Birthday Badges


Meadow Wood


""All the world is a birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much." ~ George Harrison


Thirteen.

As Ash shoved another spoonful of tiring beans into his mouth, he once again thought about the age he now was. Thirteen. A one and a three. A teenager. It didn't seem very real and he didn't feel very different but that was okay. He loved being the birthday boy. He got all the attention, all the presents and he usually got away with doing whatever he wanted.

"So, Brock..." Ash chewed slowly. "Do ya know what day it is today?"

The older boy was sitting on his knees across from the raven-haired trainer, working with the fire as he prepared a steaming bowl of canned beans for Misty, who was still asleep. "Day?" he said innocently. "...mmm, I oughta say it's a Tuesday or somethin'."

Ash sighed. "I know it's a Tuesday. Just...there's something special today."

"Oh?" Brock smirked. "Really? Let me think...is it Victoria Day?"

"Brock! That was yesterday."

"Right. Mmm...is it AshandMistyFinallyGetTogether Day?"

Ash stared at him, comprehending what he had said. "Wha-no!" he felt his cheeks burn red and glared at Brock. "Stop this nonsense. C'mon, you have to know what day it is today."

"Well..." Brock pondered slyly. "If it's not Victoria Day and it's not AshandMistyFinallyGetTogether Day, then it must be...someone's birthday!"

Ash's face lit up. "That's it. You're getting warmer. Now, whose birthday is it exactly?"

"...I dunno."

"Brock! You've been travelling with me for years now. How don't you remember whose birthday it is?" Ash asked, slightly disappointed.

"Is it..." Brock somehow squinted, despite the fact that that was his permanent eye expression. "It's gotta be Misty's. It's Misty's birthday, isn't it?"

"No." Ash's face fell. "You got it wrong again."

Grumbling unintelligently to himself, Ash continued to eat his beans in silence. How did Brock not remember? I'm turning thirteen today. He should. It's not fair. I remembered his birthday...well, a day late but who cares. It's the thought that counts. Plus, I nearly gave it away.

"Hey Ash?"

Ash looked up and snapped at Brock. "Whaddya want?"

"Happy Birthday."

Ash blinked in surprise. "Wait..but...you- how...you remembered? But you just said th-that..."

Brock rolled his eyes. "I was just playin' with you. Of course I remembered your birthday."

Ash felt a huge smile spread across his face. "Oh." he simply said, containing his excitement that his friend actually had remembered. "So...where's my present?"

"Way to be rude Ketchum." A new voice joined their conversation.

Ash whipped his head up to see Misty striding over to them, her glare fixed on the birthday boy. "You don't ask 'where's my present.' I know Mrs. Ketchum taught you manners but you obviously don't know how to use them."

"Hey! I was just asking..." Ash protested as the thirteen-year old girl plopped down next to him around the fire. He stopped his sentence short and sucked in his breath in awe. He'd been doing that a lot now, because was it just him...or was Misty becoming pretty?

She was keeping her hair down a lot lately too, and it looked gorgeous when the wind teased it and flipped it around. It made Ash's heart thump and his stomach turn.

"What're you starin' at?" Misty said, scowling at him. She was normally pretty grumpy in the morning and she didn't need Ash studying her like she was some Pokemon.

Turning pink, Ash looked away. "N-nothing."

Brock watched them, quietly hiding his snickers. "So Ash, do ya wanna see the amazing present I gotcha?"

Ash immediately forgot about Misty and her prettiness and grinned eagerly. "Yeah! It better be great Brock."

Misty rolled her eyes. "Do you have to be so greedy?"

"Yes." Ash stuck out his tongue, before clenching his fists excitedly as Brock got up and went into his backpack. "I can't wait to see what it is. Maybe it's some new Pokemon."

"Maybe it's a thoughtful card." Misty said.

"Ew! Cards are all nice and meaningful, but c'mon...nobody really cares about them."

"I do." Misty said, sounding stricken. "You're such a...you're such a...brat."

"I'm not." Ash said. "I'm just saying what everyone doesn't so they can sound polite. I'm being honest."

"Honest." Misty repeated. "Then I can honestly say you're a loser."

"Hey-" Ash started to argue when Brock came back with a box in his hands. It was plain and white but that didn't really matter to Ash. He just wanted to see what was inside.

"Here ya go. Happy birthday As-"

"Thanks!" Ash cried, snatching the box and rapidly beginning to rip it open.

Misty exhaled loudly, but smiled anyways. He was still so much like a little kid yet there was a part of him that was growing more mature every single day.

"Time for the moment of truth," Ash smiled, opening the flaps. He peered inside, but before he could see what it was, a flash of yellow dove out and tackled him.

"Pikachu!"

Ash laid on his back, his breathing rapid and his eyes wide in frozen fear. For a moment, he stared at Pikachu who stood on his chest. "P-pikachu?" Ash wondered.

Behind him, Brock was laughing hysterically. "You shoulda...you shoulda seen yourself..." he panted. "You jumped back like you saw a ghost...oh...man...you're still pale."

Ash stumbled to his feet, watching as Pikachu gave him a sly thumbs up. "You guys...you guys nearly gave me a heart attack!"

"I know. That was the point." Brock chuckled, exchanging happy glances with Pikachu.

"I liked your present Brock." Misty said in approval. "It's fun to torture Ash, isn't it? That's why I do it all the time!"

"It's not fun for me." Ash growled. He stepped forward. "Now where's my real present?"

"Real present?" Brock said. "That was your present."

"What?"

"Ash, we've been travelling in the woods for days now. We couldn't really buy you anything." he explained.

"Wait..." he said in disbelief. "That was my present."

"Pretty much."

Ash was bewildered. He had never not recieved a great present from the breeder. Sure, all the other times his birthday had came around they had been in a city but...still.

But Brock was serious, so with a deafeated sigh, Ash sat back down. "Great. Thanks." he said sarcastically. "Happy birthday to me."

"Yeah, happy birthday to you." Misty said, watching him carefully. "Happy birthday Ash."

He turned to her. "Thanks." he muttered. "I suppose you'll have another box with Togepi jumping out of it instead?"

"Nope." Misty giggled, smoothing her hair and reaching for her red drawstring bag.

Ash watched curiously as she rummaged through to pull something out. He still half-expected something to jump out at him and give him another heart attack to join his last one.

But nothing happened and Misty cautiously pulled out something. "Happy Birthday." she said quickly, shoving it in his hands and looking away.

Ash glanced at her, before glancing down at the thing in his hands. He drew in a breath.

It was a bunch of leaves glued together to form a heart, and plastered all over it were each and every one of his badges, glued side by side and sparkling in the sunlight. "All...all...all my badges." he said breathlessly. "On like... a heart."

Misty nodded, her face tinted cherry. "Do..you...like it?"

Ash barely nodded as he stared at it. Flipping it around, he saw that there was badges filling the other side too. Incredible.

"It's really great..." Ash managed, when something suddenly caught his eye. In the middle of the heart was something that looked like a badge, but it was not. It was a tiny badge-ish thing that had his face on it, capturing every detail from his raven hair to his warm brown eyes.

Softly mumbling to himself, he turned it around in one fluid motion, back to the front. In the middle of that side was a similar 'thing' with Misty's face on it instead, capturing every detail from her bright red hair to her aquamarine eyes.

"I...this is amazing Mist." Ash said quietly, hugging the fragile work of art to his chest. "I really like it."

"Happy birthday Ash." Misty smiled shyly, reaching out her hand and touching his arm. Tingles ran up Ash's spine and he shivered in delight from her touch. "Thanks Misty."

Brock watched the exchange with a slight frown. He turned to Pikachu. "Her present really was a lot better than ours, huh?"

Pikachu squeaked. "Pika."


Hahaha that was really short just 'cause I was in the mood but hope you liked it anyways! Review? :D It really didn't have a plot or anything...haha I apologize.