Author's Note: This story was originally posted over the interval of July 2005 up to October 2007. I took the original posting down in February 2008 for a drastically needed facelift. Although anyone who remembers the first version (unlikely) of this fanfiction will find that most plotlines and characters appear the same, changes have been made in order to appease the fanfic's creator.

Despite any changes I am making, there are still no guarantees that I will continue to fix this or update it; my drive to do so is fickle at best. Anyone unfamiliar with this story should be reminded that it will contain slash. Prospective readers who do not appreciate slash may feel free to exit their browser now. The first chapter remains Blah Blah Introduction; trust me when I say the other character's details will become relevant eventually. Anyone unfamiliar with my style should know I am a fan of writing long chapters. Long. You have been forewarned.

I tried to make the characters more mature and realistic than they are portrayed in the television show. I wanted to adhere to the show's plotline as much as possible, but I haven't seen anything after the Jouto League episodes and thusly have no idea what monsters Satoshi owns for the last two leagues (among other details). As a result, this story is very AU. Japanese names are used as much as possible, mostly because I like them and not for any inherent property in the names. In my story, a person must be twelve years old before attempting to be a trainer (I don't recall what the television show states, but I'm pretty sure it was younger than twelve). Also, all ages are approximate and are currently as follows: Satoshi is twenty-five years old, Shigeru and Kasumi are both twenty-seven, Takeshi twenty-eight, Haruka twenty-two, Masato seventeen, and so on.

Enough of my rambling already; so it goes.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon or its characters. The story is a work of fiction and in no way shall money be made from this endeavor. Unauthorized reproduction or copying of this fiction is not allowed (aka do not copy/post/save to your hard drive or elsewhere!)

Melody of a Memory
By Leika Lai

Chapter One - Prologue

Eight years have passed since I gained the title of Master, and it has taken almost as long for all purpose to leave my life.

The final competition at the Houen stadium. The ruthless drone of fans cheering in the crowd. The dust that clung to the air and filled my lungs as I waited, breath clenched, to see which of our monster's had fallen. If I close my eyes, I can almost see and feel it all over again.

Initially, everything felt as I had always dreamed it would. I had gained worldwide recognition overnight, and in rapid succession I had acquired legions of female fans who swore their 'undying allegiance' to me alone. Being a small-town boy of seventeen years, this was an unexpected circumstance, not to mention, well, let's just say an exciting side effect of achieving my dream. I had all I ever wanted as a trainer: my monsters were world contenders, and my friends couldn't be more supportive of my success. Companies around Jouto, Kanto and Houen were competing for me to be their spokesperson in commercials and advertisements. I felt like my life was filled with opportunities, as if I was somewhere close to perfection.

That feeling of completion, however, faded as routine took its place in my mind. Being a master means that you seldom receive any challenges for battles, for it is few and far between that you will find a person with the qualifications to invoke such a match. For the first few years I spent a lot of my time in the wilderness, off alone in search of new and rare monsters that had yet been found. I never succeeded in these trips, but it helped fill the void in my life that seemed to be expanding and engulfing more of myself. I grew bored of these journeys, and I decided to quit the nomadic life and settle down. I rented homes in Yamabuki and Hiwada City, but ended up purchasing a house in Tokusane City less than a month ago, and I currently reside there.

I always thought being Master would be more fun than this.

Soon after I won the title, I had received a video phone call from Kasumi. We had spoken infrequently since I embarked in the Houen Region without her, so the call was an unexpected yet pleasant surprise. She poured praise into the receiver, claiming she knew I had it in me all along to become Master, and was only slightly put off when I chidingly reminded her that it was she who always said I would never amount to anything.

"Yes, well…you knew I was kidding when I said that, didn't you, Satoshi?" Kasumi questioned, her tone laced with apprehension. Her fiery hair was longer than when I last saw her, and she roughly pushed the crimson curls over her shoulder as they brushed onto her face.

"Of course!" I responded good-naturedly, smiling as I replied, "I figured you meant it in the nicest way."

Kasumi laughed at this, her voice whimsical and light. "You needed the constant pushing and haranguing, Satoshi! You would never be where you are now if I hadn't berated you every step of the way." She coughed, and I watched as she gracefully covered her mouth in the video screen. It was a feminine gesture that I had rarely seen in Kasumi in all our years together. I was concerned whether she was unwell.

"Are you ill, Kasumi? That sounds like a nasty cough…"

She waved her hand impatiently, a common gesture for the hotheaded Kasumi I knew. "Just a cold, its nothing too serious. Anyways, I just thought I should send you well wishes now that you're the Master trainer. You better make sure you don't lose that title too early in your reign; God knows Shigeru would never let you live it down."

I was surprised that she mentioned Shigeru, and I hoped this didn't register on my face. I recovered fumblingly, sending her away with a polite farewell as she disconnected the video screen on her end of the call.

As I look back on that conversation eight years later, I still wonder why on earth she had spoken of Shigeru. I had all but put him out of my mind, having seen the last of him at the Silver Conference in Jouto. I remember meeting him one night at the shore of the local lake, Shigeru staring up at the stars while I watched him from afar. He looked so solemn and pensive; I couldn't bring myself to disrupt him with my childish bantering. I had just turned fifteen at the time of the conference; old enough to think I knew everything, yet young enough to still know nothing.

Shigeru, however, had caught sight of me along the edge of the glassy lake and called for me to join him. I did as requested, and we discussed such matters as destiny; it was a pleasant conversation that resembled the ones we had o so long ago.

Back in Masara, we always acted opposite from one another; it was surprising that we had even become friends with all these differences between us. While I would spend my free time playing with my monsters and battling friends, Shigeru was off alone somewhere nearby, probably on one of the grassy nodes that filled the countryside of Masara Town. He would just sit thinking and observing the world, and I felt left out of his life when he did this; I would long to join him while he was in one of these moods. Sometimes he would allow me to meet with him, sometimes he wouldn't.

Why am I looking back on these memories? They happened ages ago; long before he and I had bitterly parted ways before heading out to become trainers. These were times when Shigeru and I were close friends, inseparable during all our days. We did everything together. I would climb the tallest tree I could find while Shigeru would yell at me from below, anxious that I would fall and hurt myself. We snuck out of our houses late at night to watch the nocturnal pokemon come alive on his grandfather's ranch, even though we were both terrified about being alone in the dark beneath the chilling full moon. Shigeru would sometimes bring me a food treat his sister Nanami had made for us to share, and we would eat it in the lush green fields just beyond my backyard, simply enjoying one another's company. I felt like I could share anything with Shigeru and he would still accept me, as if it were impossible for me to disappoint him. I always felt a strong correlation with him, even at such a young age.

Yet our friendship somehow turned sour, and Shigeru violently shoved me out of his life without a reason to explain it. Now, when I think of Shigeru, I can't help but remember the years of torment and verbal abuse I suffered at his hands. Despite our agreement to 'bury the hatchet' at Jouto's Silver Conference, I can't forgive him for betraying me so easily and without warning. I still don't understand why he acted the way he did, and I don't think I ever will; Shigeru has been decidedly silent on the issue whenever I've brought it up to him.

When had I become so pensive? I move from my current location, slouched along a comfortable old sofa in my living room, and I glance out the window facing the street. Roughly stirring the liquid in my glass, I pause before taking a deep swill of its contents.

I bought this home in Tokusane City as a place to escape my tedious responsibilities as Master. The house is plain, modern and small, yet I enjoy it surprisingly much. Upstairs there are two large bedrooms, a small storage room, linen closet, and a bathroom. The guest bedroom is filled with unopened boxes of that I have yet to pilfer through. The main floor consists of a moderate kitchen/dining room combination that fills with light in the early morning sun; a work room that houses my new computer and other intriguing materials I have yet to look at; the aforementioned living room with said comfortable old sofa. The basement contains a washer and dryer, as well as a desk, more boxes, and a musty cot, but I have plans of converting it to a recreation room. We'll see if I actually complete this reverie.

As I stare out the window, I began to think about my companions that I had met along my journey, and what had become of them once we had parted ways. It was a nostalgic and pointless exercise, but it fit my current pensive mood.

My monsters, including my cherished Pikachuu, were all staying at Ookido-Hakase's ranch in Masara Town. Originally I had she and my other monsters living with me in Tokusane, but I soon discovered how unfair it was to keep them cooped up inside all day long, only having the small backyard to run about in. I had discussed with my mother, Hanako, over the phone as to what should be done to compensate for this lack of space. She felt the only realistic alternative I could follow, bar moving once again, was to return them to Ookido-Hakase's observation ranch.

It was with a heavy heart that I sent my monsters to Ookido-Hakase's, especially when it came Pikachuu's time to go; he and I had been together from the start of our journey, and I was close to tears the day he left.

Kasumi, I knew, had left much earlier in order to manage her family's gym at Hanada City. Her sisters had completed their worldwide traveling two months before the Houen Cup was being held, but by then Kasumi felt separated from me and my new travel companions, especially Haruka. Kasumi kindly declined my offer to join us on one last journey. She said she had to help her sisters return to the rhythm being gym leaders again; it was a weak excuse, but it kept Kasumi from having to voice the obvious pain of seeing Haruka so close to me. I felt bad for her, but there was nothing I could do.

Today, Kasumi still runs her family's gym alongside her siblings. Occasionally I had travelled to Hanada to see the spectacular shows the four sisters put on, and every time I was impressed by Kasumi's skill. I don't think even she realized how much she enjoys theatre and the arts, and if you asked her I would assume she'd deny her pleasure. On one of the trips I made to visit her, I met Kasumi's fiancé (now husband). I was shocked to hear Kasumi was engaged, but pleased to see her in such a blissful state. She said she met her now-husband outside of Researcher Masaki's estate, where she often went to gaze along the bridge and the shimmering waters below. He finally proposed at the same spot six months after their first meeting. He was a trainer as well, but had offered to give up his journey in order to help Kasumi run the gym with her family. They have been married three years, and as far as I recall, Kasumi is now expecting a child in four months. I've never seen Kasumi more pleased.

Takeshi left for his hometown of Nibi after I had won the Houen Cup. He knew that my upcoming journey for the title Master was one that could be only taken alone, so he had parted ways with me, wishing me the best of luck for my final journey. Takeshi returned to his siblings and parents, and continued restoration of his family gym. His acquired water monsters helped him bond with his new mother startlingly well, and currently no bitter waters run between Takeshi and her. There isn't much more I know of concerning Takeshi; we kept in contact with phone calls, but they have grown few and distanced apart. I guess we both have our lives to blame for that, but it shouldn't be an excuse. It is sad when so old of friends fall apart from one another.

Haruka and her brother Masato traveled back to Touka City, also wishing me luck in becoming Master. I was especially sad to see Haruka go; we had grown extremely close in our times together in Houen, and it tore my heart to see such a sweet person walk out of my life. Haruka must have felt the same way, because she lingered with me after the Houen Cup was completed, as if she couldn't bear to part ways so quickly. When the time finally arrived, I held Haruka closely, not wanting to let her go, and she kissed me sweetly on the mouth before saying goodbye. She said she refused for us to fall out of contact with one another, and so she arranged three days out of every year – about once every four months – when we would meet again, come hell or high water. We followed this agreement faithfully, and have yet to miss a date when we were meant to see each another. Sometimes I would travel to her home; sometimes she would come to see me. Haruka has plans to build a contest centre in Touka City, and so far she has managed to follow through. Her parents have generously funded the expansive project, and construction should complete within the next eight months. As far as I know, Masato went on to study researching to become like the famous Ookido-Hakase, and he was recently accepted into Kobane University in Jouto.

Lastly, Shigeru. I tried stubbornly ignoring his behavior, but I still knew that Shigeru had been well on his way to becoming a researcher like his grandfather. There have been several news articles concerning him in the newspapers, likely due to his grandfather's fame and influence. The world was waiting to see if Shigeru could match the brilliance of his grandfather. The articles over the years were brief and typically uninteresting: they said he had been taking classes at the university in Tokusane; that he had completed classes in Tokusane; that he had been accepted as a researcher at one of the prestigious facilities in the area.

He had become engaged to a woman I had never met before, and they had wed just over five years ago. The papers said she was a daughter of a famous researcher from Nibi City, and that the two were an idyllic match. The wedding had been small and informal, which surprised me; Shigeru was always the type to have the biggest and best of all things, and a discreet wedding didn't seem to fit with his style. Either way, I hadn't been invited, and I supposed I hadn't really expected to be either. We had revived our friendship and that was enough for the two of us. I had waited until six months after their marriage to finally call and congratulate Shigeru; I think it took me that long to work up the courage to speak to him again. Shigeru had looked surprisingly happy when we spoke, and I assumed he was still in nuptial bliss.

I sigh and think no more of my acquaintances. Glancing at the wall clock, I could see it was well past two in the morning. Another late night was not what I needed, but I don't have much to do tomorrow that little sleep would hinder.

I've been plagued with insomnia since moving in, and I have found no relief whatsoever from it. I constantly feel like I'm in a daze, not awake but not really sleeping either, just treading a thin boundary between the two states. I walk into my kitchen/dining room, bathed in the cold moonlight cutting through the glass patio doors, and I place my glass in the sink for washing later. Yawning deeply into my hand, I slowly make the trek upstairs, up to my empty bedroom, all alone.

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I am a review monger. The first chapter is dull compared to the rest, I know, but let me know who is reading this. Or just drop a review to say whether I should bother with this or not. I live for feedback, so feed me. Nom Nom.