Another fanfic in which I portray a character in a bad light. But, everyone grows up and change, for better or for worse. This has sequel potential, I feel. ^_^.
That word sounds like something small. But that he could simply sit and think, says something strong about him, and how he's changed.
His 20th birthday had passed a few days ago. No candles on his cake any more, he was too old for them. No party any more, he was too old for that.
It was only 10 years ago. Exactly 10 years ago today, that he'd started out for the first time with Pikachu. An eternity, given how much things had changed. His ambition and energy, for one. His determination, for another. His hope, for a third.
Hard to say where things went wrong, really. No, not that hard...
He knew what happened. He thought of how he was too proud of finally being a Pokemon Master that he forgot to look after his Pokemon properly.
Pikachu had been raised to be strong willed, as Ash had always given it freedom to choose what it wanted to do. But, after being scoffed at by Gary, who was *not* a Pokemon Master but still thought he was better than Ash... Ash started to realise maybe he should start acting more like a Pokemon Master and exert a bit more control over the Pokemon he commanded.
He forgot that back when he knew nothing about Pokemon battles or strategy, his strong friendship with his Pokemon was the only thing that kept them willing to do their best, and kept them trying hard and winning for him.
His first step was to firmly put Pikachu into a Pokeball. At first, he kept it out most of the time, as his companion, but as time went by, he gradually began to forget. Time does a lot of damage as well as good, and Ash began to forget what a good friendship he and Pikachu had had.
"I beat you once, and I'll definately beat you again!"
"Not a chance! My Cubone is *much* stronger than last time we met!"
Giselle and Ash faced off, each young and determined to win.
"Cubone, go! Bone club!"
"Go, Pikachu! Quick attack!"
The Pokemon leapt into action, but something was wrong, it was plain from the start.
Pikachu looked sad, dispirited... but it still fought its best, hoping to regain some of Ash's favour. It couldn't match up against its strong, advantaged opponent, however, and eventually fell without the strength to get back up.
"Pikachu!" snapped Ash, "don't give up like that! Try harder, why don't you! You can beat that Cubone if you try!"
Pikachu raised its head slightly at this 'encouragement', but didn't get up. It stared up at Ash with sad black eyes.
"Pika pi," it whispered, and its eyelids fluttered shut.
Ash looked as though he were about to kick Pikachu, but reconsidered as he realised, in shock, that Pikachu was very still.
Pikachu didn't respond. It wasn't breathing.
Giselle had told him, in a sympathetic tone, that Pikachu were mouse Pokemon, and didn't have very long lifespans. But Ash knew Pikachu could've lived a lot longer if it had wanted to badly enough. It just couldn't be bothered any more, with the kind of trainer it had always dreaded.
At that time, after Pikachu was gone, he remembered. He remembered him and Pikachu escaping the Spearows together. He remembered Pikachu trying very hard to fight Raichu. He remembered Pikachu going to face Kadabra, an impossible battle, to protect Ash. He remembered always protecting Pikachu from Team Rocket.
He remembered that they were friends.
And then it was too late.
Things had changed a lot. Brock and Misty had become disgusted at his new attitude, and arrogance. The two had gone off to continue their Pokemon discoveries together. Ash didn't know where they were now.
Eventually, he'd been approached by a man who wore a pin with a familiar red 'R'. He'd been approached, in the past, by many members of Team Rocket, who were looking to see if he was the type of person who'd like to be part of their organisation. His skills in Pokemon raising and battling were world famous.
Always before, they'd come away disappointed, realising that Ash was not the sort who would ever join a Pokemon crime gang. After a time, they'd left him alone. But now a member of Team Rocket approached him, a full year after the last one.
"With your skill, you could rise to the top!"
Ash considered the competition - mostly, Jessie and James. It'd been a long time since he'd seen them either. Misty suggested they'd gotten fired, Brock suggested they'd realised they weren't going to get anywhere with Ash, so gave up. Ash thought the two were too stupid to know when to quit, but then found out Brock *and* Misty had been right.
He found out, because he chose to go with the man from Team Rocket. What other choice had he? Somehow he'd lost the enthusiasm for Pokemon he once had, and now this was the best chance for success he had. Where do you go once you've reached the top? Back down, of course.
It turned out that Misty had been right about James, and Brock right about Jessie. Ironically, Ash was soon promoted from what was informally known as 'rookie' to a reasonable position, and found himself partners with Jessie. Neither of them knew what actually happened to James, and to be honest, neither of them cared. At least, Jessie pretended not to.
At that particular moment, while Ash was reflecting, and feeling a slight pang of guilt - which he forced himself to swallow - he was awaiting a new mission.
Jessie opened the door and stood in front of Ash, hands on hips. He waited expectantly.
"They've heard that a girl has an Omastar," said Jessie. The two both knew who 'they' were. "We're to relieve her of the pressures of raising it."
Ash smiled and stood. It wouldn't be a problem.
A young lady walked, in the company of two older men. But they all trusted each other. The lady was talking animatedly, gesturing as she spoke, and the other two were listening in interest.
"But James, it doesn't matter if they're disadvantaged with grass because they're part psychic, and -"
They were interrupted by a shout of:
"Prepare for trouble!"
The travellers cringed. The looked up, expectantly. They knew what this meant.
"Make it double!"
"To protect the world from devastation!"
"To unite all peoples within our nation!"
"To denounce the evils of truth and love!"
"To extend our reach to the stars above!"
"Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!"
"Surrender now, or prepare to fight!"
The lady stared in horror.
"Ash!" she whispered, "what happened to you?"
Her mind, idiotically, was saying nothing but, over and over again 'he was my friend, he was my friend, he was my friend, he was my friend'...
Ash smiled cooly. "Hi Misty. I hear you have an Omastar. may I see it?"
The roles had reversed. Brock, James and Misty faced Ash and Jessie as enemies.
"I'll never let Team Rocket steal any of my Pokemon!"
And in the past, a young boy scowled defiantly. "You'll never take Pikachu! I'll never let Team Rocket steal any of my Pokemon! Don't you get it? Pikachu's my best friend!"