Important notes, every event up until episode 274, Johto Photo Finish is the same as it was in the anime. One key difference is Ash is around 14 now, having had some time pass since his first day.

"The Hoenn region, we're finally here." Ash said with a yawn. He had bags under his eyes, it was clear he hadn't slept well.

"Pika." Pikachu said stretching before looking over the railing.

"A brand new start buddy, just us." Ash said. "Hopefully we can find our next step here."

Elsewhere

"Todays the day!" A young boy said, bolting up from his bed excitedly, before rushing down the stairs. "Mom! Is he here?"

A woman turned around wiping her hands off on a rag. "No honey. He's probably waiting for you in the lab, or got caught up with something."

"I'm going to go find him, I don't think I can wait any longer!" The boy said.

"Hold it." His mother said, stepping in front of the front door, looking him up and down. "At least have some breakfast."

The boy rushed to the table scarfing down his breakfast as fast as he could.

"Don't forget to breath." His mother said with a sigh. "Just like your father."

"Thanks for breakfast mom, I should get going!" The boy said grabbing his backpack. "Todays the day. Dad is finally going to give me my own starter Pokemon."

Back with Ash

"So let's see what we've got here." Ash said, grabbing a pamphlet as he left the docks. "They've got Gyms and a Pokemon League, maybe not those again just yet. Oh, Pokemon. Contests?" Ash said with intrigue. "A show of talent and togetherness between trainer and Pokemon. How about that Pikachu, maybe that will be the right decision."

"Pi?" Pikachu said, not having understood any of what his trainer had said.

"It says to ask for more at any Pokemon Center, that shouldn't be too hard." Ash said, before looking up at his reflection. He had honestly left Johto and Kanto in a hurry, all the attention had gotten to his nerves, he hadn't even packed anything. All he had was Pikachu, a t shirt, and his jeans and shoes. "Maybe I should've waited a bit, no. This was the right choice." Ash said to himself.

"HELP ME!" A man's voice called out as Ash walked through the city.

"What in the?" Ash said, looking towards where it came from. Down a cliff he saw a man cornered by three Pokémon with black fur. "Pikachu we have to help him!"

"Pika?" Pikachu said in confusion of his trainers sudden change.

"I know, but we can't ignore his cry for help." Ash said. "Use Thunderbolt!"

Pikachu leapt off of Ash's shoulder as the trainer slid down the dirt wall towards the man.

"Are you okay?" Ash asked.

"I'm fine, just got a little involved in my research, they don't seem to be happy about me being here." The man admitted.

"No matter." Ash said, watching them regroup. "Anything you can tell me about them?"

"They're called Mighteyena, dark type Pokemon, be careful they attack as a group." The man said.

"Alright. Pikachu use Thunderbolt!"

Pikachu shot off a Thunderbolt, zapping the center Mighteyena before he even landed.

"Incredible." The man said.

The three Mighteyena closed in on Pikachu, barring their sharp teeth.

Up at the top of the cliff

"What in the? Dad?" The boy from earlier said, before rushing down. "What's going on?"

"Stand back Brendan, they're dangerous." The man said worriedly.

"Yeah, well so are these.' Brendan said grabbing a Pokeball. "Come on out!"

"Mud?" A Mudkip said appearing next to Pikachu.

"Pikachu keep them back with Quick Attack!" Ash commanded.

"Mudkip use Tackle!"

The two Pokemon slammed into the pack of Mighteyena frightening them off.

"That was amazing!" Brendan said.

"I have to agree. Young lad, if you hadn't shown up when you did, I don't know what I would have done." The man said. "What's your name? Where'd you come from?"

"My name… its Ash ton, Ashton." Ash said turning towards the two, I'm from Pallet Town.

"Ashton, an interesting name. Tell me do you know Professor Oak?" The man asked.

"Not really." Ash lied, grabbing onto a root to pull himself out of the crevasse. "Pallet's a big place."

"So then, what brings you here?" Brendan asked.

"Looking for a fresh start." Ash said. "Figured this would be a good place."

"Well at least let me thank you. Come back to my lab with us." The man said. "My name's Professor Birch by the way."

"Nice to meet you." Ash said, helping him and Brendan out.

At Professor Birch's lab

"Ashton I must say the way you faced and scattered those Mighteyena was astonishing." Professor Birch said. "I'd like to ask you for your help with a project."

"What kind of project?" Ash asked.

"I research Pokemon in the wild, which results in similar situations to ones like earlier, I'd like you to help with that in your travels." Professor Birch said, holding out a Pokédex.

"I don't do serious battling anymore." Ash said. "I want to get away from that kind of training."

"Could've fooled me." Brendan said. "But if you don't want to battle, how about working together? You clearly know your way around battles, you could teach me."

"Lesson one, get out before it's too late." Ash said. "Thanks for the offers, but I just need to do this my way."

"That was rude." Brendan said after Ash had left.

"I'm sure he has his reasons, he doesn't seem to be a bad person, just distanced." Professor Birch said. "Anyways what were you doing all the way out there?"

"Don't you remember? You promised to give me my first Pokemon today. To help with your research!" Brendan urged.

"Right, right." Professor Birch said. "I'd ask you to pick one, but I think you already have." Professor Birch pointed out, looking at Mudkip's Pokeball.

"Are you sure, I mean this is one of your research projects." Brendan said in shock.

"If you're helping me with my research, what does it matter who has the little guy." Professor Birch said. "Here, to help you on your journey." Professor Birch said, holding out five Pokeball's and two Pokédex's.

"Why are you giving me two?" Brendan asked.

"I have a feeling you'll run into Ashton again, and when you do, tell him its a gift for rescuing me, no strings attached." Professor Birch said. "And try and be friendly, the lad seems like he could use a friend or two."

"Okay dad, you can count on me." Brendan said.

In between dimensions

"Interesting." Arceus said. "It seems this Ash is taking a different course through Hoenn than any other before him. I only hope he will turn things around."