Chapter 18: Go For What You Want

After their discussions in solitude, a reenergized Ash and May prepared to return home as they walked peacefully through the forest.

"It's amazing to finally to see the other half of that ribbon," May said as she looked at Ash's half of the Terracotta Ribbon while holding her half. "I always thought Max had kept it somewhere, but I would have never imagined someone like you might was holding onto it," May grinned sheepishly as she looked at Ash.

"Well now you know," Ash chuckled as he held the shining ribbon.

"Could you tell me the true story Ash? I'm sure the real story behind this ribbon is much more than I thought," the coordinator questioned the boy.

"Sure May," Ash responded kindly, making May move closer to him to listen intently.

"It happened after I had defeated the Battle Frontier and we chose to take a rest in this humble little town. As it turned out they had a contest there, so you were eager to sign up. Being a Pokémon Trainer, I had no experience with contests, so I decided to do something I had never done before. I signed up for the contest with you, which made it all the more exciting," Ash relived the flashback in his mind.

"Wow no way, I never knew you had competed in a contest before," May got surprised, trying to imagine the boy in a contest.

"Yep and wouldn't you know it, I actually made it to the final round," Ash laughed as he put his arms behind his back.

"No way, if you made it to the final round then…" May became astonished by the result, wondering if things ended like she thought.

"Not surprisingly, you also made it to the final. That's where we finally got our first true battle. It was one of the most intense battles ever. Your Blaziken was neck-in-neck with Sceptile and neither one of us was giving in. The match was so close that at the end of all the explosions and dust we tied," Ash revealed to her with a smile.

"We tied!" May shouted with shock.

"Yeah, so we did what we knew how to do best. We decided to throw the single ribbon in the air and Sceptile halved it with Leaf Blade. One piece belonged to your from there and I would hold on to the other. We agreed that the halves of the ribbon would represent our friendship no matter how far apart we are," Ash explained to the girl but then thought of how even the ribbon failed to keep their friendship together.

"That's so cool Ash! It's also a little romantic," May expressed her joy, but mumbled the last part as she blushed slightly. Why did I say that? May beat herself up in her mind over making an extreme comment like that.

"It was great," Ash laughed as he remained oblivious to the blush on May's face as she lowered her head. Romantic how? Ash tried to wonder what May meant with those words.

May overcame her unexpected comment to speak, "I have to warn you Ash. From time to time I'm gonna ask you for stories of our travels together."

"Am I a storyteller now?" Ash wondered with a sarcastic tone then chuckled.

"I can't deny that," May giggled followed by another chuckle from Ash.

As they walked out of the woods, the pair found themselves back on the battlefield. There they caught up with a relieved Wartortle and Pikachu. "Pika!" Pikachu cheerfully jumped on Ash's shoulder, nuzzling against the boy's cheek.

"Wartortle war!" Wartortle ran to hug May's leg.

"Hey you guys, nice to see you again," Ash smiled as he scratched Pikachu under his chin, making the mouse cheer in delight.

"Did you miss us?" May grinned as she petted the top of Wartortle's head.

"Pikapi pika!" Pikachu spoke to his auburn-eyed teen.

"May and I were just catching up in the woods buddy," Ash informed the yellow mouse.

"Chu?" the mouse raised an eyebrow.

Ash and May got closer together as Pikachu and Wartortle looked at the trainers with confusion. "Ash told me about our history together and of the travels I've had with Ash and you, Pikachu. I still can't remember any of it," May sighed, yet she formed a smile, "But now I know the truth."

"And this time we'll be the closest of buds just like old times," Ash declared with happiness.

"Pika…pikachu!" Pikachu couldn't believe it at first until it read the emotion in the trainers' eyes.

"Tortle Wartortle!" Wartortle happily expressed his relief and joy; at long last some light had gotten shed in May's lonely life. The Pokémon thought it could only get better from here after all the struggling his trainer has been through.

Everyone simultaneously released a cheer for the turning point in their journey. Wartortle and Pikachu gazed at Ash and May's eyes that were glistening with the sunset. Their exchanged resembled the same exchange they head years ago right before splitting the Terracotta Ribbon.

"Why don't we call it a day this time so we may eat," May's expression changed to a welcoming one.

"Yay!" Ash made a fist pump with the Pokémon as their bodies got outlined by the lowering sun.

Ash, May, Pikachu, and Wartortle were chowing down, but some ate more politely than others. Wartortle and Pikachu preferred not to look at Ash and May as they ate. Ash and May ate sub sandwiches with as many ingredients, yet they failed to show table mannerisms.

The two trainers took giant bites of their sandwiches as their eyes focused on the flat screen TV displaying some news of the world, including rumored sightings from fishermen of a blue aquatic Pokémon with stubby feet and club-like arms.

"That sounds really interesting, I wonder if there is something out there," Ash said after taking a bite from his sandwich.

"I don't know…this world is just too big at times," May stared at the photograph one sailor took of the shadow underneath the water. Its outline indicated a vaguely familiar creature.

"In other news, the crisis between a humble village and a mining company continues over rights to start operations in an abandoned site near Terminus Cave. Locals in the area have argued that the old cave is home to various Pokémon and have also expressed concerns over pollution due to mining," the reporter stated.

The cameraman then revealed a typical village with many people dressed in Native American showing protest signs over the mining operation.

"Wow, I can understand why they're upset. I'd be worried about all the contamination that might happen and especially the risk of taking the home of many Pokémon. That doesn't seem right," Ash expressed upset over the news.

"I've been there before…when it was barely holding up," May eyed the TV with worry.

"Really May?" Ash raised an eyebrow.

"Yep, I went there some months ago with a team from UNIHEF to help out the people there. We helped them build water wells and efficient electrical homes, but with the mission of also having them preserve their culture for the sake of multiculturalism. I didn't expect something like this would happen to them…how sad," May sighed as she thought of the poor natives there who might face issues with environmental destruction.

"I can understand your frustration May, especially after everything you've done for them. What that mining company is doing is just wrong," Ash frowned as he looked at an image of an old man with a resemblance to John D. Rockefeller, who was also the owner of the mining company.

May shook her head. She turned to Ash with a smile, "How's your sandwich Ash?"

"It's great May, thanks so much for everything! I really appreciate it," Ash took a small bite as he expressed his gratitude.

"Don't thank me for anything until we've got you in shape Ash," May winked after taking a sip of her drink.

"Gotcha," Ash nodded confidently.

"We start your training tomorrow at early morning. I'm going to introduce to all of my Pokémon then, but I'm sure you'll also see some familiar faces," the brunette smiled as she stirred the ice in her drink.

"I'm sure of that and I can't wait!" Ash made a fist as he took the final bite of his sandwich.

"You're ready for tomorrow too buddy? May is going to help us get our skills back on and more," Ash looked at his yellow friend a confident face.

"Pika!" Pikachu jumped with his fist in the air.

"That's the spirit guys; I can't wait till I see your full potential," May mimicked Ash and grinned confidently.

Ash grinned until he yawned loudly. May giggled in response then spoke, "Guess it's time to hit the sack," the girl said as she got up from her chair.

"Yeah, I'm pretty tired," Ash chuckled as he got up from the seat.

Pikachu also prepared for his sleep by getting on the trainer's shoulder while Wartortle stood beside May. "Remember to wake up at the appropriate time tomorrow," the coordinator walked past Ash as she took one last look at him.

"See ya tomorrow May," Ash wished the girl a good night with Pikachu as they walked to their room.

The boy took a glance at May and saw that she was heading in another direction in the opposite hall. He quietly entered his room with Pikachu and changed into his nightwear while Pikachu made himself comfortable on the bed.

I wonder what could go down from here, Ash thought as he changed his shirt. Inside the boy felt a very odd and disturbing feeling, but it was also a feeling he was unfamiliar with because he couldn't explain the sensation.

He instantly brushed it away, not wanting to spoil his mood after an incredible day. His mind focused on another part of his connection with May, I wonder how our friendship will get built. What memories are we going to have from here?

The boy made a reflection of the past, thinking about what memories he built with the old May. All those memories of May swimming with Manaphy and him were gone from May's mind. The Terracotta Contest and their deep, meaningful conversations were also gone from May's memory.

Although he felt sad that the memory of his old friend no longer existed, like May said, it's the start of a new beginning. "Speaking of friends…" Ash thought out loud, reminded of another friend as he thought of May.

"Pi?" Pikachu looked at Ash with confusion.

"We should call Serena," Ash said to the little Pokémon, but then realized a problem.

"Pikapi pi," Pikachu nodded in agreement until he saw Ash shake his head sideways.

"Actually, never mind. The video phone is probably outside and if I use it I'm sure I'll make noise until May wakes up," Ash became hesitant to make the phone call.

"Pi!" Pikachu pointed out something to the raven-haired trainer.

"Huh?" Ash followed Pikachu's finger to something beside the television.

His eyes soon spotted a video phone next to the television, much to his amazement because he had failed to notice before due to all the other fantastic stuff the room had. "This room has everything!" Ash cheered with delight.

"Pi," Pikachu slightly chuckled then curled up to sleep, failing to have enough energy to stay up any longer.

"Alright," Ash shrugged his shoulders with a chuckle. The trainer walked over to sit in front of the video phone. The boy began to dial all the right numbers and waited for someone to pick up.

Soon enough Serena answered in her pink pajamas. "Ash!" the blonde-haired girl cheered when she saw the boy.

"Hey Serena," Ash greeted the girl happily.

"I'm so glad to finally hear from you! I saw you on some magazine covers and on TV, I have so many questions? Are you with May right now? Where are you anyway? How did you guys meet up? What did she say?!" Serena threw multiple questions at the trainer.

"Whoa slow down Serena, I'll tell you everything," Ash laughed nervously as he scratched the back of his head.

"Ok spill the beans Ketchum!" Serena said sassily because of her excitement.

"When we got to Lumiose City, we tracked her down to the local hospital," Ash stated.

"Oh my goodness, then what?" Serena listened to Ash like a child hearing a bedtime story from his mother.

"But when we saw each other…she didn't remember me," Ash smiled uneasily.

"What?! How?!" Serena slammed her palms on the table, making the screen shake for a moment.

"Take it easy, I'm not done," Ash laughed nervously. "When we saw each other and May failed to remember me, I tracked her down to where she was staying that night after beating Diantha," the auburn-eyed teen revealed.

"You stalked her?" Serena giggled with a smirk.

"What, wait? No way!" Ash spat until he recalled what he did and receded with his eyes hiding beneath his hair, "Ok may be I did, but I didn't have any bad intentions."

Serena giggled to his reaction, "Alright I'm sorry, you were saying."

"When I got into her room…I found out she still didn't remember me," Ash admitted with sadness. Serena's eyes grew, but before she could say anything Ash spoke, "And when I told her I was there as a friend she still failed to remember me. May realized it was getting late and let me stay in her home, but I was sort of let down that she had no memory of me."

"But how could she forget you?" Serena was still left with shock.

"I found that out the next day when I called her family. They told me that May had been in an accident some years ago. A wild Pokémon had attacked her and left her for dead. Luckily she recovered, but when she had woken up everything seemed fine except for memories of me. She couldn't remember traveling with me or even any major events that I was a part of with her." Ash revealed the most important details to Serena with a halfhearted grin.

"Oh Ash, I'm so sorry," Serena lamented the sad experience for Ash and placed a hand over her heart.

"It was disappointing, but it only got better from there," Ash grinned contently. "May took me to a wildlife shelter for Pokémon and I learned a lot of all the great stuff she's done for others. She's also a super great chef, it's only been a few days since I got here and the whole thing has been a wonderful experience."

"Really? That's so awesome, I'm jealous," Serena expressed her enthusiasm.

"It wasn't completely perfect though. All those worries I had about May were true. I discovered how upset May's life is with the entire spotlight. The media doesn't give May her privacy and is constantly insulted. If I had to compare those guys I'd say the media is as nasty as Team Rocket. All I have seen them do is degrade May into something she's not and that's not fair because she's an amazing person. On top of that she has no time to enjoy herself with all the work from her bosses and Wallace. It's like if the fame and skills are draining the life out of her," Ash showed his sympathy for the unfortunate girl.

"Oh my…that's terrible. I never expected to hear that," Serena felt the same sympathy for May, unable to imagine that the loving and happy brunette celebrity could have a problem in the world.

"I know, but that's why I'm here. I'm going to help May in anyone that I can because she doesn't deserve any of that. I'll do everything I can for my friend, despite the circumstances," Ash made a fist, showing his dedication for his beloved friend. Serena raised an eyebrow, amazed by the dedication of the boy. "Serena, right now I'm in May's secret and private home in a remote area of Kalos. She's here to take a breather from the stress, but I came along with her to help her in any way that I can. At first she was uncertain about me, but after having so much fun and learning a lot from her, we're starting to grow as friends again. This evening we had a talk that changed everything though, for the better," Ash continued to speak in a calm and loving tone.

"What do you mean Ash?" Serena inquired with interest.

"Earlier one of May's Pokémon recognized us and it sent May down a spiral of confusion. We had a talk about it in the woods and I told her why she couldn't remember me. I even showed her the half of the Terracotta Ribbon we won and she was shocked. I didn't want it to lead to that, but May was incredibly frustrated and I said everything. After we talked over our history May accepted our history and we told each other we wouldn't let this friendship break. Apart from that we talked about my recent loss in the Kalos League and all the other losses I've had in the previous Pokémon Leagues. Then May volunteered to train with me so I would stronger for the next time," the raven-haired trainer made a fist with a confident smile on.

Serena formed a smile, always admiring Ash's confidence. "That's terrific news Ash, I'm glad everything is turning out for the better."

"I know I'm super excited!" Ash said cheerfully.

"I can tell. I just wonder where you guys will go from here," Serena giggled as she looked down with Ash failing to tell what Serena was thinking about.

"We'll just start rebuilding everything about our history," Ash smiled innocently.

"I'm so happy for you Ash, I truly am. You're making it. I mean you're living in the same place as May right now, I'm almost jealous," Serena laughed with Ash, the two expressing cheerful faces.

They looked at each other in silence for some seconds, with Serena looking deep into Ash. Ash, on the other hand, just looked at her with an innocent smile. "Well Ash, it's time for me to go to bed. I wish you all the best always, ok?" the blonde-haired girl smiled sheepishly at him.

"Good night Serena, I always wish you the best too. Take care," Ash and Serena waved goodbye to each other with giant smiles. The waving continued until they disappeared from each other's screens.

"Man, what has Ash gotten himself into? Who would have thought he'd meet May…as a celebrity," Serena adjusted her pillows for sleeping.

"He must be having a great time," Serena threw herself on the bed, letting out a sad laugh as she stared at the ceiling. I've never seen him with so much dedication outside of Pokémon. May is the only thing I know that fires him up like a Pokémon battle and I can only understand it for one reason…Serena closed her eyes as she placed her hands on her heart.

He doesn't know it yet, but he has special feelings for that girl. Ash loves May…I know he does. Why does he love her if she doesn't remember him? Or maybe it's because of all of their history together that he has that affection for her, he still sees the old May in her. Serena sighed as she kept thinking hard about Ash and May in her mind.

"I'm jealous of her, I can't deny it," Serena lamented. I can't complain though since I was the one that encouraged Ash to go out after May, but it was for his happiness. Those days of seeing Ash hanging his head low in Pallet Town were just breaking my heart. I did it for Ash's happiness, Serena repeated the last part of her thought a few times as she clenched her fists.

The blue-eyed girl then opened her eyes, letting out a sigh again. "If Ash is happy with May like he is now, then in the end nothing else matters I guess."

With that said the girl dropped her arms to her side as she closed her eyes. The girl then quietly drifted into a deep sleep as a single tear slipped out of her shut eyes, sliding down her cheek and onto her pillow. It was for Ash.

Meanwhile, near the forest a wild Pokémon ran with all his energy knowing that his life was at risk. The little thing panted heavily as he tried not to look back, knowing that would only put him in danger and tear his small heart.

The youngling desired longer legs and muscles to run away faster. Unfortunately for him, his keen hearing allowed him to hear the helpless roars and cries for his parents. The Pokémon cried as he could sense their suffering. Tears streamed down the cub's cheek like waterfalls.

It risked itself by looking back once. Some feet away he could see the shadow of a terrifying giant and armored Pokémon as some smaller, yet bulky pair of Pokémon tried desperately to fight off the invader. It proved no use though.

From what the little Pokémon saw, the two Pokémon were being tossed and blasted like scrap by the formidable opponent.

"Li!" the Pokémon sobbed as it continued running, its heart already broken. It ran aimlessly through the woods with no care for the pain he felt against his fur. The thorns and vines inflicted heavy pain on the little one as it slowly bled. It wished it could stop it lick its wounds, but no he could sense the monster stomping towards him.

Sadly, despite the monster being so heavy it still had no trouble pursuing the cat-like Pokémon. The youngling panted and sweated as it helplessly tried to avoid harm, but it had no idea on how it could escape harm when not even its parents stood a chance.

The Fire-type merely clenched its eyes shut as it dared not to look anywhere; the whole setting became a shadow of his dangerous pursuer. Try with all his might though; the little one could not outrun his significantly stronger stalker.

"Leo!" the Pokémon cried as it tripped on a stone sticking out of the ground. Due to the high speed the little one was trying to achieve, when he tripped, physics made him fly some feet forward and landed violently on the ground.

Knowing he couldn't give up, the young Pokémon tried to muster the last of its strength to get up and escape. However, it was no use anymore as his hunter had finally reached him and stood before him like a tower.

The darkness of the night concealed most of his details, but he stood upright and had spikes sticking from his arms and back. Its glowing yellow eyes brought fear into the little as he slowly retreated.

Suddenly, he felt something crumble as he took a step back and the cub saw a cliff just behind. One more step back and he would fall to his death, but he got cornered by the monster as well. Death seemed inevitable for the young Pokémon that never even had a chance to grow into king of the beasts.

As a last stand, the Pokémon let out a cry that couldn't even scare a Wurmple. With all of its power, the Fire-type let out an Ember. Nonetheless, when it came in contact with the monster's armor it left no effect. The creature cried angrily as its eyes glowed evilly in the knight. Then at its jaw, it charged up an immense amount of red energy and roared as it fired at the little one.

Refusing to have his life taken by the enemy, the proud little Pokémon leaped off the cliff as Hyper Beam destroyed the entire cliff where he once stood. The Fire-type cried as it splashed like a rock into the water with the debris close behind. The powerful current washed away everything and left no evidence of the cold law of the jungle. The armored Pokémon that had fired at the youngling simply turned around and retreated into the darkness in search of more victims.

May opened her eyes to find herself in a familiar dream. "Wha?" the girl looked around, realizing that she was hanging for her life with Torchic and saw the menacing abyss below her.

However, this time she felt no fear as someone pulled her up by the wrist. Breakthrough, a soft and familiar voice rang in May's voice. The brunette looked up to see who had pulled her up.

At first she saw a shadow then suddenly the light shined and the shadow turned out to be none other than Ash. The raven-haired had been the one saving her life all along. "So it was Ash this whole time," May smiled sweetly as she felt secure with the boy pulling her back up into the light.

In another room somewhere in the halls there was a more frustrating dream occurring. Once again Ash found himself in mountainous and snowy area, with the blizzard being strong enough to almost blind his sight.

He tried to look through and as he did, he spotted a very familiar figure. This stranger in the snow looked almost exactly like him. Every detail about him was almost the same except for the clothing and his cold red eyes. He had a Pokéball in his hand.

Here you go guys, hope you liked it! It may not have had a huge event like the previous chapter, but I want you to know that all of the things explored in this chapter will play a major role in the growth of Ash and May's relationship and help it blossom into love. Not much else to say though. REMEMBER TO REVIEW, PM, ETC, FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOMED GUYS! I'll catch you in the next update so see you then and take care!