I should really just be getting ready for my next class right now.
The characters in this here fanfic can and probably will sometimes cross in to the OOC, but I’ll try my hardest to stray them back to their original characters! And even though this isn’t an AU, it has some… AU-ness to it I think ^^;;;
And yeah, if you bother to read this, then please leave a tiny, incy, wincy review for Uza-chan? :O
“Hey, how long are you going to be here?”
I turned to face the person beside me, watching as he stared back down at me. I noticed his features – the dark brown spiky hair and the small equally brown eyes – and almost recognized them as well, but shook it off completely.
“How long are you going to be here?” He asked once more and I shrugged my shoulders in response. I didn’t know how long I would be here; I didn’t know how much time I needed.
He sighed softly, annoyed, probably with my silence. “I have to go, I’ll be back in a sec…” he mumbled before walking off, leaving me alone with you.
Had it been any other time, maybe I would have been happy for us to be left alone. But now… now I didn’t feel so pleased to be alone with you. Now, now I could only see your smile, piercing through my memory and reminding me of the one thing I always wished I never had to face.
It was so stupid, I realized then. It was stupid of me to be sitting here, a day after the anniversary of your death and still be depressed. But that was just how I was, huh Ash? I was almost just as stubborn as you are. Or, were…
Slowly, I felt myself reach over towards your gravestone. My fingers trembled as they traced your name: short and sweet.
I smiled sadly as memories poured in to my mind, my heart beating numbly underneath my chest. Beating but already dead as it pumped the questions in to my thoughts, the questions I often wondered myself.
Why did you have to die now?
Tears found their way to my eyelids and slipped past my face and I noticed that I was crying, yet again. But it wasn’t like how it was before…
Still, I didn’t bother wiping the tears away as they fell down towards the dirt floor below me. The dirt floor that held you, the several layers of dirt that separated you from me. And even though I knew you were right there, you felt so far away. Because even though your body was there, I knew that you had left a long time ago. You left to a place that I could never reach.
Still, I continued to cry before kissing my finger tips and tracing your name once more.
“Hey, Ash?” May called towards her new boyfriend. She reached for his shirt hesitantly as her cheeks painted themselves pink. She was still not used to being so intimate with the young man.
“Yeah?” Ash looked back towards the young brunette behind him. “What’s up, May?”
“I, um,” May felt herself clutch on to Ash’s shirt as she pulled the boy closer to her. “I’m really happy we can be together like this.” She smiled as her words finally made their way out, as if a burden had been lifted from her conscience even though they were only a few words.
“Huh? Oh yeah, me too!” Ash replied, oblivious to what his girlfriend meant.
“No, Ash!” May said, bringing her boyfriend’s attention back to her. “I mean… I mean I’m happy we can be like this, together…” she paused. “Like a couple.” She murmured, her blush appearing on her face once more.
This time, Ash had understood exactly what she meant. “Y-yeah,” he gulped after some time, his blush mirroring the one on May’s face. “Me too.” The young raven haired boy stared in to May’s sapphire eyes as she stared back in to his chocolate eyes. And then, just like that, they both erupted in laughter. It wasn’t intentional, of course, they just couldn’t help it. They both laughed at their blushes. They laughed at the fact that they were both so nervous at the idea of showing public displays of affections to each other.
“I lo-like you Ash.” May said after their laughter had died down, correcting herself as she took hold of Ash’s hand. He smiled.
“I like you, too, May.”
I looked up as another familiar face made its way up to your grave. But I was surprised when the face turned towards me. “I’m sorry, M-”
“You don’t have to be.” I interrupted; my voice hoarse from crying. I was surprised that my voice had come out at all.
The face beside me smiled sadly but I knew then that there was nothing the face wanted to do more than cry.
“I can’t believe he’s gone and… and I was right there with him when he left...” Tears began to fall. “Oh no, I can’t… I can’t be crying.”
“It’s okay,” I murmured, as if I were speaking for you. “He won’t care if you cry. You’re his mother after all; he’s probably used to your crying.” I said in an attempt to soothe the sobbing woman but failed.
Delia shook her head sadly as she reached for your grave, her fingers trembling just like mine had before hers. “I can’t believe he’s gone,” she whispered through her tears as she ran her hand over your gravestone, almost as if she were reaching out to you.
I watched as she continued to stare at your name, mouthing it out again and again, almost as if she were calling to you. And I knew at that moment that neither I nor any of this world existed to her anymore. It was only her and your grave. I wondered then if perhaps she was remembering the day you died. Because I knew that I could at least remember that day perfectly as all of the other memories I had of you blurred with my tears.
“I can’t believe he’s gone…” Delia whispered again before breaking down in to tears. And I couldn’t help but wonder if that was how she would have reacted if she knew you could hear her.
I turned away from her and towards you, your death day appearing behind my eyelids once more. Because I knew that at least out of all of the memories we all had of you, that memory was one that was still fresh on everyone’s minds.
“Hey, what’s up?” May questioned as soon as she saw Ash’s raven hair bobbing in her line of vision.
He had just spoken to her over the phone thirty minutes before with some bad news as he had called it. And now, here he was, climbing in to her room, panting as he finally made it through her window.
Ash fell on to May’s bed, tired and panting. He attempted to speak but then started in to a fit of coughing, bellowing in to the young brunette’s room. Now May was getting worried. Now May was getting scared. Ash almost never got tired from climbing in to her room.
“Ash!” May cried, taking hold of her boyfriend’s hand in worry. “Ash, what’s wrong?” she questioned, her fingers trembling as they found his. “Are you sick? Are you okay?”
And then, just like that, weak laughter rang in between Ash’s gasps for breath. “You worry too much.” He said, watching May and in return she frowned.
“You’ve never been so tired before…” She pointed out, pulling her robe closer to her. Ash smiled.
“I’ve never ran over here before,” he replied.
May sighed, realizing what had happened. He had run over here, Ash Ketchum had ran all the way over to her room from the pokemon center he was staying at. “Ash,” she said, closing her window quietly. “I was really worried…”
“Your health isn’t that good, you shouldn’t run so much.”
“I’m fine,” Ash muttered as he closed his eyes.
“No, you’re not.” May argued. She continued to stare outside the clear glass before her and outside to the cold Petalburg night as the wind howled. “Ash,” she whispered, as if she were afraid to speak any louder. “You’re not fine at all. And you know that.”
Ash groaned. “Not you too.” he sat up. “I’m fine, May.” He said as he placed a hand over his chest. “I’m not tired any more, am I?”
May turned around to face her boyfriend in sadness; he didn’t understand, he really didn’t, he didn’t understand why everyone was so worried about him lately… Because it didn’t matter how quick he regained his energy, no, it only mattered how quickly he lost it. “Ash,” May said, softly. “If you were really okay, you would still be a Pokemon trainer, wouldn’t you?”
“I chose not to be a pokemon trainer.” Ash grumbled, falling back down on to the bed.
“Just like you chose to give Pikachu away?” Just as those words came out of May’s mouth, she regretted them. No, no, she didn’t mean that. She didn’t mean to say that at all. May bit down on her lip, just waiting for Ash to anger…
“If you don’t want me here, then I can go.” Ash said, standing up and walking towards the window May had just closed; he reached for the handles.
“No Ash,” May whispered. “I didn’t mean it like that-”
“I bet you did,” Ash grumbled, twisting the handles now.
“No, I didn’t, really Ash. I’m sorry.”
Ash stayed quiet and May could tell that he wasn’t leaving anymore. Still, she knew she shouldn’t have said what she had. Giving Pikachu away was the hardest thing Ash ever had to do. And May knew, along with everyone else, that Ash was never the same after the small yellow rodent left his life. He was, for one thing, much more of an impatient person without Pikachu. The young raven haired boy pushed the window open now and allowing the cold night air back in to May’s room, he began to get ready to climb out.
May stared in surprise as Ash got ready to jump.
He really was leaving…?
“Ash!” May reached for her boyfriend’s arm, stopping him from leaving her all alone. She didn’t want them to argue anymore. She didn’t want this to happen… “I’m sorry, I really am. I didn’t mean to say that. I just…” the young brunette paused, wrapping her arms around the young boy’s waist and pulling him in to her embrace and away from the cold unknown outside. “I’m just worried about you, Ash. Your body is really weak.”
Ash said nothing but he allowed May to pull him away from the window and back to her bed where he sat down almost lifelessly. It was the same, they knew, tonight along with all of the other nights Ash had climbed in to her room had always ended up like this. May had ended up saying the wrong thing and Ash had taken it too personally.
“I’m sorry,” Ash murmured after some time. He watched May close her window once more, closing out the howling wind outside. “I just…” Ash paused, looking down at his frail body. “May, you don’t get how I feel.”
May decided not to say anything, allowing Ash’s words to hang over them.
“I never asked to be like this.” Ash continued, sounding both frustrated and angry.
“I know,” May murmured.
Ash frowned down at his arms as they glowed from the moon hovering outside. The wind continued on strongly as he stared down at his arms. He… he never remembered being so pale. “I feel like everyone’s been treating me like a baby just because of this condition.” he continued before sighing. “But I guess that doesn’t excuse anything. I didn’t mean to get mad.”
May smiled sadly. “It’s okay,” she said, sitting down beside her boyfriend. She took hold of his hand, intertwining it with her own before laying her head on to his shoulder. “You’re the same Ash to me just like you always were before.” She paused. “I only treat you different because… because your body’s different.”
Ash frowned. “Right.” He whispered.
“So,” May closed her eyes, choosing to ignore what Ash had just said. “What was it you were talking about on the phone? What’s the bad news?”
Ash clenched his fist in anger.
“Ash?” May opened her eyes, awaiting his answer.
The wind outside the house howled loudly as it blew strongly past Petalburg. It blew before the Maple’s house, breaking May’s window open violently just as Ash had whispered out his bad news.
“I’m moving away, May. Very far away.”
“When people think of Ash,” Delia said softly, finally realizing I was there. Or maybe she hadn’t, maybe she was still locked in her own world with you. I didn’t know. Yet, I couldn’t help but watch her as she swayed her hand over the letters on your gravestone.
“When people think of Ash,” she repeated. “No one ever thinks of a fragile, sick boy; do they?” I wondered if she was talking to me then, asking me the question, but she didn’t turn to face me or give me any sign that she was talking to me. So I didn’t answer her question and she didn’t move her eyes from you.
“When Ash was a born,” Delia continued; her voice dropping to a whisper. “He was born as a fragile and terribly sick child. He had a weak body and was always getting sick, no one thought he would survive his childhood…” her voice broke, realizing that that was what had exactly happened: you hadn’t survived your childhood. You had died at the young age of sixteen. I shuddered, remembering how I had been worried about what to buy you for your seventeenth birthday on the exact day you died: three days before your birthday.
“… His sickness didn’t come back until he was fourteen, bringing his death almost three years later with it.”
I looked up at Delia; I hadn’t realized that I had stopped paying attention since she was still talking.
“Who knew he would be sick?” Your mother muttered, more to herself than me. “Ash always seemed so strong, didn’t he? Whenever he went off on another journey I always almost forgot the sick and fragile child he was. But that was how Ash was, right? He never did want other people worrying about him. So he always pretended to be fine when he wasn’t.” Delia smiled painfully as her eyes moved from you and towards me; her eyes catching on with mine. “But you knew that, didn’t you?” she whispered to me, tears budding on her eyelids. I said nothing.
“Sometimes, dear,” Delia continued to whisper as her tears spilled out of her eyes. “Sometimes, I honestly think you knew him better than anyone else.”
I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t say anything. How could I, after all? When I had known that all along?
May watched as her male friend, her mentor, her teacher, trained with his pokemon. She watched as he demonstrated what he expected them to do and his pokemon watched him with true focus in their eyes. It was almost as if they were each his own students and he was their teacher. She wondered if perhaps they looked up to him as much as she did.
“Ash is great, isn’t he?”
May smiled up at her other male friend: Brock, as he sat down beside her on the red bench they now shared. Her brother Max had been sent off to go wash their dishes since it was his turn.
“He is,” May said, her focus going back to the energetic young man as he taught his pokemon his strategy for the upcoming Gym Leader. “He has a way of connecting to pokemon that I’ve never seen even my dad do.”
“Yeah,” Brock nodded in agreement. “Ash may be hotheaded and stubborn sometimes, but when it comes to pokemon, he’s really serious.”
“Yeah,” May’s eyes locked with Ash’s and he smiled slightly before going back to training. “I admire that about him, though.” The young brunette admitted. “I admire how he can just throw himself in to it and not get distracted at all.”
“Wh-what?” May asked, feeling self-conscious. Had she said something embarrassing? “Why are you laughing?”
“It’s nothing,” Brock said, shaking his head with a smile on his face.
“It’s not nothing,” May argued. “Tell me what’s so funny. Did I say something I wasn’t supposed to say?”
Brock laughed once more. “No May,” he finally breathed after some time as he looked down at the impatient brunette. “It’s just…” he smiled. “Ash said the exact same thing.”
Brock smiled. “He admires that about you too, he likes the way you train and get yourself in to your training a lot.”
“He likes…?” May trailed as her eyes drifted back to the young raven haired boy, now as his eyes once again locked with hers. He waved.
“How long are you going to be here?”
I froze in my place, wondering if he had come back to check on me but realized it was Delia, staring straight at me; her eyes now dry of their tears.
I didn’t know.
Delia smiled sadly when she realized I wasn’t going to say anything. “Don’t think you’re alone, dear. You’re never alone.”
And with that, she stood up and disappeared somewhere behind me. I didn’t even bother to watch her leave.
… Never alone…?
I wondered if she had gotten that from you. You had always said that to me after all, whenever I was feeling down.
I felt my eyes hesitantly fall on to the bouquet of flowers that sat, wilting on your grave. Her flowers, they were her flowers. The only flowers no one bothered to touch.
I frowned and looked away from them defiantly. But it didn’t matter if no one touched hers, not to me anyway. Because I knew no one would touch mine either. That is… if I ever got some for you.
May fidgeted in her seat uneasily. She had told Ash to meet her before he went off to train once more. She frowned as she caught her reflection in the pond below her, she looked so nervous. May bent down over the pond and glared at herself. She had to look okay, she had to look fine, or she wouldn’t ever be able to face him again.
May felt a frown form on her face but quickly fought against it. She put her hands in to the water below her and splashed the cold liquid on to her face. She couldn’t look so sad. But… but it was so hard not to look sad… because she knew that there was a possibility of him breaking her heart.
“May, you wanted to talk to me?”
May froze in her spot, her heartbeat racing underneath her chest. “A-Ash!” She turned to face the young boy, a smile plastered on her face. “You surprised me!” she lied.
“Sorry,” Ash replied, though the smile on his face didn’t agree with his apology.
May felt her heart thump inside of her; her face warming up as he stared down at her. He looked so cute then, too cute for his own good.
“So what’s up?” Ash asked, taking a seat beside May on the cold green grass that lined the small pond.
“I…” May forced herself to look up at the raven haired boy beside her, a nervous look appearing on her face. “I like you, Ash.”
Ash grinned. “Thanks May, I like you, too.”
“No, Ash…” May placed her finger in to the cold water below her. Maybe feeling the cold water would make it easier to feel the pain of rejection. “I mean that, I like you.” She paused, choosing her words carefully. “I like like you.” She wondered if he would understand that.
He had understood it perfectly.
May squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for her crush to speak, waiting for him to break her heart. And she knew he would, after all, everyone knew Misty was a better match for him.
“May,” May felt a warm hand pulling her finger out of the cold pond. The young brunette opened her eyes in surprise and stared up at Ash.
“May,” a warm blush appeared on Ash’s face. “I like you, too.”
He said he had liked her too.
May felt herself smile as she threw her arms around her new boyfriend, engulfing him in to her happiness and relief. He hadn’t broken her heart.
He really hadn’t.
You’re never alone.
I frowned as the clouds above us rumbled, warning the cemetery of heavy rain. You would probably tell me to go right now if you could say something. You would say something like you were fine and I should go. I looked over at your gravestone closely.
“Yes, I am.” I answered the question that seemed to float between us.
It was stupid; I knew right then, it was stupid for me to sit there, waiting for another reply to come knowing nothing would. But that’s how it was now, wasn’t it? I sat here, watching your grave like a watchdog, day and night. Speaking to you as if you could hear me, as if you could see me sitting here.
It was stupid of me but I still did it, because I couldn’t get you out of my thoughts. I couldn’t get your memories out of me. I couldn’t live my life without always remembering what we had been doing before you left. What we would be doing if you hadn’t left…
Why couldn’t you just leave me alone, Ash? Why couldn’t you just go away and leave me be already? Why did you bother me when it was her who should have been here? When it was her who should have been sitting here, crying from the emptiness your death left her? I frowned again but you said nothing in return to my silent questions.
You should have been haunting her Ash, you really should have. You should have been on her every thought, on her every intention. You should have been there to control her life beyond the grave just like you were controlling mine. It… it wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair how you let her live the way she wanted to when she was supposed to be the one weeping over your grave again… and again… and again…
“Leave me alone!” I cried towards your grave in anger. “Leave me alone! Leave me alone! Leave me alone!” I placed my hands on my head, attempting to block you out of my mind. It wasn’t fair, after all. It wasn’t fair how you let everyone else move on but me. It wasn’t fair how you let her move on with her life when she was supposed to be here with you, not me.
I felt myself wait for you to say something again and again I had to remind myself like always that you were dead. You were dead, Ash.
And you had been dead for months.
“Leave me alone!”
“May, thank you for coming.”
May looked up as she reached for her cup of tea. “You’re welcome,” she replied as Ash’s mother, Delia, sat down before her stiffly, not even trying to reach for her own cup. May frowned, there was something wrong, she knew. Just the way that the room seemed so tense she knew something had gone wrong.
Something with Ash…
“Ash has been pretty happy lately, you know.” Delia said, smiling softly as May took a sip of her cup. “He’s been very happy ever since he met you.”
May couldn’t help the smile that reached her lips. “I’ve been really happy too.” She replied.
Delia nodded. “You two are dating now, aren’t you?”
May’s smile broadened as a soft blush appeared on her face. “Yeah,” she said, remembering the energetic young boy. “I mean, we can’t see each other much now that he’s gone and travelling to other places and I’m focusing on my contests. But we do get to see each other whenever we cross paths.”
Delia smiled sadly. “What if I told you… that you’re going to be able to see Ash… a lot more than you usually do… really soon?”
“Huh?” May looked up, surprised. “See Ash more?” she repeated. “That would be great.” She admitted but confusion spread through her face quickly. “But Mrs. Ketchum, how can I see Ash more than I already do?”
Delia’s smile disappeared. “Well, let’s just say that Ash has suddenly gotten a lot more free time.”
A lot more free time?
May frowned. “But, wait,” she replied, placing her cup softly on to the coffee table in disbelief. “Mrs. Ketchum, he just told me a week ago that he’s about to start on another… journey…” the young brunette froze when she saw the look in Delia’s eyes...
…The look of extreme pain.
“Something’s wrong,” the young brunette whispered, finally catching on to what was happening. “There’s something wrong with Ash, isn’t there?”
And that was it. That was all it took for Delia to break down in to tears. Gasping and sobbing as her head fell in to her hands. “Yes,” she mumbled sadly between her sobs. “He’s extremely ill…”
There was something wrong with Ash…
May’s bottom lip trembled. “No…” she whispered. “No, he can’t be…”
“I wish I-I could tell you otherwise,” Delia sobbed, her face still hidden behind her trembling hands. “No one knew it would come back, May. No one knew he would b-be sick again.”
Be sick again…?
“No… no… no!” May cried, standing up. The cups on the table quivered to a fall, the black liquid inside spilling on to the Ketchum’s coffee table, but no one seemed to notice.
“He can’t be sick!” May cried. “He’s… he’s Ash!”
“I know, dear… I know.”
May shook her head, her heart beating sadly underneath her chest. The same heart, she realized the same heart that had once beaten both happily and nervously at the sound of Ash’s name. But now, it broke with every thought of him that poured in to her memories. May shook her head once more. “He can’t…”
“I know,” Delia murmured.
May looked up when she noticed she was crying as well, her tears falling from her eyes like they never had before. “Mrs. Ketchum,” May said, bringing the sobbing woman’s attention back to her. “Will Ash…?” She paused, unable to continue.
“Will Ash what, dear?” Delia questioned.
May shook her head, still unable to comprehend what exactly it was that she wanted to say... It was too horrible to even think of.
“Will Ash what, dear?” Delia repeated her question.
“Will Ash… die?” May asked, she spit out the words as if they were disgusting to keep inside of her.
Delia stayed quiet and only stared up at May sadly. “I don’t know.” She finally replied.
May felt hope reach her. So he wasn’t going to die, he was just sick…
“But the doctors at his hospital say he’s getting weaker by the day,” Delia wept, throwing herself in to another fit of tears. “They say his chance… is very slim, May. He doesn’t have much time left.”
May attempted to say something, anything. She attempted to scream again or cry, but could do nothing. Instead she whispered out a goodbye before bolting out of the Ketchum living room, never to come back in to their happy little home again.
I looked up as rain poured down from the grey clouds above, enveloping the whole cemetery with cold, heavy drops of water. I sighed and looked back down towards the floor below me.
So that was it, wasn’t it, Ash?
I was just going to always be here with you, no matter how many years passed by. Because it didn’t matter if I loved you with all of my heart, you would just never let me move on.
You’re never alone.
I smiled sadly, if that was true then why was I alone right now? Why was I always alone since the day you died?
“Everyone’s wrong…” I whispered, reaching for your gravestone again but stopped right before my fingers reached the words I had always been unable to say.
Lover of May.
Those words weren’t supposed to hurt this much…
I pulled my hand back to my side as the rain continued to pour down and I couldn’t help but remember…
It was raining the day you died, too.
“Moving away?” May repeated, shocked. Or at least, she tried to before her window broke open from the strong wind outside…
“May! May! Are you okay?!”
“Oh my gosh, is she going to be okay, doctor?”
“She has to be! She can’t die! May, May sweetheart, wake up! Please just open your eyes!”
“Mmm,” May opened her eyes slowly as she awoke to the outside world. She felt herself flinch as her forehead began to throb in pain. What just…? What just happened?
“May! You’re awake! You’re really… awake…!”
“Huh…?” May watched as her sobbing mother enveloped her while her brother and father stood looking relieved behind her. “M-mom?” Why was she crying?
And… what happened?
“Shh,” Carolyn whispered soothingly between her tears. “Everything’s going to be alright, May… everything’s going to be fine…” Carolyn hugged her daughter closer to her as if she were about to die right then and there.
May gulped. Fear began to overtake her… Suddenly the feeling that had come over her when she had been told of Ash’s sickness came over her once more.
Something had happened…
Something bad had happened…
Something really… really bad…
May’s eyes fell on to her brother Max as he sniffled, attempting to stop his tears from falling. Norman stood, rigid with sadness. But still, he smiled sadly as May’s eyes fell on to his. Almost as if he were told to pretend everything was okay for her.
May gulped once more. “Mom?”
“What is it, sweetie?” Carolyn asked, pulling away from May as she wiped her tears away.
“Mom,” May struggled to sit up as her mother continued to attempt to stop herself from crying.
“Mom, where am I?”
Carolyn’s sad smile fell in to a tearful frown. And that was all it took for May to know, that was all it took for the young brunette to know all that had happened. May knew where she was and what had happened without her mother even having to speak.
Just at that moment, lightning danced across the purple night sky outside bringing loud cackles of thunder behind it. The lightning stretched across the hospital sky, lighting the world for one small, moment; lighting up May’s cold, dreary hospital room as well.
And at that exact time, Delia burst through in to May’s hospital room, surprising the Maples as she wept loudly.
“Mrs. Ketchum,” May began, fear now hovering all around her. She had never seen her boyfriend’s mother cry so much. “Mrs.-”
May’s words caught dead in her throat.
Where was he…?
“Mrs. Ketchum-!” May cried, tearful and scared but Delia cut her off, answering her questions in one small cry.
“He died! He died! Ash is dead!”
I shuddered as the rain came to an abrupt stop. I stared up, realizing that it hadn’t been the rain that had stopped, but a colorful umbrella that had saved me from its downpour.
“You seemed... cold,” Was her response to my questioning stare.
I decided not to say anything as my eyes caught on to hers. Instead, I turned away.
“He wouldn’t want you out here freezing yourself, you know?” She continued as if we were speaking.
I continued to ignore her.
She smiled sadly as she took a seat beside me, reaching for my shoulder. I shrugged her off.
“Sitting here isn’t going to change anything,” she said, slightly annoyed. “And you know that.”
“What are you doing here?” I asked, quietly. My anger began to bubble up from somewhere inside me. She didn’t need to be here, she probably didn’t even want to be here anyway.
“What am I doing here?” She repeated. “Why… why wouldn’t I be here?”
She sounded as if she were hurt that I would even ask.
I threw her an icy glare over my shoulder. “You disappear for months and then now you think it’s okay to come back to him? How am I supposed to believe that you’re here for him?”
She blinked. “But…” she said. “But I never left.”
Anger began to spill over me now. I didn’t understand Ash, I honestly didn’t under what you could ever see in someone like her. “What are you talking about?” I shouted. “You left! You left him as soon as he died and you never came back!”
I waited for her to say something. I waited for her to anger. She didn’t.
Instead, she looked over towards me with an unreadable expression and whispered.
“But I never left.”
“Hey, May! What’s the emergency?”
May’s eyes followed her energetic boyfriend as he made his way through the random people blocking his way to her. She kept her eyes on to him as her memories of him began to take over her thoughts. It seemed too quick, all of this seemed too quick...
When they met…
… When they became friends…
… When they became a couple…
… When she learned of his sickness…
Why was time going so fast?
“May?” Ash placed his hands on to the young brunette’s shoulders, shaking her softly. “May, what’s wrong?”
May attempted to say something, anything… but Delia’s words continued to ring in to her ears. He was going to die; Ash was going to die…
“H-hey Ash,” May said softly, she couldn’t let him know what she was thinking. She pasted a smile on to her face, but her smile felt too hallow to be real. “Wh-what’s up?”
“Um, nothing.” Ash replied, confused. He stared at May long and hard, as if he were trying to find out what she was thinking about.
May blinked, if only he knew… if only he knew that she knew he was going to die…
But… shouldn’t he have known? Or, actually shouldn’t he have been the one to tell her? She was… she was after his girlfriend.
… Wasn’t she?
“Wh-why didn’t you tell me?” May whispered sadly, she couldn’t keep her thoughts to herself anymore. Slowly, she waited for her tears to fall but felt nothing. Why wasn’t she crying?
“Tell you what?” Ash asked, confused. He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going to…?” May paused, rethinking her question. “Why didn’t you tell me you were sick?”
Ash looked as if he were lost as to what his girlfriend was saying until it all seemed to finally hit him. “Oh.” He said, his expression becoming serious.
And that was it.
“Oh?” May repeated, wondering why her boyfriend wasn’t expressing fear or sadness of any kind. He seemed to be fine with the idea of dying…
… Fine with the idea of leaving her…
“Oh? Is that all, Ash?” May questioned, feeling as if she would cry any minute. “Is that all you can say to this? ‘Oh’?”
“What else am I supposed to say?” Ash asked. He looked as if he were angry at her for bringing the whole thing up. “My mom already told you everything.” He sighed angrily and took a seat on the bench behind them.
“Ash,” May whispered, she felt a lump form in her throat making it unable for her to speak any louder. “You can at least give me a reason to why you lied to me. You made me think you were travelling again. You made me think you were going on another journey.”
Ash frowned towards the floor as he kept quiet.
“Why did you lie to me, Ash?” May questioned, the lump in her throat becoming bigger. “Why didn’t you just tell me the truth?”
“Tell you that I was sick?” Ash asked, refusing to make eye contact with his girlfriend. “It’s no big deal, May.”
“Wrong,” May said. “Wrong, Ash, it is a big deal. A very, big deal.” May’s bottom lip trembled as she began to speak once more. “Dying is a very big deal, Ash.”
Ash closed his eyes angrily but he seemed to calm down after taking a deep breath. “I wanted to tell you,” he said and May could hear the fear etching in his voice.
He really was scared of dying.
“So why didn’t you?” May asked. “Why didn’t you just tell me what was going on, Ash? You don’t have to protect me.”
“I wasn’t lying to protect you,” Ash said, softly. “I was lying to protect myself.” He paused before looking up at May and May in return stared down in surprise.
“Protect… yourself?” She repeated.
“Everyone’s treating me different, May.” Ash angered. “Mom’s being oversensitive and they made me give Pikachu away and… no one’s letting me do anything.” His anger weakened. “I thought that if I lied to you… I’d be keeping at least one part of life unchanged. That if I lied… I’d at least have a way to know that you wouldn’t be babying me like everyone else.”
“But Ash…” May sniffled. “I wouldn’t treat you different…”
Ash frowned. “You already are.”
The bitterness in his voice was so real, so there, so not Ash.
May shook her head sadly. “Ash…” she whispered. “Ash… I don’t want to lose you so soon…”
Ash looked up from the cold floor below and in to May’s eyes.
She had never seen the young boy so scared in his life.
“I don’t want to die May,” he said in such a small voice that May could hardly hear him.
He had never sounded so scared before…
“I don’t know what to do.”
May gulped down on the air around her as she took the seat beside Ash. Slowly and softly, she took a hold of Ash’s hand- as if it would break at any moment. “Ash?”
Ash didn’t say anything.
“Ash?” May whispered once more. She gave her boyfriend’s hand a small squeeze. “We’ll get through this,” the young brunette whispered as tears finally made their way to her eyes. “We’ll get through all of this together, Ash.” She cradled the young boys hand close to her heart, feeling it’s warmth as her tears fell on to it. She whimpered. “I won’t let you deal with this alone, Ash. Because I…” she paused, remembering the first time she had told Ash of her feelings. Things were so light then… so happy… May gulped. “Because I love you.” And just as those words came out, May couldn’t help the sob that erupted from her throat. The young brunette brought her boyfriend’s hand to her cheek, rubbing the warmth on to her face as she sobbed quietly. She really didn’t want to lose him…
Ash looked up then and stared as May continued to cry. He looked as if he were frowning even though tears of his own were falling from his eyes as well.
“Ash…” May wept, feeling her heart break.
“May,” he said, reaching over to wipe away her tears. “May, I… I love you, too.”
May nodded solemnly. “I know,” she whispered.
“And…we’ll get through this.”
Ash blinked away his tears as he stared in to May’s eyes, both feeling scared to lose the other. “May?”
“I…” Ash looked as if he were going to break at any moment. “I’m really scared.”
May nodded and slowly, she took hold of Ash’s head and pulled him close to her, allowing the young boy to rest himself on to her chest as they both breathed in what was happening.
“But I never left.”
“Never…?” I wanted to say something else. I wanted to argue with her more. But I couldn’t…
Not when she stared at me with those knowing eyes.
I looked away from her instead of speaking and allowed the rain pounding on to our umbrella being the only thing we could hear. The silence between us seemed too uncomfortable to bear.
For the first time that day… I did wish I was alone with you.
She looked over towards me several times in our silence and I could tell from the worry in her eyes that she wasn’t there for you. Or… she wasn’t only there for you. And that only seemed to remind me more of my absence…
“I wasn’t there,” I muttered, interrupting her.
“What?” She asked, confused.
“I wasn’t there!” I cried, repeating myself.
She frowned but said nothing in return. She knew that we already had this conversation… time and time again…
“I wasn’t there…” I continued after a while, angrily as tears slipped down my chin once more, no longer hidden in the rain. “When he died… I wasn’t there.”
“Neither was I,” she said softly as she made herself comfortable beside me. “No one but Mrs. Ketchum-”
“But I was supposed to be there!” I cried; interrupting her. My heart beating quickly as she stared over at me with hurt eyes. And I knew then that there was no way I would have ever known that you would have died when you did… I knew that but still I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not being there…
“I wish I was there too.” She said, breaking our silence as she reached over for your gravestone. Her fingers swiftly moved over your name bringing a smile to her face. “And I know that he expected me to be there too.”
“I was… his girlfriend after all.” She said, smiling sadly as her fingers swept over her bond with you. Lover of May.
“But…” she continued, her stare falling on to me. “I also know that he wouldn’t want me…” she paused. “Or you,” she added, smiling hopefully. “To sit here, wasting away our lives at his grave.”
“How do you know?” I questioned. “You haven’t been here since he died.”
I waited for her to argue with me, but she hadn’t. Instead she sighed wistfully before placing her fingers on to your name. “Just because you couldn’t see me doesn’t mean I wasn’t ever there,” she said softly. “He knows that.”
I frowned. “I wasn’t the only one who didn’t see you.”
She said nothing.
It was the first time that day that I had been the one ignored.
“Hey, do you remember how he died?” She asked me, abruptly changing the subject. I couldn’t help the look of confusion that spread across my features.
“Yeah,” I finally replied. Of course I remembered.
“How can you remember?” She asked.
“You weren’t there when he was dying, right?” She continued, her stare strongly fixed on me. “So how can you remember if you were never there?”
I turned away from her then because I couldn’t understand where she was going with this. “What are you saying?” I asked.
She smiled at me before blinking up towards the big umbrella above us. “You remember what happened after he died… or what you were doing when he died.” She explained. “But you can’t remember how he died; you only know the memories of his mom when she watched him die.” When I hadn’t replied, she simply smiled and continued to look up at the colorful umbrella before us. “I used to feel guilty for Ash’s death.” She confessed after some time. “I thought that if he and I hadn’t had that argument that night, he wouldn’t have died.”
“He would have died anyway.” I pointed out.
“I know,” she sighed. “At least, I know he would have died eventually. His sickness was catching up with him quickly and I tried to be as careful as I could with him. But still, I couldn’t just picture my life without him so I asked him to see me whenever he could.” She looked away from me briefly. It took me awhile to notice that she was crying. I hadn’t seen her cry since your funeral. I awkwardly shuffled my legs remembering how we had never gotten along before you died. Or maybe, we never tried to get along.
“I’m selfish,” she sniffled. “But he never cared, he still came over and then we would get in to arguments constantly. And even though he knew that we would argue every time he came, he still came over all the time. And he didn’t have to…” she smiled sadly. “If it hadn’t been for me, he still would have been alive.”
“That’s not true,” I said, quietly.
She wiped away her tears before looking over at me. “It’s not?” She asked.
“You…he… he liked coming over as much as you liked him being there,” I said.
She smiled sadly as if I had just said that to comfort her. Well, I had said it to comfort her but I also knew that it was true. You really did like being there and seeing her.
“I tell myself that all the time.” She said.
“Because it’s true,” I looked over at her slowly as she stared back over at me in surprise. “You say that because you know it’s true.” I said. “He loved you, May. He really loved you.” I felt myself relax slightly after saying those words. As if they were words I always wanted to say to her.
You loved her, Ash. You loved her and everyone knew that.
She smiled, brightly. “I know.” She said like she really believed it. “Thanks Misty.”
I attempted to reply, but hadn’t. Instead, something outside of the umbrella’s grasps seemed to catch my eye. The clouds, I noticed with a small happy feeling blooming inside of me, they had parted.
“Oh,” Her eyes lit up when she noticed. “It stopped raining!” It seemed so funny that something so small could make her happy. But still, she smiled brightly at the small glimpses of the sun we could see. And slowly, ever so slowly, she stood up bringing her umbrella with her. I watched as she smiled in the sunlight that now came parting through the clouds. It almost seemed to shine down on the cemetery and for some reason, I could picture you then- smiling up to the sky just as May was, probably standing right beside her as well.
My eyes moved from the brief amount of sunlight to May, her hands up in the sky as she smiled down at me. Almost as if she were reaching out to the golden rays of sun that came sprouting out of the clouds.
She smiled as if it weren’t your grave we were standing before…
As if the past few months had never happened…
As if the past year had never happened…
“May,” I said after some time.
“Yeah?” She said.
“How do you do it?” I asked. “How do you move on from this?”
She looked confused for some time but then she seemed to understand what I was talking about. A bright smile took over her face- a smile that seemed to bright up the gloomy cemetery altogether. “How do I move on?” She repeated.
“Well, I move on by knowing that I’ll always have you guys here. That no matter how sad I get, no matter how lonely I may feel, I’ll always know that I’m not alone. I’ll never be alone.”
Don’t think you’re alone, dear. You’re never alone.
I wondered what it was that was tugging on the corner of my lips so slightly. It took me a while to notice that it was a smile. A smile. I was smiling.
May blushed slightly. “And… there’s another way I move on.” She continued as
her blush deepened. “I move on by knowing that no matter how far Ash always seems, no matter how long it’s been since he’s died, he’ll never leave.” She smiled, placing her hand on to her chest. “Because I know… he’s always right here with me.”
I stared at her in surprise.
You were… always with her?
“What a dumb thing to say, huh?” She said, laughing slightly. “Such a cliché!” She muttered afterward. But it wasn’t dumb. I could tell that it wasn’t dumb to her. It was something that she believed in. Because even though it seemed like such a childish thing, it was one of the few things that kept her going through this year, and maybe through the rest of her life as well.
“He’s always with you.” I said, slowly.
She nodded, surprised that I was taking her seriously.
“But…” I said, slowly taking in all that she had said. “But he isn’t only with you…” And then, feeling as stupid as ever, I drew my own hand away from the muddy floor below me and brought it on to my chest. “He’s with everyone else too.” I waited for May to laugh or point out how silly it was for me to say that but she hadn’t. Instead, she smiled down at me.
“Yeah,” she said, softly. “I know.” And then, slowly, she smiled and held her hand out for me. “Hey Misty?” She said.
“Yeah?” I replied, looking over at her innocent eyes- it was hard to imagine that those eyes had once been so dead.
May smiled an honest and loving smile. “Need help?” she asked.
I stared up at her, and somehow, somehow I just knew that she wasn’t only talking about helping me get up off the floor.
“Yeah,” I said finally, smiling up at May now as I took hold of her hand. “Thanks for the help.”
She grinned. “You know what?” She said as I got to my feet. “For some reason all I could think about today was all those times I spent with Ash; up until he died.”
“You make it sound like that’s strange.” I pointed out.
“It sort of was,” May said, looking over at me. “Because I knew that the only reason why I obsessed over thinking about them today was because…” She paused as she stretched her arms up towards the sky once more. “Because… I knew you were too.”
I decided not to say anything. Instead, I craned my neck to look over towards the parting clouds above us as they made more and more room for the shining sun above. And I followed the sunlight with my eyes as it spilled down on to the cemetery grounds. And then… for some reason I could see… I could just see you smiling happily from your grave- happy that I was finally moving on, happy that I was no longer mad at May.
You’re never alone, Misty.
I smiled. “I know.”
And I did.
End of Never Alone
Oh yeah, I forgot to put this at the beginning of the story! Anyway, I tried to do something I usually don’t do with one-shots and that is to try to get the reader to decide what shipping this story presents more. Does it seem more like an AS story or does it scream Pokeshipping to you? Please do tell!
And dang! Was this a long one-shot or what? 24-almost-25 pages? Gah! That’s it! This story no longer has a right to be called a one-shot. In fact, this story isn’t a one-shot! It’s a… short story! Yeah, yeah, that’s it! A short story! Just a reeeaaaally, looooong short story!
Short stories can’t be long… can they…?