Disclaimers: I do not and never will own Pokemon although I have tried like any kid should.
Author's Note: I got this story idea when I was in the car traveling past the beautiful sequoia trees. It was originally going to be called Casual Goodbyes and be a sweet little love story for Ash and Misty but I got this fantastic idea that involved a fiery red stone and a cute little music locket. So now it is a sweet AAMR plus a lot of action. I do warn people, it is a bit sad. It does have deaths that involve no returns. And I am perfectly sane; I have a wonderful family; and I just wrote this for fun. I wasn't hyper either. Please do not flame me. And if you have to, be gentle. I love tips and pointers on where to take a story. Please do not try to correct my grammar; I will do it myself. It can not be helped by you nagging me. I have almost all of this plotted out in my head and the people who will die and survive are already mapped out. Except for one… I do not want to hear any "kill Misty" things. That includes with all the characters. Everything else, I except. Oh, and read Faith in a Child if you haven't already. It's a 10/10.
Chapter One: A Birthday
"Hey Ashy boy! Hurry it up!" Gary's voice sounded from outside, "Do you want to play ball or what?"
"I'm coming, Gary." A small voice muttered from under the covers of a pokemon covered bed. The covers flipped back to reveal a young child with scruffy back hair a bright amber eyes. He scratched his head in thought,
"Now where did I put it?" He frowned his voice a sweet high pitched tune, "I could of sworn it was right here."
He glanced about his room and then walked gloomily back to his bed room window.
"Well? Are you coming or not?" A slightly taller kid yelled up to him. He was about the same age as Ash except he had golden brown hair and bright green eyes. This boy was Ash's best friend.
"I can't find my lucky ball!" Ash wined.
"Oh, come on. You can get it later!" Gary pouted.
"I'll go find something else then." Ash shouted disappearing from the window.
Gary let out a irritated sigh.
"Gawd. This is gonna take a miracle to finish in time before dinner."
Ash ran into the living room looking about for something useful. His eyes fell upon something shiny on the shelve above the TV set. It was a bright red stone. Forgetting completely about Gary and the ball, Ash climbed up on top of the television and nabbed the pretty stone. Ash jumped down careful and stared at it in awe.
It was warm in his hand as though it were alive. It was a bright crimson red with black swirls in it. It turned around and around like a sea at sunset…
"Ashton Satioshi Ketchum! Just what in the world do you think your doing with that!" Delia cried. Ash hadn't seen her come in. He was staring at the stone for so long…
Ash lowered his head…
"Ash. Gary was waiting for you on the porch and you've kept him for so long sitting there. That was very rude. And then taking your father's very special stone-" Delia's scolding was cut off by a kind voice in the doorway of the living room to the kitchen,
"Don't be so hard on him, Delia. He is only three."
"He is almost four, Jeffery. He should know better then to play with-"
"It's about time he knew what it was anyway." Jeffery smiled crossing the room and kneeing down to eye level with his son.
Ash looked up into his father's diamond like eyes. He winced and looked down again.
"Ash, do you remember what I told you about Pokemon Masters?" Jeffery smiled gently taking the stone from his son's hand.
Delia watched helplessly as Jeffery turned the scolding into a lesson. She smiled. She knew Jeffery was a better parent then she could ever hope to be. Delia was too much of a worrywart and she over did things all the time…She turned and went into the kitchen to start preparing dinner.
"Yeah. And that you're the best of all of them." Ash grinned.
"Well…" Jeffery blushed, "I may not be the best as you will find, cause I'm leaving that title for you."
Ash's grin broadened,
"And you'll be there to see me win it!"
"I hope so." Jeffery smiled, "But we are getting off topic… All Masters have the choice to sit in the inner circle."
"Yeah, but you didn't take it because that would mean more work and less time with us." Ash chimed.
"That's right." Jeffery nodded, "But if you do get in the inner circle you must wear the Golden Glove of Herutte…"
"To get one of the elemental powers… blah, blah, blah. Where is this leading to, Dad?" Ash yawned.
"To this." Jeffery smiled holding up the red stone for Ash to see, "This is called The Crimson Teardrop. If this stone ever touched the Golden Glove of Herutte the beholder would get unlimited power… but to take it off the beholder will lose his or her life and the stone will take the another life just the cease it's anger at being awoken. Unless he or she is a direct descendent of Herutte himself."
Ash blinked and stared at the stone in fear now rather then awe.
"This stone has be passed down through the Ketchum family for generations. And it is time I give it to you." Jeffery handed the stone to Ash. Ash wrapped his fingers about the smooth stone and gazed up his father. His eyes lit like lively ambers of a burning fire,
"I promise you, Dad. I'll take real good care of it." Ash spoke determinedly. This was a new challenge set out before him. He couldn't turn it down. Especially, when it was given by his beloved father.
"Just see that you don't break it okay, Ash?" Mr. Ketchum chuckled as he turned to follow Mrs. Ketchum into the kitchen
Ash looked longingly at the stone and then up at his father leaving,
"Dad? What exactly will happen if the stone breaks?" Ash questioned.
"Depends on how you break it, " Jeffery called back.
"But what if someone bad finds it when I'm not looking."
"Then may God have mercy on his soul."
"Come on! Come on!" A tall man groaned pushing all his might against the rear of his jeep to get it out of the mud hole it got stuck in. The engine wined in pain. He just wasn't strong enough. He gave the jeep one last push as it moved up a bit out of the hole. He wiped the sweat from his forehead with a dirt coved hand and let out a sigh of relief. He turned and climbed up to the driver's seat of his car. He wiped his boots off before getting in taking off any caked mud that stuck to the sole and sides of his boots. The lone traveler shut the door of his jeep tight and turned up the engine driving out of the pit. He drove up the rest of the way up the mountain. His radio fizzed on crackling a song, called Losing my Religion.
Nature flashed past his windows as the jeep nearer the top. It was so peaceful here. It was good to get away from Tracey's nagging. Although this was not a joy trip, he couldn't help but enjoy the ride and the wildness he had left behind him so long ago for research. He had given up so much for research. He even lost his two best friends…
No. Today's my day off. I'm not going to waste it on what ifs…
He yawned. He had been up here many times before. Mainly at night so he could study the Zubats. He often wondered if he would ever get as lucky as he was when he was fourteen. When he had come up here then, he… well, mainly his friend stumbled upon the Clefairy Society. That boy often got them seeing amazing things, that no other person could find, on accident… Oh, how he missed them…
He pressed lightly on the brakes as the jeep made it's was to a bumpy stop as far as the trail would go. He pulled the key out of it's hole as the engine died. He looked sadly at the hood of his pick up truck and shook his head,
"I guess I was a little too hard on you. Well, looks like I'm gonna have to walk home." He sighed.
This worried him. It was a long way from the lab. He wouldn't make it back in time for feeding.
I just hope Tracey won't be so wrapped up in research he'll forget…
He stepped of the jeep and into the crisp air. All that could be heard was his steady heart beat. This chilled him. It wasn't normally this quiet. Where were the pokemon? Was something going on again?
The air on top of the peck was fresh and cold. His breath came out in small puffs of white. Was it nearly that cold the last time he was here? No. It should be warmer since the August heat had not faded yet. He blinked and looked at his wrist watch. He clicked a side button to get the date and temperature.
"What?! Impossible! 20 degrees? Already?" He trailed off at spotting the date.
Has it really been that long… That I would forget… I was never that good at remembering it anyway but…
He gazed up at the moon. Maybe it was just him but tonight the moon looked a lot fuller then any other. Maybe it was Mt. Moon's mysterious secrets that made you see things but everywhere he looked, everything reminded him of the child that he followed… Was the whole world in mourning today? Or was it only him…
How many times had he saved the planet? How many times had he saved my life? How many times did we think he was gone and he would surprise us by coming back? But to have his life ended on this day… Or was he still alive?
He thumbed the binoculars that was strung about his neck by a string and began his hike up the rest of the way to his viewing spot. All the while wondering… His mind trailed away from the pokemon research this evening. All he could think about was a certain friend whose birthday happened to strike this night…
"He would be Sixteen today…" The dark skinned man muttered sadly, "If only I had gone… He might still be…"
He stopped at a nice perch that over looked the beautifully lit city of Cerulean. His face fell at the site of it.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ordinary cell phone. He glared at it with his slit like eyes like it was a enemy in war.
I was hoping I would never have to face her… But then again I haven't seen her face for three years…
"Maybe I should call her. We could get together. It's been hard on all of us. It's the least we could do for him. He wouldn't want us like this…"
His mind trailed back three years… It had to of been at least a month since Professor Oak died in his sleep. Ash was very upset since Oak was like a second father to him. So was Gary. Samuel's death brought the two back together. They realized what fools they had been and made up right then and there.
Oak left his lab to Tracey since he knew Gary wouldn't want it. Gary had already established his own gym in Viridian after Giovanni sold it. It surprised everyone when Gary was fine with losing to Ash that day. It still stumped Ash to the day he disappeared. And he probably still is stumped… if he were alive…
Gary was slightly irritated after losing but he still got a place as master. And with that he became one of the toughest gym leaders ever. Better then the Scarlet league! Ash on the other hand became famous. He was the youngest champion ever and got his place in the inner circle. With the element lighting…
But I can't understand why they didn't view the wearing. They always tape it and showed it across the world. Why did the elders want to keep it secret?
He had remember asking Ash that and Ash would just shake his head and mutter,
"I dunno. But frankly I'm glad they didn't. I was screaming up a storm. It was a frightening experience."
It never looked that frightening on TV. It never seemed to hurt. But Ash said it was if someone had stabbed him. How could the other Master's hide their pain? Maybe… They weren't in pain as much cause they didn't get lighting…
This has always bemused him… But that day… So clearly he remembered that day… He had been in Tracey's lab as usual doing a follow up report on the baby Cleffa's behavior patterns while Tracey was deep in the Professor's left behind research. He remembered the phone ringing in it's usual annoying tone…
Bring, bring, bring! Bring, bring, bring! Phone call! Phone call!
He had always wondered who had that exasperating voice. He rushed over to the booth and picked it up still flipping through his notebook. He didn't bother to look up…
" Hey Brock! Listen I-"
"You have reached Professor Tracey's research clinic."
The Professor isn't available at the moment but if you leave a message I'll make sure he gets back to you."
"Brock! Shut up!" Ash snapped from the other line, "I am not one of you're customers! It's Ash!"
Brock looked up to see Ash's aggravated face on the phone screen. Brock blinked and then sweat dropped,
"Sorry, Ash. I'm just so wrapped here…"
"That's fine. Let me ask you something before you go trailing off again…Sheesh, you're as bad as Tracey." Ash groaned.
"Hey! I take that as a insult!"
"Sorry. Go ahead."
"Well, you do remember what day it is, don't ya?"
"Bowling night?" Brock joshed.
"No!" Ash scowled, "My Birthday, remember? September 27?"
"Of course I remember." Brock laughed looking back into his notes, "You're present is coming in the mail."
Ash frowned. Brock often regretted his behavior. He was so wrapped up in work he had forgotten how it was to have a good time.
"What I was hoping for was that you would come in person." Ash grumbled, "Not some birthday card in the mail."
Brock looked up from his notes at the unhappy preteen.
"But we're busy."
"Busy, busy, busy." Ash mocked, "That's all I hear from you now a days. Come on! Forget the work, and get a life!"
"But this is my life!" Brock snapped.
"I was hoping you could come to Pallet for my party." Ash said a bit softer, "It would be just you, Tracey, Misty, Gary, maybe even Richie, me. That includes you. Just like the old times."
"Things change…People change."
"People do not change!" Ash shouted slaming his fist on the counter of his booth, "They only change when the people want them to! It is not unstoppable. You could come. If you wanted to!"
"I'm sorry, Ash. We have our work cut out for us here…"
"Which gives you all the more reason to come… You can kick back and relax. Have some good old fashion fun. Pallet is beautiful in the fall… With the leaves changing color and all… You'll enjoy it… And my Mom is making her best pudding." Ash urged.
"Please!" Ash pleaded.
"Ash. Just because you're a master doesn't mean you can have every thing you want. I have work here and I don't have time…" Brock trailed off. He wanted to suck those words back up. He prayed Ash wasn't paying attention but the look on his face shown clearly that he was.
"What you mean is that you don't have time for me…" Ash said softly; muttering the vile words.
"Ash , I didn't mean-"
The dial tone rang clear. Ash had hung up. Brock could of kicked himself for what he did next. Tracey walked into the room. He looked at Brock and then the phone in his hand.
"Who was it?" Tracey asked; looking concerned.
"Nobody. It was the wrong number." Brock smiled falsely.
Tracey looked doubtful but turned away. Brock knew that Tracey would of wanted to go. But all Brock could think about was the pile of paper work that would be stacked up while they were gone. He couldn't force himself to ever tell him Ash had called.
He regretted not calling back. Not telling Ash he was sorry. Brock often wondered if his best friend went to his grave hating him… Somewhere in his heart a voice sang it wasn't true, but the very fiber in his being gave Ash a reason to. How could he not hate him?
The raid happened later that day. The lab was untouched since it was not right in the Pallet Town central area. No one really understood why Team Rocket struck or why they chose that day. But they did and they destroyed homes and many, many lives. Gary's Mom was struck in the head so hard that it killed her. Mrs. Ketchum had been beaten up and her house left in ruins. May was almost shot to her story and even Richie had gone through a lot of terror. Misty never made it on time to the party, so she was fine, but Ash…
Ashton Satoshi Ketchum vanished. He was never found again…
Brock hadn't seen Misty since the funeral. Come to think of it. It had been a while since he saw any of his past friends. But that funeral.. Brock hadn't seen so many people gathered in one place before. All who had been touched by the child's light. Misty. She was in such pain. He couldn't approach her. He didn't know what to tell her.
He was a good man… Gonna miss him, eh…. Don't feel bad. He's in a better place now… He wouldn't want to see you cry?
All of those seemed pointless when he didn't believe them. Their eyes had met briefly but then she turned away. She didn't cry like Brock did. She was far from something so simple as tears. Brock understood from her sister's worried phone calls that Misty wouldn't talk for weeks after that. She hardly ate and she lived in the past with memories. Brock remember those days as well.
Brock wondered if Misty had made it to the point where she could proudly say she had moved on.
He got letters from her every now and then. She always sent them with bizarre messages like,
I feel as if the earth is still spinning and leaving me behind…or…You say don't live in the past but how can I not when I feel as if that's all I have…
Brock wondered how she was fairing tonight. Was the world still spinning too fast for her?
He finally dialed the number and listened to the dull ringing.
After a couple of rings a transparent screen flashed in front of him. A image of three good looking girl fizzed into focus.
"Hi. Like this is like the Cerulean gym." A blond who Brock recognized as Daisy said in a high annoying voice as she smacked her gum.
"And we like aren't here right now. Duh." A pink haired girl who looked the part of Violet snapped as she twirled a strand of her fine hair about her pointer finger.
"And we would love it if you left a message. We will get back to you ASAP." The younger blue haired who turned out to be Lily chimed sweetly. Brock always thought she was the cutest. Although he had gotten over his girl crazy stage he couldn't help but think they were gorgeous. They hadn't changed a bit. But where was-
"Hey! Why can't I be in this! This is my home too-" A voice from off screen cried before it went black. He could bet a million bucks on that voice. Brock let out a silent chuckle.
Still three sisters and one loser…
"Hello, Misty? This is Brock. Call me when you get in, okay?"
To Be Continued…
Please r + r!
So how do you like it? Let me know! Give me your suggestions!
I already have a spell check so do not correct me, okay? I'll fix it when I feel like it.