Title: Out Of The Blue

Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)

Rating: G

Word Count: 2076

Spoilers: for Pokemon Heroes

Summary: An old friend pays Ash and friends a special visit.

Notes: Set during Diamond and Pearl. Third fic in the 'RaiS' universe. Can be read as a stand-alone as well.

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It was a bright and sunny morning when Dawn emerged from her tent, Piplup at her side. With a stretch and a yawn, she looked around and noticed Ash still sleeping, Pikachu curled up in a ball under his arm. Brock was absent – likely gone to get water from the nearby river. "What a gorgeous day it's going to be," she told Piplup, who chirped in agreement. "Something good is going to happen, I can tell."

Piplup made a questioning sound, cocking her head to the side. Dawn looked down at the penguin Pokemon, and smiled. "A day like this has to mean something good," she explained. "I can't possibly imagine anything bad happening."

Piplup nodded, apparently agreeing. "Lup!"

Dawn absently straightened her hat, staring out across the plains to the forest beyond, with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. The sight was beautiful, familiar, comforting in its own way. Then she blinked, squinting slightly as something... rippled, in her field of vision. "Piplup... do you see that?"

Piplup followed her gaze, leaning forward. The air swirled, and the plants and grass around them started to sway in a breeze that seemed to pop up from out of nowhere. "Pip! Piplup!"

"Something's out there," Dawn muttered, one hand reaching behind her back automatically. She had no doubt whatsoever that Piplup would defend her, but it was always better to be safe then sorry - and Buneary had wicked accuracy with her ice beam. "And it's coming fast."

The wind grew stronger, and Ash's sleeping bag ruffled. Pikachu cracked one eye open, yawning. Seeing Dawn on the defense woke it up instantly. "Pika!"

"Ash!" Dawn spared a quick glance over to the sleeping trainer. "Wake up! Something's here!"

Ash Ketchum blinked the sleep out his eyes. "Dawn?"

"Up!" She shouted, her gaze going back to the field before her. Her eyes darted left and right, straining to see.

Ash joined her, clad in his usual sleeping outfit of black tee and jeans. His hair was rumpled, and his cap was absent from his head for once, clutched in his fist instead. He used his free hand to his eyes, yawning hugely. Pikachu clung to his shoulder, peering outward with a small frown on its face. "What's going on, Dawn?"

"I don't know," she told him, still scanning the horizon. "But can't you feel this wind? It came out of nowhere. And the air was... shimmering, or something. I don't know what, but I'm sure something is here!"

Ash blinked as he watched the strange ripples in the air, automatically slipping his cap on as he did so. "That looks...kinda familiar..."

"Pika!" Pikachu suddenly barked out, one tiny paw pointed dead ahead. The air in front of them was suddenly churning, an odd sheen catching the light of the sun, winking in and out of existence.

Dawn tensed, but suddenly Ash gasped. She looked over, confused – and stopped short at the look of excitement and happiness on his face. "...Ash?"

"It's her, isn't it Pikachu? She's here!"

To Dawn's utter astonishment, Ash suddenly darted forwards, heading directly towards the distortion. "Ash!"

"Latias!" Ash shouted, and then right before Dawn's eyes, a red and white form appeared, hanging in the air before them all. It was a Pokemon. One with a sleek red body and a white crest. Frozen in place, she could only watch as Ash charged it, skidding to a halt and throwing his arms around the slender neck. The Pokemon – Latias, she dimly recalled Ash shouting – was obviously happy to see him, pushing her head against his chest, nuzzling the side of his head and cooing loudly.

"Latias," she repeated, and automatically moved her hand from Buneary's pokeball to her pokedex. Bringing it out, she clicked it open and aimed the scanner at the apparent reunion going on in front of her.

:Latias: the pokedex dutifully informed her. :The glider pokemon. Latias has the power to control the ocean waters, and can fly at speeds of 80 kilometers an hour.:

"Wow," she murmured, her own eyes wide. Piplup was already heading over, and she joined her Pokemon quickly. "Ash? What's going on? How do you know Latias?"

"Pikachu and I met her and her brother, Latios, in Alto Mare nearly two years ago." Latias made a sad sound, and Ash's eyes darkened. "Team Rocket sent some of its special agents to steal a jewel called the Soul Dew, and when they did, they nearly destroyed the whole city. Latios gave his life to stop a tidal wave, and then... disappeared."

Dawn looked from Ash's sad face to the tears in Latias's eyes. The emotion pouring off them was powerful, almost tangible. Despite Ash saying it happened two years ago, obviously the grief was still strong with both of them. "I'm...sorry."

Ash stroked the smooth head gently. "Latias, what brought you here?" he asked, using both hands to hold her head up to look into his own eyes. "Is something wrong? Where's Bianca and Lorenzo?"

Latias shook her head, giving him another nuzzle and a 'La!" for good measure. Then she looked at Dawn, a worried expression clearly drawn across her face.

Dawn brightened as Ash smiled. "Dawn's a friend," he told the floating Pokemon calmly. "Like Brock, and Misty, remember? You can trust her."

"Thanks Ash!" Dawn beamed. Piplup growled, and tapped its chest huffily.

"You can trust Piplup too," he amended, and Piplup smiled. Pikachu added his own agreement by hopping to the ground and patting Piplup on the shoulder, smiling up at Latias.

Latias looked at Dawn for a long minute, and Dawn held perfectly still, waiting for Latias to come to her own conclusion. She looked back into those worried yet hopeful eyes, and gave what she hoped was a warm and confident smile. "La!" Apparently she'd past the test. Latios gently butted her head against Dawn's shoulder once, before pulling back and looking back at her with a happy expression.

"Thank you Latias," she said, reaching out to gently touch the smooth lines of Latias's flanks. "Thank you for trusting me."

Ash looked a bit impatient. "So, what's going on?" he repeated. Latias looked amused, and nipped at his hat, sending it fluttering to the ground. He rolled his eyes, and stooped to pick it up. "Well, I guess some things never change."

"Ash! What's going on – is that Latias?"

Everyone turned to see Brock running up the path. Ash grinned at him as Brock came to a halt, gazing at Latias with an awed expression. "Yeah, Brock! She came for a visit, I guess."

Brock smiled, and held out his hand. Dawn watched as Latias went to the older teen without hesitation, nuzzling his fingers and cooing as loudly as she had for Ash. "It's good to see you too, Latias! And you look so strong and healthy!"

"Laa! Lat! Laaa!" Latias suddenly launched into the air and swooped around them three times in succession, before coasting to a gentle stop in front of them, wings spread wide. "La!"

"Someone's in a good mood," Brock commented. "I bet you're hungry, Latias."

Latias's eyes brightened, but then she turned her head, looking back behind her. Dawn craned her head searchingly, but couldn't see anything.

Neither could Ash or Brock apparently. "What is it?" Ash asked. "Is something there?"

Latias nodded her head, and cooed again, before rising back into the air. She flew around them again and then moved out across the field, about ten meters out. A small rock formation jutted out of the earth, and she set down on the top perch, stretching her neck down into a crevice.

Dawn looked at Brock and Ash and nodded; they began to jog out to the rocks. Latias lifted her head as they approached. Brock tried to move forward, but Latias let out a warning sound. "La!"

Brock paused. "Latias?"

Ash frowned, and then stepped forward. Latias nodded again, and Ash exchanged another round of glances with Brock and Dawn.

"I think whatever Latias has there, she wants you to see it first," Dawn suggested. Piplup and Pikachu agreed with her, nodding their heads and adding their own two cents.

"Is that true, Latias?" Ash asked curiously. Latias crinkled her eyes and let out a happy trill. "Okay, then."

Dawn watched with bated breath as Ash strode forward, placing his hands on the rock. He leaned over, peering down, and she could hear his breath drawn sharply inward. "Ash?"

"Ash, what is it?" Brock asked, taking a cautious step forward.

"No way," Ash breathed, and he reached into the crevice. He pulled something out, handling it gently, and then turned around. Dawn gasped as she saw familiar shape, lovingly cradled in his arms.

"A Pokemon egg," Brock whispered.

Indeed it was. A beautiful one too, red and blue swirls shot through with flecks of white, and white snow 'capping' it. Ash's eyes were huge in his face as he stared down at it. "Latias...is this yours?"

"La!" Latias trilled proudly, and hovered next to him. She nuzzled the egg, and then Ash's face, looking at him expectantly.

"Do you... do you want me to have this?" Ash could barely speak, so choked up with emotion was he. His cap slipped down and covered his eyes. "Really, Latias?"

"Lat, la!" Latias looked firm in her decision, resting her claws on the egg. "La?"

Ash looked at her, nodding. "I'll take good care of it," he whispered. "I'll take very good care of your baby." Pikachu hopped back up on his shoulder, and seemed to add his own promise, 'chawwing' at Latias and gently resting his tail atop the egg. Latias chirped, apparently approving.

Dawn was mesmerized by what she was witnessing. A light seemed to flow between Ash and Latias, the flying Pokemon's eyes glowing solid white. Ash lifted his head, and Dawn was thunderstruck to see tears streaming down Ash's cheeks. A look at Latias revealed she was doing the same thing. "Ash... Latias..."

"It's a Latios," he said confidently, resting one hand on top of Latias's claws. "Isn't that right?"

Latias nodded again. Dawn didn't know exactly what was going on, but she had the inexplicable urge to cry with them. "La..."

Ash hugged the egg gently. "I promise you, Latias. I'll protect Latios with my own life."

"Pika!"

Latias cooed again, and then backed up. Dawn moved closer to Brock, unsure of what was going on. Suddenly Latias was hovering higher in the air. She began circling them, watching them from overhead. "Is she leaving?"

"Yeah," Ash said, staring up at the legendary Pokemon. "She has to protect Alto Mare, and Bianca is probably worried about her. Isn't that right, Latias?"

Latias called out one more time, and then shot forward into the rising sun. As she flew across the sky, her body shimmered, and then she disappeared, a ripple in the air currents the only sign she was there at all.

"Goodbye Latias!" Ash shouted, waving one free hand wildly. "Be safe! Come and visit any time!"

Dawn blinked, and then waved her own arm with enthusiasm. "I'm glad I got to meet you!" she shouted. "Goodbye Latias!"

"Piplup! Piiip!"

"I'll help Ash take care of your baby!" Brock added, waving both arms over his head. "Take care of yourself!"

"Piika!" Pikachu, perched on Ash's cap, waved his own goodbye. "Pi, pikachu!"

A final 'La!" swept back down to them, carried on the wind, and then vanished. Dawn watched the empty sky for few more seconds, before turning to stand next to Ash. Brock came up on the other side, and they all stared down at the egg in Ash's arms.

"I don't completely understand all of what just happened," Dawn said after a minute. Her tone was quiet, still awed by what she'd seen. "But I do know that Latias obviously trusts you a whole lot."

"That's the truth," Brock confirmed, putting a friendly arm on Ash's shoulder to reinforce what he was saying. "Ash was only with Latios and Latias for a short time, but they developed a very special bond."

"I can't believe this," Ash said, his voice shaking a little. He looked up at them, swinging his gaze from Brock to Dawn, and then back to the egg. "I have a Latios."

Dawn smiled as Ash's calm and quiet manner slipped away in favor of his normal, boisterous attitude, and she knew their journey was only going to be more exciting from that point on.

She couldn't wait.

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End

Frankly, I'm not sure anyone's reading these, but oh well. I'm still gonna post 'em anyway. If you enjoyed it and you have a spare second, let me know? And if you didn't, tell me why so I can improve. :D Feedback is always appreciated.

edit Von pointed out that I wasn't clear on something (and thank you!!) so I thought I'd better an add a note here. There IS a reason why Latias has left her egg with Ash, but I didn't want to bombard the readers with too much information - I've been warned about my 'force-feeding' style before, and I'm trying to move away from that. :D Apparently I've yet to learn the balance between 'too much' and 'not enough'. I promise to work on that. Thanks V!

Also, I try to write somewhat in the cartoon style, incorporating their habits, and mannerisims, hence the reason for the group wave goodbye, and Ash's 'I've got a Latias' comment. Cliched, yes, but also cannon, so those details, I don't apologize for writing. ;;

Edit the second Special thanks to Katie who pointed out an inconsistancy re: Ash's hat. I've gone in and done some quick editing/rewriting to fix it. :D