Nightmares, Dreams, and In Between
I hear his footsteps coming down the hall. They are almost silent unless you know what you're listening for. Please don't let him come in here. Please just let him walk by. My heart thumps in my chest. It is strange that I have come to this, huddling on my bed hoping that my 'father' does not come in. Since I was born I didn't know who my father was, and wished that I had one just like all the other kids. Now that I do, I wish I'd never met him. Who is my father? The last person on earth I want to be related to. Giovanni.
After so much frustration on his part, he finally came up with the perfect plan to catch me and all my Pokemon. He came forward as my father. Blood tests seemed to prove his paternity, but whether they are real or he bought someone off I'll probably never know. He took my mom to court and got custody of me. He probably bought off the whole courtroom. And now I live in this room, afraid of the footsteps in the hall. I don't want to see him. I don't want to hear his voice. But most of all, I don't want him to touch me anymore.
Whenever he comes into my bedroom, it is for only one purpose. To hurt me. To taunt me. To touch me. He touches me as no man should touch their son. He uses me, rapes me. Breaks me. And I am helpless to stop him. I must lay there and take it. If I don't cooperate, I am tied up and beaten, or worse. If he's in a really bad mood, he brings out his toys. I shudder as I think of his torturous devices. Tears slide down my cheeks as I try to be silent. If he hears me, he'll remember I'm here and come in.
I wish Pikachu was here, or any of my Pokemon. But he took them. He said that I no longer had a need to be a Pokemon Master. He was the only Master of this house. He took my Pokemon and he tests them and uses them, for they are some of the strongest ever, especially my Pikachu. I try not to do anything bad, because he says that he will hurt my Pokemon. It's almost alright if he hurts me, but I don't want him to hurt my Pokemon. He says the same thing to them. He tells them that if they don't cooperate, that he will hurt me. They don't want to hurt me, they love me as much as I love them, and so they do his bidding. But still I hurt.
The foot steps fade. I let out a sigh of relief. He is gone. For now. I collapse onto the large bed and close my eyes. I don't like my room. It is one of those big fancy rooms decorated just to show off how rich you are. It is not a young boy's room. It is my torturous prison. The colors are dark and intimidating, all the furniture is uncomfortable and hard. There are beautiful windows but they have been painted on the outside. Each window is a work of art. They picture dark gloomy forests and forbidding swamps. The paintings allow no sunlight to shine through and so I live in this dark world.
My only escape is into the many large leather bound books that line an entire wall of the room. It is a beautiful collection of classics. The leather bindings fit the color scheme and it is obvious that they are very expensive and that is why they are in the room. But I don't think Giovanni realizes what is in the books or else he would take them away immediately. He probably thinks that they are dusty old books that are boring to read. He doesn't seem the type for pleasure reading so I doubt he knows how wonderful it is to loose yourself in those thick texts. All I have to do all day is sit in this room. So I read and escape. I can go to far off lands, fight dragons, rescue princesses, be rescued by a handsome prince. It is wonderful to escape into the books and so hard to come back out. Because here, no handsome prince is going to come to my rescue.
I have the feeling that someone is watching me and open my eyes to look to the door. His Persian is sitting there staring smugly at me. I offer my hand off of the bed in hopes that he will come and allow me to scratch his head, but he turns his head up. He will not allow me to touch his beautiful coat. Just one more thing I am denied in this prison. I sigh, I know why he is here. It is time for dinner. I get off the bed and walk over to the marble vanity table. I sit on the small stool and pick up a silver brush. I run it through my hair a few times, taming the natural spikes, making myself look presentable. If not I will be punished. I look at the contrast of my dark hair on my pale skin. I am not allowed to go outside and so my skin grows paler with each passing month that I am shut away in this room. I think soon, I will be able to see through my skin.
I straighten the stiff lace collar that surrounds my neck, making me feel like a circus clown. Along with everything else in my new world my clothes are very uncomfortable. I am dressed up in clothes from some long passed era. A stiff cotton shirt with lots of scratchy lace on the neck and sleeves. Heavy velvet jackets and pants that only reach my knees. Stockings of some kind are held onto my legs with garters that get tucked under my pants and shiny leather shoes that are torture to walk in. I myself look like some fairy prince, but that look comes at a price. One that I would rather not pay, but that is not up to me. The Persian snuffles impatiently and I make sure that everything is perfect. After I am sure that everything is in place I get up and follow the Persian out of my room.
The halls are as bad as my room. They are carpeted with beautiful persian rugs and the walls are filled with expensive tapestries but the colors are all dark. Expensive art and antiques sit in the halls giving it a cluttered and oppressive feeling. The worst ones are the suits of metal armor that line the stairs. I hate passing between them. It seems that they will come alive at any moment and chase after me with their sharp swords. I follow closely behind the Persian as we slowly make our way down the stairs. He leads me through the maze of hallways to the dining room. If not for him I would surly be lost, and that is probably the point. I don't live in this house. I am just a prisoner.
I walk into the obscenely large dining room and take my place at the large table. The table can easily fit a party of fifty. Even with that much space I must sit right next to Giovanni at the head of the table. We rarely have dinner guests, so it is usually just the two of us. I think the meals are all part of the intimidation process as well. We always eat strange, rare, and disgusting gourmet food. Well I do at least. The presentation is always beautiful, but the food is something that I am guaranteed not to enjoy. Hundred year old Chinese sulpher eggs and cow tongue soup are just not my favorite foods. But I must eat them. I have no choice, for I will get no other food and Giovanni will punish me if I don't.
Finally after long minutes of waiting and being stared at by the Persian, Giovanni arrives and the meal begins. He insists that I be waiting for him when he arrives. If he arrives first than I don't get dinner for a week. Not that its such a punishment, but as little as I do these days, my body does require nourishment. I do not like my life, but I will continue living it for I am and have been many things but a quitter isn't one of them. I refuse to throw my life away. Besides, even if I attempted it, I'm sure that Giovanni would have me saved and them punish to within an inch of my newly restored life.
Dinner is uncomfortable for me as always. I try to concentrate completely on the act of eating and being graceful as I do so. I swear that I have never been this graceful in my life. It is another new aspect of me that surprises me still. It is yet another of the endless requirements that I must meet for living under Giovanni's roof in relative peace, without punishment. I must be graceful at all time. There are many other requirements, but they all lead to one thing. I must be perfect. I must act exactly how he wants. I must be beautiful, as he says, submissive, and mannerly at all times. The perfect toy.
The food tastes odd. Not like the drugs I am sometimes fed, but this particular dish makes my stomach uneasy. Giovanni and the Persian are smirking at me as I slowly chew the food. Just as I swallow Giovanni asks me if I like the stir-fried Pikachu. My whole stomach rebels and I turn and loose what little I have eaten onto the floor. Giovanni's smirk grows as I cough and my stomach trembles with dry heaves. He informs me that I still must finish my dinner, every bite. Then I must clean up my vomit before going upstairs where I will wait for him to administer an appropriate punishment. He leaves the room and the Persian is left to watch me finish my meal.
At first I sit there staring at the food in front of me, I don't want to eat it. A sharp pain on my cheek snaps my head up. The Persian has slashed my cheek with his sharp claws. It is a signal for me to eat or else. Thin red blood runs down my cheek and stains the lace of my collar. Another thing I will be punished for. Tears begin to run down my cheeks mixing with the blood. Tears of pain, both physical and mental. My heart aches as I dutifully eat the food. I try not to think of what I am eating. I eat it slowly for shoveling it in will only make things worse. I throw up twice more. I have cleaned the plate and yet my stomach is still empty. All of the food has ended up in the regurgitated puddle on the floor.
A mop and bucket are brought to me by an almost sympathetic looking maid. But they are not allowed to feel sorry for me or their own lives are in danger. I get the occasional sympathetic look from them but they are not allowed to help me. I mop up the mess I have made slowly for I am reluctant to return to my room. I am already feeling physically ill and I don't want to hurt tonight. Finally the floor is spotless and the Persian meows at me, informing me that it is time we leave. Slowly I follow him back up to where Giovanni waits.
I lay in bed staring at the familiar ceiling pattern and the tiny hidden camera imbedded within it. I have been bedridden for weeks. After the last time I was punished I grew very ill. None of the doctors could figure out what it was, but whatever it was, it almost killed me. Too bad it didn't. I am still too weak to move. My limbs are heavy and sluggish. I have no desire to move anyway. My whole body still aches, whether the pain is real or not, I can't tell. Phantom pains come and go. Phantom dreams haunt my days and rule my nights. And all I want is for it all to end. And that is a very low thought because it proves that Giovanni has broken me. He broke my spirit, shattered my soul. He has won. Because I no longer want to live. I just want to die.
My door opens and the cause of my death wish walks in. His face is emotionless. He walks over and sits on my bed. He informs me that Gary Oak has just become the youngest Pokemon Master ever. Both of us were officially invited to the victory celebration, he being a master himself and I being Gary's former rival. He says that we will both attend. I plead illness but he says that I must show my face in public to prove that I am still alive. I sigh heavily, I have no choice. He leers at me and I know what's coming. He is going to show me who I belong to before I get out among people. He wants it to be fresh in my mind as we go out tonight.
I am dressed in a modern tuxedo and Giovanni has brought in a makeup artist to paint my face up. She paints my face like an artist would paint their canvas. She has hides the bags under my eyes, conceals the fresh bruise on my cheek bone and the vivid bite mark on my neck. When she is done, I look almost like I did before. Except that my face is much thinner and my eyes are dull and tired. The Persian walks in, he has been bathed and perfumed because he is to be my babysitter at the party. He is going to make sure I don't do anything out of line. Giovanni has already instructed me on how I am supposed to act and what I should say to certain questions. He made up a fairy tale for me to tell people about my new life.
We take a helicopter to the party. We land on the roof of a tall building and are led down to the top floor. It appears to be a large apartment filled with lots of people. Trainers, masters, researchers, and a few celebrities, some I recognize, but most I don't. Giovanni spots somebody and leaves me in the center of the crowd. He will probably go off and talk business with whatever fellow crook he has spotted, while I am left to spread the fairy tale of my life. The persian herds me over to an empty couch in the corner of the large living room area. I sit down and melt into the cushions, becoming small and unnoticable. I have become very good at blending into the furniture during my stay at Giovanni's. The Persian sits at my feet like a guard, staring at the crowd as if daring them to come over and talk to me.
Most people are cowed by the Persian at my feet even those that recognize me. They wave but come no closer. Then the crowd begins to part and a red head makes a beeline for me. I look up as I hear the murmurs and am faced with the new Pokemon Master. He's grinning at me. Not that mean smirk that I am used to but a real genuine grin. I dredge up a small smile in response, it feels strange, I have not smiled once since I went to live with Giovanni. I do not get up to greet him though, I am still to weak. Something passes over his eyes before he sits next to me, ignoring the glare the Persian gives him.
"Ash!" he says. "I haven't seen you in forever. How have you been? I heard you gave up the whole Pokemon Master thing."
That was the absolutely worst thing he could have said to me at that moment. Everything came crashing down on me. My life used to revolve around that dream and now I lived a nightmare everyday. I find sudden strength and get off the couch hurrying to where I had seen a bathroom minutes earlier. I run into the bathroom closing and locking the door behind me as I rush to the toilet and throw up all that I had eaten. I hear the stupid Persian meow and scratch at the door but the last thing I want to do is let the stupid cat in so he could mock me.
Tears mingle with my stomach contents in the toilet as everything that I have been through in the last few months crashes down upon me. This is the first time that I had been truly alone since I got there. There were always cameras or cats watching me. I cried quietly to myself sometimes but this was the first time that these wracking sobs could escape me. I'm barely aware of a door opening but when two arms circle my waist I suddenly begin to fight back. I don't want him to touch me anymore.
A more welcome voice whispers into my ear for me to calm down. I stop struggling and turn to see Gary looking at me worridley. Behind him is a second door that he has slipped through while the stupid Persian guards the one I came through. I try to dry my tears but my body refuses to cooperate. My body continues to shake with sobs and Gary hugs me close offering comfort as I get it all out. After long minutes of crying it dies out, I don't have the energy to cry as much as I need to to release it all.
I pull back and look at him and his eyes widen. He brings up his hand and wipes at my face. It comes away tannish. My tears have washed away the makeup that had kept people from seeing how pale and sickly I really am. Gary retrieves a wet face cloth and gently rubs at my face, washing away the lie. He touches my pale cheek. My predictions have come true and my skin is now translucent. You can see the small network of blood vessels beneath my skin. But that's not what he's looking at. He's staring at the vivid bruise on my cheek.
"Ash," he whispers looking into my eyes. "What happened?"
"I've been sick," I reply honestly. My voice is weak and hoarse from crying and my recent illness.
"That's not all though," he says looking at me intently. Urging me to go on.
"It's better if you don't know," I say looking at the floor. I can't feed him that fairy tale lie but it's dangerous for us both if I tell him the truth.
"Ash, even though I haven't shown it very well over the last few years, I am still your friend. I want you to tell me what's going on so I can help you," Gary insists.
"Nobody can help me," I whisper as fresh tears begin to fall down my cheeks.
He opens his mouth to respond when someone knocks on the door. That familiar voice comes through sending shivers down my spine. This doesn't escape Gary.
"Ash," Giovanni calls. "Are you alright in there?" He sounds almost concerned. But I know that he's putting on a show for everyone.
"I'm alright," I respond. "I just got sick again." I motion for Gary to leave as I stand up and straighten myself out.
"Then we had better leave, all this excitement isn't good for you," I sigh heavily, he's using this as an excuse to usher me out as soon as possible. I flush the toilet and wash my hands, checking my pale reflection in the mirror. Gary waits till the last second before slipping from the room. I open the door and emerge from the bathroom to see that a small crowd has formed. I spot Gary at the back of the crowd. He must have run to get there so fast. He is staring hard as Giovanni pulls me into an embrace and begins to lead me from the room. Familiar and concerned faces surround us.
I recognize Sabrina the psychic gym leader of Lavender Town. Her eyes look kind of far away as she looks at us. I've seen that look before. She is using her powers. This can't happen! She's not safe, she can't know! It's not safe, I repeat in my mind over and over as I am led away. Stay out, save yourself. That is my last thought before concsiousness leaves me.
I awake in that accursed room once more. The same old ceiling pattern with the camera in it. My head hurts and I feel weak again. I close my eyes to try and drift back to sleep but I feel a sudden presence. I look around the room thinking its the Persian , but the room is empty. I shiver and settle back down to sleep. Something seems to brush across my cheek and my eyes fly open. I look around and still find nothing. Great, I'm imagining things. I pull the blankets over my head and try to go back to sleep. I am on the edge of dreams when an insistent meow followed by a smack on the arm wakes me up. I sit up throwing the covers off of my head and meet the annoyed stare of the Persian. I'm being summoned.
I go to the closet to get clothes but he meows and walks out of the room. This is strange. I have always needed to be dressed and perfect when I met with Giovanni. I have never shown up in the night shirt that I wear. Something must have happened. I am led to room that I have never been in before. A large television is the center piece of the room. I haven't watched television since I got here. What's going on? The stupid cat pushes me into a chair and I stare at the blank screen. I pull my cold feet up underneath me and shrink into the chair waiting to see what happens next. Suddenly the television clicks on, startling me. A newscaster is talking about Gary's victory party and my public appearance. Guests of the party are interviewed and it seems like my appearance and collapse are the latest gossip.
"Do you know how much annoyance your little stunt is causing me?" Giovanni's voice boomed. I jerk my head around to see him standing in the doorway. There is fire in his eyes. I'm in deep trouble.
"I-i'm sorry," I stammer. "I didn't mean to get sick."
"That was the worst thing you could have done. You have turned all eyes on you now. Everyone wants to know what's wrong with you. People are snooping around and I don't like it. It's your fault and you are going to get the punishment of your life." Giovanni says as he walks towards me.
I'm broken. In every possible way I am broken. My arms are in casts, both my shoulders are screaming in agony from having been pulled from their sockets. Two fingers on my left hand are bound in small splints. My right leg and left ankle are broken and weighed down by more casts. Bandages bind my broken ribs and my broken jaw is wired shut. My nose is broken and both of my eyes are swelled almost completely shut and my vision is blurry. My body is a giant bruise all purple and blue. Special bandages that prevent scarring cover the cuts that mark my body. He has beaten me, but he doesn't want my body scarred, just my mind.
The one ache that has not been eased is the one inside of me. Where he thrust into me and tore me open worse than ever. I will have lots of scarring inside of my body as well as out. I don't care how many special bandages you use, those deep cuts will leave scars. He let his anger carry him away and he permanently marked me. I will forever bear scars, inside and out. Mental and physical.
A strange chill fills the air. I look over to see a fuzzy shape. It's the Persian looking at me. Something is strange though. I squint at him. I think I see sympathy in his eyes. The Persian has never shown any emotion for me other than contempt and annoyance. I experimentally open my right palm to him and he walks up and licks it. The other Persian would never do something like that. Who is this cat?
"Kid," the Persian says.
I really am going insane. Persians don't talk. Although under these circumstances I think that the only sane thing to do is go insane. I close my eyes and ponder my new madness.
"Hey Kid," the Persian says again.
I turn to look at it suspiciously.
"Ya mean ya don't recognize me?" It asks.
Wait I do know that voice! It's Meowth from Team Rocket! My eyes widen in surprise. He's evolved and he can still talk. Amazing. But what is he doing here? I can't ask him because my jaw is wired shut, but he seems to understand.
"I'm here to watch ya Kid," he says.
"To make sure you don't hurt no more."
I'm confused and he know's it, but he doesn't bother to explain. Instead he jumps on the bed, stretches out next to me and falls asleep. What is going on? I wonder as I too fall asleep.
I wish I had a time machine or something, to make time go forward so my body will heal. I am going absolutely insane. If Meowth or Purse as he calls himself, wasn't here I would be totally mad. I seem to have been in bed forever. I am not allowed to know the time or the day so I live in a world devoid of time. My bruises have faded and my cuts have healed. My nose is no longer all swelled and ugly but I can see the small angle where it healed a slight bit crooked. My fingers are whole, and my ribs seem to be coming along fine but everything else is still bound in plaster. The skin beneath them is itchy and sweaty but there is nothing I can do. I have finally gotten used to the maids coming in and changing the bedpan. At first I was mortified that I was reduced to such an act but now it is common place. I have almost begun to enjoy the sponge baths that relieve my misery. Almost, not quite.
The maids have actually begun to speak to me. They come in and tell me the gossip as they tend my casts. I know everything that goes on in this house and some of the outside news. The food is better now that my mouth is wired shut than it has ever been. I get milkshakes and other yummy foods that I have been denied for so long, liquified of course. I have grown quite fond of cherry babyfood as well. According to gossip, after Giovanni beat me to within an inch of my life he seemed to forget about me. Which is fine with me. I haven't seen him since that day. Whenever that was. I just know that if I never seem his again it will be wonderful. Even though I'm miserable I feel a little more safe.
One of the maids sung to me the other day. Her name is Sascha. She came from over the ocean. She has a really nice accent and she tells funny stories. She has a really nice voice and her song made me wish I could smile for her. I haven't smiled in so long and I think I never will again because of my injuries. I wish I could tell her how she made my day so much better but I think somehow she knew by the tears that slid down my cheek.
The doctors said that the casts can all come off soon. It's about time. I was beginning to get bedsores from lying in bed all day. I will be able to move again. I can go to the bathroom by myself and I will finally be able to take a bath. Unfortunately I still won't be able to open my mouth. Not that it matters much. I don't need a voice with Purse around. These days he can talk enough for a roomful of people. He always knows exactly what I was thinking. He jabbers on endlessly like he's excited about something.
It's amazing really, Giovanni never recognized the switch of Persians. Meowth really must have been his favorite before to know his way around like he does. Purse went along and silently took in all of Giovanni's actions, Giovanni never even suspected that Purse wasn't his cat and that he was spying on him. Why he's doing that I don't know, but he is.
Almost every night Purse comes and belays my boredom. Maids are only around during the day so Purse talks to me at night. I tell him about my dreams. Every night since my beating I've had beautiful dreams. I am whole and healthy. I lead a normal life and my friends are all around me. But if it were a play and there were main characters then I would be one and Gary would be the other. He is almost always in the dreams. We go on picnics and go shopping and do lots of fun things. He takes me to beautiful places and we have fun like we haven't had since we were small children. Its strange because he always knows about my real days of lying in bed listening to the latest gossip, we discuss it like people discuss soap operas. He comforts me saying that better times are coming assuring me that soon everything will be okay. He is so real and his words are said with such conviction that I want to believe but that is only a dream. The last time I saw Gary, was right before I was beaten, when he became the Pokemon Master. And I grow sad. Because I think I am falling in love with the Gary in my dreams.
When I tell all this to Purse, he just smiles that catty smile of his and nuzzles my cheek which seems to be the feline equivalent of a hug. He too says that better times are coming. He has become my best friend next to Pikachu and Gary in my dreams. I miss all my Pokemon but I have come to the conclusion that I will probably never see them again. In my dreams they are there and happy, but as I said they are just dreams. Sweet dreams of a madman.
I wonder again how much time has passed. The maids tell me many things but they won't tell me the time. They say that it will just make things go slower. A watched pot never boils they say, but I don't see what that has to do with time. They just say that time flies when your having fun, but it crawls when you watch it. I know that when you wait for something time usually does go slow. I often imagine that it is Christmas or Valentine's Day and think about what I would give each of my friends for each holiday. It passes the time. At night in my dreams Gary takes me shopping for the items that I've dreamed up. I rather like the way that the waking world links to the dreamworld. I always find what I'm looking for. It feels like the universe revolves around me. It's a nice dream.
"Merry Christmas Ash!" everybody shouts.
I look up surprised at all the people in the room. I turn back to Gary who is grinning like a Cheshire Meowth.
"You did this for me?" I ask.
He nods happily.
"Hey look, they're under the mistletoe," somebody points out.
"You know what that means," somebody else says.
I blush and turn to look at Gary. He's grinning even more. He takes me into his arms and ravishes my mouth. My eyes widen in surprise as his tongue invades my mouth. I knew I was falling in love with him and I had hoped that he'd felt the same. After the initial shock I melt against him and let him literally steal my breath away. We only break away for air and the whole room is going wild. Catcalls fly as Gary leads me further into the room. I know that my face is as red as the bows that decorate the huge tree in the middle of the room. But I don't care because Gary kissed me!
I get caught up in the whirl of cheer. There are millions of Christmas cookies that I munch on happily. Gingerbread and sugar cookies in the shapes of stars, reindeer and presents. I drink the spicy eggnog in small paper cups that are splashed with pointsettias and green ribbons. I'm sitting on the couch talking to Brock and watching Pikachu nibble on a gingerbread boy when Gary pulls me to my feet and drags me onto a makeshift dance floor.
We dance to the cheerful Christmas tunes and I feel so happy there in his arms. The rest of the party just melts away. I rest my head on his shoulder and he hugs me tighter. I am so happy and yet I am so sad. I'm happy because of this dream but as happy as it feels I feel ten times more depressed because it is only a dream. Tears begin to soak the fabric beneath my cheek. I try to pull away to run, to wake myself of from this happy nightmare. But Gary holds me tight. He turns my face around to look him in the eyes.
"Ash," he says softly. "You haven't even seen your presents yet."
"Please don't," I beg.
"Don't do this. It's only a dream. Just let me wake up." I plead.
Gary looks sad. I feel bad. I just want to curl up and cry now. My life is too horrible to live and I just ruined my beautiful dreams.
"No, no you didn't ruin anything!" Gary insists, reading my thoughts.
"But its not real and it hurts too much to stay," I cry.
"It's more real than you think," he says stroking my hair.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Wake up and you'll see. I have a present for you," Gary tells me.
He silences me with a kiss.
"Wake up, love. Wake up."
The world brightens as he calls me love. Slowly I open my eyes.
"Wake up Kid!" Purse's voice says excitedly. He licks at the tears running down my face and is purring happily. "Wake up!" he nearly sings out between licks.
I glare at him, he's not exactly Prince Charming and I'm not exactly Sleeping Beauty. Stupid cat! He smirks as if hearing my thoughts. If I didn't know better I'd think that he was a mind reader.
"I am," he responds happily.
"I'm a psychic cat!" he declares with pride.
"Giovanni used to use me for experiments. Nothing ever worked though. But when I evolved into a Persian I found out that I was pyschic!" Purse explains.
//How come you never told me?//
"You never asked." he replies.
I roll my eyes as I sit up in bed. I stretch and wince as my old war wounds, as Purse calls them, make themselves known. I never go outside but I know when its raining, thanks to the cracks in my bones.. I get up and walk to the vanity table as Purse practically bounces at my heels.
"Wear something nice!" he insists.
"You'll see," is all he says.
I'm curious, but he's begun to ignore me. Instead he begins to groom his own fur. What is going on around here. Everything is getting weird. Not that it wasn't screwed up to begin with. I decide to just pick out an outfit. Normal clothes have been smuggled into my wardrobe, there is my new favorite sweater and a pair of old worn jeans. Sascha gave me the sweater. It's a large grey-blue chenile sweater that reminds me of Gary's eyes. I pull the sweater over my head and it swallows me up, I like it because it feels like you're wearing a hug. I need a hug after that dream, I'll just pretend that it's Gary. I sigh as I stand there in that oversized sweater and my underwear. I hug myself tightly. A storm is coming, I feel it in my bones. Not that the weather ever affects me, I am a prisoner to these walls. My skin has paled to a translucent white and my body has grown thin and weak from disuse.
I look at myself in the vanity mirror. I look like a little boy who has stolen his father's sweater. My slender delicate looking legs sprout out of the sweater that nearly reaches my knees. My dark untamed hair frames my face, it has been hacked at so much during my stay in bed that it may never grow to be even again. Purse comes up and winds around my legs purring excitedly. I bend over and scratch his head. The purrs rumble through his body and my hand shakes as I pat him.
"Now if that isn't the best greeting in the world, I don't know what is." A voice says behind me.
I spin around surprised. A shock of wild red hair immediatly catches my eye. My eyes grow wide and my mouth would have dropped open if not for the wires still holding it shut. Gary!
I almost run to him. Almost. I jerk myself back at the last second. I have fallen in love with him in dreams. It was in my dreams just a while ago that he kissed me. Only dreams. Sweet, sweet, bittersweet. Tears start to roll down my cheeks, I cry a lot lately I notice.
He smiles gently and walks up to me. Amazingly he takes me into his arms and hugs me tightly. A gentle hand brushes away my tears.
"It's more real than you think," he says echoing my dream.
I feel dazed. What exactly is going on here? I look for Purse to be my voice.
"He says ya got some explaining to do," Purse says to Gary.
Gary nods and leads me over to the bed. We sit down and he turns to look at me. "Ash, have you been having dreams about me?" Gary asks.
I cast my eyes down as I nod. He pulls my chin up and looks into my eyes.
"They weren't just simple dreams though." Gary informs me.
What is he talking about? The confusion must shine clearly on my face. He smiles at me and I hear a warm voice in my head.
//Ash, I found out that I'm a pyschic, just like Sabrina. It happened after my last battle with Giovanni, whatever Pokemon he used against me gave me pyschic powers.Those weren't totally dreams. I was there with you the whole time. Everything you think we did, happened. It wasn't just your imagination. I took you on that picnic in the park, I helped you pick out a Birthday present for Misty, I even bought it for her and gave it to her in real life! But most importantly, I kissed you under the mistletoe, because I fell in love with you too.// Gary's voice said in my head.
I feel dizzy. I must be dreaming again. This can't happen. My life was an absolute hell. It can't just get magically better like this. Don't I have to face all sorts of challenges and be broken over and over again. Can it really be this easy?
//Yes it's that easy. You've already faced challenges and been broken many times// his mental voice whispers and he runs a gentle finger down my jaw. //This is no longer a dream. This is real life. I really love you and I've really come to rescue you.//
//But what about Giovanni and Team Rocket and all the rest of the coruption?// I wonder hoping that he can hear me.
//Thanks to Purse here,// Gary says scratching Purse's ears, //You won't have to worry about him ever again. Purse was our inside cat. With his testimony, as well as Jesse and James' he'll be in jail for eternity.//
//What about me?// I wonder.
//You can testify if you want to, but you won't be forced. With your testimony they could probably push for the death penalty.// Gary informs me.
I shake my head even after all he's done to me, I don't want to be even partially responsible for his death. I'd rather he live out the rest of his life confined in four walls, just like he did to me. It's only fair after all.
"You are such a wonderful person Ash!" Gary said out loud. "If I were you I'd kill the bastard, but after all that he's done to you, you let him off easy."
"You think sittin around like we do is easy?" Purse demanded. "It's da most boring ting in the world! I for one am ready ta get out and see the sun, I'm sure da Kid is too!"
I nod in agreement. I can't wait to see the sun again. I can't wait to breath fresh air. I can't wait to be free.
"Alright," Gary says. "Ash you'll need some pants on if you're going to out there. It's cold outside."
I pick up the jeans that I had left spread out on the bed and slide into them. I have to hunt around for shoes. I don't usually wear them anymore so I don't know where they are. Purse eventually finds them. As soon as they're tied on my feet he bounds out of the room. Gary grabs my hand and we chase after him. The house is crawling with police. I see Officer Jenny ordering everyobody around. This is more proof that it's all over.
I am lead to large wooden doors. They are open and outside I can see the sky. The beautiful blue sky. Slowly Gary, Purse and I walk out of the door. It is cold, there is snow on the ground. Gary hugs me close as I shiver. A bright light flashes and I look up to see a flock of reporters rushing towards us. They fire question after question at me as they blind me with their cameras. Even if I could talk, I wouldn't want to answer their prying questions. They bring the pain back to life. My old mental scares flare up bringing floods of things I don't want to remember. I turn my head into Gary's shoulder and try to block out the memories. They crash over me like harsh freezing ocean waves and my body begins to shudder in reaction. Gary holds his head and hugs me tighter I think he can feel the memories running through me. Distantly I hear Purse snarling at the reporters before I fade into a world of blackness.
I hear the footsteps. They are coming closer and closer. Please don't stop here! Please don't stop here! My heart is pounding so loud that he surely must hear it. It is almost loud enough to drown out the footsteps. Almost.
I huddle in a tight ball in the darkness. I try to hold my breath but I keep gasping for air like I'm drowning. I don't want to feel like this. I don't want to be scared. I want to be safe. I seem to remember being safe. I remember getting out, only to find myself back here. What happened?
The footsteps stop. So does my heart. Light filters into the darkness. A figure is outlined in the door. I shut my eyes tightly against the vision. I wish it away but instead the footsteps come closer.
//Ash!// a voice echoes in my head. //Ash, it's me.//
Can it really be?
"Gary?" I whisper.
"Yes, love, it's me," he replies.
"What happened?" I ask sitting up slightly.
"You couldn't handle the stress and you fainted. You've been in a coma, I'm worried about you. Please wake up." Gary says sitting down and hugging me tightly.
"I'm sorry," I say as I feel tears on his cheek.
"Don't be. I understand. But I want you to come back to me. We'll get through this together." Gary insists rubbing my back soothingly.
"Promise?" I ask.
"I promise, love." he vows. "Now you've been here long enough. Let's wake up."
I nod and he pulls me to my feet and into the light. I wake up with a start. There's lots of tubes and wires connected to me. There is a pressure on my hand and I turn to see Gary holding it tightly. He looks at me and smiles brightly despite the tears shimmering in his eyes. He leans over and kisses my cheek just as the nurses rush in to check on me.
//You scared me love.// His mental voice whispers.
//I scared me too.// I reply.
//Just don't do it again, love.// He orders.
//Don't worry I don't plan on it.// I respond assuredly.
//Good. Love you.// He says as the nurses shoo him out of the room.
//Love you too.// I mentally call back.
Stupid pyschologist. She always makes me cry. I just want to get over it all, not relive it every stupid session! I bury my head in Gary's shoulder and refuse to talk to her anymore. They both sigh and she tells Gary that we are free to leave. I stand up and Pikachu jumps on my shoulder and nuzzles my face. He's great therapy for my old wounds. I scratch between his ears and he leans into my touch. Gary puts his arm around my waist and we walk out of the office.
Gary stops at the receptionist's desk to confirm my next appointment. I don't really want to go, but it will be my last one. Dr.Brenner says that having all my friends around, especially Gary and Pikachu is the best thing for me. It's about the only thing she says that I agree with. Finally we walk out the stuffy offices and into the bright sunshine. I never liked staying indoors much, but since my stay with Giovanni, I like it even less. I've developed claustrophobia and a severe dislike for dark rooms. Our new house is big and spacious with high ceilings and lots of windows. There are interesting lamps everywhere brightening all the shadowy corners. All the rooms are decorated in cheerful colors whether they are muted pastels or vibrant reds and yellows.
My whole entire wardrobe consists of light colors and materials. I absolutely refuse to wear anything with lace on it I don't even like looking at the stuff. I like flowy cotton shirts and big oversized sweaters. I hate dressing up more than I ever did before. I told Gary that I would rather wear a dress than dress up in tight stuffy formal clothes. So he bought me a closet full of formal kimonos. He said that as the boyfriend of the Pokemon Master I can't run around in baggy clothes like a bum. He wants me to look nice, to show how beautiful I am. I don't think I'm beautiful. I'm still very pale and thin as a twig. I eat and eat and never seem to gain weight. My nose is crooked and I walk with a limp. When I tell him that, he just kisses my nose and tells me I look beautiful to him.
I love him, but I still don't believe him. Maybe someday I can look in the mirror and be satisfied with what I see, but even with therapy and all the love I receive, I think that day is still far in the future. There will come a time when I will look in the mirror and be proud of who I am. I'm working on it
"Happy Anniversary!" everybody yells.
I look up surprised at all the people in the room. I see Brock and Misty, Tracey and Todd, Jesse and James, my mom and Professor Oak, and many more familiar and smiling faces. Pikachu is sitting on Purse's head and they're both grinning at us. I turn back to Gary and grin.
"You did this for me?" I ask already knowing the answer.
"Of course love." he responds.
"For some reason I'm getting this strange sense of deja vu." I say teasingly.
"Hmm wonder why," he murmurs.
"There's just one thing missing," I tell him.
"Mistletoe?" he asks.
I nod. He grins and points up to where a small green sprig of mistletoe hangs by a red ribbon.
"You know what that means," I murmur.
He smiles as he cups my face in his hands and our lips together. He licks my lips and I smile and open my mouth slightly. He takes advantage and we stand there feeding off of each others mouth. Finally as the cheers of our friends reach a crescendo he pulls away. He gets a sly grin on his face and then kneels down in front of me, taking my hand into his. The room instantly goes silent. I look down at him as he pulls a small box out of his pocket. My eyes feel like they're bugging out of my head. He opens the the box to reveal a gold ring with tiny diamonds and rubies. It looks like a tiny Pokeball. I look back at him and answer before he even asks.
"Yes!" I cry out. "Yes I will!" I say as I lean down and hug him ecstatically. Everyone cheers louder than before. But I barely hear them since Gary is kissing me again.
Wow, That was pretty long! I'm proud of the length but I'm not so sure of the story. Ah well, what's done is done ^_^