Title: Indigo All Over Again
Posted: 04/07/13
Rating: K+

Main Characters: Ash Ketchum, Misty Waterflower, Ritchie Jayne, Kenna Alexanderson (Original Character)
Shippings: Ash & Misty (PokeShipping)
Chapter Guest Stars: Cilan Dent, Iris Cuasorome, Lt. Surge

Summary: Ash Ketchum has journeyed for many years. Through the regions of Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova, he has learned many things. Now, being both a better trainer and a more mature teenager, he decides to return to his very own home region and compete once again to win the Indigo League. What surprises await him as he does so?

Disclaimer: I own what I own, nothing more, nothing less.

© 2013, Reignstein, The plot of this story and any original characters belong to me. Any similarities that might occur are purely coincidental and I apologize in advance if such an occurrence ever does happen.

REVIEWS, COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS, ALL ARE WELCOME. ACTUALLY, THEY'RE MUCH APPRECIATED


PROLOGUE
"It's Kanto Be Home"
START


The familiar sense of sadness attacked Ash as he sat across his two, current, traveling companions. He was ecstatic to be heading home, don't get him wrong. Ash was excited to eat a home cooked meal prepared by his mother (he was also excited to see her of course), he was delighted with the idea of seeing all of his Pokemon that Professor Oak and Tracey had taken care of for him, and Ash was also very giddy about seeing his old friends as well. However, looking at the green haired Connoisseur and the aspiring Dragon Master that happily ate their lunch in front of him brought a few tears to his eyes.

Saying goodbye was never easy, Ash knew that first hand.

So many times has he had to go through this. The first was during his journey through the Orange Islands, when Brock had decided to stay behind with Professor Ivy and help her with her research (and hit on her too). Ash may have appreciated Tracey's companionship, albeit it coming out of the blue and because of Professor Oak no less, but he was never really able to fill the void that Brock had left.

Thankfully, he still had a feisty redhead with him at the time, allowing him to at least forget about the rather sad feeling at the pit of his stomach. She driven him crazy with all the squabbles and shouting, sure, but he really appreciated her companionship then more than when she traveled with him throughout the Indigo League.

When he had won the Orange Islands League and returned home, he was ecstatic when he saw Brock waiting for them, along with his mom and Professor Oak. Things didn't work out with Professor Ivy—made obvious by the reaction the breeder had every time the woman's name was even mentioned—but Ash really couldn't bring himself to care enough to not feel happy about the prospect that Brock was back. It was just like old times, with him and Misty, but now they would be joined by their new friend Tracey Sketchit as well!

Then the second blow came.

Ash had decided to travel to Johto. Misty and Brock were eager to go with him (with the former still using the reason that it was because, and only because, he owed her a new bicycle), but Tracey seemed to have other plans. Much like how Brock had decided to work with Professor Ivy, Tracey had informed them of his decision to work under Professor Oak as an assistant and apprentice of sorts. It had always been his dream to work with him and meet the old Professor after all, so Ash couldn't really bring himself to protest.

When the group of three—well, five counting Pikachu and cute little Togepi—left for Johto, Ash felt a bit guilty that he had not felt as bad for Tracey leaving than he did with Brock. It was saddening, yes, but Ash assumed that it was due to the fact that Brock and Misty had been with him from the start. Tracey was a big help, and he taught both Ash and Misty a lot about Pokemon, but Brock was like a surrogate older brother.

Tracey was like the cousin who you got along with and visited often.

Ash had gotten over Tracey's departure from the group fairly quickly, but the third departure, to this day, was the most painful thing that the aspiring Pokemon Master had ever experienced within his seventeen years of life. Ash remembered it all to vividly. The tears he shed when she walked away, the light pink handkerchief she had given him (that was currently kept within his hat), the defeated look she wore when they parted. Misty was to be the Cerulean City Gym Leader, and though Ash was happy for her, he knew that he would be miserable without her.

Misty was the very first traveling companion he had. She was, and still is, his best and closest friend. She was also, apart from Daisy Oak, his very first female friend. They argued every single day, they shared different opinions, and they were both hot headed and stubborn. They were so alike and so different, and Ash loved every moment of time he had spent with her. When he saw the bike, when she got the call, his heart shattered completely at the thought of her being gone.

If how he felt when Brock left was any indication to how he felt when friends left, then Misty's departure would bring him ten times more pain. To Ash, he and Misty had a bond that he shared with no one else, after all. You get that way when you save each other's lives.

It didn't help at all that Brock had decided to head back to Pewter City as well.

After Misty left, the pain of letting go got a little bit easier. He missed May and Max, he missed Dawn as well, but none of them compared to how much he missed Misty. Ash thought that Brock leaving him when he came to Unova would feel worse than Misty leaving him all the way back in Johto, but still it did not live up. Being the person he was, Ash just recognized this as strong feelings for Misty as his closest friends. He's been with her since day one, it was to be expected whenever Ash actually decided to think about it.

"Ash, is something wrong?" The green haired Connoisseur asked, snapping the boy from his thoughts. "You've barely touched your lunch, are you dying?" Iris chuckled at Cilan's words, the Connoisseur winking at her when she did. Ash managed to let out a small chuckle as well, turning towards the plate in front of him. He had just been moving his food from side to side, unlike Pikachu who was devouring the packets of ketchup that his trainer had given him.

"Hey, Ash!" Iris exclaimed, rousing the trainer once again. "Snap out of it and talk to us! We could help if you have a problem, you know!" Hyper, energetic Iris with the fear of Ice Pokemon and the love of Dragon Pokemon. Ash smiled at thought of how she had been so wary when they had met, and now she trusted both him and Cilan with her dreams and aspirations. He would miss her, he really would. Why did Unova have to be so far away.

"Cilan, I think we need to take him to a hospital." The violet haired girl stated.

"We can't though," Cilan answered. "His boat leaves in an hour. Not long enough to get to and fro."

The two observed as Ash's smile widened. Cilan who was afraid of anything paranormal, who loved science, who cooked amazing food rivaled only by Brock and his mother. He'd miss him too, for sure. He actually felt sad at the thought that wouldn't be able to meet Misty. He would pay to see him tell her about her compatibility with her Pokemon, and on the off chance that he told Misty she wasn't compatible with at least one of them, Ash would also give a healthy sum to see his reaction to her mallet.

"Ash, I think you're starting to scare Cilan." Iris suddenly stated. "Only a possession could make you this quiet!" Cilan frowned at Iris's words, taking them into consideration. He doubted it had anything to do with ghosts, but he couldn't really understand what could get their friend to act in such a way. Getting tired—and aggravated—Iris decided to whack Ash out of it, literally.

A slight punch in the arm, nothing painful, later, and Ash's attention was finally on his two friends.

"He has returned to Earth!" Iris exclaimed, raising her hands in exasperation.

"Sorry," Ash said sheepishly, rubbing his arm as he did so. "I was just thinking about how I won't be seeing you guys for awhile. Kanto and Unova are miles apart, and it's not like I can board a boat and come here every time I want." Cilan and Iris shared a look, and turned to Ash with a shake of their heads. Why they found his worrying and musing ridiculous was a mystery to Ash. Pikachu seemed to busy with his ketchup to pay attention to his trainer's problem at the moment.

"You talk as if we live in the stone age, Ash!" Cilan stated. "There video phones in this generation, and Iris and I are just a phone call away if you ever need to contact us." He added, with Ash laughing slightly at his words. Of course, Cilan would be the one to give him the simplest way to solve the problem. Occam's Razor—if Ash remembered correctly—was what Cilan called it.

"Besides, distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?" Iris continued on.

Ash smiled. Professor Oak was right all those years ago. He did have good taste in friends.

"Yeah, you're probably right." Ash answered. "That might actually be the reason why I'm also so excited to be seeing my old friends again! I haven't seen them in a year or so! I can't wait to show them all my new Pokemon!" Iris and Cilan shared a small smile. It seemed that good old Ash Ketchum was back. If it wasn't made obvious by the previous statement, then him chowing down the French fries on his plate without mercy would give you a strong enough hint.

"Bring one of your friends next time you visit." Cilan suggested.

"Yeah, and invite Dawn to come too! It was nice having her." Iris concluded.

"I will if I can!" Ash exclaimed, bits and pieces of potato falling from his mouth. Cilan was thankful he was done with his food. "They're pretty busy people, especially Misty! I mean, the Indigo League is starting up again! She's gonna be busiest out of all of us with all of those trainers wanting a Cascade Badge." There was hidden smile in Iris's features that Ash did not notice. If he had though, he probably wouldn't have choked on the piece of meat he had just placed into his mouth.

"Oh yes, Misty, you're girlfriend." Cilan reached over to hit Ash's back. Thankfully, it seemed to have done the trick. "The girl on the lure that you seem to carry around religiously. Is she also the girl who gave you the handkerchief that you stare at every night before you go to sleep?" Pikachu perked up at the sound of Misty's name, turning to his trainer who was taking a much needed glass of water.

"Don't say stuff like that!" The boy nearly shouted, Pikachu wanting to laugh so much. The denial of his trainer for his feelings for his beloved Pikachu-pi was always entertaining to observe. "She's my best friend!" Iris, Pikachu, and Cilan all knew that he did not technically deny the claim, but decided not to mention it. As much fun as teasing Ash was, they really didn't want him to leave irritated and annoyed. This was their last hour together, at least until Ash visited again.

"Best friend, girlfriend, what's the big deal?" Iris answered. "Bring her along next time you visit! I'd want to meet her."

"You sure? She's pretty scary once you get to know her." Ash answered.

"Pi Pikacu! Pika Pika, Pikachu-pi Pika Pikachu!" Pikachu protested, Ash turning to him as his loyal first Pokemon began telling him about how Misty was really nice, how without Misty he would be dead ten times, how without Misty even he, Pikachu, would be dead. Ash really didn't mean anything by it, but he laughed slightly at how strong Misty and Pikachu's bond was. His own Pokemon usually picked to side with her over him.

"I get it, I get it." Ash answered, raising his hands. "She's Saint Therese to you, Pikachu!"

"Well, I trust Pikachu's judgment in people, so she mustn't be that bad." Cilan commented.

"Don't worry Cilan, I'm sure Ash doesn't mean it." Iris added. "He looks at her lure every morning after all."

"Iris!" Pikachu laughed at his trainer's obvious embarrassment. Served him right.

"What?!" Iris retorted. "You do, I've caught you tons of times even talking to it!"

"Don't forget about how much he mentions her, remember the Gym for the Freeze Badge?" With a shiver from Iris, she nodded at Cilan's words. It was a good thing that Misty was a Water Pokemon trainer. "He was saying how Misty would love the Ice and Water Pokemon here in Unova!" Ash blushed. Pikachu laughed. Denial, Dense, Oblivious, Immature, Ash had a long list of bad traits—that could be endearing, given the occasion—and Pikachu enjoyed watching every single one of them.

"That's just because I haven't seen her in years!"

"Well, you agreed distance made the heart grow fonder," Iris began.

"Well, then judging by how long you've been apart, you're heart must be very fond of her already. I wouldn't be shocked if I suddenly read about your marriage in the paper or something. I could see the headlines now 'Ash Ketchum, former Unova League Participant, married to current Cerulean City Gym Leader'. I should probably give you my congratulations now and spare me the trouble later." Ash looked like a ripe tomato, and Pikachu was rolling on the table laughing because of it. Cilan, as well, was enjoying this way too much.

So much for the idea of not teasing the poor boy.

"I take back my previous statement," Ash stated, Iris giggling as it looked hilarious with the red face that he currently had. "I'm not gonna miss you at all. What was I thinking when I said I would." There was no ill will in his words, and it only caused Cilan and Iris to laugh all the more. Ash was not pleased with this, especially cause it was at the cost of his own pride.

"I think that you'd be too busy to miss us anyway." Cilan added. "All that time you'll spend making up for the years you've lost."

"Oh, how romantic!" Iris continued, mockingly, only causing Ash to go as red as a Charmeleon. Pikachu's laughter doubled.

"What friends you three are." Ash, dejectedly, said, returning to his food. He'd miss them, no matter what they or he said. That was the truth. Half-an-hour left till he boarded. Excitement and anxiety filled his stomach at the realization of this. He'd let them have their laughs and their giggles, only because he knew this would the last in a while that he would hear them.

Well…all except for Pikachu's.


"Pikapi!" Pikachu called out, nudging his trainer slightly.

"Pikapi!" He called again, slightly headbutt-ing the black haired teen.

Ash, for the most part, did not stir at all. He did the occasional groan and movement to adjust to a better position, but he did not give any type of sign that he was actually rousing from his sleep. Pikachu had been trying, hard, to get his trainer to wake—he had spotted the Vermilion City dock not far ahead, and he did not want to be in the ship when it returned to the Unova Region—but it seemed desperate times called for desperate measures.

Especially when Ash thought it was something, or someone, else and ended up swatting Pikachu.

Now, the yellow little electric mouse was not a patient Pokemon. He did not easily trust people (though being generally nice to them), and he shocked anyone who dared touching him without his permission (with Misty and Ritchie being the only exception), so it was very easy to predict what it was that the little guy did to wake his trainer up.

A loud call of the Pikachu's name, a bright flash, and an ear splitting scream later, Ash sat on the lounge chair very much awake. Fried to a crisp, covered in soot, groaning and wondering what had just happened, but none the less, awake. "Wha…Pikachu?" Ash groaned out, shaking himself up and turning to his little friend. Pikachu was on his lap, now, jumping up and down while pointing towards the east. Raising his brow, Ash turned to the direction Pikachu was referring to.

"Is that—"

"Pika Pika!"

Turning to Pikachu with a wide smile on his face, Ash began to pick his backpack up. Putting it on, he extended his arm, allowing the electric mouse to crawl up, and then moved towards the side of the boat to look at the familiar structures of Vermilion City. "Look Pikachu, we're finally back!" Ash exclaimed, an enthusiastic reply being answered by his companion. The wooden dock was visible from where they were, showing the people who were waiting board other cruise ships and traveling ships. He could make out a few people, but no one familiar to him.

Not that he was expecting any familiar faces or anything.

Due to excitement, and probably the lack of a few brain cells, Ash had not even waited for the boat to dock properly. When the boat had stopped moving and the exit was opened, he hadn't even waited for the wooden staircase they were supposed to walk on. Ash Ketchum, being who he was, just leaped onto the dock with Pikachu following right after him with a short call to wait for him. He was back in Kanto, Ash couldn't believe it!

"Can you believe it Pikachu?!" Ash exclaimed. "We're finally back!" The black haired teen ran through the dock and headed towards the main part of the city. Pikachu was trying hard to catch up, and when he was finally close enough, he jumped onto his owner's shoulder. He sighed and released his exhaustion—having used a needed agility to finally get closer to his trainer—deciding that he really did prefer just riding on Ash's shoulder. Or head…head worked too.

"Pikapi!" The electric mouse shouted, trying to catch the attention of his Master. It didn't work though. There was a sparkle in Ash's eyes, a spark that he did not have when they had left Unova. Pikachu had a guess that it had something to do with visiting a village straight through Route Five, but no matter how excited his trainer was to see Pikachu's beloved Pikachu-pi, he needed to calm down and take a breath. There was no point in getting exhausted now!

"Pikapi!" Pikachu shouted once again, only to be ignored…again.

"Pikachu, look! It's the Pokemon Fan Club, Club House!" Ash shouted, pointing at the building where the Contest Addicted people met up and talked about their love of cute, unevolved, Pokemon. "And there's that Construction Site! God! After seven years that old man still hasn't finished it?!" Ash wondered slightly if the man's Machop still worked with him, and if they were still actually planning to finish the building. For all he knew, the old man could have finally decided to raise the money and continue it when he actually had the cash to pay for it.

"Hey, Pikachu! It's the Gym!" Pikachu actually turned to look at that one, remembering the Raichu that it had defeated in that very same building. The memory of teaching that brutal, overly tough, Gym Leader a lesson about actual strength was a memory that always made Ash and Pikachu smile. Also, Pikachu proving that it did not need to evolve to be strong always made all of them happy. Especially the electric mouse, himself.

"We need to go to the Poke Mart and get a map and some other essential stuff we need," Ash began, looking around for the blue roofed building. "Then we need to head-out to at least get to Saffron City before making our way to Cerulean." The trainer continued, Pikachu chuckling slightly. This did not go unnoticed by Ash, sadly.

"What are you laughing at?" He asked.

"Pikapi," Pikachu answered all to honestly.

"And why are you laughing at me?"

"Pi Pikachu, Pika Pika Pi Pikachu Pikachu-pi Chaa!" Ash blushed at the words the Pokemon said, especially because of how it delighted it seemed to be at the thought of seeing Misty. Pikachu didn't have to phrase it as if he was that excited to see her. Pikachu continued to laugh, knowing full well that Ash really was ready to run, arms wide open, and scoop Misty up into a hug. Ash decided to ignore his companion and headed in the direction of the Poke Mart that he had spotted.

"Pikapi Pi Pikachu-Pi~" Pikachu started to sing, Ash pretending not to hear a word.

"Pikachu Pi Pika~" He continued, looking at his trainer and watching the cheeks tinge pink.

"Pika Pika Ka Pikachu Pika~"

Ash took a packet of ketchup and placed it in front of his little friend. Seeing the little red object, Pikachu became hypnotized. He extended his chubby little arms to reach for it, but Ash pulled it away before he could. "Ah, ah, ah!" He started, still walking in the direction of the Poke Mart, ash he shook his finger left and right as a negative sign. "You want the ketchup, then you have to promise to stop teasing me. You know Misty and I are just friends."

"Pika Pika!" He answered immediately, taking the ketchup from Ash's nearing hand.

This caused Ash to laugh. He knew Pikachu well enough to know how to get him to shut up.

Ash entered the store and got what he needed before paying. A couple of poison antidotes, some medicine, and a couple of PokeBalls seeing as he was about to run out. Pikachu had kept his promise for now, and Ash was relishing in the tease-free atmosphere. It cost him a total of 3000¥, but Ash didn't mind.

He would be home soon enough, and what money he had left from training and battling would be added to his savings—which was placed in a Jigglypuff shaped piggy bank, guarded safely by Delia Ketchum and Mr. Mime within Ash's room.

"Well, well, well!" Someone suddenly called, causing Ash to turn to his right. "If it isn't the Pikachu baby." Ash's face lit up in recognition. Approaching him was a tall, masculine, spiky blonde haired man who spoke with a bit of an accent. He wore his typical Camouflage Outfit, and Ash smiled as the man waved in acknowledgment. Ash wasn't sure whether it was his mind playing tricks on him, but the American looked smaller than he did when he was ten.

"Hey there, Lt. Surge!" Ash called back, waving his own hand as he approached the blonde man. "Have you sent any Pokemon to the Pokemon Center recently?" It was meant with no malice, but the memory made Ash cringe quite a bit. Such brutally hurt Pokemon, and Pikachu was one of them after his first try.

"Not recently." He answered, laughing. "Come back in a few weeks and you might have a new answer." Ash wanted to hit himself. Right, the Indigo League was going to start soon, and trainers from every corner of Kanto (and maybe from other regions as well) would be out to get their badges. Both old comers and new.

"I still haven't evolved my Pikachu." Ash stated, proudly.

"I can see that." Lt. Surge answered. "And you're redheaded friend points that out every time she sees me . Says he's doing pretty well too, seeing as you've made it to the top in Hoenn and Sinnoh, Unova too now huh?" Ash blushed at the complement, but he seemed confused as well. Why the heck would Misty meet up with Lt. Surge? What business would she have with him? He had one idea, but immediately came back the way it came. He was way too old for that.

Not-so-dense Ash Ketchum is good, but he learned how to think now too!

"Even bragged to me about your Orange Islands and Battle Frontier wins. The girl cannot shut up about you, that's for sure." Ash smiled at that one. So she was thinking about him as much as he was thinking about her? She seemed to be talking about him as much as he did her, at least. "Emphasizes all the time that you did it with a Pikachu and not a Raichu. That redhead should really learn how to let things go. I've learned some stuff." The Pallet Town trainer laughed at that one.

"Misty's just stubborn." Ash explained. "She held a grudge about me destroying her bike for three years." Lt. Surge laughed at that one, finding it all too easy to believe that she actually did hold him to that grudge for that long.

"Wait," The trainer suddenly remembered his curiosity from moments ago. "How do you and Misty see each other? Cerulean isn't really that close to here as it is from Saffron City and Lavander Town." Rubbing the back of his head, Ash was obviously embarrassed to be asking such a question. The Lieutenant on the other hand just smirk as he said absolutely nothing on the matter of Ash's embarrassment. Jealousy was a very easy emotion to pick up on.

By the sight of the Pikachu shaking his head, even the Pokemon knew.

At least, if Pokemon were much alike with their trainers, Pikachu seemed to be smarter.

"During the Kanto Gym Leader meetings, kid." He answered. "She's the one from Cerulean City after all." Ash sighed and felt awfully sheepish. He should have, at least, guessed that one. Especially with the League coming up, the Gym Leaders of course had to talk over the procedures and what-not. "Isn't as pretty as her sisters, but good enough eye candy. Along with Sabrina and Erika, they make the boring meetings bearable." A vain popped in Ash's forehead. It took all he had to not order Pikachu to attack, and it took all of what Pikachu had to not send him flying like he did to Team Rocket.

"Well…" Ash did not notice the satisfied look that the Thunder Badge Giver was giving him. He was right. His statement, had indeed pushed a button. "It was nice seeing you, but I really should be on my way. I need to make my way to Saffron City before night fall."

Lt. Surge looked skeptical. Ash Ketchum, Kanto Golden Boy, is known to be from Pallet Town. In the American's opinion, the fastest way to Pallet was through the Diglett Cave then through Route Eleven to Fifteen. He could make it to Fuchsia City by nightfall, and he could have taken Sea Route Nineteen to Cinnabar Island then Sea Route Twenty-One to Pallet. Why would he choose to take a detour to Saffron City? It would take more time, seeing as it passed Saffron, Pewter, Viridian, Mt. Moon, the Viridian Forest, and Ceru—he smiled at the realization.

Ash was headed to see his little redhead friend.

"Well then why don't I take you." The Lieutenant offered, smirking. "I can't take you to Pallet, but I can take you all the way to Cerulean City." Ash had a bad feeling, that there was something more to this than offering him to give him a ride back to Pallet. He pushed the bad feeling aside and decided to accept the offer. Luck was on his side, especially cause now he wouldn't have to invent a lie as to while he needed to dropped off at Cerulean.

"Thanks Lt. Surge." Ash stated.

"No problem, Kid." He answered. "Wait here till I get my tank."

Ash had a feeling that he wasn't joking around about owning that tank.


END

"I'm coming home, back to the place where I belong.
Where your love has always been enough for me."
—Daughtry—