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| Ash: [jolting awake] “Pikachu!…huh?”
When Ash and Brock were taken into theirs cells, they had been handled a little roughly. Brock, being the calmer, responsible one, didn’t put up too much of a fuss when he was taken into his cell in the back room as he saw it was no use. Ash, on the other hand, practically went hysterical. He saw Pikachu being taken away from him and thrown into a tight fitting cage right before his eyes. Pikachu tried to use any electricity he could scrounge up, but it was useless. The exhausted little guy was taken away to another place when Ash went nuts. So, to solve the problem quickly, a Team Rocket member knocked him in the back of the head, knocking him out of consciousness immediately. Ash was placed in the front cell room, the first one entered when coming through the cell wing door.
Ash: [rubbing the back of his head] “God, that kills! They really hit me good. [looking around in the semi-darkness] Pikachu? Oh yeah, they took Pikachu away. Brock? [no answer] Brock?! [still no answer] Oh God! I hope he’s ok. Crap, I need to get out of here and save my friends!”
Ash stood up and started to shake the bars locking the cell as if he could shake them loose and out of the way, but his injury quickly caught up with him. Sudden weakness sent him to his knees and a wave of nausea sent him to the back corner. After a moment, he stomach settled, but the pain in his head only intensified. He was forced to lie on the solid, chilled concrete floor.
Ash: [quietly, to himself] “At least, uhhh, Misty is ok. She’s safe and sound, owww, back in the city…with Nurse Joy. I don’t think I could’ve, gone on, uhhhh, if anything, oh gosh, happened, to…her…”
Ash curled up into a ball, trying to keep what little warmth he had left. Seconds later, he succumbed to his second bout of unconsciousness.
Misty had made it to the cell door. It was an electronic one, just like the facility entrance had been. She gulped hard. This was a chance she had to take.
Misty: “Here goes.”
She slipped ‘her’ security card into a slot. Bingo. The door pulled back while she thanked God for its quietness.
She entered the semi-dark room. To the left, she could make out four cells, two across from the others. Walking down the room, she was terrified of what she might find. What had Team Rocket done to her friends? That’s when she saw a door at the end of the hallway.
Misty: “That must lead to more cells.”
The first cell room was deadly quiet. She imagined ghosts coming out of the darkness, or a Team Rocket member jumping out at her to cuff her hands and take her prisoner. She gulped and reached for the doorknob to the next small room, when suddenly she heard a noise.
Misty: [holding breath, hand frozen in mid-air] “…”
“Ohhhh…” There it was again.
Misty: [quietly] “Oh God. This is it.”
“Ohhh, my head.”
Misty: ~Wait a minute. I recognize that voice!~ “Ash?”
Ash: “Huuuhhh? Who’s there?”
Ash saw a figure in a black Team Rocket uniform approach his cell. Apparently they had been trying to go into the other room when his moaning had disturbed them. He had no idea what was coming.
Ash: “Please, leave me alone. You already hurt me and took away my friend and my pokemon. What more do you want?”
Misty: [softly] “I want to get you out of here.”
Ash: “Oh my gosh. Misty? Is it you? What am I thinking, it can’t be. She’s still in town.”
Misty bent down and got on her knees. She reached out for Ash’s
hand, which was just in her reach. She squeezed his icy hand tightly.
Misty: “Ash, it is me. It’s Misty.”
Ash: “Misty? I can’t believe it!”
Ash scrambled to sit up, but his body wasn’t ready for that sudden
motion. He just as soon fell back to his knees, but somehow he found
enough strength to crawl over to the bars and reach out for Misty’s other
hand. By that time, Ash couldn’t even hold his head up, with it throbbing
from an endless pain.
Misty: “Oh, Ash.” [crying in spite of trying not to] “Ash, what have they
done to you?”
Ash: [quietly, with little strength] “When they brought us in here, they took Brock to that back room. When they took Pikachu away, I got really, uh, physical, so I guess they knocked me out so I would get out of their way. And now, [lightly touching the back of his head] I have an extremely painful injury on the back of my head, but I don’t know how bad it is.”
Misty: “Turn around. Let me look at it. [seeing the difficulty in his movement] Ash, can you turn around?”
Ash: “Yeah, just, a second…there. Whew.”
Misty leaned forward a bit to look. It was so hard to see it well because of the cell’s shadows, but it didn’t look good. Dried blood covered a good size patch on the nape of his neck, and there were even soiled spots on his shirt. It looked bad.
Misty: “Oh, Ash [sobbing again, talking quieter] I’m so sorry.”
Ash carefully turned back around to face her again. “It’s ok. I’ll be alright.”
Misty: “No! If I was here, this would never have happened. *sob* Now, Brock is locked up somewhere, and Pikachu was taken away, and you, you…You’re hurt and, and…”
Ash’s reached his finger out to touch Misty’s lips, telling her without words to be quiet. Her crying subsided as she looked up to meet his eyes. Through his pain, he smiled at her, forgetting all about his throbbing head for a minute. She smiled back, caught in the moment and the powerful spell that his beautiful eyes cast on her.
Ash: “Shhhh. That’s better. The truth is, Misty, that without you, we wouldn’t have a chance.”
Misty: “What, what do you mean?”
Ash: “I told you to go back, remember? And you didn’t listen to me, but you knew better than I did. Even I have to admit it, but just this once.”
He winked at her, and through her soft crying she giggled. Her sobbing had stopped, but the tears were still flowing.
Misty: [staring in his eyes, speaking softly] “I just don’t want to see you in any pain. And I know it’s not just you’re head injury. You’re worried about Brock and terribly frightened about Pikachu. I just hate to see you hurting.”
Ash smiled again. “Wow, Misty, you have such a big heart. I guess I never let myself notice that before. It was always safer to pretend we were tough.” At that, he reached out and gently wiped away a tear that narrowly escaped from the crevice in the inside of her eye and was slowly traveling down toward her mouth. “But not anymore, huh?”
Misty: [smiling slightly] “No, no more pretending.”
Ash: [smiling back] “Good. Now, I guess we better get outta here.”
Misty: “Oh, of course! [starting to stand up] I saw the key rack by the front door to the cell. I’ll go get it.”
Ash: [grabbing Misty’s hand] “Misty, wait!”
Misty: [kneeling back down beside him] “Was is it, Ash? Do you need something?”
Ash: “Um, yeah.”
Ash and Misty were very close, barely two inches apart, separated only by the bars. As Misty breathed, she could feel Ash’s soft, warm breath on her face, heating her up inside and making her heart flutter. Ash felt it too, the sudden warmth, and the fluttering Butterfries in his stomach.
Ash: [whispering in her ear] “Thank you.”
Ash didn’t know how long the moment lasted, but he forgot about his pain and lost all sense of time and space. After whispering to Misty, he could feel her sweet, quick breath against his cheek. He could feel her warmth in the hand he was still holding, and there bodies were so close that he could almost feel her heart beating rapidly. He was swept into the moment. Slowly, he turned toward her cheek and gently kissed her baby-soft skin through the space between the bars. A fire spread through him, warming his heart and everywhere throughout his body.
Misty was pleasantly shocked, rendered motionless for the entirety of that moment. She never thought that Ash Ketchum, pokemon master to be, could be capable of such a caring, tender gesture or that he possessed the ability to love her. It wasn’t like the deep care he had for his mom, or the strong friendship he had with Brock, or even the powerful bond between him and Pikachu. This was different. When he kissed her, although it was on the cheek, it felt warm and loving, hot and passionate. She finally knew. Her feelings weren’t one sided. He really did care about her.
That little kiss on the cheek lasted only a few seconds, but to Ash and Misty it felt so much longer. Even afterward, the moment remained with them. At first, they only drew back an inch, not wanting to leave the warmth of the other’s body near theirs and not wanting to let go of that magical moment. But they were still in danger. They had to press on.
Misty: [sitting up, dazed] “Wow…I guess I better go and get the, the…”
Ash: [dreamily] “The key?”
Ash: “I guess you better, go, and get that.”
Misty: “I will, but [smiling] first you have to let go of my hand.”
Ash: “Huh? [looking down] Sorry. I guess I forgot. [looking back up at her, smiling] I guess I was just out of it for a second.”
Misty: “Kind of like, a dream?”
Misty: [fully standing up now] “I’ll go get the key. And maybe a first-aid kiss. Kit! Get a first-aid kit!”
Ash couldn’t help smiling to himself as Misty scampered down the cell room, back toward to door to retrieve the set of keys and to scan a small cupboard near the door for a first-aid kit.
~Oh, Misty. You’re such a good friend. And now…well, I don’t know what we are now, but maybe after we get out of here, we’ll find out.~