A reset button…

That's what it felt like. Add the pain that erupts from every part of my body every year and the pain from not being able to fully belong in their world.

I am Satoshi 'Ash' Ketchum, age ten, welcome to my life.

A Pokémon Master, that's all I wanted to be. Of course I'm traveling, living the dream, battling, and making new friends and rivals along the way. But this all comes at a price.

All trainers are automatically eligible to begin their Pokémon journeys when they turn ten years old. Right now, I am in the Unova region with my newest friends, Iris and Cilan and Pikachu, of course.

This all sounds wonderful and amazing that I've been through Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova so…what's the problem?

I was ten when I started in my hometown of Kanto. No, I didn't travel five regions and the Orange Islands in one year. I did it in five and a half years. Still not seeing the problem? Let me say it bluntly then.

I'm ten years old and I started my journey five and a half years ago.

Yes, I'm still ten. Biologically, mentally and emotionally, I'm almost sixteen; but physically, I'm ten. No voice change, no puberty, no height change…just an average ten year old.

Every time I enter a new region, I have to pretend to be weak even though Pikachu could probably single handedly defeat all the water Pokémon trainers in Kanto with our training…

Every year, I put on the same cocky, stubborn, somewhat childish attitude that improved between Johto and Hoenn, but stayed the same since then.

It's hard sometimes, knowing that I'm deceiving my best friends. Mom didn't want me to leave because she was scared for my sanity. But I'm doing fine for someone who literally doesn't age a day.

So far, the only others who know are Pikachu, Professor Oak, Gary, Brock, Misty, and my doctor.

I never told May or Max for fear of frightening them, and Dawn was too young to understand. But Brock and Misty knew by the end of our Johto journeys. I told both of them because I was sick of hiding my pain.

Brock suggested that we attempt to train a lot so it would get my mind off the pain. Brock helped a lot by falling for every girl he saw as it distracted May and Max from me. May might have noticed something when she visited Sinnoh, but I kept it from her and Dawn. Dawn, of course, was too distracted by other things when she visited us and didn't point out anything odd.

Now, I'm inviting my friends back to Kanto where there is going to be a party for me. Apparently, all my friends are coming: Brock, Misty, Gary, Ritchie, May, Max, Dawn, Tracey and even Todd and Casey are visiting.

Iris and Cilan are chatting somewhere on the boat. I told them I wanted to rest up, but in reality, I'm in so much pain right now. Pikachu promised to stay by my side.

I half wish that Charizard was still disobedient and would crash the party…but he's coming with us.

The rest of my Pokémon are at Professor Oak's lab. I'm pretty sure my older Pokémon know by now as I told Bulbasaur that it would be okay to tell them. My Pokémon are pretty cool about it, but every now and then I see Pikachu give me a worried look.

If only I didn't have the Ketchum Curse…or at least that's what we call it.

I guess you can say it started with my great-great grandfather. For some reason, he stopped aging when he was fifty. He told everyone that he just battled with Pokémon to keep himself looking young. He died when he was ninety-four, but still looking forty-four years younger. My grandpa stopped physically aging when he was eighty and died ten years later. So really, there's no telling when it'll happen. I have a cousin who is six years older than me, but stopped growing when he was five. He never got to go on his Pokémon journey. No one has figured out why this happens. My dad stopped aging when he was twenty-seven. I wasn't told about the Ketchum Curse until I found out my 'five year old' cousin was actually twelve. When he was fifteen, he decided he couldn't stand it anymore and decided to free himself from this world…I'm assuming that's what happened to my dad since he stopped communicating with us. They never found my father, but my cousin's body appeared on Seafoam Island.

We've been trying for years to get rid of this stupid curse, but it doesn't work. As I said, no one knew how or why it happened, or why it was our family that it happened to.

I still don't want to go back to Kanto…it means facing everyone who doesn't know…everyone who will treat me different once they find out…

So all I have to do is smile and go along with it…

Smile through the pain…

Smile as my life resets again…

Back to ten years old…

Maybe I can't do it…

It seems too much…

The pain…

The looks…

The whispers…

They can't feel it…

Why should I be in pain?

Maybe I should-

"Ash?"

Of course I didn't hear Iris come in…maybe…maybe I can tell her…maybe she'll understand too…and then I'll be ready to tell the others. Misty and Brock already know…that should make it easier.

"Hey, Ash, are you feeling better?" Cilan asked. I hadn't seen him enter as well.

Pikachu and I looked at each other for a minute. He seemed to read my mind. I gave him a nod and he went to close the door.

Maybe I don't have to be alone…

"Can we help you at all?" Iris asked, her voice sounding genuinely concerned.

"Yes." I finally said, my voice sounded tired and hoarse. "I need to tell everybody something…but first, there's something I've been keeping from you- from everybody, really."

"We're here for you, buddy." Cilan said.

I looked at the two of them, making sure I could trust them…

I knew I had to keep going…

Even if everything kept resetting…

Even if our family was cursed, none of my friends could handle it if I-

I washed away the thought at Pikachu's touch…my first Pokémon crawled into my lap, offering comfort…

Cilan and Iris sat down as I opened my mouth…

A/N: Should I continue this? It popped up because I realized that after all this time, Ash was still ten…

Please tell me what you think.