Autumn of Life

by pikajenn


Disclaimer: Kia, her Eevees, and anyone you don't recognize are mine...That includes Nurse Joi (her physical description and what she does in the Pokémon world in this episode) and her way cool glasses.

It was another fine day in Johto. The sun was shining, Pidgeys were chirping, and Ash and Misty were arguing. Brock sighed as he watched them walking ahead of him. It felt like the good old days in Kanto. No strange new Pokemon, no wierd berry bushes, no strange new...Oh wait.

Brock scowled at the sight of a couple of Hoppip basking in the sunlight in the meadow they were walking past.

Hoppip did not bring back happy memories for Brock.

No need for Ash stopping to try to catch one. Luckily, Pikachu didn't alert Ash, he was too busy fighting with Misty anyway. Brock looked around for anything suspicious. Team Rocket hadn't made an "appearance" for nearly a whole week; Brock wasn't sure whether to be relieved or apprehensive.

His fears weren't unfounded.

They were attacked suddenly, by two small blurs of movement, one light pink and the other pitch black. They darted between Ash and Misty, then lept up into the thick braches of the trees overhead. For a breathtaking second, there was no movement. Then a thick tree branch came crashing down. Ash and Misty ran back, knocking Brock over, and the three tumbled to the ground. The branch crashed to the ground, raising a small cloud of dust and dirt, mere inches from Ash's feet.

"Pikachu! Thundershock!" Ash cried out angrily.

"At what, Ash? They're nowhere around," Misty fumed, hugging a wailing Togepi close.

A small chuckle had all of them leaping to their feet. Togepi fell silent and Pikachu scrabbled to its perch on Ash's shoulders, its cheeks sparking in anger.

"Don't worry, little one. I don't want you. Yet." The voice was female, but it lacked any emotion. It made pre-Haunter Sabrina sound postively melodious by comparison.

"Show yourself!" Brock demanded.

A figure dropped lithely from the trees lining the road ahead. She was tall and dressed from head to toe in a black ninja outfit that left only her eyes visible. Two small shapes, an Umbreon and an Espeon, sat at her feet. Neither of the pokemon looked up, they merely waited for commands.

"Wow, what are..." Ash dug out his Pokedex, but Misty slapped it away. It fell to the ground, silent.

"You idiot! She tried to kill us!" Misty was practically foaming at the mouth. Ash ignored her, picking up and putting away the unused Pokedex.

"Not you, Gym Leader," The eyes were fixed on Ash. "Only the idiot from Pallet."

"I resent that!" Ash cried out, flushing.

"Pi ka!"

"Actually, you resemble that, Ash Ketchum." The eyes glinted in the sunlight. "Now, prepare to die."

Brock was filled with disgust. Why kill Ash? Sure, he did some dumb things, but not enough to warrant his death.

As the two Eevee evolutions slowly, meticulously advanced towards Ash, Brock threw his pokeballs and yelled out, "No! Everyone, Ash needs you!"

Misty and Ash caught on and released their Pokemon too. The would-be attacker didn't even blink at the array of Pokemon before her, she just nodded once, and her Pokemon attacked.

The battle was intense. Onix, Starmie, Pikachu, and Chikorita surrounded Ash, while the others fought...and lost. Soon there were more Pokemon being recalled than were attacking. The Espeon and Umbreon weren't even breathing heavily when Misty recalled her last Pokemon. There were no more for the assasin's team to fight, save for the ones around Ash.

The two advanced on Ash until they were twenty feet away. For a minute, no one moved and Brock thought they had given up. Pikachu and Chikorita were at the ready, but they weren't fast enough.

The Umbreon darted forward, a lightning quick blur, and Ash cried out in pain as it attacked and a heartbeat later it was sitting back next to the Espeon, as if it hadn't moved at all. Brock wasn't sure if it even had moved, but then Ash was clutching at his upper arm and blood was seeping steadily through his gloved fingers.

It bit his throwing arm...

Ash sunk to the ground and for a moment, took his hand away and Brock was sickened when he saw the chunk of flesh just dangling from the upper arm and he was almost physically sick right then and there.

"Onix, go!" Brock just reacted, throwing his rock snake's Pokeball, "Tackle them back to frickin' Kanto!"

Onix roared and made to move, but suddenly the three were simply not there.

"They must've teleported," Brock muttered and he felt his whole body trembling with supressed anger.

"Well I wish we could too!" Misty cried out as she frantically wrapped a blanket around Ash's upper arm. "Brock, help me!"

Quickly, Brock recalled the remaining Pokemon, even a reluctant Chikorita. Pikachu refused, Ash didn't have a pokeball for it anyway, and they helped a pale Ash onto Onix. The ride to the nearest town seemed an eternity, but they were unhindered.

** ** **

The nurse, the second female Brock hadn't swooned over that day, walked up to them. She looked like Nurse Joy, but her black hair was in a single bun and she hid her violet eyes behind blue tinted glasses.

"Misty? Brock?" Her voice was strong, confident. "Ash will be okay..."

They all sighed in relief.

"...The bite didn't sever any nerves and I don't see the possibility of any permanent damage, but it did require stitches. Many, many stitches. It may scar if it becomes infected and I don't think he'll be throwing any Pokeballs for at least a month. You said you were attacked?"

"Yeah, by a woman in black with an Umbreon and an Espeon." Brock said, giving Misty Ash's backpack. "She said she was going to kill Ash."

"Oh my, I can't see why. I don't know of any people in this city that even have one, let alone two, of the new Eevee evolutions. You may want to file a report with Officer Jenny."

"Yeah, whatever! Can we see Ash now?" Misty was fighting back tears of relief.

Nurse Joi laughed and Brock knew everything would be okay, "Follow me!"

*****

When they entered Ash's room, they saw that Pikachu had fallen asleep on Ash's stomach. He was asleep too, his left hand on Pikachu's back.

"Um, I guess I should've expected this," Nurse Joi murmered, "Morphine does that to people." She turned to face Brock and Misty. "Why don't you take your Pokemon to the Pokemon Center? I'm sure they must need to be healed after that battle."

And so they did. It was the only normal thing that happened so far that day. Brock was dragged out by Misty as they left their Pokemon, and Ash's, with a confused Nurse Joy. Misty let go of his earlobe and they walked to the Police Station. It was a busy place, but Officer Jenny found time for them once Misty explained what happened. It turned out that their attacker was a well-known and wanted assasin.

"But Nurse Joi said she didn't know..." Brock started.

"And she wouldn't know," Officer Jenny said softly. "Assasins in particular aren't known by everyday people. It would be real trouble if they did. Nightfyre is a recently known assasin. She's good at what she does and you're all very lucky to be still alive. Assasins aren't known of until they mess up or if they want to be known. Someone must want Ash dead very badly."

"She said she was only after Ash," Misty interupted. "Brock, we have to go back to him!"

"Hold on!" Officer Jenny said, "I'm sending you with two of my best men. They're trained for this sort of thing and they should arrive before you do."

"Thank you," Brock said as Misty dragged him out. "I'll get the Pokemon if you go and stay with Ash."

"I"m one step ahead of you!" Misty called out as she ran off, Togepi squealing with happiness.

He walked into the Pokemon Center and waited in line, thinking of the person sent to kill his friend. Nightfyre, huh? When he got to the counter, he was -- for once -- not an airhead and he told Nurse Joy who he was getting and put Ash's, Misty's, and his pokemon into his pack. He'd zipped the pack shut, thanked Nurse Joy, and turned around so suddenly that he almost knocked the person in line behind him, to the ground.

"I'm so sorry," he reached out a hand to steady the person.

"It's alright," Her voice was light and melodious and when she looked up, Brock was starstruck. She was so beautiful, Brock wasn't sure if she was a movie star or a faerie. "I wasn't looking ahead of me anyway...so clumsy of me!" Her long red hair fell in a sheet to her waist and her green eyes danced with merriment.

Brock just stared, his jaw hanging open.

"You're Brock, aren't you? Pewter City Gym Leader?"

Dumbfounded, he only nodded.

"Someday, I hope to battle you." She looked down, two Eevees were at her feet. "Let's go guys."

Brock stared after her, watched as she darted up the stairs to the rented rooms, and then she vanished out of sight. "Wow," he said, finally closing his mouth.

*****

Misty looked up as Brock walked in and saw he noticed the single guard, sitting in the corner of the room, a Growlithe by his feet. She chuckled, "The other one is outside and he has an Arcanine."

Brock just nodded and for a moment, they listened to Ash's quiet snoring.

"You know, I never thought I'd be relieved to hear that," Misty smiled, her aquamarine gaze not leaving Ash's peace filled, morphine relaxed face.

"I know," he paused. "Do you want to go get something to eat? It's almost five thirty."

"No. I...I can't leave him."

"I understand. Do you want me to bring you something?"

"Maybe later. I just, I'm not very hungry."

Brock nodded and left. The streets of Goldenrod were still busy and the sun was not yet setting, but since it was five thirty, many people were headed home from work.

It must be nice to have a home cooked meal, he mused. A shop sign caught his eyes and he walked in, smiling. Twenty minutes later, he walked out, holding a white plastic bag filled with takeout containers. Forty minutes later, he was in the National Park above Goldenrod, finishing his dinner on the wall of a huge reflection pond.

He dropped a crust of bread into the pond and a medium sized Magicarp snatched it, making a small wave. There were more Magicarp, and a few Goldeen, swimming around in the pond, but park rules prohibited catching or battling any of the Pokemon in the pond.

He had just finished the last of his Sweet and Sour Krabby when he saw someone walking towards him. The sun was getting lower in the sky, setting behind her, but with the two Eevee's by her feet, he knew her anyway. Brock's heartbeat quickened at the sight of her hair set afire by the sun. A warm breeze blew gently past, carrying the coolness of the night to come.

She paused by him and he could smell the sweet scent of roses.

Other park dwellers walked past, taking no notice of a nervous Gym Leader.

"Hello," she said, "Nice um, night...isn't it?"

"I guess so," he said, putting the empty takeout boxes back into the white bag.

"We weren't formally introduced earlier," She said, a small quaver in her voice. She held out her hand. "My name is Kia and I'm a trainer from Cherrygrove."

Brock took her small hand in his and kissed the back of it lightly. "I'm Brock."

Kia surprised him by clasping his hands with hers, her eyes twinkling in the dimming light. "Oh this is fate! I know it!"

"Whaa?! What do you mean?"

Soft white lights suddenly came on, gently illuminating the area around the pond and the walkways in the park.

"Well, if my Eevee's hadn't been so exhaused by our travels, I'd never gone to this city's Pokemon center and I never would've met you!"

Brock grinned, "We would've eventually met."

"Yes, but not outside of your gym! It was destiny that we meet." Suddenly, her Eevee's chirped up at her, breaking the mood. "What? Oh, you're right"

"You understand them?"

Kia laughed, a tinkling, chiming sound. "Oh no, silly, not as if they speak English. I understand only the tone of their voices, as it were." She stepped away.

"Wait!" Brock cried out, hating the desparate tone of his voice, but it worked anyway. She stopped, turned around.

"Yes?"

"Meet me here tomorrow..at noon?"

The pause she took, thinking, almost had him begging again, but she nodded. "I'll be here."

*****

Brock checked back with Misty, but she didn't notice he'd been gone for three hours. A tray filled with used dishes sat on a table near her, Togepi and Pikachu were sleeping on one of the two cots by Ash's bed. Since there were no more rooms at the Center, Nurse Joi had set up the cots for them in Ash's room. Though he felt a bit discomforted by the guards, Brock fell asleep, watching Misty watching Ash from her uncomfortable bedside vigilance.

*****

Brock got to the Park a half-hour early, setting up a picnic lunch near the pond. He passed the time watching people, kids and adults, as they participated in a bug catching contest. He wastched a boy, who looked like a blond Ash, as he battled and caught a Pinsir. The boy punched buttons on his Pokedex and a Butterfree was released.

The boy ran off towards the East entrance of the park to wait the end of his time limit. Brock had heard that the winner got a rare Sunstone, second got an Everstone--which halted evolution as long as the Pokemon held it, and third got a Gold berry--which replaced 30 hp.

"Hey there, tall, dark, and handsome!"

Brock lept to his feet, "Kia! I'm so glad you came!"

They ate, all of the food had been made by Brock and Kia repeatedly remarked how good everything was. After the picnic, they entered the contest. Brock ended up with a Gold Berry and a Butterfree, but Kia won first prize with a Scyther.

"Oh, that was fun!" She exclaimed as they left the park and stood on Route 36. "Say, why don't we release these guys? I'm not a Bug trainer and I think someone who loves Bugs should have a go at these two."

"Uh..."

"Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but let's do it anyway!" She practically dragged him back through the East entrance and back into the park.

"Kia!!"

"What?" Her emerald eyes grew wide and she let go of his arm. White marks on his tan arm faded away and she gasped, "Oh, I'm so sorry! I overstepped my lines. You are, after all, a Gym Leader. I'm sorry. I get carried away some times and..."

Brock hushed her, casting nervous looks around him. The last thing he wanted was someone coming up for tips or hints...or for a certain assasin to be able to find him. "No, it's okay. I'm not a Bug trainer either." He led her to a patch of tall grass, held out the Park pokeball. "On the count of three..."

She nodded, mimicking his stance, "Three!" she cried out. The Pokeballs broke in two, useless, as they released the pokemon. The two Bug types fled back into the safety the tall grass provided.

"Ya wanna go shopping?" Kia asked, a twinkle in her eyes.

*****

Ash moaned, a sound that snatched Misty from her revire. "Shh, I'm here, Ash." She held his left hand and tenderly stroked the thick silky locks of black hair that fell across his mahogany-colored eyes. "Don't worry."

"Misty..." His voice was a hoarse croak.

"Yes?" She whispered, leaning over to better hear him.

"Could you not squeeze my hand, you're really hurting me."

Misty laughed, "I'm sorry, I keep forgetting what a weakling you are."

"Thanks Misty, you really...Hey!"

He was interupted by the guard opening the door. "I'm sorry, but Brock has someone with him. Will she be allowed in, too?"

"Only if she promises not to be here to kill Mr. Sunshine."

"Heeey!"

The guard grinned, "I'll send them in."

"Brat."

"Wuss."

Pause.

"Fat brat."

Through a dull haze of drug enduced sleepiness, Ash saw Brock bring in a slender, petite girl that stood as high as Brock's shoulders and before he fell asleep, he wondered why Brock was so calm.

*****

"Meet me in the park at one?" Kia clutched the stuffed Eevee to her chest, as if the tighter she held it, the more in favor of her, his answer would be. She wasn't to be disappointed.

Brock grinned, "Wild Rapidash couldn't keep me away."

Kia got up on her tiptoes to kiss Brock on the cheek, but he turned his head and ended up kissing her full on the lips instead. The kiss ended with both of them laughing and blushing.

"Thank you, Brock, for the best date I've ever had." Kia left with a wave and Brock closed the door behind her, leaned on it, and smiled.

A date...she thought of it as a date. Brock sighed. I guess...it really was.

"You sure are happy," Ash said, spooning up a mouthful of chocolate pudding. Pikachu echoed its master's statement. "Pi, pika chu."

Misty sighed, "You do know we have to leave early tomorrow."

Brock rubbed his eyes, he was tired. "I know, but let's sleep and I'll deal with it tomorrow."

*****

The next morning dawned too early for Brock. Nurse Joi pronounced Ash fit for travel.

"But no battles till your arm heals."

"But.."

Nurse Joi raised an eyebrow. "Unless you can throw a pokeball with your left hand."

Ash sighed, "No, I don't have that much manual dexterity in my left arm."

The others blinked and Nurse Joi coughed, "Must be the after effects of the Morphine."

Ash grumbled and stalked off to the adjacent bathroom.

Nurse Joi smiled, "Good, that's settled. Misty, Brock, as respectable Kanto Gym Leaders, I expect you will keep him safe and away from battles and that he keeps that wound clean."

"We will." Brock said.

Twenty minutes later, the trio said their goodbyes and soon they were on Route 34. They nearly got into a battle with a snot-nosed brat of a trainer that laughed at the toilet paper stuck to Ash's sneaker, but a stern look from Brock and the brief glimpse of Misty's trusty mallet had silenced the brat.

It was when they got into the Ilex Forest that trouble found them and boy, did it become double. They had to pick up the G/S ball on their way back to Pallet and it was a looong walk and none of them had a Flying pokemon.

"Boy, Ash," Misty drawled out, "Pidgeot sure would come in handy now."

"I know."

"Or even Charizard. Then he could just TOAST all these nasty bugs." Misty shivered. "Gross, hairy bugs that a flying, fire-type Pokemon could obliterate. Yup, that Charizard sure could..."

"ALLRIGHT ALREADY!" Ash cried out. "For crying out loud, Misty! Stop rubbing it in! How many times do I have to explain about the whole Pidgeot/Charizard/Butterfree thing?"

"Butterfree? Hmm, I'd forgotten about THAT flyer..."

"Arrgh," Ash stopped and drew out his pokedex. "Oooh, what's that!" He aimed it at Misty.

"Misty: The annoying water pokemon trainer. This person likes to..."

"What! You had that thing programmed to..."

"Programmed to be as annoying as the person who wields it."

The emotionless voice had a chilling effect on Ash. He crouched low to the ground, pale faced, and clutching his wounded arm protectively. "Nonononono.." he muttered.

"Why do you want to kill Ash?" Misty yelled.

The voice was silent, then came from the direction opposite where they'd heard it first. "Because," a dark shape stepped from behind a tree and into the road behind them. "Someone said please."

"Who?" Brock demanded angrily, his eyes narrowed.

The figure seemed taken aback by his hostility. "I'm afraid I can't tell you. Rules, you know. Darkness, Light. Come to me, my babies."

The pokemon slunk out of the bushes and sat at her feet.

"We're prepared for you this time," Misty held out a pokeball in each hand, as did Brock.

"You think you can win?" Brock asked the assasin.

"I know I will."

"Fine, pokeballs go!" The four balls went flying and four Pokemon appeared: A Charizard, Dragonite, Houndoom, and Xatu stood tall, ready for action.

"Four against my two?" The assasin shrugged. "You'd need all 250 variations to beat my two."

"Oh yeah?" Misty cried out. "I'll have you know that these are no ordinary Pokemon. In fact, few humans have ever seen the two that I have and the Charizard that Brock has."

The Xatu sweatdropped and Misty blushed. "Sorry, Xatu."

"Hmm, pretending that I care...Why is that?" Nightfyre sounded bored, the first emotion she'd emoted.

"Because they're mine, Nightfyre."

Brock cheered inwardly at the assasin's reaction as a tall blond man stepped out from behind Ash. Ash who promptly fainted at the sight of his hero. The blond man was tall, confident, and wore the black cape of the Pokemon Master.

"Dragonmaster Lance?" She whispered it.

"Dragonmaster, Leader of the Elite Four, blah, blah, blah," Lance waved a hand dismissively. "The fact is that my..." he gestured to the Charizard and Dragonite. "...pokemon had to be at high levels to defeat the last Master, as well as the Elite Four, and they've attained even higher levels in the fifteen years since that. Do you still care to fight me?"

She pause for a moment, then snarled, "To the death! But do die quickly, so I can kill the Pallet pipsqueak. I have a prior engagement to attend."

Lance sighed, "You two should watch over Ash. I'll deal with this easily."

Brock carefully picked up Ash and he, Misty, and Pikachu...oh, and Togepi...sat on a fallen tree that lay on the side of the road behind Lance. Brock took out a container of warm, buttered popcorn and Misty broke out the sodas. Pikachu cheered Lance on with small fans that had a caricature of Lance's face on them.

The battle was ridiculously short to Brock. Xatu was taken down in an unfair double team by the Espeon and Umbreon. Houndoom got in a few good Bites on the Umbreon before fainting from an Espeon attack. It was down to Charizard and Dragonite.

Charizard K.O.'d the Umbreon into a tree and then it was K.O.'d by a Surf meant for the Espeon.

Suddenly, the assasin shrieked, "He's dead! Darkness, no!"

Misty glanced a look at Nightfyre picking up the Umbreon. Its head flopped at an unnatural angle and Misty winced. She looked at Brock, but his face was emotionless and he had Onix's pokeball out. "What's that for?"

"Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. It keeps my wrists from tightening up if I exercise regularly. C'mon, Misty! It's backup if she tries any tricks on Lance!"

Misty sighed, "Sorry I asked..." Then she muttered under her breath. "...Polly prissy pants."

Togepi trilled.

A Dragonbreath attack paralyzed the Espeon and before Misty could blink, Dragonite Slammed the smaller pokemon. The Espeon yelped in surprise, and then in pain, as it found itself implaled on a bare pine tree branch. It scrabbled for purchase, stiffened suddenly, and then relaxed. Blood dripped crimson from the pale pink hind legs and Nightfyre lost it. "NOOO!" she howled, "Light! My baby girl, oh nooo..."

Lance was about to recall Dragonite when the young assasin's sobbs stilled. "You wanna know why they call me Nightfyre?" She didn't wait for an answer and a red glow surrounded her. "Because, one night a year ago, I had my genes spliced with a Flareon's and I can do...THIS!"

Her form shifted to a Rapidash-sized Flareon. Its colors were all wrong, Brock noted. Its body was black and not red, while the flame collar, tail, and head crest were bright red and not yellow, and it's eyes were...solid green.

"You will ALL die and my shnookums will both be avenged!"

Lance was still calm, "Perhaps you've forgotten, my dear, that you are a Fire type and that Dragonite here knows Surf?"

Nightfyre's eyes got wide, then narrowed. "Won't matter if I can kill you first!" and she lunged at Lance. Dragonite tackled her, roaring as the hot flames burned it. It bellowed and suddenly a huge wall of water engulfed the Flareon-morphed assasin.

The water vanished, leaving behind a normal sized Flareon that had a tiny ring of fire around her neck. All her other flames had been extinguished.

"No," she gasped, shakily standing up.

Lance recalled Dragonite, praising it. There was to be no further threat from the assasin.

"Must...kill...Ash..." and she ran, suddenly, past Lance.

"No! Onix!" Brock released Onix. "Tackle that...thing!" and Onix did, harshly, sensing the anger from its Trainer.

The Flareon yelped and went flying through the air, smashing into a tree with a sickening crack of bones. Nighfyre gasped once more, and fell silent forever, her body landing in a crumpled heap at the base of the tree.

Lance glanced at the three bodies and sighed. "It didn't have to end like this."

A gasp had Lance spinning around to see that Ash had regained, and promptly lost consciousness after once again seeing his hero. Lance grinned and picked up Ash. Together, they all walked out of Ilex Forest and never noticed a small, stuffed Eevee that lay behind the tree Nightfyre had crashed into.

***

One o' clock came and went and Kia didn't sow up. People came and went and Brock glumly watched the sun grow orange and red and drop heavily, slowly, towards the horizon.

Pikachu found him first, with Misty and Ash lagging a bit behind. Brock skimmed the water of the reflection pond with his fingers. "She never showed up."

"Aww, don't feel too bad," Ash scratched above his boo boo. "I'm sure she got stuck somewhere or maybe she had a job that she couldn't get out of."

"Drop it, Romeo!" Misty shoved lightly at Ash's left side. "Let's just go. She probably just used you 'cause you're a Gym Leader and she got bored and dumped you like a load of Tauros..."

"Geeze, enough there Martha Stewart!" Ash shoved Misty away and winced as Togepi started wailing. He and Brock began walking back towards Goldenrod. "I'm sure she did care.."

"Right about now, Ash, I don't think so." Brock glanced at the advancing twilight. "I think Misty is right. After all, what girl is gonna love me...for me?"

Pikachu scratched the back of its neck with its hind leg and yawned.

"Hey Brock," Misty came up behind them, "We, uh, got the G/S ball while you were here. Lance..." she paused at a crashing sound. Ash had fainted again and Pikachu and Togepi were waving small paper fans to revive him. "...What a girly girl. Anyway, Lance flew us to Kurt's and back before he went back to League HQ."

"And did Ash faint very often?"

"Ooooh yeah, like a Caterpie versus a Pidgeot." She smiled, saw that Ash was regaining consciousness and was sitting up. "AAAHH!!! IT'S LANCE...."

Ash fainted again, landing on Pikachu. Pikachu promptly shocked him and Ash regained consciousness, looking peeved at Misty.

"...Bass!"

Lance Bass walked by leading a well-cared for Rapidash to the reflection pond for a drink. He waved to Misty. "Hey, Mist."

Misty nodded and casually said, "Sup, Lance."

"You are too cruel," Brock said, low for only Misty to hear.

"I know," she replied, waving as Lance BASS rode off on the Rapidash. She cleared her throat and Ash fainted again. Misty chuckled.

"You do know that Ash Ketchum is not transportable in a pokeball and that he isn't light as a feather?" Brock sounded exasporated, finally forgetting his own troubled heart.

"Yeah, but it's my job to torture the poor runt." She grinned. "So, we can take the train back and stay the night in Saffron if you like. I already booked three rooms, but I can always cancel..."

Brock shook his head, noticed Ash getting up and looking around cautiously. "Okay, we'll go tonight, by train, to Saffron. But I get a window seat."

Brock started running towards Goldenrod, Pikachu close at his heels.

"I call shotgun!" Ash yelled out, startling Misty. She grabbed Togepi and started running after them.

"You idiot! You can't ride shotgun in a train!"

And so, none of them noticed a large Butterfree flutter above a Scyther drinking from the reflection pond as the cool night breeze carried the scent of roses.


Yes, I know this was supposed to be a real fluff-ball, tear jerker, and that's what it was when I wrote it on paper, but then I fleshed it out on the computer and it EVOLVED into this piece of Miltank heap.

Okay, Authors Notes are thusly:

The title, Autumn of Life, is actually the title of an instrumental song from Tenchi Muyo. If you want to hear it, and I definately recommend it, it can be found alll over the internet as a lengthy MP3, or you can "legally" listen to it by watching the Tenchi Muyo Universe episodes entitled, "No Need for Ryoko" or "No Need for a Showdown".

This fic was written after I saw an episode of Outlaw Star and so, those of you who watch the exploits of whasshisname, Starwind isn't it? and said, "Saaaay, this looks familiar..." let me be the FIRST to tell you this was INSPIRED by that episode. Whatever happened here, is of my own design and warped mind.

I know that Nurse Joi is really Nurse Joy, just...pretend...okay?!

I hoped you liked it, but tell me...Anyone have a clue as to the identity of the doomed Assasin?