Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
For A Friend
With every movement of the second hand, the sound grew louder burrowing itself into Ash’s head. He placed his hands over his ears in an attempt to drown himself in silence.
It didn’t work. He slid his fingers over to his face, covering his eyes. He winced in pain as he touched the bandage, irritating the stitches underneath. Twelve stitches, he thought, I got twelve stitches and Misty got… he couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence. It was too hard. Everyone talks about moments that changed your life. Ash had experienced a lot of them in his 26 years. The day he set off on his journey. The day he became a Pokémon master. Things like that, but none of those things changed his life for the worse, always for the better. Now he was faced with a bad situation. In a matter of seconds, his life had gone from perfect to spinning out of control. At least she woke up a voice in the back of his mind reminded him. There was a time when you thought she wouldn’t. This was true he had that to be grateful for. No matter her state of mind now, it’s infinitely better than the alternative. Still, he couldn’t help being upset. He didn’t leave Misty’s side after the accident; she was unconscious for a long time. He knew that everyone was probably wondering where he was now. He couldn’t go back in there, not since she’s woken up. When she smiled at him and asked where Jordan was. Jordan; her ex-boyfriend who dumped her for someone younger. The doctor said that she had retrograde amnesia, the last two years of her life were lost and she may never get them back. Luckily she still remembered her family and friends. It was recent people and events she was clueless about. He leaned back into the stiff chair as the memories of the night before the accident came flooding back to him.
His head pounded as the music in the club echoed through the walls. Ash maneuvered his way through the mass of people on the dance floor until he found the entrance to a long hallway. Reaching the end of it, the music was fainter and the lighting was lower. In short it was the perfect spot for a secret rendezvous, now all he had to do was wait for the instigator of this meeting. She showed up a few minutes after he did; an apologetic smile on her lips.
“Sorry! May announced that she also had to go to the bathroom so I suggested that she and Brock go get drinks for everyone.” She giggled leaning in to kiss him. When they were kids, Misty used to tower over him, but at about 14 she stopped growing and he continued. Now the only way they match in height is when she wears 4 inch heels, as she’s doing now.
He grinned pulling her deeper into the shadows against the wall and kissing her harder. He gripped her waist tighter, holding her against him as his lips strayed down her neck to her shoulders. She sighed softly and he began to wonder how far she might let him go in a dark hallway. Suddenly Misty let out a quick giggle that stunned him; she was ticklish but not on her neck. Ash decided to ignore it until she laughed again, this time pushing him away slightly.
“What’s wrong?” he asked quietly catching his breath.
“Your phone, it’s on vibrate right?” she inquired, still smiling.
“Oh! Yeah,” Ash reached down into his pocket and pulled his cell phone out. ‘2 messages’ read the screen. He opened it and read them, both were from Brock the first one said ‘where are you?’ the second ‘your drink is getting warm’ he rolled his eyes and showed it to Misty who laughed. Ash shoved the phone back into his pocket and resumed kissing her. Just as both parties were starting to get more into it, an upbeat pop song starting playing from Misty’s purse. Ash groaned his annoyance as she pulled it out and answered it.
“Hello?” she mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to Ash, “May? I can hardly hear you…yeah, I’m coming right back” she hung up and sighed. “They’re getting ready to send out a search party. She also wanted to know if I had seen you.”
He smirked, “And did you?”
Misty smiled as she put her index finger to her chin, “Did I see Ash? You know, I think I might have; just a glimpse of him in a dark corner with a very pretty red head.”
Ash leaned down so close to her ear that she shivered slightly, “You might want to make her a brunette, to throw off suspicion.”
She sighed loudly and moved away from him, “Maybe I don’t want to throw off suspicion.” She whined, “Maybe I want to be able to walk into a room and do this,” she pulled in his shirt, bringing him close to her and kissed him hard on the lips, “without worrying about who’s going to see.”
“To be honest, I wish you’d do that a little more too.” He laughed.
“Ash, I’m being serious!” she pouted, “I don’t want to hide anymore. I mean, when we first started…it wasn’t a relationship, it was just…friends with benefits.” Both their faces turned a pink at the label, “But for the last year neither one of us has dated, we’ve just been together. There’s no reason to pretend anymore.”
“You’re right,” he smiled, “It would be kinda nice to take you places and be able to introduce you as my girlfriend.”
“So, we’re going to tell everyone?” she asked.
“Yeah, let’s do it.” He leaned down for one last kiss before walking back to their friends.
“Ash, wait!” Misty exclaimed grabbing his wrist and pulling him back, “I don’t think we should tell them yet.”
He stared at her, “But you just said…”
“I know, and I do want to, but I think we should do one more thing before we do.” She smiled sweetly.
“Yeah? What’s that?”
She leaned in her voice barely above a whisper, “Let’s get married.”
“What?!” he exclaimed, his eyes widening as he wondered if he heard her right.
“Let’s elope, then we’ll take everyone out to lunch tomorrow and tell them at once.” He didn’t say anything; just stared, so she continued, “What better way for a relationship that started in secret to end in secret?”
“That was the wrong word…it’s the end of this chapter, the beginning of the next.” She grinned, “What do you say? Will you marry me?”
Ash was at a loss, he looked around, everywhere but at Misty, “I thought the guy was supposed to ask…”
“Since when do I do what I’m supposed to?” she smirked, then her expression turned serious, “Are you saying that you don’t want to?”
“No…I do…” he finally caught her eyes and smiled, “Let’s get married. Right now, you go out there and I’ll join you in a few minutes.”
“Okay!” she exclaimed giddily as she rushed out into the main room.
Ash opened his eyes, dismayed to see that he was still in the hospital waiting room. Twelve-thirty; he had been there for over 12 hours now. He began to wonder if she was asking for him or if anyone even noticed his absence in the room. Maybe, maybe not; no one had come after him. He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope, he made sure that no one was around and then pulled a think piece of paper out of it. Turning the card over, he inhaled sharply. Ash was staring at a picture of him and Misty, their faced glowing with happiness as they shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Printed in gold to the side was the date and 24 hour chapel they had chosen. He set the picture on his lap and reached into the envelope once more, this time emerging with two gold bands, the larger of the two he slid on his ring finger, the other he held up a wave of sadness coming over him. It was a good thing that the nurse who had been taking care of Misty was okay with getting the ring back for him, and being discreet about it. He didn’t know what he would have done if they had given Misty her possessions and everyone had seen a wedding band they couldn’t explain for her. He still couldn’t believe that it was all over, almost as quickly as it started.
“Do you think they’ll all be mad?” she asked intertwining her fingers in his as they lay next to each other.
“Probably.” He said laughing as she hit his stomach, “I mean, I don’t think they’ll be mad about us getting married…they’ll be mad that we got married without them.”
“Yeah,” she sighed, nodding slightly, “My sister’s would have been thrilled to plan our wedding.”
“Mom too, I am her only child.” Ash said. They lay there silently for a few moments before Misty spoke up again.
“You know, I kinda miss not having an actual wedding…a gorgeous white dress-“
“You’re planning on wearing white? Isn’t there a rule against that?” Ash laughed.
“Oh, shut it! Wearing white is tradition, whether or not you’re really all that pure.”
“Alright, you can wear white. What about me? Can I show up in jeans?”
“Not funny! If you keep this up I’ll put you in something lavender!”
“You’d have to catch me first,” he joked then turned on his side to face her, “What else would we have?”
“What’s your dream wedding, Misty?”
She thought for a moment then smiled, “It would be outside, and you would be standing under an arch overflowing with honeysuckle. Actually, there would be honeysuckle everywhere so that it was all anyone would smell. We’d only have our close friends and family there, so it would be small and intimate.” Ash shut his eyes and leaned back without saying anything, “Ash? Are you okay?” she asked.
“You wanna get married again?” he opened one eye to look at her.
“Again? Was once not enough?” she raised an eyebrow at him.
“No, it’s not that. We sorta rushed this one and I want you to have the wedding you want.” He shrugged, “Besides, it might be a peace offering to our families.”
“That’s true. Speaking of which, we told them that we’d meet at 11:30, we should probably start getting ready to go.” She said sitting up and moving toward the edge of the bed.
“No, not yet.” Ash whined kissing her shoulders, “I don’t want our honeymoon to end yet.”
She laughed and stood up; walking towards the bathroom, “Promise me we’ll have a real honeymoon?”
“I promise,” he grinned.
The car had come out of nowhere; running a red light and ramming itself into Ash’s. He knew that they were lucky to be alive with the force of the impact, but Ash still couldn’t help but feel melancholy. The doctors said that there was a chance Misty could regain all of her memories. Still, what if all of this happened for a reason? Misty had asked for Jordan of all people when she awoke, they told her what had happened between her and her ex but she still wanted them to call him so that they could talk. Maybe Misty got amnesia so that Jordan would get a second chance. It was a depressing thought, because if that was the truth, where did that leave Ash? The broken hearted best friend? That wasn’t a role he wanted to fill.
It was then that he noticed that someone else had joined him in the waiting room. The man was tall and tan, perfect dirty blonde hair; not a strand out of place. He was the sort of person who always looks like he just stepped out of a magazine. His grey eyes searched the room until they landed on Ash.
“Hey, Ash.” He began to stride the short distance to where Ash was sitting. Jordan; they had been friends when he was dating Misty. There was a time when he wanted them to end up together, married. Since he was so protective of her, Ash had been thrilled that he and Jordan did get along so well. That is until they found out about the other girl, and he saw Misty’s broken heart. “Brock called me, he told me about Misty.”
“We told her you weren’t together anymore; I don’t know why she wants to see you.” Ash said in an even tone.
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure either. I don’t deserve to talk to her. But I can’t help thinking…” he hesitated, “that this is a blessing, a second chance.” He glanced at Ash, looking for confirmation; but Ash didn’t say anything, just stared with his arms folded over his chest so Jordan continued, “I haven’t been happy since Misty and I broke up. I’ve dated, but none of them made me feel the way that she does. I wished and prayed that I could just turn back the clock and I wouldn’t even walk into that bar, I wouldn’t look at another woman. Then I got the call, she doesn’t remember any of that, it’s as if she went back in time but I’m still here with the knowledge I have now. I just hope that she feels the same way.”
“You’re right; it is like rewinding a clock. The only thing is, while Mist doesn’t remember what you did to her, we all still do. It’s going to take a lot of convincing to get us on board with this.” Ash said, his eyes narrowing slightly.
“I know, I know. I understand that I don’t deserve this, but if it’s what Misty wants…” at those words Ash’s eyes clouded over, “who are you to tell her no?”
Ash looked down for a moment, not sure what to say to that. Jordan was right, while Misty does value her friends’ opinions of the men she dates, if she really likes him nothing Ash or anyone else said would change her mind.
Jordan sighed, “Look Ash, no one even knows why Misty wants to talk to me. For all we know it could be because she wants to scream at me for what you told her. All I can do is walk into that room and talk to her; will you at least show me where she is?”
Ash stood and started to walk towards the hallway. He stared straight ahead as he marched to the room Misty had been in since they were brought to the hospital.
She was so pale. Misty had always had a porcelain complexion but now she just looked sickly. There were bruises all over her body from the impact with the other car. Other than that, she looked peaceful as if she was only sleeping. Ash took her hand in between his two and pressed her fingers to his lips.
“Please, Mist, you gotta wake up.” He whispered swallowing the lump in his throat, “We still have a wedding to plan. The white dress, the flowers everywhere. You can put me in pink for all I care! I will wear a pink tux every day for the rest of my life if you just wake up.”
He looked up as the door opened and a doctor walked in. He gave Ash an odd stare as he caught sight of his hands wrapped around Misty’s. A pink tint brushing across his cheeks, Ash dropped Misty’s hand and stood to meet the doctor.
“Hello, I’m Doctor Sampson. I wanted to talk to you about the accident if it’s possible.” He said.
“Is Misty going to be okay?” Ash asked.
“That’s why I wanted to talk to you. She seems to be stable now, but if we can figure out what happened to her, it might be easier to determine what long term damage, if any, she will have to deal with.”
“I already told the nurse everything I knew! We were in the middle of the intersection and the car came out of nowhere and t-boned my car! I hit my head on the steering wheel and blacked out. I don’t remember anything until I woke up here! Now please, tell me what's wrong with Misty!"
Dr Sampson looked him over, his gaze landing on Ash's left hand, "I can't give specific information to anyone who isn't a family member," Ash moved his right hand over his left, "So unless you're related to Miss Williams, you might want to call someone who is."
"I'm her hu-" Ash hesitated; he wanted to know about Misty but he wasn't sure if he could trust Dr Sampson not to run straight to the media, "her roommate. She's not that close to her family. I'm close enough, please."
"I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do. You are free to wait in here for her to wake up, but don't you think that you should at least inform her family about what happened? One of them could come here and you could go home to your wife." He nodded at Ash's ring finger, raising one eyebrow. Ash knew that he was caught; anyone with eyes and ears knew who he was and the fact that he was one of Kanto's most desired bachelors. He met Dr Sampson's eyes with a determined glare.
"I don't doubt that my wife would want me here."
The doctor's expression softened for a moment as he glanced at Misty. "As of right now, she's fine. The only thing I'm worried about is that if she doesn't regain consciousness or at least begin responding to sounds or touches she may slip into a coma."
"Is there anything I can do to help her?"
"Just keep talking to her, holding her hand, things like that. If anything changes, anything at all, page me." he started to walk out of the room but stopped when he heard Ash's voice.
"Dr Sampson?" he turned around, "Thank you." Ash said softly.
The doctor nodded and left as Ash hurried back to his chair by Misty's side.
Ash paused outside Misty's room, watching her through the window. His mother was in there, fussing over everything. Brock too, he was talking and laughing with Misty and her eldest sister Daisy. The other two sisters had come and gone saying that hospitals depressed them but that they'd be back tomorrow. She looked better now, her skin had regained most of its color but the bruises were still there. She looked up at him and for a second their eyes met. She smiled brightly and waved him in, Ash started to move when he realized that Jordan was standing behind him and had also made a move for the door. He just stood there frozen to the spot. I want her back, he thought; I can't just give up like this. We can start over and be happy together. I have to stop him. He reached his hand out, only to come to the realization that Jordan was already in there, sitting on the edge of her bed talking to her in a low voice. Ash shut his eyes and slid the ring off his finger for the last time. He shoved it into the envelope he had carried in his pocket and crumpled it, along with the picture before tossing them in the trash. He walked quickly down the hallway.
"Ash!" Brock's voice called to him.
Ash turned and met the disbelief on his older friend's face. In his hand was the wrinkled picture and rings. Why hadn't he noticed Brock watching him from Misty's room? Brock's mouth opened then closed over and over making him resemble a Magikarp.
Ash gave him a slight smile, "Promise you won't tell anyone?"
"Ash..." he breathed, but then he didn't continue. Was it really so surprising? Finding out that his two best friends who had been teased mercilessly about it since they were 11, had fallen in love? Not only that, but had been married in a secret ceremony. Ash sat down on one of the chairs against the wall, knowing that Brock wouldn't let him leave until he finally spoke to him. Not surprisingly, he joined Ash on the chairs as he stared at the picture. Once again he inhaled and turned toward Ash who sat up straighter anticipating a lecture, but nothing came out as Brock exhaled loudly and leaned back against the chair.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Brock finally forced out.
"Not really." Ash answered looking intensely at the opposite wall.
The pair fell into an uncomfortable silence again but Ash was afraid to get up and leave.
"Well I do." Brock said, "When did you...how..." he wasn't sure which question he wanted to ask first.
Ash didn't answer right away, just continued to stare at the wall, Brock was about to ask again when Ash spoke up, "Do you remember right after Mist and Jordan broke up? She was really upset so we had the idea to throw a party to get her dating again?" Brock nodded for Ash to go on, "Well she didn't really meet anyone so she was sorta bummed. I, of course, was doing a terrible job of cheering her up. We were just cleaning the kitchen, putting dishes away and all that...I don't know how it happened, one minute I was drying a plate and the next...we were having sex on the kitchen floor."
He glanced at Brock who cringed a little at that sentence. He knew he should probably have cleaned it up for him, but Brock did say he wanted to know and suddenly Ash wanted to tell him. For the last year, he had been head over heels in love and no one knew.
Now he wanted someone to know, so he continued, "For a couple months, that's all it was, sex, we both dated other people but every night she ended up in my bed, unless one of us brought someone home. Then there was one night when she said that she was exhausted from being at the gym. I assumed that it meant I'd have my bed to myself but she still came in there, in her pajamas. And we just slept. I even found myself wrapping my arm around her and holding her close, and I'm not a cuddler if I can help it. After that night, we stopped bringing people home, and then we stopped dating other people all together. It all happened so gradually that I didn't even notice. It was like one day I just turned and looked at her and I was in love. At first, we wanted to keep our relationship a secret from the media, she got enough attention being my best friend she didn't want to be followed around and asked personal questions like my girlfriends in the past had been. Then, we didn't tell anyone else because it was kind of fun having our own secret. Not that it was hard to hide, we spent a lot of time together anyway, so it's not as if any of you would have picked up on that, and we already lived together."
"And you got married? Last night?" Brock asked.
"Mmhmm that was Misty's idea. When we all went out for drinks, she and I met up and she said that she was tired of keeping us a secret. I was all for telling everyone by this time, knowing that Misty and I weren't just a casual fling. Then she told me that she thought we should get married. Eloping in secret was perfect for our relationship anyway. So we did, we drove to Celadon City and got married. We were taking you all out to lunch today to tell you. But then..."
"And now she doesn't remember a thing. God, Ash that must be tough. No wonder you haven't been in there." Brock leaned forward, resting his chin in his hands. "What are you going to do now?"
"I'm going to figure out a way to get it quietly annulled. As if it never happened."
"Can you do that?"
"I don't know, but I'm sure someone will bend the rules a little, I am Ash Ketchum."
Brock snorted at Ash's usual cockiness, then jumped out of his seat excitedly, "Wait! You have to tell Misty!"
"What?" Ash exclaimed staring at his friend in disbelief.
"Ash, don't you see, maybe deep down there's some sort of feeling she's always had for you. If you tell her exactly what you told me, then you two can be together! Even if you still annul the marriage, you can just start over!"
"I don't want to confuse her with something like this. She's mixed up as it is, besides, there are only two witnesses to our relationship and she's one of them. Why would she believe me?"
"Why would you lie?" Brock said.
"I wouldn't. Still, it's a lot to take in and trying again would be hard, I'm already so invested she would be the only person starting over. That might cause problems."
"Come on, Ash. All you have to do is show her this picture. You don't want to see her get back together with Jordan do you? None of us do, but that's what's happening right now. He's smooth talking her into seeing him again."
Ash didn't answer; he stood and walked over to the window in Misty's room again. His mother and Daisy had gone, he hadn't even noticed. Misty and Jordan were still talking, although now they were both smiling a little more. His heart ached as he watched Jordan lean forward and kiss Misty on the forehead. Closing his eyes, he looked down, "No. I can't tell Misty what happened between us in the last two years."
"Why not!" Brock snapped.
"Fate, destiny. Everything happens for a reason Brock!" Ash turned to face him, "Do you think it's just a coincidence that the morning after Misty and I get married in a secret ceremony that no one can vouch for we get into a car accident that erases her memory of ever dating me? Because I don't! If Misty and I are meant to be together then it will happen I just have to be patient. If we end up together, it's going to be because that's what Misty wants. Right now, she wants Jordan."
"Because she doesn't know any better!"
"That doesn't matter, all that matters is that it's what she wants." He started to walk away from Brock.
"So you're just not going to do anything?" Brock asked shaking his head slowly as Ash stopped a few feet away from him.
"I'm going to go home. I'm going to figure out a way for this marriage to disappear and I'm going to take everything that would lead her to the truth about us out of Misty's room."
"And what do we tell her if she asks why you aren't here?"
"Just tell her...that I was busy and I'll see her when she gets home." Ash quickened his pace as he walked away.
a/n: This. Story. Depressed. Me.
I am a lover of "happily ever after" fics and I gave myself the challenge to write one that ended sadly. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done! As I continued writing, I kept telling myself that I could have Misty get her memory back or Ash march into that hospital room and tell her that he loved her. But I forced myself to continue with the story I started to tell. Now that's it's finished, I'm glad that I did, it proves to myself that I can write something like this.
I have to address Ash's character in this because I know people may not agree with this. I know that Ash is the sort of person that would fight for something he wanted, but I didn't want to focus on that. It has been made clear a few times in the anime that Ash is a big believer in destiny. So I wanted to highlight that aspect of him, in the sense that he felt all of this was supposed to happen and nothing he can do will change it.
Please let me know what you think of the fic, if I should stick with happy fluffy things, I'd rather know now!