"Whispers in the Dark"

Epilogue: 10 Years Later

By: Crichton55

(Please read this!) A/N: Here it is, finally. After a year of laboring over this thing, I've finally got the final part of "Whispers in the Dark" completed. Please review. Oh, and also...I think it would help if you reread the first chapter, because I've revised it. It seemed good at first, but I took a second glance and decided to rework it. Sorry if it's an inconvenience, but the last part will make much more sense. Anyway, hope you like the epilogue!

Disclaimer: Why is this such a big deal? What if I did own Pokémon? If I did, most of the stuff I think up here would actually be in the show and not here. No, I don't own Pokémon...

Current Ages:

Ash: 24

Misty: 25

Brock: 27

Courtney: 25

Gary: 24

Pikachu: Hell, I don't know...

--Indigo Plateau, March 27th, 2019--

Ash's hands were quivering uncontrollably, but he forced himself to ignore his own anxiety. He had come too far to lose his cool here. The deafening screams and shouts of the thousands of spectators that littered the stadium pounded furiously against his eardrums, but again he paid no attention to the distracting stimuli. He knew that close to a decade and a half of solid training was about to be tested. Pikachu stood upon his shoulders with a determined look on his face, a few small sparks of tense yet confident electricity crackling as they leaped from the small rodent's cheeks.

Time seemed to become nonexistent as he walked into the blazing sunlight that blanketed the stadium. Everything looked as though he were watching it at two thousand frames per second. Wild Pidgey that flew overhead seemed to creep through the air like slugs as the blood continued to thunder to his head. This was it, the moment he'd been waiting for his entire life. The mental image of himself being crowned "Pokémon Master" flashed across his mind momentarily as he addressed Pikachu.

"Pikachu." Pikachu looked up at his trainer loyally. "This is it, buddy," Ash said in a nervous yet determined voice. "This is what we've trained so hard for, but we can't let all that experience allow us to get cocky. Your battle strategy should be concentrating mainly on evading your opponent's attacks. Evade as much as you can in every way you can, even if you have to run around like a decapitated chicken. Tiring them out with your speed is a good start, then steadily attack with Thunderbolts. The last thing we need is you getting within striking distance of a melee attack. If all else fails, you know what to do, but only use it as a last resort. Think you can do that, Pikachu?" Ash inquired, glancing at his electric mouse.

Pikachu assumed an expression that clearly said that he was capable of much more than what his trainer had prescribed. The Pokémon cried out as a large bolt of electricity sprang from his cheeks and stretched out to the middle of the stadium, where it contorted into a hand that moved as though it were summoning an unknown opponent. Ash's smile did not falter as he watched as the sparking hand slowly faded. "That's what I thought," he said.

The announcer's booming voice roared over the loudspeakers. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the battle of the decade! The fight for the title of World's Greatest Pokémon Master is about to begin! Our challenger is none other than Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, who will compete against our current Champion for the title of Pokémon Master! Please welcome Ash Ketchum and Gary Oak!!"

The effect was instantaneous. At the very mention of Gary's name, the audience went berserk. An explosion of shouting and hollering greeted Ash's ears, but again he ignored the outside pressure. He watched as Gary stepped out into the blazing sunlight, dressed in a black t-shirt and sporting his usual ruffled brown hair. Ash registered dimly how odd it was to see Gary completely alone; his trademark cheerleading squad was nowhere to be found.

"Both trainers will only use one Pokémon each! Ash Ketchum will battle with Pikachu, up against Gary Oak's unknown choice. Players, shake hands!" The announcer's voice boomed over the loudspeakers once more, and Ash and Gary proceeded to walk up to each other.

Ash's rival sported his trademark smirk, but his face was otherwise expressionless. Ash approached Gary and held out his hand. The two trainers stared the other in the eye intently as they shook hands.

"Good luck, Ashy boy," said Gary in his old familiar sneer. "This should be easy work for you." Ash shook his head and smiled slightly. "Team Rocket's got nothing on this, Gary," he said. "This is the true test. We both know that." They dropped hands and stood in silence for a split-second.

"Win or lose, Ash, this battle doesn't mean crap," said Gary. "We're still friends, but do me a favor." Ash looked at him curiously. "What's that?"

"Go ahead and marry Misty," Gary chuckled slightly, and Ash felt a rash of crimson flare on his cheeks. "Oh, c'mon, Ash, I can see it in your face," Gary continued. "You've been dating her for a decade. Marry the poor girl already!" Ash gave a small laugh and averted his gaze. "Maybe you're right, Gary," he said. "Good luck to you, too."

Ash looked back up to his old rival and smiled. Their rivalry had diminished significantly over the decade since Ash overthrew Team Rocket. Gary had called him a week after Ash had infiltrated the base at Mt. Silver, congratulating him for his history-making achievement. The call had lasted for no more than five minutes, though throughout the entire conversation Ash had sensed in his rival's voice that he no longer saw himself as the better trainer, a hunch Ash still kept to himself.

Gary gave his old rival a slightly stiff nod, which Ash returned. Ash turned to walk back to his end of the field, Gary following suit. Small sparks continued to jump from Pikachu's cheeks as he walked. "Easy, Pikachu," Ash muttered. "Save your energy, buddy."

He turned to face the field, and it was then that he felt his anxiety jump. His arms began shaking uncontrollably once more, something that he knew had nothing to do with the mildly chilly breeze that ruffled his jet-black hair. The fact that the last decade and a half of training was to prepare him for the next five minutes made his mind go numb with nervousness and fear.

He heard an abnormally loud shout from behind him. "Ash!" He turned around to see Misty sitting in the stands behind him, waving frantically with one hand and holding up a large stiff paper sign with the other. The sign was adorned with a large blue arrow pointing down and fat colored letters that read, "Ash's Number One Fan." He smiled as he watched Misty jump up and down. Her long orange hair flowed elegantly down her back, mesmerizing Ash as he blew her a kiss. A smile gashed across her face. Brock, who sat on her right with Courtney beside him, greeted him with a thumbs-up, which Ash returned.

He felt the medium-sized rectangular lump in his pocket, and he glanced back at Misty. Win or lose, Misty, he thought while turning around to face the field. Win or lose.

"Let the battle begin!" The announcer's booming voice caused a disease of chaos and anarchy to sweep across the stadium. Ash assumed his battle stance, turning his trademark cap around on his head. "Go, Pikachu!" He pointed towards the field with a triumphant expression as the electric mouse leapt off his shoulders.

Gary threw a PokéBall onto the field in response. "Go, Umbreon!" The PokéBall exploded with a flash of light, revealing a night-black Umbreon, who growled loudly. Sparks continued to fly from Pikachu's cheeks as the two Pokémon sized each other up.

"Umbreon, Quick Attack!" The black Pokémon took off like a rocket, speeding towards Pikachu with lightning-fast speed. "Dodge it, Pikachu!" Pikachu jumped at the last possible moment, letting Umbreon pass harmlessly under him as he cart-wheeled through the air. "Thunderbolt, now!" Ash roared.

Pikachu let loose an enormous bolt of lightning as he landed skillfully, which crashed unceremoniously into Umbreon. The black Pokémon screamed in pain, but did not falter when the electricity ceased. He shook his black fur and glared at Pikachu. The electric mouse looked momentarily taken aback by the fast recovery, but regained his composure quickly. This might be a little more difficult to negotiate, he thought to himself.

"Pikachu, use Volt Tackle!" A crackling aura of spherical electricity wrapped around Pikachu. His expression darkened as he sprinted towards Umbreon with lightning-fast speed. Pikachu slammed into Umbreon with bone-jarring force, sending him spiraling backwards across the field. He landed hard on the ground with a sickening thud, but leapt to his feet quickly and effortlessly.

Ash thought furiously to himself. Damn, Volt Tackle didn't work. Gary's Umbreon is a lot tougher than the last time I saw him. Conventional attacks aren't working. I might have to experiment here. "Pikachu! Combine Agility with your Thunder attack and run around him!"

"Umbreon, use Sand-Attack!" Umbreon turned his back to Pikachu, who dashed towards the black Pokémon while surrounded by crackling electricity, and began kicking up tremendous amounts of dirt and dust with his hind legs. The caustic cloud flew past Pikachu. He skidded to a halt, coughing and gagging as he fought for breathable air. "Good, Umbreon! Now use Assurance!" Gary roared.

The black Pokémon turned around and opened his mouth once more, a small glowing orb the size of a golf ball forming in his mouth. Several purple curving beams of light exploded from the sphere and slammed into Pikachu, forcing him to scrape along the ground for several yards.

The announcer's voice roared over the loudspeakers. "Oh! I don't care what region you're from. That's gotta hurt!" Ash ignored the announcer and cringed as Pikachu got up. "Pikachu!" he shouted. "Change your strategy! Lure him into the center!" Pikachu glanced at his trainer and nodded in silent agreement.

Gary appeared to have not heard and neither, to Ash's immense relief, did Umbreon. "Umbreon! Use Hidden Power!" Pikachu regained his battle stance, watching as white spheres of energy began circling around Umbreon. The spheres enlarged and then exploded away from the black Pokémon.

Pikachu sprang upward to avoid the white glowing balls of energy, landing nimbly in the center of the dirt field. C'mon, Umbreon, c'mon, Ash thought furiously. Take the bait.

"Umbreon, use another Quick Attack!" Umbreon charged at Pikachu like a bullet, his legs moving faster than Ash's eyes could register. Pikachu braced for impact as Umbreon sped towards him, and for a split-second Ash's eyes met his. Pikachu could see the determined look in his trainer's face, and instantly he knew what Ash wanted him to do. "Pikachu! Do it, NOW!" Ash thundered.

Pikachu's eyes began to glow white as he rose into the air. Umbreon stopped dead in his tracks, watching as white waves of energy coated Pikachu's body, forming a flowing aura as the electric mouse drifted upwards. The entire stadium fell silent almost instantaneously; everyone's eyes were glued on the electric mouse. Dark, menacing clouds began to swirl above the field, directly in line with a floating Pikachu.

The air around Pikachu exploded outward with the force of a small bomb. The energy of the detonating air sent a giant shock wave throughout the stadium as a large pillar of lightning phased through Pikachu before slamming into the ground. The light emitted from the pillar was intense. Umbreon merely stood where he was, mesmerized by the electrical cylinder of light.

There was a secondary explosion as the column of energy changed course. It ceased to pass through Pikachu, stopping and engorging around him as though it were a giant, yellow balloon filling with water. The ball of energy glowed with intense light as it expanded slowly. Larger and larger it swelled, until, as if it could contain the energy no longer, a blast of lightning erupted from the floating yellow orb and crashed into Umbreon.

The black Pokémon screamed as though he were being tortured. The force of the blast sent him skidding backwards across the dirt field before coming to a halt up against the wall, where the lightning continued to sizzle around Umbreon.

Ash watched in awe. He knew that this was Pikachu's strongest attack, having seen it only once before. He could tell that Pikachu was trying to limit the power of the attack, for its previous version had been much louder and much wider in diameter. He smiled at Pikachu's concern; he knew his friend did not want to hurt his opponent too much.

As quickly as it had come, the lightning vanished, and Pikachu fell to the ground, Umbreon's screams of pain subsiding. Pikachu landed skillfully on all fours. His breathing was heavy and bits of his fur were slightly charred. His legs buckled with fatigue and his red cheeks gave a couple of feeble crackles.

Umbreon lay motionless on the field. His black fur smoldered slightly under the heat of the electricity that had passed through him. His breathing was heavy and his eyes were shut, his limbs inactive. Gary cried out. "No, Umbreon!"

The silence was deafening. The crowd's roars of triumph were nonexistent. They merely stood where they were, disbelief sweeping across the stands. A lone clapping noise came from behind Ash, and he knew instinctively that Misty had started to applaud.

A slow tidal wave of hesitant clapping and cheering flowed unhurriedly across the stadium, until Ash's ears screamed in protest under the overwhelming din. "Umbreon is unable to battle!" shouted the referee. "Pikachu wins!"

The air exploded with sound. Misty gave an ear-shattering scream of delight and jumped over the railing that divided the stands from the field. She ran over to Ash and squeezed him with bone-crushing force, planting a hard yet passionate kiss upon his lips. "I-I don't believe this, folks!" stammered the announcer. "I have never seen anything quite like this. I think we have a new Pokémon Master here! Give it up for Ash Ketchum!"

The crowd detonated with applause. Ash and Misty broke apart and watched as Pikachu leaped into Ash's arms in slow motion. His mind felt numb. Disbelief plagued him like cancer. I did it, he thought. The overwhelming truth began to crash over him. He could do nothing but hug his two best friends and laugh, to embrace the reason his journey was finally over at last.

"Okay, Misty, almost there! Hey! You keep that blindfold on! No peeking!" Ash led Misty out the door of his Pallet Town home and onto the rocky walkway that connected the front porch to the sidewalk that sat twenty feet away. Misty tried yanking on the blue blindfold, but Ash's knot tying skill prevented her from regaining her sight.

"Ugh! How can you possibly tie...ugh...this tight of a knot, Ash?" Misty tugged on the fabric, yet it continued to resist her pull. Ash ignored her and continued to lead her onwards until they were five feet from the road. He halted Misty. "Okay, Misty," he said as he untied the cloth. "Take a look."

She opened her eyes and gasped loudly. A shiny blue sports car sat dormant in front of her with a giant red bow adorning its top. The blue paint shone magnificently as she gawked, the white stripes that streaked down the center reflecting the mesmerizing afternoon sunlight. The car seemed to radiate with gleaming light.

"You said 'forget the bike', Misty," Ash told her, smiling at the disbelieving expression that adorned Misty's face. "So I got something that has a little bit more power. It's a Dodge Viper GTS, Misty. Around four-hundred horsepower." Misty ran her hand down the shiny metal slowly, covering her mouth with the other. "A-Ash, y-you didn't have to do this," she stammered quietly. Ash put a hand on her shoulder softly. "I wanted to, Misty," he responded. "You deserve it for putting up with me for all this time."

Misty continued to stare incredulously at the car. "This is not my car. This can't be my car," she said slowly, disbelief plaguing her voice. Ash reached into his pocket and withdrew a single gleaming key, which he placed into Misty's hand. Her fingers slowly encased the metal key.

She turned to face him. "Thank you, Ash." She kissed him forcefully, encircling her arms around him. Ash embraced her and kissed back, and for what seemed like several years the two of them stood there, lost in their own loving embrace.

Ash broke the kiss and turned towards his mother, who had appeared in the front doorway. "Mom, where did I put that thing?" Delia walked towards him. "I have it here," she said, handing him a small black velvet box. "You left it on your dresser."

Misty's gaze locked on him, her mouth open wide as she realized what was about to happen before it did. Ash knelt down and flipped open the box, which revealed a silver ring with a gleaming black diamond decorating its top. The black stone seemed to radiate with rippling energy, the dark color appearing to flow within the diamond.

"Misty, will you marry me?"

Ash glanced at the digital clock mounted on the bedroom wall. 10:24 PM, April 1st, 2029. He looked back at Mystic and Ashton, wide smiles gashing across their faces. The two children sat cross-legged on the small pink bed and looked at their father with a mixture of amazed expressions.

"Wow! That was an awesome story, daddy!" Mystic exclaimed. Her red hair waved vigorously as she shook in excitement. "You said all of that was true?"

Ash laughed and ruffled his daughter's hair playfully. "Yes, Mystic, it's all true," he confirmed, and Ashton let out a loud gasp of amazement. "Even the part when Pikachu blew up all those machines and shocked the big Mewtwo guy?" he asked with keen interest.

Pikachu hopped up on Ash's shoulder and beamed at the two children. "You bet! That was so awesome! Mewtwo never saw it coming!" he said excitedly. Small, excited sparks jumped around his red cheeks, but then it seemed he was reminded of his own fatigue, for he yawned and the sparks faded away.

Ash laughed and scratched the electric mouse under the ear. "But what happens next, daddy?" asked Mystic curiously. "Is that the end?" Ash grinned at his daughter and stood up. He saw that Misty, who was dressed in an aqua-blue nightshirt, had appeared in the doorway. "No, Pip, that's not the end of the story," Ash said, looking down and watching as the girl's smile widened. "But I'll tell you both the rest tomorrow night. Off to bed, you two!"

The kids groaned loudly, though obeyed with a hint of reluctance. Mystic crawled underneath the pink blanket while Ashton scampered over to his own bed and followed suit. He quickly disappeared under the blue bedding. Pikachu yawned deeply and jumped off Ash's shoulder. "Night, Ash," he said groggily before disappearing unhurriedly down the hall, and a second later Ash heard the sound of a door closing.

Ash walked to the doorway. "G'night, you two," he said before switching off the overhead light. He closed the door and turned to face Misty. He noticed that her hair had been let down, the silky orange strands flowing halfway down her back. "See?" he whispered. "Piece of cake. They loved it."

Misty snickered softly. "Yeah, but that was just the first part," she said with a warning tone, though Ash could detect a hint of teasing in her voice. She leaned in and gave him a quick kiss.

"Tomorrow, you get to tell them the second half of the story. Then it'll get interesting."

A/N: If you were confused about the ending bit, go reread Chapter 1. I've revised it because the first edition didn't feel too good anymore. But at any rate, there you have it, a nice happy ending. I thank everyone who has supported me on this fic, and I promise you I will write more. Please continue the good reviews.