The white tentacles curl around him while he struggles. Tears fall down his face and he clutches his chest, screaming in pain.
His keiki, that Kukui couldn’t save.
The tentacles turn dark blue as they start to suck the life out of Ash. He goes limp in Nihilego’s membrane, his lips moving incoherently.
“ASH!” Kukui cries out, finally able to form words with his mouth instead of just screams.
"Human.” Ash’s eyes stay closed. “Die, human. Do not interfere.” It speaks through Ash’s lips with a deep, guttural voice, sounding exactly like something straight from Hell.
“Ash! Ash, just hang on, I’ll get you out! I”m coming!” Kukui calls out Braviary and climbs onto him, eyes fixed on Ash. The Nihilego was flying farther and father away.
“No!” The symbiote screams.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” Kukui calls as Braviary climbs higher and higher into the deep purple sky. “Please hang on, I’m coming!"
“No, no, NO!” Ash’s eyes stay squeezed shut. It fires off a Venoshock, causing Kukui to curse and dive down. Fuck, now he’s even farther away! It keeps firing off moves, alternating between Power Gem and Gunk Shot, just pushing Kukui and Braviary farther back. A piece of Gunk Shot grazes his arm with a sizzle— fuck, that hurts .
Kukui is forced to land Braviary and tumbles down to the purple dirt. He calls out Empoleon—she has the type advantage.
“Empoleon! I need you to use Growl and try to get Ash to come out!” Kukui yells above the howling wind.
“Empoh!” She nods and begins to roar, sending a shockwave toward the floating blue… beast. It flinches when the vibrations hit him.
“Ash! Listen! Can you hear me?” Kukui yells out, pleading. Please, Koko, please .
“No, no, no, NO!” It roars. But suddenly…it quiets. Ash’s eyes peek open just slightly.
“Ash! ASH!” Kukui starts to get hopeful.
“…Otousan?” Ash mumbles, sounding as if he were underwater.
“Yes! Yes, Ash, I’m right here! Come on, let me help you!” Kukui beckons him in, arms wide open. Ash loves hugs. Maybe he’ll come in for one.
He seems to consider it, but turns away. “…I can’t, I can’t! I’ll hurt you!” Ash cries out.
“No! Nonono! You won’t hurt me, Ash! Come here!” Kukui waves him in.
“‘Kay…” Ash floats a little closer, moving slowly and haltingly. “I can’t hurt you. Don’t let me hurt you, Hakase...”
“You won’t, keiki. Come here. It’s okay.” Kukui smiles to him. “You’re so close. Just a little further.”
“...Hakase. Losing control. Don’t think I can keep it down...” Ash chokes up, stopping ten feet up from Kukui. “Hurts so bad, Hakase. Don’t think I can control it...”
“You can do it, Satoshi. Look at you. You’re so close.” Kukui steps in and reaches on his tiptoes, trying to close the gap. “Almost there. Just a few feet more.”
“Okay...” Ash floats down the last few feet and wraps the tentacles around Kukui’s body, clinging to him.
Kukui gasps as the spikes press into his skin, but pushes the pain down.
“Good job, keiki. Now, I’m gonna pull you out, okay? Just try to hold it down, I’ll help you,” Kukui soothes.
Ash’s pinky finger, then his hand peeks out of the membrane. Ash screams and cries as he pushes against the oppressive hold of the Nihilego.
“Good job, just a little closer...” Kukui grasps Ash’s wrist and pulls with all his might. “You’re doing so well...”
With one last push and screams from both men, Ash pops free unceremoniously and lands in Kukui’s arms, dripping with purple, viscous liquid. The Nihilego flies off, hissing like a bitch.
“Hakase! Oh, Hakase...” Ash cries, burrowing down into his chest.
“You’re safe. I’ve got you, I’ve got you.” Kukui squeezes him tight to his chest. But his grip suddenly loosens. “I’ve...got...”
Kukui collapses, falling in a heap to the purple dirt, breathing labored. Ash falls on top of him in accordance as Kukui’s arms fall away, and Ash can hear his Hakase’s ribs crack sickeningly when Ash’s body weight hits his chest.
“Hakase?” Ash looks him all over. “Hakase, what’s wrong?”
There. Ash’s fears are confirmed, and he feels his stomach jump to his throat.
Large wounds are covering his chest and side...just large enough to fit one of the Nihilego spines into. Purple poison and blood leak out of them, staining his lab coat in large splotches.
“Oh my God, Hakase, no!” Ash moans. He did this to him . “Hakase! Wake up!” He shakes him by the shoulders violently. “Wake up, please !”
His eyes peek open. A smile graces his lips as he makes faint eye contact with Ash. “...Ash...you...y’safe...” His eyes close again, and his head rolls over into the purple dirt.
“NO! Nonononono, what am I gonna do, oh shit , what am I gonna do?” Ash cries, tasting tears mixed with the bitter blood of Nihilego dripping down his face and into his mouth.
“Em-poh!” Kukui’s Empoleon pipes up commandingly, coming out from where she was lingering in the shadows. “Po-OH!”
Ash pauses for a moment. He can...sort of understand what she said? The Nihilego blood was still running through him, making...strange side effects.
“Wait, what, you want...YES! Yes, take him, oh my God, yes.” Ash takes what little strength he can muster to roll Kukui onto his back and towards Empoleon’s open arms.
“Em-poh.” She taps Kukui’s belt and out pops Incineroar.
“Roar?” Incineroar looks around him at the unfamiliar surroundings, then catches sight of a limp Ash, barely standing, and an even limper Kukui, splayed in Empoleon’s steel fins. “ROAR!”
“Empoh, empoh...” Empoleon confronts him, talking rapidly about get the son, the wormhole is still open but only for another ten minutes, and they will both enter the Hall of Origin if we don’t get them out of here so you’d better fucking hurry, Cinny.
“Roar!” Incineroar jumps into action and scoops Ash into his arms. Ash lets his eyes sink down slightly, comforted by the heat of his fur.
I hurt Kukui.