A/N- This is for the 5th round of the Pokewrite Writing Competiton.
Myth used:- Ho-Oh [giver of eternal happiness] and Meloetta [forgotten melody].
also, Ash and Dawn are a few years older in this.
It possesses seven-coloured wings. It is said that those who see Ho-Oh are promised an eternal happiness.
-Pokédex [Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Black, White]
He falls to the ground, Pikachu's Thunderbolt ringing in his ears. The light is blinding. He hears the screeches of the injured Spearows as the attack hits them, and with great willpower, hauls himself up. His head throbs, but he still grins at the Pokémon by his side.
He looks up to the sky, where the last remnant of the storm is clearing away, and that's when he sees it. Golden, glimmering with power and leaving a dazzling rainbow in its wake.
The Indigo League is over, the victor has been announced, and it is not Ash. He feels crushed, battered, because hell he'd worked so hard with his Pokémon, battled valiantly, trained and travelled…for this? Just to end up in the Top 16?
Nevertheless, he suppresses his emotions and congratulates Ritchie. But the next day finds him moping around in bed, refusing to eat or talk to anyone else.
He doesn't give up hope, though. He's resilient, and goes on with life. He starts another journey with his friends. He travels to other foreign lands. He meets new people and Pokémon, makes new friends, battles new trainers. He catches countless new Pokémon. He fights against various gym leaders, wins gym badges and participates in Pokémon Leagues all over the world.
The Silver Conference in Johto. The Ever Grande Conference in Hoenn. The Lily of the Valley Conference in Sinnoh. The Vertress Conference in Unova. And he doesn't win any of them.
He feels distraught each and every time. Of course he does, that's only natural. But, admirably, he springs back up again. He's young, carefree, hot-headed and determined; every time he's knocked down, he gets back up again, his trademark grin adorning his face.
But there are moments when he feels weak and jaded and weary. And in those moments he remembers seeing Ho-Oh, the legendary Pokémon which is supposed to give those who see it eternal happiness.
And he thinks, If that is the legend, then why am I not getting my eternal happiness?
When she met Ash, Dawn was a passionate, talented girl. Such huge dreams and ambitions housed inside such a young mind.
As she grew, she participated in Contests, winning more and more frequently, and became well-known for her ability to enthral people with her striking Pokemon and gorgeous combinations. She was like the mythical Pokémon Meloetta- dancing and singing and filling everyone's heart with joy.
But just as Meloetta lost its melody, Dawn lost hers. She lost Ash. Her support system, confidante, best friend and constant companion. His presence was the music she danced to, and when he left for Kanto, she was jarred.
But life was still good. She and her Pokémon went on to work with Paris, one of the biggest names in the fashion industry; and then continued pursuing her dream of becoming a Top Coordinator. She went to Hoenn to participate in contests.
But a tiny part of her was always thinking about him.
Travelling in Hoenn and not visiting May is not an option, so naturally Dawn finds herself at the Maple household for a week at the start of her journey.
The two friends hug and laugh and talk endlessly, but soon enough May sees that Dawn has changed. The change is subtle, barely noticeable to the normal eye, but it is there. She laughs less often nowadays; her smiles are still abundant, but her laughs? They've faded away.
When May mentions this to Dawn, the latter waves it off and tries to change the topic to Drew, the former's long time crush and present boyfriend.
"What does it feel like, May?"
"Loving someone and having them love you back."
There is silence. May's eyes soften and gain a faraway look. "Before I began dating Drew, everything was normal. Everything was fine. I was living my life. But after I began dating him, I realised that I can feel happy as well."
Dawn's mind immediately goes to Ash.
"It's simple, really," May continues. "Some people can make everything alright just by being there with you."
Her heart feels heavy as she listens to this. Not sad. Heavy, like someone has placed a ton of Geodudes on her back. Like she's stuck in quicksand. Like she's got molten lead running through her veins.
Like she's missing a very important piece of her life.
That night she calls out Piplup and hugs it tightly, May's earlier words ringing in her head.
Some people can make everything alright just by being there with you.
She remembers her visit to Unova, when she'd gone to participate in the Pokémon World Tournament Junior Cup, just before coming to Hoenn. She can't remember the last time she'd had so much fun. And she has a feeling that it wasn't because the Tournament had been amazing or anything. It was because Ash was there.
A few days later she waves goodbye to May and starts her journey. She wins the first two contests, and the audience loves her; but it all goes downhill from there. And it's not because she has a powerful rival or is being plagued by bad luck. She's lost all inspiration.
Trying to make up new combinations is excruciating now. Every training session ends with everyone exhausted and no new ideas. She apologises profusely to her Pokémon every night, promising to do better next time, and they all nod understandingly.
But the next day is the same.
So, after weeks of travelling gone down the drain, Johanna suggests that Dawn needs a break and tells her to come back home immediately. So she does. She tries to relax, let go of everything, and start anew.
But the problem is, she's lost her melody.
She is wandering aimlessly in the Pokémon Mansion near Hearthome City, trying to kill time. She goes out into the Trophy Garden, her Mamoswine trailing behind her, feeling nostalgic. She'd met Mamoswine for the first time here, as a tiny (but ravenous) Swinub. Another wave of reminiscence hits her as she fondly remembers Ash's attempt at cooking. A lump forms in her throat.
It's been a long time since she's seen him.
Just as this thought crosses her mind, the bushes in front of her rustle, and a Pikachu steps out. Dawn freezes. The yellow Pokémon stares at her for a few moments, and then grins widely, throwing itself at her.
"Pikachu?" she whispers, and her head immediately snaps up, looking for its raven haired trainer.
But no trainer comes into sight, and the Pikachu wriggles away from her with something in its mouth. A poffin. Her heart sinks as reality hits her.
It isn't his Pikachu. It's just a wild one that happened to smell the freshly cooked Poffins she has in her pocket.
She leans against Mamoswine and weeps.
Dawn peers at herself anxiously in the mirror and smoothes down her dress. She's in Pallet Town, at Delia's house, along with Ash's other friends. The surprise party was Delia's idea. Ash competed in the Kalos League, and though he did not win, he came second, which is the furthest he's ever been.
Delia had also wanted to cheer her son up, since he'd understandably sounded down on the phone. Hence the party.
When Delia had called her and told her about the party, Dawn was thrilled. She couldn't wait to see her old friend again, and was counting down the days till the big day. But now that she's here, moments away from seeing Ash, she feels oddly nervous and there's a strange free fall sensation in her stomach, as if a swarm of Beautiflies are fluttering around in it.
She hears a few people shushing each other, and sees four shadows outside.
Ash and his companions enter, the entire roomful of people scream "SURPRISE!" and the five- Ash, Pikachu, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie- jump violently, startled. Everyone congratulates him and the party commences. Ash looks pleasantly surprised and soon he cheers up, enjoying the party in full swing.
She hangs back as the rest of the people make their way over to the black haired trainer and hug him, slap him on his back, make jokes- wanting to talk to him alone. But throughout the party he is never left alone, not even for a few seconds, and soon Dawn gives up any hopes of catching him alone and goes over to him.
He's with May, Drew and Max. He grins when he sees her approaching. They high five and she asks him about his adventures in Kalos, and smiles as he launches into an animated account of his travels. He's still the same, she thinks fondly. Energetic, jaunty and strong despite all he's been through.
Later that evening, she goes outside to catch some fresh air and sees his silhouette against the full moon.
"What's the star of the party doing out here?" she teases, going and standing next to him. He shrugs.
She tries making conversation, but all in vain. There's something bothering the boy next to her, and after a few moments of pestering on her part, he finally gives in and tells her what's on his mind.
He tells her how, all these years, he's been travelling, trying to attain his dream, and how he always manages to trip and fall at the last moment even after all the hard work and perseverance. He tells her about Ho-Oh, and the legend about the eternal happiness. He pours out all the doubts he's ever had about himself.
In turn, she confides how demotivated she's been for the past several months, how lonely she's been and how she's worried that she's let her Pokémon down. And in that place, at that time, Dawn suddenly felt close to Ash and told him the reason behind her demoralisation. His absence.
As soon as the words leave her mouth, she clamps it shut, mortified that she has admitted this fact to him in spite of denying it to herself and everyone around her for ages, and averts her gaze. When she finally scraps up the courage to look at Ash, she finds a thoughtful expression etched onto his face.
"Stay here, then," he says, looking at her face carefully. "Stay in Kanto for some time. Figure out what you're gonna do next."
So she does. While everyone else leaves the next morning, she stays back at the Ketchum household. The two treat it like a holiday, exploring the forest around Pallet Town, spending a day at Chrysanthemum Island, visiting various Kanto cities and towns.
Slowly, they grow back together. Dawn regains her confidence and inspiration; Ash regains his determination and resolve.
They start a new journey in Kanto, together. She takes part in contests and eventually wins the Kanto Grand Festival. He enters the Indigo League again and wins it this time. Their high fives turn into hugs, their hugs turn into kisses, their bond strengthens. Their Pokémon flourish and grow and happiness makes its way back into their lives.
As he sits with her on the porch, years later, Ash looks back at his notion of eternal happiness and chuckles. How foolish he had been, cursing Ho-Oh for not granting him joy. Because becoming a Pokémon Master is his destiny, not his eternal happiness.
She is his eternal happiness, he is her melody, and they fit together like the interlocking pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
A/N- this fic is the result of writers' block, laziness, procrastination and deadlines XD anywho, please review and tell me what you thought about it.
And also, I know that Ash won the Orange League and the Kanto Battle Frontier, but for the sake of this fic, let's leave that out.