Friend

By: Kitten Kisses (Manna)

Summary: Ash has a good dream, a memory of him and Pikachu, and their friends as they traveled on their journeys, so many years ago. When he wakes up, he rolls over to kiss his wife, and notices something. Pikachu isn't breathing.

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He couldn't hold back the smile that graced his peacefully sleeping face. It had been a long time since he'd dreamt of a time of complete and utter innocence- when he had left his home at such a tender young age, venturing out into the world all alone, save one little yellow creature.

Pikachu.

Pikachu had been there for everything. The electric mouse had no nickname, and though Misty still teased him about calling him by the type of breed he was, the young man couldn't bring himself to try and think up a better name.

The time when Pikachu had finally trusted him… All the times when they'd been together… They'd been through a lot over the last ten years. So much.

But they'd always been together. Never had they been alone. He had left others behind- Misty, Brock, Tracey, May… and other Pokémon, too- Charizard, Tauros, Squirtle… But Pikachu stayed with him wherever he went. His big dream was something he wanted to accomplish with his first, and probably best, friend.

Half-conscious, now, he blinked sleepily at the ceiling, smiling slightly as he let the old memories flood through his mind. He felt his wife stirring beside him in her sleep, and he looked over at her adoringly as her eyelashes started to flutter.

"Honey," he said softly. "I just had the best dream…"

"Mmm…?" He felt a childish grin pull at the corners of his mouth at her less-than intelligent reply.

He continued anyway. "Do you remember when we were little kids, and we didn't have a care in the world?"

Her eyes slid open a little, sleep still hanging over them like a cloud. "…Yeah…" was all she could manage.

"That's what I dreamt about," he told her, his smile full-blown now. "All those times I totally kicked your butt, too!"

He nearly laughed as her eyes opened all the way, the expression on her face half-amused, half-irritated. "What do you mean? It was always the other way around!"

"I could beat you any day," he mumbled, his tone confident. "But seriously, it was a good dream. Back when you and I, and Brock would just walk from city to city and challenge Gym Leaders… Those were the days!"

"Yeah," she whispered. "They sure were. Of course, that was when you lost at least half of your matches…"

He pretended to look hurt. "How could you say that?"

She stuck her tongue out at him. "Good dream or not, you have to get up for work tomorrow, so you'd best get some more sleep. Or maybe it's more like, later today that you have to get up!"

"I'm just gonna get something to drink, first," he said, sliding his legs over the edge of the bed, before bending over to give her a kiss on the forehead. "I'll only be a second."

He padded softly across their bedroom floor, opening the door with only the slightest squeak, before he felt his way down the dark hallway to the kitchen. A small nightlight burned in an outlet on the other side of the kitchen, giving him just enough light to make it to the fridge.

"Hey there, little buddy," he whispered, his voice gentle, as he crouched down beside the basket that Pikachu always slept in. As the warm skin of his hand brushed lightly across the soft fur that graced Pikachu's head, he felt a jolt run straight through his heart.

A jolt of fear, of uncertainty…

Ba-dump.

His heart was pounding, though he wasn't sure why, and he knew he didn't want to find out. His eyes moved to the clock, hovering over the brilliant neon-green numbers on the stove.

2:12am.

Pikachu was cold. Stiff. Unmoving.

He didn't know what to do… What to say- should he say anything? Should he wake Misty again?

As he gathered the chilled body of his beloved friend, he felt a pang of guilt slam into his chest, leaving him breathless.

I was having that fantastic dream for only God-knows how long, instead of being out here with the one who needed me the most…

What do I do? He wondered. Do they have funerals for Pokémon?

His mind whirled with thoughts- past and present. His mind was so busy processing all the information for what had gone wrong, and what he needed to do in the future, that when one very important thought hit him, it stopped all of his thoughts in their tracks, and he didn't even have the sense to wipe the tears from his face that had been falling for a full ten minutes.

My best friend is gone.

Another thought left his mind reeling, as his numb fingers scrambled to wipe his face.

And he's not coming back.

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Author Notes:

Uh, okay. It's not as awesome as I hoped it would be. It's been a long time since I've done a tragedy/angst thing, and I'm out of practice as far as writing goes- period.

I always thought about what Ash would do if Pikachu died. First of all, sounds to me like Pikachu was his first friend. Then Misty, and then Brock, etc. So he might have a happily-ever-after with whichever gal you prefer him to be with, but you can't forget that eventually, poor Pikachu will have to die (I'm guessing Pokémon live about as long as the average cat/dog, depending on their species). It would really have an impact on Ash, his wife, and any friends/family left.

The poor guy. This was a one-shot, though, so I'm not delving in too deep. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you didn't, that's okay, too. Let me know how you felt after reading it. This was my first Pokémon fanfiction. (Though obviously not my first fic period.)