Ash Ketchum was never a person that liked to stand still and wait: as such, the trip back home was one of his least favorite parts of his travels. On the way towards the new region he always had the excitement of going to brand new locales, while on the way out he could only reminisce about the great friends he and Pikachu had met and all the adventures they shared together.
As his plane kept flying towards Kanto, Ash adjusted his seat, eyes outside the window towards regions he didn't even knew the names of. Maybe one of them was where his journey would have led him next? He didn't knew, but couldn't wait to discover it. In spite of this, however, a thought kept haunting him.
A rare sigh escaped his lips, something Pikachu in his arms noticed before quickly crawling over his shoulder and staring at Ash intently. He gave him a smile and petted his head.
"It's nothing, don't worry. I was just thinking about our friends." His glance turned serious as he observed the stretch of land under the plane. "Not just Serena, Clemont and Bonnie. Misty, Brock, May, Max, Dawn, Iris, Cilan... I wonder how they are doing, you know? It's been a while since I last met any of them."
Pikachu looked down as well for a second, hit by nostalgia as well. However, he soon switched to an annoyed glance, tugging at his friend's shirt. Ash chuckled.
"Right, it's not like me to keep thinking this way." He sent another look outside, smiling. "I know we will meet all of them again one day. And I can't wait for it."
His happiness was short-lived however, as he saw something weird on the horizon. Something black, rapidly expanding and eating the sky. At first he assumed it was just an hallucination, until he saw again the blackness.
He paled, remembering a familiar accident from his Sinnoh journey. He instinctively clenched his fists.
"Have you seen that, Pikachu?" He asked as he turned around, seeing Pikachu stare at their side, cheeks sparkling with electricity and ready to attack. Confused, he turned that way, and his eyes widened even more.
Their whole plane was dissolving into blackness as well, metal parts and people disappearing completely, everyone tried to flee or scream, but there was nowhere to hide. Ash tried to grab his Poké Ball and call on Talonflame, Hawlucha and Noivern to attack the advancing nothingness, but the space closed off before he could.
He frowned and gritted his teeth, keeping Pikachu tight alongside him. He hated to feel this powerless: he wanted to do something to stop it, but there was nothing he could do.
As everyone else was swallowed away, only he and Pikachu remained. The blackness reached both, and dragged them away from each other.
"Pikachu!" Ash yelled, fighting off the erasure as he extended a hand towards his friend; on the opposite side, Pikachu did the same.
Before they could grab each other, both of them were pulled away. They yelled each other's names, and the world ceased to be.
Void. No people, no plane, no Pikachu.
As he came back to his senses, Ash saw nothing around him aside from utter blackness. He blinked and steadied himself: there was no actual ground, yet he managed to stand upright. Ash avoided asking himself how that could work, focusing on his body and surroundings first. The confusion made way to worry, and his eyes darted everywhere.
"Pikachu! Are you here? Please, if you are, say something! Anything!" Ash yelled, his voice echoing all around him. No one replied, and his hands twitched.
"It is futile to continue searching for your 'friend'. He ceased to be, just like everything else."
Ash flinched, a shiver running down his spine. He turned around, and found a blue-haired man staring him down.
"No way." Sweat ran down Ash's face. "Cyrus?"
The leader of Team Galactic just stood there motionless, hands behind his back. Ash remained tense, hands going over his Poké Balls.
"I thought it would be fitting for you to be the last remnant of the old world, before I recreated it once more." Cyrus glanced at his side, contemplating the nothingness.
Ash narrowed his eyes. "This makes no sense. You disappeared in that portal Dialga and Palkia made, and-"
"And I remained stuck there, in the void between the universes." Cyrus extended his arms at the side, facing upwards. "For any other weak-willed human it would have been hell, but for me it was a blessing. It gave me time to master the control of the fabric of time and space. And now, I'm able to control all of reality as I see fit."
Paying attention to his words, Ash noticed how different Cyrus sounded, way more monotone and with his face showing no emotion. He quickly discarded that observation however, and grabbed one of his Poké Balls. "Hawlucha, use Flying-"
As the Poké Ball opened and nothing came out, Ash stopped and observed it: the Poké Ball was empty. He tried Talonflame's and Noivern's too, to the same result.
Cyrus approached him slowly. "Useless. I made sure to erase all of your 'friends' before you came to consciousness, alongside every legendary Pokémon of note. I wanted you and you alone to be powerless against my ultimate triumph."
With a quick gesture, a glowing whiteness formed behind him, expanding progressively. Cyrus bathed in the light, before turning around towards it.
"Look on, as I wash away all remnants of the old universe. Look on as my new reality unveils itself in front of you!" Cyrus said, putting his hand inside the whiteness.
Ash kept looking on, speechless. He had no idea what was going on and what Cyrus was doing, but one thing was clear: he had to stop him.
He couldn't allow him to create his 'world without spirit', or whatever it was. He had many people and Pokémon to meet, friends to encounter again, rivals to face off in hot-blooded battles; and he knew many other people wanted to continue doing what they like, as well.
When facing Lysandre, Ash told him he'd fight for Pokémon and the sake of tomorrow. And he was going to honor that promise.
Ash felt the whiteness reach and grab him, trying to erase him once more. However, he refused to comply.
A blue aura flared around him, his eyes glowing a faint azure light. He felt his own life energy surge and his strenght increasing, and broke free of the whiteness. It was a familiar sensation, something he felt already in Hoenn and Sinnoh, but never as powerful as then.
Cyrus turned his head and raised an eyebrow, still up to his own devices. "Fascinating phenomenon. But it will not be enough to save you."
"We will see about that, Cyrus!" Ash dashed towards him, glaring. "I'm not going to let you destroy our world! Put it back as it was before!"
"You will not do a thing, Ash Ketchum. You will cease to be, right here, right now." Cyrus closed his eyes.
The whiteness tried to grab Ash again, attempting to pull him back in non-existence.
Ash didn't give in, moving forward. With every step he made, memories and promises came back to him.
He remembered all his bickering with Misty, and how he wanted to have another battle with her.
All the times Brock supported him, and how he wished to see him become a Pokémon Doctor.
The care and love Tracey put in ensuring his Pokémon at Oak's Laboratory were well treated, and how he wanted to repay the favor.
The great progress May did as a Coordinator, and how he was certain she'd become a Top Coordinator in no time.
How Max awaited eagerly for the day he'd become a trainer, and how he wished to see him do great at the League.
The support Dawn gave him while he supported her too, and how she had definitely surpassed her mother by then.
All the times Iris made fun of him, and how it just drove him to prove her not be 'such a kid'.
The great meals and advice Cilan gave him, and how he wanted to see his Connosieur skills improve.
All the inventions Clemont created, and how he wanted to see him become an inventor that made Pokémon happy.
The laughs and fun he shared with Bonnie, and how he wished to honor her request and face her in a Pokémon battle.
The determination Serena had to pursue her dream, and how he hoped to see her being crowned Kalos Queen.
And not just them. Gary, Paul, Trip, Sawyer, Alain and everyone else he had met during his journey. He recalled all the people he held fond memories of, everyone he met on his journey, no matter how briefly. He wanted to meet them all again, and couldn't allow them to disappear forever.
Ash roared as he fought back the whiteness, tackling down Cyrus and crashing them straight into the glowing area. The light surrounded both, and finally, Cyrus felt fear.
"What are you doing? Let me go! You will not defeat me a second time!" Cyrus tried to break free, only for Ash to keep him down.
"It's over, Cyrus! You will never take away our world from us!"
Ash kept him down, the memories of everything he did and the reason he started travelling the only thing in his mind. He would've never allowed Cyrus to delete it all, they were the most precious thing he had, and would've fought forever to keep them up.
The light engulfed everything around them, and suddenly everything ended.
Ash jumped awake, breathing heavily as he turned around. His eyes regained focus soon after as he tried making sense of what happened, only to feel even more confused upon inspection.
He was in a bedroom, partially lit by the sun coming out of the window. It was scarcely decorated, save for a couple of posters on the walls, a television, and a small desk right next to the elevated bed. A room Ash knew very well, since it was his.
Ash blinked a couple times. Was all that happened with Cyrus a dream? That was weird, and he didn't recall coming out of his plane either...
Some steps were heard beyond the door, and a familiar women opened it, observing Ash in concern. "Ash? Is everything okay?"
"Huh, mom?" Ash blinked more. He rubbed his neck and forced a smile.. "Uhm, yes. I just had a bad dream."
"This is why I told you to sleep earlier yesterday." She scowled at him, only for her expression to switch to a smile as she turned around. "Well, at least you will be ready in time to obtain your first Pokémon now. I will prepare breakfast!"
As his mother left, Ash added another question to the pile. He pinched his cheek really hard, and as nothing changed, he understood it was all real. He turned downward, mind racing.
What was going on? Were all his adventures a dream he had? Did he time travel? Did what happened with Cyrus cause something? His mind was drawing a blank, and he had no answer in sight.
Ash shook his head, staring at the door. Staying in his room would have helped nothing, and he could only go forward and discover what this all meant. His head already hurt enough after all that happened.
He changed from his pajamas into his clothes, the same ones he wore for his first journey through Kanto. Adjusted his hat, he left his room and saw the corridor, examining every corner of the house: everything was exactly as he imagined, unchanged. Then he noticed someone cleaning the floor nearby.
As he saw it, Ash tilted his head. "Mimey?"
"Yes?" His mother's Pokémon said, looking up.
Ash widened his eyes, then shook his head and hands. "H-huh, nothing."
Mimey stared at him, then shrugged and went back to cleaning; Ash remained still, trying to make sense of everything. Did he just hear Mimey talk? Sure, he was a Psychic-type Pokémon, but he had never used telepathy in all the time they had known each other. And assuming he was sent back to when he first started his journey, then Mimey shouldn't have been there to begin with.
Ash grabbed his forehead, massaging it as he sighed: he really wasn't used to think that much about things. He always preferred straightforward stuff to complicated thoughts. At that point, he could only hope people like Professor Oak could help him understand what was going on.
A voice boomed from downstairs. "Ash, breakfast is ready! We are all waiting for you!"
Ash yelped. "I'm coming!" He said, rushing downstairs.
The 'we' his mother used confused him, but with all that was going on that was the least of his worries.
As he entered the kitchen, he expected to find someone like his father, his grandfather, Pikachu, Professor Oak, maybe even Tracey. He would've never expected to find a blonde-haired girl he had learned to know well during his latest journey, smiling right at him.
This is a small project I've thought about for a while, and with XY ending this week I thought it was the perfect point to write and publish the first chapter. As said in the introduction, this story takes some cues from both Ashes of the Past by Saphroneth and Pokémon Reset Bloodlines by Crossoverpairinglover, two stories I'd reccomend to every reader: that said, I plan to go in a slightly different direction than both of these stories, starting with explaining the premise over the next several chapters. I expect this story to be rather long, though I might not actually leave Kanto: in spite of this, as the ending scene shows, I'm going to use characters and elements from the whole series. In any case, I hope it will be a fun romp, even if between university, Resetverse stories, other unrelated stories planned and some logistics of the story itself to consider it might take a while for the story to continue: that said, I will make sure not to take too much time.
Also, just to make it clear, I plan the story to stay shipping neutral as much as possible, since there will be already many elements to juggle and adding a romantic subplot would just make things more complicated. That said, I will probably have to adress the Amour kiss at some point for obvious reasons, and Serena will still have her crush on Ash.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter! See you next time!