Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon

A Parting of Ways

Vermillion City was not unaccustomed to Pokémon in its harbor. They live there. Nor is the sight of seeing trainers use their Pokémon to surf in and out of the harbor. All of that was perfectly normal. However it wasn't often you saw one engage in a musical number. Oh well, at least they were entertaining. Sitting atop Lapras Ash smiled up at the sun as the familiar Kanto breeze hit his face. Truly there was no place like home!

"I wanna be the very best." They had done well in the Alola League! They hadn't won, but they made it to the finals again.

"Like no one ever was." Things got crazy again after the league with Lillie's family, the Aether Foundation, Team Skull, the Legendary Pokémon, and the Ultra Beasts. Things got so intense Zygarde showed up with Greninja and Goodra! (Greninja apparently had suggested they pick him on the way)

"To catch them is my real test." When it was all over the two Kalos Pokemon chose to stay with Ash. Greninja's duty in Kalos done and Goodra wanted to see his old Kalos friends and meet Ash's other Pokemon. He could always go back to Kalos via the PokeBall Transfer System anyways.

"To train them is my cause." Ash took a boat home that passed through the Orange Islands. When he missed his next ship he was lucky enough to stumble upon Lapras's pod. Lapras having chosen a successor to lead his pod offered to not only take Ash home, but rejoin him as well!

"I will travel across the land." Walking down the streets of Vermillion City Ash was tackled by a familiar sunglass wearing Squirtle. Upon learning Ash was traveling through Kanto a bit before going home Squirtle asked if he could come along for old times sake. Ash happily accepted.

"Searching far and wide." Fueled by nostalgia Ash called Professor Oak who after a quick switch sent him Bulbasaur, Charizard, and Kingler.

"Teach Pokémon to understand." Heading north brought them to Saffron City when passing by the Fighting Dojo; Ash was tackled yet again, this time by a large ball of white fur and fury-Ash's old buddy Primeape. After a short reunion the pig-monkey joined Ash as well having completed his training at the dojo and learned all he could there and now desired to go out into the world and find stronger opponents.

"The power that's inside." They headed further north to Cerluean City to see Misty, only to discover she wasn't in her gym.

"It's you and me, I know it's my destiny." They head through Mt. Moon and to Pewter City only to encounter the same bad luck. No Brock either. They did fight Team Rocket piloting a mecha that resembled an Onix in Mt. Moon though. Charizard blew it up. Fun times.

"Ooh, you're my best friend." They head into Viridian Forest where Ash experiences two reunions at once this time: Butterfree (with his family) and Pidgeot (with his flock).

"In a world we must defend." Both bug and bird clans had fallen on hard times thanks to the territory war between the Beedrill and the Spearow and both groups were now caught in the middle alongside the rest of the forest. Bulbasaur suggested they come with them to Oak's reservation-there would be plenty of room there for them all.

"A heart so true." Both groups quickly accepted the offer, but first Ash, Pikachu, and the rest of his team were going to bring order back to the forest.

"Our courage will pull us through." The epic battle that transpired between Ash's Team, the Pidgey and Butterfree flocks vs. the Beedrill Swarm and Spearow Flock unfortunately would push us over our budget so we'll skip it. Sorry. Just know it was really awesome!

"You teach me, and I'll teach you." There was just something about going home with his original six Pokémon that just felt right Ash thought. Reuniting not just his original team but reuniting with Greninja, Goodra, Lapras, and Primeape as well. Ash felt like he was top of the world! This had to be a sign! He was going to win not only his next league, but beat the Elite Four too! Nothing could bring him down! Nothing!

The sound of arguing coming from inside his house brought not only that thought to a halt, but the small parade he was leading which resulted in Charizard tripping over Bulbasaur and Squirtle and falling on top of them. Butterfree and Pidgeot landed next to the dog pile and shared a look. It was nice to see some things never changed. "Ow…"

Untangling themselves the group shared a look. Making a decision Ash recalled Charizard, Butterfree, and Pidgeot and then went inside his house followed by Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle.

Before we proceed further let's take a step back in time and see what was going on in the Ketchum house before Ash arrived.

XXX

It had started civil at first Brock would later recount to Ash. Everyone has gathered in the living room having a goodtime, Delia and Mimey were in the kitchen making lunch, he and Cilan were helping her, Misty, Tracey, Max, and Iris were all getting along.

"So how is the gym leader business been going Misty?" Tracey asked.

"It's going… well I've been encountering a lot of strong trainers lately and they've all had chips on their shoulders so I'm really grateful for the break." Misty told him honestly.

"Sorry to hear that Misty." Tracey replied while Iris nodded.

"Being a gym leader is tough I can only imagine how hard I'll have it when I become one especially since I'm training Dragons." Iris commented.

"What do you mean by that?" Misty asked.

On the other side of the room the tension between May and Dawn was so thick you could it with knife, the two were silently glaring at one another. It was Max of course who decided to prod his sister and ask what was wrong. This would be the event that'd set things off.

"Nothing… I've just been having trouble in the last few contests that's all." May told her brother her tone unusually controlled.

"You'd probably be doing better if you stopped blaming everyone for your losses." Dawn muttered.

"I do not blame everyone, just those who deserve it." May said rather hotly. Dawn rolled her eyes in response.

"Did something happen between you two?" Max asks. Brock, seeing the tension ready to boil over really wished Max would stop poking the beedrill nest.

"Well Max is you must know someone stole some of my ideas for a performance." May informed her brother.

"I did not steal your ideas." Dawn snapped standing up, "you inspired some ideas for a performance I was working on. That's all."

"And caused me to lose the festival." May was standing up now.

"I'm sorry you haven't been doing well in contests, but I've been having a rough time too lately." Dawn retorted.

"A rough enough time you'd steal other's hard work you thief!"

"I'm not a thief!"

"Are too!"

"Are not!"

Brock was about ready to step up and try to calm the situation only for another argument to break out next to him.

"Please compared to Dragons, Water types are so mundane." Iris said dismissively.

"I won't deny Dragon types have a certain prestige to them, but becoming a Water Master is just as hard as becoming a Dragon Master if not more so since you have more to prove." Misty replied. The conversation had been going so well at first they had mentioned their specialties and dreams of becoming masters of their respective types. Then somehow it had turned into a 'which type is better pissing match'. She really didn't need this right now. She was supposed to be relaxing. Not getting into a spat with a girl several years younger then her!

"Why don't we all try and calm down-" Brock started to say only to be cut off by the glare all four girls gave him: "You stay out of this!"

"Brock?" Tracey asked hiding behind the couch doing his best not to be noticed.

"Yes Tracey?" Brock asked

"Why are girls so scary?"

"I rather not answer that right now." Brock said nervously.

"Truly that is the wisest course of action." Cilan nodded his head sagely from where he was hiding in the closet.

"You guys are so lame." Max told them… from where he was hiding under the table with Piplup and Axew.

"Pot to kettle." Brock retorted. Brock peered over into the kitchen to see why Delia hadn't come out to see what the ruckus was about; he saw she was wearing headphones and listening to music, and probably had no clue what was going on. Just great.

Everyone was too busy arguing or trying not to be noticed no one noticed a familiar electric rodent step into the living room and poked May's ankle to try and get her attention only for the girl to shift her foot onto Pikachu's foot. The following reaction was to be expected.

"PI-KA-CHU!"

One quick thunderbolt brought the arguments to a quick halt.

"Been a long time since I felt one of those…" Misty groaned as she pulled herself to her feet. Slowly Iris, May, and Dawn joined her.

"Sorry about that, but you did step on his foot." Ash sort of apologizes as he steps into the room with Squirtle and Bulbasaur poking their heads out from behind his legs. Experience has taught them to duck for cover when Pikachu let's loose.

"Hey Ash how was Alola?" Brock asks.

"It was great! So uh, why were you guys arguing?" Ash asked looking over at the girls.

"Well Ash May and Dawn are mad because they haven't been doing well in contests lately." Max told him.

"Really? I'm sorry to hear that" Ash said looking at them.

"How did you do in the Alola League Ash?" Brock asked wanting to change the subject.

"I did good made it to the finals again." Ash replied taking a seat on the couch.

"That's seven leagues now huh? And you still haven't won a tournament yet." Max noted. The way Max said that seemed odd, but Ash shrugged. Yeah losing again sucked, but it didn't help to dwell on that loss.

"We did our best. That's all I can ask of my Pokemon. It's not like losing is the end of the world, we'll do better next time I'm sure." Ash smiled patting Pikachu on the head while Squirtle climb up to join them on the couch. Bulbasaur rested at Ash's feet silently observing the animosity in the room.

"That's easy for you to say, but not so easy to back up." May replied.

"What?"

"Being a coordinator is hard, maybe even harder then being a trainer we just can't be good we have to look good as well. Compared to us you have it easy." Dawn said.

"And being a gym leader is even harder then being a regular trainer." Misty added.

"Well I just aim to do my best and hope that's enough." Ash said. He wasn't really sure what else to say. They were right being a coordinator and gym leader was different then being just another run-of-the-mill trainer.

"You just don't get it do you? If you're not number one, no one will give you the time of day." Max told him.

"Why should I care what others think of my accomplishments?" Ash asked.

"Spoken like a true second placer. No wonder you haven't won anything." Max shook his head.

"Max just because you were knocked out of the Hoenn League early is no reason to take it out on Ash." Brock admonished, but his words fell on deaf ears.

"So the Orange League and Battle Frontier don't count?" Ash demanded. Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle glared as well. On his belt Charizard's ball rattled.

"Those aren't major series leagues, they're more like filler." Max waved his hand dismissively.

"That doesn't mean they weren't just as challenging." Ash replied, "That's what I'm really looking for as a trainer, the challenge, what's the point of winning anything if I didn't have fun getting there?"

"Only a kid would have such a care-free attitude." Iris remarked.

"That's probably why you haven't won a league yet, you don't take things seriously enough." Max added. Misty, May, Dawn, and Iris all were murmuring some form of agreement.

This angers Ash not only because it insults him, but every trainer he's ever fought. However, he wasn't in the mood to argue with anyone. He really wanted to get to Oak's lab and see all his Pokémon. This team photo would be even bigger then the last. Aside from Larvitar and Ambipom (who was Dawn's Pokémon now) the whole family was practically back together!

"I'm just going to go now. Tell my Mom I said hi." Ash gets up and leaves followed by Pikachu and the two starters. Before he leaves Squirtle puts out his shades and gives everyone a hand gesture that they suspected translated to something along the lines of 'its on now'.

It was at this moment Delia walked in with Mimey.

"Was that Ash? He didn't stop to say hello to me." Delia frowned. That wasn't like her sweet little boy at all, "did something happen?"

"Uh… well you see Mrs. Ketchum…." Brock started to say.

XXX

Pallet Town Harbor, roughly a few miles away, Ash's friends suddenly appeared 10-feet above the water, this was followed by a large splash of them hitting the water.

Thankfully, everyone knew how to swim.

"Well that could have gone better." Cilan observed as he swam over to the nearest dock. The others followed after him.

"I don't get why she got so mad. All I did was say the truth." Max complained.

"Never underestimate a Mother's rage in defense of her child." Brock told him.

XXX

Seeing as it was only one in the afternoon, Ash decided to go to Oak's lab to train his Pokémon. Bulbasaur sent out the signal and soon a hoard of eighty strong gathered before their trainer.

"Alright everyone let's start training for the next league conference. With all of us together there's no way will lose this time!" Ash declared pumping his fist skyward. This action was mimicked by all of his Pokémon well those who had fists that could point skyward anyways, but the quadrupeds shared the sentiment at least. The moment was somewhat lost though when Bayleef gave Ash one of her overly affectionate body slams.

10-Minutes-Later

Ash and his Pokemon stared at the chaos before them. Chaos they had inadvertently caused when their training turned into a free-for-all (Blame Charizard-Sceptile-Infernape-Krookodile-Greninja). The Oak Reservation was now home to a crater large enough that three wailord could fit it with room to spare, the forest area was on fire, various Pokémon were running around in a panic, and Oak's lab building was missing part of its roof-(Crash)-okay all of the roof and one wall. Oh boy that sure looked expensive… Quickly Ash's Water Types led by Squirtle hurried to put out the fire supported by a rain dance from Goodra.

"Ash?" Professor Oak said calmly, too calmly. It was never good when someone spoke that calmly. Especially when their hair was smoking like that.

"Yes Professor?" Ash asked hesitantly stepping forward.

"Go just go, take your Pokémon, all of your Pokémon, somewhere, anywhere else to train, you have my permission, just whatever you do don't train here again. Please." Then the Professor turned around looked at what had once been his lab and broke down sobbing. Muk patted him on the back consolingly while Kingler handed him a box of tissues before retreating to join the rest of Ash's Pokemon who were getting into a 'return to your ball line'. Once everyone, save for Charizard and Pikachu, were in their balls and in Ash's backpack the trainer took one last regretful look at Oak's Lab unable to stop thinking about how this day couldn't get any worse before getting on Charizard's back and flying away westward towards Johto.

XXX

It also only took Ash ten minutes to get hopelessly lost as he trekked through the woods somewhere west along the Kanto-Johto border after giving Charizard a rest. He was pretty sure he was near New Bark Town. Maybe he could leave his extra Pokémon with Professor Elm? Having all of his Pokémon with him would get quite taxing eventually. He was interrupted from his thoughts from the sound of a battle up ahead. He and Pikachu shared a look before running towards the noise to see what was going on. They came to a clearing where they saw two Pokemon: Mega Sceptle and Mega Swampert going all out against each other in a mighty display of grass and water type attacks. Eventually, the battle came to a conclusion with the Swampert as the victor.

Their trainers then stepped forward to congratulate their Pokémon and each other on a well-fought battle. Ash immediately recognized the trainers and ran over to them excitedly.

"Tyson! Morrison! It's me Ash! Haven't seen you guys since the Ever Grande Conference how you guys been?" He greeted happily to see some of his old friendly rivals.

"Oh hey Ash we've been doing well what about yourself?" Tyson greeted back.

"Hey Ash why does your backpack look all bloated?" Morrison points to Ash's backpack which was swelling from the number of Pokeballs it contained.

"Long story." Ash told them, "I'm just taking all my Pokémon out on training exercise where we won't break anything."

"All of them? How many do you have?" Morrison asked. Ash's backpack looked ready to burst.

"Counting my thirty Tauros? Around eighty I think."

"Where did you catch thirty Tauros?" Morrison said incredulously.

"Safari Zone."

"But they're supposed to be really rare how did you-and I think I just answered my own question." Tyson said realizing how Tauros became so rare. Ash considered telling him he hadn't even been trying to catch thirty Tauros, it sort of just happened, but decided against it.

"So you guys know any good training spots around here?" Ash asks. The other two looked at each other a moment before smiling and sharing a nod.

"Ash I think we can help you with that, but would you be okay with leaving your extra Pokémon at the Silver Town Pokémon Center?"

"Sure, wait I'm near Mt. Silver? I wonder how Larvitar is doing?" After all the reunions he had to day encountering Larvitar again was looking likely.

"Actually you're on Mt. Silver you didn't know?" Tyson asked.

"I got lost. So this training ground you guys are talking about?" Ash asks.

"First, Ash we like you to meet some friends of ours." Morrison told him before motioning him to follow. Several minutes later Ash and Pikachu found themselves sitting with a group of familiar trainers all people he had battled before: Samurai, A.J., Giselle, Hagrid the Hiker, Mandi, Jeanette, Ritchie, Casey, Macy, Harrison, and Katie. Morrison made the "introduction",

"Friends of the Mt. Silver Trainer Society today we would like you to meet our potential new member: Ash Ketchum."

"Hi Ash." They all greeted.

XXX

Back in Pallet Town, Delia Ketchum was not happy.

"What do you mean my baby boy is gone?" She demanded grabbing Oak by the collar and shaking him. Ash's friends were gathered behind her. None of them looked happy either.

"I told him to go train somewhere else. I don't know where he went! I'm sorry!" Oak explained hands held up in a placating manner.

"So much for apologizing." Misty sighs. She and the rest had realized taking their frustrations out on Ash hadn't been right at all. They really needed that 'cool off' Mimey had given them. Brock pats her on the back,

"Don't worry I'm sure wherever Ash is he's doing fine. He's got his pokémon with him!"

XXX

Back at Mt. Silver Ash sat around a campfire with many of his old rivals

"You know I'm actually surprised to see so many trainers up here not sure why." Ash mused aloud.

"Please, the Johto League is situated at the base of the mountain there are numerous trainers here year round either training or looking for Larvitar," Giselle told him, "this isn't some isolated mountain where only a single strong trainer lives."

"Not to mention the hot springs bring in tourists." Macy adds. Ash nodded conceding to their points.

"So Ash you ready to start training tomorrow?" Ritchie asks.

"You bet." Ash smiles an expression mirrored by Pikachu. With so many strong opponents around it looks like they found the perfect training ground!

XXXX

A/N: Betrayal stories have reached the point you can do a drinking game as you count the clichés. So a reconstruction/parody had to be done. Truthfully, I don't like Betrayal fics. Pokémon is about friendship, betrayal fics shit all over that, set it on fire, and piss on the remains. However, I understand the appeal to having Ash trek out on his own and I get the guilty pleasure in seeing a character get back at people who he thought were his friends. I just don't feel it works for Pokémon. You can tell me "Don't like, Don't read, its just fan-fiction," but that right there is my issue: Why are you writing about characters you clearly don't like? How can you claim to be a fan of Pokémon when you turn the characters inside out to the point they aren't even recognizable? I like Ash, but I also like or at least don't dislike any of his friends. Ash's Pokémon are my favorite characters so seeing them betray Ash after everything they've been through feels like a betrayal to the franchise and everything it stands for.

I just don't see why his friends have to turn on him for Ash to become more 'mature'. It just feels like a cheap excuse for drama. However, friends can get into arguments, friends can take their anger out on each other when they've have a bad day (or month), that is a human thing to do, and that's what I did here. Even after bad fights friends can still make up and reconcile. So turning Ash's friends (and even his MOTHER-when she isn't killed by his former friends) into moustache twirling villains is just a big fat no for me.

Other clichés I played with: Instead of being kicked out of Pallet Town Ash is asked to train elsewhere since his Pokémon are too powerful for Oak's Lab to handle. Also made fun of Ash using Mt. Silver as his private training ground like Red in the game does. Remember in the anime that is where the Johto League is located. Trainers should be crawling all over the place. BTW: The Mt. Silver Trainer Society is an idea that was developed on Spacebattles by myself and several other writers. So kudos to you guys if you're reading this!