A/N: Well guys, what to say? Welcome to the re-write of one of my most loved stories, Serene Phoenix. If you have read the original, you will notice several changes between the two stories, but the outlining will be the same. I have changed some interractions and characters and removed some from the story completely, including my OC from SP, Dusk. This improved version also includes better grammar and hopefully a more readable layout. Someone complained about the walls of text that was my detailed descriptions in the last fic, so I will try to keep it at an acceptable level this time, though no details will be removed.
Something else that is worth mentioning is that I have watched all the Pokemon Movies now and have played through the Pokemon X game and completed it so I know Kalos inside out now, as well as got a better understanding of some things in the anime. I won't be treating the movies from Black and White and onward as canon, so those got no place in my universe!
Question of the day is who you want to see as Ash's travelling partners in this fic? I will put up a poll for this in my profile over characters that I deem usable. Please check it out and vote so I can make the most popular and liked descision. Last time, I used Brock as the third protagonist, aside from Ash and Serena, but if you want someone else to take his place I am sure I can get it to work.
Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon. Never have, never will. If I did, then this would be canon and you would be able to watch it on TV.
Chapter One: A New Adventure Begins!
In his room at the second floor in a small house in a town called Pallet, a young man is sitting on his bed, staring emptily into the thin air in front of his eyes. His mind is not with him right now. Beside him, his trusted Pokemon companion Pikachu is sleeping peacefully in the bed. But 15 year old Ash Ketchum couldn't sleep. After lying awake for hours, he had given up the thought of sleeping and sat up, thinking about what was troubling him. His thoughts wandered back a few weeks, to the Unova League conference. He had arrived at the conference as one of the favourites to win the entire tournament. After his first place in the Lily of the Valley Conference a year earlier, he had been confident he could win this tournament as well. But things had not gone as he had planned. Instead, he had been eliminated in the quarter finals, by his rival; Trip.
What had gone wrong? he wondered. What had been so different from when he won in the Sinnoh League?
Feeling restless and frustrated from his thoughts, Ash threw himself down onto the bed covers again and sighed. Why was this bothering him so much? It wasn't like he hadn't been sent packing in the quarter finals in earlier tournaments. Most people would be proud of making it as far as he had in this tournament. So why wasn't he?
Because I'm not most people. Ash thought bitterly.
Ever since he had started his journey, his league positions had gotten better and better. For 4 years, Ash had constantly grown as a trainer, placing better and better in his league positions and eventually he had won the Lily of the Valley Conference and been offered the chance of challenging the Sinnoh Elite Four. Sure, Aaron had squashed him like a bug, but at least he had gotten stronger from the year before. But now... He hadn't even made it to the semi finals. Had he gotten weaker? Or had the opposition been stronger this time? What if his win in the Sinnoh League had been a lucky shot? A fluke?
Normally when he got home from a journey, he would have felt overjoyed to be home and immediately been on the look out for a new adventure. This time, he even had an adventure waiting for him. On the way home, he and his friends had met a Pokemon Journalist from the Kalos region, named Alexa. She had invited him to come along when she returned to Kalos. After seeing the to him unknown Pokemon that Alexa had from her own region, Ash should be all psyched up to go and find new species of pokemon he had yet to meet. So why was he feeling so down? He hadn't been this depressed since...
Ash stood in place, frozen in shock. He felt his chest constrict painfully as he looked at the face of the tearful girl in front of him. The world seemed to slow down around them. The Machoke that was working on moving all the stuff in the house into the truck outside seemed to be moving in slow motion as Ash and Serena looked at each. The honey-blonde girl with the straw hat was looking back at him with her blue eyes filled with tears.
"I'm sorry Ash." she whispered, her voice trempbling with emotion.
It couldn't be. He must have heard her wrong. There was no way his best friend was moving away. There must have been some kind of mistake. These pokemon that were taking their stuff away... there had to be another explanation.
"Serena..." he croaked, but realized his voice was trembling as well. He couldn't keep it steady. Suddenly, his throat felt all dry and Ash desperately tried to swallow to ease it. Wait, why did he mouth taste like salt? Why was his face wet?
Slowly, he lifted a hand to his cheek and touched it. Was he crying? But he never cried! He hadn't cried since he was a baby! But then again, he hadn't lost his best friend before. As he looked at the only girl he had ever felt wasn't "icky", Ash hesistantly reached out with a hand, as if he was afraid she would already have disappeared. Seeing the gesture, Serena reached out with her own hand and took his hand in hers.
"Forgive me Ash. I tried to tell mom that I didn't want to move, but she wouldn't hear of it. I'm so sorry." Serena's voice was trembling from her sobs.
The realization that he might never see Serena again hit Ash like a Tauros in full charge. He swallowed, but then he finally gave in to his emotions and pulled Serena towards him and threw his arms around her. Serena didn't even hesitate. She returned his gesture and hugged him back.
For what felt like hours, the two 8-year olds hung onto each other as if their lives depended on it. Ash cried like he had never before and he felt Serena cry similarly against his shoulder. Right then, right there, Ash knew he couldn't let go. He would hold her for all eternity if he had to. They had so many things they hadn't done yet. And they still hadn't gotten out on their journey together. They promised each other that they would leave on a journey together when they became 10 years old. But even eternity doesn't last forever and eventually, Ash let go of his best friend.
By now, the house they were standing in had been emptied completely. It felt like a completely different without all the furniture and objects that belonged to Serena and her mother. The walls that had felt as good as home to him since he was 5 years old suddenly felt like they were closing in on him, threatening to swallow him alive.
"Serena! It's time to go." her mother's voice came from outside.
The dark blonde girl hicupped when she heard her mother call for her. She gave Ash one last tearful look, before she began turning towards the door.
"Well, I guess this is it. Thank you Ash. For everything." she said, as she let go of Ash's hand and began to make her way outside.
Ash watched her go. She was wearing the same straw hat that she had worn the day they met, at the Summer camp 3 years ago. He had never really realized how much that hat personalized her. She had told him it was her favourite hat. At the time, he hadn't thought much of it and at times, he had even found it kind of irritating that she just had to wear that hat all the time, but now he felt like he would miss it almost as much as he would miss Serena herself. How could he have thought she was weird that day when he had found her injured in the forest? Wait... injured in the forest, that gave him an idea!
"Serena, wait!" he said as he tightened his grip on her wrist to stop her.
Serena turned around with a look of sad confusion on her face. After making sure she would run away, Ash let go of her and reached inside one of his pocket to pull out a blue handkerchief.
"Here. I want you to have this, so you will always remember me. It's the same one I used to bandage your knee back when we first met." he said as he put it in her still outstretched hand.
The girl gasped as she retracted her hand and looked at the cloth that had been placed in it. Why did he still have it? It was just a handkerchief. But still... she felt now that it this handkerchief would become something important to her. It was a part of her best friend. It was a symbol of their friendship, something that had linked them together since the day they first met.
She wanted to give him something in return, but couldn't come up with anything. But then, she remembered how Ash had always teased her about her hat. Knowing just what she could give him, Serena took off her hat and detached the pink band that ran around its top.
"Here. So you won't forget me either." she said as she gave Ash the pink band.
Ash clasped the band in his hand and felt warmth well up through his arm, from the band. Pulling it closer to his chest, he managed to smile at her, despite the situation.
"Thanks, but I won't need it to remember you." he said as they took the last steps out to where Serena's mom was waiting in the car.
"Neither will I need this to remember you." Serena whispered as she climbed into the car.
For a moment, they just stared at each other, taking in each other's features one last time. Then, Serena took a deep breath and closed the door to the car. Sitting up straight so she could still see him, she breathed out onto the pane so it became foggy. Ash watched in sadness as Serena began drawing in the fog, forming the letters: A+S, BFF. His eyes filled with tears as he heard the motor roar to life.
Seeing Serena's unsure look, he put his thumb in the air and nodded towards her. Serena barely had the time to give him one last smile before the car started moving and before they knew it, she was gone. Left behind was a sobbing 8 year old, clutching a pink band in his hands as if it were the most important thing in the entire world.
-X-End of Flashback-X-
In the present, Ash sighed as he thought back to a time before he became a trainer. It had been a long time since he had thought about those days, and even longer since he thought about Serena's departure. Man, he must really be down if he compared his current mood to the one he had been in the weeks following the loss of his best friend. Looking out through the window, he couldn't help but wonder how she was doing. He didn't even know where she lived anymore.
Silently, he sat up again and rose from his bed to sneak over to the wardrobe, where he opened the door and reached into the back of it. After searching for a minute, his hand finally settled on what he was looking for. A triumphant smile on his face, Ash pulled out a pink band that used to sit on a little girl's straw hat. He had kept it for all these years, but when he had left on his journey, he hadn't wanted to take the risk of losing it in some distant city or town.
Looking down at the band as it bathed in the moonlight that streamed in through the window, Ash pondered what he should do next. What would Serena have wanted him to do? He almost laughed at his own thoughts. What a stupid question. She wouldn't have wanted him to give up, or become depressed about a single loss. She would have told him to take his own example and keep going no matter what. It had been their motto, "Never give up until the end". Smiling at the memories these thoughts brought back to him, Ash went back towards his bed and layed back down. Now he knew he would be able to sleep. Now, he knew what he would do when he woke up in the morning.
While Ash was finally starting to dose off in his bed in his home in Pallet Town, a large shadow crossed the sky above the ocean close to Kanto. The moonlight was illuminating the shadow as it appeared from behind a cloud, showing the Pokemon's reptilian appearance. Its glowing blue eyes were set on the land in the distance, and its generator-like tail was glowing in a orange-red light. On the Pokemon's back, a young teenager was standing with his long, green hair flowing behind him in the wind. The trainer's eyes were, just like his Pokemon's, glued to the land in the distance.
"Are you sure that you want to travel all the way to Kanto, just for this boy?" the pokemon said with a questioning voice.
The teen on his back nodded, almost as if his Pokemon would be able to see it with its gaze glued forward. Realizing that his friend probably couldn't make out his answer, N sighed and tore his gaze from the Kanto Coast, looking up towards Reshiram's face.
"Yes, I'm sure. It'll be worth it. After all he did for the two of us, that's the least I can do. Don't you think so too, my friend?"
Reshiram turned away from the Kanto Coast for a moment to glance at N. It was true, Ash had helped them immensely back in Unova. Come to think of it, he was probably the only reason that the two of them were still alive.
"I guess so. It just seems to be a little out of character for you to travel such a long distance, just to speak to one boy." Reshiram answered. N however, just chuckled at this and smiled good naturedly.
"Maybe so, but I'm trying to change, you know? Beside, didn't we agree that we were going to travel the world together? Kanto is as good a place to start as any." N replied with a determined smile.
The legendary seemed to accept this fact, for he only bowed his head in a majestic nod before turning back to watch where he was flying. While he wasn't as fast as some Dragon-types, Reshiram could still fly pretty fast and if he lost concetration he could easily crash or waver off course, especially when he was using his Turbo Blaze for support, like he was doing now. The two partners fell into silence for a few minutes, both knowing that at the speed they were flying, they could be in Pallet Town by morning.
"You should try to get some sleep N. I'll get us there in time, so don't worry."
N considered this and looked over his shoulder. There certainly was enough space on Reshiram's back to be able to lay down and sleep comfortably without risking of being thrown off. And considering who he was hopefully going to spend some time with the next day, he should probably be well rested.
"Alright. Wake me up when we get close to Pallet Town." N said as he sat down on Reshiram's back, before leaning back against the legendary's powerful neck and pulled his cap down over his eyes.
The next day, Ash took the time to sleep in. After staying up late, he slept well until 12 o'clock. When he awoke, Alexa had already left for Professor Oak's laboratory. She had been really excited to do her interview yesterday so that wasn't really surprising. Also, sometime during the morning hours, Pikachu had gotten up and left Ash's room, obviously not wanting to disturb his trainer. And so, Ash woke up to an empty room. He briefly wondered where his rodent friend had run off to, but soon dismissed his thoughts as Pikachu probably had gone off with Alexa to Oak's in order to catch up with his friends there, Ash's other Pokemon. And sure enough, when Ash made his way downstairs half an hours later, the first greeting he got was:
"Morning sleepyhead. Pikachu got bored of waiting for you to wake up so he went with Alexa and Helioptile when they went over to the Oak Laboratory." his mom said.
Delia Ketchum was in the middle of preparing what appeared to be an unusually large lunch. Well, large for anyone who didn't know Ash Ketchum that was. Ash gave a greeting to his mother before sitting down by the table. Since he had missed breakfast and lunch was coming up, he figured he might as well wait so he got something to eat before heading to Oak's lab to greet his other pokemon. Thinking back, he realized that this last journey, he had caught more pokemon than he had on any earlier journey, as was evident from the fact that he had to rotate pokemon on his team.
As he thought about the word "rotation", he realized one thing he had done differently during the Unova League from the Sinnoh League. During his battles in the Lily of the Valley Conference, Ash had used all of his pokemon, both caught during that particular journey and before. Thus, his team had been much more flexible and capable of adapting to a situation. However, in the Unova Conference, he had solely used pokemon he had caught in the Unova region, with the exception of Pikachu, who always got to battle, and Charizard, who had rejoined him on his journey after years of training at the Charizific Valley.
Also, it was worth noting that Charizard had not been on his team when he lost his quarter final match. Since his Unova pokemon were all freshly caught, they did not have the experience that some of his older friends did. Now that he really sat down to think about it, he realized that all the times he had actually won a league, he had used all of his current pokemon, not just the ones from the region he was currently in.
Even though his Unova team were bigger than any other single region team he had before, all of them were quite young. Particularly Scraggy was inexperienced but even Pignite, Oshawott, Leavanny, Boldore and Unfezant were quite young. If he had to estimate, he would say Snivy, Krookodile and Palpitoad were the only ones who were older than 2 years. A team needed to be balanced, combining younger pokemon with more experienced ones to create a good mix. And truth to be told, the only ones who had been travelling with him that was somewhat experienced was Pikachu and Snivy. Krookodile later on, but even he had been rotated a lot.
Wait, since when did he think about all this stuff? When did he learn all of this, he hadn't thought about stuff like this since he started his journey. Oh, he must have learned it before his journey then... Yeah, that made sense in a way. He must have learnt it during the Pokemon Summer Camp. He had tried to not think of that time since he started his journey, because that would mean thinking about Serena.
Just as he thought about that, the door opened and Alexa came into the kitchen, with Pikachu and Helioptile running around her feet. The Pokemon journalist gave Delia a happy greeting and sat down by the table opposite to Ash. Ash greeted his friend, who smiled back at him.
"It seems you're in a better mood today. How are you feeling?" she asked.
Ash opened his mouth to answer, but then he froze. How did he feel? He had been so engrossed in his own plans of what to change on his next journey that he hadn't realized that he didn't feel as depressed as he had yesterday. Thinking back, he realized he must have looked pretty miserable. But today, he felt entirerly different. He didn't feel unsure of what he wanted anymore, he knew he would leave on his next journey in a matter of days. It felt so obvious he couldn't believe he had even doubted it, no matter how sad he had been after being elimintated in the Unova League quarter finals.
"You know what? I feel great!" he said as he gave Alexa thumbs up and smiled at her.
Alexa fittered at his response and leaned forward to rest her elbows on the table.
"Oh? So i guess you have decided on what you want to do next then?" she asked.
Standing by the stove, Delia was listening intently. She had been worried ever since Ash got home yesterday. It wasn't like him to be as depressed as he had been when he got home. Normally, she wouldn't be as curious about his descision as she was now, but he had said himself yesterday that perhaps he should take a break from travelling and simply try and power up his Pokemon for a year before leaving again. While she of course liked it when he was home, Delia had mixed feelings about him staying home to train. She was thrilled at the thought of spending more time with him but at the same time she felt like she didn't want him to give up travelling just because he got sent packing early in the Unova League.
"You bet! I am coming with you to the Kalos region!" Ash said as he pumped his fist into the air.
"Hah, I see. Well I am sure you will enjoy it. There are lots of pokemon there that aren't native to any other region." Alexa said with a smile.
Delia felt strangely relieved. It wasn't that she didn't want him to stay home, more like she didn't want him to stay home for the wrong reasons. If he had stayed home in order to train, then he would probably have kept dwelling on his loss and that was not a good reason to stay home in her opinion. She wanted her Ash to be spirited, hyperactive and on constant search for adventure.
With that thought, Delia declared that lunch was ready and after serving the other two occupants of the house, she sat down along with them. The three occupants of the Ketchum Residence housed mundane discussion about what Ash was thinking about his upcoming journey while they ate their meal. In her mind, Delia had already began thinking about how she wanted to make Ash's clothes for this journey look. It had become customary for her to sew a home made outfit for him for each new journey he went on.
When he was finished with lunch, Ash went up and quickly changed into his Unova gear before he went back downstairs, telling his mom that he would be back for dinner. As he ran by the table, Pikachu jumped onto his customary place on Ash's shoulder, giving off a happy "Pika!". Outside, Alexa was waiting for him. She was going back to the lab so she could do an interview with Professor Oak's closest assistant, Tracey Sketchit. On the way to the laboratory, Ash could hardly contain his excitement at seeing his friends again, both old and new. When they finally got to the lab, Ash lost his patience and ran up the stairs to the door. Barely had he entered the laboratory before he was out through the backdoor.
"Hey guys! Guess who's back!" Ash called out as he entered the meadow where his Pokemon lived while they were at Professor Oak's lab.
As soon as he did it, all the pokemon in the meadow looked up from what they were doing and stared right at him. Behind him, Alexa had to stiffle a giggle at the boy's enthusiasm, while Professor Oak just gave him an amused smile as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. For a moment, nothing happened as Ash's old friends stared at him. Then after a few seconds, the entire meadow burst into activity. Ash had barely opened his arms in a welcoming hug gesture before Bayleef tackled him to the ground, squeling in happines at his return. And soon after, his herd of Tauros had caught up with Bayeef. And then, the big purple blob known as Muk was all over him. From above, Swellow, Staraptor and Noctowl swapped down on them and landed in the heap. The only one who didn't rush to meet him was, not too surprisingly, Charizard who kept his cool, most likely not too keen in getting tangled into the mess of legs, arms, wings and other limbs that was now Ash and his pokemon.
From the doorway, Alexa and Professor Oak was watching Ash's reunion with his pokemon with amused smiles. Charizard had been sent back to the lab during Ash, Iris and Cilan's journey through the Decolore Islands, so Alexa had only met him once, but from what she had seen, Charizard was not as happy-go-lucky as the rest of Ash's pokemon. Judging by this scene, only Ash's Buizel shared Charizard reserved and proud warrior attitude. The Sea Weasel pokemon also took his time getting to Ash.
"Is this how it usually is when he gets home from a journey?" she asked the Professor.
"Oh yeah. It's just their way of showing their love for Ash." the Professor chuckled. "Over the years, Ash have built a special bond of trust and friendship with all his pokemon. Even if most don't travel with him any longer, they still love him and are willing to do anything he asks of them."
Alexa looked back to the scene in the meadow, where Ash had managed to untangle himself and was now half laughing, half talking with the group of excited Pokemon. It seemed like he was telling them all about his latest journey and as he came along the point where he had captured a new pokemon, he either released it from its pokeball or pointed it out in the group, in the case of those who had been rotated.
"Yeah, I can see that. Perhaps by this time next year, I will be doing an interview with him about the bond he shares with his pokemon." she said as she smiled at the heartwarming scene.
"Oh? I take it he have decided to go on another journey then?" Professor Oak said with a knowing smile on his face.
Alexa just nodded. By now, Ash had released the last of his pokemon and the new Unova pokemon was being introduced to all of his old ones. Oshawott was proudly showing his shell to anyone who wanted to see, Snivy had sat down with Sceptile and Pignite was currently talking to Infernape and Herracross. Scraggy, Donphan, Boldore, Bayleef and Gible had taken to playing a game of tag. Around the meadow, all of Ash's pokemon had taken to do something to include the newcomers into their circle. The sight made Alexa's smile widen.
"Yeah. He is coming back to Kalos with me." she said as she went out to join her friend and his Pokemon in the meadow.
For a while, it seemed that time had stopped as Alexa and Professor Oak watched Ash reaquint himself with his friends. The Pokemon Journalist in particular seemed fascinated by Ash's bond with his Pokemon. She had been to many places, all around the globe, and seen many different Trainers and Pokemon, but she had never met someone quite like Ash. He was special somehow, there was just something about him. They had spoken some about his previous adventures when they were walking back to Pallet Town after their ship had docked in Vermillion City and if even half of them were true, Ash had probably interracted more with Legendary Pokemon than anyone else in the entire world. It was like they were drawn to him. As if they too saw something special in Ash that they didn't see in others.
Ash was just finishing up a story about how he had first met Krookodile when suddenly, the entire meadow was engulfed in a sudden gust of wind. The unnexpected phenomenom threw Totodile, Gible and several others of his lighter Pokemon off their feet and almost caused his cap to fly off his head. Looking up, Ash found the scource of the sudden gale and though he had seen it before, it still caused him to gasp.
"Reshiram!" he shouted in shock, as the large, white dragon lowered itself down in the middle of the meadow.
Barely had the words left his lips before a boy, just a few years older than him, revealed himself, standing on the back of the legendary. Stepping out from behind Reshiram's long neck, N grinned towards his stupefied friend on the ground.
"Hey there Ash! Did you miss us?" he called as he jumped off Reshiram's back and landed in front of the stunned teen.
Ash's Pokemon around the meadow, at least the ones who was starting to regain their composure from the sudden appearence of the legendary Pokemon, were starting to make their way over towards the Dragon and its trainer, both of whom obviously knew Ash somehow. Ash's Unova Pokemon in particular seemed to be stunned from the sudden appearence of Reshiram, although they had already met him once or twice before. The only one of Ash's Pokemon who didn't show any specific sign of shock was, not too surprisingly, Charizard. The orange dragon-like Pokemon locked eyes with the larger, white beast and after a few seconds, the two of them bowed their necks towards each other out of respect.
Ash himself was starting to calm down from the shock of seeing Reshiram appear out of nowhere. N reached out with his hand and pulled Ash to his feet, still grinning widely at seeing Ash's reaction.
"N! But... no offense, but what are you doing here?" Ash got out, casting a sideway glance at Reshiram.
However, N didn't get the chance to answer as he was cut off before he could even make a sound.
"I can't believe it! It's really it, isn't it? It must be! It looks just like in the description and old paintings I've seen..." Professor Oak practically shouted as he was all over Reshiram, studying the dragon from every possible angle. Seeing the childish reaction from the famed professor, Ash, N and all their Pokemon, including Reshiram himself, sweatdropped. Alexa just stared at the sight of the Legendary Dragon of Truth, still not quite over her shock of seeing it appear out of nowhere.
"Uhm, perhaps you should return Reshiram before Professor Oak gets himself roasted? Reshiram is starting to look a little bit annoyed." Ash said, still deadpann over the professor's behavior.
"Right..." N said as he pulled out Reshiram's Pokeball and returned him, causing professor Oak, who had been sitting on Reshiram's back, meassuring the lenght of its neck with a tape-meassure that had appeared out of nowhere, to fall on his butt.
By now, Alexa had snapped out of her stupor and made her way over to the two young men who was standing opposite to each other, Helioptile sitting on her shoulder. However, she didn't say anything, not quite sure what she was supposed to say after what had just transpired. Ash, noticing Alexa's uncertainty, quickly spoke up.
"Oh, N. I'd like you to meet Alexa. She's a Pokemon Journalist who I met while travelling through the Decalore Islands." he said.
N cringed slightly at the mention of "Journalist". Great, just what he needed! Publicity! Nevertheless, he held out his hand and shook Alexa's when she held out her own. N did his best to smile, something that he still had a hard time doing because of the lack of smiles in his childhood. It came out... decently.
"Nice to meet you, Alexa." N said, still doing his best to smile.
"The pleassure is all mine." Alexa said, trying to fight back a frown. Was this guy really just named one letter?
In N's mind, he was trying to think up a way to make sure Alexa wouldn't publish a long article about him owning a legendary pokemon. Such things usually caused HUGE headings and he wasn't too keen on becoming a celebrity. But ah well, he only had himself to blame. He should've just had Reshiram set him down a little bit outside Pallet and walked the last part.
For a moment, no one said anything. N let go of Alexa's hand and immediately turned towards Ash again, while the latter's Pokemon were watching their interaction with interest. Even Professor Oak seemed to realize that this was not a good time to let his curiosity get the better of him and so remained quiet even after he got back on his feet and made his way over to the other three (even though it was obvious by the way he was weighing on his feet that he was almost bursting with questions about Reshiram). After a few seconds, Ash broke the silence.
"Sooo, what're you doing in Kanto, N?"
Relieved that the tension had been broken, N offered Ash a grateful smile. He could deal with Alexa later. She seemed to be nice so maybe he could persuade her not to draw any attention to him.
"Well, I told you that I wanted to travel the world, right? Kanto is as good a place to start as any, and besides I was interested in seeing the region where you grew up. As for what I'm doing in Pallet Tows specifically, I was hoping to catch you before you went off on your next journey for two reasons." he then cast a glance around the meadow. "But I see that you're a little bit busy at the moment."
Ash laughed and scratched the back of his head, realizing that N was referring to him playing around with his Pokemon.
"Nah, it's fine. We were just getting a little reaquinted. I haven't seen them for over a year, after all." he said, getting a collective confirmation from his Pokemon.
N smiled at seeing Ash's Pokemon's reactions to their trainer. Not too long ago, he had believed that all trainers were nothing but slave drivers, never caring about the well-being of their pokemon and just wanted to use their powers for their own benefit. Ash had been the one to prove him wrong, and looking at the gathered group of happy Pokemon around him, N could practically feel their loyalty and love for their trainer. Ash truly was an amazing person.
"I see. But my reason for seeking you out is not urgent." he then looked out over the Pokemon that had come closer now to listen in on their conversaton. "Why don't you enjoy your reunion with your friends and we'll talk later. Besides, I think those two might want to talk to me." he motioned towards Alexa and Professor Oak, both of which were still eyeing N with interest.
"Uhm, okay. Well if you got the time, why don't we just spend the day here and you can come over to my house later and we'll talk over dinner?" Ash asked, giving N a questioning look. He was a little intruiged and curious as to why the former "king" of Team Plasma had sought him out, but he was also eager to spend some time with the friends he rarely got to see anymore.
"Sounds good." N said with a smile.
Not a second later had Ash turned back to his friends, causing both Alexa and Professor Oak to sweatdrop at their young friend's antics. N just grinned, amused at Ash's behavior and relieved that the boy was still the same cheerful individual he had come to admire for his care and love of all Pokemon, both his own and others and even wild ones. Truth to be told, N had been a little worried that Ash might be down after he heard that Ash lost in the qualifying rounds (not to mention shocked that someone so seemingly strong would lose so easily).
"He's one of a kind. A truly fascinating person." N said as he turned towards Alexa and Professor Oak. "Now, I have reason to believe that the two of you might have some questions for me?"
In another region, in another small town, another 15 year old was not having the time of her life. Like her childhood friend, she was spending her afternoon with pokemon, more specifically on the back of a Rhyhorn. But Serena Gabena was not enjoying the ride on her mother's Rhyhorn. She would much rather just spend her day relaxing inside or go to the mall in the next town with her friend Shauna. But no, her mother had insisted on this being her training day. Now, she was holding onto Rhyhorn's sadle for dear life as the Spikes Pokemon was jumping around, trying to throw her off while her mother was standing by the sidelines shouting encouraging words. Or at least that's what they were supposed to be.
"Come on Serena! You can do it! Only 5 more minutes!"
5 more minutes? She had only been at this for 5 minutes?! It felt like it had been days already! Her mother must be cheating! That timer had to be rigged somehow! Why was she even doing this anyway? Just as she thought about asking Rhyhorn to stop, the Spikes Pokemon made a very quick turn to the left, causing her to lose her balance and just a few seconds later, she was sent flying with a scream and landed in front of her mother's feet. She groaned at the pain this brought to her chest. It certainly was not made for making landings like that one. When she had regained her breath, she glared up at her mother who was looking down at her with a concerned look on her face.
"Perhaps we have done enough for today?" her mom said, though she didn't wait for an answer before she reached out to help Serena to her feet.
Oh great, now she think so. Serena moaned mentally and thought that maybe she should learn to fall off ungracefully a bit more early on during their training sessions.
After checking so that nothing was broken and that Serena felt a bit better, Grace told her daughter that she could take the rest of the day off. There was still time for her to catch up with Shauna in Aquacorde Town if she hurried to shower and get changed. As her daughter put on her best smile and went to change out of her pink training jumpsuit, Grace sat down in the sofa. Had she been wrong to keep Serena here at home, instead of letting her go on a journey when she became 10? Of course, when Professor Sycamore had offered to give Serena her own Pokemon, they had still been new in town and Serena herself had not been too keen on going anywhere before she felt she would have a home to return to afterwards.
But two years later when Serena had asked if she could go on a journey, Grace had promptly said no, hoping that her daughter would take after her and become a famous Rhyhorn Racer. At first, Serena had went along with it without protest, but lately one would need to be blind to see that this was not what her daughter wanted to do for a living. Had she been wrong to keep Serena here to keep training? It really wasn't as much Serena not being talented as it was Serena not wanting to do it for a profession. But then what did she want to do?
In her room, Serena had just finished picking out her clothes for today. She would be wearing a simple light blue shirt with a dark blue skirt, along with her black tights and black shoes with pink pokeball marks on. To top it off, she would be wearing the straw hat she used to wear as a child. The hat would go not very well with the rest of her attire, but it used to make her feel better to wear it when she felt angry or sad. It was like she felt a connection to the boy whom she had given the pink band that used to go with the hat. That usually calmed her, at least a little. And right now, she needed to feel some kind of comfort. Not that she was depressed or anything, but she was still pretty heated from her training and her chest still ached a little.
Oh! And speaking of Ash! she thought as she went over to her bedside table and picked up a blue handkerchief. For a moment, she just let it rest in her hand, feeling the soft cloth against her skin. It filled her with a feeling of warmth and holding it while thinking about the one who gave it to her sent shivers down her spine. She really hoped he was doing ok.
With a sad sigh, she tied it around her wrist, like she usually did when she didn't have any pockets to keep it in. Even now, 7 years after their separation, Serena still brought the handkerchief along wherever she went. Checking her appearence in the mirror, she gave her reflection a satisfyed nod and headed on downstairs.
"Mom! I'm leaving!" she called towards the living room. When she recieved a "Have fun!" as a response, she opened the door and went to meet with Shauna.
Back in the living room, Grace was thinking about what she could do to help Serena. If her daughter didn't want to make her living by riding Rhyhorns, then that was fine with her, but Serena would still need to find something to do for a living. But whenever she asked, her daughter just shrugged, saying she didn't know what she wanted to do yet. But how long would it take her to find out what she wanted? And how would she know what there was to choose from if she never got further away from home than Aquacorde Town? Sighing, Grace reluctantly stood up and went over to the phone to dial Professor Sycamore's number. They had a lot to discuss.
A/N: So, there we go! The rewrite is finally underway! I hope that you all enjoyed the first chapter and the changes I made to it. As you may have noticed, I cut out Brock's scene for now because I am not certain he will be among the main protagonists. That will be up to you to decide by voting in my poll!
Oh, and after a reply from someone who read the Teaser and remarked on my chosen name for Ash's rival (Nexus), I want to point out that Nexus was the temporary name I used in the teasers. The actual rival will be called Axel. Or well, at least that's my plan when I write this. Axel is, like Roxas my OC from Serene Dreams, the name of one of my favourite characters in Kingdom Hearts, but it is also a common name where I live (Sweden). I actually got a classmate who is named Axel, so that fits me perfectly. I hope you can live with that.
So... yeah. That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed the chapter and that you will keep reading and support me. I am open to constructive critism, but please lay off on the flames and if you feel like "Oh sh*t, I'm on fire! I gotta flame someone!" and that unfortunate one is me, then please be kind enough to at least use an account so that I can report you and get you banned from this site. Hiding behind a "guestname" is just downright cowardice and it shows what a spineless little creep you really are. Now, I'll cya guys in the next chapter!