Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and related material are the property of their respective owners, Pokemon character names are trademarks of Nintendo. All characters in this story are above the age of consent. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 32 - New Arrival
September 8 – 12:15
The lights dimmed and the interviewer flashed Ash a smile containing unnaturally white teeth as they shook hands.
“Excellent interview Mr. Ketchum, well done!”
“Thanks! Hopefully this clears up some of the rumors that have been popping up in the past two weeks…” Ash answered, draining the last of his water, soothing his raw throat. Nearly an hour and a half of talking put more of a number on him than he had realized.
“Oh, I think it will! Our news network aims to always uncover the truth!” the interviewer boasted before he turned away towards one of the studio’s exits, pulling one of the assistants closer.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Ketchum, I must return to my other duties. I’m sure Kaya here can show you out, have a good day and thanks again for coming!”
“All right, good luck, thanks!” Ash answered before following Kaya, a tall blonde girl he guess to be about 19 years old. She guided him towards a service exit, thereby avoiding the host of fangirls that was camping outside the studio’s main entrance waiting for him. He thanked her with a smile, grinning as the blonde girl bashfully asked for an autograph. After he had scratched his name on the back of her Pokegear, he suddenly felt his own device humming in his pocket.
As Kaya went back to her work, he picked up, noticing May’s name in the display.
“May, hi! So… how did I look on television? Every bit as awesome as I am in real-life, right?” he laughed.
“Uhm… yeah, I guess you did Ash…” May replied in an uncomfortable voice.
“Wh-… What do you mean, you guessed? Don’t tell me you missed it?!”
“I was kind of preoccupied, okay?! But that’s not why I’m calling you, Ash! You’ve got to get home on the double, we need to get to Jubilife City as fast as we can!”
“What the-… Jubilife City? Why? What’s going on May?” Ash didn’t like the tone May was using. So hurried and frantic, it could only mean trouble.
“It’s Zoey, Ash… She’s having her baby NOW!” May said in a rush. Ash gasped in shock as his mind started racing.
“Ah SHIT! Okay, focus… I’ll be home as fast as I can sweetie. In the meantime, grab some food and something to drink, maybe even a book or something… We might be there for a while… Oh, and grab a vest too! Fastest way to get there is if Charizard flies us, might get cold on the way. I’m on my way!” Ash ordered, taking control in the same manner he could take control of a Pokemon battle.
With a swing of his arm, the Pokeball containing his Charizard sailed through the air, unleashing the fiery beast.
“Charizard, change of plans buddy… May just called, Zoey’s having her baby right now! How about a long trip to Jubilife City hmmm?” the young Pokemon Master briefly explained. Charizard nodded in understanding and lowered himself to allow Ash to jump on his back. When he was comfortably seated, Charizard spread his wings wide and took to the skies in a heartbeat.
Even with Charizard’s amazing flying speed and endurance, it still took Ash and May the better part of two hours to get to Jubilife City, landing on the hospital’s helipad that doubled as a landing zone for flying Pokemon and their trainers. Before long, the both of them came to a sprinting halt in one of the waiting rooms, where they found Misty, Max, Ritchie and Iris already waiting.
Ash eyed the unmarked white door that was on the other side of the room.
“Hah-.. Hi… Sorry we’re late, Sinnoh isn’t exactly around the corner…” he gasped, nodding towards his friends. “We-… We didn’t miss it, did we?”
“Don’t worry, you didn’t miss it!” Max assured them, momentarily pulling his nose out of a book he was reading entitled “Pokemon Eggs 101”. “Turns out, Zoey’s waters breaking was somewhat of a false alarm…”
“False alarm?!” Misty scoffed. “Is she in labor right now or not? I’d hardly call THAT a false alarm!”
“What I meant to say…” Max countered, shooting Misty an annoyed look in the process, “was that even though her waters broke, it still took a few hours before Zoey was, you know-… ready…”
He scratched his head awkwardly. Did he really have to be the one to explain? Surely these guys, and the girls especially, should know how things work when a woman went into labor?
“Anyway…” he continued, “we all got here about an hour ago, went in to wish her well and give her our support, and I think the real thing started about 10 minutes ago… Thank Arceus these walls are soundproof…”
May let out a sad sigh as she dropped herself on a chair next to Max as Ash went to talk to Ritchie.
“If only we’d been here sooner… I wanted to wish her good luck myself!” the brunette lamented before an odd detail caught her attention.
“Wait a minute, where’s Dawn?” she asked.
“Where she needs to be right now, with Zoey.” Misty answered curtly. “She hasn’t left her side, together with Johanna, her mother… More than can be said for Zoey’s parents…” the last bit left the red-head’s lips with a sting of malice.
“Yeah, I heard a little bit about that from Delia… Can’t believe her father could ever say such things.” May agreed in a saddened tone.
“Best not to mention it… Zoey’s going through enough already today.” Max joined in. “Just think… in a matter of moments, she going to be a mother!” he finished, his sister nodded in agreement.
“Yeah… it’s a lot to take in… I don’t think I could ever be ready for something like that!”
“What? Don’t tell me you and Ash are never going to have kids!” Max jokingly replied, only to get his head caught in a headlock and his hair thoroughly ruffled.
“None of your concern, you nosy little nerd!” she hissed, but Max knew she meant no harm. “Of course I’ve thought about it… And I’d love to have a child with Ash one day. Just-… Just not today, not this soon. I mean, we’ve still got our best years ahead of us, you know?” she mumbled as her eyes dreamily focused on Ash on the other side of the room. She wondered briefly what kind of father he’d make, and what their children could look like.
“So, now what do we do?” she asked, switching the topic back to the problem at hand.
“Now… Now we wait…” Misty said and made herself comfortable as six pairs of eyes focused on the door behind which they knew Zoey had to be deep in labor.
Misty barely stifled a yawn. They had been waiting for a couple of hours now and the monotone waiting, coupled with the lunch she had had made her quite dozy. So far she had managed to keep her lunch down and she was very grateful for it. The last thing she needed was a barftastic spectacle in front of her friends.
“Man… How long can it take? It’s just one baby…” she mumbled wistfully. Max, always the know-it-all, was quick to answer.
“Anywhere between a few hours to more than a day, pretty much…”
“Urgh, how do you know all this stuff Max?” Misty snorted.
“I don’t! I just read the flyers!” he snapped back, swatting her with a piece of paper. The red-headed Cerulean snatched it out of his hands and eyed the front with a frown. “Pregnancy 101 – Everything You Need To Know” she mouthed silently. Well, reading was better than staring at the ceiling, she figured as she slipped the flyer into the back-pocket of her jeans.
Meanwhile, Ash and May had been discussing his interview, until May suddenly backed away from him, groaning audibly as she clutched her stomach.
“You okay, sweetie?” Ash enquired cautiously. “Is it your stomach again?” May nodded, swallowing against the awkward feeling in her stomach.
“Yeah… I don’t know what’s going on… Can’t seem to keep anything down these last –urp!- few days!” she noted quietly. Misty instantly snapped to attention, eyeing the brown-haired girl she considered her rival with newfound interest.
“Hey, how about we visit the pharmacy downstairs!” Ash offered. “Maybe they’ll have something that could help you.”
“Sounds –hrrrrmp- sorry… sounds good!” May nodded weakly as Ash addressed the waiting group as a whole.
“ All right. Guys, May’s not feeling so good, so we’re going down to the pharmacy. Shouldn’t take long, but if anything happens with Zoey, call us immediately, okay?”
“ Sure thing, just go already! Before May ends up painting the floor a new color!” Misty nodded as Max, Iris and Ritchie wished the pair good luck.
It was Ritchie who spoke next, moments after Ash and May had left the room.
“ Hmmm, I don’t know about you sweetie… but it sounds like May’s suffering from the same whatever-it-is you’ve been having!” Iris eyed her boyfriend with apt attention, a single crease on her forehead as she frowned in thought.
“ I… I guess you’re right Ritchie!”
“ Wait… You-… You’ve been throwing up too?” Misty interrupted.
“ Well, yeah! On and off for the last couple of days now… Mostly early in the morning and just after lunch!” Iris explained.
“ That’s so bizarre… I… I’ve had almost exactly the same issues this past week!” Misty gasped, causing Iris, Ritchie and Max to let out small sounds of surprise.
Misty quickly cast her mind back to the last couple of days, three times she had been sick, once just after waking up and two times right after lunch, including last time when she had been sunbathing… It all matched what Iris was describing.
“ Hehe, that IS weird!” Iris giggled. “We must’ve eaten something bad!”
“ Yeah… Something bad…” Misty mumbled, too deep in thought to really respond.
How can she be so naïve? All three of us, eating something bad at exactly the same time?
She eyed Iris and Ritchie, who had gone back to discussing something about Ritchie’s hometown, Iris sitting on Ritchie’s lap.
What ARE the odds on something like that?
“Maybe you’re all… You know, suffering from your “monthly party”, as they call it…” Max joked, accentuating by making quote signs with his fingers. It earned him a slap in the face with a pillow Misty grasped from May’s empty seat.
“It’s got NOTING to do with THAT, you nosy little nerd!” she gushed in an annoyed tone.
“And it’s definitely not a monthly PARTY!”
It couldn’t have anything to do with that, she reckoned as her mind raced. Her cycle had never bothered her before, and definitely not like that! Besides… The last time she had had her p-…
Realization hit her as she considered in silence. No way… It couldn’t be… Well, THAT… Could it?
She felt the pregnancy flyer burn in the back of her pants as her eyes subconsciously found the door behind which Zoey was, at this moment, having her baby.
It couldn’t be that… She refused to let it be that! But… She had to be sure, find out for certain somehow. But not here… Not with her friends.
She couldn’t recall what time it was, or when she had lost her grasp on the fickle thing that time was. Seconds blurred into minutes, into hours… She refused them now, counting the time instead from the overwhelming pain that rhythmically assaulted her body. Again and again, her contractions pained her, forced her to cry out in pain until her voice was raw. Her skin was hot to the touch.
A sudden rush of coldness washed over her face and her eyes focused for a moment. Dawn was batting her forehead with a damp cloth. Her blue-haired girlfriend had been her anchor, her rock, ever since her waters broke that morning. It had been Dawn who had called their friends, Dawn who had mobilized Johanna and it had been Dawn who had guided her to the car and later into the hospital. And now she was by her side still, holding her hand through every contraction, providing whatever help she could. Zoey smiled weakly and mumbled a ragged thanks.
“You’re doing great sweetie, just hang in there a little while longer!” Dawn cooed affectionately as she wiped the damp cloth over Zoey’s heated face, only barely containing the emotion in her own voice. Seeing Zoey in this state was torture to the young girl, but she knew she had to be there for her now, she knew she had to be strong. Across from them, Dawn could see her mother, nodding approvingly. Zoey let out a weak cough and tried to sit up a little straighter.
“A little while longer… Ungh-…” she coughed, biting her bottom lip as another minor contraction hit her. “You’ve been saying that for hours! Just… GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!”
The head-nurse, a tall, strict looking woman with long pale brown hair, finally said the words they had all been waiting for a little while later.
“All right, Miss Williams, everything looks good to go! It took a little while, but you’re fully dilated now. If you’re ready for it… you can start pushing” she spoke brightly. Zoey let out a groan of relief.
“ Urgh, FINALLY. Of course I’m ready! PLEASE, get this over with!” The nurse flashed her a knowing smile.
“You’re almost there sweetie, home stretch now! Now, please spread your legs a little wider – yes, like so. Now, I need you to take deep, calm breaths and when you’re ready, put your chin to your chest and push…”
Zoey wasn’t going to let the nurse tell her twice and over the following five minutes, she pushed three times, a strangled groan leaving her lips every time as she gasped for air. Through it all, Dawn held her hand, urging her on and providing tender words of encouragement between every session. The blue-haired girl winced as she unhooked her right hand from Zoey’s iron-like grip and replaced it with her left. Red blotches on her hands and fingers marked where the mother-to-be had clamped down.
“ S-… Sorry… about that…” Zoey chuckled half-heartedly as she saw what she had done to the young girl’s hand. Dawn waved it away with a tender - if somewhat pained - smile though. “ Don’t mention it, it’s probably nothing compared to what you’re going through…”
“Sister, you have NO idea… Hnnrrrgh” Zoey groaned, taking a large gulp of air before locking her chin to her chest again before making another push.
“Yes, that’s it! Keep going… keep going… keep going… Okay Zoey, let’s do five more seconds…” the nurse guided her on. “Five, four, three, two aaaand one! Well done Zoey, well done! I can just about see the head coming, one or two more pushes and it’ll all be over dear!”
“ Oh, thank god…” Zoey groaned. “Let’s-… Let’s get this over with…” Beside her, Dawn had to fight to stop herself from crying as she squeezed Zoey’s hand.
“One more time, sweetie… Ready? In one… two… three…”
At two, Zoey already started to push, her head as brightly red as a Voltorb and shaking with the effort. The young girl from Snowpoint City let out a throaty scream, giving it her all.
Silence reigned the next few moments as the nurses set to work and Zoey felt a sudden relief. A relief so vast and all-encompassing that she couldn’t believe it. Dawn left her side for a moment, joining the nurses to catch a glimp of the newborn child. A sudden loud wail shattered the silence and unlocked a feeling for Zoey that was even more indescribable than the first.
“ Congratulations!” the head nurse cried out as she held the little lump of life in her hands. “It’s a-… It’s a-... a...”
Her voice suddenly filled with uncertainty. “Heavenly Arceus…” she mumbled next, her voice frail as her eyes suddenly rolled back and she fell into a dead faint. Only Dawn’s quick reflexes, coupled with the aid of the second nurse, prevented the head nurse from falling down and possibly hurting the baby.
A flurry of movement later, it was Dawn who was holding the child after she had cut the cord moments earlier. She felt completely numb… Couldn’t believe it… In her arms, in her hands, she carried a new life. She placed the child in its mother’s arms, staring at the newborn with an expression of utter shock.
The child, a tiny little girl, had two small flat stumps on her forehead, and a total of three tiny tails sprouted from the area just above her buttocks. Instead of two feet and ten toes, the newborn had a set of tiny black hooves.
Zoey and Dawn looked at each other. Words failed them, but in each other’s eyes they read the same feeling. When they finally found their voice again, they spoke as one.
Chapter End Notes:
Well, guess we know who the mysterious father of Zoey's baby is now... I don't think either Zoey or Dawn were expecting THIS though! It's not every day your daughter turns out to be a Pokemon-Human hybrid...