A/N: Wow. I can't believe I did this. I was hoping I'd put something like this off for a while longer until I got more info. But alas, I couldn't help myself. Curse you, hype.

Okay, so as you see, this is a story about Ash/Serena, or SatoSere. There's no official English name for the pairing, although a lot of people over at Serebii seem to be agreeing on 'AmourShipping', which I actually like. However, I will just call this pairing SatoSere until an official English name is announced, for cautionary purposes. And honestly, SatoSere has got this nice and smooth flow to it. Ash and Serena's Japanese names (Satoshi and Serena, respectively) both start with S, and both also have three syllables each! As if the names are supposed to be the opposite of the other... DAMN THIS HYPE! DX

Anyway, this story will be shorter than the rest, at about 5-6 chapters at most. Also, the info depicted in this story, on Ash and Serena's shared background, may soon become a bit outdated as more episodes come along and we learn more about Ash and Serena's history. I guess this is what I get for publishing this fic so early in the first season of the saga. Again, curse this hype! Anyway, I'm gonna try my best to keep the info I have right now as general and ambiguous as possible.

ENJOY!

Disclaimer: All forms of "Pokémon" DO NOT belong to me in any way! All rights go to Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo, Game Freak, and Pokémon Company International!


"Was it really worth it?"

That single thought raced across Serena's head like a car speeding across a racetrack at high speeds. Right now, she was observing her good friend Ash Ketchum, as he conversed with their traveling companion Clemont while Bonnie, Clemont's younger sister, energetically played with the Dedenne Clemont captured at her request. Currently, Ash and Clemont were discussing on which route to take in order to reach Cyllage City, where Ash would battle his second Gym Leader in the Kalos region. Along with Clemont's younger sister Bonnie, the group was resting a few feet away from the face of a cliff that overlooked the wide, forested landscape.

A nice, cool breeze blew, causing Serena's honey-colored hair to flutter like loose curtains. She could smell the shampoo she used as loose strands reached her nose. Strawberry. It was a nice smell that soothed all of her insides. It was only natural that she would pick such a smell specifically for...

She let out a heavy sigh as Ash started debating with Clemont over whether they should take the safest route or the fastest route. Naturally, Ash wanted to take the faster way. Serena couldn't help but sympathize with Pikachu in that moment; as it sat, perched on Ash's shoulder, it sweat-dropped, its long and spiky ears drooping in disappointment and slight embarrassment as its Trainer once again showed his reckless determination.

Determination. That was the thing Serena loved about Ash. He never gave up, especially when it came to things he loved. The well-being of Pokémon, Gym Battles...

But can the same thing be said for her?

Serena remembered how hard it was for Ash to remember who she was. In fact, it scared her a little. After that moment the two of them shared together during their childhood, long ago, she expected Ash to remember her, at least for a little. If she was able to remember him that easily after all this time, surely the same thing could have been said for him. Fortunately, after taking some serious thought into it, Ash finally remembered, and yet, their reunion felt less than adequate to Serena.

Sure, it was eventful. The two had a lot of catching up to do; Ash told her about all of the things he did in Kanto, the Orange Islands, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, and the Decolora Archipelago. Serena wasn't at all surprised to hear of all of his accomplishments. From the moment she unofficially met him again on the television set, she had a great feeling that he was someone special. In fact, it was a feeling she had the moment she first met him as a child.

But after that reunion, Serena felt as if everything was falling apart, that she was losing control of the scenario she wanted to play out. She had been dearly hoping for more time with Ash, some precious alone time. Unfortunately, there were two setbacks to that little hope.

First and foremost, Clemont and Bonnie. No, she didn't hate those two for that; she loved them, especially Bonnie! But their presence seemed to ruin the mood for her. Every time she wanted to do some reminiscing with Ash, they always had to be there to keep him occupied. Each and every personal, private moment she could have shared with her childhood friend would only last for under a minute, and that is if she was lucky.

And second of all...Ash himself. Every time she was able to strike a good conversation with him, he always wanted to talk about his Gym Battles, what things to expect in Kalos, and the Kalos League, but most of all, Pokémon. After their reunion, all Ash wanted to talk about had something to do with his goals or the Pokémon in Kalos. Granted, he was not selfish; he asked Serena about her goals as a Trainer. She told him that she was tentatively deciding on becoming a Rhyhorn Racer, just like her mother Grace, but of course, she was merely lying, for she didn't know anything else that would seem appealing to her.

But he never wanted to talk about their past, or even do anything to try and further their friendship through means that didn't involve Pokémon.

"Was it really worth it?" Serena asked from the confines of her mind.

"What do you think, Serena? Obviously he doesn't care about your opinion."

Serena sighed. "Great. Now I'm talking to my own brain."

"Well, who else can you talk to? Ash is obviously out of the picture. Clemont's too busy with his inventions to strike a conversation with you. And Bonnie...I doubt she'd even understand what your emotions are. All you have are you and me...yourself."

"Be quiet. I'm trying to think."

"You mean I'm trying to think for you. Admit it, Serena, you made a mistake in trying to join up with him. You should've stayed home at Mom's, practicing Rhyhorn Racing with her and giving me a real work-job. You knew it from the start. The thing is...why do you still follow him like a devoted Lillipup?"

"He helped me out in a time of need. I just...I just feel like I owe him."

"You can't lie to me, Serena. I'm your brain. I store all of your personal information. Including how much you feel for him..."

"SHUT UP!"

The honey-haired Trainer covered her mouth upon realizing that she exclaimed the last sentence out loud.

"Serena? Is something wrong?"

Serena blushed upon hearing that voice of his. So concerned, so caring... She cleared her throat and faced Ash, smiling innocently.

"No, nothing's wrong, Ash, nothing at all!" she replied. "I was just...I was just...I was just telling your Fletchling to stop chirping all the time!"

"Fletchling?" Ash held out a Poké Ball for her to see. "But it's still inside it's Poké Ball."

"Oh?" Serena's cheeks turned a deeper shade of scarlet the moment she realized her mistake. "Well, I, uh, I-I keep hearing Fletchling, uh, around here!"

"I don't hear Fletchling," Clemont said. "I can't even hear a single Pokémon around here."

"Are you sure nothing's wrong, Serena?" asked Ash. Then, he noticed Serena's florid cheeks. "Hey, your cheeks are red. Are you sick? D'you have a temperature?"

"A temperature? Really?" thought Serena as she struggled to hold in her frustration. Then, she widened her smile and stood up. "No, I'm fine, I'm definitely fine! I'm not sick or anything! Hey, I'm getting bored of sitting around here, doing nothing! Let's get on with our trek to Cyllage City, shall we? Okay! On we go!"

Serena quickly marched off, with Ash, Clemont, and Bonnie following close behind.

"Hey, what's with her?" asked Ash, looking at Clemont.

Clemont shrugged in response. "Beats me. Probably girl stuff. Maybe some special time of the year, perhaps?"

"Excuse me!" Bonnie exclaimed as she looked up at her brother, pouting at him. "I'm a girl, and I definitely don't do stuff like that!"

Meanwhile, Pikachu watched after Serena as a realization dawned upon him. He looked at Ash, then back at Serena, and smirked.


"DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!"

The three masked men sprinted out of the Cyllage City Poké Mart, carrying with them individual sacks that appeared to be full. They quickly jumped into the army-green jeep, which was manned by a fourth masked man. The driver nodded and frantically started the engine, just as the Poké Mart clerk and his Houndoom ran outside.

"Houndoom, use Flamethrower!" the clerk shouted.

"DRIVE, YOU IDIOT!" one of the men sitting in the back cried. The driver yelped in surprise and quickly sped the jeep away, just in time to avoid the Houndoom's attack.

As the jeep quickly raced out of Cyllage City and into the outskirts, the four men all unmasked themselves and examined the items they stole. The driver was short and stout, with a chubby face that sported curly brown hair and a beard and mustache. The two men in the backseats were both physically identical, being tall and thin and having gray eyes; the only difference between them being their hair, which was blue and short on one, red and stringy on the other. The man sitting in the passenger seat had neatly-combed, wavy green hair with golden streaks, and also yellow eyes that seemed to always glint with malice.

"How big's the score?" the driver asked.

"Biggest one for this month, Nick," the blue-haired man in the back replied as he counted the items in his bag. "These items should make us some big bucks for sure!"

"I still do NOT see why you guys couldn't let me give that clerk his comeuppance," grumbled the red-haired man as he crossed his arms and frowned with disapproval. "He could've caught us there and then with that Houndoom! And yet, you wouldn't let me have my fun..."

"The plan did NOT involve attacking anyone, Lloyd," snarled the man with green hair as he stared at his accomplice with narrowed eyes. "It never does. Learn to keep your impulse in control! It was that impulse that nearly ruined the plan and risk us getting landed in jail, for Arceus's sake!"

"You never let me have my fun, Adam," the man named Lloyd replied in annoyance.

"Uh...what happens if the jeep is on fire?" the blue-haired man asked hesitantly.

"Why, Floyd?" asked Nick, still staring ahead of the rocky trail as he began driving down a steep incline.

"Uh...jeep's on fire."

"WHAT?!" Adam snapped, looking at the back of the jeep. Indeed, a fire was spreading all over the trunk. Though it was small, it was burning quickly, devouring all of the supplies inside the trunk. "DAMN IT! That Houndoom's Flamethrower must've hit us while Nick was driving away!"

Nick screamed and, in a panic, stepped on the gas pedal even harder, causing the jeep to drive faster.

"What do we do now, Adam?" Floyd asked fearfully.

"Nick, stop the jeep and retrieve the water!" ordered Adam. "We need to put out that fire before all of our supplies are completely gone!"

"Alright, boss!" Nick immediately stepped on the brake, but unfortunately, he stepped on it too hard. A few seconds later, the jeep violently turned over on its side and tumbled down the descending trail. A second fire erupted in the jeep's engine as it began rolling.

"DAMN- OOF! YOU- OOF! NICK! OOF!" screeched Adam as he and the others quickly jumped out of the jeep. Standing up groggily, the gang leader watched as the jeep that was their only method of transportation crashed into a tree ahead, and then exploded seconds later.

"Oh, no..." Nick moaned as he stood up. "...I just cleaned the windshield too..."

"Well, as long as we have our score, we're all good, right?" asked Floyd.

"Well," Adam snarled, his fury escalating, "considering the fact that our jeep was rolling down a damn incline, all because of Nick's incompetence at driving away on time, YOU'D THINK THAT WE'D BE ABLE TO REMEMBER THE ARCEUS-DAMNED BAGS WITH ALL OUR SO-CALLED SCORES! HUH?!"

"Eep..." Floyd whimpered, feeling himself shrink, as well as Nick. However, Lloyd was clearly savoring the situation, giggling nastily at his comrades' misfortune.

"W-Wh-What do you s-suggest we do n-n-now, b-boss?" asked Nick fearfully.

Adam gritted his teeth and prepared to shout, but then, he took a deep breath and replied calmly, "We find our way outta here, that's what, Nick. We gotta find a way to get outta this Arceus-damned forest and find help. We were wearing masks during that robbery; no one would recognize us. You remember where we came from?"

"Well, uh...um...well, uh, um...uh...I, uh...um...uhhhhh..."

"You don't know the direction we came from," replied Adam, still using a calm voice.

"Pretty much."

Adam's fury broke. "WHAT?!" he screeched, his voice reaching to the highest heavens. "I AM SITTING LIKE A STUPID MILTANK IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ARCEUS-DAMNED FOREST WITH THESE THREE BUFFOONS AS PARTNERS, AND WE CAN'T EVEN FIND OUR WAY BACK! ARCEUS-DAMN IT, YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT I WANT? I WANT BETTER PARTNERS, ONES WHO ARE CAPABLE OF FOLLOWING ORDERS TO THE FULLEST EXTENT! THIS IS COMPLETE TAUROS!"

Nick, Floyd, and Lloyd all watched as Adam continued to rant, stomping the ground all the while. Floyd looked at Nick and said, "He's gone nuts."

Nick merely shrugged back in response, just as Adam's voice became calm again, albeit with more noticeable effort.

"Okay, here's the new plan. We split up. We find a way outta here. A good thing I saved these walkie-talkies. Floyd, you come with me. We're going down that incline. Nick and Lloyd, you go into the forest and see if you can find anything interesting. We'll contact each other if something good comes up."

"Wait, I go into the forest?" asked Nick, trembling. "With the psycho?" Lloyd giggled with fervent anticipation.

Adam flicked his head at his accomplice, a dark expression on his face. "Got a problem with that?"

Nick hesitated for a moment. "...No."

"Good."

Once the four properly equipped themselves, they set off on the ways Adam laid out. Adam and Floyd ventured down the incline cautiously, while Lloyd happily skipped into the thick brush, snickering sadistically as a reluctant Nick followed close behind. They failed to notice the still-spreading fire that had, by that point, totally engulfed their jeep and was now spreading onto the tree against said jeep, claiming it as its next victim...


A/N: And thus concludes the prologue for the story! And what better way to publish this than on the same day the fourth episode aired in Japan?!

...Well, yeah. That's about it for now. But I can guarantee you (and you can see for yourself) that things are about to getting pretty interesting. This couldn't have been published at a worse time, considering that we're only four episodes into the XY saga, but like I said, I couldn't help myself. And again, curse this hype. I'm thankful I'm not the only person who has succumbed to the temptation of publishing an Ash/Serena story already.

Well, hope you enjoyed this prologue! TheCartoonFanatic01 is out. PEACE!