Disclaimer: I don't own Pokemon. Thomas Christopher Ketchum and the Ohtohj region belong to me, though.
By Silvain Star- anime fan
Delia Ketchum stood at her bedroom window, watching her 20-year-old son and his girlfriend play with their Pokemon. Her favorite song played on the radio behind her. It was performed by an old friend of hers and his band. No one really knew the story behind the song, though. Daniel Meven, Delia's friend, wasn't really the one who wrote the song, but Delia always let him take credit for it.
"If only tears could bring you back…" she whispered as the song ended. She had written the song 17 years ago, during the painful week after her husband died, and it always brought tears to her eyes when she heard it.
"Mom?" a voice said from the door to her room.
"Ash! I didn't notice you come in," Delia said, turning to her son.
"You were listening to that song again, weren't you, Mom?" Ash said, turning off the radio.
"Don't lecture me, son. You do the same thing sometimes," Delia said.
"I know. I miss him, too," Ash said. "But listening to that song won't bring him back. It just gets you upset, Mom."
"I know," Delia said, staring sadly at the clear blue sky outside. "But knowing that doesn't make me want to stop listening to it. It reminds me of how wonderful it was when he was alive, and I like that. It does make me miss him more sometimes, though." She wiped a tear from her eye.
"Ash? Where are you?" Misty called from the hallway.
"In here," Ash said, walking to the door. "Mom was listening to that song she wrote when Dad died…"
"Oh," Misty said. She hugged him.
"Hey, guys, come on. Let's go see Professor Oak," Brock said, walking up to the pair.
"Alright," Misty said.
"You gonna be okay, Mom?" Ash asked, looking back at Delia before he left. She nodded.
"Go on. Have fun, I'll be fine," she said, smiling at him.
Ash followed Misty and Brock out the door and to Professor Oak's lab. That night, Ash and Misty were listening to music in his room when they heard a commotion outside. Brock rushed into the room, still holding a half washed spoon from cleaning up after dinner.
"Guys, there's this man out there. I think he's from Team Rocket, and he's attacking a Ho-oh. It's hurt bad, and he just won't stop," Brock said.
"Let's go, we've gotta help it!" Ash said, standing up off his bed and pulling Misty up with him. "Pikachu!" The yellow Pokemon jumped onto his shoulder.
The group rushed out the back door, where Brock had seen the Ho-oh and its attacker from.
"Hey! Leave it alone!" Misty shouted at the man and his two Pokemon, a Houndoom and a Mightyena, who were both attacking the Ho-oh mercilessly.
"Why should I, little brat? It isn't yours, so why can't I capture it?" the man said.
"You're not capturing it, you're hurting it! So stop!" Ash said. "Pikachu, use Thunder!"
The Electric type unleashed its attack on the man and his two Pokemon. He ran away, returning his two Pokemon to their Pokeballs on the way. Brock ran over to the Ho-oh.
"It's hurt bad. Even a Legendary Pokemon can't take care of itself in the wild in this condition," Brock said.
You think I don't know that already? I need help… the Ho-oh said.
"We'll help you, Ho-oh," Ash offered, kneeling down by where the Legendary bird lay on the ground.
You… you're the one I was watching over when that fool attacked… the Ho-oh said thoughtfully. It looked at Ash carefully. You are pure of heart and care for Pokemon greatly… the Ho-oh made a sound somewhere between a screech and a groan. Get me inside. I need Full Restores, and fast… We'll talk more once I'm healed a little more. I think they broke my right wing…
"Alright. I could try to carry you," Ash said.
"I'll help," Brock offered.
Okay, the Ho-oh agreed.
The pair carefully put Ho-oh's wings over their backs, carrying the Pokemon into the kitchen, where Ash used several Full restores in hopes of healing it enough for it to take care of itself. He knew Legendary Pokemon tended to be very independent, and it wouldn't want to rely on him or anyone else if it wasn't necessary.
Thank you, Ho-oh said. It tried to move out the door, but it stopped a few feet away and laid back down, closing its eyes in pain. I can't get there. It still hurts too much. I won't be able to fend off that trainer if I could get out there, anyway. He knows how to catch me off guard. I couldn't have stopped him if you three hadn't saved me… You… your name's Ash, right? Ho-oh looked at Ash, knowing it had to choose well if it wanted to survive. And a trainer was the only choice left.
"Yeah," Ash said, staring back at the Legendary bird.
Hmm… I want you to capture me. Just throw a Pokeball. I won't resist, I need your help, Ho-oh said.
"Huh? Help with what?" Ash asked.
I can't protect myself from that man. He'll attack when I let my guard down, in the night when he can sneak up on me. I need the protection of already having a trainer. You're the kindest and most pure-hearted trainer I've seen in my life. You have to protect me, Ho-oh insisted.
"Well, alright," Ash said nervously. He grabbed an empty Pokeball and tossed it at Ho-oh. It rocked back and forth gently, then pinged. Ash let Ho-oh out so he could get a bit more explanation about what was going on.
Yes? Ho-oh said.
"Ho-oh, I was kinda wondering why you were behind my house to begin with," Ash said.
Please, call me Phoenix, the Legendary bird insisted.
"Phoenix?" Ash asked.
Yes. My full name is Phoenix Daphren Tearfather. Would you like me to answer your first question, or not? Phoenix said.
"Oh, sorry, go ahead," Ash said.
I was following through on a promise I made seventeen years ago, in the Viridian forest, to a man who had been badly poisoned by a group of Beedrill. Phoenix began. At the confused look on Ash's face, he added, Your father. He asked me to watch over his family if he didn't survive. He was a great trainer, I could tell the moment I saw him. He'd let the wins go to his head though. He wasn't ready to catch a Legendary Pokemon, and he realized it, too late. The Beedrill attacked him when he saw my feather caught on their tree. I saw him attacked by them, I rushed to help, because I could tell he was still a kind and caring trainer, no matter how foolishly arrogant he may have become. I tried to heal him, but there was only so much I could do. That's when he asked me to watch over you and your mother. I promised I would, a promise I've always kept. I haven't left this area, right around Pallet Town for more than an hour at a time since that day. You've seen me more than once, I believe, when you've left town. I was watching to make sure you got going safely, just as your father asked. Phoenix finished the story. Ash noticed he seemed to be smiling slightly.
"Ash? What's going on?" Delia said from the kitchen door.
"Mom, this is Phoenix Daphren Tearfather. He was attacked by a really evil trainer in the backyard while he was watching over us like Dad asked him to, so Phoenix asked me to capture him to protect him from that trainer cause he was too hurt to protect himself. He was just explaining everything to me," Ash said.
Delia Ketchum, I believe? Phoenix asked, looking at her.
"Yes. How…?" Delia trailed off, amazed.
Like Ash said, your husband asked me to watch over you before he died. I tried to heal him, but I couldn't heal him completely. My powers have limits. He wanted me to keep an eye on the two of you if he didn't make it, and I promised I would, Phoenix said. I've been watching over you ever since.
"You met Tom? That day in Viridian Forest?" Delia asked.
Yes, Phoenix said. Delia began crying, kneeling down and sobbing into Phoenix's feathers.
"I miss him so much!" she said, hugging the Legendary bird around the neck.
"Umm… I heard a rumor of a Pokemon in the Ohtohj region that can bring people back to life. It might've just been a rumor, but maybe you've heard about it, Phoenix," Misty said.
Kiarane, you mean? Phoenix asked. Misty nodded. Yes, I've heard of it. Kiarane CAN bring people back to life, but it lives at the top of the most dangerous mountain in Ohtohj, and even if you can climb to Amariflare's peak, it will only reveal itself to the most kind and pure-hearted trainers, and after that, there's the dangerous descent. Trainers go to Amariflare in seek of Kiarane or simply for adventure all the time. Most of them don't return, or if they do, it's as a corpse. It's very dangerous. There's a train to Amariflare from Magma Town, but only trainers with a ticket handed out to Ohtohj League champions can reach Magma Town. The ticket is for a boat at Aqua Town's port, but only the best of the best trainers even bother. It takes a lot of courage to try to climb Amariflare Mountain… Phoenix explained. Only two trainers have ever reached the top and come back alive. Lance and the Ohtohj League champion, Kaina Doitio. Lance broke fifteen bones when he slipped at the very bottom returning. Kaina broke only one, but she refused to ever go near that mountain again.
"How do you know all this?" Brock asked.
I'm a Legendary bird. I hear things, Phoenix said. A Suicuno named Icerunner told me this particular story. Heard it from Kiarane himself, supposedly.
"Wow…" Misty said quietly, amazed.
"Uh, Misty, ash has that wild, 'adventure time' look in his eyes again…" Brock said, looking at his best friend nervously.
"We're going. I'm climbing that mountain, and I'm bringing my father back. And maybe I'll catch some new Pokemon on the way. I'll have to get all the badges, and beat the Ohtohj Elite Four and Kaina Doitio, and then I'll get that ticket and go to Magma Town and catch the train to Amariflare. This is a chance I can't pass up…" Ash said suddenly, having been silent the whole time since Misty mentioned the Ohtohj Legendary with the ability to bring people back.
"But Ash! It's too dangerous!" Misty said, hugging him. "I don't want you to get hurt!"
"Misty, when has danger ever stopped me?" Ash said. "In Johto, when Team Rocket captured Pikachu, and we had to climb that canyon, it was dangerous, and it didn't stop me then. It won't stop me now, either."
"Oh, fine…" Misty said. "But we're coming with you, aren't we, Brock?"
"Of course," Brock agreed.
"Not up that mountain, you aren't. I'm not letting you two get hurt because of my idea," Ash said. Misty started to object, but Ash cut her off. "That's the highest mountain in the world. You're not coming with me when I go to see Kiarane. You can wait for me in Magma Town. If I'm not back in three days, come to the base of the mountain. If I'm not there, go get a doctor who's not afraid to go up there. Then call my mom and let her know. We'll figure the rest out later, but remember those instructions, because I'll need you to do that stuff if I get hurt," Ash finished, looking seriously at Misty.
"You're really gonna do this, no matter what I say, aren't you?" Misty sighed.
"Yeah, I am," Ash replied determinedly.
A/N: Hey, this was pretty long! Read and Review, people. I know I wasn't gonna update until I had more reviews, but no one seems to care about review-starved authors anymore, so I thought maybe another chapter would earn a review. Please review… I'll go crazy if I don't know what everyone thinks!