This is a little story I wrote just because I felt like it. Pleeeaaaase don't protest to the Mewtwo. I needed an ultra-powerful Pokemon to fight Pikachu, and something that would undoubtedly be a challenge. Please be warned, this was written late at night...

Beating the League
by Alyssa

The arena looked weathered, but not worn. Nobody had ever gotten this far, all of them giving up during their long, tiring battles with the Elite Four. Which was why Ash was so confused when he was instructed to come to this ring. He had been the first to beat the Elite Four. Hadn't he?

There were spectators everywhere. This was the first time a battle had ever been waged in this arena, and they all wanted to see it. Ash tried to peer through the dust cloud that had settled over the arena.

"Ash! There he is!" Misty said suddenly. "Your final opponent!"

Ash squinted through the dust. Yes, there *was* a figure approaching. The young trainer grew angry. The first person to beat the Elite Four wasn't him? The other trainer's features slowly became evident, and Ash clenched his teeth in anger as he recognized his final opponent...

"PIKAPI, PI PIKAPIKACHU!!!" Pikachu shouted, tugging on Ash's pant leg.

"Yeah, I know," Ash growled, able to understand what his Pokemon had said.

A Pidgeot blew the dust away. Standing there, in all his glory, was...

"Gary," Ash growled.

Gary looked both surprised and dismayed to see that his opponent was Ash. That look became a nasty smile.

"Weeellll, it looks like I underestimated you, Ashie-boy," he taunted.

Ash's fists clenched. "Don't call me that..."

"I can call you whatever I want! After all, I'm gonna be the Pokemon Master," Gary said haughtily.

"OH YEAH?? WE'LL SEE ABOUT THAT! Let's battle!"

"Alright. But let me offer my apologies in advance. My Pokemon's gonna beat yours with both hands tied behind its back! One-on-one?"

"One-on-one," Ash accepted. "Pikachu, I choose you!"

"Pika." Pikachu jumped into the battlefield, cheeks sparking in anger.

"Hah, this'll be even easier than I thought!" Gary sneered, taking his place at the other end of the arena. "Go get 'em, Mewtwo!"

"Me-Mewtwo?" Ash stuttered, grabbing for his Pokedex automatically. "Dexter, tell me about Mewtwo!"

Dexter sighed and gave Ash the information. "Mewtwo. A psychic Pokemon. It was genetically engineered, and is one of the rarest Pokemon alive."

"Be careful, Ash!" Brock warned. "Mewtwo is the most powerful Pokemon in the world!"

Ash gulped. But if there was one thing Misty and Brock had learned about Ash while they were traveling, it was that Ash was not capable of giving up. The look of worry on his face quickly turned to one of determination. "Pikachu, Thunderbolt, now!"

"Pika CHUUUUUUU!!!!!" the electric mouse yelled, shooting the electric beams at Mewtwo.

"Mewtwo, Barrier!" Gary commanded.

"Mewtwo!" The psychic Pokemon put a shield around itself, which absorbed Pikachu's attack before disappearing.



"Okay..." Ash bit his lip. "Thunder, now!"

"Mewtwo, ba--" Gary didn't finish his sentence before the electricity slammed into his Mewtwo. It reeled.

"Meeewww..." it growled.

"Mewtwo, Psychic!"

"Oh no," Ash gulped. "Pikachu, Quick Attack!"

Due to the nature of Quick Attack, Pikachu got in a good blow on Mewtwo, destroying its concentration on its attack.

"Mewtwo, Psychic again!"

That was where Ash realized his mistake in using Quick Attack. The unused Power Mewtwo has built up for its previous attack was added to the second Psychic, scoring a critical hit on Pikachu.

"pi... ka..." Pikachu whimpered, close to fainting.


"Do you give up?" Gary asked.

'No,' Brock and Misty thought. Gary didn't give Ash a chance to answer, though.

"It's obvious your Pikachu is no match for my Mewtwo. That stupid little rodent couldn't zap a--"


Gary Oak had just done a very stupid thing. He had just pissed off Pikachu. Before he could even order Mewtwo to use Barrier, the very high-powered Thundershock zapped Mewtwo.

"mew... two..." it coughed weakly, passing out on the floor.

"Ash Ketchum is the winner!" a voice yelled over the loudspeakers, accompanied by the clang of a bell. The spectators roared.

Gary looked like somebody had just put his entire world into a glass discus and then thrown it against a brick wall.

"Mewtwo," he croaked, kneeling by his fainted Pokemon. He cradled it in his arms. "I can't believe it. I lost."

"ASH!" Misty screeched happily. Ash was not prepared for the huge hug he suddenly received from the redhead. She released him and bounced up and down. "You did it! ASH, YOU'RE THE GREATEST POKEMON TRAINER NOW!"

"Way to go, Ash!" Brock cheering, high-fiving the new champion. "You're the Pokemon Master!"

Ash grinned happily, then bowed his head as his shoulders shook. Misty noticed that he was crying.

"Ash...? What's wrong?"

She then noticed that not only was he crying, he was also laughing.

"I DID IT!" he screamed to the sky, tears running down his cheeks.

Suddenly, he went silent, his eyes snapping open in sudden realization.

"Pikachu!" he yelped, running to his weakened Pokemon. Inside, he kicked himself for being so caught up in his victory that he forgot about his first Pokemon, and his best friend. He cradled the tiny Pokemon in his arms. "Pikachu, are you all right?"

The little denki nezumi looked up weakly at his trainer. He looked so tired... but there was a weak smile on his face.

"Ash," Pikachu whispered, closing its eyes. Ash sat there, stunned. Pikachu had just spoken his first word in English, and it had been his name!

A shadow fell over him. Ash looked up, new tears coursing down his cheeks. It was Gary, with a humbled look on his face.

"Congratulations," Gary said quietly. "You're more worthy of the title than I would have been."

Normally, Ash would have gloated about that for days on end, but now...

"Save the congratulations for later," he said. "Where's the nearest Pokemon Center? Pikachu needs help!"

"There's one right over ther--"

Ash took off in the direction Gary was pointing. Misty and Brock followed behind. Ash was thinking of nothing besides Pikachu as he ran towards the Center.

I wanna be the very best, like no-one ever was...

Ash was slowly but surely approaching the building. His legs were protesting, and his breathing was getting heavier. It didn't matter. He could rest. Pikachu was the only thing that mattered now.

It's you and me...

Misty and Brock stubbornly kept running after their companion. He was running like a trainer possessed, straight for the Pokemon Center. Misty marveled at him. He'd just defeated a *Mewtwo*, he had acheived his dream of becoming the best Pokemon trainer, *and* he'd taught Gary a lesson, all in one fell swoop. And he had shoved all of that to a back corner of his mind for Pikachu's sake. He might be dense at times, but he had enough heart for ten people.

I know it's my destiny...

'It was always my destiny. I vowed to be the best, and I am the best. But that doesn't matter now. In the end, my Pokemon are more important than some stupid title. They matter more.'

A heart so true... our courage will pull us through...

'He's incredible! On our journey, he was the most stubborn, egotistical kid I've ever met, but... he loves his Pokemon so much! That's why he and Pikachu are so strong together. So brave, and so caring... he's actually grown up a lot. No wonder I love him so much...'

You teach me and I'll teach you...

'I understand, now. To be a truly great Pokemon trainer, you have to learn from your Pokemon. For everything you teach them, you must learn something from them. Am I truly the greatest trainer?'


Ash nearly ran into the Pokemon Center's door before he snapped out of his thoughts and skidded to a stop. He shoved open the door and ran in, not in the least surprised to see yet another Nurse Joy at the desk.

Joy looked up. "Yes?" she asked.

"My... Pikachu... needs help!" Ash managed through deep, gasping breaths. He was shaking with exertion now. "Just battled... a Mewtwo..."

Joy quickly ordered two Chanseys to bring in a stretcher for Pikachu. Then she looked at Ash again.

"You're Ash Ketchum, aren't you?"

"You've heard of me?"

"From all of my relatives, from the local Officer Jenny, from just about everyone in town, from everybody who comes in with an injured Pokemon... you get the idea," she told the bewildered young trainer. "I figured I'd meet you one day. I had no doubts that you'd make it so far!"

Misty and Brock had entered just in time to hear that.

"Not only did he make it this far, but he beat Gary!" Misty said happily.

Joy's eyes were huge as the Chanseys came in with the stretcher. Ash put Pikachu gently on the stretcher. "You've beaten the Pokemon League??" she asked, incredulous. "I didn't think even you could do that...

Congratulations!" She followed the Chanseys to the emergency room.

"Wait," Ash said. "Can I come too? I want to be there when he wakes up, to thank him..."

Joy smiled and nodded. Ash started to follow, but was stopped by Brock's hand on his shoulder.

"Ash, wait. I want to ask you something."

Ash turned around to face the breeder. "What is it?"

"I heard Pikachu say something after you picked him up, and it didn't sound like what he normally says... what was it?"

Tears stung Ash's eyes at the memory. He swallowed the lump that had materialized in his throat.

"It was my name," he said, before turning to go to the emergency room. Misty and Brock stood stunned as he entered the room, closing the door behind him.

"Pikachu... spoke our language?" Misty said quietly. Only two of the Pokemon she had encountered on her travels with Ash had spoken the human language - the ever-annoying Meowth, and the Gastly at Maiden's Peak. "How did it learn the human language?"

Brock's only answer was a silent shrug.


I slowly woke up, fully expecting a throbbing headache. But I didn't have a headache. 'Weird,' I thought, 'after what I've just been through...'

I suddenly realized, and opened my eyes. They didn't want to open very far, but I was able to see. The first thing that registered on my mind was the smiling, tear-streaked face of Ash, my trainer and best friend. He was so proud and happy!

"...Pikapi..." That's my word for his name.

"We did it, Pikachu," he said, voice cracking with emotion. "You beat Mewtwo... we're champions now, Pikachu... thank you so much..."

I smiled at him. "Pika," I said. Past him, I could see Misty and Brock, also smiling. I struggled to say their names.

"Mis-tee?" I pronounced cautiously. "Bwock?"

"'Bwock'? Misty giggled, earning a slight glare from Brock.

"Hey, give him a break," Ash said, grinning. "It's only the third word he's said in English, after all..."

"Ash!" I chirped. This was fun!

Ash gently picked me up and hugged me. "If you're trying to impress us, don't bother," he said. "You've already done that. And I couldn't be prouder of you right now..."

I licked his chin. It was the same gesture of friendship I had shown so long ago, after he had been so willing to risk himself for me, to show that I approved of him.

"Hey, Ash," Brock said. "Shouldn't we go back? Get whatever it is they're going to give you? We can't keep them waiting forever..."

"Pikachu, Pikapi!" I agreed.

"Alright," Ash said. "Let's go."


They returned to the arena, Pikachu perched on Ash's head. Ash was led to a podium.

"Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, you have shown that you are the greatest Pokemon trainer. Congratulations," the woman on the podium said, presenting Ash with a trophy. Set on a marble base, it was a small sculpture of a young boy standing on a giant Pokeball, looking to the skies. Ash accepted it with trembling hands, and nearly fell over. It was heavier than it looked!

"uh.. thank you," he said weakly.

"Speech!" someone in the crowd yelled, and it was taken up by several other people. Ash gulped.

"Uh... well, it's an honor to be here," he started, not knowing what to say. Then, words just sort of came rushing out. "I can't claim full credit for being here. My friends were a big help - Misty, Brock, come on up here!"

Surprised, they ascended the podium and stood beside Ash.

"They helped me out during the journey, in a lot of ways. They were there to flatten my ego, they were there to support me when I battled to earn my badges, they were there to worry about me in the Pokemon Tower. If it weren't for them, and from everybody else I've met on my journey, I wouldn't have learned so much, and I wouldn't be worthy of all this. I might not even have made it this far without them. They're the only ones I can thank in person right now, so..." He turned to Misty and Brock.

"Thanks, guys."

Brock was unsure how to answer, and Misty didn't say anything. What she did was surprise Ash with a spontaneous kiss.

"You're welcome," she said with a smile. "And congratulations."

Ash chose that moment to faint.


"Pikapi, pikachu pikapika?" I asked.

"I dunno. How far is it, Brock?"

Brock pulled out the map and studied it, still walking. "Another mile."

"Another *mile*?" Misty complained.


"Hey, cheer up," Brock said. "After that, we get to take buses all the way back to wherever we want to go."

"That reminds me," Ash said. "Misty, Brock - there's no reason for you guys to come to Pallet. Where are you gonna go?"

Brock shrugged. "I'll keep traveling. I'm not the best breeder yet, and I probably won't stay much of anywhere until I am."

"I'm following you to Pallet," Misty announced. "I'll have to let my family know, but I'm sure it'll be okay with them."

"Pika!" I chirp. Misty's staying with Ash! This is going to be fun!

C'mon, you can tell just by looking at those two that they like each other. Besides, Misty's pretty nice, when she and Ash aren't yelling at each other.

Which is unfortunately most of the time. o^_^o Ahhh, young love...

"Why?" Ash asked.

Misty turned an interesting shade of red. "I'm not telling you until we're in private."

Brock took that as his cue and left.

"You can tell me now..."

"I..." she gulped. I knew what she was gonna say. "I love you, Ash."

Yep. I knew it. Ash, though, hadn't. Since I was walking, I actually had a fairly good view of Ash's face (well, the underside of his chin, anyway...). He was blushing.

"Ah... um..." he stuttered. I giggled a little.

"No need to say anything! ^_^" Misty said cheerfully. "I've just been wanting to tell you for a long time. Hey, Brock!" she yelled. "You can come back now!"

Again, Brock caught his cue and rejoined our group. Misty took poor, dazed Ash by the hand and pulled him along the path as Brock and I started forward. I was a very happy denki nezumi.

I looked behind me. Ash had gotten over his dazedness and was smiling hugely. I grinned. Looked like we were all happy right about now.

You're my best friend, in a world we must defend...

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