Disclaimer: No matter how many temper tantrums I may throw, I don't own Pokemon and I never will.

Shipping: Pearlshipping (AshxDawn) with slight Contestshipping.

Summary: Following an abusive relationship, Dawn has been changed into a different person. Can Ash help her overcome all the painful memories from the past?

A/N: I'm not stealing this story from CrystalPrincess xo because I am her. I just don't see what's the point of having more then one account so I'm gonna be using this account for now on.

The first time I wrote this story, I made Ash twenty one years old and Dawn twenty years old but then I found out that none of the characters in Pokemon age and technically, Ash is still ten in the anime so in this story, both Ash and Dawn are twenty. I think they'd be too young if they were both ten so for this story, both of them are twenty. Ok?

The song, if you're interested is 'Vulnerable' by Vanessa Hudgens and it happens to be one of my favorite songs at the moment.

Please enjoy it.


Hold me now (hold me)
I can't tell if I am lost or found
('Cause I've been living in a dream
and I don't want to wake up)
And I don't know how to let you in
Or let you go

I'm so vulnerable
Hold me now (hold me)

Please baby don't let down
('Cause I've been living in a dream
and I don't want to wake up)
I know for sure that you're the cure

'Vulnerable' by Vanessa Hudgens.

It was a really cool day, a little too cool. It didn't seem to bother her one bit, though. Dawn Berlitz took a deep breath and sighed unhappily as the cold air hit her face. She felt so alone in this predicament that she's stuck in. No one knows how she feels, and it seems like no one cares either. She thought Paul was her everything, she thought he was her forever. She believed that he really did care about her and they would be together forever but she wrong, very wrong. Paul didn't care about her; the only Paul cared about was where he was going to his next beer from, or when his dinner was going to be ready.

She knew she should have left him but she was too afraid to; she was afraid that he would kill her. She knew what Paul was capable of and that scared her half to death. If she didn't leave him when she did, she was sure that he would have ended up killing her.

Then, Ash Ketchum, the Battle Palace Frontier Brain, came into her life and everything changed. He's different then most guys she ever met and he's very handsome. After everything she went through with Paul, she didn't want to fall for him too quickly but there was something about that made her fall for him and hard too. She doesn't know what it was but she couldn't stop herself. Ash was very sweet and caring to her. So she decided that she should give him a chance, thinking he could be the one that would heal her broken heart.

Everything had been going great in their relationship until Ash said those three words that made her completely freak out. He told her that he loves her. Dawn had a meltdown after that because Paul used to tell her that he loved her too and he never meant any of the abuse but she knew that Paul didn't mean any of it. He was full of crap. He wouldn't have abused her if he did. After that, Ash broke up with her for not taking their relationship seriously.

So this is her current predicament. She's been hurt so badly and she has no idea how to trust anyone or how to confide in them. Everything Paul did to her changed her into a completely different person. The only person who she can trust broke up with her so there's no one she can trust. She just feels so alone, in the situation she's stuck in.

Someone coming up next to her snapped her out of her thoughts. "Hey Dawn," her best friend, May Maple, stood right next to her, "what's up?"

May and Dawn have been best friends for, practically, forever. She's known May since they were about five. Ever since then, they have been practically inseparable. She considers May to be her sister, considering the fact that they're so close. Dawn considers May to be the only person she can trust. May has never hurt her, like some of her other friends have. May knows everything Dawn is going through and she's been there for her every step of the way.

"Brock's throwing a party tonight at the Pewter Gym tonight." May said, "he wanted me to see if you wanted to come."

Dawn paused for a minute, "Ash is going to be there, right?"

May looked at Dawn surprised, "duh, he and Brock are best friends. Did you forget that, Dawn?"

"No, No, not that," Dawn held both of her hands in front of May. "It's just that I need to talk to Ash. I need to tell him everything that happened between Paul and me. He has the right to know, you know what I mean?"

May looked at Dawn in shock as she asked, "you're going to tell Ash, Dawn?"

"Yeah, I've hurt him enough." Dawn replied, "I need to tell him. He should be able to know what Paul did to me."

May smiled, "you're doing the right thing by telling him. He'll help you through it."

Dawn looked at May and nodded. "Yeah, I know, I just need to get this over with."

May putting her hand on Dawn's shoulder made Dawn look at her. "I'll be there for you every step of the way, Dawn." May said and gave her a smile. For the first time in months, Dawn managed to put a real smile on her face, not a fake one.

"Thanks May," Dawn replied, touched by how good of a friend May is to her. "You're the best friend I ever could have asked for."

May smiled, "anytime, Dawn." May gave Dawn a quick hug. "Why don't we head to gym, you ready?"

"Yeah, let's go," Dawn replied. I hope I'm ready for this. She was beginning to get mixed feelings about what she's doing. What if Ash leaves me, what if he hates me after this? Can I really do this; can I really tell him?

"Dawn," May calling her name snapped Dawn out of her thoughts. "Ash won't think any different of you. I know him. Don't forget he is best friend with not only my boyfriend, but my little brother as well. I know him, probably better then he knows himself. Trust me on this."

Dawn managed to smile, "yeah, you're right."

Both girls looked up to see they're in front of the Pewter Gym, which caused Dawn's face to pale visibly. You can do this, Dawn. She forced herself to think, everything will be ok. I have to believe that that's true. You can this, Dawn, you can. She looked at May, "let's go."

With that, both Dawn and May walked towards the entrance to the gym. Dawn kept taking deep breaths. She knows that this is something she has to do. Ash deserves to know the truth. She can't continue hurting him; she's hurt him enough by not telling him the whole story. This is something she needs to do, she doesn't know what she would if she lost Ash as a result of hiding this from him. She knows she's doing the right thing.

"Hey, babe," Dawn heard. She looked up and she saw Drew giving May a quick peck on her cheek. "Hi, Dawn, it's been a while. How have you been?"

Dawn nodded to Drew in a greeting, "Hi, Drew, I've been ok. Is Ash in there? I need to talk to him."

"Yeah, Max and Misty are in there too." Drew told Dawn. Dawn quickly gave Drew a thank-you look before she walked into the gym.

Once Dawn got into the gym, she immediately looked around for Ash. She saw Brock, Max, and all of Brock's younger siblings but no sign of Ash. Why doesn't she see him? Is he actually here? Come to think about it, she doesn't see Misty either. Maybe Ash and Misty went some place to talk privately; that would explain why doesn't see either of them.

When she looked over at the door of the gym after hearing Ash's voice, she saw Ash and Misty coming in from outside. Neither of them noticed her. They each had something to drink in their hands on Misty was giggling and Ash was smiling. Her heart began to beat faster when she saw Ash. It's safe to say that she's head over heels in love with him.

Ash looked over and he saw Dawn standing right there and it look like Dawn was ready to cry also. "Dawn," he exclaimed, worriedly, and ran to Dawn's side, "are you ok? Is something bothering you?"

The only thing Dawn could manage to do was nod her head. "Ash," she said in a weak voice, "can we talk, please?"

Ash looked at Dawn and he nodded his head. Ash moved out of the way and let Dawn walk out of the gym first before he followed right behind her. That's when it all clicked in Ash's head; she has to tell him something important. He always had a feeling that something happened to her and now, he's positive. Something incredibly horrible did happen to Dawn. And now, she's going to tell him the whole story.

-xxx-

Ash and Dawn both sat a swing in the local park. Ash looked up at her and he noticed the tears in her eyes. "Ash," Dawn's sweet voice said to him, "You have to promise me something." She looked at him while some tears made their way down her face. It broke Ash's heart to see those tears coming down her face. He just can't stand it, but what can he do about it.

The only thing Ash could was slowly nod his head. "Anything, Dawn," he calmly told her. "I'd do anything for you."

Dawn took a deep breathe and looked at Ash. "You have to promise me that you won't think any different of me after I tell you what happened. If you don't, I don't think I can tell you if you can't make that promise to me." It's true too; Dawn doesn't think she would ever be able to tell him everything if he can't make that promise.

Ash leaning over and wiping her tears away made Dawn look at him. "I promise, Dawn. I'd never think any different of you." He told her. I would never. I'm in love with you, Dawn.

Dawn looked up at the sky and let a few tears came down her face. Taking a deep breathe, she turned and prepared herself to tell her painful tale. "You do know that I used to date Paul, right?"

Ash nodded. What does Paul have to do with any of this? "Ash, Paul is an alcoholic," Dawn told him. That makes sense, Ash thought to himself. I should have known that. How could I have not seen that?

Dawn looked over and saw give her a sad smile. "He used to beat me, constantly. If I didn't have his food ready or if he was just annoyed in general, he'd have to punish me. This went on for years and I was just too afraid to leave him."

Ash nodded his head. "I couldn't take any more of it, Ash. I loved Paul but I was also afraid of him too. He has this viscous side of him and I know first hand what he's capable of. If I didn't leave when I did, I'm pretty sure he would have killed me."

More tears made their way down her cheeks. She never planned that it would be this hard. "I don't blame you," Ash spoke up, which made Dawn look at him. "My father used to beat my mother. She loved him but at the same time, she was afraid. She was afraid that, eventually, my father would start to beat me. She couldn't risk that happening. So she left him." Dawn looked at Ash, sadly. It seems like he knows exactly what she's feeling. "And in some ways, you also feel like Paul abusing you was your fault." Those words sparked more tears from Dawn. Ash knew right then and there then he was right.

Dawn did feel like the abuse was all her fault.

"Dawn, this is in no way your fault," Ash told her. Dawn couldn't even bring herself to look at him. The only thing she could do is cry; she spent the last couple of years believing Paul abusing her was entirely her fault. Is it really possible it isn't? she snapped herself out of her thoughts when she felt Ash's hand on her cheek. "You are not blame for this, Dawn." Ash told her, letting his thumb trail her cheek. "You did nothing to deserve this. Paul's a jerk and you deserve much better then that."

Ash seriously wanted to kill Paul for everything he did to Dawn. It's beyond him why someone, like Paul, would actually hurt someone so caring and sweet, like Dawn. He seriously wanted to give Paul what he deserves for hurting Dawn so much. Nobody deserves to be put through so much pain, least of all Dawn. Paul should be beat up within an inch of his life. Someone needs to make him pay for everything he did.

Dawn couldn't take anymore of this. Her tears began to unleash themselves against her will and there was no use trying to stop them. She couldn't hold them back anymore. She barely even noticed Ash move until she felt him wrap his arms around her. She put her head on Ash's shoulder and let him hold her. "I'm so sorry, Dawn. I left you when you needed me the most. I'm such an ass." Ash said. I feel so horrible, I shouldn't have left her. Dawn just continued to cry while Ash tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Dawn," Dawn looked up when at him when she heard her name being called. "When I said I loved you, I meant it. I really loved you." Dawn began to cry some more at Ash's declaration of love.. "And I still do. I love you, Dawn. I mean that with all of my heart. I would never turn my back on you. I promise you that. You have to believe me."

Dawn honestly had no idea what to say to him. "I want to believe that, Ash," Dawn started. "I really do but I don't know if I can. Paul used to tell me all the time he loved me and that he never meant any of the abuse and I believed him. I believed he could change and that we would work things out. But I was wrong. I'm such an idiot."

Ash stood up also and wrapped his arms around Dawn from behind her. "You're not an idiot, Dawn." he told her. Dawn laid her on Ash's shoulder as tears began to well up in her eyes. "Why would you ever say that about yourself? You loved Paul and you wanted to believe he could change. You're not an idiot and you never will be."

"Yes, I am!" Dawn yelled, pushing Ash's arms away. She turned around and looked at Ash. "I'm an idiot because I'm so vulnerable. I never should have believed a word out of Paul's mouth but I did and look at where that got me."

"Dawn," Ash turned Dawn around so she would look at him. "Paul's the idiot, not you. He never should have done what he did to you and it's not right." Ash calmly told her, sparking some more tears from Dawn. "I would never hurt you, Dawn. I'm not like Paul. I need you to believe that."

Dawn couldn't say anything, except cry some more. "I'm afraid too, Dawn, and I need you to understand that. But I would never turn my back on you, especially when you need me the most. I'll always be here for you when you need me."

Dawn looked up at Ash. "When you say it here tonight, will you mean it for a lifetime?" Dawn asked Ash, almost hesitant to. "Will you tell me everything? Will you tell me if your heart is really feeling for me? I need you to tell me that. I mean it. I don't know if I can trust you if you don't tell me that." Dawn said. It's true, Ash. I don't think I could handle it if you can't. Dawn thought to herself.

Ash looked right in Dawn's eyes, "Yes, I would." Ash assured Dawn. "I mean this when I tell you this, Dawn." Ash then put his hand on Dawn's cheek. "I love you, that I'm sure of. I would never hide anything from you. I will never lie to you and I'll always be faithful to you, I promise." Ash promised Dawn as his thumb caressed her cheek.

"Ash, I honestly don't know if I can believe that, but I'll try." Dawn said, looking up at Ash.

Ash smiled and he continued to caress Dawn's face with his hand. Slowly, he lifted Dawn's face towards his and he captured her lips with his own. Their lips gently brushed against each other, matching stroke for stroke and touch by touch. Ash wrapped his other arm around Dawn's waist, bringing her closer to him and Dawn's arms snaked around his neck. Their lips slowly parted and they smiled at each other. Ash rested his forehead on Dawn's.

"I love you, Dawn," Ash told Dawn as he leaned in and lovingly kissed her forehead.

Dawn smiled at Ash and let him pull her into his arms. She smiled contently and looked up at the sky as she wrapped her arms around Ash. Dawn may have been vulnerable because of her ordeal with Paul but there is one thing she was positive of, Ash was the cure to cure her vulnerability.

"Coming down with a case of "I love you more"
I don't want to be vulnerable…"


A/N: Well, that's it. I've been thinking of making this story into a two-shot but I really want to know what you think of it before I decide if I'm gonna make this into a two-shot. So please. just let me know what you think of this story.I worked hard on this one-shot (maybe two-shot) and I'd really like to think that you all liked it so please leave a review and tell me what you think.

Also, I'm not trying to bash Paul at all in this story. Paul is one of my favorite character and I think he's awesome. I couldn't think of anyone to be Dawn's abusive ex-boyfriend so I made it Paul. I'm sorry, Paul fans.

Thanks for reading! ^_^