IF YOU'RE READING THIS FOR THE FIRST TIME, PLEASE READ THE MESSAGE BELOW.
This arc is seven years old and is my first attempt at writing fanfiction. Since then my writing style has changed and the direction I've taken this story has changed. Looking back on this arc and its sequel, I've always seen them as a bit of an eyesore as the characters don't sound or act like themselves. There are some glaring plotholes and scenarios that just weren't well thought out at the time. As such, I've made a new version of the first arc called the Lapidescence. I'm not telling you to not read this, but know that this story is no longer canon with the rest of the series. Feel free to use it as a comparison to the revamped version.
Chapter 1: Bump in the Night
"Dawn, wake up." Ash said. "Can you hear me?"
Dawn shifted position in her sleep, making no sign of waking of.
"DAWN!" Ash was now yelling and shaking the young blue haired girl in question after he had been done whispering and poking gently.
This had some effect on Dawn, and she slowly opened her eyes.
"Huh, what? Morning?" she mumbled, still half asleep.
"Oh…good morning Ash" she managed to say before collapsing on her bed again. Ash scratched his head in frustration.
"Dawn, I want to get my next badge. And Hearthome is just a few miles away!"
"Don't worry, don't worry I'll be up soon"
"That just makes me more worried" Ash said, nearly pulling his hair out of frustration.
"We've been here way too long, you've slept till noon, and I've already looked around the town twice and done everything that seemed interesting. We've already stocked up on food and supplies and…wow…I've never seen your hair that bad before" Ash said, sounding genuinely concerned.
"WHAT!" Dawn immediately jumped up, procuring a mirror and comb seemingly from the air.
"That got your attention" Ash chuckled, tossing her hat onto her lap. Dawn gazed into her reflection only to find nothing out of place.
"That was cruel. You know how I feel about my hair," Dawn's eyes like daggers, sticking out her tongue and turning away from Ash to start packing her things.
Ash's head swiveled back and forth, scanning the room, "Where's Brock? He said he was going to…oh."
Brock's Croagunk came in, walking in their direction, dragging its unconscious master with him by the leg across the linoleum floor. Once close enough, Croagunk dropped his master's leg before Ash.
"Tried to flirt with a nurse Joy?" Ash inquired solemnly.
Croagunk nodded in disappointment.
"Knocked him out before he went too far?" Ash asked; Croagunk nodded again, searching through Brock's vest, finding his pokéball and returning himself.
"I do hope that he's all right," Nurse Joy remarked upon seeing Brock's unconscious form on the floor as she approached.
"He'll be fine" Ash said reassuringly," he's used to this kind of thing, this has happened many times before."
"Well if you put it like that…" the nurse's concerned gaze shifting from Brock to Pikachu upon Ash's shoulder. As she saw Pikachu, her face cleared.
"Oh! What a cute Pikachu! I love electric Pokémon," Nurse Joy said, her hand moving over and ruffling the fur on Pikachu's head, making Pikachu squeal with delight.
"Wild electric Pokémon are very common in this town, they tend to walk through here when it gets really dark. When I watch them pass by, their electricity makes them glow in the night. It's really a sight, you should see it," she explained, "this building is actually able to divert electrical attacks into the ground. This is the only Pokémon center that was made that way due to the abundance of electric Pokémon".
"Ash, I'm done packing" Dawn said as she slung her bag over her shoulder and stood up.
"We'd love to stay and see that…but we really should get going. I'm going to try and get my next badge in Hearthome City," Ash said.
"And I'm going to compete in the Hearthome City coordinator contest" Dawn added.
"Oh, that's alright. I hope you have a safe journey and good luck getting your badge, Hearthome should be twenty miles away from here" Nurse Joy replied, waving farewell as she returned to her position at the counter, having a new client to take care of a few seconds later.
Brock immediately rose up, stood and dusted off his pants, acting as if nothing had happened.
"We ready to go?" Brock asked; Ash and Dawn nodded. The cheery chime as the doors whooshed open continued to echo in Ash's ears as he left the confines of the Pokémon center. They began heading towards the town's exit, an old couple greeted them and bid them farewell from afar. It was a nice enough town, not large enough to show up on any major map, but nice enough to pass by and take lodging for the night after coming through the forest nearby. They had just come from the forest where Ash's Gligar had evolved into a Gliscor, courtesy of Ash's old rival, Gary, who just happened to be in the neighborhood and had a Razor Fang on hand.
Reaching the city would be half a day's journey on foot and it was starting to get late into the night. Ash immediately blamed their lack of distance traveled on Dawn's extended nap.
Oddly enough, Dawn was the first to doze off as soon as they had set up camp, and Ash was next, leaving Brock the tranquility and solitude he desired so that he could write in his journal, tending to write down recipes for the next morning meals, or straying off into fantasies of women, most often nurse Joy and officer Jenny. When he felt he had written enough, he set the book down in a hidden flap within his vest and went to sleep.
After what had been enough time, Ash's eyes fluttered open, scanning for slumber among his group. He had been sleeping on his side and shifted into a more comfortable position without trying to wake up the curled bundle of sleeping fur that was Pikachu, resting beside him.
He stared into the sky; he recognized the constellations that night. They looked exactly like the ones that he and Ritchie had stared at; he wondered where Ritchie was now. His head slowly turned, his gaze loomed over Brock's sleeping form and onto Dawn. Her things had been neatly packed away in her backpack and she had slept in her clothes like each of them always did before they reached a suitable city to sleep in.
She was more comfortable with them now, he no longer saw her use her tent like she used to at the start of her journey. Ash began counting as the topmost part of her sleeping bag rose and fell with every light breath she took. A blush had begun to paint itself along his cheeks; he could feel the weird sensations take over him. He sharply looked away, cursing silently at no one in particular but at himself.
This was happening more frequently now, every time he stared at Dawn or at any girl that considered cute, he would feel this way. Back then it had been rare, only Misty had been capable of making him blush. She had been long gone, and he hadn't felt that way towards May, but then, he hadn't seen her in a while either as this new sensations were beginning to come more frequently in the past few weeks. Ash began to think back at how he had asked Brock, and the reaction had been ecstatic.
"Yeah, well that's how I've been feeling, ya know?"
"That's great, you've done a good job coming to tell me this. It may have taken you a while but you've finally started your journey to manhood. No offense, but personally, I was starting to wonder whether you played for the other…never mind, I'll teach you the way to get all the girls like I d-"
The conversation had been cut short as Croagunk escaped from his pokéball and proceeded to jab Brock in the side, dragging his limp master away with only a glance saying "sorry 'bout him, I'll keep him on a tighter leash next time."
Ash really hoped that he wouldn't start acting out like Brock whenever he saw a girl, which is why he silently thanked Croagunk for the rescue. Was this feeling normal? He had been traveling with girls before, about four years in total, he was fourteen now, why wouldn't he feel it then?
His thoughts reverted back to Misty and May, the weird sensation bubbling inside him again. He squirmed within his sleeping bag, silently cursing within his mind. "I have to think of something else, something to get my mind off this." His head had turned towards the ball of fur beside him; Pikachu's breathing rhythm was the same as Dawn's.
He tried to focus on other subjects, knowing to stay clear from thinking about getting his next gym badge, otherwise he would never get to sleep. He thought about Paul, probably already at Hearthome and getting the-.
"Okay, don't think about Paul… think about… about…" Ash's sentence never finished as fatigue began to settle in and slumber took residence.
Ash had been dreaming of obtaining his next badge when Pikachu's sudden screeches of pain reached his ears. The sound had woken everyone up with a start. Pikachu's screams were almost ear-shattering, his paws clutching his head, and looking like he was attempting to be bury himself beneath the ground to escape whatever was assaulting him. Bolts of lightning erupted from Pikachu's body, tentacles of lightning slithering across the ground.
"Ash, what's wrong with Pikachu?" Brock yelled as he backed away from the minefield of writhing lightning.
"I don't know!" Ash replied, slowly trudging towards the center of destruction, "I'm going to try and calm Pikachu down!"
Dawn had been staring at the lightning; she hadn't been with them for very long, but she could tell the lighting that sprung from Pikachu was different. Very different.
"Ash, be careful, something's wrong with Pikachu's lightning." Dawn screamed with a noticeable undertone of fear in her voice.
"Don't worry, I've been shocked by Pikachu before" Ash said reassuringly, his arms shielding his eyes from the bright flashes.
Dawn had been tracing a bolt of lightning that snaked its way to a tree, her eyes widening as she saw the tree splinter, and burst into flames. Her gaze swiveled to the ground around Ash's feet, a molten glow radiating from what appeared to be glass within the trenches left behind by the tendrils of lightning.
"Ash! Stop! Come back, it's too dangerous, Pikachu's electricity…it's…different!"
The loud zaps and buzzes rung in Ash's ears, dampening all sound around him. The sound of Dawn's screams just barely grazed his eardrums amidst the drone of lightning. He hadn't heard what she had said, but recognized the utter fear in her voice.
Dawn darted towards Ash who had stopped his movements for a reason unknown to her. Suddenly, Dawn's backpack, Ash's backpack, and Brock's vest burst in flashes of light; their Pokémon freed from their spherical shelters. All of them began thrashing from pain, all trying to find ways to cope with it. Brock couldn't help but gawk as his Sudowoodo smashed its head against trees, instantly splintering them, or against the ground and leaving fractures.
Brock woke from his daze, immediately thrusting his hand and grabbing Dawn's collar, but almost immediately losing his grip as Dawn darted toward Ash. The flashes behind Ash came to his attention, turning to see Dawn began running towards him; her voice now inaudible to his deafened ears. Her hands clamped onto his, desperately tugging him away from Pikachu.
Brock held back a far distance from the lightning range; he was torn in whether to go after Dawn and Ash, stop the Pokémon from hurting themselves, or staying safe. Forcing himself to a decision, he went with his instincts and found himself running towards them, only to stop dead in his tracks. Ash could see the reflection of what they feared in the pools that were their eyes; his neck relented and turned to the source of their awe.
It was like a pillar of lightning, stabbing through the clouds and into the very heavens themselves. A large surge descended down the column of lightning. With renewed vigor, Dawn managed to pull Ash away from Pikachu. Brock's body seemed to remember what it was to move again, dashing towards Dawn and Ash, throwing them over his imaginary safe line.
"Cover your ears!" Brock yelled before the blast connected with Pikachu. Ash and Dawn did as they were told, keeping their hands clamped over their ears even as the force of the explosion sent them tumbling across the earth. The smell of ozone filled the air as lightning tore up the ground, leaving no inch uprooted. Finely powdered rubble coated their frozen figures within the earthy cloud; nothing seemed to utter a sound.
Ash and Dawn were paralyzed with fear, their stillness slowly turning to uncontrollable trembles that resonated throughout their bodies. Ash willed his body against the unfounded fear to move, gradually turning towards the center of the explosion.
"BROCK!" Ash screamed blindly into the mist; but nothing replied. Ash could feel a tug on his arm, Dawn whispering his name. "BROCK!" Ash screamed again.
The haze began to clear from where the voice came from. Ash couldn't help but stare silently in awe, his mouth slightly ajar, and his mind letting the thought sink in: Brock was okay.
Brock's figure parted the mist, his caring smile visible to both of them now. Dawn released Ash's arm from her death grip, both of them scrambling to get to their uninjured companion. A cold nightly breeze swept the rest of the opaque rubble residue from the air, showing them what was left of their camp sight.
The soil had been upturned everywhere, trees had been blown away, the lingering ones set aflame with leafless branches. Their personal belongings had been shredded, the scattered remains everywhere and slowly being blown away. Shadowed figures of their Pokémon sprawled across the clearing.
Ash's eyes widened until Brock's hand came down on his shoulder; a reassuring squeeze is all it took. "They've all fainted, but otherwise they don't seem to have any serious injuries so don't worry " Brock muttered before scanning the ground for their pokéballs. Ash and Dawn followed his example and searched for their own as well.
Ash found where Pikachu lay out cold; a deep crater, scorched black by the attack and layered with cracked molten glass. Ash lifted Pikachu gingerly into his arms, cradling it gently. It was like an Easter egg-hunt as Dawn, Ash, and Brock found their pokéballs still intact, but slightly scuffed up. They had gathered what was left of their belongings in their arms, which wasn't much. After returning all their Pokémon to their pokéballs they stood and stared at each other in silence.
"What was that all about?" Ash said aloud to no one in particular.
"I don't know, but maybe the nurse Joy in the town we just came from could examine our Pokemon, to see if they're alright" Brock said, and for once, he wasn't smiling at the idea of returning to the Pokémon center to see one of his favorite women.