It's that time again. Sorry it's taken so long to update but there's a battle between Pikachu and Raichu. I wanted to get it right, I hope I have.

Any way I've only got one more thing to say which is please ignore the ages at the start of this story because I noticed that I had Iris down as being 15 and Cilan as being 25 that makes their relationship a little dubious so Iris is now 21 like Ash is, Zoey is 17 and Alexa is 30.

Ash's Pokémon - Pikachu, Lucario, Donphan, Rhyhorn, Sandshrew and Krookodile

May's Pokémon - Glaceon, Blaziken, Venusaur, Wartortle, Altaria and Delcatty

Adam's Pokémon - Luna, Umbreon, Luxray, Pichu, Abomasnow and Arcanine

Chapter 18

Rumble For Thunder

Two flashes lit up the arena as Ash and Surge sent out their first Pokémon. A Manectric appeared on Surge's side of the field, barking loudly. On Ash's side of the field in an additional flash of light due to his shiny nature was Sandshrew, he sat quietly just staring at Manectric, prepared to battle to the best of his abilities.

Ash could feel the roar of the crowd filling him with energy and confidence. He'd forgotten how much he loved that feeling, the rush of adrenaline that came from battling in front of a crowd. Yes, he'd battled in front of a crowd during the Contest in Pewter City but this was different, this was a crowd solely focussed on the battle not the beauty of the Pokémon and their attacks.

He let the feeling flow through him, let it sink into his bones and add fuel to the fire of his soul. This was one of the times when he felt truly alive, right before a battle started the anticipation and impatience that came ahead of the first attack. There were other times he felt like this usually before opening a present or when he picked up the Pokéball of a Pokémon he'd just caught but lately something else had this effect on his, it was when he held May's hand. Ash had been wondering why something so simple and innocent could have such an effect but so far didn't have an answer for his question.

"Usin' a ground type, eh. Not going to help you here." Surge said.

"I believe in Sandshrew just like I did in Pikachu last time we battled. You remember how that ended?" Ash retorted.

"Yeah, yeah I remember. That's why I'm winning this battle." Ash was about to respond when he noticed that Surge was staring at something behind him.

"Go, Ash, Go!" called out a familiar voice, Ash turned around saw Dawn standing up wearing her Cheerleading uniform and Piplup was waving his fans around. Ash was very surprised to see that someone else was stood up with Dawn though she looked self-conscious, May was dressed similarly to Dawn but instead of a pink uniform she wore a red one. The uniform was slightly different to when Ash last saw it, the neck line was slightly lower now and the top showed the girls toned stomachs. Both girls looked beautiful but all of Ash's attention was focused on May. Even though she didn't want the attention, to Ash she still seemed to outshine any exaggerated movements that Dawn did with just a simple wave.

"Hey, Babe. Yeah, you in the red." Surge shouted, flexing his muscles. "After I've won this battle how about we so get something to eat?" May flushed a bright red and sat down quickly, Adam gave her his jacket seeing that she wanted to cover herself up. Ash turned back to glare at Surge, he was angry that Surge had embarrassed May like that. "What's wrong babe? I won't hurt ya, I just want to play." Surge continued, Ash saw red.

"SURGE!" he shouted, causing the Gym Leader to flinch at the sudden change in Ash's attitude. "Leave her alone." Ash's voice dropped to a growl.

"What's the matter with you? You know this girl, care to introduce us?" Surge grinned.

"That's my girlfriend." Ash said the conviction in his voice surprised everyone, even himself though that thought wasn't at the front of his mind at the moment. Aura started to faintly flicker across Ash's shoulders but no-one except May and Adam noticed it, everyone else was looking at Surge to see what he'd do next.

"Hey, take it easy. I didn't know alright. Calm down and we'll have the battle." Surge said holding his hands up in a surrendering gesture. Ash nodded not trusting himself to speak and closed his eyes, taking control of his emotions and letting his Aura fade away. He knew that if he let his emotions control him then he'd lose the battle before it started and there was no way he was going to let that happen. Ash mentally went through some meditation techniques Riley had taught him to still the storm of emotions that raged in his soul.

"Alright," Ash said after a few minutes, "Ready when you are."

"Manectric, Quick Attack." Surge said, the Discharge Pokémon ran across the field at high speed towards Sandshrew, aiming for a head on collision leaving a trail of white energy behind him.

"Sandshrew, Dig." Ash called, Sandshrew dove into the ground to dodge the incoming attack.

"Won't help. Manectric, follow him." Manectric ran down the hole after Sandshrew but Ash just smiled.

"Sandshrew, Sandstorm." A dull rumble could be heard and loose pieces of rock and dirt could be seen shaking on the surface.

"Manectric, get out of there." Surge ordered but it was too late, a pillar of sand erupted out of the hole Sandshrew had dug. Manectric was forced out of the hole and thrown through the air, landing on the field on his side but quickly got up and shook the sand from his yellow and blue fur. "Heh, Nice move. Manectric, Bite." Once more Manectric ran across the field, his teeth glowing. The electric type close the distance between himself and Sandshrew. Sandshrew dove to the side to dodge the attack but Manectric managed to bite down on the ground type's tail. Manectric swung his head round, lifting Sandshrew off the ground and throwing him through the air. "Now Headbutt." Manectric charged headlong into Sandshrew's falling body and knocked the ground type further through the air until he fell to the ground.

"Sandshrew, are you alright?" Ash asked, Sandshrew rose to his feet and nodded. "Alright use Swift." Sandshrew curled into a ball and spun rapidly sending out a multitude of stars made for yellow energy.

"Manectric, Discharge." Surge shouted, knowing that Swift was hard to dodge. Manectric sent out arcs of blue electricity as he countered the incoming attack, the electricity struck the stars causing them to explode in a shower of sparks. "Now Bite again." Manectric ran through the sparks on his way towards Sandshrew, the remnants of Swift and Discharge glittered across Manectric's fur. May, Dawn and Zoey quickly scribbled down notes on what had just happened because they could use it during Contests.

"Sandshrew, dodge with Rapid Spin." Sandshrew curled into a ball and spun across the field evading Manectric's attempts to attack. "Now stop." Sandshrew stopped moving across the field but stayed curled up, Manectric approached and was about to bite down on the ground type when Ash shouted. "Counter Shield!" This was something that Ash had thought of during the journey to Vermillion, Counter Shield was a powerful and unexpected technique, he'd thought of different ways of teaching it to all his Pokémon and while he was reviewing the moves that Sandshrew knew he realised that by combining Rapid Spin and Sandstorm he could create an effective Counter Shield.

Sandshrew started to spin again quickly gaining speed but stayed in place, summoning another Sandstorm but unlike a normal Sandstorm this one didn't spread across the field it stayed above Sandshrew looking like a sand tornado. Manectric tried to pull back but wasn't quick enough as the pull from the sand vortex started to drag Manectric inside, the electric type dug his feet into the ground and did everything he could to stop himself but it was useless. He was lifted into the air and dragged into the vortex, he was flung around the sandy prison unable to escape until after a minute he was thrown out of the Counter Shield rolling to a stop a few yards away from Surge.

"Manectric get up." Surge said. Once again the electric type stood up and shook the sand from his fur, though there was a lot more than the last time. Sandshrew uncurled and stood ready for Ash's next move. "Manectric, Quick Attack." Manectric ran towards Sandshrew again, Ash waited until Manectric would be close enough for his counter attack but that never happened. "Now Flash." Surge shouted, Manectric stopped a few feet from Sandshrew and let loose a blinding amount of light. Ash put an arm across his face to ward off the light, Sandshrew copied Ash's actions and covered his face with his paws. "Ice Fang." Ash heard Surge say smugly.

"Sandshrew dodge." Ash shouted desperately but knew that it would be nearly impossible for Sandshrew to evade the super effective attack while he was blinded. Ash's fears were brought to life when he heard Sandshrew cry out in pain. "Defence Curl." He shouted wanting to try and minimise the damage Sandshrew was taking, "Now Rapid Spin." Spots still filled Ash's vision so he focused on his other senses, he could hear Manectric growling as Sandshrew tried to escape the electric type's jaws. His Aura allowed him to sense the approximate location of the Pokémon but nothing to specific. Eventually Sandshrew's struggling allowed him to escape from the ice type attack, though he'd taken a significant amount of damage. Manectric might've been at a disadvantage typewise but he was a higher level and used a super effective attack, he'd taken damage from Sandshrew's attacks but not as much as he should've because Ash had yet to use a ground type attack other than Dig from the start of the battle.

"Sandshrew," Ash called, "Do you want to continue?" Sandshrew answered by charging towards Manectric on all fours, Ash laughed and let his instincts take over. "Magnitude." Sandshrew jumped into the air as brown energy coated his body, as he fell towards the field Sandshrew flipped and slammed his tail into the ground sending a small earthquake rumbling around the field. Manectric struggled to stay on his feet but managed to keep upright with a little bit of difficulty. "Now Earth Power." Sandshrew punched the ground with both of his paws as he glowed gold, cracks ran across the field towards Manectric, who was still dealing with the last few tremors of Magnitude and unable to dodge completely. Manectric moved to the side and was only caught by part of the attack, though it still did some damage. Sandshrew was starting to pant, he'd put a lot of his energy into his attacks but he was still willing to battle, to prove that Ash's generosity and kindness had not been in vain.

"Sandshrew, use Rapid Spin." Ash said, he knew that Sandshrew was tired and he'd taken a lot of damage from Ice Fang but the look in the ground type's eyes said that he was willing to battle to the end, no matter what. Sandshrew spun towards Manectric intent on winning the collision between them.

"Headbutt." Surge shouted, Manectric barked and charged at Sandshrew's spinning body. Just before they collided without Ash calling out, Sandshrew dove to the side and swung round to slam into Manectric's side.

"Sandshrew, Gaia's Rage." Everyone looked confused except for Adam and May. This was a combination that Adam and Ash had thought up together, it involved trapping the opponent with Sand Tomb then hitting them with Earth Power. Adam had thought of the name to make it hard for the rival trainer to work-out what was happening. Being friends with Cynthia, Adam had learnt a lot about all the old myths and legends, one of which was about a goddess who was supposedly the celestial guardian of the world with the planet being her physical body.

Manectric was knocked off his feet but still got up easily, watching as Sandshrew's eyes flashed blue and sand rose from the ground, trapping the electric type's legs. Sandshrew then punched the ground again while glowing gold. The ground under Manectric started to rumble and crack, he tried to escape but the sand held him firm. A geyser of golden energy erupted from the ground blasting Manectric out of the sand and into the air. The Discharge Pokémon landed heavily but got up again, though noticeably slower than he had been previously.

"Rain Dance then Quick Attack." Surge ordered, Manectric formed a ball of light blue energy in his mouth and sent it into the air before he shot towards Sandshrew ignoring the pain from his injuries. The ball of energy exploded in the air causing clouds to form and rain to fall. Manectric was a prideful Pokémon, he'd battled many ground types before but this differently coloured Sandshrew was proving to be the most annoying, he just didn't give up. "Ice Fang." Surge called once Manectric was so close Sandshrew wouldn't be able to dodge. Icy blue energy coated Manectric's teeth as he bit down on Sandshrew's arm.

"Sandshrew, get out of there." Ash called desperately. Sandshrew grimaced against the pain and the feeling of the rain on his normally dry skin, he launched into a flurry of attacks as he tried to escape. The pain from the attack and the fact that he was tired meant that none of the attacks were at full power but that didn't stop the determined ground type. Fury Swipes, Slash, Swift, Poison Sting any attack that Sandshrew could think of that wouldn't hurt himself was thrown at Manectric. Sandshrew was at the point of giving up when he heard someone else shouting encouragement to him.

"Come on Sandshrew, I believe in you. We all do." Sandshrew glanced to the stands where he saw May, now standing next to a girl with dark blue hair, calling to him. If Mistress May believes then I must do this. Sandshrew thought as he redoubled his efforts, this was a trait that a lot of Ash's Pokémon had picked up, calling May Mistress, Gardevoir had mentioned it while back at Professor Oak's Lab and the other followed suit because to them it just felt right do it. Thought Manectric still held on, Sandshrew's attacks were having an effect and even managed to poison the electric type due to Poison Sting's possibility of inflicting the status condition.

"Manectric, time to finish this battle." Surge shouted, Manectric threw Sandshrew across the field. The electric type was breathing hard due to the amount of attacks Sandshrew had landed during the Ice Fang. "Thunder." Surge said smirking. Manectric started charging the attack blue sparks crackled across his fur, soon his whole body was coated in blue electricity and he launched the attack.

"Sandshrew dodge it." Ash shouted but Sandshrew was too tired to dodge properly, though he did try. The blast of electricity hit Sandshrew hard slamming him into the ground and hiding him from sight due to the brightness of the attack. Once the light faded Sandshrew could be seen in a small crater with sparks of electricity on his skin, the water from Rain Dance allowed the usually ineffective electric type attack to have an effect. Ash returned Sandshrew to his ball offering him thanks and congratulations on his first Gym Battle. Ash took another Pokéball from his belt and threw it onto the field.

Light shone when the Pokéball opened releasing Ash's second Pokémon onto the field. Ash could hear the cheers from his friends and let that power him. Rhyhorn bellowed loudly as she stared at Manectric, she could tell that Sandshrew had fought hard and Manectric was on his last legs. Rhyhorn had become fast friends with Sandshrew thanks to them training together and wanted to avenge her friend's defeat.

"Ready Rhyhorn?" Ash asked. The Spikes Pokémon grunted in response. "Alright them, let's get rid of this rain. Sunny Day." Rhyhorn sent a ball of golden energy into the air, when it burst the rain stopped and the clouds dispersed letting the sunlight shine through. "Now Earthquake." Rhyhorn reared up and slammed her front legs down, the ground shook again like it did when Sandshrew had used Magnitude but much stronger.

Manectric struggled to stay upright but with the damage from Sandshrew's attacks and the poison running through his body it was too much and the electric type fell to his knees.

"Now, Rhyhorn finish with Take Down." Ash said, Rhyhorn bellowed again and charged towards Manectric, leaving a trail of golden energy behind her. She hurtled across the field as fast as her short legs could carry her until she crashed into Manectric sending the electric type across the ground. Once Manectric stopped sliding through the sand and dust on the field everyone could see that he was knocked out.

Surge called Manectric back to his Pokéball then threw the next on to the field.

"Not bad, let see how you do now." Surge said as his Magneton appeared on the field. Ash studied the Pokémon, because Magneton hovered above the ground moves like Earthquake and Magnitude wouldn't have much of an effect.

"Magneton, Flash Cannon." Surge said, the magnets on Magneton's body pointed forward and a ball of silvery energy formed in front of them. Once there was enough energy stored in the ball a beam of the same colour was fired at Rhyhorn.

"Counter with Rock Blast." Ash said. Rhyhorn's horn glowed bright orange before silver crescents were fire from it. The silver crescents collided with Flash Cannon causing an explosion and a cloud of smoke covered the field. Ash started coughing as the smoke got into his eyes and throat. "Rhyhorn use Horn Drill to clear the smoke."

Silver energy formed around Rhyhorn's horn and the cone of energy started spinning at high speed, the smoke started to shift as the speed of the energy disturbed it. The smoke started to form a spiral around the horn as the field cleared.

"Magneton, Mirror Shot." Ash heard Surge shout as seconds later a light blue orb of energy flew through the smoke and smashed into Rhyhorn's head forcing the rock and ground type backwards. The smoke that was spinning around Rhyhorn's horn had stopped and was now floating above the field, slowly dispersing. "Now Gyro Ball." Magneton magnet's glowed bright blue as they started spinning followed by the rest of Magneton's body, making the electric and steel type look like rapidly rotating silver ball.

"Rhyhorn use Rock Blast." Rhyhorn fired more silver crescents from her glowing orange horn. The silver energy was mostly deflected but they were enough to slow Magneton down slightly. "Now Take Down." Once again Rhyhorn charged into battle leaving a shimmering golden trail behind her. Rhyhorn and Magneton slammed into each other struggling to force their opponent back but with one last show of strength from both Pokémon throwing the other back.

"Magneton, Flash Cannon." Magneton formed another ball of silver energy and fired a beam at Rhyhorn. Once again Ash acted out of instinct and called out to his Pokémon.

"Counter Shield." Ash shouted quickly. Rhyhorn bellowed in response and used Stone Edge but instead of releasing the attack she kept it close having the two rings of razor sharp stones circling her body, one ring going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise making them circle faster then usual. The silver laser that Magneton had fired crashed into the swirling stones. Rhyhorn focussed her energy and her concentration on keeping the stones moving, one wrong move either speeding up or slowing down the stones would cause Magneton's attack to break through. Eventually Flash Cannon faded out and Rhyhorn could finally slow her attack down. "Now fire the Stone Edge." Rhyhorn launched the attack which now glittered with leftover energy absorbed from Flash Cannon. Once more the Co-Ordinators of the group made a note of the attacks and how the combination looked.

"Stop them with Gyro Ball." Surge called, Magneton started spinning again deflecting a few of the stones but with the added power from Flash Cannon the rock type attack managed to push through the spin and knock Magneton down towards the ground.

"Quick use Take Down." Ash said, Rhyhorn ran in and slammed into Magneton again. When Ash had looked up Rhyhorn's information and saw her Rock Head ability nullified recoil damage he intended to take full advantage it, he also saw that Rhyhorn possessed some useful egg moves such as his next attack which was part of the reason he taught her Sunny Day, with help from May's Blaziken. Ash made a mental note so that if he ever found his dad he'd thank him for the Pokémon after punching him in the face for leaving. "Now Fire Fang." This was part of the reason that Ash chose Rhyhorn for this Gym Battle, he could've chosen Donphan or Garchomp but he wanted to bond with his new Pokémon and see what they could really do so he thought what better way to do that than in a battle.

Flames burned brightly in Rhyhorn's mouth as she bit down on Magneton's body. The Magnet Pokémon screeched in pain, spinning his magnets sending a Sonic Boom into Rhyhorn's face. Rhyhorn was able to withstand the attack for a minute before having to pull back. Magneton slowly started to float off the ground while he continued to launch Sonic Booms at Rhyhorn, wearing the Spikes Pokémon down.

"Rhyhorn, use Stone Edge again." Ash said, Rhyhorn summoned the two rings of stones again though due to her being tired there were fewer stones then before. The stones flew at Magneton ready to deal more damage, the steel and electric type didn't show any visible signs of being tired but was moving slower than he was at the start of the battle and wasn't floating as high either.

"Tri Attack." Surge called out to his Pokémon. Magneton formed a ball of energy between each pair of magnets, one ball was icy blue, another was a burning red and the last one was yellow and released sparks. A line of white energy connected each ball of energy to the others forming a triangle. Magneton released the attack sending a wave of fire and a bolt of electricity at the incoming Stone Edge, these two parts of Tri Attack were enough to stop Stone Edge as the final ice type part of the attack sped through the debris and hit Rhyhorn in the face. Rhyhorn's mouth had been frozen shut, the Spikes Pokémon started to panic and charge around the field randomly.

"Rhyhorn calm down." Ash pleaded, "Use Fire Fang to melt the ice." Ash put some of his Aura into his words hoping it would be enough to get through to the flustered Pokémon. Rhyhorn slowed her charging and small flames flickered around the exposed parts of her mouth. "That's it, now put more power into it." The flames slowly grew in size until they were big enough for the audience to see. When Rhyhorn felt the ice weaken she forced her jaws open breaking the ice and roaring to express her freedom.

"Magneton, Mirror Shot." Magneton focussed his power into an orb of light blue energy and sent it hurtling towards Rhyhorn, this time instead of leaving the attack as a ball of energy it was sent as a beam. Rhyhorn was breathing heavily and looked to be on her last legs but she wasn't going to give up easily. Ash could feel the desire to win coming from Rhyhorn through his Aura even though she was nearly at her limit. That however was Ash's specialty inspiring his Pokémon to go above and beyond their limits, to hit the wall then tear it down. He wanted to let Rhyhorn rest but knew this is what she wanted to do.

"Rhyhorn, counter with Rock Blast then use Bulldoze." Rhyhorn fired more crescents of silver energy, taking power and speed from Mirror Shot before charging in glowing gold with the energy of Bulldoze. Rhyhorn ploughed into the incoming attack slowly making her way through it, Magneton poured more power into the attack which caused him to drop lower to the ground. Rhyhorn started to struggle against the attack but forged on, moving forward step by agonisingly slow step. After a minute Mirror Shot flickered and died as Magneton's power faded, Rhyhorn had also stopped the golden energy of Bulldoze gone. Both Pokémon glared at the other neither wanting to give in.

"Magneton finish this with Magnet Bomb." Surge said using the last of his energy Magneton's steel body sparked with blue electricity, his magnets flashed light blue and multiple orbs of the same blue energy appeared flying towards Rhyhorn.

"Rhyhorn, I know you're tired and I'm really proud of you but please try and use Stone Edge." Ash said sincerely, Rhyhorn closed her eyes and attempted to use Stone Edge but she was out of energy and the steel type attack slammed into her, knocking her out. Ash smiled sadly, he returned Rhyhorn praising her first battle and for all of her hard work.

"Not bad Ash," Surge called, "How long have you had those two?"

"Sandshrew joined me about a month ago, Rhyhorn was a couple of day later. They've been training with my other Pokémon until a few days ago when I got them from Professor Oak to do some special training." Ash replied. Surge was surprised, he'd only had those Pokémon for a few weeks and they had nearly beaten his Pokémon. This kid's changed a lot since we last met. I'll have to up my game if I want to win this. Surge thought.

Meanwhile in the stands of the arena. May had forgotten all of her nervousness and embarrassment as she was now jumping around and cheering as much as Dawn was. Adam and Cynthia sat holding hands, Umbreon was curled up on Adam's lap and Pichu was sitting on Cynthia's head, his new favourite place to stay. Alexa was recording the battle while Zoey was watching it and making light conversation with Iris and Cilan.

"Zoey," Adam said tapping her on the shoulder, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, what is it?" Zoey replied turning to look at Adam.

"Does Dawn do this often?" Adam pointed at the Cheerleading outfit, Zoey chuckled.

"When she travelled with Ash in Sinnoh, she always wore the uniform to cheer him on in his gym battle. She's done it a couple of times when I've been in Contest Finals as well. Last night she said that she needed to keep up the tradition, though she's made adjustments to the outfit since the last time she cheered Ash on. She made May's outfit last night as well, Dawn's really skilled when it comes to making clothes."

"Right," Adam paused thinking about how to phrase in next question. Zoey watched Adam seeing that he was going to ask something else, she took a bottle of water from her bag and raised it to her lips taking a drink. "I've got another question but it might be a little personal. Do you mind?" Zoey shook her head taking another drink from her bottle. "How long have you and Dawn been together?" Zoey's eyes went wide and she had to put a hand over her mouth to stop herself spitting the water out, she managed to swallow the water and glanced at Iris and Cilan to see if they'd heard but they were busy talking to each other. She turned back to look at Adam and Cynthia, who was also looking at Adam. Cynthia was confused by both Adam's question and Zoey's reaction though she had a suspicion of what they meant.

"Well, we've been travelling together for a few years. It was after Dawn came back from Unova that we started." Zoey answered nervously, Dawn was oblivious to the conversation as she launched into another cheer routine with May following along.

"Zoey, I don't want to make you talk about something like this if you don't want to but I'm good at reading people and I can tell that there's more to you and Dawn then you're saying. The way you two act around each other and the way you've been looking at Dawn tells me that you're closer than friends. I know you probably don't want to talk about it to someone you've just met, you don't have to answer the question. I'm sorry if I've made you uncomfortable, I was just curious." Adam said honestly, Zoey just stared at Adam taking in his words. After a minute she answered him.

"We've been together for about two years now. I'm not sure why I'm telling you this but May and Ash trust you so I guess I can too. Even though I don't know them as well as Dawn or the others, they're always good judges of character. Please don't tell anyone about me and Dawn, we're not ready to tell people yet. There's only our parents and May that know."

"I promise I won't tell anyone." Adam said

"Neither will I." Cynthia added.

"So how did you meet?" Zoey asked looking between Adam and Cynthia, wanting to change the subject in case anyone overheard her.

"Childhood friends. If you want to hear the rest of the story then Alexa's going to interview us after Ash's battle so that should answer any questions you have." Cynthia said. Zoey nodded and then they all turned to watch the battle for the Thunder Badge.

"Pikachu, it's your turn now." Ash said looking at the electric type. Pikachu nodded and jumped off Ash's shoulder, landing on the field facing the tired Magneton.

"Magneton, Magnet Bomb." Surge shouted.

"Pikachu, Agility then Iron Tail." Ash said at the same time. Pikachu was the first to react, he shot away in a blur of motion and then next thing anyone heard or saw at the clang of metal and Magneton send crashing into the wall behind Surge, knocked out and embedded in the wall. Surge just stared at Pikachu, who had returned to his previous position ready for the next battle. A cheer went up from the crowds at Pikachu's quick and powerful victory, Dawn and May could just about be heard over the crowd. Ash glanced back to see them and smiled, May and Dawn returned the smile although May added a wink. Ash turned back to the field as he felt his face heating up, Pikachu looked to the crowd as well and paled when he saw Glaceon and Lopunny watching him closely. He refocused his attention on Surge as the Gym Leader returned his Magneton and lifted his final Pokéball.

"Looks like it's going to be a battle of the mice again." Surge said throwing the ball and releasing his Raichu. Raichu fired a Thunderbolt into the air to try and intimidate his opponent, when he saw it was Pikachu the larger electric type smirked.

(Pokémon Language Translator Activated)

"I've been looking forward to fighting you again Tiny. You're going to be seeing stars when I'm through with you." Raichu said.

"Not before you look at the clouds Tubby, bring it on. I'm going to win this, again." Pikachu retorted with a smirk. They glared at each other growling lowly as sparks arcing from their cheeks.

(Pokémon Language Translator Deactivated)

"Pikachu, use…" Ash started before he was interrupted.

"Pi Pikachu Pika Chu Chu Pikachu." Pikachu said.

"You want to battle Raichu on your own?" Ash asked.

"Pika." Pikachu answered firmly. Ash laughed to himself and pushed the peak of his hat up slightly.

"Alright then, this one's all yours. Good luck buddy."

"Pi Chu Kachu." (Translation – "I don't need luck.") Ash laughed again and crossed his arms.

"Okay then, it's up to you now." Pikachu grinned and launched himself into a Quick Attack.

"Raichu, Mega Punch." Surge said, Raichu's fist glowed white as he swung it at Pikachu. The smaller mouse smirked as he jumped and dove into the ground by using Dig, evading the incoming attack. Pikachu resurfaced seconds later behind Raichu, who was unable to turn around because his momentum carried him forward. Pikachu jumped out of the ground and spun around sending an Iron Tail into the back of Raichu's head causing the larger mouse to slam into the ground face first.

"Pipi Ka Chu, Pika..." Pikachu said as he landed his attack, the end of his sentence drowned out by the clang of Iron Tail rang out. (Translation – "Yippee Ki A, Mother….") (AN, I'm not going to finish the quote. I'm sure you can fill in the rest. I couldn't resist this I just think its really funny.) Ash facepalmed, hanging and shaking his head, knowing what Pikachu had just said.

"I knew I shouldn't of let Pikachu watch Die Hard." Ash muttered under his breath.

As Raichu started to recover he tried to grab Pikachu with his tail but the smaller mouse used Agility to dodge. Raichu tried again and again to wrap Pikachu in his tail but missed every time.

"Raichu, Thunder the entire field." Surge shouted. Raichu quickly built up his power and blasted the field with Thunder. Pikachu tried to dodge by using Dig but was caught in the blast, he was thrown into the air and landed hard. He started to get up when he felt something grab his waist, he was held tightly by Raichu's tail. "Now Slam." Raichu lifted Pikachu from the ground as high as he could before slamming the smaller Pokémon back down repeatedly. Ash desperately wanted to call out a move to Pikachu but he knew how important this battle was to his partner so he stayed silent hoping Pikachu would be able to work out what he had to do.

As Pikachu neared the ground again he dipped his tail down first making contact with the field, his eyes flashed green and grass sprouted from the ground wrapping around his tail securely just before he hit the ground. As Raichu started to lift Pikachu again he felt the resistance and put more strength into moving Pikachu, the smaller mouse focussed on keeping his tail rigid. There was a tug of war between the two Pokémon until Pikachu slipped out of Raichu's tail and landed on the ground while Raichu staggered slightly trying to regain his balance due to the sudden shift in weight. Pikachu quickly used Iron Tail to shred the grass which held his tail in place and used Dig again to get away from Raichu.

"Raichu, Mega Punch the ground. Bring him back to the surface." Raichu started slamming his fists into the ground causing the field to shake and rumble slightly. I wasn't enough to do serious damage to the field but enough to make an underground Pokémon panic, especially after the field had been shaken by Magnitude and Earthquake already.

Pikachu ran out of the hole and spun around charging at Raichu in a Quick Attack, leaving a trail of white energy in his wake and his body glowing in a slightly gold light. The speed Pikachu moved made it seem that the small yellow Pokémon flickered in and out of existence. Pikachu was seconds from hitting Raichu when Surge shouted out.

"Raichu, grab him with you tail and use Hyper Beam." It was too late for Pikachu to dodge and he was wrapped once again in the larger Pokémon's tail. He could only struggle helplessly as Raichu charged a ball of orange energy in front of his mouth. Once it was ready Raichu launched the devastating attack, Pikachu was engulfed in the bright and powerful light. May, Dawn, Zoey, Iris and Cilan cried out in panic, though there was a small voice at the back of minds asking why Ash looked so calm in the face of what had occurred.

When the light faded Pikachu was nowhere to be seen and a crater had been punched into the earth. Raichu and Surge looked around the field trying to work out where Pikachu had gone, there wasn't a hole in the ground near Raichu to indicate that Pikachu had used did to escape. They're confusion was soon increased when Pikachu charged out of the hole he had dug earlier, Surge knew that there was no way that Pikachu could've gotten out of Raichu's tail and make it to the safety of the hole. While Raichu was still recharging from using Hyper Beam, Pikachu smash into his stomach with Quick Attack before unleashing an onslaught of Iron Tails. After a minute Pikachu leapt away and waited to see what happened next.

"Nice job, Pikachu. I see you've finally mastered it." Ash said smiling.

"What are you talking about?" Surge asked.

"Pikachu's been trying to learn Substitute." Ash replied, Surge's confusion faded as he realised what had happened. Surge also started to feel embarrassment and anger at being outsmarted by a Pikachu.

"Raichu, Body Slam." Raichu moved towards Pikachu and once close enough fell forward aiming to crush Pikachu under his body weight but Pikachu waited until the last second before using Agility to dodge and reappear behind Raichu. He didn't attack though as he was caught by Raichu's tail once again while the larger mouse crash into the ground, unable to stop himself. As Raichu righted himself he brought his tail round so Pikachu was in front of him. "Mega Punch." Surge said. Raichu's fist glowed again and struck Pikachu over and over again.

Pikachu managed to twist his body slightly to lessen the damage he was taking but he still took the brunt of the attack. Pikachu focussed his energy, ignoring the pain from the continuous Mega Punches, and powered up an Iron Tail. He then started to hammer at Raichu's tail in an attempt to escape keeping his attacks concentrated on one single point, slowly Raichu's attacks became less frequent as Pikachu's assault broke his focus and the glow from his fist dimmed. Eventually Raichu couldn't take the attacks anymore and threw Pikachu across the field, he then stroked his tail to try and lessen the pain. Pikachu stood up slowly, he was covered in scratches and bruises from Raichu's brutal assault.

"Raichu, Focus Blast." A ball of turquoise energy formed between Raichu's paws, once it was at full power Raichu threw it at Pikachu. Pikachu fought against the pain he felt and used Agility to dodge the fighting type move and started to circle Raichu firing small Thunderbolts at his head, not doing much damage but doing just enough for Raichu to feel them. "Trip him up." Raichu lashed out with his tail again and again until he got lucky, catching Pikachu mid-stride.

Pikachu tumbled head over tail a couple of times as Raichu ran up to attack with another Body Slam. Once Pikachu got his bearings he used Dig to escape, the dirt he kicked up flew into Raichu's face temporarily blinding the larger mouse.

Raichu stumbled backwards, rubbing his eyes to get the dirt out of them. A minute later Raichu had cleared away the last of the dirt and Pikachu had returned to the surface. As Pikachu started to circle Raichu again, the larger mouse lashed out with his tail once more.

I need to stop his tail, but how? Pikachu thought as he ran around and around, still sending the small jolts of electricity at Raichu. As he continued in his plan and dodging Raichu's tail an idea started to form, Pikachu smirked he knew what he needed to do he just had to wait for the right opportunity.

A few minutes later Raichu's tail slammed down in front of Pikachu and the yellow mouse put his plan into action. He jumped onto the flat lightning blade of Raichu's tail keeping it on the ground long enough for the next stage of his plan. Pikachu dipped his own tail so it touched the ground and his eyes flashed green, shoots of vibrant green grass grew from the field and wrapped tightly around Raichu's tail keeping it flat to the ground.

"Raichu, Thunderbolt. Burn away that grass." Surge said cockily, Raichu built up the energy in his body and channelled it down his tail but as the electricity reach his lower back it arced up and hit him in the head. Everyone looked on in confusion, Ash included and Surge's jaw dropped seeing his own Pokémon attack himself, no one could work out what was happening. An almost evil smirk appeared on Pikachu face and a wicked glint could be seen in his eyes as he jumped from Raichu's tail charging in with a Quick Attack.

"Mega Kick." Surge shouted, Raichu's foot glowed white as he swung it catching Pikachu under the chin and sending the smaller mouse across the field. While Pikachu was recovering from the kick Raichu tried to free himself from the grass. Pikachu slowly got to his feet panting heavily, Raichu was in a similar state but neither mouse was willing to give in.

"I think I know what happened with Raichu's Thunderbolt." Cynthia said.

"Care to share?" Adam asked.

"I think the small bolts that Pikachu used when he was circling Raichu reversed the polarity of the electric field around Raichu's head causing any electric attack he used to become attracted to his head."

"You mean the way that magnets of opposite poles are attracted to each other?" Cilan asked overhearing the theory.

"Exactly, at least that's what I thinks' happened. Pikachu is a devious little Pokémon if that was intentional, not to mention smarter then any of us might've thought." Cynthia answered.

Back on the field Pikachu charged in at Raichu as an electric yellow field of energy started to crackle around him, giving him the appearance of being in black and white. Raichu had finally freed his tail from the grass and readied himself for Pikachu's attack, a Mega Punch powered up and waiting but Raichu was being cautious now in case Pikachu pulled another trick. As Pikachu got closer and closer it became apparent that the smaller mouse wasn't going to deviate from his course, this was the all or nothing one way or the other the battle was going to end now. When Pikachu got within striking distance of Raichu the larger mouse swung his fist round intent on knocking Pikachu into the arena wall but the yellow mouse pulled on final trick. Pikachu quickly powered up an Iron Tail, letting the steel type move absorb the power from Volt Tackle. He planted his front paws and let his momentum carry his weight around pushing of the ground at the last second, feeling Raichu's Mega Punch graze his back as at the same time his Volt Tackle infused Iron Tail collided with Raichu's face. Raichu was knocked sideways by the hit and staggered across the field until he stopped and fell backwards his eyes replaced by spirals.

"Raichu is unable to battle, Pikachu wins. Lt Surge is out of usable Pokémon, Ash Ketchum has won the match." The Referee shouted, the crowd erupted in cheers. Ash ran onto the field, picking Pikachu up and holding him high. A group of glowing spheres flew up from the crowd and were soon hit by rapid fire Ice Beams causing the glowing spheres from Hidden Power to explode releasing a flurry of sparkles. Pikachu looked into the crowd and saw that it was Glaceon celebrating his victory.

"You did it Pikachu." Ash laughed but he soon stopped when he saw the annoyed look on Pikachu's face.

"Pi Pikachu?" (Translation – "You doubted me?")

"Course not, I…" Ash didn't get to finish his sentence because Pikachu lit him up like a Christmas tree. "Ow." Ash coughed weakly letting a puff of black smoke float out of his mouth before collapsing, hitting the ground hard. Pikachu jumped out of Ash's hands, landing safely on Ash's chest once the trainer had fallen down.

"Pi Ka Chu." (Translation – "Serves you right.") Pikachu said as he sat on Ash's chest. May had jumped over the small wall that surrounded the field and was running up to Ash when Pikachu shocked him making her run faster.

"What did you do that for?" May asked glaring at Pikachu, the mouse just shrugged and jumped off Ash's chest waiting for him to get up. May took hold of Ash's shoulders and shook him gently, leaning over him slightly. The sudden movement worked as Ash's eyes snapped open and he shot up from the ground, his hands grabbing May's waist and his face drew level with May's but didn't stop as their lips collided unintentionally. Whoops and whistles came from the crowd as May and Ash stayed where they were in shock at what had happened. After a couple of seconds May pulled back, suppressing a groan because she didn't want to stop kissing Ash but she knew she had too. Embarrassment soon flooded into her as she heard the whoops and whistles from the crowd, as soon as she felt Ash's lips on hers the rest of the world seemed to fade away leaving just the two of them. Unbeknownst to May, Ash had experienced the same feelings and even though he wasn't sure why he didn't want the kiss to end. He felt his lips go dry once May had pulled away, his tongue instinctively glided across them to wet them.

"Strawberry?" he whispered tasting traces of May's lip gloss. May quickly stood up and saw the crowds of people staring at her, she covered her face trying to hide her burning red cheeks and ran out of the arena. Glaceon jumped from the arena wall and took off after her trainer.

"May!" Dawn shouted, as she turned away from the field and ran for the exit to help her friend, returning Piplup to his Pokéball as she went. She was followed closely by Zoey and Iris leaving Cilan, Alexa, Adam and Cynthia behind.

Surge walked up to Ash, having returned Raichu, and held out a hand, Ash took it accepting the help to get off the ground though his thoughts were elsewhere he didn't bother to brush the dust and smoke from his clothes.

"You're one lucky kid Ash." Surge said with a chuckle, "Hope your girl get over the embarrassment. Anyway, you beat me fair and square though I still can't work out what Pikachu did to Raichu." Surge reached into his pocket pulling out an orange octagon with yellow triangles stuck to the edges so it looked like a sun. "Here's your Thunder Badge, you guys earned it."

He passed the Badge to Ash, who accepted it with a distant and distracted expression on his face.

"Huh?" Ash said as he was pulled out of his thought briefly, he looked at his hand seeing the badge, "Oh, thanks. That was a great battle." Ash shook hands with Surge half-heartedly still dazed by what had happened and left the arena with the crowd cheering again, Pikachu looked after his friend in confusion PikaPi doesn't usually act like that after a battle, something's wrong. Pikachu thought before he running after Ash.

As Ash exited the arena he wanted to go and find May but was greeted by Adam, Cynthia, Alexa and Cilan instead with Umbreon was stood by Adam's leg and Pichu was still sat on Cynthia's head. He stopped in front of them and was about to ask where May was when Adam started talking.

"Ash, I know you want to go and check on May but give her some space. Dawn, Iris and Zoey have gone to talk to her, we're meeting them at the beach later. Come on, let's take your Pokémon to Nurse Joy and get them back to full strength. Then we'll go back to the hotel penthouse so you can get yourself cleaned up." He said, Ash looked down at his clothes and saw the state they were in.

"Alright," Ash sighed, he really wanted to make sure May was alright. Pikachu jumped on to Ash's shoulder and rubbed their cheeks together to try and cheer Ash up. "Why are we going to the beach?"

"Dawn and Zoey suggested it as a way to relax and have some fun." Cilan said. Ash nodded and the five if them along with their Pokémon went to the Pokémon Centre.

Adam slowed his pace and indicated for Ash to do the same thing, once they were level with each other Adam started to speak.

"You okay Ash?" He asked.

"Yeah, why?" Ash replied.

"You seem distracted."

"It's just what happened in the arena."

"You mean with May."

"Yeah, I feel really confused."


"I…I don't know." Ash growled holding his head as he started to get frustrated.

"Hey, hey calm down. If you can't think straight then you'll never work it out." Ash took a deep breath, releasing it slowly to try and slow his heart rate.

"You're right, I think I'm calm now. Just really, really confused."

"Tell me what happened."

"Why? You saw it, everyone did."

"I know but like we did at Pokémon Tech, walk me through what happened and what you felt."

"Well first I grabbed Sandshrew's Pokéball and…" Adam held up a hand.

"I mean from after Pikachu shocked you."

"Right, sorry. Well I felt hands on my shoulders and they started to shake me, then I sat up quickly like Riley taught me. He said that if you're resting and someone starts to shake you to grabbed their waist so they can't get away and you know where your target is, then sit up quickly to assess what's happening."

"Okay what next."

"As I sat up and opened my eyes I saw May but I couldn't stop moving and our lips touched." Ash stopped and touched his own lips as he felt them tingle, as if May's lips were still there.

"How did they feel?" Ash looked at Adam in confusion, "I'm just trying to help you figure it all out."

"They felt nice, soft. They were warm as well, I could taste her lip gloss."

"And how did you feel? Did you like it? Be honest with me Ash it's the only way you'll work out what's going on."

"Yeah, I did." Ash said in a small voice. "But I don't think May did, she ran away."

"She was embarrassed, you kissed in the middle of an arena full of people." Adam then thought about why Ash was so confused, "Ash, that was your first kiss, wasn't it." It was a rhetorical question but Ash nodded anyway.

"That's why you feel like this, you don't know how to react to it. If you want my advice then talk to May about it later, right now she needs time to calm down. I think that was her first kiss too." Adam continued.

"I guess you're right. I just want to talk to her about it, I don't know what to say though."

"I know what you mean, think about what you want to say and speak from the heart. The heart never lies, it mightn't make sense sometimes but it always tells the truth. Come on we need to get you're Pokémon to Nurse Joy and then we'll go back to the hotel to get ready for the beach." Ash nodded in agreement and then started to go over the battle with Adam as they traded opinions. They also talked about changes to Sandshrew and Rhyhorn's training, seeing them in an actual Pokémon battle and not training matches allowed Ash to see where they were strong and where needed some improvement.

Dawn, Iris and Zoey found May sitting in the restroom where she and Dawn had changed into their Cheerleader Uniforms, she was sat on the floor hugging her legs and resting her forehead against her knees. Glaceon sat next to her with a look of worry on her face. Dawn walked forward and crouched next to May, seeing her shoulders shaking as if she was crying.

"May, are you okay?" she asked. What happened next confused the three girls as they heard May laugh, quietly at first but soon increasing in volume until it filled the room bouncing off the walls and echoing loudly.

"MAY!" Zoey shouted getting the brunette's attention, "Are you alright?" She asked gently.

"Me, I'm just fine. Great even, all I've done is embarrass myself in front of over a hundred people and probably freaked Ash out so now I've ruined any chance I might've had with him." May laughed as tears slowly fell from her shiny sapphire eyes and her laughs turned to choked sobs, tear tracks marking her cheeks.

"May, calm down it's not that bad. It was only a kiss, it's not like you haven't done that before." Iris said, May looked at her before turning away and avoided eye contact with anyone. "Oh." Iris said softly.

"You mean that was…" Dawn started stopping when she saw May nod.

"I've never really thought about kissing anyone before, I mean I used to think about kissing my Prince Charming but he wasn't real. It's only since I've started travelling with Ash again that I've wanted to kiss someone real." May admitted. "I wanted it to be special when I got my first kiss, I nearly kissed him in Rota."

"You didn't tell me that, spill it now." Dawn said, Iris and Zoey made themselves comfortable as waited for May to start talking. May sighed and explained about the party after the Contest in Rota leaving out the part about Mew, just saying that someone shouted and interrupted the moment.

"That's how I wanted it to happen but now every time I think about my first kiss I'll remember it as a mistake." May rested her forehead on her knees again as she felt tears forming again. Dawn pulled her into a hug, not knowing what else to do.

"First kisses are never what you expect them to be." Iris said. "You want the fairy-tale experience, candles, romantic music, full moon but that's all it is, a fairy-tale. Something that's just out of reach and no matter how much you wish it'll never come true. You just need to accept what happens and move past it, kisses do get better with experience though."

"Speaking from experience?" Dawn asked.

"Yeah." Iris sighed, "It took a while before Cilan and I went on our first date but finally after asking and asking…"

"Cilan said yes." Zoey interrupted, the girls laughed, even May managed a small chuckle.

"Anyway, Cilan tried to make the date perfect but things kept going wrong. The restaurant we went to brought us the wrong food and in the end Cilan went into the kitchen to make the food himself." Iris paused giggling, "The chef there actually asked for Cilan's recipe, they've called it Style De Cilan. After that we went for a walk but that went bad because there was a meeting of people who loved ice types." She shivered at the memory, wrapping her arms around herself to fight off the imaginary chill. "Everything went wrong, Cilan kept apologising saying he'd make it up to me. In the end I just grabbed his waistcoat, pulled him towards me and kissed him. The kiss was nice but because we didn't really know what to do so it was awkward, afterwards we didn't talk for a couple of days then Cilan called and asked if I wanted to go out again. We've been together since, that was nearly four months ago now. Before you ask Dawn, yes the kisses are better now." There were a few seconds of silence before Iris spoke again. "Okay Dawn, you started this now it's your turn. What's your story?"

"Zoey was my first kiss." Dawn said simply ignoring the look of shock on Iris' face, "A couple of years ago we both competed in the same Contest in Kanto, I lost to Zoey in the Final and I got upset. Zoey said that she'd take me for a meal so we could talk about the Contest and help me get stronger. We spent hours talking, right through the meal and we walked around the town afterwards still talking. We found a little place where we could dance, Zoey managed to get us a glass of wine each. It must've been strong because we got a little drunk, when we got back to the Pokémon Centre I said good night to Zoey and went to give her a hug but kissed her instead. I don't really remember that much about the kiss, all I do remember is feeling happy and confused about it. I pulled away quickly and just disappeared into my room leaving Zoey out in the corridor. The next morning when I opened my door Zoey was there about to knock on it. I let her into the room and we talked about what happened, Zoey asked me why I kissed her but I didn't know, something just made me do it. Then she asked me something I didn't expect."

"I asked if she liked it." Zoey said continuing the story, "Dawn said she wasn't sure so I leaned forward and kissed her again. Just a peck on the lips, then I asked her what she thought." Zoey smiled and cupped Dawn's cheek, Dawn put her hand over Zoey's and returned the smile. "She said it was nice but I could see she was confused so we talked about it for a while. In the end we got together and I've been stuck with her ever since."

"Hey!" Dawn said playfully punching Zoey's shoulder. Iris and May laughed a little at the display, smiling when Zoey apologised by kissing Dawn lightly on the cheek.

"Tell them who you pictured being your first kiss." Zoey said wanting to embarrass Dawn a little.

"No, I'm not saying that. I never should've told you about it."

"Alright then I'll tell them. You might've heard Ash talk about him. His name was…" Zoey was stopped from finishing her sentence because Dawn clamped a hand over her mouth.

"Don't you dare." The two girls started to wrestle a bit as Zoey tried to remove the hand covering her face and Dawn fought to keep it there. Iris and May shared a devious smirk as they moved towards Dawn, grabbing her arms and tickling her sides. Dawn exploded into a fit of giggles, releasing Zoey as she tried to fight of Iris and May.

"Paul, it was Paul." Zoey finally said laughing. Iris and May had heard Ash talk about Paul, Iris while they travelled together in Unova and May when she met him during the Wallace Cup. Both gives burst out laughing hearing the name causing Dawn to go red in the face.

"I couldn't help it. He had the whole bad boy attitude." Dawn said trying to defend herself but that only made the other laugh harder.

"Well now you don't need the bad boy, do you?" Zoey said as she calmed down.

"I suppose you're right," Dawn replied as a smile slowly crept across her face, "because now I have a bad girl to deal with." Everyone started laughing again and took a few minutes to get control of themselves.

"What about you Zoey, how was your first kiss?" Iris asked, getting back to the original conversation.

"I was up late one night talking with Miss Senior and…" Zoey started.

"Miss Senior?"

"Candice, the Snowpoint City Gym Leader, we grew up together." Zoey explained. "Anyway we were up late talking and somehow we started talking about kissing and stuff like that. I was a bit like May and didn't really think that much about kissing and I'd never really been interested in any of the boys that lived nearby or went to school with us. I didn't think much of it because I was focussing more on learning about being a Co-Ordinator but I noticed that when the other girls talked about how they felt towards boys I was feeling that towards some girls. While we were talking I asked whether it was okay to like girls, I told Miss Senior about how I'd been feeling and if something was wrong with me. Miss Senior is a little older than me so I always went to her for advice. She said there was only one way to know what I was feeling, I was about to ask what she meant when she leant forwards and kissed me. It was only for a couple of seconds, when she moved back she asked whether that felt wrong. I said no, that it felt nice and right, she then told me about how girls can like girls. After that I knew who I was and who I wanted to be."

The girls were silent for a minute before Dawn smiled and asked one last question.

"There's only one thing left to ask." Dawn turned to look at May, a devilish glint in her eyes and a mischievous smirk on her lips. "How was it?"

Back at Cynthia's hotel room she sat next to Adam resting her head on his shoulder while stroking Pichu as he slept, he'd moved from her head to her lap once she had sat down. Ash sat in a chair opposite while they all talked, Cilan had gone back to the stall to close it properly while Alexa had gone back to her hotel to get the equipment she needed for interviewing Cynthia and Adam. They'd been to the Pokémon Centre and decided to go back to the hotel to wait for Dawn, May, Iris and Zoey. Ash had released most of his Pokémon to let them relax for a while, Sandshrew and Rhyhorn were napping by the doors to the balcony, Pikachu was sitting on Ash's shoulder and Lucario was meditating in Ash's room. He'd sent Donphan and Krookodile back to Professor Oak, asking for Ponyta and Gyarados, Ponyta was sat on the floor next to Ash, her fiery blue mane crackling quietly, and Gyarados was still in his Pokéball because he wouldn't fit in the room. Ash had brought Gyarados on to his team because when he told Misty that Gyarados gets cranky if he's in his Pokéball for too long he hadn't been lying, plus even though the large water type had been able to move freely in the Cerulean City Gym's pool he needed to swim in a larger body of water to stretch properly.

Adam had let Luxray and Luna out of their Pokéballs, Umbreon and Luxray were now lying next to him listening to the conversation while Luna was mediating in Adam's room, he'd also changed his team slightly sending Abomasnow and Arcanine back to Dinah while asking for Greninja and Dragonite. Cynthia had kept most of her Pokémon in their balls only letting her Roserade and Glaceon out, Roserade was on the balcony enjoying the sunlight and Glaceon was curled up asleep next to Umbreon. The conversation between Cynthia, Adam and Ash covered a lot of things from training methods to old adventures, eventually it turned to what they all planned to do next.

"I'm going to Saffron City to get my next Gym Badge." Ash said, "Last time Sabrina gave me the Badge because I helped her but this time I'm earning it fair and square."

"I've still got some time before I have to go back to Sinnoh." Cynthia said, "I heard there's some ruins in Mount Moon so I want to look at them and then if I have time I'm going to the Ruins of Alph." Both Cynthia and Ash looked at Adam waiting to hear his plans but he didn't say anything.

"Adam?" Cynthia said nudging him gently in the ribs, "What are you going to do?"

"I don't know." Adam sighed rubbing the back of his neck, "I didn't really plan that far ahead, I was going to make my way up to Lavender Town but I'm not sure now. Let me think about it for a bit and I'll tell you later." Adam wanted to go to Lavender Town to pay his respects at the Pokémon Tower like he always did when he came to Kanto but now because he'd started a relationship with Cynthia he didn't know what to do. He could still go to Lavender Town and travel with Ash and May as far as Saffron City, along with helping Ash understand his feelings towards May or he could go with Cynthia and spend time with her while they adjusted to the change in their friendship. He was torn between his loyalty to his friends and his love for Cynthia.

"So Ash, which Pokémon are you going to use for you next Gym Battle?" Cynthia asked. Ash thought about his choices for a minute before answering.

"I've gotten a few new Pokémon recently so I'm going to train them up for the battle but I'm going to have one of my more experienced Pokémon as well just in case I need him. I think I'll bring Houndour and Grimm from my newer Pokémon, Butterfree will be there for back up if they need it." He replied.


"Yeah, he's an Absol. Lucario told me that's what he wanted to be called."

"Your Lucario can talk?" Cynthia asked shocked, Ash facepalmed he hadn't meant to say that.

"Yeah, he can. He talks through his Aura but please don't tell anyone about him. I wanted to keep it a secret because as far as I know he's the only one who can talk." Ash said.

"Don't worry, I won't say anything about Lucario. I do have couple of questions though, it's something I've been wondering about for a while. As the Champion of Sinnoh, I get reports of any dangerous people in the region. A few of the reports that were given to me had your name on them, not as a dangerous person but trying to stop them. I did some digging and found that you'd appeared in reports from other regions as well." Cynthia paused to let the information sink in, "The reports said that you were involved in battle with Hunter J, Team Rocket, Team Galactic, which I already know about and others from Sinnoh and the other Regions. I know you're an ally of the G-Men, though Lance has you down as a consultant in the paperwork."

"How'd you know that?" Ash asked, surprised. Adam looked surprised to hear that his friend was connected to the G-Men.

"I know because I lead the G-Men in Sinnoh, though I like to keep that quiet. I noticed that you have been able to connect with a lot of Legendary Pokémon, so here's one of my questions. I've seen you talking to Pokémon and you seem to fully understand what they're saying, there's only one thing I can think of that can explain that. Ash, do you possess the power to control Aura?"

Ash sat there staring at Cynthia before sighing.

"Yeah, I do." He answered. "I recently graduated as a full Aura Guardian, I'm a knight of the Queen's Court and if my former teacher isn't around I take his place as the Queen's honoured protector. Cynthia please don't tell anyone, I don't want to be treated differently. Even though I've changed a lot over the last three years, I'm still the same person."

"I thought so, I talked to a man called Riley on Iron Island after Team Galactic where seen there. He told me that you and your friends had helped him against Team Galactic, he also said that he felt a power inside of you that could've been Aura. So when we met after that I paid attention to how you acted and thought about what I knew about Aura, things started to make sense after that. Don't worry I won't tell anyone, I know how to keep secrets. According to the file the G-Men had on you, you've met or had a close encounter with nearly every Legendary Pokémon there is. I also know about the Shamouti Prophecy." Cynthia stopped to remember the correct wording before speaking again.

"Disturb not the harmony of Fire, Ice or Lightning, lest these Titans wreak destruction upon the world in which they clash.

Though the water's great guardian shall arise to quell the fighting, alone its song will fail, and thus the earth shall turn to ash.

O Chosen One, into thine hands bring to together all three.

Their treasures combined tame the Beast of the Sea."

"So," Cynthia continued, "how does it feel to be named in an ancient prophecy, O Chosen One?" Ash looked at Cynthia before chuckling softly.

"I feel like my mom should've named me Bob."

"That doesn't really work though. Thus the earth shall turn to Bob, just doesn't sound right. Prophecies are meant to be a bit cryptic, Bob doesn't do that." Adam said.

"Can you ask the other question now Cynthia? I don't feel like I was chosen for anything, I was just there when everything else happened and did what I could to help."

"Okay I'll let it go but did you ever think that you were there when it happened for a reason?" Ash was silent once Cynthia had said that, thinking about what she meant, the Champion did have a point maybe he had been in all those places because he needed to be. "Anyway my other question is how did you get involved with the G-Men?" Cynthia's question brought Ash out of his thought.

"I helped Lance a few times when I started out as a trainer once in Johto and again in Hoenn. A few years ago Lance asked me to join but I said no and now we an arrangement so that if he ever needs me to help I'll get there as soon as I can and if I see anything that might need G-Men attention I call him." Ash then went on to tell her how Lance had recruited him in more detail, the three of them talked for a while longer until they decided to go to the beach, Ash left a note for May telling her where they had gone in case she came back to the room once they'd left. Ash, Adam and Cynthia returned their Pokémon apart from Pichu, Luxray, Lucario and, of course, Pikachu, they each picked up a towel and Adam grabbed the bag Cynthia had prepared earlier that morning. They left the room and walked to the beach, stopping every now and again to look at a stall. They passed the stall where Ash had bought May a crystal figurine of Manaphy and Adam bought a pewter figurine for Cynthia because it was a figurine of her signature Pokémon, Garchomp.

When they got to the beach they let out all their Pokémon and sat down waiting for May and the other to arrive. Gyarados was swimming freely in the ocean drawing a few nervous looks at his size and unusual colouring, he didn't care though he was used to the looks and secretly enjoyed the fear on the faces of people. Once Cynthia saw Gyarados she demanded that Ash tell her how he found the water type, while Ash told his story Adam looked around at the other Pokémon. Umbreon, Pikachu, Glaceon (Cynthia's), Sandshrew and Pichu were all playing together, Luna, Lucario and Jackal (Cynthia's Lucario) were engaged in a three way sparing session and the other Pokémon were resting in the sun, enjoying the warmth. Adam was tempted to go and join the three Lucario in their sparing but decided against it, while he could hold his own against Luna he knew that he wouldn't last more than a minute against three of the fighting types. Half an hour later May, Dawn. Zoey and Iris came to the beach with Cilan and Alexa behind them. Alexa had Helioptile sat on the bag attached to her belt and Gogoat walking alongside her while Cilan carried a picnic basket and another bag presumably holding towels and other things.

Dawn, Zoey and Iris had gone back to their hotels and picked up some things they might need for the beach like sun block, towels, sunglasses etc then gone with May back to Cynthia's penthouse to get changed from the Cheerleading uniforms before going to meet Ash, Adam and Cynthia. On the way to the beach from Cynthia's penthouse they ran into Alexa and Cilan, telling them that the others were already at the beach.

Once they had all greeted each other the newcomers released their Pokémon letting them do whatever they wanted. May's Glaceon went other to Pikachu and the other playing Pokémon, joining in their game. Piplup and a few of the other Pokémon followed, while the other Pokémon either lay down to relax or went to join the three Lucario in their sparing match.

Just as the newcomers were settling in Gyarados erupted out of the water a few feet away from them, roaring his arrival. The sight of the large water type caused everyone apart from Adam and Ash to react in fright. Dawn, Zoey, Iris, Cynthia, May and Alexa all screamed while Cilan backed away and the Pokémon dropped into fighting stances, fur bristled and growls rumbling in their throats. They all calmed down when Ash walked into the surf and stroked the Atrocious Pokémon's blood red crest explaining that Gyarados was a part of his team. Dawn soon calmed down and asked if she could borrow Gyarados for a Contest because his unique black and red colouring, not to mention his size, would be a big advantage. Gyarados splashed Dawn with some water, it was his way of saying he wasn't interested in Contests.

Once the Pokémon were settled Dawn, May, Cynthia and Iris started to take their clothes off revealing their swimsuits, Dawn wore a pale yellow two-piece, May was wearing the same one she wore at the Cerulean Gym, Cynthia had a basic black two-piece and Iris had a pink one-piece with a red bow on the neckline. Zoey stayed dressed as she was, in her red t-shirt and denim shorts, reclining on a towel and enjoying the heat from the blazing sun as she flicked her ever present sunglasses down to cover her eyes. Cilan and Ash stripped down to their swimming trunks, Adam and Alexa did the same as Zoey and stayed dressed as they were.

The group sat around enjoying themselves and after a little while Alexa started to interview Cynthia and Adam, the others listened to what was being said. Alexa started by asking how they'd met and when they realised how they felt about each other. Any questions Alexa asked about Adam's family went unanswered other than Cynthia saying that they were proud to have him as a son. The interview lasted about an hour covering their new relationship, Cynthia's time as Champion and Adam's victory in the Johto League, afterwards they all started doing separate things.

May and Zoey were sat close to Cynthia and Adam wanting to hear about them and how they felt. While this was happening Dawn tugged on Ash's arm pulling him a little distance from the group, she'd made this plan with Zoey. While Zoey kept May distracted with listening to the interview, Zoey knew that Dawn was going to talk to Ash about the kiss and give him a nudge in the right direction.

"What's wrong Dawn?" Ash asked once Dawn turned to face him.

"Nothing's wrong I just wanted to talk to you privately." Dawn replied.

"What about?"

"The kiss you and May had." Ash started to fidget nervously and took a small step back.

"Why'd you want to talk about that?"

"Look, May's in the same position you are. She's confused and doesn't know what's going to happen to your friendship now. You need to tell her how you felt and what you want to happen next."

"What'd you mean happen next?" Dawn facepalmed, she'd hoped that Ash had become less dense with age but that didn't seem to be the case.

"Do you still want to be friends with May?" She asked deciding to keep Ash focussed on the friendship instead of spending Arceus knows how long explaining what both he and May wanted to happen.

"Of course I do!" Ash said loudly, Dawn put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down as she saw Zoey and May look at them. Dawn smiled and gave a little wave, May waved back but her eyes were locked on Ash with a little bit of worry in them. Zoey and May turned back to watch the interview, Dawn took a deep breath before she continued.

"Then you need to tell her that. May's scared that you might hate her now."

"I could never hate May. I….I like her a lot." Ash looked away after admitting the last part, knowing that 'like' wasn't a strong enough word for what he felt but didn't know why. Dawn smiled now it was time to put her real plan into action.

"I understand that Ash, I know you care about May." Dawn paused for effect before making her move. "Hey," she said faking realisation, "I just had a great idea, you and May need to look like a real couple right." Ash nodded. "Then you need to kiss her like that again."

"WHAT!" Ash shouted before Dawn could stop him, she grabbed his arm and pulled him further away from the others. Everyone looked over to where they were standing wondering what had made Ash shout. Seeing nothing wrong they returned to what they were doing, May was the last to do so until Zoey nudged her to take her attention away from Dawn and Ash.

"Look, real couples kiss like that, they kiss on the cheek too but when they really want to express their feelings they kiss on the lips. To look like a real couple you and May need to start kissing on the lips"

"Really?" Ash asked, sweat started dripping from his brow but not from the heat, Dawn nodded.

"Talk to May about it and see what she says. Tell her what I said and I'm sure she'll agree with me." Ash sighed in defeat, he knew he if he didn't talk to May then Dawn would.

"Okay I'll talk to her now." Ash turned to walk back to the group, seeing that the interview had ended and May was mid conversation with Cynthia. He stopped when Dawn grabbed his arm.

"Not yet, she's talking to Cynthia. Wait for a few minutes and then talk to her."

"Okay." Ash said and walked back to everyone else stopping when Alexa called him over wanting to interview him about his Gym Battle.

May glanced at Ash not sure how to act around him now, Cynthia saw this and walked over sitting down next to the brunette. Zoey had gone over to the Pokémon to stop her Glameow fighting with Iris' Emolga over a small red ball Cilan had brought along. When Dawn had arrived at the beach she'd approached Cynthia asking for her help, Dawn figured that May would be more willing to take advice from the Champion rather than someone younger like herself or Zoey.

"May, is everything okay?" The blonde asked. May looked at Cynthia and smiled weakly.

"Yeah, it's just…." May started before trailing off.

"You don't know how to approach Ash after what happened." Cynthia said filling in May's silence, May nodded in confirmation. "Adam told me a little about your situation with Ash, don't be mad at him, he figured that I'd be able to help you more than he could. The kiss is a good thing." This was the truth Adam had explained to Cynthia about Ash and May, asking if she had any ideas then to pass them on to May but this was more Dawn's idea and though it was a little embarrassing it would work given time.

"How? It was an accident, how can it be a good thing?"

"Because now it's happened, you can start to give him more hints about how you really feel." May stared at Cynthia in confusion, "Dawn has been talking to Ash to help him understand what's happened and I know what she's doing, I'd do the same thing. Kissing like you did in the arena made you look like a real couple, now the first one is out the way you can convince Ash to kiss you like that again. I don't know you or Ash as well as everyone else does but I think I can help you."

"Cynthia, I appreciate the offer but…."

"No buts, you brought Adam back to me and I can't thank you enough for that, you brought me the person I love. He said that you are the reason he came into Vermillion and I can't thank you enough for that, the last time I actually saw him in person was an accident, it was about four years ago in Unova. I was investigating the Dragonspiral Tower and Adam was training nearby, he helped me with my research for a couple of days before leaving, saying he needed to go somewhere else to train his other Pokémon. I want to repay you by helping the person you love realise what he feels for you. Now I'm sure Dawn's convinced Ash to kiss you on the lips by now so here's my advice. When you kiss him slowly make the kisses last longer and make them stronger, only a little at a time you don't want to go too fast. From what I know of Ash if you go too fast then he'll panic, you need to make the time between kisses decrease as well a little at a time. Start with one every couple of days and work from there."

"Is that was you're doing with Adam?" May asked, Cynthia blushed and giggled.

"No, I dove right in, kissing him properly and putting everything I had in to it. I did that because Adam basically told me what he felt and he understood what the emotions he had meant. Ash doesn't so that's why you need to go slow with him. At least for now." May nodded and saw that Ash was talking to Alexa.

"Thanks Cynthia, I'm going to talk to Ash now." May stood to leave then stopped and looked at Cynthia, "You said Adam basically told you how he felt. What did you mean by that?"

"He wrote a poem, it didn't say he loved me but it was there between the lines."

"Do you think Adam will show me the poem?"

"Probably not….but I sort of memorised it. I can't help it some things just stick in my head and I never forget them, I don't know why that happens but I'm glad it does because I'll always have the poem with me." Cynthia patted the sand next to her indicating for May to sit down. The brunette did so and Cynthia recited the poem from memory.

"Aww, that's beautiful and I see what you mean about his confession being between the lines."

"I think you should go and talk to Ash now." Cynthia said, "Good luck and remember go slow, a little at a time." May nodded and thanked Cynthia before standing again, she walked towards Ash trying to think of a way to start the conversation. Ash had just finished his interview with Alexa and when he saw May coming he stood, leaving Alexa to her notes telling her that if she needed to she could ask him more question later. He moved towards May and repeated in his mind what Dawn had told him hoping to find a way to talk to May without it being awkward.

"May, can I talk to you for a minute?" Ash asked once he was close enough for May to hear him.

"Sure," May replied, "Let's go over here so we have some privacy." As they turned to walk a little further down the beach May saw Zoey clamp a hand over Dawn's mouth, probably to stop her embarrassing them.

"So, what do you want to talk about?" May asked, deciding to let Ash start and see where he'd go with the advice he'd been given.

"I…I want to talk about the…you know, what happened after my battle." Ash said stumbling over his words, May looked away and blushed. She found it cute that Ash was nervous about this but she was too, neither of them had been in this kind of situation before and didn't know what to do.

"You mean the kiss." May said shyly, Ash nodded in agreement, "What about it?"

"Well Dawn said that couples kiss like that and if I want to help you then I need to kiss you like that again." Ash noticed that May's face went an even deeper shade of red and started to backtrack. "I won't though if you don't want me too, it was Dawn's stupid idea. I'm just telling you what she said, it's her fault…" Ash stopped talking when May giggled, giving her a quizzical look.

"Ash, it's not a stupid idea. It's just…It would make us look more like a couple but I don't want you to feel like you need to do it, if you're embarrassed about it then you don't need to do it."

"I said I'd help you and that's what I'm going to do." Ash said firmly, "It's just I don't know what to do and I don't want make you run away again like you did before."

"I ran away before because I was embarrassed, we kissed in front of all those people by accident. I felt scared, it was my first kiss." May ended her sentence quietly, looking down at the sand.

"Mine too." Ash said, May looked at him with a small smile, she figured it was Ash's first kiss but hearing him say it made her feel happy knowing that they'd shared their first kiss together even though it was an accident and embarrassing. "So, what do we do now?"

"I supposed we carry on, like before so we look like a couple." May said in response to Ash's question.

"Do…do you want me to kiss you again?" May felt her heart flutter wildly at Ash's question.

"Only if you think it will help." May replied, Ash took hold of May's hands gently.

"I suppose it's like holding hands, if I'm going to do it then I need to keep doing it." Ash leant forwards slightly but stopped and pulled back, he scratched the back of his head laughing nervously. "I just realised, I don't know what I'm doing." May laughed and shook her head, making her hair sway from side to side.

"Just do what I do." May said, as she leant in raising her head up slightly before stopping when Ash lifted his head up too. "Ash, when I lift my head you need to move yours down otherwise…" May stopped talking hoping Ash could fill in the blanks. It took a minute but Ash eventually worked out where he'd gone wrong.

"Oh, right sorry." He said letting his face drop down so it was close to May's. May then lifted herself up on to her toes and gently placed her lips on Ash's, the kiss only lasted a couple of seconds before May pulled away remembering Cynthia's advice, even though she wanted to deepen the kiss. "So, what now?" Ash asked slightly dazed from the brief kiss.

"I don't know, it's a beautiful day so let's enjoy it." May replied before letting go of Ash's hand and walked over to the Pokémon with a bounce in her step and a slightly sway to her hips. Ash just stood still watching May go, as his lips tingled as if a ghostly version of May's lips were touching his. He shook off the fog in his mind and followed May to where she was standing surrounded by the Pokémon, as he went over Ash thought he saw Dawn and Cynthia high five while Zoey kept a hand over Dawn's mouth but ignored it thinking he imagined it.

The tension between Ash and May had lessened greatly but it was still there, in slight hesitations before talking to each other but after an hour or so it was gone completely and they acted as if the nervousness had never existed in the first place. Everyone in the group was having fun Ash and May were busy playing with the Pokémon while Dawn and Zoey were chatting about possible Contest combinations, Iris and Cilan were swimming and Alexa was looking over her notes from the interviews. Adam and Cynthia meanwhile were having a small argument, Adam was wearing his hoodie and Cynthia was trying to get him to take it off.

"Come on Adam, you can't be comfortable wearing that in this heat." Cynthia said as she tried to pull the hoodie over his head, having noticed sweat running down his face.

"Cyn, really I'm fine. Stop fussing over it." Adam replied, keeping hold of the bottom of his hoodie as he attempted to stop her from removing his top. Adam was starting to win as his hoodie started to slip out of Cynthia's grasp, slowly inching back down to its original position until he felt someone grab his arms pulling them away for the hoodie and tickle his sides. Unable to do anything other than let go of his hoodie and start laughing Adam did just that, as he laughed Cynthia strengthened her hold and yanked the hoodie over his head. The people who had hold of Adam's arms let go briefly so that the hoodie could be pulled free of his body, leaving Adam in a white t-shirt. Cynthia started to laugh in victory, throwing the hoodie over to her bag, until she saw the end of the scar on his collar bone and the ones on his upper arms and her laughter died in her throat.

"Adam, what happened to you?" Cynthia asked in a small voice after a couple of gasps were heard from behind him. Adam looked over his shoulder seeing Dawn and Zoey stood behind him each with a hand over their mouths, on Adam's back was a jagged scar that stretched between his shoulder blades, parts reached the base of his neck so that it could be seen over the collar of his t-shirt, the rest could be seen through a bulge in the fabric.

"Cyn, you don't want me to answer that question. Believe me, can I have my hoodie back please?" Adam asked quietly, looking at the sand refusing to make any form of contact with Cynthia.

"Not till you answer the question." Cynthia said defiantly, Dawn and Zoey decided to give the new couple some time alone though they too wanted to know where the scars had come from. Adam didn't speak for a while until he finally turned to look at Cynthia, his eyes were hard and she could see the pain behind them. It was obvious to the blonde that whatever or whoever had given Adam those scars still haunted him.

"Please don't make me relive what happened. All I'm going to say on the matter is that I've found myself in dangerous situations while I've been training. Now can I have my hoodie back?" Cynthia wanted to push for real answers but didn't as she could see that Adam was on the verge of getting up and leaving.

"Adam, you've got to stop hiding things. You can't keep bottling everything up, it won't do you any good." Cynthia said passing the hoodie over, "I want to help you, talk to me." She pleaded "I don't like seeing you like this, it…it hurts me not knowing what you've been through. When you're ready to talk, I'll be here for you." Cynthia's voice started to shake from her emotions.

Adam took the hoodie and just stared at it, he sighed folding it he placed in on the sand next to the towel he was sitting on. He turned and looked at Cynthia pulling her into a comforting hug and kissed her forehead.

"Don't cry, it's just that I don't want to burden you with the things I've seen, the things that have happened to me. I care about you more than I could ever say and I don't want you carry that kind of knowledge around." He whispered in her ear as he held her. Cynthia pulled back slightly before leaning forward and placing a loving kiss on Adam's lips.

"I care about you too, that why I want you to talk to me." She said as she moved her head away, ending the kiss so she could look in Adam's eyes.

"I will, I promise. Just…just give me time." Adam released Cynthia from the hug and lay back on his towel, Cynthia smiled and lay next to him resting her head on his chest.

About an hour later everyone was sat around enjoying the food that Cilan had brought and the Pokémon were also eating the food he'd brought for them, there was a moment when they thought that there wouldn't be enough to feed Gyarados but May had some of her trademark Pink Surprise and gave them to the water type. Once everyone had eaten they just lay around enjoying the sun and the Pokémon did the same. Adam, Ash and Cilan had left to get everyone ice cream and May had moved her towel over to Cynthia's as she wanted to get to know the Champion a little better.

They made idle chat for a few minutes before they both lay back to enjoy the beautiful weather, a shadow fell across Cynthia's face a little while later. Opening her eyes, the Sinnoh Champion saw that there was a tall red haired man stood by her side blocking the light from the sun. The man only wore a pair of dark blue shorts and flip flops, he was overly muscular every inch of his chest was filled with muscle, so much so that it was obscene.

"Can I help you?" She asked in a bored tone, not really wanting to know what the stranger wanted. May opened her eyes and looked to see what was happening.

"Yeah babe, you and your sexy friends can come have some fun with me." The man said, "I'm Chad, what's your name?"

"None of your business, we're not interested now please leave us alone."

"Aw come on gorgeous, don't be like that. I'm sure you're friends want to come too."

"NO WE DON'T!" Came the reply from Iris, Alexa, May, Dawn and Zoey. Hearing this some of the Pokémon turned to see what was happening. Chad knelt between May and Cynthia putting a hand on the Champions upper arm, dangerously close to her breasts, leaning over to whisper in Cynthia's ear when a voice was heard stopping Chad from doing anything.

"Hey, can I help you mate?" Chad turned to look at the person the voice came from, standing a few feet away was Adam holding a box with four ice cream cones. Adam passed the cones over to Ash and walked over to Cynthia.

"I'm just talking to the babe here, she wants to have some fun but she's playing hard to get." Chad replied.

"Try never to get. Leave me alone." Cynthia said, sitting up and pulling her arm out of Chad's grasp. Chad put hand on Cynthia's shoulder and played with her hair.

"You keep saying no but, I know you mean yes."

"The lady said no and she means it, so leave." Adam said knocking Chad's hand away and pulling him to his feet. Adam stared at Chad, his eyes cold and unflinching, while Chad just smirked meeting Adam's gaze.

"What you going to do if I don't leave?" Chad asked cockily.

"Make you." Adam growled, Cynthia stood up and stood at Adam's side, a hand on his shoulder.

"Alright then if not blondie then how about the brown haired honey?"

"Not likely." May said moving away and standing by Ash, taking the box of ice creams out of his hands.

"You've got your answer, now go away." Ash said.

"That's what you think," Chad snorted before raising his voice, "Hey guys come here!" A couple of seconds later a group of about four men came walking over, all similar builds the only difference between them was hair colour, one had dark blue hair, another had green hair, the third had brown hair and the last one had purple hair.

"What's up bro and who're the babes?" The one with purple hair asked.

"These girls want to come have fun with us but these two guys are stopping them."

"Well we'll need to help the babes then." The five men each took a step forward, by this point everyone was standing behind Adam, Ash and Cilan. Adam and Ash shifted their weight so that they could react quickly in case any of the men attacked, Cilan stepped forward to try and calm everyone down but was rewarded with punch to the face from Chad, the Connoisseur reeled back holding his nose. Iris quickly grabbed Cilan's shoulder pulling him out of the way, a second punch barely missing him. Ash reacted first speeding forward to deflect an incoming punch and countering with another to Chad's ribs. Chad stumbled back winded while Ash returned to his position next to Adam.

"I'll show you no-one hits The Chad!" The group sweatdropped at Chad referring to himself in the third person, Chad and his friends each drew a Pokéball from their pocket throwing them high. Chad released an Ursaring while in front of his friends appeared a Machamp, a Tauros, a Pinsir and a Beedrill, the Pokémon were like their trainers and overly muscled even Beedrill which is unusual for the species. Adam turned to Ash and smirked.

"Should we go easy on them?" He asked.

"Take them down." Came the surprising reply from Cynthia, Adam looked over his shoulder at his girlfriend.

"For you My Lady, anything." Cynthia blushed at his words, "Luxray, to me." The electric type sped forward and stood in front of Adam ready for battle.

"Gyarados, let's go." Ash shouted, Chad and his gang looked confused for a minute before jumping in fright as Gyarados burst out of the water with a monstrous roar. The battle erupted from there, Lucario and Luna managed to pull everyone back away from the carnage and with help from the other Pokémon either deflected or destroyed any stray attacks. Above the noise of the attacks Ash and Adam could be heard calling out attacks and dodges, Ash's calls were easy enough to understand but Adam's were unusual.

"Luxray, roll three, counter ten." Adam would call out and seconds later Luxray rolled to his right dodging a Hammer Arm from Ursaring before attacking with Thunderbolt. The dodges were called quickly but thanks to his training Luxray was responding just as quickly, sometimes quicker as he dodged from experience and instinct rather than instruction. Even though Luxray and Gyarados were outnumbered their opponents were easily out matched. Gyarados had already taken out Beedrill with Flamethrower and Pinsir wasn't far off fainting either. Luxray had literally run circle around Tauros, leaving the normal type confused and charging at random. After a couple of minutes Adam shouted over to Ash.

"Should we end this now?"

"Might as well," Ash smiled, "Gyarados is getting bored and we only have a couple of hours left before the sun goes down." Adam laughed.

"That's true. Combo?" Adam asked, Ash nodded. "Zeus' Tears!" Adam shouted as a wicked grin crossed his face, both Pokémon responded quickly. Zeus' Tears was a combo that Adam had thought of years ago but was never able to use because his water types weren't strong enough to throw Luxray into the air. After getting to know Ash, Adam had told him about the combo knowing that Ash's water types could launch Pikachu into the clouds easily. Gyarados followed attack call out of instinct from his training with Ash.

Luxray jumped away from Ursaring while Gyarados swatted Machamp away with his tail. They both then sent a small orb of light blue energy into the sky causing dark rain clouds to appear above their makeshift battlefield and not the rest of the beach, Gyarados then swam closer to the beach as Luxray ran towards him, skilfully dodging Tauros' mad charge. Once he was close enough Luxray jumped on to Gyarados' outstretched tail before the water type launched him into the clouds. Gyarados immediately retreated, putting some distance between himself and the cloud covered beach. A couple of seconds after he'd disappeared into the grey sky, Luxray's roar could be heard. The clouds flashed yellow and seconds later rain started to fall slowly at first before becoming torrential. Luxray fell from the clouds and it looked like he would crash into the beach but Garchomp zoomed out and caught him, placing the electric type on the sandy ground next to Adam.

When the rain hit the opposing Pokémon they were given quite the shock, literally, whilst in the clouds Luxray had used Discharge electrifying the water so each time a rain drop hit them they got a shock which had a fifth of the power of Luxray's original Discharge. The clouds rumbled and lightning flashed striking Ursaring, Tauros and Machamp, Pinsir had been knocked out after being hit by one of Tauros' charges. The three opposing Pokémon fell once the lightning stopped, Chad and his friends looked on in shock as Adam knelt next to Luxray ruffling his fur and Ash asked Rhyhorn to use Sunny Day to clear away the clouds.

"That's not possible!" Chad whined as he stared at the fallen Pokémon while Luxray and Gyarados had hardly taken any damage or broken a sweat during the battle. "NO!" he yelled as he charged at Adam, his friends following behind him. Out of the corner of his eye Adam saw Ash shifting into a fighting stance.

"I've got this." Adam said standing up. Ash slowly moved out of the stance but stayed ready just in case. Adam walked forward to meet Chad and his fellow muscle bound idiots so that he was the only one who might get hurt, wanting to protect Cynthia and his new friends. Chad threw a punch, which Adam ducked underneath before sweeping Chad's supporting leg causing him to fall on his face getting a mouthful of sand. Adam then parried punches from two of Chad's friends out to the sides and put a hand on either of their heads slamming them together, knocking the pair out. The last two of Chad's friends charged at Adam at the same time, one from the front and the other from behind. Adam waited till they were within range before sending out a back kick, winding the one with brown hair. A second after his foot made contact with the man's stomach, winding him, Adam's leg snapped forward hitting the one with green hair in the groin. Both men collapsed clutching their affected areas, Adam turned to walk back to the group when a cloud of sand hit his face, getting in his eyes and blinding him.

Chad rushed forward to punch Adam in the face, his fist closing on Adam's jaw fast when Ash's voice rang out over the groans of Chad's friends.

"Right cross." Adam's left arm came up, his hand cupping Chad's forearm pushing it down and away. Chad attacked again, not wanting to miss a chance.

"Left jab." Ash called out again. Adam's right arm came across his body, his fist touching his shoulder before his arm rose up, the back of it making contact with Chad's arm pushing the attack up above Adam's head. Chad was starting to get angry that Adam was able to block his attacks while blinded by sand. Chad kept up his attacks but punch after punch they failed say Ash called out each strike. After a minute Adam's vision was starting to clear but all he could see where vague outlines so he still relied on Ash's warnings.

"Uppercut." Came Ash's next warning, by this time a crowd of people had gather around Adam and Chad thinking it was a show. Adam jumped back to dodge the uppercut and tripped over one of Chad's friends, he landed hard hitting his head on a stone hidden under the sand. Chad saw his chance and grabbed another rock holding it above his head. The group all ran forward to try and stop what was about to happen.

"This'll teach you to mess with The Chad." Chad yelled as he started to throw bring the rock down towards Adam, he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see who it was but was greeted by a punch to the jaw. Chad dropped the rock and stagger backwards before his eyes rolled back and he fell to the ground.

"Nobody hits my boyfriend." Cynthia growled, shaking her fist. She moved closer to Adam and dropped to her knees, gently lifting his head on to her lap. As she looked at Adam her voice changed from an angry growl to a caring near whisper. "Adam, are you okay?" she asked stroking his hair. The group gathered around, Iris joining them last having given Chad a swift kick in the ribs in retaliation for him punching Cilan.

"I'm fine, just need to wash the sand out of my eyes." Adam replied waiting a few seconds for his head to clear before sitting up. "Thanks for the help Ash, would've been in trouble if you hadn't done called out the attacks."

"No problem Adam, you'd of done the same for me." Ash replied.

"Dawn, can I borrow Piplup for a second?" Adam asked.

"Sure but why?" Dawn asked as Piplup waddled over to Adam.

"I'll show you." Adam answered looking in the direction Dawn's voice came from. "Piplup, I want you to use a low power Water Gun and hit me in the face with it."

"Pip Piplup." Replied the small water type, sending out a small stream of water at Adam's face. Adam rubbed at his eyes while the water continued to wash over his face until after a minute he held up his hand signalling for Piplup to stop. Once the water stopped Cilan passed Adam a towel so he could clean the water away, drying his face Adam slowly opened his eyes blinking. His vision was still blurry but it was better than before and he could see Cynthia staring at him in worry. He stared at his girlfriend and suppressed a smile, he knew that he could help Cynthia calm down and relax easily given the chance and this was too good an opportunity to give up, to complement the Champion he'd been in love with for 15 years.

"I'm alright now but I have to say I don't remember you looking this beautiful." Adam reached out for Cynthia and pulled her in to a hug, kissing her hair. "You don't need to worry about me, I've spent 15 years wanting to be with you and now nothing will take you away from me. Nothing." He whispered in her ear making a shiver run down her spine. Cynthia pulled her head back while staying in Adam's arms and kissed him, it wasn't as powerful as their first kiss but it carried more of her emotions letting Adam know she wasn't going to go anywhere. A few people in the crowd whooped but that didn't faze either Adam or Cynthia as they simple held each other.

"What happened here?" A voice said sternly, breaking the kiss Adam and Cynthia looked to where the voice came from along with the rest of their group. Standing a few feet away in the middle of the groaning or unconscious bodies of Chad and his friends was a woman with teal coloured hair and a blue uniform. "Will someone explain what the hell's been happening on this beach? Who is responsible for this?" The woman demanded, staring at the group while gesturing at Chad and his friends, the woman was known to everyone for looking the same as every other woman in her family all of whom had the same job title as well. The woman put her hands on her hips "Well isn't anybody going to enlighten me?" Officer Jenny had arrived on the beach….and she wasn't happy.

I'd like to thank Cloneblazer12 for giving me the idea of Ash and May kissing though I have tweaked his suggestion slightly.

As always please review and tell me what you think.

I have one last question, nothing to do with the story just some curiosity on my part. Is anyone reading this from Liverpool, England? I just want to see if there anyone from my home city reading my story.

Until Next Time

Basic Trainer