Jessie and James were watching as one by one, Poké Balls were brought into the large machine that had originally plucked several of Meowth's hairs. They looked up onto the screen as the outlines of various Pokémon took shape.
"There goes...Alakazam. Dewgong. Vileplume!"
Meowth was standing by the enormous tubes, watching as the clones dropped into the green liquid. "Sandshrew...Nidoqueen...Vaporeon..." He turned to his own clone and sighed. "But me, I got a special place in my tail for this one."
They looked up as odd noises came from the machine. What sounded like moaning could be heard under the purring of the machinery, and after a few moments, they saw none other than Ash Ketchum, the little twerp, coming out, closely followed by another one of his little friends, who seemed vaguely familiar.
"I don't have time for your stupid motto today!" Ash yelled as he ran past them. He leapt into the machine, and they saw another Pokémon appear on the screen.
"Who's that Pokémon?" they asked. "It's Pikachu!"
"Let go!" Ash yelled. He was struggling with the multiple mechanical arms attempting to rip Pikachu's Poké Ball out of his hands. Gary came up next to him and began tugging as well, and the image on the screen began to flicker.
"What's happening?" Meowth asked as sparks began to fly.
Ash ripped his way out of the machine, breaking the mechanical arms one by one. He finally slumped onto the ground, victorious, and Gary sat down next to them. Both were panting.
As the Poké Ball in Ash's hands opened to reveal Pikachu, both Ash and Gary grinned.
"Pika pi!" Pikachu leapt to Ash's side and gave him a hug.
"I'm so glad you're okay," he said.
"What is this place?" Gary asked, looking around warily. "Looks like some kind of high-tech laboratory."
The members of Team Rocket were ignoring them, far more concerned with the multiple Pokémon dropping into the green tubes.
"The copies are hatching," Jessie whimpered.
"Hatching?" Gary sat up and came closer. She was right: the Pokémon were crawling out of the tubes, stretching and leaving the room. Were these the clones that Mewtwo had spoken of?
"But where are the real ones?" Ash asked, coming to stand next to Gary. A sudden explosion was heard behind them, and Poké Balls began to fly out of the smoke and in all directions.
"The Pokériginals!" Jessie said as the Pokémon escaped from their Poké Balls. They all seemed to be thoroughly confused. An enormous Tentacruel eyed them down warily, causing Team Rocket to huddle close together in fear.
"Squirtle!" Squirtle popped out of one of the Poké Balls, rushing forward to greet Ash.
"Squirtle's back," Ash said happily, extending an arm to give him a hug.
It wasn't long before Bulbasaur appeared as well, looking sleepy and slightly worse for wear. The moment he turned around and saw Ash, however, he jumped forward and grinned.
Gary was reunited with his own Pokémon, and he was busy petting Eeevee's head and talking to each of them in turn. Ash momentarily forgot where he was, and wondered at how happy and at ease Gary looked. The smirk was wiped off of his face, he was no longer teasing anyone, and he looked like the Gary Ash had once known. The one he had been in love with.
Gary's eyes suddenly met his own, and he was forced to push his reverie aside. They both nodded in grim determination. They knew what they had to do.
"Humans, you have served your purpose," Mewtwo said. "I am sparing your lives...for the moment."
His eyes flashed blue, and the enormous doors swung open, revealing the dark sky outside. A storm seemed to be raging in the distance.
"But you cannot escape your fate," he continued. "The hour of my vengeance draws near."
An explosion came from behind him, and the sound of shattering glass could be heard.
Pokémon began to flock towards them, eyeing the small cluster of trainers in silence. It was evident that they were clones of their original Pokémon.
"With Pokémon and humans eliminated, the clones shall inherit the world."
"You can't do this," a voice suddenly rang out. Mewtwo looked back sharply, eyes narrowing.
"We won't let you," a second voice agreed.
Two figures emerged from the smoke created by the explosion. Their faces were stern, eyes set, and they were staring down Mewtwo.
Misty laughed with relief. "It's Ash!"
"And Gary!" Brock added.
The original Pokémon were following them, attention fixed solely on the clones.
"Psyduck!" Misty exclaimed.
"Vulpix!" Brock watched as his Pokémon marched with the others, keeping close to Ash.
"It is useless to challenge me," Mewtwo said, an edge to his voice.
"It's not going to end like this, Mewtwo," Ash shouted. "We won't let it!" He pulled the rim of his hat backwards. "You're mine."
"No, Ash!" Gary grabbed his hand, but just like before, Ash shrugged him away and began to run towards Mewtwo as fast as he could.
He swung his fist back to take a punch, but just as he drove it forward, Mewtwo created a blue bubble around himself and forced Ash to fly backwards. The wind was knocked out of him, and Gary stepped forward to help, but he jumped back on his feet and went for another shot. This time, Mewtwo was at the end of his patience, and flung Ash into the air. He was flying towards the stone structure—he was going to hit it, he was going to die—when a pink bubble appeared and stopped him from hurtling into the stone wall.
"What?" Mewtwo asked sharply.
"Mew." A small creature came to float near Ash, cocking its head. It was still for a few seconds, then suddenly jumped forward and popped the bubble, causing Ash to fall down.
Ash groaned and rubbed his behind, while the creature brought its hands to its mouth and giggled.
"Can it be?" Mewtwo stepped forward, hardly daring to believe his eyes.
The cat-like Pokémon created another pink bubble, and began bouncing on it happily. Its joy was short-lived, however, as an enormous ball of energy ripped through the balloon and sent it flying.
Mewtwo began to create several other black balls, hoping to hit his target, but the latter was far too fast. It simply giggled as the wall exploded due to the impact of the psychic energy, curling its tail around itself.
"What is that?" Brock asked.
"I don't know," Misty answered.
"Mew..." Mewtwo muttered. "So, finally we meet."
"Mew." Its voice was soft and calm.
"I may have been cloned from your DNA," Mewtwo said, ignoring the fact that Mew was paying little attention to what he was saying, "but now I will prove that Mewtwo is better than the original, superior to Mew."
Mew continued to look around the room, studying the trainers with mild boredom on its face. It finally faced Mewtwo and replied with a simple, "Mew."
"Mew and Mewtwo," Corey said under his breath.
"So Mewtwo was cloned from Mew," Neesha concluded, shaking her head.
"This world is too small for the two of us," Mewtwo said, levitating off of the ground. Mew, evidently uninterested in fighting, flew away. Mewtwo followed closely and began to deliver more of his black, powerful balls in Mew's direction, but they were easily avoided.
"Why do you flee from me?" Mewtwo scowled as Mew hid behind a pillar. "Are you afraid to find out which of us is greater?"
Mew failed to answer and simply flew away again, angering Mewtwo further. The chase continued, Mewtwo's attacks becoming more and more vicious, until finally one of the blasts managed to hit Mew dead-on. The pink creature flew off into the sky, until they could no longer see it.
Mewtwo chuckled to himself, victorious. The other trainers were shocked, wondering if Mew was still alive. A loud noise then interrupted the silence, and the black ball was flung back at Mewtwo, throwing him into the ground before he could stop it.
Mew came drifting back, as peaceful as though they were playing a friendly round of tennis. Mewtwo, however, was anything but amused. He rose from the ground with bright, glowing blue eyes, an aura of raw power pulsing around his body.
"So, you do have some fight in you. But I have no time for games. Destiny is at hand." He took a moment to survey his Pokémon, then raised his voice. "Who shall rule? My super Pokémon? Or your pathetic, inferior, spineless Pokémon?"
The original Pokémon stirred, unimpressed by this last comment.
"We were created with powers far superior to the originals'."
"Mew!" Mew began to flit about in the air, arms wide. "Mew, Mew Mew Mew! Mew Mew, Mew!"
"Mew's got a good point," Meowth said, climbing out of the rubble created by the explosion when the Pokémon had emerged into the stadium.
"What's it saying?" Jessie asked.
"Mew says you don't prove anything by showing off a lot of special powers," he translated, "and that a Pokémon's real strength comes from the heart."
"My clones don't need their powers to prove their worth," Mewtwo snarled, forming a ball of energy in his hands. He released the attack towards Mew, who dodged it. It went inside to collide into the wall, nearly hitting Ash.
"Ash!" Gary yelled, gritting his teeth. "Hold on!"
"I will block all the Pokémons' special abilities using my psychic powers," Mewtwo said, ignoring the slabs of stone falling from the ceiling. "Now we shall see who triumphs. Go!"
The Pokémon from both sides surged forward with battle cries, though Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle tried to convince them to stop. Gary went to help his Pokémon, but, remembering Ash, ran towards the wall instead. He saw the other trainer pulling himself up to safety.
"Ash, hang in there," Gary said. "Be careful...those rocks could cave in anytime now."
Ash was ignoring him, watching instead the battling Pokémon. Each original was fighting its clone, and it was anything but a regular Pokémon battle: it was obvious that these were all fights to the death. High above, Mew and Mewtwo were mere balls of light, pink and blue respectively, bouncing viciously against one another as they fought.
"Okay, Ash, just come down here," Gary said, trying to keep the panic out of his voice. "You see those rocks? You can grab onto them and lower yourself down."
Ash followed the advice, hardly paying attention to what he was doing. Of course, on some level, he was grateful that Gary seemed to be concerned with his safety: a far cry from the past few years, when they had been as rude and uncaring towards each other as possible. He wildly thought of their past, of what they had been through together, and felt pleased that Gary seemed to at least harbour some sort of feelings for him. However, this happiness was eclipsed by his fear for the Pokémon. The fighting turned his stomach and made him sick. How could these Pokémon do this to one another? They were all going to die if he didn't stop it.
When he finally reached the bottom, Gary rushed forward, arms half-raised. He then stopped awkwardly, and put his hands in his pockets. "You alright?"
"Yeah," Ash replied. "I'm fine."
He gazed out at the Pokémon, desperation welling up inside of him. He saw Pikachu fighting his clone, refusing to attack, though marks were beginning to appear on his cheeks where he had been slapped.
"Pokémon aren't meant to fight," Nurse Joy said as the Pokémon began to collapse. "Not like this. It's useless. What can come out of it?"
"Nothing," Neesha sighed, "but pain."
"Why can't Mewtwo understand that it's not right to force Pokémon to battle this way?" Brock demanded.
"They're all living creatures," Misty added. "This just proves that fighting is wrong."
"I was prepared for trouble," James said sadly, "but not for this."
"Make that double for me," Jessie agreed, her voice wobbling.
"Now I can see how horrible fighting really is," James said.
"Even the best of friends will fight sometimes!"
"I'll promise never to fight again if you will!" James cried.
Meowth sighed as they broke down in each other's arms, then gasped as his clone approached him. They hissed and pulled out their claws, paused, and then let their shoulders slump.
"What am I doing?" Meowth asked, staring at his nails.
"Meow," the other Meowth replied.
"Let's get something straight, copycat," he growled. "You ain't going to push Meowth around."
The Meowth simply scratched its head and said, "Meow meow?"
"You mean...we don't have to fight with each other?" he asked, confused. "But how can I trust you? You was born different."
"I almost made a clawful mistake," Meowth whimpered. "But how do I know you're not going to pull a fast one on me?"
"Meow meow meow." The clone looked up at the sky.
"Hm?" Meowth looked up as well. "You're right. We do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky..."
"Maybe if we started looking at what's the same, instead of always looking at what's different...well...who knows.
"Maybe if we started looking at what's the same, instead of always looking at what's different...well...who knows.
Ash looked around the field at the Pokémon, who all seemed to be getting weaker and weaker. He watched as his Pikachu continued to refuse to fight, despite the fact that the clone kept slapping him and pushing him to the ground.
"I'd rather be out in Mewtwo's storm than watch these Pokémon destroy each other," Nurse Joy said.
"I have to stop them," Ash said.
"No," Gary snapped. "You're too weak, Ash. I'm surprised you didn't break something."
"I can't just let Pikachu..."
"If you walk out there, you're going to get killed!" he barked. "Is that what you want?"
Ash turned away brusquely. He knew Gary was right, but he couldn't just stand there and watch as Pikachu was hurt like that. "Someone's got to take a stand. Someone's got to say no, and refuse to fight, just like Pikachu."
"Are you kidding me?" Gary hissed. He looked over to the others, who seemed to be absorbed in the scene before them, and said in an undertone, "You left me once. Don't think you're doing it again."
"What?" Ash's eyes widened with shock.
Pleased that this seemed to be momentarily stalling him, Gary continued, "Just leaving me like that? With no explanation? I mean, I'm not stupid, but I knew it was because you were afraid of what people thought..."
"It's...not like that..." Ash muttered, staring at the ground.
"Whatever it is, you left once, and I could hardly deal with it," he snapped. "So you can't just walk over there and get yourself killed. You can't just leave again. You think that's fair?"
Mewtwo and Mew suddenly burst into the stadium, blue and pink orbs clashing as they rammed into one another. They flew to other ends of the field and floated in mid-air. Ash's eyes flitted over to Pikachu, who seemed to be ready to collapse. He looked at Gary, and wondered if they were going to make it out alive. He had to do something, in order to save all of them. He had no choice.
"You've got to stop right now!" Ash yelled, running out towards them.
"Ash, wait—" Gary began to chase after him, but it was too late.
Ash roared and leapt into the middle of their path, just as both opponents fired a pink and blue ball of energy. They met where Ash was standing, and a blinding light filled the stadium.
"No!" Gary stopped and shielded his eyes. "Ash, no!"
When the smoke disappeared, he saw Ash lying on the ground, immobile. Gary rushed to his side, feeling Pikachu next to him, and gasped. Ash had been turned to stone. His eyes were blank, staring straight ahead, and his mouth was frozen in a stern, straight line. All of his clothes were equally made of gray stone.
"Fool," Mewtwo said, taken aback. "Trying to stop our battle."
"Mew?" Mew cocked its head.
Pikachu prodded Ash, and Gary lifted him up off the floor. His body weighed a ton. "Ash, wake up. Come on, Ash, please, you've got to..." He swallowed a lump in his throat and refused to accept the truth.
"Pikachu?" Pikachu rubbed his arm, trying to elicit some sort of reaction. Nothing was happening.
"Don't do this to me," Gary said through gritted teeth. "Don't you dare do this to me. Don't—don't go. Remember what I said? You already left me once, leaving for Pallet Town on your journey alone, because you couldn't accept what was happening between us. Don't leave me again. I won't let you."
Tears were now falling down his cheeks in earnest, and his shoulders were shaking. He didn't care who was watching, or who was listening. His mind couldn't process what was taking place. "Don't you dare do this to me, Ash Ketchum."
He put his head on Ash's chest, hoping to hear a heartbeat. There was nothing. His looked at Ash's face, taking in the blank eyes, the thin mouth, the rock-hard skin. This couldn't be happening. Why hadn't Gary sacrificed himself instead? Why had it been Ash?
"Mewtwo!" he shouted angrily. He sat Ash down on the floor and then rose, fists clenched and shoulder shaking. "I'll destroy you if it's the last thing I do!"
He looked over to where Arcanine was standing, and gave a short nod. Arcanine growled and shot off towards Mewtwo. Though he was caught off guard, the Psychic Pokémon quickly created a sharp blast of energy to send Arcanine flying toward Ash and Gary.
Desperate, Gary looked over at his remaining Pokémon, wondering if any of them could take on Mewtwo. Would killing Mewtwo perhaps break the spell? Even if it did, it was impossible. He felt his anger dissipate as he sunk to the floor, admitting defeat. He wouldn't put his Pokémon at risk like that, when he knew they couldn't beat Mewtwo. He was just too strong.
He looked around at the other Pokémon, who all seemed to realise this fact as well. Each one of them seemed to be crying, their tears floating in Ash's direction.
"Pi?" Pikachu's ears perked up, and his eyes widened.
The tears were now pooling around Ash, and to Gary's amazement, his skin was gaining its regular colour. Ash began to grumble and stir, eyes twitching.
"Ash?" Gary breathed, hardly daring to believe it.
"Gary," Ash muttered, rubbing his face. "I didn't know you...cared that much." He smirked and cracked open an eye.
"Don't you ever do that to me again, Ash Ketchum," Gary growled, frame shaking, tears still spilling down onto his shirt.
Ash reached up and brought Gary's face closer, pressing their lips together. He ran his tongue across Gary's bottom lip, tasting the salty tang of his tears, and then leaned back into his arms. "I'll try not to, but can't make any promises."
"A human sacrificed himself to save the Pokémon," Mewtwo said. "I pitted them against each other, but not until they set aside their differences did I see the true power they all shared deep inside."
"I see now that the circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant. It is what you do that determines who you are."
The clones began to glow blue, and they all drifted into the sky. Many of the originals seemed to be disappointed that their clones were leaving, and the cloned Pikachu waved goodbye to its counterpart as it drifted high into the sky. Mewtwo flew out of the palace, and they followed him, peaceful expressions on their faces.
"Mewtwo," Ash called. "Where are you going?"
"Where my heart can learn what yours knows so well," he replied. What transpired here, I will always remember, but perhaps for you, these events are best forgotten."
A bright, white light suddenly filled the stadium, and Gary gripped Ash tightly as they fell down a deep hole.
"This could be the worst storm ever," Office Jenny said.
"You have got to listen to me," the harbour manager said. "You have got to find shelter."
"Excuse me, please!" a female voice called out from the middle of the crowd of trainers. "The Pokémon Treatment Center will be open as a shelter. Anyone who needs a place to stay should come with me."
It was warm inside the Center, and the food was delicious. Brock, Ash and Misty ate to their heart's contents, and then went to lounge on the couches and relax.
"Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny are really great," Brock said enthusiastically. "They just keep getting more beautiful every time I see them."
Ash made to reply when he felt movement beside him. Turning his head, he was shocked to see Gary smiling at him.
"Can I have a word?" he asked softly.
"Uh, yeah, sure," Ash replied, cheeks reddening somewhat. He gave a confused look to Misty and Brock, and then followed Gary into the back of the Center where there was no one else.
"I had a weird dream," Gary said after a moment's silence. He put his hands in his pockets and leaned back against the wall. "There was a rare Pokémon, and we all went to see him. He wanted to clone our Pokémon, and eventually, he wanted to take over the world."
"Wow, uh, that's something," Ash replied. He wasn't sure why Gary was bothering to tell him this.
"You got turned to stone," Gary said. "And I realised..." He cleared his throat and shook his head. "Well, I realised that I can't keep doing this, Ash."
"Doing what?" His heart was beating furiously.
"This. Ignoring you. Pretending to hate you." He exhaled sharply. "What if someday something happens to you, and I never have a chance to tell you how I feel? I know you're scared, and hey, maybe I am too a bit, but...It's worth it."
"Well," Ash said carefully, weighing his words, "I guess you can tell me now how you feel."
"I think you already know," Gary muttered. He pushed Ash against the wall and slid his hands down his firm chest, pressing his knee into his crotch. His lips found Ash's neck, and he began to trail kisses down the skin. "Is this so wrong? Is this so hard? It feels completely normal, Ash...like this is just something that's supposed to happen between us..."
"Gary..." Ash pulled back, and Gary immediately tensed.
"Don't do this," Gary said. "Don't do this to me."
The sense of déjà vu now becoming more pronounced, Ash was quick to say, "No, it's not that. It's just...I think I had that dream before, too."
"Told you we're meant to be," he smirked, leaning in for another kisses. "Right?" His mouth formed the last words against Ash's lips, before he slowly and softly pushed his tongue past them.
Ash moaned deep in his throat and clasped his hands behind Gary's neck. "Right," he finally conceded. A few years too late, of course, but Gary could live with that.
With Ash in his arms, he could live with anything.
Aw, the end! First of all, I know I promised a sex scene, but it didn't really seem to fit with the story. I could see them kissing, to sort of establish that physical bond they've been denying themselves for so many years, but ultimately I felt that should be the extent. Also, at first I was going to go and completely switch around the entire Pokemon movie script, but I really couldn't figure out which parts I wanted to change, and which I wanted to keep. I love them all too much! So in the end, I decided to keep them all, but to just add Gary in them wherever it seemed logical and whenever it worked with the plot. Thanks to everyone who told me that the story needed more description, because I agree, and I tried to add extra details to this chapter. It's difficult, because when copying the script word for word, I often left out finer details because I was so busy writing down dialogue and actions. Regardless, I hope everyone enjoyed reading, and reviews are, as always, appreciated very much! Finally, a HUGE thanks to Night Foliage, who made this story a hundred times better than it would have been without a beta reader. I can't express my gratitude enough. I also want to thank you, my charming readers, for your advice, reviews, and encouragement.
Unfortunately, there will NOT be a follow-up or sequel, as I am turning away from fanfiction and focusing on getting my novel published right now. Hopefully I'll write a Palletshipping story in the future, but I can't make any promises. Until then, I wish everyone the best of wishes, and I hope you all continue to read and write fanfiction. Let's all keep the Palletshipping fandom going!