Tanabata

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. I do, however, own this story.

Author’s Note: Tanabata is the Japanese star festival that occurs in August every year.

Stifling a yawn, the youngest gym leader of Cerulean City sighed yet again, glancing backwards towards her eldest sister.

“Misty, if you, like, don’t sit still, I’ll never be able to straighten your hair properly, will I?”

Rolling her eyes, Misty ran a hand through her brilliant orange hair, still warm to the touch from the flatiron.

“It’s already straight enough, Daisy!”

“Trust me, Misty; don’t you know that I’m, like, a beauty expert? I mean, come on! Who knows more about beauty, a Sensational Sister or a runt?” Daisy questioned, smiling at her own lovely reflection in the mirror.

“Don’t call me a runt!” Misty cried, just about ready to deck her sister and these silly notions of beauty. If beauty meant having someone run a hot iron through her hair for what seemed like hours on the hottest day of the year, Misty wanted nothing to do with it!

“Sorry, little sis, but, like, I’m only trying to help you! Don’t you want to look your best for Tanabata tonight?”

“Well, what’s wrong with a side ponytail? It’s just Tanabata!”

“Just Tanabata? Misty, aren’t you, like, meeting someone very special tonight?” Daisy lifted her younger sister’s chin so that her aquamarine eyes were level with her own and looked intently at her sister. The staring contest lasted for a few seconds before Misty, blushing profusely, finally glanced away.

“Fine,” she grumbled, crossing her arms over her chest. Daisy knew her too well, she lamented; she always knew the exact thing to say to get to her.
Giving in, she let her sister finish straightening her orange hair.

The heat was oppressive and stifling that August day, and the home of the four gym leaders of Cerulean City had no air conditioning. The leaves on the trees remained completely static, for no breeze blew that afternoon. Outside the home neighborhood children splashed in the streets as fire hydrants unleashed a steady flow of water that trickled down the street. Sweet ice cream melted in the heat, congealing into a sticky substance on the hands and faces of youngsters. The heat was simply unbearable.

After what seemed like a lifetime Misty’s shoulder-length hair was stick straight, and the tomboy herself had to admit that it had a certain shine and sheen to it that she had never seen before. Daisy had, in fact, done quite a good job.

“There, doesn’t that look nice?” Daisy praised her own work, beaming at her young red-headed client.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Misty conceded. Smiling slightly at her reflection, a rare event for Misty indeed, the Water Pokémon lover had a fleeting bout of confidence. Maybe he would notice her that night…

Next came Misty’s makeup. The youngest of the Cerulean City sisters had insisted that Daisy not overdo it, so the blonde had to carefully and judiciously apply just a tad bit of blush to her young sister’s pale cheeks and a small amount of mascara to her already long lashes. Daisy sealed the package with just a dab of lip gloss to Misty’s thin lips.

“How do I look?” Misty asked her older sister, smiling slightly.

“Stunning,” Daisy admitted. “Isn’t it, like, amazing what a little makeup can do?”

“Daisy!”

“Aww, I’m only kidding! You know I, like, totally think you’re beautiful,” the blonde bombshell comforted.

“Do you really think so?” Misty asked, suddenly shy and slightly embarrassed. No one had ever called her beautiful before.

“Of course!”

Misty grinned, but soon her smile gave way to a frown. “It’s too bad I have to wear that old, worn-out kimono, though. It doesn’t even fit correctly anymore!”

“Ah, I thought we might run into this problem,” Daisy began, smiling at her younger sister. “Come with me into my room. I have something to show you.”

Taking her younger sister by the hand, Daisy led the way out of the small, cramped bathroom and into her bedroom, the biggest in the house. She told Misty to close her eyes and rummaged in her large closet for a while, finally emerging with a beautiful blue kimono. When Misty uncovered her eyes she could hardly believe what she saw.

“But Daisy, that’s your favorite kimono! I couldn’t possibly wear it…” Misty trailed off, staring at the floor dejectedly.

“Like, don’t worry so much, little sister. It’s too small for me now, and I want you to have it,” Daisy stated with a warm smile, handing the kimono over to her younger, eager sister.

Misty emerged a half hour later from her bedroom wearing Daisy’s old but pristine kimono. The color perfectly suited her blue-green eyes, ginger hair, and pale skin, and the fit graciously hugged her slim figure and barely-there curves.

“Misty, you look lovely. You, like, don’t even look like a runt anymore!” Daisy teased.

“Daisy!”

“I’m just kidding! Don’t worry, Misty! You’re, like, totally going to impress Ash!” Daisy winked at her younger sister, grinning from ear to ear.

“Daisy!” Misty shrieked, turning a bright shade of red. “Who said anything about Ash? Just because he’s meeting me at Tanabata doesn’t I’m trying to impress him.”

“Misty, we, like, all know about your little crush on Ash; there’s, like, no use trying to hide it.”

“What?! I do not have a crush on Ash!” Misty screeched, although a streak of red still remained across her face.

“If you, like, say so.”

“Fine, Daisy…if you want to be this way I’ll just have to tell Violet and Lily about all of the secret meetings you’ve been having with Professor Oak’s assistant,” Misty drawled, suddenly aware that she now had the upper hand.

“Why you…”

With that, Daisy chased Misty, who barked with laughter, out of the room and down the hall.
________________________________________

After receiving a supportive hug from Daisy, Misty left the house and made her way to Cerulean City’s Tanabata festival, where she was to meet her best friend Ash. The future Pokémon Master and Pallet Town native was taking a break from training in the Sinnoh region; he and his traveling companions Dawn and Brock had each returned home to rest for a while and visit with family. When Misty had learned that Ash would be home during Tanabata, she somehow (don’t ask her how) had mustered the courage to ask him to attend Cerulean’s Tanabata with her. Much to her glee and surprise, he had agreed to.

Misty had spent many anxious days and nights waiting for the festival to arrive. Although she was beyond excited to see Ash, she had almost immediately regretted her decision to ask him to accompany her to Tanabata, for the anxiety she felt in the interim made life almost unbearable. What if she somehow made a fool of herself at the festival? What if she looked ugly? What if Ash had decided he’d rather not come and didn’t show?
Now Misty walked along the streets of Cerulean City, passing carnival games and stands selling noodles and rice balls and various stuffed Pokémon. Large, colorful streamers decorated the streets, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Sighing miserably, Misty realized that she had been waiting for a half hour for Ash to arrive. What if he wasn’t coming? Just when Misty was about to give up hope, she heard a familiar voice.

“Pikachupi!”

“Pikachu!” Misty squealed with delight, stooping down to pick up the electric mouse Pokémon in her outstretched arms.

“Hey, Misty!”

Looking up, Misty saw Ash, who, to her shock, had grown a few inches since she had last seen him; he was now taller than she. He wore a green kimono and no Pokémon League hat sat atop his messy black hair. Misty blushed in spite of herself. She had always found Ash, with his wind tousled mess of hair and dirty face and chocolate brown eyes, beyond cute, but now he looked, well, he looked different. He looked handsome.

“Misty, what’s the matter? Aren’t you going to say hello?” Ash asked, his brow furrowed in curiosity.

“Oh, sorry, Ash. It’s just so good to see you!” Misty grinned, standing up straight so she could look Ash in the eyes.

“Well, it’s good to see you, too, Misty!” Ash admitted, smiling at his best human friend. “Come on! Let’s go check out the games!”

Ash then grabbed Misty’s hand and led her towards the carnival games.
________________________________________

An hour later Ash had won Misty a stuffed Goldeen at one of the carnival stands. Though Ash didn’t have the best hand-eye coordination and it had taken him five tries to win the plushy, he had been determined to win the toy for Misty, and had finally succeeded. Misty had blushed in gratification, clinging to the stuffed Goldeen. It was something she was sure she would treasure forever.

After that Ash and Misty had shared a bowl of piping hot noodles and Ash had bought Misty an ice cream cone (her favorite food), which she had enjoyed immensely, although that didn’t stop her from giving some to Ash’s beloved Pikachu. Now the two friends and Pikachu had joined a crowd of people gathered around an elderly woman who was about to explain the legend of Tanabata.

“Come closer, children, come closer,” the woman began, running a wrinkled hand through her snowy white hair, “and I will tell you the legend of the star festival. Tanabata celebrates the meeting of two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi. Though the Milky Way, a river of stars across the sky, separates the two from each other, they meet but one night a year, and that night is Tanabata!”

Misty couldn’t help but smile at the lovely story. It reminded her of something, though she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Ash on the other hand, looked bored out of his mind.

“Misty,” he whined, “can’t we go do something else?”

“Like what?” Misty snapped.

“I don’t know. I’m kind of hungry.”

“Ash, how can you be hungry? We just ate all of those noodles,” Misty reminded her companion.

“I don’t know, Misty, but this is boring.”

“Boring? How can you consider this boring? It’s so romantic!”

“That’s my point.”

Boy, some people never change, Misty couldn’t help thinking. “Well, Ash, what do you want to do?”

“Let’s play more games!”

With a sigh, Misty let Ash lead her back towards the carnival games.
________________________________________

Ash failed to win another prize, but that was OK with Misty; she was just glad to be with him. Besides, she had her precious stuffed Goldeen, so what more could she want?

She and Ash walked hand and hand through the Tanabata festival, each blushing a little but feeling perfectly content to be with the other. They both sung the Tanabata song, Ash’s pitch, as usual, being slightly off-key.
“The bamboo leaves rustle, rustle, shaking away in the eves. The stars go twinkle, twinkle; gold and silver grains of sand.”

“Ash, you’re so off-key,” Misty teased, squeezing his hand a little.

“Sorry, Mist.”

Mist. That was Ash’s pet-name for Misty. She couldn’t help but smile as he said it. Could it be that he felt she was special in the same way she felt he was special?

“Misty, look!” Ash yanked Misty’s hand forcefully, pulling her over to towards Cerulean Harbor, where a bunch of small paper boats lit with candles and covered in bamboo shoots stood ready to set sail.

“What’s going on here?” Ash asked an old man who stood at the edge of the harbor.

“Ahh, young man, here you write your deepest wish down on a piece of paper, which we tie to a bamboo shoot. Then we let the small boats sail in the harbor, which is supposed to make your dream come true!”

“Cool!” Ash exclaimed, and immediately began writing.

Misty hesitated for a moment, though not because she didn’t know what her wish was. Finally, she took a pen and a piece of paper and wrote her wish in the form of a haiku.

“Someday, my best friend
Will you become something more?
I love you so much.”

Smiling, she folded her piece of paper and tied it to a bamboo shoot. Looking over her left shoulder, she watched Ash do the same.

I wonder what Ash wrote, she couldn’t help but think. Probably something like, “Better than the rest! I want to be the best, yeah! Pokémon Master!” Misty couldn’t help but giggle.

“What’s so funny, Misty?” Ash asked.

“Oh, nothing, Ash,” Misty stated, smiling at her friend.

Ash grinned back, and for a while the pair said nothing. Finally, Ash broke the silence.

“You look really pretty tonight, Misty,” he said, a slight blush making its way across his face.

Now it was Misty’s turn to blush. “Thanks, Ash. You look really handsome.”

“Aww, shucks, thanks, Misty,” Ash replied.
________________________________________

Soon midnight had arrived, and the festival was almost over. The stars, infinite in number, twinkled brightly in the sky, each giving off its own unique shine and iridescent light. Misty couldn’t help but feel awed by the sight. It truly had been the perfect night.

Ash and Misty sat side by side along the docks of Cerulean Harbor (Pikachu had scampered off in search of ketchup), each thinking his or her own thoughts. Suddenly, a beautiful display of fireworks began, and the pair of friends each gawked at the lovely sight. All too quickly, though, it was over and it was time for Ash to return home to Pallet.

“Well, I guess this is goodbye for now, Misty,” Ash said, sadness evident in his voice.

“Yeah, I guess so…” Misty trailed off, tears filling her eyes. It wasn’t fair! Why was it that she could only see Ash once in a blue moon?

“Misty, what’s wrong?” Ash asked, his voice filled with concern.

“It’s just…it’s just that I hardly ever get to see you,” Misty admitted.

“Hey now…we’ll see each other again soon.” Ash slowly placed his hands on Misty’s arms and turned her until she was facing him.

Misty looked at Ash’s face, so eager, and smiled. “You promise?”

“I promise!” Ash beamed at his friend. “Besides, until then you can think of the good times…like tonight.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Misty nodded at her friend, grinning from ear to ear.
________________________________________

“Daisy, I’m home!” Misty called out to her eldest sister, who she knew would be waiting up for her.

“Ahh, Misty…like, how was your night?” Daisy appeared from inside the home’s living room, clad in a nightgown and looking rather sleepy.

“It was…wonderful.”

“That’s good. Well, I’m, like, going to bed. Goodnight, Misty.”

“Goodnight, Daisy.”

Misty followed her sister upstairs and entered her room. Laying down on her bed, she couldn’t help but smile. Truly the night had been wonderful.

Clutching her stuffed Goldeen, she thought of the magical hug she and Ash had shared before parting. She had never wanted it to end.

Suddenly, Misty thought of the story of Tanabata, the one the old woman had shared with them. It all made sense now.

Just like Orihime, I’ll see my Hikoboshi again, even if it means I have to cross the Milky Way. I’ll see him again…

The End
Author’s Note: I hope you liked this one-shot. I know it’s not really heavy on the AAML, but hopefully there’s enough there to satisfy you.

The story kind of stinks in that it’s not descriptive enough, but oh well.

I got all of my information on Tanabata from (where else?) Wikipedia.