Disclaimer: Don't own pokemon!

A/N: And the plot thickens!!! Hahaha! Er…sorry about that. I'm just really excited that this story is finally coming to a close. I have some great ideas for other stories and I want to get that started as soon as possible. Anyway, on with the show!

Chapter 9

Last Chance

"Huh? Where is she?" Ash asked himself as he searched his office. He had gone there first thing in the morning, assuming that she would be right where he had left her the previous night.

He ran over to his desk and searched frantically for anything that would tell him of her whereabouts. He opened drawers, looked on the floor, and searched through his papers, but he found nothing. But just as he was about to go to her previous holding room, he heard a voice.

"Hey Ash," came a voice from his intercom. It was Matt.

"Yeah, what?" Ash asked distractedly. He was still worried about Misty and thought that what Matt had to tell him served little importance.

"I think you should come down to the main hall," Matt said shakily.

Ash heard the uncertainty in his friend's voice and immediately gave Matt his full attention.

"Why?" he asked cautiously.

"Because there's something here that you might want to see," Matt answered.

Ash grabbed two things from off of his desk and continued to listen to what Matt had to say.

"What are you talking about Matt?" Ash demanded already making his way to the main hall. When Ash heard no response he became irritated. "Matt! What is it?!" he yelled, breaking into a run.

"Damn it…"

As he reached the double doors to entry into the main hall, he paused, praying that he wasn't too late. 'Please be okay…'

He swung the doors open and quickly scanned the room in search of Matt. At first he saw no one, but as he neared the center of the room he heard footsteps approaching him. Through the darkness, he could make out five figures. Two of them he was sure were Misty and Matt, but he wasn't sure about the other three.

"Well, Ash today is the day," said a voice from the darkness. Ash instantly recognized it as Giovanni's. He started to panic. If Giovanni was here, it most definitely meant trouble for him and Misty.

Giovanni came out from the shadows of the room and slowly walked towards Ash. He stopped a few feet short and looked Ash up and down and then he motioned for the remaining people to step out next to him. He could tell a struggle was happening because of the way the shadows were moving, but it quickly ended and the four people came out into the open light. Matt and Rick were restraining Misty and Brock, holding them out in front of them so that Ash could get in a good look.

"What's going on?" asked Ash as he took a step forward.

"Didn't you hear Ash? There time is up," laughed Rick, "And it's about time too."

"What are you talking about?" Ash demanded, glaring at Rick.

In response, Giovanni took one more step forward. "Our plan Ash, or have you completely forgotten?" asked Giovanni sinisterly.

"N-No, of course I haven't forgotten," stuttered Ash, frantically thinking of a plan to get them out of here.

"Ash, I've become very concerned about your behavior for the past couple of weeks. I've been monitoring your movements on the premises and I find it odd that you always seemed to find your way to this girl's room," explained Giovanni, "Matt, your own partner, has also been concerned about you, so that's why he came up to me and reported you."

Ash glared at Matt, once his good friend and now his enemy. Matt had no business interfering with his own problems. Now, because of Matt's bad judgment, Misty and Brock could pay the ultimate price.

"Don't give me that look. I was worried about you. You've acted like this before and I just thought that the pressure was getting to you," Matt explained sternly.

"I can take care of myself! You had no business reporting me!" Ash yelled at him. Inside, he knew that Matt had meant well, but it wasn't a matter of that. Now, it was a matter of life and death.

"You two can finish your little argument later," announced Giovanni nonchalantly.

Ash's heart started pounding furiously as silence filled the room. He didn't know what would happen in the end; he just hoped that they would all get out of here alive.

"Here," said Giovanni as he pulled something black out of his pocket. Misty gasped as she saw it. He threw it over at Ash and he caught it carefully. It was a gun…

"Do it!" Rick yelled, shoving Misty into his range.

He looked at her as she stood there. She was still and had no intention of running away. He looked into her eyes and saw not a single strand of fear.

"Is this how it's supposed to be?" Ash asked Matt, "Murdering people for the sole purpose of gaining money?"

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"Come on Matt," Ash said, "You know exactly what I mean. This is isn't right and you know it."

"Ash, you're the elite. You're not supposed to be siding with them. You're the most feared Team Rocket member in the whole Kanto region," Matt finished.

"It's just a title; it doesn't mean anything to me anymore. There are more important things in life. Didn't you ever wonder if maybe there's more out there? That maybe this isn't where we belong? What's the point in doing this? Is it really worth all the pain and the suffering? Tell me Matt," he said, looking over at his partner.

In response, Matt just looked back at his friend, not sure what to say. He looked over at Misty and Brock and realized that they were just like him. They were human beings, not objects to be messed around with. They had feelings too and maybe it was then that he realized that there was more to life then living a life full of crime and hate.

"Ash, listen to me," started Giovanni, "These people want you to betray us. This is all part of their plan. If you kill them, then you're guaranteed the satisfaction that you've avenged you're parents' deaths," he paused, and then continued, "Do it…"

Ash nodded at him and raised the gun to eye level. Misty closed her eyes, knowing that it was hopeless now. She knew that hate had overridden Ash and that there was no turning back now. She thought that he knew better, but in the end, it was all an act.

She looked up into his eyes and stared, uncertain about the outcome. She thought she saw a flicker in his eyes but quickly dismissed it when she heard him cock the gun. Ash started to walk closer, the gun still aimed at Misty. He stopped until he was about five feet away from her.

For the first time in his life, he was scared. He felt emotions within himself that he had never experienced before. Each glance he shot towards Misty made these emotions stronger and stronger. He wasn't sure what to do, but then again, was he ever really sure about himself? In any case, he wouldn't allow anything to happen to her, especially with these emotions flowing throughout him. Maybe he had felt these feelings before; maybe they were just locked away, waiting to be released again. Of this he was not sure, but what he did know is that he cared for Misty, more than he had cared for anyone within his time at Team Rocket. But now was the time, there was no looking back. He had to think of plan fast and act on it. Now, it was a case of life and death. There was no room for mistakes.

"You lied to me…after I put all my trust in you…you lied," whispered Ash menacingly, "All these years, I've been living my life with nothing more than terrorizing the people of Kanto. I've been looked up to as a role model for the younger Team Rocket members and I've been viewed as one of the most dangerous men in the world."

Ash took another step closer, the gun still raised. He looked straight into Misty's eyes, trying to reassure her that everything would be all right. He wasn't sure what she was thinking right now, but he knew that she had probably lost all faith in him. He wasn't quite sure himself if everything would go according to plan because with Giovanni, anything was possible.

"I've been lied to my whole life, I've watched countless people die at your hands, and I did nothing to stop it…until now," Ash slowly swung around and pointed the gun at Giovanni.

"You don't know what you're doing," exclaimed Giovanni calmly.

"I know exactly what I'm doing and for the first time in my life, my eyes are open. I don't know why I never saw it earlier…you murdered my parents," breathed Ash angrily.

Revealing this startling revelation, both Misty and Matt gasped.

"Is that true?" asked Matt.

"I won't lie. It's true, all of it," he announced proudly.

"But why Ash's parents?" Matt asked.

"Because they were working with the Waterflowers to prevent me from starting Team Rocket," Giovanni growled.

Both Ash and Misty looked up at him in disbelief. Their parents had worked together to prevent the starting of Team Rocket. So, there was a connection between the two of them. Besides from being childhood friends, their parents had fought side by side against Giovanni, just as they were doing now.

"Our parents worked together?" Misty asked.

"They did. They were very powerful, but I knew they had weaknesses. I kidnapped the two of you in hopes of luring them into my trap. They came in search of you, but unfortunately for me, Ash's parents escaped. I can't say the same for her parents or her sisters," he said, then reverted his gaze to Misty, "I had the intention of training you to become a Team Rocket member, but you escaped. So, when I had gone to murder Ash's parents, I took him in instead."

It took Ash and Misty a while to let everything sink in. They had been childhood friends, their parents had worked together, and they both were murdered at the hands of Giovanni. Everything was finally starting to come together, but one thing still remained. What would the outcome be? Would they get out alive?

Ash nodded in response to his conscious. He would do this and escape with Misty and Brock alive. Nothing was going to keep him from rescuing them…not even Giovanni.

The shadows on the walls of the main hall kept flickering in the candle light. The rain was pounding furiously on the roof of the building. Despite everything that was happening, Ash continued to keep his composure and kept a close eye on Misty, Brock, and Giovanni, as they were all his main concern. He kept the gun raised to eye level at Giovanni but also kept a close watch on Rick. Matt, for the most part, looked a little overwhelmed by the whole situation and Ash didn't blame him. Although they had been through so much, Ash still wasn't sure which side Matt was on.

"I never expected this to happen," Giovanni stated, shaking his head in remorse.

"Save it!" spat out Ash angrily.

Giovanni reverted his gaze back to Ash, still keeping his calm and cool composure. He had a glint in his eyes that Ash had never seen. It seemed as if he was planning something, but by the time Ash figured it out, it was too late.

"You've become a fine elite, Ash. I've taught you much, but there's something that you've always had trouble with," sneered Giovanni taking a step forward.

"And what's that?" Ash asked, gun still raised.

"Never put your guard down," he whispered.

Just then, Rick pounced on top of Ash, causing him to drop the gun. It fired, making the whole hall echo as the bullet came to rest in the stone pillar off to the side. Giovanni gingerly picked the gun up and cocked it.

"Get off of me!" Ash yelled as he wrestled with Rick. How stupid could he be? He had let Giovanni distract him and allowed Rick time to sneak up on him.

Rick pushed Ash to his feet. "Stop struggling!" he yelled as he kneed Ash in the stomach. Ash crumpled to the floor, trying to catch his breath.

"Bastards…"he whispered, while gasping for breath.

Giovanni brought the gun to Ash's head threateningly. "I'll deal with you later."

"Please don't…" Misty begged.

Both Giovanni and Ash looked up. Misty had been silent for such a long time that Giovanni had nearly forgotten about her.

"Miss Waterflower, do have something to say? Perhaps your feelings are escaping you," he announced coolly as Misty silently looked at the ground and closed her eyes.

"Please don't…" she whispered once again.

"And why not?! You ruined everything!" Giovanni suddenly yelled as he slapped Misty aside, "I had everything going perfectly. You put my number one elite against me!" he paused, lifted the gun to her head and continued, "I'll see that you never do it again."

"No!" Ash yelled, but it was no use. Rick still had a tight grip on him.

"Drop it," said a voice.

Ash looked up and saw something that brought a small smile to his face, despite their current situation. Matt was standing next to Giovanni, his own gun pointed directly at Giovanni's head.

"I said drop it," Matt repeated, the gun still aimed.

"Why are you doing this Matt?" asked Giovanni coolly, "You had so much going for you. I was going to make you the new elite. You'll be invincible…"

"Forget it," he answered, "Ash was right…you lied to all of us. I would never forgive myself if I went back to Team Rocket," he said as he ripped off his Team Rocket logo from off of his uniform. He then threw it in Giovanni's direction. "Forget the team. I quit."

Suddenly, Rick started to slowly pull something from out of his uniform, but not without Matt noticing.

"Move one more inch and I'll shoot!" yelled Matt.

Rick continued to reach deeper into his pocket until his hand came to rest on something.

"I'm warning you Rick!" said Matt as his grip tightened on the gun, "Don't think I won't do it!"

"Stop!" yelled Giovanni, "Stop…okay…I give up…you win…"

"But sir!" exclaimed Rick.

"Just give it up. Throw down your weapon," he announced.

Rick nodded in utter discontent. "Yes sir…" he said solemnly as he threw his gun down onto the floor and then released Ash.

After being released, Ash immediately ran over to Misty and Brock and started to untie them. Upon being freed, Misty clung to Ash and silently sobbed.

"Its okay…everything's going to be okay. We did it…" whispered Ash as he held onto Misty.

"Think again!" yelled Giovanni.

Just then, everything started to move in slow motion. Everyone looked in Giovanni's direction and witnessed him elbow Matt in the stomach and retrieve his gun as he pointed it at Ash. Rick also dove for his gun and had it cocked and pointed. Knowing what was going to happen, Ash pushed Misty out of the way and pulled the two guns, which he had gotten from his office, from out of his uniform and criss-crossed his arms. With super quick reflexes, he aimed one at Giovanni and the other at Rick. All of a sudden, three gun shots rang through the air. By the time everyone had realized what had happened, Giovanni was on the ground, a bullet hole formed in his chest, and Rick was thrown back, the same shaped hole in his chest.

Ash, however, was crumpled over, applying pressure to his right arm. One of the stray bullets had gotten him, but nonetheless, he was okay. He stood up and looked at the fallen bodies. Then, he walked over to Giovanni's body and kicked it aside.

"Now it's over…" he whispered to the body.

Misty, Brock, and Matt ran over to him and took a good look at the fallen bodies.

"It's finally over," announced Brock.

"You okay, bro," Matt asked as he rushed over to Ash.

"You were behind us all the way?" Ash asked him.

Matt shook his head in response. "I wasn't sure what to think until you started talking about Giovanni lying to us and how there's more to life than this." He looked around the main hall and sighed. "I looked up to him as a father, but all he did was fill our heads with lies. Why didn't I see it sooner?"

"Hey, don't push yourself. You wouldn't have been able to guess that he was lying to you. Remember, you were only seven when he recruited you," soothed Ash, "And besides, I don't think he was all that great and powerful anyway."

Matt smiled and extended his hand out to his friend. Ash accepted it with his uninjured arm and stood up to come face to face with Misty.

"I don't know what to say," she whispered lightly, giving him a small, but delicate smile.

"You don't have to say anything," he soothed, "I'm sorry I put you through all of this."

"You shouldn't be apologizing," stated Brock firmly. Everyone looked in his direction. He had stayed quiet throughout the whole ordeal and no one really knew what he was thinking. "Maybe it's better this way. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you, Ash. You too, Matt. You guys have been through a lot…trust me, I know the feeling," he paused for a while, as if collecting his thoughts, and then continued, "And yet…you both searched yourselves and found the truth behind all of this. I knew Ash would realize it sooner or later. There was something special about you. That much I could tell from the very beginning and I think Misty could sense that too. That's why she tried reaching out to you. And from all that's already happened, I'd say that she succeeded."

Ash looked to Misty as she nodded and smiled in agreement. "Brock always knows the right things to say in these kinds of situations."

Ash nodded in response and looked out the main window. The sky was a crystal blue; bird pokemon were soaring majestically across the horizon as he continued to look on. He took in a deep breath and finally felt rejuvenated. He felt as if a great burden had been taken off of his chest, but most of all…he felt alive again. His life and freedom had been stripped away by Giovanni for such a long time that he had almost forgotten how to live a normal life, a life full of happiness, and a life full of love.

He looked down at Misty and felt the urge to hold her tight. He wanted to apologize, to thank her, to ask her questions about their past, but he found that his words were caught in his throat. Maybe words weren't needed…

Just then, Misty found herself clinging to Ash. In turn, he held her close, secretly vowing to never let any harm befall her. He felt a warmth in her that he had never felt from anyone before. It made him feel wanted and cared for, an attribute that he had long since forgotten.

"Thank you, Ash," she whispered softly.

"I should be the one thanking you. I'm a changed person because of what you did. Thank you for having that patience with me," he responded, continuing to hold her.

"Your welcome."

"Come on Ash. We should get out of here before the cops get here. We'll get your arm fixed up too," stated Matt.

Ash looked at his bleeding arm. He had almost forgotten that it had hurt. He nodded at his friend as they all turned to leave the hall.


They all turned around to see Giovanni squirming on the ground. He had a gun out and pointed it at Ash.

"Damn you!" he screamed before a bullet shot echoed throughout the hall.

Matt slowly lowered his gun as Giovanni crumpled to the floor, dead. He then placed the gun back into his uniform and turned to face the group. Everything had happened so fast that no one had time to recover.

"You're not the only one with fast reflexes," he said as he shot a smile towards Ash.

"Is he really dead this time?" asked Misty as she held onto Ash.

"Yeah, I got him good," stated Matt as he examined the body.

It was then that Ash ripped off the Team Rocket logo from off of his uniform and threw it at Giovanni's still form.

"I won't be needing this anymore," he stated, "Let's get out of here."

Everyone nodded in agreement as both Ash and Matt brought out their pokeballs. The first thing that Ash did was let out Pikachu. He had kept it in its pokeball for safety reasons, despite harsh punishment from the electric mouse.

"Hey there buddy," Ash greeted happily.

"Pikachu!" it squealed as it jumped into Ash's open arms.

"Of course I'm okay. What do you say we get out of here?" Ash asked.

"Pika!" it responded with a nod.

"All right then. Come on out Pidgeot!" Ash announced as he threw his pokeball into the air.

Upon being released, Pidgeot flew around the room and stretched its wings before coming to a stop in front of Ash.

"Mind if we hitch a ride?" Ash asked it.

The pokemon shook its head and urged them to get on.

"After you," Ash stated as he helped Misty onto the bird.

"Your Pidgeot's beautiful," Misty exclaimed as she felt its soft feathers between her fingers.

"Thanks," he answered as he hopped on behind her followed by Pikachu, "Oh, before I forget."

He pulled out a string of pokeballs from out of his uniform.

"I believe these belong to you," he said, handing her the pokeballs.

"My pokemon!" she gasped, "Thank you so much Ash!"

"Your welcome. Here are yours Brock," announced Ash as he threw Brocks pokeballs to him.

"Hey thanks," he exclaimed as he reattached his pokeballs to his belt.

"No problem. Hurry up Matt. Call out Scarmory and let's get going," announced Ash.

"Come on out Scarmory," Matt summoned as he threw his pokeball into the air.

Scarmory flew around for while, observing its surroundings and then landed next to Matt.

"Come on Brock," urged Matt.

Brock hopped onto Scarmory's back and held on tight.

"All right, let's go!" announced Matt as Scarmory started to take flight.

"Let's go Pidgeot!" Ash commanded.

Both pokemon lifted off of the ground and headed straight for the main window. Breaking through the window, they took off towards the horizon.

"Where to?" asked Matt.

"Wherever we want," announced Ash.

They were finally free to do what they wanted and when they wanted. No one would tell them what they could and couldn't do anymore. No more living a life of crime and hate. All there was to do was to look forward. The past was behind them and they'd never have to look back there again.

Ash looked over at Misty and smiled at her as she smiled back. There was something in Misty's eyes that he couldn't quite figure out. All of a sudden, she started to move her face closer to his and, on instinct, he did the same. In a flurry of warmth and emotion, they sealed the remaining space between their lips. Ash's heart was pounding a thousand times per minute, but at the same time, he felt calm and collective, almost as if he knew that this is where his heart lied and never again would it ever be astray.

As they released, Misty smiled and looked up at him.

"Have you ever felt loved before?" Ash asked suddenly.

Misty shook her head in response. "Have you?"

"Not until now," he smiled as he, once again, pulled her into another loving kiss.

All the while, Brock and Matt had smiles on their faces, content that their friends had finally found true happiness.

"Go Ash!" yelled Matt.


The two pokemon flew off into the distance, but where they were going served no importance to either Ash or Misty. They were entangled in their own little world, a place where no one would be able to touch them, and a place where no one would be able to tear them apart.

It was then that their hearts became one and their lives joined together. Ash had finally listened to his heart and, in the process, regained a new outlook on life. Never again would he ever have to go searching for his heart…because she would always be right next to him, comforting and loving him every step of the way.

The End…..

A/N: Wow…I can't believe I finally got that one done. I can't even remember when I first started this thing. Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone who reviewed my story. Your motivation really helped me out! Thanks guys and keep a head's up on my up and coming stories! AAML forever!