Disclaimer: Pokemon Not Mine.

AN: OK sorry everyone for such a long break in between chapters. I kind of lost the inspiration to finish it. But since I noticed there were a lot of people wanting to me to continue. I guess, it rekindled something.

Oh Yeah I would like to Dedicate this chapter to Crystalite7. I really appreciate all the things you said, this is for you...(teary eyed)

Anyway enough from me. On with the show.

The Forgotten Father

Chapter 2

A wise man once said 'There are two tragedies in life: one is to lose your heart's desire, the other is to gain it' when I first heard this I really didn't understand. I probably don't fully understand now still, but know I have experienced it.

A while after me and Ash's first pokemon battle, the gym started to go under some hard times. As my skill with the Pokemon grew and grew, so did the time in between trainer's challenges for badges.

At first we always had at least, five people a day come to challenge for an Earth Badge. Then it became five a week. Pretty soon, it became rare, if we had five a month. Our Vermilion Gym, was in trouble.

A Gym without challengers, is a Gym in danger of being closed. Those were some hard times for us. I left home everyday before dawn, to open the Gym up for trainers. I even tried different promotional gimmicks to attract trainers.

God, that was a bust. Let me tell you, trying to battle in Slowpoke costume, is not an easy task. But I did anyway.

You don't know how hard it is to hold something as great as the title of a Pokemon Master and then to be reduced to wearing a stupid costume to try to provide for your family. But I did anyway. I swallowed what little pride I had left and wore it.

Those gimmicks days only drew trainers for a short period. After that we were back to where we started. Money was getting thin. The bills started to pile up. We still had to finish paying back the loan we got for opening the Gym.

The Banks were understanding though, they didn't hassle us for the money. But we were still badly in debt.

I didn't know how we were going to pull through. Lara did what she could though. She worked a few jobs with gardening. Ash tagged along with her to help out. I was pretty much relieved he didn't want to stay with me as much. I didn't want him to see his 'old man' being such a failure.

Pretty soon, we lost the house and had to move into the Gym. It wasn't bad....but it wasn't home.

I remember one night, there was a terrible storm. Thunder and lighting flashed across the sky, as the rain poured. It was one of the worst storms in Viridian.

I was walking around the Gym, making sure everything was turned off and locked up. There was a loud crash as lighting flared. I went to the front entrance to make sure it was properly secured. When suddenly I heard, loud desperate knocks on the door.

'Who in they're right mind would be out in this storm' I asked myself, as I crept over to the peephole. "Hey the gym's Closed." I said through the door. "Come back in the morning."

"Hey, can I use your phone please." I man's voice asked. "My car broke down, a ways back. And this is the only building I've seen in the last half and hour."

I sighed. Forgetting everything I ever told Ash about opening the door to strangers, I unlocked the door to let the man in. He looked like he must have been an important fellow. He wore a nice black suit, even though it was practically drenched. His brown hair hung to the sides of his head as he walked in.

I handed him a towel to dry off with, as I lead him to our phone. He punched in some numbers, to order for a tow truck, to come by to pick him and his car up.

"They said they will be here in a few minutes." He said as he walked back to the front gate. "Hey thanks, for letting me use the phone. I think I should wait outside for the truck." he stated while reaching for the door.

If I had any sense in my mind I would have let him go, but instead....

"Your not really going to wait outside are you. It's pouring out there. Here..." I pulled up a chair. "You can wait here for them."

He looked at me like I just grown two more heads. "You don't even know me and your letting me stay?"

"Yeah." I said bluntly. "You seem like a good guy. Beside we can't have you waiting around in this storm."

He smiled. For some reason I thought the hairs on my back stood on the ends. "You know, my friend your are a very unusual fellow. But I guess I have no choice but to accept your offer. Thank you." He was interrupted by a heavenly voice.

"Sage, who is it?" Lara asked as she came in, from another room.

"Oh, where are my manners." the man said while bringing out a small comb. He sent it through, drawing every hair back. "My name is Giovanni. Damien Giovanni."

"Well, I'm Sage Ketchum and this is my wife Lara."

"How do you do, sir?" Lara greeted while slightly bowing.

"I'm doing well, thanks to your husband." He smiled again.

"Please have a seat." Lara asked while motioning to a chair.

"Thank you again." Damien gladly accepted. "Sage, I must envy you. You have such a charming wife."

Lara blushed. "Thank you." I said. "Half the time I don't know what I'd do with her." I stated while I drew her close for a small kiss. She blushed even more.

"I think I should go check on Ash." Lara suggested. "It's been nice meeting you Mr. Giovanni."

"Please, please. After all this, just call me Damien."

"OK." Lara smiled. "Good evening, Damien." Lara quietly left the room.

I turned to my guest. "So Damien, what caused you to be in such a severe storm? The weather stations were predicting this one for a long time." I asked.

"Well, I had some last minute business to take care of." He answered.

"Really...What kind of business are you into."

He smiled again as if the question was amusing. "Oh, a little of this and a little of that." He vaguely answered. "I guess you could say, I'm into a little of everything." He finally stated. Then he turned to me. "So my friend, I take it your a Gym Leader."

"Yeah." I said.

"Really, I didn't know Viridian City had a Gym." Damien added.

I sighed. "Well, we're kind of in a slump right now. Hardly any Trainers come by anymore." I told him, while straightening up a couple of things.

"Really how come?" He asked. "It's too easy here?"

I smiled "No....on the contrary. I guess I'm too good." I added almost arrogantly. "Since I've opened this Gym, nobody has ever walked away with a badge."

"Really...that's quite amazing." He said. "You must be very talented."

"Talent alone, doesn't put food on the table." I added dryly.

"True, but have you ever considered just letting a few Trainers win a badge."

I stood there for a long time without speaking. Thousands of thoughts raced through my mind. I finally spoke, "You haven't been a Pokemon Trainer have you?"

Damien looked a little confused about my question "No....I have battled a few times, but never tried to go all the whole way."

"OK, then I understand then."

"Understand, what?"

"You ask me, why don't I just give a few badges away?" I stated while looking at him. He nodded. I then continued, "Being a Pokemon Gymleader is more than winning or the battles, or even getting giving the badges." I paused as I gathered my thoughts.

"As a Pokemon Gymleader, I have a responsibility to every trainer that walks through that door, to give them my very best. Not so that it earns them all another defeat, but to show them the areas that they need to improve on. I want every challenger to give everything they got to win...not just to earn a badge." I paused again, I thought I was sounding like a after school special.....Oh well.

"You can't be a Pokemon Masters just by having a lot of wins or a couple of badges. There has to be something you see inside yourself as well as in your Pokemon. If I can at least show one person this....then I think I've done my job as a Gymleader." I concluded.

For a long time Damien was very quiet. I think he was eyeing me up, trying to figure me out, or something. After a few minutes, he had a strange look on his face, then started to laugh.

"Sage, I must say you seemed like a very determined man." He stated after his laughing died. "I've never seen anyone so motivated by mere Pokemon." I was about to comment but he stopped me. "I admire you. You seem like the only Gymleader, that truly believes in his cause. I think, I will help you out with your situation." He added while bringing out his checkbook.

"Oh Damien, I can't accept that."

Not even considered what I said, he wrote down a number. "How about this?" He offered.

I looked at the number. Man I've never seen so many zeros in my life. "I still.....I still can't accept this." I choked out.

He frowned at this. "Is this not enough?" He asked.

"No! No!" I assured him. "It's just I can't take charities. Lara and I have brought this Gym up ourselves and...."

"You don't want outside help." Damien concluded, disappointedly.

"I'm sorry. It's a generous offer." I looked at what I was giving away again. "Very generous, but I want us to do it ourselves." I handed him back the check. Suddenly we both heard a loud truck horn from outside.

"Well, I guess that's my ride." He says while gathering up his things. He looks at me again. "Are you sure?"

"Positive." stated firmly.

Damien shrugs his shoulders. He turns to leave, when he stops and searches one of his jacket's pockets. "Here." He states while handing me a small business card. "If you decide to change your mind, give me a call."

I started to give it back to him, but he was already out the door. Taking a deep sigh, I placed the card in one of my jacket pockets. "What am I stupid?" I said, while I slowly walked back to the bedroom.

I pretty much forgot about Damien Giovanni and his offer. The card he gave me basically stayed in my jacket pocket. Even though his offer would have solved all our problems, it still didn't seem right to take his money. Times were still getting tough for us and our Gym. I had to take odd jobs around the city, to make ends meet.

One night, I remembered my boss, struck the lottery. He was very a generous guy and he knew about my family and my problems. So he gave me a little bonus, and told me to take my family out. It was had been a long time since we went out, anywhere so I decided to take his offer.

I called up Lara and told her the news. She was very excited, I think she really wanted to an evening out too. So I swung by the gym and picked up Ash and Lara. We went to a new Restaurant that opened up in Viridian called "La Rocket'e." It was a nice place with very good food, polite waiters and allot of gourmet food at reasonable prices.

With all the selection they had, Ash still only stuck to his Hamburgers and Fries. We laughed and talked. Ash was telling me about his adventures at Lara's job at the Pallet Arboretum. Lara also added that Ash got to a little to0 friendly, with a Gloom and ended getting sprayed but it's stench spray. We all laughed about that.

That night started off as one of the best nights we'd have in a long time...That was until we got back to the Viridian Gym, with the doors barely on the hinges......

End of Chapter 2

OK, again I'm sorry for the delay and I'm also sorry for anyone that was hoping that Giovanni was going to be Ash's father. I think that's been done to death and I don't think he is anyway. OK...I promise the next chapter will be done a lot sooner. Actually I've already started it so.....until we meet again.