You can consider this story an alternative universe fic. The disease Max has in the story is Progeria. It's a rare aging disorder, but it's very real. It's had a lot of media attention and it inspired me to write this one shot. Anyway I hope you all enjoyed the story and I hope I managed to keep this not only medically accurate, but faithful to the character's personalities. Advanceshipping is the main ship for this one shot and the rating is PG.
An Angel's Song
My name is Max Maple. I have a genetic skin disorder named Progeria which means my body ages at a fast rate. I age quicker than my parents and sister combined. The doctors say that I only got a few months left to live. My sister's wedding is exactly three days time. I hope that the doctors are wrong: I don't want to miss May's wedding. My father pulls on a strong smile, but I know that he's stressed.
My sister is working towards being a top coordinator. She goes all around the world to enter contests. If she wins, she gets a ribbon and if she has enough ribbons she can take part in grand festivals. It was through her journey was where she met Ash. I was going to go with them. My parents thought it was an excellent idea. Sadly the doctors checked me out and found my knees had swollen up. I had to stay at home because the doctors believed that it could make my arthritis worse. I stayed at home with my mother and we helped each otherer with day-to-day activities.
My father is a gym leader. People from all walks of life go to challenge him. If they manage to defeat them, he'll reward them with a badge that can help them enter the pokemon leagues I watch on TV. I know that he works very hard at the gym to keep all of us happy. I don't get to see him very much because many people want to challenge him because the Hoenn League will be starting very soon. My father's pokemon, Slaking is very lazy. He's a beast in battle even though he loafs about all the time. I think the challengers would lose if Slaking was much more active. Slaking reminds me of May when she was younger. All she would do is sleep, eat and play with her dolls.
I'd love to go on my own journey one day. I'm old enough to get my trainers licence, but the doctors are worried that other cities in Hoenn may not have the appropriate medication for me. They feel that the demands would be too much for my frail body to handle. I'm prescribed chansey eggs because they have all the nutrients I need. I have a very small appetite, so whenever Ash and May come over, they always argue over who gets my left overs.
That's not the only medication I receive, I take daily nutrient supplements in case I can't get any chansey eggs. The doctors say that the supplements are just as effective as the chansey eggs. I prefer the eggs because they're much more tastier. Once a week, my mother takes me to hospital for my hydrotherapy. Sometimes when my mother can't make it, Ash and May come along with me. It's really fun and it also helps enable movement. Things have been tough for all of us, but I know we can all pull through this together. Ash and May are going to have a great wedding and I'm going to be their best man. I even wrote a song that I'm going to sing for the speech. I've been practising on my guitar. I know I won't get stage fright, unlike May.
Mother said she had a fairly normal pregnancy with me. She told me that the only major problems she had was kidney infections. My parents were concerned that I wasn't gaining any weight as a child and the doctors helped along the way. After a series of tests I was diagnosed with Progeria when I was a toddler. May said I had very tight skin as if someone had wrapped cling-film on me. My skin lacked elasticity which was something expected of an elderly person. Since my diagnosis, we've tried to live a normal life as much as possible. My parents treated me with kindness just how they treated May.
Some people ask how I deal with all the stares. I knew that I looked different to the other kids: I'm bold, wrinkled and scaly. Some people with Progeria decide to raise awareness of the disease through the media. Because of those brave people, I don't get stared at so often. I do get picked on by Jessie and James who work for Team Rocket, but I'm not going to let their silly comments get me down. There's no treatment for Progeria. Heart disease and a stroke can kill me, so I decided I was going to make the most of my life. I'm eighteen going on a hundred. According to the statistics, I shouldn't be here, the average life expectancy for someone with Progeria was thirteen.
When I was a kid I used to wonder why I looked the way I did. Why did May have hair and I didn't? Why do I have to wear glasses, but May doesn't? Why can't I eat as much as May? I eventually learned all the answers as I got older. I'm still tiny. Many people assume I'm still a baby on the outside, but on the inside I'm old. I would personally describe myself as an energetic and intelligent eighteen-year-old boy with a big heart. Many people are amazed of how smart I am, including May and Ash. I liked how Ash and May don't look at me as a person and not a disease. They embrace my uniqueness. They give me the courage to stand up for myself when someone makes fun of me.
Yesterday, I went to see Iris. She's one of the bridesmaid for Ash and May's wedding. She met Ash in Unova, then she became a gym leader and entered the league. She's the current champion of Unova. When I saw Iris, I was amazed of how beautiful she looked. She wore a lovely yellow dress with pink frills. She was so nice, she complimented my glasses.
It was a perfect summer's day. The birds flew across the sky and I could even see an altaria dancing in the clouds. Iris had allowed of lot of her pokemon to go outside and play. Like the famous Lance, Iris was also a dragon master. Nowadays she uses a variety of types, but she was known as the girl who knew the heart of the dragons.
"I love the glasses," Iris said in the most enthusiastic voice I ever heard. She smiled and copied Dawn's signature high five pose. Many people say that I look cute and adorable as if I was a puppy, but Iris was talking to me as if I was a human.
"Thank you." I felt like blushing. "I think you look beautiful."
"Aww thank you Max."
"It won't be long until your sister's wedding."
"I know!" I giggled and bounced for joy. "I'm going to be best man." I pointed at Iris and told her, "And you'll be the bridesmaid."
"What are you wearing for the big day?"
"I'm going to wear a black suit that Ash's mom knitted for me."
Iris gasped. "Oh wow! I think you'll look really smart. Unlike Ash who is still a little kid."
"You should wear that dress for the wedding," I demanded.
"Oh I will," Iris promised me. She smiled and asked me, "Have you prepared the best man speech?"
I nodded. "I had trouble writing it because my hands are too brittle, but Dawn helped write it out for me." I digged into my pocket and folded out a piece of paper. "I've even written a song that I'm going to sing."
"That sounds wonderful," Iris admitted. She didn't sound patronizing at all. She sounded very interested with what I wanted to say. Iris crouched down and sat next to me. I was now taller than her. Iris helped me hold the paper as I read my speech out.
"Oh Max that's so beautiful," Iris told me. Her eyes glistened as if she was about to cry.
"Do you think they'll like it?"
"Oh they'll love it!" Iris said. "I love how you've added the humour in there.
Thank you all for coming. I'm Max and I'm the best man for Brock's wedding. I'm sorry I mean Ash Ketchum and May Maple. Sorry Brock, I'm sure that you'll meet a beautiful bride one day, but this is Ash and May's wedding we're here for. Sorry Brock, you've got to wait for own wedding for one of my special speeches. Back to business, I've known the bride since the day I was born because she's my sister. Ever since I was born, she's protected me and has always been there for me when I needed her. It's been tough times for us all. I have a rare ageing disorder called Progeria. Even though I'm three years younger than May, I'll age eight times faster than May. The doctors believed that I wouldn't reach my thirteenth birthday. I'm eighteen now and it won't be long till I'm nineteen.
May met Ash when she was ten years old and they have become inseparable since... even when it comes to food. They both share a passion for pokemon, food, adventure and miracles. I wish Ash and May all the happiness in the world. If it wasn't for Ash and May, I think I probally wouldn't have made it as far as I have come. As a tribute to their undying love, I have written a short song that I would like to perform for you tonight. A toast for the happy couple!
Two Hearts written by Max Maple
I hope the rings don't turn your fingers green
I pray that that your love will remain pristine
I know bad things will come
But I wish nothing bad will come your way
You are two hearts beating as one
Keep it that way
You're strong on your own
But superior together
I know I may be gone soon
But I will be a guardian angel for the pair of you
Max Maple suffered a heart attack and died the day before the wedding. There was an empty place in the church were Max was going to stand. Before the ceremony began, there was a moment of silence to celebrate Max's life. Max's father, Norman read out the speech on his behalf whilst the song was read out by the bridesmaid and best man; Iris and Cilan.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house that day. It was a beautiful day and they all knew that they had an angel watching over them. People wondered why it had to happen to a couple like Ash and May, but it was because Max had brought them closer together.
Petalburg city was surrounded by flowers around a picture of Max.