Chapter 11/Final: Hail, Ketchum!

Ash was opening his eyes. Kuriko, Sakura and Excel watched over his coming around. "Ash is waking up," Excel chirped. Ash was pretty delirious from that explosion.

"Kuriko?" he weakly muttered in pain. "Sakura? Excel?" A teary eyed Kuriko dove onto and hugged the injured boy who was lying on a bed only wearing some scorched pants. His head, forearms, wrists and ribs were covered in bandages. He had to have been soundly injured.

"Oh, Ash," she whimpered. "You have no idea how worried we were!" From the wounds he suffered, it was no kid.

"I remember...stopping Jonau's attack." Announcing that he was the descendant of a guardian of aura, Ash summoned his aura and stopped an oversize punch from Jonau...with one hand. He bonded his aura and blew up Jonau. "I can't recall what happened after that." As if called upon, Koenma, with Pikachu on his head, came into the scene.

"Well, you should be fortunate that Botan, Yukina, Kuwabara, Kuriko and I witnessed it," he spoke up. Pikachu joined the group of girls and Ash in the sense of relief. "You see..."

(Flashback/Koenma's View)

When the explosion occurred, Kuriko was the first to rush the explosion. Kuwabara used his spirit energy and turned his sword into a giant fan to blow the smoke away. We saw the aftermath and Jonau was pretty much dust. There you were, blood draining from you in the bandaged areas but standing in shock, covered in about a few gallons of blood, unsure if it was yours, Jonau's or a combination of both. You collapsed onto Kuriko who flew you at a nearby stream to cleanse you and Sakura use her first-aid to mend your injuries before bringing you back in the office.

"You should be lucky, Ash," Koenma added. "You've got a couple of ladies who care so much about you." Ash did feel humble. He had Sakura, who's been with him from the start, and Kuriko, who fell for him after saving her from demons.

"Prince has a point," Sakura huffed before snarling at Kuriko. This hasn't rested yet? "Even if one of us is a big-boobed hussy!" Kuriko scowled back, flustered with Sakura's mock.

"Big deal if I'm big-boobed," she retorted. "I'm also the one who gave him his first kiss." How do you counter that? Sakura was shocked to hear about Kuriko lip-locking Ash. It was as if Sakura never had a chance to properly engage Ash herself. Excel seemed intrigued with how lucky of a man Ash was.

"Even Lord Illpalazzo doesn't get too lucky with women, let alone get a kiss," she exaggerated. It's when Koenma had his doubts about Kuriko being Ash's first kiss.

"Is Kuriko your real first kiss, Ash?" Koenma wondered. Ash shook his head in a pinch of shame. So, it wasn't the first kiss.

"She's my third, actually," he confessed. "But she may be the first to express." What did that mean?" Sakura calmed down when she learned that Kuriko was the third girl to smooch Ash, almost to the point to poke fun at her. "When I traveled the Orange Islands and came onto Shamouti Isle, Melody was given the honor of the Festival Maiden in need of a trainer, thus me. She got me in the cheek as a 'Welcome Kiss,' much to Misty's chagrin. The other was in Alto Mare when I was leaving and Bianca had approached me and pecked in the same place, only I'm not sure if it was Bianca or Latias, a Pokémon residing there, who kissed me." So one was a welcoming gesture while the other one was left a mystery.

"So, Blondie was a legitimate kiss, then?" Excel guessed.

"That's right. She did try twice only to be interrupted by demons and Nakamaru before scoring one on the St. Anne." All while making Brock jealous of your luck involving older women. Good work. "Besides, I think I'm good to go." He hopped from the bed, straight as an arrow. He recovered pretty fast. "Say, Prince, you got anything for me to wear here? I'm not sure going to meet everyone with no shirt on is a wise thing." Koenma snickered, believing Ash and his bodacious bod would be disturbing for some of his teammates.

"I had a sinking feeling that you would ask about that," he chuckled. That's when Botan entered, a folded black t-shirt in her arms.

"Ash, I'm astounded that your ancestor is a legendary guardian of such a power," she awed. Ash scoffed at the grand remark, feeling rather apologetic to someone.

"Hearing that makes me feel ashamed," he huffed. No one seemed to get it. Befuddled looks all around told Ash to clarify his meaning. "I mean, here I am getting all these gracious remarks and surrounded by admiring ladies in a sense of making Brock hate me. He goes after girls and yet, I'm the one getting the love he wants." Sakura and Botan finally understood. He doesn't try to get girls and yet, he still gets them while Brock was the other way around. When Kuriko got the message, he approached Ash and placed a hand on his chest. This had to be good.

"Maybe I should visit your world once more and show Brock what to do when he makes a move for a girl and the true concept of love," she offered. Although seeing Kuriko's hand on Ash bit into her anger, Sakura realized that she had a strong point and would agree.

"She's right," she spoke up. "This friend should understand that sometimes love needs to search for you, not vice versa." Ash nodded, accepting the knowledge of these girls he befriended, including Excel. He threw the shirt on, a sky blue line crossing the chest. Once on, the group exited to meet with the rest. Naruto, Alphonse and Kurama were engaging quite a conversation, as was Rin and Hiei with Yukina, Kuwabara with Edward and May and Yusuke with Roy and Hinata. Illpalazzo was resting to the side with the blue ogre, no talk between them. Seeing Ash, Yusuke and Roy were there to meet him.

"Hey, there's our warrior," Yusuke greeted with a hand open for a high-five. "I don't think I could match the strength that you gave Jonau." Ash chuckled, humbled by Yusuke's warm words.

"I don't know if I could do that again," he doubted himself with a smile.

"Yeah, that was a bit of a gamble and it nearly did you in," Roy warned. "Regardless, I doubt anyone would've been brave to battle that fiend the same way you did. It's like the fear in you gave way to confidence which aided that aura you emitted." Ash nodded, proud to get an appraisal from a colonel.

"It's an honor to have fought with you, Col. Mustang." He saluted with a palm-down over his forehead. Roy copied before both lowered the salute. Everyone joined for praises and acknowledgments when Koenma stepped up with a few words to say at his desk. He exposed a gavel and pounded on the desk for attention. Everyone was quiet.

"Thank you for honoring the floor to me," he teased. "This was quite a showmanship to see many people from different cultures unite in a battle to protect not only the humans in many worlds, but the time stream that had wreaked havoc to alter destiny. Lord Illpalazzo, Excel Excel, Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Col. Roy Mustang, Naruto Uzumaki, Sakura Haruno, Hinata Hyuga, Ash Ketchum, May Maple, Rin Kamishiro and Kuriko Kazetsubaki, for your actions in the spirit world and all worlds, I hear by present you as honorary Spirit Detectives, vanquishers of evil and protectors of the innocent." All embraced the new titles bequeathed to them. Honorary Spirit Detectives. They were proud to join as an elite team united by Pokémon trainers, ninjas, alchemists, dictators and magicians. "However, it's time for all to depart from here and rejoin your worlds. This is the decision handed down by the king, my father. You all can have a few minutes to say farewell to those you've enjoyed working with. I know I hate to break some of you apart, but balance needs to be restored." So, that was it. After all that, the team was forcefully breaking apart. The members shook hands, remembering the help they offered. Ash got a great big kiss from Kuriko, her wishing she didn't want to be broken from him. May gave Edward a huge hug, advising him not to forget him. Rin and Naruto shook hands, knowing that the help in the Hidden Leaf Village benefited each. Sakura, not watching the kiss, handed a few paper bombs to Alphonse, telling him if Edward would go out of line to blow up his butt. After a while, Yukina used the watch, opening five portals, one to each location: Central, Hidden Leaf, St. Anne, Aoi campus and New York City.

"This is it," Yusuke, with the other spirit detectives, acknowledged. "Good luck on your journeys." With a final nod from Ash, Edward, Sakura and Rin, everyone entered their portals, heading home. The portals closed, the last moment of the team. It almost brought Yusuke to tears...catching Kuwabara's attention.

"Is that crying I'm seeing, Urameshi?" he teased. Yusuke snapped out, trying to man up against Kuwabara.

"N-no, I'm not crying, Kuwabara! It was grease in my hair. It got in my eye, that's all!" Kuwabara didn't believe it, thinking Yusuke was tearing up. Even Kurama and Hiei had to exclude the excuse for the tears.

"I think Yusuke realizes that he's nowhere near as strong as Ash," Kurama rubbed the salt on his wound.

"I wouldn't doubt that hypothesis," Hiei sided against Yusuke. Regardless, Yusuke still denied the concept of Ash being stronger than him.

"Maybe I should blast you damn asses for thinking that I'm inferior to that kid!" he roared as a whitish glow coated his body. He wanted to prove a point. Not sure if losing your cool helps.

(New York City, NY/A few years later...)

It's been a few years since the big battle against the demons to protect the city. Not much had changed...but tell that to a foursome that had appeared in front of a skyscraper. It couldn't be...could it? The blond braided hair... the short pink hair...the yellow lightning-shaped tail on a mouse...the twin violet ponytails... It was! "I can't believe that it's been a few years since we joined forces against the demons," Ash awed at this reunion. Ash was in a black travel vest over a white t-shirt. He did grow a foot but he didn't really change too much, same with Pikachu.

"Even after all those years, we still recognized each other like nothing appeared different," Edward agreed. He was in a brown vest over a lavender long-sleeve shirt which still had the auto-mail. Some things hadn't change. Some have.

"Some of that may be because you still have the auto-mail and Ketchum still has Pikachu hanging around his shoulder," Rin grumbled. She wore a white laboratory coat under a green shirt and brown pants. Her figure did balloon much, especially her breasts. They were at least a C-cup. "Besides Ketchum, Kuriko still thinks about you." Ash huffed, amused that Kuriko hadn't let her feelings about him go. She's probably a full-grown adult while he's still a teen. That's when he remembered the other couple he helped, Kazuki and Yuna.

"By the way, how are Kazuki and Yuna doing?" he questioned. Rin was ready with an answer.

"Graduated, married, triplets." So, Yuna and Kazuki graduated from the campus, got hitched and had three kids within them.

"Well, should we go back, is it possible to-"

"Of course." Ash felt relieved that he would have his acknowledgment be known to the two.

"You know, since Kuriko isn't around to fondle you," Sakura, in a skimpier red suit and wearing gloves. "The field's open. Perhaps there's something between us that has worked." There was one that Ash remembered.

"You want another jet-ski ride with me?" he wondered. "Well, sure I could do that. It's not a problem." That's when he pulled an envelop from his pocket. It was from Illpalazzo. "But first, we need to attend this." The others nodded. They managed to find a manhole cover to open and scale down into the sewers. They entered a chamber door into the same room where they had that first battle with Illpalazzo, which was ultimately Jonau. The room was empty. "Oh, speaking of thoughts...Ed, I've heard that May hasn't forgotten her emotions when she laid that good one on you, thinking it was a kiss with you two." Edward was a bit humbled, honored that his friend still had her mind on the famous alchemist she knew about.

"Why am I not surprised?" he gloated. "Although, she should take a look at Al. He's back to a human and no longer bound to a suit of armor." Alphonse was human once more? Nice. Rin stood silent, almost to a point of wanting to know what was going through her mind. Finally, Sakura had the option of asking Rin.

"So, Rin," she spoke up. "Did you have anyone in mind?" Rin's face became red. She was blushing. She had an admirer.

"Well..." she stuttered. "You see..." Sakura sneered at the flustered look on Rin's face. Was it from here? From her world? From the Hidden Leaf Village?

"Aha! There is someone you had a crush on. Come on, spill it out!" Rin was completely rattled in embarrassment. The boys were wondering who the lucky person was.

"Okay, it Kurama! You happy now?!" Kurama? She preferred one of the Spirit Detectives? Edward and Sakura seemed downright dumbfounded with her choice. Ash got where she was coming from.

"Not a bad choice," he scoffed. The group stared down Ash on why Rin would go after the redhead. "You've seen the main three aspects that you also saw within me: athleticism, education and respect. That would be why you had that feeling." Rin acted very perplexed. Was Ash right?

"The more you speak like that, the more I should come after you like Sakura and Kuriko." Ash realized that Rin could have come for him for those same reasons. He chose to keep quiet about it. That's when Illpalazzo, not changed like Pikachu, entered the room and sat on the throne.

"Ketchum, Elric, Haruno, Kamishiro," he addressed. "I thank you all for coming. Since the department of civil services have returned to F City/F Prefecture, this allows me to have ACROSS conduct the businesses in the United States. In the eyes of ACROSS, this world is corrupt. As new agents to align with Agent Excel, your mission is to rid the evils within this North American city to begin with and spread the wealth of the good fight across the nation." This became a mission that stopping all who oppose the law must be excruciatingly punished, a mission that they were all capable of. Ash, Sakura, Rin and Edward rose and extended their arms forward. The ACROSS salute.

"Hail, Illpalazzo!" they chanted in unison. There's always some sort of battle going on. In New York, the police were about to get an upper hand on crime. Go, new agents of ACROSS! Save the places from corruption!