The world seemed to collapse. The plate clattered to the ground as the two children lost hope of reaching the machine in time. The boy looked down at his friend, Pikachu, who was looking up at him sadly, and, expecting the worse, clung to his ankle. He knelt down and stroked its head gently to reassure it he wouldn't leave it. A similar scene was taking place between the girl and her Piplup. The boy spoke in a low voice that seemed to have lost all determination.

"Dawn, I'm sorry we didn't make it."

"It's not your fault, Ash. But now…"

There was a crash outside, it was small at first, but the sound grew to an explosion. Ash heard screaming out there. Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought of all the people he'd let down. Dawn put her hand on his shoulder as the Space-Time Towers began to collapse.

This was it. Alamos Town was facing its darkest hour. There was no running, no escape. The two trainers and their Pokemon watched sadly as the scene unfolded before them. They watched their friend Brock disintegrate. Dawn cried out for him, but Ash just watched. Alice and Tonio were hugging each other tightly as they both disintegrated. Alice was crying. Something in Ash's heart seemed to die watching what he'd done, all the people he couldn't save the lives of. He watched all the others go. Baron Alberto. Nurse Joy. Officer Jenny. Even Team Rocket he felt bad for. Then his hand started tingling. When he looked down, he saw his fingers were disintegrating rapidly.

"Ash? Not you too! Stop, you can't go!"

Ash looked at Dawn's hair. The ends were doing the same thing. "You too, Dawn."

Dawn saw this and tried frantically to make it stop. Piplup tried to stop it with it's Bubblebeam, but no luck. Ash sat down, defeated and disintegrating rapidly. Pikachu rushed to his side, tears in its eyes. Ash let a small tear slide down his cheek when he saw that Pikachu's tail was disintegrating. He couldn't even save his best friend. He closed his eyes as everything around him collapsed, the same words repeating in his mind over and over.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Ash opened his eyes. He was in a strange place. Was he…dead? No one else was around. He started walking, hoping to find someone nearby. All he saw was a little girl, but anyone was good enough for him.

"Hey! Can you hear me? I'm talking to you!"

There was no reply. Ash rushed towards the girl. Her expression seemed blank, her body frozen in place like a statue. Ash heard a strange voice.

Are you Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town?

"Uh…yeah, that's me."

I'm Melanie. My mommy was going to have my baby sister tomorrow. But I'll never get to see her. Dialga and Palkia didn't let me or my mommy live long enough.

Ash's stomach twisted into a knot. This was one of the people he couldn't save. Soon he could see another person who seemed to be in a condition similar to the girl's. He ran over to it. This one was a boy who looked his age.

Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town?

"Yeah, that's me…"

Why didn't you save me, Ash? Why?

"I…I couldn't…in time…"

I was on my journey, and I got a girlfriend. She and I were supposed to meet tonight for the first time in years, and you let her die. You let everyone die. Why would you do something like that?

"Just shut up!"

Ash turned and tried to run away, but he saw more and more people, all saying the same things to him.

Why didn't you save me, Ash? Why didn't you? I had a wife and kids, and what happened to them?

Why didn't you save me, Ash? I just got my first Pokemon yesterday, and I was gonna start my journey today! But now I'll never see it again?

Why, Ash Ketchum, why wouldn't you save me?

Why?

Ash couldn't take it. Hot tears streamed down his face as he started to cry, realizing just how many people he'd let down. Then he heard it. A voice that made his tears slow down.

It's okay, Ash. It wasn't your fault.

The voice wasn't recognizable, but he turned around and saw Pikachu in a similar condition. Pikachu had a sad smile on its face, even though it couldn't move at all. Ash knelt down next to it.

"It…wasn't my fault? Am I dead? Are you all dead?"

Sadly, yes, we're all dead. Everyone who is like me is dead. But you…when you disintegrated, there was still some hope burning inside of you that you refused to let out. The hope kept you alive. You ended up in the same place as us, but you are still alive. You still have us, Ash.

"But…I thought if I didn't do it in time, then we'd just be trapped in another dimension!"

We are. But the force of the blow killed everyone on impact. Only our bodies disintegrated. But you…you disintegrated the fastest, Ash. And you lived. I don't know how. But you're alive, and that's all that matters to me. If I know you're safe, I'll be fine.

"Pikachu…"

Ash stroked the frozen creature's head softly. Then a miraculous thing happened. Color returned to Pikachu's body, and it became unfrozen again. It looked around, confused, before seeing its trainer and leaping into his arms. Ash started to cry again.

"Pikapi…"

Pikachu tried to brush his tears away without luck. They just kept coming back. Ash was happy and sad at the same time.

"Pikachu, I know why I'm alive. If you guys were all dead, then I'm trapped here alone. This is my punishment for letting everyone down. I should be dead too. I want to be dead. And now you're alive too, because I'm alive and I touched you. Then some of my life transferred to you, I guess. But now you're trapped here with me, and you'll endure the same punishment I will. And that's not right! It shouldn't be this way, if I die, at least I'll be with the rest of you!"

Ash started to cry again. Pikachu looked up at him sadly.

"Pikapi, pika, pikachu!"

Ash's tears slowed down again. "Are you…are you saying you want to be alive?"

Pikachu nodded happily and nuzzled its trainer gently. Ash smiled slightly.

"As long as we're together, I guess."

Ash looked around at the other people, seeing Dawn and Brock among them. He didn't have enough life left to revive them all. Pikachu was the only one he could bring back to life.

I let you all down. I'm sorry. Can you ever forgive me?