Red still lied in bed thinking of his family. Then he heard a knock on the door, it was the woman at the front desk, Chloe.
"Red, you okay? Show starts in five." Chloe said.
"I can't I'm not feeling well." Red replied.
"Okay, I hope you feel better, I'll tell the crew for you." She said.
"Thanks, Chloe." Red said despondently. "I haven't hurt this bad since the day I left." Red thought in solitude. Back outside the studio was Ash, Pikachu, Mrs. Ketchum, and Misty at the last straw, about to abandon hope but, Ash wanted to give it one final shot.
"…Hey, Mom, could I try to talk to Dad just one last time before we head home, I'm afraid this might be the last time I ever see him and I want to try one more time." Ash persisted.
"I suppose it couldn't hurt to try, go ahead, sweetie. Do you want me to come with you?" Delia offered her accompany.
"I wanted to go by myself this time, just me and Pikachu, is that okay?" Ash asked with perseverance.
"Sure, perhaps you'll talk some sense into that man." Delia approved.
"Good luck, Ash!" Misty called.
Thanks, Misty and thanks Mom! Come on, Pikachu let's go have a chat with my dad." Ash said as they dashed inside the studio. Team Rocket was hovering from above in their signature Meowth faced hot air balloon waiting for their cue to plunge the Voltorb bombs upon the studio.
"Jessie, this isn't right innocent people and Pokemon in there!" This is completely immoral! Where do you stand on this, Meowth hope you find it as irrational as I do." James protested.
"Hey we gotta put food on the table James, my boy!" Meowth responded.
"Quit complaining, think of how rich we'll be after this!" said Jessie, as if that was a plausible justification. Back at the Team Snagem HQ Booth informed his colleague, Wilkes of the menacing plan.
"Good, good, finally we can execute our plan for world domination with our vile Pokemon and eliminate that unruly pest of a peasant, magnificent work, Booth." said Wilkes she was very pleased with Booth's idea.
"Shall I press the button and give the Rockets their indication?" Booth sneered.
"Do it!" Wilkes replied wickedly. The two laughed maniacally as Booth slammed the buzzer signifying imminent doom to those in the TV studio.
"Wouldn't Mirror B. be proud?" Wilkes snickered. Jessie, James, and Meowth then released the Voltorb explosives and set off the TNT below directly hitting the studio. A huge fiery explosion consumed the studio in flames as windows shattered and people shrieked in terror. The police, whose station was directly adjacent to the studio, darted out to witness the disaster.
"Ash! My baby, Oh my God!" Mrs. Ketchum screamed in panic, about to keel over. She attempted in vain to run into the smoldering building to rescue her son from burning alive she was promptly stopped by an officer.
"Oh no, Ash… Ash!" Misty screamed, petrified also helping to prevent Delia from throwing caution to the wind in order to try to rescue her child. Delia struggled against the force of Misty and the officer.
"Let go of me! You have to let go, my baby's in there!" Delia screamed fighting the grip of the two. In the back of Delia's mind she was also concerned for the well-being of her husband but, Ash remained her top priority. She fell to the ground on her knees as tears spilled off her face like a river. She clutched the dirt of Pyrite's dusty, rigid roads to help the immense pain of what she feared to be the death of her only child, a parent's worst nightmare she feared, had become a reality.
"Mam, the fire department is on their way to evacuate everyone in the building you mustn't go in there, it's much too dangerous!" The officer instructed as Misty bit her lip and tears began trickling off her cheek.
"Dear, God let them be okay, please." Misty said aloud as in the background a few officer Jennies were handling the bystanders, dismissing them from the morbid scene. Inside the blaze induced building while Ash's loved ones panicked outside, Ash and Pikachu were flung into the air by the massive explosion as the flames fiercely blistered around them through the sweltering heat. Ash was out cold momentarily but quickly regained consciousness, thanks only to his adrenaline. He leaped up and limped over to Pikachu's side.
"Pikachu, are you okay, buddy?" Ash cried.
"Pikachu." Pikachu managed to get out as it slowly got up.
"Thank goodness!" Ash exclaimed as he hugged his Pokemon and started gasping for oxygen, the most vital thing for life. Ash stammered across the halls of the studio, collapsing a few times catching his limited breath. Ash then resorted to the room closest to him that he could spot through all the clouds of smoke, coincidentally it was the room of his father. Ash proceeded choking on smoke as he cradled Pikachu in his arms.
"Pika!" said Pikachu as it spotted Red lying on the floor.
"Ah, Dad, you gotta up, please, Dad, get up, come on!" Ash shouted, forgetting the past instantly during their moment of mortal crisis, Ash shook his father frantically trying to awake him.
"Ash…Ash! What in the-! Get outta here, NOW!" Red said in demand.
"No, I won't not without you, Dad!" Ash cried as his words trembled. Red knew full well this was the work of Team Snagem and he knew precisely what they wanted. As the flames grew higher Ash and Pikachu leaped back to avoid them. The flames left them in an even smaller enclosure. Red, Ash and Pikachu all started wheezing on smoke. All the hair on Ash and Red's arm became singed off by the enkindling fire igniting the studio.
"We're stuck… ASH, WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD ARE YOU DOING IN HERE!" Red screamed realizing the fatal position they were in by the combustion around them.
"…I should ask you THAT QUESTION! I'M HERE TO BEG YOU TO TELL ME WHY YOU LEFT US!" Ash screamed back, Red sighed.
"I guess I owe it to you, to tell you, that's the least I can do." Red succumbed to the relentless pleadings.
"You will!" Ash exclaimed triumphantly.
"Don't get to excited, it's not a good story…" Red said as he took a deep breath to tell his story of great resentment. "The day I left my family, my Pokemon, everything that matters to me is a day I'd like to forget. It's the biggest regret of my life but, I had to. You, see, Ash, Team Rocket and Team Snagem despise all Pokemon Masters, they're too much of a threat to their dastardly plans. And your grandfather, my father was killed by these awful groups and now they're after me. There's two reasons why I left Pallet Town one, to redeem myself to my father to defeat Team Snagem who murdered my father. The other reason, the real reason is a bit more complicated…" Red explained.
"What is it?" Ash asked eagerly.
"To protect you. I didn't want to drag you and your mother into this whole mess. I couldn't bare to see anything happen to either of you I knew they'd go for the people I loved most first so I feared for you if anything ever happened to either of you I'd just crawl up in a hole like a sandshrew and die. I knew that this day would come , they're trying to kill me they would've hurt you or your mother if I had remained in Pallet, I just couldn't. I knew that if I explained this to your mother she'd try to talk me out of it or follow me. I had to go. Now, that you're here everything I worked for is for nothing…Ash, what were, you thinking!" Red finished a tear or two he allowed to fall. Ash was just silent for a moment, he could not believe what he was hearing, all the spite and hatred he darted at his father was all misunderstood. Red only loved Ash and Delia so that he fled in order to protect them.
"Y-you-you were only trying to protect us…all this time, Oh, Dad, I'm so sorry! Dad, I'm so sorry please forgive me!" Ash cried running over to embrace his father for the first time since he was five years old.
"Ash…my son… Oh, come on now, it isn't your fault come on I should be the one apologizing." Red said holding his little boy in his arms while he cried.
"Alright, enough with the cryin' now no son of mine's gonna let on like that!" he teased wiping away Ash's tears with the palms of his hands. "What do you say we hurry up and get outta here before my Ash turns to ash!" Red joked. "Blastoise, we need you, go!" Red said releasing Blastoise. Just then the windows were smashed opened and none other than the nefarious Wilkes and Booth swooped into the room through the broken glass when they landed Pikachu's hair stood up and it growled ferociously at them.
"Now, isn't this a touching father-son reunion, how sweet!" Wilkes said sarcastically.
"Team Snagem, I knew it was you!" Red shouted.
"Look, who's finally catching on, a little slow on the up-take aren't we. Don't be fooled we weren't alone we had some assistance!" Booth said implying Team Rocket as they hovered directly outside the broken window.
"You, three were in on this too, that's a new low even for you!" Ash screamed.
"The Pokemon Master is the twerp's father?" Jessie said, astounded.
"No wonder we could never beat 'em his pop's a Pokemon Champ!" said Meowth.
"Did ever dawn upon either of you that we I don't know, NEARLY KILLED THE TWERP!" James shouted, feeling guilty.
"Well, it's nothing out of the ordinary." Jessie replied.
"Jessie, have you no conscience! He's just a little boy! I don't care how much of a twerp he is we nearly killed the child!" James screamed.
"He's got a point, Jess, twerp's just kid after all, wouldn't be right!" Meowth agreed.
"I never thought about it that way, he is only what ten? I say we help the twerp to mend our dastardly deed!" Jessie oathed.
"Yeah!" James and Meowth exclaimed in agreement. Then, Booth grabbed Ash from behind and put him into a headlock.
"Listen, Mr. Pokemon Master if you don't come with us this boy of yours get's thrown into the conflagrate flames!" Booth threatened, holding Ash hostage.
"Pika-pi!" Pikachu cried as it charged up with electricity.
"Don't, Pikachu, they'll hurt Ash." Red said.
"You're that man we gave directions to!" Ash shouted.
"That's right thanks to your directions this tragedy occurred, young man, thank you." Booth sneered as Ash remained silent as the remorse haunted his mind.
"Let go of him this instant! Take me, I'm the one you want, leave the boy alone, he's only a child!" Red shouted, hands shaking.
"No, don't take my dad, please." Ash begged.
"Don't worry about me, son, I'll be fine you get yourself outta here." Red ordered.
"But, Dad!" Ash cried, his heart aching as he was infuriated by Team Snagem potentially stealing his father away from him.
"You should listen to your daddy, little boy." Booth said as he released Ash from his grip.
"Please, please don't do this, please!" Ash begged desperately.
"I wish we could but you're father is a menace to our work." Wilkes lied.
"May I have a minute?" said Red knowing in the back of his mind it may be his final hour.
"Fine, but, pull any stunts and that son of yours will be dead in a second!" Wilkes snapped.
"I won't, I swear." Red promised. He then knelt down on one knee in front of Ash and put his hand on Ash's shoulder, watching him cry. "Listen, son, you get out of here and don't come back, got it! My Pidgeot will fly you and Pikachu to safety." Red explained.
"But, Dad, we could battle them, we could beat them, I know it!" Ash pleaded.
"No, I won't risk it. Now, listen up, I want you to know how very proud I am of you and how much you mean to me, Ash. I love you, son, I do. Now, do me a favor, alright, tell your mother that I love her very much and that I'm sorry for leaving her, okay?" Red said tearfully.
"No, no, Dad, what about you!" Ash cried.
"Like I said I'll be okay, I'll meet up with you someday, I promise." Red lied in an earnest endeavor to calm Ash down and listen to him.
"I won't leave you here!" Ash protested.
"Ash Ketchum, you listen to me! The fire's spreading, get on Pidgeot, right now!" Red commanded as he released Pidgeot.
"Hurry it up with the sappy stuff!" Booth hollered becoming irritable and impatient. Red kissed Ash's forehead gave him a tight hug, and lifted him up onto Pidgeot's back. Then he handed Ash his Poke' balls.
"Give these to Oak for me, and give him my word. Remember to tell your mother what I said. One more thing, I believe in you Ash, you're a great trainer, son, would've beat me in that match. Make me proud earn yourself that Champion title, keep the Ketchum name a name of winners! I love you, Ash… Bye, son!" Red said bidding his final farewell to his son and signaling Pidgeot to fly off with Ash and Pikachu aboard.
"Bye, Dad…I-I love you too! Dad, Dad I promise I'll win it, I swear!" Ash called out to his father as they both waved and tears rolled off Ash's pale face. Firefighters began storming into the studio with squirtles at their sides in an endeavor to end the fire. Outside the building was Delia and Misty, Delia was crying and biting her nails as each fireman came out of the burning building with people over their shoulder or on a stretcher with a sheet pulled over their head. Each time a covered stretcher passed by Delia's heart stopped briefly as she quickly screamed at the fireman to see who it was, terrified that it might be her Ash. Misty stood beside Delia with her hands folded praying that they'd make it out alive.
"Don't worry, Mrs. Ketchum, Ash has gotten out of things a thousand times worse than this! Come to think of it he's escaped some fires too!" Misty said trying to comfort Mrs. Ketchum and calm her down, also getting herself to calm down at the same time as she was uneasy as well.
"What! He's been through worse than this! What is he doing endangering himself like that what if he-… he could've been-"Delia stopped unable to say it, Misty's comfort went in vain seemingly, worsening her worry. As Ash was safely flown away on Pidgeot the fight flared on inside the building which was engulfed with flames. Team Rocket, for once, stood up for what is right.
"Why don't you let him go Sergeant Booth and you too Wilkes!" James shouted.
"That's Lieutenant Wilkes to you three imbeciles I have no time for your inane squabbling I've got crucial matters to tend to." Wilkes retorted.
"And to answer your preposterous interrogation the man will certainly not be released, we must hold him captive in order for our plan to run efficiently." Booth responded.
"He ain't done nutin' to yous yet so why don't cha just let 'em go!" Meowth shouted.
"That would be imprudent you impractical, talking cat." Wilkes aroused.
"I can't understand half of what she says…" Jessie whispered.
"You don't understand what anyone says…" James reputed. When suddenly a firefighter broke down the heavy iron door, startling everyone.
"Team Snagem! I should've known it was you, you're going to apprehended immediately for this act of terrorism! Mr. Ketchum, sir, you come with me we'll escort you to safety." The firefighter said.
"Thank you, you don't know how much that means to me, I've got a boy that I promised I'd be alright I was sure it was going to be an empty promise but thanks to you! Oh, I can't thank you enough I have to go and apologize to my wife I thought I'd never have the chance, I owe you one!" Red said graciously.
"No problem, sir, it's what we do, glad we could help." Replied the firefighter. Booth stood there tapping his foot impatiently grinning a crooked, twisted smile that only a person with a disdainful back-story could show.
"Forget this useless mercy, Booth let's blow the entire joint up! Enough restrain we thought we'd spare the others in the studio and just take him but, no Mr. Goody-two-shoes fireman had to step in and be a hero well, now your heroic deeds will have gone in vain because your effort to save him has cost you the life of yourself and thousands of others, that initially no harm would come upon!" Wilkes shouted she was another sick and twisted individual with a cruel background history.
"Okay we'll do it your way, I don't mind one bit!" Booth sneered as the two hopped onto a private helicopter.
"What do you think you're doing? Wait, take me I'm the one you want, don't hurt these innocent people!" Red screamed.
"Too late, Indigo League Champion, if you're such a master why don't you save these people!" Wilkes cackled.
"Bon Voyage, or shall I say bomb voyage!" Booth snickered as he pressed a big red button labeled self destruct, leaving everyone remaining in the building liable to doom. The whole structure was blown into oblivion with no means of survival. Ash watched the explosion of his father from above as Pidgeot dodged the blasting debris.
"Dad, No!" Ash screamed in denial. Outside, Misty, Delia and the emergency response team were flung backwards by the explosion landing roughly on the ground.
"Ash… …Ash…no…no…my little baby, no this can't happen… Aaaaaaaaassssssshhhhhh!" Delia gasped as she cupped her hands over her mouth as the grief struck her, not yet sinking in that she thought that her Ash was gone forever. She fell to her knees and buried her hands in her face as the anxiety slowly sank in coming as a stunning heart aching realization that there was no way anyone could have made it out alive of that explosion.
"Ash…Pikachu. You-you can't die, my-my best friend, there was so much I-I needed to tell you, you just can't be gone, Ash, you can't!" Misty shouted crying in denial, when suddenly the two grieving over Ash were startled by the landing of Pidgeot making a fearsome blow.