Foreword: Time to bring this ancient, dusty thing back from the grave! I finally got to writing this epilogue (although I had it planned all along)! I hope you like the final true end of The Flame Burns Deep, my first fanfic ever! I dunno, I think there may be a possibility for a sequel, but no guarantees! What's your opinion on it? Would you like to see a sequel? Ugh, more on that subject after the chapter! Enjoy and be happy!

Epilogue of The Flame Burns Deep

Epilogue: What's Going On Here?

The morning dawned clear and bright.

Misty, being a much lighter sleeper than Ash, awoke at the first glinting of the sun over the hills, then nudged her quietly snoring companion with an elbow to wake him up (although it did no good).

Pikachu was already awake, and had apparently managed to sneak outside to watch the brilliant sunrise. He had plopped himself down in the mouth of the cave, utterly silent, ears twitching pleasantly.

Ash sluggishly awoke a few minutes later, wondering groggily why Misty had tried to awake him at such a ridiculous hour. He then realized that her warmth was absent, and he peered outside, blinking the cloud of sleep away.

The sight that welcomed his tired eyes was quite splendid.

The first thing he saw was the golden sun, winking at him from the vicinity of the muted brilliance of the morning sky. Though it was filled with mostly fiery oranges and pinks, he couldn't help but feel, rather than see, a hint of twilight blue mixed in there somewhere. He grinned softly when he saw Misty and Pikachu's silhouettes a few feet from him, holding a contented whispered conversation, presumably about him.

Unable to remain sitting there for much longer, he stood up slowly and tiptoed as silently as possible over to where his two friends were giggling gleefully.

He was doing a good job of it, but then of it course it was only fate that he would have to trip over his shoelace, which was untied and forgotten about.

"Ooof!" He grunted as he landed with a dull thud on the dirt floor, causing Misty and Pikachu to turn around, giggling starting up again.

"Good morning Ash!" Misty beamed, her azure eyes just as bright and clear as the morning. They glistened with playful happiness.

"Pi chuuu Pikapi!" Pikachu greeted him similarly, looking every bit as pleased as Misty.

Ash tried to manage a joking scowl, but it only worked halfway, as the ends of his mouth curved undeniably upwards. He picked himself up from the ground, brushing the dirt off of his clothes casually. The first thing he did, though, before joining his friends in their merriment watching the sun rise, was tie his shoes.

Misty wrinkled her nose delicately. "You need to change your clothes."

Ash shot her an irritated glance as he sat down beside her. "Why? Do I smell?"

"Not really, you're just a mess in general."

"Thanks." Ash replied flatly, then realized…"Hey! We left all of our stuff at camp!"

"Yep, guess we should go get it."

"Well, let's get going then!"

"Piii pika!"

They set out hiking, chatting cheerfully the whole way.

It was when the inevitable subject of pokémon came up, that another revelation was realized.

"What about our pokémon?!" Ash exclaimed suddenly.

"Don't worry, they're fine Ash, I had them out while you were…erm, dead…."

But Pikachu begged to differ. He shook his head grimly atop Misty's shoulder, and murmured, "Pii pika chu pikaaa chuuu, pi pika cha pika chuupi pichu pika. (Translation: "We all were really upset, we thought we would never see you guys again.)"

Ash and Misty listened seriously to the little pokémon, but then smiled.

"Well, let's give them some good news then!" Ash cried, throwing his pokéballs all up in the air. Right before they emerged, Ash told Pikachu firmly, "If Charizard does anything crazy, shock him good, okay?" Pikachu nodded in agreement, and charged up skillfully for a second.

Misty threw her pokéballs up, too, and soon a whole crowd of pokémon were gathered around their trainers, creating quite a ruckus as they thundered over for what promised to be one heck of a group hug.

Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Tauros, Staryu, Goldeen, Psyduck, a weary but enthusiastic Togepi, and Poliwag, all came and entangled themselves with enthusiasm around their two beloved trainers. Ash recalled Snorlax quickly, as he was asleep as usual. Charizard stood outside of the big hug, staring blankly at all the commotion as if he had no clue why they were creating it. And soon it occurred to everyone, he didn't. Charizard was forgiven. He didn't know it, but he was forgiven. Somehow the two reunited kids knew it wasn't Charizard who had committed near murder, it was one way or another someone else's fault.

It was after all the uproar had settled, that all eyes were laid on Togepi for yet another big surprise.

The egg pokémon glowed with a soft white light, and he looked like was concentrating very hard.

"Briii…." He trilled calmly as the glow began to spread through his body, then extend beyond it.

After the glow disappeared, Misty's brand-new Togetic flew clumsily into her arms.

"Oh Togepi, I mean Togetic, I'm so proud of you!" Misty cooed to her winged creature, who grinned humbly. "Did you like being inside your pokéball?"

Togetic nodded excitedly. "Toge toge tic, tic toge tic tic tic togetic! (Translation: "I sure do, I would like to stay in it!")

"Okay," Misty said, and Togetic chirped and added, "Tic togetic tic toge tic togetic. (Translation: "It makes me feel grown up!")

"Okay." Misty chuckled, as the exultant gathering ended with Ash and herself recalling all of their pokémon (excluding Pikachu, of course) to make traveling more convenient.

Misty's smile spread from ear to ear. This had to be the best and worst week ever!

It wasn't long until they reached the scene of where the dramatic battle and following consequences had taken place. There they found Ash's backpack, lying beaten up on the charred ground, and after another half-hour or so of walking they reached their former campsite.

Their belongings were sopped and streaked with muddy Rattata footprints, but they didn't seem to mind as they packed up their stuff, getting ready to hit the road again.

It's funny how things turned out. As if on cue, a shadow swept lightning-fast into the clearing, revealing Tracey, who had a puzzled look that seemed engraved on his face, riding upon the sizable Pidgeot.

The moment Tracey dismounted, the Pidgeot gave a respectful bow, then streaked back off into the cloudless sky.

Tracey took one look at Ash and Misty, and raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"What happened to you guys, you're a wreck!"

Ash and Misty looked at each other, grinning.

"It's a long story, Trace." Ash politely excused himself from having to tell it.

"Pi pika chu cha-ka pik pikachu. (Translation: "I haven't heard it either.")" Pikachu reminded his friends plaintively.

Misty sighed. "I suppose we could tell it to you guys later." It was then that Misty was struck with an obscure fit of giggling.

Ash looked at her and caught on. He too burst out laughing.

Tracey rolled his eyes at his friends' odd behavior, then said, "Well, I have a story to tell you…"

Ash and Misty's laughing ceased, then Misty piped up, "Tell us, Tracey!"

"Okay. Well, you know how we got that letter from Professor Oak asking one of us to come help?"

Ash, Misty, and Pikachu all nodded absentmindedly.

"Well, I took that Pidgeot over to his lab, but when I got there, it turned out Professor Oak had never written any letters, nor did he really need help. He didn't know who that Pidgeot was or where he had come from, either. I stayed a few days anyway, and boy, it was a pokémon watcher's dream come-" Tracey stopped as he realized Ash and Misty had taken to whispering something in each others ears, and had very conspicuous smiles plastered on their faces. They stopped as they realized he was looking at them, however, and he continued.

"True. Professor Oak and I visited your mom, too, Ash. I'm thinking of staying with Professor Oak when we get back to Pallet, if it's okay with you guys."

Ash's grin hadn't dissipated a bit, which made Tracey slightly nervous, but Ash replied as sincerely as possible, "That is mysterious, and we don't mind if you stay, even though it would be weird traveling without you."

Misty, through stifled giggles, agreed with an "Mmm-hmm!"

"What's up with you guys? You're acting kinda…strange…."

"We-OW!" Misty stomping brutally on his foot cut Ash's sentence short. "Misty! What was that for?!" Ash yelled at Misty, who was smirking deviously.

"Don't tell him now!" Misty hissed, attempting to be subtle enough to be inaudible to Tracey. She was miserably failing, however. "Heh heh!" A large sweatdrop formed on the back of Misty's head. "You couldn't tell it right anyway!" She glowered at Ash, anger bubbling in her voice.

"I bet I could tell it better than you!" Ash retaliated, leaning in closer to Misty.

"Could not!"

"Could too!"

"Could too!"

"Could NOT!"

Misty grinned devilishly, then bent over farther forward. Her lips briefly touched Ash's, and the poor kid's eyes bugged out bigger than was healthy, but he couldn't be surprised for long, for Misty attempted to shift her feet closer to his, but ended up tripping and falling, thus disconnecting the kiss.

Tracey was now thoroughly confused. Pikachu slapped the middle of his forehead with his palm in embarrassment.

Ash and Misty just barely managed to regain their composure and stand back up, but directly after they did they realized the extremely disturbed look on Tracey's face, and, not wanting to explain right now, they raced off, grinning insanely, Pikachu cantering hot on their heels.

Tracey could only stand there in shock for quite a while, then what had just happened dawned on him, and he hollered after the retreating couple and their pokémon, "Ash?! Misty?! Pikachu?! What's going on here?! GUYS?! I demand an explanation RIGHT NOW!" With that he took off after them, calling out questions the whole time.

As their laughter and Tracey's questions faded from hearing, a small white creature hovered above the clearing the crazy teens and pokémon had just exited. It giggled lightly; flicking its long tail joyously before whirling good-humoredly around in the air. From there it streaked off into the sky, towards a snow-capped purple mountain….

Mission accomplished.

End Notes: Awww, *sniff* my little first fanfic is all over! I sure enjoyed writing it, and believe it or not, the original idea for this (thought up almost a full four years ago now) was unrecognizable from what it transformed into. To think, this whole fic all started by me finding a little Mew toy, chewed up on the street. Chibi Pichus go out to anyone who has reviewed and/or will review, you guys are the best! If it weren't for you people, I wouldn't be half as happy as I am now! Good wishes to you all!