Well, this is the sequel to Raikou's Test. In that fanfic I deliberately made the ending so that it would appear as if I had plans to write a sequel, even though I didn't. But a recent discussion in the Ashachu Fan Club thread here on BMGF got some of my creative juices flowing, so I figured "what the heck; might as well write the sequel!". So here it is, Emotions. I hope that you all enjoy it!
Warning: contains Pikashipping, and Ashachu in reverse
"Pikachu, Thunderbolt!" Ash shouted.
"Gloom, beat that back with Petal Dance!" his young opponent ordered. Pikachu jumped into the air and, cheeks sparking, unleashed an intense electrical attack that arced towards the Gloom in a slight zigzag motion. The Gloom twirled it's head slightly, and a cyclonic formation of razor-edged leaves shot towards Pikachu. The two attacks collided; the Petal Dance deflecting the Thunderbolt in every direction, and the Thunderbolt halting the motion of the Petal Dance.
"Looks like they're pretty evenly matched," Brock observed from the side.
"But Pikachu's electrical attacks won't do much against a grass-type like Gloom, will they?" Dawn asked.
"We'll have to see," Brock answered. "I've seen some lucky hits before, but it'll all depend on the power and the closeness of the attack. We'll have to see how they can use the surrounding trees as well."
"Stun Spore!" the Gloom trainer shouted.
"Glooom," the grass-type agreed, shooting a vast cloud of orange powder from the top of it's head toward Pikachu.
"Dodge that!" Ash shouted, and Pikachu used a Quick Attack to get out of the way. The Gloom trainer grinned.
"Don't let it get away, spin in a circle!" he ordered. The Gloom grinned in synchronicity and began to twirl. The Stun Spore fell slowly all around the Gloom, enveloping the clearing in the paralysing powder.
"Pika?" Pikachu asked Ash, unsure of what to do. He gritted his teeth as he looked across at the opponent. He knew that the Stun Spore would only paralyse Pikachu if she breathed it in, but he also knew from experience that if Pikachu tried to move across the powder it would either raise into the air, or stick to her fur; both potentially dangerous scenarios.
"No moves left, huh?" the Gloom trainer smirked.
"There's always a move left!" Ash snapped. "Pikachu, into the trees!"
"Shoot it down with Acid!" the Gloom trainer ordered. Pikachu leaped up onto a branch, dodging to another as a shot of Acid melted through the branch and caused it to fall to the ground.
"Keep dodging," Ash said with a grin, finally getting into his stride. Pikachu, sensing a new confidence in his voice, moved more quickly and surely from tree to tree, her own confidence being elevated. The Gloom trainer clenched his fists.
"I... can't... see it..." he hissed in frustration.
"Pikachu, hit it with a Thunderbolt!" Ash commanded.
"Petal Dance!" the Gloom trainer ordered automatically. The Gloom swivelled and caught a brief glimpse of the electrical attack; it responded instinctively with it's Petal Dance and once again the two attacks collided. The Thunderbolt deflected again, several strands hitting the ground. The electrical attack sparked and ignited the Stun Spore that still enveloped the ground.
"Gloom!" the trainer screamed as a wall of fire rose from the ground and spread rapidly across the clearing, completely surrounding the terrified Grass-type.
"Buizel, use Water Gun!" Ash ordered, throwing his Poke Ball.
"Sudowoodo, come out and use Mimic!" Brock shouted.
"Piplup, Bubblebeam!" Dawn added, sending out her own Pokemon. Buizel and Sudowoodo both aimed foaming jets of water towards the centre of the flames, while Piplup focused on keeping Gloom damp. In seconds the fire was out, robbed of it's source of fuel.
"Gloom," the trainer whispered in concern as he carefully picked his way over the steaming ground towards his shivering and wide-eyed Pokemon. "Gloom, are you okay?" His Pokemon turned at the sound of his voice and then threw itself into his arms.
"Is Gloom going to be okay?" Ash asked the trainer in concern. He checked over his Gloom briefly and the nodded.
"Yeah, but I should get Gloom to the Pokemon Centre. Thanks for putting out the fire so quickly, I don't have any water-types." Without waiting for a response, he turned and ran into the forest, Gloom still clutched to his chest.
"Uhh..." Ash blinked, staring after the trainer. He shook his head and turned to his Pokemon. "Good job Buizel, return," he said, holding out the Poke Ball. In the flash of red light, his Pokemon was recalled. He looked up to see Brock and Dawn following suit, and Pikachu scampering down a tree trunk towards him.
"Pika, pika pi," Pikachu said when she reached him, her eyes shimmering sorrowfully.
"It's not your fault, buddy," Ash said, kneeling and scratching her behind the ear. "I'd never have expected that Thunderbolt to set the Stun Spore on fire."
"Chaah," Pikachu cooed, waves of pleasure rippling through her body from the ear-scratch. Her body suddenly glowed white; Ash gaped as his hand suddenly became numb and he was thrown back from the mysterious force.
"Ash!" Brock shouted as the trainer shot past him, skidding along the ground. He turned and dropped his Poke Ball in disbelief as he spotted Pikachu. "No way," he whispered.
"Cool! Pikachu's evolving," Dawn said excitedly.
"Pikachu... no..." Ash whispered as the white shape of his beloved electric-type began to expand. Her body lengthened considerably, well past the size of a regular Raichu. Her tail vanished, and her arms grew much longer. The glow vanished, leaving a very bewildered looking young woman outstretched in the clearing. Her silky long yellow hair cascaded past her shoulders and curled upwards when it reached her midsection. Her ears were vaguely human-shaped but the dark tips stretched past her temple, narrowing and ending in a soft point. She was dressed in a long, soft yellow robe that was flecked with brown, causing her to look almost nomadic.
"Pikachu?" Brock asked in disbelief.
"Pi?" the young woman asked in a clear, sensual voice that made the hair on Ash's back tingle.
"Pikachu, is that you?" Dawn asked.
"Pika pi!" she said, nodding her head vigorously.
"Wait. Pikachu's a girl?" Ash asked in amazement.
"Pika pika," Pikachu glowered at him.
"But... but..." he stuttered.
"But she's beautiful!" Brock cried, jumping forwards.
"Don't even try it," Dawn said, reaching out and grabbing him by the back of his shirt collar. Ash ignored them and walked towards Pikachu, crouching in front of her.
"Pikachu, what happened to you?" he asked.
"Pi?" she said, cocking her head inquisitively.
"Wait, you're telling me that this has happened before?" Dawn demanded.
"Well, not exactly," Brock said. "Last time Ash was the one who turned into a Pikachu, and that was because of a spell gone wrong. He was just supposed to see with the mind of a Pikachu, not actually become one."
"That's not the only time that it's happened," Ash sighed, looking through the Pokemon Centre's window at the moonlight that streamed in.
"Beg pardon?" Brock asked, rather politely he thought.
"Chuu?" Pikachu asked Ash.
"Yeah, I think we should tell them," Ash said to her. He then turned back to Brock and Dawn. "See, a couple of weeks ago, I was turned into a Pikachu again by Raikou." Dawn blinked.
"Raikou?" she asked. "What's a Raikou?"
"A legendary Pokemon from Johto," Brock answered her, not taking his eyes off of Ash. "Ash, why didn't you say anything?" Ash thought for a minute and then turned back to his friends.
"I don't know," he admitted. "Something just told me not to say anything to you guys."
"Do you know why the Raikou turned you into a Pikachu?" Brock asked.
"It said that it was some kind of test," Ash answered, screwing up his forehead as he tried to remember what the Raikou had told him. "It said... hang on... it said that it was a test of courage, and that there were other tests too. It said that I had passed some, but not all, and that there would be other tests in the future."
"I don't like this one bit," Brock muttered.
"Why?" Dawn asked. "I think that seeing a Raikou and turning into a Pikachu would be really cool!"
"But it doesn't make any sense," he said in frustration. "Raikou is a legendary Pokemon from Johto; why is there one here in Sinnoh, and how did it cross the ocean to get here? It's the same thing with that Suicune we saw by the windmills a couple of months ago. Why was it in Sinnoh?" Dawn gasped suddenly.
"Wait, what if this is another one of those tests? I mean, why else would Pikachu suddenly turn into a girl?" she asked.
"But what kind of test could this be?" Ash asked. "Raikou was seeing how I would react when there was nobody that could save Pikachu but me, and I couldn't use my Pokemon. This is nothing like that."
"Does it have to be?" Dawn asked. "Raikou's test was for your courage. This one could be completely different." Ash groaned and mussed his hair in frustration.
"It's too late to think about something complicated like this," he groused. "I'm going to go to bed. I'll see you guys tomorrow." He got up from the table and wandered towards the living area of the Centre. Finding his room he entered and took off his vest, before turning out the light and laying under his sheets with a sigh.
He laced his fingers behind his head and stared up at the ceiling, thoughts racing around his head. Although he didn't want to admit it to Brock or Dawn, he was genuinely worried. What if Pikachu stayed human forever? When he had become a Pikachu he hadn't understood what Carnivine or Seviper said, and he'd spoken with his normal voice. What if Pikachu would only ever be speak her own language while she was a human?
The door opened and a thin shape slipped inside with the light before closing the door again with a click. Ash was startled from his contemplation when he felt the shape crawl slowly up the bed before curling on his chest with a contented sigh. He clicked on his bedside lamp and barely managed to stifle a yell of shock as he saw Pikachu lying on top of him, her head turned quizzically and one strand of hair hanging over her eyes.
"P-Pikachu?" he stammered.
"Pi?" she asked.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"Pi, pikachu pi chu ka chu, chaah," Pikachu explained.
"But you can't sleep in here!" Ash shouted. Pikachu looked at him in shock.
"Chu?" she asked. He calmed down and tried to explain.
"It's just... not right," he said. "A girl can't sleep alone with a guy, and she definitely can't sleep on top of him."
"Pika..." she whispered.
"I'm sorry, Pikachu, but you can't sleep with me tonight," Ash said adamantly. "You just can't." Pikachu looked at him for a moment and then turned her head away. She slowly moved off the bed and walked towards the door. She paused and looked at him one last time. Her sparkling eyes leaked several tears, and her piercing gaze was full of hurt.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Dawn demanded, advancing on Ash menacingly.
"What do you mean?" he asked nervously, backing away.
"I mean last night!" she shouted. 'You leave the table and Pikachu watches you wondering whether it'll be okay for her to spend the night with you the same she has done the last couple of years. 'Oh yes,' Brock and I tell her, 'you don't need to worry about it, Ash'll be fine. Nothing will have changed, you'll see.' And what happens? Pikachu comes running into my bedroom, crying, and I'm up half the night trying to comfort her!"
"Oh. That," Ash said sheepishly.
"Yes that," Dawn snapped. "Just what exactly were you trying to do?"
"It didn't seem right," Ash protested. "One minute I'm alone in bed, and the next there's a girl lying on top of me! I couldn't handle it, it was too much. It wasn't normal."
"Normal? Normal? Pikachu's been turned into a human, Ash," Dawn retorted. "Any sense of normalcy is long gone for her. She's confused, scared, and the only thing that she can say is her own name. All that she wanted was one thing to stay the same, to show that her life hadn't completely changed.
"So what if that one thing is sleeping near you? It gives her comfort, and she likes to be near you. It was the only thing that could prove that you don't care if she's a Pokemon or a person. And guess what; you blew it. Now she's all depressed because she thinks that you don't like her anymore." Dawn gave him a magnificent look that made him feel more lowly than a Ledyba. She snorted. "Congratulations, in two minutes, you destroyed years of friendship."
Ash lowered his head, feeling hot tears of shame begin to prickle at the corners of his eyes. He turned and slowly began to trudge away, head and heart heavy.
"Where are you going now?" Dawn shouted after him.
"To think," he said without turning around, moving towards the forest.
Accumulated memories began swirling around in his head as he moved; some that he'd forgotten, and some that he'd never known existed. He closed his eyes and saw a flock of Spearow flying towards him in the midst of a storm, and then a badly injured Pikachu running onto his shoulder and delivering a devastating electrical attack that knocked them all away. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at a brown bush; for a moment he thought he saw the shadow of a Raichu, and he remembered the triumph he had felt the first time he won a badge through a real battle.
From the deep recesses of his mind he recalled the time that he tried to leave Pikachu behind to look after a group of wild Pokemon, and how she had followed him, refusing to be left behind. He saw a battle with a tough Dragonite, and the seemingly invincible Pokemon fall to a powerful Thunder; he remembered her sliding underneath a Piloswine to tire it out; he remembered her running on top of a Hydro Pump; paralysing a gym leader's Nosepass; battling hard against Meowth-in-boots before finally falling to exhaustion; defeating the legendary Regice...
"Pikachu... what have I done?' he whispered in horror. Dawning comprehension at the results of his actions spread across him and he began to feel numb. "Dawn was right," he said quietly. "All of those years we came closer and closer, and I ruined it all in one night. I destroyed our friendship."
He kept walking, not noticing where he was going until a damp sensation on his feet brought him back to reality. He looked down and realized that he had walked into a small stream. He stopped and listened for a moment. The sound of the water gurgling over the stones was soothing, and inside he felt suddenly peaceful. But he could hear something else too. Frowning, he moved onto the riverbank and began to move in the direction of the noise. He stopped suddenly in the shadows of a tree as he found the source.
A beautiful girl, the most beautiful person that he had ever seen, was sat by the river's edge, crying quietly into her arms. Her long yellow hair was tangled with some twigs and leaves, but she didn't seem to care. Ash wondered briefly if she even realized that they were there. He watched her for a moment, but she didn't seem to realize that he was there. He felt even worse than he had ever thought possible, as he watched her cry out her hurt and sadness.
Quietly, he picked his way around the tree and moved towards her, sitting next to her on the river's bank. She sniffled a little bit and then turned to see who was next to her. They looked into each other's eyes for a moment, each seeing the other more clearly than they ever had before. Instinctively, Ash reached out his arms and embraced her tightly. The young woman stiffened for a moment, but then hesitantly put her own arms around him. They stayed that way for a few moments, rocking slightly in tune to the gurgling of the river.
"Pikachu, I'm so sorry," Ash whispered. "I should have never done what I did last night, and you can't imagine how bad I feel about it."
"Chu," Pikachu said, drawing away from him momentarily. Ash gave a watery smile.
"I know that you feel terrible too," he said. "I didn't realize how you must be feeling. At least when I was a Pikachu I could still talk to people, but you weren't even able to talk to other Pokemon. I didn't understand how upset and confused you must have been."
"Chu, pika," Pikachu whispered, drawing him in close again.
"I'm sorry," he said.
Pikachu's body began to glow again; she slowly began to shrink in size, and her tail reappeared. In moments, Ash was holding his Pikachu again.
"Pikachu?" he asked.
"Pika?" she asked back. He smiled and hugged her again. In the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of a fast-moving shape on the stream's edge. He turned his head and saw the shape of a Suicune, standing on the water's surface, a light mist rising around her.
"It is hard to communicate without a common language, but harder still to communicate after change. Anyone can speak with a voice, but few can speak through their hearts. You have both learned to express yourselves through your actions. Your hearts are pure, and no change could ever break the bond that you both share. You have passed my test."
Ash closed his eyes as a warm feeling spread throughout his body. When he opened them again, the Suicune had gone. Slowly he stood and began to walk back through the forest to the Pokemon Centre and his waiting friends, Pikachu in his arms. Pikachu craned her neck upwards to look at him, and he gazed down into her eyes. In them, he saw the reflection of the beautiful young woman that she had become.
"Hey Pikachu," he said after a moment.
"Pi?" she asked curiously.
"Thank you for always being there for me."
I hope that you all liked this oneshot. It's shorter than Raikou's Test, but I think I like this one a bit better. It seems to me as if Ash's courage and determination is always what's focused on, but there's almost never any real focus on his true emotional state. I tried to make that the focus of this story.