Disclaimer - No own, no own! No sue, no sue!
Author - Warlordess
Notes - Yo-ho-ho, everyone, and welcome to my first contribution to 2016′s Pokeshipping Week! I was really anxious about not being able to take part so I'm proud to present one of the four fics I wrote for this event!
I chose one of the optional themes because I wasn't really feeling the original, designated one ("Alola"). I hope you'll all still give my fic a read.
This is an AU version of Misty rescuing Ash during the second movie - Pokeshipping: The Movie, as I like to call it, lol - wherein she uses CPR to bring him back after getting him to shore (inspired by my being CPR-certified for work). I remember hearing awhile back that this was originally supposed to be how the movie played out, but the director at the time felt it would be taken as some sort of "hint" if Misty "kissed" Ash when performing mouth-to-mouth.
All that being said, I went with it anyway, but I made sure that no normal, romantic feelings or reactions took place until after Ash was conscious again. There's also a quick nod to Team Rocket's sacrifice (just Ash bothering to ask about them) since, after they decided to let go of Lugia in the film, they ended up basically forgotten and that… sucks.
Anyway, on to the read!
She doesn't tell anyone that it's the scariest moment of her life.
(scarier than bugs)
(scarier than Gyarados)
(scarier than leaving him behind to take on more responsibility than you've ever had before)
Well, maybe not, but that's a whole different life-crippling fear she has to tackle and she's more concerned at this point with the here and now.
Terror grips her heart, her spirit, ice claws away at her life, cold strips her of any other sensation besides pain and numb and yet all she thinks about is him laying supine and still on the frost-covered ground before her.
She furiously stalls her train of thought, enraged at herself that she ever let it get that far. This is why she's here, after all, this is why she knew she couldn't stay with Rudy, or more recently, allow Melody to sail in search of her best friend without her.
(Ash Ketchum, Mr. Pokemon Master)
(the hero that you yourself convinced of his role in the prophecy)
(the chosen one, the average everyday hero)
(the boy who'd promised to be the number one greatest Pokemon trainer in the world…)
(… your best friend…)
(the boy who'd convinced you about what it truly meant to love Pokemon so dearly)
(so dearly that you'd risk your own life)
(the one who indeed had just risked his life…)
It's not done yet! For all of the times Ash Ketchum seemed to miraculously be okay at the end of everything, here he was… in need.
(in need of help)
(in need of breath)
(in need of you)
She won't disappoint him.
"Tracey, have you ever done CPR before?" the redhead asks in a furious rush, readjusting herself to the right of Ash's torso and placing one palm flat in the upper center of his chest, the other one fisting overtop it as she prepares to start compressions.
"U - uh, no," he replies in a shaken tone and she isn't sure if it's because of the daunting task she is clearly requesting him to assist in or if it's because he hadn't honestly thought it would come to this.
Well, he didn't know Ash Ketchum like she did.
"But I've seen it done a few times back home so…"
"Okay then, get ready to learn because I may need your… help…" And then, under her breath, she said, "… Twenty-nine, thirty…"
The redhead pulls back from her position hunched over the raven-haired trainer's chest, leans back his head so that his chin is facing a perfect, ninety degree angle, plugs his nose with one hand, puckers his lips just far enough open to receive her, and then presses her own to them and blows once… twice… before sitting back up again and placing her hands - bottom one straight with fingers stretched wide so that her top hand's fingers can curl tightly around them - back on his chest once more.
"You do…" she grunts, internally keeping count of where she is, "… two sets of thirty compressions, and then…" she pauses to take another breath, "… two breaths, each a second or so long. The head has… to be tilted straight back to keep his airway open while you supply oxygen. If you… give him breaths, keep an eye on his chest each time to make sure it… rises. That way… you know it worked."
She is halfway through her second set already, watching Tracey to note any reaction that he's followed her previous explanation. At first, he seems stuck in his suspended state of awe at her knowledge and execution of skill but then he nods apprehensively.
"Watch me again. I should be good for one or… two more rounds but… after that, I probably need your help," she forewarns him, feeling the exertion of her continuously strenuous task rub her raw in almost every way.
No. She can't let that get to her, she can't let her fears swallow her up now. It has only been a few minutes since CPR was started, there's still time.
(how long until you got to him?)
(how long was he waiting for help?)
(how late were you in realizing something was wrong?)
(how hopeless is this?)
And then, finally…
(how severely have you doomed the world?)
Stop, she screams internally, doing her best to ebb the oncoming panic attack, You don't know that he wasn't breathing the whole time… Pikachu was there - he helped, she reminds herself, finishing her second set of breaths and silently resuming compressions.
(you should've acted sooner)
(you knew something was wrong)
(you should've spoken up earlier)
(look what you've done)
(it's your fault)
(this is all your fault)
She nearly chokes on her own breath as the thought crosses her mind. It's strange to think back to the start of this scene and remember that she'd been rallying her own strength, commending herself for following Ash instead of staying with Rudy, telling herself she'd found her reason why, when now she can't find a clear path out of her guilty conscience.
(why'd you come this far after all)
(you know you're no good)
(you're no use to him)
Tracey drops to his knees beside her, apparently feeling a bit more confident after watching her process a few times and hearing her explanation. And he doesn't know it, but it's this action that saves her soul from guilty self-consumption. For now anyway.
"Do you want me to work on compressions now?" he asks almost timidly, wildly impressed it seems by her wealth of skill and endurance but also knowing she can't keep it up forever.
"Hold on…" the redhead tells him, leaning forward and tilting Ash's head back, offering two more breaths of air before sitting up and saying, "Let me just…"
And she places her index and middle fingers to the opposite side of the boy's neck, just passed his adam's apple, holding them there for one… two… five… ten… fifteen…
There's a very slight throbbing that she hadn't felt there before, and she senses an all-consuming wave of relief fill her from the tips of her toes to the nubs of her grimy fingernails. For sure, that's definitely a…
"A pulse! I think he has a–"
But her response is interrupted by the boy below her flinching and gasping, face, neck, and shoulders wrenching wildly to the side as he vomits sea water onto the ground for the following few seconds.
"Ash…" both Misty and Tracey state in unison, the Pokemon watcher taking the opportunity to reach around and alternate rubbing and patting his back to encourage the projection of water from his lungs.
"I…" the raven-haired trainer wheezes, breaking down into another fit of forceful coughing, "I don't…" he tries again but faces the same result, cheeks flaming hot in agonizing suffocation as he continues expelling the foreign substance from his insides.
(but he's not out of the woods yet)
And, before she can stop herself, before Ash can in any way object, before Tracey can even ask his own question about how he can help, the redhead grabs a hold of the young boy's hand and holds it tightly in her own.
(is this really helping)
(it's - you're - needed)
(keep him conscious)
(keep him grounded)
(keep him here)
For the following minute or two, Ash hacks away at each of his own attempts to breathe, but the struggle slowly declines to a lethargic, halfhearted fit, so Misty finally decides to update him on what's going on. And all along, the guilt rages inside of her.
(he's alive because of you)
(he almost died because of you)
(so who's really the burden now)
"We - we think you and Lugia were attacked on your way back from Ice Island. W - we found you about ten minutes ago."
She chooses not to go into the details of that escapade, also hoping he won't think to ask any questions.
"Ice… What happened to Lugia? And to Team Rocket?" True to character, Ash wraps himself up in other questions. Alas, Misty and Tracey have no good answers for him.
"Lugia is… We don't know, Ash. And what about Team Rocket? We haven't seen them since earlier after we escaped that Lawrence guy's airship," Tracey answers this time, half-curious over the matter and half-concerned that Ash had hallucinated something while unconscious.
Thunder roars around them, icy winds howl, the tide rising ever higher as it inches towards their heels. Misty's intense sense of foreboding and dread refuel her in the meantime.
Maybe they'd won this battle, but the war continues to wage without their intervention.
Ash has gone strangely silent after Tracey's answer but seems shaken back into responsiveness as the bitter chill and stormy skies exacerbate his latest traumas, reminding him of the world's present predicament.
"Oh, yeah, I have…" he begins, faltering as he withdraws a white-blue glassy orb from his vest pocket, holding it in the palm of his hand and letting its warm light dance over his fingers.
(he has the orb)
(he has hope in his hands)
Before Misty or Tracey can say anything else, Ash places the orb hurriedly back in his pocket and braces himself to stand.
"Ash, hold on, will you?" she begs of him, arms outstretched in case he can't hold his own weight, which is a good thing too, because he quite clearly can't at first, knees going weak as he starts collapsing into her cushioning hold.
"See, you're not–" she begins, fighting an uncomfortably familiar flush she knows has no business being there what with their present plight.
"Guys, I gotta… We don't know how much time there is left, right?"
She and Tracey turn to give each other a stern look, both knowing he's made a valid point.
"I gotta do this now."
The worst thing in the world for her is looking at this boy in soaked, tattered clothes, flesh equal parts bruised and raw from the forces of nature and the madman hellbent on destroying him–
(Ash Ketchum's life is just collateral damage)
(collateral damage you can't stand taking)
–breath he hadn't had more than ten minutes ago heaving from his burning nostrils and throat, the whites around his pupils bloodshot and gaze piercing even as his eyes begin to cross from exhaustion, and knowing ultimately that he's right.
(and you curse yourself)
(because your words brought him to this point)
Though she knows that Ash, everyday hero that he is, wouldn't have stood back and let things end this way even if she hadn't helped him along.
(and you ask yourself what good it does)
(to promise that he'll never be alone)
(when your presence is equal parts useless and enabler)
(towards this boy's recklessly heroic lifestyle)
Though she also knows that she's done well, fulfilled her role in one of the few ways she's capable. Still, she can't help but wonder…
(just who is whose burden after all)
(when you feel like this in the end)
The best she can do is carry him and support him as he completes his task.
(a thankless job, you think)
(luckily, as nice as gratitude feels)
(that's not why you made the decision to follow this boy)
(Ash Ketchum, danger-prone extraordinaire)
(you follow him because you think)
(there's a place for you here)
(maybe you can help occasionally)
(because you love him)
She doesn't tell anyone that it's the scariest moment of her life.
(you're not sure which one is the worst)
(maybe it's all four)
A few days later, an awkward, bumbling Ash approaches her. He never says thanks. Instead he asks for help. He asks her to teach him what she did to get him breathing. He says that he one day hopes - well, maybe not hopes, but she understands - to return the favor to her.
And Misty can't help thinking that this moment may be gratitude in its purest form.
Notes - That's all for this one, folks, but I'll be posting the next chapter sometime within the coming week! Please fave, review, all that jazz and help prove that writing fan-fiction isn't a dead hobby/art! I'm honestly on the fence about whether I should bother continuing do post this stuff at all...