*This story is a sequel to Cold Blooded Killers, a story I recently finished. If you are interested in this one, I recommend you read that one first, otherwise nothing will make sense. This is AU, like its predecessor. Enjoy!*
The Indigo Connection
The trees were alive with forest life. Creatures could be heard, making unearthly calls. Giant insects flew overhead, occasionally chased by the equally huge bird. The lake water was anything but still, with fish jumping more often than was natural.
Misty scowled at Drew's face, deep in thought. "May," she said suddenly, holding out her hand. "Bandana, please." The cloth item was dropped in her palm, and Misty soaked it in the lake water. She pulled Drew closer and began dabbing at his face with the wet bandana.
"Am I going to live, doc?" Drew asked, wincing. The scratches on his face from Cynthia's vicious nails stung like mad, and although Misty was doing her best, it was not helping.
"Not unless we cut it off," Misty growled. She was focused intently on her dabbing, her eyes not leaving Drew's bloody face.
Ash shook his head. "This is stupid. We need to find a town, or city, or something. We'll all die out here if we don't."
"How do you know there's town nearby?" Gary snapped. He held out his hand. "Besides, I found these things. They're edible, right?"
Cautious, Ash peered at Gary's finding. It looked like a strawberry, but it was bigger than any berry he had ever seen back home. He grinned at his friend. "Sure, they're edible," he said villainously.
"We do need shelter," Leaf agreed. The pain from the bullet wound in her leg had subsided, and she was gingerly walking around. "If there's a town nearby, that would be great."
"Ack!" Gary screamed, causing everyone to stare at him. He dropped the berry, repulsed. "What is that?"
"Taste good?" Ash asked sweetly.
"Why didn't you tell me it was disgusting?" cried Gary.
Ash laid back in the grass, smiling. "You only asked me if they were edible, not how they tasted." He glanced at Gary, all joking aside. "They're meant for Pokemon. They have special properties that help Pokemon in battles. They're not poisonous to humans, but you wouldn't eat dog food, would you?"
Suddenly, the bushes rustled. Ash sat up, alert, and Misty paused in her face dabbing. Something was crashing through the undergrowth, and from Ash's experience, it was not always friendly.
"Oof!" someone shouted, and with a magnificent crash, a boy fell into their clearing. "Ow," he groaned.
Ash blinked. "Who are you?" he demanded.
The boy jumped to his feet, trying to appear intimidating. "The question is not who am I, but who are you!" he shouted. The dirt on his face did not help his act, nor did the scarf or his tight gray pants. He had a satchel slung over his shoulder, and his blond hair was spiked up in the oddest of ways.
The boy's demand was greeted by silence.
He seemed to have a seizure of disbelief. "What the—? If you guys don't answer, I'll have to fine you!" He looked at his watch. "You have ten seconds to pay up! Ten nine eight seven si—."
"Would you shut up?" Misty cried incredulously.
The boy blinked at her, then suddenly straightened up as if in the military. "Yes, of course, sorry," he blubbered.
Misty stared at him a moment longer, still unable to comprehend exactly how much he had spoken, before returning to Drew's injuries. Ash folded his arms and stepped forward. "Is there a town nearby?" he asked.
His question seemed to confuse the boy. "Yeah, you're like half a mile from it." He jerked his thumb back the way he had come. "I'll take you, if you want."
"Please," Gary said.
The boy brightened immediately. "Alright, everyone! Let's get a move on! Twinleaf Town, onwards!" He gave an exaggerated wave of his arm and marched away.
Ash exchanged a look with Misty, who glared daggers at him for getting them involved with this obnoxious kid.
Dawn stood and went to May. "You recognize him, right?" she asked. "It's not my imagination?"
"No, no, it's definitely him," May said. "No mistaking that voice."
"Same scarf and everything," Leaf added. She grabbed Gary's arm for support as they hobbled after the rambunctious teen.
"What are you talking about?" questioned Ash.
"It's Barry," Misty replied, helping Drew to his feet. She gestured to the blond kid as he marched away. "He goes to school with us."
"He did," Dawn corrected. "Just after school got out, he drowned in the lake."
May gaped. "He did?"
"My mom and his dad were really good friends," said Dawn. "I was at the funeral."
"Hey!" yelled Barry, far ahead of them. "Are you coming or what?"
The group could only stare at him. "A dead kid, alive in another world," Drew said quietly. He spoke up. "Gary!"
"I'm working on it," Gary told him. His eyes were unfocused, lost in the hundreds of theories racing through his brain.
Barry waited impatiently as they caught up, his arms folded. "Come on, come on!" he urged as they neared. "If you guys aren't here in ten seconds, I'm going to have to fine you!"
"Hey, no fair!" Ash yelled back, and he began running to catch up.
"Why must we run?" complained Misty.
Dawn was still staring at Barry in shock. "I was so mean to him," she whispered. "And now he's alive again."
"I remember him being in love with you," Leaf remarked, leaning on Gary, who was completely lost in thought.
"He was annoying," May remembered.
Dawn hardly heard either of them. "I should try to be nice to him this time."
"So Barry," Ash began, already caught up. "Do you have any Pokemon?"
Barry turned his eager grin on him. "Do I! Check these guys out!" He plunged his hand into his satchel and produced six pokeballs, three in each hand. "Come on, guys, let's show them what we've got!"
He threw all the balls in the air. They broke open in the sky, releasing six huge creatures. Each said their respective cry, then looked to Barry for instructions.
"Oh my God," gasped Leaf, and she accidentally put weight on her injured leg. It buckled, making her fall and bringing Gary down with her.
They were some of the biggest Pokemon Ash had ever seen, and he had seen quite a few. "Ladies and gentlemen," Barry began, obviously proud, "allow me to introduce my team. This is Empoleon." He gestured to the enormous, armored penguin before moving over to the huge gray bird. "And Staraptor. This is Roserade," the dainty plant with white hair, "Heracross," a funny blue bug thing, "Skarmory," a vicious-looking metal bird, "and Hitmonlee," a brown creature with no mouth. Barry himself turned and gave them a thrilled look. "They're the strongest team in all of Sinnoh!"
Ash frowned. "How many badges do you have?" he asked.
"I'm already lost," Misty stated.
Barry got a proud expression on his face. "Seven," he proclaimed. "But as soon as I beat Fantina, I'll have all eight and then I can go straight to the Pokemon League and challenge Cynthia!"
Drew did a double take. "Wait, what?"
Barry stared at him as if he had come from another planet. "Cynthia," he repeated slowly. "The Champion of Sinnoh? Only female Champion in the world?" He reached into his bag and pulled out a magazine. "This is her."
And there was Cynthia, looking beautiful and kind of happy, smiling at them from the cover.
Gary gaped. "You're kidding me," he murmured.
"You have a women's cosmetics magazine?" Misty questioned.
Barry stuffed the magazine back in his bag, blushing furiously. "W-well sometimes they… they have good hair tips and… yeah, you know, I like to… keep my skin clear and stuff." He immediately got defensive. "What does it matter to you, anyways!" he huffed.
Misty backed off. "Sorry," she said, clearly not meaning it.
"Anyways," Barry started again, regaining his composure. "Do you have any Pokemon, what's-your-face?"
"My name is Ash," Ash told him, smiling. He kinda liked this kid. He was quirky and probably gay, but he was funny. "And yeah, I do, but they're all hurt right now. I'd like to take them to a nurse so I can heal them."
"Oh okay," Barry said. "We'll take them to Professor Rowan and he will get them all fixed up for you."
Drew turned to stare at Gary. They had seen Rowan die not even an hour ago. Another dead person walking in this world? Was it possible it was not the same Rowan?
They walked for a short time, Barry babbling the entire way. Dawn listened to him, kindly replying when it was needed. Ash also paid attention to him, asking questions about the Pokemon world and the sorts of Pokemon he had. The others were left to lag behind, trying to keep up with both their pace and conversation.
"Twinleaf Town?" May read as they approached the wooden sign. It had been painted at one point, but was now faded and cracked. The quaint houses beyond it were similar, their colors earthy and soft.
"This is where I live," Barry stated with pride. "My house is that one, right there." He pointed animatedly. Suddenly, his face lit up. "After we talk to Professor Rowan, you guys should come over for dinner! My mom makes the best spaghetti!"
Ash grinned back with just as much excitement. "That sounds great!"
Misty exchanged a look with Drew. "Does he seem even more… you know, since he got his memory back?" she asked.
"Unfortunately," Drew admitted.
"He's always been more out for fun than anything else," Gary added before retreating back to his thoughts.
Barry could not have looked happier at Ash's answer. "All right!" he exclaimed, and then acquired a tense pose. "I'll race you to the lab," he said to Ash. "Lose, and I'll fine you for ten thousand poké!"
"But I don't know where—," Ash began.
"GO!" shouted Barry, and in a haze of dust he was gone.
Ash screamed after him, "Hey, no fair!" and he too was gone in a flash.
"And how old are they?" sighed Misty. She folded her arms and started following them, with everyone else in tow.
Professor Rowan's lab was incredibly modern for its natural-looking outside. Glistening white tiles made up the floor, while expensive equipment lined the walls. Ash was reminded of Richardson's lab, the lab they had broken into to steal the greatest weapon of all—and failed.
"Professor!" Barry called, waving exuberantly despite the man being only ten feet away. "I've met some new friends that need your help."
The professor spun in his seat, and Ash's heart stopped.
It was Rowan. The old man looked exactly the same, his eyes still holding that steely glint. "Oh?" he said. "Who might they be?"
"This is Ash," Barry introduced. "And this…" his enthusiasm fell as he realized he did not know everyone's name, "is everyone else."
"It's him," Drew said quietly.
"I know that, Drew," snapped Gary.
"Who is he?" Leaf wondered.
Gary leaned closer to her so as not to be overheard. "He was a professor at the Company. We watched Cynthia kill him not even an hour ago."
Professor Rowan stroked his beard thoughtfully. "What is it that you need?"
Ash stepped forward. "I need help healing my Pokemon," he declared.
"Why not go to a Center?" Rowan suggested. "No Nurse Joys here."
Ash visibly stiffened. His body language confirmed what everyone else thought. The boy did not know what a Center was. "Uh…" he began, "what?"
It was as if Barry's spine had become a Bendaroo, how quickly he sagged with despair. "You don't know what a Center is?" he said hopelessly. "My God, where have you been living?"
"Yeah, Ash, weren't you sent here to gather information on this world?" Gary jeered.
"It's been a while, okay?" Ash said defensively. "Besides, I just got back two years worth of memories. You can't expect me to remember everything!"
Rowan rolled his eyes, clearly not interested in their conversation. "Anyways," he continued, "I'll do my best for your Pokemon." He held out his hands. "Bring them here."
Ash reached into his pocket and jumped. More than three. He only had three Pokemon. Why were there more balls than that in his pocket?
Carefully, he pulled them out. He recognized Pikachu, Charizard, and Bayleef, but there were three more that he did not recognize. Ash stared at them.
"What's the matter?" Rowan asked, not interested in the least.
Ash held up the three alien pokeballs. "These aren't mine." He glanced at them again. "Wonder what they are." And then, he pressed the buttons on all three of them.
"Wait, stop!" cried the professor.
Suddenly, the room was very crowded. A Magmortar stood in the center of the room, glowing orange and not looking pleased. Next to it, an injured Torterra lay, barely able to make its cry. Finally, there was a great black and blue cat that moved too quickly for anyone to really get a good look at.
"They're Paul's," Drew said, realization dawning on his face.
"Paul has these?" shrieked Dawn in terror. Any one of them could eat her penguin for a light snack.
Gary frowned. "But where did the cat come from?"
"Whoa!" Barry shouted, thrilled. "Look at that Luxray! And what a stunning Magmortar! That Torterra though, it needs some help. Professor!"
Rowan jumped to the ground, examining the giant turtle worriedly. "Oh dear," he murmured. He looked at Ash. "Return it. The ball will freeze its condition for now, but we need a nurse here. Barry," he said, turning to the blond boy, "fly these Pokemon to Sandgem Town. They have a Center there."
Barry saluted. "Yes sir!" he exclaimed. Ash hurried to return the Pokemon and stuff all six balls into Barry's satchel. "I'll meet you guys there." And he ran out of the lab.
"He's going to fly?" said Dawn. "Fly how?"
"Oh, he'll take Skarmory," Rowan answered. "It's faster than Staraptor."
"Wait, you mean he's going to ride a Pokemon?" Drew cried in disbelief.
Rowan cast his weary gaze at Drew, unable to retort to the boy's ignorance. "Yes," he sighed. "And we will take a car." He went to his desk and opened a drawer, pulling out a set of keys. "Let's go."
They raced out of the lab, following the old man outside and around the house. An ivy covered garage door took up a portion of the back of the house. Rowan gripped the handles on the outside and heaved. The door groaned in protest, as if angered to have its sleep disturbed. Ash and Drew took over for the old professor, lifting the door with little resistance.
The car inside was in similar shape. A thin layer of dust had settled on it, masking the red paint. Rowan wiped off a section of the windshield with his hand and hopped in the driver's seat. As the others piled into the car, he cranked the key in the ignition. It sputtered and coughed, despite how new the inside looked. The relatively nice car apparently did not get out much.
"Got it!" Rowan exclaimed joyfully, and the car pulled out of the garage with a healthier vroom than expected.
Something watched the group drive away from the small town. She hovered quietly amongst the trees, her great yellow eyes observing them carefully. She had felt them arrive. Everyone had. They obviously had great power, to able to just appear like they did. And yet…
They seemed like ordinary humans. The small creature could not understand it. How were they hiding so much power from her? Surely she, of all Pokemon, would be able to see it. And she had to analyze them, find out if they were a threat, or a potential ally.
But they held nothing extraordinary. She was sure.
So why did she think they could help?
*AN: Voila, my lovely readers, voila. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as the last, since there will be much more Pokemon battles and Dawn being awesome and Ash kicking butt like he does. See you guys soon, alright?*