28th, JUNE of 2018
6578 Galvinize Ave, Pewter City, Kanto 01276
Pewter Arcean General Hospital
“How long has that been there Ash?” Brock’s fingers pressed against his temples as he watched Joy examine the small bump she’d found in Ash’s stomach, pressing her fingers around it gently.
“I don’t know...?” Ash could only stare up at the bright white ceiling above him, too embarrassed to look at Annie, and certainly didn’t want to look over at his best friend while he was in nothing but his briefs and a hospital gown.
“Are you sure this doesn’t hurt Ash?” Annie asked again, pressing down a bit harder first. Ash shook his head again, she frowned. “I dunno Brock, it could just be a tumor. I mean, he did tell me that you always liked to take Pokémon moves head on. It could also just be scarring built up over the years.” She turned down to Ash. “I know this is breaking all of the HIPAA Regulations but, we’re both Doctors here and two minds are better than one.” She sat up and pulled off her gloves.
Ash didn’t know what to say as she helped him sit up. “But if it’s a tumor... how long do you think he’s been living with that?” Brock was frustrated as he took a seat across from her. Ash looked over at Joy for her answer, and all she did was shrug.
“It’s really so hard to tell. First thing’s first.” She handed Ash a new patient packet. “You now have to fill that out because I’m admitting you. Then, after that, we’ll get you a room and start tests.”
“You mean blood tests?! And getting one of those... waterlines into me?” Ash’s elbows began to throb just at the thought of having Joy jam needles into them. “I don’t know...” He looked down at the papers. “I don’t even know what kind of insurance I’m on. Paul usually keeps all that stuff in his wallet..”
Both Brock and Annie looked at each other before looking at Ash. “Ash... you should call him.”
“He doesn’t even know I’m here. I didn’t want him to worry.” Ash shrugged. “But it’s either a huge scar or a tumor and that means...” Ash couldn’t even say the word. Tears welled in the corners of his eyes as he thought about it.
Joy sat down in front of him and moved the clipboard. “Look at me Ash. If it’s that, if it’s cancer, you know that we will all be here for you. Especially Paul. I think you should call him. You’re gonna need support for whatever I find. Okay?” A soft hand held his face and brushed away his tears and she was smiling at him so sweetly he couldn’t even bring himself to feel sad anymore.
Ash only nodded before he blinked a few times and looked over at his friend. “I can see why you referred her. She’s amazing. Can you hand me my phone? It’s in the pocket of my jeans.” Brock only smiled at him softly and handed him his phone.
Ash slowly scrolled through his phone and clicked on Paul’s name and held it out and away from him so the video feed wasn’t just his face. It took a few moments before a hologram of Paul’s head and shoulders popped up above his phone. “Hey...”
“What’s going on?” It was then that Ash remembered he was in a polka dot hospital gown. “Ash, what’s wrong?”
“I’m in the hospital.” Ash couldn’t even stop his voice from cracking, all of his previous thoughts rushing back to him. “I’m in Pewter City. Can you come?”
“Of course I’ll come. What happened?” Paul’s usually stoic face was full of concern, Ash hadn’t seen that face in a long time, he didn’t realize how much he missed it.
“I think...” Ash looked away. “I found something in my stomach, like a month ago but I thought I just ate too much but... now it’s bigger and I just..” He watched as Paul’s face drop and his eyes close tight. “Joy and Brock think it might be cancer... or scarring.. or something... I just.. I need you here.”
“He’s on the other side of the hospital getting pampered by Brock’s interns.” Ash brushed away small tears and he watched as Paul put on his jacket and start to wrap a scarf around his neck.
“I’ll try to get there as fast as I can, could be an hour and a half.”
“Okay... can you send me the insurance information?” He watched the background in Paul’s hologram change as he moved through the castle. “I don’t have it, and Joy’s booking me a room and she needs to take some tests.”
“They’ll get the information when I get there. Just fill out what you can, I’ll see you soon.” Paul stopped just outside of the castle. “I love you Ash. I’m gonna be there soon.”
“I love you too.” Ash held back tears as Paul hung up and he put his phone down and started filling the packet out again. Once he was finished he handed it to Brock who began to put him into the system and made him a new paper chart.
“Just don’t look at the needle okay Ash?”
“Okay.” Ash replied, tensing as Joy poured alcohol onto her hands and rubbed them together before pulling on a new pair of gloves and started to prep his arm. “Is this really necessary J-“, he couldn’t help but whine has he felt her tie the rubber band around his arm and then pushed in the needle. He tried his best to not look as Brock handed her empty vial after empty vial. Ash felt himself start to hyperventilate. “O-Oh Mew, how many do you need??”
“As much as I can get so we can run the right tests Ash. Just stay calm and breathe. See? This is already your IV. All I’m taking from is the second tube.”
Ash just shuddered as he looked at the long tube that branched out. About fifteen tubes in total were filled before he was being wheeled off to a private room by Brock who LAUGHED at him.
“Stop laughing. I hate needles.” Ash frowned as Brock pushed him into an elevator. “Torturers.”
“Hey. You don’t even have a needle in you, if that makes you feel any better. It’s a small rubber tube. You’ll feel better once they put a nice cool bag of water on you.” His leg shook as he thought about it.
“That doesn’t sound nice.” He tried his best to not think about it. And failed, and Brock laughed even harder at the long whine he was emitting.
“Come on Ash. You’ll be okay. You’re gonna get through this. You always do. We’re gonna get through this.” Ash looked up at his mean doctor friend in his stupid white coat. Brock looked back down at him and patted his hair in the loving, big brother way.
And that made Ash feel like everything was gonna be okay. “Will you bring Pikachu? So I’m not alone until Paul comes?”
“Of course Ash.”
“Piii..” Pikachu purred softly as he kneaded Ash’s stomach, near the stupid cancer tumor scar demon thing that was most likely gonna kill him. Ash reached out and gently rubbed his buddy’s head, a soft smile easily forming as Pikachu cooed and leaned up into the pats.
“I love you too buddy.” Ash moved his hand to Pikachu’s back, rubbing small circles into his back.
“Pika!” Was his answer. He watched in amusement as Pikachu stretched and went limp against him, a steady purr just coming from him.
He’d been waiting for nearly an hour now, flipping through channel after channel of boring morning tv. Apart of him wanted to nap, but he didn’t want to without Paul there.
Like he’d been summoned, the door opened and there stood his fiancé, heavy coat in hand. Ash cracked a smile at him. “Hey you two.”
“Hey there Munchlax.” Paul closed the door behind him as a sweet feline Pokémon ran for him, jumping up gracefully onto the bed and nuzzled him. “Sylveon.” He purred softly and Paul put his coat and scarf on the rack near the door before making his way over and pressed a gentle kiss to Ash’s lips. It was Ash’s turn to hum as Paul pulled away and sat down next to him, a hand reaching out to rub Pikachu’s back.
A soft “Chuu” filled the room along with the soft ping of Ash’s heart machine. Sylveon nuzzled Pikachu before he laid down under the arm where Ash had his IV and wrapped his ribbons around it.
“Thank you Sylveon..” He gently rubbed it’s head before he looked over at Paul. “I’m sorry I didn’t say anything when I first found out...” Ash looked down to when Paul gently took his hand.
“Don’t be...” Paul just shrugged at him before lifting his hand to kiss his knuckles. “I’m here now. With you. For you.” He kissed Ash again, smirking as the pinging sped up a bit.
“Am not.” Paul let go of Ash’s hand and moved to stand. “You look tired.” He walked around the bed to the windows and pulled the blinds close and headed for the other wall near the door and dragged down the dials. “You should get some rest. Who know’s how long it’ll take for your test results to come back.”
Ash stared at him from where he laid, Pikachu had stayed in his place on Ash’s stomach, and Sylveon didn’t budge from his spot but Ash did his best to scoot over. “Lay with me?” He could just barely make out the smile on Paul’s face.
“Of course.” Ash waited as Paul scooted himself into the small hospital bed and wrapped him up in his arms.
Instantly, he felt better as he turned his head so his face was turned into Paul’s chest, the faint smell of his cologne lulling him to sleep.
Ash wasn’t sure what woke him up, the soft knock on his room door or Paul gently blowing in his face. He blinked a few times and looked up at him, soft smile on his face.
His attention was then turned to the door opening, Brock was wheeling in an odd looking machine while Joy followed with a frosty looking bag of water. “You’re gonna feel a little cold for a moment, but you’ll be fine afterwords.”
Ash looked up and noticed that his IV was nearly empty, and while he didn’t have to go, he did feel refreshed. And that continued on when Joy hung the water bag with tiny beads of ice in it, he whined for a moment as he felt the cold work it’s way up his arm and then across his chest before he felt warm again. “What’s that machine for?” He couldn’t help but ask.
“This is a sonogram machine. We just want to check something... because if we’re wrong like we probably are, we’ll have to run a few more tests.” She smiled at him and hurried around the bed to hug Paul. “Hi Paul.” She placed a gentle kiss on his cheek.
“Hello Anne. Brock.” Paul did the same before pulling away and getting up to hug Brock.
Ash continued to stare at the machine in confusion. “What’s a sonogram?”
Brock sat down at the machine and started to set it up for Joy as she pulled on a pair of gloves and directed Paul to the seat next to the bed. “It’s the technical word for an Ultrasound. Kinda. It’s just a picture machine, like an X-ray but it uses sound instead of radiation.” Annie smiled at him as she lifted up the hospital gown and pulled the blankets up and wrapped them into his underwear.
Ash didn’t say anything as Brock finished and rolled the machine over to Annie who poured a cool gel onto his stomach, just above the stupid cancer tumor scar demon thing. “Now you’re gonna feel some pressure but don’t worry, it’s just so we can get a good look.” And she placed down the handle of the machine and Ash watched as the dark screen suddenly changed.
Joy’s hand moved around a bit, searching around the cancer tumor scar demon thing first before she rolled it right on top of it and suddenly the picture changed. Ash strained to see what it was as she rolled it around. Suddenly she looked over at Brock and nodded, and put the probe back onto him and started to take full pictures of whatever she was looking at.
“What is it?” Paul spoke for the both of them, and Ash turned to see him standing over her shoulder as she clicked away at the controls. Once she was satisfied, she put the probe on Ash’s lap and turned back to the both of them.
“It’s a baby.” Joy grinned, flipping through the photo’s she’d taken. “It’s your baby. It’s not cancer, or scar tissue...”
“What?!” “Pikachu!” Ash blinked as he looked down at his stomach, and then at Paul, and then back to his stomach. He could already feel his cheeks getting red as Paul sat down heavily next to him. “I’m pregnant?”
Both Joy and Brock nodded with certainty. She picked the probe back up and clicked to a different screen and pressed it back into his stomach. On the machine Ash could see a heartbeat monitor just like his on the screen, and she moved it around again to show.. a small... heart.. beating away. “You’re having a baby Ash. I don’t know how, but.. it’s there.”
He didn’t realize he was crying until Pikachu nuzzled him and spread wetness across his cheeks. He could feel Sylveon’s ribbons working their way around his waist, and Ash knew the Pokémon was happy. He turned to Paul, in shock. “I’m pregnant.”
Paul looked at him and reached a hand out for Ash’s stomach, placing it down gently, not caring that it was still covered in the blue gel. Had anyone else been in the room, they would have never seen the single tear that ran down his face. “Yeah. You are.”
Joy finally put up the probe and cleaned Ash off with a warm wet towel while Brock set out to print out the pictures Joy took. “Congratulations you two. Ash, you look about twenty one weeks along. That’s five months, you’re gonna have to be super careful from now on okay? With everything, with what you eat to how hard you train. I don’t even want you lifting anything more than ten pounds.” Ash could only nod in wonder as he and Paul both stared at the photos of their baby...
“Paul, I’m gonna send a prescription for a prenatal to the pharmacy out in Snowpoint. You make sure Ash takes it when directed and doesn’t do anything too strenuous. It’s not just him anymore.”
Paul stood and nodded and moved to hug both Brock and Joy. “Thank you. I will make sure he stays in line.”
They both only nodded before moving to hug Ash, who was being cuddled by Pikachu and Sylveon. “Make sure you call your mom and let her know. I’m sure she’ll be over the moon.” Brock kissed Ash’s cheek. “See ya.”
“Bye!” Ash kissed Annie’s cheek as she smiled at him.
“I’ll get you discharged in a few hours, but for now, just relax and soak up all that water okay? Oh! Your due date should be late October, sometime around the fifteenth!” And with that, the two happily left the room, obvious sighs of relief leaving them.
After the door closed Ash turned to Paul, who was taking a picture of the ultrasound with his phone to send to Reggie probably. “Five months... that means we have four months to get ready.”
Ash heard the ping of Paul’s phone before he put it down. “We’ll be ready. We have your mom, Reggie, Brock, Joy..” He gently kissed Ash’s hand again. “You never fail to surprise me.”
He noticed the small tear that just welled in the corner of Paul’s eye and reached out to rub it away. “I love you.”
“I love you more.” And like a dam had broken, Paul’s phone took off with ring after ring. Paul picked it up and answered, and Reggie’s excited voice came through from the other side. He listened to Paul laugh and watched him smile as he told Reggie all the details up until now.
Ash picked up his own phone and started to dial, and waited for his mom to answer. Moments passed and she popped up on his screen, hair up in her towel and in her robe.
“Hey mom. I’ve got some news to tell you.” Ash smiled at her.
“Oh! Have you two finally decided on the date for the wedding? I’ve been waiting for a year!”
Ash shook his head. “No mom. I’m... having a baby.. Paul and I, we’re having.. a baby.”
Delia screamed into the camera, making Paul jump beside him. She jumped up and down with joy. “Really?! Oh.. this is so exciting! Congratulations! How far along are you?”
“Twenty one weeks..” Paul answered as he lifted up the ultrasound. “Dr. Joy says October 15th.”
“October? That’s so close! We need to get you ready Ash!!! Oh Mew!!! You two need to get MARRIED already!!!” Paul just nodded at her.
“Well we were planning on next year, but it’ll be within the next month.” He looked over at Ash, and Ash looked at him. “I don’t want to wait any longer than I have to.”
Delia beamed, eyes watery. “Dr. Joy? You’re here in Kanto? I’ll be there in a half hour!” And with that, she ended the call and Ash put down his phone.
Paul just nodded. “I mean it Ash. I don’t want to wait any longer to marry you now. Then we can start getting ready for October.” He leaned in and Ash closed the gap, kissing him softly.
“October... I can’t wait!” He reached a hand down and held it over what he now knew was a baby bump.
“Neither can I.”