Shattered Ones

Disclaimer: I do not own Ash, Gary of the Pokemon franchise. If i did, it would be a tad darker.

But I know, all I know's that the end's beginning
Who I am from the start
Take me home to my heart
Let me go and I will run
I will not be silent. All this time
spent in vain; wasted years wasted gain
All is lost but hope remains and this war's not over
There's a light, there's a sun
taking all these shattered ones
To the place we belong
and his love will conquer all

Shattered Ones - Trading Yesterday

Gary Oak stood in shock as Ash waved the little stick around in excitement. "I've been throwing up for weeks, so Misty bought it for me, and look! Look!" shouted the young Pokémon Master. Gary grabbed his arm to still it and took the pregnancy test from him. The little red plus sign blinked in the screen, and Gary stared, unable for the first time in his life to say a word. Ash snatched it back and looked again as if the result had changed, then grabbed Gary into a hug. "We're going to be parents, Gary!"

Gary stared down at Ash's black mess of hair, the cap having fallen off several minutes of jumping ago, resting in the claws of a happily chirping Pikachu. Gary inhaled the smell that was so naturally Ash, wood smoke and cinnamon, and wrapped his arms tightly around the smaller boy. At seventeen, he didn't know if he was ready to be a parent. Hell, he didn't even like kids. He didn't want a baby. But, Gary sighed as he held the younger boy closer. Gary wanted Ash. If Ash wanted the kid so badly, then he would have to adjust. After all, Gary had done worse things to keep the boy he loved.

Telling their friends and families had been an… interesting experience. The two had been staying in Pallet since the end of Ash's Master battle several months previous, and the finishing of Gary's research on fossils. They had run into each other at the party thrown by the League, and someone had thought it smart to serve alcohol to the fifteen year old champion. Gary had found him talking excitedly to a lamp, and decided to take his chance. After all the years of waiting, and watching, all the years of staying one step ahead so the other boy would follow, he was going to make his move. The move was holding a very surprised Ash against a wall and pushing his tongue down the younger boy's throat until he began to hesitantly kiss back, then taking him upstairs to an empty bedroom. The next day saw Gary sitting in Delia Ketchum's living with his arm around the utterly confused and blushing boy while his mother finally explained to him the Pidgeys and the Beedrills. They had been inseparable since then, like when they were little kids. Ash belonged to Gary, and an Oak never lets what is his get taken away.

Misty and Brock handled the news well when the exuberant boy told them, both plentiful in their congratulations and their praise. It was only when Ash left for the bathroom that the turned to the young Oak. "He's yours forever now. Is that why you did this? To trap him? What about his dreams, what about his career? Do you even care about him, or is this another stupid way of you showing you're better?" Gary folded his arms and allowed Misty's accusations roll over him, a smirk on his face. "I love Ash, and we are starting a family. What is it, Waterflower? Jealous?" Misty's face reddened and a vein pulsed in her temple, but it was Brock's words that distracted them. "Gary, I know how much you care about Ash, and him for you. I've been traveling with him for five years. But I'm worried for you two. Gary, he's too young." Gary opened his mouth, a comeback on the tip of his tongue, when Ash walked back into the room, still smiling and with his Pikachu chattering away on his shoulder. "Sorry I took so long; the baby doesn't seem to like anything I eat!" Brock began a story of one of his mother's many pregnancies and Misty and Gary laughed when appropriate, but Gary could see the way Ash's friends looked at the boy with concern and worry in their eyes. But Ash was his to worry about, thought Gary. Everything is going to be fine.

Ash's other friends had similar reactions, but Ash didn't notice anything other than his own happiness. Telling Delia and his Grandfather was a completely different experience. Delia stared at her son for several moments before holding him close to her. Through the tears in her eyes, she assured him that she would always stand beside him no matter what, which brought tears to Ash's own eyes. While the two hugged, Professor Oak stood next to his grandson with unreadable eyes. "I hope you know what you are doing. That boy deserves nothing but happiness." Gary nodded, and turned to look his grandfather in the eye. "I will do whatever I can to make Ash happy. I swear it." The Pokémon professor nodded and then went forward to clap the young boy on the back, assuring him he couldn't find a better man to carry his great-grandson. Delia took Gary in her arms, and Gary hugged her back, the only mother he could remember. "You take care of my boy, Gary. You hear me?" Gary nodded, and they pulled away, smiling back at each other. Gary watched the boy he loved talk about all the Pokémon he would introduce his child to, and the adventures it would see, and Gary couldn't help but love him at that moment, see how beautiful he was. 'I'm going to make this work,' thought Gary. 'No matter what'.

Journalists came like a mass of locusts as Ash stood at the news podium, several cameras positioned to catch his every word and movement as it was broadcast across national television, while Gary stood behind him, strong and silent.

"Ash! Is it true you will be stripped of your title as Master?"

"Ash, who is the father of your baby?"

"Mr Ketchum, aren't you concerned of the message your pregnancy sends out to the children who look up to you as a role model?"

Ash blushed and stuttered as the questions came one after another, before standing tall and staring out at the crowd the same way he stared down a herd of rampaging Taurus'. The journalists quietened immediately at the steady gaze, and Gary felt pride burning in his chest when Ash began to speak.

"My name is Ash Ketchum, from Pallet town, champion of the Kanto, Johto and Ho'en regions. Earlier this year I defeated the Elite Four, and became a Pokémon Master. I will stay a Pokémon Master until another trainer defeats the Elite Four and me in battle. Any rumours otherwise are lies." Silence from the crowd, but Gary saw Agatha give a nod from her place on the stand.

"When I was ten years old I left home alone to follow my dream. I with the help of my friends, I raised my Pokémon to become the best they could be. So why, at fifteen, do people think I can't raise a kid with the man I love? I am going to be a parent, and I am going to be the very best."

Gary smiled and nodded, and the reporters looked thoroughly chastised, but when the sun caught the ring on Ash's finger, another barge of questions began. Ash groaned, and Gary tried not to laugh. It was nice that the whole world knew that Ash belonged to him.

The wedding was supposed to be small and intimate, but Gary had a habit of showing off and Ash had more friends than he did hot meals. The turnout was more people than the small town of Pallet had ever seen. They exchanged rings under a tree they used to play in when they were young while thousands cheered, and Gary kissed Ash, feeling his warm sweet lips, better than anything he had ever felt. Ash's baby bump pressed against his stomach, but Gary couldn't care less what had brought them there. All he knew that Ash was his, forever.

They sat in the living room of the Ketchum household, Ash sitting with his eyes glued to the Pokémon match on television while Gary circled possible houses in the area on the newspaper. "Gary! Gary come here!" Gary was off the couch and on the floor beside Ash before he finished shouting, his eyes running worriedly up the younger boy's slim frame. "What, what is it?"

Ash smiled and took Gary's hand, guiding it to his stomach. "It's moving." Gary rolled his eyes. "Is that all-" Gary was cut off by the fluttering feeling beneath Ash's skin. His eyes widened as he felt the baby, his baby, move for the first time. "Ash," he breathed, and looked up to see the boy's face lit up with childish delight. He grinned back and kissed him soundly.

Gary had gotten the call while researching with his grandfather on whether friendship had anything to do with Pokémon evolutions. When Delia told him that Ash had collapsed, he was out of his chair and running for his car. As she gave him directions to the hospital, Gary prayed over and over to any deity that may have been listening. Please, let Ash be ok. Please.

Ash sat sheepishly on a hospital bed next to a stern looking doctor, and Gary ran to him, gathering him in his arms and holding him tightly. Ash had accepted a battle for a local trainer, ten years old and just got a license. The kids had lost control of his newly caught Nidoran that had attacked Ash instead of his Pikachu. Gary wanted to kill him, but Ash's hand on his arm made him stay.

The doctor looked over Ash's vitals with a serious expression. "This say's you are four months pregnant, but that you haven't seen a doctor yet?" Ash's face went red and he lowered both his arms to his protruding middle. "I guess I got so caught up with the planning that I forgot. Is something wrong with it?" Panic filled the boy's eyes. The doctor was quiet for some time. "No Mr Ketchum-"

"Ketchum-Oak" Gary corrected.

The doctor raised an eyebrow. "No, Mr Ketchum-Oak, your baby is healthy and strong. It's you I am worried about."

"Me?" Asked Ash incredulously.

"Yes. As you should know, male pregnancy is quiet rare and quiet difficult. One in forty makes it to full term, and one in twenty ends in death for either the parent or the child. It is very risky and needs to be medically monitored closely from beginning to end. Your being underage heightens the risk. Your body has not finished growing, and your hips are too narrow for the baby to be born naturally. If you had contacted a medical advisor before getting pregnant, you would have been told to wait until your early twenties, if at all. Mr Ketchum-Oak, it is my medical advice that you have this pregnancy terminated before it proceeds any further."

The room was silent, save for Ash's breathing and the beeping of machines. Gary stood, feeling cold and utterly useless. Ash could die. Ash could die and it was all his fault.

The silence was broken by Ash's voice, small but steady. "No. I'm keeping the baby."

"But Ash," started Gary.

"No!" Ash looked up, and there was a fire burning in his eyes. "I've beaten the odds before and I will do it again."

Gary swallowed and nodded, watching while Ash and the doctor discussed the medicines and vitamins that the boy was to take every day to reduce the risks of his pregnancy.

All Gary could hear was the pounding of his heart in his ears and his minds mantra. Ash could die, and it is all his fault.

The sun shined through the kitchen window of Professor Oak's laboratory as Gary stirred the tea, listening to Ash and Tracy chat away in the other room. He sprinkled in several different berries and watched as the colour seeped from them, darkening the liquid with their juices.

A cough behind him made him pause, and he listened as his grandfather's steps became closer. The man stopped behind him, peering over his shoulder, and was quiet for a long time.

"Sugar berries, yes? They taste sweet enough to replace sugar in many household items." Gary gave a jerky nod.

"But the berries aren't used for anything but Pokémon food, due to its strong reaction in humans. What was that reaction again, I can't seem to remember…"

Gary stayed silent, stirring the tea as the colour disappeared.

"Oh, that's right. In pregnant woman, sugar berries cause miscarriage. I'm sure it would work on pregnant men too, but I bet you already knew that."

Gary stopped stirring the tea and stilled, watching the sun dance on the window pane.

"Gary my boy, what are you doing?"

Gary was silent for a minute longer.

"The doctor said he would die. He said if the pregnancy continued Ash would die. Ash is going to die and it's my fault. I can't let that happen. I have to save him."

The professor nodded. "Yes, it is your fault."

Gary started violently, and his grandfather continued.

"We all know how oblivious Ash is. If you hadn't taken advantage of him when he was drunk, he would have gone on not realising how deeply he cared for you and you for him. At times I was sure that boy was asexual. But Gary, out of the thousands of people he met on his journey, Ash chose you. He chose this path, chose to keep the child despite the risk. You must respect his choices. He may not be very bright, but if you do this, he will find out, and you will lose him forever. Think about that." Clapping him on the shoulder, the professor left the room. Gary could hear Ash greeting him in the other room, heard laughter, and heard the boy ask what was taking him so long. Gary poured the tea down the sink, watched as his last chance swirled down the drain. Gary watched, and began to cry.

Ash collapsed again at seven months and was prescribed bed rest for the rest of his pregnancy. No matter how much he shouted and begged and pleaded, Gary followed the doctors' orders to the letter. He watched as the boy's skin returned to its healthy glow and he lost the rings around his eyes. Gary watched the improvement, and felt hope bloom in his chest. Maybe everything would turn out alright.

Ash had snuck out while Gary had gone to the store. With Ash inside, Pikachu was getting resistless, and after bouncing around for an hour, Ash finally gave in. With a smile, the boy heaved himself from his chair, a hand pressed reassuringly over his stomach, and walked into the bright sunshine of the afternoon. They didn't go far, a stroll down to the river where he and Gary had found their pokeball as small children, and Ash watched as Pikachu enjoyed the grass and the trees. Ash had missed the outdoors, sleeping under the stars and always on the move. He smiled, thinking of taking his child and Gary to the places he'd been, showing them the wonders he had seen on his journey. He felt the baby kick and rubbed the spot ruefully. "We have another trainer in here, Pikachu." Pikachu chirped in agreement, and for a moment, everything was perfect. Then that moment was gone.

It was Team Rocket of course, on another attempt to steal Pikachu. They bumbled about, and Pikachu got free, but a clawed arm from their new machine picked up the boy and threw him like a doll. Ash hit a tree and screamed, cried out at the pain as his pants began to seep with blood. At the sight of the boy the Rockets made a hasty retreat, but the damage was down. It was Ash's Bayleaf that carried him to the hospital where paramedics quickly took the boy into surgery and called his family members.

Gary Oak-Ketchum was the first to arrive, and was greeted by the same doctor he and Ash had been seeing.

"How is he? Is he okay? What happened?"

The doctor shook his head.

"We don't have time. Some criminals tried to steal Ash's Pikachu and it looks like he was thrown. He has lost a lot of blood and has gone into premature labour. Gary, this is serious, both lives are at stake. We will do our best, but if it comes down to it, do we save Ash or your child?"

Gary saw an image of a little girl with his hair and Ash's smile before he pushed it away.

"Ash. Save Ash. He is all I care about."

Gary sat on the cold chair, staring blankly through the window at the small bundle. Delia was there somewhere, as was his grandfather, and Misty and Brock. Others had been called, but Gary didn't care about them. He just sat and stared.

The doctor walked out, holding something in his arms that screamed and howled. Gary didn't care about that. "Where is Ash? Is he ok? Can I see him? The doctor's face crumpled and Gary felt his world fall to pieces. "He lost too much blood. It was a miracle that he managed to stay alive long enough to reach the hospital. He held on long enough to see his son for the first time. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Gary fell into the chair and wondered distantly if the pained mixed with nothingness that he felt was what death felt like. "I know what you are going through Gary, but you have a son. Here," the man offered Gary the bundle and he saw a tuft of dark hair and z's on chubby cheeks. "Take him away," monotone the boy, "I don't want to hold Ash's killer.

Gary sat at the window to the nursery where his grandfather had sat him, watching the bundle squirm and cry. He heard Delia mention funeral arrangements, heard Misty sob, and Brock give a hiccup that could have been tears. Gary watched the bundle cry and agreed with it whole heartedly.

'I miss Ash too.'

Gary watched the Pokémon battle on the television with a snort of disgust. The tournament to see who would replace Ash Ketchum as Pokémon Master continued, the pathetic trainers who were trying to replace him with less talent than a spoon. How they even got that far Gary has no clue, but they all failed when faced with the Elite Four. Even that Morrison guy who cried like a little bitch at the funeral. Even Paul, who gave Gary a black guy. On the floor, Sammy shuffled on his cushion, staring wide-eyed at the screen, his mouth clamped around a Snorlax teething ring. Ash had chosen the name, after some kid he met while going through time with Celebi. He said the kid had reminded him of Gary. Gary felt the familiar wave of jealousy that Ash thought someone was that important, and took another swig of beer. When he told gramps the reason for the kid's name, the old man had started to cry. Go figure.

Delia walked into the room and wrinkled at the smell coming from the baby. "Gary, could you change Sammy?"

Gary took another swig, and began to look through the papers on his lap. "I can't; I'm busy."

Delia sighed and picked up her grandson, who gurgled and pulled at her hair. They left the room as Gary found the map he was looking for and circled the small forest, writing next to it in small letters, 'Celebi.'

Sammy wailed as the toy fell from his mouth and fell on the floor. Pikachu darted forward, picking it up and handing it to the crying baby before pulling faces to cheer him up. The giggles grated on Gary, hunched over a stack of papers at his desk, even more than the cries did. Ash's Pokémon for the most part stayed with Professor Oak, or else returned to the wild. They had all refused new trainers, but only Pikachu stole and hid its pokeball so that no one could ever catch it again. The rat spent most of its time with Sammy, waiting on the child's every whim, when it wasn't in the cemetery keeping watch over Ash's grave. A clattering sound echoed through the house as the toy fell again, and Gary had enough. He turned and eyed the small Pokemon that had turned attention to him at his movement.

"Get out," he told it. The thing tilted its head in confusion.

"You heard me, and I damn well knew you understand me. You are the reason Ash is dead. If Team Rocket hadn't wanted you, he would have been safe. If you hadn't been caught, he would have been safe. If he hadn't loved you so damn much, he would have been safe, you stupid rat!"

Pikachu's eyes filled with tears to mirror Gary's own, but he didn't care. He took off his shoe and threw it at the creature, watching as it got hit full in the face at the unexpected blow.

"Get out! You're not welcome here anymore! Stay away from me, and stay away from my son. Get out!"

With a sniffle, the Pikachu ran from the room and out the door, no doubt towards the cemetery to cry uselessly as he had watched it do before. Gary turned back to his work and ignored his son's wails.

Gary ran down the stairs, staring wide eyed at Delia who was feeding Sammy a bottle.

"Where is it?!" he shouted at the woman.

"Where is what?" she asked in surprise.

"Ash's room, all his stuff is cleared out, gone! Where is it, we need to put it back, it has to be the same."

"I boxed it up and put it in the attic for when Sammy is older. I'm turning it into a room for him; that way he has a place to stay that isn't a box in the guest room."

Gary and Ash never got around to finding a place, so Gary either slept in the Ketchum guest room or his own room at his grandfathers, depending where he was when he passed out. The baby was left with Delia.

"Put it all back!" demanded Gary

"Gary, what has gotten into you? Why?"

"So when I bring back Ash, it's the same way as he left it."

Silence filled the room.

"Bring him back?" whispered Delia. Sammy started to cry.

"Yes. I've asked around, called people, researched, checked out newspapers. I have a list of every legendary Pokémon Ash ever met, Mew, Celebi, the Unknown, Lugia, Entei, it goes on! Somewhere there is a Pokémon that can turn back time, or change reality, and I'm going to get them to do it. I'm going to find a way to bring back Ash."

Gary left the house, slamming the door behind him, while Delia cradled his tiny son.

"Oh Ash," she whispered. "You left too soon".

Gary pulled on the backpack, securing the straps and looking around one last time to make sure he had everything. Around his neck hung his half of a pokeball, faded and old, while the wedding band on his finger shone. A noise the door made him turn, and he saw Delia standing there, holding Sammy in her arms. "You're really leaving then?"


"Gary, I know how you feel, but this isn't right. Ash isn't coming back."

Gary clenched his fists around the straps.

"I promised him I would always save him, and I will."

Delia's eyes filled with tears.

"Please Gary, this isn't what Ash would want. Please, don't make me raise another little boy without his father."

Gary stared at her, and remembered the faceless man that was Ash's father, the man that left on a pokemon journey and never came home. He looked at his son. The tiny boy stared at him with Ash's amber eyes, curious and innocent. He reached a chubby hand out to him, grabbing for his hair, and let out a small "Da".

Gary saw them both, and walked around them. He reached the dirt road of Pallet, maps in his backpack and his pokeballs in his pocket.

He was going to bring his Ash back; no matter what.

Yesterday I died; tomorrow's bleeding
Fall into your sunlight
The future's open wide beyond believing
To know why hope dies
And losing what was found, a world so hollow
Suspended in a compromise
But the silence of this sound is soon to follow
Somehow sundown
And finding answers
Is forgetting all of the questions we call home
Passing the graves of the unknown

As reason clouds my eyes with splendor fading
Illusions of the sunlight
A reflection of a lie will keep me waiting
With love gone for so long
And this day's ending
Is the proof of time killing all the faith I know
Knowing that faith is all I hold

And I've lost who I am
and I can't understand
Why my heart is so broken
rejecting your love, love without
love gone wrong; lifeless words carry on
But I know, all I know's that the end's beginning
who I am from the start,
take me home to my heart
Let me go and I will run,
I will not be silent, all this time
spent in vain; wasted years wasted gain
All is lost but hope remains and this war's not over
There's a light, there's a sun
taking all these shattered ones
To the place we belong
and his love will conquer all

Yesterday I died; tomorrow's bleeding
Fall into your sunlight