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My song is love.
Love to the loveless shown, and it goes up.
You don't have to be alone.
-“A Message,” Coldplay
A red haired girl sat under a sycamore tree and twiddled her thumbs. A piece of paper lay on her lap. The blank lines mocked her for not having the courage to write down the feelings she kept inside. The thought of Ash made Misty’s heart ache. She missed his voice, crooked smile, and the red hat that would forever be on his head. She daydreamed, forming a mental picture of Ash she could dwell on forever. The best memories were ones that she couldn't capture on film with a camera. Misty silently wished he could read her mind, so that he'd know she was thinking of him. It wouldn’t make a difference. He seemed perfectly happy with his new companion. Dawn, the blue haired girl, seemed quite friendly.
Misty had conflicted feelings for Dawn. On one hand, she felt a kinship toward Ash’s new friend because Misty had been in that very position some time ago. On the other hand, Misty felt jealous. Her envy was strong enough to list “sabotage against Dawn” as a very possible plan. Misty scheming was interrupted when she noticed her fingers digging into the dirt. She cursed her bad temper as she tried to remove the soil from underneath her fingernails.
He'd never know how she felt and it drove her crazy. Misty’s whispers of, "sweet dreams," had been in vain. He had always been too dense to understand how much she really cared for him. He had a dream, and nothing could pull him away from it. Not even his best friend, Misty. She slapped her hand onto the ground, raising a cloud of dust.
"I shouldn’t have to be alone," Misty muttered to herself. A slight breeze ruffled the piece of paper in her hand. “I’ve had enough. I can’t take this anymore.” She picked up the pencil from its place in the grass and began to write.
She wrote the words quickly, somehow finding the courage to put her feelings into words. Pausing to compose herself, she took a deep breath, letting the pent up anger leave her body. He had left her back in Cerulean City with just a simple goodbye. He didn't know any better. His mother didn’t care when he left the house at the age of ten. Delia had waved, wished him well, and sent him off into the world. Ash never learned that sometimes, goodbye actually means “I’ll never see you again.”
Ash followed his dream. For years, Misty had been at his side, whispering words of wisdom as they journeyed through the regions. After parting ways, Misty remained at the gym, holding down the fort until her sisters returned from a world tour. Deep down, she knew that traveling the world was her purpose in life. There was just one problem. She had responsibilities that pushed her dreams and feelings to the side.
Misty glanced over at the parking lot where her sisters parked their cars. She squinted in annoyance.
“They came back a year ago. Why am I still here?” Misty picked up a pebble and threw it at the shiny black car as her temper flared. “I can’t stand this place anymore! I should get to be with the one person who understands me. Ash never made fun of me for wanting to see the world.”
She smiled for a split second when she remembered her best friend. Misty missed him as much as she missed the open road. She couldn’t tell if she enjoyed the traveling or his companionship. The line between Ash being her best friend and him being her crush blurred whenever she thought about the times they had spent together.
When they were at the festival in Maiden's Peak, Misty asked Ash to dance. He accepted, blushing and stuttering. It was the first time he had seen her in attire fit for a girl. The way he acted made the relationship line blur more every time she analyzed the details.
“Does Ash have feelings for me?” It was hard for her to tell what his reactions meant. He couldn't distinguish the feeling of being in love from the desire for ice cream on any given day. She couldn’t blame him too much. She had a hard time telling love from hate. She had being hot-headed to thank for it.
There hadn’t been a word from Ash since he arrived in Sinnoh. She had counted on weekly calls to keep her sane. Hearing Ash’s adventure stories had kept her dream alive and sustained their friendship. She feared that without hearing his voice, her memory of him would fade. The good news was that it hadn’t left her mind. She was addicted to imagining what he would say in certain situations and thrived off of his image in her head. She could admit that she was in love with him, but she wouldn't know whether she loved the thought of him or the Ash that wandered a region far away.
It seemed hopeless to fall for such a dense boy, but how could she resist the charm that was Ash Ketchum?
Your heavy heart is made of stone, and it's so hard to see clearly.
You don't have to be on your own.
- “A Message,” Coldplay
She gave the letter a glance, nodded, and signed the bottom, "Love, Misty." She folded the paper and stuck it in her pocket. Then, she headed inside to the gym office. As the glass door opened, the bell above the doorway rang, alerting her blue pet mouse, Azurill.
"Azu?" It cooed, hopping off the couch to greet her.
"Yeah, I'm back. It's okay. I didn't go for a run this time." She reached down to pet Azurill’s head. Azurill worried when Misty didn't come home. She was guilty of running away to avoid concerned family members. Her anger was easier to control when she was too exhausted to feel.
The soft humming of Azurill brought Misty back to reality. She stopped petting the mouse long enough to pull the letter from her pocket and set it on her desk.
"What do you say, cutie? Should I send this to Ash or not?" She looked down at the little water Pokémon as it bounced at her feet.
"Azu, rill rill!" It nodded.
"You're right, I'm doing it." She pulled an envelope from the box on her desk. Misty slid the letter inside, sealed it, and addressed it to Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town. She pulled the door open and lead Azurill outside into the sunlight.
"Taillow, I need you," She called, tossing a Pokeball into the air. It released her small bird Pokémon, allowing it to be free. It chirped a few times, flying circles around them before settling on Misty’s shoulder.
"Buddy, can you take this to Ash? I’m not sure where he is, but he's somewhere in Sinnoh."
"Tay!" It called in response, plucking the envelope from her hand. With a flutter of its tiny wings, it lifted off, carrying the fragile paper in its beak. She sighed, hoping that she'd see her little bird again. It's thousands of miles from Kanto to Sinnoh. She hoped Ash would get her message.
You don't have to be on your own, and I'm not gonna take it back.
I'm not gonna say, "I don't mean that."
You're the target that I'm aiming at.
Gotta get that message home.
-“A Message,” Coldplay
The letter flapped in the breeze as Taillow flew, creating just enough drag to pull the swallow down every so often. The ocean was a deep blue beneath the hovering bird, the threat of drowning made clear with every wave. Dangers meant nothing to Taillow. The little bird knew only one goal. He had to get to Ash Ketchum, someone he had only met once. There was a sense of duty that forced Taillow onward and pulled him ever closer to his target. The water soon became a lighter shade of blue, and on the horizon, a hint land appeared. A sudden burst of adrenaline hit the bird, making him shoot toward shore. Land was so close, and soon his journey would be over.
Hovering on the warm up-drafts of the sky, Taillow observed the land below, searching for a red cap. He'd never been to the Sinnoh region before, the place was foreign and he had a hard time finding signs of life. He coasted over the hills and came upon a homely little town with cobblestone streets and quaint residential buildings. People were clustering around a red building with flyers on it. Taillow landed on a streetlight, content to watch the humans from a distance. His incredible vision allowed him to study the signs posted on the front doors. After a few minutes of deciphering the human language, he came to the conclusion he was in Hearthome City, home of the Pokémon Contest League.
As Taillow was about to move on, he caught a glimpse of a bright light. His eyes focused on the reflection. The origin of the distracting was a small diamond ring. It glinted in the sunlight, making rainbow sparkles scatter into the air. Being a bird, he naturally wanted to get a closer look. He swooped down, landing gently on the cobblestone street. Taillow hopped into the crowd, weaving through the trainers outside the red building. He soon found his object of fascination. A young girl with blue hair was the owner of the sparkling ring. She fidgeted, twisting the ring back and forth on her finger. Taillow edged closer, fluttered his wings a few times and landed on her shoulder. She turned her head sharply, letting out a squeal of surprise.
"Who are you?" She asked, but Taillow was focused on the diamond ring and had a letter in his mouth, so he couldn't reply. "Aw," she cooed, holding her ring closer to him. "Ash, look! This little bird likes my new ring!" She turned to look at the black haired boy to her right. He smiled, peering over at Taillow.
"It is kinda cute. Do you think I should catch it?" Ash asked his blue haired friend. All of a sudden, the bird turned toward the boy, revealing the letter in its mouth. Taillow recognized the red cap on the boy's head. There was only one Ash with a red Pokémon League hat. Ash Ketchum!
Taillow fluttered above the girl's head before landing on Ash's cap. The bird dropped the envelope into his hand. With a quick chirp, Taillow rose into the air. He sped off toward home, his mission complete. The little swallow had no idea what was written on the piece of paper he had flown so far to deliver, but the urgency in Misty's eyes had kept Taillow moving toward his target. Now, he could only hope that Ash somehow sensed the air of importance associated with the small letter.
My song is love.
My song is love unknown, and I'm on fire for you, clearly.
You don't have to be alone.
You don't have to be on your own.
“A wandering Taillow in the Sinnoh region is certainly unusual, considering they are not indigenous to this area,” Ash muttered. This bird was not an oddity where a trainer had decided to let the bird Pokémon free. It had a mission. He kept studying the outside of the envelope, trying to figure out who could have written the message The letter smelled of ocean spray and his mind flashed a certain red-headed girl. He shook the thought from his mind, for she was in the past now. He had sworn off girls ever since he'd seen the way his old friend Brock had been treated.
The announcer at the front of the Pokémon Contest Center continued to recite rules to the impatient crowd, but Ash couldn't focus. He was dying to find out what the letter said.
"Ash, what is that?" Dawn, his companion trainer, asked. Her grey eyes looked from the letter to his face, trying to figure out what to make of the strange mail delivery. "Are you even going to open it?"
"Of course!" It just wouldn't be at the moment.
After celebrating Dawn’s contest victory, the two trainers made camp just outside Hearthome. Ash set up their tents in a small clearing where the pine trees created a circle. Dawn built a small fire that gave off just enough heat to warm the two trainers and Pikachu, Ash's little electric mouse who refused to be contained by any Pokeball. Dawn was snacking on some potato chips to pass the time while Ash prepared dinner.
"You know," he broke the silence as he set a pot above the fire. "You really shouldn't eat when it's so close to dinner time. We're supposed to be conserving food, not absorbing it."
"Thanks, Mom. I'll remember that next time." In an act of defiance, she took a bite of another chip. "By the way," she stopped in mid-sentence to close the bag of chips so she could throw them to the side. "When are you going to open that letter? I want to know why someone would send a Taillow from so far away." Ash poured water into the pot so it could boil and then sat down on a log beside her.
"Trust me; I have no idea where it came from. There isn't even a return address. I'm not sure I want to know what's inside." He snorted, trying desperately to deter himself from opening the letter, even though his curiosity always seemed to get the best of him.
"Well, don't be silly." She tugged on the end of his baseball hat, making it sit crooked on his messy hair. "Just open the dang thing. You, me, and even Pikachu know that you'll open it eventually, so let's just cut to the chase." She laughed lightly, picking up the yellow mouse so it could sit on her lap. "Am I right, little guy?"
"Chu!" It agreed, nodding its head quickly. Dawn rubbed Pikachu right between the ears, making it smile and close it eyes in contentment.
"Fine, I'll go get the mysterious letter." He mumbled to himself about negative peer pressure while he retrieved his backpack from his tent. Returning with the little white envelope and his backpack, he sat down and proceeded to tear open the seal with one finger. Nestled inside was a folded piece of notebook paper. Ash pulled it out and began to read aloud.
You told me that you wouldn't be able to call while you were in Sinnoh, but I didn't know it would be this hard to go without hearing from you. I miss hearing you brag about your adventures, as weird as that sounds. You’ve gotten closer to becoming a Pokemon master than I ever have, despite how ignorant and stubborn you’ve always been. It hurts to see you fulfilling your dream while I stayed tied down. Do you know how much I want to be with you right now? I never thought I’d be saying this, but I miss you. It takes a miracle to make me change my mind, but somehow you’ve got me convinced that you’re worth the trouble.
I didn’t think anyone could care about their friends so much, but you did. I couldn't help but compare myself to a little Caterpie, because I felt like a meaningless bug that no one could love. Over time, I grew fond of you and we became close friends. You showed me how to dream big, and now I’m not going to let my chance to escape slip through my fingers. I just don’t understand how you could say goodbye so easily.
After all that we've been through, how could you just let me go back home without putting up a fight? I know you thought you were giving me a choice, but after years at the gym, I've realized that I can't be the trainer I want to be. I wished you had stopped me. You challenged me to be the best, and that’s something no one else can do. I'm asking you to give me another chance.
After all the times you grabbed my hand to pull me to safety, I’ve come to a realization. I want to hold your hand because we're together, not because I might fall off a cliff. Our adventures together are the best things I have to remember. I’m in love with you and for once, love isn’t keeping me away from my dream.
I understand if you don't feel the same way. It's been a long time. You've met other girls. All I'm asking for is a definite yes or no. This situation is driving me crazy, because I don't know how you feel. All I know is I have to get out of Cerulean City, and you’re the only one who can help. If you ever get this, know that I'm not ashamed of the feelings I have for you. I miss you and I won’t settle for being alone.
I'm not gonna stand and wait.
I'm not gonna leave it till it's much too late.
On a platform, I'm gonna stand and say that I'm nothing on my own, and I love you please come home.
- “A Message,” Coldplay
Ash sat there. The letter dropped from his hand in shock. He never saw it coming. He had always thought that Misty hated him for leaving her. He hadn't meant to hurt her, but he managed to do so anyway. He had always had feelings for her. In the beginning, it was friendship. Over time, his fondness for her had grown into a desire to have her by his side. He didn't realize how much he missed hearing from her until now, when she laid all the cards on the table. Ash sat there in silence, trying to comprehend everything.
"So, what does this mean?" He heard Dawn whisper.
"It means that she's in love with me.”
"I know that. Let me rephrase my question. What are you going to do about this girl who is hopelessly in love with you?" She smirked, as if she already knew the answer. She didn't expect Ash to deliberate over the possible consequences his actions. He usually went with his gut feeling, whether it was right or wrong.
"I'm not sure. What should I do?" His head hurt from the amount of information he had taken in. Something inside Ash told him even if he went back for Misty, he’d still get a slap in the face before getting a hug. Misty always settled the score. He didn't know what to do. It's not like he could just take the St. Anne cruise ship into Vermillion and show up at her house. Ash's eyes lit up. He stood up, startling Dawn who had been staring at him, waiting for his response.
"I take it that you've conjured up a plan?"
"I'm going back to Kanto, Dawn. Misty always dreamed about some guy sweeping her off her feet. The least I can do is try to be her Prince Charming."
"You? Prince Charming? I highly doubt that."
"You have no faith in me, do you?" His confidence deflated as he saw her reaction.
"Actually, remembering such a random fact about Misty just proves how much you LOVE her," Dawn made a kissy face, teasing him. Ash's face turned a scarlet red, giving away the feelings he'd tried so hard to hide.
"Psh, she talked about it ALL the time, Dawn. She never lets up about her romantic wishes. If you asked Brock, he would probably tell you the same thing." Ash tried to laugh it off, but she saw right through him. His red cheeks started to fade, because he thought he was in the clear. Dawn just smirked, ready to make fun of him again.
"Let me guess, you stayed up one night with her and had one of those heart-to-heart talks about all your hopes and dreams, didn’t you?” Dawn watched as Ash’s eyes grew wide in shock. “You tried to commit them all to memory too."
"I just listened to her for once without arguing, that's all. Geez, Dawn."
"I knew it! I’m a genius. I bet you can't tell me her favorite color, favorite Pokémon, or her eye color," Dawn challenged.
"Come on, are you stupid? Her favorite color is blue, her favorite Pokémon is Togepi, and her eyes are blue with a hint of sea green around the middle."
"What does she hate the most?"
"Bug Pokémon and when I chew with my mouth open," he answered quickly.
"What color does she look best in?"
"Yellow," he answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "She wears it all the time because it makes her happy, and when she’s happy, she smiles. She's pretty when she smiles."
"That’s it. You’ve kept your feelings inside for too long. You need to go after her, Ash. You can't get the girl of your dreams if you just stand here and watch the flames go out of this poorly made fire," she smirked as she leaned closer to the measly flame. “If you had the chance, you and I both know you would replace me with her anyway.”
"Dawn, I didn't mean to-"
"I'm not mad at you, in fact, I'm happy that you found someone who can love you, let alone tolerate you for more than one hour at a time." She crossed her arms, pretending to be annoyed by Ash.
"We can continue our journey once I get back. I'll get Misty to come with us! She'd love that," Ash placed a hand on Dawn's shoulder.
"Just go get her, Ash. Don't worry about me," she laughed, pulling him in for a hug. "You've always been a great friend, nothing more, nothing less. There's a girl in Kanto waiting for you, so stop wasting time."
"Thanks," Ash pulled away from the hug with a smile on his face. "I'll just take my backpack. I shouldn't be gone long," he laughed and winked at her as if trying to convey the new-found confidence she had given him.
"Good luck, Ashy-Boy!" Dawn called out as he tore through the forest in a mad dash. A certain Pokémon Master had a boat to catch.
My song is love, is love unknown, and I've got to get that message home.
- “A Message,” Coldplay