A/N: Did you know the writers for the anime confirmed that Ash will never win a league, and will remain the protagonist for as long as the anime exists? Yeah...
Also, for some reason every fan seems to think Ash is really awful for leaving his pokémon at Professor Oak's every time he goes to a new region. It's a bit strange to me, because fanfic authors seem to have it ingrained as a prominent thought that Ash habitually just abandons his pokémon without caring how sad they are. Except -and here's the thing; when he left Sceptile, Donphan, Swellow, Corphish, and Aipom at Professor Oak's after Battle Frontier, the first four can be seen happily waving him goodbye. In fact, Aipom was the only one who was actually heartbroken about being separated, and she tagged along with Ash anyway to Sinnoh, to which he was okay with. (She was traded away to Dawn later, but that was Aipom's decision, not Ash's)
But enough of that. Read on at your leisure.
Need To Know Basis
Professor Oak drank his coffee and typed in quick succession on his computer, resolute in attempting to find info on the pokémon Tracey had brought in.
As a pokémon that could use telepathy, Latias caught his attention and triggered his need to know more about such an unusual pokémon. The name "Latias" sounded familiar, and as he thought about it, he recalled having once had a conversation about the species with Birch after the brown-haired man returned from a vacation to an island between Johto and Hoenn. He came up with a search result about Altomare, and read up on it.
Oak rubbed his fingers through his hair. "I wonder. Could she be that island's guardian? ...Oh? What's this?"
Oak carefully studied the text on the screen. "I see... So there have been migratory latias and latios sightings. Fascinating! According to this, they can even reflect the light to appear invisible. And to think, I have one visiting my lab as I read this! A shame she didn't want to explain anything, but I shouldn't try to pry into her business. I don't want to make her angry."
As Oak continued searching, his eyes fell on the sightings listed.
That's interesting. According to this, there have been sightings of them for thousands of years, but the number seems to have drastically decreased over the last centuries. And it seems to have decreased even more so in the last ten years. Odd... Where could so many rare pokémon have gone? Perhaps in hiding from trainers and poachers, but...
Oak crossed his arms. "They have the defenses to hide away from danger, so why would they disappear now? Hmm..."
The Eon pokémon let out a gasp as she looked at the pasture before her with Tracey. Pokémon as far as she could see on the pastures, and of all different sizes, shapes and types.
Tracey chuckled. "Impressive, isn't it? A lot of trainers leave their pokémon with Professor Oak, usually when they get more than six pokémon."
"I've never even heard of many of these pokémon...This is amazing! Do you know where Ash's pokémon are?"
Tracey scanned the pasture, pointing his finger occasionally at certain pokémon. "Ash keeps a lot of pokémon here. They tend to hang out in their usual spots. I see a few here, but you can find the rest pretty quickly if you want."
"Well...Do you see someone who would talk to me?"
"Okay, do ya see that torterra -the one with a tree on it- with a swellow on his back next to a bulbasaur and snorlax? I'm sure one of them would be willing to talk to you. " Finger pointing to each pokémon including what Latias saw was an enormous pokémon that had a tree growing out of its shell. She couldn't help but feel isolated, not having even known that a pokémon could grow its own greenery to that size.
"No problem, Latias! I'm going to go see if the Professor needs me to make him something else to eat, so if you need anything, just come in." After that, Tracey left.
Latias flew near them, and stopped right in front of the snorlax, which was asleep and loudly snoring. The torterra and other pokémon were right in reaching distance, just behind the large slumbering pokémon. And yet, she felt apprehensive to speak. She felt like she lucked out with the snorlax, but what would she say to those other pokémon? She didn't know anything about them other than that they were Ash's. Were they nice, or would they shove her away if she said even the slightest thing wrong? Or worse?
Latias inhaled deeply. It's just like meeting Ryuld and his kids. I just have to be nice, and if they don't want to talk to me, I can just find Tracey and see if he can find someone else.
Hovering over to the torterra with all the confidence she could muster, she spoke to gain his attention. "Hi! Are you Ash's pokémon?"
The torterra slowly turned in place to face her; the swellow and bulbasaur likewise now having their sights set onto her, although to her relief their expressions were confused instead of annoyed for interrupting their relaxation. The torterra was just staring at her, the swellow merely tilted its head at her as it rested on the tree on the torterra's back, and the bulbasaur walked up to her, its face contorted into a half-frown.
"Yeah, we are. Why? I haven't seen you here before."
"I'm looking for Ash, and Tracey said you might tell me about him."
The bulbasaur scoffed. "Why? I don't even know you. How do I know you're not lying?"
"Well..." The swellow spoke aloud. "If she was lying, how would she know who Tracey is?" Latias blinked as the swellow rubbed its wing against its face. "Plus...she's pretty cute, right guys?"
The torterra muttered something about "not into fliers" while the bulbasaur shrugged.
"My name's Latias! And you're...Bulbasaur, Swellow, and Torterra...right?"
Bulbasaur sighed. "All right, so you know our names. But how did you get Tracey to tell you? Are you psychic or something?"
Bulbasaur shook his head. "I still don't know..."
Torterra spoke up, "Oh Bulbasaur, lighten up. Look at her and tell me you think she's going to do any harm."
After a quick dirty look at Torterra, Bulbasur left. As Bulbasaur walked off snorting to himself, Swellow flew down and approached her, standing next to her and squinting up at her face.
"Seriously though, who are you? I've flown around here dozens of times, and I know a familiar face when I see them. And why are you looking for Ash anyway?"
"Well, this is my first time here, so I don't think you'd know me. Ash is my friend, and I want to see him again. But it's been so long, I don't know if what he's like anymore... If he's still the same Ash or not. I want to know more about him, and play with him again..."
"Okay...when did you see Ash last, anyway?"
"About five years ago. I gave him a drawing my best friend made of him and his pikachu."
"Well, he still travels with Pikachu. Pikachu's his starter actually."
Latias recalled how it was her who had to protect Pikachu when her brother almost attacked them. Her brother had never been one to ask questions first...
"What is Ash like?"
The bird cocked his head left and right, "Well, he's nice and takes the time for us. But he's also kinda dense, stubborn, naive, brash, arrogant-"
A huff came out of Torterra. "Swellow."
"-uh, yeah. But don't get me wrong, he really cares about his friends and helps out others a lot. I mean that, we've helped out dozens of people when I still traveled with him."
Although she had known the Ash who had helped her out was definitely a nice person, it reassured her to hear that he was still a good person at heart.
Torterra lumbered over to her and asked, "You said you want to know more about Ash, right? Let me show you where Bayleef is. If you were to ask anyone other than Pikachu to talk all about Ash, she'd be the one. She'll go on and on about Ash if that's what you want to know." At his suggestion Latias looked in the direction his head pointed to, apparently right in the middle of the field was a bunch of Ash's pokémon toward which Torterra focused on the pale yellow-ish dinosaur with leaves on its neck talking to what appeared to be an orange otter with an inflated neck on top of a hill.
"Well, she has pretty red eyes."
Torterra nodded. "She really does. A lot of the guys here like her, but she always brushes them off if they try to ask her out."
"Thanks you two!" Latias crooned, watching them give her simultaneous nods as she turned around and flew over to the top of the hill.
The otter-like pokémon noticed her ascent and pointed at her, saying something to Bayleef Latias couldn't overhear. Bayleef in turn watched her rise up to them, eying Latias as she sheepishly extended a paw to Bayleef. "Hi...I'm Latias."
Bayleef raised an eyebrow, stretching out one of her vines. "I'm Bayleef. You were talking to Torterra and Swellow just now, weren't you?"
Latias blinked in surprise. "How did you..."
The otter walked up and lightly jabbed Latias. "Bulbasaur told us."
"Oh, he told you mister, uh..."
"Name's Buizel." Buizel stood up straight and smacked his paw against his chest. Latias nodded, holding in a coo at how cute Buizel looked as he did so.
"Torterra said I could ask you about Ash, Bayleef, so I hope that's okay."
Bayleef swished her head-leaf back and forth lazily, but Latias could see a slight cautionary look in Bayleef's eyes, less so than Bulbasaur, but still investigating her. Apparently she must have appeared innocent to Bayleef, as the yellow dinosaur dropped the look soon after.
"Well, if you want to know about Ash, I'm your gal. I pickup everything Ash goes around doing whenever someone gets transferred over here, and they usually have a lot to tell."
Latias practically lit up, exhilaration flaring up in her as she felt the trail to finding Ash growing hotter. She started to wonder what to ask first, sure she could immediately ask for his location, but info about what he was like from those he carried around for much of his time piqued her interest much higher.
"So...how is Ash doing lately?"
"Ash is doing great, I hear he's been winning badges in Unova in half the time he took winning them when we traveled together. Weird to think he's on the other side of the world. He even found two new friends to hang around after Brock and that little skirt- err, Dawn, left. I hear one of them likes cooking even more than Brock, and the other is training to be a Dragon Master and yells at Ash a lot." Bayleef chuckled a bit. "I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same..."
Latias smiled as Bayleef reminisced; happy feelings radiating from her like a cozy warmth on a cool day.
As Bayleef rambled about how Ash had been catching new pokémon, Buizel looked at Latias until finally asking, "Why is it you want to find Ash, anyway? You looking to get caught by him?"
Latias huffed. Was everyone going to keep asking her that? She was beginning to feel like a broken record. "I just want to see him again after five years-"
Buizel brought up a single digit on his paw to shush her and did mid-sentence, albeit a miffed pout from Latias.
"Nu-uh. The real reason. I can tell you're lying, I can see it in your eyes, like you want to say something, but cop out of it."
The dragon couldn't help visibly cringing, but relaxed shortly after. I didn't want more pokémon judging me for it, but I guess I'll need to say it now if I want more info from Bayleef...
"I do want to see him. I...like Ash, like more than a friend."
Buizel's expression changed from one of skepticism to one Latias couldn't exactly say, perhaps one of worry or concern.
"...Like what, exactly?" Bayleef asked.
"Oh boy. I'm not getting in the middle of this..." Buizel bolted, leaving Latias confused as to why.
Latias looked back to Bayleef to see her pleasant demeanor shift into a furious one.
Before latias could ask anything, a sharp, stinging pain smacked her across the cheek. She gave out a cry and turned her face back to see a vine whip receding back into an angry looking Bayleef.
"W-what was that for?!" Latias shouted. She didn't get it, Bayleef had been so kind and had no feelings of aggression when she came up, so why now?
Bayleef began to quickly flick her leaf back and forth and dig her front toe into the loose gravel. "A long time ago when I was still in his team, I was head over heels for Ash. And even though he's still out traveling and I've given up on getting him, I – I-" Bayleef shook her head and growled. "I won't give him up without a fight! If you think you're worthy enough to love him, you're gonna have fight me for him! And if you don't, you should forget about seeing him again!"
There was a moment of confusion to Latias, being abruptly asked to battle wasn't something she expected
to occur when she came to ask around about Ash, but she knew she wasn't about to just go home.
I didn't know Bayleef felt that way about Ash. I don't really want to fight her, but I'm not going to go back home after all the effort I've put in. Sorry Bayleef, but I won't run away.
"I – I accept, Bayleef. I'll fight you."
Bayleef briefly held a look of surprise, but changed back to anger. "Fine. Don't think I'll hold back!"
Using my invisibility wouldn't be fair, so I'll have to make do.
Barely a moment passed before Bayleef charged at Latias, tossing multiple sharp-edged leaves at her. Latias dodged the leaves, flying around them and behind Bayleef.
Latias narrowed her eyes and charged forward as well, raising her claw as she prepared a Dragon Claw attack, but as she closed in, Bayleef spun around and extended her Vine Whip. Latias didn't have time to react as Bayleef's Vine Whip grabbed a hold of her and threw her, sending her crashing into the dirt at the bottom of the hill.
Latias raised herself back up with her telekinesis, now noticing the still hot summer sun make her body heat up and drain her energy faster with her body-covering down. Little huffs exited her mouth as she checked herself for injuries, but didn't only found a bruise or two. She looked ahead at a smirking Bayleef, swishing around her leaf as if to say, "want some more?"
Wow, Bayleef's well-trained... I didn't think she could pull me with those vines. I better step it up if I want to win!
The dragon collected the air around her to form a Mist Ball, and launched it at Bayleef. The dino evaded it and stuck her tongue out at Latias for missing.
The dragon shook her feathers and shrilled, making Bayleef step back a bit and then dashed forward at her opponent charging another Dragon Claw, and at the last moment changed direction before she was hit with another Vine Whip.
Bayleef growled and ran at the retreating Latias, only to see her shift direction again –right at her!
Bayleef tried to use another Vine Whip and received a Dragon Claw to the chest for her effort, flying backwards and bouncing down the hill until she came to a stop at the bottom.
As Latias floated down to see if Bayleef was all right and saw that Bayleef had swirls in her eyes, as well as a few scratches and bruises. Thankfully, Bayleef hadn't sustained a serious injury from a fully-powered Dragon Claw to the chest.
Whew... I thought I really hurt her.
Although she wanted to wake her up, Latias' thoughts stopped her. She thought of how easy it might have been to accidentally seriously injure or even possibly mortally harm Bayleef, all so Latias could be stubborn instead of reasoning with her like she should have.
"I didn't mean to hurt you like that." She lowered her head and cooed softly.
"No, it's my fault. I was stupid and forced you to do it. I'm fine anyway."
Latias rose her head to see Bayleef attempt to stand, tears in her eyes.
"You won, Latias. I won't get in your way with Ash..."
Latias had a heavy feeling in her chest as she watched Bayleef finally get up and turn to walk away from Latias, perhaps if only to not let her watch her cry. It was too much for Latias and so she used her telekinesis to lift Bayleef and make the yellow dinosaur face her. Bayleef was a bit shaken from being lifted out of nowhere, but gave Latias a solemn, if teary-eyed look.
"What else do you want..? I said I'm not getting in your way... Just leave me be."
The dragon let out a snort and released her telekinetic hold on Bayleef, dropping her.
"Why? We were having fun talking just a moment ago, and now your enemy because I like Ash? I came here to find out about Ash, Bayleef. I went through so much to even get right here. Didn't you?"
Bayleef kept herself down, but responded anyway. "Ash only caught me because I was being a stupid and stubborn chikorita. He saved me from freezing to death, and I had a savior crush on him ever since." She stood up and gazed at Latias longingly.
"Why do you want him, anyway?"
"Ash was a hero to me to, but that was because of two thieves trying to take over the world."
Bayleef raised one of her eyes in interest. "Really? Can't say I haven't heard that one before..."
"Ash helped me out, but my brother didn't make it...Just because two thieves had to be greedy..."
"O-oh..." The dinosaur rubbed her flat paw against the grass. A moment of awkward silence was shared between the two as the calls of Ash's other pokémon playing were heard in the distance.
"...Hey, Latias? I'm sorry for your loss. And...I'm sorry I made you fight me. It's just..." Bayleef eyes wandered as Latias heard her voice drift off. "For the longest time before I was caught, it was just me versus the world and then Ash came along and stole my heart because he cared about helping me so much. Because of that, I got so jealous when anyone even looked like they were trying to make a move on him. It wasn't until I evolved that I started to cool down, and by the time he placed me here, I was much more mellowed out."
Latias had her ears up in interest, listening closely to Bayleef's story. "But what about when Ash put you here? Weren't you sad?" Latias could recall all too easily how lonely she felt without Ash's comforting presence, but unlike Bayleef, he left her soon after they left instead of going on a full fledged journey together.
"Of course. But I wasn't for long. Everyone here knew that coming here means that you would get nostalgic and sad that you aren't with your trainer, but to be honest...life is good here. I have lots of friends here, like Buizel for one. I'm always fed enough, and Oak allows us to do most anything, so long as it isn't really hurting anyone."
Latias gave a simple nod. "It looks so great too. Ash must love you a whole lot if he let you be here in a little paradise like this!"
Bayleef's mouth went slightly agape, gazing at Latias without a word.
Slowly, Bayleef began to speak. "You're right. You're absolutely right, Latias."
A bit confused by her vague response, Latias asked with her head tilted, "Right about what?"
"Ash does really care about me. I have this lingering thought that Ash keeps going on journeys without me or any of his other pokémon that he forgets about us, so I always force my way into being with him when he's around so he'll remember but..."
Bayleef's knees started to buckle and her eyes started to well up with tears. "If- if he didn't care, h-he wouldn't keep saying hi to me like we were never apart..."
Latias was caught by surprise as Bayleef buried her head against her chest, putting her weight against the dragon. "Ha...Ha...It's funny though, you see, Ash helps out random people all the time and even defends us when someone calls us weak, so I don't know why..." The dinosaur moved back and looked back at the dragon.
"No...It's because of Ash's other pokémon. I hear how they were abandoned or mistreated by a trainer, and somehow, I thought that Ash could become like that. But he wouldn't. Ash is a good human." Bayleef sighed. "Maybe wanting to go after him for so long is making me delusional. I think...I think it's time I look for someone else to love."
Latias was shocked, to the least. Here she had found a pokémon that had all the info she'd need on Ash, but at the cost of being another competing suitor. And out of that, a battle commenced and Bayleef spilled her proverbial beans.
Are Ash's other pokémon as...quirky... as Bayleef?
"But Bayleef, I thought you really, really wanted to be with Ash."
"I thought so too. But if I really did, I would've been more straightforward when I see him. I think I grew out of loving Ash a long time ago, actually. I guess I deeply wanted to believe I still loved him so that he wouldn't forget me."
"No Latias. I...don't have those feelings for Ash that way anymore." Bayleef inhaled deeply and put on a big smile. "But you do! If you want Ash, I'll be rooting for you."
Latias rubbed her eyes as she felt moisture start to form around the corners. "Oh Bayleef, thanks..."
"I just want you to remember. Ash is a good guy, and he deserves the best. So you better want to go after him with all you have!"
Latias nodded. "I will, Bayleef! Thank you!" She rubbed her head against Bayleef's.
Bayleef grinned. "Enough of that... I still need to tell you some of good times me and Ash have shared...so listen up!"
Latias listened closely as Bayleef told her many, many of the adventures Ash shared with her, as well as quite a few stories that other of Ash's pokémon had with him.
The two spent the rest of the day talking about a mish-mash of the crazier happenings at Oak's lab and of what little Bayleef could tell Latias about what Ash was up to recently. For Latias, it was the funnest day she had for a long time.
She hoped it was the start of even more fun days to come.
After finishing her talk with Bayleef, Latias went back to the lab to ask if she could stay the night with Bayleef. The lab was alight even in the evening rays of sun, but Latias couldn't spot either Oak or Tracey inside as she stared from out the windows. Although that may have been due to the fact they were quite dusty and nearly made her sneeze being so close.
Latias knocked on the door with her claws in hopes of getting their attention, but heard no one come even when she put herself against the door to listen in.
Tracey did say I could come in if I needed something. And I do. I wonder if they're busy eating?
The door opened as she leaned on it, and she entered. Now that she was inside, her sensitive hearing picked up two people talking; Oak and another voice she didn't recognize. Erring on the side of caution, she cloaked herself and went into the next room to see Oak using a videophone.
"...noon tomorrow. Is that all right with you?"
Latias hadn't a clue what he was talking about, but she flew in closer to see on the monitor a brown haired man wearing a...purple cape?
"Thank you Oak. I'll give you the poké for the tickets tomorrow when I get here."
Oak then hung up the phone, the monitor turning off in response.
That guy dressed so weird. I'm kinda curious...
She uncloaked herself behind the professor, and asked, "Hey mister Oak, who were you talking to?"
He jumped in his chair in surprise, knocking it over. "Ahh!"
Turning around, he sighed. "Oh, it's just you Latias. I'm not used to telepathy, so don't give an old man a heart attack by suddenly talking behind him!"
"Sorry! I just wanted to see who you were talking to!"
"I was talking to Eusine. He's coming here tomorrow to pick up his plane ticket to Unova he left with me last time he was here."
Latias' ears perked at hearing Unova be the destination. She already was thinking of trying to tag-along with the man whilst concealed to Unova.
"Thanks Oak! Can I sleep with Bayleef too?"
"I don't see why not. I'm sure she'd love the company."
Latias gave Oak a warm goodnight and nuzzle before departing to sleep with Bayleef.
I better sleep early! I can't miss this chance to get to Unova so quick! I'll see you soon, Ash!
A/N: Every person tends to learn something about their ability to write when they focus on writing, and what I found for myself is that I can't seem to do battle scenes quite as well as I want, which could very likely hamper some ideas I have for later if that isn't fixed. Would anyone be kind enough to give any advice for writing Pokemon battles? Such help would be very well appreciated and help me move this along faster than the snail's rate it is going in.
You know, it continues to astound and depress me that quite so many fanfiction authors believe that overusing either "OMG SO EDGY AND DARK" and "LOL SO RANDUM XD" makes for a good fanfiction. Also, longer does not necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to fanfiction.
Also, a thing I've noticed when seeing the many Mary Sues across the Pokémon section (Being invincible, being a morph of human/pokémon, or having Ash deprived of all canonical traits, etc...) is that they all share something: being extremely observant and figuring out problems easily because the author shares the fact he/she knows what happens later. (IE, ousting Team Plasma as evil in the first meeting despite there being no evidence that they are anything but people with misguided views on Pokemon at that point.) That...isn't a good way to go about writing at all.