~* Spread Your Wings *~

Disclaimer: I don't own pokémon. End of discussion. No ifs, ands, or buts about it..

Author's Notes: *Gasp* A death 'fic with a plot??? Pinch me, I must be dreaming! Eh-hem. Sorry. Um…. I don't have much about say about this one, but I'll try to find something to say. All flashbacks/dream sequences are in italics (most of the story), this is a really ancient fanfic of mine, and I still have no clue why I kill Pikachu so much when he's probably my favorite character. Oh well, pokéshippers and angst fans should like this one, because it's got plenty of both!

*~*~*~*(o• : •o) *~ *~*~*

Tail waving delicately in the harsh, frigid winds, a tiny lone figure, little more than a shimmering yellow smudge, stood resolutely on the very tip of a sheer, rock-faced cliff, the expression on its inhuman face remote and wistful.

Light, vaporous mist swirled hypnotically around it, blurring its features and frosting its vivid colored fur with minute ice crystals. But its mind was wandering too far away to notice anything about its surroundings. It didn't even acknowledge the fact that a huge, thunderous waterfall cascaded straight down thirty feet or more below it only inches from its stiff, furiously gripping paws.

The wind was vicious, it tore brutally at the creature's shady hazel eyes with such bitter power that large tears were rolling down its cheeks and dripping to the solid rocky surface beneath its paws faster with every enduring second, still the creature did not blink even once to relieve its stinging eyes.

Its quavering view was directed out over the distant, fog-shrouded mountains, where its gaze remained unwavering for a lingering, thoughtful moment. It squinted into the blistering, cold wind in a mindless attempt to clarify its view of the twilight blue, mist-cloaked land through uncontrollable tears, but the forested shadowy mountains seemed no clearer then they had before.

It sighed heavily with indecision as its vibrant scarlet cheeks sparked twice involuntarily with ambition.

For a mesmerizing second the winds died down, and only then did it realize the chill seeping in through its thoroughly soaked fur, and it quivered once violently, nearly losing its tight grasp on the crumbling rocks beneath its paws, but it regained its composure hastily by grabbing on to a small, sharp boulder.

But all the carefully organized thoughts disappeared from its mind as it picked up a near inaudible whisper over the dull roaring of the waterfall with its sharp ears. A shudder coursed through its body. It blocked out everything else from its mind and its senses as it tensed, trying desperately to hear what the sound, now apparently a fragile voice, was saying. And soon, it became clear.

"Spread your wingsss," the wispy voice lisped alluringly, its melodic words dripping with silent promise. "Spread your wingsss…and flyyy…!" With that, the mysterious, perhaps prophetic voice then faded into the hissing of the waterfall, leaving it s listener to ponder its own uncertain fate.

The ripping winds kicked up again, stronger than ever, just as it made its fateful decision.

It lowered its trembling body so it was standing on all fours, then backed up carefully a few feet from the dizzying edge, bracing itself as it did so.

It squeezed the tears from its eyes, sucking in a quick, fearful gulp of air while mumbling something incoherent under its breath. It was now or never.

Pricking its black-tipped ears, it began to canter swiftly forward, closer and closer to the edge, mind racing every bit as fast as itself. In mere seconds it reached the tip, but instead of stopping, it hurled itself right off with every bit of strength in its small body.

For a moment, it did fly. Its relatively light body drifted, floated, soared, above the earth on the whipping winds, and, for the first and last time in its life, it felt truly free. It closed its eyes in bliss, forgetting everything there was except the wonderful feeling of soaring.

Then its eyes snapped open. Something wasn't right…. A sinking feeling was elevating in its chest, and everything felt empty and silent. No whistling winds, no deafening waterfall. Just cold, rushing air all around it. And that terrible falling sensation…. Its throat seized up in fear. It began to flail in desperation. But nothing could save it now. Nothing….

Its eyes locked on the mountains for a fleeting second. They were so close…yet still so far away….

And with a flash of electric yellow light, a bloodcurdling shriek, and a sickening thud, all went eerily silent, except for the wind, which was laughing with sadistic victory….

*~*~*~* (o* : *o)*~*~*~*

Ash awoke with a jolt. Heart racing, breathing abnormally fast, and drenched in a cold sweat, he glanced at his surroundings wide-eyed.

It all seemed normal, save perhaps for the unusually cold draft hanging in the lukewarm summer air. Or was that his imagination? He shook his head uncertainly, suddenly noticing how damp his face was. Gingerly, he wiped away the wetness stemming from his eyes. He sniffed, then shook his head again and muttered to himself, "This needs to stop…."

The night was so still and quiet. So normal….

Too bad it only seems that way…. He thought bitterly, feeling tears well up in his shadowed eyes as his gaze swept down instinctively to the empty spot near his feet. He then tightly closed his eyes in realization. In pain.

"Pikachu…." He mumbled sadly a little louder than he had intended, then regretted it as he heard a hushed rustling to his right.

"Sorry for waking you up, Misty." He apologized; voice tinted tearfully, as his female companion rubbed her eyes sleepily and sat slowly up. She had taken to waking up at his every move ever since that fateful, horrible day.

She remained silent for a moment, seemingly listening intently for something, and when Ash sniffled softly, she immediately knew what was wrong.

Their already strong bond had strengthened on that day, too, for they now seemed to live for nothing but each other and their dreams. That was the only thing that could be considered good about that day, but even that was not entirely good, for it was only that way because of the tragedy. The tragedy that had changed everything.

Misty climbed gingerly out of her sleeping bag, crawled over to Ash and pulled him without hesitation into a comforting hug.

"Are you okay?" She whispered tenderly in his ear, pulling back a little so she could see his face.

He avoided her gaze, knowing that if he looked into her pity-filled eyes he would just start crying even harder than he already was, and answered incompletely "It was so much more vivid this time, Mist', I-I saw everything…everything…." He tensed up a bit, sighing in bitter defeat to the tears now streaming freely down his face.

A dim beam of moonlight caught his tears, causing them to glimmer like stars.

"Oh…Ash…." Misty's eyes started to shimmer sadly, too. "I know…it's so hard…but someday you've got to let go. You-you've got to say goodbye." Her voice wavered a little as she was swept up in memory and emotion and a thin, unnoticed tear seeped down her face. Trying to be brave for Ash, she swiped awkwardly at her eyes, and made an effort to say something more, but was unable to do so when her speech became choked up with tears. Unable to comfort him in any other way, she just gently hugged him again, burying her face in his shirt. She felt Ash tremble beneath her, and she increased her grasp on him a little, beginning to cry even harder. She knew he was fighting hard to keep himself from drowning in memory. But he seemed to be failing….

*~*~*~*(o * : * o)*~*~*~*

The unusual weather had scared everyone. It was not supposed to be stormy, dark, and cold, chillingly cold, in the middle of summer. That's why Ash and Misty had decided to stay at Ash's house until the storm passed.

They had been having so much fun at Ash's house. Ash and Misty were watching TV in Ash's room, sort of. Actually they were more like arguing over what to watch. They both had good excuses. Misty was the guest, but it was also Ash's house and TV. Mrs. Ketchum had been bringing in hot chocolate occasionally, smiling at the two bickering teenagers, and Ash and Misty would have undeclared competitions over who could drink their hot chocolate faster.

After a while, the argument over the remote control had become a friendly pillow fight in which the 'prize' was almost totally forgotten.

Meanwhile, Pikachu had been snoozing peacefully on the recliner in the living room, completely oblivious to Mrs. Ketchum's constant remarks to him about how adorable he was.

Pikachu awoke to the wind howling, and tiptoed to Ash's room, but upon seeing Ash and Misty enjoying each other's company so much, laughing every time they were whacked mercilessly by each other with Ash's poor pillows and plush pokémon toys, he didn't have the heart to disturb their silly game.

Ash faintly remembered seeing Pikachu standing in the door frame to his room, staring at him with a slight smile on his face, big brown eyes looking a bit hazy, almost tearful. He met his pokemon pal's gaze for a split second, but their eye contact was broken as Misty whomped Ash in the head with an overstuffed Snorlax pillow. When he got the chance to look back at his doorway, Pikachu was no longer there.

Shortly after, Ash and Misty became too tuckered out to finish the game, so they plopped down on Ash's bed and actually got to actually watching the TV. Misty had taken possession of the remote, since Ash had flat-out forgotten about it, so poor Ash was stuck watching a romantic comedy. He watched it uncomplainingly, though, for fear of Misty's mallet. He pretended to pay attention to the movie while in his head he plotted out a 'complicated' plan involving Bulbasaur and Bayleef to snatch the remote from his evil friend, who knew quite well how much he hated these types of movies.

During the middle of what you could call the climax of the movie (Ash's plan hadn't quite made it to the action stage), Mrs. Ketchum entered cheerfully, offering more hot chocolate (this time with little marshmallows) and asking with an edge of worry in her voice if either of them knew where Pikachu had gone.

Ash had answered confidently that he had seen him about an hour ago in his doorway, and to check the house, as Pikachu enjoyed napping in odd places such as closets and the laundry room. Mrs. Ketchum had said something about how she would go do that, then exited, not quite as confident as Ash that Pikachu was somewhere in the house. Misty then turned her attention from the movie to Ash for a minute, asking with about as much worry as Ash's mom if she thought they should go help look for him. After all, Pikachu did have a tendency to sometimes get himself into trouble. Ash had shrugged and said that if he didn't show up in another hour, they would go look for him. Misty still seemed a bit worried, but she turned back to the movie, trusting that Ash knew more about Pikachu's personality than she did.

45 minutes passed and Pikachu still hadn't shown himself. It was then that Ash remembered that weird expression on the normally joyful pokemon's face last he had seen him. Ash bit his lip in fear. What if…?

Only moments after Ash's realization, Mrs. Ketchum came in and announced a bit shakily that she had searched the whole house thoroughly and found no sign of Pikachu. Ash immediately then became worried and proclaimed that he was going outside to look for him.

Misty volunteered to go out with Ash in the stormy weather to search for Pikachu, while Mrs. Ketchum stayed at the house to see if Pikachu came back on his own.

Ash and Misty both put on their coats, and with a stern warning from Mrs. Ketchum to be careful, they were off.

They started out close, checking the yard, but when that came up fruitless, the search expanded into the neighborhood. Then the whole of the Northern Pallet Town area.

They ran through the sprinklings of rain, calling "Piiikaaachuuu!" until their throats hurt, and asking every occasional passer-by if they had seen a Pikachu.

But there was no sign of Ash's precious pokemon. Ash was remained confident that they would find him, he couldn't have gotten too far in a mere few hours, but Misty noticed a concerned undertone in his voice. She was suddenly struck with the idea of starting back at Ash's house and searching for footprints to follow. So they returned back, and were not very surprised to find pika prints leading out from the back door.

Misty had commented on how they were lucky it was such wet weather, if it hadn't been so muddy they probably would have no leads whatsoever. She said it with a very shaky voice, though, and Ash noticed she was shivering pretty hard. The whipping winds had been blowing bitterly cold water droplets on them throughout the whole search. He insisted that she go inside and warm up while he went and looked for Pikachu, but Misty argued right back that she was okay and would do anything for… She hesitated, then finished "Pikachu."

Ash was a small bit surprised at how loyal Misty was, but he shook it off quickly and decided it couldn't hurt her too much to come along. After all, it wasn't like there was any way he could talk her out of it.

So they set off, following Pikachu's footprints through a field and a small, dense forest, when Ash came across a startling revelation.

"Mist'…." Whoa. He hadn't called her that since the Pokemon League. "These footprints…they're leading us to… the waterfall! Where we met!"

Ash saw a small grin cross her face when he said that, and he could have sworn he saw her blush a little….

Then there they were. The moderate sized falls hadn't changed a bit since they had last seen them…four years ago….

Shaking off countless flashbacks, he told Misty, "Here, let's split up. We can't follow the footprints any more because of the grass. You go to the left of the waterfall, and I'll go to the right. He's got to be around here somewhere."

Misty nodded, and ran off into the bushes leading up to the falls and yelled behind her "Let's meet back here in 20 minutes!"

"Okay!" Ash shouted back.

As he trudged along the side of the gushing, storm-flooded river, he let his expression fall with a crestfallen sigh. He gulped back a few scared tears, attempting in vain to keep himself under control. Pikachu had to be somewhere, didn't he? But there was that little sparkle of doubt rising in his mind, a little sparkle that seemed so glum, so horrible, so disheartening, making him wonder if all this searching was worth it. What if they found Pikachu… … …he couldn't let himself think like that. Pikachu was perfectly capable of defending himself and he knew it.

Then his head shot up in realization, sending a barrage of water droplets from his hair sliding down his face, almost like tears. Team Rocket. But how could that make sense? There was absolutely no way Team Rocket could have sneaked into his home, and even if Pikachu had gone outside Ash highly doubted Team Rocket was capable of actually thinking up anything that didn't involve a very large, very noisy machine. Unless they suddenly had a stroke of pure genius, which was more than just unlikely, Ash would have heard them if they were there. Plus, hadn't they left them behind in that forest near Cherrygrove City on the way back home?

Okay, maybe Team Rocket wasn't the answer. But he wished they were, oh how he wished they were….

Ash looked at the muddy ground in dejected silence; suddenly allowing a wave of tears to overcome him. That spark of despair was beginning to seem like something more than just his being pessimistic. His trembling chocolate eyes scanned his surroundings, the majestic waterfall, the hissing river, the pallid rain that was plummeting down from the dreary sky now in rapid sheets, and he couldn't help but wonder if Pikachu was seeing the same scene as he.

Faintly through the haze of the rain and the blur of the distance, he could see Misty, walking slowly through the drizzle, and occasionally he would hear her calling into the rain, but just barely. He turned his eyes away from her lone figure, his mind reeling over what had happened in the last, mere few hours. Funny how a split second could change your life forever.

Even from his faraway perch, he could see it when Misty flinched and stiffened. A profoundly disturbed feeling washed over him quickly. His stomach tightened in painful knots. He felt very queasy, very wobbly…. His mind spun madly, and everything, the downpour, the waterfall, the green sprouts of grass peeking from beneath thick mud…it all turned a desolate shade of white.

No…. No! T-this can't be happening! His mind screamed at him as he stood frozen where he was, the rain washing desolately over his still, stark body. He felt his whole body begin to violently shudder, to tremble so hard that his body control was swayed. He was just hardly remaining standing.

He didn't see it, thankfully, when Misty wheeled slowly away, awkwardly, from the site of what had caused her to recoil so badly. Nor did he see it when she came running clumsily towards him, tripping over her own feet in hurried horror.

He saw nothing. It was all washed in white, everything around him. His hearing was only functioning the slightest bit over the agonized hammering in his head. His lungs seized up as he heard Misty sobbing, and he crumpled in defeat as she flung her arms around him in a tight hug. He could feel the tiniest flicker of warmth emanating from her wet, shivering form.

"…Ash…" Misty choked out, "…Ash…I-I found him…."

Ash didn't have the strength to respond.

*~*~*~*(o• : •o)*~*~*~*

Author's Notes: Well, you couldn't tell from this chapter that it has a plot, but…it does, okay? This is not a very good example of my writing, but this old thing has been lingering around since mid-The Flame Burns Deep era (which is roughly equivalent to three human years), so I figured I might as well do something with it. Reviews would be great! I'm not so confident about this one, so if I don't get much of a response from it, it's gonna go down (again). Which would mean you wouldn't get to read the rest of the major pokéshipping that's gonna be going on! And all the other stuff, too!