Clinging Desperately


Meadow Wood


PART TWO of TWO


Ash woke up several times, fading in an out of consciousness. Between the period where he was awake, he could only comprehend a rushing of people back and forth and a squinty-eyed young man that looked suspiciously like Brock. Yet, at those times, he was too cold to care and drifted back to sleep. He was unaware of his situation.

When Ash finally did come to, properly, he was met with a powerful sensation of cold all over his body. Shivering, he curled up tighter under the heated blankets that seemed to be around him. Peeping around above him, he saw rusty gray walls and an annoyingly loud whirring noise.

They were moving.

"Ash!"

A overjoyed, delirious voice rang in the air before the raven-haired boy saw Brock appear in front of him. "You're okay." he said, an ecstatic smile on his face. The young breeder had been beyond worried for his two friends, as he felt responsible for their safety and well being.

"Y-yeah." If this is what you call okay...Ash burrowed his face further inside the blankets, wondering if there was any way he could cover his face without being unable to breath. He remembered the cold and being stuck in the ocean with Misty, before fainting.

He was sure he had died. Apparantly not. "W-what happened?"

"Oh, well, I landed on a small island after the Dragon Rage." Brock explained quickly, "...and since I was clueless to where you and Misty were, I got the local Pokemon Centre to help locate your Pokedex and find your exact location."

"Oh." Ash mused, rolling on his side and trying to get into a warmer position. He hugged his legs. Hahah...and I told Misty my Pokedex was useless...

... Misty!

Ash jerked up, a layer of the heavy blanket falling off. A shiver ran down his spine. He ignored it. "Misty," he blurted in worry.

Brock chuckled, folding his arms behind his head. "Don't worry 'bout her kiddo. When we rescued you from the helicopter, she wasn't nearly in as bad of a condition as you. I guess cold effects you quicker." he shrugged.

"Or maybe I'm just a lot stronger than him." Misty's voice floated towards them as she appeared behind Brock. A thick pink robe was wrapped around her body and she was holding a cup of steaming coffee in her hands. Her hair, which was fully dried now, cascaded down her back in waves.

Ash's mouth fell open. "You're okay!"

"...of course I am."

"I know, but...I thought...I mean, I'm okay too! We were both gunna die, remember?"

"Actually..." Misty surpressed breaking out into a huge grin. "...you were the one dying and I was yelling at you to snap out of it. You fainted, ya know."

"Yeah, if we hadn't gotten here as soon as we did, you probably would have died." Brock said, smirking. Then, he let out a relieved breath. "Thankfully, we did get here on time."

Ash glanced from his two friends, still in minor awe at how they were both perfectly fine. Sure, he felt like a penguin in Antarctica and probably had hypothermia, but he wasn't dead. Neither was Misty. They were both safe, in a helipcopter, probably going back home.

"So Brock...how about our Pokemon?" Ash suddenly asked. "Are they fine?"

"Hmmm..." Brock nodded, holding out a bag filled with red-and-white spheres. "They all landed in nearby where I did. It seems only you two ended up miles away."

"Oh," Ash said, a pleased smile stretching across his face. Everything was perfect.

"Pikachu!" In a flash, a yellow mouse bounded towards him, landing hard on his chest. Ash's entire face lit up and he clutched his non-human best friend close to him. "Hey buddy." he said softly, stroking the creature between his ears. "Are you alright?"

"Pika! Pikapi pika?"

"Heh. Yeah, I'm fine too Pikachu." Ash shivered, snatching the fallen blanket and pressing it tight around his body. "...just a little cold."

"A little?" Misty teased. "You're still blue!"

Ash stuck out his tongue. "Like you weren't cold either."

"Obviously, I was. But I handled it much better." Misty added. "This event also proves that I have better endurance."

"Shut up Misty." Ash countered. "The only reason you weren't as tired was 'cause you were hogging like the whole plank of wood!"

"Liar!"

Ash opened his mouth to argue, but stopped. His lips curved into a devilish smirk. "You know, when we were in the ocean, you told me you were 'insecure' and 'never meant the harsh things you said to me'"

Brock's jaw dropped. "Seriously?"

"Yeah." Ash said, straightening up despite still feeling rather weak. "...she also called me...handsome."

Brock's jaw dropped even further, if that was possible. Meanwhile, Misty's neck and ears were bright red, a pinkish hue across her cheeks. She stared at the ground and said quietly, "You called me beautiful."

This time, it was Ash's turn to blush, while Brock's eyes bulged out in bewilderment. "W-well...I...I was just being nice!" the young boy said defensively.

"Nice." Misty snorted. "Right."

"I was." he muttered, his tanned face still a pale fuschia. He managed to shyly look up.

"Also," Misty giggled, narrowing her eyes. "You specifically said you used to have a crus-"

"Don't say it..." Ash begged.

"...a crush on me!"

Ash cringed while Brock nearly passed out in disbelief. How much had happened in the time they were stranded? ...had he missed the big confession?

"So don't say you were just being 'nice' Mister, 'used to have a crush on me'."

"Key word," Ash stammered. "Used to."

"That's two words, dummy."

Ash bit his lip, failing to think of a comeback. Snuggling against the warm blankets once more, he eyed the hot coffee in Misty's hand. The bitter yet sweet scent drifted to his nose, and he inhaled the tantalizing chocolate. "Brock," he did his best pout. "Where's my coffee?"

"You're too young for coffee." Brock smiled, glad Ash seemed to be feeling better. Although he was still shivering, you could see that the effects were starting to wear off.

"I'm thirteen." Ash declared ever-so-proudly, a certain glint to his brown eyes.

"Yes. You should be drinking milk and water. Coffee isn't good for your health." Brock shot back, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ash's mouth fell open. "But how come Misty gets to drink it then? That's not fair!"

"Um, I'm fourteen. That's why." Misty piped up, taking a sip from her mug. She licked her lips, intent on rubbing it in. "Mmm...so warm and wonderful on my tongue...mmm mmm..."

Ash mustered his best glare, then hurridely turned back to the refusing breeder. He widened his eyes in an attempt to sound cute and convincing. "Please Brock," he said in a small, innocent voice. "I'm cold...tired...I - I really need some coffee."

Brock shifted uncomfortably. Ash had a point, and although he knew the young boy was faking it, it was difficult to say no to his purposely wobbling voice. Still, he stood strong. "No Ash. I'll make you some nice milk. How does that sound?"

Ash's lower lip quivered. "B-brock, I'm begging you." he sniffled, looking at the ground and covering his face with his hair. He looked so sad and hurt that anyone would fall for the act, except Misty who noticed the smirk on his face as he stared at the tiles in sorrow.

Brock exhaled loudly. "Fine." he relented, shaking his head. "Just this once."

With that final statement, the spiky-haired teen turned on his heel to head into the mini-kitchen in the helicopter, built in a different sector of the vehicle.

As soon as he disappeared, Ash let out a whoop, jumping up from his bed of blankets and landing firmly on the ground. "Oh yeah, now that was acting." he said happily. Then, he winced as cold ran through his body and scrambled back into the bed. He huddled with the blankets, pressing them hard against his body. "Ugh, why am I still so cold?" he groaned.

Misty took a seat on the edge of the pull-out bed. She stared at him sympathetically. "I know what you mean." she agreed, tugging on the sleeve of her blanketed robe further. Her hands trembled. "I guess staying in that freezing ocean for so long took its toll. It'll be awhile before our body temperature returns to normal."

Ash stared at her in disbelief. She was being a little nice to him. That was odd. "I guess..." he murmured, and felt a immediate blush form on his face as he thought about the discussion they had had when they were stranded in the sea.

He almost wished he hadn't sent Brock to get that coffee.

"So, anyways, I'm glad your okay." Misty continued, her words coming out hesitant, yet confident. She hoped he could understand how much she meant it.

"Me too." Ash admitted. He looked up. "I'm g-glad you didn't die either."

"Thanks."

Awkwardness filled the air.

Ash cleared his throat. "Um, so...did you really mean the stuff you said back there? Like, the bike didn't matter?" his tone was tinged with hopefulness.

"Y-yeah. I mean, at first it did." Misty recalled. "I was pretty damn angry at you for wrecking my bike..." she nudged him, "...bike wrecker."

Ash grinned sheepishly, his hand flying behind his neck. "Sorry." he said, hugging his blanket.

"Yeah, yeah." Misty rolled her eyes. "So, anyways, at first the bike mattered but it didn't after awhile. You're my friend Ash. The bike stopped mattering a looong time ago."

"It did?" Ash said, surprise evident in his voice. He knew he should have expected that, since they were companions for so long, yet her saying it still sent a tingle of happiness through his body.

"Yes, although, as usual, you were too dense to realize."

Ash groaned. "You have to be mean, don't you?"

"It's the way I roll." Misty shrugged, flipping her hair. Ash chuckled.

Silence ensued.

After a moment, Misty decided to ask the question that had been lingering in the back of her mind since Ash had passed out due to extreme temperatures. "Ash, I have a question."

"Mm...shoot." Ash laid his head back against the wall of the helicopter, pulling his comforter up to his chin. He could finally relax. Everything was safe. All his Pokemon were back. Misty was okay.

Everything was normal.

"Well..." Misty paused, wringing her hands nervously. "You know how after I you said you used to have a crush on me, and you said not anymore?"

Ash barely nodded, not really paying attention. He was too happy to care.

"Well, then, you were saying something else. If I die, I want you to know..." Misty said. "You never finished what you were going to say."

At this, Ash jerked his head up, panic quickly filling his russet eyes. "Huh? Oh, ha...that was nothing." he managed breathlessly, chewing on his lower lip. He forced his expression to look casual, head spinning. He couldn't believe she was bringing this up.

"It was obviously something." Misty scoffed. "...important too."

"How do you know?" Ash yelled rather frantically.

"...because, you would'nt waste your last breath, or your seemingly last breath, on NOTHING."

Ash could feel the heat rushing to his cheeks and hid his face in his pillow. Breathe...in...and out...in...and out...

He could feel Misty staring at him, gaze stern and hands on her hips. He cowered, "I - it was nothing." he repeated, hoping she would let him off the hook.

She didn't. With a frown, she pressed her lips together tightly. She was curious now, more than ever. He looked so flustered about what he was hiding. "Tell me!"

Ash scooted further away from her, cheeks coloured. "It's...I told you...it's nothing important." he insisted.

"Right." Misty snapped. "It's nothing important, which is why you're making such a big deal of telling me."

"I..." Ash faltered. "I just don't wanna."

Misty just looked at him, her face a mixture of disappointment and surprise. "Okay," she said, shocking him. "Don't tell me."

Ash tipped his head to the side, confused. He thought Misty would keep begging him, persisting because that was her personality. She liked to get her answers clear, and she usually succeeded, even without the help of her banging mallet.

He knew he should be relieved. She would forget about the topic soon.

But he wasn't. Ash almost wished she'd made him spit out the three words he'd been longing to say to her, so the cooped up emotions in his chest could just be let out. "Uh, alright." he said, watching as she hummed to herself casually and sipped her coffee.

As he stared at her, the yellow helicopter light in her face, making her skin glow and her eyes sparke, one thought scrambled through his brain.

Beautiful.

He shivered. He suddenly could clearly remember the vision of her holding onto the wood, hair dripping wet, cheeks extra pale and shuddering uncontrollably. They both thought they were going to die. They practically were, if it weren't for Brock and the Pokedex.

Misty would have died. Ash felt a lump form in his throat. And to think, I didn't tell her how I felt...we, or she would have died never knowing how much I loved her...

And if I died...I would have never been able to yell those three words loud and clear like I've always wanted to...

Ash plunged his face into his hands, frustrated with his thoughts.

...And I should have learned from that deathly experience. I shouldn't even be afraid anymore...

... Yet I am...

Ash straightened up. I've gotta tell her. I can't keep waiting for tomorrow. I almost died today, and she wouldn't have known...she never would have known...I...

"Ash?"

Misty's spirited voice broke through his musings.

"Yeah?"

"You okay?" she asked, voice hinted with worry. "You look...anxious."

"I'm fine." he said, then paused. "I mean, I'm not fine. I...there's been something I've been meaning to tell you...and, well...I was trying to tell before I passed out..."

"I thought you weren't going to tell me that." Misty reminded him, pulling a face. "You said it wasn't 'important.'"

"Oh, I lied." Ash said quickly.

Misty glared at him, biting back the encore of arguments wanting to come. "I know you dolt." she muttered, wondering if she needed to get her mallet.

"Yeah, um...I changed my mind. I want you to know now." he said, tripping over his words and turning a cherry red.

"Alright. Talk." Misty turned her body position, facing him. Her expression was firm yet gentle.

"See..." Ash said confidently. "I wanted to tell you that I..." Just get it out, like it's no big deal. It'll be over in two minutes, she'll either hate you or hit you with her mallet or by some insane luck love you back...

Unfortunately, it was easier said than done. He quickly clamped his open mouth shut, his stomach churning uneasily.

"Ash." Misty groaned, rubbing her temples. "Just tell me. It can't be that big of a deal."

Ash meekly looked away, face still flaming red. "Uhm, okay. I was saying, that If I Died I Wanted You to Know...that...I..." he gulped, licking his lips and wondering if his throat could get any drier. His eyes shot around the room, darting for the sign of Brock. Anything that could serve as a distraction from having to say the three words.

"Ash..." Misty gently prodded his hand, presuading and encouraging him to continue and finish.

He tugged the blanket around him tighter. "I...I wanted you to know that..."

... ...

"I..."

"Yeah?"

"L-love..."

Misty tipped her head to the side, her eyes widenening as she realized what he was going to say. Her breath quickened, her hands curling around her pink robe. Her heart clattered against her chest, sweat forming on her palms. It was impossible. It was impossible that he would say what she thought he would say.

Ash took a deep breath, and looked up, locking his chocolate brown eyes with her aquamarine ones.

"You."

For a moment, they sat in silence, Misty's mouth agape and Ash's pressed in a quivering straight line.

Then, Misty finally spoke up. "You do?"

"...I d-do." his voice shook, trembling more than his body had, trapped in the middle of the ocean. He blinked furiously, hoping and praying to god that he could resist crying until she was gone from his sight.

When Misty didn't reply, he clenched his fists in pain, nails digging into his hands. "Sorry." he muttered quietly, tone quavering.

"For what?" The red-head said softly, reaching out and squeezing his hand.

"For...for..." he didn't know what to say.

"Ash, stop worrying." Misty's heart swelled. "Did you really mean what you said?"

"Y-yeah, I did. W-why?"

Misty's face lit up even more. "...'cause...I...love...you...too."

At first, Ash sat in stunned shock and disbelief, but a second later, a huge grin broke through his face, relief flowing throughout him as he rushed over to strangle her into a hug. He squeezed her tightly, breathing hard, and happiness flooding throughout his entire body. The blanket around him dropped to the ground but he ceased to care, too warm and heated in Misty's returning embrace.

"I love you." he repeated, burying his face in her orange strands. "Oh god, I love you, I love you, I love you."

Misty squirmed in his hug. He was hugging her so tightly she was sure he was cutting of her circulation. "Ugh." she responded to his passionate confession.

"Hey!" he blinked, pushing away. "This is when you say you love me too!"

"I already did, moron."

"But I said it again." his lips formed a pout. "Which means you have to say it again as well."

Misty shook her head, resting her cheek on his strong shoulders. "Make me." she said gently.

"Misty." Ash whined.

"Lalalalalala..."

"Misty."

Misty giggled quietly, kissing his neck. "Fine, fine. I love you too."

Ash exhaled happily, holding her tighter than ever. He still felt slightly cold from their dangerous fallout before, but he felt safer than ever with Misty's small figure curled in his arms. He knew she was feeling the same way, content and protected and he leaned down and kissed the top of her head. She sighed in bliss.

With a small grin, Ash reckoned, she was holding onto him just like she'd been holding onto the plank of wood in the middle of the ocean.

Clinging desperately.


I'll admit, I'm not as proud of this part as I was the other. I just...I felt like a happy ending was not what it deserved and I found it hard to pull of a dramatic, sad scene at the end. Sorry if it wasn't up to your expectations. It sure wasn't upto mine.

ALSO, I'm not sure if Ash and Misty should have severe problems like hypothermia or a coma or whatever since they were out in the cold, and I'm not sure about that stuff, so I just made them cold and fine...LOL. I'd love to be informed tho.

LOL, although, I'm grateful for all the reviews I got, and I hope you enjoyed the short story! Please review! :P AAAND...

HAPPY WRITING!