In early January, Ash Ketchum had decided to go north to visit his close friend Dawn in her home in Twinleaf town as he didn't have a chance to do so at Christmas time to spend that with his mom and his friends in Kanto. He had spoken to Johanna about his visit but told her not to tell Dawn as it was to be a surprise visit. Ash hadn't been to Sinnoh for a couple of months. Because of the relentless traveling he had done over his career, he decided to take a breather this time around before moving on to the next region so to spend more time with his mother who rarely saw him in person, and to check on Brock who had just begun to take his goal of being a Pokemon doctor seriously.

It was the day after New Years and Ash was set to leave for Sinnoh the next morning so he sat in his mother's living room finishing off the bag of leftover potato chips from the Christmas party which the Ketchums household usually held after Christmas as family and friends usually wished to be with their familys for the holidays. His trusty Pikachu sat next to him licking a bottle of ketchup. Hearing that Ash was going to hit the road once again, his friends Misty and Brock came over to talk about their adventures.

"So what was Sinnoh like?" Misty asked no one in particular.

"It was great," Brock responded, "it had to have been one of the most action packed journeys I've had with Ash. A nice way to make an exit I guess."

"It's great that you two had fun," Misty smiled, "I wish my sisters would stop traveling around so I can go traveling again."

Ash tossed the empty bag of potato chips into the nearby trash bin and entered the conversation. "Well just keep waiting for that, I'm sure it's pretty boring over in Cerulean."

Misty sighed and lay her head back. "Yeah it does but I don't get paid wander around... not that I really get paid much of anything because my sisters keep spending money all the damn time." Misty got up and grabbed the television remote. "So you're going back to Sinnoh why again exactly?"

"So I can go and see Dawn," Ash answered, "the girl who traveled Sinnoh with Brock and I."

Misty had never met Dawn at all except as a fishing hook. "Dawn huh, what's she like?"

"She's pretty girly, no surprise there, she always obsessed over her appearance, she'd almost always sleep in a tent and would never let us see her until she had brushed her hair straight in the morning."

"Is she cute?" Misty teased, bouncing her eyebrows.

Ash didn't respond he just tipped his cap over his eyes.

"I'll take that as a yes." Misty said to herself.

"Ash's description basically sums up Dawn," Brock agreed, then looked at the clock, "oh wow, 10:05 I should get back to Pewter City guys. Thanks for the hospitality Delia, and hope you have a great time in Sinnoh Ash." Brock got up and grabbed his coat.
"I think I'll get going too." Misty said, also putting on her winter coat, "Thanks Delia."

"Anytime." Delia said.

Brock and Misty said goodbye and walked out into the cold night. Ash stood up and brushed some crumbs off his shirt.

"You should start packing Ash." His mom advised.

"Oh I'm way ahead of you mom," Ash grinned, "I've packed up my things before they came over, I won't be gone long so I didn't pack much."

"You're so responsible Ash." Delia remarked.

"Hey traveling around for a few years I've learned to be prepared for anything."

Delia smiled and watched her son head to his room to go to bed his Pikachu following close behind as they were leaving first thing tomorrow morning. Delia awoke at 5:00 am to make Ash his morning breakfast before he woke up so as not to keep him waiting as his ferry was leaving in 2 hours. Ash was woken 10 minutes later by the smell of food and walked into the kitchen.
And found his mother had prepared a hearty breakfast of pancakes eggs, bacon, and sausage for him which he quickly sucked up into the bottomless pit he calls his stomach.

"Wow thanks mom!" Ash said, now wide awake.

"Just wanted to do something special before you got going." Delia smiled taking a sip from her coffee mug.

Pikachu chimed in happily after gulping down a piece of Pokemon food. "I'm gonna get changed and head out." Ash announced after putting his dishes in the kitchen sink. Delia nodded and watched Ash walk back to his room and and come back out 5 minutes later in his day clothes and signature cap. Ash stretched for a moment and grabbed his winter coat.

"Alright mom, I'll call you when I get there. C'mon Pikachu!" Pikachu instinctively jumped on his master's shoulder and waved goodbye as Ash walked out the door and made his way to the ferry dock.

It was now 3:00 PM and the ferry made it to the Sinnoh region and Ash as promised called his mom when he got to the Pokemon center and once he did that he promptly made his way to Dawn's home in Twinleaf town which was about an hours walk or so.
The Sinnoh region is known to have a colder climate then the Kanto region from where as is native even having a town that is in an eternal winter but Twinleaf town which is in southwestern Sinnoh it does get very cold but mercifully, receives little snow. Ash walked up to the front door and just as he was about to knock on the door, it flung open and Dawn stepped out wearing her winter attire. They stared at eachother awkwardly for a moment before Dawn spoke.

"Ash? Hey!" She gave him a soft, friendly hug, "It's really nice to see you again."

Ash smiled warmly. "Likewise," He said, "but where are you going?" Dawn let go of Ash.

"I was just gonna go to this really nice log cabin just north of Jubilife," Dawn explained, "I always went there when I was a little girl at this time of year."

Ash frowned a little. "Oh okay then, can I go with you?"

Dawn's face brightened up. "Sure why not? You came all this way to see me I presume, and It'd be nice to have some company other then Piplup."

A yell then came from the inside. "Hey Dawn!"
Johanna called, "Are you going to shut the door, it's getting cold in here!" Dawn promptly shut the door and walked off the front porch, Ash accompanying her onto route 201. Dawn brought up the question.

"So why exactly did you come visit me?"

Ash replied with "Well I was planning on visiting for the holidays but I couldn't do that then so I chose to do it now."

"That didn't quite answer the question but okay, seems like a legit reason. I hope you're ready for a long walk cause we're gonna be walking for a couple hours."

"Ppphh..." Ash scoffed, "I've been walking just about most of my life I'm more then ready. You've traveled with me long enough to know that."

"That's true." Dawn said, her head turning back to the road.

She unadmitedly liked traveling in fall and in the wintertime. She liked the brisk air as is whistled between her legs in the fall and she liked seeing the snow covered trees and mountain tops in the winter, even with the limited amount of snow her hometown got.

Ash was quiet most of the journey, staring at the pavement below him while his little yellow sidekick looked out for any trouble. Dawn was captivated by the barren landscapes that went on endlessly in a frostbitten abyss. Absent mindedly she kept on walking when she slipped. Almost on instinct, as soon as Ash heard her gasp his right arm extended and caught her before she fell.

Dawn sighed and looked down at the ground. "Whoa, black ice... how careless of me not to look. Thank you Ash for catching me."

"No problem Dawn." Ash grinned proudly and continued on walking.

Dawn looked over at Ash thankfully. "He's got really good reflexes." She remarked mentally and followed on, "Unless it was some kinda fluke of sharpened awareness, go figure."
She was right on the money the first time, as a result of his constant training he had acquired a reaction time similar to that of fighter pilots but his denseness would loosen his sense of awareness. Now a little more worried about slipping again she wrapped her left arm around Ash's right arm as a support just in case.

After roughly 3 hours of walking not counting a small pit stop in Jubilife city so Ash could relieve himself they caught sight of a house built into the hillside. Dawn's face lit up instantly and she picked up the pace a little. Ash watched the smile creep upon Dawn's face, seeing her smile was just contagious and he smiled too.

"So that's it?" Ash asked Dawn, looking at the building in the distance then turned back to Dawn, but she wasn't there, confused he looked ahead and she was just running over the hill.

"HEY! WAIT UP DAWN!" Ash boomed and gave chase, Pikachu leaping off his shoulder and following after and by the time they had caught up with her she was just unlocking the front door. "C'mon in Ash," Dawn said, motioning for him to follow, which he did.

In Ash's eye, the cabin was more of a modern day house by any means due to it's size and look but with a certain outdoorsy vibe to it when he got inside. The structure was mostly composed of rock and pine wood, he inhaled the calming scent of the wood even though it was sealed in varnish. Dawn danced around enthusiastically. Then let Piplup out of it's Pokeball who joined Pikachu in looking around the house.

"So many memories!" She exclaimed hopping onto the couch, Ash followed in a more civilized manner and sat down next to her.

Dawn sat up straight, fixing her hair subconsciously. "Sorry, I got alittle excited there. I just love this house, I'm buying this place when I can afford to no doubt. I'm gonna make some cocoa for us." She got up and skipped over to the kitchen.

Ash sat up and hung up his coat and went exploring, the place was very humbling to him with all the various oil paintings of wooded landscapes and other things that lined the walls. Tastefully there were no 'trophies' on the wall, such a thing was unacceptable in the Pokemon world. The floor was not completely hardwood, on the second story the floor was swallowed by dark green carpeting like grass. The first thing that caught his eye was the window that looked out into a massive valley with scarcely placed pine trees shadowed by snowy mountain peaks. Ash looked out the window, captivated by the natural beauty of the mountains, completely forgetting his intended task of finding his room.

In the kitchen, Dawn put the kettle on the stovetop and waited for it to boil then went to look for the cocoa powder. Then went to look for the milk. Johanna's friend who lived in the house always made sure there was fresh food in the fridge when they visited, this time was no different and she curiously searched around inside to see what else was in the fridge that they could make for later. In the time she took to look through the fridge she heard the kettle begin to whistle and took it off the stove. She then made a perfect measurement of how much cocoa powder to put in the to mugs and then put the water in then adding the milk and then the mini marshmallows which are absolutely necessary in a cup of cocoa. "Ash the cocoa's ready!" She called out walking out of the kitchen with the two mugs, not seeing him she assumed he had gone wandering around she walked upstairs to find him still staring out the window in awe and walked up behind him.

"Beautiful isn't it?" She said, handing Ash his mug, "It's still hot so be careful."

"Breathtaking..." Ash sighed, taking the mug. "we don't have anything like this in Pallet Town."

"That's what makes travel so magical." Dawn put in, sitting down next to him and taking a small sip from her mug.

As they looked out the window it began to snow, a very light snow at first but it got heavier after a few minutes. Ash broke the trance when he turned to look at Dawn and went downstairs and sat down at the coffee table to drink his cocoa, with Dawn following close behind. Their cocoa had cooled down considerably at this point so Ash began to drink it down in bigger sips and grinned in satisfaction.

"You like?" Dawn asked, even though she already knew the answer. Ash nodded in approval.
Dawn giggled silently and sipped from her mug then set it down and walked behind the couch that Ash was sitting on.

Ash set down his mug which was pretty much empty and looked back at Dawn. "So, who's sleeping where?" He asked.

"Oh I don't know," Dawn answered, a hint of playfulness in her voice, "let's go have a look." Dawn stood up and snatched Ash's hat off his head before putting it over her white beanie and took off upstairs giggling wildly.

"Oh so that's how it's gonna be huh?" Ash grinned and chased after her.

Dawn skipped around the halls briskly Ash following behind until he lost sight of her.

"Okay Dawn," Ash said, clearly sarcastic, walking into one of the rooms, "you win, I give."

The room he walked into was pretty empty, only finding a small bed, a large dresser, a nightstand, and a couple of filing cabinets. Ash curiously looked in the filing cabinet and found a bunch of vinyl records.

"This place must be pretty old." Ash thought, searching through the record collection pulling out random records.
One of them happening to be Iron Maiden's classic Powerslave record.

"Ooh nice," Ash said to himself, searching even more and pulling out a pitch black record sleeve with the image of a black figure in the center pointing to something with the word 'BURZUM' written in a sort of gothic font. "Whoa! This guy, has some seriously good taste."

"BOO!" barked a voice from behind him. Ash jump and turned around to see Dawn staring at him innocently, his hat perched lopsided on her head, "what's up Cutie? Uh... I mean Ash."

"Just looking through these old things," Ash said, holding the 'BURZUM' record up. Dawn took the record sleeve. "Oh these are mine." She said.

Ash was flabbergasted. "These are all yours?"

"Uh-huh." Dawn responded.

"Even the Burzum record?" Ash asked once again."

"All mine." Dawn confirmed.

"Wow," Ash whispered, "I never would have thought you'd like this kinda stuff."

"Oh I like lotsa stuff, metal just happens to be one of them." Dawn ran her fingers through the cabinet and pulled out a a copy of the first Beatles record, then pulled out Bee Gees record.

"Oh man..." Ash chucked, seeing the Bee Gees record.

"What?" Dawn asked, putting her hands on her hips.

"My mom listened to the Bee Gees so much it wasn't even funny."

Dawn nodded and put the album back in the cabinet. "That's not all of it but there's lot more variety in there."

"So why do you collect these old things?"

"Oh just a hobby I picked up after you left," Dawn explained, "I just think they sound better then CD's to the point that I never by albums unless they're 12 inch vinyl."

Ash shrugged and took his cap back. "Now, about those bedrooms, I assume this is your room?"

"Wrong!" Dawn announced, "this 'was' my room but it's too small for me now, I'm sleeping in the room across the hall."

She walked Ash into the adjacent room which was larger and a bit more ornate then the other room with a collection of small oil paintings and pyrography. Featuring a queen sided bed with the image of a herd of Stantler burned into the headboard.
Again a large dresser with a record player set up on top of it as well as a few other things, a night stand complete with lamp and alarm clock, and lastly a floor mirror which for Dawn was an absolute necessity.

"So this is where I'll be staying and you can stay in a room of your choice."

"I don't really feel like making decisions so I guess me and Pikachu will stay in the other room." Ash said.

"Perfect!" Dawn smiled sitting down on the bed, she peaked out the window to look at the sky and saw that the window was partly blocked out by snow and the snow continued to come down heavily from the black sky.

"Oh god Ash!." She exclaimed. Ash came over to the window and looked out.

"Wow, looks like a freak blizzard or something."

Dawn nodded and closed the window blinds and looked at the clock. "It's about 9:00, we should maybe try to get some Dinner going?" She suggested. Ash got up and walked out into the hallway on his way downstairs when everything went dark, and heard Dawn scream from her room.

"Oh man," Dawn groaned, "why now? Wait Ash! Don't leave me alone in here!" She got up and found her way outside the room into the hall. Dawn absolutely hated when the power went out, especially at night time as she couldn't see anything. Fortunately she knew the house well enough to navigate to a degree.

Ash turned around to walk back to Dawn's room so they could regroup. He only walked 3 paces before they bumped into eachother.

"Oh there you are," Dawn sighed, grabbing hold of Ash's arm, "I wasn't expecting this."

Ash didn't seem to mind her latching onto him; He kind of liked it actually. Ash walked downstairs blindly, Pikachu and his female companion in tow and sat down on the couch, the couches were made of leather and were freezing to sit on. The house did not have a gas furnace but an electrically powered heat pump which functions much like an air conditioner but also provides heat during the colder months. As the electricity was out, it was not functioning and the house began to chill quickly. Dawn began to shiver because her bare legs and arms were exposed due to her choice of clothes, and her slim body build.

"Hey Ash." She whispered. Ash turned in the direction of Dawn's voice who was right next to him.

"Yes?" He asked.

"I'm feeling pretty cold." She told him.

Ash thought about what to do, then slipped him right arm out of his vest before pulling Dawn closer and wrapping the vest around her. Dawn was surprised by his action, she felt her cheeks begin to heat up.

"Oh... thank you Ash." She whispered, resting her head on his shoulder.

Pikachu like Ash and Dawn couldn't see very well,
literally no light at all due to the heavy snow and clouds but scrambled onto the lap of his master to help warm them.

"I'm going to try to get a fire going," Ash said to Dawn, removing the rest of his jacket and giving it to her, "to keep us warm and so we can see." Ash walked to the fireplace and fumbled along the mantelpiece looking for a box of matches, there was a small one with only 5 matches in it, He struck one to look around for firewood. There was already a pile of wood in the fireplace so he didn't have to worry about that. He also found saw small box of tinder and kindling, he blew out the match so not to burn his fingers then took some of the tinder and put some of it on the pile and lit it with another match.

It took a little while for it to catch the firewood but soon enough the fire was lighting up the room, dimly but it was better then not seeing at all. Dawn got up off the couch and sat next to Ash in front of the fire. She looked at the glowing fire and looked at Ash. He turned to look at her, and Dawn gave a sweet smile.

"I'm glad you came along." she said, giving Ash a short hug.

"Uh... you're welcome." Ash replied, his cheeks beginning to turn bright red.

Dawn broke from the hug and saw his rosey cheeks and giggled.

"What?" Ash quizzed.

"Oh nothing at all..." Dawn said, looking back at the fire which had grown considerably.

"This is much better." Ash said, laying back on the floor up at the ceiling.

Dawn looked up out the window. "It's still snowing, not as heavily as before thankfully." Dawn lay back as well but keeping her eyes on Ash. "He's such a nice guy when he's not thinking about Pokemon all day." She thought, "hmmm..." She rolled on her side and draped her arm across his chest, Ash looked over in confusion. She then grabbed the brim of Ash's cap and put it aside.

"You look better without the hat." She whispered into his ear. Ash wasn't sure what Dawn was getting at, he kept on looking at her in confusion noting a particular glimmer in her deep blue eyes, something he hadn't seen before. Her gaze lasted for about 20 seconds.

"He's so cute..." A thought passed through Dawns mind.

"What's going on in there?" Ash asked.

Dawn looked down at her feet, and she blushed and gave Ash a short kiss on the lips. "That answer your question?"

Ash was shocked by Dawn's action, his face as red as a tomato, and his stomach was tingling. "Y-yeah..." Ash then put his arm around Dawn's waist and pulled her against him. Dawn's cheeks reddened and let out a silent sigh of contentness and nuzzled her head in his arms.

"You know Ash."

"Yeah?" Ash said

"I always did kinda like you," Dawn admitted, "Now I think I've fallen for you."

The tingling in Ash's stomach intensified even more at Dawn's admission but didn't know how to react as his knowledge of love was so limited. He only looked down at her and stroked her back silently and smiled. He secretly liked Dawn back. Pikachu watched on sleepily at his master before yawning and falling asleep. Ash continued to stroke Dawn's back until she had fallen dosed off in his arms. He smiled happily looking at her asleep in his grasp, and not wanting to wake her fell asleep shortly after.

"You're doing what now?" Delia shouted over the video phone.

"I'm staying in Sinnoh." Ash repeated, Dawn standing right behind him.

"What brought this sudden decision?" Delia asked curiously.

"I told him I loved him," Dawn cut in, her cheeks reddening, "and I think he feels the same for me." Ash nodded in agreement.

Delia paused for a moment, then she started getting emotional. "I never thought I'd see this day! My boy's growing up..."
She sniffed back a tear or two but sobered up quick. "What does Johanna think about this."

"I haven't talked to my mom about it yet." Dawn added, "But I'm sure she'll be happy to hear it."

"Yeah I agree with Dawn," Ash said, "also... don't tell Brock." This brought about a short laugh from Dawn.

"Oh I don't know if I can keep that a secret from him for long." Delia admitted.

"Okay then mom I guess I'll talk to you later then." Ash smiled.

"Alright honey, good luck." Delia finished before the screen went black.

"So, what's next on your itinerary?" Dawn asked.

"Going on to Isshu, what else?" Ash responded, "However I don't know about any contests there."

"That's okay," Dawn said, "as long as I'm with you I'm happy."

Ash grinned and the two shared a quick high five and walked got their coats on and walked out of the Pokemon Center to make their way for the next step of Ash's epic journey.