This is just a note to say that this is my first story and I welcome any feed back on what you think.

In this story the characters are older these are their ages:-

Ash - 21

May - 19

Brock - 27

Misty - 23

Dawn - 16

Max - 16

Iris - 15

Cilan - 25

I'll try to make battles and contest as entertaining as I can but it's hard to put what I see in my head onto the page.

Champion of Champions

Chapter 1

A New Beginning

The sun rose over Pallet Town and a 21 year old Pokémon Trainer by the name of Ash Ketchum was woken by the crowing of a Dodrio. It had been 3 years since he had taken part in a Pokémon League and now he was ready to take on the biggest challenge he had ever set himself. To become the winner of the League in every region he had visited, his home region of Kanto, its neighbour Johto, the more tropical Hoenn, the mountainous Sinnoh and far off Unova. Lifting his head from the pillow he looked at his best friend and first Pokémon sleeping on his chest.

"Time to wake up buddy. Todays the day we start travelling again." He said to the electric mouse. Pikachu slowly opened his eyes looking at his trainer

"Pika Pika Chu Pi" he squeaked.

"That's right we're going to win the Indigo League first then all of the others." Pikachu jumped off Ash's chest letting him get out of bed so he could get ready for their journey.

After coming 2nd in the Unova League Ash decided to stay at home for a while, be with his Pokémon to strengthen his bonds with them and to get stronger together. He also revisited places in each region to do some intense training in challenging climates, blistering deserts, snowy mountains, volcanos, jungles and every other type of terrain he could think of. During his training Ash had travelled alone and although he had talked to all of his friends on the phone he hadn't seen them personally since he arrived home from Unova.

During his travels over those 3 years he had evolved all of his Pokémon except Pikachu and one other that he only recently received, reunited with some he hadn't seen in a long time and even caught some Pokémon he had met during his first adventures. Taking the advice that Don George of Nacrene City had given him to heart Ash had trained alongside his Pokémon he had become stronger and faster than he used to be by training this way.

Coming out of the bathroom it was easy to see that Ash's appearance had changed he was now muscular, slightly tanned and he held himself with more confidence. Even though he had changed he also stayed the same, he still had the same warm caring brown eyes he always had and he still possessed the untameable mess of raven hair which he kept under his hat. Ash was wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans, a blue jacket and black trainers which had blue stitching. His hat was the one that he wore whilst he had travelled round Hoenn and the Battle Frontier. Picking up Pikachu Ash left his room and went down stairs to have some breakfast.

Heading into the kitchen Ash saw his mother, Delia Ketchum, standing at the counter preparing food for her son. She looked no different than when he left home for the first time 11 years ago. Seeing Ash coming into the kitchen she said "Sit down Ashy I've nearly finished your breakfast."

"Okay mom" he replied sitting at the table Pikachu leaving his shoulder to reach for a bottle of ketchup that sat on the table. Carrying a plate stacked high with pancakes which were smothered in thick syrup and a glass of cold milk Mrs Ketchum placed them in front of Ash with a smile on her face.

"You're going on a long journey Son eat up you'll need your strength." The smile on her face dimmed slightly with those words, although she happily supported her son's dreams it still made her sad to see him leave. She sat down opposite Ash and ate the smaller stack of pancakes that she had made for herself. Finishing his breakfast and seeing that Pikachu had polished off the bottle of ketchup Ash stood up collected his and his mother's plates putting them into the sink and started to wash them.

"There's no need to do that dear I'll do it." said Delia as she started to get out of her chair.

"No mom let me do them it won't take long and it's only fair you made the pancakes so I should clean up." Ash said looking over his shoulder. Hearing this Delia sat back down knowing that she wouldn't be able to stop him, he had inherited her stubborn streak. While Ash was washing the dishes she asked.

"Which Pokémon are you going to take with you?" Thinking for a minute Ash finally answered.

"Pikachu obviously. I'll keep rotating my team so that everyone will be with me at some point and I'll call on specific ones when I'm going for a badge." he paused for a few minutes before continuing "I'll take Staraptor, Typhlosion, Sceptile, Blastoise and Krookodile to begin with so I've got a good mix that can take on any challenge we might encounter." Delia nodded.

"As long as you're safe and remember to change your underwear everyday I'm happy." She said.

"Come on mom do you have to say that every time I leave. It's not like I'll forget or anything." Ash said face palming. After drying and putting away the dishes Ash and his mother left the kitchen entering the sitting room. Reaching down to pick up his green bag Pikachu ran up his arm taking its place on his shoulder. Kissing his mother goodbye Ash said "Bye mom, I love you and I'll call when I get to Viridian City. Where's Mimey?"

"He's in the garden you'll see him on your way to Professor Oak's Lab. I love you too have a safe journey and look after each other." Delia said scratching Pikachu behind the ear.

Shouldering his pack Ash opened the front door and took the first step of his new journey. Mimey was sweeping the path that led to the garden gate. Mimey was a Mr Mime that lived with Delia and helped around the house doing chores. Mimey would get angry if anyone else tried to do the chores as Brock found out a few years ago when Mimey used Psychic to send Brock out of an open window when he picked up a broom.

"Bye Mimey me and Pikachu are going now so we probably won't see you for a while. Take care of yourself and look after mom for me ok." Ash said bidding him goodbye.

"Mime Mime Mr Mime Mime Mr Mime" replied the barrier Pokémon.

"Ok I'll look after myself and Pikachu and I'll call regularly so Mom doesn't worry"

Ash walked down the path and closed the gate behind him taking one last look at his home seeing his mother standing at the door smiling at him, waving goodbye with Mimey stood next to her doing the same. Smiling back both Ash and Pikachu waved as they made their way to Professor Oak's Lab to collect his Pokémon.

A few minutes later they arrived at the gate leading to the driveway of the Professors lab. It was a strange looking building with its windmill forever spinning. Opening the gate Ash walked up the hill and knocked on the door, as the door opened Ash didn't have a chance to say anything as a dark shape fell on top of him. It was his overly friendly Pokémon Muk, who as always smothers people when he wants to hug them.

"Muk Muk Muk Muuuuk" the poison type said happily. Just when Ash thought his new journey was ending he heard a familiar voice saying "Muk why have you opened the front door" it was Tracy, the Pokémon watcher that Ash and Misty met when they went to the Orange Islands. Tracy saw Pikachu struggling to move Muk and realised that Ash must be underneath he ran to get Muk's Pokéball then ran back to the Pokémon and returned him.

"Thanks Tracy I've got to do something about that." Ash said as he sat up, gasping for air.

"Muk just got overexcited seeing you again, it has been a while since you last saw him." Tracy explained.

"I know but still I'll try and get him to control himself and calm down in future." Ash panted still getting his breath back.

"So" Tracy asked helping Ash to his feet with Pikachu jumping back to Ash's shoulder "What can I do for you today?"

"I'm starting to travel again, I've come to pick up some of my Pokémon. I'll keep changing my team but for now can I get Staraptor, Typhlosion, Sceptile, Blastoise and Krookodile, I wanted a good mixture of types so I'm ready for anything."

"Sure thing Ash just give me a couple of minutes to get them. Professor Oak's in his study why don't you go talk to him while I get your Pokémon."

"Ok see you in there then." Ash said as Tracy went outside to get his team.

Entering Professor Oak's study Ash saw the man who gave him Pikachu sitting in an arm chair reading a journal and making notes on a pad of paper, Professor Samuel Oak the man who gave each new trainer in Pallet Town their first pokemon. The study had an enormous bookcase filled with journals, magazines, files and every other kind of research material that there could be, a small table sat next to the armchair with a cup of coffee resting on it, a small computer sat in the corner with a screen saver playing on its screen it showed a sequence of Pokémon evolving.

Looking up when he heard the door opening the Professor smiled seeing Ash enter the room.

"Ah, Ash my boy. What are you doing here this early?" he asked politely.

"I'm going to challenge the Indigo League again and I'm starting today. Tracy has just gone to get some of my Pokémon for me and said to meet him in here." Ash replied.

"If you're going on a journey I've got something you'll need" Oak said rising from his chair putting down his journal and pad on the nearby table. Walking over to the computer he entered a password and clicked something on screen. From where he was standing Ash couldn't see what the Professor was doing. A red rectangle ejected from the computer picking it up Oak turned back to Ash presenting him with a new Pokédex which looked exactly like his original one.

"This is a new updated Pokédex it contains all the Pokémon from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Unova including the ones only mentioned in myths and legends."

"Thank you Professor this will be really helpful" Ash said gratefully. While the Professor talked with Ash about what he had planned, Tracy came into the room holding 5 Pokéballs

"Here are your Pokémon Ash, good luck and if you need any of your other Pokémon just let me know." The Pokémon Watcher said.

"Thanks Tracy I'll call when I reach Viridian City and keep both of you updated on how I'm doing." Ash said

"Hey Tracy do you want to come with me?"

"Thanks for the offer Ash but I think I'll stay here and help look after the Pokémon and learn more from Professor Oak so I can become a better Pokémon Watcher."

Ash simply smiled and nodded he understood that Tracy's dream was here in Pallet Town studying with Professor Oak. Fastening his Pokéballs to his belt he once again thanked both the Professor and Tracy as they walked back to the door. Waving as he left Ash thought to himself next time I'm home I might be the champion of the Indigo League.

Walking on to Route 1 Ash opened his bag to look for something had had brought with him just for this moment in time. When he felt his hand close around it he smiled It's finally time he thought putting his bag back on his shoulder he whistled as loud as he could. After a few seconds a large shadow passed over Ash and Pikachu "Here he is Pikachu, time for him to come home." The Pokémon casting the shadow slowly spiralled lower and lower until a majestic bird landed in front of them. "Hi Pidgeot"

Ash had visited his Pidgeot every time he had come home from a journey and had trained with him over the last 3 years. The flock of Pidgey and Pidgeotto that Pidgeot had been protecting now had a couple of strong Pidgeot to protect it so the last time Ash had trained with him Ash asked if he would come back to the team and Pidgeot had agreed. The item that Ash pulled from his was Pidgeot's Pokéball. Ash had not released Pidgeot when leaving Kanto for the Orange Islands only letting him out of his Pokéball to defend the flock.

"You ready?" Ash asked

"Pid" Pidgeot chirped.

"Ok then Pidgeot return" A beam of red light came from the Pokéball hitting the bird Pokémon covering him in red light and pulling him into ball. The centre of the Pokéball was lit with a red dot, shrinking the ball Ash put it back in his bag intending to send it to Professor Oak when he got to Viridian City.

"Hey" A voice called out "I was going to capture that Pidgeot."

"You can't do that Pidgeot is one of my Pokémon has been for years" Ash said searching for the voice.

"I challenge you to a Pokémon battle!" the voice said coming from amongst the trees, turning to find the voice Ash saw a young girl who looked to be 15. She had shoulder length blonde hair, blue eyes and a mischievous smile, she wore a yellow knee length dress and white buckled shoes.

"I'm Melinda from Neon Town" the girl said

"My name is Ash and I never turn down a battle!"

"How about we make it a three on three battle? Can I battle your Pidgeot first?" Melinda asked.

"A three on three battle sounds great but Pidgeot's Pokéball is locked I've already got six Pokémon with me so I can't use him sorry." Ash explained.

"Okay then I'll start. Go Furret!" She cried releasing the long body Pokémon from its Pokéball.

"Furrrett" it purred landing on the ground.

Grabbing a Pokéball from his belt Ash calmly called, with a smile forming on his face, "Okay then I choose you Staraptor" freeing his faithful Predator Pokémon.

"Starr" it sang soaring into the air.

"You can have the first move." Ash called over to Melinda.

"Well aren't you a gentleman." Melinda said with a wink.

"Furret use Blizzard" her Pokémon raising onto its rear legs and took a deep breath before opening its mouth to breath out an icy barrage towards the flying type.

"Staraptor use Heat Wave to counter." The bird Pokémon closed his wings over his chest and as they started to glow orange he spread them wide releasing a large amount of warm air which cut through the Blizzard. Furret took the Heat Wave head on and even though it was weakened by the Blizzard the damage caused by the attack was still enough to force Furret back a couple of feet.

"Now Staraptor use Aerial Ace to add power to Steel Wing." Rising into the air Staraptor suddenly swooped at high speed closing the distance between itself and Furret while its wings took on a metallic sheen.

"Furret use Quick Attack to dodge" Melinda said, worry evident in her voice. Furret barely managed to get out of the way in time as Staraptor wing skimmed its side.

"Staraptor keep it up" The predator Pokémon rose sharply into the air before turning and flying straight for Furret once more. This bizarre dance continued for a few minutes before Ash cried out "Use Quick Attack for more speed"

"Furret look out" cried Melinda but it was too late and Staraptor's wing slammed into Furret's midsection carrying it into the air.

"Furret use Defence Curl to hang on then use Thunderbolt" Melinda called. Furret curled its body around Staraptor's wing and electricity started to crackle around its body as it charged the attack.

"Staraptor shake Furret off" Ash cried desperately. With a cry of acknowledgement Staraptor started to pull off some of the most astonishing aerial manoeuvres that had ever been seen. The electricity around Furret stopped and it used all of its energy trying to hold on to Staraptor until after a particularly sharp banking turn Furret lost its grip on Staraptor's wing and slipped falling to the ground.

"Now use Steel Wing" Staraptor spiralled around and slammed into Furret causing the long body Pokémon to bend around its opponent's wing. This attack ended the battle knocking Furret out. It was only then that Ash realised how high above the ground the Pokémon where. Furret fell from Staraptor's wing and started to plummet to the ground. Seeing Melinda's Pokémon in trouble and the fear on her face Ash knew he had to help Furret.

"Staraptor catch Furret" Ash instructed. Turning quickly Staraptor folded his wings to his sides diving down at high speed soon catching up with Furret and overtaking before opening his wings wide to slow his descent when feeling Furret land on his back.

"Good work Staraptor" Ash said thanking his trusty Pokémon lifting Furret from Staraptor's back. Taking Furret in his arms Ash walked over to Melinda with an ashamed look on his face. Placing Furret in Melinda's arms Ash backed up a few paces and stroked Staraptor's neck. He turned to look at his opponent.

"Sorry about that, I got kinda carrying away." Ash said apologetically rubbing the back of his head. "Do you want to continue?"

"Of course I'm going to win." Melinda replied smiling putting Furret back in its Pokéball. "Now are you sticking with Staraptor or are you going to switch Pokémon?"

"Staraptor return" Ash said sending his bird Pokémon back into its Pokéball whilst unclipping another from his belt. "It's been a while since my Pokémon have battled so I'll switch Staraptor for Krookodile I choose you."

Placing Staraptor's ball back on his belt Ash threw Krookodile's ball high into the air. The ball opened and in a flash of white light a tall terracotta crocodile appeared with black stripes covering its body and on its snout sat a pair of sunglasses.

"Krookodile" it roared.

"What type of Pokémon is that?" Melinda asked quizzically. Taking out her Pokédex she scanned Krookodile.

"Krookodile, The intimidation Pokémon. It can expand the focus of its eyes enabling it to over great distances. Its jaws are so powerful it can demolish an automobile. Once they have their prey they never let go."

Putting away her Pokédex Melinda looked at Krookodile with an expression that was equal parts awe and fear at the large fierce Pokémon that stood before her waiting to battle her.

"Where did you get a Pokémon like that?" she asked Ash.

"I got Krookodile a few years ago when I travelled around Unova." He replied.

"Okay then let's see how tough he is. Go Flygon" Melinda called releasing the mystic Pokémon.

"Krookodile use Dragon Claw." Light blue energy glowed in Krookodile's claws and he charged towards Flygon. Flygon flapped its wings rising into the air dodging the attack "Flygon attack with Dragon Tail" Melinda called. Flygon's tail glowed the same light blue that had been on Krookodile's claws and whipped it towards the dark and ground type Pokémon.

"Dodge it with Dig," Krookodile dive into the ground easily avoiding Flygon's attack.

"Keep away from the ground Flygon and be ready to use Dragon Pulse." Flygon nodded its head and hovered above the battlefield waiting for Krookodile to surface. A sphere of turquoise energy formed in Flygon's mouth ready to be fired when Krookodile surfaced. Knowing that he was in trouble if Krookodile was hit by that attack, Ash did what he always did, acting on instinct he decided to use the first idea that came into his head.

"Krookodile used Stone Edge" Ash shouted so his Pokémon could hear him while it was underground. Ash wasn't sure if Krookodile had heard him until the ground started to shake and crack, white light shining from the cracks just before a multitude of razor sharp stones erupted from the ground shooting directly at Flygon. The mystic Pokémon and its trainer were so shocked at Ash's tactics that they couldn't react in time and Stone Edge pounded into Flygon's body causing him to fall to the ground.

"Now finish this with Aqua Tail." Ash called out to Krookodile.

"WHAT!" cried Melinda as she watched rings of water surround Krookodile's tail as it ran it to the falling Flygon.

"Flygon counter with Iron Tail."

Flygon's eyes snapped open and its tail took on a metallic sheen as it spun in the air. The two Pokémon's tails crashed together, the energy from the collision produced a cloud of smoke. Both trainers looked on waiting for the smoke to clear unsure whether their Pokémon still stood or not. The seconds they waited seemed like hours, Ash was about to call Staraptor out to blow away the smoke when the wind shifted dissipating the smoke. Both Krookodile and Flygon still stood their tails pushing against each other, their eyes locked together filled with respect for each other's strength. Summoning his power and with an almighty thrust of his tail Krookodile threw Flygon back, taking this as the perfect opportunity Ash called out to his Pokémon.

"Krookodile quickly use Dragon Claw." Light blue energy filling his claws once more as Krookodile rushed towards Flygon closing the distance between them in seconds.

"Flygon get out of there" cried Melinda but Flygon was too tired to dodge as Krookodile slashed Flygon with his claws.

"Fllllyyyy" cried the dragon type as the super effective knocked it out.

"KROOKODILE" howled the intimidation Pokémon in victory.

"Your tougher than I thought" Melinda told Ash as they returned their Pokémon "Still I've got one Pokémon left and he's my strongest, so how about you use your strongest Pokémon as well."

"Fine by me" Ash replied "Come on Pikachu let's do this." Pikachu jumped down from his place on Ash's shoulder. Krookodile gave Pikachu a nod before returning to his Pokéball.

"Pika" stated the electric type.

"So Pikachu's your strongest Pokémon I wouldn't have thought so."

"There's more to Pikachu than you can imagine."

"We'll see. Now go Charizard!"

Melinda threw a Pokéball which opened in mid-air releasing a large orange dragon-like Pokémon with a pair of wings on its back and a long tail which had a ball of fire sitting on the end. The fire on its tail was a rich red in colour and significant in size showing that this Charizard was very strong.

"That's a powerful Charizard you've got there. It's nearly as big as mine." Ash said.

"You've got a Charizard?" asked Melinda.

"Yeah, He's training at the Charific Valley in Johto. Now let's start this battle. Pikachu use Quick Attack."

"Pika" Pikachu shot forwards at high speed heading straight for Charizard.

"Charizard dodge it and use Flamethrower." With a mighty flap of its wings Charizard took to the air dodging the Quick Attack before opening its mouth and launched an immense pillar of fire at the electric type.

"Look out Pikachu get out of the way!" Ash shouted to his best friend.

Pikachu twisted to the side as he rolled out of the way but not fast enough because the Flamethrower grazed his side giving him a nasty burn.

"Now Charizard use Air Slash then get close and use Fire Punch." Charizard's wings glowed light blue and as they were flapped multiple saw-like blades were fired towards Pikachu. A small smile appeared on Ash's lips as an idea came into his head.

"Counter Shield" He called.

"Counter what?" said a confused Melinda.

Pikachu nodded to his trainer as he started to spin on his back whilst using Thunderbolt. The combination of these two things created a spinning barrier of electricity that charged the Air Slash and reflected it back towards the surprised Charizard.

The repelled Air Slash charged with a Thunderbolt hit Charizard directly in the chest causing a large amount of damage.

"Now Pikachu use Thunderbolt."

"PiiikaaCHUU" cried the small electric mouse as he threw a massive bolt of electricity at the stricken fire-flying type. Charizard bellowed in pain as it was hit by the super effective attack.

"Keep it up Pikachu." Ash called to his first Pokémon.

"Charizard use Flare Blitz to break out of it." commanded Melinda.

With an intense roar Charizard's body became enveloped in flames breaking the Thunderbolt, turning in the air Charizard roared once more then charged towards Pikachu.

"Pikachu use Volt Tackle."

"Pika Pika Pika Pika PIKA!" exclaimed Pikachu as he ran towards Charizard his body surrounded by golden electricity. As the two Pokémon collided a mass of smoke blanketed the battle field. Pikachu and Charizard were both thrown back by the power of their impact, both Pokémon were panting heavily having taken significant damage.

"Charizard use Flamethrower."

"Block it with Thunderbolt."

"Now Pikachu use Thunder Wave." A weak electric attack was sent towards Charizard.

"Charizard dodge it and use DragonBreath." Charizard soared high above the Thunder Wave and fired a green blast of air towards Pikachu.

"Look out Pikachu use Quick Attack to dodge and counter with Electro Ball"

"Pika pika pika chupi!" exclaimed Pikachu as sparks came off of his body as he charged up a ball of electricity at the tip of his tail before flipping forwards launching the ball at Charizard.

The Electro Ball flew at high speed towards Melinda's Pokémon and before she could call out a counter or warning it impacted with the fire type's chest causing Charizard to fall towards the ground.

"Now Pikachu let's finish this use Iron Volt!"

"Charizard please wake up and use Air Slash." Melinda pleaded to her Pokémon worried about what Ash's last command could possibly mean.

Pikachu's tail took on a metallic sheen and he ran towards the falling Charizard with his body sparking as electricity covered him.

"Charizard, Please wake up" cried Melinda. Hearing the fear in Melinda's voice Ash was about to call off his attack when he saw Charizard's eyes shoot open and his wings glow blue once more as the air formed razors which flew towards Pikachu.

"Pikachu dodge it and keep going." Easily evading the blades Pikachu continued running at Charizard before jumping and slamming his tail, charged with the electrical energy that surrounded his body, into the Kanto fire type starter. Landing on the ground with the electricity dispersing from his body Pikachu stood before the fire type breathing deeply as Charizard toppled over with spirals in its eyes.

"Charizard thank you. You did really well I'm proud of you, now get some rest return." said Melinda sadly.

"That was a great battle." Ash said as he walked towards Melinda with his hand outstretched to shake hers.

"What do you mean? You beat me without losing a single Pokémon. How was it a great battle? I just came in the top four of the Hoenn League how could I lose like that?" Melinda cried nearly in tears.

"Calm down, take a deep breath." Ash said trying to soothe Melinda's grief. "Every battle is different, the outcome is always changing. If we had another battle I might lose and you'd win without losing any Pokémon." Putting an arm around her shoulder Ash held her till she had calmed down. Taking his arm away he looked at Melinda smiling and holding out his hand. Smiling back Melinda shook Ash's hand whilst wiping away a few tears before saying "Thanks for that. How did you get so strong?"

"Since I started I've competed in a lot of leagues and the Kanto Battle frontier placing higher in each league but I didn't win any so after competing in Unova I decided to spend some time with my Pokémon training and strengthening the bonds between us. Now I'm ready to start challenging gyms and the leagues again starting here in Kanto."

"Hang on what did you say your name was?" Melinda asked an idea forming in her mind of who her opponent might be.

"Ash, Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town." Ash told her.

A look of shock and awe appeared on Melinda's face upon hearing Ash's full name. She had heard of Ash's achievements and seen his battles during his Pokémon league challenges when they had been televised. She had been disappointed when Ash's name hadn't appeared in any Pokémon competitions for the last 3 years (She's a bit of a fan.). Whilst she was traveling on her own Pokémon journey she had asked gym leaders if they knew why Ash had disappeared but they didn't, so she had made the decision to travel to Pallet Town to try and find Ash herself. Now she had not only found Ash she had also battled him without knowing it.

Silence fell between the two trainers as Melinda realised that she had the answer she was looking for. Ash just looked at the young trainer before him then looked to Pikachu who was sitting on Ash's shoulder once more. Ash scratched the back of his head unsure why Melinda had gone so quiet and just stared at him. As he was about to wave him hand in front of her face she said "I've followed your training career you finished in the top 16 during the Indigo League, top 8 during the Silver Conference, top 8 again in Hoenn, top 4 in Sinnoh and you came second in Unova. When you were in the Orange Islands you defeated Drake and won the Orange League, you also conquered the Kanto Battle Frontier." Melinda's were eyes shining while she said all of this. Ash getting more and more nervous as the girl in front of him listed his accomplishments. His face getting steadily redder and backing away as Melinda slowly walked towards him.

I'm glad she doesn't know about my adventures with the legendary Pokémon thought Ash or she'd be all over me.

"Why do you know so much about me?" Ash asked Melinda hoping to snap her out of her current state of mind.

Ash's question had its desired effect as Melinda stopped and thought about how to answer Ash's question without seeming crazy. After a few second she had worked out what to say.

"I've watched the Pokémon Leagues for years and you kept appearing and I suppose that you could say I'm a fan."

"Okay then." Ash said still slightly unnerved by Melinda's knowledge. After how he had won their battle Ash felt a little bad for winning so completely, he wanted to make it up to Melinda

"I'm heading to Viridian City if you want to come with me." Ash continued.

"Will you tell me how you got so strong?" Melinda pleaded.

"I'll only tell you a little bit because how I trained my Pokémon is private. I want to keep my training techniques between me and my Pokémon." Ash said.

"Okay" Melinda said sounding disappointed. As both she and Ash walked down route 1 towards Viridian City.

"What was that last attack you called out?" Melinda asked.

"That's something I've been doing with my Pokémon teaching them to combine moves together to make stronger ones. Iron Volt in a combination of Iron Tail and Volt Tackle." Ash explained.

"What other combos have you taught your Pokémon?"

"Now that would be telling" Ash said with a grin.

"What about that other one ... Counter Shield?" She asked

"I came up with that in Sinnoh as a way of stopping Hypnosis and Fantina, the gym leader of Hearthome City was the person who came up with the name" Ash replied.

Unknown to the two trainers they were being watched by a familiar trio. Over the 3 years that Ash had been training Team Rocket had left him alone and they had been going on missions for Giovanni. They had completed each mission given to them and they had risen up the ranks, the latest mission that had been assigned was to steal all of the Pokémon from Professor Oak's Laboratory. On their way to Pallet Town they had heard a Pokémon battle and Jessie had decided to steal the Pokémon from the battling trainers but when they recognised Ash as one of the trainers and seeing how much stronger he had become they just stayed standing in the shadows shocked at the strength of the 'twerp'. Without saying a word the Jessie and James agreed to continue on their endless quest of trying to steal Pikachu, Meowth on the other hand had had enough of blasting off and just wanted to complete the mission and get back to base.

"Come on use two let's just rob de lab and get back to base. We'll never get dat Pikachu." Meowth said to his team mates. Jessie and James looked at the cat Pokémon in astonishment, it was usually Meowth that came up with the ideas on how to get Pikachu.

"You want us to give up? We're stronger now we can get that Pikachu no problem." Jessie insisted grasping Meowth's shoulder and raising him to eye level fury burning in her eyes at his words.

"Yeah we should give up cause no matter how strong we are the twerp and his Pikachu will always be stronger. We'll just keep getting blasted off every time like we always have and I'm sick of it." Meowth replied.

"I have to say Meowth has a point." James said entering the conversation.

"WHAT!" Jessie roared turning her angry gaze to James.

"I said Meowth has a point I didn't say it was a good one" James nervously replied, terrified under Jessie's venomous glare. Slightly satisfied by James words Jessie turned her attention back to the Pokémon in her hands. Like James Meowth always got scared when Jessie was got this angry but he held his ground.

"Come on use two I know dat you've had enough of being blasted off same as me. And if you want Pikachu you can think up ideas and build the machines on your own." Meowth said

Looking at his friend James reflected on how much Meowth had changed during the past few years. It had started whilst they had been in Unova for the boss and after the incident at the Abyssal Ruins when they returned to Kanto Meowth had continued to change although had hid it Jessie and James had known him for years so they noticed what other people would miss. The fake enthusiasm, the pride that he had in his machines amongst other small things but they all added up to something that worried Jessie and James, they had tried to cheer Meowth up to get him back into the Team Rocket spirit but nothing they did had any effect.

The three were about to continue their conversation when they heard Ash's voice call out "Pikachu where are you buddy?"

"Pika" came the reply it sounded close to where Team Rocket where hiding. Looking away from each other and turning their gaze to the ground in front of them they saw a familiar electric type Pokémon staring at them with sparks coming from his cheeks. They just had enough time to think uh-oh before they heard an all too familiar cry of power from Pikachu "PiiikaaaCHUUU" and they felt thousands of volts surge through their bodies before the inevitable explosion followed by their well-known saying "Looks like Team Rocket is blasting off again" as they soared high into the sky and fading from sight. Just as they were leaving Pikachu's hearing range Meowth said to his team mates

"So still think we can get him?"

Pikachu ran back to Ash jumping onto his shoulder with a squeak of happiness. Ash looked to his best friend saying "Was that what I think it was?" Pikachu nodded in confirmation "They couldn't let me have one day without trying could they" Ash muttered to himself.

Melinda looked at him "What was that about? And what was that noise?" she asked.

"It's not important now let's get to Viridian City before it gets dark." Ash said as he started walking again. Melinda just shrugged her shoulders and followed asking Ash questions about how he had trained.

After a few hours they arrived at the outskirts of Viridian City, Melinda was annoyed as Ash hadn't given her any clear idea of how he had trained his Pokémon all he had said was that 'he and his Pokémon were closer and stronger than ever because of their training and now it wasn't a matter of battling side by side they battled together' whatever that means thought Melinda. Entering the city Ash heard a woman's voice calling out Melinda's name, looking for the source he saw a tall woman who looked to be about 25 years old, she had blonde hair that fell to the middle of her back, she had blue eyes, which carried a worried look, and she was wearing a black jacket over a brown t-shirt, blue jeans and black trainers. Seeing the resemblance between Melinda and this woman Ash turned to Melinda nodded his head towards the worried woman who stood further down the road.

"It looks like someone is worried about you." He said to his young friend. Looking in the direction that Ash had nodded Melinda saw the woman and ran towards her, Ash walked after her keep in his distance not wanting to interrupt the reunion, as she got closer to the woman she shouted "Olivia!" Hearing Melinda's voice a smile broke out on the woman's face "Melinda there you are I've been worried sick. Where have you been? Did anything happen to you?"

"I'm fine I was on my way to Pallet Town." Melinda told the woman. Just as the woman was about to ask Melinda more questions she noticed Ash standing off to the side.

"Can I help you?" asked the woman. Before Ash could reply Melinda jumped in saying "This is Ash Ketchum. I had a Pokémon battle with him."

"So this is Ash Ketchum" said the woman looking Ash up and down liking what she saw blushing slightly. "This was the reason you went to Pallet Town? I can understand why now." She said to Melinda. Ash just stood there scratching his head not understanding what she had just said. The woman held her hand out and said "Thank you for finding by sister I'm Olivia. Can I ask how the battle went?"

"It's nice to meet you Olivia. I'm Ash and this is Pikachu." Ash said shaking her hand he was about to answer her question but Melinda jumped in saying "It was a three on three battle and I lost. Ash didn't lose any of his Pokémon they're really strong."

"Well you'll just have to train harder won't you" said Olivia looking at her little sister. "Come on let's get you home Mom and Dad are worried about you they nearly called Officer Jenny."

"Okay" said Melinda looking a little ashamed at making her family worry like that. "Bye Ash I hope we can battle again soon and I'll win next time."

Laughing at this Ash put a hand on Melinda's shoulder before saying "I'll hold you to that and think about what I said if you work that out then you'll get stronger and closer to you Pokémon." And with that Melinda smiled at him spun on her heels and ran down the road on her way home.

"What did you say to her?" Olivia asked before she went after her sister.

"Why don't you ask her it might help her figure it out?" Ash said mysteriously.

"Okay. Thanks again for looking after her. Bye Ash. Bye Pikachu." Olivia said giving him one last look over before turning to follow her sister.

Ash made his way to the Pokémon Centre to heal his Pokémon and register for the Indigo League. On the way he looked at Pikachu and asked "Why did Olivia keep looking at me like that?" while scratching his head.

"Pikapi Pika Pikachu" said the electric type closing his eyes and shaking his head slightly. Similar things had happened while they had been training girls had started to notice Ash and he remained oblivious. As they entered the Pokémon Centre Pikachu noticed a familiar scent, jumping off of Ash's shoulder he ran off. Ash ran after Pikachu before coming to a stop and saw Pikachu sitting on the shoulder of a girl rubbing his cheek on hers. The girl had shoulder length brown hair which looked like an upside down V and a figure that hourglasses could only dream of. She wore a blue jacket, black bike shorts and had a yellow bag around her waist.

"Well you're a friendly one aren't you." Said the girl and Ash instantly recognised it.

"Well you two are friends." Ash said walking up to the girl. Turning round the girl saw Ash and smiled. Standing in front of him was the girl that he had met and mentored while in Hoenn. The girl that was afraid of Pokémon and only became a trainer so she could travel, the girl know as May Maple.

May stood there looking at Ash not recognising him at first as he had changed a lot he now stood tall and muscular, his face more rugged and handsome from the last time she had seen him. Although she wouldn't say it out loud she liked how Ash looked now and found herself feeling attracted to him in a way she hadn't felt before. The same thoughts were happening in Ash's mind looking in May's blue eyes he realised that he hadn't noticed before how beautiful they were and how May had grown from a pretty girl to a gorgeous woman.

"I thought I this Pikachu was familiar." May said as she enveloped Ash in a big hug.

"What are you doing here May." Ash said returning the hug smiling.

"I'm competing in the Kanto Grand Festival." She said breaking the hug before blushing and adding shyly "Plus I was on my way to see you I've got a favour to ask you."

"May you're my best friend I'm happy to help you in any way I can. What's the problem?"

They walked to an empty couch and sat down. May was quiet for a minute while she thought about how to phrase the favour she was about to ask stroking Pikachu who was sitting in her lap. Taking a deep breath she started to explain "For the past year or so Drew has kept bothering me asking me out on dates trying to give me gifts, I don't like him that way I've told him that but he won't listen so about a week ago he asked me why I won't go out with him." May paused and looked Ash in the eyes before she continued as she knew a wrong word and this could go really badly. "I told him that I already had a boyfriend, he asked me who it was I panicked, I couldn't think any names and before I could stop myself I don't know why but your name came out of my mouth. Ash I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend so that Drew will leave me alone. Please." May looked at the floor after saying this. Ash just stared at her in confusion before saying.

"Of course I'm your friend. You don't need to ask me to pretend" not comprehending what May was asking him to do. May looked at her friend noticing that although his appearance had changed he was still as dense as ever.

"I don't mean that Ash. I mean I need you to pretend that we are a couple. A romantic couple." May said spelling it out for him. A confused look formed on Ash's face before it turned to shock as he understood exactly what May was asking.

Ash was silent for a couple of minutes while he tried to get his head around how to deal with the situation. May was getting scared that she had ruined her friendship with Ash, as she was about to tell him to forget it that she'd deal with Drew, Ash looked her in the eye a slight blush on his face and said "May, your my friend and I want to help you but" Ash paused for a few seconds and May feared the worst "I don't know anything about being a couple so you'll have to tell me what I need to do to help you." Ash finished smiling as he agreed to May's favour. Mays fears evaporated as quickly as they had emerged.

"Oh thank you Ash" May said hugging him again her heart fluttering for a reason that she couldn't work out properly but had a suspicion of what if might be. "How can I thank you?"

"May, you don't need to do anything to thank me but I've got a question for you." Ash said breaking the hug as a strange new feeling started to burn in his chest.

"What is it?"

"I'm going to compete in the Indigo League again. Do you want to travel with me again like we used to?"

"Of course I will it'll be fun. Now let's go to the counter and get registered."

"Okay May I need to get my Pokémon healed as well I had a battle on my way here."

After registering for their Pokédex and contest card with Nurse Joy they handed their Pokémon in to be healed and went to the cafeteria to catch up on what had happened since they had last seen each other although they had talked on the phone they still went over everything that had happened. Ash told May how he had travelled and trained all over the regions and how he had asked certain trainers if they could tutor him. When May asked who the trainers were Ash wouldn't tell her saying she'd find out eventually. May revealed to Ash how she had placed second in the last Grand Festival only losing by a couple of points to Solidad and had beaten Drew in the semi-finals easily. When Ash asked how her family was May told him that her parents were fine and Max was starting his journey in Sinnoh. They traded stories and reminisced on their journey together until late in the evening. Deciding it was late enough they went to Nurse Joy to ask for two rooms so they could spend the night.

"I'm sorry to tell you but we only have one room left" Nurse Joy told them.

"That's okay we'll share" said Ash taking the key from the nurse.

When they opened the door to the room Ash said that he would sleep on the floor and May could have the bed. May tried to argue the point but Ash wouldn't budge so she thanked him reflecting on how much of a gentleman Ash had become, he had bought the food in the cafeteria and pulled her chair out for her.

The room had a single bed, a desk and chair, a bedside cabinet and a small bathroom. Walking into the room May put her bag on the bed when she heard something behind her, she turned round and saw that Ash was getting changed in the middle of the room. His t-shirt was draped over a chair and May could see exactly how muscular Ash had become, May stared for a few seconds before blushing and turning away embarrassed that she had liked what she had seen, she went into her bag to get her pyjamas out and went to the bathroom to get changed thankful that Ash didn't see her looking at him. When she had gotten changed and prepared herself to go to sleep she exited the bathroom and saw that Ash had unrolled his sleeping bag on the floor and was stroking Pikachu while he slept. May took Pikachu from Ash so that he could use the bathroom, while she stroked Pikachu May though about what she'd have to tell Ash about being a couple. After Ash came out of the bathroom he took Pikachu back from May so she could get into bed.

"Good night Ash"

"Good night May"

And with that they lay-down and went to sleep thinking about what they had felt earlier.

Waking up the next morning they got changed had breakfast and collected their Pokémon. Before leaving the Pokémon Centre Ash sent Pidgeot to Professor Oak's lab and asked him to let his mother know that he was okay and he hadn't called her yesterday as he met May and lost track of time. Hearing that May was there Prof Oak asked her how her Pokémon were May replied that they were doing great. After ending the call they left the Pokémon Centre and headed out of the city towards Viridian Forest. They walked in silence for a minute before Ash asked.

"What do I need to do to be a boyfriend?"

"Well I think we need to have a backstory in case Drew asks us and questions like how we got together, where our first date was." May replied. "I was thinking that you were travelling a few months ago you came to Hoenn and you had asked me to help you train." Ash nodded "So while we were training we disturbed a group of Shroomish and they attacked us with Poison Powder, you pushed me out of the way and got took the full brunt of it. I used Blaziken to drive them away then Blaziken carried you to the Pokémon Centre and when you recovered I asked you why you knocked be out of the way. You said that you didn't want me to be hurt because you like me and then you asked me to go out on a date." Ash looked surprised at his pretend forwardness.

"Okay" He said "I know our 'history' but what do I have to do?"

"You need to keep acting like yourself but you need to do little romantic things like hold my hand, put your arm around me, give me flowers but not roses. You only need to do things like that if Drew's around, the rest of the time you don't have to do anything like that." May told him.

"May you know what I'm like if I don't do it all the time I won't remember to do it when I need to." Ash said taking May's hand in his own, his heart rate increasing for reasons that he didn't understand. May turned her face so Ash couldn't see the deep blush on her cheeks.

Ash continued to ask May about what a boyfriend would do in various situations and May answered them as well as she could until they came to the entrance of Viridian Forest.

And so holding hands the two friends entered the forest not knowing what might happen on their journey together.