Chapter 1: On the Way to Unova

A/N: There will be some OC's in this fanfic, but not in this one. This chapter is something of a prologue, explaining future behavior of characters. Enjoy reading!

Tory Lund was the first to awaken from his sleep on the ship. As he rubbed his eyes and yawned, he looked at the time. Five-thirty, huh? Well, at least I can take a look at the sunrise, the silver-haired Trainer thought to himself. As he stepped off of his bunk, wincing at the creak, he got dressed and looked at Max Maple, his brother in all but name. The brown-haired Trainer was still snoring gently, not stirring from the noise. Tory sighed in relief. He hated accidentally waking up his friend, though Max never seemed annoyed when Tory did it, nor when Ash or Cynthia did. When most other people did it though… Tory chuckled to himself, imagining the grumbles and yells to keep quiet, before putting on his shoes and stepping outside.

The glow of the red-orange sun surrounded the ship, bathing the surface in a warm yet gentle heat. Tory was dressed in his white short-sleeved hoodie, with a blue T-shirt that said "Talking to me?" and gray shorts. He grinned, leaning on the guardrail looking out towards the sun. He could see Unova from here, where their tournament would be taking place. This was always his favorite time of the day, along with Max's, though he preferred to sleep as much as he could. Looking at the sunrise brought back memories of his journeys with Max, Ash, and Cynthia. In LaRousse City, where they stopped the Deoxys, Rayquaza, and the robots from destroying the city. At Spear Pillar, where all four of them had been granted their Legendaries. Sleeping at the ice-cream stand with Ash and Max, waiting for Cynthia to place her order. Tory laughed at the last one, resolving to bring several pillows with him wherever he went. Then memory served him and the Trainer remembered that Max had pretty much everything in his bag. 'A freaking pair of wooden Japanese swords, along with training gear and more various crap. Who can carry that stuff all the time, anyway? I get that we've been training a long time under the two best Trainers in the world, but still- Tory's thoughts were interrupted when he heard the familiar creak of a door, and footsteps behind him. He looked to his side, expecting to see Ash or Cynthia also leaning on the rail. Surprisingly, it was Max. He was dressed in an emerald green T-shirt and dark blue shorts. They always dressed alike, though they didn't know why.

"Hey, Max. Sleep well?" Tory inquired. Normally, Max almost never woke up before eight, and even then only after drinking several cups of hot chocolate before sleeping.

"Yeah, just a bit nervous," Max replied. His milky-brown eyes looked out towards the sea and the sun, where Tory was looking moments before. His brown hair was disheveled, obviously from waking up just then.

"I get you. We're gonna be participating at the biggest tournament in this decade… We'll do fine, don't worry. Remember, we are Ash's and Cynthia's apprentices, and losing to them is fine," Tory reassured his friend.

"Thanks, and I know. But that's not my big concern," the brown-haired Trainer said.

Tory frowned. "Oh, I see… Yeah, all of the other traitors are probably gonna be participating too, huh…" His eyes darkened at the thought of what had taken place at Pallet Town five years ago…

(Start Flashback)

Ash had ran home to Pallet Town, excited to see his mother, Professor Oak, and his Pokemon after the Unova League. Though his loss to Trip had stung, made worse by the fact that he had lost another league, he was determined to do better next time. As he approached his hometown, he saw a crowd waiting. Among them were all of his friends, excluding Iris and Cilan. They had stayed behind in Unova to continue their training.

"Hey guys, what's up?" Ash said cheerfully. Then he noticed the glares on almost everyone's faces.

"How could you do this, Ash?!" May yelled.

"Whoa, calm down. What did I do?" Ash asked, bewildered.

"What did you do? Only burned down most of the town, including your own mother's house! You killed her, Ash!" Gary had shouted at his rival.

Ash couldn't believe their words. Did they all really believe that Ash could do such a thing? Looking closer, he saw that his beloved Pallet Town was mostly a charred mess, with only a few standing houses left. Ambulances were everywhere, and medical forces scurried around, looking for survivors or corpses among the collapsed houses.

"Who would do this?" he moaned, sinking to his knees in shock, forgetting his anger in sadness.

"Isn't it obvious? You did! I thought you were better than this, Ketchum!" Misty screamed at him. The crowd rumbled in agreement. Suddenly, a pair of voices interrupted the angry crowd.

"What the hell?!"

Everyone looked towards the commotion, seeing Max and even Tory from LaRousse City, glaring defiantly at the mob. Both of them had grown since their last encounters with Ash, though they still were the shortest of the crowd. Their courage, however, was not lacking. Ash noticed the Pokeballs on their waists. 'So they're already Trainers, huh…' he thought to himself.

"Why would Ash burn down his own hometown, including his own home?!" Max roared out.

"Use your brains! Ash just got back from Unova; there are so many people there who can confirm that, including the Unova Champion! How could he do this from a different continent?!" Tory snapped. Neither of them could believe that Ash's former friends could accuse him of such a crime.

"There was a Charizard flying around, and a Trainer on its back. We all heard Ash command a Flamethrower from its back," a voice yelled out. Ash's fists clenched at the sound of it. It was Trip.

"Trip! What are you doing here?!"

Trip smirked. "I came to celebrate my victory, and tell you something. You'll never be a Pokemon Master, nor will you ever even be a successful Trainer!"

"What?! How could you say that?! I thought you were better than this, even though you were always a jerk!" Ash snarled.

"Face it, Ketchum. You've participated in five leagues now, and haven't won a single one. You never got to battle any Champions, and your victories over places like the Battle Frontier were by sheer luck!" Trip taunted. The crowd muttered in agreement. Ash paled slightly, seeing some truth in his rival's biting words. He had never won a league in his life, not one…

"Yeah! Trip's a way better Trainer than you'll ever be!" Misty shouted scathingly, leaning onto Trip's arm.

"On top of that, you went and took out your frustration on the town, including us! We heard you on that Charizard!" Brock accused. Of all the people to betray him, Brock seemed to be one of the least likely to do so. Brock was like a big brother to Ash, traveling with him on so many journeys.

"Enough of this. Anyone who feels this murderer is guilty, stay with us. Anyone who feels he's innocent, go over to him and face our wrath," Gary declared. Most of the crowd stayed where they were. Max and Tory dashed to Ash's side, giving hateful looks to the mob. Then Max saw his father and sister.

"Dad! May! Come on, let's get outta here!" he yelled.

Norman looked horrified at Max's decision. "Son, please, be serious. You don't really think he's innocent, do you?" he asked.

"I KNOW he's innocent! Ash would never do something like this!" Max yelled at his father, hardly believing that his own family would betray Ash like this. "May, what about you? Don't tell me you're siding with that crowd…"

"Come on, May! He's guilty, and we all know it!" Drew yelled. Everyone clamored, agreeing with the Coordinator's statement.

May was more troubled than she had ever been in her life. She took a shaky breath, then said, "I'm sorry, Max, Tory, Ash. But the evidence is against you." She looked around fearfully at the mob, and barely suppressed a sigh of relief. They wouldn't attack her.

"Enough of this. Serperior, Leaf Blade!" Trip yelled, sending out his starter. The Grass-type landed on the road, then lunged at the lone trio, tail glowing with green energy.

Ash ran forward to let the attack land on him first and give Max and Tory time to flee. He turned, looking into their horrified faces, about to yell at them to run.

"Stone Edge!"

Everyone turned again, to a purple-haired Trainer standing hidden next to a Torterra in the forest. The Grass-and-ground-type Pokemon summoned a large amount of stones around it, before launching them at the surprised Serperior. The Unovan starter was launched back and laid on the ground, stunned by the attack.

"Paul! What are you doing here?" Ash asked weakly, still in wonder that his former enemy had rescued him from a painful end.

"I came here to try and help you get stronger, but there's no time for that!" Paul shouted urgently, staring at the crowd with cold eyes. "Head to Sinnoh, to Celestic Town! Cynthia is resting there now!"

"Traitor," Gary seethed in rage.

"Oh, am I the traitor? Look at your actions. Ash, take those two and RUN! NOW! I'll be all right!" Paul yelled, sending out his Ursaring, Magmortar, Electivire, Drapion, and Honchkrow to support his starter.

Ash stood there for a moment in disbelief, thankful that someone else had his back. The two younger boys tugged on his arms, reminding him of what was happening. The older Trainer nodded, before grabbing Max's and Tory's arms and running towards Viridian Forest. Despite their speed, the crowd still threw rocks at them. Many missed, but some landed, leaving bruises. One stone even collided with Max's face as he turned to look sadly at his family. Even so, the group still made it into the forest, safe from their pursuers.

When the three were out of sight, Gary turned towards Paul, who was standing in the middle of his team. "You seem awfully confident in your abilities to defeat us all," he growled, sending out his own Pokemon. All of the other Trainers in the crowd did the same.

Paul smirked. "Numbers aren't going to mean anything without skill. Face it, you're outmatched," he retorted. The other Trainers leered at the Sinnoh Trainer.

"ATTACK!" every Trainer yelled.

(In Viridian Forest)

Ash, Max, and Tory ran for their lives through the forest. Ash seemed to know where he was going for once, so neither of the boys questioned his intent. Suddenly, a large Pidgeot flew out of a tree, landing in front of Ash.

"Pidgeot! Great to see you! We gotta get to Celestic Town in Sinnoh, ASAP! Can you get us there?" Ash pleaded. The Flying-type nodded, before crouching to allow the Trainers to step aboard. All three of them did so, and Pidgeot took off.

Ash glared up towards to the sky, wondering why his friends would do this. He would risk his life to save theirs; he had done so on multiple occasions. What had he done to deserve this injustice? Then he realized that he had left without some essential items.

"Oh no… My Pokemon… They're all still at Pallet!" he groaned, paling at the thought of their fates.

"Don't worry about that, Ash. I've got them in my bag. I heard about this plan beforehand, and Tory and I snuck into the lab to get your Pokemon," Max reassured the older Trainer, opening his bag to reveal the stashed Pokeballs.

The betrayed Trainer smiled for the first time since the incident. "Thanks," he whispered, before turning towards where Pidgeot was looking.

"No prob," both boys said simultaneously. The rest of the travels, taking place over several days, were spent in almost absolute silence. Max and Tory knew better than to try and talk Ash out of his misery. They hid in the forests, savenging for berries and fruits, while Pidgeot rested for the next flight. Finally, they arrived at Celestic Town, in front of Cynthia's grandmother's house. Ash wearily knocked on the door while Max, Tory, and Pidgeot collapsed, exhausted from the constant flights and lack of proper rest. The Sinnoh Champion hastily opened the door, and stared in shock and horror. She saw a tired Pidgeot, two exhausted and injured boys, and an emotionally scarred Ash at her doorstep.

"Paul… sent us… here. Please… help…" Ash wheezed in fatigue. Cynthia nodded, before helping Ash carry the two boys inside the house. Afterwards, Ash took out a Pokeball and re-caught Pidgeot, thanking it for its help, before re-entering the cozy house. It would be a long time before Ash smiled again, and it would be even longer before he forgave the traitors, if he ever did…

(End Flashback)

Tory sighed in worry for his friends. Max had been depressed for days, wondering what would become of them. Ash was darker than a Dusk Stone, only smiling at Max, Cynthia and Tory himself. Thankfully, Cynthia's introduction to the group had led to a much-needed recovery process. Even so, while Max seemed to be more or less fully healed, Ash was, to this day, still darker than before the betrayal.

Max looked sad at the thought of the potential conflicts. "Mmhm, that's the big thing I'm worried about. We're probably gonna have to face my dad and my sister again, along with the other traitors. It feels terrible, knowing that the people who turned on us will probably be in our lives yet again."

The silver-haired Trainer nodded. "I feel you, Max. I'm just as worried as you. Still, let's not think about that now. It's sunrise, and I'm hungry. Let's get something to eat."

"Sounds good. Besides, as for the tournament, I'm sure I'll crush you," Max commented with a grin.

Tory grinned as well. "Sure, like that'll ever happen. Look at our records, buddy," he bantered. That was one of their best qualities. Whenever conflicts weren't occurring, the two could never stay depressed for long when together.

Max pouted slightly. "Hey, shut up. That was only because I was still sleepy in our last battle," he protested while chuckling.

The two boys laughed at that, and stood there, staring at the sunrise, arm-in-arm, like the brothers they almost were. Then something surfaced in Max's memory.

"You know, the media once accused Cynthia and Ash of having an affair, to explain our existence," Max told his friend. He had read it in a newspaper while Tory was getting breakfast for the two of them at a hotel, and it still made him chuckle at night.

The two boys looked at each other, then fell down laughing as quietly as they could before getting up and going to the cafeteria to eat.

(A/N) Wow, here it is. My very first chapter of my very first fanfiction! (Talk about repetition XD). Anyway, since this is my first fanfic, I'd love reviews and the likes. Read, Review, (please don't flame), and I'll see you next time!