Her whole world was a mess of blurs, colours and shapes. Even though her eyes were wide open (at least she thought they were,) Anabel was finding it impossible to find anything distinctive that could tell her where she was. Not to mention her pain sensors were being jammed into overdrive by the earth-splitting headache she had.
"...oh! She's awake!" exclaimed a voice. Anabel cringed.
'Too loud.' A large shape penetrated her distorted view.
"Hey there, Anabel. Anabel?. Are you awake Anabel?" The aforementioned girl felt like sinking a punch into the portly shape's stomach.
"...Scott..." she murmured, "...can it..." The man's silhouette faded quickly.
"Sorry," he whispered, taking a seat by an open window. Several minutes passed, and Anabel almost slipped out of consciousness when:
"Scott," called a feminine voice, "can I have you check on Ash?" Anabel blinked a few times. The world was beginning to reform. Shapes were molding together and acquiring outlines. Colours were painting themselves into complete pictures.
'White...' she thought a bit more clearly, '...hospital.'
Anabel watched Scott's now more distinct shape stand and make its way towards the doorway. The seat by the window was promptly taken by a lithe woman. Lucy.
"Anabel," she spoke softly, "do you remember what happened after I told you what your fear was?" "No..." came the reply. Lucy nodded.
"You don't have to answer; just listen. I'm going to fill you in on what has happened."
And so, Lucy explained to Anabel the events that occurred that faithful morning. The only part that the ex-attorney 'forgot' to mention was the incident that occurred with Ash. "...and right now, you're in Saffron City Pokecenter," she concluded.
Saffron City is the capital city of the Kanto region. It is almost twice the size of Celadon but has almost no entertainment outlets, save for a Pokemon Gym. Saffron City also hosts the central Pokecenter of the region, from which the other centers spread out from. This center is by far the largest, being about the size of a football field. Also, it is one of the only centers in the region that boasts a helicopter and helipad. This is for patients that are awkward to move or need vigorous assistance.
Anabel heaved herself up into a sitting position, more awake now. She noted that she was garbed in a hospital gown.
"So, what exactly happened to me?" she asked, looking sadly at Lucy. She still couldn't perceive herself hurting her friends and Pokemon like that. Lucy, after a few seconds, brushed a bang behind an ear. She smiled warmly at Anabel, hoping it would comfort her to some degree.
"Coincidentally, the Gym Leader in Saffron has awakened psychic powers. And I managed to have a word with her." The teenager's eyes widened.
"You spoke to Sabrina?" she asked, "what did she say?" Lucy clasped her hands together.
"She said something to the lines of: 'A psychic's powers are based upon emotions. And when someone inexperienced allows an emotion to take hold of them, the results can be disastrous.'" Anabel slumped back into her seat. Lucy kept speaking.
"She also mentioned that if an emotion is incredibly potent, the psychic may lose bodily control and the emotion can become almost sentient. Fear and anger are very dangerous as they cause humans to perform actions irrationally and excessively. They can lead to fatal circumstances, for the victim and the psychic." Anabel's face lost its hue and she began to shake. Her breath was beginning to increase in rate.
"I was possessed?" Lucy solemnly nodded. "Th-then w-why am I sitting here and why am I not...d-dead?" she stuttered. Lucy stood and made her way over to Anabel. She embraced her softly for a minute before answering.
"Sabrina said that if two powerful emotions are present in someone at one time, they repel each other; almost like magnets." Anabel smiled shakily at Lucy's analogy. "You were possessed by fear; caused by whatever that man did to you. And it was expelled by another emotion" The teen grimaced and dropped her head slightly. "By the way, how spot on was my theory on your fear?" Anabel glimpsed into her friend's warm eyes.
"You were exactly right, Lucy. Thank you. I can't exactly say I'm a fan of your methods, but..." Lucy chuckled as she made her back to her seat. "...I feel a million times lighter."
"It's what friends are for," was the short reply. Anabel relaxed and allowed herself to sink into the hospital bed.
Suddenly, she sat bolt upright (although it was not the best idea for her in her current state.)
"What repelled my fear? From what you've told me, it sounded pretty powerful." The ex-attorney pursed her lips.
'Here it comes,' thought Lucy, 'I've been dreading this.' She took a long breath.
"Lucy!" echoed a shout from the hallway. Scott, red-faced, stumbled into the room. The tall woman briskly walked over to him and clamped his mouth shut with her hands.
"Shush!" she hissed, "Hospital. Remember?" Anabel swore she saw Scott roll his eyes from underneath his sunglasses. The large man turned towards the girl lying in bed.
"Hey! Feeling okay, Belle?" The teen's face reddened at the use of her nickname; Scott was like a father to her.
"Yes." she smiled, accepting the embrace from him "Besides a blistering migraine." He chuckled at this before remembering why he'd run into the room in the first place.
"Oh yes, Lucy...um..." he glanced in the general direction of the doorway. She caught on.
"Excuse us, Anabel, we have something we need to attend to, so..." she was cut off by a stern look from the lilac-haired girl.
"What repelled my fear? And..." she narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms, "...where's Ash?" Scott and Lucy gave each other a nervous look.
Delia Ketchum jumped to her feet when the doctor swung the door open. Her auburn hair was a scraggly mess and she had large, dark rings under her eyes. The poor woman had had little sleep.
"How is he, doctor?" she said, rubbing her sweaty arms with equally sweaty hands. The doctor's features softened.
"Now, now, Ms Ketchum. Aside from a slight concussion, your son is perfectly healthy." Delia was not convinced, and made her way towards the window of the infirmary. Before the doctor could stop her, she opened the blinds and almost fainted from shock.
"Slight concussion? My child's in a neck brace!" She paled.
Ash was in a hospital bed, upright and attempting to inhale the food that the nurse was trying to feed him. Delia turned back to the doctor. He was at least a foot taller than her.
"You said he was perfectly healthy!" she cried. The taller man looked away and cleared his throat.
"I was about to explain his current condition further, Miss Ketchum," he murmured. He walked over to the blinds and shut them again. "I have good news and bad news," he said. "The good news is: of all the vertebrae your son has, this was the best one he could have injured."
Delia's face lit up, ever so slightly. "Oh..." The man turned to face her.
"The bad news is: a vertebra is a vertebra, so it still isn't good." The mother sat back down on the cushioned waiting bench with her head in her hands.
"Do you know how it happened?" she said, muffled. The doctor sat down beside her.
"Unfortunately, Ash refuses to tell us until his friend wakes up. He said he needed to talk to her first." Delia's hands dropped.
"What do you mean?" she inquired, with the slightest tinge of anger.
"A girl was also admitted to the hospital along with your son. According to the people who dialed the emergency number, they were both involved in some sort of accident. The girl herself, had terrific head trauma." Delia repositioned herself slightly on the bench.
"Who was that girl? I mean...if you have the right to say." The doctor pursed his lips.
"I suppose you have a right to know. I believe she went by the name of -"
"Anabel! Watch out!"
"Somebody stop that patient!"
Delia's arms flew out and caught the light-green blur in front of her. The blur stopped in its tracks, but not before nearly making her trip over.
"Let go of me!" yelled Anabel. "I have to see him. I have to see him!" Scott and Lucy finally caught up, along with three, annoyed nurses.
"Oh...doctor...she's awake..." panted Scott.
"Believe me, I can see that," the doctor said, eyeballing the squirming girl in Delia's arms. Scott flushed with embarrassment while Lucy, apparently with regained composure, leaned against a nearby wall.
Anabel, however, was far from being composed.
"Please!" she squealed. "I have to see him! Please!" Delia tightened her grip on the wriggling teenager. A hand was placed on her shoulder.
"Ms Ketchum. Let her see him." Delia flashed the doctor a quizzical look, but still held onto Anabel. The doctor smiled. "It is our first priority to know why and how the injury was caused. As you have probably worked out, this is the young lady who was admitted with your son. And he won't tell us what happened until she speaks to him first. So...if you please?"
An incredibly reluctant silence later, Delia released her grip. Anabel, now without the adrenaline rush, flopped onto the floor. The doctor helped her up and whispered to her:
"Do not forget that you are a patient too. Please try to make the conversation as brief as possible."
Anabel watched as the nurse that was feeding Ash leave the room. She turned back to the doctor and nodded.
Ash lay still in his hospital bed. He would have frowned, but that would have caused too much pain.
'At least being fed cured my boredom.' He thought. 'And apparently Pokemon aren't allowed in this section of the hospital so...'
A flash of Anabel's crimson eyes shot through Ash's head. Chills rushed along his spinal column as he began to squirm. Suddenly, pain exploded from the base of his neck and his whole body stiffened. He eventually relaxed his limbs, but the mental image refused to leave his head.
'I guess there's no way around it; I'm gonna have to confront her eventually. But... I'm scared of it happening again.'
A soft click brought Ash from his thoughts. His eyes glanced towards the door.
Anabel stepped through the doorway and closed the door lightly. Ash's eyes darted towards hers.
Lilac. Just like they used to be. A shudder of relief coursed itself through his body.
'It's not just that her eyes are back to normal. I can't see anything cold or dark holding her at all.' Anabel sat on a chair next to his bed. A tense silence filled the room.
Even though her head was hung, Ash could make out the tears falling from her eyes. Her body was quivering uncontrollably, and Ash wished he could embrace her.
"...I-I'm so s-sorry...Ash..." With great pain, Anabel lifted her head. To her utter shock, Ash was smiling.
"It's okay. I forgive you."
Anabel gaped. 'W-what? T-that's it?'
"That wasn't you." She sat up, still quivering. "Whatever that thing did to me, I know it wasn't you who actually did it." The teenage girl cried out.
"But I almost killed you!" She sobbed. "How can you stand to look at me?" The tears were absolutely streaming down her face now. They collected at her chin and fell heavily onto the floor. "I hid secrets from you! I hurt your Pokemon and broke your neck! How can you be so calm?" Anabel jumped from her seat and pointed a desperate finger at the boy.
"Why haven't I seen a shred of anger?" Ash lay silently for a while, as Anabel stood, panting heavily and finger outstretched. Eventually, he opened his mouth.
"I'm not angry because I also hid secrets from you. I assaulted you and well...I can't exactly say our Pokemon battles ended well for our Pokemon." Anabel's arm flopped to her side. She knew their battles were intense, and he had unknowingly assaulted her on the couch. However, there was one thing.
"What secrets?" The question hung in the air for a long time. "Besides the ones involving you and Scott." Ash grimaced but stayed silent. Anabel tried to read his emotions but failed after numerous attempts.
'It's no good.' She thought. 'I'm too mentally drained for this. I guess I'm going to have to try and-"
"I love you."
That single statement shattered every single barrier and thought process Anabel had had and launched itself deep into her heart. She felt like she was going to explode with emotion. Instead, her body fell to its knees and began to wail into its hands.
"Y-y-y-you l-l-l-love m-me?" she blubbered. Ash looked shocked.
"D-don't cry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to make you sad!" He didn't know what to do.
'She's never going to want to see me after this! What do I do now?'
Then, she laughed. Anabel laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed. That laugh that drove Ash crazy. Eventually, she managed to speak.
"Oh, Ash Ketchum. You're wrong. I couldn't be happier." Apparently so, as the giggling girl was struggling to sit back down on her chair. "I love you too. From the day we met I always loved you." She wiped her wet face with an arm and positively beamed at the boy. Ash found himself breathless. Despite her red face from crying and the bags under her eyes from the lack of rest, he found himself in complete awe of her beauty. Her smile had caught him off guard; he had forgotten what it had looked like.
A different kind of silence washed over the couple this time. A mixture of joy and contentment filled the room as the two eyed each other (albeit a bit awkwardly, as Ash was still lying on his back.) Ash broke the silence.
"Does this mean we're boyfriend and girlfriend now?" Anabel lay back in her seat.
"Yes, Ash." She said with a smile. "I believe it does."
Suddenly, there was a slight knock on the door. Anabel sighed. Time's up.
"Uh oh. I've got to tell them what happened to us now." She said. Ash groaned. Whether it was from pain or annoyance or both Anabel didn't know.
"We should tell the truth about what happened. But let's leave the part out about what happened to you. You know, with Unova." The lilac-haired girl nodded and stood up.
"I'll get Lucy to help out with the blanks." She made her way towards the door, but stopped. "Oh, and one last thing." With slow strides, Anabel made her way back to Ash's bed. She placed her hands softly on the covers and leaned in towards the boy's face.
'What is she-'
Anabel planted her soft lips on his. This wasn't like the little peck they shared at Celadon Stadium. This kiss was filled every piece of love, happiness and gratitude that the two couldn't express with words. Their lips moved in complete unison as each teenager began to feel light-headed. The kiss lasted for a whole ten seconds before they eventually separated. Both of them were breathing heavily.
Anabel began to walk towards the door, but not before casting one, last, cheeky grin towards her lover.
As the door clicked shut, Ash breathed a long deep, breath.
"So this is what love is." He said out loud. "I could get used to this."
The girl in question looked up expectantly at the nurse.
"You may see him now." Anabel grinned and stood up off the waiting bench.
It had been a few weeks since Anabel had been released from hospital. Which, in turn, was three days after she and Ash had gotten together. With the help of Lucy and Scott, she managed to fabricate a story as to why Ash and her had gotten injured (something to do with a staircase apparently.) Anabel's confidence about her body had skyrocketed. So her and Greta, another fellow Frontier Brain, went on an updated shopping trip. Needless to say, Scott and the rest of the Frontier Brains were overjoyed at Anabel's regained composure. Anabel had resumed her duties as a Brain and had not lost a battle since. Trainers began to flood her facility as the news of the Salon Maiden's comeback spread like wildfire. So, in turn, Scott rewarded her with a visit to see Ash.
Anabel clicked open the door to see Ash, with a controller in his hands, furiously playing a video game even though he still had the neck brace on. He was playing what seemed to be a robot-samurai side-scroller. He paused the game when Anabel approached the bed.
"Hey!" He said, before locking her into an affectionate kiss. After a second or two, they separated and Anabel took a seat.
"Hey Ash. How are you feeling" she asked, folding her arms calmly.
"Well, the pain is getting better and the hospital food is beginning to grow on me. I think I'll miss it when I leave." Anabel smiled warmly.
"Speaking of which, when do you get to leave?" Ash closed his eyes and began to count on his fingers.
"Four months, I think." He said, finally. "And even then I have to wear the neck brace for a while after." Anabel whistled.
"Four months, huh? That's rather annoying."
"You're right, it is annoying." The teenage girl cocked an eyebrow.
"What do you mean by that?" Ash pointed to a flyer resting on his bed side table. "UNOVA LEAGUE CHALLENGE!" was printed on it with large, yellow letters. Anabel placed a light hand on her cheek.
"Oh, that begins next month, doesn't it?" Ash grunted in response. "I guess participating in it would be impossible in your condition."
"That's okay." Said Ash. "The league holds these challenges every three years, so that means I can get more training in." His girlfriend giggled.
"Optimistic, as always."
"Speaking of training, how's Pikachu handling himself without me?" asked Ash. Anabel stood up and ruffled his black hair.
"You needn't worry. Espeon and I have been taking good care of Pikachu. Initially, he moped around the house until I hit him with one of Espeon's training regimes. Now, he's looking forward to you seeing how much stronger he's become." Anabel bent her head down in front of Ash's face. "I must say, he's improved a lot already. You'll have some catching up to do." She emphasised the last sentence by poking the boy's nose. Ash smiled as the girl took her seat again.
"Anabel," he said, "come to Unova with me. Three years from now." The teenager's eyes widened.
"Think about it. We can spend time together, see new Pokemon and we can both participate in the league challenge..." The boy trailed off due to the girl's stare. Suddenly, she smiled.
"As lovely and as tempting as that sounds, Ash, what's the real reason why you want me to come?" Ash held Anabel's hands. Their warm fingers locked together.
"I want to know who did it to you. They can't cause this much pain and get away with it." Anabel looked towards the floor and gulped. "Please Anabel. You have to confront it. You have to confront him." She shook her head.
"I can't. I just can't. And you shouldn't involve yourself, either. I don't want to hurt you anymore." Ash frowned.
"Anabel. Look at me." She did so. And once again found herself lost in his hazel eyes. "Your business is my business now."
"Whether you like it or not." And he kissed her. Anabel moaned a little as their lips locked. Finally, when they broke the kiss, she looked into his eyes again.
"Alright." She said, smirking. "I'll do it. I'll come with you." Ash's mouth spread into a wide grin.
"You mean it?"
"Of course. Even if I'd said 'no,' you would've dragged me along anyway." They both laughed and held each other softly. After a minute or two, Ash yawned and Anabel stood up.
"Well, it's about time I left anyway. I'll leave you to your cat-nap. Love you, Ashy-Boy."
"Love you too...er...Annie-Girl?" Anabel shook her head and laughed as she left the room.
Ash lay back into the hospital bed. The second his head touched the pillow, his eyes began to droop.
'Does she seem to glow now, or is it just me?' he thought.
In almost no time at all, he was fast asleep.
Asleep with the knowledge that, he had given Anabel another chance. Another chance to spend her days to the fullest.
A new lease on life.
Cliche ending FTW. And here we are. Last chapter. Thanks to all who reviewed. They really kept me motivated :) Oh, and don't think I'm done with these two. There will be a sequel so keep an eye out ;) Also I may focus on other pairings or other series (i.e TF2) Please leave any comments you have on how I can improve the story and/or things you'd like to see.