ash.

No more time to worry about it.

Time to stop thinking.

It's time to do.

I walk closer to the gym.

Pull out my new cell phone. I kinda broke the last one. She probably won't even recognize the number.

Oh, well.

Here goes nothing…

Correction: here goes everything.

Take one last deep breath… and make the call.

It's ringing.

A couple more times.

Oh, man. Maybe she IS out on a date.

Suddenly, she picks up.

Here we go, Ash. Don't blow this.

"Hello?" she answers.

"Hey, Mist!"


Well, there you go. I left the ending open because I already covered it in the first story. Well, not really, but, in my mind, Misty and Ash have the same feelings toward each other so their thought processes are pretty much the same. Anyway, comments are more than welcome, they are so very much encouraged! Thanks in advance.