A/N: Hey guys! I'm here today with an idea that I've had in my head for nearly a year. And I've tweaked the idea behind the story and now I think I'm ready to share it! It's my take on May and Ash meeting in Hoenn. Romance is the primary genre of this story, but there will be aspects of adventure as well. Though, I'm almost certain I'll turn this story into a longer one (chronicling Ash's entire journey through Hoenn once I'm done with my other stories. Judging by what I've already written, this story will almost definitely have over 1,000,000 words.), then the action will be turned up immensely. I already have over 200,000 words of this story written, and will be releasing a chapter every other day until it is all posted. So for once, you can expect regular updates from me for a while lol. Anyway, I hope you enjoy, "How to Change a Life"

"One smile, can start a friendship. One word, can end a fight. One look, can save a relationship. One person can change your life."


"A good destiny is when two people find each other without even looking


"Sweet Serendipity...the unexpected meeting that changes your life."


How to Change a Life

"Are you sure you have everything? Clothes, socks, sleeping bag..." A brown haired woman of about 40 rambled on as she went over everything she could think of.

In front of the woman, was another brown haired girl. She appeared to be about 18 years of age, with an enticing womanly figure. Her most notable traits were how her hair seemed to form an upside down V shape, and how she wore a red bandana on her head. All in all, she was breathtakingly beautiful and an exceedingly happy person.

Well...most of the time...

Right now, the younger girl held a look of complete boredom on her face as she listened to her mother drone on. She must've reached a point where she couldn't take it anymore as she finally cut her mother off.

"Mom! We've been through this three times! I have everything I need for my journey, I promise." The younger woman exclaimed, calming her voice as she went on as she realized who she was talking to; she didn't want to be disrespectful to her mother.

The mother sighed as she acknowledged her daughter's words, "I know, May. I'm sorry. I just want to be sure that everything is perfect for your first journey. And plus, getting stuck on the road without something important is really rough, and not something you want happening so early in your journey."

Just then, a man, whom was seated at the table in the kitchen where the two women were stationed, chimed in, "You need to relax, dear. She's a smart girl. I'm sure if she says she has everything, then she does. Plus, I bet she's super excited to get to Professor Burch's lab so she can pick her first pokemon! Right, May?"

The young woman, May, responded with a forced smile, trying her best to hide her real feelings, "Yeah, Dad...can't wait."

While May thought her acting job was abysmal, her parents didn't seem to notice that she was anything but excited about getting a pokemon. May internally sighed in relief upon realizing they believed her lie.

Truth is, May didn't really like pokemon, but nobody outright knew that; her parents knew that she didn't exactly love pokemon, but they didn't know the true extent of it. Though, May didn't necessarily have a problem with them either, she just didn't really feel the desire to ever get one of her own. Plus, she'd always held onto a slight fear of pokemon due to an incident in her past. The only reason she was getting one now was so she would be able to do the one thing that she wanted to do more than anything...


She wanted to see it all. Every region. Every beautiful scene. The whole world if she could. And a pokemon journey was the perfect excuse to do just that. Now that she was 18, she was finally considered an adult and thus, allowed to receive a pokemon of her own. And while she felt she was prepared for the responsibility of owning a pokemon, May didn't particularly like the idea of it. Though it wouldn't too bad, she supposed. It'd probably be the only pokemon she'd ever "catch" and have to care for after all.

May's mother, Caroline, looked at her daughter as she approached her with a sad smile on her face. As they were nearly the same height at 5'8", they looked each other straight in the eye before the older woman took May into a deep hug.

"I can't believe my baby is all grown up! It seems like just yesterday I was changing your diapers and now, here you are. 18 years old, stunningly beautiful...I'm so proud of you honey." Caroline finished and pulled away as tears began flowing from her eyes.

Seeing her mother cry, as well as her sincere words almost made May cry as well. A few tears strolled down her face, but she managed to hold most of them back.

She was going to miss her family. Miss her home. All of it. But this was something she wanted more than anything. If she wanted to see the world, she would have to leave home for a while.

"I'm going to miss you guys. But I'll call you as much as I can. And I'll be back home all the time!" May embellished her words slightly. 'All the time' was a bit of a stretch, but she would take every opportunity she could to visit her family.

As Caroline wiped her tears away, her father, Norman, stood from his seat and approached his daughter before taking her into a loving hug.

"We're going to miss you too, sweetie. " Norman started. He then quickly turned serious. "Make sure to watch out for boys. I don't trust a single one of them."

May couldn't help but laugh at his statement as she pulled away from her father. "Dad...you know you're a boy too, right?"

Norman just nodded, "Yes I do...that's how I know boys that age can't be trusted."

The three shared a hearty laugh as another person made their presence known in the room. In the entranceway stood May's younger brother, Max. He appeared quite timid, something uncommon for the typically chipper boy.

"Max, honey, are you okay?" Caroline questioned, concerned by her son's odd behavior.

Before anyone had a chance to react, Max shot forward and hugged his sister as tears flowed from his eyes.

"I'm really gonna miss you, May! I know we fight a lot, but I really do care about you! Please make sure you come back soon." Max cried as he hugged his sister.

May smiled sadly as she hugged her younger brother, "I promise I'll come back as soon as I can. But for that to happen, you have to let me go first."

May spoke lightheartedly, immediately raising the mood in the room once again. The two hugged for a while longer before her brother finally let her go. The two shared a smile before May addressed the whole room once again.

"Well...I'm off. It's not too long a walk to Littleroot, but I definitely need to get going." May stated, her family nodding in understanding.

"It's a real shame your bike was ruined. I still can't believe it; that thunder storm came out of nowhere, and of all the places for the lightning to strike, it had to be directly on your bike." Caroline added, shaking her head in disbelief.

May nodded and sighed at the memory. It sure would've been nice to have a bike but after thinking it through, she realized that by walking she'd be able to really take everything in. She'd have the ability to slow done and see everything, so she wasn't too mad. Plus for some odd reason, this incident felt like it was supposed to happen...

May hugged each member of her family once more before she turned, all of her travel items in tow, and walked toward the door to begin her journey. Before she walked out the door however, she turned once more and spoke sincerely.

"I love you guys so much. Thank you for allowing me to do this."

As May finished speaking, she turned once again and made her way outside. As she stood outside, she took a deep breath of the fresh air and smiled brightly.

"Finally...I get to explore the world!" May internally squealed in excitement.

But before she could go anywhere exciting, she had to go to Littleroot Town in order to get her first pokemon. The walk wasn't too long. It was about 20 minutes to Oldale Town, and another 15 minutes to finally reach Littleroot.

While this might seem a bit far to some, May knew she'd be traveling much greater distances than this in the future. So, with a big smile on her face, she began her walk to Professor Birch's Laboratory.

The walk started off nice enough. It was peaceful and quiet, giving May plenty of time to think of the wondrous things she would see throughout her journey. But as the walk was long, her thoughts were bound to shift elsewhere at some point...

May couldn't help but begin to think of just how lonely this journey could turn out to be. Traveling alone was never easy and even just minutes into her walk, May began to realize this.

May never really had many friends while she lived in Petalburgh. Because her dad was the city's famous gym leader, she was always treated just a little bit differently by everyone. She didn't feel she was close enough with anyone to ask them to travel with her on this journey. And as for boys, any kind of relationship with them, platonic or other, never really came to be in her 18 years.

May was a very beautiful girl, a positive most of the time. But May discovered early how some men would simply want to use her for her body. And even the nicer boys, she never gave them much thought. Her dad was extremely picky about who was 'good enough' for his daughter and May knew none of the guys she knew of would meet his standards, so she just never bothered with them at all. Plus, so many of them were lecherous jerks that she'd damn near avoided any and all relationships with guys in her city.

Though, it would've been nice to share all of her excitement with someone, she supposed. Have a girl along with her as a best friend. Have a guy with her as a friend...maybe even as something more.

Even though she had never partaken in a romantic relationship, May was still a teenage girl. She dreamed of romance, of her knight in shining armor one day showing up in her life. She didn't hold her breath though. This was the real world. Stuff like that didn't happen here...

But even still. She dreamed of one day having a man that would love her unconditionally, and she could do the same to him. But she wasn't going to force it, even if that meant having to be alone for the entirety of her journey.

She wouldn't let this keep her down, however. This was going to be the best time of her life and anything that happened, happened. She accepted that.

May's thoughts were slowly beginning to drift back to positive one's when a small Duskull popped out of the trees to her left. May jumped immediately, startled out of her wits before she began running. She only looked back when she decided she was far enough away from the wild pokemon that'd spooked her. It was also at this time when she finally arrived in Oldale Town, having run further than she thought. May caught her breath before quickly making her way south through the city.

As May began her final trek to Littleroot, she made sure to walk just a little bit faster...

The second half of the walk had seemed longer to the young woman. Most likely because she wasn't as consumed in her thoughts.

Because Littleroot was such a small town, it was very easy to find Professor Brich's Laboratory. It was by far the largest building in the town and somehow, it just gave off a 'laboratory' vibe to it, whatever that means.

May quickly made her way into the building, passing by a number people out and about on the streets. As soon as she entered, May could instantly tell that this was a laboratory. Various machines lined every wall. Bookshelves full of texts were everywhere, and tables with hundreds of loose papers covered the room.

May walked deeper into the lab, trying her best to spot Professor Birch. It shouldn't of been difficult, he was a big man after all. Plus, she knew what he looked like since she'd met him a number of times before as her parents and the Professor were good friends.

Despite all of this, she still couldn't seem to find the man who would allow her to finally begin her journey.

Seeing that the young woman looked lost, an assistant of the lab approached her.

"Excuse me, are you looking for Professor Birch?" The man questioned politely, catching May's attention.

"Yes sir, I am." May responded simply.

The man nodded his head, "Professor Birch is out in the field on research. If you need him immediately, you can go look for him. He should be somewhere in the forest off the path between here and Oldale Town. And he's more than likely still close by; he doesn't like to wander to far for such simple research."

May smiled at the man and nodded, "Thank you, I think I'll do that."

May momentarily considered just waiting for the Professor here, but her mind quickly shunned that idea. She was really, really excited to start her journey, especially since she was so close to being able to do so. Plus, going to find Professor Birch could be an adventure in it of itself.

With that said, May left the laboratory and headed to the forest in search of the Professor. The lab was fairly close to the upper edge of the city, so it didn't take long for May to enter the brush.

May silently wished that she had a more exact idea of where the Professor was; he could be anywhere. But she knew she had no choice but to just search the forest. And worst case scenario, she would just meet him back at the lab.

It was this moment she heard a scream...

"Help me!" The voice exclaimed.

May immediately became concerned, worried about whomever this voice belonged to. She couldn't help but feel a sense of familiarity upon hearing the voice. Quickly, the realization hit her that it must've been Professor Birch; who else would be out here anyway?

Feeling the need to answer the man's call for help, she ran quickly in the direction of the voice. As it turned out, the Professor wasn't too far away as May reached the man in less than a minute.

May stopped her motion as she noticed that she was on top of a ledge, somewhere from 10 to 12 feet high. If she was careful, she assumed that she would be able to jump down if necessarily. But before she could do anything, she noticed a brown messenger bag on the ground next to her.

"Please! Help!" The Professor screamed again, drawing May's eyes to the man. He was up in a tree with 3 Poochyena snarling at the base of said tree. May's eyes widened as she saw the situation. But she had to stay calm, she knew that. Looking back to the Professor, it seemed that he hadn't noticed that she had arrived at the scene.

"Professor! I'm here!" May yelled at the man, finally catching his attention. The Poochyena didn't seem to care about the new arrival as they were still snarling angrily at the man above them.

"May! Boy am I glad to see you. I need you to help me." The Professor spoke, surprisingly calmly given his current situation.

May nodded immediately, "Okay, what do I do?"

The Professor motioned toward his messenger bad with his head, "There's a pokeball in my bag. Send it out and attack the Poochyena. Hopefully it'll scare them off."

May responded to his words, immediately reaching down for the bag and grabbing the pokeball. She grew slightly nervous; this would be here first real pokemon battle, and against 3 opponents at once no less. Despite the odds, she knew she had no other choice.

Taking a deep breath, she let out the pokemon. It was a small, chick like creature, yellow and orange in color. May immediately recognized the pokemon as one of the Hoenn starters, Torchic. The pokemon stood in her spot, not quite sure what was going on at the moment.

"Okay, now attack the Poochyena!' The Professor exclaimed, more than ready to get out of the tree.

May's brain scrambled to remember one of the pokemon's attacks, but she was drawing a blank. She didn't know all that much about pokemon as they never really interested her. Plus, the stress of the situation wasn't helping.

"Professor, what attacks does Torchic know?" May questioned. She was slightly embarrassed about not knowing something so basic but this wasn't the time to be timid. She had to help this man.

"Use ember, Torchic might be able to hit more than one of them that way." The Professor stated quickly. "But Torchic's ember won't reach the Poochyena from where you are. I'm sorry to say this, but have to come down to their level!"

May's eyes widened as she took in the Professor's words. Up until now, she hadn't really been in any danger, but she would have to throw herself in the fire if she wanted to save the old family friend. May quickly realized that if she was going to go on this journey, she was going to find herself in danger every once in a while. She had to be strong when these situations arose. Steeling herself, May grabbed Torchic and carefully made her way over the ledge.

May then carefully slide her way down the incline. As soon as she landed, she placed Torchic down.

"Okay, Torchic. Use ember on the Poochyena!" May told the orange pokemon. Though, instead of a stream of flames, she saw...


Looking at the pokemon in confusion, she saw the creature shaking in fear. May instantly looked to the Professor with a look that screamed 'what do I do?'

"Torchic has never battled before! I rescued her from a pack of Mightyena a few weeks ago, she's afraid. Try talking to her." The Professor told the girl, his eyes not once leaving the snarling pokemon at the base of the tree.

May turned her attention back toward the Torchic and kneeled down to her level, but not before checking to make sure the Poochyena still had their gazes looked of Professor Birch.

"Torchic." The orange pokemon looked back at the person who'd produced such a calm voice. "It'll be okay. You're a strong pokemon, I know it. You have to do this to help Professor Birch. He's the one who saved you, right? Well now it's your turn to do the same for him."

Torchic looked up at the Professor and back to the girl, who had a comforting smile on her face. Torchic immediately knew that this girl was right. She had to help this man. She owed her life to him. Torchic was really glad this woman was here with her. Without her, Torchic was sure she wouldn't have had the courage to save Professor Birch.

Turning around quickly, Torchic let a look of pure determination overtake her small face.

"That's the spirit! Now, use ember!" May exclaimed, elated that she was able to get through to the pokemon.

Upon hearing her words, Torchic let out flurries of small flames, hitting two of the three Poochyenas. causing them to yelp and retreat deeper into the forest. The third Poochyena, whom wasn't hit followed suit.

"Great job, May! You did-"

Professor Birch was cut off by a rustling in the brush. Before either of them knew it, a large Mightyena appeared, followed by the three poochyena from before. They hadn't retreated...

...they'd left to get their mother.

Both May and Birch's eyes widened in fear. This was definitely bad. And the large pokemon was glaring at May and Torchic. All the terror that previously overtook Torchic returned in an instant.

"May, you and Torchic have to get out of here!" Professor Birch screamed at the frightened girl, breaking her out of her stupor.

However before she could even think to move, the Mightyena launched a shadow ball right at Torchic. Paralyzed in fear, the small pokemon had no chance to dodge. She was knocked out instantly.

Now, the Mightyena was snarling solely at May. She gulped in fear, and slowly bent down to grab the fainted pokemon. She had to make a move or she would almost surely be hurt, or worse... She had to be smart about this. She had to react at just the right moment.

May made her move when the Mightyena charged at her. The dark pokemon lunged at her, but May was just slightly quicker and manged to roll out of the way. The large pokemon didn't manage to land on her feet, and instead came crashing to the ground. But this just seemed to anger the pokemon further.

Before the Mightyena could get up, May tossed Torchic up to Professor Birch and quickly scaled the tree; May used to love climbing trees as a child, which she was immensely thankful for at the moment. The only good thing was the sheer amount of adrenaline that was currently pumped through her allowed her to scale the tree in seconds, managing to reach the same thick branch as Professor Birch. She was out of harms way. But now, they had a bigger problem to worry about...

Now, they had a large, angry Mightyena at the base of the tree, and it wasn't going to let them come down anytime soon.

"What a way to start a journey..." May muttered to herself as Professor Birch and herself remained trapped in a tree.

"There it is, Pikachu. The Hoenn region." A tall, raven haired boy spoke excitedly.

"Chu! Pika Pi!" The yellow pokemon on the boy's shoulder exclaimed just as happily.

The two were at the bow of a very small boat, rather than one of the large ferries that would've take him to the port in Slateport City, Hoenn.

The man, Ash Ketchum, had come across a kind old man who was willing to take him directly to a small port in Littleroot Town as to save him the trouble of having to travel there all the way from Slateport City. Before he could do anything in Hoenn, he had to see Professor Birch as he'd promised Professor Oak he would do so.

As far as he knew, he wasn't going to the Hoenn Professor's lab on any sort of business. Professor Oak had just been very adamant about Ash, one of the most successful people to ever come out of his lab, meeting Professor Birch. Ash had a feeling that Oak wanted to show him off a bit...

He supposed this did make sense. After all, the 19 year old man had done something only one other had ever done before him: win a Pokemon League in their first year of travel. Of course, unlike Red years before him who had manage to beat all of the elites as well as the champion, Ash had lost handily to the first member of the Elite 4.

He had only just recently forgiven himself for jumping the gun on the Elite 4 challenge. Instead of using the entire year provided to train before taking on the elites, he decided to dive in head first and challenge hem as soon as he could, his overconfidence making him believe he would win.

Looking back, he couldn't believe how reckless he'd been. Everyone else chalked it up to inexperience and while that held some degree of truth, his recklessness was, in Ash's mind, what ended up besting him. He'd always been like that though. But after his loss to the Elites, Ash vowed to try to be less reckless and actually think things through. Though, he wasn't sure exactly how to go about changing that about himself. Or if he'd even be able to...

Before Ash could think any further, he heard the captain yell from behind the wheel.

"Ash, we're about to dock. I'd make sure to have all of your belongings ready." The old captain stated kindly.

Ash turned back and nodded his head in acknowledgement. He hadn't even been able to tell that there was any sort of docking area in front of them. Sure, he could see land, but not really a place to dock a boat. Though as the boat grew closer to the landmass, he was able to see a small dock. It looked as if it hadn't been used in years.

"It's a bit of secret only us older sailors know of." Ash remembered the old man telling him before they'd left Kanto.

Before he knew it, the boat was pulled up carefully next to the dock. Ash quickly gathered his belongings and hoped off. Now this would normally be the time where Ash would be helping the old man tie up his boat, but not this time. The man had gone well out his way just to make Ash's life slightly more convenient.

Ash looked back at the man on the boat and smiled appreciatively, "Thanks again Mr. Briney. You really saved me a lot of travel time. And I'm sorry you had to go out of your way. Slateport is not exactly close to here..."

The old man let out a hearty laugh, "It was no problem at all my boy! And I was more than happy to do it! Any reason I can find to spend more time on the water, the happier I am, so think nothing of it!"

"At least let me pay you." Ash reasoned. Even despite the man's words, he still felt slightly guilty; that's just how he was.

Though, as Ash expected, the man refused vehemently.

"No, I can't let you pay me for doing what I love. Plus, you should keep that money. Maybe find a nice girl, and take her out!" Mr. Briney spoke lightheartedly.

Ash could feel warmth rush to his cheeks at the man's words. Most of his life had been spent solely focusing on pokemon, but ever since he went through puberty, girls had been on his mind a lot more often. Of course, he found plenty of girls attractive, and quite a few of the girls back in his home town thought the same of him, but he'd never really put too much thought into actually 'dating' one of them before. It was a topic that both intrigued and terrified him.

Ash shook himself out of his thoughts in time to say one more thank you to the kind old man, who simply nodded back in response before backing the boat into the open water. Ash stood in his spot until he saw Mr. Briney and the boat disappear.

"What a nice old man. Don't you think Pikachu?" Ash asked his partner on his shoulder.

"Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed happily in agreement.

It was at this time that Ash turned around. As this port had hardly been used in years, maybe even decades, a heavy brush separated Ash's current position and what had to be Littleroot town.

It didn't take long to break through the brush, only a few minutes. As he appeared from the forest, Ash allowed himself to take in the sight of the town. It reminded him slightly of Pallet Town. It was small, quant and held a certain charm to it that you didn't see in larger cities.

It didn't take him long to see what had to be the Professor's lab in the distance. Taking a deep breath of the fresh air as a smile found its way to his face, Ash began toward the lab.

As he entered, he was almost immediately met by what he assumed to be one of the Professor's lab assistants.

"Are you looking for Professor Birch?" Ash nodded at the man's words. "He's out in the woods just north of here, very close by. Actually a girl around your age went out there looking for him not too long ago. In fact, they really should be back by now..."

As the man trailed off, Ash thought he could offer some assistance to the man.

"I'll go out and find them. It'll be fun to see some Hoenn pokemon anyway!" Ash spoke happily. He was always at his happiest when he was helping other people, and here he could help ease this man's worries by doing something that he had to do anyway in finding the professor. Plus like he'd said, forests were a great place to see new pokemon.

The assistant nodded appreciatively, "Thank you very much. What's your name by the way?"

"Ash. Ash Ketchum. And this is my best buddy Pikachu." Ash stuck out his hand for a shake as Pikachu smiled and wave his paw.

The assistant's eyes widened slightly as he shook the man's hand, "The same Ash Ketchum that just won the Indigo League?"

Ash smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, "Yeah, that's me. I didn't think many people in Hoenn would know about that."

"But of course! My other passion aside from research is pokemon battling, and anyone who's into battling usually tunes in to every league they can, even those not held in their home region. Maybe not as many people as in Kanto, but a decent number of the people of Hoenn know of you, I'm sure of that. I've heard your name thrown around in many a conversation. Congratulations by the way on your accomplishment. It's pretty amazing." The man stated sincerely.

Ash smiled, "Thanks. I really appreciate your kind words. I'm going to go find the Professor now."

The assistant nodded before Ash turned and took his leave. He immediately went north and entered the forest.

As they walked, Ash took to talking with Pikachu, "Hey, Pikachu? You don't think they're in trouble, do you? That man seemed kind of concerned that they weren't back yet."

Pikachu didn't respond verbally, only shrugging his small shoulders in response. Though, both of them felt in their guts that something wasn't right. With that in mind, Ash picked up his speed slightly.

"Professor Birch! Professor! Are you out there?" Ash cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, hoping the man could hear him and lead him to his location. He got no response, so Ash just continued walking.

It wasn't 3 minutes later that Ash came across the scene. As he saw what was gong on in front of him, he ducked back into the brush, hoping to not be noticed by the menacing pokemon. After he confirmed that the Mightyena and her cubs had not noticed him, his eyes shot up into the tree, where he saw both the Professor and the girl that he'd been told about. It was obvious they were trapped and needed some help. And luckily for them, that was Ash's forte.

Before Ash could make a move, Birch's eyes fell on the man in the light brush of the forest. The two locked eyes, And Ash motioned a finger to his mouth, indication silence. The Professor nodded in response before looking to see if May had noticed the man who would hopefully be able to get them out of this mess.

May's eyes were locked on the Mightyena below her. She was frightened to say the least. Her first day on her journey and she already had to deal with something like this. But despite this, she was still sentient. She felt the Professor nudge her side, earning her attention. She looked to him immediately and saw that he was motioning with his head in the direction behind the Mightyena.

May saw him immediately. She couldn't really make out any discernible features, but that didn't matter at the moment. All that mattered was that someone was here. Someone that would hopefully be able to help.

Ash was thinking methodically about how to go about taking down not only the Mightyena, but her three cubs as well. Regardless of if they were powerful or not, a 4 on 1 battle would always be a challenge. Ash silently cursed himself for only bringing Pikachu. He planned on using his old pokemon in Hoenn every once in a while, but he'd decided to just call for a transfer from Professor Oak when he needed them.

But since he didn't have the luxury of more than one pokemon, he had to make do with Pikachu. Ash had full confidence in his starter; he'd won battles before against even more enemies after all. Plus, they had the element of surprise on their side. He locked eye's with his starter and nodded at him. Pikachu did the same before hoping off his shoulder and approaching the Mightyena closer. Ash closely followed suit.

"Pikachu, thunder wave on the Poochyena!' Ash commanded. Faster than one could imagine, Pikachu sent three shock waves toward the pokemon, paralyzing them completely. Because they hadn't been expecting it, the three Poochyena couldn't even think to evade the attack. Though with how fast Pikachu got the three thunder waves off, they probably would've been hit anyway.

"Alright, now to deal with the mother." Ash thought to himself as he saw the Mightyena begin to approach rapidly.

"Pikachu, dodge and use thunderbolt!" Pikachu deftly maneuvered over the dark pokemon per his best friend's command. Turning himself around in mid air, Pikachu shot a powerful bolt of lightening toward the Mightyena, striking it directly.

The pokemon howled in pain, but didn't go down. Surprising both Ash and Pikachu. This Mightyena was stronger than they'd thought. Again the Mightyena charged at Pikachu.

"Pikachu, dodge again!" The yellow pokemon tried the same maneuver, but the Mightyena surprised him this time with her speed. She was using Crunch and barely managed to catch Pikachu's tail in her mouth.

Seeing the situation, Ash immediately knew what to do. This wasn't the first time he'd encountered a situation like this.

"Pikachu, Iron Tail and then another Thunderbolt!" Pikachu responded immediately to Ash's commands. His tail turned to solid steel, preventing any further damage as he simultaneously let out another powerful Thunderbolt. The Mightyena was obviously not expecting this as she was struck head on by the attack. And this time, she went down, letting Pikachu go.

"Alright, way to go buddy! Great job!" Ash exclaimed as his partner jumped into his arms, smiling at the praise.

As this was happening, both Professor Birch and May were staring at the scene in amazement. This man bested the obviously strong pokemon so easily. His strategy was impeccable. And even May, who wasn't particularly interested in pokemon battles, was amazed and intrigued by the sight. Especially the simplistic beauty of Pikachu's movements.

She'd become so worried when the Mightyena caught Pikachu's tail, but this trainer didn't even hesitate for a second. He immediately got his pokemon out of the situation. She was in awe over the battle; it was like nothing she'd ever seen before, even when she would watch her dad battle challengers.

May shook out of her stupor when she noticed Birch begin to climb out of the tree. May, wanting nothing more than to get out of the tree in that moment, followed closely behind. By the time she'd reached the bottom, Ash had made his way over to them.

"Thanks a lot, young man. You got us out of quite the bind back there. Right, May?" Professor Birch turned his head to May, whom didn't respond. Instead her eyes were locked firmly on Ash.

Ash's eyes were locked on her as well, though not lecherously and he did his best not to allow his eyes to linger for too long. He found this woman to be incredibly attractive, but was raised well enough to know not to stare. He respected women, his mother ingrained that in him early, and he was glad that she did so.

Now that the man had come closer, May could finally get a good look at him, and she was blown away by how attractive he was. He was tall, around 6' 4" if she had to guess. His face was like something out of a magazine. His hair, while wild and covered by a hat, she found cute. His bright smile, while goofy, was charming as can be. His eyes were caring, full of kindness and passion. He very obviously had strong, well defined arms, indicating that he was strong and defined everywhere else as well...

Ash broke out of his daze first, smiling brightly at the two people in front of him. He stretched his hand out for a shake toward the female first. It was of no offense to the Professor, this girl had just very obviously peaked his interest.

"Hi there. I'm Ash Ketchum. It's nice to meet you! What's your name?" Ash spoke, his tone dripping with excitement and kindness. His voice directed at her was what finally broke May out of her gaze. She immediately blushed lightly, but still took his hand and shook it.

"My name is May Maple. It's nice to meet you as well." May quickly managed to get over her embarrassment and fought the blush from her face as she met Ash's gaze. She'd never acted like that before. "Thank you for helping us."

Ash's smile widened even further, "It was no problem at all. I'm just glad I was able to help."

"So your Ash Ketchum, eh? Professor Oak told me you'd be coming. It's nice to meet you, and thanks again for giving us a hand there." Professor Birch stated. His words broke Ash and May out of their gazes into each other's eyes.

Ash looked toward the Professor again, blushing slightly, as was May, before speaking, "Yeah, that's me! It's nice to meet you too, Professor."

Both men shared a smile before Birch's face turned curious, "Oak said that there would be someone else with you. Is he back at the lab?

Ash seemed slightly confused at first before he realized who he was talking about.

"Oh, you mean Brock." The Professor nodded his head, remembering the name that Oak had told him. "He's actually still in Kanto at the moment. He had some things he had to take care of at home, and I just couldn't wait to get here so we decided we would just meet here in Hoenn."

A look of understanding overcame Birch's face. During this time, May was mulling over the man in front of her's name. Ash Ketchum...It sounded so familiar...

Feeling more comfortable now, May decided to bring it up, "I swear, your name sounds so familiar. Have we ever met before?"

Ash acknowledged the beautiful brunette's words and studied her face, seeing if he remembered ever meeting her before. Though, he sincerely doubted it. He was sure he'd remember meeting a girl this beautiful.

Ash's analytical gaze caused May to blush slightly. She internally cursed herself for this; she'd never acted this way around anyone before.

"I don't think so, May. You ever been to Kanto? Johto, maybe?" Ash questioned. Seeing May shake her head in the negative, Ash had his definitive answer. "Then no, we definitely haven't met."

"You don't recognize him?" The professor indicated toward Ash. Seeing May shake her head, he continued. "Well Ash Ketchum here is the most recent winner of the Indigo League Championship, Kanto's pokemon league. He's actually tied for the record of youngest person to ever win a pokemon league at 19 years of age. If you count it by the month, then Ash is the youngest ever winner."

Ash became slightly embarrassed by the praise and rubbed the back of his head with a slightly sheepish smile on his face. He would never get used to all of this attention, he was too modest for it. "Yeah, but I did get creamed by the first member of the Elite 4."

May looked at the man again. It made sense now how he was able to defeat the Mightyena so handily. Although she didn't follow pokemon battling at all, both her brother and father did, and they followed it very closely. To live in the Maple household, you at least had to know something about pokemon battling, and deal with it being on the family room TV at almost all hours of the day. May knew how difficult it was to win a pokemon league. And to do it at such a young age, May was very impressed.

It was at this moment that May realized why the name sounded familiar. Both her father and brother had been watching the Indigo League a while back and kept talking about a certain someone who was taking the competition by storm. Her brother was amazed by his ability, and even her dad was impressed, something that was hard to earn from him.

May smiled at Ash and spoke, "It all makes sense now. My brother is actually a fan of yours. You even managed to impress my dad, and he's not an easy man to impress."

Ash went slightly red once again at the praise and just laughed and thanked her.

It was then that they three were reminded of the wounded Torchic in Professor Birch's arms. The orange chick turned slightly, obviously in pain and still consider unconscious.

Taking notice of this, Ash took off his backpack and set it down in front of him. He first took out his sleeping bag, folded it up, and set it on the ground. He then pulled out a couple of bottles of something.

"Professor, could you set Torchic down on my sleeping bag? I have a couple of revives and super potions with me so I'll be able to help her out with the pain." Ash said as he waited patiently for the professor to comply.

Birch's eyes widened slightly in surprise, "Ash, revives cost a lot of money, and super potions aren't cheap either. Are you sure you want to use one now? The lab isn't really that far away, and we can heal her there."

Ash simply smiled kindly in response, "Thanks for the warning Professor, but I'm still gonna go with my plan. I can't stand to see anyone, human or pokemon, in pain. So if using a revive and a super potion will allow this Torchic to feel better faster, then I'm more than happy to do it. Besides, what's the point of having them if you're not going to use them."

Ash smiled at the Professor who simply responded by placing the Torchic on the sleeping bag as instructed. Ash kneeled and grabbed the the revive bottle. He then carefully sprayed it all over Torchic's small body.

As this was going on, May simply watched in amazement. Most people would never think of using something so valuable when a healing station was just minutes away, especially on a pokemon he'd never met before. May was incredibly impressed by Ash's decision to help Torchic, to allow her to stop feeling any pain. May realized right then just how caring Ash was. He wasn't like most other people she'd met.

As the revive began to take effect, Torchic slowly opened her eyes. As she sat up, her heart began beating rapidly as the fear from before began to overtake her. However, she was still too weak to move. All she could do was shiver in place, breaking everyone's heart.

"Shhh...it's okay. You're safe now. Nothing's going to hurt you, I won't let it. I swear it." Ash spoke softly while caressing the chick's head delicately.

The combination of his words, his soft, caring tone and touch seemed to have an affect on her, as she slowly began to calm down, trusting the man completely. She managed to calm down entirely when her eyes landed on the girl that'd motivated her to be brave earlier. She didn't blame her for getting hurt in the slightest, and she could tell the young woman felt badly about it.

May knelt down next to Ash and replaced his hand on Torchic's head. "I'm so sorry you were hurt, Torchic. But you did great against the Poochyena. Thank you for being so brave."

Even though May had never particularly liked pokemon all that much, she felt a connection between herself and this Torchic. She decided right then that this would definitely be her first pokemon. That is, if Torchic was okay with that.

Ash smiled at May's caring nature before reaching for the super potion. Seeing this out of the corner of her eye, May slowly pulled her hand away, giving Ash the space he needed to apply the super potion.

"This may sting a bit, but I promise afterward, you'll feel as good as new." Ash said. Seeing Torchic nod her head, Ash began spraying the chick. She winced slightly at first, but the stinging sensation stopped almost as soon as it started. By the time Ash was done, Torchic really did feel good as new.

"Torchic! Tor Tor!" Torchic jumped into Ash's arms and nuzzled him appreciatively, making Ash laugh and the Professor and May smile.

"Haha you're welcome, Torchic" Ash stated happily. Torchic then hopped out of his arms and into May's, surprising the girl slightly.

It was obvious to Ash and Birch that the connection May felt with Torchic was very much mutual. May was quite possibly the first person to actually believe in her, and she obviously appreciated that beyond belief.

"Haha, I'm happy to help, Torchic. You're an awesome pokemon." May smiled brightly at the orange pokemon.

"Tor Torchic!" Torchic responded gleefully, causing smiles to break out all around. As May set Torchic on the ground next to Pikachu, the two pokemon introduced themselves to each other and very clearly became fast friends.

Ash reached into his bag and grabbed another revive and super potion, causing confused looks to pop up on May and Brich's faces.

Seeing their expressions, Ash smiled softly, "I'm going to heal Mightyena and her cubs."

This revelation caused May and the Professor to gasp.

"But what if they comes after us again? She's not going to be happy when she gets up!" Birch exclaimed, not wanting to have to climb back up into that damn tree.

"She won't Professor, I promise. After I revive her, she'll still be weak and me and Pikachu will talk with her then. I'll tell her that we mean no harm and we all just want to leave peacefully." Ash responded. He saw that May and Birch were still slightly hesitant. "I know we just met, but please try to trust me. I can't just leave her here like this. It would be cruel. And like I said, I hate seeing living beings in pain. I know it might sound stupid..."

"It's not stupid, Ash. It's really sweet. It warms my heart to see how much you care. I'm with you all the way." May spoke kindly, surprising herself slightly.

She hadn't really meant to speak, but her thoughts just kind of flowed out of her mouth. Either way, she didn't regret saying it, even if it did embarrass her slightly. She was on board with Ash's plan, trusting him completely.

Ash smiled kindly at the brunette and muttered words of thanks. Seeing that the Professor had no further argument, Ash approached the downed mother. Upon seeing this, the three paralyzed Poochyena began whimpering, afraid for their mother.

Noticing this, Ash reassured them, "I'm not going to hurt her. I promise. I'm going to make her all better. And then I'll make sure to heal you all as well"

For some reason, the Poochyena believed him as indicated by the fact that they'd stopped whimpering. Ash had always had a way with pokemon. Pokemon always seemed to know that they could trust him. That he cared for them all greatly and indiscriminately.

As soon as Ash kneeled down beside the large pokemon, he began spraying her with the revive. Just like with Torchic, Mightyena slowly opened her eyes. Upon seeing Ash, she became defensive and tried to bark at him, but she was still pretty weak and would be unable to put up much resistance to whatever this boy planned on doing.

The Mightyena was incredibly surprised when she felt the boy softly petting her side. She'd expected he was coming to hurt her more, to maybe finish the job as others, namely poachers, had tried to do in the past. But no. That was obviously not what this boy was here to do. She then realized that it must've been him who'd revived her.

"Hey there, Mightyena. You really are a beautiful pokemon. I'm really sorry about what happened earlier, I just didn't want you to hurt my friends. But I understand why you were angry; I know how protective a mother can be of her children. We don't blame you at all. We just want to help you now. Forgive and forget." Ash spoke kindly to the pokemon, surprising her further.

"Pika Pikachu. Pika!" Pikachu added. He hoped hearing something said from another pokemon would help her trust them more.

The Mightyena could sense the sincerity of his words and truly felt that he, and the two others with him, now wanted nothing more than to help.

"But before I heal you fully, I need you to promise me that you won't attack us. We swear we won't do anything to harm you. We just want to help you." Ash added sweetly.

The Mightyena nodded her head, agreeing with his terms. Many pokemon seemed to be blessed with the grand ability to tell when a person or pokemon was being sincere, especially with Ash, and she could tell that this boy was being just that.

Ash smiled brightly, "Awesome! Thank you, Mightyena. I'm going to heal you first, and then I'm going to go help out your cubs."

With that said, Ash began spraying Mightyena with the super potion, rejuvenating her immediately. All May and Birch could do was watch on in amazement. Ash truly was something else.

As Ash finished up spraying the super potion, he turned toward May and Birch, "Hey, can you guys go in my bag and grab three paralyze heals and go heal the Poochyena?" Seeing them nod, Ash smiled in appreciation.

May and Birch knew that with the cubs seeing their mother trust Ash, they would trust them as well, so they weren't worried about any kind of attack. Before long, all members of the family were healed, feeling good as new. Ash even offered all three members of the family some oran berries and pokemon food, which they happily accepted and gobbled up quickly.

It wasn't long before the two parties stood in front of each other. Before taking their leave, Ash knelt down once more in front of the Mightyena, rubbing the side of her head.

"Thanks again for trusting us. You really are a great pokemon, Mightyena. And strong too! Not many pokemon can take a full power thunderbolt from Pikachu." Ash stated truthfully.

'Pikachu." Pikachu nodded in agreement.

Mightyena let a proud look overtake her face before Ash spoke again, "Normally, at this point I'd ask if you wanted to come with me on my journey, but I know you have your cubs to look after. I feel good knowing that they're in such good hands with you. Take care, Mightyena."

Before he stood up, Mightyena did something that surprised even Ash. Something very uncharacteristic of a pokemon of her species.

She licked Ash's face.

Ash and May both smiled at the action and watched and the pack turned around and took their leave. Birch though, had a different reaction to the scene...

Once they were out of sight, Ash let out a happy sigh and turned to face his new friends.

"Well, I'm glad that ended well." Ash said. May was smiling brightly, still amazed by Ash. Birch on the other hand, was gobsmacked, his mouth wide open.

Seeing this, both Ash and May looked at the man questioningly.

"Ash, I've never even heard of a Mightyena licking someone like that. Sure, Poochyena do it sometimes but when they evolve, they never do that!" It was easy to tell that Birch was amazed by Ash's way with pokemon.

Ash simply laughed in response, "Well...I've always kind of had a way with pokemon. They just seem to really trust me for some reason." Ash then turned his attention to May. "In fact, I think you might be the same way, May."

May was confused by her new friend's statement, "Oh, I don't know about that... Me and pokemon have never really had the best relationship."

"I don't know May, I think Ash might be right." Birch started, surprising May even more. "While I've only had Torchic for about two weeks, a number of new trainers have wanted to choose her as their starter, but she was terrified of all of them. She refused to go with them because she was so scared. But you...you managed to get her to push past her fear in order to help us. Torchic really likes you, and that's a feat in it of itself."

"But I didn't really even do anything. And I barely said anything either..." May was still having a hard time accepting it, though she had seen with her own eyes that this was true.

"It wasn't so much what you said, but how you said it. Your aura is what allowed Torchic to overcome her fears." The professor rationalized.

May couldn't help but smile at this revelation. Even though she'd never really liked pokemon, she really did like this Torchic, and she was glad to hear that she was able to get through to her while others couldn't.

"See, May? I told you! You definitely have a way with pokemon, and I really admire that." Ash spoke kindly. Ash's kind words and tone of voice made May blush for what felt like the billionth time that day, but she didn't hate it in the slightest.

Even after just meeting Ash, she already held a tremendous amount of respect and admiration toward him, which seemed crazy to her as in 30 minutes, this man'd had more of an impact on her than any other person she'd ever met other than her family. And as she admired him, it was nice to know that he admired her as well.

"You really do like her, don't you Torchic...?" Birch questioned, looking down at the ground for the small chick pokemon. But after looking all over the immediate area, he couldn't see her. He instantly went into a slight panic.

"Guys, Torchic is gone!" Professor Birch exclaimed.

"What!?" Ash and May both yelled simultaneously.

"I don't know! I just looked down and she was gone!" Birch responded quickly before a look of realization overtook his face. "Oh no..."

"What is it Professor?" May pleaded for Birch to speak.

"She must have been afraid when Ash revived Mightyena. Even though we all knew we could trust what was happening, Torchic didn't. When I first found her, she was being attacked by Mightyena, so she's probably terrified of them." Birch finished.

Everyone was worried beyond belief. They didn't like the idea of Torchic, who was quite a low level, being alone, wandering in the wild.

"We have to find her." May spoke with conviction. She knew she couldn't just sit around and do nothing.

"You're right, May. And I might have an idea as to how." Ash responded, peaking the Professor's and May's interest. "Do you guys have any pokemon that have a sensitive sense of smell?"

Birch shook his head and responded first, "I don't have all that many personal pokemon and the only one I had with me was Torchic."

Ash then looked to May, who sighed dejectedly, "Actually, today is supposed to be my first day as a trainer. And after everything that happened, I was hoping to pick Torchic..."

May's voice was full of sadness and her head was hanging down. Ash's heart ached at seeing his new friend like this. Without a second thought, Ash approached the brunette and place his hands on both of her shoulders, causing her to look up at him.

Ash was a good deal taller than her, causing him to have to tilt his head down to look into her eyes. Once he did, he took notice of just how beautiful...Ash quickly shook those thoughts out of his head; this was not the time for this. Little did he know May was having a similar internal monologue with herself.

"May, I swear on my life that we will find Torchic. You have my word, and I never go back on my word. And I know Torchic will be honored to be your first pokemon." Ash spoke with such conviction that it almost shocked May. But in the end, it really didn't. Even after only knowing Ash for less than an hour, this was what she'd come to expect from him.

May nodded and smiled sweetly as she stared into his eyes, seeing the passion and fire burning inside of them. This calmed her down immensely. She believed Ash with all her being, and she was going to help in anyway she could.

"But how are we gonna find her? She could've gone in any direction!" Birch reminded the pair.

Ash sighed before responding, "Well...I was kind of hoping that one of us would have a pokemon with an acute sense of smell. Pikachu's sense is decent, and I guess we could give it a try, but he's never done anything like this before."

Just as Ash finished speaking, a rustling came from their left. Not a second later, Mightyena and her cubs reappeared. The three humans shot Mightyena questioning glances. Pikachu took the opportunity to jump down from Ash's shoulder and approach the larger pokemon. The two began speaking to each other in poke speech. The back and forth didn't go on long before Pikachu hopped back over to Ash, a smile radiating on his face.

"What'd she say, buddy?" Ash questioned his pokemon. May and Birch looked at him like he was crazy as it seemed he was fully expecting an answer that he would be able to understand.

"Pi Pika pi pikachu. Pi Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed, causing a smile to break out on Ash's face as well.

"That's awesome, buddy!" Ash turned to face his two human companions, "Pikachu said Mightyena is willing to help us track her down. They weren't too far away from us when they heard us panic, and they wanted to help!"

May and the Professor stared at Ash in shock. Had he really understood a pokemon?

"Ash...how did you understand him?" May questioned, baffled by the development. Ash simply shrugged in response.

"Me and Pikachu are as close of friends as anyone can be. In fact, I think 'brothers' would actually be a better term. Our bond is so strong, that I just kind of understand him. Obviously, not in the traditional sense, but I get the gist of it." Ash explained, amazing the two further.

May had no idea a bond between human and pokemon could be so strong. She was beginning to rethink her general neutrality, near dislike of most pokemon. Now that she could see other examples other than just her father and his pokemon, they seemed to be pretty amazing creatures.

Ash turned his attention to Mightyena once again, "Thank you so much, Mightyena. We would really appreciate your help." Ash reached down and picked up his sleeping bag. Because Torchic had previously been laying on it, the sleeping bad most definitely held her sent. "Here, smell this and try to pick up her scent."

Mightyena sniffed the sleeping bag for a few moments and then went to work sniffing the ground around them. These people had been extremely kind to them, unlike so many others. They understood why they'd been attacked. After all, they were just doing the same thing they were; protecting those they cared about.

It wasn't long before the dark pokemon picked up a scent. She barked as indication that she'd picked up a scent.

"Alright, lead the way." May exclaimed, glad that they had a lead.

Because Mightyena had to constantly be sniffing the ground, they were pretty slow moving, leaving them plenty of time to think and talk. After meeting Ash and seeing the kind of person he was, May wanted to learn more about him. And the same could be said for Ash, who took the initiative.

"So May, what made you want to become a trainer?" Ash asked politely. It seemed like a basic question, but Ash had learned over the years that a lot of people have a much deeper reason for starting a pokemon journey than anyone would expect.

May, although glad that Ash had started a conversation, didn't answer immediately. She was wondering if she should tell him the real reason why she'd started a journey, or just say what she'd always told her parents. Though the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to tell the truth. Her parents weren't around to judge her and she already trusted Ash immensely. She could tell he wasn't the kind of person who would judge or make fun of her for any reason.

"Well, it's not exactly the reason you might think..." May started. She'd never told anybody the real reason she wanted to go on this journey. And because Professor Birch was ahead of them, closer to Mightyena, she was really only talking with Ash and for some odd reason, she wanted Ash to know the truth behind why she'd begun her journey.

"To be honest with you, I never really liked pokemon all that much. I had a bad experience in my childhood that sort of tainted my view of them." May stated and Ash's eyes widened slightly in surprise. With how she'd handled Torchic earlier, this news surprised him, even after May'd told them that she never really got along with most pokemon. From what he could tell, she was great with them. "The real reason I wanted to begin my journey was because I want to travel the world. I want to see everything it has to offer. And a pokemon journey is a perfect way to do just that."

May felt amazing having gotten this off her chest. She'd met this guys less than hour ago and already told him something literally no one else in the world kew about her. She'd really never acted this way before with anyone.

May then glanced at Ash to see what his reaction would be. Seeing her looking his way, Ash smiled brightly.

"I think that's awesome, May!" Ash exclaimed joyfully. May could tell that he truly supported her decision. That he wasn't mocking her as she feared others might do. "Even if you're not into battling, pokemon are still the avenue that'll allow to accomplish your dream of traveling the world, and I think that's amazing!"

May hadn't expected Ash to be as supportive as she was. She didn't expect him to make fun of her or anything like that, but to have some reassurance that what she was doing wasn't wrong felt incredible.

"And over the course of your journey, I think you'll come to find that you'll begin to like pokemon a lot more than you used to. They tend to have that sort of effect on people." Ash spoke, smiling with his eyes fixed on Pikachu whom was perched on his shoulder.

"Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed happily, nuzzling Ash's face. A moment, later, Pikachu jumped from Ash's shoulder and onto May's , causing the brunette to laugh jovially. Pikachu proceeded to nuzzle her face as well.

"Yeah, they're already starting to grow on me." May stated with a beaming smile adorning her features. "Especially with Torchic. That connection that you and Pikachu have? I think I felt the beginning of something like it with Torchic. Obviously we'd have to build our relationship over time, but we'd definitely be starting from a good place."

Ash could see May's face become somber as she remembered that Torchic was still missing. Ash wanted to do nothing more than to reassure her and fill her head with happy thoughts.

"May." Ash spoke, waiting for May to meet his gaze. The two had actually stopped walking momentarily. When the two locked eyes, Ash continued, "Torchic will be alright. We're going to find her. I swear it."

May had no idea why, but Ash's words managed to reassure her once again. This guy really was something else. She'd never encountered anyone quite like him before.

Seeing May smile once again, the two continued walking. Birch and Mightyena were still fairly close, so they hadn't fell behind.

"It is pretty crazy though." Ash spoke cryptically, catching May's attention. "Pikachu's never warmed up to anyone this fast, even me at first. He really likes you a lot. Don't you buddy?

Pikachu nodded happily, "Pika Pi Pika!"

His bright voice caused the two new friends to laugh. May had a few questions on her mind, so she decided she would ask.

"Why do you think that is? That Pikachu warmed up to me so fast, that is." May questioned. She honestly had no idea, and she was curious as to what Ash thought.

Ash shrugged, "I can't be sure, but I know one thing. Pikachu is a great judge of character. He can sense you have a pure heart. Hell, even I could tell that when we first met."

Ash's kind words made May blush once again. Hearing this praise really made her feel special. She still had another question though. He'd asked why she was going on a journey, now she wanted to know what his reasoning was.

"So why did you begin your pokemon journey? The money? The fame? The women...?" May spoke teasingly, causing Ash to snicker. From just being around him for a short while, May knew he wasn't after the things she'd listed, she wanted to have some fun. It was strange to her that she was able to joke around with someone so freely almost immediately after meeting, but she didn't dwell on it. She was more than happy about it, so she simply accepted it.

"Ha ha, very funny." Ash responded sarcastically with a smirk before letting a smile come across his face as he thought about his ultimate dream. "I've just always loved pokemon. They were all I focused on my entire childhood. I studied everything I could find, befriended wild pokemon, watched every battle I could... anything I could do, I did. It was all just so magical to me."

Ash spoke with a childlike wonder in his voice that was very refreshing for May to hear. It was nice to hear from someone so impassioned about something.

"When I was younger, I always said that I wanted to be a Pokemon Master." Ash laughed slightly. "But I don't even know what that means. No one does since it's not a real title. So now...I guess I just want to be the best trainer and person I can be. I want to beat the best of the best and become champion, I suppose. And help as many people and pokemon as I can along the way."

"That's very noble of you, Ash." May spoke in complete seriousness. She knew Ash meant every word of what he'd said.

Ash just shrugged his shoulders once again, "It's just how my mother raised me, I guess. But for now, my goal is to win the Hoenn league!"

May couldn't help but giggle at the sheer amount of excitement in his voice when he spoke about his dreams of battling the best the world had to offer. Meeting someone that had such a set dream was great, but it also made May feel a little bit badly about herself.

"Sometimes I wish I had a dream like that." May's voice dropped slightly as she spoke, and Ash noticed. May looked over to Ash and was met with a look of concern on his face. May smiled sincerely, but still spoke in the same tone as before. "Your goal just seems so clear cut. You really know what you want to do with your life. But me on the other hand...I just want to travel... I mean, that's kind of broad, isn't it?"

As Ash thought over what May had said, he placed his hands behind his head and looked forward. After a few moments, Ash decided to speak up.

"I don't think it really matters, does it?" May looked at Ash in mild surprise. "I mean sure, your goal can be something super extravagant, but why can't it also be something simple? I think all that matters is that you have something that you want to do." Ash paused momentarily and looked at May, putting his arms down by his sides. The brunette's eyes were fixed solely on him. The two had stopped walking once again. "Your dream is your own. No one else's. And it can be whatever you want it to be. That's what makes it special. And as long as it's what you truly want, you should be happy, right?"

Ash turned and faced forward once again, but still didn't begin walking. "And hey, maybe somewhere down the road, your dream will change or evolve, but it shouldn't matter as long as you're happy."

Ash turned his head and faced May once again, who's face was stoic as she stared into his eyes. Ash's words had been incredibly reassuring. She'd never been able to have a conversation like this as she'd never felt comfortable enough to share her doubts with anyone without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. So hearing what Ash had said comforted her greatly. It made her realize this journey is what would make her happy. And that was all the reassurance she needed.

Without a word, May shot forward and hugged the taller man, speaking into his chest, "Thank you..."

Ash wasn't exactly sure what he was being thanked for, but he knew better than to question it, so he simply hugged the girl back. The hug lasted only a few moments before the two broke apart and shared a smile before the began searching again.

The three continued to search for another 30 minutes. Though they were incredibly worried, none of them wanted that to cloud their judgement nor allow it to completely take over their thoughts. To do this, May and Ash continued to talk, relating over a lot of things and despite the situation, they were very much enjoying each others company. Plus with their belief in the fact that they would find Torchic, the two new friends were comfortable enough to get to know each other while they searched for their newest pokemon friend. They both felt a deep connection with each other, and knew that they were already good friends.

Before they knew it, they were reaching the edge of the forest. It was at this moment they heard Birch's voice from a good distance ahead of them.

"Guys! We found her!"

Allowing their smiles to grow, May and Ash ran to catch up the Professor. Pikachu had opted to hop off of May's shoulder and run on the ground with them, it was much easier that way.

The three didn't have to go far before the reached what looked to be an exit to the forest. As they walked through it, they realized that they were standing on the top of a cliff. It looked to be about 50 feet height.

Professor Birch, Mightyena ad her three cubs were standing close to them, while they noticed Torchic inching closer to the edge of the cliff. This immediately worried Ash and May; the orange pokemon didn't seem to realize exactly where she was.

It was clear to see that she was scared, very scared. It was then May realized that Mightyena was there, staring at the frightened pokemon, making her fear grow tenfold. Mightyena may have been there to help, but Torchic didn't know that.

"Professor, send Mightyena and her cubs into the forest a ways. Torchic is afraid of them." May whispered to the Professor.

Immediately realizing why Torchic was so scared, Birch did as May asked. The dark pokemon were happy to comply; if it would help, then they would do it.

Even though the Mightyena and Poochyena were now out of Torchic's sight, she still seemed frightened. May, knowing she had to act, steeled herself and approached the small pokemon slowly.

"Torchic, it's alright. The Mightyena and her cubs are gone. But they led us to you. They helped us find you. They're our friends now." May spoke in the calmest, most soothing voice she could. While it seemed to have some effect on Torchic, she was still visibly shaking and continued backing up dangerously close to the edge of the cliff.

"Torchic, don't be afraid. It's me, May. I'm your friend." May smiled as the small pokemon finally opened her eyes. She was making head way. She continued her approach. "I'm beginning my pokemon journey today, and I really, really want you to be my first pokemon friend. You could come with me and see all the wonderful things the world has to offer. And the best part is, you'll always be safe. I swear it."

Ash smiled as he watched May expertly handle the situation. She'd even used the line he'd used earlier in the day. May was like him in a lot of ways, Ash realized, and that was how he knew that this would work. That Torchic would come to her senses.

Torchic finally stopped shaking and backing up right as she reached the edge of the; one or two more steps and the pokemon would've fallen. Seeing that she'd stopped shaking fully, May approached Torchic and scooped her up in her arms.

May hugged the small pokemon close and Torchic did her best to hug back. Ash and Professor Birch finally felt it was okay to move once again as they were finally out of the woods.

Or so they thought.

It all happened so fast.

May really should've moved away from the edge of the cliff as soon as she had Torchic in her grasp.

Nobody noticed how worn the edge was. How fragile it had to be.

Before anyone could react, the part of the cliff May was standing on broke off and sent her plummeting down. At the last second, May threw Torchic to safety, being caught by Professor Birch.

"MAY!" All Ash could was watch in horror as his new friend disappeared over the edge. He approached quickly, not even thinking about the fact that the rest of the cliff may be fragile as well, and looked down.

He breathed a tremendous sigh of relief as he saw that there, about 15 feet down, was May, whom had caught herself on a branch that was growing out of the side of the cliff face.

"May! Are you alright!?" Ash screamed. He knew he had to act, but he needed to know that she wasn't hurt.

"Yeah! But please get me back up there! I think I hurt my hands, I don't know how long I can hold on... This really, really wasn't how I imagined today going." May responded, her attempt at a lighthearted joke falling flat, even with herself as the severity of the situation sucked any and all chance of humor and calmness out of the area.

Looking to his left, Ash saw that Birch was still frozen, holding a crying Torchic. Ash had an idea, but he'd need the Professor's help for this to work.

"Professor, do you have a rope?" Ash asked quickly. There truly was no time to waste. Ash had no idea how long May could hold on.

Ash's words seemed to break the Professor out of his stupor, "Well...yeah I keep one in my bag. But it's pretty old, I don't know how strong it is. There's a good chance that it won't be able to support your weight, let alone the both of you."

Without even waiting for Birch to pull it out himself, Ash dug around in the bag that hung from the man's shoulder, pulling out a rope that was most definitely long enough to reach May. Ash was relieved. At least now, they had a chance. And he could move forward with his plan...

"It doesn't matter. I'm not letting May fall. I'd rather try and fall myself than sit here and do nothing." Ash responded as he moved forward with his plan. His willingness to put his life on the line amazed the professor as he watched the young man do what had to be done.

After he pulled it out, he ran over to the nearest tree and began tying one end of the rope to it. While doing this, he saw the pack of dark/normal types reappear. They'd seen everything and they wanted to help.

Ash spoke to them as he completed tying the know to the tree. He then began tying the other around his waist and through his legs, similar to how a harness would be set up.

"We're gonna need your help. We're gonna need everyone to help pull me and May back up. I would just send the rope down, but May hurt her hands and I'm afraid she won't be able to make the transition." Ash informed the pokemon of what he would need from them while simultaneously explaining his actions.

Ash quickly made his way to the edge after making sure he had the Mightyena and her cubs' cooperation.

Birch quickly approached Ash, "Are you sure about this?"

Ash knew that the Professor was scared about this, but there was simply no time for fear. Sure Ash was scared, but May had to be much more so. And he'd sworn long ago to help and protect everyone he could, no matter the cost.

Before he responded, he tugged hard on the rope, making sure that it was tied well against the tree one last time before he would go over the edge. Ash looked at the Professor, his face plastered with determination.

"No...I'm not... but it's the only chance we have. Now lower me down slowly. Then when I say so, pull us both back up. Mightyena and her cubs will help. Pikachu too." Ash explained to the man.

Birch nodded before he picked up the rope after setting Torchic down. The orange pokemon saw the dark/normal types reappear but after seeing them pick up the rope with their mouths, she realized that they truly were there to help. To help one of the few people she trusted and cared about. She couldn't afford to be afraid at a time like this.

With that in mind, Torchic trotted to the back of the rope, directly behind one of the Poochyena, not eve flinching as she passed the larger pokemon. She felt no fear this time, only determination. She picked it up as best a she could in her beak. She knew she wouldn't be able to help much, but she would try her absolute best.

As soon as everyone was in position, Ash went over the ledge. They controlled the descent as best they could, but it was by no means perfect. Though, they managed to stop him at just the right spot, directly next to May.

May had her eyes closed in fear. She'd never particularity been afraid of heights, but this was ridiculous. She only opened her eyes when she heard Ash's voice surprisingly close to her.

"Need a hand?" Ash asked lightheartedly, trying to relax her slightly. May opened her eyes and saw Ash directly next to her, a rope tied around his waist and between his legs, almost like a makeshift harness.

May couldn't believe it. She couldn't believe Ash was here to save her. She prayed to be saved, but she didn't know how that would be possible but now, here was her savior, waiting with open arms. May was too shocked to respond verbally.

"Alright, May. I'm going to hold you bridal style and Birch and the pokemon are going to pull us up. Hold onto me as tightly as you can. You ready?" Ash questioned. As soon as May nodded, Ash grabbed May, and allowed her hands to leave the branch, showing she trusted Ash with her life. Literally.

"Okay, pull us up!" Ash shouted. As soon as he did, Ash felt the tension on the rope increase. The pain was excruciating to Ash, causing him to wince. Because the rope was never designed to be a harness, it dug into his body with the force of not only his weight, but May's as well.

May immediately became concerned when she saw Ash wince several times. Seeing the concern on her face, Ash forced a smile. "I'll be fine. Don't worry about it."

May had her arms around Ash's neck as he held her. They were moving upward, but it was slow going. It was minutes before they reached anywhere near the top of the cliff; it'd obviously taken significantly longer to pull them up than it was to lower Ash down.

May was finally beginning to feel truly safe, Ash too. But of course, they weren't out of the woods yet. As there was only about 7-8 feet to go, Birch yelled the absolute worst thing that they could've heard at a time like this.

"The rope is snapping!" Birch exclaimed, cursing himself for never replacing the 20+ year old rope. Slowly but surely, the fibers holding the rope together at the part of the rope just above the cliff's edge slowly tore apart.

"Keep pulling!" Ash screamed. His adrenaline was pumping faster than it ever had before.

"We're not gonna make it!" Birch explained. It was at this moment Ash had an idea. It wasn't a good one, but it would work...kind of. His adrenaline was aiding his strength tremendously, and he was going to use that to his advantage.

"Professor, come to the edge! Hold us steady!" Ash commanded. Birch did what he said without question, even despite not knowing what Ash was planning.

The brunette started to hyperventilate. They were going to die. Both of them. She couldn't believe this was how it was going to end. That she was going to be the reason why the person who'd come to save her would perish, as well as herself.

Ash, who was scared out of his wits himself, especially with what he had planned, forced May to look at him, "I promise, you're getting out of this. I swear it."

With only five feet to left to go, the rope finally snapped completely...

...But not before Ash made his move.

Ash used his adrenaline aided strength to shift May's position in his arms just moments before the rope snapped fully and threw her upwards, and slightly forwards. It was like an act of a superhuman; similar to the stories of old ladies lifting cars off of children.

But whatever it was, it worked. May ended up with the majority of her body on the cliffs edge, only her shins still laying over it; Birch helped to pull her up the rest of the way. She was safe.

But immediately, they both focused on something else entirely. Ash hadn't made it. He wasn't here. May, crying heavily, squirmed out of the Professor's arms and looked over the edge.

"ASHHHHH!" The brunette screamed at the top of her lungs, not being able to see clearly through her tears.

"I'm still here, May!" May had not been expecting a response but as she controlled her tears, she realized that Ash had managed to grab hold of the branch that she had just minutes before. "Hey, I said I'd get you out of it, didn't I?"

Ash's lighthearted tone betrayed every emotion in the area at the moment. Now that she knew he was alive, May had to go to work figuring out how to save him.

"Professor, you have another rope, right?!" May pleaded with the Professor, whom only looked to the ground and shook his head. "Then go and get help! HURRY!"

Upon hearing May's words, Birch regained his feet and began running faster than a man his size should've been able to.

May looked over the edge again, "Just hang on Ash! We're gonna get you back up here!"

"Sounds good to me, May!" Ash flashed his signature smile at the brunette, causing her to laugh through her tears at the amazing fact that he was still alive. With Ash's obvious strength, both May and Ash had faith that he'd be able to hang on until a solution could be found.

Though at that exact moment, they heard a cracking sound. It wasn't loud or major, but Ash could tell that the branch he was holding was beginning to break. As he looked at the branch, he could see that it was rotted and had only held May because she was so light. But he was significantly heavier...and it couldn't support his weight.

"You've gotta be kidding me..." Ash muttered to himself. The world just seemed to be against him on this day.

Ash realized immediately what this meant. Any kind of hope he had of making it through this left his body in a hurry. May had heard the snap, but didn't want to believe what it meant.

"May, the branch is going to break." Ash spoke more calmly than anyone in this situation should've been able to.

"NO! Professor Birch will be back with help before then! Just hold on!" May pleaded, hoping that somehow her words would make a difference.

"May, it's fine. You're okay, and that's all that matters." Ash spoke sincerely, causing May to cry even harder.

"I need you to call my mother, Delia Ketchum. She lives in Pallet Town. And also call my friend Brock Harrison, who lives in Pewter City. Both places are in Kanto. They'll want to know what happened." Ash spoke sternly, relaying just how important it was that she did this. It was so strange to hear this man, moments from death, speaking so calmly, as if he'd come to terms with it.

"ASH STOP TALKING LIKE YOU'RE GONNA DIE!" May cried, her sadness manifesting into anger at the fact that Ash had seemingly accepted that this day was to be his last.

"May, please just promise me you'll do that. Please."


The branch broke a bit more. Upon hearing this, May nodded her head, still not accepting what was happening, but just doing anything she could to make Ash feel better. Plus, his pleading tone of voice pulled at her heartstrings. The least she could do was this. It was at this moment that Pikachu looked over the edge with tears in his eyes.

"Pika Pi!" Pikachu screamed in a panic.

Upon hearing his best friend cry out, tears finally began to leave Ash's eyes. "I'm gonna miss you buddy. Look out for May. And take care of Mom for me."

Ash then looked back to May. His voice was breaking, but he willed himself to continue speaking, "I'm sorry, May. I really wish I could've gotten to know you better. You're a really special person."

By this point, you could hear the tears in Ash's voice. May couldn't respond, all she could do was stare at Ash and sob, her lip quivering.

Ash met her gaze once more, and despite the incredible amount of fear he was feeling, he shot her a forced smile.

"It's okay..."


Before he could say another word , the branch broke completely, sending Ash plummeting to the ground below. Ash didn't even scream, he simply closed his eyes and waited for the impending impact.

May closed her eyes, unable to look at the scene and screamed.


A/N: And there is the first chapter of this incredibly long project. Remember when I said that I'd be writing a lot this summer, well I kept that promise, just in a way none of you probably expected. I really hope you enjoyed this first chapter and please, let me know what you think of it. Like I said, I will be doing every other day updates, so always look forward to that! This story has already been completed so there won't be any long waiting times between updates! I hope that excites you and you all favorite, review and follow this story! Have a good day guys and I'll see you again in 2 days time. See ya!