Looking Within (T)
Alright, after well over a year here it is at long last. The sequel to both Raikou's Test and Emotions, and the conclusion to my PikaShipping trilogy.
Truth be told, I first started writing this around March last year. But then, like I usually do, I got distracted and stopped writing. And it was left untouched until last week, when I figured "what the hell, might as well get this done and uploaded before even more time passes!" I know that some people have been waiting for this for a very long time, and I'm sorry; I really don't have any excuse for this. But at least it's up, right?
Raikou's Test was originally intended to a be a standalone oneshot, but I had the feeling I might like to continue it a little more, so I left the ending open with a few unresolved details just in case. Less than two months later, I uploaded the sequel, Emotions (which, incidentally, I consider my favourite story that I've written, though many of you would have probably guessed Final Challenge would take that honour). Now at long last, the final installment is here.
Unlike the previous two installments which were both oneshots, this one is three chapters long; I kinda thought it had a nice ring to it (three stories, three chapters on the last one), but then that's probably just me being a geek. It's all written (and is already finished on Fanfiction.net), so it should be completed on here relatively quickly.
If you haven't read Raikou's Test or Emotions yet, I really recommend that you do; this is, after all, the final part of a trilogy, and there may be parts that don't make sense if you haven't read them.
Anyways, here we go. I hope that you enjoy this (long overdue) story!
Chapter One: The Dream
It started with a dream. No, not a dream. The dream. The dream that had visited him almost every night for months. The dream that scorched his mind, leaving himself tingling when he awoke. The dream that he longed for… and dreaded.
He could see his bedroom door opening slowly, softly. A dark shape slipped stealthily inside, closing the door and approaching him quietly. As she came closer she became more distinguishable from the dark shadows that flickered around the walls. A finger pressed to her hidden lips, she stood at the side of his bed and threw back the hood that obscured her face.
Her long yellow hair dazzled him, seeming to glow with its own luminescence. It lit up her features brilliantly, and she shined like an ethereal goddess. Reaching out a hand, she grasped his arm lightly; her soft eyes found his and didn’t break away. They were alluring… inviting…
He was powerless in their grasp.
And then their bodies were melded together, moving in perfect synchronicity with each other. He reveled in the taste of her lips, in the feel of her breasts as they pushed into his chest, and in the way her body meshed so well with his.
And then he was awake, gasping as the last vestiges of the dream slowly left his mind while the sweat poured down his brow. Breathing deeply he was able to calm himself, and he became aware of a comforting weight on his chest; a familiar, soothing weight. He closed his eyes again, shaking.
He both loved and loathed the dream. He revered it and he reviled it. When night fell, he found himself wishing for sleep. He longed to experience it again, and again. But when he woke with the sun, he was disgusted. It was not what the dream was about that shook him; he had had similar before. No, it was who the dream was about that made him feel sick inside. That was why when he awoke and felt the weight on his chest, he averted his eyes. It was why he now felt uncomfortable when they travelled together.
For no matter which way he tried to look at the situation, he could not overlook, he could not avoid the simple fact that his dream was impossible; that it was about his best friend.
Moving slowly and quietly so as to not disturb the room’s other occupants, he gently lifted Pikachu off his chest and placed her on the blankets next to him. He rolled out of bed and dressed quickly before leaving the room without a backward glance. The first rounds of the Sinnoh League began today, and he had things to do.
On the bed, Pikachu opened her eyes and stared sadly after her trainer. She had been awake for a long time, unable to sleep due to her worry.
It had been this way for several nights now. She knew that he would do anything for her if she was ever in danger. He had saved her from potentially fatal falls more times than she cared to remember, even at the risk of his own injury. He had risked his life to snap her out of a magnetically-induced electrical insanity, and stopped her from smashing into a wall head-on at his own painful expense. He’d even transformed into a Pikachu to save her from Team Rocket.
They had travelled together for years, and their friendship was as close as it was possible for a human and a Pokemon to be. It had been made even more durable from the time that she had briefly become a human. They had been through so much together, and she could always sense when something was wrong. She had sensed for a long time now that something was not as it should have been, that something was bothering her trainer. That he was struggling with an inner turmoil, but would not share any of his pain with her…
That was disturbing to Pikachu.
She let out a sad “chaahhh” and sprang across the room to Dawn’s bed, nestling her way underneath the Coordinator’s arms. She resolved to stay there until Dawn or Brock woke, or Ash returned to the room. Although she dearly yearned to know what was causing a rift in her friendship with her trainer, she knew that pressuring him would do no good. He would reveal it in his own time. Keeping that in mind she allowed herself to relax, though one eye remained fixed on the door.
Waiting, hoping, for his return.
“You want me to send transfer some of your older Pokemon to you?” Professor Oak asked in surprise. “I’d thought that after you only used Pokemon you’d caught in Hoenn for the Hoenn League, you’d do the same again this time.”
“Well, I’d planned on doing it that way, but then I got to thinking,” Ash said. “My Sinnoh Pokemon have done a fantastic job for me so far, and I’ll be using them all in the upcoming rounds. But then, is it really fair to all of my other Pokemon if I never use them again? What’s the point of only seeing them once or twice a year? I want to be the best that I can, and I want to do that with all of my Pokemon.”
“Well, it makes sense, and it means that your regular roster won’t get too fatigued from all the battles,” Professor Oak smiled. “All of your Pokemon here have missed you, and I’m sure that they’d love to battle with you again. Which ones would you like me to transfer data on before you register?”
“All of them,” Ash answered without hesitation. “I have a lot of Pokemon, but I don’t want any of them to miss out.”
“Not a problem, Ash. Just place your Pokedex into the slot and I’ll begin the data transfer right away.” Ash opened his mouth to respond, but a rude voice cut in.
“So, you actually made it here. I thought you’d have given up after that battle with Candice.” Ash turned and found Paul behind him, leaning casually against a pillar.
“I’d never give up,” Ash responded tightly. “Giving up on a dream, or on the strength of your Pokemon would just be too easy. Of course, you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?” Paul snorted.
“The only good Pokemon is a strong Pokemon,” he said. “Why waste time training, when you can spend that time looking for more powerful Pokemon to use?” It was a rhetorical question, but Ash answered it anyways.
“Because a Pokemon’s strength doesn’t come from physical power. It comes from the bond between a Pokemon and his trainer.” Paul snorted again and stepped forwards, casting a jaundiced eye across the data that was being scrolled across the screen of Ash’s Pokedex.
“Cyndaquil, Squirtle, Kingler, Bulbasaur, Corphish, Muk… don’t you have any evolved Pokemon?”
“Kingler and Muk are evolved Pokemon,” Ash said, puzzled. A wicked grin spread across Paul’s face.
“I meant evolved Pokemon that are strong,” he said with obvious relish. Ash fell for the taunt and lunged towards his rival, hate spread across his face. Brock appeared behind him just in time, restraining him by the shoulders.
“Now is not the time for this,” he said to his friend. “Paul’s just trying to upset you. Settle it when you meet on the battlefield, not in a Pokemon Centre.” Recognizing the truth in Brock’s words, Ash nodded, yanking his arm out of Brock’s grasp. He continued to glare at Paul, anger still clouding his eyes. Ignoring him, Paul glanced past him at the Pokedex, his wide grin shrinking and becoming taut as he saw the last pieces of data flow across the screen. Without another word, he turned and left.
“What was that about?” Dawn asked with a yawn, stepping out of an elevator’s recess with Pikachu in her arms.
“Nothing,” Ash muttered, his eyes avoiding the Coordinator and the Pokemon she held. He turned back to the screen and Professor Oak.
“Ash…” the Professor began kindly. “I’ve seen you in three regional competitions now. Each time you have grown as a trainer, and as a person. Your strength doesn’t come from your combative spirit, your unorthodox tactics, or even the Pokemon that you use. It comes from your ability to communicate with your Pokemon. Not just in commands, but in thoughts and in feelings.
“That trainer believes you to be a real threat to his own goals. I could see it in his eyes. He is trying to make you angry so that you will lose your focus. You can beat him if you keep calm during battle. If you allow him to upset you, he will win. He knows that the only way he can beat you is if you get distracted, or you allow your emotions to cloud your judgment. You saw his face when he looked at the last six names on the screen. He is worried, Ash.”
“It’s true, you know,” Brock interjected. “Every time you two have battled, he’s gotten you upset; usually by talking about how weak your Pokemon are. That’s why he’s won so often; it’s his strategy.” Ash nodded and, looking over to his Pokedex, was surprised to see what Pokemon had caused Paul’s composure to slip.
“I don’t believe it,” he muttered. “It can’t have been these six. Why would they worry him more than Charizard, or Sceptile?”
“It’s because those are the six that he has seen you battle with,” Professor Oak said. “He’s seen you grow and develop with them. No doubt Charizard would give a good match but to him, beating those six will be his toughest challenge.” Ash didn’t respond, still staring at the six names. He folded the Pokedex shut and slipped it into his pocket, walking away without any further comment.
“Ash?” Dawn called.
“I haven’t had breakfast, and I’m starving,” he said, without looking back. “I’ll see you guys later.”
Brock and Dawn both turned back to the screen and Professor Oak, who sighed. “There’s something bothering him, and it’s affecting him badly,” he said. “He’s turned into a bundle of raw nerves, as cliché as that sounds. He’ll need the two of you there with him; he needs his friends to talk to.”
“We’ll be there for him every step of the way,” Dawn assured him.
“I’m glad,” the Professor smiled before sighing again. “The preliminary matches start later this morning. I just hope that he can sort out whatever is bothering him soon, before it affects his battles.”
Ash stared across at his opponent. He chewed his lip nervously. Of all of the Leagues that he had participated in, the Sinnoh League was by far the toughest. It wasn’t because of how strong the other trainers were. It was the pace.
There was only one day of preliminaries before the Round Robin began. Each trainer had three one-on-one preliminary matches to get through, and they needed to win all three to get into the Round Robin. As if three important battles in one day wasn’t bad enough, matches were timed to three minutes. If both Pokemon were still standing at the end of three minutes, the official would have to judge a winner.
His first two preliminary matches had gone smoothly enough. The downside was that you couldn’t access each competitor’s online profile to see their Pokemon yet. The upside was that he had so many registered, giving him some access to some of his most powerful for these stages. Staraptor and Sceptile had both defeated their opponents inside of two minutes.
He glanced up towards the scorecard, seeing his name in green, a clock, and his opponents name in red. A disc divided into several green and red segments and an arrow appeared on screen. The disc began to rotate and Ash transferred his gaze back to his opponent, a tall youth wearing a grey hoodie and a baseball cap. His opponent stood relaxed, watching the board with an air of disinterest.
There was a ping, and the referee called on Ash to choose his first Pokemon. He hesitated only briefly before settling on Donphan. As the elephantine ground-type appeared, his opponent smirked and quickly responded with a Swellow.
“Are you ready for this?” the opponent called. “You might as well just give up; nothing can hit my Swellow when it‘s in the air!” Ash grinned back, although his heart was not in it.
“Begin!” shouted the referee.
“Donphan, Take Down!” Ash ordered.
“Don-don-don-dondondondondon…” the ground-type grunted as it began to charge towards the Swellow.
“Swellow, dodge that with a quick attack and turn into Aerial Ace!” the opponent yelled.
“Defence Curl!” Ash shouted back. Donphan lunged at the Swellow, still in the midst of a Take Down. The Swellow flapped its wings once and shot far out of the attack’s reach, pivoting in the air before returning with a devastating Aerial Ace of unbelievable speed. With no time to counter, Donphan followed Ash’s command and curled into a tight ball. The Aerial Ace smashed into Donphan, leaving barely a mark but propelling the ground-type forwards. The Swellow let out a cry of pain and surprise, taking most of the damage from the attack and falling backwards to land on its tail.
“Use your momentum and go into a Rollout!” Ash shouted and, without leaving its Defence Curl, Donphan began to roll around the field at a high speed. The opponent’s eyes widened.
“Get into the air, Swellow!” he screamed. The dazed Swellow had no idea where Donphan was. Its only option was to get into the air where it would be safe.
And that was no option at all.
The Rollout attack steamed into Swellow from behind as it began to flap. The attack caught Swellow completely by surprise, badly damaging the Pokemon but giving it the momentum it needed to get off the ground. The trainer grimaced and glanced at the clock; still two minutes left.
“Double Team and then Wing Attack!” he ordered his Swellow.
“Shoot it down with Rollout and Hidden Power!” Ash countered. Multiple Swellows shot down towards the ground-type, each of the dozen or so wings glowing dangerously. Donphan spun into a ball, opened its mouth, and shot a hail of glowing orbs into the air as it rotated. Not a square inch of sky was missed. As each orb encountered an illusion it vanished, leaving the real Swellow alone in the sky with an incoming Hidden Power to boot.
“Dodge it!” the opponent shouted in panic. His Pokemon did it’s best to try and avoid the attack, but it couldn’t miss every orb. One clipped its wing and sent it spinning out of control before another barrage hit it. The Swellow crashed to the ground, its energy completely spent.
“Swellow is unable to battle; Donphan is the winner!” the referee ruled, stopping the clock. “The winner of this match is Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town!” Ash let out a relieved breath and recalled Donphan, thanking it before he replaced the Poke Ball on his belt. Looking up he saw his opponent approaching. A grin was plastered on his face, but Ash could tell he was bitterly disappointed.
“Good job, Ash,” he said, holding out his hand. “I didn’t think anything could take down my Swellow, but you managed it. Good luck in the Round Robin.”
“Thanks,” Ash said, shaking the proffered hand. “Better luck next year, I guess.” The trainer nodded and turned, walking away sadly. Ash stared after him for a moment before leaving the pitch; Dawn and Brock were waiting for him at the gate.
“Great battle, Ash!” Dawn beamed. “You got through those three matches really easily!”
“Pii-kachu!” Pikachu chimed in from her shoulder. Ash smiled and tickled Pikachu lightly under her chin. “Chaaahh,” Pikachu cooed in delight. Feeling as if something was going right at last, she leaped onto his shoulder.
He stiffened at the contact, and Pikachu felt her heart plummet in disappointment. “Chuu,” she murmured sadly, but then Ash relaxed and began to gently scratch her on her head. Her spirits quickly returning, Pikachu tickled him on the neck with her tail. Feeling a little better despite his guilt, Ash smiled at his friends.
“Thanks guys,” he said. “I guess we’d better get to the Pokemon Centre now though and get Donphan all healed up for tomorrow.” Brock groaned.
“Ash, you’ve forgotten again, haven’t you?” he said.
“Forgotten what?” Ash asked, puzzled.
“The day after the preliminaries is a day-off for the competitors,” Brock explained. “They can use it to relax or to train. It’s also the time where all the trainer profiles are put online, so trainers can access data before the Round Robin matches.”
“Oh yeah… Guess I did forget,” Ash said sheepishly. “Well… we should still get Donphan healed.” His stomach grumbled and an expression of comic surprise crossed his face.
“Pika pika,” Pikachu chortled, and Brock and Dawn both grinned.
“And then get something to eat?” Dawn teased.
“Sounds good to me,” he mumbled.
Both Brock and Dawn noticed that for several hours after his victory with Donphan and a quick snack, Ash seemingly returned to his old self. He kidded around, did some light training to reacquaint himself with the style and abilities of some of his older Pokemon, and was the cheerful guy they knew so well. After their evening meal was finished, however, his mood began to darken in time with the setting sun. The jokes and laughter stopped, and his tone turned from jovial to surly.
They were of course mystified by this transformation. They did not know of the longing he felt, or of the combat it had with his fear. Concerned about their friend, Brock and Dawn did not attempt to make any light conversation, and so when the three of them went to bed it was in a still and heavy atmosphere of doubt.
As Pikachu’s gentle snores began to reverberate around the room from his chest Ash looked up blankly towards the ceiling, his fingers crossed beneath his head. He longed to fall asleep, but was desperate to stay awake. His head filled with this conflicting thought, he eventually drifted into an uneasy slumber filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread.
But the dream did not come.
Just a quick note; I'm aware that some parts of this have a slightly similar tone/theme with the beginning of Road to the Championship. Well, with the Paul part anyways. But like I say, it's been like that for nearly a year, so this really did come first!
Re: Looking Within (T)
I like to think we have some surprises in this chapter, but you probably already know what they are given what has historically happened in this series. But hey, I hope you enjoy it all the same!
Chapter Two: The Truth
A lone figure walked slowly through the grass, the morning dew soaking through his jeans and sneakers. It was dark and the air was chilly, but this did not bother him. His meandering path took him around the dormitories and the Pokemon Centre, across a small field, and up a slight incline where he finally stopped. While the walk to the summit was an easy walk from the dormitories, the same could not be said for reaching the top from the opposite side. Here the land fell away inexplicably. The drop was sheer, and the ground was a good distance down. Climbing up or down from here would be almost impossible.
But it was not for the climb that he had come.
He sat, his legs dangling over the treacherous edge, and he waited. He was not there for long. It began with a slight lightening of the sky. The palest of golden touches slowly became visible, chasing away the darkness that surrounded it. The first distinct rays of sunlight sprang over the horizon, the dew catching the light and reflecting it so that the ground itself appeared to be aflame.
He lay back and enjoyed the sunrise; the light spread across his face and the heat warmed his chilly body. He welcomed the start of this new day, for it meant that his dream had been staved off on this occasion. He hoped that it was a sign of what was to come.
“It is not,” a deep and rich voice spoke.
“What?” Ash asked, jerking upright and almost losing his balance. “Who’s there?”
“Look into the sun,” the voice replied. “Look into the sun and you shall see.”
“Okay Brock, this isn’t funny,” he said nervously. “Where are you?” Silence answered him. “Brock?” he called out again. “Hello? Anyone?” He looked around carefully and winced as he faced over the edge again, forced to shield his eyes.
The new day’s sun was larger and brighter than he had ever seen it. The air seemed to steam before him and he gasped as the heat rolling off it surrounded him. What’s happening? he gasped. What’s wrong with the sun?
But though the words echoed round his head, it was the cry of a Pikachu that issued from his lips. No… this can’t be true, it can’t! he screamed.
But all that the world heard was “Pika pika!”
Dawn screamed, sending Brock crashing to the floor in a flood of unfinished oaths. She couldn’t help it; she had been in the midst of a deep sleep only to be shaken out of it by one of her companions; opening her eyes, she’d seen two large brown ones staring back only inches away, a few strands of golden hair dangling down and tickling her nose.
“Stop screaming!” Brock shouted, struggling to disentangle himself from the bed sheets he’d dragged down with him. “What’s wrong?”
Dawn pointed with a shaky finger and Brock followed it to see a petrified girl at the far side of the room, pressing herself as far into the corner as she could. Her long golden hair tumbled sleekly downwards to her waist, at which point it curved upwards again. The robe she wore was of a similar shade, with the exception of a few brown flecks spread across at irregular intervals. Her ears were normal, save for the fact that they narrowed unusually at the top and were elongated to her temples, the pale flesh darkening as they rose. But it was the eyes that he noticed most.
They were deep, incredibly so. He had the funny feeling that by looking into them, she would be able to see into the innermost depths of his soul. The sight of those chocolate-coloured pools was mesmerizing.
“Oh no you don’t,” Dawn said, reaching out and catching Brock by the back of his shirt as he took a step forwards. She turned back to the strange girl and, her fright over, stared at her hard. “What are you doing in here?” she demanded. The girl’s mouth worked, but no sounds came out.
“Wait a minute...” Dawn mused, “I recognize you...” She looked even closer and suddenly groaned.
“Oh no,” she said. “Not again. Please not again.”
“Wha... hathen... ee..?” the girl whispered, the words coming out awkwardly with the unfamiliar tongue.
“Where’s Ash?” Dawn demanded. “Did he run off again?”
“No heah,” the girl said, shaking her head. “He go... I hay... Hange.” She reached out an arm clumsily and examined it a moment before returning her gaze to Dawn. “Wha hahen a me?” she whispered again, her face crumpling. “Why?” Letting go of Brock, Dawn swung herself out of bed and walked over to the confused and scared girl. She embraced her, allowing her to spill the tears that she could barely contain.
“It’s okay,” she whispered reassuringly. “I don’t know what’s happened to make you like this, but we’ll find a way to change you back. I promise. Okay?”
“Ohay,” the girl sniffled, wiping away the last of her tears as she stepped back from Dawn.
“First things first; we need to find Ash,” Dawn said. “Soon as we do that, we’ll be able to start working something out.”
“No,” the girl said, shaking her head.
“Huh? Why not?” Dawn asked, confused.
“He... no like me now,” she whispered, ducking her head to try and hide the next bought of tears.
“What? That’s ridiculous!” Dawn protested. “You’re his best friend!”
“Not since change...” the girl murmured in response. “He no sleep... no share problem... go with no me... he no like me now!”
“Look,” Dawn said angrily, “I don’t know just what’s gotten into your head, but-”
“Leave it,” Brock advised, clamping his hand on her shoulder.
“But,” Dawn began again.
“Please,” the girl whispered, still hiding her face in her bangs though the slight convulsions running through her body betrayed her crying.
“Alright then, Pikachu,” Dawn said. “It’s your call.”
“He come back soon,” the Pokemon-turned-human whispered. “I talk him then... alone. Please?” Though Dawn wanted to protest again, the look in Brock’s eyes and the pleading in Pikachu’s voice told her it would be best not to.
“Okay,” she said again.
“I speak now,” Pikachu added, looking towards them both. “He understand me now... Better, maybe.”
“Maybe,” Dawn muttered.
“Are you going to be okay, Pikachu?” Brock asked.
“I fine,” she reassured him. “But please, no call me Pikachu.”
“Huh?” Brock said, confused. “But that’s your name.” She shook her head.
“Pikachu is Pokemon name,” she explained. “I person now, not Pokemon. Person name not Pikachu. I Yellow now.”
“Yellow?” Dawn repeated. The girl nodded.
“Yes,” she said, tapping her chest, “I know in here I Yellow.”
“Well the name certainly fits,” Brock said, eying her hair and robe.
There was a knock at the door, and Yellow jumped back as if she had been scalded.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” Dawn asked her.
“I fine,” she nodded, taking a deep breath. “Get door?” Brock moved forwards and opened the door; finding himself face-to-face with Nurse Joy, he swooned.
“Oh good, you haven’t left for the day yet,” she beamed, ignoring the love struck Breeder. “I just wanted to let you know that the online data on your opponents has been uploaded now, and that your round-robin matches for tomorrow have been scheduled, Yellow.”
“Yellow’s matches?” Dawn repeated.
“Of course, who else’s?” Nurse Joy asked. “Have a good day all of you, and the best of luck!”
“That... was weird,” Dawn said as Nurse Joy walked off to the next room. “What did she mean ‘Yellow’s matches’?”
“It’s just gotten a lot weirder,” Brock said, his body still spread-eagled on the floor as he gazed at the small yellow Pokemon who had been standing behind Nurse Joy. Spiked fur jutted from its head, though this had been smushed down by the weight of the cap on its head. Its eyes, wider and lighter than those of a regular Pikachu, stared at the girl in the room in confusion.
“A Pikachu?” Dawn asked in surprise. “Wait, why’s it wearing Ash’s hat?”
“Because it isn’t a Pikachu,” Brock said. “It’s Ashachu.”
“He change too?” Yellow asked in surprise.
“Pikachu pi?” Ashachu asked in surprise, and she glowered at him.
“I speak!” she said hotly. “I hear years; you think I no understand?”
“Chu, chu,” Ashachu said, waving his arms with a panicked look in his face.
“What the heck is an Ashachu?” Dawn asked.
“I change. Ash change,” Yellow said simply.
“You mean that Pikachu is Ash?” Dawn said incredulously. “No way! What’s it like being a Pokemon?” she asked him excitedly. Ashachu shocked her.
“My hair!” Dawn shrieked as the electricity caused it to stand on end in clumps.
“Wow... for a guy who just transformed into a Pikachu he sure packs a lot of power,” Brock observed.
“I’ll show him power,” Dawn growled, taking a step forward.
“No nice! You no do!” Yellow scolded, standing in between Ashachu and Dawn.
“Pi,” Ashachu muttered rebelliously.
“I only shock when you need it!” Yellow retorted angrily.
“That’s enough! All of you!” Brock roared, causing all of them to pause and look at him in surprise; it was the first time any of them had ever heard him shouting, with the notable exception of Team Rocket when they tried to steal his hard-made food. Grabbing Dawn by the arm, he dragged her out of the room. “Come on, Dawn,” he said, in a slightly calmer voice. “Yellow wants to talk to him alone, remember? Let’s leave them so they can work out whatever’s wrong.”
“Yeah, fine, whatever,” Dawn snapped, reaching back into the room for her hairbrush. Slamming the door behind her, she stormed off down the hallway with Brock in her wake.
Hearing both sets of footsteps walking away, Yellow let out a muted groan and sat on the edge of a bed heavily, her hands covering her face.
“Pi?” Ashachu asked.
“I scared,” Yellow admitted. “Why I change? Why you change? What happen?”
“Chu-chu pika,” Ashachu replied.
“Sun get bright and hot?” Yellow repeated in surprise. “I no see sun, but light everywhere; so bright, I no see. Very hot, then I person. No know what to do; I go Dawn, wake her up. She scared, no know who I am. Then remember. I scared; why this happen?”
“Chu pika-pika, Pikachu?” he asked.
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I explain to Brock and Dawn; I no Pikachu now. Pikachu is Pokemon name, but I person. I Yellow.”
“Pi-p-p-p-p,” Ashachu snorted, eliciting a glare from her.
“Yellow better than Ashachu,” she said cuttingly.
“Churrr,” he growled, his cheeks sparking.
“You try, you die,” Yellow said menacingly. “Attack no work on me. I resist.”
“Pika?” Ashachu asked snidely, and her eyes flashed.
“I speak good!” she shouted, jumping to her feet in anger. “I speak you language better you speak mine! You barely compre... compre...” She hesitated. “Comprefencable,” she completed with satisfaction.
“Chu,” he snorted, and her eyes began to well up.
“Why you so mean?” she asked, all her suppressed hurt beginning to gain control of her emotions. “You no like me now. Why Ashachu hate Yellow?”
“Pikachu!” he protested.
“No, it true!” she said, wiping a hand across her eyes quickly. “You ignore me, sleep bad near me. Something wrong, but you no share. And I best friend. I cry inside, all time. I lonely... want Ash back. Where he go? What happen to Ash? Who is new Ash who hate me? He not my Ash. I want back. Is all I want... Where he go?” Unable to continue, she broke down, sobbing into her hands. Embarrassed, he moved to her side and patted her leg awkwardly.
“Chu-chu, pikachu pika,” he muttered.
“You can tell, just no want to!” she sobbed. “Why you no tell Pikachu? She... I so lonely... so sad...”
“Chu,” he tried again. “Pikachu pi.”
“You can tell. You can,” she whispered, tears dripping off the end of her nose and landing on Ashachu’s head. “I Pikachu... best friend... Why you no trust?”
“Pika,” he murmured, looking at the floor. Yellow reached down and picked him up by the waist, bringing him onto her lap; though he did not want to, he found himself forced to look into her tear-stained features, though not because Yellow held him that way. No, he was simply unable to look away and as his gaze passed over her sad and lonely eyes, he found himself drawn into their depths. He was helpless to resist and, unbidden, images flashed through his mind. Horrified he realized that they were from his dream.
Though he struggled to break his gaze away, to think of something else, he was powerless. Every image, every fanciful scene passed through his mind exactly as he envisioned it each and every night, and only when the very last gasp had faded was he able to look away from her. Terrified, he slowly looked back, hoping against hope that it had all been in his mind.
But it was a futile hope, for she had seen. She looked at him hard, very hard, as if trying to discern the thoughts in his mind, his reaction to what had just happened. Slowly she stood, placing Ashachu on the bed as she moved slowly towards the door. Opening it, she paused and turned back to him, an unfathomable emotion in her eyes that made him cringe. Was it hatred? Disgust? Revulsion?
Without a further word she turned and walked away, leaving Ashachu alone in the rapidly shrinking room, his chest heaving and his face stained with tears.
Yep, lots of Pika-talk in this one, but I tried to phrase Yellow's comments in a way so that you could follow along with what Ashachu was saying. Did it work? You can let me know (along with your other thoughts about this chapter) in a review if you like!
This chapter didn't really turn out the way I expected/wanted, but I think it works with the story well enough. The third and final chapter will be posted soon enough.
Re: Looking Within (T)
The final chapter, and the last installment of the PikaShipping trilogy. Thanks to any who read it.
Chapter Three: Looking Within
“This is bizarre,” Brock grimaced as he viewed the League tournament listings. “According to this, Ash never entered the League at all; there’s no record of him in it at all.”
“What about all the Pokemon he registered?” Dawn asked.
“They aren’t listed under him since Ash supposedly didn’t enter,” Brock answered. “But watch this; I enter in Ash’s registration number and this comes up; look familiar?”
“But that’s Yellow!” Dawn burst out.
“Right,” Brock nodded, “and when you check out the list of Pokemon she has registered...”
“They’re all Ash’s Pokemon,” Dawn murmured, her eyes scanning the screen quickly. “Glalie, Gliscor, Charizard, Tauros, Cyndaquil... even a Pikachu!”
“Yup,” Brock confirmed.
“But what about the preliminary matches Ash won?” Dawn asked. “They have to have a record of that.”
“According to this, Yellow was the one who fought in and won those matches,” Brock said, bringing up the screen as he spoke. Dawn groaned and collapsed into a nearby chair.
“This makes no sense,” she growled. “Are you telling me that all of the records have been changed to make it seem that Ash never competed?”
“It looks that way, but I don’t understand how,” Brock frowned. “This picture of Yellow, for example; there’s no way somebody should have been able to get a picture like this. An hour ago she was still a Pikachu. There’s no way any sort of picture of her should exist. And look at these screenshots from Ash’s battles yesterday.”
“He’s not there... but Yellow is,” Dawn said slowly.
“Right,” Brock confirmed. There was a long pause while they tried to figure all of this out.
“How is this possible?” Dawn asked at last.
“It isn’t,” Brock answered, “but it’s happened all the same.” Sighing, he logged off the terminal and turned to see Yellow coming down the stairs at the far side of the room, her head bent and her eyes strangely clouded.
“Yellow, over here!” he called, waving her over. Looking up, she spotted the duo and began picking her way across the room carefully, her swaying body still not used to the longer and comparatively more awkward human limbs. She had almost reached them when she lost her balance and fell forward with a crash.
“Are you alright?” Dawn asked in concern, leaning out of the chair to help her up.
“How you walk with no tail?” Yellow asked, getting back on her feet awkwardly. “I fall three times.”
“Did you hurt yourself?” Brock asked.
“No, but stairs hard,” she replied.
“Hey... where’s Ash?” Dawn asked, looking around. “Did you get things worked out?” Yellow avoided their inquisitive glances.
“No...” she said slowly. “I know... but I no know what to do.”
“You know but you don’t know?” Dawn asked, confused.
“I know why he this way,” Yellow clarified. “He no tell, but I see.” Dawn opened her mouth to speak again, but Yellow forestalled her. “I no tell either,” she said, and Dawn closed her mouth with a sheepish grin.
“I’m sorry, Yellow; I didn’t mean to pry,” she said.
“Is okay,” Yellow said with a small smile. “I just very confused... need think.”
“We understand,” Brock said. “Anyways, we found some stuff out. It looks like Ash has been taken out of the computer records somehow, and you’ve been added in his place. That’s why Nurse Joy said that your Round Robin matchups had been decided.”
“What that mean?” Yellow asked, feeling confused.
“It means that you’re registered as a participant in the tournament, with all of Ash’s Pokemon registered to you,” Dawn replied.
“It means that you have to fight.”
For the next several hours, Yellow did nothing but think. She wandered around the League grounds on her own, her arms folded across her chest, her mind racing, ever racing. Her feet moved automatically, no destination set in mind. The movement helped her to keep her mind focus, and so she continued to walk as the sun floated across the sky and the first tendrils of darkness began to claim the air, pondering the current dilemma.
On one hand, the images she had seen in Ashachu’s mind unsettled her. But on the other, a strangely pleased sensation had developed within her breast because of it. She had travelled with Ash for a very long time, and he with her. They had been together for years, and in that time they had learnt so much about each other. They were best friends, and as close as it was possible for a human and a Pokemon to be. But...
He was a human! She was a Pokemon! That their roles had suddenly been reversed could not and would not change that. Such a union was unheard of, forbidden, no matter what passed in her dreams.
But she knew him. She knew him better than any human, even his own mother, could claim to do so. It frustrated her sometimes; he was achingly oblivious to the affection girls felt for him, even when they blushed right before his eyes. Angie, Anabel... even Dawn had been disappointed by his sheer obtuseness. That he, the master of denseness, would have these dreams was utterly surprising. That they were about her... she would have been less surprised if she had suddenly sprouted a pair of wings and learned to fly. Maybe that was why she felt strangely pleased, though.
But... it was impossible for her to quantify what her feelings truly were. She was so confused that she didn’t know how she was supposed to feel. Should she be disgusted with him? Accepting? Understanding? Eventually she decided that she would not be able to come to a conclusion without knowing what feelings had caused them. And for that, she needed to go to the source.
Ashachu was a very worried little Pikachu as he sat there in the room. When Yellow left he sat still, dismayed by what had happened. He didn’t understand the irresistible draw of Yellow’s eyes. He didn’t understand how she could have seen through him like that.
He didn’t understand a lot of things.
He quickly lost track of how much time passed as he sat there motionless, miserable; not even his stomach roused him. He was only jerked out of his thoughts by the soft clicking noise as the bedroom door shut. Standing there alone was Yellow; a funny look was on her face as she gazed at him, though what it was he could not say.
“I need know,” she said softly.
“Pi?” he asked.
“About dream,” she answered him. “Why you have?”
“Pi-pika,” he replied, and she frowned.
“You no know? You must,” she asserted. “Dream has reason; what are feelings behind dream?”
“Pi-pika,” he answered again. Yellow sighed and shook her head; her ability to speak was still somewhat limited, and she couldn’t find the right way to phrase what she meant. She decided to try a different tack and approach it from another angle.
“When dream start?” she asked, and he lowered his head.
“Pi... kachu pi, chuuh,” he muttered, and she understand.
“After I change first time,” she repeated. She looked at him inquisitively, a glimmer of comprehension in her mind. “What your feelings for Pikachu?” she asked.
“Pikachu?” he asked, confused.
“For Pikachu,” she repeated, “when Pokemon,” and he understood.
“Pika chu, kachu chu, chah pi,” he said strongly, waving his arms in emphasis.
“Best friend...” she repeated. “Always, forever, now... friends... Then what your feelings for Yellow?”
“Chu?” he tried, but she shook her head.
“No, Yellow not Pokemon. Pikachu is Pokemon. Yellow is person. What your feelings?”
“Pi... chu pika...” he murmured, his face turned away, and with that one sentence she understood.
“I understand, but no like,” she muttered to herself. “Dream about Yellow, not Pikachu, but he no know difference. That why he no tell. Confused.” She sighed. “I confused, but I know. Maybe it be okay now. Still friends.” A grin broke across her face as she remembered something else too. “Change no last long; Maybe change back in sleep!”
With the knowledge that she and Ashachu had resolved some of the prior difficulty, and the hope that in the morning all would be normal again, she fell asleep in bed that night with little worries. Maybe, just maybe, everything would be okay after all. And had things worked out that way, she would have been a very happy Pikachu. But there was one factor she hadn’t counted on which destroyed those hopes.
That night, the dream came to her.
Brock, Dawn, even Ashachu noticed it the next morning. Yellow was strangely distant when they awoke, answering questions with short answers and not offering any conversation on her own volition. She avoided Ashachu’s gaze altogether and, shortly after getting dressed, she left the room to explore the League grounds more thoroughly on her own. Brock and Dawn both noticed the striking similarities to Ash’s behaviour of the last few weeks, though of course Ashachu did not; he was surprised about Yellow’s sudden coldness towards him, and more than a little hurt. Giving it some thought, he concluded that some facet of their conversation from the day before was still bothering her, and resolved to speak to her about it as soon as he was able.
But Yellow avoided him all day. In her three round-robin matches she used reserve Pokemon, while he was left sitting sadly on the sidelines on Dawn’s lap. He cheered for her of course, but dearly wished he could be down there with her.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Dawn whispered to him at one point during Yellow’s third battle. “She’s just working some things over in her mind, that’s all.” He could only give her a sad look in return.
It was quickly established that Yellow would advance; her opponents were no match for her ferocious tactics, and Ashachu even felt a twinge of admiration for her abilities; he suspected that, despite her lack of experience in commanding Pokemon, she could even defeat him in an even battle.
Giving only a quick bow after her third and final victory, Yellow left the arena. Brock, Dawn, and Ashachu quickly followed behind, Ashachu riding on Dawn’s shoulder; he soon learned that it was not as secure a perch as he’d imagined it to be for all these years. It was a struggle to catch up with Yellow, and anyone’s guess as to where she might be headed. Brock thought the Pokemon Centre while Dawn suggested the food court. Ashachu was of the opinion that she’d gone back to the room, but neither Brock nor Dawn understood him when he tried to bring it up.
It was the flash of Yellow’s stunning hair that caught their attention halfway across the square; Brock and Dawn instantly rushed forward, hoping to catch up with her before she vanished into the thick crowd, but it was soon apparent that there was no need to rush. She stood stock-still, her fists raised and clenched as she glowered at the person who stood nonchalantly in her way. Ashachu felt his heart sink. Of course. It just had to be Paul.
“So, looks like I’ll be your first opponent tomorrow,” he said calmly to Yellow. “You managed to make it through the quick battles okay; do you think you’re ready to go on to the six-on-six final rounds?” He grinned. “Maybe you’d better just give up now,” he said. “You don’t have a chance against me, and I wouldn’t want to humiliate you in front of so many people.” Yellow tensed and, despite the fact that she was human, Ashachu could have sworn that her cheeks were sparking.
“Yellow,” Brock called in a loud voice, and she whirled around quickly. She relaxed slightly upon seeing who it was and turned back to Paul as Brock, Dawn, and Ashachu stepped to her side.
“Oh, it’s you,” Paul said, looking over the trio in disdain. “I see Ash isn’t with you. I’m really not all that surprised, to be honest. I always knew that he was pathetic, but to not make it past even the preliminaries! I’m not surprised he doesn’t dare show his face around me. So much for his claims that he could beat me. What a loser.”
“Chrrrr,” Ashachu growled, his cheeks sparking, but Yellow cut across in front of him.
“You no say bad things,” she said, her hand and finger trembling with rage as she pointed it in his face. “He great battler, good person. He much stronger then you. Pokemon no make trainer; trainer make Pokemon!”
“Listen to yourself speak,” he said scornfully. “The last time I heard someone speak that way they were in diapers.”
Yellow flew at him. Only Brock’s quick reaction in grabbing her from behind prevented her from lynching Paul. Even with his intervention she was still able to scratch his face before being hauled back. He took a surprised step back, holding a hand to his smarting face.
“I think it would be a good idea to go,” Dawn said to him coldly. “I wouldn’t bet on Brock being able to hold on to her for too long, and her Pikachu may decide to have a go instead.” Paul eyed Ashachu and turned away without a word to her, walking away at his usual calm and even pace. Ashachu distinctly heard him mutter “psychotic bitch” under his breath thanks to his sharp hearing, though Brock and Dawn both missed it. Casing a sideways glance at the furious Yellow, he saw that she, however, had heard it. Her teeth clenched and her fists shook violently as she futilely strained to escape Brock’s grip. Only after Paul had vanished and a small crowd had gathered around them curiously did she relax enough for Brock to let her go.
“You no help,” she said to Brock and Dawn angrily. “He hurt; I hurt back.”
“Get him back on the battlefield,” Brock advised. “That’s what will hurt him the most.”
“He nasty, vile, small...” she struggled for the words, and Dawn sighed.
“I don’t think I’ll ever understand what drives him to act that way,” she said.
“Fear and his own insecurity,” Brock answered. “It leads him to take it all out on whoever he’s around at the time.”
“I kill him,” Yellow muttered, her fists still clenched.
“You mean you’ll beat him on the battlefield tomorrow,” Brock said, giving her a searching look.
“Yes,” Yellow growled. “I show him... I use six Pokemon he scared of most when he see Dex. Beat him easy!”
“That’s the spirit,” Dawn encouraged. “No need to worry, you’ll tear him apart! But, um... who were those six Pokemon anyways?”
“Grotle, Gliscor, Monferno, Buizel, Staraptor, and...” Brock’s voice trailed off.
“Oh dear,” he said.
Yellow was quiet the next day, and though Brock, and Dawn put it down to battle nerves, Ashachu began to suspect that there was another reason. He did not know that the dream had visited her for the second consecutive night, and though he would have been shocked had he known, he would have had no time to dwell on it for he was also a bundle of nerves.
He’d wanted to battle Paul at the League of course, but not as a Pikachu.
On her part, Yellow was quiet for another reason. For with the dream came memories of her own, memories that she had thought were suppressed. Memories from Johto...
She shook the thought out of her head; she did not want to feel guilty, and she did not need these distractions now. She had a battle to go to.
She stiffened slightly as Ashachu jumped onto her shoulder, and his ears drooped at her reaction. But then she gave a slight smile and tickled him lightly under the chin. Ashachu sighed in content, realizing just why Pikachu loved it so much. Despite that Yellow could not quite look him in the eye, and he knew that there was still a great deal of coldness between them, though he couldn’t say what the reason for that was.
The group left the room with little delay, eager to get to the battlefield. Brock and Dawn bade them farewell after only a short walk, leaving for their reserved seats in the stands. Yellow and Ashachu continued on their way, entering the trainer’s room to prepare themselves mentally in the little time they had left before the match began. Though Ashachu remained on her shoulder, they said nothing, each preferring to keep their own thoughts private.
Despite her outward calm, a fierce struggle was taking place within Yellow. She longed to say something to Ashachu, to hug him.
And yet she couldn’t. Only now did she understand the power and the shame of the dream. Only now did she understand the fierce fight between longing and dread. Only now did she realize why Ash had kept it all hidden inside. She needed to tell him, but she couldn’t. The dream prevented it. And even if it hadn’t, how could she tell him when her own feelings were so convoluted?
She wrestled with her thoughts so deeply that she did not even notice when the official came down to inform her that she should begin the procession onto the pitch. It took another attempt for him to gain her attention, and when she finally began the long march she struggled desperately to empty her mind and focus on the battle at hand.
She contemplated who she should send out first; Ashachu was not an option. He may have had the body of a powerful Pikachu, but beyond walking and eating he had no idea how to use it. Any electrical attack he produced would be weak and ineffectual in a battle such as this, and it had a very good chance of being uncontrollable. No, she would not use him until last. Perhaps it would have been best to choose a different Pokemon, but...
They were partners, forever and always. Nothing could ever change that. For this one match, they had to be together. They had to take Paul down as a team.
“Gliscor, go!” she cried, and Paul grinned.
“Gliscor, let’s go!” he shouted in retaliation, and the two former group members exploded onto the pitch.
Ashachu watched nervously as the battle unfolded. Yellow got off to a fantastic start, utilizing the field in ways that Paul could not comprehend to take down two Pokemon before Gliscor fainted. The crowd groaned, disappointed in Paul’s effort as he quickly went down three Pokemon to one. It was much the same in the second half. Soon Paul was left with only one Pokemon, while Yellow had four remaining. But that one Pokemon was all he needed.
Paul’s Torterra was devastating. It seemed able to take any attack that was launched at it, and Monferno, and Buizel were taken down very quickly. Now both Ashachu and Yellow were sweating nervously. Yellow’s fifth Pokemon, Staraptor, was fast and dangerous, scoring more damage than either of them had hoped. But despite its incredible power, it was soon taken down by a Leaf Storm.
Yellow recalled Staraptor and looked at the Poke Ball a moment before turning to Ashachu. “Stay low, dodge attack,” she advised. “Hit belly; weak point.” Though her tone was confident, her eyes gave away her true emotions. Ashachu nodded and was about to jump onto the field when she held him back for the briefest of moments.
“Stay safe,” she whispered.
“Pika,” he replied, and turned to face the Torterra. It suddenly struck him how massive the Pokemon truly was. It towered over him, and even if were to stand on his hind legs and stretch up, he doubted that he could have touched even the lowest point of its underbelly. The Torterra took a step forward, and he winced as he felt the ground tremble under its weight; he dreaded to think what it would be like if it were to stand on him.
He knew then that he had no chance of victory. Electrical attacks would not work, and he had no idea how to use Iron Tail. But he still squared up to it, ready to battle for his pride and for Yellow. He was ready.
“Go, Quick Attack!” Yellow shouted, and Ashachu ran towards Torterra as fast as he could manage. A ripple of laughter broke across the crowd at the sight of his abysmal speed and he gritted his teeth, wishing that he had the coordination to at least move on all four legs instead of just two.
“This won’t take long,” Paul grinned. “Torterra, Withdraw!” His Pokemon roared and hunkered down to the ground, causing Ashachu to run into the hefty protective plates. Reeling from the impact, he fell back and was met with a barrage of razor sharp leaves that pelted his chest and face; a scream escaped from him as one of them sliced into his ear, while another cut his flank. Stumbling back in panic he managed to avoid the next few leaves, and the attack subsided. Panting, he turned to grin at the Torterra, but it quickly turned into a look of horror. The massive Pokemon was bearing down on him in a full on charge. He made a move to leap out of the way, but the ground was shaking so much under Torterra’s massive weight that he fell over almost instantly.
The Rock Climb thundered into him, and he screamed as he felt himself go flying through the air before hitting something very hard. Dazed, his eyes unfocused, he did not notice that he was pinned in the corner of the battlefield. He did not hear Yellow’s scream for him to move as Torterra charged in again to rear up and deliver a finishing Body Slam. Confused from the impact of the attack, he did not even realize that he was trying to go through a roar.
And then he was flying through the air again, his senses sharp and alert as a piercing scream cleared his mind again. He hit the ground rolling and spun back in Torterra’s direction, desperate to avoid another hit.
The world froze.
Pinned underneath Torterra’s legs, her face white and her chest bloodied, was Yellow. Her outstretched arms left him in no doubt that she was the reason he had gone flying; she had pushed him out of the way and taken the entire force of Torterra’s attack herself.
His legs, human legs, gave way and he fell to his knees in shock. “Yellow,” he whispered in his own voice. That he was human again registered in his mind only vaguely as he crawled towards the injured girl who lay on the Stadium floor. Torterra, horrified at what had happened, backed off as he approached, looking like it wished it had never been sent out for this battle. Even Paul seemed stunned, though whether it was because his Torterra had just crushed a human or whether it was because a Pikachu had just turned into his most bitter rival was impossible to say.
“You... change...” Yellow whispered as Ash’s face loomed over her. “Person again, but... I not Pokemon... Why?”
“I don’t know,” Ash said softly, crouching at her side and lifting her gently so that her head lay n his lap. “I don’t know why I changed but you didn’t.” He took a shaking breath and looked into her eyes; they were clear, and absent of any pain. “Yellow, why did you do that?” he asked. “Why did you push me out of the way?”
“You do for me,” she said simply. “You catch when I fall. You take attack for me. You stop me be hurt. I do for you.”
“You shouldn’t have done it,” he said.
“You do for me, I do for you,” she repeated, her voice quieter than before. There was a pause while she took several painful breaths before speaking again. “Yellow... safe?” she asked and Ash nodded, his chest feeling constricted.
“Yes... you’re safe with me, Yellow,” he whispered. She smiled up at him and then her body fell limp, the pain overriding her struggles and sending her into unconsciousness. There was a commotion above him as several medics began to make their way to the tunnels so they could access the battlefield, but they froze as a bolt of bluish flames exploded from the centre.
His back turned to the field, Ash did not see the torrents of dust blow outwards. He did not see as the fireball turned into a tall pillar of violet flame leapt up from the ground, eliciting screams from the spectators in the Stadium. He did not see it expand, did not see the outline of the majestic quadruped appear behind it.
But he felt the pebbles strike the back of his neck, and he felt the heat; and he turned slowly, Yellow still in his arms, to face it. Holding her protectively, he watched silently as the flames crested and burst, sending tendrils of blue sparks careening through the air before they dissipated harmlessly at a whisper from the Pokemon’s breath. A curious look was on its face as it gazed at them, and Ash stared impassively back.
“Your road has been hard,” the Entei rumbled, and as with Raikou and Suicune Ash had the feeling that it spoke not with words, but with its eyes. “I am sorry you have been through so much pain.”
“Why are you here?” Ash asked it quietly.
“The bond you share with your Pokemon is unique,” the Entei stated. “Many of those whom you have met in your travels have noticed this; they marvel at the lengths you go to keep your Pokemon safe, for they know that they could not do the same if they were in the same situations.”
“Why are you here?” Ash repeated.
“My brother, Raikou, gave you a test, young human. He had seen the extraordinary efforts you undertook and wished to see how you would react if you were forced to save your best friend without the assistance of your Pokemon. Raikou’s Test was a test of courage, and you impressed him greatly with your response to it.
“Our curiosity was aroused; it was clear to us that you were unusual for a human, and we became intrigued by the particularly close bond you shared with your Pikachu. And so my sister, Suicune, took it upon herself to give you a test of the heart. It is easy to see someone as they appear, but it is not so easy to see them as they truly are. People and Pokemon go through great changes, and feelings towards others can often change with them. You experienced confusion, but ultimately you responded like any true friend would. By putting aside the conflict within and following your heart, you allowed your true Emotions to shine through.”
The Entei paused and took several paces forward. Leaning forwards he breathed softly on Yellow, and Ash felt the heat of a thousand volcanoes pass over his skin.
“With the permission of my father,” the Entei murmured, bowing his head as Yellow stirred. She blinked once, staring up at Ash before letting out a sudden exclamation as she sat up and felt her chest.
“The injury... it gone,” she whispered, looking at Ash with wide eyes. “What... what happened?”
“Sacred Fire,” the Entei breathed. “As your wound was my fault, I have undone the damage with my father’s aid.” Yellow’s eyes narrowed as she turned to look at the Entei, breaking free of Ash’s grasp as she did so.
“What you mean ‘it your fault?’” she asked. “You do to me?”
“It was an unforeseen consequence of my test,” the Entei said, lowering his head further in apology. “An effect unintentionally caused by my desire to extrapolate on my sister’s test.”
“What do you mean?” Ash asked.
“We watched you closely afterward, human, and it was not long until we saw a repercussion take effect from Pikachu’s initial transformation that Suicune had not anticipated. You know what it is that I speak of.”
“The dream,” Ash said.
“Yes,” the Entei agreed. “With Raikou and Suicune having given their tests, it was deemed that I should deliver the next. And so I used the dream as the basis of my test.”
“Why?” Yellow asked, still glowering at him. “Why you need do test? Why you make us change?”
“You felt hurt like you never had before,” the Entei told her. “You knew that something was bothering Ash, and you resented the fact that he would not tell you what it was. Your bond became strained, and you did not know why. You did not realize it was because he had fallen in love with you in your human form, and he did not tell you for fear of his reaction.”
“I no understand,” Yellow said.
“It is easy to judge someone based on what you have observed, but much harder to do so when you view the situation exactly as they do. As your perspectives change, so do your opinions on certain matters. You, Yellow, now understand exactly how Ash felt for, though you did not tell him, you experienced the dream yourself and reacted in the exact same way as he. Ashamed and scared by his reaction, you kept silent, and not for the first time.”
“What do you mean?” Ash asked.
“He right, it... it not first time,” Yellow whispered, lowering her head.
“What?” Ash exclaimed, stunned by that revelation, but she seemed unable to say more.
“When you travelled in Johto you became a Pikachu for a short time,” the Entei said. “Though she did not admit it, Pikachu fell in love with you that day upon witnessing you after your transformation. After you changed back she was haunted by a similar desire as was visited upon you in your dream, though she did her best to repress it. Eventually, as more and more time passed, she succeeded.
“Ash, you now know how Pikachu felt when you refused to tell her what was wrong. You felt the same hurt that she did when you became distant from her because of your conflicting emotions. You felt her confusion, you felt her sadness, and you resented her because of it.” There was silence for a moment while they digested what had been said.
“I guess we failed the test,” Ash said eventually. “Neither of us reacted in any other way.”
“My test was not to see whether you would act differently,” the Entei replied. “We all judge through our own eyes; many know no other way of doing so. But to see through the eyes of another... that is a far more difficult and arduous endeavour. That was my test, and you have both passed.”
“We pass? So what happen now?” Yellow asked. “I change? Ash change? No change?”
“That is dependent on Ash,” the Entei proclaimed.
“What?” Ash asked, startled for the second time.
“It is your choice, Ash,” the Entei said. “Yellow can change back into a Pikachu, or she can stay human. If you choose the former your best friend will be back as you remember her. If you choose the latter she will remain as she is, though she will never battle by your side again. Think carefully, for the choice is permanent.”
“No,” Ash said after a moment’s pause. “I won’t do that.”
“You must,” the Entei growled.
“I won’t,” Ash repeated stubbornly. “I can’t and won’t decide something like that.”
“And why is that?” the Entei asked quietly.
“Because it isn’t my choice to make,” Ash said softly. “Yellow is the only one who can decide that.”
The Entei stepped back, and there was the slightest hint of a smile in his eyes. “Then you have passed not only the tests of Raikou, Suicune, and Entei, but the test of our great father, Ho-oh, as well,” he said softly.
The ground erupted into flames around the legendary Pokemon’s feet, and Ash and Yellow both yelped in surprise as a separate fireball surrounded them too.
“Not all decisions are the right ones,” the Entei’s voice whispered in their minds. “Sometimes a choice that seems right at the time can have unforeseeable and disastrous consequences in the future. You understand that not every decision can be yours. You have demonstrated this by respecting Yellow’s right to decide her own future. And so, for passing his test, I have a gift for you from Ho-oh.”
The flames around them leapt even higher and turned colour as the Entei’s last words reverberated through their minds.
“You now have the ability to change at will; you can be Pikachu or human as you please. Through our tests and your own adventures you have forged a bond that will forever stand the test of time. You are partners, and connected by far more than a Poke Ball. You are connected by the mutual feelings in your hearts.
“I wish you undying and everlasting happiness, wherever you may be in the world...”
The Entei’s voice faded away slowly, and so too did the fire that surrounded them. A breeze picked up as they stood there in the centre of the field, looks of tenderness in their eyes as they held each other tightly. The silent crowd, none of whom had heard or understand any of what the Entei said, sat watching as, together, the boy and the girl walked out of the Stadium to celebrate the start of a new life.
Re: Looking Within (T)
A great fanfic, man! I have never read anything this moving! Congrats, man! Hope you have a good life.