A/N: I wrote this story after watching "Pokemon Ranger". It also has one of the theories I have about how Ash got to be so dense.

Summary: After their adventure with Manaphy, the gang runs into a pack of dog pokemon. Turns out, the pokemon were guarding a residence, and had been taught to bring trainers to their masters for food, water, and shelter. While there, Ash gets very sick. Turns out, it's a predicted relapse from a serious illness he had years ago.

Chapter 1: Phone Call

Ash, Brock, May, and Max were, once again, lost. It was recently after their adventure with Manaphy and they were tired.

"Let's set up camp here." Brock suggested.

"Good idea." Ash said. "I'm tired."

"PIka Pikachu pikapi." (After nearly drowning, I'm not surprised.)

After May and Max went on to bed, Brock, Ash and Pikachu stayed up and talked.

"What number time was that?" Brock teased as Ash started to go to bed. "There was how you met Misty, the St. Anne incident,…"

"Pikachu pipika pichu. PI! Pikachu ka" (That time with the Dewgong in the Orange islands. Oh yeah! And Shamuti)

"And then there was the time when you tried surfing…" Brock added

"I get it!" Ash told his two friends that had been with him longer. "I tend to almost drown a lot. Happy?"

"Happy that you admit it? Yes." Brock said. "Now, what can be done about it?"

"Pikachupi pika chu ka!" (Misty can give him swimming lessons!)

"I can swim perfectly well, thank you" Ash told his friends.

"Ka chu." (Could have fooled me)

"That's it!" Brock said pulling out a cell phone and pressing some buttons.

"What are you doing?" Ash asked.

Brock didn't answer Ash.

"Hi. Guess who?" Brock said to the phone.

"No, you may not talk to my sisters."

"I want to talk to YOU, not your sisters. Although a nice hello to Daisy would be nice."

Ash paled. He realized who Brock had called.

"What do you want, Brock? Do you have ANY idea what time it is here?"

"I just thought of the perfect birthday present you could give Ash." Brock said.

"BROCK!" Ash argued

"How many times must I tell you that I'm not rea…"

"One of those underwater breathing devises. On a lanyard to put it around his neck would be REALLY nice."

Pause

"Let me speak to Ash."

"Sure." Brock said.

He handed Ash the cell phone.

"It's your girlfriend." Brock told the younger trainer

Ash gave Brock a glare as he took it.

Pikachu noticed that his trainer didn't verbally admit that Misty was not his girlfriend. Brock smiled as he also noticed it as well.

"Hi Misty." Ash said.

"ASH KETCHEM! DID YOU ALMOST DROWN AGAIN?!"

"Maybe." Ash said nervously.

"Ash." Misty said warningly.

"Hey. It's not MY fault Phantom sank the Sea Temple. I was JUST trying to save it."

"The Sea…Phan…I WANT A FULL DETAILED VERSION OF WHAT JUST HAPPENED!"

"I'd hate to waste Brock's minutes." Ash tried.

"He gets free minutes on nights and weekends."

"Fine." Ash said "It all started when Brock, May, Max, and I were out in the middle of nowhere without water."

0000

Two hours later,

"You would have LOVED it." Ash finished. "We went swimming with all the water pokemon. After the Sea Temple sank back down into the water, Manaphy came up and said goodbye to May. It actually said her name that time. Then it called her "Mama." It got me thinking about you and Togepi."

"That sounds wonderful. Aside from the fact you nearly got yourself KILLED again."

"You actually CARE?"

Brock winced.

"Of course. You were my first friend in a long time."

"Pikachu." (Here it comes)

"Same here. I miss you."

"Pi?" (Huh?)

"Huh?" Brock asked.

Where was the "That's no surprise" they were expecting?

"I miss you too."

"Come back to us soon."

"I'll try. Good night."

"Good night."

Ash hung up the phone to see his friend and pokemon starring at him.

"I'm tired and I didn't feel like arguing." Ash stated in his defense.

"Sure." Brock said sarcastically.

"Good night." Ash said as he climbed into his sleeping bag.

TBC