Right, well, this the first chapter of R R and you'll either love it or hate it…I think…not sure what I'm getting myself into here :S But it's fun to try a slightly different area. I'd like to think this chapter will answer a few questions, but I don't think so! Chapter 2 will answer most methinks. Ok, I do have to warn EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU THAT THERE IS SWEARING IN THIS CHAPTER! Not obscene lines of filth but two words, (f and s) that just give the moment a little impact. This chapter (if the prologue didn't) will let you into how this fic could be. Though I recon that the worst of it is here and just two or three more moments to come. Next chapter is good. I've been planning this whole fic for a year, I should dan well hope it's good!

Ok, well, I hope you like what you read and want to come back for a little more

Esperon Hearts


Chapter 1 – A Different Sort of Evening

Blood…everywhere…on his hands…his clothes…the cold and heavy gun in his hand…Misty and Pikachu lying there with lifeless eyes glazing over. Ash Ketchup opened his eyes and gasped. That was what he saw every time his eyes closed for more than a few seconds, as they had done for the past ten years of his life where the only other thing to see was the grey walls of his cell and the changing faces of his guards that stood outside.

A familiar nauseating feeling began to rush through his body, so much so that he reached out to steady himself against the tiled wall as the cold water poured over his body, still with small chunks of ice that peppered his head and bare shoulders. The temperature did little to faze him as every shower had been just as cold with the added particles of ice sometimes large enough to cut his shoulders where the blood would run with the water down his thin, pale body.

Pressing his head against the tiles he allowed the tears that leaked out from his eyes, still golden brown but now dead with none of the sparkle they had been filled to the brim with when he was a boy. Ten years was a long time to be in one place, seeing no one, hearing nothing from the outside world with nothing to keep you company other than the surly guards and your own thoughts of guilt or innocence. He had changed in more ways than just his eyes. His face was pale, withdrawn and pinched from a lack of food, a fact that was mirrored all the way down his wasted body. Once or twice when he had looked at himself he would laugh, thinking of how Misty would have berated him for losing such a vast amount of fitness and general health before catching himself. She would never say anything like that to him. He had seen to that.

The water was abruptly shut off, signalling that it was time to go back to his solitary cell with just a few moments to make himself decent before the guard would barge in to march him back to his cell whether he had a towel or not. Grabbing the worn black thing that was his towel, he cursed lightly as he had intended to wash it today, rubbing it under the water and walking back to his cell with it dripping a path behind him. Briskly rubbing his whole body, he secured his towel around his waist using a combination of his teeth, the wall and his tightly bound hands. Labelled as one of the most dangerous criminals of the time, his hands were tightly bound together whenever he was out of his cell and there was just enough room between his manacled ankles for him to hobble from this cell and the shower room.

The iron bolts on the steel door were slammed back and the door pulled open by one of the guards while another immediately stepped through the ensure their top security prisoner hadn't escaped from the concrete box while they guarded the only way in or out. Wincing slightly as a bright torch was shone in his face, Ash followed the guard out of the shower room and the two waited while the other closed the door before following as the rear guard.

Shortly, they came to another steel door and Ash waited while the guard in front of him pulled the door open for him to step inside, turn around and wait while they fumbled with the keys and the electronic pad on both sets of manacles. Standing stock still as he had been taught from his first few days in the prison, he waited while the guards made a retreat and the door was slammed shut again, the three bolts pulled to and the electronic key pad locked.

Relaxing his stance, Ash pulled on his uniformed black clothes and carefully hung his towel across two hooks to aid in drying the article. Glancing around his cell, he noted how it had been searched while he was in the shower – again. This was becoming part of the monthly routine and had been taking place for the last five or so years of his life order in captivity. It was searched every time the guards suspected he was attempting to make an escape and he could only assume that their concerns increased as his time in prison became extended further into the distant stretches of time.

Escape had never been on the young man's mind. He had accepted his life order in prison for his crimes. And that was that.

He was allowed so little in his cell, a photo of his mother had been allowed but his request for a photo of Misty or Pikachu had been denied and no one had ever told him why. That pained him everyday, the knowledge that he had killed them both but was never able to see even the crudest image of the two. With so little in his possession it only took a few moments to move the cot back to its place by the wall and to straighten the two or three items on his shelf before his cell was back in order.

Lying down on the small, hard cot, Ash stared up at the stone ceiling with a slight squint as his eyes adjusted to gazing in a direction more towards that of the dim bulb that hung in the centre of the room. With nothing to do all day and all night, there was little else he could do other than the stare at the ceiling and contemplate. Sometime over the next hour or so the light was abruptly switched off, letting him know that nine o'clock had arrived, past and gone.

The silence of the night was only broken by the guard changing outside his door at midnight and even through the steel door of his cell he could make out the footsteps of the approaching guard. Though, they sounded different tonight. The guards always took the same shift for at least a year before changing. And that was always in January and by his calculations, it was still November. A slight frown creased his face. What was going on? A slight mutter of voices made its way though the door and the sound of a different pair of feet receded as the owner got further and further away.

"Perhaps the normal guy was ill and they had to get a cover…" Ash thought to himself in his barely awakened mind before returning to his previously half awake, half asleep mode of existence.

Another hour or two must have passed before Ash was brought abruptly awake to the sound of fingers tapping on the electronic pad on his door and the bolts being drawn back. The only other time something like this had occurred, the fire alarm had been activated and he had been evacuated by no less than six guards. He leapt to attention in a blind panic and grasped a thin jumper in his hand fully prepared to be escorted out of the building.

The door slowly eased open and a bright torch was shone in his face, causing him to squint and turn his face away. A moment later the torch swung away from his face and a small figure entered his cell, closing the door behind them.

"Ditto, you keep watch." Whispered the guard as an unknown substance flowed from the guard's body onto the floor where it formed an undecided shape and blocked out the light from the corridor beyond at the base of the door. The guard moved stealthily into the centre of the room, pulling something out from beneath their top, flicking a switch and light filled the room.

Ash shielded his eyes and dropped his jumper. This was definitely not a fire alarm. Still unable to see in the bright light, he stumbled back until his legs hit the cot where he sank down, his arms still over his eyes.

After a while, he was able to peer at the "guard" who was hastily removing their outer garments to reveal a near skin tight black body suit that couldn't make a sound and was ideal for use when you didn't want to be noticed. The first thing he realised however wasn't how familiar their face was, or that this was definitely not one of his guards but the fact that she was a woman. Certainly a woman. "Quick Ash, put those on, we won't have much time." She whispered, glancing at the door and indicating to the pile of uniform on the floor.

"Wh-what? Who are you? Wha-what are you doing here?" he spluttered, his eyes round and wide which with his pale and gaunt face gave the impression of someone who should be locked away for their own safety rather than that of others around them.

The woman gave a slight sigh, biting her lip. She gathered up the clothes she had shrugged off and came over to sit next to him on the cot. "You really don't remember me, do you?" she whispered, despair heavy on her lips. The small and terrified shake of his head confirmed her thoughts. "It's me, Duplica. We met a few times over the years when you first travelled though Kanto and later in Johto as well as many times during your fight to become the greatest pokemon master of all time. The ditto trainer and ultimate master of disguise!" she laughed slightly.

Taking a deep breath, Ash steadied his nerves. He hadn't been around or seen anyone who wasn't one of his impassionate guards for his whole ten year term in prison and such a visit was about to send him into a break down. However, he hadn't grown into the man he once was without some degree of natural, rational thought processes. "Well," He began, "you do look kinda familiar but what are you doing here? If the midnight guard catches you…where is he anyway?" Ash tried to peer though the crack in the door where the Ditto was standing guard.

"Ash," she replied in a fast and low hiss, "we don't have much time. We thought that even you're thick mind would be able to work out we're breaking you out. And don't worry about the damn guard. Who do you think has been on the afternoon shift from four til eight?" she hit him gently but firmly on the arm and gave him a broad grin. "I got the switch tonight and it was decided to get you out straight away as they're starting to get suspicious of me. Just get those clothes on and lets go!" her voice was beginning to get faster and lower. Time was ticking by and soon the diversion would be started from the others in the organisation and that would send every guard available running to this cell and she didn't want to still be here when that happened. "Now just get those clothes on and move!"

"No." he stated, backing away from her again. "I'm here because I committed crimes that…that are just evil! I deserve to be locked up in here for the rest of my life for what I did to Pika-" he couldn't even say his pokemon's name, so just tailed off with a pained look on his face as the image of the dead rodent and red head swam before his eyes again. "Just get out of here before they find you!"

"For fuck's sake Ash!" Duplica almost screamed, grabbing him by his shirt and glaring into his face. "You do not deserve to be here! There were other things at work that you were not aware of on that night. Now will you just get those clothes on unless you want more innocent people to die!" She leapt out of her skin as a small sound came from the door as her Ditto make a few noises. Good, no one coming but even he was getting nervous at the amount of time they were spending there. Now there were less than two minutes to get to the other side of the building, avoiding as many guards as possible and remaining undetected until at the meeting point.

But Ash just sat there, a numb sensation filling his body. What did she mean, "other things at work"? Surely it couldn't be possible that he hadn't killed her and him. He was found holding the gun that killed them while drenched in their blood with too many eye witnesses for a conspiracy. This had to be some sort of trick or sick joke played by those higher up. The woman looked vaguely familiar but putting her with the name Duplica didn't seem quite right.

He did remember meeting a young girl by the name of Duplica, who did indeed own several Ditto creatures but his vague memory held a slightly chubby face, with large blue eyes and mountains of bushy green blue hair. But this woman, she was more like Duplica's opposite than an older version. Her face and whole body was tall and svelte and her hair was cropped short to her head, a jet black colour with what could be a few silver streaks. But then again…ten years was a long, long time.

"Ash!" she darted back across the room, grasping him by his shoulders. "Ash, please I know this is terrifying for you but you have to come with me! The lives of countless people rely on getting you out of this, this place!" She gazed into his eyes passionately, trying with all her might to bend his instincts and do as she asked.

Slowly, the fear in his eyes receded and Ash nodded slightly before moving away and reaching for the olive green uniform of his guards. "Thank you, you'll have all your questions answered as soon as we get back to the base, I promise." She smiled a smile full of such feeling and pleading which he tried to return, finding his muscles had forgotten how.

Leaving him for a moment to put on the uniform, Duplica motioned to the Ditto standing guard to warn it of their imminent departure. Silently, Ash crept up on her, causing her start but he was all ready with his previous black clothes just a pile on the cot in the corner.

"Right," she motioned for him to follow her back into the room. "Off you come Minidit!" she whispered and suddenly her hair quivered and shimmered for a moment. In one fluid motion, a small blob slid off Duplica's hair, down her body and onto the floor. Ash could only gape and gaze at Duplica's hair which had, as if by magic become a sea green shade of the tone that he remembered and grew another four inches in length. "You know what to do?" she asked it.

"Dit, dit!" he piped, moving towards Ash.

"Don't worry," she smiled at the shocked young man. "Minidit is going to sit on your head to change your facial features. You may feel a bit sick and your skin does get kinda clammy but it won't be for long." She grasped his hand tightly and encouraged him to relax his face so that her small pokemon could make a complete mask of his face and hair.

The shifting and squirming on his face suddenly stopped and Ash was able to open his eyes with the only desire to scratch at his face and be rid of the uncomfortable mask. Minidit had learnt well to hug right the way around his eyes, nostrils and mouth and could stick to his face like a true second skin.

"Lets go." Whispered Duplica to the first Ditto, still guarding the door. In one fluid motion, the ditto ran up her arm and her entire body shimmered for a moment before she vanished. It was all Ash could do to prevent himself from crying aloud when he heard her voice again. "Don't worry. Ditto acts as a camouflage and adapts to whatever our background is. We've tested it out before and none of the sensors or guards have noticed us. Guards don't travel in pairs often so I have to disappear to get you out. Ready?" she asked and slipped out into the corridor behind her without waiting for his response.

"Now turn left and walk in a confident manner, eyes straight ahead with the air that you know who you are, where you are going and that you are perfectly allowed to be there." Whispered Duplica's voice in his ear. "Any problems just let me deal with them."

They continued down the corridor, Ash trying as hard as he could to reassure his nerves as every single one was screaming for him to run straight back to his cell and remain their until one of the real guards appeared.

"Right, then left and straight on at the intersection after that." His instructions came to him swiftly and so silently he almost misunderstood three times. Then around the corner came one of his guards Ash knew very well. He was the one who brought him his meals during the day, often dropping them on the floor for the food to roll around and he would laugh watching Ash trying to gather up any edible food that remained. He had gone three days with nothing because of this man. Sweat broke out all over his body to trickle in an uncomfortable trail down his spine while his muscles began shaking uncontrollably.

"It's alright." Duplica hissed, placing her hand on his shoulder helping to calm him. "Just nod as you walk past. Remember, you're wearing Minidit, he won't recognise you."

Ash took a deep breath but remained moving forwards and was able to show a crude jerk of the head towards the other man who walked on regardless, ignoring him completely. A few seconds later and he was gone completely. Ash let out the breath he had found he was holding but was swiftly shoved in the back by Duplica who hissed, "Move quicker, we wasted too much time in the cell, they can't hold back the distraction and we have less than thirty seconds to get to the other side of the base!"

Hearing the fear and urgency in her voice, Ash quickened his pace, wincing at the loud echo his shoes made down the corridor. Just as he was taking a left turn into another corridor, a red light flashed above his head and a siren wailed throughout the building.

"Shit!" Duplica exclaimed, darting into a corridor on their left, suddenly becoming visible in the similar olive green uniform of the guards, undoubtedly produced by the Ditto she was "wearing". "Minidit, change the image to 365. Ash, ignore him and run!"

Blind terror gave rise to an even bigger tidal wave of adrenaline that shot through his body as he raced after his rescuer. He didn't even notice the squirming on his face this time as they moved right, left, left and right again, dodging other uniformed guards who leapt out of her was as she brandished a badge before her.

"Hey, halt right there!" cried one young man, trying to stop their progression by standing in the middle of the corridor, his feet firmly planted with a stern glare on his face as the two came hurtling towards him.

"Ditto, Thunderwave!" Duplica unexpectedly cried, holding forth the badge. A single jet of lightning erupted from her hand, streaking towards the man who gave a small shriek before falling down, paralysed from head to toe. The other men around him were too shocked to do anything and before they knew it, the impostor and prisoner were gone.

Duplica slammed into a door with a No Entry sign on its face and Ash followed without a moment of hesitation. They had entered a steep stair well and they both pounded up and up. "The diversion has already begun. We have to switch to plan B, something none of us wanted to do." Panted Duplica as she raced ahead of Ash who was tiring already, his wasted muscles unable to move any longer. "Come on!" she screamed and he forced his body to respond and follow her up.

Suddenly they were standing on the roof of the building, surrounded by guards who had been alerted not only to the fact that they were under attack from all sides but that their top security prisoner had escaped and must be recaptured or killed at all costs. The moment of shock that they all experienced was their last feeling at all as Duplica screamed and pushed Ash down on to the floor before she erupted into a blinding white light that could be seen for miles around.

When the screams had left the air, Ash chanced a look up through his arms that he had instinctively thrown over his head to view the destruction. There were bodies everywhere. Well, everywhere that wasn't ten feet from them. Anything closer had just been incinerated.

From the edge of the building, flashes of light could be seen and the sounds of what told him to be pokemon battles were happening down there, mingled with terrifying screams of pain. All around him and on the roof was darkness save for the few pin points of light that dying torches were still emitting. Ash heard a small whimper of pain by his side and glanced down to see Minidit who must have left his face moments before. All across its small purple body were angry red burns that were already beginning to crust in the cold air. Slowly, it was trying to move towards the figure by his side that was lying motionless.

Getting up upon his elbows, Ash tentatively reached out a hand to shake Duplica and move her head towards him. Her face was contorted in pain and her breath coming in short, shallow gasps through her clenched teeth while her skin was covered in blood.

Forcing back the feeling of nausea from the similarity of his situation, Ash spluttered, "Wh-what just happened?" He reached out to support her head in his hands while his eyes travelled down her body, seeing the blood soaking the ground and the rips in her clothes showing her wounds.

"Ugh," she whimpered, her breathing coming in shorter and harder rasps. "The boss is going to kill me. Should have taken the serum earlier she'll yell. Do you remember the move explosion and what happened when you got too close to it?"

"Err, yeah, you get a bad burn and your skin is sore for days." Ash replied, terror filling his eyes again as the sight of so much blood prompted his mind to call back that haunting image from years ago.

"Well, this is kinda what happens when you're wearing one." She chuckled as blood trickled down the side of her mouth. "We have a serum that you take if you're going to be stupid enough to do something like this. It makes your skin extra strong and promotes immediate healing but needs to be in your system for at least an hour. I only took it half an hour ago. I was so desperate to make sure everything was in place I only remembered to take it before I got to you." She spat out another mouthful of blood. "Here, take this Ditto, and Minidit with you. They'll know where to take you." She knocked a small red and white ball that had been hidden on a chain around her wrist to the ground where it enlarged to reveal another purple blob.

"Du-duplica…?" he asked as her head fell to the side and her eyes closed. He glanced across at the sorely injured Minidit and the new Ditto that had just appeared. The two edged towards her for a moment, gently nudging her hand and looking at each other. With a few "Dit"s of communication the larger of the two glowed for a moment before reforming in the shape of a large flying bird that Ash soon recognised as Pidgeot.

Turning around, the Pidgeot Ditto presented its back to the young man, inviting him to get on and join the smaller Minidit who had just managed to climb aboard.

"B-but Duplica? We can't just leave her here!" he exclaimed, confused at their actions, especially as he could still make out the slight rise and fall of her chest, showing the sign of fast fading life. From the stairs behind them, Ash could make out the thudding foot falls of what he supposed to be guards after him and whoever had aided his escape. Glancing from the Ditto that was prancing slightly on its bird feet to the body of the woman who had rescued him, he was forced to make a split decision.


The door to the stairs flew open and what could be a hundred guards flooded onto the roof, their guns raised to shoot at any sign of movement that was not authorised to be there. The attack on the front of the building had abruptly halted just a few moments ago and the only sounds were of those injured below. A few of the guards had to fight back the urge to vomit at the sight of so much blood and the ripped torsos of their fellow guards scattered around the open space. But there was nothing else other than the dead. A large pool of blood had formed in the centre of the destruction and a few foot prints that vanished into nothingness.

Now far away, a young man clung to the back of a struggling Pidgeot as he held in place the limp body of a woman and a small Ditto as they flew away.


Any thoughts? All cept mindless flames appreciated :D You know where to click XD