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The Broken One [One Shot]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Shurtugal, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Shurtugal

    Shurtugal The aura is with me.

    Warning: Contains dark themes. Mild violence.

    Summary: You can only put off the inevitable for so long. Ash found out the hard way.

    Notes: You can also find this story on fanfiction here. Feedback of any kind is both acceptable and appreciated. Please, enjoy.

    The Broken One


    "Prepare for trouble!"

    "Yes, and make it double!"


    Ash groaned. Did these idiots ever stop chasing him and Pikachu? No matter what region he went to, no matter what companions he traveled with, no matter what Pokémon he had on him, they were always there, always trying to capture Pikachu.

    If Ash was honest with himself, he didn't hate Team Rocket, not really. Those three were too incompetent to be evil. They cared for one another and were loyal, and they traveled the world together. In a way, Team Rocket wasn't so different from him; they just made bad decisions.

    Why did they insist on chasing him and Pikachu, though? Surely there were better trainers they could steal from. Sometimes, when Ash sat down and thought about everything, he realized that he just didn't get it.

    "To protect the world from devastation!"

    "To unite all evils within our nation!"


    Pikachu shifted slightly on Ash's shoulders. "Pika-pi."

    Ash smiled softly. "Yeah, I know."

    Ash could practically hear Pikachu's voice in his head — Here we go again. Pikachu wasn't just talking about Team Rocket, Ash knew that much. Pikachu was talking about everything, his journey, his dream, his companions — Team Rocket was just one more thing added to the bucket list.

    Pikachu may be right about Team Rocket, but he wasn't right about his journey. His journey was special, important, and fun. It was the grand adventure he dreamed about as a child — going on his journey and become the Champion. One of these days, he would be the champion, too. He was sure of it.

    "To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

    "To extend our reach to the stars above!"


    Pikachu turned around and looked pointedly at Ash. "No, you don't know, or we wouldn't be here."

    Ash lowered his head. "That's not true…"

    Pikachu tilted his head back and made a "Pika-ka-ka" sound, which Ash immediately recognized as a laugh.

    "Jessie!"

    "James!"


    Pikachu was wrong. His journey was important — it wasn't pointless. Sure, he hadn't won a championship yet, but it wasn't like he was losing on purpose so he could go on another adventure or something… or did he?

    "Team Rocket blasting off at the speed of light!"

    "Surrender now or prepare to fight, fight, fight!"

    "Meowth, that's right!"


    Ash's female companion shrieked. "Oh no! It's Team Rocket!"

    His male companion added, "Not again!"

    Ash was getting tired of this. He knew they must be, too: Jessie's hair, which used to be a brilliant red, now had gray streaks in it. James was actually starting to lose hair, and Meowth's medallion was rusted in a way that no amount of polishing could fix.

    Ash almost felt sorry for them, and for the contraption he knew he'd eventually destroy.

    It was useless, but Ash cried out, "Pikachu, use Thunderbolt!"

    Pikachu fired a Thunderbolt that Ash knew was nowhere near full power. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen it that way, either. The Thunderbolt arced away from Team Rocket and sputtered off uselessly at a tree with a conspicuous looking metal device on the top.

    Jessie gave an award-winning smile. "Ha-ha! We knew you'd try to use Thunderbolt, so we installed a lightning rod on that tree! Now Pikachu's ours!"

    Ash pulled his hat down to cover his face. He really couldn't resist the urge to laugh. Did they even realize the lightning had burnt and destroyed the tree the lightning rod had been attached on? They put a lightning rod on a tree, and they expected that to work?

    Sadly, Ash knew they did expect it to work… or maybe they didn't. Maybe they were going through the motions, too.

    "Pikachu, use another Thunderbolt!"

    Meowth laughed cockily. "Heh, look at da twerp, orderin' his Pikachu ta use Daundabolt! Dat won't work on —"

    Lightning flashed and, miraculously, defying all laws of physics, Team Rocket was once again in the air.

    "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!"

    "Yay, we beat Team Rocket!" His female companion exclaimed.

    His male companion smirked. "That'll show them!"

    Ash, as usual, ignored them. He was tired, oh so tired.

    -o-o-o-

    "Ash, you got to stop this."

    Pikachu and he were at the Pokémon Center, staying in one of the rooms for the night. They had the room all to themselves — they had spare rooms for his companions.

    Ash raised his voice. "Pikachu, I don't want to talk about this."

    "And you think I do? We need to talk about this. I've let this go for too long, and I can't let it go on any longer."

    "Let what go on longer, Pikachu? This journey? Pikachu, you know—"

    "What journey, Ash? You keep trying to relive your first journey, but your first journey is over, no matter how much you don't want it to be."

    "Shut up, Pikachu, shut up!" The room turned deadly silent. "Pikachu, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you."

    Pikachu closed his eyes. "I know you didn't mean to, Ash. I'm sorry, too. I'm sorry I've let this go on for so long. You keep replacing our team. Every year you replace us… Squirtle for Totodile… Charizard for Infernape… Pigeot for Fletchling… how long is it going to be before this isn't 'our' team anymore? How much longer before you replace me?"

    "Pikachu, I'd never —!"

    "But you already have!" Pikachu glared at Ash. "You've replaced them, and soon enough, you're going to replace me, too. You're even replacing your companions!"

    Ash lowered his head. "No, I'm not —"

    "What ever happened to Misty? Or Brock? How can you stand being around such young kids?"

    "They're not—"

    "You're not ten anymore, Ash."

    "YOU TAKE THAT BACK!" Tears swarmed Ash's vision. "Tha-that's not true. I-I am ten… stop trying to tell me I'm not. Take it back."

    Pikachu walked over towards the door. "I wish I could, Ash, I wish I could — but I can't. I've been a horrible starter to let things get this far. "

    Pikachu started opening the door.

    "P-Pikachu? Where are you going?"

    "I'm going out for some fresh air. I need a quiet place to sit and think. I-I'm so sorry, Ash, but I care for you… I just don't know how much longer I can let you do this…"

    Pikachu walked out of the room, leaving Ash to fend a whirlwind of emotions by himself.

    -o-o-o-

    Ash was lying down on his bed staring at the ceiling, alone with his thoughts and the world. He hadn't been aware Pikachu had felt that way. He'd never replace Pikachu, not now, not ever!

    But… was he really replacing his old team? He never gave his team much thought, but now that he was laying here thinking about it… his teams did always seem like his first.

    How did his old team feel about being at Oak's estate? They were battling Pokémon, not indoor pets… Maybe he was being careless. Arceus — was he no different than Paul? Sure, Ash didn't release any of his Pokémon, but leaving them at Oaks lab? That was even worse: they don't get to battle nearly as often anymore!

    Maybe Ash would withdraw them — yeah, it was against regulations to carry more than six Pokémon, but who would really know? It wasn't fair to them for Ash to not take them. He didn't want to replace them; he loved them all. They deserved to travel with him just as much as Pikachu did.

    Ash smiled. Yeah, he'd do just that. Professor Oak probably wouldn't mind, either. He was cool like that. He'd tell Pikachu, too. Ash knew he was putting aside the heart of what Pikachu was getting at, but maybe if he took everyone else with him, what he was doing might not be so bad.

    Ash got up. Yeah... yeah, he'll tell Pikachu his plan. That's what he'll do. He opened the door and left, not feeling the least bit antsy.

    -o-o-o-

    When Ash got outside of the Pokémon Center, he found his companions and a Meowth-shaped air balloon.

    "Prepare for trouble!"

    "Yes, and make that double!"


    Ash briefly wondered if Team Rocket realized that using a hot air balloon of that shape ruined all tact and subtleness they had going for them.

    "To protect the world from devastation!"

    "To unite all evils within our nation!"


    Two times in one day? That was unusual, but then again, this was Team Rocket he was talking about. Everything about them was unusual.

    "To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

    "To extend our reach to the stars above!"


    Arceus, why do they insist on chanting this extremely long motto? What was the point, anyway? What did it accomplish?

    Ash looked around for Pikachu. Where was he? He spotted Pikachu near Team Rocket's air balloon, and did a double take. Pikachu wasn't moving at all. His eyes were wide opened — he wasn't even blinking! Wait a minute — was Pikachu even breathing?

    "Jessie!"

    "Ja—"


    "PIKACHU!"

    Ash pushed his companions aside and ran over to Pikachu's side, prodding him, poking, doing anything he could to elicit a response.

    "Pikachu! Can you hear me?"

    Pikachu didn't say a word. Ash had tears already streaming down his face. "Pikachu… please, say something."

    There was a moment of silence. Then —

    "What did you guys do?" Ash's voice was eerily calm and collected.

    Jessie's face went slightly pale. "Y-You see, we found him like that."

    "Yeah, honest!" James added.

    Meowth continued. "We dun't have a clue."

    Ash glared at them. "And you expect me to believe that?"

    The trio stumbled backwards. "W-We're telling the truth. You gotta believe us. We—"

    Ash's palms slowly curled into fists, briefly flashing with blue and purple aura. "You... you IDIOTS! YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO COME HERE AND RUIN EVERYTHING AND—" Ash's voice broke. "AND NOW PIKACHU'S DEAD! HE'S DEAD BECAUSE OF YOU!"

    "No, we didn't —"

    Ash reached into his back pocket, pulling out a special Pokeball. "Go, Charizard."

    Charizard came out and let out a mighty roar. He glared at Team Rocket and snarled.

    "Charizard, kill them."

    Charizard’s eyes widened. He turned towards Ash, as if to make sure he heard correctly.

    Ash pointed at Pikachu. "They killed Pikachu."

    That was all the incentive Charizard needed. He let out a stream of fire fly into the sky before charging Team Rocket.

    "W-we're not going down that easily!" James cried. "Go, pokeball!"
    His pokemon gave out an excited cry, before rushing over and tackling James. "Attack the Twerp, not me! The Twerp!"

    This whole thing... the whole comedy routine... it made Ash sick.
    "Charizard, burn it."

    Charizard opened his jaw and unleashed a burst of flames. Jame's pokemon and the Goldeen Poop Gang took the full blunt of the attack.
    "Oh no, looks like Team Rocket's— "

    "Oh no you don't! Charizard, after them!"

    Wings out, Charizard took a giant leap in the air and used a steel wing, cutting the trio in half cleanly.

    Ash's female companion ran to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Ash!” She was crying. “What have you done? What are you—"

    Ash slapped her hand. "Shut up. Don't touch me."

    Ash returned Charizard and walked over to Pikachu, tears pricking at his eyes. Ash grabbed another Pokémon from his back pocket, one he hadn't touched in a long, long time. "P-pikachu, return."

    Ash retreated back into his room. The next day, his companions awoke, only to find Ash nowhere to be found.

    -o-o-o-

    The sun shined, the grass blades were soft to the touch, and they moved, slightly, almost rhythmically, against the light, breezy winds.

    Ash’s whole word was ruined, yet the weather dared to be beautiful.

    A single, gentle hand rubbed Ash’s shoulder softly. “It’s going to be ok, Ash. Pikachu’s in a better place now.”

    Ash doubted there was any single place that could be better for Pikachu then next to him or on his shoulder, but he didn’t dare correct his mother.
    It took a full day on Charizard’s back, but Ash made it to Pallet Town. Pikachu always said he wanted to be buried in Pallet Town’s graveyard, right next to—

    No. Ash pulled down his hat to the side, the same side that was stained with tear streaks, and silently cried into it. He couldn’t let himself think about Pikachu. Pikachu wouldn’t want him to be like this…

    His mother slowly took her hand and lifted Ash’s hat. “It’s ok to cry, Ash.” It was then he noticed his mother had tears in her eyes, too. “It’s ok…”
    Ash wrapped his mother into a tight hug, and cried into her shoulder. Delilah returned the hug, and he could feel her crying, too. They stayed like that, crying, taking solstice into each other, for a long, long time.

    -o-o-o-

    “Mother, I’m leaving.”

    Delilah continued washing dishes, not even bothering to look up. “When are you coming home?”

    Even though she wasn’t looking at him, Ash looked away from her. “I… I don’t know.”

    He could feel her looking at him now. “You are in no condition to be going anywhere, young man!” Ash winced. He had a feeling she would react like this. “I cannot allow you to continue that stupid journey of yours yet.”

    Ash turned towards her with an audible gasp. “They’re not stupid!”

    Delilah glared at him. “Your father left for his journey and wound up dead on Mt. Silver! You left for your journey and look at you! What have you accomplished?”

    “I accomplished a lot—“

    “That journey has consumed your life! I bet you didn’t even realize that Mimey—.”

    Ash looked around and noticed for the first time Mr. Mime was nowhere to be seen. “That Mr. Mime what? What… what happened to Mr. Mime?”

    Delilah’s voice came out hollow and broken. “Mimey’s dead, Ash. He died. And because of your stupid journey, you never talked to me, you never found out, and you didn’t attend his funeral. And because of you’re stupid journey, I might lost you, too, just like I lost your father.”

    “…” Ash pulled his hat down to the side. “I’m leaving… but I’ll be back soon. I promise.”

    Delilah looked up at him in shocked, and wordlessly watched him walk out the door.

    -o-o-o-

    The first one was a joke. She didn’t expect his challenge — he did push the man out front to get inside, after all — and she refused to battle him.

    Of course, when Ash threatened to kill her, she happily accepted his challenge.

    And like he said — she was a joke. Her pokemon were surprisingly easy to defeat. He didn’t need to use many recovery items, either.

    “I hope you know this is illegal!” she spat. “You’re not allowed even to be here!”

    Ash just looked at her. “I beat you fair and square. Open the door or I’ll kill you.”

    Once again, this got results. He advanced effortlessly.

    -o-o-o-

    “Ash, my boy! What a surprise! What brings you here?”

    Ash didn’t tell Professor Oak about Pikachu yet, nor did he plan to. He didn’t want to relive it.

    Besides, it was none of Oak’s business.

    Ash came here with one purpose in mind. “I’d like to swap out my team.”

    Oak raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

    “Yes. I’d like to withdraw these Pokemon.” He handed Oak a sheet of paper.

    Oak stared wordlessly at what Ash had given him. “I see… Come with me.”

    -o-o-o-

    The next one put up more of a fight—no pun intended.
    He didn’t like Ash one bit. But he still accepted his challenge. Ash figured he must have assumed he was authorized to be here if the last one let him through.

    That made things easier. His pokemon weren’t pushovers, but they relied too much on brute strength. Ash’s pokemon easily outsmarted them in battle.

    Ash almost froze when faced against his Onix. Memories of Pikachu almost consumed him, but a Hydro Pump took it out in a single shot.

    -o-o-o-

    “If any one of you doesn’t want to do this with me, I won’t hold it against you to leave now.”

    None of them moved. Ash smiled for the first time since Pikachu’s death. Even if he wasn’t always there for them, they were always there for him.

    And just like that, he immediately felt guilty. “Bulbasaur… Squirtle… if we’re going to do this, I’m going to have to ask you to evolve. I… I know it’s asking a lot, but considering what we’re up against…”

    Ash was further touched when the two of them evolved without a single hesitation.

    He had never felt prouder of his team before.

    For you, Pikachu.

    -o-o-o-

    “Foolish child. You will not get past me.”

    The third one was old. He expected her to be easy, but she ended up being the hardest. Experience played a part, but Ash could mostly tell that she was just skilled. Her Pokemon were ruthless and used strategies he’d never seen before.

    Ash found himself using recovery items more than once. He might have lost, though, if it weren’t for Charizard. His brute strength allowed him to power through her team towards the end of the battle. Of course, Charizard was only able to win because of his other pokemon’s efforts of wearing down her team.

    For the first time, Ash truly understood the meaning of teamwork.

    -o-o-o-

    Delilah dropped her apple pie when she saw the news. What was her son thinking? If he didn’t stop this madness, the government might…

    She tried calling him, but of course, he left his pokegear at home. Delilah felt the urge to barge up there and drag him back home herself.

    But without Mimey…

    She wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps one of Ash’s companions could help her instead.

    She picked up the phone and dialed the first person she could think of.

    -o-o-o-

    “Ash! What are you doing here?” Lance’s jaw line was set, his eyes were twitching, and his hands were clenched tightly.

    Ash was anything but calm. “It was your job wipe out Team Rocket! And you failed! All you do is sit there on your throne and do nothing to help the region or any of the problems we have! Because of your incompetence, Pikachu is—!” Ash pulled his hat down to the side. “You’re not fit to be champion. So that’s why I’m here. I’m going to take your title from you.”

    Lance glared at Ash coolly. “You can try.” He sent out his indecent red Gyarados.

    Ash sized it up. “Go, Charizard.”

    Lance didn’t waste any time. “Hydro Pump!”

    Ash activated his Key Stone, and Charizard was encased in a pink bubble, which the Hydro Pump harmlessly bounced off of. Charizard came out black, with blue flames froathing off the maw of his mouth.

    “Charizard, Dragon Claw.”

    It was an instant knock out.

    Lance’s eyes went wide. “H-how?” Ash didn’t answer him, watching silently as he recalled his Gyarados in favor for one of his Dragonair.

    “Thunder Wave!”

    Charizard proved to possess ultrasonic speed. He easily maneuvered around the Thunder Wave and retaliated with a Dragon Claw.
    Another one hit knock out.

    Lance’s shock ebbed away in favor for aggravation. He stubbornly substituted his Dragonair for his other one.

    Predictably, that one was also taken out with a single attack.

    Ash laughed hollowly. “How pathetic. Agatha put up a harder fight than you.”

    Lance’s face was red. If Ash had to guess, he seemed livid. “Let’s see if you can beat this one. Aerodactyl, go!”

    “Rock Slide!”

    Ash let out a resigned sigh. He was tired, oh so tired. . .

    “Dragon Claw.”

    Charizard ripped the rocks to shreds, and batted the Aerodactyl out of the sky. It was surprisingly still conscious, but it looked like it didn’t have much left in itself.

    Lance’s anger turned rapidly into desperation. “Sky Attack!”

    Charizard took it down with a well-aimed Dragon Tail.

    Lance was visibly sweating now. “Well, you won’t get past this one so easily!” He called fourth his Dragonite.

    “Use Outrage!”

    Dragonite charged Charizard with alarming speeds.

    Both Pokemon were at such high level — one attack from either of them would knock out the other. Ash, oddly calm, made a gesture to Charizard. Double Teams swarmed around Charizard, and Dragonite missed. With each doppelganger Dragonite hit, his frustration doubled and doubled until he finally started spinning in confusion.

    Yes. The opportunity had shown itself. And Ash was going to take it.

    “Charizard. Use Outrage.”

    The attack was too much for Dragonite. It was down and out.
    Lance started in dumb shock. “I-I lost…”

    “Charizard…” Ash glared at Lance. Charizard plucked Lance into the air, their faces only inches apart.

    “A-Ash? What are you doing?”

    Ash’s voice was raw with venom. “Doing what should have been done years ago…”

    Lance’s eyes pleaded with Ash’s. “Please, don’t do this…”

    Ash was about to say something, but something hard, something familiar, hit him on his head.

    -o-o-o-

    “Hello?”

    Delilah smiled. Someone finally answered. “Yes, may I speak to Misty?”

    The voice sounded cautious. “This is she.”

    “Thank goodness! This is Mrs. Ketchum.”

    “Oh!” Misty sounded astonished. “Hi! How are you?”

    “Never mind that! I need your help. I-it’s Ash…”

    “What’s wrong?” Misty sounded generally worried.

    “Turn on the six o’clock new.”

    -o-o-o-

    “M-Misty?”

    The first thing Ash discovered was that she changed. She was taller, her breasts were bigger (as much as he tried not to notice), her face was more refined, and her hair wasn’t nearly as ratty.

    At the same time, she was still Misty. Her lips still twitched when she was angry, her eyes were still the colors of a raging sea storm, and she still had her damn mallet.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” Misty face was puffed, and she had that look that still gave him nightmares.

    “You can’t even begin to understand what I’ve been going through, Misty! Don’t talk like you—“ Misty lifted her mallet and smashed his head in with it. “Ow!”

    “Why are you attacking the champion? What did he do to you?”

    Ash glared at her. “It’s his fault Team Rocket is still around! T-they… they killed Pikachu, Misty.”

    Her face softened, but only slightly. “Ash… your mother told me Team Rocket found him dead already… what if they weren’t lying?”

    Ash looked up at her. “What do you mean? They had to be lying. They’re Team Rocket!”

    “I don’t think so.” She shook her head. “The Team Rocket I knew wouldn’t kill Pikachu, especially since they were trying to catch him.”

    Ash was shouting now. “Stop it! You don’t know! You—!”

    “Ash… don’t you know? The lifespan of a Pikachu is only four years. You’re lucky he lived as long as he did.”

    Ash’s eyes glazed over. “B-but I’ve only had him for one year. I’m only ten year—“

    “No, Ash. You’re not ten anymore.”

    Ash snapped at her. “THAT’S NOT TRUE! I’M AM TEN AND—!”

    Misty looked at him with pity. “Ash, look at me. Do I still look ten to you?”

    The room was silent. Ash slumped to his knees, and pulled his hat down over his eyes. “…What have I done?”

    This whole time, Pikachu was right. His journey… what did it even mean anymore? What was he doing with his life?

    Misty crouched over next to him, slowly lifted his hat over his eyes, and embraced him in a hug. “It’s ok, Ash… It’s going to be alright… I’ll help you get through this… I promise.”

    Misty let Ash go and walked over to Lance. “Lance, I know this is asking a lot, but… well, I know you understand where Ash is coming from… I guess what I’m trying to say is… can you please let this one go?”

    Lance knew what she was really asking. He was hesitant, but nodded. “I suppose so, Misty, I suppose so…”

    Misty turned to Ash. “Come on, Ash. Let’s go.” She stretched her hand out for Ash to take.

    He sat there, staring at her. He had been so horrible to her. He hadn’t even talked to her since that reunion they had… Since then he had been replacing her—her and Brock—yet here she was, still here for him, still helping him out, forever his moral compass.

    Ash understands now. He couldn’t get through this by himself. He needed someone — no, he needed a specific someone.

    And she was right in front of him.

    It was far from healing, it was far from going back to the way things used to be, but he took her hand and slowly started to pull himself up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  2. Shymain

    Shymain Shaymin Lover

    I would say that you most likely do not know me. I am Shymain. If you were active about a year ago, you will know that I used to spend an excessive amount of times on Serebii, especially this section and the 3rd Generation section. I have left the forums, and I was browsing through the fanfiction section purely for nostalgia sake when I saw this.

    This will most likely be the only time that I ever post on the forum again.

    This story is... so many things that I can barely even describe it in words, but here goes.

    Firstly, this story is heartbreaking. The relation between Pikachu and Ash is most likely the strongest bond in all of the Pokemon Canon to ever exist, and that is because of the strong brotherly love between them. This is the best representation of a relationship between two living beings that I have ever seen, and that includes Kutie Pie's amazing story. This is completely realistic and accurate in the description of what the relationship would have been like in this condition, especially with Pikachu only worrying about Ash when he himself was deteriorating to such an extent.

    This story is unique. Of all of the stories that I have seen that take the canon and put their own twist(s) on it, this one is the only one of such a high quality and with such imagination and innovation that it becomes as authentic as if it was a whole canon of its own. The realism and accuracy in description and events are such that this story is completely believable.

    This story is grammatically perfect. I read this maybe three or four times, and it was absolutely flawless in every way -- at least, that is what I thought. I didn't catch any mistakes.

    I am not going to stick to the practice of quoting parts of the story and commenting, because there are no mistakes, nothing that I think could be improved and making a point of how good one part is would be pointless -- I would end up quoting the whole text. One thing I have to say, though, is that the character development is amazing for such a short story -- it's better than most multi-chaptered stories that I have read. And the reason I keep comparing this to stories that I have read is because I have read a heck of a lot of stories. And this is undoubtedly the BEST.

    The diction in this story, on a sidenote, is extremely developed and very appropriate in the context of where the story is and what is happening.

    I cannot believe that I had the fortune to be the first reply to this astounding story.

    In conclusion: I am an extremely unemotional person, and I never show much facial expression unless it is intentional -- for example, my face is expressionless when I'm not meaning to convey an emotion. And this story made me cry. That is how amazingly sad this story. Because I NEVER cry.

    Thank you for gracing my life with this amazing work of art. You are one of the best authors on this forum -- no offense to anyone else, but in my opinion, this is undoubtedly true.

    -Shymain
     
  3. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly

    Warning: This review is incredibly long, and I apologize for that. I hope it isn't overwhelming, and that it still proves useful to you.

    After seeing Shymain’s review, I thought I’d take a look at this fic. You definitely have an interesting premise here, and you start the story with a scene that gives us a lot of insight into Ash’s character, setting a good tone for the story. The topics you chose to explore of reliving the past, denial and loss are great ones, and I like the general direction you took it in. That said, there were areas where this fic fell short which are integral to making a story like this work.

    To start off, I really liked your opening. It gives us insight into Ash’s thoughts and shows how he perceives Team Rocket, and it's very very human and amusing. I like that he draws a comparison between himself and them - they are all stuck in the past and are bent on reliving it, which becomes more evident throughout the story. I also like that even Pikachu seems to recognize this, but only Pikachu realizes that it isn’t healthy. I think that’s an excellent theme to tackle here, I was really looking forward to seeing you explore that. I also really like that we get to see that Ash is clearly delusional, and there are times where he briefly realizes it. Even after all this time, he stills sees his journey as magical and a way of fulfilling his lifelong dream, which is kind of sweet.

    The conversation Pikachu starts up that night seems to come out of nowhere, though. Pikachu’s claims that Ash is merely trying to relive his journey is an interesting point, however it would be much more powerful if we saw this happening in the story instead of Pikachu just giving examples. This is an issue of telling instead of showing, which I’ll touch upon later.

    I really like that Ash’s two companions here are never named. Being vague like that leaves room for interpretation for the reader - you could be referring to any of his companions from over the years, or new ones. But the point is that it doesn’t matter, and I think that's genuis. I also appreciated Pikachu bringing this up and making a point of how Ash replaces his human friends as well as his Pokémon ones. Ash being in denial about no longer being ten is somewhat interesting, but I found it seemed a bit too ridiculous.

    I like Ash sitting down and contemplating all this, and I wish you had spent more time on it since it was so interesting. That said, some of what he thought was kind of weird and illogical. For instance, in all canons, trainers don’t have the choice of carrying more than six Pokémon - additional Pokémon are sent to the PC automatically. Of course, if Ash wants his old Pokémon back with him, why not just replace his current team with them instead of breaking the law?

    The next scene is where things get weird. There's Team Rocket appearing again, Ash's companions being outside doing nothing, and Pikachu being mysteriously wide-eyed and dead. This scene raises so many questions, and we never do get an explanation. Readers want to know why a character dies, especially if the death is mysterious. This is supposed to be the turning point of the entire story, yet it feels like you killed off Pikachu for the sake of the plot without even bothering to figure out a logical reason for it to happen.

    The fact that Team Rocket apparently never even reference the comatose Pikachu until Ash asks them about it also feels unnatural. That Ash’s attempts at eliciting a response from Pikachu are “prodding him, poking” also sounds a lot sillier than you intended. Shaking or picking Pikachu up would make more sense. I do like the reference to Ash’s aura powers here, however the fact that it’s never referenced again during the fic make it feel random and out-of-place. I also like that Ash sees James’s inability to control his Pokémon as a comedy routine, and that this disgusts him - it gives us great insight to Ash’s state of mind.

    Charizard’s appearance here is confusing, however. Unless this takes place in Unova, Charizard should be at Oak’s lab. You never mention that Ash got his old Pokémon back before the second TR encounter, which makes Charizard’s appearance strange. Charizard also isn’t in a “special Pokéball,” so I’m not sure what you mean by this. On the topic of Charizard, when does Ash get a Key Stone and Charizardite X? Since you don’t specify when it happens in the fic, it feels random, plus it’s not really relevant to the plot, and like the aura powers, it’s entirely glossed over and never mentioned again.


    On to some general points about the overall story:
    In terms of the format, I found the way you intercut the scenes to be interesting, and I found it mostly worked for the story. The way you split up the Elite Four battles was nice, since having them all at once could have felt a bit repetitive. That said, I think you got your chronology mixed up. You have a scene of Ash approaching Oak to exchange his Pokémon, which you imply happened before he challenges the Elite Four. However, we see Ash using Charizard at the beginning of the story, so we assume that Ash already swapped out his Pokémon. Also, having the flashback where Delia contacts Misty right before revealing that it was Misty who smacked Ash isn’t really ideal - you can actually remove the scene with the phone call entirely.

    One of the big issues I noticed was telling instead of showing. Showing is a very powerful tool in storytelling. For example, when Pikachu says Ash is trying to replicate his first journey, we don’t see any proof of this during the story. Instead of giving us these examples through dialogue, show them happening. For example, have a scene with Ash catching a bird Pokémon and thinking about how it reminds him of Pidgeot (not spelled “Pigeot”) and their time together.

    The battle description were another issue. I think glossing over most of the Elite Four battles was a good choice. You go into more detail with the Lance battle, but it’s unfortunately not a very interesting or dynamic scene. There is very little atmosphere or tension, so it’s just hard to be interested in or care about it. Battles should be exciting; describe the Pokémon emerging from Pokéballs, the looks on their faces, their battle cries, executing attacks, being hit or dodging, fainting, the trainers strategizing and commanding and crying and their thoughts and expressions. This adds a lot to Pokémon fics.

    This is also supposed to be a rather violent story at times, so you can show that more. For instance, Charizard cleaving Team Rocket is pretty gruesome, so don’t be afraid to describe what it looks and sounds and even smells like. Show us Ash’s reaction to the corpses and the cries of horror from his companions.


    Your characters were definitely a mixed bag. The main characters were really Ash and Pikachu, though his other Pokémon, Delia and Misty also played important roles. The first two got the most attention, and I think you gave Delia a good amount of backstory. While it’s understandable that we didn’t get to learn much about Misty, his other Pokémon also had important roles in the story. Unfortunately, they had very little personality or presence. It felt like they’re just there to move the plot forward instead of being these team-mates that Ash values and has incredible bonds with. For example, Charizard’s lack of hesitation to kill feels very unnatural. He also has very little personality throughout the battles, making him seem robotic. Ash’s other Pokémon hardly even get a mention - we don’t even know who three of his Pokémon are, since only Charizard, Bulbasaur and Squirtle are mentioned by name. The latter two evolving on the spot (I assume twice each) at Ash’s request also feels a bit too convenient.

    That said, I found that your portrayal of Ash started off strong; we had a lot of insight into his way of thinking at the very beginning, and it created a fascinating set-up. Pikachu also seemed like a terrific character, grounding Ash by being realistic and seeing through his facade. The way they understood each other was really great. I would have really loved to see a fic devoted entirely to Ash and Pikachu’s relationship, and Pikachu helping Ash see the light. It was disappointing seeing Pikachu die, because from there it became a story about revenge instead of denial, and we got a lot less insight into what Ash was really thinking. There were still some nice moments, like Ash’s misery as a stark contrast against lovely weather, though.

    Unfortunately, this became a story about a murderer, and one whom the reader is supposed to cheer for. This aspect of the story is very strange. Ash kills Team Rocket in the first act, and there are never any repercussions. (Wouldn’t Ash’s companions report what he did to the police and start a man-hunt?) He threatens to kill Lorelei and nearly issues the order to kill Lance, but everybody just lets it go. (Incidentally, since you never say when Charizard puts Lance down, it seems that Charizard is still holding him while Ash and Misty are talking.) Throughout the story, Ash commits heinous crimes, is never punished, and yet the reader should still cheer for him? Even in stories where the reader winds up cheering for the bad guy, the writer convinces you to be on this character’s side, and you want that character to succeed. You never give us a reason to cheer Ash on - we don’t even know what he’s trying to accomplish here.


    Another general issue was consistency. This actually applied in a few places - the main issue was that the tone of the story fluctuated wildly. In a serious story about denial and loss, there are bits that are clearly supposed to be humorous that just feel out of place and ruin the mood. Calling Team Rocket the “Goldeen Poop Gang” right after Pikachu dies, or Misty bopping Ash on the head with a mallet and him staring at her breasts after Ash attempting to kill Lance make the story ridiculous when it’s supposed to be dramatic. Even wording, like Lorelei accepting Ash’s challenge “happily” after he threatens to kill her, or using the phrase “no pun intended” really affect the mood. The humour here did not work.

    I want to talk about how you handle age and lifespan in this story, as there were a number of issues there. For example, you kind of shot yourself in the foot when you had Misty state that a Pikachu’s lifespan is four years - being vague here would have been simpler. By giving an exact time frame, the reader will think about when this story is supposed to be set and how old Pikachu must be. Since you reference Paul, we know Ash has been travelling for at least ten seasons of the anime, and if each season is about one year…Pikachu has lived for over double his projected lifespan. To simplify this, Misty could just say something vague, like “Pikachu long outlived his lifespan.”

    In terms of aging, when describing how Team Rocket has aged, you had a lot of options, but you picked very specific details that connote them being older than you likely intended. For their hair to be falling out and greying, Jessie and James would likely be at least middle-aged, which means they've been chasing Pikachu for a long time. The opposite applies to Meowth - if Jessie and James are that old, (and Pikachu has already surpassed his lifespan) Meowth would likely be dead by now. Either way, I think you could have picked a better way to show Meowth’s age.

    I have to disagree with Shymain in that I found a number of grammatical and formatting issues throughout the story. For example, you spell the word “Pokémon” three different ways throughout the story - choose one and stick with it. The same applies to how you space ellipses. The formatting is also random - why did you bold Team Rocket’s motto and final exclamation? A general writing tip is to do everything for a reason; if you’re bolding certain text, there should be a reason for it.

    Here are some small errors that can be very easily fixed:
    This is a bit tricky, but when punctuating dialogue, consider if the tag (ex “he said” or “she asked”) can stand as an independent sentence that makes sense on its own. Examples:
    "That store sells candy," he said with a grin.
    "I hate you." The little girl crossed her arms and walked away.
    The first example doesn’t make sense without the dialogue, the second one does. This determines whether or not to capitalize the dialogue tag (and whether to use a comma or period, which doesn’t apply in the bit I quoted). Since "His female companion exclaimed” is not a complete sentence, it shouldn’t be capitalized.

    Should be “you’ve got to stop this.”

    “Pikachu and he” is an awkward way to phrase it, especially since their companions are in the Pokémon Center as well, just in different rooms.

    Should be “Oak’s”.

    “Twerp” is not a proper noun, so it should not be capitalized.

    This is a very awkward sentence due to the repetition of the verb “find,” so I’d suggest rewording it.

    I had to look this one up, but if you use the verb shine as in “to emit light,” then the past tense is “shone,” not “shined.” You can find a better explanation here. That is also a strange way to describe grass.

    “You’re” means “you are,” so this should be “your.” Also, it should be “lose you.”

    Should be “shock.”

    The second bit is not a complete sentence on its own. You have a few instances where two sentences should be a single sentence, with the second one beginning with a conjunction (and, but, or, for, so, etc.). When this happens, connect the two sentences by changing the period into a comma and removing the capitalization on the conjunction (“but” in this case).

    Should be “frothing,” and usually you don’t say “may of his mouth” - “maw” can often be used to simply mean “mouth.”

    Should be “in favour of.”

    Should be “news.”

    Be careful of your tenses. The story is written in past tense, so this should be “understood.”


    In conclusion, I know that review was huge, and I apologize. I really do think you have the potential to have a great fic here, but it seems that the story you set off to write and the finished product are two very different beasts. For me personally, I was looking forward to a story where Pikachu helps Ash (and maybe even Team Rocket) come to grips with his own denial and determination to relive the past, and instead start to live in the present. Instead, this story was about loss and grief and misplaced revenge. While those are still interesting topics, trying to cover all of them at once is a big endeavour, making it hard to do all in one short story.

    My primary advice is this: think about the story you want to tell, and make sure everything that happens in the story happens for a reason, and has an explanation behind it. (Don’t mysteriously kill off a character, or introduce something once and never mention it again.) Be careful of the tone and mood of your story. Give every character a unique personality, and give them time in the spotlight. Proofread. Show, don’t tell.

    You're off to a good start, and you can do it. Good luck. :)
    ~Psychic
     

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