Ash, Ember and Gabriel were in a car. After surprising Ember and Gabriel by teleporting them all to Pewter City, Ember had promptly beaten Ash over the head with her bag, telling him in no uncertain words that he was never to do that again.
"If we're in Pewter City then that means we're already half way there," said Gabriel. Ash nodded, scratching Pikachu under the chin absently.
"Yeah but it was a really long distance to teleport a bunch of people so we'll go by car the rest of the way," he said. "I already have one waiting for us here so let me go pick it up. Gardevoir, let's go." They vanished.
"I still can't get used to it," said Ember, sitting on her bag with a grunt. "It makes me so nauseous."
"I'll be honest I prefer airships," said Gabriel. They stayed in silence for a few minutes, waiting for Ash to show up.
"Are you sure you about this?" asked Ember suddenly, looking at her father.
"What are you talking about?"
"I mean going back to see Mom." Gabriel just crossed his arms.
"It's been a long time," he said, looking off into space. "I had to leave and I had to take you with me, but those reasons are long in the past now. I've been ignoring it for years. It's about time I went back for a visit." A car suddenly pulled up near them. Ash rolled down the window.
"Come on you two let's go," he said, popping the trunk. They piled their bags into it and climbed in. To Ash's great relief, Gabriel sat in the back, spreading out across the seat and closing his eyes. Ember just rolled her eyes and took the passenger seat. Pikachu settled himself in Ember's lap, getting the area behind his ears scratched automatically.
The ride was relatively pleasant. Ember plugged her music player into the auxiliary jack the car had and they listened to some very nostalgic tunes. They even sang together at times...
"I wanna be the very best, that no one ever was..." Gabriel just let out a ragged sigh and popped in earplugs he always made sure he had if he and Ember ended up in the same car.
"Haa, that brings back memories," said Ash, grinning happily. "How many of those do you have on that thing anyway?" Ember's eyes gleamed.
"Every season," she said proudly. "I've even got the soundtracks from the movies too."
"Damn, fan girl much?" said Ash, receiving a light punch on his arm.
"Come on, the movie music is really good," she argued. "Just try to tell me that you don't get pumped when your battling to it." Ash had to admit she was right.
A few hours later and Pallet Town could be seen in the distance. Ash looked around interested. Even from here he could tell that the town looked somewhat bigger than before. It was certainly less rural than the last time he had been back, but he wouldn't exactly call it urban. He remembered Lucy mentioning that Scott had been putting a lot of effort into Pallet. He wondered what that meant. As they passed by the Oak lab Ash couldn't help think how surprised all of his Pokemon would be to see him. Of course, they would have to wait just a little longer. Mother always comes first.
"We're here," said Ash, pulling up in front of the house. It was just as quaint as he always remembered it with the stone path, white fence, and small garden on the side. Pikachu darted out of the car and up to the door running through Mimey's legs as he came out to greet them. He giving Ash a bear hug before taking their stuff inside. Ash took one step inside then looked behind him. Ember and Gabriel were still standing on the front walk, looking at the house hesitantly. "Come on, Mom's waiting," Ash said after a moment. They blinked then followed him inside. "Mom?" he called. Delia burst into the hallway wearing an apron over her regular pink shirt and blue skirt. The apron had food stains on it, a wooden spoon in one hand and Pikachu hugged under the other arm. Cooking utensils and dirty apron forgotten she threw herself at her son, hugging him with all her might. Ash quickly grabbed onto the banister of the stairs to stop them from toppling over.
"Mom, calm down I just saw you a couple months ago!" said Ash ash Delia crushed his upper body. Pikachu was buried in the hug.
"I know sweetie but it's just so good to have you home." She finally released them and looked over Ash's shoulder. Ember and Gabriel stood in the doorway watching the scene. Ash moved out of the way and let her pass.
"Welcome home, Ember," she said, giving her daughter a big hug.
"H-hey Mom," said Ember, biting the inside of her lip so she wouldn't get emotional. Delia turned to Gabriel.
"Welcome home, Gabe." Gabriel looked down for a second, scratching the back of his head.
"Ah, I'm back," he said. Ember glanced at him. Apparently he had also expected a different greeting from his wife.
"Come on in, I'm just finishing making dinner," said Delia, walking back to the kitchen. "I know it's early but I'm sure you're all hungry. In truth they were hungry, as they hadn't stopped for for food during the trip.
"Mom, did you cook for an army or something?" came Ash's voice from the dining room. "This is awesome." He stood in front a feast, laid out in all its splendor. At first when they all sat down at the table there was a strange silence. Ash looked around, wishing this weren't so awkward. Then he spotted a particular dish making his eyes light up. "Awesome, pasta!" The others all sweatdropped as Ash shoveled food onto his plate where it barely rested a second before making its way to his mouth. Thanks to Ash being Ash, it helped to break up the tension. Ember and Delia talked most of the time about their lives, Gabriel occasionally saying some about his work in Element, or asking about old friends from the area. Ash just watched them stealthily from behind mouthfuls of food. Not that he didn't want to talk as well, he was just that hungry.
"Ash," said Delia as the meal wound down, "Why don't you take Ember around the house."
"Yeah, that's a good idea," he said, putting an arm around his sister. "Let's go to my room, I wonder what it looks like," he added, steering her out of the room and away. "Maybe it got converted into an art studio or something." Gabriel watched them go.
"Let's to to the study," said Delia, her voice making it quite clear it wasn't something debatable. After they entered the room she shut the door behind her and locked it. They stood there in silence for a long while. Gabriel looking at his wife while Delia's eyes were fixed on his feet. When he could no longer take it, Gabriel took a step forwards.
Delia hit Gabriel across the face as hard as she could. He staggered, seeing stars. He had forgotten how strong of an arm she had.
"What are you doing here!" she said fiercely, eyes blazing with anger and hurt. "After twenty-one years!"
"Delia, I-" but she wouldn't let him get a word in.
"A single mother with a broken family, and a son who always asked when his father was coming home! Do you have any idea what you did to me? To us?" Gabriel looked heavily at the floor, his chest aching fiercely. 'Always asked for his father?' He knew what it was like to have a child asking about their other parent all the time. Ember had always wanted to know about her mother after all.
"I'm sorry, I had no choice," he said.
"You- you could have taken me with you!"
"Delia please, you know that would have been impossible," Gabriel said evenly.
"I know that," said Delia bitterly. "Being a high ranking member of the Aura Guardians isn't always pleasant." The look on her face was heartbreaking. "But why didn't you come back?" Gabriel let out a breath of air.
"It was eight years before I had the chance to do that," he said. "I had no way to contact you until then and it was such a long time. I knew you must hate me for what I did, that you could never forgive me for being away for so long... so I buried my past, changed my name, and let it all fall behind me."
"All those years ago... when we found out I was pregnant, I was so happy." Delia leaned against the door, looking out the sole window wistfully. "That child was the symbol of our burning love. The spark of life that would start a beautiful family. Our little 'Ember'. Then you took her and disappeared. The fire was gone. I found out I was pregnant again but I felt cold. All that was left were 'Ashes'." Delia smirked though she had no humor in her heart. "It's kind of funny, thinking on it," she continued somewhat choked. "When I was trying to think of a name for my boy and the dark side of my heart came up with Ash, but I ended up liking it. Of course, it's a foul pun but it fits nicely."
Gabriel sat in a chair, hard. He ran his hands through his hair, making it unkempt. "I was an idiot."
"Yeah, you were," said Delia, moving over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck. "I never stopped loving you. We had two beautiful children."
"Ash still hasn't forgiven me for what I did to you... and I suppose him as well," Gabriel added. "I guess I'm kind of hard on him too."
"That's alright, you both need time to get to know each other," said Delia, shifting so she could sit in his lap. "He will forgive you, just have faith."
"If you say so."
"You've done an excellent job with Ember by the way," said Delia proudly. "She's grown up well."
"Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I wasn't a member of the Guardians," said Gabriel, eyes closed. "If things would have been better."
"Maybe," said Delia with a shrug. She leaned into her husband. "But you know, from where I am right now things don't really look so bad at all." Gabriel couldn't help but smile at that.
"No, I suppose not."
"Do you think... they're going to be alright?" asked Ember softly as they made their way through the upstairs hallway. Ash said nothing. Who could honestly know for sure.
"I'm sure they have a lot to say to each other," he shrugged after a moment. They quickly came to the last door in the hall. "Anyway, this is my-"
"What's wrong?" asked Ember, poking her head around him. "Did she turn it into a lounge or something?" They entered the perfectly preserved room of a young Pokemon trainer. Ash let out a long breath. It was exactly the way he had left it all those years ago. From the posters on the wall to the small TV in the corner to that damn Pidgey alarm clock that started it all. Ash ran a finger along a bookcase. It came away clean.
"Jeez not even any dust..." he muttered. He was really star ting to feel like an ass for leaving his mom so far out of the loop of his life. It wasn't like he couldn't get in touch with her. He should have called her more. She was always alone here in this house. He knew that she had Mimey, but still.
"Hey Ash," said Ember, bringing him out of his reverie. "This is a nice collection. Where did you get them?" She was looking at a glass case. Ash moved beside her, finally noticing the one new addition to his room. Apparently his mother had gotten a display case in which she put all of his badges. They gleamed in the light from the room. Ash glanced at his sister, eyebrows raised slightly.
"Haven't you ever seen Gym badges before?" Ember blinked, looking back at the sets.
"You mean these are all Pokemon League Gym badges?" she asked in shock.
"Yeah, I've got the ones from all the regions around here, as well as the Orange Islands to the south. Those are the shell looking ones." Ash scratched his chin. "I never made it to Unova though, or anywhere else in that hemisphere. I'll have to do that when I get some travel time." Ember just looked at him. She seemed to be regarding him in a whole new light. Ash frowned. "You know, if getting badges is so special, then why is it that I distinctly remember you being less than impressed with me being in the finals of the I-R Championship?" said Ash flatly. Ember's face grew slightly red.
"I dunno, you were being really cocky so I just kind of wanted to stick it to you," she said. "It's a little different to see it like this though." Ember's voice faded away as she broke away from the case, continuing to look around the room. Silence stretched on as Ash continued staring through the display case. He remembered each and every battle he went through to obtain those badges. Such grand adventures he had been through. The training and hardships he endured. It was an amazing thing. That display case held five years of memories. The bed creaked as Ember sat on it.
"Was it hard?"
"What?" Ash turned around to see Ember running a hand along a pillow.
"I had a lot of people around me when I grew up," said Ember, not meeting his eyes. "I didn't know my real mom, but I had the Guardians as a family." Ash sat down next to her. "Don't you hate us for leaving you?"
"I won't lie to you, it was hard," said Ash, looking out the window. "But still I coped. True I didn't have a choice about it but I ended up alright."
"Even if it was my fault?" she mumbled miserably. Ash looked at her. She was looking down, clearly depressed, hands in her lap. Had this always been in the back of her mind whenever they were together? He sighed before putting an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. She blinked in surprise.
"Don't be stupid," said Ash.
The next day was as bright and sunny as anyone could have ever hoped for. Throughout the morning, the four of them spent time walking around Pallet Town. Ash was pleased to see that among the handful of additions to the town there was a quaint Pokemon Center.
"It was built two years ago due to the increased traffic this town began getting," Delia explained as they entered the Center. "I guess our town has become a little more popular, the restaurant has been doing really well lately too," she added with a smile. Ash looked around the small lobby and saw Nurse Joy at once. She was typing on a computer behind the main counter, eyes glinting behind a small pair of reading glasses.
"Hello Nurse Joy," he said with a smile, approaching the counter. She glanced at him briefly before taking off the glasses and letting them hang on a small chain around her neck.
"Welcome to the Pokemon Center," she said kindly. "Would you like to heal your Pokemon?"
Ash shook his head. "No thank you, they are perfectly healthy. I actually just wanted to meet you." Joy blinked at him curiously. "I'm Ash Ketchum," he continued, intrigued by her subdued behavior. It was not often that one encountered a Nurse Joy that wasn't bubbling everywhere. "I'm-"
"The Battle Frontier Brain for this area," she finished quickly. "I've been informed of you by Scott. It's nice to finally meet you, Mr. Ketchum."
"Ah, please call me Ash," he said slightly uncomfortable. He held out his hand, "It's a pleasure to meet you." Joy blinked at his hand before shaking it, after which she immediately replaced the glasses on the bridge of her nose and returned her attention to the computer. What an odd Joy.
After a little more exploring with his family Ash excused himself, apologizing for his rudeness. While Gabriel and Ember were more than capable of taking a sudden vacation at their discretion, Ash really couldn't put his work off any longer. He would be able to spend some time with them later anyway. And so, as 5pm rolled around, Ash found himself waiting at the Pokemon center again. While he waited he watched Joy keep herself busy, straightening things around the room and writing in a notebook occasionally. More than once she glanced over at Ash but made no attempt to draw him into a conversation. A few minutes past five, the front doors opened to reveal rather large group.
"Great, he's here!" said Scott, walking into the building. "Hello Nurse Joy," he called over to the woman who merely nodded. Scott was trailed by all seven Brains, though Ash really didn't know what they were doing there.
"We're here to see the new facility," said Lucy, noticing his expression. Spencer and Noland nodded.
"Not you, obviously," added Anabel, sticking her tongue out at him. Ash smirked. She seemed to have finally returned to her old self, albeit slightly more playful than before.
"Obviously," repeated Ash with a shrug. To Scott he said, "So I'll take it you have a van or something?"
"Right in one, Ash," answered Scott, already moving to the door. "We have a lot to see and less time than I would have liked so lets get a move on."
Scott climbed into the drivers seat while Brandon took the passenger seat with absolutely no opposition. The rest of them clambered into the back three bench seats. Noland and Tucker sat in the first row, Greta and Spencer nabbed the second row, leaving Ash to sit between Lucy and Anabel, not that he was complaining. It wasn't like they were squashed together but their shoulders were certainly touching. Anabel took the opportunity to continue to tease him.
"Hey don't you think you're enjoying yourself a little too much?" she asked, looking at him sidelong. "What would Miranda say if she knew?" Unfortunately this seemed to have the complete opposite effect on Ash as she thought it would. His expression grew noticeably sadder. "I- did something happen?" she asked quietly, her voice slightly masked by the rumble of the engine. Ash glanced around at the others who were mostly talking amongst themselves. Lucy was looking at them curiously, mouth in a frown, but otherwise said nothing.
"Miranda..." Ash began, not really knowing what to say. "Never mind. I'll tell you about it later."
The remainder of the ride went by in silence. Anabel was troubled by Ash's reaction. What could have possibly happened to Miranda to make Ash act like that? Nothing good, certainly. She wondered if Miranda had gone home because Ash would no longer be traveling around. Anabel blinked. Though she had been around the girl a number of times, she couldn't remember a single mention of where she was from.
"Oh. My. God." The dumbstruck words that left Brandon's mouth made everyone but Scott look forward in surprise. As the van pulled to a stop more people became aware of what had garnered such a response from their normally unshakable leader.
"What's going on?" said Ash, unable to see anything from where he was sitting. Everyone was practically stumbling out of the vehicle as all their attention was locked on something in front of them.
"Dunno," said Lucy, following behind Greta. "I suppose it must-" but she cut off the moment her head emerged from the van. Ash and Anabel exchanged glances before following her.
It was impossible. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't keep the insanely huge grin off of his face. All eight of the Brains were standing in a line, completely speechless. Well, what did he expect? It wasn't like you got surprised with one of the most immense colosseums he had ever seen; and he had seen a lot. Even from this distance the building towered in the air, easily the size of the main stadium in Element City. But there was clearly more to it than that. The building extended a good distance off to the side holding who knew how many secrets.
"Scott," said Noland, looking at their smugly cheerful boss. "What the hell is this?"
"Best, job, ever..." breathed Ash.
"Welcome to the Battle Colosseum. It was pretty hard, you know," said Scott, turning to face them at last, "trying to keep this place under wraps. I mean all it really would take was someone to come along the shore anywhere near here and they would see it."
"How did you keep people away?"
"Miles and miles of fence," said Scott with a shrug. "Good fence too, mind you, and no trespassing signs. It's all down now of course, but it was up for years. I've always been pleased with the way people are in this area. They don't go looking for trouble."
"Are you telling me that this... ridiculous building is my facility?" Ash forced out, the idea too insane to even consider. Everyone else was equally bemused. Scott shook his head.
"No we're not that crazy," he said.
"Crazy enough to give someone a freaking flying pyramid," muttered Greta. Scott hastily cleared his throat.
"Yes well, this building is actually a great number of things and will serve an equally great number of purposes," he said, waving them all back into the van. As they all climbed in he continued, "This is now the official headquarters for the Battle Frontier, as well as the location for Ash's battle building."
"So is my building the Battle Colosseum or not?" asked Ash, feeling a little confused.
"Well it is," said Scott, "but there's just a lot more to it that that. Don't worry," he added, forestalling any other questions. "Just let me give you the tour and you'll understand everything."
Standing where they had earlier was nothing compared to being at the entrance. The building towered above them. Outside the large entrance was a medium sized plaza area that extended along the sides of the building. It was more than likely that there were multiple entrances to the facility. Ash made a mental note to get a very detailed map of the place from Scott as soon as possible. The group followed Scott into a large entrance hall. It was immediately reminiscent of a large mall. The area directly in front of them opened up greatly, with multiple floors and shops lining the walls. The large halls branched out in multiple directions with signs saying what each led to. The entire right side of the area was curved slightly, making Ash think of the stadium that must lie beyond the walls. Still that was only one side of the building. What else did this place have?
"Ash, come on or you'll be left behind," called Anabel. They had all walked well ahead of him while he stood there in shock. He quickly rejoined the group.
"So as you can see, this place is pretty much a combination of a large mall, stadium, and some offices for the Frontier group. There's a hotel for people to stay in while they visit for extended periods of time, not to mention for tournament participants. The building actually extends a bit over the water as well where there is a dock. With a little time, this place will be a new place you can take boats to and from, particularly from the closer regions. There are plenty of places to eat and even more to shop. We didn't hold anything back. This building is at the peak of modern architecture!" Scott took a deep breath. "So, what do you want to see first?"
"How about the stadium, since we seem to be pretty close," said Brandon, looking at the curved wall. Noland nodded his approval.
"Nah, let's do the stadium last, I want to check out the other side," said Lucy, eying the various shops in the other direction. The other girls chirped their agreement.
"I suggest we go to the main offices for the Battle Frontier, I think that would serve us all well," said Spencer sagely.
"Good idea Spencer," said Scott. "I actually have something for all of you there." Curiosity getting the better of all of them, they followed Scott up an escalator to the second floor and around the side of the open area. "I know this place is easy enough to get to but try not to forget it anyway," he added. The rest of them nodded absently as they looked into the area below where they had just been. It truly was a magnificent place. After a minute of walking they came to another entrance with the words "Frontier HQ" emblazoned on the doors. They entered into a pleasant and large lounge with a long counter at one end with computers on it. It was just as amazing as the rest of the place, though equally as empty. They still hadn't seen a single person in the entire building.
"So what is this place for?" asked Noland, looking around impressed.
"This is your home away from home, as well as my new main office," said Scott. "This main room is open to everyone. Trainers will be able to get all kinds of information on the Battle Frontier here as well as register for Frontier associated events that take place in the Colosseum. The Battle Frontier is evolving into something that I never expected would ever happen. It's changing into more of a Pokemon League kind of a thing, though it is wholly separate from it in its entirety. Come on to the back, this is just the beginning of this place." They followed Scott through a door which he got through by scanning a card key.
"Don't worry about the security around here," he continued as they walked down a long hallway, passing office rooms and other branching paths. "Before you all go you'll have everything you need to navigate this place. Anyway, down that hall is a small living area with seven separate rooms and some bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. I had it built in case any of you were to come visit. This is where you'd be staying." Scott shrugged at the looks he was getting. "What, you're all my pride and joy. I take care of you when it's appropriate."
"That's sweet of you Scott," said Lucy with a smile. "But, there are eight of us now, not seven."
"I'd be more than happy to share with you," said Ash before Scott could say anything. The rest of the group just rolled their eyes. Scott quickly cleared his throat before this could continue.
"As I was saying," he interjected, "There are seven rooms, specifically because they are only for visiting, not for living in. You all will be at your own homes at your facilities most of the time, correct?"
"Of course, Scott, we wouldn't neglect our jobs," said Greta with a small frown. Even the hinted suggestion that they would goof around with their work was affronting, especially from Scott. Scott just smiled.
"I wasn't suggesting anything of the sort, Greta." he said with an apology. "Anyway, Ash will have his own place to live just like you all do. He's the only one of us that will be staying around here all the time."
"No complaints here," said Ash quickly. This place was awesome.
"Now my office is in the back," said Scott. "Follow me." He led them a little further after which the hall opened up into another, though distinctly smaller lounge area with a single door in the back. There was also an elevator on the side though where it went was anyone's guess.
"Woah!" Scott's office wasn't very large, but the entire back wall of it was pure glass from the floor to the ceiling. It overlooked the water and the land on the far shore. Below them was the beginning of an open area that could only be the large dock Scott had been talking about earlier.
"Here, everyone," said Scott, moving to his desk. There were a number of cell phones lined up in various colors. "These are for you all. Work phones so that you can all keep better in touch." Before Scott could stop them, everyone in the group picked one up and looked it over. "As you can see, they each have a symbol on the front. So figure out who each belongs to. Tucker, obviously we've had discussions, but as you've agreed to stay on for a little while longer until I can find your successor please hold onto that for the time being."
"Thanks Scott," he said with a small smile. Ash glanced at the usually energetic guy. He hadn't really talked at all lately. Maybe he was feeling bad about leaving?
"What symbol is this?" asked Lucy suddenly, holding out a white phone. Everyone looked over at the golden symbol emblazoned on the front of the phone. There was a tiny circle in the middle surrounded by short vertical lines, which looked like pillars.
"Ah there we go," said Ash, taking the phone from her and replacing it with the one he had picked up. He fished the small golden symbol out of his pocket which was a perfect match to the one on the phone. "It's the Drive Symbol."
"Rightly so," said Scott. "Now if you're all straightened out I'll just say that these phones already have every number you could ever need relating to the Frontier. You won't have to add each other as contacts. Feel free to put your own in there though." Ash was already half way through adding the number on the small piece of paper he had kept safe in his pocket. He'd work on getting the numbers of his friends later on. "Also, here's a copy of the card key and a small booklet of other security things you should know," he continued, handing each of them a small packet. "There's a map of the whole building in there as well."
"Perfect, thanks Scott," said Spencer.
"No problem," he nodded. "Now let's head over to your main place of work, Ash."
"That's right, the Colosseum."
The Colosseum was just as magnificent as any of them could have imagined. Great pillars of stone lined the far off walls, making Ash think of his symbol. The large area would easily seat as many as the main stadium in Element City. The majority of the group stopped a little ways onto the arena but Ash continued to walk into the middle. He was trying to wrap his head around everything. His new home, his new job, his new responsibilities...
"So what exactly do we have planned for this place?" asked Noland, eyes moving from Ash's back to Scott at his side.
"Well, to begin with, trainers will come here for basically two main things regarding the Battle Frontier," he said. "One is if there are any Frontier related tournaments that are being held. I haven't done very much planning into them but I assume you'll just be required to have small number of symbols to enter. Three maybe? It'll all depend on the nature of the competition. The other reason of course is to come challenge Ash for the eighth symbol. Just in the way that one must have six symbols to gain the location of the seventh at the ever moving Battle Pyramid, it is only once they acquire the seventh that they are eligible to win their eighth." Scott crossed his arms. "Of course, Ash is more than allowed to accept challenges by whomever he wants but they wont be official BF matches."
"Does that mean that Ash is now the leader of the Frontier Brains?" asked Brandon, completely straight faced. The other six traded nervous glances. It would make sense in a certain way, but what would Brandon do if Ash really did become their leader.
"No way," said Scott quickly making them all blink in surprise. "Ash is a very skilled trainer, that's to be sure. However to begin with he's never had this kind of a position before and he'll need time to get in the groove of it." Scott smiled wryly. "Plus, Brandon, you're a fine leader for the group. Why would I take that away from you?"
"I- thank you, Scott," said Brandon after a second. His normally stern face seemed to soften slightly.
"Ash, did you get all that?" called Scott to the new Brain. Ash walked over.
"Get all what?" he asked.
"Brandon's still the leader," said Greta shortly. Ash looked at her, eyebrows raised.
"Well duh," he said, looking at the rest of them. "What did you think I expected to be the new boss? I just joined the group. That makes me the bottom rung."
"So that means you have to listen to your seniors," said Anabel, a small smile forming on her face. Ash took an involuntary step back.
"Hey don't grin at me like that, it's scary," he said. "Scott, when does this place open up?" he asked quickly, forestalling anything else Anabel would say.
"This Saturday is the grand opening, though people who will be working here are going to come in from tomorrow," he said, leading them out of the stadium. "There's going to be people from all over the eastern hemisphere attending. It's going to be absolutely insane. It's tradition to open the use of a stadium with some type of battle but I haven't decided what to do yet. I'll let you all know by tomorrow though."
"Whatever you say," said Lucy with a shrug. Scott was such an on-a-whim kind of guy.
"We can all split up now if you want to look around at random stuff," said Scott as they reached the center room of the mall by the entrance. I still need to show Ash where he will be living."
"I want to see his place," said Anabel at once. Ash looked at her suspiciously. "Hey you've seen my place. It's only fair." At this Ash just laughed.
"Yeah I guess so," he said with a shrug. "You're all welcome to check it out if you want."
"I'll pass for now," said Tucker with nod. "I really want to check out the dock area actually."
"I'll come with you," said Spencer, moving next to him. "Why don't we all agree to meet back here in an hour."
"Sounds fine to me," said Noland. "I'm going to check out more of the ground around the stadium. Coming Brandon?"
"Yeah, let's go," he said. The four men walked off.
"Men..." said Greta, shaking her head.
"Right, well then shall we go?" said Scott moving off to the lobby in the direction of the front doors. They thought they were going outside but instead Scott led them to an elevator to the side of the lobby.
"Wait, Scott," said Ash. "Do I live in this building? Is it an apartment flat or something?"
"No and no again," said Scott, hiding a smile as he called the elevator. There were four floors above ground as well as two lower levels. Above all the other buttons was one labeled R. "We're going to the roof," he said, pressing it.
"I live on the roof?" repeated Ash, surprised. "Isn't that, uhh, dangerous?"
"Not in the slightest," said Scott. "Though I should let you know that at this time anyone will have access to the roof through this elevator. There are stairs as well in case of an emergency but that's just for fire safety. If you want to increase the security to your living area then just let me know and we will get it done."
"I'm sure it will be fine, Scott," said Ash as the doors opened. "Oh my god."
"That's freakin awesome," said Anabel, running forward. The others voiced their agreement and followed them out of the small building housing the elevator and the stairs into the open air of the roof.
As Ash looked out across the area there were a number of things that jumped out at him. The roof was surrounded by a low wall that was capped with a fence for safety. Of course, the amount of space on the roof was simply ridiculous. A huge expanse of a rooftop plaza stretched out before them. And, as if a storm had picked it up from some unsuspecting town, a house sat in the middle of it all. A stone walkway connected the front steps to the elevator building. As the high stadium walls were directly north of the house it wouldn't ever cast the roof in complete shadow. The view was simply unbelievable.
"Scott, what in god's name is wrong with you," said Ash weakly. Scott just laughed his loudest yet.
"Just don't do anything to get yourself fired and I won't kick you out of here," he said jovially. Ash just sweatdropped.
"Come on you guys, check this place out it's awesome!" shouted Anabel, now on the porch. The only reason she wasn't in the house already was because the door was locked. As they joined her she glared at Scott. "This really isn't fair you know."
"Don't be like that," said Scott, completely unaffected by her glare. "You love the Tower and the little cottage we built for you. You even had design imput." He rummaged around in a pocket for the keys.
"Yeah but I didn't get the whole world below my feet," she countered.
"You realize that you're by far the closest of us all to this place," said Lucy reasonably. "Or did you not notice," she added, pulling Anabel to the corner of the porch so she could look around the side of the house. Lucy pointed to a small black thing in the far distance on the opposite shore. Though it was very far away it still kind of looked like a building. "That's the Battle Tower."
"You two still there?" said Greta, her head poking out from the front door. "Come on in, this place is really nice." While the girls buzzed around the place, making comments here and there, Ash and Scott sat in the living room, which had a grand view of the water.
"Scott, I really don't know what to say," managed Ash after a while. "I really do think I have the best job in the world. Best boss too, I suppose," he added with a grin. Scott shook his head.
"Ash, when I first met you I had this gut feeling that you were something more than just a random trainer," said Scott, his sunglasses glinting in the late afternoon light. "That's why I invited you to come try the Battle Frontier, and I was not disappointed. Even then I jumped the gun and asked you to join the group. I knew you'd be a great addition to the team, for all that you were only just a cheeky teenager. To be honest I was glad you said no."
"Really?" asked Ash. Scott was always so into the future and exciting things that it was rare to see him reminisce about anything.
"It wouldn't have been right to pull you away from your adventures and tie you down," he explained. "You were young, and quite frankly the Battle Frontier wasn't ready yet. It needed the time to grow, as it has. Now it's become so large that I went and build all this for it. This," he continued, motioning around to the house and beyond, "is just one way of me saying thank you for everything you've done to help me over the years. You realize that by taking this job you're still helping me out right?"
"Well you're helping me a fair bit, so why don't we just leave it at that," said Ash. "Plus, if we continue this any further, the girls will probably all start crying and then it'll be a mess of sloppy emotio- OW!" he shouted as a shoe connected with the side of his head. "Come on, what gives!" Five more shoes quickly followed, though this time he caught expertly them all, grinning. Anabel, Lucy, and Greta all stood with their hands on their hips looking vindictive. "Nice of you to remove your shoes in another person's home." Anabel was the first to break. Her frown cracked into a smirk and then she started laughing. The others followed suit shortly after, joining the two guys by sitting on the couch. Scott checked his watch.
"Well we should head back down," he said after a little while, getting to his feet. "I'll be taking everyone back to Pallet Town where we'll split up. Here, Ash. Keys to the kingdom," he added, tossing something to him. Ash caught the keys easily. "Ready to head back?"
"Actually I'm going to stay behind," said Ash. "I'll make my way back later, no problem." Scott shrugged and made his way to the door, holding it open for the others. As Anabel passed Ash he grabbed her arm on impulse. She looked at him quickly, seeing the unasked question in his eyes.
"Scott, I'm going to hang back as well," she said as the other two girls walked outside. "Ash will take me home a little later."
"Suit yourself," said Scott with a nod. "I'll be in touch with you by phone." The door snapped shut behind him. Silence stretched on in his wake, Anabel watching Ash closely, while Ash looked off to the side, feeling uncomfortable.
"You and I both know what happened last time we were alone together," said Anabel shortly, eyes narrowed. "Tell me why I just put myself in this situation again."
"I'm sorry," said Ash, his eyes meeting hers at last. There was sadness there, among other things. "I was being selfish. I just need someone to talk to."
"Does this have anything to do with Miranda?" Ash looked at the floor and let out a breath. Unsure of what to say, Anabel ran a finger absently over her right hip, the place where her mysterious marking had appeared. She couldn't help but wonder where Ash's was.
"Yeah," he said after a second. "I've had a lot on my mind lately." Ash gave a small start as hands pressed his back, forcing him back into the living room. Anabel sat him in one corner of the couch and took the other corner.
"Just start at the beginning," she said, folding her arms under her breasts.
"Miranda is gone," said Ash shortly. Anabel's hands dropped to her lap limply. Gone?
"No way," she said slowly, "she- she died?"
"Not exactly," said Ash, shaking his head. "During the incident, someone kidnapped her. However it wasn't a normal kidnapping. I know this is hard to believe, but she was taken to a different time. As in time traveling kidnapping. Odds are she's never going to return to this time. So in a way, yeah, she's dead." He was right. Anabel was having a difficult time believing him. But why would he lie about something like this?
"I'm so sorry, Ash," she said after a moment. Ash glanced at her, eyebrows raised ever so slightly.
"Do you really think so lowly of me?" snapped Anabel. She bit her tongue before anything else came out of her mouth.
"I'm sorry, no I don't think that about you," said Ash shaking his head at his stupid words. "I spent every day for at least four years with her. Circumstances made us close... very close. But we never took things anywhere, partly because of my ignorance and partly from how she grew up." Ash broke off, looking stricken. "Miranda had always been held back by her past and her culture, but that didn't make what she felt any less real to her. And then I failed her. I should have been there! Protected her!"
"Ash there's no way you failed her," said Anabel shaking her head. She might not know much about the situation but reading people was her specialty and Ash was clearly being overly hard on himself. "Plus, being swept away to a different time doesn't mean she's dead. Don't just give up on her like that."
"I haven't given up on her," he said quickly. "I just never got to resolve something that concerned, well, us. But a lot has happened since then and I couldn't hold back any longer. I just feel guilty, you know?" Anabel's eyes narrowed at him in suspicion.
"Can I ask you something straight out?"
"Did you fall for another girl?"
"Great thanks, that's just what I needed."
"Well you are."
"Like I said, I was trying to straighten everything out but I was still really confused. I still am for god's sake. Suddenly she vanished and I'll never get to tell her what she meant to me." Ash's expression grew even darker, if that was possible.
"So, how close are you with this new girl."
"How far have things gotten?"
"When did this happen?"
"A few days ago."
"...are you happy?" Ash glanced over at his interrogator. She was hugging a pillow and frowning, disgruntled. He had been afraid of her getting into a bad mood from the discussion, but he really had no one else to go to at this point. No one like her at any rate. "Are you happy with her?" she repeated.
"Can I tell you something?"
"Stop being a baby!" Ash blinked, leaning back. Anabel's face was inches from his own. "You're human, Ash. So am I. So is Miranda. People run blindly through life making mistakes and not understanding things but that doesn't stop us from running as fast as we can. Sometimes things happen that you don't have control over. Accept it and move on. Just like I had to when you rejected me. I haven't been a wreck so you sure as hell can't be one either. Alright?"
"Yes Ma'am," said Ash, smiling in spite of himself. "Shit happens. Deal with it."
"Good," said Anabel, now taking a position by the window. "I'm even being nice to whatever girl you're into and not making any moves on you. You should be thankful."
"I'm not dating her or anything," he said quickly, heating up a bit. "Things just sort of came out into the open between us. And plus, what kind of a comment is that anyway?" said Ash exasperatedly.
"I'm just being honest with myself." Anabel sighed. "You really do have a nice place by the way. Way nicer than my little cottage."
"You think so? I always thought your place was cozy."
"How am I supposed to get home anyway?" she shot, crossing her arms and looking out the window. "I let my only ride leave without me for this conversation you know."
"What ever happened to that nice girl I met who laughed when we both got covered with mud?" asked Ash, chucking at how cranky she was getting.
"Same thing that happened to you, bean sprout," she said, grinning back at him. "I got older. Though if I ever find you covered in mud again I promise I'll laugh." Ash rolled his eyes, walking over to the smaller girl. In one swift movement he swept her up bridal style. "What- what the hell are you doing, put me down!" shouted Anabel pushing on his chest. Admittedly she wasn't pushing very hard.
"Just close your eyes for a sec," said Ash. She hesitated before complying. What was he going to do to her? He wasn't... She felt her face heating up when she suddenly felt a tug somewhere throughout her whole body and felt the strangest sensation of shifting. Then it stopped. Wind tugged at her clothes and hair. "You can open your eyes now," said Ash, his voice amused. Anabel opened her eyes to find herself staring directly at her home. The Battle Tower stretched to the sky behind it.
"Oh, I'm home?" she said bemusedly. Chuckling, Ash placed Anabel on her feet before tapping her on the shoulder.
"Thanks Anabel, for the pep talk," he said thankfully. "I'll see you in a few days. Come on Gardevoir, lets get back to the house." Anabel turned quickly to catch the slim green and white Pokemon appear at Ashes side, wrapping an arm around her trainer's waist before they both vanished. Anabel just let out a breath.
"You could have at least waited for me to say you're welcome. Always so quick to make an exit...whatever. Espeon, I'm back!"
Ash was letting Gardevoir rest a bit before heading back to Pallet. After exploring every inch of his new home, which he was completely excited about having, he ended up pulling out his cell and adding numbers he knew to it. Of course Mom and Brock. He knew Dawn's home number as well. Thinking on it he had never thought to get the other girls' numbers. He'd also need to get some kind of number to reach Ember by. Riley would likely be a good contact too...hmmm...
"I'm ready to go when you are," said Gardevoir, walking into the room. He really liked the living room the most out of all the rooms in the house. Not that the place was lacking any. Living room, dining room, kitchen, an office, a bathroom, and a foyer marked the first floor. The second floor had a bathroom and, for some reason, two extra bedrooms in addition to his own. What on earth was he to do with so much space. Something stirred in the back of his mind. An old idea that he had toyed with while traveling this past year, as soon as he had gotten the offer to be a Brain from Scott. What was he to do with the space indeed...
"Hey Gardevoir," said Ash slowly. "Since I'm staying put for a while, wouldn't it make sense to have all of my Pokemon around to take care of them? I mean I'm not traveling like I was before."
"I know I would like to be around them as well. From what I understand, your other Pokemon are at Professor Oak's Lab, am I correct?" asked Gardevoir. Ash nodded. "Would you be able to care of them all?"
"To be honest, I don't think I have the time, nor the experience to properly do it. I'd want them all looked after well but I'm only one person after all. Not to mention I have to train. Oh man that sounds rougher than I first thought."
"Did you want my assistance?" she asked. This time Ash shook his head.
"Nah it'd be more fun to have you hanging around with me," he said. Gardevoir hid a smile behind a green hand. Though she wouldn't say it, she wanted nothing more than to look after him for the rest of her life. She moved over to him, placing a hand on his chest where her newer, even closer bond with her trainer lay.
"Then what do you plan on on doing?" Ash tossed his cell in the air before catching it, grinning.
"Call an expert."
Brock checked his watch and sighed. It was getting late and he still had to get back to Pewter City. He promised his family that he would cook them dinner whenever he was in the area. It was a small price to pay for having been able to travel around as he did, especially once he no longer had Ash to hang around with. He hadn't realized how much he relied on his younger friend at the time, but as soon as he and Cynthia had left on that day he felt no small amount of loss. Still in a way he had finally been freed to pursue his dreams to becoming a world class Pokemon breeder; even stepping some into the field of Pokemon medicine. A breeder was really just a stone's throw away from being a doctor anyway when it came to Pokemon treatment.
"Alright now, you try not to make any more strange detours through the low branches," he said to his patient, a recently injured Pidgeotto. She cooed at him softly, thankful for the treatment. "Don't worry. I'm sure the flock is still around here somewhere, they usually travel between Pallet Town and Pewter City..." he said, standing up and looking around at they sky. It was late afternoon, but the sun was still high in the western sky. He suddenly began hearing a low hum, steadily growing as it came closer. Rustling to his right brought his attention to a number of Pokemon bursting out of the brush and running south.
"Uh oh," muttered Brock, picking up the still recovering Pokemon. "Hang on Pidgeotto, this is going to get hairy!" He dashed south following the running Pokemon as a large group of Beedrill burst from the trees behind him. Clearly something had agitated them enough to chase anyone and anything out of their territory. They were gaining quickly. Brock glanced back to find one a few feet back from his head, its eyes red with anger. The buzzing was overwhelming. He ducked a stab from on of the large needles and jumped down a slope, doing his best to keep his balance as the ground between them opened up considerably. A few more dodged trees and he emerged into open space. He was finally out of the Viridian Forest and could see Viridian City in the far distance. The Beedrill however continued to give chase.
"Man, someone must have really messed with them, for them to be this upset," he muttered, legs pumping steadily as he ran down the sloping road. They were so close! Suddenly a cry followed by a great blast of wind. The buzzing was reduced immensely. Brock turned to see a large bird Pokemon blast through the swarm of Beedrill, parting them like a speed boat in water. It gave a fierce cry again before bulleting directly at him. Flying next to him was none other than a Pidgeot.
Brock only hesitated for a second before jumping on the Pokemon's back and hanging on as they sped away, leaving the angry Pokemon behind them. Brock watched the cloud of Beedrill reduce to nothing before focusing on their savior.
"Thank's Pidgeot, you really saved us," he said, running a hand along her plumage.
"Pidgeot!" said the large bird Pokemon, looking back at him over her shoulder. Brock blinked. There was almost something familiar about... wait a second!
"Hang on, you're Ash's Pidgeot aren't you!" Pidgeot nodded vigorously, eyes smiling. "Well it's great to see you Pidgeot. I found one of your flock injured towards the edge of the forest but she should be alright." Pidgeot eyed the smaller Pokemon in his arms before jerking her head to the side. The message was pretty clear: toss her. Brock carefully extricated himself from the Pidgeotto before dropping her over Pidgeot's back. Instantly the Pokemon was flapping her wings and flying at their side. "Ah that's good, I was worried you'd have trouble flying," Brock said, happy that there wasn't any lasting damage.
Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz
"Ah, um that's my phone," said Brock surprised. "I guess the ads about it working anywhere really are true." Flipping the phone open, he saw a number he didn't recognize. "Hello?"
"Brock? It's Ash."
"Ash! What a coincidence, I didn't recognize the number," said Brock, happy to hear from his friend. They hadn't talked in nearly two months.
"Yeah this is my new phone that Scott gave me for work. How are you doing?"
"Not bad, actually. I was doing some work in the Viridian Forest when I ran into a bit of trouble."
"Not Beedrill, again?" came Ash's exasperated voice. "Man it's really been a problem lately from what I've heard. Maybe I'll get some people to look into it. How did you get away?"
"Funny you should ask..." said Brock with a grin. He held the phone over by Pidgeot's head and said, "Want to say hi to your old buddy?"
"Pidgeooot!" On the other side of the cell, Ash nearly dropped the cell. Was that really who he thought it was?"
"Pidgeot, is that really you?!" he almost shouted, excitement filling his chest. Pidgeot's voice filled the phone practically non stop. He hadn't seen her in so many years... Guilt crashed into his heart heavily. Years. He had promised her that he would come back for her, but he had completely forgotten. Yet another mark of his fallacies as a Pokemon trainer.
"Ash, you still there?" came Brock's voice. Ash could make out the sound of wind in the background. They must still be flying, wherever they were.
"Yeah, say Brock, where are you?"
"By Viridian City."
"Interested in taking a small detour? I'd like to talk to you about something. It's pretty important."
"Sure Ash, are you in Pallet?"
"No I'm at my new home," he said, walking out of his home and into the vast rooftop plaza. "Fly to the coast and follow it south. You can't miss it. Trust me."
"Alright, I just need to be back in Pewter this evening to make dinner for the family," Brock said, looking to the water in the distance. From the air things seemed so close.
"No problem it won't take long," said Ash. "If you want to get here quickly just tell Pidgeot to go faster. Just make sure you don't fall." The phone beeped twice as the call ended. Brock put the cell away.
"Pidgeot, you up to seeing Ash? I know he'd like to see you," he added. Pidgeot just chirped happily. "Alright then. Head to the water then follow the coast south. Let's see some speed!"
Ash didn't have to wait long before he felt two auras approaching rapidly from the north. Pidgeot was fast. He waived to them as they got closer and landed a few feet in front of him. Brock slid off Pidgeot's back shakily.
"Damn, she's fast," he said, hands on his knees. "What is this place anyway? It's incredible."
"Brock I'll explain in a sec, but first..." Ash looked into Pidgeot's eyes. Since she landed she hadn't made a single sound. "Pidgeot I-"
"So my fledgling master is a chick no longer," said Pidgeot, looking Ash up and down. "You look well."
"Ah... thank you," he said, feeling awkward. This was not the reaction he was expecting. "You look well too." Pidgeot's head tilted slightly to the side and she regarded him sharply.
"Wait, you can understand me?" she said quickly hopping a bit closer.
"Yeah, I understand Pokemon because I have training as an Aura Guardian. It let's me connect with them on a different level I suppose."
"Um, shouldn't you be really mad at me?" asked Ash, unable to avoid it any longer. Brock just shook his head and wandered off, exploring the roof. It wasn't as if he could understand Pidgeot anyway.
"Because you didn't come back?" said Pidgeot bluntly. Ash lowered his head. "Come closer." Ash moved directly in front of the Pokemon, kneeling in front of her. Pidgeot swiftly cuffed him over the side of the head with a wing, causing him to fall back on his butt.
"Ouch," said Ash, rubbing his head.
"There comes a time when all fledglings must go out and live on their own, away from the protection of the flock," she said softly, rubbing her head against his. "It is something I learned when I became a mother myself. I was hurt at first when you had been gone for a while, but then I realized that you were off growing like all humans do. I'm pleased to see that you've grown so well." Ash smiled, his eyes looking distant. He rubbed the side of her head affectionately.
"When did you get so wise? You're a mother?" he asked, looking at his old Pokemon with new respect.
"All of my young are off on their own as well," she explained. "I look after the flock, but I no longer lead it."
"Then would you like to stay with me?" asked Ash at once. He could remember the fierce battles they had enjoyed together when he first started his journey. "Battle with me again? This time it's forever though. I'm not leaving you anywhere."
"More than anything!" she chirped. Ash fished a pokeball out of his pocket and tapped it on Pidgeot's head lightly, causing her to vanish in a stream of red light. The click of the successful capture sounded immediately.
"Well," said Brock, walking back over to Ash who got to his feet, "I'm glad that worked out well."
"Yeah, thanks a ton for bringing her to me Brock," said Ash, looking at the pokeball in his hand. It suddenly glowed before vanishing into thin air. "Ah that's right, I still have all six with me," he said, surprised. "Well I guess it's no big deal. I'm going to be seeing them all tomorrow."
"So now that I'm here, what did you want to talk to me about? Nice house by the way, and well you know," he added sarcastically, motioning to the building beneath their feet.
"Among other things, my Battle Frontier facility is here," Ash said with a shrug. "Grand opening is this Saturday. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about." Ash paused, unsure about how to say what he wanted. Gardevoir came over and poked him in the arm.
"Just ask him."
"Right. How would you like to work as a caretaker for all of my Pokemon?" Brock's eyes opened fully. Whatever he had been expecting Ash to say, this was certainly not on the list.
"You want me to what?" he said blankly.
"I know, I know, it's a lot to ask," said Ash, pacing a bit. "But honestly I've given this a lot of thought. I knew once I took this job that I'd finally be able to have all my Pokemon be with me wherever I ended up, instead of at Oak's Lab. Problem is I wouldn't be able to do a really great job of taking care of all of them and do my work and anything else that came up. So I figured I'd need a good breeder or general caretaker to look after them all." Ash stopped pacing and looked at Brock, eyes completely serious. "You're the best Pokemon Breeder I know, Brock. No one even comes close in my opinion. I've seen you take care of large groups of Pokemon for years. You've even started getting into Pokemon medicine. I know you've been traveling around a lot but it's not like that goes on forever."
Brock crossed his arms, frowning. Ash did have a good number of Pokemon at Oak's Lab, that was for sure. He could see where Ash was coming from. "So what are you offering?" asked Brock, equally serious. Ash blinked. He didn't think Brock would even entertain the idea.
"If you say yes then one of the spare bedrooms upstairs is yours, no rent. I'll cover all the costs of Pokemon food and whatever else you need to take care of them all. You can help me design a place to keep them to be built nearby. This building has everything we could possibly need in terms of shops, plus there's a Pokemon Center where you can work on your medicine. Trust me I'll be giving you lots of patients," Ash added, laughing slightly. Brock just blinked.
"So basically do practically the exact same thing we did when we were traveling together except just focus more on the Pokemon?" he asked.
"Uh yeah I suppose so," said Ash. Brock still didn't look completely sold on the idea, though he was certainly interested. Brock did love to travel after all. Looks like he'd have to play his trump. "Of course, I don't want you to feel obligated as my friend or something. If you're not interested then I'll just hire a breeder, no problem. Though I know Ninetales would be sad someone else would be brushing her." Ash turned away only to have a hand suddenly grip his shoulder. He grinned. The man was a sucker for Ninetales and when it came to that particular Pokemon he had the crème de la crème. He didn't even need to mention women.
"Ash Ketchum, you've got a deal."
"Cynthia how long are you going to glare at me like that?"
"Until you give me a straight answer."
"But I did give you a straight answer."
"Telling me it was for my safety is not a straight answer, it's a bad answer."
"Still doesn't make it any less straight..."
Leon sat on the back porch of his daughter's home, looking at the fierce woman before him. What ever happened to his little girl? She was so cute when she still had her head always buried in books. Their tearful reunion was a swift and fleeting affair, two months past. At the time he had been happy enough that she was safe and she him. Of course, life was now catching up.
"Look here, Cynthia," he said, frustrated. "I really did think that something bad would happen if Cain knew I was alive. I knew he was keeping an eye on you and you were living well. I didn't want to possibly put you in danger. Plus how would you have felt if you found out your dad was still alive only to lose him again?" Cynthia sighed.
"Alright, alright. I'm not a kid you know," she said, crossing her arms. "I know you wouldn't have done that unless you really thought that was the right thing to do." She leaned on the railing. "But it's over now."
"Do you really think that?" asked Leon, shaking his head. "Nier got away; so did Korinek. And I don't know about you but I won't rest until Nier has completely left this world."
"Well we agree on one thing at least," said Cynthia. "Still I won't let it take over my life, and you shouldn't let it either."
"You're a lot more grown up than I am."
"That's because I'm a woman." The phone rang inside softly. Cynthia instantly jumped up and into the house leaving her father blinking on the porch. He looked in the back door to see her pick up the kitchen phone excitedly.
"Hello?" Cynthia's face suddenly fell a bit. "Oh hi Scott... what? No I wasn't expecting someone else, what makes you say that." The corner of Leon's mouth tugged upwards. "Mhmm. Yeah, I've been looking forward to seeing it, I can't wait to come! Wait what? But why me? Don't you think it would be better to have your Brains do it? I... okay Scott, I'll do it. You owe me one alright? People don't just book the Sinnoh Champion like she's a band you know? Oh stop Scott I'm only teasing you. Yes I'll be there on Friday. Hang on a second, let me grab a piece of paper and a pen... alright, go ahead. Got it, I'll give you a call later. See you on Friday, take care."
"So what's going on?" asked Leon, pouring himself a glass of water from the sink.
"That was Scott, head of the Battle Frontier," she explained, sitting at the table. "The new Battle Frontier facility is having a grand opening on this Saturday. It's a colosseum apparently." She spun the pen between her fingers and tapped it on the table. "And now Ash and I are the main event. I guess we'll get to finish what we started after all."
A/N: Hey all, just putting it out here that I'm still working on the next chapter but I'm certainly moving very slowly. Hopefully I'll get there soon, but in the mean time just know it hasn't been abandoned. I actually have two more parts to this story that are outlined and should be just as long as what's here. The story is only about a third done.