I do these sorts of things from time to time.
I have an idea, not sure if I can keep it going as an ongoing with my existing commitments, but I write out a single chapter of it to put it out there. People can see it, maybe take it on for themselves.
If not, well its out there and out of my head. Sometimes the ideas I explore here help me practice for my main fic, Reset Bloodlines, either with concepts I might use in it later, or practicing things I want to do there but do not have experience with.
So taking a break from said fic, I decided to do something different. This little number is a few dozen ideas of mine thrown together, that started with a simple question.
What if Shudo era ideas and concepts stuck around, even as Ash stayed at his later competence levels he gained over time and the anime has its later developments like Paul? After all, as a spacebattler named BadHabits commented on the Shudo take on the series (if not in full context due to it being in the midst of a spat with someone).
"In Shudo-verse people like Lysandre and even Cyrus? They make sense. The world they live in is fundamentally broken. Lysandre in Shudo-verse could actually be someone who genuinely tried to fix the social problems of the world and fell into despair"
This question also began to feed into it.
Betrayal fics are poor ways to make a darker Ash: can I do it without violating canon simply by using some Shudo stuff.
Let's find out shall we?
It was getting close to five years since he had begun traveling the world, and Ash Ketchum wished he hadn't seen this happen multiple times.
It happened in different ways every time sure, but it was a pattern that he was starting to get sick of.
Sick of it around Cerulean City.
Sick of it outside of Azalea Town.
Sick of it in Hearthome City.
Sick of it here in Accumula Town.
Not that he was at all thinking it wrong that he had the Tepig in between his spread legs, nibbling rapidly at a pile of Pokemon Food after who knows how long, but it was the fact that the Pokemon in between his legs was in the state it was in that bothered him.
The twenty year old remembered the first time it happened with a frown, even as Pikachu watched him go into the flashback with a concerned look on his face, before sparking his cheeks at a bush and scaring off a Patrat that had been eyeing the food Tepig needed.
It was early in his journey, something children all around the world were expected to take in some way, shape, or form. Once you graduated school after ten years (a pre-learning socialization period and nine tiers of further learning), society expected you to leave home if you were not tied by trade or labor and see the world.
Back then as of now, Ash had been filled with abundant energy about seeing the world and traveling, though it was a different energy then. Wild, inexperienced, still growing up. He could see his dreams ahead of him, but unlike then he really didn't understand how to get there or what to really do for them other than the broadest.
He made many mistakes back then, more than he did later on. Honestly in hindsight the pool of experience he gained from all the mistakes and missteps then served him better now than all the innate talent he had to his name. He had to learn how to overcome struggles, failures, and setbacks as he traveled gathering his first gym badges.
Against what many might call bad odds, he managed to do it. Perhaps it was simply due to experience in school: he had never been the best student in most subjects bar his odd affinity for languages (He had not blamed the guidance councilor for being suspicious when he got straight A's in Unovan, Kalosian, and the other language courses the first time, he himself was disbelieving of it), and had some experience with using strengths to push through weaknesses.
His grades were always held up by him being better at talking in fluent Kalosian even when his ability to do functions lagged behind. It was also helpful for a nice Kalosian girl named Serena he met one time over the summer before he graduated.
Many didn't make it and just collapsed somewhere within a short period of time, their travels done. Sometimes they found their calling during their travels, and settled down as apprentices to expert chefs, archaeologists, artists, and doctors, happy at finding a calling they could enjoy for the rest of their lives. Others continued their training careers in a combined context with other positions, the list of these including the previous four both inclusively and exclusively with other jobs like Champions, gym Leaders, models, spiritual leaders, teachers, performers, mayors, pilots, and businessmen.
Most became low paying, low skill jobs, the underpinning of society with their dreams lost in an abyss of misery. Some joined criminal gangs like Team Rocket. Every kid at age fifteen vowed to not be this, few managed to avoid it.
Some turned cruel to avoid it, and he met the first of those people not long after winning his second gym battle.
He would not be the last.
"I can't believe you have so many Pokemon. No wonder you beat me."
"How did you do so good. I could use all the pointers you can give, I don't want to end up like my mom working at a gas station for the rest of my life."
"You lonely tonight? Someone as cool and strong as you shouldn't sleep alone when you don't have to."
Ash had only half heard the swarm of people around a table as he darted into the Pokemon Center, a Charmander cradled under his body that had shielded him from a torrential downpour that had threatened the Pokemon's life. Pikachu darted alongside him, concern shared between the both of them after stumbling upon the Pokemon.
Ash hadn't heard much of the bantering that followed, with most of his attention devoted to telling Nurse Joy that the Charmander was not his, that he found it like that, and that he did not know how long Charmander had been in the cold and rain.
However once the nurse, seeing the truth in his words, had taken Charmander to the emergency wing to be restored, his ears were a bit more alert.
"...and the last, absolute most important thing you've got to do: cut off the weak links. You can only go as far as your Pokemon take you, so if you notice one isn't pulling its own weight get rid of it as soon as you can. Only yesterday I had to drop a defective Charmander off on a rock. You can't have something holding you back at a crucial moment."
"That was you!"
Ash yelled in fury, rapidly turning around to glare at the blue haired teen, who rolled his eyes at his fury.
"If you are talking about the one who defeated three gym leaders easily, than yeah that..."
"You were the one who left Charmander out to die!"
The second most disgusting thing that day had been Damien, the trainer, shrugging as it he had been revealed as the one who hadn't returned a borrowed pen.
The most disgusting was the fact the worst Damien got from those around him was the lack of severe disgust being given his way by anyone present that wasn't Ash himself or Pikachu, whose cheeks were sparkling with electric anger.
"The thing didn't have to stay put, it could have just found shelter. It's not my fault it was stupid."
Ash had immediately challenged him to a battle, which Damien had told him to wait for tomorrow as to not be rained on. To Damien's slight credit, he did show up.
The battle was two to one: with Ash's Pikachu and Butterfree taking a win and Bedrill losing. Damien had been unhappy to lose, but he got over it and left before Charmander was okayed by Joy to survive.
That same Charmander, then a Charizard, was used by Ash to defeat Damien at the Indigo League, Second Round.
Said trainer never made the connection until he boasted about it after he lost. Damien had until then assumed it was another Charizard unrelated to the Charmander he had thrown away.
Damien's comments about Charmander being weak were false of course, but Ash had picked up later where he might have gotten the impression.
According to people that were more educated about it, and cared for that matter, Charizard was a Pokemon whose individual values, whatever those were, were suited more to taking hits than giving them out.
However, with the proper training Charmander had pushed past that issue. Had Damien even tried to do that?
After that point Ash had continued through Kanto to his Top Sixteen at Indigo, a loss that was a combination of interference and the lessons he was still learning at the time. During that time he had met many people in Kanto.
Many of them were wonderful people, but there were many that gave him similar vibes to Damien.
A rancher who was devoted to harm and sabotage to win, against people and Pokemon alike.
Brothers who claimed their little brother had to make his Eevee evolve to win.
A carnival head whose solution to a Exeggutor rampage was explosives, not repulsion.
That wasn't even getting into Team Rocket, yet the three that never seemed to leave him alone were honestly better than many he met, especially as he saw more of them in later travels.
After that he had traveled to the Orange Islands, where the fourth thing he did (after picking up a odd Pokeball for Professor Oak from an attractive professor, running into the Cerulean Gym Leaders younger sister on sabbatical, and crashing a blimp) was running into a trio kicking a baby Lapras.
The Orange Islands, while the first of two great victories for him and a point where Ash really felt he began moving in the right direction for himself, was not much better than Kanto, even if the next incident of Fire Type mistreatment happened shortly after in Johto and the Lapras kicking was the worst the islands had to their name.
It was just before his second gym battle, after he had captured a young Cynadquil shortly before the upcoming battle with the gym leader Bugsy. With his Charizard training to better battle in the Charicific Valley, such a Pokemon was invaluable.
More importantly, capturing Cyndaquil had saved him from a dangerous fall.
The trainer named Koji, who had been the one to even tell him that the forest he was in had Cyndaquil in it, and demanded that he hand over Cynadquil to him. Ash refused, and said Koji promptly harassed him for three days about it.
While Ash had thought at the time to tell him to go find his own Cyndaquil by the second day of harassment, in hindsight that would have ended quite badly and thus him not saying so was a good thing.
The guy was eventually driven off when Heracross defeated Sandslash, and the same Pokemon Koji was after helped push him to the Silver Top Eight.
In fairness, as much as he'd prefer to not give it, Koji had not actually done anything to Cyndaquil, now Quilava, that was in of itself evil.
That did not mean that it was not bound to happen, particularly with Cyndaquil requiring training to get going at the start of battle.
Had someone like Koji obtained Cyndaquil, he'd have quickly grown impatient.
Impatience would have quickly given way to violence and cruelty, and it would not have done anything in the end other than harm.
That isn't how one wins, or at least, how it worked most of the time.
Tepig let out a content if still exhausted sigh as his food was polished. Ash smiled down at the little Pokemon and rubbed his head, before filling the food dish with water. The little Pokemon began quenching thirst as Ash reflected on the exception that proved the rule.
Hoenn was a respite from this: the fire type he had taken under his wing during the time did not have a human based issue.
Instead his Torkoal had pit itself against a ferocious area filled with Steel Pokemon, but at least it was of Torkoal's own choice.
The region in general had been a place where Ash really felt he found what worked: starting fully from the start was better for training new Pokemon overall, and the Pokemon Professor Oak had with him were well cared for and able to be worked with in ways he didn't when constantly moving. Hoenn also seemed to have a bit less of the issues he noticed in the people of Kanto, Orange, and Johto, as the region had a few less vindictive and cruel people.
Fewer abandoned Tyrogue, fewer aggressive jerk Poliwrath trainers, fewer festivals devoted to mass trading.
It had them, but in lesser quantities.
(He had attempted to get some answers from the people at Palmpona why they were so trade crazy, and he never got an answer that didn't sound like the Pokemon ever got a voice. Best he ever got was the Pokemon having been told that would happen ahead of time)
It was also a time he found he could actually be a pretty good teacher.
Shortly after he had arrived in the region, he had ended up contacted by a Gym Leader named Norman, who had requested that he take his daughter under his wing. He wanted the best for his daughter, and a high league placer could help her avoid the worst pitfalls and find her calling in life, be it Pokemon or realizing she was always meant to build boats.
As Ash had seen so many young trainers, even ones he knew like Casey, collapse over time he was quite willing to help. It would not be the first time he had a companion: Misty of the Cerulean Gym's sabbatical had them travel together from Valencia to Pallet Town after Silver after all.
Plus it had let him learn things he had never really seen or witnessed before, like the fact that May had married parents.
It was rare, and something Ash had never really seen before. May had obliged his questions, well aware that married couples were not that common.
By the time that he and May eventually parted, he had a Top 4 and a Battle Frontier, Ash had gotten quite the awareness of what a marriage was like and he had to admit it sounded good, if it could work for him.
May meanwhile had found her calling and was a rising star on the international contest scene. After that came Sinnoh, and there things were rough.
Not because he competed badly: he made it to the Finals and was the only guy to ever defeat his opponent's Darkrai, and most likely his Latios.
Not because when he was asked by another parent to help her daughter get through her first Contest tour, it ended horribly for her. No, he and Dawn had a good time traveling Sinnoh, and she did so well that his mom was starting to get letters requesting he train potential coordinators.
Ash wasn't sure how to get people to stop doing that, he didn't really have a venue to publicly tell people not to sent him requests like that.
While saying that he and Dawn were traveling together for Sinnoh may sound like it was shorter than his other travel periods, in practice Sinnoh was so large that it didn't feel short.
No, the roughness came when his reprieve in Hoenn was met by Sinnoh, a land home to several of the most despicable people he had ever met.
Grings Kodai, for everything wrong with a man who'd destroy a city's environment just to have the power to see the future, and him a utter sociopath, was not the worst he met.
Nor was Hunter J, though she was close. Ash had not met a person as wrong as her since the Maruader, and she honestly seemed worst.
The woman was one of a very small group of people who had ever tried to kill him and his Pokemon, and she got close several times.
No, the person he met that disturbed him the most...was Paul.
A trainer his age, a ruthless person who treated Pokemon nearly as bad as they came, with harsh standards and no love at all.
The only good thing Ash could say about him was that, as far as Ash knew, he had never tried to kill any Pokemon. Horribly injure sure, but he never did make a Charmander sit out in the rain or drop one out of a airship. Those injuries were the result of training, not Paul having a Pokemon held down to kick in the face repeatably.
Paul was, above all, an anomaly. A very disturbing anomaly.
Ash had seen trainers like Damien and Koji before, and they all had something in common.
They were starting to fray, to see that they were not as good as they thought they were. Within a year they collapsed, and lived out their days stocking shelves or washing Team Rocket's flying machines, and quite often being the ones that were captured by the police to become part of the massive prisoner holding industry as a prisoner.
They fell with some good, and many neutral hopefuls, but that is what they did. Fall.
Paul, didn't fall. He didn't give up. He didn't fail.
Paul was as old as he was, meaning he kept moving despite a similar lack of league wins (and being down one Frontier and one Orange Trophy from him), Paul had kept going. He had the drive to do so, and the lack of a heart to be Paul while he did so.
Ash did not sleep well when he tried to think of just how many Pokemon Paul had affected.
What had did more to his insomnia was the fact that, to some horrible extent, what Paul did got results.
Against Damien, against Koji, against others of their kind, Ash won.
He didn't just win, he generally beat down. Damien was an exception the first time around, likely due to a simple lack of experience on his end.
Paul was, in battling, an opponent who could match him. At times, he did more than that.
He and Paul battled ten times in Sinnoh with a definitive winner between them, there were a few ties and interruptions.
Ash won the big battle, the one that had him face Tobias. Their final battle at the League itself, he won in a blaze of glory.
That battle, had only been his third victory over Paul. Paul won most of their battles.
That bothered Ash more than the space men cult in Sinnoh that tried to remake the universe.
He had won the final battle with the very Chimchar that Paul had thrown away. He had raised that Chimchar to an Infernape, and helped him unlock the power Paul had seen, but failed to make his own.
That did not mean that Paul's wins before it had gone away.
It did not meant that people who saw Paul and were inspired by his power didn't ruin their potential trying to be like him.
Or worse, ruining their hearts. How many more Pauls had Paul created before he saw that kindness could turn his reject into his great defeat?
After all, Paul had people who declared they were inspired by him. He had never heard that of himself, even with people who saw many new trainers like Misty and Professor Oak.
Tepig was sleeping now, gently snoring between Ash's legs with a content look that seemed to have been long underused. Pikachu was looking back at him, uneasy.
"So buddy, is it better or worse that the jerk that tied Tepig up left already, instead of staying behind to gloat about it or to tell me that it is over?" it was new compared to the past few times, at the very least.
"Pikapi." Pikachu told him uneasily.
After years together with them, Ash had learned to pick up meaning when his Pokemon, at least those he had been with for some time, meant.
He might have no idea what, for example, Oshawott and Pidove were meaning, or could he tell if Pikachu was talking about a ruby corsage versus a crimson corsage, for a random example, but he could pick up a lot of what was meant.
And what Pikachu was saying, was something he had heard before.
"Look Pikachu, I don't think I'm starting to sound like I hate humans or something. That I sound like how many Pokemon, legendary or otherwise, that we've met."
Pikachu chirped a number that Ash wasn't sure of it was thirty-three or forty-three, either could work for how often that had been commented or said.
"I love humans. If I didn't, why would I sleep with them?"
It was true, a reason marriage was so rare beyond how many young people (mostly men) became 'useless, broken adults' from failure was the fact that journeys were partially encouragements to get young people moving around and knowing people.
A more mature type of knowing than conversation, specifically.
It was a hold over from older days, where proto journeys had a primary motivation of avoiding village inbreeding with unneeded children going into the wilderness and finding life somewhere else, or at least seeding it before they died in the woods.
At least, that was what some of the historian type people theorized. Ash just assumed it was a side effect of telling fifteen year olds they were legal adults free to do anything they want, not supervised, and left alone together in remote places few could bother them in.
It was why there were a lot of single mothers, such as his own mother, and why it was rare to have siblings who had the same parent as you if you weren't twins. The Pewter Gym family, the Cerulean Gym Family, the Eevee training family of Stone Town, Paul's family...though some of them looked alike one could be understood for thinking it was May and Max who were half siblings instead.
Ash had not jumped into that aspect of life that was most connected to the time period of 15 years to end point, mostly because he had an uncanny ability to annoy people early on.
It had gotten him flung out of perfume shops and the like.
Plus, Ash always felt a bit awkward listening to people his age at Pokemon centers, boasting about such conquests. One line in particular had always stuck out to him.
"What, she got pregnant? Well, she should have known better than to agree to have me over, her problem not mine." had said a trainer his age upon being told he was quite possibly going to be a father.
Did he not realize what he was saying? Odds were the guy also had only a mother, didn't he notice how hard she had to work?
He did, and he won two yearbook nominations for most clueless in his class.
But he had later been comfortable in pursing it, not long after he had been aware of how easy it was to get condoms and thus put his concerns to rest, and lent them out to Misty, May, and Dawn when they needed.
It was apparently custom for the girl to bring such things to most encounters, which always struck Ash as odd.
Regardless of why that was the case, Ash had enjoys many pleasures of the flesh since Johto. He had even found that he appreciated the odd guy every so often, which had surprised him.
It was the same as regular sex, yet not the same. Odd. Well, it was said that you learn about yourself when you travel on a journey.
Most found out they were destined to have no dreams, he found out he could find men attractive much like women. Even if he did usually prefer women.
"Pika-Pi." Pikachu to most would sound like he was all but repeating, but Ash could tell that he meant something else.
Something like, 'but do you like humans', but that seemed off. What Pikachu was aiming for wasn't the word humans.
"It sounds more like you are asking me if I like..." Ash tried to find the right word, and so began offering them to his partner.
"Beings?" Pikachu shook his head.
"Homo Sapiens?" Again a head shake.
Both got a no from his partner, though not of too much 'why can't you understand me' exasperation. Pikachu was well aware that his ability to understand the speak of his Pokemon stood between comprehension and understanding.
It was understanding that made the difference between sky blue and sea blue.
"People?" Ash offered as Pikachu nodded, which left Ash only more confused.
"So what, you're worried if I still like people?" Ash voiced the full question Pikachu asked.
Pikachu nodded as Ash repeated the question.
"Do I still like people?"
Tepig let out a gentle snore as the question hung in the air.
Ash...honestly was having more trouble answering that question than he'd care to admit, once he got past the really obvious family and loved ones.
"I haven't met a Gym Leader I haven't liked since Or...Joh...since Bugsy?" Did he like Bugsy?
He'd say he didn't think Bugsy was an arrogant jerk, nuts, or psychotic. That was surely enough.
"Never have met a Elite Four member I haven't liked..."
"Er...Ursula's better than Paul?" it was a true statement.
"I lost to Tyson and Harrison and Tobias fair and square, and it wasn't Ritchie's fault..."
Honestly the more he thought about Pikachu's question, the more unsettled Ash felt.
Beyond his family and friends, just how many people did he honestly like interacting with?
He could remember back in Indigo, where the cheers of the crowds meant more to him, times in Hoenn where May getting recognized for a contest made him slightly jealous, times where he cared to listen to the chatter in Pokemon Centers actively and with interest.
Those times were no more.
If he traveled and found someone struggling with something: be it a pokeball stuck at the bottom of a lake, a Bagon wanting to evolve, or a woman wanting to make a tunnel to aide their ailing grandmother's travel times, he had no issue with helping.
But outside of those times, if he had to think about it, how many people mattered to him?
Earlier when he first came to Unova, he had gotten into a argument with a young trainer named Trip, just recently starting his journey with a local Pokemon called a Snivy.
The kid had called Kanto the boonies, a place filled with crazy people and horrible management of everything.
Ash had defeated him: while Pikachu had suffered from an odd electrical reaction while in Kalos, he had one of his other Pokemon on hand: a Dunsparce that had hatched from one of the many eggs his Pokemon had brought to him and Oak.
He was a proud Dunsparce owner, so he wanted to show her off, and said Dunsparce had proven to be quite good in battle that day.
How quickly Trip had left his thoughts after that, consigned to being something that would just go away in time. He had less thoughts on him, even for all the harsh (if true) things he said of his home and the (not true) things about himself, than the wild haired girl who he ran into afterwards.
He hadn't gotten a name out of her yet, but she had stuck in his head a bit more. Perhaps it was just because she had pointed him in the direction of a few things, like the Accumula Battle Club, and thus Tepig.
She did keep calling him a kid, which was making him reconsider following Misty's advice and not growing out his facial hair. No kid could grow side burns.
The question of where she had gotten off to since aside (he thought he heard something about a rally in town today by some ethics group), to think he had gotten to a point he struggled to say he liked or cared for most people.
When had that happened?
Between Tobias and now, he had seen his mom and Professor Oak, Gary and Tracey, Misty and May and Dawn. None of them had commented he seemed off, nor did they seem bothered by him in any way.
While maybe Tracey could possibly miss that, the rest of them knew him well enough that such a change should have registered to them.
His mom had been the one constant in his life for years, and they talked often enough.
Professor Oak was a long time family friend, even if he really only got close to him in the last five years.
Gary and his friendship had been strained a bit in the years up to their journey, but the two had come to a full understanding of one another on that night before Silver, and had talked well since. Gary would not hesitate to tell him that he was becoming distant from most people.
And Misty, May, and Dawn...in their time together seeing the world together, they had become extremely close. They had formed bonds that were one statement away from being declared a relationship, a request away from being exclusive with one another.
The acknowledged but unspoken issue that him staying in one place for too long was stressful to him (as they noticed in Whirl Cups and Grand Festival and even later parts of the Pokemon Leagues), the fact that they found they couldn't be as happy wandering the world as he was, and the fact that Ash was certain that he'd prefer to have something like what May's parents had for any kids he had were the only hurdles they had to face to make something forever.
They agreed with him that for all the partners they had with the full awareness from the other: Whitney, Sakura, Pietra, Clair, Liza, Gary, Macey, Michelle, Flannery, Morrison, Anabel, Nando, Leona, Angie, Lyra, and the odd Joy and Jenny, Drew, Shane, Jimmy, and Morrison, and Kenny, Nando, Zoey, Maylene, Barry, Khoury, and many others that escaped him for all of them (like all of Misty's for some reason, was it just time?), there was something special about what they had with one another, even if Dawn did admit that Zoey wasn't so far from them.
It was something they had that even after long times apart, they could slip back into very easily, like a glove. Even times where two of them were around at the same time it fit...even if it had a bit of a odd sensation about it that Ash could not classify as positive or negative.
It was just...a reaction. Ash could not say what kind it was. Their schedules simply didn't mesh enough to see if it would become more clear over time, there were only so many Wallace Cups and Gym Leader tournaments Norman and Misty both were invited to compete in.
Did his distance from most people just so slowly happen none of them ever picked it up? Was it always there and he only just noticed it?
Ash wasn't sure which of those worried him more.
A shadow disturbed the light of the day, as Pikachu sparked in warning.
"Why, that is a rare Pokemon you have there. A Pikachu I believe it is called. And is that the Tepig I heard about, the one abandoned and left to starve? I can tell you've been helping it."
The words came fast, faster than May's brother could let out. Yet somehow sounding fairly well thought out and articulated, and not a tumbling internet search result.
The one who spoke those words in Unovan, but in a refined way of (very fast) speech, walked towards Tepig and kneeled in front of both of them, reaching out a hand to stroke the sleeping pig.
He was a man in white, a long head of green hair coming off a face that looked about his own age. His body was tall, probably taller than Ash's own, and built like a runner.
Ash's body had more muscle on it, but neither could be mocked for their appearance.
"Why wouldn't I?" Ash asked the fast talker, who continued to stroke Tepig.
"You'd be surprised. People can be cruel and uncaring of those they hurt. So few good people are in the world, willing to see Pokemon as they truly are meant to be."
Pikachu muttered something, and Ash had to nod in agreement. What a Pokemon was 'truly meant to be' was a bit subjective. Mimey was just as happy as his mother's house aide as Snorlax was eating Professor Oak out of house and home.
He thought the stranger might take his nod to be in relation to him, so what followed caught Ash a bit off guard.
"You understood Pikachu?"
People were not meant to pick that up easily. Most people couldn't: the amount of people who weren't Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Champions, Frontier Brains, and Grand Coordinators who could pick that up could be counted on Ash's two hands with fingers to spare.
Who was this guy? Was he the champion of Unova or something?"
"Yeah, we've been buddies for years." Ash noted as the guy stared at him.
It was a...odd stare. It wasn't a checking out stare, or one of Paul's 'I will make you quake' stares. It honestly just felt...awkward.
"So you can hear their voices?"
"The Pokemon I have been with for a while yeah, but I wouldn't really put it like that. I know what my Pokemon mean, not what they are saying." Ash explained honestly.
The green haired one pulled back a bit, but regained his composure.
"I see. Comprehension, not understanding. Interesting..." He turned back around and questioned him more.
"You were at the Battle Club earlier, so you battle. If you can know what a Pokemon means to say, why would you battle?"
"Because Pokemon like to battle. Battling is part of their lives and how they grow stronger, and humans help bring out the best in them by helping them become stronger in ways they often can't on their own." Did this guy know about Mega Evolution, or was that limited to places like Hoenn and apparently Kalos?
Because while that was a good point to make in this, odd, discussion, was it the best card to use? This guy was kind of weird.
"Yes, I suppose that is a point. A fact that is also a cruelty, making what is black and white gray. Troublesome..." the green haired one had turned around again, and seemed to be contemplating what was said deeply.
Turning back around, he seemed to be staring right into Ash's soul as he asked the next question.
"Perhaps only those with the right hearts should have Pokemon then. If nine humans out of ten aren't worthy, but one human out of ten helps Pokemon become perfect...I will think about what you have said, Ash Ketchum."
Apparently the Battle Club had given this guy his name. Was that going to be trouble down the line?
Also what was he suggesting they do: make it so only a very few can be with Pokemon? Ash could only imagine what that could do to the world, and how many people would be unfairly punished by such a ruling.
And why, while he did feel horrified at the idea of taking Pokemon away from millions of people, that it didn't feel as great as it should have. Like he thought of thousands, if not a million, people with Pokemon, and already thought that taking Pokemon away from them was the right thing to do?
"Can I least have yours?" Green haired pretty boy wasn't really going to do it after all.
The man had begun leaving, giving him a odd look as he left. Ash couldn't put an emotion to it, and would not for some time to come
"My name, is N."
So, that little bit is done. Anyone who wants to take the idea merely must PM me and in the story take acknowledge me as the ideas creator, and are free to ask me what I was thinking of doing to compare notes and form what they're interested in doing.
So basically the idea here, beyond an Ash who has developed differently, is an Ash who while still having no issue with battle and those he likes, is an Ash who is sick and tired of people who don't treat Pokemon right that he's begun to lose a fondness for most people.
Not to a point he shares N's philosophies completely, but to a point he'd have little issue with Pokemon ownership being restricted as to prevent people like Shamus, Damien, and Paul.
With a net that would probably catch a lot of people in it who aren't as bad as they are.
If Ash goes into that idea, to a point he'd shatter Shamus's Pokeballs to release his Pokemon, works with N to create a moderated version of N's ideals where many people and Pokemon, not all are separated, if Shudo's little Poke-revolution happens and Ash sides with the Pokemon, if Ash rekindles his faith in humanity thanks to Iris, Hilda, Hilbert, or something...well that's for whoever takes this idea up to decide.
Or if I decide to do anything more with this. Probably the above, not me working on more.
Anyway for the curious, the current roster of this Ash, roughly in capture order, plus the eggs mentioned briefly Ash has about (many shared with the I have How Many roster of them)
Pikachu Pidgeot Beedrill Bulbasaur Charizard Wartortle Kingler Primeape Muk Tauros x 30 Togetic
Heracross Bayleaf Quilava Forretress Houndoom Croconaw Noctowl Donphan
Swellow Sceptile Ludicolo Corphish Swampert Torkoal Breloom Glalie
Starraptor Torterra Croagunk Chansey Hippowdon Infernape Buizel Gliscor Riolu Yanmega Gible
Pidove Oshawott Tepig
Oak bred eggs Ash formally owns
Charizard (4 Charmander, Magikarp, Swablu, Larvitar, Aron)
Wartortle (Psyduck, Poliwag, Cubone, Corsola, Delibird)
Muk (Grimer, Gastly, Koffing, Wynaut, Slugma, Misdreavous, Ralts)
Tauros (Stantler, 4 Ratatta, 6 Ponyta, 9 Eevee eggs, Mankey, Diglett, 3 Growlithe, Swinub, 2 Vulpix, Aipom, Meowth, Zigzagoon, Numel, 12 Nidoran male, 12 Nidoran female, Girafarig, 4 Houndour, Phanpy, Poochyena, Sandshrew)
Snorlax (Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander, 3 Mareep, Whismur, Rhyhorn, Slowpoke)
Heracross (Scyther, Gligar, 15 Caterpie, Weedle)
Bayleaf (3 Chikorita eggs)
Quilava (Sentret, Dunsparce, and Sneasel eggs)
Forretress (Ledyba, Yanma, Venonat)
Croconaw (Wooper, 3 Azurril, Poliwag, Psyduck, Slowpoke)
Sceptile (Tangela, Lotad, Oddish, Dratini, Budew, Exeggcute)
Swellow (4 Tailow)
Glalie (Igglybuff, Onix, Cleffa, Pichu, Happiny, Snubbul, Mawile and Shroomish)
Electabuzz (Machop, Abra, Magby, Elekid)