Disclaimers: I don't owe anything but Silver and the few little plot changes! Got it?
The stranger from the storm
I remember it was late at night
In the middle of a dream
Woke up in a pool of sweat
Ran over the window sill
Stuck my head out for a peak
Dressed in black was a man I didn't recognize
Running down my backstreet
My heart skipped a beat
Stranger in town, Toto
It all started by a rainy evening. Ash and Delia Ketchum were eating by their friend, the old Professor Oak. Autumn had started and with it, the usual rain and wind that came along the season. However, it seemed that tonight's storm was quite violent. Lightning flashed, causing young Ash Ketchum to jump from his chair. His childhood friend, Gary, laughed.
"Is little Ashy scared of thunder?"
Ash growled. Though he and Gary were friends, there were ups and downs in that friendship. Delia looked at her son with kind eyes. Ash was a little five-years-old boy with messy jet-black hairs, dark brown eyes and lightning-shaped birthmarks under them. He was a nice kid with a warm heart and a certain innocence, but also one heck of a stubborn streak. Gary, apart from being Oak's grandson, was a boy with light brown hairs, dark eyes and a devious smile always stuck on his face. Cool, malicious and determined, he was Ash's best and only friend. Thunder raged and Ash cowered in fear. As if things couldn't get creepier, two knocks were heard at the door. Professor Oak raised a brow.
"Who would come at the lab at such an hour?"
He was about to go when Ash, decided to prove Gary he wasn't a coward, jumped from his chair and went to open. What he saw almost made him regret his decision. There was a weird black and white Pokémon, similar to a cross-breed between a zebra and a unicorn. His squeal alerted the three others who came by his side. While Gary was impressed by the Pokémon, Oak couldn't help but wonder where the creature came from. Delia saw none of it. All she saw was something dark slump from the Pokémon's back onto the ground. It was a man.
The shock of the encounter overcome, the woman came closer. The fallen man was clad in black clothes dirtied by mud, blood and water. He had a long black cape with a hood that was partially off, revealing a face one could only describe as noble. Seeing his mother fearlessly get to the man, Ash followed her and discovered something. The man was clutching a blue egg in his arm. He carefully took it and showed it to the Professor.
"Professor, what egg is that?"
Oak had to admit, he had never seen an egg like that before.
"Honestly Ash, I have no ideas. It's the first time I see such an egg."
Delia suddenly turned to him.
"Professor, this man is wounded!"
The group gasped. Indeed, the man in black was spotting several cuts and bullet wounds. His breathing was labored and he seemed in terrible pain. Oak helped Delia bring him on a bed and removed his clothes. Ash looked at the zebra-like pokémon and smiled.
"Hey, you can enter if you want."
The Pokémon seemed reluctant. Instead, he whined and tapped the floor with his hooves. Gary frowned.
"Well, since it is a Pokémon, I guess he must have his poké-ball."
Delia and the professor were peeling the man's outfit off his back. It was damaged but not fully ruined. His items were set on a table. Among them were six poké-balls. Three were full and three were empty. Ash took the three empty ones and gave them to the Pokémon who tapped one of them, disappearing in a red light. As he put them back, one of the red and white spheres shook violently, releasing a magnificent Ninetales.
"Where am I?"
Ash and Gary were so surprised that they couldn't answer. The fox Pokémon looked around and finally saw her master.
"Silver! Oh Arceus, no!"
Delia had finished undressing the man, revealing an athletic body with a pale skin and silver hairs. There were some scars here and there. Two, in particular, were noticeable. The first was star-shaped and covered his abdomen while the other ran along his left arm. He had also a weird black tattoo on his inner right forearm and another on the shoulder representing an hourglass pierced by a sword. Yet his most prominent feature was a long silver tail hanging from his back. Oak took his material and started treating the wounds. Delia noticed the Ninetales.
"Oh? What are you doing here?"
The fox Pokémon royally ignored her to get to her master.
Oak turned, surprised to hear a voice. His eyes went round when he realized it was the Pokémon who was talking.
"Well I never! A talking Pokémon?"
"Don't give me those eyes, old man! Where are we? How is Silver?"
"Silver? You mean, this man?"
The Ninetales growled threateningly.
"Who else do you see half-dead on this bed? Will you answer my questions now or do I have to burn your ass?"
Oak was a little shaken by the aggressiveness of the creature, but he put it on the stress she felt for seeing her master wounded.
"You are in Pallet Town, in the lab of Professor Oak." Delia said in stead of her friend. "Your master came to us on a strange Pokémon. He had an egg in his hands."
The Ninetales sighed in relief.
"Thanks Lugia, Blitz managed to take us to safety. Will he survive?"
"He looks strong and none of those wounds are serious. With a good treatment and some rest, he will be just fine."
"Thank you, and sorry for my bad behavior. My name is Lya and I am Silver's main Pokémon."
"How is it you can talk?"
"Silver taught me, just like he taught Blitz, Gaya and Espera. I better get them out, they must be worried sick."
She went to the poké-balls and released the Pokémon within. There was the zebra one, a pink cat and a weird green sauropod with flower petals around her neck. Ash and Gary looked from afar, amazed. Delia frowned.
"What are those Pokémon?"
"Blitz is a Zebstrika from Unova, Gaya is a Meganium and Espera is an Espeon. We are Silver's only Pokémon and even then, he's more of a friend to us than a real master."
Espera walked to Lya.
"It seems Silver made it alive."
"Yes, thanks to Blitz's speed. He's being healed as we speak."
The three Pokémon looked at the place where Delia and Professor Oak were tending Silver's mood. Espera sighed.
"At least he's fine."
It took Silver only a few days to recover from his injuries. His strong constitution may have played a part in it but, anyway, he was healed. Never did Lya or any other talk about what happened. If someone had to tell it, it was the man. Delia was, as always, bringing a platter with some good breakfast for him when Silver opened his eyes. The mother was instantly struck by the purity of those two sapphire gems who held her gaze with a questioning look. Really, he was a handsome man.
"Welcome back." She smiled.
"Where am I?"
"In Pallet Town, at Professor Oak's lab."
Thee man slowly rose to a sitting position.
"Thanks. Something smells delicious here."
"It must be the breakfast I gave you."
Silver glanced at the platter. Scrambled eggs, orange juice, toasts and bacon. The man had a half-smile.
"Would it be too much to ask for a bowl of milk along?"
"Not at all."
As soon as she left, Silver took off the white blanket that was covering him and tried to reach the mirror. He didn't go far. As soon as he rose, his head span as if he'd spent too much time in a carousel. He fell on his knees and moaned wholeheartedly. When he raised his head, he was met by two dark brown eyes and a mop of black hairs.
"Are you alright?"
Silver was tempted to sharply retort that, honestly, did he look fine? But the boy before him was a little kid. And it just happened that the man's only weakness was cute, innocent children. He could never do anything to them, may it be a simple scolding. So he swallowed his bad mood.
"Not really. Could you help me get back to bed?"
The kid gladly helped. Silver sat on the mattress and looked at the boy. Big dark eyes, messy black hairs, fair skin and two lightning birthmarks under the eyes and a big wide smile on his childish face. The man took an instant liking into him.
"Who are you, little boy?"
The kid grinned.
"I'm Ash Ketchum! Mom took care of you while you were recovering. You totally scared us when you came during the storm."
"Sorry about that." Silver looked around. "How long was I out?"
The man frowned.
"I don't think so."
Silver turned to see Delia come and place the bowl of milk on the platter. The woman gave him a knowing smile.
"You had some pretty nasty wounds when you came here. In fact, you totally dropped unconscious before us. I'm surprised it took you only five days to heal."
Silver looked around the room and spotted a mirror.
"Let me be the judge on this, will you?"
It was said without any hostility. He tried to rise on his feet once more and almost dropped.
"This won't do … Maybe once I finish that platter. Must be the smell, it's too delicious for my stomach."
Ash chuckled while Delia smiled at the compliment. Silver quickly cleaned the dishes. The bacon placed on the toasts with the eggs were a delight. He even offered a piece of it to Ash who gladly took it. The orange juice and milk were fast finished and Silver shivered as warmth ran through his muscles. When he tried to rise, he finally made it but had Delia support him. Despite his good constitution, his legs had suffered from the lack of exercise. When he was before the mirror, he took off his white shirt and raised a brow. There wasn't a single scar, in the front or in the back.
"That's what I thought."
Delia looked at him.
"What do you mean?"
Silver gave him a half-amused smile.
"I'm aware of the wounds I have. It may sound weird to you, but I'm not surprised at all it took me so short to heal."
Delia rolled her eyes.
"Seriously … It would take a human at least two weeks to make it through injuries like that and you're fine in five days. What kind of man are you?"
Silver waved his long tail under her nose.
"What tells you I'm human?"
He had a point, a very valid one. But if he wasn't human …
"Fine. What are you, then?"
"A lot of things. And no, I'm not a monster or the result of a weird experiment, if that's what you're afraid of."
Delia was only half-convinced.
"Really? That's something I would be pleased to do, except I don't know how. Well, you could try asking my Pokémon. I taught them how to speak."
Silver raised a brow.
Ash was looking at the discussion between the two adults. The man's silver tail seemed particularly fascinating. He made a move to catch it but Silver quickly swung it out of his hands.
"Don't you dare!"
When he saw the boy's shocked and saddened face, he knelt to his level.
"My tail is a very sensitive part of myself. If someone yanks it, I have a surge of pain and anger that causes me to jump at the man's throat. Furthermore, when pulled a certain way, the pain will be so that I will be completely paralyzed."
Ash nodded but still looked sad. Smiling, Silver had his appendage caress his face.
Delia smiled and Silver turned to her.
"Here's a proof I'm not a monster. I am absolutely unable to do harm to a kid … except when it comes to my tail."
He rose and looked around.
"Where are my clothes?"
Delia showed him a small package on a chair.
"I stitched them the best I could. It wasn't easy. I have never seen some of those materials. And there was a part made in hard leather ..."
"What surprises me more is the amount of weapons you were carrying."
Silver, Delia and Ash turned to see Professor Oak looking at them in the doorway. Silver shrugged.
"Well, since I'm an adventurer, it's normal that I carry weapons."
Ash turned to him.
"You're an adventurer?"
"Yep. I travel from place to place looking for things to see or secrets to unravel. Since I'm a bit of a good Samaritan, I always end up in some kind of trouble. And because I hate seeing my Pokémon friends in troubles, I usually clean the mess myself."
"Well. As I have seen, you're carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, two blades, two daggers and those strange crossbow-looking weapons I haven't figured what to make of. And I don't talk about the two metallic tubes that generate energy blades."
Silver looked a little sheepish.
"Alright, you've got a point. But that doesn't make me a bag guy, right? By the way, where's the shower?"
Oak decided to save the conversation for later. Once the strange man had cleaned himself, the Professor had him sit at a table and explain everything. After all, Pallet Town was a small and peaceful village who wanted nothing to do with people like the adventurer. Silver started explaining.
"I am a wanderer. I travel across the world in search for adventure and knowledge. I know a lot about Pokémon, but not only. I am proficient in many other areas, making me a jack-of-all-trades in a way. I help people in troubles when I meet them and beat down the local evil teams when they cross my path. That's what my blades are for. And if you wonder why I don't use my Pokémon to fight like most people do, know that I come from a faraway place where men and Pokémon are both friends and partners. Whatever we do, we do it together and see each other as equals. That's why I try to spare my four friends as much as possible."
His soul could be felt both through his voice and in his eyes. He was honest and sincere and his tone was quiet and controlled.
"I have been through a lot of things and am willing to share my experience with whoever asks, except when it comes to using it for evil deeds. I am a teacher, a peace-maker, a musician, a healer, a fighter … But most of all, I have a special ability that is to control Aura."
Oak was surprised.
"You know of Aura? I thought it was just a myth!"
"It's true that people with the gift of Aura are extremely few. Yet I am one of them and more. I have the ability to turn my Aura into ice and control it, which means I am an Ice Aura Master. So far, I've never met people with the same ability."
The professor was troubled by the revelation. So not only that man was an adventurer, he was also a legendary Aura Master who possessed a no less legendary skill, that of Elemental Aura. Oak had heard of it before in old fairy tales, but that was all. Finally, Delia asked the question.
"How did you get here?"
"Professor, how is the egg you found with me?"
"Nothing happened, if that's what you want to know."
The man lowered his head.
"I found this egg in the Orange Islands. I was looking for legends and stuff about the Legendary Bird trio when I stumbled upon an island with some beautiful ruins. I visited them and found a tunnel leading to an underground lake. The place was amazing, with crystals of all shapes and kinds spreading on the walls. There was an island in the middle of the lake. This is where I found this egg. I promise, I had no intention to take it with me. I was about to leave when I heard people coming. I hid away and watched as they came to the egg. To what they said, I could tell they were poachers hunting for legendary Pokémon." Silver frowned. "I had seen the markings and statues of the ruins. It was once a shrine dedicated to the Legendary Bird Articuno, the Lord of Winter. And by its look, there was no doubt to me that this egg was that of the bird, as incredible as it sounds."
"So you mean the egg you brought will hatch into an Articuno? But … Legendaries are genderless! It is impossible ..."
"I know! And I still wonder if Articuno conceived this egg with a mate or if it did by itself. If you want my opinion, I wouldn't be surprised that it was created through parthenogenesis. Some legendaries are powerful enough to send whole continents below the ocean's level so why not that?"
"What is par-the-no-gi ..."
Silver chuckled as the kid had troubles with the world.
"It is a way of reproduction where someone conceives a child by himself. I won't tell you more because you're young but, when you're old enough, I will explain it all."
"Anyway, back to the story."
The whole table returned to listening to the man.
"The poachers wanted to take this egg to sell it back to the black market. I couldn't stand that thought so I came to the men and tried to convince them to leave it. But they didn't want to listen." Silver's face darkened. "None of us would let go of it so, of course with people like that, our argument became a fight. In the confusion, I managed to take the egg and escape but they found me and things turned bad. I shot several of them with my bow and the rest was killed by Lya, my Ninetales. I don't regret my actions. They were criminals. But they still gave me some wounds to worry about. My only thought was to get out of there fast so I used another Pokémon and fled the island. I lost consciousness at a point and that's all."
"So all you wanted to do was save that egg from smugglers."
"Yes. And I know Lya will yell at me for being careless but better me than that egg."
"SILVER NOR SHADOW, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?-!-?-!-?-!"
"I knew it."
Lya appeared in the room, her eyes burning and her fangs bared.
"By Ho-Oh and Lugia, what were you thinking when you challenged those guys? Have you seen how you ended? I thought for a moment that you would die!"
"Lya, you've been with me for years. You should know by now that it takes more than a bunch of grunts to bring me down."
The Ninetales growled but surrendered. Right, her master had been into bigger troubles before and he still made it out alive. She snorted.
"You may want to come. The egg is aching."
The table looked at the Pokémon for a moment before leaving in a blink. The egg was set on a soft pillow in a rather cool place of the lab. Gary was here, watching it. The others gathered around. The egg shook and cracks finally appeared. From those cracks emerged a blue bird as big as a chicken, but already possessing the look of a full-grown Articuno. Silver smiled.
"Welcome into life, little one."
The bird squeaked and flapped his wings. It was beautiful. Oak frowned.
"Well, I guess since you were the one who brought the egg here, it belongs to you."
Silver nodded and caressed the nestling.
"What do you think of it, Odin? Want me as your father?"
The bird eagerly nodded.
From this day on, Silver became a part of Pallet Town. He chose to settle with Delia after learning she was a single mother. Besides, he had a thing for her son, Ash. Though he was a wanderer, he didn't want to travel across Kanto with a young undeveloped legendary with him. It was too risky. And he wanted to take a break anyway.
As a proof he was no more in an adventurous mood, the man discarded his black outfit for blue jeans, white sneakers and a white A-shirt that outlined his athletic silhouette. He also locked his weapons in a drawer. His tail raised a number of question Silver dismissed by saying he came from far, very far-away. Besides, the man didn't lie when he said he had many talents. Aside from helping Delia work at the restaurant, he also helped Professor Oak into caring for the Pokémon at the lab. People tended to stay away from him because of his foreign origins but many respected him for his wisdom. Whether something was off, he would take care of it. In the following years, he became the town's handyman. But he was more than that.
When faced with Gary, Silver was surprised by the kid's arrogance. Because he was professor Oak's grandson didn't mean he ruled the town. But the turning point was an argument he had with Ash. The man didn't know what happened but, after seeing the brown kid looking down to his friend and calling him a loser, Silver couldn't help but get a strong distaste at him. So he stood for little Ash and took him under his wing. Because they lived in the same house and were often together, the two bonded fast. Ash's father was a Trainer on his journey, much to Silver's disapproval. So, in his absence, the man took on him to raise the boy. No one regretted it. Ash and the man became just like father and son.
One day, after a storm twice as strong as the one that had accompanied Silver, the man found the wreckage of a huge cargo ship on the beach down Pallet Town. People were sent to look for survivors or any valuable good that could be salvaged while the rest went to clean the area from the pollution. In the hold, Silver found a shipment of eggs that were, for most, broken. One, however, was still intact and later hatched into a Riolu the man called Riyo. It appeared that the ship came from Sinnoh, an area north of Kanto. There were no survivors, neither human nor Pokémon, and the remains of the cargo was sent through Route 21. Call him selfish, Silver chose to keep Riyo as his sixth pokémon and no one came to take the Riolu back. Go ask why.
So went life in Pallet Town. It lasted five years.
It was meant to be a prologue. It became a chapter.
Ladies and gentlemen, after The child of Mew and Blessed by Victory (which I don't owe but greatly inspired me), here is my version of Ash's journey across the pokémon world. However, instead of being accompanied by a Legendary, Ash is accompanied by his 'father by heart', Silver. How it will make things different? Well, you know Ash has Aura. What did Silver say about his own specialty?