"Misty, are you all right?" Ash asked her for the hundredth time in a week. She had stumbled as they were walking. Ash took her hand and helped her to her feet. "Yes, I'm fine. I just tripped." But they both knew that she wasn't. Over the last few months, her health had gradually diminished. Her face was paler, she didn't have much of an appetite, and her voice had grown very quiet. She didn't drink much water, and she hadn't battled any trainers for weeks. She let her pokémon out of their pokeballs so that they could get some fresh air, but she never ordered them to battle. Sometimes they just trained against each other to stay fresh, but that wasn't the same. It wasn't that Misty didn't like to battle, but she just didn't have the strength anymore. "Are you sure you're fine, Mist?" Ash asked, obviously concerned. "Yes, I just didn't sleep too well last night. I'm just tired." They both knew that she was just avoiding the day when she would have to receive medical care. But Ash knew that day was coming.
They continued hiking through Johto until they were outside Goldenrod. "Should we eat in town or camp out here and have Brock cook?" Ash asked. "Nothing against Brock's cooking, but I'd like to eat at a restaurant." Misty replied, her voice just above a whisper. "I'm game. Let's go." Brock replied.
Ash let Misty pick the restaurant they would eat at. She chose pizza. They walked in and sat down at a booth, Ash sitting next to Misty and Brock sitting opposite the two of them. "Can we get some pop while we wait for the pizza?" Ash asked the waitress. "Sure. I'll bring it right out." She walked to the kitchen and returned, holding three glasses of pop. "Here you go." she said, setting the glasses down in front of them. "Thanks," Brock replied, grabbing his and sipping at it. Ash handed Misty's glass to her. She took a sip of it, but started coughing. She spewed the pop on the table. Ash slapped her on the back, trying to help her cough it out. But she just kept coughing. A couple minutes later, the coughs subsided. "What happened?" Ash asked her. "I don't know. I tried to swallow a sip of pop, but I couldn't swallow. It was like I gagged or something." "Wanna try another sip and see if you have better luck?" She nodded and took a small sip. As before, she coughed it up. This time she was coughing for five minutes. "Misty, this is bad." Brock said. Ash nodded. "Come on. You're going to the hospital." He helped her out of the booth they were sitting at. The waitress walked up with the pizza. "I'm sorry, but we need to leave. It's an emergency. Here," Brock explained, handing her the money to cover the pizza.
They walked out and got in a taxi. "Mercy Hospital. And quick." Ash said to the driver. Fortunately, Goldenrod was a large city and had several hospitals. The competition between them resulted in some of the best medical care in both Kanto and Johto. The driver sped off down the streets, running an occasional light. This was not at all unusual in a city of this size. He finally turned the final corner. The hospital was in sight. "Front entrance or emergency?" the driver asked. "Emergency." Brock replied before Ash could. The driver pulled up to the door. Ash opened the door and helped Misty out of the car while Brock paid the driver. "Thanks for running those lights." Brock said as he handed the man the money. "No problem. Tell your friend to get well." he said before driving off.
Ash quickly walked up to the door, Misty leaning on him the whole time. The door slid open and Ash helped Misty up to the desk. "Excuse me," he said to the nurse. She turned and looked at him. Ash nodded at Misty. "She's been sick lately. When she tried to drink something this evening, she couldn't swallow it. She just coughed it up." The nurse told them to sit down while she contacted one of the doctors. Ash sat down in one of the chairs. Misty collapsed into the one next to him. Ash looked at her and saw that she was crying. "Shh. It's all right. We've got you to the hospital. Everything will be fine. Just wait." he said, holding her and trying to comfort her. "Follow me." the nurse said. They followed her down a hallway and into one of the many rooms. The nurse instructed Misty to lay on the bed. She promptly collapsed on it, unable to continue standing. The doctor stepped in the room and walked straight to the bed. He glanced at Misty, then took her pulse. He walked over to Ash. "She's not in good condition. We'll have to run some tests on her. Has she been drinking any fluids in the last few days?" "Not much. She tries to drink water, but doesn't swallow much. When she couldn't drink any tonight, I knew that she needed to come here. I would've brought her early on, but she doesn't really like to be helped by other people." The doctor nodded. "If she hasn't been drinking much, then she's probably dehydrated. We'll give her some fluid." "What's wrong with her?" Ash asked. "I don't know at this point, but I have a guess. We'll run some tests and let you know the results. In the meantime, there's nothing you can do. You can stay in the room if you like." The doctor walked out of the room.
The next few hours were agonizingly long. They kept coming in and running different tests on her. Finally, the doctor walked up to Ash. "I think we've found out what's wrong with her." "What?" Ash said. "Come here," the doctor said, then walked over to Misty. "Ms. Waterflower, please roll over on your stomach." Misty obeyed. "Here," the doctor said, pointing to the back of her neck. There, on the back of her spine, was a small lump. "She has a spinal tumor. We'll do some research on it, but I'm pretty sure that it's malignant." "And if it is?" Ash asked. "Then it's cancer."
They continued running various tests. About midnight, the doctor walked up to Ash again. "I'm sorry to say this, but it is cancer. Fortunately, she has a good chance if she starts chemotherapy right away. We'll also have to try targeted radiation. For now, try and get some sleep. We'll decide what to do in the morning when she's awake." Ash lay down on the small bed next to the window. Brock grabbed his sleeping bag and slept on the floor.
Eight o' clock the next morning, Ash woke up. He got up off the small bed that he was sleeping on and walked to the hospital bed that Misty was on. She was sleeping, but woke up as Ash was standing there. Her eyes fluttered open and she looked at Ash. "Hi, Ash. Sleep well?" Ash nodded. "And you?" "Not bad. I had a dream that the doctor was saying I had a tumor. I'm glad it was just a dream, though." Ash gulped. "Misty, that wasn't a dream. You have a cancerous tumor on your spine. The doctor said you have a good chance, though. But you'll have to do chemotherapy and targeted radiation." Misty was shocked. Her eyes blinked and her mouth started moving. She just lay there, trying to take in what she had just heard.
The doctor walked in. He looked at Misty and saw her expression. "I assume that Ash has told you the situation," he said. Misty finally stopped moving her mouth and looked blankly at the doctor. Finally, she nodded. "We'll start you on chemotherapy right away. Now, I'm sure you've heard about all the terrible side effects of it. Don't worry. We have a new type of chemo that was just approved. It's more expensive, but it's much easier on the patient. Now, do you have your insurance information with you?" She stared at him before replying. "In my backpack. Will I lose my hair?" Ash walked over to her backpack and started digging through it. The doctor looked at Misty and shook his head. "No, your hair won't fall out. That's one of the nice things about this type of chemo." Ash handed the doctor the small card with Misty's insurance information on it. He looked it over and nodded. "You're in luck. Your insurance provider will cover your chemotherapy costs."
Ash walked over to the room's phone. "I'm going to call your sisters," he told Misty as he dialed the number. The screen finally turned on. There was Daisy. "Daisy, I have something to tell you. Misty has cancer. She'll be staying in Goldenrod for a while." Daisy was shocked. Finally, she was able to reply. "Will she live?" "She has a good chance. She'll be starting chemo soon. Don't worry, it's a new type of drug that doesn't have as many side effects." "Can I talk to her?" Ash nodded and handed the phone to Misty. Misty talked to her sister for ten minutes before hanging up. "She's going to tell my other sisters." Misty said. Ash picked up the phone and dialed his home. The screen came on as Delia's picture appeared. "Hi, honey. How are you?" "Not so good." Ash replied. "What's wrong, Ash?" Delia asked, concerned. "Mom, I'll be staying in Goldenrod for a few weeks. Misty's at the hospital here, being treated for cancer." "Will she live?" Delia asked, panic in her voice. "She has a good chance." "Oh, honey, I'm sorry that this happened. Is there anything I can do?" Ash shook his head. "Okay. Bye honey. Tell Misty that I'm praying for her." Ash nodded and hung up. On the other end of the line, Delia hung up the phone and sat down at the table. She burst into tears over the girl that she regarded almost as one of her own.
The next three months were purgatory for both Ash and Misty. Misty would receive chemo, then walk back to the room and lay down on the bed, not moving for hours. Ash would sit there and try to comfort her in any way he could. Reading to her, finding a decent channel to watch, rubbing her back, anything he could do to make her comfortable. But that was a very difficult task. The new chemo didn't have as many side effects, but it still drained her energy and made her feel sick.
One day, half a week after taking chemo, Ash was standing next to the bed, rubbing her back. "Ash, can you ask the doctor if I can go outside?" "Sure, Mist. I'll be right back." Ash replied, slightly suprised that she thought she was strong enough to do that. But the doctor said that, if she felt up to it and Ash went along to support her, she could go for a walk. Ash ran back to the room and told her that she could go outside. She got up and walked over to her backpack, opening it and grabbing her normal clothes. "I'll be right back," she said, stepping into the bathroom. She was out again in a minute, dressed normally. She put the hospital gown on the bed and took Ash's arm. They walked outside into the hospital's garden. Once there, they sat down on a bench, Misty enjoying the warm sun that she seldom felt anymore. After five minutes of sitting, she lay down on the bench and rested her head on Ash's lap. "I'll be so glad when this is over," she said, eyes closed. "Yeah. The doctor said that you will live. He wasn't sure at first, but he said that they caught the cancer fairly early and that you're a strong person to begin with. After you're in remission, let's visit the Cerulean gym and see your sisters. And let's go see my mom after that." Ash looked down at her, smiling. The face that for a while had been so pale finally had color returning to it. Misty nodded her head before falling asleep, a peaceful smile on her face.
Two weeks later, Ash ran into the room, some papers clutched in his hand. Misty and Brock, who were engrossed in a video game, put the controllers down and looked up at Ash. "Misty, the test results came back! You're in remission! You're cured!" Misty jumped straight out of the chair she was sitting in, waving her hands over her head. She ran up to Ash and hugged him, both of them crying. "The doctor says that you can leave now, but you need to take it easy and rest up for several months before engaging in really strenuous physical activity. Pack your bags! We're off to Cerulean."
They all walked to the train station in Goldenrod and bought tickets to Saffron. Misty was energetic, but she had yet to regain all her strength. Once they reached Saffron, Brock split with them and headed off to Pewter to see his family. Ash and Misty headed north. Misty couldn't walk all day, but she could go for several hours before needing a break. One day they passed a lake. "Oh Ash! Can we stop? I haven't gone swimming in months!" Ash smiled and nodded. They split up in a patch of trees and shrubs and changed into their swimwear. "Let's go!" Misty squealed, running into the water. Ash jumped in, swimming to where she was quietly immersing herself. She opened her eyes and saw him treading water next to her. She surfaced and started treading water. "Why are you following me?" she asked, trying to sound annoyed and hide a smirk at the same time. "I'm supposed to follow and support you. In case you have trouble swimming, I should probably be near you. Besides, are you complaining about being near me?" Ash replied, grinning. Misty smirked and dived underwater. Ash took a deep breath and followed her. Once she was twenty feet under, she looked back to see if he was following. Sure enough, there he was, trying to keep up. She smiled and started swimming for the surface. As soon as she surfaced and took a deep breath, she looked down into the water and saw Ash swimming for the surface. As soon as his head appeared above the water, she grabbed it and kissed him. Suprised, he waited until she was finished before pulling away. "What was that about?" he asked. "Oh, nothing. Just my way of thanking you for all that you've done in the last three months." Ash smiled. "Anytime, Mist. Come on. We should go now."
Three days of travel brought them to Cerulean. After a brief visit with Misty's siblings, they set off for Palette. Misty was growing stronger with each passing day. By the time they reached Palette, she could walk all day and only had to break for lunch. Ash had only told his mom that Misty was in remission. Delia didn't know that they were coming to visit. Ash walked up to the front door and walked in. Delia was standing at the stove, cooking supper. "Hi Mom. I'm home!" Ash shouted. Delia dropped what she was cooking and ran over to embrace him. "Oh honey! It's so good to see you." She turned to Misty. "I hear you won the battle. Congratulations, dear." She hugged them both again. That night, Misty ate her first full meal in over three months. She was victorious.
Well, what did ya think? After reading 'Broken', I decided to write my own cancer fic. I've had a fair bit of experience with friends who have battled it. This fic is dedicated to my friend Kate's mom, who's life God spared so she could raise her eight kids. Also to Mitch, who served his country for twenty years onboard a submarine, had a wife and raised a daughter, and was my dearest friend, mentor, and role model, who battled with cancer before finally going home to the Lord. I've wanted to dedicate something to him for a long time, and this was a perfect opportunity. Um, email me your comments. Subject needs to be 'Fanfiction'. email@example.com. Thanx
Andrew Ames (Pyro1588)