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The Bittersweet Reunion

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Chapter Seven



Beep-beep-beep----beep-beep-beep!

George and Delia, after such an exciting and eventful day, were peacefully sleeping in the master bedroom. It had been such a long time since they were together that they smiled in their sleep, holding each other close.

Beep-beep-beep----beep-beep-beep!

George groaned as the blissful moment was interrupted by a strange sound, one he never wanted to heard for a long time.

Beep-beep-beep----beep-beep-beep!

He reached for his open backpack on the floor next to the bed, and pulled out his cellphone. He was looking at the clock as he did so: 3:30 AM. As soon as he pulled the antenna and pressed the button, he whispered one word,

“Wait.”

George got up slowly (so as not to wake Delia), put on his bathrobe, and crept into the hallway. It wasn’t safe to talk in the house, so he quietly went outside into the front yard. He frowned as he put the receiver to his ear and said,

“Skip the slogan, and talk.”

“It’s Butch,” said the person on the other line.

“I know who you are. What is it?”

“Uh.....we’ve got a little problem...”

“Yes, we do,” was the sarcastic reply, “I have underlings who can’t even follow a simple order. I thought I told everyone that I would be the one doing the calling.”

“I...I understand, sir. But...you see....it’s an emergency.”

Giovanni’s frown became lined with concern when he heard this. “Go on.”

Butch began to relay his message.

“What, escaped?!” Giovanni shouted. He then checked himself and turned towards the upstairs windows to see if anyone woke up, but all was quiet, “When did this happen?” he whispered furiously.

“J...J...Just a few minutes ago,” Butch stammered, “The cellblock is completely empty. We’ve assembled a search party to find them, but they haven’t...”

“Don’t you dare give me any excuses, you’re beginning to sound worse than THEY are!” Giovanni hissed, clenching both his teeth and his fists, “Now, you listen to me, Butch. You had better have them back in their cell BEFORE I return, or I assure you that you and your partner will both be taking their places! Do I make myself perfectly clear?!”

Butch paused before answering, “Yes, sir, crystal clear.”

“Oh, and Butch?”

“Yes, sir?”

“You do know what happens to those who fail too many times, do you?” Giovanni’s voice was cold as ice, and flowed with a sense of doom.

Butch remembered alright: the last Grunt to fail so much disappeared five years ago; the Boss had taken him and one of his Guards for a drive, but only TWO came back. Whenever anyone asked what had happened, Giovanni would only give a menacing smile and say, “If you don’t want to find out, don’t fail me.” The mere thought sent cold shivers all over his body, and he gulped and clutched his throat.

“Yes...sir.”

“Good. Now find them, or else,” and Giovanni hung up the phone. The whole time, however, he failed to notice a faint blue light emitting from the nearby trees, and a pair of mysterious eyes watching his every move...

Suddenly, the front door slowly opened. George hastliy put the phone away and turned around, just in time to see Ash walk outside, rubbing his eyes and yawning.

“Dad,” Ash yawned, “what are you doing out here?”

George wasn’t hasty in fabricating an excuse, “I just had a bad dream and came out for some fresh air, that’s all,” he said smiling gently, “What are you doing up?”

Ash yawned again, “I was thirsty, so I got up to get some water. But I saw that you weren’t in bed, so I came looking for you.” He paused, and looked down at his feet, “I know this may sound stupid, but...for a moment...I thought you might have left me again.”

George instantly walked up to Ash and gathered him in his arms, a look of surprise and understanding resting upon his face.

“Don’t ever think such a thing! I would never dream of leaving you or your mother like that.” Then he took Ash’s face in his hand and made him look into his own face, “You are both more precious to me than anything else in this world. If anything ever happened to you...I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”

“But why did you leave so long ago?” Ash asked, “I hated it when you left us.......when you left ME.”

George gathered him closer and kissed his soft, black hair, “I’m sorry, son. Believe me, I was hurting just as much as you were. But, you see, the situation was beyond my control; I couldn’t possibly take you with me. I would have been taking you away from your friends, your home, everything you've ever known and loved. You didn’t want that, did you?”

“No,” Ash replied sadly, “I guess not.” Then, he started to doze off.

George noticed this, “Come, let’s go inside and get back to sleep.”

The figure in the bushes vanished soon after both boys walked sleepily into the house.



The following morning, right after breakfast...

“Mom, Dad, I’m taking my Pokémon for a run! I’ll be right back!”

Ash, Pikachu, and Eevee bolted out the front door. As he watched the other Pokémon burst out of their Poké Balls, he let out an embarrassed chuckle at Snorlax, who lay fast asleep on the grass.

“Well, most of them anyway,” Ash said as he called back Snorlax. He was soon leading the five Pokémon down the dirt road towards the fields; Pikachu and Eevee right beside him, Meganium and Quilava behind them, and Croconaw bringing up the rear (heaving as it did so).



“Oh, George, why not?” Delia asked her husband, “He’s much older now, and he’s gotten more mature during his travels.”

“True, angel-girl,” George said uneasily, “But, I still don’t think I can. I’ll be so busy, we won’t even have enough time for each other. And what about you?”

“I’ll have Brock and Misty to keep me company, and Mimie’s great around the house. As for you being busy...well...it never stopped you before, remember?”

George smiled and chuckled, “Yes, I suppose you’re right. Okay, when he gets back, I’ll ask him.”



Ash turned his head and saw how slow Croconaw was going.

“Hey, Croconaw,” he called sarcastically, “Did you have too much to eat yesterday? Better pick up the pace or I’ll be forced to put you on a diet. Come on, let’s see some hustle!”

At the word diet, Croconaw panicked and began to jog faster.

“That’s better.........wait! Eevee, where are you going?!”

At that moment, Eevee gave a delighted squeal and ran into the woods, to their left. Forgetting about the exercise, Ash and the others soon started chasing after Eevee (Croconaw groaning with exhaustion).

They raced deep into the woods; dodging low branches, skipping over rocks, hurtling over short bushes, side-winding around tree stumps. At one point, Ash thought he had lost sight of Eevee in the brush. As he stopped to get his bearings, the Pokémon came to a screeching halt, nearly knocking him into a nearby shrub (I say nearly with the greatest relief, because that bush was a thorn bush; and you can imagine what would happen if he HAD fallen in).

Croconaw came pelting up behind the group, and flopped right onto the ground. Suddenly, the sound of water flew past its ears (or whatever it had for ears), and it perked up. It knew that there was a pond nearby and bolted ahead, hoping for a drink and a swim. However, Ash, who also knew about the pond, grabbed Croconaw before it could go too far.

“No, Croconaw, don’t go in there. That pond is filthy; you’d get sick if you went in THAT water!” Ash knew this for a fact: as a kid, he and Gary used to go there to look for frogs every summer. To prove it, he led them into the clearing where the pond was located. When they got there, they suddenly stopped, their eyes and mouths wide open.

What Ash expected to find was a large pond, completely overgrown with dead plants and the water dark-green from algae: put simply, a place absolutely unfit for man or beast.

Instead, the entire clearing was a bright and lively green. The once-dead cattails and waterlilies thrived in the bright sunshine. The water was a crystal-clear blue, and so clean and sparkling that they had to hold their hands (or paws) in front of their eyes; the sun danced happily on the water. The only green came not from algae, but from the salvayo weed which flourished on the bed of the pond.

“Eevee!” Ash shouted suddenly. At the edge of the pond was Eevee, who was happily lapping up some refreshing water. It turned as soon as Ash spoke, and ran into his arms with glee.

“Rriiiiiii!”

“Eevee, I’m glad you’re okay. Don’t ever do that again.” Ash then surveyed the scene again, “Still, what happened to this place?”

The Pokémon seemed to take no notice of his question as they began to take long drafts of water (and Croconaw swimming to its heart’s content).

As it finished its drink, Pikachu noticed something floating in the middle of the pond.

“Pika!”

“What is it, Pikachu?”

Without answering right away, Pikachu dove in and swam towards the object. It came back almost immediately, carrying the thing in its mouth.

Ash took the object in his hand and looked at it. It appeared to be a lock of hair, no thicker than a magic marker and no longer than Ash's hand. It was also the most beautiful color he had ever seen; a mixture of aquamarine-blue and royal-purple, and like the pond itself, it sparkled brightly in the morning sunshine.

He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of silver ribbon he had saved from yesterday’s party. He tied the ribbon around the hair and put it in the inside pocket of his vest.

Kneeling down by the edge, he took some water in his hands and sipped it slowly, savoring every drop. It was so crisp and cool, one might think it came from a mountain spring.

Suddenly, Beep-beep-beep!

Ash reached into the other pocket and pulled out the PokéGear he got from Professor Oak, “Hello?”

“Ash, honey, it’s Mom. Listen, your father and I want to talk to you. Can you come home?”

“Sure, Mom, I’m on my way.” Ash hung up the PokéGear and turned to his companions, “Okay, guys, time to head home.”

After a few attempts to get Croconaw out of the water, the six friends started their trek home, with Ash still wondering who was responsible for cleaning up the pond.
 
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ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
This chapter may seem a little different to those who remember, but I've been doing some slight alterations to make each chapter longer.





Chapter Eight


By the time the group arrived at the front door, the clock struck twelve. From the kitchen window came the distinct aroma of chicken and vegetables.

“Great,” Ash said, “Mom’s making chicken pot pie!” He opened the door and began ushering the Pokémon inside.

“Hey, guys,” he said when they entered the living-room. Delia was standing in the doorway leading to the kitchen, while George, Brock, and Misty sat circled around the hearth: all appeared to be watching something.

“Shhh,” Brock hushed.

“Be quiet,” whispered Misty.

George smiled at his son and motioned him to come over. Ash peered over his shoulder. Persian lay curled up on the floor. Leaning on her middle section was Togepi, who was giggling as Persian cheerfully washed it; you know, the way a mother cat washes her kittens.

Ash giggled to himself as he watched, “Persian kinda looks like a mom - doesn’t she, Dad?”

George nodded slowly. “Yes, she does.”

Ash remembered the small pocket camera he had received from Todd; he pulled it out of his back pocket, and snapped two shots. After that, Togepi waddled back to Misty and Persian began to doze off.

“You’re begining to act like Todd, you know,” Misty said with a smile, as Ash put the camera away.

Ash stared at her hard, “So?”

George, eager to prevent another fight, broke in, “So, Ash, how was your run?”

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Ash suddenly remembered what had happened, and began to tell them what he had seen. As he talked, the others (especially George) listened with the greatest interest, marking every detail he described.

“And when Pikachu came back to shore,” he continued, reaching into his inner vest pocket as he spoke, “this was in its mouth.”

The group gasped as Ash showed them the lock of hair, which had completely dried, revealing gentle, wave-like curls. The sun shone through the window onto his hand, causing each strand to sparkle before their eyes.

George took the lock tenderly in his hands and began to examine it, all the time with a happy, yet dreamy look in his eye.

“The hues of the deep blue sea,” he said softly, “Clear waters wherever she roams...”

“What are you talking about, Dad?” Ash asked.

George snapped out of his trance and carefully handed the hair back, saying, “Be sure to take good care of this, Ash. It may be a sign of good things to come.”

Ash didn’t know what his father was talking about, but he smiled and put the hair back into his pocket.

“Speaking of good things to come,” Delia interrupted, “I believe that your father has something to tell you.”

Everyone turned their heads as George cleared his throat.

“Listen, Ash, I will only be able to stay for three more days, and....”

Ash stood up instantly, “Oh no! Does this mean you have to leave again? But you promised me last night...” His voice rose to the point of distress.

“Wait, Ash, let me finish,” George earnestly interrupted as he coaxed his child to sit back down. “Now then, your mother and I have been talking - and I know I couldn’t before, because you were so little, but we think it would be a good idea to let you come live with me for the rest of the summer. I have a villa on the coast of Seafoam Island; it has its own beach, enormous gardens for your Pokémon to play in, and there are clam bakes and barbecues once every week (with fireworks on the Fourth), and...”

“But why can’t you stay here, with us?” Ash DID like the sound of George’s proposition, but the thought of leaving his mom and friends behind bothered him.

George smiled tenderly, “I’m sorry, but my business requires me to go to Seafoam Island every summer. To be perfectly honest, I too worried about your mother and friends, but they assure me that they will be fine while I’m gone.”

“You and your father need more time to catch up,” Delia agreed, “and I think this trip will help you two bond better.”

Misty nodded, “Besides, after doing all that traveling and winning the Johto League, you deserve a nice long vacation.”

“Go on, Ash,” Brock urged, “Think about it: you and your Dad, surfing and sand-castles by day, fireworks and barbecues by night. If it were me, I’d go in a heartbeat........What’s wrong?”

To them, Ash didn’t look too enthusiastic; in reality, though, he was. However, he was thinking about what he and his dad talked about the previous night; about leaving his friends and his home. He thought for a second, then he looked up and said,

“Can’t I take some time to think it over? I mean, it sounds great and all, but I want to weigh my options first.”

Brock and Misty looked at each other. They had expected Ash to jump three feet into the air when he heard the news. This sudden change of attitude was just as surprising as his mood on the day they came back to Pallet Town.

George put his arm around Ash’s shoulders. “Of course you can,” he said with a smile, “Take all the time you need.”

Then, Delia said, “Oh, I almost forgot: lunch is ready everyone.”

Everyone in the room, human and Pokémon alike, soon began to file into the kitchen. During the meal, everyone at the table couldn’t help but notice how quiet Ash was. He just sat there, gazing into space as he ate; even more odd was the fact that he was eating slowly, because he usually gobbled his food down in a flash.


An hour later, Ash headed for the front door. He had changed into his blue shorts and white muscle shirt.

“Mom, Dad, I’m going for a walk,” he called. Almost immediately, every one of his Pokémon rushed into the hallway after him; apparently, they were expecting another work-out.

“Sorry, guys,” Ash replied as he bent towards the herd and smiled, “but you can’t come with me this time; your work-out is over.” The small crowd responded with disappointed grunts and squeals, and Meganium (who was clearly the most disappointed) nearly Body Slammed him into the wall.

Ash laughed heartily, “Easy, guys! I’d like you to come with me, really. It’s just that I need some time to myself; to think more clearly, you know?”

The Pokémon looked at each other and agreed. They all knew that Ash had an important decision to think about.

“Now, I’ll be back in a little while. Take care of everybody while I’m gone,” Ash said as he went out.


Fifteen minutes into his walk, Ash decided to take a stroll along the river, near the forest. As he walked along, he would occasionally pick up small stones and skip them across the rapidly flowing waters.

Ash had so many memories of his father in this place: catching his first fish in the spring, splashing and wading in the water during the summer, hunting for acorns in autumn, and ice-skating in the winter. This was clearly his favorite place to reminice about the good old days. He smiled to himself.

When he had walked a few yards upstream, he spotted the small waterfall, and the bridge he had crossed so many times: a single oak log, which stretched the entire width of the river, and completely overgrown with moss and algae. Ash ran over and began to cross it. The green, slippery plants made it very difficult, causing him to hold out his arms in order to balance. He thought he would get along fine when he had gone three quarters of the way.

Suddenly, a branch from one of the trees broke off and fell in the river, causing a big splash of cold water to startle Ash. He lost his balance, slipped on the mossy log, and fell over the waterfall. As he hit bottom, the right side of his head slammed hard against a medium-sized stone on the riverbed, knocking him sensless. The force of the riverflow turned him over on his face, resulting in a little water starting to enter his lungs. Because of his unconcious state, he did not realize the danger he was in.....or the feeling of someone dragging him out a minute or two later...


Ash coughed hard as he came to. Without opening his eyes he turned onto his left side and spat out a mouthful of water, groaning with pain (and holding his head) as he lay on his back once more.

“Good, you’re awake,” said an anxious voice, “Are you alright?”

As the person finished speaking, Ash slowly opened his eyes. At first, his vision was so blurry that it was hard to see the speaker, but everything became clear in just a few seconds, and he was soon able to look upon his nameless deliverer.

Kneeling next to him was a young girl; the prettiest girl Ash had ever seen. She looked to be no older than himself. Her fair skin contrasted remarkably well with her long hair, which cascaded over her back and shoulders in a river of soft, wave-like curls, the ends reaching as far as her waist. Speaking of her hair, it was quite a beautiful color; the front edge around her face was a light blue shade, while the rest was a deep purple hue. The eyes were also purple, but they sparkled with such compassion and innocence that Ash couldn’t help but gaze into them for what seemed like hours. He also noticed the way she had spoken to him: her voice was gentle, kind, and warmed his very soul.

“Yeah,” Ash managed to say as he sat up, remembering that it was very rude to stare, “I...I think so. Thank you.”

The girl breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank goodness; I was afraid I may have been too late. Wait here, I have some medicine in my pack for your head.” As she got up, Ash caught a glimpse of the clothes she was wearing. The entire outfit was the same color as the front of her hair. The shirt, which went down to the lower part of her stomach, had a large white diamond design on the front. The “ankles” of her slacks came down between her calves and her ankles, and each leg had a chain of white diamonds running down it. At first, Ash though it was strange that she was wearing sandals, because he thought this girl may have been on a hike; but then he noticed a pair of hiking boots, soaking wet (possibly from saving him), sitting near the edge of the river.
After a minute or two she came back to him, holding a strip of gauze, and a little brown flask.

“What’s that?” Ash asked, still reeling.

The girl opened the flask and dampened the gauze with the fluid inside, “This is aloe vera and rose oil; It’s supposed to aid in healing. Here, tilt your head.”
Ash did as he was told. The mixture hurt at first, but the wound began to ache less as the girl treated it. Finally, she was done.

“There; just leave the cut to air out, and it should heal faster. Luckily, it was very slight and there wasn’t any major damage.”

“I guess Mom wasn’t kidding when she said I had a thick head,” Ash joked.

The girl giggled, “Well, at least you have a sense of humor: that proves you’ll be okay.”

Ash looked at her again, “By the way, what are you doing here...uh...”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, shaking his hand, “My name is Aurora - Aurora Clearwater.”

“My name’s Ash - Ash Ketchum.”

“Nice to meet you, Ash, even if it is under such bizarre circumstances.” Aurora then offered him her canteen, “Here, have some water.”

“Thanks,” Ash said, taking the canteen and taking a small sip, “Where are you from, Aurora?”

“Well, I can’t exactly remember where I was born, but I’ve spent most of my life in Ecruteak City.”

“Ecruteak? You’re definitely a long way from home. Do you know Morty?”

“Not face-to-face, but I’ve heard that he is an expert in Ancient Pokémon legends.”

Ash nodded in agreement, “Yeah, he is; I’ve met him, and I won a match against him a while back. He even came to my birthday party yesterday.”
Aurora clapped her hands, “Really? Happy Birthday! How many years?”

“Thirteen.”

“Hey, me too: just this morning.”

“Then I should be the one saying ‘Happy Birthday.’ Too bad I don’t have a present for you.”

Aurora blushed, “Thanks, but seeing that you’re okay is present enough for me. What were you doing up there on that log anyway?”

Ash recalled the moment, “Well, I wanted to cross the river to see if I could find a Pineco in the trees. Then I got startled when a branch fell and splashed some water on me. I slipped and fell, and I guess I hit my head. I would’ve drowned if you hadn’t saved me.”

The young girl smiled sweetly, “Actually, I wasn’t the only one: Bee helped out too.”

Curiosity immediately crossed Ash’s face, “Bee? Who’s Bee?”

Aurora stood up and took the only Poké Ball she had (a Fast Ball) from her belt, “I’ll show you. I choose you, Bee!” She threw the Fast Ball and it burst open, releasing the Pokémon inside. Ash’s eyes widened when he saw it.

Hovering in the air was what looked like a figure-eight, or so it seemed, but the top circle turned out to be an eye (Ash saw it blink). It circled around Aurora, then around Ash, who remained transfixed at the sight of such a Pokémon.

“That’s an Unown!” Ash managed to say.

“Unown B, to be more specific,” Aurora replied, “but I just call him ‘Bee’ for short.”

“Him?” Ash wondered, “I thought Unown didn’t have a gender.”

“Well, technically, they don’t, but Bee here likes being referred to as him, so that’s what I call him.”

“Wow, cool! So, where did you find...uh...him?”

“The Ruins of Alph; I went exploring there last year. It’s a long story, actually.”

“I’m in no hurry,” Ash said eagerly, but then he blushed, “Uh...I mean...well, I’d like to hear it.”

Hearing this, Aurora sat cross-legged back on the ground, and began to tell her story. Ash listened attentively from where he sat and Bee hovered next to Aurora’s left shoulder...
 
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Cerulean Girl

Cerulean Trainer
Another great chapter Zelda Fan20! I can't wait for more. It's like memories coming back again!
 

Brian Random

I WAS FROZEN TODAY!!
I've read this fanfic before. I've said something about this fanfic and I'll say the same thing again.

This is one of the best fanfics I've read in a long time (Remembered it by heart :p).
 
O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
It's been a while since I've read this but I remember that I already read past this part. Anyways, this is really good and Aurora is a cool OC.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Chapter Nine



"When I was very little," Aurora began, "I was brought to live at the Guardians' House of Love, an orphanage overlooked by the Tin Tower in Ecruteak City. The people there took real good care of us, and taught us all about the history and customs of the city. They also taught us about Pokémon; how to love and respect them, and how they influence our lives. I loved the people and Pokémon there, and they loved me.

"As I grew older, though, I began to grow more and more restless. A little more than a year ago, I had a sudden urge to leave and see the world, and also to find out if I had any family out there. It was then that I decided to embark on a journey; one of self-discovery.

"I explained my situation to the staff. They supported my decision, and even helped me prepare. I was given money, some food, maps of the surrounding regions, clothes, etc. It was raining the day I left, but I didn't mind.

"A few days later, I heard that something strange was happening at the Ruins of Alph, so I went over to see what was going on. Many people were being hustled out of the Ruins by police. During the commotion, I found that someone had dropped a Fast Ball on the ground; I picked it up and put it in my pocket before sneaking past the officers and entering the Ruins.

"When I got inside everything was quiet. The great statues of Ancient Pokemon stood watch over the whole interior like guards. At the far end of the Ruins was a shrine, possibly to honor the Ancient Ones. I laid some of my money on the shrine as an offering, and proceeded to leave.

"Suddenly, I heard a jingling sound from behind me. I turned back around, and I saw Bee hovering right above the shrine. Thinking that he wanted me to leave, I started to walk away. However, Bee began following me around the Ruins. After he had done this for a while, I turned to him and asked if he wanted to come with me: he blinked his eye, bounced up and down, and made more noise, almost as if he were happy to be asked such a question.

"At first I was disappointed because I didn't have any Poké Balls with me to catch him with. Just then, I remembered the Fast Ball I found outside earlier. I took it out (luckily, it hadn't been used) and threw it at him; Bee actually flew towards the Ball as it came, and he was caught instantly. The moment I picked up the Fast Ball, though, an officer came up behind me and escorted me out of the Ruins."

Ash listened to every word Aurora said; all the while, he had a dreamy look in his eye as she spoke.

"And that's how you and Bee became partners?" he asked.

"Yup," she replied with a smile, "Ever since then, Bee and I have gone everywhere together; land and sea. We were able to see many different people, places, and Pokémon."

"But didn't you ever want to catch more Pokémon?" Ash asked. Aurora was the first person he'd met in a while who only travelled with ONE Pokémon.

Aurora thought for a second, "Sometimes, but even if I did catch more, I don't think I would ever find a better match than Bee here." She patted Bee gently on the top of his head, and he jingled with delight.

Ash smiled, "Yeah, I know what you mean: I feel the same way about Pikachu. But, about what happened today..."

"Oh, yes. Well, we were walking through these woods to get to the port in Pallet Town, when we suddenly heard a loud splash in the direction of the river. We raced over and found you laying face-down in the water. I called to you, but you didn't respond. I got frantic and ran over, with Bee following close behind. Seeing the wound on your head, we realized that you were unconscious, so I dragged you onto the shore, with some effort (please, don't be offended; I'm not really that strong, you see). We did our best to give you CPR: Bee was jumping up and down on your chest during the whole process."

Both Ash and Aurora laughed as Bee turned a bright red.

"Well, thank you both for what you did," Ash said, "Wait...why are you heading for the port?"

"Bee and I were planning to take the next available ferry to Seafoam Island," Aurora answered, "There are so many Water Pokémon that I want to observe, and maybe Professor Westwood can tell me something more about Bee."

Ash looked startled, "Seafoam Island? My dad says that the next ferry leaves in three days. He's going there on business for the rest of the summer, and he asked me if I would go with him." Suddenly, Ash had an idea, but getting the idea out into the open proved to be far too difficult for him.

"Um....say, Aurora....uh....I was wondering...."

"What is it, Ash?" Aurora asked.

Ash gulped hard, "Well....uh....would you....or rather, you and Bee....like to....um....would you two like to....travel....with....me..I mean us? Would you like to travel with us?" Ash blushed red as a beet as he talked. He had never talked to a girl (much less, a very pretty girl) in this fashion before; not even to Misty. Also, his heart was beating incredibly fast; he was both hopeful and afraid of what she might say.

It was strange, though. He felt this feeling was familiar, like the feeling he got when he began his first Pokémon League Tournament match two years earlier. Yet, it was quite a different fear; he actually felt greater fear (and even greater hope) at this very moment.

As soon as Ash made the offer, Aurora let out a soft gasp, then turned a little pink in the cheeks herself. No boy had ever asked her such questions before in her entire life. The feeling was new to her: she was scared, and yet, she actually liked it.

Bee gave her a nudge in the arm, as if he were begging her to accept Ash's offer. Aurora thought for a few minutes, then smiled.

"Sure, why not? I mean, it's much more fun to travel with friends, right?"

Ash did his best to conceal how happy he was to hear her answer. Inside, he felt his heart swell to the point where he thought it would burst right there and now.



A few minutes later, Misty was anxiously watching for Ash through the living-room window.

"He sure is taking his sweet time," she said, clearly annoyed.

"Give him a break, Misty," Brock said as he dusted the bookshelf, "After all, he has a very important decision to make."

Misty huffed, "I don't think it's so hard. I would go with MY dad in a minute; especially if it meant spending more time with him."

"But, you see," Brock continued, "Ash's parents don't live together, and you can tell he wants to be with both of them. It's so hard to grow up living with one parent at a time."

Misty nodded, "Yeah, I suppose you're right...hey, there he is!"

Everyone else heard her from the kitchen and came to the window. Just then, Brock noticed something odd,

"Wait, who's that girl he's with?"

George grinned, "I don't know, but she's quite the catch."

"George," Delia said slyly, "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing, angel-girl," he replied hastily, "Nothing at all."



Pikachu and the two children stopped in front of the door. Ash invited his new friend into the house to meet his friends and family. Aurora, however, declined the invitation, saying that she still had preparations to make before the voyage.

"Now then, the ferry leaves at around 12:45 PM, right?" Aurora said, "So, Bee and I will meet you on the dock just before boarding. Is that okay?"

Ash nodded, "That sounds great. We'll be there."

"Great! See you in three days." With that, Aurora planted a quick kiss on Ash's right cheek, and waved to him as she ran off in the direction of the harbor.

Ash was dumbfounded. Except for his mom and dad, he had never felt a kiss before (then again, there was that girl Melody, in the Orange Islands, but that's another story). He smiled dreamily as he slowly pressed his hand against his cheek.

Everyone was staring at Ash as he walked through the door into the house. To their surprise, the very first words they heard come out of his mouth were,

"Dad, when exactly DOES the ferry leave for Seafoam Island?"

Everyone stared while Ash made his way to the living-room.

"I told you it wouldn't be that hard," Misty whispered to Brock as he walked right past them.

"What's the matter, dear?" Delia asked him, "Are you feeling alright?"

Ash turned and looked at her. "I'm fine, Mom," he said happily, "In fact, I've never felt better."

Delia put on a relieved smile, "That's good to hear. By the way, I'm making your favorite dish for supper tonight, so don't make any plans for the evening, okay?"

Ash just shook his head, "Thanks, Mom, but I've got to start packing for the trip; I need to decide which of my clothes and gifts I should bring. Besides,..." He then put a hand on his stomach and flopped right onto the couch (Persian, who was sleeping there, jumped out of the way before she had a chance to get body slammed by a human being), "....I'm not really hungry this evening."

"WHAT?" The entire group suddenly turned pale; Ash---not hungry?

"Now I KNOW something's wrong!" Brock exclaimed, "The only time you've ever turned down a meal was when you were dead set on going for a Gym Badge first."

"Who are you?" Misty laughed (she thought that this was actually a joke), "And what have you done with the real Ash?"

At that moment, George realised something. A slight grin formed on his lips. "Ash?" he proceeded to ask, "Who was that beautiful girl we saw walking with you just now?"

Delia and the two children immediately looked at George, then at Ash, who became even more spaced-out the minute that question came up.

"Her name," Ash said, "is Aurora Clearwater. I guess she is very pretty; she's also heading to Seafoam Island, only it's to look at some Water Pokémon."

"Aurora, huh?" Brock asked himself.

"Ahhhh..." Misty chimed, "So, this decision to go actually has to do with a girl, right? Well, I'd really like to meet this...uh...what was her name again?"

Ash sat straight up, "Her name's Aurora," he snapped, "And for your information, I had already decided to accept Dad's offer BEFORE I met her. She told me that she was going there too; I just invited her to come along with us." Ash then turned to his father, "That is, if it's okay with you, Dad."

George nodded cheerfully, "Of course, I don't mind having another guest during the ferry ride."

Hearing this, Ash immediately flug his arms around George's waist. "Thank you, thank you!" he shouted joyfully, "I swear, you won't regret this."

George chuckled, "I'm sure I won't."

"Hold on, Ash," Brock suddenly interrupted, "I didn't see any Pokémon with Aurora. Does she travel alone?"

Ash looked at him, "Oh no, she has a Pokémon, but she only has one."

"Only one Pokémon?" Misty echoed.

Ash frowned at her seemingly stupid question, "I already said that she had one Pokémon, didn't I? Why are you suddenly interested in my new friend?"

"I just want to know more about her, that's all. What's your problem, anyway?"

"Right now," Ash growled, "My problem is that I have certain friends who obviously don't think that I'll ever know what it's like to be around girls!"

Misty looked appalled, "What are you talking about? And what do you think I am, A banana?"

"I'm talking about REAL girls; not skinny tomboys who put you down and boss you around all the time!"

"Excuse me?!"

"Don't play dumb! Ever since you started following me (I won't say why because I don't feel like going there right now), all you've ever done was put me and my Pokémon down, tell me what Pokémon I could or could not catch (sometimes you tried to capture the same ones I was going for), you even called me the worst the day after we started. Well, let me tell you something, Misty; if anyone's ever been the worst, especially now, it's been YOU!!"

The whole time, Misty couldn't even defend herself, and that last sentence hit her right where it hurt. For a while, all she could do was stand there, still as a statue. Her heart seemed to stop beating at the same time Ash stopped shouting: slowly, almost mechanically, she put her right hand over it.

"Ash, that's enough!" George cut in, holding his son back, "I believe you've said quite enough already." He spoke firmly, but at the same time, he tried to maintain his tenderness. "Now then," he continued, "You are far too riled up, so I want you to go upstairs and cool off for a while. I will bring you up some dinner a little later."

Ash broke away from him angrily. "Fine, I have some packing to do anyway!" He proceeded to go upstairs, but before he left the room, everyone heard him mutter, "The sooner I get away from THAT (they all knew he meant Misty), the better." He stomped up to his bedroom and slammed the door hard...BANG!

George then turned to Misty, who had quietly sat down on the other couch and began staring at the floor.

"Misty," George said, "I'm afraid I must apologize for Ash's behavior. He's just excited about this whole trip. And then there's Aurora--he's obviously hung up on her. It's natural to feel that way about your first crush...."

Misty shook her head, "No...he's right," she started to say as tears fell down her face, "What he said just now was true: I have been the worst. He was a new trainer in the beginning and I should have been supporting him more. I just never realized how much he was hurting; he never said anything about it during our adventures."

"He was probably anxious to get it all off his chest from the start," Brock observed.

"Brock," Delia warned him, "hush."

"It's okay, Mrs. Ketchum," Misty said, "I agree with Brock."

At that moment, a "beep-beep" was heard in the kitchen.

"Oh," Delia exclaimed, "the casserole is ready!"



An hour later, George knocked on Ash's door, holding a tray on his arm. From inside came the words "come in," allowing George to enter.

The only light in the room came from the little candle on Ash' oil diffuser. The entire room was filled with a lavender fragrance. Ash himself was laying on the bed, facing the wall. He didn't even turn around to see who came in.

"It's me, son," George announced, "I brought you some dinner: your mother made tuna-noodle."

"No thanks," Ash replied blankly, "I'm still not hungry."

Rather than head back downstairs, George placed the tray on the bedside table, and sat down on the bed. He then noticed some open suitcases and a trunk on the floor: all were empty.

"You haven't started packing yet?" he asked.

Ash paused, "I guess I got distracted."

"I can understand why," George replied as he soothingly rubbed his hand over Ash's back. For a while, neither said another word, until Ash suddenly broke the silence.

"Dad, what's wrong with me?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I never used to be like this. Usually, when I yelled at my friends, it was only because I was annoyed. But, this time..." Ash couldn't go on, he buried his face in his pillow to hide the oncoming tears.

George leaned over, turned Ash around, sat him up, and gathered him up in his arms.

"It's just hormones, that's all. Every child experiences them after they reach adolescence; sometimes even before: like you and Gary did the day before the party."

Ash suddenly looked into his father's face, "You know about that?"

George nodded, "Your mother and Samuel told me yesterday. In fact, that was one of the reasons why I asked you to come with me for the summer. Sam told me that Gary often gave you some trouble during your travels, and we thought it would be a good chance to put a little more space between you two." He then paused, then continued, "And after what happened an hour ago between you and Misty...I am more convinced than ever that this trip is the best thing for you."

Ash took his eyes off George, "Is that the only reason you want me to come along?"

"No, no, of course not. I want to have you near me as long as I can." He took Ash's face in his hand, so as to let them look into each others' eyes, "I love you, son, more than anything. If I ever had the chance, I could go back to those happy days we both shared. You believe me, don't you?"

Ash watched his father's face very carefully. He could see the concern in his face, and the hope and sincerity in those eyes. He smiled, and gave George a much tighter hug before saying, "Uh huh."

Just then, Ash's stomach growled.

"Heh heh...I guess I'll have a little something now."

George smiled and nodded, handing him the tray.



A little while later, Ash was in the bathtub. George had run a lavender bubble bath for him, and was scrubbing his back at that moment. Both were reminded of the days when Ash was very small, when George gave him such baths every night: it made them both feel so happy.

As George was filling a plastic pitcher with water, Ash suddenly asked, "How's Misty?"

"Err...well," George responded seriously, "You hurt her pretty badly with those words of yours."

Ash hung his head, "Yeah, I know. I'm going to talk to her sometime tomorrow."

George smiled, "Make sure you do it before we leave, okay?"

"Okay," Ash smiled as well, but it turned to laughter when George poured a pitcher-full of bath water over his head.

Later, when Ash was dry and dressed, George once more tucked him in and kissed him good-night.

"By the way," he said as he turned to go, "I can't wait to meet Aurora."

Ash sat up, "Oh, don't worry, you'll see her at the docks. I promised we'd meet her there just before boarding."

George nodded, turned out the light, and closed the door.
 
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O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
<3 Aurora's name. I've read past this part already but rereading it again is good too. It's really good and I can't wait for the next chapter that I've already read as well.
 

Water Spirit

~*Animus Aquae*~
*sighs* I used to read this fic before I became a member and it was by far my favourite! I loved reading every single minute of it and I'm sorry that it disappeared...

And Aurora and Ash are just so Kawaii together! This fic is brilliant ZeldaFan20 and I love it to bits!

You should DEFINATELY put it in the completed fics section once its finished!

Well, take care!

WS
XxX
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Ask and you shall receive ;). I know you guys will enjoy this one.





Chapter Ten



For the next two days, everyone was busy helping Ash pack for the journey. All his summer clothes, pajamas, swimsuit (as well as some unmentionables) were packed in the suitcases. In the trunk he packed some books, music, bug spray, a beach bag, playing and collectable cards, and many other things.

"Hey, Ash," Brock said, "Why don't you pack some Poké Balls? There's bound to be some very interesting Water Pokémon over there."

"Yeah, maybe," Ash replied, "But Dad says that there's a PokéMart near his house, so I'll be able to buy some when I arrive."

"Pika-chu? Pika pika?" Pikachu asked, pointing to Ash's new chess set.

Ash shook his head, "I don't think so, Pikachu. I won't know how to take it with me; it's much too large."

"I'll be happy to look after it for you," Misty said with a smile.

He smiled back, "Thanks, Misty."

Before I forget, the two of them DID make up the previous day.



Finally, the big day came.

At exactly noon, the whole party was at the pier to see Ash and his father depart. George and Delia went to get some lunch, while the others sat at one of the many picnic tables in the dining area.

"I hope they remember how I like my hot dog," Gary said.

"Let me see if I can remember," Misty answered sarcastically, "Grilled, everything on it except relish, hold the onion rings, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, and a Mountain Dew. You've told us a million times, Gary."

"I can't help it, sea air makes me hungry."

Daisy wore a disgusted look on her face, "Gary, why do you let yourself eat all that junk? Why can't you be sensible, like me?"

Her brother cringed, "You call a chef salad with lowfat dressing and a plain tofu burger sensible? Boy, I'm glad I'M not a vegetarian."

"Well you should be," Daisy reproached, "Do you know that, the more fatty foods you put into your body, the greater chance you have of getting a heart attack before age forty?!"

Tracey chuckled, "You gotta admit, Gary, you sound like Ash on one of his feeding frenzies."

"Hey, speaking of which..." Brock said suddenly. He noticed that Ash had his back towards them; he was standing on his chair and frantically surveying the crowd. "Ash, get down from there, or you'll fall!"

Ash looked very worried as he sat back down. "What's taking so long? She said she would meet us before boarding. Why isn't she here yet?"

"Oh, relax already," Misty responded, "We still have plenty of time until you have to get on the ferry."

"I don't know..." Gary remarked, "Maybe she decided not to come and took an earlier...MMMHHH!" Daisy quickly slapped her hand over her brother's mouth and hissed in his ear.

"We're back!"

Everyone looked to see George and Delia returning to the table, carrying three large trays loaded with hot dogs, sandwiches, drinks, etc.

"Now, eat up, guys," George said, "Because Ash and I have to be at the boat in half an hour."

Ash looked through the crowds once more as he reached for the tray with his cheesburger and Coke. He didn't even see who gave it to him, but the voice sure didn't sound like either of his parents...

"Here you go, Ash. Better eat fast, we only have a few minutes."

"Thanks, Mom...Huh?"

Ash instantly turned his head. Smiling at him was neither his mom nor dad. It was a beautiful young girl with shining hair.....

"Aurora!" Ash shouted joyfully as he jumped up and took her hands in his, "You're here! Did you bring Bee with you?"

It was true, Aurora was right there in front of him. At first glance, Ash's friends could see what was so wonderful about her. She was still fair-skinned, and both her eyes and smile were filled with warmth and kindness. She wore the same outfit that Ash saw when he first met her; sky-blue with white diamond designs. Her hair, however, was a little different: the blue front edge was in two small braids, each one hanging over a shoulder in the front, and the purple was done up in a ponytail in the very back of her head.

"Of course," she giggled, "I always keep my promises." She then showed him the Fast Ball at her belt, indicating that Bee never left her side.

"We met her at the counter while they were finishing up the order," Delia said.

Aurora nodded, "I heard them mention your name, so I asked if they knew you. Imagine how surprised I was when I found out they were your parents."

Ash laughed, "Well, since you know my mom and dad, I'd like to introduce you to my friends: These are Misty, Togepi, Brock, Gary, his sister Daisy, Tracey, and...hey!" Pikachu and Eevee suddenly sprang up, and each landed on one of his shoulders, "...these are Pikachu and Eevee."

"HI!" they all said together.

"Pika!"

"Rrriiii!"

"Toci toci prriii!"

"Whoa," Gary gave a sneaky smile, "She's actually quite a looker, pal."

Aurora laughed and blushed. Ash only shot him a sour look, one that warned him to 'keep his big mouth shut.'

At that moment, the announcer's voice was heard on the intercom:

"Attention, attention: The ferry for Seafoam Island will be departing in exactly thirty minutes. All passengers please report to Dock 8. I repeat: all passengers please report to Dock 8. Thank you."

"Ash, hurry up and eat," Delia said, "you don't have much time." She then turned to Aurora, "Would you like something, dear? We have plenty to share."

Aurora shook her head, "Thank you, but I already had something a few minutes ago. I'd be happy to offer some company, though."

"Great," Ash said, "the more, the merrier." With that, everyone hurriedly ate their lunch.



Ten minutes later, after they had finished, George gave the kids a chance to take a pit stop. The four girls weren't long in relieving themselves, as were four of the boys. Ash came out a couple of minutes later.

"What happened in there, sweetheart?" Delia asked.

"I'm sorry," he replied, "It's just that my lucky charm fell out of my pocket and I had to look for it."

"Did you find it?" Brock asked.

"Yeah." Ash then produced the beautiful lock of hair he had found days earlier as proof. Aurora was in awe at the sight of it.

"Oh, Ash, that's gorgeous!" she exclaimed, "Where did you get it?"

"Pikachu and I found it at the lake in the woods three days ago." Suddenly a thought occurred to him, "Say, Aurora...this looks a lot like your hair, doesn't it?"

Aurora gave an embarrassed chuckle, "I wish, my hair doesn't even hold a candle to this."



Later, they all gathered at Dock 8 to watch Ash and George board the ferry.

"Now dear," Delia said as she straightened Ash's hat and shirt, "I want you to be on your best behavior this summer. Do everything your father tells you; be polite, don't fight, don't wander off without him, don't get dirty, don't forget to write, call, or E-mail..."

"Mom," Ash cut in, "would you please stop worrying about me? I'll be fine."

"There's nothing to be upset about, angel-girl," George agreed, "Ash is in good hands."

"Is all his luggage on board?" she asked.

"Yes, dear, everything is checked and loaded up."

"I'll miss you both so much," Tears began to form as Delia hugged her husband.

"Believe me," George smiled as he held her tighter, "three months will go by faster than you can say 'Marowak' ten times fast." He then pressed another soft kiss upon her lips.

"WWOOOOOOOO....WWOOOOOOOO!!" The ferry horn blew, as if telling them to get on board. Ash, Pikachu, Eevee, George, Persian, and Aurora began to climb the gangplank, waving to their friends as they did so.

Soon, the time had come to set sail. The plank was hoisted, the ropes untied, and the whistle sounding. The six of them continued waving even as the boat moved farther and farther away from shore.

"You kids take care of Delia for me!" George exclaimed.

"Bye!" called Ash, "See you all in September!"

"So long!" Aurora cried out, "It was nice meeting you all! I'll never forget you!"

"PIIIIKAAAA!" said Pikachu.

"RRRRIIIIII!" Eevee yelled.

"MEOWWWW!" cried Persian.

After a few minutes, the entire shoreline vanished from sight. Eventhough he was still sad about leaving, Ash was more excited than ever about reaching Seafoam Island.

By the time the clock struck one, the ferry was out on the open ocean. Seagulls flew across a cloudless sky above the heads of those onboard. Below, salty waves crashed against the hull, while dolphins swam along the sides: some even jumped out of the water while the passengers watched and, occasionally, shot photos.

Ash was leaning over the side, watching the dolphins play. He had his camera on hand, hoping to catch one in mid-air. Pikachu was perched on his right shoulder, and Eevee was on the other; both were as preoccupied with the swimming masses as their master. Then, without warning, a huge Mantine burst out of the surf and glided through the air.

"Wow, a Mantine!" Ash exclaimed, "Pikachu..." He was about to order Pikachu into Attack Mode, when he suddenly paused.

The many water droplets that fell from Mantine's wings sparkled like a thousand diamonds in the mid-day sun; it looked so majestic that Ash couldn't help but look on. He also noticed its face. The beautiful creature wore a happy smile. Even though it was a wild Mantine, it was clear that it delighted in seeing people; it used its freedom to entertain the passengers, and make them happy. It would have been a terrible shame to destroy the moment with a Pokémon battle. Plus, he then remembered that he didn't bring any Poké Balls.

Ash smiled as he settled Pikachu down, "...Never mind."

He and his two little pals gave the Mantine a hearty applause before it took a nose dive back into the waves.

"Hey, Ash," said a voice from behind, "Where's the show?"

"Huh? Oh, hi, Aurora. Hey there, Bee."

Aurora had just come up from below deck, and Bee was floating close to her head. He gave a cheerful jingle at Ash's greeting.

"What were you clapping at?" she asked.

"Oh! Well, a wild Mantine jumped out of the ocean and flew in front of us. At first I wanted to capture it, but it looked so beautiful and so happy, I..."

"You just couldn't," Aurora cut in.

Ash nodded, "It was happy being free, but it also loved making humans happy. I couldn't take that feeling away."

Aurora gave him a pleasant smile. She then leaned over and said, "You know, you are a very sweet guy, Ash," before giving him another kiss on the cheek.

The young boy chuckled and turned bright red, "Aw...cut it out, Aurora, this is embarrassing." Both of them, as well as their Pokémon, started to laugh. They then turned around and leaned on the railing, watching the dolphins together.

At one point, Ash dared to catch a glimps of his female companion. He was almost breathless at the sight of her. To him, Aurora seemed even more beautiful, and equally as happy, as that Mantine. Her violet eyes were fixed on the playful mammals below. Her fair-skinned arms gracefully rested on the edge of the boat. However, what he most noticed at that moment was her hair: her deep-blue-sea-colored curls glistened with the waves in the sun.

It was then that Ash remembered what happened at the pier earlier:

"Say, Aurora...this looks a lot like YOUR hair, doesn't it?"

"I wish. My hair doesn't even hold a candle to this."

Suddenly, the word "impossible" softly broke from his lips.

Aurora snapped out of it and turned towards him, a look of surprise resting on her face, "What did you say?"

Ash blushed again and quickly averted his gaze to the water.

"Um...I was just thinking about what you said...about how you compared your hair to my lucky charm."

"And?" she asked smiling.

"Well...I think that's impossible," he maintained his blush and grinned.

This time, it was Aurora's turn to turn red. She did so, and giggled, "Now you're the one who's embarrassing me."

Both laughed, and looked into each other's eyes for what seemed like hours...

"Ahem."

They turned around. George was standing right behind them. He had a stern smile on his face. Persian was sitting by his right leg, combing her whiskers.

"Enjoying the scenery, kids?" he asked.

"Yeah," Ash answered, "You should've seen the Mantine come out of the waves, Dad. It was great."

"The sea certainly is lovely, Mr. Ketchum," Aurora replied.

"I'm glad you're having a good time, because we should be arriving at Seafoam Island in two hours." He suddenly turned to Aurora, "And please, call me George; all my friends do."



An hour later:

"Attention, this is your Captain speaking: If you look to your left, you will see what's left of Cinnabar Island."

Ash was showing Aurora how to massage Pikachu when the announcement came up. They instantly stood up and raced to the left side of the boat.

"What did he mean by..." Ash ceased talking; what he saw stung him at the heart.

The last time he was at Cinnabar was when he was going for a Volcano Badge at Blaine's Pokémon Gym. There were jungles, buildings, and all kinds of Pokémon and people. Now, what he saw was the entire island covered in black rock. All the trees and plants were gone, and there was not a single living thing whatsoever. The only building he was able to see, the one that was still standing, was the Pokemon Center.

Aurora noticed the shock on Ash's face, "You mean you didn't hear? Six months ago the volcano at Cinnabar erupted. Lava covered practically everything, except the Pokémon Center."

Ash looked at her, "Was anyone...?"

Aurora shook her head, "Thankfully, everyone managed to get off the island, so there were no casualties."

Ash breathed a huge sigh of relief, "That's good. But why didn't Blaine tell me about it when he came to my party?"

"Maybe he didn't want you feeling sorry for him; most people are like that. Anyway, I heard he'd rebuilt his Gym at Seafoam Island, so maybe you'll see him there."

"I hope so," said Ash.



At precisely 3 o'clock, the ferry anchored at Dock 12 off the coast of Seafoam Island. The announcer welcomed the passengers through the loud speaker as they all filed down the gangplank.

"Who are you looking for, Dad?" Ash asked as he reached the end of the plank and headed towards his luggage, "Is someone picking us up?" He noticed that George was looking up and down the entire port.

"No, son," he replied, "I'm trying to see how far we are from the beach."

"Why?"

"Because, if the beach is close by, then we can walk from here." Suddenly, George looked further down on the left, and smiled, "And, from the looks of things, we'll be at my villa in just a few minutes." He turned towards Aurora, who was busy putting Bee back into his Fast Ball, "Aurora, why don't you stay with us for a while?"

Aurora immediately shook her head, "Oh, no thanks, I don't want to impose..."

"Nonsense, my villa has at least twenty-five bedrooms, and it would be nice for Ash to have someone his own age to talk to during his stay. Besides, it's the busy season, and I doubt you'll find many hotels with even one vacancy left."

Aurora nodded, "Yes, I see your point...okay, I except your invitation."

"What are we waiting for?" Ash shouted happily, "Let's go!"

And the three humans, with their Pokémon close by, started walking away from the harbor, towards the beach.
 
O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
I remember that chapter and it's as good as when I read it the first time. The only thing I don't like about it is that you skipped Ash and Misty making up. You mentioned that they did but I think it would have been better if you had the scene in the fic. Anyways, nice job on another great chapter.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
I know, but I guess I thought it would be nice for everyone who read that part to have something they could imagine for themselves. I miay not be making much sense to you guys, but I know what I'm talking about.
 
O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
Maybe but it's like you forgot they fought. One chapter ends with them not talking and in the next one they're talking then you say they made up. It's like the fight never happened. Heh, don't worry about it, just seems odd to me. LOL ^_^;;;
 
D

DeciousSennenal

Guest
Well, I like this fanfic alot. I have to feel sorry for Misty though. I also wonder when the rest of TR will appear.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Chapter Eleven



The beach that day was full of life; beach blankets and umbrellas covered every inch of sand. Most people were lounging under the sun, while others played in the water. As they strolled along the wet sand, the group noticed a few trainers digging, possibly searching for Shellder or Krabby. Aurora had taken her sandals off, and was pleasantly walking bare-foot the rest of the way.

Suddenly, Ash cleared his throat. “Hey, Dad,” he said, “Do you think we can stop by the PokéMart afterwards? I want to see if they have any...ahem...Ultra Balls for sale.”

George smiled, “Of course, son, but wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper to buy Great Balls? I mean, the Ultras cost around twelve dollars a ball.”

Ash grinned, “Yeah, they do. Well...ahem...I’ll see what's available.”

“If you want to catch some Water Pokémon,” Aurora chimed in, “the beach is definitely the place to look for them. There’re so many here.”

Ash nodded, “I know, and I really need to catch some more Pokémon: I’m so far behind in...ahem...capturing, it’s not even funny.”

“Really?” Aurora asked, “How many have you caught so far?”

Ash thought for a moment, “Let’s see....there was Pikachu, then Caterpie (it evolved into Metapod and Butterfree), Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander evolved too...I gave that Beedrill I caught in National Park to my friend Casey, so that would make it...ahem...thirty Pokémon all together (with around nine released or given away).”

“So you have twenty-one right now,” Aurora said, “I’m really impressed, Ash.”

Ash’s face turned red again, “Actually, it’s more like twelve...ahem...but I’m very proud of them all.”

“As well you should be,” George interrupted, “Every good trainer needs to treat all of his (or her) Pokémon with trust and love. Always treat them as friends, never as slaves.” George had his back turned towards the two children as he spoke, so they failed to notice the uneasy expression that slowly formed on his face. Suddenly, he stopped. Ash and Aurora stopped too.

“We have arrived!” George proudly announced. The two teenagers gave a loud “Wow” at what they saw.

It was a large mansion, no bigger than a two-story school. The entire structure was made of pure white marble; Gothic-style columns surrounded the porch (the beach, where they were, was in the back of the building). Many hundreds of windows reflected the sunlight out to the open sea.

The three humans and their Pokémon all laughed as they bounded happily up the stone steps to the large doors. George opened them to reveal a long hallway, covered wall-to-wall with old tapestries. On the floor was a long, red carpet that seemed to stretch the whole length of the house.

“Edward!” George suddenly called.

Ash looked at him in surprise, “Who’s Edward?”

George smiled, “He’s the steward and caretaker here. He and his wife, Sarah, take care of the place when I’m away: keeping everything neat and orderly, and making sure things are working properly for when I return.”

“Are they like a butler and maid?”

“Well, yes…in a way. Actually, they’re more like family than hired help.” George turned back towards the hall, “Edward, are you home?”

Almost immediately, a man was seen running their way. He was dressed in a pair of fancy pants, as well as fancy shoes, and a black shirt. His hair was black, too, but it began to show traces of grey, indicating that he was a bit over the hill. His eyes were hazel and looked very kind. He held out his arms to George.

“Sir,” he cried, “it’s been such a long while. We’ve missed you, my Sarah and I.”

“Your dad didn’t tell us that Edward was British,” Aurora whispered to Ash, after noticing the man’s accent.

“I guess his wife is too,” Ash whispered back.

“It’s good to be home, old friend,” George said as he embraced Edward. He then turned to the children, “I’d like to introduce my son, Ash. This charming lady here is his friend, Aurora. Children, this is Edward.”

“Hi,” said Ash.

“How do you do?” greeted Aurora.

“It is a pleasure to meet the young master and miss. Welcome to Seafoam Manor. I trust the voyage was satisfactory?”

“Yeah,” Ash replied, “It was great, thanks.”

”Edward,” George said, “I’m going to show Ash to his room. Will you please take Miss Aurora to one of our best rooms---one with a view of the sea would be nice.”

‘Of course, sir,” Edward replied as he led Aurora down the hall to the left.

“Follow me, Ash,” George said, “Your room is this way.” He led Ash down the hall also, but he went to the right.

They followed a set of stairs up to the second story, where they came to another hallway. They walked to the very end to a pair of mahogany wood doors. George opened them, and led Ash inside.

The bedroom was very large indeed, even larger than his own room back in Pallet Town. Across from the entrance, a king-sized bed made of ebony and covered with a blue patch-work quilt stood right next to a window, which looked right out towards the city. Long, white adjustable curtains hung from the canopy of the bed. Beside it was a writing desk with a little lamp on top.

To the far right of the room was a double-door made of glass panes: on the other side was a balcony that let you look out at the entire shoreline. Shelves filled with books and magazines lined the walls. Opposite the bed was a TV, with several movies and video games (as well as an N64) in the little cupboard underneath.

To the left was a fireplace; a fire burning brightly in the screened hearth. The large wardrobe, which stood next to the TV, had several drawers for clothes and accessories, and one of the medium-sized doors revealed a mirror (and many hangers for formal wear) when opened.

Pikachu and Eevee ran around exploring the room. The other Pokémon burst out of their Poké Balls and did the same.

“Well,” George asked with a smile, “what do you think?”

Ash’s eyes shone at the very sight of his new room. He looked at his dad and gave him a big, hearty hug.

“Dad, you’re the greatest!”



An hour later, after Ash and Aurora had put their things away in their rooms, they all went down to the beach for a swim. All the Pokémon were enjoying the sand and water (Quilava preferred the sand over the water), while their trainers tried their hand at surfing.

After a while, Ash remembered that he wanted to buy some Poké Balls.

“Hey, Aurora,” he called to his friend, who was taking her surfboard back into the water, “I’m going to the PokéMart! I’ll be right back!”

Aurora nodded and waved, and Ash set off.



Ash came out of the Mart carrying about 10 Great Balls in a shopping bag.

“Darn, I can’t believe they were sold out of Ultra Balls. Oh well, at least I’ll be able to catch some more Pokémon.”

As he made his way back to the villa, he heard a cry from some nearby bushes. He followed the sound to a small clearing. In the middle of it was a little blue Pokémon, tangled up in some vines. At first, Ash was unclear whether it was an animal or a fish. It appeared to be both; it had flippers, and what appeared to be a small dorsal fin on the top of its head.

He went over to it and began to break the vines, freeing the little creature. Thinking that its friends were somewhere nearby, Ash began to walk away. However, the Pokémon followed him at a quick pace for a few minutes. Finally, Ash turned to it.

“Hey, go on. Go home to your family.”

The Pokémon shook its head, “Kip.”

“What,” Ash asked, “Do you want to go with me?”

“Kip, kip!” It hopped over to him happily as soon as he was done asking.

Ash thought, and then said, “Well, maybe Dad or Professor Oak can tell me what you are." He reached into his bag and pulled out a Great Ball, “Okay. Great Ball, GO!”

With a steady swing, Ash threw the Ball at the little Pokémon, catching it instantly. Then he picked up the Ball, and ran back towards the main road, anxious to get his new friend home.



It was near dinner time when Ash returned to Seafoam Manor. The sun wasn’t even touching the horizon yet, so the sky was still a bright blue.

Back on the beach, Aurora, Bee, Pikachu, Eevee, Persian, and all the other Pokémon were attempting to build the biggest sand castle in the world; George was observing them from his lounge chair, a happy smile stretched across his face.

“Hey, everyone,” Ash shouted as he ran towards them, “I’m back!”

George instantly sat up and turned to face him, “Hello, Ash, what kept you? It doesn’t take that long to get to the PokéMart and back.”

Ash giggled, “Yeah, I know; I just got a little...uh...sidetracked on the way home.” He then pulled the used Great Ball from his belt, “Wait ‘til you see what I found. I choose you!” and he threw it.

Everyone there was shocked to see the little fish-like Pokémon. It was so cute: the fins, the blue color, the beady little eyes, the orange cheeks.....

“Oh, Ash,” Aurora was the first to speak, “it’s so adorable!”

“Kip, kip,” replied the tiny creature.

“An interesting specimen, son,” George said, apparently trying his best to sound like Professor Oak, “What species is it?”

Ash suddenly looked confused. He had never seen such a Pokémon before; not in Kanto, not in the Orange Islands, not even in Johto.

“Gee,” he said at last, “I don't know.”

Aurora leaned toward the Pokémon and examined it carefully, “Well, from the fins, I’d say that it’s a Water type. Why don’t you use your PokéDex and see what it has to tell us?”

“Good idea, Aurora,” Ash said as he took the device out of his backpack, “Now, let’s see here...”

“Pokémon: Unknown. No data available.”

Everyone's faces fell; mostly Ash's.

“No data?” he exclaimed, ‘None at all? Rats.”

Just then, George clapped his hands together, “I have it: let’s give Samuel a call. Maybe he’ll have some answers.”

So, they all packed up their stuff, and headed inside.



“Hello, Ash," said Professor Oak’s screen image, “I see you’ve all made it. How is it so far?”

“It’s great, Professor,” Ash replied, George and Aurora were standing right behind him, “I’ll tell you all about it later. Right now, I have a question to ask you.”

“Ask away,” was the cheerful answer.

“Well, you see, I just caught what looks like a Water Pokémon, but Dexter can’t tell me what its name is or what it does.”

“Hmm...let me think…” Professor Oak said, “Maybe it’s because it’s time to upgrade your PokéDex. I know that there have been some new additions to it lately, so it would be a good idea. Place your PokéDex into the drive there, and I’ll upgrade it for you.”

Ash did as he was told. The entire process took nearly five minutes to complete, during which time he told the Professor about the boat ride, his new room, and how he caught the new Pokémon. Ash also showed him the Pokémon itself, much to Oak’s great enthusiasm. Finally, the PokéDex was finished.

“There,” Oak announced, “you should be able to find out about your new friend now. Why don't you give it a go right now?”

“Okay,” Ash replied as he aimed the newly upgraded Dexter at the little creature, “Let’s find out who you really are...”

“Mudkip: the Swampfish Pokémon. More commonly found in the region of Hoenn, it uses the gills on its cheeks to breathe water. During the winter and drought seasons, it uses a special inner organ, called a 'labyrinth,' to breathe air on dry land.”

“Mudkip,” Ash said, “So, that’s what you are. Cool!”

“Kip. Kip kip!” Mudkip nodded.

“Wait a sec,” Ash said suddenly, “what’s a labyrinth?”

“I can answer that,” Aurora cut in, “A labyrinth is a type of organ that is quite similar to the lungs: it has many different openings and passages, much like a maze, in order to distribute more oxygen throughout the body.”

Oak smiled and nodded, “You definitely are a bright girl, Aurora. Still, this Mudkip is strangely a long way from Hoenn. I wonder what it’s doing on Seafoam Island.”

Ash looked even more confused, “Hoenn? Where’s that, Dad?”

“Hoenn is the island region that is directly south of where we are.” George looked at Mudkip, “It’s not a long distance away, and this is a Water type: maybe it swam here.”

“I don’t know,” Ash said, “I mean, look how tiny it is. If it’s a baby, how could it possibly swim all that way?”

“Many baby animals demonstrate strong endurance as soon as they are born, Ash,” Professor Oak explained, “So, I don’t doubt that this one somehow managed to swim there.”

At that moment, Edward entered the room, “Excuse me, sir, but supper is ready.”

George looked at his watch, “My goodness, six-o’clock already? Alright, Edward, tell Sarah we’ll be down in a minute.”

“Of course, sir,” and he left the room. George then turned back to Professor Oak.

“I’m sorry, Samuel, but we’ll have to cut this conversation short.”

Oak laughed, “Heh heh heh, I quite understand, George. I’ll talk to you all later, then.”

“Bye, Professor,” Ash said, “Say ‘hi’ to Mom and the others for me.”

“I will. So long,” And they hung up.



Ash and Aurora were introduced to Sarah at the dinner table. She was almost the same age as her husband, but had far less grey in her amber-colored hair. Her eyes were blue, and just as kind as her manner. Wearing a red dress, the skirt falling three inches above the ankles, she actually looked very pretty for her age.

Dinner that night was much like a clam-bake: boiled scallops, Manhattan and New England clam chowder, clam cakes, even steamed lobster. There was also salad and bread rolls, and old-fashioned lemonade to drink with the meal. For the Pokémon, Sarah prepared a special PokéChow: when asked what kind it was, she would only say, “It’s a secret recipe, one that will remain a secret.”

During dinner, Edward and Sarah told them the most amazing stories: one was that, long before they were married, they had traveled and trained many different Pokémon; in fact, they had even gone on the same journeys together since they were children.

Ash and Aurora, in turn, told them their stories. This went on until the clock struck eight, at which time George sent the two of them to get ready for bed. Before getting into bed himself, Ash took the quilt off and laid it on the floor (to make a kind of nest for his six little friends). Meganium, Croconaw, Quilava, Pikachu, Eevee, and Mudkip all curled up together, and fell asleep almost immediately. The fire in the hearth had completely gone out a while before when Ash slipped under the cool sheets. The only light left in the room came from outside: the moon reflected on the water and onto the walls. Ash happily watched the dancing lights and shadows until he gradually fell into blissful slumber.



Meanwhile, in another part of Kanto, three weary figures wandered through the dark forests of Route 2. Their clothes were in tatters, and they looked as if they hadn't bathed in months. They also had neither food nor water, so they were very near the brink of total exhaustion.

Suddenly, they finally stopped just before the entrance to Viridian City. Two of the travelers plopped onto the ground, sweating and gasping for air. The third just looked on in total disgust.

“C’mon, you two, we’ve only got a little ways more ta go!”

One person spoke through heavy breathing, “I can’t help it; this figure was not made for such hard trekking.”

The third spoke next, “Besides, how do we know that we really want to do this? I mean, what will happen to us if we do?”

“Let me put it dis way,” said the first, “It’s either dis, or face de big guy back dere?”

The other two thought for a minute, and the memory of what happened five years ago flashed into their minds: cold shivers went down their backs. Finally, the second person stood up, tired but irritated.

“Alright, alright, you've made your point. Even I can’t take all that abuse for so long.”

“Me neither,” agreed the third, who also stood up, “Even I have my limits. In my eyes, home was paradise compared to...THAT.”

“Well, I guess it’s decided den,” the first said, facing the city gates, “C’mon, let’s get dis over with.” And the three of them marched out of the forest, into the city...straight to the Police Station...
 
O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
I like your description, not too much of it is good because I don't like a lot of it. For the ball thing, I think having Ash buy Net or Lure balls would have been better since he's at the beach and ocean so could catch many water types (like he already did). Also the caught Mudkip a little fast but I do like how you mentioned it being a baby which makes the way he caught it cute. Anyways, nice chapter which I've already read. I think it's a few more before you get to chapters I haven't read yet.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
I know, I really should've put more effort into that part. As for the Poké Balls, Net Balls are only found in Hoenn (and he hasn't quite been there yet), and the Lure Balls were only made in Johto, right? Oh well, I know the next one will be better.
 
O

Ororo Munroe

Guest
ZeldaFan20 said:
Lure Balls were only made in Johto, right?
I think so but you could have had them imported to the island. Would have been interesting. Doesn't really matter much though. Heh.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Chapter Twelve


Ash’s first week at Seafoam Manor was a blast! During that time, with Aurora at his side, he was able to catch quite a number of Water Pokémon: Mudkip was on Monday, a good-level Magikarp on Tuesday, Chinchou on Wednesday, Shellder on Thursday, Mantine (a real fighter, I might add) on Friday, Corsola on Saturday, and a Staryu on Sunday night.

At the start of the second week, Aurora announced at breakfast that she and Bee would be leaving the next day, to continue their journey. Ash tried to be happy for her sake, but inside, he was devastated. Throughout the entire day, he helped her pack what she needed: maps, PokéChow for Bee, a full canteen of fresh water, etc.

That afternoon, Ash and Aurora took a walk along the beach. The sky shone with gold and crimson hues as the sun sank halfway into the ocean. After a few minutes of silence, Aurora noticed the gloomy expression on the face of her companion.

“What’s the matter, Ash? You look sad; aren’t you happy here with your father?”

Ash abruptly looked at her, putting on a bright smile, “Of course I’m happy, I love every moment with my dad. And Edward and Sarah are amazing. It’s just that...well, you and I...we’ve only known each other for a couple of weeks, and...now that you’re leaving...it’s just that it’s so....so soon...” Ash couldn’t finish; he couldn’t stop blushing, and his words kept getting jumbled. It was too embarrassing.

Aurora looked at him with a sweet smile. She knew what was on Ash’s mind at that moment, but she didn’t want to say anything that would make him feel more awkward. Instead, she slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. Ash twined his around her waist as she kissed his cheek.

“I know it’s been short, Ash,” she told him, “but, I still have a journey to fulfill: I want to keep looking for a family, for a past, for people who care...”

I care,” Ash interrupted, “My friends do too...but, I know what you mean.” Ash stood right in front of her, “Let’s make a promise: one that says we’ll always be best friends.”

“Yeah,” Aurora said, “and I promise to write from wherever I am.”

“And, if you ever stop at a Pokémon Center, give us a call.”

“And I’ll be sure to come and visit when I’m in the neighborhood.”

They both hugged each other again, but then noticed the sun sinking lower on the horizon, and headed back inside.



That night, Ash went to bed earlier than usual: Aurora had to catch an early ship to Olivine City in the morning, and he offered to walk with her. However, despite the familiar smell of lavender (from his oil diffuser) and the fact that his Pokémon were right nearby, sleep never came to him. Not even closing his eyes and counting sheep would work.

He was still struggling to sleep when the old clock in the hallway struck twelve. Feeling kind of thirsty, he got out of bed, walked into the bathroom, and poured a glass of water. He gulped down half a glass, and started walking back to bed. Just as he was pulling back the sheets, however, Ash stood stock still.

The sound of a door creaking was heard from behind, followed by footsteps running down the hall. Ash slowly turned around: the bedroom door was open a few inches, and he knew that he had closed it completely before going to bed. What was even stranger was the footsteps. There was no one awake anywhere in the house at that hour...or was there? Ash walked cautiously to the door and opened it.

The first thing he noticed was a light. Sitting on the carpet was a flashlight...and it was turned on. Ash closed the door, walked over to the flashlight, and picked it up. He then started pointing it up and down the hall, trying to find the person responsible.

Finally, Ash called out in a low voice, “Hello? Who’s there?” There was no answer. “Edward?...Sarah?...Aurora?...Dad?” Ash gulped. He had been nervous before, but what happened next absolutely terrified him.

Ash walked down the hall to George’s room, hoping that he wasn’t the only one awake. As he came in sight of the door he noticed what looked like a mist in front of them, and a bright light shining through into the hallway. However, as he went closer, Ash recognized a distinct smell, and coughed. A horrible realization occurred:

“Smoke?”

At that moment, another, even scarier sound was heard. However, this was more human than inanimate. From further down the hall was a gurgling sound, followed by a low moan. Almost immediately, the noises evolved into laughter: not like someone who was playing a prank or a joke. It was a demonic laugh - deep and low - which quickly faded away into the darkened corridors. Sensing danger, Ash ran over and flung the doors wide open.

Directly opposite the door was the master bed. White-hot flames in great quantity were licking the curtains on the right side. George was lying right in the center of the bed, unconscious from smoke inhalation.

Ash reacted fast. He jumped onto the bed and began shaking his father.

“Dad! Dad, wake up! Wake up, please!!”

George failed to respond. Seeing a full pitcher of water on the dresser, Ash got up, grabbed it, and started dousing the curtains. There were still some surviving flames on the lower part, and they were slowly moving onto the sheets. Suddenly, Ash saw a vase full of fresh roses on the table next to the bed. He snatched it, tore every last flower out of it, and threw the whole thing onto the room’s occupant.

George woke up spluttering and coughing. “What’s going on?” he demanded.

He then observed the scene, and abruptly hopped out of bed. Pushing Ash out of the room he tore off the curtains and, throwing them to the ground, began stomping on them. After making sure all the flames were extinguished, George came out, and led Ash into the next room (the sitting room). He sat his son on the couch in the middle of the room and poured him a glass of water.

“Here, drink.”

Ash took the glass, and quickly drank its contents, despite the coughing fit he was in. “Are you okay, Dad?” he asked.

George nodded as he drank some water himself, “What about you? Are you alright?”

Ash nodded also, “I’m scared, but okay.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know; I know I heard someone in the hall...someone laughing weird...”

“Was it a man or a woman?” George asked. He looked more concerned that surprised at that moment.

“I...I’m not sure. I was so scared...I didn’t pay attention.”

“Listen to me, son,” George said suddenly, “I want you to stay right here until I get back: I’m going to go look over the house. Don’t move a muscle, am I clear?”

Ash nodded nervously and George left the room, closing the door behind him. For nearly twenty minutes Ash sat there in the silence. After what had just happened, he was afraid that whoever was responsible for the fire was still in the house...maybe even in that same room. The very thought struck him cold to the heart; he curled up on the couch to warm himself. Just then, he heard more footsteps outside. Ash was ready to run when George came back into the room. He ran over to him and hugged him.

“It’s alright now,” George said, hugging him back and trying to sound reassuring, “Whoever it was is gone. I’m just grateful they didn’t come after you.” He then knelt on one knee and looked Ash straight in the eye, “I think we should both sleep in your room for tonight. However, I don’t want you to say anything about this to the others; they mustn’t be allowed to worry. I’ll come up with an excuse for it tomorrow morning. Understand?”

“Okay,” Ash replied. He wondered why his dad wanted to keep everything a secret, but he said nothing.

The two of them went back into Ash’s room. They crawled quietly under the covers and fell asleep, wrapped up closely in each other’s arms.



The old clock gave six chimes as Ash sat up in bed that morning. With a big yawn, he looked around the room. Bright sunlight streamed in through the window, as if the sun itself were reaching out to tell the world to wake up. Outside the window was a cloudless sky. Birds were singing in the garden, and you could even hear the waves breaking against the shore.

George lay, peacefully sleeping, to his left. At first, Ash was very glad to see that his father was there, but it distressed him as well: he remembered the terrible turn of events during the night, and was hoping that it was all just a nightmare. Ash also remembered his promise to escort Aurora to the harbor. He quickly got dressed, combed his hair, left a note for George on the pillow, and left the room.

He hesitated in front of George’s bedroom doors. There was no more smoke, no more fire. Only images remained. He wanted to take a look inside, to make sure it all really happened. The doors, however, would not open; after leaving the room last night, George had locked them. Ash looked at his PokéGear clock, gasped, and headed downstairs.

Aurora was standing before the large doors that led to the beach. She was just saying ‘good-bye’ and ‘thank-you’ to Edward and Sarah, when she saw Ash coming toward her at a fast pace.

“Good-morning, Ash,” she said, “Did you have a good sleep?”

“Not really,” Ash yawned, “when I sleep late, I sleep great; but when I sleep early, I don’t sleep at all.” Both children laughed.

“Oh,” Aurora sighed, “I’m sure going to miss that sense-of-humor of yours.” She giggled when she saw Ash’s face turn beet-red.

“Good heavens!” Sarah exclaimed, “You had better be on your way, or the young miss will not make it to the ship!”

So the two teenagers walked outside, hand-in-hand, and started running along the beach in the direction of the port. When they had gotten about three quarters of the way to their destination, Aurora suddenly stopped and let go of Ash’s hand.

Ash looked at her in surprise, “What’s the matter, Aurora?” He then saw a look of worry on her face.

“Ash, is that blood on your hand?”

It was true. Ash looked at his right hand: in the very center of the palm were nearly a dozen small puncture wounds, surrounded by what appeared to be dry, brownish-red blood stains. At first, Ash couldn’t figure out how he got them, until he remembered the incident last night, when he had pulled the roses out of the vase to save his father.

“The roses had thorns,” he said softly.

“What?” Aurora asked, puzzled by his remark.

Ash looked at her with a serious expression, “If I tell you something,” he said, “Will you promise to keep it between us?”

Aurora did not hesitate to reply, “Of course, if that’s what you want.”

With that answer, Ash began to relate what had happened, with Aurora listening attentively. They kept walking down the beach, just to keep time.



By the time Ash was finished they had arrived at the harbor, just when the announcer was speaking over the loud-speakers:

“Attention, attention. All passengers departing for Olivine City, please report to Dock Eleven in ten minutes. I repeat, all passengers departing for Olivine City, please report to Dock Eleven in ten minutes. Thank you.”
Ash and Aurora stood at the edge of Dock 11, just as some people were starting to board the ship.

“I don’t like where this is going, Ash,” said Aurora, “What if that person is still around town? He may even come back. Maybe I should put off my...”

“You are getting on that boat,” Ash interrupted, “And you are going to stop worrying. I’ve been in lots of scrapes before...”

“All with Team Rocket,” said Aurora.

“Also with some really dangerous Pokémon,” Ash continued, “But it always turned out okay. And you know what? It will STILL be okay. Besides, Dad’s been looking out for me ever since he came back (even before), and he’s never let me down yet, right?”

Aurora looked uneasy as Ash spoke. “I guess,” she said.

WOOOOOOOO........WOOOOOOOO! The ship’s horn sounded, and more passengers were filing aboard.

Aurora was halfway up the plank when she turned around, ran back to Ash, and gave him another hug.

“Ash,” she began, “I want you to promise me something.”

“Sure, Aurora,” he answered.

“If anything dangerous does happen while you’re here, then, please, don’t try to be a hero. Just get out of there. I don’t want to find out that something terrible happened to you. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.” A tear started to trickle down her cheek. Ash smiled and wiped it away.

“Hey, don’t worry about that. I promise, for your sake, that I won’t do anything stupid.”

Aurora’s response was a relieved smile, and an even tighter hug. She then ran as fast as she could back up the plank, onto the ship. The plank was raised, and the ship was preparing to sail. Bee had burst out of his Fast Ball and was floating on the rail of the ship next to Aurora. Both waved (Bee just bounced up and down) at Ash, who did the same to them. After about half an hour, the ship was out of sight, and Ash started along the beach back home.



At that exact moment, something was happening back at the villa.

George woke up and gave Edward the key to his bedroom, as well as a clever explanation to why it was locked. He then headed to the basement. When he arrived, George walked over to a large bookcase, and pulled out one of the books. The shelf slowly opened, revealing a hidden electronic door. Sliding a card key into the slot, he passed through to the other side.

Several Rocket Grunts stood to attention as their Boss walked by. They all saw the angry look on his face, and quickly backed out of his way.

Giovanni walked down the corridor, past several cells containing different kinds of Pokémon, a small kitchen and several bathrooms, until he came to another door. This particular one was like any ordinary door, except it was made of iron. It was also heavily barred, and locked from the inside. Giovanni gave a quick knock.

“Open this door, Louisa,” he said sourly. Almost immediately, the sound of jingling keys came from the room, followed by a click of the lock. The door opened, and he marched inside.

The entire room was dark, except for a small lamp in the corner (which didn’t really give off that much light). Despite the lack of light, Giovanni was able to make out a huddled figure. It was lying on the floor in a fetal position. It made a low gurgling noise as he entered the room, followed by a growl, much like that of an angry Growlithe.

The door was closed by an elderly woman, much older than Sarah. She wore a black band on her upper-left arm, with the Team Rocket logo written in bright red letters.

“I’m very disappointed in you, Louisa,” Giovanni said crossly, not even bothering to look at her, “I gave specific orders that you were not to open this door, for any reason, unless I or one of my guards were here to help.”

The old woman stammered, “I am aware of the trouble I’m in, sir. You see, it’s because I...”

“I have full knowledge of your so called ‘lapses,’ Louisa. As for trouble, you have no idea how much of it you’re in right now! Do you have any idea what this....this...THING tried to do to me?!”

Louisa just looked at him fearfully.

“I was nearly burnt in my bed! If my guest hadn’t woken up and helped me out of that mess, you wouldn’t even HAVE a leader!”

The figure suddenly gave a maniacal, yet menacing laugh. Giovanni shivered to hear such a noise. He then turned to look at Louisa: there was fire in his eyes as he spoke in a lower tone,

“I don’t wish to raise suspicion in my guest, so I’ll let it go for now. However, if anything like it happens again, to me, him, or anyone else, you shall not escape punishment. Is that clear?”

Louisa licked her lips nervously, “Yes, sir.”

With that, Giovanni left the room, and Louisa quickly locked the door after him. The crazed laughter was still in his ears as he made his way out of the lair and back upstairs.



Ash came home at least two minutes after George came up. It was still too early for breakfast, so Ash decided to watch a little TV in his room. When he got upstairs he noticed that the door to George’s room was unlocked, and took a peak inside.

Edward was cleaning up the disgusting mess on the floor, and gathering up the laundry. Sarah was taking some fresh new curtains and sheets out of a large trunk by the window. Both soon noticed Ash standing in the doorway, and smiled at him.

“Hello, young sir,” greeted Edward.

“Hello, deary,” said Sarah.

“Hey there, guys,” Ash replied, “What’s going on? What happened?” He pretended to be clueless about the disaster.

“We’re just cleaning up a bit in here,” answered Edward, “Your father was reading in bed last night. However, he made the common mistake of using a candle instead of his electric lamp.”

Sarah nodded, “He fell asleep while it was still lit and the curtains caught fire.”

Ash feigned a realistic gasp, “I was wondering why he slept in my bed last night! Is he okay? Where is he?”

“Of course he is, dear,” Sarah hastily answered, trying to calm Ash down, “He luckily woke up in time to put the fire out. And I believe he is waiting for you in the study, downstairs.”

“Thanks, guys,” Ash replied as he left the room. As he ran to his room, he couldn’t help but chuckle: George said that he would make up an excuse, and he did.

All the Pokémon were very glad to see him; they were worrying about where he was. Ash said that they were all going to look for more Water Pokémon later. He called them back into their Poké Balls (except for Pikachu) and ran downstairs to the study.



George was reading a book when Ash and Pikachu walked in. Persian was sleeping on the sofa.

“Ah, there you are,” he said, “Did Aurora make her boat?”

Ash nodded, “Yeah, she did.” He then hinted to the people upstairs, “Boy, that was some lie you came up with!”

Pikachu just looked at Ash, “Pika?”

George waved his hand slowly. “I’d prefer to think of it as ‘stretching the truth’...just a little.” He then put the book down, “Listen, Ash, Edward and Sarah are a little busy, so why don’t we go out to breakfast? There’s a Pancake House down the road that makes very good French toast.”

Ash broke out in a grin, as did Pikachu.

“Sounds great!”

“Pika chu!”

Ash got himself and the Pokémon ready while George went upstairs to tell his two friends. By about 8:00 AM, they were heading down the street in the morning sunshine.
 
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Ororo Munroe

Guest
Another chapter I already read but also another good one. Heh, I think it's amusing how he has Rocket Grunts and Louisa living in his house without nobody knowing.
 

ZeldaFan20

Coral Eye Trainer
Sorry this one's so short, guys. I promise that the next one will be longer. Enjoy!





Chapter Thirteen



During the next few days, things became quiet again. Ash caught a lot more Pokémon, he and George were able to spend more time together, and all the Pokémon were able to gambol around the beach and gardens without a care in the world. During those times, Ash received phone calls from his mom and friends, and he never failed to reply.

About a week after that horrible night, George made a surprising announcement at breakfast:

“Listen up, everyone,” he began, “Despite how much time we’ve spent together, Ash, I feel I’ve been a bit busier than usual. I also feel that you need to acquire a better understanding of the kind of lifestyle I was brought up in. So, I decided to arrange a special gala event, right here at the villa, around late August.” George looked at the others with a big smile on his face, only to see confusion written all over theirs.

Edward spoke first, “Are you sure you want to do this, sir? I mean it’s a superb idea, of course. It’s just that...well...you have always hated fancy gatherings - ever since you were a small boy.”

“Wait a minute,” Ash cut in, “What’s a gala?”

“A gala,” Sara explained, “is like a party, only much bigger, and you dress up in beautiful clothes. There is music, dancing, delicious food, and you meet so many interesting people.”

“Fancy, huh?” Ash though a little bit. He’d never been crazy about fancy-do’s either. Still, he always loved a good party. “I guess it would be okay. I’ve always wanted to know what it was like to be with high-class guys (except, of course, for that thing with James’s family, but that’s another story).”

“Then it’s settled!” George said gladly, “We’ll have the best caterers and musicians in all of Kanto. Sarah, I’ll need your help preparing invitations for friends and family.”

“Yes, sir,” said Sarah.

“Can Mom, Professor Oak, and the others come too?” Ash asked.

George smiled and nodded, “Sure, if they want to. I am inviting family and friends after all.”

“YES!” Ash literally jumped three feet above his chair when he heard this. When he sat back down, though, everyone saw him clutch and clear his throat.

“Ash, are you alright?” George asked. “Come to think of it, you’ve been coughing and clearing your throat ever since we arrived.”

“I’m fine: just a little sore, that’s all.” But it wasn’t just sore: after that last shout, Ash actually sounded more hoarse than before.

Edward suddenly walked over, “I used to be the family physician before I started working here. Let me have a look.”

Edward sat down next to Ash. He then took a tiny, pocket-sized flashlight from his vest, and shined it down Ash’s throat. “Let me see, hmm...” After what seemed like forever, Edward finally looked up and grinned, “I believe it’s nothing a little ice cream and some throat-drops won’t remedy.”

“Is the young master alright, dear?” Sarah asked.

Edward nodded, “Oh yes, quite alright. In fact, he is not ill at all: it’s simply because his voice-box has begun to alter in shape and size.”

George and Sarah soon broke out in smiles themselves. Ash, however, was unclear of what Edward just said.

“Um...English translation, please?”

George chuckled, “Ash, what Edward is saying is that, well, your voice is changing. You know, getting deeper.”

Ash looked shocked, “Is that bad?”

“No, no, it’s good. It’s just one of those things boys go through on their way to becoming men. It means that you’re growing up,” George wiped away a tear, “At least I got to see you in your last few days of childhood.”

Ash made a face, “Gee, Dad, you make it sound like I was dying or something.” Everyone started to laugh, including the Pokémon.



A few minutes later, Ash and Pikachu (along with their other friends) walked back to his bedroom. As he entered, Ash heard a beep-beep coming from the bed: the PokéGear had a message! He ran over, picked it up, and pressed the message button.

“You have TWO messages.”

BEEP!

“Hi, hon, it’s Mom! Just calling to see how you were. I think it’s great you caught some new Pokémon, especially Water types (Misty’s very jealous of you for that, hee hee hee!). I’ve kept your room nice and tidy, and all your presents have been put away for you. By the way, the others send their love, and they can’t wait to hear from you again. Send mine to your father, and give us another ring when you can. Love you! Bye!”

BEEP!

“Hi, Ash, it’s Aurora! How’ve you been this past week? I’ve been great. Right now, I’m at the Pokémon Center in Ecruteak; one of my friends at the orphanage is being adopted, so we’re all having a party to celebrate. Bee and I’ll be staying for two more days, but then we’re leaving for Violet City. Bee says ‘Hello,’ by the way, and we both really miss you. Give us a call after you get this message, ’kay? Hope to hear from you soon. Bye.”

BEEP!

“End of messages.”


Ash was happy to hear both messages, but the one from Aurora made him giddy with joy. Without wasting any time, he dialed the number for the Pokémon Center.

“Ecruteak City Pokémon Center. May I help you?” said the person on the other end.

“Hello, Nurse Joy, this is Ash Ketchum. Remember me?”

“Of course! How are you, Ash?’

“Great. Listen, I’m trying to reach a girl by the name of Aurora Clearwater. Is she there?”

“If you’ll wait one second, I’ll have her paged for you.”

“Sure, I’ll wait. Thanks.”

What followed was a stream of music as Ash was put on hold. Before a minute was up, the line was picked up again. This time, though, it wasn’t Nurse Joy.

“Hello, Ash?” said a girl’s voice.

“Hey, Aurora, I just got your message.”

“Oh, Ash, it’s so good to hear your voice! Did you catch anymore Pokémon?"

“Lots, and not all of them are Water types. How was your friend’s party?”

“Actually, the party is this afternoon. Oh, Ash, I’m so happy for her. Kris was just adopted by this great couple from New Bark Town, and after she gets settled in, she’s going to go for her Trainer’s Licence!”

“Wow, that’s great! Tell her that I said ‘congrats’ too.”

“I will.” Suddenly, Aurora paused. "Say, Ash, you didn’t happen to get another one of those visits, did you?” She sounded very worried.

Ash knew what she meant by visits. “No, I didn’t. Now that you mention it, it’s been pretty quiet this week.” Ash then had an idea, but he had to clear his throat again before speaking.

“Listen, Aurora...um...I was wondering...do you think you’ll be able to come back to the island...say...around late August?” Ash blushed as he spoke.

“It’s a possibility. Why?”

“Well...my dad is planning this big party - I think he called it a gala - around that time. He’s inviting friends and family, so I thought...”

“A gala? You mean like a ball? It sounds fabulous, of course we’ll come (I’ll bring Bee along too)!”

“Great. As soon as I get an exact date, I’ll give you a buzz, okay?”

“I’ll be waiting.”

“Hope to hear from you again, Aurora. Bye, Bee.”

“Bye, Ash.”

Ringle-ringle,” Bee called.

As Ash hung up the PokéGear, he gave another leap off the floor; he was so happy to know that Aurora was coming to the party, that he almost forgot to make a similar call to his mom. He was soon dialing his house in Pallet Town.

“Hello?” Delia asked.

“Hi, Mom, guess who?”

“Ash! Hi, baby! How are you and Aurora doing?”

“Aurora left for Johto a week ago, but she and I are doing great (I just called her a minute ago). How are you holding up?”

“We’re all doing fine; Misty and Brock have been a big help. We’re currently having breakfast with Samuel, Gary, Tracey, and Daisy.” At that moment, Ash could hear people shouting in the background:

“Hi, Ash!”

“We miss you!”

“Come home soon!”

Ash smiled as he heard his friends’ greetings. Then he remembered the reason he was calling. “Hey, Mom, Dad’s having a big party sometime around late August. Do you guys want to come?”

“Oh, honey, a party sounds fantastic! Let me ask the others.” Ash listened to the confusing sounds of too many people talking at once, before Delia finally came back on the line.

“Well, Samuel and Tracey have a lot of work to do at the lab, Gary is going to Viridian City to become the new Gym Leader, and Misty is going back to Cerulean City to help her sisters. But Brock, Daisy, and I are definitely going.”

“Great. I’ll call you guys back when I get a...Gary’s going to be a WHAT?” Ash was in a state of shock and surprise by the news.

“Oops, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you: Pokémon League Headquarters offered Gary the position of Gym Leader at Viridian City a few days ago. He starts in just three more days!”

“Wow, that’s the best news I’ve heard all day! Tell him I said ‘good luck,’ and ‘congratulations!’

“I’ll do that, dear. You’d better get to work planning that party with your father.”

“Okay, I’ll tell him you all said ‘hi’.”

“Take care. Good-bye, Sweetheart!”

“Bye!” said the others in the background.

“See ya!” he responded before hanging up.
 
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