Summary: I decided to do a Halloween pokemon fic. ^_^

Disclaimer: No own pokemon. Understand? Destiny n' new pokes are mine. Please ask before borrowing anything.

Pairings: Championshipping, one-sided AAMRN

Notes: for telepathy, ** for thoughts, and italics for pokemon talking.

Timeline: Indigo League, pre-league battles. Alternate Universe.  Let's just suppose that Ash did win @ Indigo, ok?

Ash is 14, Misty is 17, and Brock is unknown…

Warning: Possibly confusion, OC death, and… that's it. Angsty musing.

Title: Masquerade

            It was dark and smoky in the ballroom, with the lights turned low, but Ash Ketchum didn't mind one bit.

            As he adjusted his black velvet mask, he marveled at the freedom it gave him. For once, he wasn't simply Ash Ketchum, pokemon master, who seemed to run into every conceivable team rocket plot and still come out unscathed. There weren't any crazy scientists, reporters, or fangirls around to bug him.

            For once, he could just be… someone else.

            A bitter laugh forced its way past his lips. Normal. How long had it been since that dream had been shattered?

            He still had nightmares at night, occasionally. The creeping darkness was coming for him now that the light had been extinguished.

            It wasn't fair.

            "Aneki… why did you have to die?"

            He was dressed in golden armor over black robes, all real, of course, although only he knew it. Almost like a mythical warrior… but one that fought for darkness.

            Serebii said she was dark.

            How could she have been dark? Charlotte had been nothing but light and fire, like a falling star, that had been destroyed.

            So maybe she wasn't 'dead', yet, but…

            It didn't matter. Serebii still said he was dark. He was shadow, not darkness.

            But he didn't believe her.

            Why should he?

            She had manipulated him and his friends, over and over like puppets…

            He made his way through the press and over to the punch table, stopping to take a cup of the darkly tinted substance.

            It tasted sweet, faintly of apples and peaches. But he had no appetite for the array of snacks laid out.

            What was the point of living anymore?

            His golden eyes scanned the crowd, not really looking, but it would be awkward if he just stood like a statue.

            He waited.

            "Ash!" Misty said, materializing out of nowhere. She was dressed as a mermaid, with a shelly blue mask, but her hair gave her away. "Come on, let's dance!"

            He grudgingly allowed her to lead him onto the dance floor.

            Why fight what was already preordained?

            Why…

            She led him around the dance floor several times, and he mutely followed. The music pounded around them, but he didn't notice.

            It was only when she almost kissed him that he reacted. He pulled away faster before she could react.

            "Ash? What's wrong?"

            "What did you do that for?" Ash snapped.

            "It was just a kiss." Misty sounded annoyed, at having the romantic moment spoiled. "What have you got against me?"

            "A kiss," Ash said scornfully, "Is not something to be tossed around to everyone handsome face that catches your eye. It's more than that."

            He broke away and walked back to his lonely corner. * No, * he thought, * It's more than that… much more… on such a simple thing can rest the fate of the world… *

            The darkness swirled around him, invisible in the shadows of the party.

            He felt, rather than heard, the presence behind him.

            "What do you want?"

            "Nothing, little thunder guardian." The voice whispered. "Nothing from you."

            And the darkness whirled around him in waves, drowning him.

            "I'm scared." He whispered.

            "Scared of what, little one?"

            "Everything."

            "Everything?" There was amusement in that shadowy whisper.

            "The darkness… it scares me."

            "We tried to protect you from it. You know we did."

            Ash nodded. "Yes. But we all have to grow up sometimes."

            "It's still too early, little one." Arms snaked around his waist, pulled him against the Dragon Master's chest. "You know that."

            "I know." He whispered. "But I don't want to grow up."

            They stayed there in silence, the darkness concealing them from the prying eyes.

            He stared up into golden eyes, eyes as blindingly gold as his own.

            "How can you stand it?"

            "The power?"

            "No, the responsibility." He chided gently, even though he was glad the other was playing with him. It eased his mind somewhat.

            "How do you?"

            He lowered his eyes to the ground. "But it's not that simple."

            "Will you run, little guardian?"

            "No." He said firmly. "I won't. I hate it sometimes, but I won't abandon my duty."

            "Even for love?" A wistful tone entered the voice.

            "Even for what seems to be love." He reprimanded. "And when I am too blind to see it."

            "Interesting…"

            He couldn't hide forever.

            It seemed only a few minutes later when Misty came over and demanded another dance.

            The other faded into the shadows that enveloped them both, before Ash sighed in resignation and stepped into the light.

            It was flatly dull, but he could tell that Misty was still angry.

            "Nice speech, Ash, but don't tell me that you didn't like it." She hissed in his ear as they whirled around on the dance floor.

            Ash vaguely caught a few glimpses of familiar faces in costume, Falkner's Pidgeot outfit was certainly superb, and Sabrina made quite a pretty fairy, although how she had chosen that for her costume was up for grabs.

            There were also several people missing, but his mind did not really register them. Rudy and a few other gym leaders…

            But he was acutely aware, as he stared at the Cosmos representatives, that she wasn't there anymore.

            But of course she wasn't. She was dead, after all.

            Erika waltzed by in a dark green kimono with a climbing dragon on it, quite pretty. That color set off her hair and eyes wonderfully.

            He was brought back to reality when Misty raised her hand to slap him across the face for not listening to her tirade.

            With another lighting swift motion, he blocked her and turned his heel.

            "If you do not require a dance partner anymore, I would like to be left alone."

            Her angry eyes bored into his head, but he didn't feel any pain. He could feel the ice in his heart, spreading, spreading…

            Her pitiful fuming anger was nothing against them.

            He didn't feel anymore.

            The darkness almost felt like a welcome change.

            Strange what a few simple steps could do.

            This time though, he didn't fight it.

            He let the darkness flood him like a rushing tide. This was where he really belonged.

            He stared up into the silver mask that hid the face of his love. The silver armor glittered and sparkled.

            Almost like his own, he mused, except that it glowed like the moon.

            Gentle eyes looked into his.

            "Feeling better, little one?"

            "Hai…" He whispered.

            And the dark flowed through him and inside of him but it didn't feel wrong anymore.

            It was perfect.

            It was the way it was meant to be.

            It was shadow, in its purest form.

            And he would wield it.

            And gentle fingers lifted the mask away from his face, and smoothed his damp hair. They calmed him and soothed him, and he didn't fight anymore.

            He was dark.

            He could finally admit it to himself.

            And as he felt the darkness around them both, wrapped in the other's arms, he accepted it.

            After all, he wasn't alone anymore.

The End

Review, please.

This could be either shonen-ai or not. I never did mention it, so… *shrugs* no flaming.

And I do mean review. It would make me feel a lot better.

I know its mysterious, but tell me what you think.