Notes: Welcome to the third and (hopefully) final chapter of my fic. If this is, indeed, the case, I don't expect to write up a sequel or 'follow-up' fic, so please don't expect to read one. Sorry so say that so strictly but I'm not feeling too well, and my explanation will be explained in further detail below for those of you who care to know.
Special note to readers: Okay, let me tell it to you straight. I love all of the comments that I've received from each and every one of you. I know I don't say much to you other than the obvious 'thanks' and 'I hope to get another from you soon', but I thrive on your positive comments and I'm proud to say that, ever since my largest-ever fic, Miss Discovery(!) was finished, that's all I've been getting. It's all thanks to you that I'm continuing to write, so kudos!
Anyway, I'm very sorry for the lateness of this chapter. The truth is, in case any of you missed the memo, this entire story is based on an experience of my own. The week before Xmas, my mother was in a car accident and everything you've been reading about Misty originally happened to her. I'm playing the role of Ash, I'm afraid, and so all of the 'raw, unbridled emotion' that you've been feeling so strongly is indeed strong because it's real for me. Also, for those of you who might think it strange, what with the romantic mentioning and whatnot, I did tweak it a bit, so rest your hearts, my friends.
This leads me to my last note; my health. I haven't been updating recently because I came down with a sudden infection that left me swollen and feverish, enough so to have to be taken to the hospital and admitted for about a week. Before this I was having a major problem with another round of Writer's Block, which I'm blaming on old age... Lol. In any case, an idea for this next and last part finally hit me and I'm hoping that everyone accepts it with ease, especially since I'm still 'down under'.
Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Pokemon. You don't own the right to sue me.
Ash - 17 years old.
Misty - 19 years old.
Brock - 21 years old.
May - 14 years old.
Mrs. Ketchum - 44 years old.
Any other characters are four to five years older than at the end of the Hoenn season of the series.
I wiped my brow in near exhaustion as I entered my small abode, my jacket being thrown off of my shoulder.
It was currently six-thirty p.m. on a Thursday night and I was just arriving home from a long, hard day at work. I had just about enough time now to take a quick shower and put some clean clothes on before catching the bus over to the rehabilitation center that Misty had been moved to almost a week and a half ago.
It had been over two weeks since that day at the hospital where I'd shoved May to the floor. I'd apologized countless times but she always seemed hell-bent on rejecting them, stating that I had nothing to be sorry for. I only snorted, knowing full well that I had plenty.
I was sorry for being such an idiot to my friends, sorry for dragging Pikachu out of Pallet town via leash and collar, for wishing oh-so many times at the beginning of his journey that I'd never met Misty, or that she would just disappear because of how much she annoyed me. I was also sorry for hurting my Pokemon at the gain of any badges or mere wins I added to my reputation, sorry that, in the end, nothing had come of the greatest dream I'd ever known.
Because I, Ash Ketchum, wasn't the current Pokemon Master, nor had I ever been. Ash Ketchum was a "regular guy" with a "regular, unknown name", the neighbor down the street that you could always count on for that extra cup of sugar, or to watch the house when you were out of town. I wasn't that special trainer with the special Pokemon and the special abilities, most unfortunately. I was just a random guy in a crowd of faceless people. It seemed that there was no longer anything brilliant about me.
After I had turned sixteen and had finished successfully in the Hoenn league (though not "on top", of course), I had decided to return home to Pallet in order to take a break. May and Max had preferred to stay home in order to be with their family, and weren't suited to traveling to another region just yet, so Brock and I went alone.
I knew something had been wrong as soon as I walked through the door. Objects were strewn everywhere, debris from the shattered windows all over the counters and floor. Nothing was in its right place anymore.
"...Mom! Mom, where are you!" Brock and I, panicked by what we'd seen upon our entrance, rushed into the living room and found my mother breathing heavily and leaning against the couch. She was in a lot of pain, most caused from the bruise forming under her hairline and the additional coming from the cuts and scrapes all over the rest of her body, "Oh, mom, are you all right? What happened?"
It seemed that, not only was she unable to reach the phone, she was unable to talk as well. So she raised her head as much as she could and stared pointedly at the wall, then shuddered and collapsed against the back of the seat again.
I felt Brock grasp my shoulder with a horrified gasp, and the two of us both looked up and gaped at the words written before us in a vibrant red fluid.
"We know that you're here... We will be back."
"Team Rocket..." I spat bitterly, knowing that the organization would have been out looking for me, obviously taking my trashing of their every plan seriously at long last, "Brock, quick; call an ambulance. My mom needs to get to the hospital. I'll see if there's anyone else in the house."
After checking the basement and upper level and finding nothing, and then allowing Pikachu to scurry along the floor, sniffing for any unfamiliar scents, I was satisfied for the time being. But after the ride to the hospital and my mother's diagnosis and treatment, I knew that it wouldn't be safe for her at home if she were to stay there alone. I couldn't leave her again.
And so I settled in back at home, with no one else to count on. Brock slept in on the couch for about a month, helping out around the house and making the meals until my mom was able to walk as easily as she could before. I wouldn't let her move at all without my help until then.
Team Rocket did return, enough times to create even larger messes, but I was able to hold off the more superior evil-doers with my Pokemon, while Brock handled some of the less experienced. The two of us were even able to convince some of the younger members to resign, and trained them up into a strong defensive force for the good of the people...
But, in the end, some things don't really matter.
I jumped out of the shower and hurriedly dried out my hair. I'd spent too much time reminiscing and had extended his cleaning longer than necessary. I was all ready going to have to break the rule about visiting hours ending at eight o'clock.
I replaced his coat again, grabbed my keys, and was just about to run out the door when I heard my phone ring.
Checking my watch and cursing, I ran back and picked it up, nervously tapping my fingers against the desk counter.
"Misty; hi! Sorry about my running late, but I kinda lost track of the time. Don't worry, though. I'm on my way out the door this very..."
"...Don't bother, okay? You know that fever that I've had the past couple of days?" That's right. After Misty had been moved into the home and had been working so hard on learning how to walk again, and living in that hell-hole for almost a week, her temperature and condition had begun to rise slowly but steadily. It seemed that none of the antibiotics and pain killers the staff at the home gave her worked successfully.
"Yes, I remember..." I wasn't sure where she was going with this.
"W-well, the people here seem to think that it might be something a little more serious than a strain or a head cold... I'm going back to Viridian general. I just wanted to let you know because the ambulance will be here any moment... God, Ash, what the fuck did I do to deserve this? I-I..." Suddenly I heard her break down into tears, "Damnit! I'm sorry, Ash, I just can't stand this anymore... I'm in so much friggen pain that it feels like my flesh is searing off and my body is just being forced to melt into a puddle on the floor... This 'road to recovery' crap is taking too long!" I heard something bang into something else and knew that she'd slapped her fist against the surface of the small bedside table beside her.
I knew that everything that had been happening was taking its toll on her, but I also knew that Misty understood what the fruits of her labor would be.
"Don't worry, Myst, it'll be okay. As long as you have people next to you who love you, then it's all worth it, isn't it?" I knew now that I was closing in on the pressure point and the border line between "best friends" and "something more" but I couldn't help himself. Everybody needed a little reassurance now and then.
"...I-I know, but..." I could feel her smile against the phone line, "...But sometimes love isn't strong enough... And I hate making a big deal about all this, but..."
"But it is a big deal, Misty. You can't pretend that everything is just a game of checkers or something small like that. You were in a car accident. You were hurt in plenty of ways. But you have people there for you; don't ever forget that. I'm always going to be there when you need a hand, or a friend to lift you up. I have no problem with jumping in front of a car for you if it'll mean that we can see each other more than just an hour everyday." I laughed.
"Don't you dare joke like that, you idiot." Again, I could hear the laughter in her words, "Oh, no... They're here to take me back to the hospital. I guess that I'll see you..." She ended there, unsure of when I'd be able to make it now that the plans had changed.
"...In about ten minutes. I'll be there soon. See you!" And I hung up before she could say anything against it.
Little did I know that Misty had been hoping for me to say something like that ever since the beginning of our conversation.
The elevator door opened. I exited through it and, following the directions of the gaurd downstairs, managed to make it into the right room. And with only four mistakes! It's a good thing it had only been down a couple of hallways, right?
"They're taking more tests..." The fear in Misty's voice now was eminent and I understood why, "God, Ash... Does that mean that it's something important...? Something... Deadly? I don't want to die..." Her hair was looking frazzled and dry and her face was pale and sagging so that it made her looked three times her actual age.
"It might be, but you are not going to die, Misty. You've made far too much progress to go down now, remember? C'mon, what happened to the Misty I know and love?" I caught myself there. That's twice in one day that you've slipped up, Mr. Pokemon Master, "Erm, well, you know what I mean..."
"I... I guess that I do..." I was sort of flattered when I looked back at up at her and found her as red as myself. At least that proved that I wasn't feeling the tension alone.
Her IV was still pumping liquid food into her arm and the EKG was following through with placing the beating of her heart on the line of paper in the machine. The silence was broken, therefore, only by the beeps and clinks of the two hospital appliances. No one else was there to interrupt us besides the occasional nurse that walked in to take Misty's vitals, in which she would give me a panicked look when she saw the fever on the small temperature gage.
All throughout this, I never let go of her hand, and she didn't seem to mind. Our heads were soon gently leaning into each other as we began to doze off. What with my working everyday before I came over and Misty being so sick, it was all we could manage to do at the moment.
"...Do you really, Ash...?" Her drone of a whisper made my eyes snap open and I yawned before quirking a wondrous eyebrow at her, "I mean, do you... You know, do you...?" I turned my head the smallest bit (we were still sort of hanging on to each other at the noggin) and questioned her, "Do you love me?"
I guess I could tell you that it was sort of one of those horribly beautiful moments between two certain people. You know the type I'm talking about. Where the world seems to disappear and all voices and sounds die out and all you can see are those stunning, extraordinary, perfect eyes staring back at you. Yes, I think that's what it was, actually.
"Mm... You have no idea how much, Myst..." And then I turned back to leaning into the crook of her neck and circling her palm with my thumb.
"Yea, I think I do." I could feel her smile, somehow, and it made me feel that I'd done something right for the first time in a few years. Everything seemed complete for us at that point in time.
So that's my story, really. I think that's everything. You can call it a love story, or a tragedy, or a suspense thriller. I don't care. But I can tell you that, if you were wondering or worried about what happened to Misty Waterflower, you've been doing so for no reason.
It turned out that she had a mild case of Pneumonia. It was nothing serious, especially since she was in the good hands of the doctors and nurses and everyone in between at Viridian General. She recovered from that bout and her health escalated as she continued through her physical therapy. She's still having a small bit of trouble currently, but it's nothing that we can't handle together.
You see, she moved in with me a few months after the whole car accident. I think it's what everyone expected, and definitely what we two had wanted. I help her out everyday by cooking (it's never been her strongest suit) and everything, she helps with the cleaning and things while I'm at work... I guess that this living arrangement really works out for us.
...You see, that's why I'm going to go ahead and attempt to make it permanent.
Notes: Cut! And that's a wrap! All right everyone, good job! Best I've ever seen, really. I think the most appreciation goes out to the wonderful reviews! Whether you're at Creativity Forums, or whatnot, you've done a magnificent job of putting up with the wait for this last chapter while giving the author wonderful ideas, inspiration, and coaxing through her troubled times. I owe so much to you all!
So, um... Oh, yes. Reviews would be very much appreciated. I hope to get plenty of positive comments and, hopefully, some criticism... But I'm not exactly looking forward to any flames. The last one I got was at the end of Miss Discovery(!) so don't make me have a panic attack by giving me threatening mail or insertions in your reviews. Chibi dun like that. Lol.