The Buzzards and the Bees
SUMMARY: Leave it to Ash to jump to crazy conclusions. But where the heck did he get the idea that Misty might be dying, and what will Ash do for her in her alleged final day(s)?
RATED: PG-13 / T
NOTABLE CONTENT: Non-Explicit Sexual/Mature Themes & Brief Language
PAIRING(S): (Slight) Ash/Misty (Pokeshipping)
COPYRIGHT NOTE: I don't own Pokemon / Pocket Monsters
STORY TAKES PLACE IN: Anytime during Ash and co.'s old Kanto adventures
COMMENTS: Yup, I'm at it again, folks, delightfully tormenting the living daylights out of the delectably naïve Ash Ketchum. I can hardly believe that it's been over a year since I last published a multi-chaptered Pokemon fanfic (not counting one-shots). This story won't be super-long (it will be a miniseries), but it's definitely longer than a one-shot! It feels great to be back, writing another silly yet sentimental slice of Ash-torture with a few Pokeshippy hints along the way.
Friendly warning: Without spoiling the story, I want readers to be aware that this fanfic broaches some potentially sensitive themes. Nothing is explicit, I assure you, but this fic will probably be best appreciated by young adults and older.
I hope you enjoy this story! :)
The Buzzards and the Bees
"Why do I always have to do the dirty work?" Ash whined, dumping a pile of multicolored clothes next to him. After a week of campouts in a humid forest, the young travelers' dirty, sweaty clothes amounted to a hefty load of laundry. The large stack was almost top-heavy enough to topple onto little Pikachu, who was as equally unenthusiastic about laundry duty as Ash.
The trainer and his Pokemon situated themselves at the edge of a clear stream. A short distance away was camp where Misty and Brock busied themselves with their own morning chores. From there, a gentle breeze tauntingly carried the delectable aroma of Brock's sizzling bacon and eggs. Naturally, Ash had more imperative things on his mind than laundry. Food aside, the boy was eager to practice for his upcoming gym battle. He could not allow the distance between him and Gary to get any wider than it already was. Cleaning laundry would only waste more time!
But as anxious and frustrated as he felt, Ash knew it was unfair to burden Brock with all the chores. Everybody had to do his or her share, right? Thus, the sooner Ash stopped complaining, the sooner he finished the laundry, the sooner he could fill his grumbling stomach and then train to his heart's content. At least Pikachu was willing to give him a hand, carrying a small tote bag with Brock's portable-sized bottles of fabric cleaners.
Besides… Ash thought as he submerged one of his black T-shirts into the stream's cool water. After thanking Pikachu for handing him a bottle of detergent, Ash got to work on scrubbing. If I DON'T do the laundry, Misty will be on my back about it for sure. She's been really grouchy all week. Not that Misty being grouchy was anything out of the ordinary. Misty could be sweet, but there was no denying the fact that the redhead harbored a temper capable of rivaling a Gyarados' Dragon Rage. And lately, Misty had turned to her dark side.
I'd like to know what crawled up her butt and died, grunted Ash, wringing out his shirt as though he wanted to wring Misty's neck. It was no exaggeration to say that Misty had been on Ash's back about everything this week.
"Ash Ketchum! Would it kill you to check the map once in a while? No wonder we're lost!"
"Ash Ketchum! How many times do I have to tell you to go fetch firewood?"
"Ash Ketchum! You forgot the bucket of water AGAIN?!"
"Ash Ketchum! Slow down, will ya?!"
"Ash Ketchum! Hurry up already!"
"So Ash…how's my new BIKE coming along, huh?!"
"Ash Ketchum! Comb your hair! Tangela are neater than you!"
"Ash Ketchum! Quit chewing your food like a friggen Ponyta!"
"Ash Ketchum! Can you just shut your damn mouth for two seconds?!"
Seriously, what was Misty's problem lately?! Sure, the humidity had gotten on everybody's nerves this week, but Misty's mood was plain exasperating. By now, even Brock was tired of her chronic complaining. Misty tended to be hard on Ash, but this week was ridiculous. More disturbing was how Ash was not the only person to get the brunt of Misty's wrath. Brock got his share of verbal attacks. Misty's mood had even scared off Team Rocket the other night when the thieves attempted another ill-fated Pikachu-poach. The only exception to Misty's wrath was Togepi, but even the baby Pokemon was smart enough to know that Mommy was acting bizarre. Ash, too, knew something weird was going on with his female companion. Yes, Misty could be a bitch, but even Ash knew she was not that much of a bitch.
Nevertheless, after a week of enduring Misty's abuse, Ash was smarting. His own temper did not help matters, either. Half of Ash wanted to sit down with Misty and amiably ask what was bothering her. He was concerned. However, the other less rational half of Ash's brain wanted to launch a counterattack, storm back to camp and give Misty a vociferous taste of her own medicine. He was pissed. But what would that accomplish? The duo had already fought more than enough times this week, and even Ash had grown tired of it all. The most sensible solution was to wait for Hurricane Misty to blow over and then confront her in a calm manner.
Until then, there was laundry to be done. Ash spent the next ten minutes suffering in silence, mechanically soaking, scrubbing, wringing, folding, and stacking wet clothing. The extent of any conversation he had with Pikachu was a "Thanks, buddy" each time the Electric Type offered its meager assistance. Although laundry duty was not the highlight of any ten-year-old's life, Ash did feel a sense of accomplishment as he watched the pile of smelly clothes shrink. At their current pace, Ash and Pikachu estimated that their chore would probably be done within another ten to fifteen minutes. Scrub! Scrub!
The light at the end of the tunnel coerced Ash to work a little faster. Scrub, scrub, scrub! His brisk, thoughtless pacing made the job go quicker, but it also prevented the boy from actually paying attention to what he was doing. Then again, how much concentration was required to wash laundry? Scrub, scrub, scrub! Scrub!
Ash blinked upon Pikachu's perk, stopping himself from absentmindedly lathering up his current article of clothing in a huge cloud of white foam. Sweatdropping, Ash chuckled to himself upon noticing how his overzealous scrub-scrub-scrubbing had caused there to be more foam than there was clothing to be cleaned. The sudsy monster spilled onto Ash's lap and threatened to spread towards the already-cleaned pile of laundry. Not wanting to redo the job, Ash dunked his cloud of lather into the stream, getting half of himself wet in the process.
He could imagine Brock and especially Misty's strange looks upon Ash's soggy return to camp. Misty would probably say something snide like, "Ash, although my nose thanks you profusely for finally taking a bath, my laundry better damn well be clean!" Just thinking about the redhead made Ash slam a juvenile fist into the water, stupidly splashing himself in the process. Pikachu's brown eyes rolled as Ash washed off the remains of his mess, letting the foam sail downstream like tiny icebergs.
With the cloud of soap gone, Ash finally took note of the piece of clothing he had been unconsciously lathering. And frankly, he wished he never noticed in the first place. Unveiled in his hands was a small, thin piece of clothing no larger than a handkerchief. At first glance, Ash thought it was a handkerchief folded into a narrow triangle, until the boy noticed the so-called handkerchief had three openings, the largest hole outlined with an elastic waistband trademarked Fruit of the Gloom. Ash knew the brand because Delia stuffed half of his backpack with the company's cotton underwear.
Except…the pair of underwear currently in Ash's hands did not belong to him. And unless his eldest friend was hiding something, Ash was pretty certain that the pair did not belong to Brock, either. Which meant the panties belonged to…
A deep blush and cold sweat overcame the already-damp kid. Now, Ash Ketchum might not have been the quickest or most observant of people. However, he was smart enough to know what he was holding in his hands. He knew what boy's underwear looked like, and the pair in his hands was different, although Ash did not want to ponder the differences too deeply. Above all, the telltale difference was the undergarment's printed design.
Countless dewy-eyed, dime-sized Jigglypuffs winked cutely up at Ash's dumbfounded face. The pink pattern covered the panties' entirety, each Jigglypuff teasing Ash with a coy smile. Ordinarily, seeing a Jigglypuff would send Ash and his friends running in the opposite direction, lest they fell prey to Lullaby (and Jigglypuff's magic marker). Frankly, Jigglypuff panties had a similar effect on Ash; he felt a strong urge to run for his life. If Misty ever, ever found out…
…Then again, no matter how frightening Misty could be, it was a little difficult for Ash to fear her when he knew she wore Jigglypuff underpants. "Misty the Gyarados" had suddenly been demoted to "Misty and Jigglypuff," and the latter was anything but terrifying. Delia used to tell Ash that if he became anxious of a crowd or scared of a bully, he should envision the people in their underwear. No longer was he afraid. In fact, instead of running, Ash felt a strong urge to burst out laughing!
"Getta' load of this, Pikachu!" Ash childishly snorted, showcasing Misty's pink panties to his less-amused partner. "Look! Misty acts tough, but she's all bark and no bite! I'm supposed to be afraid of a girl who wears cutey, pinky underwear?! Haha! This is priceless blackmail!"
Pikachu just raised an eyebrow as Ash got the biggest kick out of his discovery. Ash Ketchum was nobody to talk when it came to underwear. Delia had bought her son a few pairs with particularly embarrassing designs, too. Not that Pikachu would ever blackmail its precious trainer…although the urge was tempting.
In the naïve hilarity of it all, Pikapi apparently forgot (or was too oblivious to) the fact that his hands were still groping a girl's undergarments. Frankly, the mouse was surprised that Pikachupi had bravely dumped her laundry (underwear and all) in the same pile as her male friends.
Then again, what did Misty have to fear? Brock already had his fill of the wonderful world of women's lingerie, thanks to those magazines Pikachu found while searching the teenager's backpack for Pokechow. And on the more responsible side, Brock had spent years parenting his ten younger siblings, half of whom were girls who had their own laundry to be cleaned. Misty's panties probably would not faze Brock nearly as much as Ash.
And as far as Ash was concerned…the kid almost rolled back into the lake due to his hysterics, waving Misty's underwear as though he just won Capture the Flag. He was too young, too naïve, too…well, Pikachu had a variety of adjectives to describe its master's gross immaturity. Perhaps in five, ten years Ash would think very differently about what women hid under their clothes. Until that momentous day arrived, Misty had nothing to worry about.
Pikachu just sighed in exasperation. The mouse loved Ash dearly, but Pikachu wholeheartedly agreed that its trainer had oodles more growing up to do. Pikapi...if you were just a little older then you wouldn't think that this moment was quite so funny. In fact, you'd either be drooling over those panties you're STILL holding, or you'd be absolutely horrified that you're touching something that was up against Pikachupi's–
Before Pikachu could allow that dirty image to embed itself into its brain, the mouse blinked, noticing something attracting its eyes. Pikachu was unsure "what" caught its attention at first, until "it" flashed again and again like a tiny red light. The electric mouse was baffled, but also noticed how that redness attracted Pikachu's eyes whenever Pikapi waved the Jigglypuff underpants.
"Pikapi!" Pikachu squeaked again, promptly ending Ash's idiocy. The boy regained himself quickly, wiping away the laughter-induced tears from his eyes and catching his breath. Pulling himself up from the ground, Ash dusted himself off before approaching his suddenly-concerned Pokemon.
"What's up, Pikachu?" he asked, noticing the Pokemon was gawking at Misty's Jigglypuff-printed blackmail. Still not grasping the full magnitude of the situation, Ash simply blinked. "And, uh, why are you staring at Misty's underwear?"
Pikachu nearly Thundershocked its panty-brandishing master, but instead chose not to acknowledge such a brainless, pot-calling-the-kettle-black comment. Taking the matter more seriously than Ash ever could, Pikachu pointed a firm yellow finger at Misty's undergarments. "Chu! Chu!"
At first, Ash figured Pikachu was pointing and about to laugh at Misty's expense, just as Ash had done a moment ago. However, the Electric Type's face was devoid of any sliver of humor. If Ash had not known better, he would have sworn he saw Pikachu's pointer finger tremble. Following Pikachu's point, Ash's eyes fell back upon Misty's funny underwear.
Only then did the matter stop being funny.
The cold sweat Ash felt earlier had returned twofold. As before, Ash took note of the teeny Jigglypuffs smiling and winking at him. The girly Pokemon pattern would serve as Ash's ultimate revenge against Misty's outrageous moaning and groaning of the past week. He could hardly wait to declare war alongside his newfound army of pink Jigglypuffs!
Except…not all of those Jigglypuffs were pink. Some of them were…red.
As if he touched fire, Ash instantly let go of the wet undergarment, letting it fall to the ground between him and the equally skittish Pikachu. Some brown dirt soiled the Jigglypuffs, but the subtle redness remained on Misty's panties.
"...P-Pikachu...?" Ash stammered, swallowing nervously as all traces of humor fled like the soapsuds downstream. The boy's heart raced as he pointed a shaky finger down at the used-to-be-but-no-longer-are-funny panties, specifically at an area where the underpants featured most of the mysterious red stain. "...I-is...that...b-blood?!"
It certainly looked like blood, albeit too dark a crimson to be fresh blood. From where Pikachu stood, the scent was definitely reminiscent of blood (although Pikachu was not about to stick its nose up close and personally into Misty's underwear). The red stain was dark and ran along the middle portion of the panties. It was not a huge stain, more of a thin streak, but there was no denying that the stain had been blood.
Instead of imagining a hundred and one scenarios of how to blackmail Misty, Ash's brain immediately became overloaded with a thousand and one scenarios as to why blood, of all things, stained Misty's underpants. Like any potty-training child, Ash had his share of accidents when he was little. But not one of his bathroom accidents resulted in blood! True, Ash endured plenty of other blood-shedding injuries: bloody nose, scraped knees and elbows...the list was endless for an accident-prone kid like him. Thanks to Ash's track record he was not even squeamish around blood anymore.
But as Ho-Oh as his witness, Ash never, ever saw blood come from that location. Ash was smart enough to put two and two together: if blood was on Misty's underwear, that meant the blood had come from her– the anatomy lesson was overridden by Ash's grave fear for Misty's wellbeing. Against his tolerance level, Ash suddenly felt dizzy as his eyes locked onto Misty's bloodied panties. His head spun as the trainer desperately tried to fathom what was wrong with Misty. Naturally, if she was bleeding, then something was bound to be wrong with her, right?
Is she sick?! That was the first idea that popped into Ash's mind. He never heard of an illness where someone bled...there, but then again, he was no doctor. Ash did know that some injuries could cause internal bleeding, but Ash figured he and Brock would have noticed if Misty sustained any grave injuries lately. The most logical explanation was illness.
Oh God, what if Misty's REALLY sick, like with one of those rare diseases? Without realizing it, Ash's hands began clawing at his hair. He almost yanked off his hat as his imagination's gears spun out of control. Ash's brown eyes were as wide as saucers and he nearly hyperventilated as more and more worst-case scenarios flooded his brain. What if she can't be cured?! What if she's sick with something that doctor's have never heard about?! Oh God. Oh my God!
"Pikapi!" Pikachu cried out, trying in vain to calm its panicking master. This morning had undoubtedly been odd. A few minutes ago, Ash was laughing hysterically. Now he was acting hysterical again, but this time like he was undergoing a panic attack. The poor boy shook uncontrollably and a sweated profusely. Although Pikachu did not understand the reasons behind Misty's bloody underwear, either, the mouse wanted to remain calm. There was not enough evidence to prove whether or not this situation was as dire as Ash's overactive imagination blew out of proportion.
Pikachupi meant the world to Pikachu. But the mouse also knew that if something were seriously wrong with Misty, she would have already confided in Ash and Brock. No amount of arguing could change the fact that they were best friends. So, was it possible that this panty fiasco was not a big deal after all? For one thing, the bloodstain on Misty's panties was quite miniscule. If there were blood everywhere then Pikachu would certainly sound the alarms. A small streak of blood did not necessarily warrant a 911 call…did it?
Ash, on the other hand, vehemently cursed himself for not having a cell phone to dial 911. Now it all made sense; no wonder Misty had been in such a crappy mood lately! She was sick and miserable and taking it out on her friends, but who could blame her? Ash doubted he would be in a chipper mood if he underwent her suffering. Then again, who the hell was he to say he understood what Misty was going through?! Clumsy Ash had his share of minor hospital visits in the past, but never anything this serious!
As the minutes ticked, worse and worse scenarios manifested in his mind: Ash and Brock rushing Misty to a hospital. Ash and Brock waking up one morning to find Misty unconscious. Ash and Brock being unable to find their way out of this damned forest so they could get Misty to a hospital. Ash and Brock waking up one morning to find vultures circling Misty's sleeping bag… No matter how often he and Misty argued, Ash never wished anything like this to befall her!
Misty was the first friend Ash ever made on his Pokemon journey. Okay, she had been (and still was) obnoxious about her electrocuted bicycle. And yes, Misty was tough on Ash when it came to his skills (or lack thereof) as a novice Pokemon trainer. Many times had Ash ignored her advice, thinking she was just bossing him around. But Ash would be lying if he said that Misty did not play an imperative role in helping Ash reach his goals. Ash could not begin to imagine how different his Pokemon journey would be if Misty never fished him out of that river.
Ash did not want to imagine his life without Misty, period. She was an irreplaceable piece of him. If she died…
"Pikapi…" Pikachu chewed its lower lip as it watched its scared young trainer rub the tears spilling from his eyes. The Electric Pokemon did not know what to make of the situation itself. Pikachu still could not shake the feeling that there was nothing to worry about. Misty would not hide a terminal illness from her best friends, would she? The redheaded girl was never shy about voicing her opinions. If there was something to say, Misty said it! But even Pikachu felt spooked as it peered at the bloodied panties still lying by the mouse's feet. Bloodshed of any degree was rarely a good thing. Was it possible that Pikachu's instincts were off, and that matters were indeed as serious as Ash imagined? And if so, what could possibly be done?
Ash knew exactly what plan of action he would take. First and foremost, he had to pull himself together and stop crying. He would have plenty of time to mourn Misty after she was gone…not that Ash wished for the end to happen any time soon. Who knew how much time Misty had left? Did Brock even know?! What about their Pokemon? Instead of wallowing in grief, Ash knew he and his friends should be enjoying their last times together. That, and find some way to help! If there were any way to save Misty, Ash would not hesitate. And in the event he was too late to save her, then Ash wanted Misty to be comfortable and happy in her final days. He owed Misty so much more, of course, but Ash at least wanted to do that for the girl who meant so much to him.
It was harder to compose himself than Ash thought, but he managed to suck in his emotions and wipe away the remaining fluids from his eyes and nose. He had to return to camp and find Misty and Brock as soon as possible. Trivialities like laundry and chores became unimportant. He hastily gathered the remainder of the clothes into his arms, piling the clean, wet, and dirty clothes all in one heap. Ash did not care if Misty blasted him for doing a half-assed job on the laundry. She could yell at Ash all she wanted if it made her feel better.
The infamous Jigglypuff panties were the last to be collected. Not ten minutes ago, Misty's underwear made Ash laugh his head off, and now they threatened to make him bawl his eyes out. But Ash had to stay strong for Misty. He had so stay strong for all of his friends, human and Pokemon alike, who were sure to be devastated when they heard the bad news.
"Let's go, Pikachu." Ash's voice held none of its usual spunk. He sounded miserable, almost enough to provoke tears in Pikachu's own eyes. But not knowing what else to do, Pikachu recollected the detergent bottles and obediently followed Pikapi home. The mouse still was not bought on the idea that Misty was going to kick the bucket anytime soon. But one way or another, Pikachu knew that a return to camp would be for the best. Then everyone would find out once and for all what was wrong with Misty, if there was anything wrong in the first place. With all its heart, Pikachu prayed that everything would turn out okay.
Ash hoped so, too. With all his heart.
To Be Continued…
A/N: For the record, in no way was this story written to poke fun at girls (or guys, either). I'm a girl myself, after all. ;) So I hope readers out there won't be angry with me for broaching sensitive material. Offense was never my intention when writing this fanfic.
So, what did you think about the first chapter? Like I said, this story will be short, but hopefully it will still be a fun little experience. Ch.2 should be posted sometime next week. Feel free to post a comment in the meantime. Reviews help me out. :)