A/N. Hey guys. Just another fem!Ash fanfic involving an idea I've been mulling over in my head for a while now. Really just one of those "what-if-(insert name here)-was-raised-under-different-circumstances" kind of things. Anyways, hope you guys enjoy the story and thanks so much for taking the time to read it.

Summary: Fate paves a new road for young Ash Ketchum as her father is forced to take a more important role in her life when an enraged Delia leaves during a fight to never return. How will this change the story as we know it?

WARNING! MORE RESPONSIBLE FEM!ASH AU FANFIC AHEAD!

Disclaimer: I own nothing!


Episode 0: Beginnings of a New Road


Her parents were fighting, that much the little girl could determine as dark brown eyes stared with growing concern at the two adults that stood bickering and yelling over each other in the living room. Her mother was angry, livid in fact, to the point of yelling herself hoarse and her father, that very same woman's husband, was doing no better.

She had no idea what the problem was, no clue to point to the source of all the yelling and flinging of limbs, all the tenseness and anxiety that wrought her parents and made their bodies go stiff when they would normally be relaxed. And the air in the room was no better. Violent and boiling with words that had gone unsaid so far, but would probably be out in the air soon enough. And of course, the white elephant both adults seemed to be avoiding without meaning to.

They were such a loving couple too, even the neighbors, who gossiped far too much for their own good, had agreed without a doubt that if there was one family that had it going right for them, it was hers. Both adults so devoted to each other, one could've taken a knife and cut out a large, pink, overly frilly heart from the sheer love that wafted off of the family as a whole, one just from the normally happy couple alone.

But this was not a happy and loving family. No, these two adults weren't even a loving couple any more, far from it in fact.

"THAT'S IT! I'VE HAD IT!" The normally kind and gentle woman huffed and without warning stormed out of the room, and right past her daughter without even giving the frightened child a single glance. She stormed up the stairs, her feet sounding like a stampede of tauros as she stomped her way into the bedroom and with a violent jolt, slammed the door to the bedroom shut. The little girl jolted violently, hugging the doorway with both eyes shut tight, silently whimpering and begging whatever deity out there that would listen to make everything go back to normal again. To stop the war that had broken out within the walls of the one place she was supposed to feel safe at between the two people she loved most.

"Delia… Delia, where are you going?!" The man, lean but sturdy with unruly black hair and blue eyes darkened a few shades with a combination of frustration, anger, and worry, exclaimed as the woman slammed the door open once again. Delicate arms were filled what were clearly her personal belongings; a suitcase with clothes and other necessities in one hand, and a familiar brown coat and a wide brimmed hat in the other as she stormed past both daughter and husband once again, only sparing the man she suddenly despised so much a scathing glare before dropping her luggage to swing the front door open as violently as she could.

"Where am I going? Where am I going?! As far away as I can get from you, you worthless son of a…"

"Delia!"

"SHUT UP! I've had it Satoshi… Do you hear me? I've had it!" The woman began, turning and just missing the man's face by a few centimeters as she swung her arm around to shake the man's solid grip from her own shoulder. "I'm tired of waiting on you to wake up from this stupid childhood dream you can't let go of! You are no longer ten years old, George, it is time to give up this dream of you becoming a pokémon master!"

"Delia, please, I know I haven't always been there for you but-"

"Haven't always been there?" Delia interrupted, a heavy exaggeration in her tone as she repeated what the man had just said. "Haven't always been there? George, you were never there. You've been gone, for weeks-no, years on end, without so much as a phone call. You don't care about me! All you care about are these stupid journeys you insist on going on every single year! You're looking for something? WHAT IS IT THEN?! WELL?!"

"Ok, ok you're right! But Delia, I'm begging you, don't leave. Not like this, what about Ash?!" The man looked back at the little girl now hiding behind the sofa, staring at the two as if begging them to go back to their usual happy-go-lucky demeanor and tell her it was all just a bad joke, that they were sorry for scaring her so badly.

"Don't! Don't. Pull. Ash. Into this… DON'T!" She held one finger up, a warning in her tone that if the man attempted to speak again it would not end well for anyone involved. "I love Ash, she is my daughter, but I canNOT live like this any longer, waiting for a husband that can't even act his own age! I don't know what is so important that you can't even take a couple of years to stay at home with your family, but I can't do this any longer. I'm leaving, that is final. You can keep Ash, I'm honestly not sure I'll be able to raise her any longer. But I never want to see you again." She picked up the suitcase that had been left almost completely forgotten on the floor, adjusting what loose baggage she was carrying, and slamming the front door in the man's face, left like a violent tornado in the night.

The man had been shell-shocked, stunned to the point where everything just wasn't feeling as real as it had before. It was like all of his bad decisions in life were coming back to slap him in the face, and for once, he didn't know what to do.

"D-Daddy?" He found himself turning around to face his daughter, that little girl that Delia had refused to so much as even look at on her way out as she left the both of them in the cold, and he couldn't help but hate the woman for it. True, he hadn't been the best husband in history, he certainly wasn't winning any "Father-of-the-Year" awards anytime soon, and even he'd admit that Delia had been perfectly justified in her anger. He had only ever been at home once or twice every few years, and though it wasn't for what Delia had thought it to be, it still wasn't right that he had basically abandoned his family for ridiculous amounts of time.

That still didn't change the fact that Delia had basically turned her back on Ash without so much as a second thought.

It was his fault, not Ash's, and Delia had no right to take it out on their daughter by leaving her without explaining anything. If Delia had truly loved Ash, which until now he had held no doubt of, wouldn't she have at the very least taken Ash with her, instead of running off all on her own and leaving their child in his care?

To make matters worse, she was only three years old, how in the world was he going to explain to that little girl that her mother would no longer be around to love and care for her like she had before. That she hadn't loved him enough to stay, that maybe he had loved them too much, been too blinded by his need to protect them from the harshest their world had to offer to see that he wasn't showing that he loved them enough.

That it was his own mistakes that had run her precious mother, his beloved wife off?

"Daddy…" The little girl was whimpering ever more now, big brown eyes beginning to tear up as she threatened to start wailing and sobbing hysterically on him. And all he could do was pick up the small child in his arms, holding her as closely as he could in hopes of making her feel just a little bit better. He had no clue what he was going to do with her after all. She wasn't anywhere close to turning four, nowhere near the age when most children set out to become pokémon trainers, and already she was left without a mother and with only an irresponsible father that didn't know the first thing to raising a child. What was he going to do?

"I'm sorry, Ash… I'm so sorry!"

"W-Where'd Mommy go?" Arceus, how was he going to explain this to her?

"M-Mommy left…"

"When's she coming back?"

"N-N…Arceus… Ash, I'm so, so sorry! Daddy messed up big this time, and no Mommy's not coming back…"

"D-Didn't she love Daddy enough? Didn't she love me enough?"

"Oh Ash, never ever doubt that neither your mother or I love you, we love you lots and lots… But Ash… your mommy, Delia, she just didn't love me enough to stay…"

"I-I want Mommy!" And suddenly Ash was shaking ball of endless tears, her loud, desperate cries for her mother to return echoing around a house and only heard by a man that could not give her what she wanted most at that moment. He could only pray that someday, when Ash could better understand what had happened this night, that she'd be able to forgive both him and her mother, and that maybe one day, if they were truly lucky, they could be a family again.


A/N. This might be the longest prologue I've ever written, I'm not sure since I don't remember. But I hope you guys enjoyed reading this and again thanks so much for choosing this story.

I'll be honest right now, I got stuck on what name to give Ash's dad in this scene. I was contemplating just using Ash's Japanese name in the anime, but I decided that would probably cause some plot confusion and so I just went for a generic male name I picked off the top of my head. Anyways, please leave a review and see ya!