Here's the next chapter. Hopefully this will be worth the wait, I would've finished it sooner but I was ill a few weeks ago and I came up with the idea for Christmas and New Year oneshots so that put me behind schedule.

Just one thing I need to get off my chest before I get to the chapter. I had an anonymous review which frankly got under my skin because it was quite hurtful and questioned part of the story which anyone with a little common sense could work out. I've pasted the review below so you can see what I'm talking about.

Guest: idiotic and makes no sense at all. First off, you said it took all of his pokemon to take down his gyarados, yet, it's taken down by brock steelix. Pathetic
Next, he can use aura to sense people, but he can sense shit when necesary.
Your characters are poorly written, with making a big deal out of a cheek kiss and your plot is boring and monotonous. I have yet to see any REAL improvement in Ash aside from catching the pokemon you want

Okay first about Gyarados, I said that Ash's Pokémon had been training so they were tired and Gyarados was angry. As all Pokémon fans know it is very hard to stop and angry Gyarados. Now about battling Steelix, Steelix is a Pokémon that Brock's had for a long time so he's going to be strong and he was using moves that were 4x more effective due to typing.

Second Ash's Aura, yes he can sense people but it's when he's been using Aura or when he's trying to find people. His emotions interfere with his abilities so if he's not completely calm he can't control his abilities properly as shown by what happened while rescuing May.

Now about the characters and making a big deal about a cheek kiss. This is Ash we're talking about for him to kiss someone on the cheek is kind of a big deal, he's dense when it comes to anything to do with love and relationships. Ash getting a kiss on the cheek confuses him because he doesn't know how to react that type of situation. Ash's improvement is still growing and more of it will be revealed as the story goes on.

Finally the plot. I've only got one thing to say about that which is 331 Favourites and 369 Follows. I'll take them over one hurtful review any day.

Thank you to everyone who has favourited, followed and review this story, whenever a review like the one above comes in I just look at the stats for this story and that makes me remember I have a lot of people who believe in my story and that's all I need.

Alright I've ranted enough time for the reason you're looking at this story.


Chapter 17

Festival Fallout

The combination of Pikachu's Thunderbolt and Glaceon's Ice Beam created a wall of ice which sparkled with the electricity that was held inside. The Primeape that was leading the charge towards May charged her arm for a Brick Break attack, she slammed her fist into the icy defences breaking a chunk out of it and was thrown backwards by the electricity that escaped through the hole. May smiled her idea was working just like she imagined it, May had thought about using Ice Bolt in a battle for defence which would work by creating a wall but she couldn't help wondering what would happen if the wall was cracked. She'd imagined the electricity shocking the opponent but didn't know if it would actually work, now she knew it would.

The other Primeape slowed their charge hesitant to attack after seeing what happened to their comrade. May wasn't going to give them a chance to think of a plan so she started calling out attacks, a quick look at the Pokémon around her told her that she didn't have much of an advantage. There were 20 Primeape while there were only 10 Pokémon assembled in front of May, she didn't count Sandshrew, Rhyhorn and Adam's Pichu who was clinging to her in fright, they weren't at a level where they could add anything to the fight. They just weren't strong enough yet and the other Pokémon wouldn't have been able to focus properly wondering if they were alright. Typewise there wasn't much of an advantage either, the only Pokémon between her and Ash that had type advantage was Altaria although some of the Pokémon might have attacks that had the advantage against the dragon type.

"Glaceon, use Ice Shard over the wall. Venusaur, Petal Dance. Blaziken, Solarbeam. Wartortle, Water Pulse. Delcatty, Blizzard. Altaria, Dragon Breath!" May shouted quickly, her Pokémon acted quickly sending their attacks into the air so they would fall on the other side of the wall and onto the Primeape, Delcatty's Blizzard was giving the other attacks more power by increasing their speed. May turned to Ash's Pokémon.

"I don't know your attack but if you have anything that's effective against fighting types then please use it. Try and keep your distance, I don't want any of you to get hurt." She said. Pikachu started to cause a bit of mayhem by constantly tripping Primeape up with Grass Knot. Lucario would locate them with his Aura then send them flying with Psychic. Krookodile was firing Stone Edge after Stone Edge into the sky letting the sharp rocks crash down on the fighting types, he could've used Aerial Ace for type advantage but did as May asked and used a different attack to keep his distance. Donphan was working alongside Glaceon sending more Ice Shards over the wall.

The Primeape were taking a beating but they were still willing to fight, charging their power into their fists they attacked the wall with various punching moves. Brick Break, Rock Smash, Cross Chop, Karate Chop, Ice Punch, Fire Punch no matter which move they used the electricity sent them flying back except for one Primeape who was using Thunder Punch. He wasn't affected by the electricity, in fact the electricity was increasing his attack power, soon the other Primeape noticed what was happening and those that could switched to Thunder Punch while the others blocked the incoming attacks. A few minutes later the wall fell, sending sparks of electricity everywhere and the Primeape charged again, this wasn't a Pokémon battle this was a brawl.

May didn't need to or have time to call out attacks to the Pokémon, they all just reacted out of instinct and experience as the Primeape closed in on them.

Pikachu looked like a bolt of lightning as he jumped from one Primeape to the next while using Volt Tackle, he would occasionally switch to using Iron Tail or Grass Knot to help the other Pokémon if they needed it. Krookodile was using a combination of Dig and Aerial Ace to attack the Pig Monkey Pokémon with hit and run tactics due to his type disadvantage. Blaziken was using a variation of Flare Combat to battle the Primeape, she was still using Blaze Kick and Fire Punch but instead of adding Flare Blitz for more power, she was using Flame Charge with did increase the power, only not as much, but also gave the added bonus of increasing her speed and avoided the recoil damage.

Venusaur sent small blasts of Sweet Scent or Sleep Powder into the faces of attacking Primeapes before blasting them away with Vine Whip or Petal Dance. Delcatty kept switching between moves, she'd use Double Slap one minute then Iron Tail and every so often she would use Assist sending a random attack into whichever fighting type was in front of her. Wartortle had taken a leaf out of Pikachu's attack plan and was ricocheting back and forth using Rapid Spin to slam into Primeapes like an out of control pinball.

Lucario was throwing Primape around with Psychic, blasting them with small Aura Spheres, blocking and countering attacks with Bone Rush and delivering powerful blows with Close Combat. Donphan had launched into a blistering Rollout attack ploughing through any Primeape that stood in his way. Glaceon blasted the ground with Ice Beam making it hard for the Primeape to move about and hitting them with Hidden Power as they tried to get to their feet. Finally Altaria seemed to be doing the best as she was using Sing to putting any Primeape that came close enough to sleep and then attacked with a super effective Dream Eater, already she had knocked one of the Primeape out. Even though they were doing well, the Primeape had the advantage of numbers and more seemed to be coming from the trees.

The Pokémon were taking damage nearly as much as the Primeape, be it from recoil or attacks, May knew that if she didn't think of something fast then they would lose. Her mind raced as she tried to come up with any sort of plan to help them, she was so focussed on her task that she didn't notice that one of the Primape had gotten past the Pokémon and was now leaping at her. May stood frozen as the Primeape came closer and closer his fist crackling with electricity as he summoned up a Thunder Punch, just before he got within striking distance he jerked backwards. May's eyes rose slightly and she was the cloudlike wings of Altaria, the Humming Pokémon had grabbed hold of Primeape and carried him away, saving her trainer from the incoming attack. May watched as her faithful dragon type flew off carrying the furious fighting type who started to attack Altaria with Thunder Punch, May was shocked by the amount of fury in Primeape's eyes and she once again surveyed the Pokémon fighting in front of her, quickly making a note of their types and she smiled she had a plan that would work if she could get the time to prepare it. Altaria dropped Primeape on top of his brethren and started to circle back when a Focus Blast shot into the air and hit her wing, crying in pain Altaria dropped towards the Primeape unable to stop herself. There was a blur of blue and black that shot towards the stricken dragon type, it was Lucario using Extremespeed, he appeared next to May panting slightly and lay Altaria on the ground sending a Heal Pulse into her wings.

May put her hand on Lucario's shoulder, stopping him from re-joining the battle.

"Can you talk to the other Pokémon using your Aura, just them not the Primeape?"

"I can." He replied sending a Primeape flying with an Aura Sphere, stopping Delcatty from taking a Cross Chop to the back.

"I have an idea and I need you to pass the idea on." She said. May told Lucario her plan, he then sent the information to the other Pokémon. They all fell back into a line before May as they prepared to put May's plan into action. Donphan, Glaceon, Delcatty and Altaria moved forward using attack after attack to hold the Primeape back while the others began to charge attacks.

Donphan kept using Earthquake over and over again to keep the Primeape from getting to
close, Glaceon and Delcatty were balancing on his back using Ice Shard and Blizzard respectively while Altaria was in the air again circling above the battle sending Dragon Pulse after Dragon Pulse down on to the fighting types. Earthquake kept the Primeape off balance while they were pelted by the other attacks once more sped up by Delcatty's Blizzard.

"We are ready, Mistress May." Lucario said, May was going to tell him not call her Mistress but decided that now probably wasn't the best time to do it.

"Get out of the way!" she shouted to Donphan, Delcatty, Glaceon and Altaria. The four Pokémon each sent one last full power attack at the Primeape before moving back to the side of the other Pokémon. May took a deep breath to calm her nerves if this attack didn't work then there was nothing else she could do. "Nature's Fury!" she yelled.

Blaziken let an Overheat fly from her beak, a column of pure white flames on a direct collision course with the rampaging fighting types. Venusaur used a Solarbeam which melded with Blaziken's attack, thanks to Lucario helping them understand how to make powerful attacks blend together without causing an explosion when they touched. Wartortle sent a Hydro Pump into the attack which was soon followed by Lucario's Aura Sphere and Pikachu's Thunder. Completing the combination was Krookodile's Stone Edge which spun around Nature's Fury, each stone absorbing a portion of the attacks energy.

That should've been the last attack but Donphan added his Hyper Beam, Delcatty used Swift, Glaceon released an Ice Beam and Altaria poured her energy into a Dragon Pulse. These attacks added even more power and speed to the attack as it sped towards the Primeape. This augmented version of Nature's Fury looked different to the one that Ash used against Team Rocket, which flickered between white and the different colours of each other attack, this one was a solid almost blinding white surrounded in golden stars and stones which shone in the different colours of each attack. If only this was a Contest May thought, knowing that with an attack that looked as beautiful as this she could win any Contest or Grand Festival.

Seeing the attack coming the Primeape ran in all directions, forgetting their anger in favour of saving themselves, as they tried to escape it. Apart from one who stood still, staring down the incoming attack. Nature's Fury struck with the power of 5 Hyper Beams sending a shockwave that knocked out all the Primeape along with Delcatty, Krookodile, Donphan and Altaria it also knocked everyone else off their feet and send Ash's unconscious body rolling along the ground. An enormous cloud of dust, smoke and debris filled the clearing and an explosion that sent flying Pokémon scattering into the air.

May coughed as she tried to get a breath of clean air, she untied her bandana and was about to cover her mouth when she caught a glimpse of Ash, she ran over to him quickly checking for any injures and felt relief wash over her when she found none. She decided that Ash would need her bandana more and quickly tied it around his face like a mask. She heard a grunt behind her and turned thinking it was one of the Pokémon. Her eyes widened when she saw the Primeape who stared down Nature's Fury charging out of a cracked green dome of energy. He'd used Protect to try and stop the attack but only with partial success, he'd taken heavy damage but still managed to block a large portion of the attack.

Primeape charged at May, his fist crossed over his chest and glowing with power, May knew she couldn't get out of the way in time and even if she could that would put Ash in the way of the attack. Instead May placed Pichu on Ash's chest and spread her arms wide to act as a shield for Ash and Pichu, she closed her eyes waiting for the attack to his, she felt a breeze on either side of her face followed quickly by the clash of metal and the thud of something hitting the ground. May slowly opened her eyes and saw Glaceon and Pikachu standing over the knocked out Primeape, their tails still glowing slightly from their recent attacks, they had used Iron Tail to stop Primeape hurting May. The other Pokémon gathered round May, Ash and Pichu to protect them in case the Primeape woke up and attacked again, May returned Krookodile, Donphan, Delcatty and Altaria to the Pokéballs thanking them for their hard work.

A minute later the dust cleared completely and May could see Adam running into the clearing with Luna, Luxray and Dragonite behind him, they were all battered and bruised but nothing too serious. He ran over to May, Ash and the Pokémon dodging around the knocked out Primeape, Pichu jumped into his arms when he was close enough. Adam saw Ash lying on the ground and knelt by his side checking for a pulse and whether he was breathing.

"May, what happened?" Adam asked, May quickly explained what happened after she and Ash had ran for the clearing. Adam listened quietly as he returned Dragonite and continued to check Ash's condition, when May finished Adam told her to return her Pokémon as well and to follow him. Adam lifted Ash, carrying him over his shoulder and started to leave the clearing after putting a small pile of berries close to the Primeape. They walked in silence, Pikachu sitting on May's shoulder, Luxray walked along side Adam while Lucario and Luna were in front and behind the small group keeping their Aura senses open.

"Adam, where's Umbreon and the other Pokémon you had with you?" May asked breaking the silence.

"They're in their Pokéballs. Umbreon and Greninja are dark types and although they're strong they were still at a type disadvantage and outnumbered. When we stop I'll heal them along with Luna, Luxray, your Pokémon and Ash's." Adam replied.

"Where are we going?"

"There's a cave not too far from here, we can stay there until Ash wakes up and we're ready to move again." Adam shifted Ash's weight a little, "Remind me to tell Ash not to eat as much, he's heavy." May giggled, it made her relax a little. With the battle against the Primeape and worrying about Ash, May's mind and body had been tensed and now that the adrenaline was wearing off she was feeling tired. About ten minutes later they arrived at the cave and went inside, May pulled a blanket from Ash's bag and Adam lay the raven haired trainer on it.

"May, stay here and try to get Ash to drink something. Luna, Lucario I need you to use Heal Pulse on him just one each for now, I know you're all tired but I need both of you along with Luxray and Pikachu to keep watch till I get back. I'm going to get some firewood and a few berries to help everyone recover." Adam said, they all nodded and watched as Adam left the cave. He returned about an hour later with an armful of firewood and some berries, he placed them on the ground before starting to build a fire. A small spark from Pikachu was enough to get the fire started and Adam started to boil some water as he crushed up some berries in a bowl he took from his bag.

May took her bandana from Ash's face, dipping part of it into the water using it to clean the dust and debris from Ash's face. Adam added a little of the water to the crushed berries making a paste, putting the bowl down he carefully turned Ash over with May's help. Adam examined the back of Ash's head and then his neck looking for any injuries, he could see the top of a red mark at the base of Ash's neck. Once again with May's help Adam lifted Ash into a sitting position and asked May to help take Ash's jacket and t-shirt off. May blushed heavily but did as Adam asked, when Ash's t-shirt was taken off they lay him back on his stomach. A large red mark could be seen across the top of Ash's back, Adam applied the paste to the mark covering it with a thick layer.

"We need to leave that on for a while. It should stop the swelling" Adam said, "May, why don't you let the Pokémon out and then get some rest."

"But I'm not tired. I feel like I could stay awake for days." May replied releasing the Pokémon.

"That's your adrenaline, it'll wear off soon. After everything that's just happened you'll need the rest."

"What about you?" May asked, "Aren't you tired?"

"I am but I'll be alright, clean yourself up and get some sleep while I heal the Pokémon. You don't want Ash to see you like that do you?"

"What do you mean 'like that'?" May asked blushing slightly and feeling offended as she glanced at Ash to see if he heard anything.

"If you've got a mirror look in it." May put a hand into her bag and brought out a compact mirror, she opened the lid and looked in the small round mirror and saw what Adam meant. There were bits of dirt and debris in her hair, her usually sapphire blue eyes were bloodshot and her face was smeared with dust, smoke and a few tears.

"Oh, I see what you mean." May said quietly and slightly embarrassed. Adam saw the look on May's face and felt guilty.

"Sorry May, I was only playing around. I didn't mean to upset you. Do you what to know a secret?" Adam asked. May nodded silently, "Ash wouldn't care what you looked like, that doesn't matter to him. He cares about what makes you May, your attitude, how much you love your Pokémon and your kindness to everyone." Adam could see the shocked look on May's face and chuckled a little, "I told you I can read people, he hasn't said it or realised it but if you know what to look for you can see it on his face. The only way it could be clearer is if he had a flashing neon sign above his head saying 'I Like May Maple'. Give him some time and he'll work it out, he just needs the right set of circumstances to make it all fit into place. Now get some rest, Ash won't be waking up until tomorrow at least. He needs time to heal."

May nodded and after using some of the water to wash the grime from her face she lay down on the blanket next to Ash, quickly falling asleep as the tiredness in her body took over. Adam's lips formed a small smile as he took a blanket from his bag and put it over Ash and May, making sure it didn't touch the paste on Ash's back. He yawned as his adrenaline started to wear off and turned to the Pokémon releasing Umbreon and Greninja at the same time.

"Alright then," he said, taking his medical supplies from his bag, "Who's first?"

By the time Adam had finished healing the Pokémon it was late afternoon so he decided to start making some food. As the smell of berries and spices filled the air May stirred in her sleep, she opened her eyes slowly and found herself looking directly at Ash's face, his eyes still closed and breathing gently. A smile played across her lips as she moved her head forward and placed a small kiss on Ash's forehead before sitting up, not noticing the smile that appeared on Ash's face. May stretched and looked around the cave, she could see all the Pokémon were still out of their Pokéballs a few of the Pokémon had bandages on while others seemed to be wearing ice packs. Adam was sat by the fire cooking and looked over to May smiling as he stifled another yawn.

"Don't worry, I won't say anything." He said looking back to the pot that was hanging over the fire.

"What do you mean? Won't say anything about what?" May asked.

"About the little kiss you just gave Ash." Adam replied with a grin. May started to feel flustered and decided to change the subject.

"How…How long have I been asleep?"

"A couple of hours, I've not long finished with the Pokémon and thought that it was time to get something to eat. I was about to wake you but you beat me to it."

"It smells nice." May said as she moved closer to the fire, "What is it?"

"Just soup, nothing special. I'm not the best cook but I know enough to get by, a few more minutes and it'll be ready. I'll need your help to feed Ash."


"I'll need to hold Ash up right but you'll have to feed him, I can't do both by myself."

"Oh okay." May said quietly, feeling a little nervous about having to feed Ash but he needed her help and she was willing to do it, after all he'd do it for her. Once the soup was ready Adam and May ate it while making light conversation, when they finished Adam lifted Ash up and put him in a sitting position as May blew on the soup to cool it down before carefully feeding it to him. Once May had emptied the bowl Adam lay Ash back on his chest and started to feed the Pokémon. May helped by taking the bowls of Pokémon food to where the Pokémon were sleeping and gently waking them, she saw Adam stifle a yawn as he poured out another bowl of food.

"Adam, why don't you get some rest and I'll finish that." She said, walking towards him.

"It's fine May, I'm alright. When everyone's feeling better I'll get some rest." Adam replied, he felt something drop on to his shoulder and turned round seeing Luna stood there.

"Lu Lu Cario CarLu Lurio." She said, Adam sighed.

"Okay, you win." He said, putting handing the bag of food to Luna, "I'll get some rest but I've got watch tonight okay." Luna nodded and carried on pouring the food into bowls. Adam walked over to the wall of the cave and sat down leaning against it.

"What did Luna say to you? And what did you mean by 'watch tonight'?" May asked.

"That I won't be in any state to do anything tomorrow if I don't get some rest now. This is still a dangerous place to be, even though the Primeape probably won't bother us until they're back at full strength, we still need to be on guard till we're closer to a town or city. I'm going to stay up tonight just in case something happens, probably be quiet but it's better to be safe than sorry." Adam yawned again and closed his eyes, his head dropping forward so his chin rested on his chest. He was asleep straight away (AN wish I could do that) but couldn't settle down as he kept fidgeting in his sleep. Pichu walked over and climbed into Adam's arms, curling up he was followed by Luxray and Umbreon who pushed their bowls close to Adam and sat either side of him. May smiled and carried on helping Luna giving the food out finishing a few minutes later. Luna looked over at Adam and smiled before walking to the mouth of the cave and standing guard, May didn't know what to do with herself now and sat down on the blanket next to Ash. She looked around the cave and could see the worry in the eyes of Ash's Pokémon.

"Ash is going to be fine, you'll see, he just needs to rest for a while that's all." She told them, she then saw the blanket that had been covering her. She picked it up and walked over to where Adam was resting, covering him with the blanket, he kept shifting restlessly as if having a nightmare but settled down a little when the blanket covered him. May returned to her former position next to Ash and started to stroke his hair and whisper words of encouragement to him, she started to hum, it was the same lullaby that she sang to Max and Jirachi. The Pokémon started to smile and visibly relaxed at the song, Ash smiled in his sleep and Adam's restlessness faded completely. May did wonder why Adam had been acting restless as he slept but ignored the feeling and kept humming.

A couple of hours later Adam woke up and stretched out, looking around the cave he saw that some of the Pokémon were talking to each other quietly, Greninja and Dragonite had joined Luna at the mouth of the cave while the rest were sleeping. May was still sat next to Ash humming, she kept repeating the song and didn't seem to mind as she continued to stroke Ash's hair, not wanting to embarrass her again Adam closed his eyes and acted as if he was waking up again, groaning so that he didn't catch May by surprise.

May stopped humming and stroking Ash's hair as she turned to Adam and smiled.

"Are you feeling any better?" May asked.

"A little, yeah." Adam said standing up and stretching, careful not to drop Pichu who was still sleeping. "You okay?" he asked, May nodded.

"I'm fine, I think Ash is starting to feel better too. He was trying to turn over before but Lucario helped me keep him still." Adam was a little shocked, that Ash could be getting better already. He knelt down and using a damp cloth he cleaned away the paste on Ash's back and saw that the redness had faded quite a lot, Adam gently prodded the remaining redness and only got a couple of quiet groans from Ash in return.

"Ash told me once that he healed fast but I didn't expect this sort of speed." Adam reached into his bag, "May, help me get him up right." Adam pulled some bandages out of his bag along with some surgical tape as May carefully turned Ash onto his back and lifted him into a sitting position with Lucario's help. Adam then wrapped the bandages around Ash's chest securing them with some tape after that May pulled a clean T-shirt from Ash's bag and help dress Ash before they lay him back down on the blanket.

As Ash slept Adam and May talked, swapping stories. Adam asked May to tell him about her journey as a Co-Ordinator, people she'd met and Pokémon she caught, in return May asked Adam to tell her about his adventures and what Cynthia was like. The questions about Cynthia made Adam nervous and slightly evasive but May got the information she wanted in the end. As it started getting late Adam made some more food and with May's help they fed Ash again, after that they talked a little more before May started to yawn.

"May, get some rest. After everything that's happened today you probably need the sleep. At the rate Ash is healing he should wake up tomorrow and we might be able to start travelling again or possibly the day after that." May was about to protest but she could feel sleep creeping up on her, she simply nodded and lay down on the blanket next to Ash, quickly falling to sleep with a smile on her lips as she put an arm across Ash's chest not knowing that Ash smiled at the contact as well.

Adam chuckled under his breath, shaking his head as he covered them both with the blanket before walking to the mouth of the cave taking his bag with him. Adam settled himself down and pulled a pad and pencil from his bag, he couldn't draw well but he did like to just sketch anything that came into his mind. He spent the night keeping watch for anything that might cause them trouble and trying to draw Glaceon and Pikachu who had curled up together by their trainers.

Adam looked over to Ash and Pikachu sighing and shaking his head. How could those two be so dense? Adam thought.

"Ash, Pikachu you two need to open your eyes and realise what you're missing even though it's right in front of you. I've talked to both of you about this sort of thing but you still haven't worked it out. For once would you listen to your hearts about more than Pokémon battles and training. May and Glaceon are in pain because you are too stupid to notice the signs they're giving you. If you don't work it out soon then they're going to move on but they'll never get over the heartbreak." Adam turned to look out of the cave. "Heartbreak is a fate worse than death, if you manage to live through it. Still you have a chance to live full future and change your past. I only wish I could have that same chance, to change my past." He finished sadly.

Luna put a paw on Adam's shoulder, as she stood behind him.

"Lu Cario, Car Lu Rio?" she asked.

"No, I'm not going to tell them what tomorrow is. It'll only make them worry." Adam said with a sigh.


"I'll be alright. I've got you, Umbreon and Luxray with me. It'll be the same as every other year, one day at a time right?" Luna nodded and leaned against the wall of the cave, closing her eyes to get some rest knowing that although tomorrow would be hard for him Adam would be okay.

The next morning May woke up to the smell of porridge, she groaned and stretched as she sat upright.

"Morning." Adam said looking up from the pot he was stirring. May could see that something was bothering Adam but decided that if he wanted to talk about it he'd do it when he was ready.

"Good morning." May replied, "Were you okay last night?"

"Yeah, a couple of Persian came close to us but Luna and Luxray scared them off, other than that nothing happened."

"That's not what I meant." May said, Adam sighed.

"I know what you meant. I was okay, I watched the stars and tried to draw but it didn't turn out that well so I got rid of it."

"Can I see the picture?"

"Sorry, I used it as kindling for the fire. I was really bad, you wouldn't have wanted to see it." May was slightly put out by what Adam said but decided that it was his drawing so it was his decision about what he did with it.

"Well, next time you draw something can see it?" she asked giving Adam her puppy dog eyes. Adam just stared into May shimmering eyes before looking away and laughing. May was confused and started to get angry that Adam was laughing at her. "What's so funny?" she demanded angrily.

"Sorry," Adam said apologetically, "It's just that I can see what Ash meant when he talked about you."

"Ash talked about me." May said quietly.

"Yeah, he told me about your infamous puppy dog eyes and how you can get him to do anything by using them. I'm sorry to tell you this May but I'm immune to puppy dog eyes, they've never had any effect on me," Adam stopped to add a couple of crushed berries to the porridge, "but if I draw anything I think is good enough I will show you." He smiled, May returned the smile and was about to start pouring food of the Pokémon when a groan was heard, turning round she saw that Ash was starting to sit up.

"Welcome back to the world of the living." Adam said walking over and helping Ash sit upright. Ash was slightly lightheaded, he shut his eyes to try and shut out the dizziness, he felt something slam into him knocking him back to the ground. Opening his eyes he saw blue fabric wrapped around silky brown hair and felt a pair of arms around his arms and chest.

"Ash, you're okay." May cried happily, Ash returned the hug although not a forcefully.

"May, don't you think we should let Ash sit up?" Adam asked, May let go of Ash and blushed as she sat back on her legs. Adam offered a hand to Ash and pulled him into a sitting position, Adam then checked Ash's back to see how he was healing. There was some minor swelling still present but other than that Ash's back didn't show any sign of injury, Adam asked Luna and Lucario to use Heal Pulse to clear the last of the swelling away. He then told Ash that he'd feel stiff for a couple of days while his muscles adjust.

Once Ash's injuries had been dealt with they ate breakfast and fed the Pokémon before collecting their things and making their way to Vermillion City once more, although at a slower pace than before so that Ash didn't push himself too far. As they walked May and Adam filled Ash in on what had happened since he'd been injured. Hearing that May had used his combination Ash was amazed and congratulated her on using it.

They continued on their way to Vermillion City and didn't have any problems with the wild Pokémon, Ash thought it might be because of May using Nature's Fury and Adam agreed with him. A few days later they reached the outskirts of Vermillion City and Adam spied a poster about the Regions Festival on the side of a building. After he'd read it he paled slightly and stopped, May and Ash noticed, turning back to look at him.

"Hey, you two go on ahead." Adam said, "I don't think I'll be able to go into there, I was okay with Drummond Town because it wasn't that big but this is too much for me."

"Are you sure, you were looking forward to this as much as we were." Ash said. May noticed that Adam's eyes kept flicking to the side and then she spotted the poster as well and saw what made Adam change his mind.

"Come on Adam please come with us. Ash is still a little off balance and I can't help him by myself." She said pleadingly. Adam sighed, his own loyalty to his friends outweighed his fear of what he'd seen on the poster.

"Fine, come on let's get Ash to the Pokémon Centre. Nurse Joy can take a look at him to make sure he's alright." Adam grabbed one of Ash's arms and put it around his neck, he took one last look at the poster before they started making their way to the Pokémon Centre. On the poster it showed some of the attractions of the Regions Festival, there were displays for Pokémon Co-Ordinating, Pokémon from every region to show the differences between them and special guests such as Elite Four members, Gym Leaders and the guest of honour was the Champion of Sinnoh, Cynthia Shirona.

Just before they entered the centre of Vermillion City Adam stopped, pulled his hoodie out of his bag and put it on, raising the hood and taking Ash's arm again as they continued to the Pokémon Centre. May noticed that Adam kept looking around and acting twitchy, she knew that she'd put him in an awkward position but she felt it was for the best.

They got to the Pokémon Centre a few minutes later and handed their Pokémon over to Nurse Joy, asking if she could check Ash's injuries as well. The Pokémon Centre's Chansey took their Pokéballs while Nurse Joy had Ash go into a side room so she could examine him.

Adam and May waited in silence and a few minutes later Ash came back with Nurse Joy giving him a clean bill of health but telling him to take it easy for the next few days in case he pulls his muscles before they settled properly. A little while later Chansey returned with their Pokémon, Ash and May had convinced Adam to stay in the city during their wait, even though he kept making nervous excuses trying to get out of the city. They asked Nurse Joy about getting a room but because of the Regions Festival there weren't any rooms left in the Pokémon Centre and when they tried to book a hotel room they found that they were all full as well. They were resigned to the fact that they would need to make camp somewhere, before leaving the Pokémon Centre Ash and May called their parents to tell them they'd made it to Vermillion City and were going to explore the Regions Festival. Adam called Dinah sending Greninja and Dragonite back and requesting Abomasnow and Arcanine.

They left the Pokémon Centre and started to explore the stalls and sights of the Festival, Pikachu sat on Ash's shoulder while Glaceon walked at May's side. Adam had left Luna in her Pokéball to rest and released Luxray who walked next to him. Adam stayed a couple of steps behind Ash and May giving them space to be with each other, even though they weren't together yet.

They'd been walking round for about an hour when May and Ash stopped at a stall with souvenirs from Kalos, Adam was still a few paces behind them and was about to stop at the stall when he saw a familiar head of long blonde hair walking towards him with two older people alongside her. He stopped and looked around frantically, he spotted an alley and was about to dive down it when Luxray bounded forward towards the familiar person before Adam could stop him.

"Ray, Ray." He purred as he rubbed against the person's leg once he was close enough. The blonde woman knelt down and stroked the electric type's dark blue fur.

"Well aren't you a friendly Pokémon." The woman said, "Wait a minute, I know you don't I?" Luxray nodded and ran back towards Adam taking the leg of his jeans in his mouth and dragging Adam towards the woman.

"Hey, Luxray. What are you doing, stop it." Adam said receiving a look from Luxray that told him to stop trying to hide. Luxray's tail knocked one of the Pokéballs from Adam's belt releasing Luna who quickly assessed the situation and pulled Adam's hood down. The woman was watching this and smiled when she saw Adam's face running up to him and embracing him.

"Adam, it's great to see you. It's been about a year since we last saw each other. How are you?" The woman asked happily, laughter in the undertone of her voice.

"It's great to see you too, Cynthia." Adam said returning the hug, "I'm okay, what about you?"

"I'm great seeing you again," Cynthia replied breaking the hug and punching Adam playfully, "You need to stay in touch more. How are we meant to be friends if you don't call me? Every time I try and call you there's no signal."

"Sorry I've been doing a lot of training lately and you know the type of place I go to. I lose track of time."

"I tried to call you when I saw you competing in the Johto League."

"Yeah, sorry about that, I turned my phone off. I wanted to focus on my battles and go over my strategies to make sure they were up to scratch."

"So you're saying I'm a distraction?" Cynthia said her voice slowly turning icy.

"No, you know what my mind can be like. If I want to focus on something then I need to block everything else out." Adam said apologetically but Cynthia had turned her back on him, her arms crossed over her chest, "Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?" Adam regretted those words as soon as he'd spoken them as Cynthia turned round with a victorious smirk on her lips.

"Come on, we're spending the day together, you're buying me souvenirs for each region and telling me everything that's happened since we last met up." Cynthia said linking arms with Adam, "My parents are here with me come and say hello to them." She didn't give Adam the chance to answer as she dragged him back to where the people he'd seen behind her were standing. Luxray and Luna exchanged a smile and followed behind them.

"Mother, Father you remember Adam don't you." She said. Cynthia's mother was called Anthea she had short blonde hair that curled inwards slightly at the ends, sky blue eyes and the same pale complexion as Cynthia. She wore a pale blue suit dress with matching bag and shoes. Cynthia's father's name was Harold, he was a stern looking man, his black hair was starting to grey and he wore a dark grey three piece suit with a pocket watch in the pocket of his waist coat and the chain reaching into the other. It was easy to see that Cynthia had inherited her father's eyes, they were the same stormy grey as the Sinnoh Champion's.

"Sir, Ma'am it's nice to meet you again." Adam said to the pair respectfully. Cynthia's mother smiled in return while her father barely acknowledged his greeting, only nodding slightly. Cynthia's parents weren't fans of Pokémon trainers or battles they thought of Pokémon more as pets than friends. Her mother had a Bellossom and her father had a Growlithe.

Cynthia's parents didn't like the fact that Cynthia had become a trainer and although
they were proud that she had become the Champion of Sinnoh they would've preferred it if she had become a lady of society like her mother.

Harold's eyes bore into Adam with disapproval but Adam just stared right back not flinching. Cynthia started to feel a little nervous about the way Adam and her father looked at each other. She knew that her parents didn't like Adam much, her mother found him polite and she was happy that Cynthia had someone to call her best friend but she would've preferred it to be someone else, someone from society. Her father didn't approve of her friendship with Adam at all, he usually had bad things to say about Adam's family which did cause tension between her and her father. Nothing had been said lately so they were on good terms.

"We never approved of your friendship with our daughter." Harold said disdain evident in his voice, "You're not from the right sort of family."

"Father!" Cynthia said shocked at what her father had said.

"Harold!" Anthea started just as shocked as her daughter. Even though she didn't fully approve of Adam and Cynthia's friendship, there was no need to vocalise it like that.

Adam just unlinked arms with Cynthia and turned to walk away after nodding to Anthea as a way of saying goodbye, not trusting himself to speak as his emotions ran riot inside him. Luxray and Luna followed Adam but all three of them stopped just a few feet away when Cynthia's father spoke again.

"Cynthia would've become Champion earlier if not for you." He said, Adam looked over his shoulder glaring at the older man, "She returned from her journey and her schedule was pushed back by a few months because your parents died." Cynthia and her mother covered their mouths shocked at what had just been said. Luxray didn't take kindly to what had been said and spun around, advancing on the man snarling with electricity crackling across his now raised hackles.

"Luxray, stand down." Adam said, reluctantly Luxray slowly walked back to Adam's side still snarling at Harold. The older man met Adam's eyes and flinched under the cold glare. "He's not worth the effort. Come on let's go." Adam walked off with Luxray and Luna alongside him as he moved at a fast pace wanting to get away from all the people and to somewhere he could be by himself.

Cynthia watched helplessly as Adam vanished into the crowds, feeling a mixture of sadness and rage crashing about inside her heart.

"Typical ruffian" Harold muttered under his breath before a hand swung across his field of vision and crashed against his cheek. The crack could be heard over the sounds of the Festival. The hand that had hit Harold was Cynthia's, she then spun on her heels and stalked away from her family.

"Cynthia, where do you think you're going?" demanded her father as he held his cheek. "You're the Festival's guest of honour, people need to see you." Cynthia turned to look at her father, a man who at this moment in time she was incredibly ashamed of. Her eyes flared with anger instead of the usual cool intelligence that shone from them.

"I'm going to comfort my friend, he's the only person who NEEDS to see me after what you've just done." Cynthia said, venom laced in her voice. "Go home now, don't try and contact me. I'll contact you when I'm ready," Cynthia turned away and started walking when she called back over her shoulder, "If I think you deserve it. You know what today is and you still said that. I don't think I can think any less of you now."

Adam threw his hood back up and pushed his way through the crowd not caring about the people he bumped into, only wanting to get away from the mass of bodies.

"Hey Adam," May said, "Look at what Ash just bought for me." She held out a small crystal figurine of Manaphy. As Adam walked towards them but his kept his head down and just went past them. He ignored their calls after him as he kept moving. Luna looked apologetically at both of them as she passed but didn't attempt to stop Adam or stop herself as she followed Adam.

Cynthia came up to them a minute later.

"Hey Cynthia, it's been a while. Garchomp's gotten a lot stronger thanks to your advice." Ash said as she passed.

"Ash, it's nice to see you again but I can't stop right now. I'm trying to catch up to a friend of mine who needs me right now." She replied as she started walking away.

"Do you mean Adam?" May asked. Cynthia stopped and turned to look at May.

"You know Adam?" she replied.

"Yes, he's our friend too. What's happened?"

"Follow me and I'll explain." Cynthia said. As they followed Adam Cynthia started to explain what had occurred. May felt a little guilty because she'd been the one to drag him into the city even though she knew he didn't want to.

"My father said something very insensitive to Adam even though he knew what today was." Cynthia said.

"What did he say? And what's today?" May asked. Cynthia looked at May in slight shock but then knew why she'd asked.

"I can't tell you, I'm sorry but Adam doesn't talk about today with anyone. What happened isn't for me to tell you, you'll have to ask Adam." May nodded and thought about what might've been said and what today could possibly be.

Adam had walked to the beach and went a secluded section he'd found years before and he sat on a mound of rocks, warm from the day's heat, just staring out to sea hoping that the sound of the waves would help him calm down. Luxray and Luna stood a few feet away looking at each other with worry, the last time they'd seen Adam this upset was when his parents had died.

Tears trickled down Adam's cheeks as the pain hit him, he wasn't sure what had stopped him from attacking Cynthia's father but knew it was the right thing to do. If he had then he'd just have lowered himself to the same level. Luna and Luxray stayed in place a few feet away from Adam knowing that there wasn't anything they could do for Adam yet, he needed time to process what had happened.

Eventually Cynthia, Ash and May found Adam sitting on the sand, having moved from the rocks, staring out to sea, his hood still up hiding his face from anyone who might look at him. They'd been searching for him for about an hour, Luna and Luxray were still stood a few feet from Adam, waiting for the time when they could help him.

"Ash, May would you mind if I talk to Adam privately? I think that if all of us went over then that would make him bottle everything up when he really need to talk about what happened." Cynthia asked.

"Are you sure?" May asked, "Wouldn't it be better for all of us to go over. You know, show him he's not alone."

"I'm sure," Cynthia replied, "Adam's a really private person, from what you've told me he's opened up to both of you a little but what happened, especially with it happening today, is something he'll force down for our sakes so we don't feel pity towards him. You two go back to the festival and enjoy yourselves, when Adam's ready I'll bring him to meet you. Where are you staying?"

"We couldn't get a room anywhere so we were going to camp out in the forest just outside the city." Ash replied.

"Well not any more, you're staying with me. I've been given a penthouse apartment, I was sharing with my parents but they should be going home today. I'm staying at the Vermillion Sea Hotel, I'll let the reception know that I've got some new guests staying with me once I've talked to Adam." Cynthia said. Ash and May thanked her and reluctantly turned to leave the beach when May stopped and looked Cynthia dead in the eyes.

"Cynthia, even though I've only known Adam for a few weeks I care about him a lot. He's helping me with something very special to me," May said, her eyes flicking to look at Ash briefly, "So I'm asking you please will you look after Adam."

"Always." Cynthia replied a flash of understanding passed between the two women. May nodded and started to walk away when she heard Cynthia speak again. "May," May turned round, "I hope that works out for you." They shared a smile and May left the beach linking arms with Ash.

"What were you and Cynthia talking about and what's Adam been helping you with?" Ash asked as he and May walked back to the Festival.

"It's a girl thing and as for what Adam's helping me with you'll just have to wait till it's ready." May replied cryptically as she steered Ash towards the parts of the Festival they hadn't been to yet.

Cynthia took a deep breath and slowly walked across the sand towards Adam as she passed Luxray and Luna she put a hand on Luna's shoulder and caressed Luxray's fur. She kept walking until she was only a couple of steps behind Adam and cleared her throat.

"I don't care who you are, go away." Adam said shakily but a burning anger was evident in his voice. He kept looking out to sea to enforce the fact he wanted to be alone. Cynthia took another step, then another. She stopped when Adam spoke again "This is your last chance, leave me alone or you'll regret it." He growled.

Cynthia had never heard this amount of rage in Adam's voice before but knew that if she could talk to him then he'd be alright. She reached out to put her hand on his shoulder when Adam grabbed her wrist and flipped her over his shoulder. As she landed Adam spun around pinning both of her arms above her head, straddling her waist and he had a fist raised ready to throw a punch.

Adam paused when he saw that it was Cynthia beneath him, he stared into her eyes and was surprised that there was no fear in them only mild surprise and an enormous amount of worry, not for herself but for him. Cynthia strained her eyesight to look under Adam's hood but it was too dark to see anything. Adam quickly got off of Cynthia and offered her his hand, helping her to her feet.

"Cynthia, I'm sorry I didn't know it was you. I…I'm sorry." Adam said turning and walking away in shame for how he'd acted. He felt something soft and warm wrap around his wrist, looking down he saw that it was a hand, Cynthia's hand.

"Adam, wait." She said, pulling her hand back towards her, making Adam turn around. He looked at the sand still feeling the shame for nearly hurting Cynthia. Cynthia let go of his wrist and pushed his hood back so she could look at him properly. As his hood fell back Adam kept his head down staring resolutely at the sand, he felt Cynthia put a hand under his chin and slowly lift his face up so she could see it.

What Cynthia saw when she stared at Adam's face nearly broke her heart. His cheeks were tear-stained, his eye bloodshot and he looked as pale as death, as if he'd lost the energy to live. She pulled him into a hug which Adam barely returned weakly putting his arms around her back. After a minute she released Adam from the hug.

"My father was wrong to say what he did. I'm sorry about the way he acted. Can you forgive me?" Cynthia asked.

"No, I can't forgive you." Adam said softly, sitting on the sand staring out to see again. "You've done nothing wrong so there's nothing to forgive. It's your father that should be apologising, it's not your place to do it for him. I'm not expecting him to apologise either." Cynthia sat down close to Adam, they each sat with their hands by their sides so they were nearly touching.

"Adam, I know I can't really understand what you're feeling right now but I want to help." Cynthia started but she stopped when Adam interrupted.

Adam chuckled softly but there was no humour behind it, "How someone like you could be related to him I'll never know. You're at different ends of the spectrum, your father is only concerned about himself, about how he's seen and how his family is seen not how the feel. You on the other hand, you care about everyone you meet as if their family, you don't really care about how people see you and that's why everyone sees you at your best."

"I told my parents to go home after what happened, when I was chasing after you I meet Ash and May. I told them that all three of you are staying with me now."

"Make up with your parents." Adam said, "I don't want to cause a rift between you and them. You still have your parent but you never know for how long, so spend as much time with them as possible because once they've gone that it all you'll have left are memories….and they just aren't enough."

They sat in silence for a while just staring out to see before Adam spoke again, keeping his gaze fixed on the horizon.

"He was right you know. If you hadn't come back then you would've become champion quicker." Cynthia looked at Adam and had to resist the urge to slap him.

"To help my best friend, I'd give up my title in an instant. If you don't know that about me, then you don't know anything at all." Cynthia said angrily crossing her arms over her chest.

"Cyn, I'm sorry," Adam said using her old nickname, "I know you'd do that but if you did then I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. You worked so hard to get where you are now, I wouldn't want you to give it up for anyone."

"Ad," Cynthia said using Adam's nickname, the anger gone from her voice "If I didn't go back to be with you during that time, then I wouldn't be the person I am today. Seeing you broken like that hurt me, I wanted to do something to cheer you up so I worked even harder than I had before to become Champion." Adam smiled a little.

"When every life meets another life," he started.

"Something will be born." Cynthia finished smiling, she uncrossed her arms and put her hand on top of Adam's. They sat in silence for a little longer looking at each other until Adam asked a question.

"Do," he started, his voice shaking again, "Do you know what today is?" Cynthia nodded slowly, Adam took a shaky breath before he spoke again, "it's the anniversary of when I found out that my mom and dad had died." Adam started to cry all over again, releasing all the emotion he'd been holding in.

Cynthia moved closer to Adam so she was right next to him and pulled him into another hug, rocking him back and forth, telling him he wasn't alone and that everything would be alright. She places a soft kiss on the top of his head as he wrapped his arms around her tightly as if she might fade away into the sea breeze should he let go.

Luxray and Luna finally moved forwards, Luna sat behind Adam putting her paws on his shoulders while Luxray knocked to balls from Adam's belt releasing Pichu and Umbreon. Adam had left Pichu in his ball to rest after the journey they'd had getting to Vermillion City. Luxray curled up next to Adam, Umbreon curled up in front of his legs and Pichu hugged Adam's stomach.

They all sat there in silence, the only sounds that could be heard were the waves and Adam's choked sobs of pain, loss and memories that just weren't enough.

As Ash and May explored the Unova part of the Regions Festival Ash heard a familiar voice.

"Ah, the fragrant aroma of Unova mixing with the colourful smells of every other region. Doesn't it just bring a warmth to your soul?" The voice said. Ash stopped and looked around searching for the source of the voice.

"No, it couldn't be." Ash said under his breath, May looked at Ash in confusion.

"Ash, what the matter?" she asked.

"I thought I heard someone." Ash started but paused when he heard the voice again.

"I can't wait to evaluate the bonds between trainer and Pokémon, to see the extent of their friendship and trust towards each other." Ash smiled, he recognised that voice and there was only one person he knew that would talk like that. He started to walk towards the voice after a minute of having to squeeze through the crowds of people he stopped in front of a stall. The sign above it read 'Pokémon Connoisseur, How Compatible Are You And Your Pokémon?', standing inside the stall was a man with green hair who was wearing a crisp white shirt, a green bowtie, a black waist coat and black trousers.

"Cilan." Ash said happily as he walked towards the man. Cilan looked at Ash and smiled.

"Ash, it's great to see you again. What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I'm here for a Gym Battle and for the Festival. Why are you here?"

"The Society of Pokémon Connoisseurs was asked to send a representative for the Festival and my name was the one they pulled from the hat. I was allowed to bring a guest with me, actually she should be back soon. She just went to get some refreshments."

"Does that mean that…" Ash started but he was interrupted by another familiar voice.

"You're such a kid to have to ask that." Ash turned around to see a familiar girl with a mass of purple hair and the same outfit she wore the last time he'd seen her.

"Hi Iris." Ash said, Iris was slightly put out that Ash didn't react the way he used to when she called him a kid. She walked over to Cilan and put the drinks she was holding on the counter of the stall before turning back to look at Ash.

"Well you don't look much like a kid anymore." She said smiling as she reached out and gave Ash a hug. May was starting to feel left out when Cilan spoke to her.

"I remember you," he said, "You were at the party when Ash returned home from Unova. You'll have to forgive me but I can't remember your name, I do however remember that you are a Pokémon Co-Ordinator."

"That's right," May said nodding, "My name is May Maple." May held out her hand which Cilan took shaking it.

"It's nice to meet you again, I'm Cilan Dent and this is Iris Yuki." He gestured to Iris who had released Ash from the hug and was now stroking Pikachu's fur. May noticed that something was moving inside Iris' hair, she was about to mention it when a small greenish grey Pokémon appeared.

"Axew." The Pokémon said, Axew took one look at Ash and Pikachu before diving back into Iris' hair.

"Iris, what's the matter with Axew? He just hid in your hair after looking at me and Pikachu." Ash said.

"Oh, that's not Axew." Iris replied pulling a Pokéball from her sleeve, she threw it high into the air, "This is Axew." The ball opened and in a flash of light a large Pokémon appeared with dark yellowish green scales and two scythe like blades on the sides on his face edged in red while the remainder was black.

"HAXORUS!" The Pokémon roared, he looked down at Ash and Pikachu.

"Axew?" Ash said softly, Haxorus nodded and Pikachu jumped from Ash's shoulder onto the arm of the dragon type climbing onto his shoulder before making a careful jump onto one of the blades on the side of Haxorus' face. The two Pokémon started talking, about what had happened since they'd last met.

"Axew evolved into Fraxture about 2 years ago and then evolved again last year into Haxorus. He's finally reached his dream" Iris explained.

"What about the Axew in your hair?" Ash asked.

"That's Haxorus' daughter."

They all stood there talking for a while about what they were doing and what they planned to do next. Iris and Cilan told Ash and May that they were a couple now having started dating a few months ago. Ash and May quietly told them about the favour and how it had gotten a little out of control, they carried on talking and just when Ash and May were going to move on to a different section of the Festival they were both tackled to the ground by a blur. Pikachu had jumped from Ash's shoulder just in time to avoid being crushed by Ash but a second blur struck him, pinning him to the ground.

When Ash came back to his senses he looked to see what had hit him. All he could see was a white beanie hat and some navy blue hair, looking over at Pikachu made the last piece of the puzzle fall into place. Pikachu was pinned to the ground by a rabbit like Pokémon with brown and cream coloured fur, it was a Lopunny. Ash started to laugh making May look at him quizzically as she recovered from her shock.

"Hi Dawn," Ash said, "It's been a while hasn't it."

"Ash, May I can't believe it's you." Dawn said in her usual bubbly tone. She stood up and smiled at them, she was wearing the same sort of outfit as she did when travelling with Ash except now she had a slightly longer skirt. "Why didn't you two tell me?"

"Tell you what?" May asked as she stood up, brushing the dirt off herself.

"That you're a couple now." Dawn answered pulling a magazine from her bag. On the front cover was a picture of May kissing Ash's cheek, it was the magazine that Mrs. Ketchum had shown them the day after their date in Cerulean City. May grabbed the magazine out of Dawn's hands, hiding it from sight.

"Dawn, it's not what you think." May started but quickly decided to talk to Dawn privately in case she said something in front of Ash she shouldn't. May grabbed Dawn's arm and dragged her to one side, she quickly explained about the favour and what had happened since she'd met Ash in Viridian City. When they went back to the stall they saw that Lopunny and Glaceon were growling at each other with a terrified Pikachu caught in the middle.

"Lopunny/Glaceon return." Dawn and May said together placing their Pokémon back inside their Pokéballs. After placing their Pokéballs back in their bags May noticed that two other people had appeared. One she recognised as a rival on the Co-Ordinator's circuit, she had short spiky orange hair and dark red eyes. She wore jeans, a white long sleeve shirt and a sleeveless blue jacket. The other woman had light brown hair brushed backwards except for one part which hung above her face, she wore a top, the top part was dark brown while the bottom part was red and looked like a corset, a white collar and white rolled up cuffs. She also wore grey jeans and brown boots, a small yellow Pokémon was sat on a bag which was fastened to her belt. The woman seemed to know Iris and Cilan as well as Ash from the way she was talking to them.

"Zoey," Dawn shouted, "Over here." Zoey walked over and greeted May with a friendly hug.

"May, I haven't seen you since the Johto Grand Festival a few years ago. How have you been?" Zoey asked.

"I've been great, I'm travelling with Ash right now so I can compete in the Kanto Grand Festival." May answered.

"Good luck," Zoey said sincerely, "I gathered you were travelling with Ash because Dawn recognised both of you in that magazine." She grinned. May facepalmed and then explained to Zoey what was really going on, but Dawn kept interrupting and telling Zoey what May really wanted to happen, stopping just short of graphic details.

"Dawn, when did you get so rude?" May asked in shock, her face slowly turning a bright red, at the usually modest Sinnoh native.

"It's been happening a little at a time for the past few years." Zoey said putting and arm around Dawn's shoulders. Realisation dawned on May seeing that gesture, she put a hand over her mouth.

"Does anyone else know?" she asked. Both Zoey and Dawn shook their heads.

"Only our parents." Zoey said.

"And now you." Dawn added.

"Well I'm happy for you and I won't tell anyone. I promise." May said.

"Thank you." Zoey and Dawn replied. (AN I chose this shipping for Dawn because I don't really like any of the others. Pearlshipping I'm alright with but this is an Advanceshipping story as you know so that leaves Dawn and Zoey.)

The three girls talked a little longer before returning to the others. As May walked over the woman talking to Ash turned and smiled at her, she extended her hand towards May.

"May Maple, nice to meet you. My name's Alexa, I'm a journalist from Kalos. I came to report on this festival but when I saw the article about you and Ash, well I wouldn't let a story like that go. A world scoop of the Princess of Hoenn's mystery man, any chance of an interview?"

"It's nice to meet you too but there isn't a story. This whole thing has gotten a little out of hand, Ash is just helping me with a guy who won't take no for an answer and now…now everything's just gone too far." May could feel herself starting to breakdown. She hugged herself and tried to hold back her tears as she looked at the ground. A hand rested on her shoulder as another touched her chin lifting her face back up. Alexa was stood in front of her with a sympathetic look on her face.

"I might be able to help you with that. I can put a message out to every other journalist, magazine, paper and internet blogger saying that you've given me an exclusive on who your mystery man is. They shouldn't bother you or your family anymore. I won't print anything and I won't ask any questions, I'll do this to help you. I can see that all of this has taken a toll on you, let me do this. Let me take the burden from your shoulders, let me help you." She said honestly.

"But you'll need a story, won't you?" May sniffed, wiping away tears that had started to form. Alexa gave her a warm friendly smile.

"Let me worry about that."

"Thank you." May whispered as she gave Alexa a hug. The older woman smiled and returned the hug, Alexa broke the hug and phoned her office back in Kalos telling them to put an announcement out to all other news outlets to say that she'd gotten the story and they couldn't bother May or her friends and family any more.

"Come on, let's get something to drink. My treat, we'll get the drinks and come back here to talk." Alexa said, she and May then went to get the drinks while Ash, Cilan, Iris, Dawn and Zoey stayed at the stall talking. Ash and May found out that Zoey and Dawn were there as guests of Candice, the Snowpoint City Gym Leader and they were staying in an apartment with her during the Festival. About an hour after May and Alexa came Ash asked about the Gym battles.

"The Gym battles are part of the Festival, they're held in public. There's one taking place right now, we can go and see it if you want." Alexa said.

"Yeah, let's go!" Ash said excitedly, running off in a random direction.

"Ash," Iris shouted, "Stop acting like a little kid. You're going the wrong way." Ash stopped and ran back to the stall.

"Oh, right." He said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head, "Which way is it?"

"Come on," Alexa laughed, "It's this way." Cilan and Iris stayed behind at the stall while Ash, May, Alexa, Zoey and Dawn walked through the Festival on their way to where the Vermillion City Gym battles were being held.

As they drew close they could hear the sounds of a Pokémon battle, Ash surged ahead and stood on a bench so he could see over the crowd gathered around the arena. On the scoreboard Ash could see that Lt Surge and the challenger, Dark Williams, were both down to their last Pokémon. Surge had lost his Electivire and Ampharos, he now had his Raichu on the field while Dark's Jolteon and Magmortar had been defeated and he was left with his Ninetales to finish the battle, the two Pokémon were exchanging blows and both looked tired. Raichu had a number of slight burns while Ninetales' fur had sparks crackling across her fur, remainders of Raichu's previous attacks.

"Raichu, Thunder!" Surge shouted. Raichu collected his electricity making it crackle across his orange fur, an enormous blast of power flew from Raichu slamming into Ninetales side knocking the fire type off her feet.

"Ninetales!" Dark called in worry. The cream coloured fox slowly rose to her feet and snarled at Raichu. "Are you okay?" Dark asked. Ninetales briefly looked back at her trainer and nodded. "Alright then, let's finish this battle, Flame Charge!" Ninetales' red eyes flared as she ran across the field, flames surrounding her body.

"Raichu Mega Punch!" Surge said smugly but he was shocked when Ninetales just sidestepped the attack and crashed into the Mouse Pokémon's side.

"Now channel the energy from Flame Charge into Iron Tail and end this battle." Dark shouted over the cheers of the crowd. Ninetales tails glowed like shining metal and changed into a reddish orange colour as the power of Flame Charge flowed into them. She spun on the spot and flicked her tails with as much force as she could muster, all nine of her tails lashed at Raichu who was only just starting to stand after the Flame Charge. The electric type didn't stand a chance of dodging or countering the attack, he was thrown into the wall surrounding the battlefield sending a cloud of dust into the air. There was silence as everyone waited to see if Raichu would be able to battle, the dust settled and the referee lifted his flag that represented Dark's side of the field.

"Raichu is unable to battle. The winner of the Vermillion City Gym Battle is Dark Williams and Ninetales." The crowd applauded as Dark walked onto the field and stroked Ninetales fur thanking her for all of her effort during the battle. Surge went to Raichu and congratulated him on fighting so hard, returning the tired electric type to his Pokéball. Surge then walked over to Dark, as he returned Ninetales, and held out his hand.

"Not bad kid, I haven't had a battle like that in a while. Any chance of a rematch sometime?" The Gym Leader asked.

"Sure but right now I'm training for the Indigo League. Next time I'm in the area I'll swing by and beat you again." Dark replied smirking, putting his hand in Surge's.

"You're not bad…for a little punk." Surge said with a laugh, shaking hands with Dark. "Here's the Thunder Badge kid. You earned it." Surge broke the handshake and took a badge from his pocket, offering it to Dark. Dark shook his hand to ease the pain of the crushing grip that Surge possessed and took the badge, placing it in his Badge Case. Dark then walked off the field to the cheers of the crowd, Ash smiled he was going to be next.

Ash jumped from the bench and ran towards the arena's entrance. May and the others had joined him shortly after he stood on the bench.

"Ash, wait for us." May shouted after him as she followed. She caught up to him at the entrance of the arena, Ash was stood at a desk talking to the man behind it. She saw Ash nod and the man write something down, Ash turned and walked back to May.

"There's no space for me to have a Gym Battle today. The man at the desk has put me down for tomorrow afternoon to have my battle." Ash said, together they walked back to meet Alexa, Dawn and Zoey. He explained what was happening to them and then they explored the Festival a little more. They continued to walk around having fun and reminiscing about old times and adventures long finished, eventually they ended up back at the Stall where Iris and Cilan where sat.

Ash and May told the others about Adam and how he helped them get to Vermillion City in time for the Festival. Everyone wanted to meet Adam, especially Alexa once she heard Adam's full name. When Adam won the Silver Conference he didn't go to the press conference after the battle and she wanted to interview him. She pulled a tablet from the bag on her belt and played a clip of the Johto League's final, the clip showed the battle between a Luxray and a Machamp, Ash recognised the clip. It turned out that the battle Ash had been watching in Rota after his Aura Graduation was Adam battling in the final round of the League.

They stayed out until the Festival started to close for the night, the group said their goodbyes to each other and agreed to meet up again tomorrow for Ash's battle.

Ash and May made their way to the hotel, the one Cynthia had invited them to stay in with her. They entered the foyer of the Vermillion Sea and saw Cynthia stood at the desk with Adam, their arms linked. Luna, Luxray and Umbreon were stood around Adam and Pichu surprisingly was sat on Cynthia's head. Ash and May walked up to them.

"Hi Adam. Hi Cynthia." May said with a smile. Cynthia and Adam turned around hearing her voice, May could see that Adam's eyes were red and slightly puffy, she could tell he'd been crying.

"Hello May, Ash. Did you enjoy yourselves today?" Cynthia asked, Adam just nodded in greeting.

"Yeah, we did. We met a few of our friends who are here as well, we're meeting them again tomorrow for my Gym Battle." Ash said.

"Do you mind if I come to see your Gym Battle?" Cynthia asked.

"That'd be great." Ash replied, May looked at Adam and put a hand on his arm.

"Adam, are you alright?" she asked. Adam nodded silently. "What happened?"

"I…I don't want to talk about it." He said, his voice hoarse from his sore throat after crying so much. He unlinked his arm from Cynthia's and started to walk away. "I'm going to get some sleep. Good night." Cynthia caught up to him and put a hand on his arm to stop him, she took Pichu from her head and placed him in Adam's arms.

"Good night Adam," Cynthia said, placing a soft kiss on Adam's cheek. "I'm sorry about what happened." May watched and thought she saw a light blush on Cynthia's face when she kissed Adam but it may have been a trick of the light.

"It's not your fault, I told you that already. Thank you Cyn." Adam replied, returning the gesture and placing a quick chaste kiss on Cynthia's cheek before walking to the elevators. Cynthia walked back to Ash and May lightly holding her cheek and a pale blush across her face, she put a hand on each of their shoulders.

"Would you mind walking with me for a minute?" She asked. Ash and May nodded allowing the Sinnoh Champion to steer them out of the hotel to the battlefields they provided. "Could you two do me a favour? Would you keep an eye on Adam for me, if I'm not around. I'm worried about him, what he heard earlier was something he should never have heard, especially on today of all days. He's the best friend I've ever had and I don't want him to hide himself again. I couldn't bear it, it hurts me when Adam gets hurt. Seeing him like that broke my heart into a thousand pieces." Cynthia smiled weakly, "but the first time he smiled after everything that happened, it healed me and I knew then that even though it would take a while he'd be alright."

"I think I understand what you're talking about but what do you mean by 'hide himself again'?" May asked, having seen Cynthia blush and from what she had just said May knew that Cynthia returned the feeling that Adam had for her.

"I can't really say but what's the one thing Adam doesn't like talking about?"

"His parents." May whispered after thinking for a minute, Ash nodded in agreement.

"So he told you, I wasn't sure if he had and I didn't want to say anything if he hadn't. When his parents died Adam just shut himself down, he didn't show any emotion. Happy, sad, angry, depression nothing when I went home from my journey to see him it took me about two or three weeks to get Adam to start opening up. I'm afraid that if he closes down again," Cynthia stopped and wiped a tear from her eye, "he won't be able to open up again."

"We will," May said, "I promise but can you answer a question for me."

"Okay, what's the question?"

"You said that whatever Adam heard today was something that shouldn't have been said especially today. Is today the day his parents died?" Cynthia bowed her head and didn't speak, as she fought an internal conflict about whether to answer the question or not.

"It's not the day they died," she said finally, "It's the day he found out, the day he arrived in Petalburg and Officer Jenny told him." May and Ash were silent as they processed the new information. "You can't tell Adam though. This is something that he hasn't told anyone, he never talks about it. I only know because I was the only person he talked to when he came home. I just don't want him to be angry with me and he would be, you can say he won't but I know him better then you do. I know that if he found out I told anyone, even you two, he'd stop talking to me and everyone else, he'd leave and never come back. He'd stay in the wild for the rest of his life and never trust people again. I don't want that to happen, I…I…." Tears trickled down Cynthia's beautiful face. May pulled the Champion into a comforting hug, Cynthia wrapped her arms round May and cried into her shoulder. After a couple of minutes Cynthia took her arms away from May and stopped the hug. She wiped the last of the tears from her eyes.

"Sorry," She sniffed, "This isn't how a Champion is supposed to act."

"No but it's how someone acts when they're worried about one of their friends." Ash said, Cynthia smiled.

"Thank you." She said, "I'm going to get some sleep, I'll see you in the morning." Cynthia left for the apartment as Ash and May standing on the battlefields.

"I think we should give Cynthia and Adam alone for a little while. They've both had a hard day and they probably need time to work out what to do next." May said.

"Yeah, I guess you're right." Ash replied, "May, would you help me train for my Gym battle?"

"Sure Ash." Ash and May spent the next couple of hours helping Sandshrew and Rhyhorn prepare for their first Gym Battle. Sandshrew was working on his strength and defence while Rhyhorn trained to increase his speed, once they had finished their exercises Ash and May returned their Pokémon and went into the hotel. They took the elevator to the penthouse. The elevator doors opened showing Ash and May a short corridor with a single door at the end, they walked up to the door and used the key card to open it. Entering the penthouse Ash and May saw a large widescreen TV on the wall with a full entertainment system underneath it in front of a matching four piece suite, there was a full kitchen behind a counter, four bedrooms all en-suite and a balcony that had a beautiful view of the beach and ocean. On each side of the main room there were two doors, two were open and two were closed. Ash and May assumed that the two closed doors where the rooms Adam and Cynthia were sleeping in, they said good night to each other and then went to the open doors, entering the rooms and closing the doors behind them.

The next morning ash and May woke to the smell of breakfast, once they washed and changed they left their rooms and found Cynthia in the kitchen cooking bacon and eggs. They all said good morning to each other as Ash and May each pulled up a stool at the counter and sat down. Cynthia served the food out and went to the door of Adam's room, she knocked on it lightly. After a minute she heard a reply and entered the room, a few minutes after that she came back out and sat at the counter.

"Adam said he'll be out later. Yesterday is still bothering him, he needs a little more time." Cynthia said sadly, picking at her breakfast.

"Don't worry, Adam will be fine." Ash said, Cynthia smiled at his attempt to cheer her up.

"You're probably right." Cynthia replied, half-heartedly eating her breakfast. Once the three of them had finished their breakfast they went to the hotel's battlefields. Ash was training with Sandshrew and Rhyhorn again to make sure they were ready for the Gym Battle after about an hour Dawn, Zoey and Alexa came to the fields and helped Ash as well. A little while later Cynthia went back to the room to check on Adam, leaving the others to their training.

"Where's Adam?" Dawn asked a couple of minutes later.

"He's still in his room. He had a bad day yesterday and needs so time alone." May replied.

"Why? What happened?"

"I can't say, it's something very personal that he doesn't talking about or people knowing about it."

"Ah come on I won't tell anyone, I swear."

"Dawn, no. I won't tell you, I don't even know what happened, not properly. The only people who know everything that happened yesterday are Cynthia and Adam. I understand what happened but not what actually did happen. Please stop asking me, Adam said he'd be here for Ash's Gym Battle and I believe him. You'll meet him then." Dawn tried to get more information out of May but the brunette's lips were sealed. Dawn then turned her questions on Ash but soon realised that talking to the Pallet Town trainer while he was training was like talking to a magic 8 ball, not that helpful. She finally gave in and helped Sandshrew learn one of Ash's tactics from when he was in Sinnoh.

Adam stood on the outskirts of Vermillion City looking back at the city, he was on his way to Diglett's Cave he was going to do some training in Viridian Forest and that was the quickest route there. Once he'd heard Cynthia, Ash and May leave the room he waited half an hour before packing his things and leaving the hotel, slipping past the battlefields and weaving his way through the Festival crowds He'd left a note to say he needed to be alone for a while, thanking Ash, May and Cynthia for being such good friends, he was sorry for leaving without saying goodbye and wishing Ash good luck in his Gym Battle. Pichu sat on Adam's head and wondered why his trainer was leaving the nice people behind but didn't say anything, he just patted Adam's head as a way of telling him he wasn't alone.

"Goodbye Cyn." Adam said softly before turning and walking through the trees towards the entrance of Diglett's Cave. A monstrous roar stopped him in his tracks, three of his Pokéballs burst open releasing Luna, Luxray and Umbreon, all three Pokémon were ready and willing to fight. They all looked around to see where the roar had come from and nearly lost their balance when a Garchomp landed in front of them. "It's alright," he said to his Pokémon, slowly approaching the dragon type. "Hi Garchomp, it's been a while hasn't it. Do you remember me?" Adam reached out carefully and stroked the yellow cross on Garchomp's nose, she growled softly as she leaned into Adam's hand.

"Just what do you think you're doing? You're just going to leave a note and disappear, no goodbyes, no explanations nothing." An angry yet melodious voice asked, the volume of the voice rose with each word. "If you want to leave you'll have to get past me." Cynthia stepped out from behind Garchomp, her arms crossed over her chest as she glared at Adam. "You left something in your room." A book was thrown towards him, as it hitting the floor and skidded along until it hit Adam's feet the book opened and fell on a page titled 'Glorious Cyn'.

Adam looked away from Cynthia and the book.

"Did you read it?" he asked.

"No, I assumed it was private. It is your journal." Cynthia replied.

"I left it for a reason." Adam knelt down, picking up the book. He kept it open on the same page, holding it out for Cynthia to take. Cynthia took the book, keeping a suspicious eye on Adam.

"Garchomp make sure he doesn't leave." The Mach Pokémon nodded and stared at Adam. Adam pulled a small pellet from his pocket and looked at Cynthia.

"Sorry but I've got to try." He threw the pellet on the ground, the pellet broke and released a cloud of black smoke but Garchomp cleared it with one sweep of her arm fins. Adam stopped moving as the smoke cleared and Garchomp picked him up by his collar.

"Luna, Luxray, Umbreon don't attack. I need to face the consequences." The three Pokémon backed away from Garchomp and waited to see what happened next. Cynthia directed her attention to the journal and started to read aloud what Adam had written down. "Cynthia, please don't…" Adam began but it was too late, once Cynthia started something she wouldn't stop till it was finished.

"Glorious Cyn.

You are light

You are one I cannot fight

I am but a broken shell

Trapped in my immortal hell

I owe you much more than can be said

By your care I'm back from the dead

But too long I have held you back

Your life should be further up track

For you to gain what has been lost

I will pay that heavy cost

I leave you now and won't return

No matter the strength with which my spirit will yearn

To save your soul and give you peace

Without me you'll find release

To be together but still apart

Is a burden on my heart

I take my leave and depart this day

Keeping three words I can never say."

Adam hung his head as silence rang out amongst the trees, Garchomp set him down on his feet and moved to Cynthia's side.

"What does this mean?" Cynthia asked, her voice shaking heavily.

"Cyn, you're the smartest person I know. Do I really have to say it?" Ash replied not meeting her eye. Cynthia smiled brightly as tears fell from her gorgeous grey eyes.

"You're not leaving, not after this." She said her voice thick with emotions. Adam still avoided looking at her, so he didn't notice her smile.

"Cyn, I'm going now and that it." Adam took a few steps away when Garchomp moved in front of him. "Cyn, don't make me fight you. Please I don't want to do this, I just want what's best for you and that's not me." Adam took a deep breath, "Luna, Ice Punch!" He roared, acting from instinct Luna surged towards Garchomp with icy energy swirling around her fist. She punched Garchomp directly on the yellow cross of her nose, the dragon type staggered backwards. "Again!"

"Garchomp, Flamethrower." Cynthia countered.

A few hours later the forest had a new clearing and Adam was sat on the roof of the Pokémon Centre looking over the Festival. He had Nurse Joy's permission to be there, he sat thinking about the events that had just passed. It had taken Luna, Abomasnow, Umbreon and Arcanine to knock out Garchomp, the next Pokémon Cynthia used was Milotic who easily defeated the exhausted fire type and fought to a draw against Luxray. Pichu tried to join the battle but Adam held him back, telling him it wouldn't be fair for him to battle Cynthia since he'd beat her easily. After the battle Cynthia had called on her Braviary to take them back to Vermillion City, She rode on the Valiant Pokémon's back while she told the flying type to carry Adam in his talons, to make sure he didn't try and leave again.

Adam heard footsteps as someone walked up behind him and sat on the roof beside him, he turned his head and saw the beautiful face of the Sinnoh Champion, her long blonde hair was blowing slightly in the sea breeze and the sunlight cast a golden glow over her face.

"Ash's Gym Battle starts soon and you haven't enjoyed this Festival yet, come on we're going to have some fun." She said, "This is an amazing view isn't it?"

"I've got a better one." Adam whispered to himself.

"Did you say something?" Cynthia asked.


Cynthia stood up and held a hand out towards Adam.

"Come on, you're buying me ice cream." She giggled. Adam took Cynthia's hand and got up, she leaned in and kissed him gently on the cheek. Adam suppressed a smile but then he felt her hand under his chin turning his face towards her.

"What are you…" The rest of Adam's question and thoughts were cut off when Cynthia kissed him fully on the lips. She fuelled it with all her feelings for him, her happiness at seeing him, her sadness for what he'd had to experience and her love for him that made her who she was. Ash was taken aback by the power of the kiss as the emotions behind it came across. Feeling truly happy for the first time in years Adam returned the kiss, not holding anything back as he unleashed years and years of suppressed emotions. He poured his heart and soul into the kiss, wrapping an arm around Cynthia's slim waist and tangling his hand in her long and silky hair.

When they eventually broke the kiss, they were both gasping for air. Cynthia smiled wickedly as she rested her forehead on Adam's.

"Still think you're not the best for me?" she asked teasingly.

"Don't know," Adam replied, "I think I need to check again." He pulled her into another kiss just as powerful as the last. Cynthia melted into Adam's arms, putting her own around his neck to stabilise herself as his held her waist while he dipped her slightly. She grinned during the kiss as she thought Why didn't we do this sooner?

Twenty minutes later they left the rooftop, Adam was chuckling a little as Cynthia tried to straighten her hair. When they made it to the ground floor of the Pokémon Centre, Cynthia had managed to get her hair into a presentable appearance, they walked to the main doors when Nurse Joy shouted after Adam.

"Mr. Williams, your Pokémon are back to full heal." Adam walked over to the counter and took his Pokémon back.

"Thank you Nurse Joy, for this and for letting me on the roof." He said.

"That's not a problem, you did look like you could use some time alone."

"Well he's not alone anymore," Cynthia said, "he's got me and some new friends now." Adam and Cynthia left the Pokémon Centre holding hands, once they were outside he released Luna, Luxray, Umbreon and Pichu.

"You guys are my family now and I have something to tell you." Adam said but before he could say anything else Cynthia placed a quick kiss on his lips.

"You were taking too long." She said, "Now let's go and get ice cream." Cynthia dragged Adam in the direction of the food section of the Festival. The Pokémon were stood in shock for a minute before Pichu climbed onto Luxray's back and then Luxray, Umbreon and Luna ran after Adam and Cynthia. The four Pokémon were smiling, they knew now that their trainer, no their brother was happy and they couldn't be happier for him and Cynthia.

Ash and May were stood close to the arena waiting for everyone else to arrive, the first to meet them was Alexa, Dawn and Zoey appeared a few minutes later and then Iris and Cilan came over to them. They had closed the stall for the afternoon to come and watch Ash's Gym Battle. They stayed there talking while they waited for Adam and Cynthia to turn up.

Cynthia started talking to Dawn and the others while Adam spoke quietly to Ash and May.

"Hi, I'm sorry about yesterday. I needed to be on my own for a while, I didn't mean to worry you." He said apologetically.

"It's okay Adam, we understand. Sometimes people just need to get away from everything and deal with life." May replied. Ash nodded in agreement, he noticed something and asked a question out loud.

"Hey Adam, Why are you holding Cynthia's hand?" May had noticed but wasn't going to mention it until they were alone.

Silence fell over the group when they heard Ash's question, one by one they looked at Cynthia, then Adam and finally down their arms to where their hands were joined and fingers intertwined. Dawn squealed and Zoey had to hold her back, putting a hand over her mouth as well to silence her and not draw any more attention to the embarrassed new couple. Iris and Cilan were in a mild state of shock while Alexa smiled and pulled a camera out of her bag and switched it on.

"Any chance of getting an interview?" Alexa asked.

"Only if Adam agrees as well." Cynthia said, "We did want to keep this quiet for a little while but it's out there now I guess." She looked at Adam.

"I don't know," Adam said he looked at Cynthia, "I worried about what people will think about you, if they hear you're with someone like me. I mean you're beautiful, smart, an amazing Trainer, everyone loves you. You're perfect, I don't understand what it is you see in me. I'm a mess, a nobody, you deserve someone better than me." A sad smile played across Cynthia's lips as she place one of her soft hands on Adam's cheek.

"I don't care what people think, I just want to be with you. I couldn't be with anyone better, you're not a mess or a nobody. You're my best friend, a great man who I'm proud to know and not to mention an amazing kisser." She kissed Adam's lips gently but only for a second.

"Any chance I can quote what you both just said?" Alexa said.

"Sure, why not." Adam answered "You can interview us after Ash's battle but I won't answer anything about my family. Deal?"

"Only if I can interview you about your league win, you managed to get away without doing the press conference afterwards."

"Alright, if you insist." Adam and Alexa shook hands. Alexa turned and smiled at May.

"See May I told you to leave it to me."

"What do you mean?"

"By writing a story about Cynthia and Adam, it would take the focus away from you and Ash." Alexa explained. Cynthia looked between May and Ash in confusion until Adam whispered in her ear about their situation.

The time came for Ash to go to the battlefield, everyone else went into the arena and sat down while Ash walked onto the battlefield meeting Lieutenant Surge in the middle. Dawn grabbed May's arm and dragged her away saying they'd be back in a few minutes.

"I'm Lt. Surge, leader of the Vermillion City Gym. Who are you?"

"We've met before Surge, my name is Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town. You should remember by friend Pikachu." Pikachu sat on Ash's shoulder smirking, Surge thought for a second then laughed.

"Looks like the baby's all grown up, I'm a little surprised you still haven't evolved that baby Pokémon."

"Just so you know Pikachu's battled against Legendary Pokémon…and won. That was before I spent three years just training." Pikachu made some sparks arc from his cheeks.

"Whatever. Three on Three good with you?"

"Sure." Ash and Surge shook hands and went to opposite ends of the battlefield. The referee stood the side and raised his arms.

"This is an official Gym Battle between the Vermillion City Gym Leader Lt. Surge and the challenger Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town. This will be a three on three battle. Trainers are you ready?"

"Yeah, I'm ready to teach the baby and his baby Pikachu a lesson." Surge shouted.

"Surge, last time you said that about Pikachu he came back and beat you." Ash replied. "Now you're going to see it again."

"Trainer's select your first Pokémon." Surge pulled a Pokéball from his pocket as Ash took one from his belt. "Begin the battle." Ash and Surge threw their balls into the air and released their Pokémon in a burst of light.

Thanks for reading. Review and let me know how I'm doing.

Until next time

Basic Trainer