A/N. I got this idea while reading some fanfic about canon!Ash running away after something really bad happens. The plot idea itself might be a bit overused though, so sorry in advance if it doesn't seem too original. Depending on the amount of views I have, I may or may not finish this, so we'll just have to wait and see. This is a Fem!Ash fanfic. Enjoy!

Summary: For years Dragon Master Lance regretted one thing in his life, and that was not telling the girl he loved the most how he really felt about her. Five years after her disappearance, she turns up again, but with the world in danger, and in need of her assistance once again, will Lance ever get the chance to admit his feelings, or is the relationship doomed to fail before it can even start?

Note: This story does not go completely by the Canon storyline. I understand that when Ash met Lance, canon!Ash was several years younger than the man. I've altered the ages to be more realistic. So Ash and Lance met when they were thirteen and fourteen in this respectively.

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon!

Before and After Effects!

It was nighttime as the heavy rains beat down against the windows from outside as one young man lay still in his bed, arms supporting his head as he stared vacantly at the ceiling of his room, memories of the past feeling him with a burning regret. He was the legendary Dragon Master Lance, and though he was held in high regard in public, in privacy and when on his own, he felt lower than the mud currently littering the ground on this stormy night. Young, and at the age of 19, many aspired to be like him, or even better, to beat him in a Pokémon battle. But would they be so eager if they knew what had happened then? That he had let the person he cared about most down, and wasn't even there to help them when they needed it most? Would they still look at him with such admiration and respect if they knew what had happened all those years ago? He doubted it, but mankind always had a habit of surprising him.

His musings were cut short as a round of vicious lightning flashed across the sky, reminding him of what he had failed to protect, the one girl he had loved most. He had let her slip away like running water from the palm of his hands, and now she was nowhere to be found. He couldn't help but blame himself. He had never even got to tell her how he felt about her, and now, he probably never would.

It had started five years ago, when he was 14 years old. He was the Johto Region champion, and was currently investigating a strange occurrence involving the rampages of a supposedly Red Gyarados. It had turned out to be true, and after capturing the enraged water/flying dual type Pokémon, Lance had proceeded to then stop the people behind it, a criminal organization mainly operating in Kanto by the name of Team Rocket. He had succeeded, but he had not done it alone. Not at all by far.

It was a young trainer by the name of Ash Ketchum; she had been 13 at the time. She had been one of top contenders in the Indigo League, a trainer hailing from Pallet Town of the Kanto Region. A Pikachu just happened to be her starter Pokémon, as odd as it was, seeing as they were rare Pokémon to see, let alone have. Ash had been visiting the town with her friends in order to battle the gym leader there for her seventh badge. She had gotten wind of the Red Gyarados problem, and had gone to check it out, despite her friends' ample warnings of how it was too dangerous. She absolutely loved Pokémon, she had no preference, as was common to most trainers, even the males, Lance could admit to that with his fascination with Dragon-types. She was bad at human interactions though, oblivious to any degree of human affection past the level of familial love. She related far better to Pokémon, and that was what had made Lance so resigned to telling her about his feelings in the first place. But that was beside the point at the moment.

He had not expected to see her again after she helped catch the Gyarados, but he was wrong. It appeared that the young trainer known as Ash Ketchum did not know the meaning of the word "Danger". She must not have known the meaning of the words "careful" or "caution" either with the number of messes she had gotten herself into. Yes, it had been more than proven with the conditions under which they saw each other again.

This time, it was not rampaging Gyarados that were the problem. This time, it involved Legendary Pokémon, two of them to be exact. Groudon and Kyogre.

The gods of land and sea. And the perpetrators this time around were numbering in twos; Team Magma and Team Aqua. They wanted to use the Pokémon to expand the land or ocean respectively, pushed by their beliefs that one was more important and necessary then the other.

Ash had been kidnapped and held hostage by Team Magma after her Pikachu had mistakenly absorbed the Blue Orb. It had gone out of control and was trying to fry everything, including its own trainer, but to Lance's shock, she refused to let go. Groudon and Kyogre battled it out, with Groudon protecting them from Kyogre's attacks as best it could with Pikachu's help. In the end, the battle had ended with neither side winning, and the two legendries returning home after everything was done.

After that it had become a strange habit of theirs to run into each other sometimes. It wasn't until five years ago that Lance finally realized how he felt about her, and by then it was far too late.

He had failed to protect Ash, and now she was gone.

Five years ago, when the accident occurred that had caused his Ash's disappearance. Nobody really knew what had happened, just that something went really wrong, and the end result was devastating, in more than one way. Ash had been on her own at the time, so nobody save for her Pokémon could account for what had happened, and the girl herself of course. But she had taken her Pokémon with her when she disappeared, and unless someone got really lucky and found the missing trainer, nobody would really know.

Their only guess could be a very big and devastating bomb, how Ash had survived was anybody's guess. But she had, Lance just knew it. After all, a dead trainer can't withdraw her Pokémon after she's been blown to smithereens, unless they have somebody do it for them. And Lance highly doubted Ash would do that. No she was still out there, somewhere.

He himself didn't know what happened, but he knew one thing. He should've been there, to protect Ash from whatever had happened. He hadn't, and now she was gone. All that she had left behind was a forest clearing, charred beyond recovery and irreparable, to show that she had even existed and Lance hadn't imagined her up at some point.

Lance would not give up, he hoped that one day he would find her, but with his job as Champion, and having to take the challenges of his Elite Four members, who he was sure were just doing it to try and keep his mind off of his failure, and trainers who thought they could take him on and win, he hadn't the time to do that. They assumed that Ash was dead, but Lance, he knew otherwise. She had to be alive, she just had to be.

He was broken from his musings once again when a knock resounded from the door of his room. Lance, begrudgingly got up, not really wanting to deal with anybody at the moment, but knowing that he had to, and answered.

"Yes…Oh, Lorelie…" In the door way stood a panting Lorelie, obviously tired from running all the way from somewhere in the large building that they lived in. "What is it? And where did you run from?" Lance asked somewhat shocked. Lorelie was no runner, any member of the Elite Four, including Lorelie herself, could back him up on that. So whatever had caused her to tire herself out like this, had to have been immensely important and requiring upmost haste.

"Lance…I-It's Ash…" Lance froze at the mention of the name.

"What?" Lorelie took a deep breath as she responded,

"They found her Lance. She's alive, just like you thought she would be."

A/N. Hope you guys liked it. Sorry if the summary was utter crap, I tried. Anyways, thanks for reading and please review. See ya!