A/N: Hello everyone. I know it has been an incredibly long time since I posted ANYTHING, and I am terribly sorry about that. I have no intentions of abandoning my stories, though being in college now does seem to put a damper on any creative flow I may have had.

Anyway, this idea popped into my head when I went back and watched the first couple of Pokemon episodes a few weekends ago. Please, don't kill me, I just really want to give this one a try and see how we do. XD

Disclaimer: I do not own ANYTHING related to Pokemon, sans this new plot bunny.

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Ash sat dejectedly in the waiting area of the Pokemon Center, his head in his hands and his breathing short and ragged. It had been over two hours already, and neither Nurse Joy or the Chansey assisting her had given him an update on Pikachu's status.

He couldn't believe how stupid he'd been! What in all of Kanto had possessed him to attack that Spearow in the first place? They were well known to be one of the more ill-tempered bird Pokemon in the whole region, and he'd knowingly provoked it. He couldn't believe how much of an idiot he was.

And now Pikachu was in bad shape, and he might not make it.

'NO!' Ash yelled at himself, 'that's not what I should be thinking! I need to stay positive! For Pikachu.'

Another hour passed with still no word from the nurse. Ash was steadily losing his resolve due to fatigue, and he wasn't sure that he would be able to stay up much longer.

And then, the doors to the Pokemon Center burst open, revealing a raging redheaded hurricane, carrying the charred remains of her bike, and looking to kill. Ash gulped, the feeling of fatigue lost to the more powerful one of fear.

'Oh shit.'

"YOU!!! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!!! YOU. DESTROYED. MY. BIKE!!!!!" Yelled the redheaded girl as she stomped into the Pokemon center, her ruined bike held aloft.

Ash could hardly believe that anyone was capable of shattering the sound barrier, but this girl was coming pretty close. Then the seriousness of the situation came back to Ash, and he held up both of his hands, pleadingly.

"Please, wait. I know I took your bike, and I know that it was destroyed by my Pikachu's attack, but right now, Pikachu's in real bad shape, and I…I can't handle both of these things right now. Please…."

Ash could feel the tears threatening to fall, but he held firm, the only sign of his worry visible being the slight falter of his mouth as he fought to keep the sobs in.

Seeing the distraught boy in front of her, and noting the sincerity in his eyes, Misty lowered the bike to the floor and calmed almost instantly. She went over to the boy's side and sat in the chair next to his. "Okay, I'm sorry about that. I didn't know how bad things had gotten."

Ash shook his head, "It's not your fault, it's mine. If only I hadn't been so stupid…" he trailed off again, his head falling back into his hands.

Misty felt her heart go out to this boy. She slowly put her arm around his shoulders, trying to reassure him. "Shh, just relax. There's nothing you can do now but wait, kay?"

The boy nodded dejectedly, his shoulders slumping.

"I'm Misty by the way, Misty Waterflower."

The boy looked up, a tortured grimace on his face, "I'm Ash, Ash Ketchum. Nice to meet you Misty, though I wish it were under better circumstances."

Misty gave him a sad smile, nodding, "Same here Ash."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, before Misty asked, "So how long…"

"Three hours fifty-two minutes and twenty-seven seconds…twenty-eight…twenty-nine…" counted Ash, hardly raising his head to answer.

"Oh." Misty gasped, her free hand going to her mouth in shock. Pokemon, no matter how badly injured, were notoriously fast healers. For one to be out this long…

Just as she thought that, Ash started to talk. "You know, I just started out on my Pokemon journey today. I got Pikachu from Professor Oak in Pallet Town, that's where I live."

Misty blinked in confusion, "But…aren't the starter Pokemon for beginning trainers usually Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander?"

Ash let out a soft, reminiscent chuckle, "Yeah, and I was supposed to get one of them. But, I stayed up late last night and I sort of…overslept."

Misty stared in shock, disbelief evident on her face. "You…you overslept?!" At Ash's nod of confirmation, she began to laugh.

Ash couldn't, in retrospect, deny the fact that his oversleeping on what was probably one of the most important days of his life was comical. He let out a regretful chuckle, laughing along with Misty.

'She has a pretty laugh.' He thought, as he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.

Just as Ash was going to continue his narrative, the light signaling that the Emergency Room was in use turned off with a small PING! and the doors opened slowly, revealing Nurse Joy and her Chansey assistant.

There was no sign of Pikachu.

'Maybe he's just resting. Yeah! That's it! He's so exhausted that he has to stay in his room and sleep it off!'

Ash and Misty both stood up abruptly, running over to Nurse Joy, Ash firing off question after question.

"How is he? Is Pikachu all right? How long will he be out? When can he and I take off?" Ash was ecstatic, finally Pikachu was all right and they could get on to conquering the Pokemon League together.

As Misty looked on, not questioning but just as concerned about Pikachu's condition, the look on Nurse Joy's face stopped her cold. There was no concealed joy, not even the satisfaction of a job well done. She looked…dead.

'Oh no.'

"Mr. Ketchum…I…well, there's really no easy way to say this. Your Pikachu…he…he's…" as she struggled to finish, Ash saw a lone tear make its way down the nurse's cheek.

And realization came crashing down on him.

"Wha…what is it?" he asked warily, this wasn't supposed to be happening.

"He's…alive." She finally ground out, sniffling.

Ash's face lit up immediately, and he turned to Misty and pulled her into a joyous hug. His Pikachu was alive!

"Misty! Did you hear that?! He's alive! Pikachu's alive!!"

Misty was smiling just as widely, her relief just as enormous as Ash's as she hugged him back. It looked like her instinct was wrong.

"Mr. Ketchum…" whispered Nurse Joy solemnly, getting Ash's attention once again, "You…you didn't let me f-finish."

The excitement of moments before died in an instant.

"W-what do you mean?"

"Your Pikachu is alive…for the moment. But...but he won't make it through the night." She stifled a sob, trying to be strong for the Pokemon's trainer, "He doesn't seem like he will last another half hour."

Ash face fell, and his eyes began to water, "You…you're lying. He can't be…please no! He's my first Pokemon…he's my best friend!" Ash staggered away from the nurse, falling to his knees as he finally lost his composure. "No. NO! Pikachu…no." The sobs were racking his body as his hands hit the floor, the tears flowing freely.

Misty felt her heart break for him. What had he done to deserve this? She dropped to the floor beside him and wrapped her arms around the sobbing boy. She tried to soothe him, to reassure him, but she was at a loss as to what to say.

"Oh Ash…I'm…I'm so sorry." Ash's arms wrapped around her, desperately looking for support, begging her not to leave him in this cruel reality. And Misty found herself all to willing to help him, even though they'd only formally met not minutes before. She couldn't-wouldn't-let him go through something like this alone.

Nurse Joy watched the scene in front of her, biting her lip in an effort to keep her tears at bay. With a shuddering breath, she spoke up again, "He's still with us for the moment, and I think you should go and see him and be with him right now. He wanted to see you as well."

Ash nodded, but found that he lacked the strength to even stand on his own. Misty slowly helped the boy up, trying not to shock him unnecessarily. They made their way slowly through the emergency room doors and into the room where Pikachu was resting, small instruments attached to his head and arms, monitoring his vitals. The heart monitor emitted a slow beep but Misty noticed with horror that the beeps were becoming less frequent.

Seeing his Pokemon laying on the bed, seemingly asleep, brought Ash back to his senses. The fact that Pikachu's ears didn't even perk up as he approached was evidence enough of his dire condition. Ash let himself out of Misty's helping grasp and ran to his companion's side, the tears never stopping as he dropped to his knees.

"Oh Pikachu…I…I'm so sorry. Th-this is all m-my fault!" Ash grabbed at the railing on the bed, clutching it tightly in his frustration and guilt. "I…I was so, so s-stupid! I never meant for any of this to h-happen. I never meant for y-you to get hurt. And n-now you're d-d-dying because of me!" He sobbed.

At the sound of Ash's apology, one of Pikachu's ears twitched, and the Pokemon wearily opened one eye. On seeing its trainer in such a distraught state, Pikachu smiled weakly, "Pikapi."

Ash looked up, and couldn't help but smile back at the electric Pokemon in front of him. Even in his weakened state, Pikachu was trying to be strong for him.

"Hey buddy. I'm s-so sorry. This wasn't s-supposed to h-happen," he stuttered, trying his hardest not to breakdown.

"Pi, pika pikachu pikapi." (It's not your fault Ash.)

Ash shook his head in defiance, "Yes it is! If I hadn't've been so arrogant as to think I could have made you listen to me, none of this would have happened. I should have…I should have earned your trust before I even thought of taking on a wild pokemon. But I was so stupid!"

Misty and Joy shared a look with each other. They both felt like they were intruding on this very private moment and together, silently left the room.

"Pikapi, pika pi kachu ka pika. Kachu pika pika." (Ash, you weren't arrogant or stupid. The only reason I was so stubborn was because I've been around longer than any of those other pokemon that Professor Oak had.)

Despite the tears in his eyes, Ash couldn't help but be curious. "W-what do you mean Pikachu?"

"Pi pika kachu pi chu pika ka pika pika chu. Chu ka pika pi, kachu pika pi Pikachu." (Well, most starting trainers are given pokemon that are only a few days old. That's why it's so easy to train them and bond with them. They are innocent enough to take what their trainers say as law and they are eager to please.)

Ash nodded his head, signifying his understanding. The electric mouse continued, though now his speech was growing weak.

"Pikachu pi kachu pi pika chu chu kapi pika."

(Me…I was born in the wild and it was about six months or so after that that Professor Oak caught me. Naturally, I was more reluctant to follow your commands, and well, this is the end result.)

Ash sat back, stunned. No wonder Professor Oak had been so reluctant to give Ash Pikachu! He knew Ash would have a difficult time training him, and he didn't want to put that burden on such an inexperienced trainer.

But, being the stubborn, headstrong child that he was, Ash had begged and begged the Professor until he had finally caved.

Looking back at his companion, Ash saw that he was starting to slip away.

"Oh Pikachu!! Please, don't leave me! You…you were my first friend. You saved me…how can I…what am I supposed to do without you? I don't want to lose you!"

The tears that had stopped flowing during Pikachu's revelation returned full force, and he gently scooped up the small pokemon, hugging him to his chest.

Pikachu, with all the strength he could muster, pulled slightly away from Ash, determined to set things straight with his trainer.

"Pikapi kachu pika! Ka chu chu kapika chupika. Pika pi, kachu, pi pi pika, kachu kapi pi pi chu!" (Ash, you listen to me! This isn't your fault, it's just…just how life is. Sometimes things happen that you never expect, and you have to learn to keep going.)

"Pi pika ka chu pika, pi kachu pika. Kachu pi chu pika, ka pika pi chu pika pika."

(I know it's hard, but I'm not going to make it past tonight. But promise me something.)

Sniffling, Ash looked to Pikachu, "What? Anything! What can I do?"

"Pikachu pika, pika chu chu kachu. Chu pi pika, ka chu pi kachu pikapi."

(Promise me that you'll keep going, that you won't give up on your dreams. My life, whether by fate or by accident, is…is over, and you can't dwell on it Ash.)

Ash's jaw dropped, "B-but Pikachu! I can't d-do that! I can't just forget I ever met you!!"

"Pikapi, ka pika pika chu pi pikachu. Pi pika, chu pika pi pika, chu pika pichu."

(Ash, I didn't say you had to forget. I just want you to keep going, and not let yourself fall just because of an accident! You have your whole life ahead of you! This might change it, but it should never stop it!)

With a sigh, Ash saw that Pikachu was right. Rubbing his tears from his face, he nodded, "I can do that buddy. I won't forget you. Never."

A weak smile stretched its way across the pokemon's face.

"Pika. Kachu pika chu. Pika pika, chu ka pi chu pikachu pika."

(Good. Thank you Ash. Just remember, life is too short to live in the past. There's nothing worse than realizing you've missed out on your own life.)

At this, Pikachu tensed, a spasm of pain shooting through his small body. The machine he was hooked up to immediately began beeping in erratic patterns as his breathing quickened.

"Pikapi, pi pika, chu ka pika pika pika. Chu ka pi pika, kachu pi, pika chu, ka chu pika pi?" (Ash, whatever you do, don't forget to love. Keep your heart open to everyone that you meet, human and Pokemon. If you do that, you'll not only be a good friend and trainer, but an extraordinary person. All right?)

Ash's tears were now falling freely as he nodded emphatically, pulling the tiny Pokemon close to his chest in a gentle hug, "Oh Pikachu, I know w-we weren't able to r-really get to k-know each other, but I love you Pikachu. I'm s-so sorry about everything!"

"Pikapi, p-pika ka chu….pika, pikachu." (Ash, stop it. And I-I love you too…bye, friend.)

And with that, Pikachu went limp in Ash's arms.

He didn't breathe and he didn't move.

The heart monitor stayed on the same tone.

Pikachu was gone.

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A/N: And end chapter. Let me come out and say it: I am sorry if there are a bunch of spelling mistakes or anything of that sort running around in abundance in this. I don't have a beta and it's harder for me nit-pick my own work after typing and re-typing things all over.

Anyway, tell me what you think. All critiques are welcome, plus any ideas you might have on what can be improved upon. Maybe even Ash's new Pokemon......

-HakushoRurouni