Okay, this has been a long time coming, but the highly requested sequel to my popular story Home is Where the Heart Is has finally arrived. For all of those who have requested it I thank you both for wanting it and being patient enough to wait for it. I can only hope this will be as successful as its predecessor.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. If I did Ash and Misty would already be a couple.

Chapter 1: Mixing Work and Pleasure

The Sinnoh region, located to the north of the Kanto region, offers unique challenges for trainers both native to the region and those who aren't. Filled with trainers and Pokémon not seen anywhere else Sinnoh is the location of the next Pokémon League Championship Tournament. Considered by many to be the most difficult league to win many trainers flocked in from around the world to try their hand at it. Hundreds had already qualified by winning the required eight Gym badges, but many were still trying to get their final ones.

And in the northeastern city of Sunyshore a certain trainer is doing just that.

"Use Iron Tail, Pikachu!"

"Counter with Mega Punch, Raichu!" The two powerful attacks slammed into each other, sending shockwaves of power pulsing throughout the Gym. The two Pokémon recoiled back towards their trainers. The Raichu belonged to Volkner, the Sunyshore City Gym Leader. The Pikachu was the first Pokémon of none other than Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town. Both Pikachu and Raichu were their final Pokémon and had been battling for nearly ten minutes. Both were exhausted, but Pikachu appeared to be the worst of the two.

"This isn't good," Ash thought. "Pikachu can't keep going like this for much longer, and with no other Pokémon to call on if he goes down we're finished!"

"Don't give up, Ash! I know you can do it!"

"Chu, Pikachu! (Go, Pikachu!)" Ash and Pikachu looked towards the stands. There, cheering the two of them on were Ash's girlfriend Misty and her Pikachu, Elektra. Just hearing those two cheering them on was enough to get them through impossible situations in the past, and this was no exception.

"You heard the ladies, Pikachu! Let's win this!" Ash said.

"Pi ka! (You bet!)" Pikachu replied. With renewed energy the duo got ready to take the fight to Volkner and his Raichu.

"Let's take it from the top, partner! Quick Attack!" With speed almost too fast for the naked eye Pikachu charged his opponent. Volkner, though, wasn't impressed.

"Come on! You don't really expect your Pikachu's Quick Attack to do any damage to my Raichu, do you?" he asked.

"Nope," Ash replied, earning a strange look from both Volkner and his Raichu. "I don't expect Quick Attack to do much damage. I expect this to! Iron Tail, Pikachu!" Volkner then realized just what Ash had planned, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. Pikachu's tail slammed into the side of Raichu's head, causing his evolved form to stumble backwards.

"Now, finish up with Volt Tackle!" Ash said. With Misty and Elektra still cheering Pikachu charged his opponent once again, his body giving off a multitude of sparks. The sparks grew in number and soon engulfed his entire body.

"Bring it home!" Ash cheered. Pikachu finished up with a full-on electric-powered body slam. When all was said and done Pikachu's Volt Tackle was too much for Raichu to handle. The larger Mouse Pokémon fell to the ground.

"Raichu is unable to battle! Pikachu wins! The victory goes to Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town!" the referee announced.

"Alright!" Ash cheered.

"Pi Ka Chu! (We did it!)" Pikachu added. The small Mouse Pokémon took a running start and jumped into his trainer's arms. Ash hugged his first Pokémon and turned just in time to catch Misty as she threw her arms around his neck in a congratulatory hug.

"I knew you could do it, sweetie!" she said.

"With you and Elektra cheering us on there was no way we could lose!" Ash replied. Down on the ground Pikachu was being congratulated by Elektra who, like Misty was to Ash, was Pikachu's mate.

"Pi Chu Pi Ka Chu! (I'm so proud of you!)" Elektra said. Pikachu could do nothing but blush and smile at the praise he was receiving. While they were celebrating Volkner walked over to them.

"Wow. I must say you are the first trainer in a long time that has pushed me that far," he said.

"You were a tough opponent," Ash replied. "Your Pokémon were really powerful."

"Thank you, but in the end your Pokémon were more powerful than mine," Volkner said. "It is with great pleasure that I award you the Beacon Badge." He handed Ash a badge that slightly resembled a lighthouse.

"Thank you, Volkner," he said. With the badge in his hand Ash couldn't help but do his victory pose.

"Yes! I won the Beacon Badge!" he cheered.

"Pi Pikachu! (We're awesome!)" Pikachu added.

"Well, you've final got your eighth badge," Misty said.

"Yeah," Ash replied. "It may have taken a while but I finally got it."

"So this is your eighth badge, is it?" Volkner asked.

"It sure is," Ash replied.

"Then I'm sure you know what that means," Volkner said. "With eight badges you qualify for the Sinnoh Championships that will be held north of here at the League Castle battlegrounds. If you want to see the castle you can use the binoculars in the lighthouse." Misty was immediately sold on the idea.

"I'd love to take a look," she said. "Can we, Ash? Please?" Ash simply shook his head.

"You should know me better than that, Misty," he said. Misty lowered her head, a disappointed look on her face. Ash couldn't help but smile.

"You really think I'd say 'no' to you," he continued. "Of course we can go take a look. I was just about to ask if you wanted to." Misty's mood changed faster than a Kecleon's color. She threw her arms around Ash's neck, hugging him for all he was worth.

"Oh thank you, Ash!" she cried.

"Anything to make you happy," he replied.

"The lighthouse is in the southeastern part of the city," Volkner said.

"Thanks, Volkner," Ash said. With his final badge in hand Ash, Misty and their two Pikachu left the Gym on their way to the lighthouse.

Half an hour later Ash, Misty and their Pokémon were at the top of the Sunyshore City lighthouse. Volkner had phoned ahead and had one of the binoculars there reserved for them. Being the gentleman he was Ash let Misty look first. As she looked she was awestruck by the scene.

"Wow... Ash, you should see this," Misty said. She stepped to the side and let Ash take a look. The castle stood in the distance, shrouded in a blanket of mist. He had to admit it was an imposing sight.

"Awesome," he said.

"It's quite a sight, isn't it," Misty said. Ash looked at her and smirked.

"Yeah, but I can think of a better one," he replied. Misty faced him, a smirk of her own on her face.

"Oh really?" she replied while wrapping her arms around his neck. Ash responded by wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in for a quick kiss. Their moment was cut short when they heard both of their Pikachu calling to them. They were over by the glass pointing down. The two trainers walked over and looked down. Misty's eyes grew big as she realized what the two Pokémon were pointing at.

"It's the beach!" she cried. "I'd love to spend the rest of the day there! Can we, Ash?" The truth was Ash was just waiting for Misty to ask him that. He looked at her and smiled.

"That sounds good to me," he replied. Misty once again threw her arms around him in a hug.

"Oh Ash! We're going to have so much fun!" she said.

"As long as you're with me it's always fun," he said. "Come on, Pikachu! We're off to the beach!"

"You too, Elektra!" Misty said. The two Pikachu hopped on their trainers' shoulders as they headed to the elevator.

One hour later they arrived at the beach. Seeing as how Ash's Gym battle was early in the day they had plenty of time to enjoy themselves. After finding a spot to leave their things Ash and Misty headed for the nearest changing rooms to get into proper beach attire. Ash came out first wearing his black swim trunks.

"Alright! I'm ready for some fun!" he yelled. "You almost ready, Mist?"

"Yeah!" Misty replied. "I'll be out in a sec!" Misty then stepped out of her changing room. If Ash's jaw could have it would have hit the ground. She was wearing a blue two-piece bathing suit that really showed off her figure.

"So, do you like it?" Misty asked, spinning around once so Ash could get a good look at it.

"You have no idea how much," he said. Misty walked over and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

"Why thank you, Ash," she said.

"You are very welcome, Mist," he said. The two trainers looked out towards the water. Pikachu and Elektra were playing a game of Chicken, waiting to see which one would be the first to run away from the incoming water each time a wave would come ashore. Ash and Misty laughed as they saw Pikachu wait a bit too long as the water covered him up, then appear covered in seaweed as the water receded. Right then Ash got an idea.

"Let's let our other Pokémon out as well," he said.

"Good idea," Misty said. They each took their remaining Poké balls and called out the Pokémon inside. From Ash's Poké balls appeared Charizard, Gyarados, Torterra, Staraptor and Luxray. From Misty's came Starmie, Vaporeon, Azumarill, Buizel and Mantyke.

"Okay, guys. Let's have some fun!" All the Pokémon cheered when they heard what Ash told them. All the Water Pokémon headed for the water except Vaporeon, who made her way to Luxray's side. Charizard, Torterra and Staraptor were content resting underneath a nearby palm tree.

"Well, it looks like they're all settled in," Ash said, looking around at all the Pokémon. His eyes soon fell on Luxray and Vaporeon. In his eyes those two were just like him and Misty. Misty noticed he was looking at them.

"They're perfect for each other," she said.

"Yeah, just like we are," Ash added. Misty looked at Ash and nodded, a smile on her face.

"Come on. Let's get in on the fun too," she said. She took his hand and ran towards the water. Ash was surprised at first but soon regained his balance and ran with her. The two dove in head-first, surfacing seconds later.

"The water's perfect," Misty said. "What do you think, Ash?"

"Absolutely," he replied. The two trainers swam out a bit before something caught Misty's attention.

"Hey, Ash! Look over there," she said. She was pointing to a cave.

"I wonder what's inside?" she said.

"You want to go find out?" Ash asked. Misty thought about it for a second before nodding.

"Okay," he replied. "Guys! Misty and I are heading over to that cave over there! We'll be back later!"

"Pika! (Okay!)" Pikachu replied.

"Pi Ka! (Have fun!)" Elektra said. After letting their Pokémon know where they were going to be Ash and Misty began swimming towards the cave.

The cave was actually much closer than Ash and Misty thought. It only took them a couple of minutes to swim over to the mouth of the cave. When they arrived they were amazed by what they saw.

"The inside of this place is much bigger than I though it would be," Ash said.

"I know," Misty said. The cave was much wider than the opening made them believe. The walls of the cave were covered in a thick coat of moss and the roof had small holes in it, letting a few rays of sunlight inside. Continuing to look around they spotted some rocks jutting out of the water a bit deeper inside the cave. Their eyes soon fell on a large rock that rose at least 10 feet above the water and was big enough for two people to sit on top of. They looked at each other, competitive looks in their eyes.

"First one to the top?" Misty asked.

"Go on three," Ash replied. Misty nodded and got ready.

"One... two... hey!"

"Three!" Before Ash could finish the countdown Misty splashed him in the face and finished herself. By the time Ash recovered Misty already had quite a large head start on him.

"Hurry up, slowpoke!" Misty taunted.

"You're not going to beat me that easily!" Ash yelled as he took off after her. Misty kept swimming, now over halfway to the rock. She kept glancing back, noticing that Ash was slowly getting closer. Despite that Misty was confident that she would get to the rock before Ash caught up with her. Her confidence was further proven when she arrived at the rock with Ash still a few yards behind her. She started climbing up the rock, pausing a moment to look back at Ash, who had closed the gap quite a bit.

"Looks like I win this time, Ashy," she said. Ash finally made it to the base of the rock. He looked up at Misty, who was only a couple of feet up on the rock.

"I wouldn't speak so soon if I were you, Mist," he replied. "You of all people should know it's not over until it's over." In one last attempt to keep Misty from winning Ash reached up and grabbed her leg.

"Hey! Let me go!" Misty said. She tried to pull herself free, but Ash wasn't going to let her get away that easily.

"I don't think so!" he replied as he tried to pull her off the rock.

"You know this isn't fair!" Misty said.

"Neither was splashing me in the face earlier!" Ash replied. "Now... we're even!" Then, with one last pull, Ash pulled Misty off the rock and down beneath the water. The two trainers came up seconds later. Ash was laughing loudly, but Misty looked a bit upset.

"I don't see anything funny about that, Ash Ketchum!" she said. She turned her back to him and crossed her arms. Ash's laughing had quieted down a lot as he swam over to her.

"Come on, Misty. You know I was just playing around with you," he said. Misty only replied with a 'hmph'. She didn't turn to face him or anything. Ash reached out and started rubbing her arms.

"Come on. You know you can't stay mad at me for too long." The truth was, Ash was right. No matter what he did Misty could never stay too mad at him for too long. And the arm rub did feel good. Misty turned around with a huge smile on her face.

"You're right," she said.

"So, do you forgive me?" Ash asked. Misty appeared to think about it for a bit. Then, she put her hand on his head and smiled. Then, she shoved him back underwater. Ash came up seconds later, spitting out water.

"Yeah, I forgive you," Misty replied before bursting out laughing. Seconds later Ash joined her.

"So, what do you say? A draw?" Ash asked.

"Yeah," Misty replied. A truce called the two trainers made their way up the rock. Ash reached the top first and helped Misty up. Both trainers were amazed by the sight that awaited them. They had arrived at the back of the cave. The cave wall was dotted with small caverns, each one home to a family of Pokémon. Small families of various Water types, ranging from Chinchou to Shellos, made their home in this cave.

"I had no idea this many Pokémon call this cave home," Misty said.

"Neither did I," Ash said. "It's an amazing sight." As they kept watching a family of Buizel came out of their cavern. The two adults lead their child to the water where the father jumped in. Then, with a little encouragement from the mother, the child jumped in. The mother soon followed and the trio started swimming around, clearly having a good time.

"They seem to be having fun," Ash said.

"Yeah," Misty replied. Her answer sounded a bit strange, almost as if she were distracted when she replied. Ash looked at her and noticed she seemed distracted.

"You okay, Mist?" he asked.

"I'm fine," she replied. "I was just thinking."

"About what?" Ash asked. Misty was silently debating whether to tell him what was on her mind or not. In the end she decided it couldn't hurt.

"Do you... ever wonder what would have happened if Daisy hadn't called you back then?" she asked. "I mean, where would we be and what would we be doing right now?" Ash wasn't expecting her to ask him that. Still, he had an answer for her.

"Well, I don't really want to think about what would have happened to you," he replied. "On the other hand I probably would have come to Sinnoh much sooner, all without realizing what I was leaving behind." While speaking he held Misty's hand, giving it a light squeeze. Misty smiled and leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. There the two sat in silence, watching the Pokémon down below and just enjoying being in the presence of the other.

By the time Ash and Misty returned to the beach that evening their Pokémon had exhausted themselves. After recalling all of them except Pikachu and Elektra the two of them headed back to the Pokémon Center. When night came they all turned in. But while Pikachu and Elektra were curled up together sleeping Ash and Misty were still awake. The two were laying in their bed, Ash with his arms around Misty while she rested her head on his chest.

"You have no idea how many times I've dreamed of us being like this," she said.

"Is it everything you hoped it would be?" Ash asked.

"And more," Misty replied. The two smiled at each other as Misty snuggled into Ash's embrace.

"I love you," she said.

"I love you too," Ash replied. With that the two trainers stayed that way, both of them loving every moment.

The next morning Ash and Misty were standing at the same beach from the day before. Having gotten all their Pokémon checked up already they were ready to begin the final leg of their trip to the Sinnoh League. After climbing aboard Gyarados Ash helped Misty on.

"It won't be long now," Misty said.

"You got that right. We'll be at the League Castle in no time," Ash replied.

"I wouldn't be sure about that," Volkner, who came to see them off, said.

"What do you mean?" Ash asked.

"Just because the castle appears close doesn't mean it is," the gym leader replied. "In fact from here it'll still be about two weeks before you arrive."

"Why is that?" Misty asked.

"The trip from here to the island the castle is on isn't that long, a couple of days at the least. But once you arrive you must then make your way through a large cave system," Volkner said. "The caves, collectively known as Victory Road, is filled with powerful Pokémon and trainers. Getting through will be no easy task." Ash laughed, his face filled with confidence.

"Maybe for other trainers, but with my Pokémon and Misty by my side there's no way a little cave is going to stop me!" he said.

"While I love your confidence don't let it get out of control," Misty said.

"I won't because I know you won't let that happen," Ash said.

"You know it!" Misty replied, hugging Ash from behind.

"Well then, I guess you two will be on your way," Volkner said. "As for me I've got some work to do. My Pokémon and I must become stronger for the next challenger." After bidding farewell Ash directed Gyarados in the direction of League Castle.

"Next stop... the Sinnoh League!" Ash yelled, pumping his fist in the air. With a roar from Gyarados they set off on their next, and final stop in their journey through Sinnoh.

With his eighth badge finally won Ash and Misty leave Sunyshore City on their way to the Sinnoh Championships to be held at League Castle. What kind of challenges await them? And what kind of challenges will they encounter on the way? Find out inthe next chapter of Sinnoh League: Trials of the Heart!

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