"Come on, Ash. It's not that big a deal-"
"Misty, please tell Brock I'm still not talking to him." Ash interrupted.
The way the conflict had started would take some explaining. While travelling through Kanto with the established goal of Ash getting enough Gym Badges to enter the Indigo League Tournament the small group of Trainers came across a large gathering of a specific breed of pokémon. Brock, doing as any Trainer worth his salt would do, decided to catch one. He succeeded. And that's about the time ash started hyperventilating.
"I just don't get what your deal is. You were fine with those ghost pokémon in Lavender." Brock observed.
"And the creepy bugs in Viridian Forest." Misty added, suppressing a shudder.
"So why does this cute little guy freak you out?" Brock finished, holding up the newly occupied Pokéball.
Only for Ash to slap it out of his hand. "Keep it away from me!" he yelled, shrilly.
He hadn't realised knocking that Pokéball to the floor was a bad thing. The ball opened on hitting the ground, releasing the creature inside.
"AHH!" Ash yelled in fear, falling to his rear and then scrambling backwards. "Get it away, get it away!"
"It's a she, not an it." Brock scolded, getting annoyed now that Ash was being downright rude to his new Pokémon. "Don't let Ash get to ya, girl. He's just being a little sissy-pants." He told the Diglett as he knelt down to pat its... her head affectionately.
"You don't understand!" Ash pleaded from the ground. "That's the problem!"
"What!" Brock asked, exasperated.
"How do you know it's a she?" Ash shouted. "None of us have seen anything that could say one way or the other! Worse, no one has!" Ash continued, now officially ranting on the true horrors of the Digletts. "Dexter has tons of info on 'em! Pictures of both genders that are identical! And it says specifically that no one has ever seen what it looks like under the dirt! Yet somehow it has Diglett's exact weight? Somehow we instinctively know it's a girl? THAT MAKES NO SENSE!"
"Ash, calm down!" Misty told him sternly with a hint of pleading in her tone. To her, he was creepier than the Diglett was right then.
"Look, there's a rest stop up ahead. I can settle this in seconds and solve your weird Diglett-phobia and we can move on, okay?" Brock said before turning to Diglett. "Diglett, return!"
Ash wasn't convinced. Partially because his fear was ingrained into his psyche.
Partially because he would swear blind the Diglett winked at him.
Arriving at a rest stop, the three friends sat around one of the small white tables left for travellers to get off their feet for a while.
"So what's this solution you have, Brock?" Misty asked, more amused by the situation now that Ash had calmed down and was being a bit less creepy.
Emphasis on 'a bit'.
"Well it's obvious, isn't it? The reason no one sees all of Diglett is because it travels by tunnelling underground. We only see its head poke out of the dirt. But if we let it out where there's no dirt..." He trailed off.
"... Then it can't dig down and hide its true monstrous appearance!" Ash finished, wide-eyed. He was absolutely certain that was why they hid. Because they were evil. Evil little hidey-monsters.
"...Sure." Brock agreed with a roll of his eyes. "You ready?" he asked looking at Ash, who gave a nod in response as he stared intently at the table where the Diglett would soon reveal itself. Brock placed Diglett's ball on the table and opened it. "Come on out, Diglett."
Now, Brock was young. So could be forgiven for thinking he knew better than an entire planet of trainers and professors who study Pokémon for a living. And somehow convincing himself that none of those people had thought of 'release Diglett on a table' before. Unfortunately for the three, neither of those things was true. People had tried it before. And yet Dexter's assertion that no one had seen the rest of a Diglett remained true. The full reality of why this was true sat on the table in front of them.
"Wha-!" Misty breathed.
"How...?" Brock couldn't think of a way to finish his question.
Ash straight up fainted.
Sitting on the table was Brock's Diglett. Its round, brown head, two beady eyes and comically large pink nose. It was below that where the horror started.
Below that was the table. Surrounding Diglett was the customary disturbed dirt ring from where it dug into the ground. Except there wasn't any dirt to dig into. The table was not only made of plastic, it was also no thicker than a sheet of cardboard. And there was no hole or any sign of a Diglett on the underside. So the question was:
"Where the heck did that dirt come from?" Misty shrieked.
… Okay. That too, but also:
"What the heck is it digging into?" Brock yelled.
Misty had to admit that might have been the better question. "Umm, m-maybe Ash was right about being scared of these things." she hazarded as she looked up at Brock.
Brock shakily nodded as he met her eyes. "Yeah.I think maybe I should-"
"Diglett-dig! Diglett-dig!" A newly terrifying voice chirped from his feet.
In the seconds the two weren't looking, Diglett had moved.
And the table looked good as new.
"Diglettreturn!" Brock said hastily as he snatched the ball from the table and returned the small brown bump to its confines. "I'm gonna go release this into the wild. You can wake up Ash." He said before running a little ways into the woods.
Misty scowled since she'd been given what she saw as the harder job. She had no idea what state Ash would be in when he woke up. "Staryu, use Water Gun to wake up Ash!" She exclaimed as she released her Staryu on the table, the star Pokémon spraying the boy with cold water from its topmost point.
"Wah! Pft pffftuh!" Ash sputtered as he woke up. Shaking himself off a bit, he looked around confused. Staryu was out, probably the source of that water. And Misty was there looking worried. "Misty? What's going on?" he asked.
'Does he not remember? Or is he just pretending it never happened?' She inwardly shrugged, not caring which it was as both answers meant they never had to mention this incident again. "We're gonna get going again as soon as Brock gets back." she informed him,
"Oh. Cool! I can't wait for my next Gym Battle!" He said excitedly.
And so the journey continued. Ash oblivious to what had occurred and Misty and Brock praying that one day they might forget just as Ash had.
The horrible truth behind the mole Pokémon.
A/N: Okay. I had ideas for a Pokémon fic. It was generic, indulgent and probably wouldn't add much. It would also be one more thing to add to my list of rarely updated fics. So I'm still iffy on ever starting it. Considering only one of my fics has a well defined 'end' that I'll one day reach, 'I have other fics' is not a good reason not to start another one. So I dunno. Maybe.
In the meantime, we have this fun little one-shot idea that Slicerness insisted I post once he heard the premise. Ash's fear of Diglett/Dugtrio would've been a character trait in that fic I was considering. There may be a Dugtrio-based follow-up one day but don't count on it.
Thanks for reading!