Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and related material are the property of their respective owners, Pokemon character names are trademarks of Nintendo. All characters in this story are above the age of consent. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 19 - Reunion
The sun had just begun its descent when Ash, May, Max and (some minutes behind them) Misty arrived at the base of Mt. Rapture. There, a big elevator that sported the color pattern of a Pokeball had just returned from the top of the mountain. The group approached the guard booth that blocked access to the elevator, where a bored man was sitting behind the counter, working through and endless queue of incoming trainers and guests.
“Tickets please…” the man droned out in a baritone voice. Ash rummaged in his backpack for a couple of seconds before producing his invitation to the tournament.
“Right, here they are. Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, bringing in 5 guests…”
“Hmmm, seems to be in order… Ketchum… Pallet Town… 5 guests…” the guard mumbled as he scanned Ash’s ticket and typed away on his computer.
“Hold on, I’m only seeing Miss Maple and Miss Lillis with you… Where are your other guests?” the guard asked, indicating May and Misty in turn. “Also, I’m not seeing him on your list either, sir…” the guard prompted, pointing his head to Max.
“Oh, I’ve got an invitation of my own! Max Maple, sir. And the rest of our friends were coming from the other end of the island. They haven’t caught up with us yet, is that a problem?”
“I’m afraid so, sir. Every competitor’s guest must be accompanied by said competitor upon arrival. Now, I can offer to let the others in as guests, but that would forfeit some of their privileges, as well as the rooms you’ve booked in your hotel…”
“Hmmm, no, that’s not an option… We’ll get back to you later then... Thanks!” Ash declined.
Quickly, they made their way out of the queue back towards the edge of the forest.
“So, I guess we’ll have to wait on the others, won’t we?” said Ash as she scratched himself behind the head.
“I guess so…” May replied, taking her Pokegear out. After pressing a few buttons, she frowned. “I still can’t get a good connection on my Pokegear… so giving them a call isn’t going to be an option…”
“Me neither… Man, they really screwed up on the wireless internet for this event!” Max chimed in as he poked his own Pokegear.
“Well… I sure hope Dawn, Zoey and Iris are okay... It’s a big forest, after all.” Ash mumbled as his eyes scanned the forest before them, looking for any sign of their three friends.
“Look! There they are! Over there, by the gate!” someone suddenly cried out. Ash, Misty, May and Max all looked around, trying to find out where the voice had come from, when a large black shadow passed over them. A strong gust of wind suddenly blew up a cloud of sand, forcing them all to avert their eyes. An earth-shaking thud could be felt as well as a triumphant roar, coming from a few meters away from the group.
As the dust settled, Ash let out a gasp as a large Charizard emerged. It was standing on its hind legs and had a weird contraption on his stomach, a combination of belts and canvas, holding a Fraxure tied to the fire type’s belly. Now that they had landed, the Fraxure quickly got out of his bonds and crashed down to earth, where he remained still, seemingly loving the fact that he was on solid ground again. Suddenly, Pikachu jumped from Ash’s shoulder and sprinted towards one of the two people who had just climbed off of the Charizard’s back.
“Pika pika!” he cried happily as he jumped into the arms of Iris. The tanned girl laughed happily as she twirled around with Pikachu in her arms.
“Hey there, little buddy! It’s good to see you too!” she patted him affectionately before her eyes caught a hold of the dark-haired trainer he belonged to. Ash sure had changed in the years since she had last seen him. He might have left as a skinny, thick-headed kid, but he had returned as a man. A lot taller with a body hardened from years of surviving in rough conditions. The man standing before her now definitely wasn’t the Ash she remembered, not anymore.
Just then, a goofy smile spread over his face, and Iris knew that deep down, Ash was still the same. Smiling, she strode over to him and gave him a hug, putting Pikachu back on his shoulder at the same time.
“Iris, you’re here! It’s so good to see you again…” Ash said as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders.
“Well, I wasn’t going to miss out on this… The first time in nearly 6 years that Ash Ketchum himself is in the land of the living again! You had us worried from time to time, you know…”
“Heh… Yeah… So I’ve heard. I’m sorry about that… I’m sorry about everything…” he mumbled solemnly as they parted and he took a step back towards the other three people of his group.
“Well! No sense in dwelling on the past, let’s focus on the future!” Iris chimed happily. She didn’t want to put Ash in a bad mood.
Focusing her attention on his companions, she greeted them with a happy smile and a wave.
“Hey guys! Good to see you all again! Wow, Max, you’ve grown!”
Max shrugged and laughed as May ran forward to properly greet Iris. Meanwhile, Misty stayed behind, content with observing from a distance.
“It’s good to see you again too Iris! How have you been? Hey… Is that Fraxure yours?”
“He sure is!” Iris confirmed proudly as Fraxure slowly stood on his feet again. “Axew finally evolved, just last night actually!
“Wow! Really? I gotta say he had it in him. He looks amazing!” Ash congratulated the dragon type, before his eyes suddenly fixated on the brown haired boy standing behind Iris, next to the Charizard that had delivered her.
“Hehe… Yes way! Fancy meeting you here, Ash!”
“Ritchie! Man, it’s been LONG since I last saw you! What are you doing here? How did you and Iris-…” Ash babbled in disbelief. Of all the people he hadn’t seen for so long, Ritchie had been the last he expected to meet again today.
“I’m doing the exact same thing you’re doing Ash! There’s a match against Cynthia waiting for me, and I’m not planning on wasting it! Good to see you again!” Ritchie said as both men grabbed each other by the forearm, finishing with a determined shake.
“So, you’re entering the tournament as well then? I guess that makes three of us!” Ash said with determination in his eyes. With a flick of his head, he indicated towards Max, who answered Ritchie’s look of wonder with a look of smoldering determination and a nod of the head.
“Really now? Max, wasn’t it? I have to say, I’m impressed. Getting invited to this tournament at your age is impressive. You must be really skilled!”
“Why thank you!” Max grinned. “Maybe you’ll find out just how skilled I am in the tournament!”
“I’m looking forward to that!”
“Not if I get my hands on you first, Max! Don’t think I’ll go easy on you, just because you’re my girlfriend’s brother!” Ash taunted him with a grin.
A sudden silence swept over the group as Ash realized what had happened. It was the first time he had confirmed his relationship with May. Out loud and in the open that is. May blushed heavily and suddenly took a great interest in a Fearow, flying high above them. Iris looked at the two young lovers with wide eyes before squealing with mirth and jumping on May in a hug. Meanwhile, Misty had her eyes firmly rooted on a tree in the distance as she frowned angrily and stomped on a big twig, snapping it in two.
“The two of you hooked up together? Oh my gosh, that’s amazing! Congratulations!” Iris cried out as she hugged May. “When did this happen?”
“W-… well… Just last night actually… We hadn’t decided on when we would tell everyone… But I guess Ash and that big mouth of his just sped things up a bit!” May replied as she kept on blushing. Behind Iris, Ritchie let out a low whistle, giving Ash a thumbs-up.
“Yeah, okay, it’s all very nice and all that, but has anyone been able to contact Zoey and Dawn yet? I’d like to get up that mountain today rather than tomorrow!” Misty cried out in annoyance. Just then, something large bumped into her back as a cloud of hot air was blown into her neck, causing her to shriek out in surprise.
“You called?” a light voice giggled behind her.
With a jolt, Misty jumped away and turned around, coming face to face with a hulking Tauros. The ear-piercing scream she let out afterwards scared even the bored looking guard and made a large flock of Pidgey fly up from a nearby tree. Tauros weathered the storm though, the flat ears on his head being the only indication of his discomfort. He sniffed indignantly before he sank down on his knees, allowing a visibly tired Zoey to dismount off his back. Seconds later, Dawn landed behind her, offering a supporting shoulder for the pregnant girl.
“Holy shit!” Misty gasped, her eyes wide and her legs shaking.
“Very creative, but you can call him Tauros… Good to see ya again Misty!” Zoey winked.
“He-… He’s really yours then? I thought you coordinators only trained cute Pokemon, how did THAT happen?!” Misty replied, still in somewhat of a shock.
“Speaking of how did THAT happen…” mumbled Max as he joined in the conversation, trying (and failing) to subtly nudge towards Zoey’s pregnant belly.
“Yeah… About that…” Dawn chimed in, answering for Zoey who was obviously feeling the strain of a full day riding on Tauros’ back. “I don’t think now is the time to discuss it, really. Zoey’s uncomfortable enough as it is and there are too many people listening in… I’m sure she’ll tell you all about it if she’s up to it and we’re in our hotel.”
“Exactly… What Dawn said… Right now, I’m just very tired, so could we get going please? It’s been a long day.” Zoey confirmed, flashing a grateful smile towards her blue haired friend.
“Right! Well, we’ve got everyone here now, so let’s get ourselves some entry passes and let’s go!” Ash said with enthusiasm. Together, the 8-man group made their way back to the guard post and the pulley beyond, exchanging greetings and other pleasantries on the way. With everyone accounted for, the guard handed them their entrance passes.
“Right, listen up. These passes are very important! They allow you access to the trainer’s village, as well as all the available facilities. Use of the public baths is free of charge, pretty much everything else requires a small fee. Ground Pokemon must be kept close at all times, if we find them digging, drilling or otherwise disturbing the mountain, you WILL be removed from the area. Mt. Rapture hasn’t erupted in human memory, but it’s a risk none of us are willing to take. Got all that? Be sure to remember! Have a nice stay and enjoy the tournament.” The man droned out as he handed them their passes.
Another 30 minutes later and Ash and his companions touched down on the flattened top of Mt. Rapture. Here, just above the clouds, was a small city, filled with everything a trainer could need for the upcoming tournament. From Pokemon Centers to training facilities and from impressive restaurants to fast-food joints, this city had it all. Right in the middle of the city was the arena where the Battle of the Champions would be held; a large, egg-shaped dome, adorned with at least half a dozen searchlights piercing the evening sky with bright beams of light.
“Wow, look at this! This is amazing!” May beamed as she took in the sights of the city.
“It sure is… I never thought this place would be so big! I mean, we ARE standing on top of a mountain…” Ash agreed, wrapping a hand around her shoulder. In the back, Misty made a slight gagging sound, but nobody seemed to notice.
“So, where do we go from here?” Dawn said as she looked at her visitor’s pass. “According to this card, we’ve got several rooms in a hotel called the-… the Satin Snorlax?!” Zoey let out a guffaw when she heard the hotel’s name.
“Trust me… You should’ve seen the village at the port. Seems like they just love corny names on this island!” Max said, snickering slightly as he remembered the corny named bars they had come across when they first arrived on the island.
“What a coincidence, I’ve got a room in the Satin Snorlax as well!” Ritchie cried out as he further inspected his pass.
“Excellent! How’s about a meal first, though? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starving!” Ash said. A loud grumble in his stomach joined in, causing everyone to laugh.
“Yep! That’s the Ash I remember all right!” Iris giggled.
With that, the group decided to head to an all-you-can-eat restaurant, where everyone had their fill of various types of steaks, vegetables and potatoes. Everybody was having a good meal and a great time as they reconnected, bridging the 5 year gap that Ash’s isolation had created.
Max told them all about his travels through Hoenn and his battles in the Hoenn league, but he never mentioned any of his Pokemon, or any actual strategies. With both Ash and Ritchie at the table, he wasn’t going to give away his strategies that easily.
Dawn told Ash all about her coordinating adventures. She had done very well, but Kenny’s betrayal and Dawns subsequent loss in the Hoenn Grand Festival shocked Ash. He had never interacted with Kenny much, but to think the boy betrayed Dawn like that made his blood boil.
May had very little to tell, just that she’d been a reasonably successful reporter and photographer for the Pokemon Fashion magazine, ever since her Johto Festival victory.
Meanwhile, Misty kept herself isolated from the talk and laughter, staring absent-mindedly first to Ash, then to May, and finally out of the window, before going back to Ash again. She maybe had one or two bites of her meal and maybe a single glass of water and this did not go by unnoticed by Max. When everyone else was distracted as Ash recalled a story on a Rhydon that had invaded his cave in Mt. Silver, Max scooted over to sit opposite the table to Misty.
“Is everything okay Misty?” he asked gingerly. “You haven’t even touched your food yet!”
“ ‘M not hungry…” she replied in a deadpan tone, resting her head on her fist as she stared out the window, avoiding all eye contact with Max.
“Come on, you have to eat something... Look, Pikachu thinks so too. He’s even sharing his ketchup with you!” Max nudged on, pointing to Pikachu’s odd behavior. In all the years both Max and Misty had known the little yellow mouse, they had never seen him share a meal, let alone his much loved ketchup…
Misty was not impressed, shoving Pikachu off the table with an angry grunt.
“I told you, I’m NOT hungry! Now would you kindly… Get. Off. My. Case?!” she shot at him before she violently twisted her head to the right, staring out the window with an angry frown.
“All right, all right! Sheesh… I’m only trying to help!” Max fired back, visibly stung by her response. He quickly rejoined the rest of the gang in their talk and laughter, but he couldn’t help himself from throwing concerned glances towards the redheaded girl for the rest of the dinner.
Meanwhile, Dawn excused herself, stating that she desperately needed to use the toilet. May noticed something weird about Dawn, so she chose to follow her. Once inside the lavatories, May dropped her biking short and panties. With a smile, she noticed she was no longer leaking with Blaziken’s sperm. The tampon she had used earlier had done its job. As she relieved herself, the Petalburg brunette also noticed her stomach had gone back to its usual size. As much as Blaziken had pumped into her, the fluidity of his sperm had caused it all to drain out quite easily.
“Say Dawn… I’ve been meaning to ask you something…” she mentioned, calling out to her blue haired friend. “Oh? What’s up?” came her response, coming out of a toilet a few blocks away from her.
“I kind of noticed something, earlier today when we met up with you and Zoey…”
“If this is about Zoey, I’m not telling. She’ll tell you all about her… situation… when she’s ready.” Dawn cut her off decidedly, and the sound of a flushing toilet filled the room.
“No, no! It’s not about her, you know, condition… It’s about you, actually.” May corrected her as she got out of her toilet compartment as well.
“I noticed you put on a little weight around your stomach yourself, Dawn… Don’t tell me you-…”
“W-… What? You think I- I’m pregnant too?” Dawn gasped, looking between May’s face and her own stomach in wonder. True, she still had a noticeable bump in her belly, courtesy of Dragonite’s potent sperm. It had been so thick, it hadn’t dripped out of her yet, but she couldn’t possibly tell THAT to May!
“T-That’s preposterous! Sure, I may have gained a few pounds lately, but I’m definitely not pregnant!”
“All right! I got it. Sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable! It’s just… the whole Zoey situation, and then you turning up with her with a bigger belly of your own… I was just curious, I’m sorry!” May apologized, hoping Dawn wouldn’t take too much offence. She knew from her own experiences and her experiences as a fashion photographer just how pissed off some women could get when you mentioned their weight. She did NOT want to get into a similar situation with Dawn.
“Eh, I guess it’s all right… I mean, it IS quite a weird situation. I never expected any of us to get pregnant this quick. I mean, look at you for example. You and Ash only hooked up like what, two days ago? Yet...”
“Here we have Zoey. She’s just as old as I am and as pregnant as pregnant gets…” May added, pondering over the situation.
“Exactly! It’s just… a lot to take in…”
“It sure is…” May agreed as they both finished washing their hands. Just before the left the toilets, Dawn stopped her Hoenn friend.
“About me… I know I’m not pregnant, because I haven’t had sex since I broke up with Kenny. And that’s been well over a year ago...”
“Right… again, sorry for asking.” May mumbled as they rejoined the group at their table.
There, both girls were in for a surprise as they found Ash in the middle of a teary reunion with his mother. Delia Ketchum, together with Professor Oak and Tracey Sketchit, must have arrived when the two girls were at the toilets. Now, mother and son were locked in a tear-filled hug as they were at long last reunited.
“Ash. My-… My Ash! You-… you’ve grown so much…” Delia said, choking back her tears before another powerful sob shattered her resolve. “My little boy is all grown up… Look at you!”
“That’s… Kind of what happens, after 5 years mom…” Ash joked in an attempt to lighten the mood. With his thumb he gently wiped away the tears from his mother’s eyes. He hated to see her cry, especially when he was the one to blame.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t around much the last 5 years mom… I promise I won’t leave again.”
“Oh nonsense, Ash Ketchum!” Delia coughed and cleared her eyes. “If there’s one thing I know about you, it’s that you’ll never give up on your goals. And face it… your goals demand you to travel. I’m just so glad to see you’re doing fine…”
“I’m g-… glad to s-see you too, mom… I missed you.” Ash let out in a sob.
After their teary-reunion, Delia, Professor Oak and Tracey joined the group for deserts, after which everyone made their way to the Satin Snorlax hotel. There they signed in at the desk where they were serviced by a young man with meticulously combed shining black hair. Suddenly, the clerk let out a slight gasp before muttering something that sounded uncomfortably close to ‘oh no, oh boy’.
“Is there a problem, sir?” Ash inquired.
“I’m afraid so, sir…” the clerk replied, tapping away on his computer. “It seems a bug in the system caused your reservation to become corrupted.”
“Wait, does that mean we don’t have any rooms at all?!” May asked in fright.
“No need to be afraid ma’am, only part of your reservation has been corrupted. I seem to have 3 rooms reserved for your group, Mr. Ketchum, rather than the 4 rooms you inteded to reserve."
The clerk then followed on with an uncomfortable sigh. "I’m afraid I can’t book you a fourth room though. We are completely booked. You have my apologies.” He finished with an air of polite apology, giving a courteous bow.
Ash grumbled a bit as he folded his arms, trying to assess the situation.
“So… That’s three 2-person rooms, right? So that’s myself and May taken care of, as well as Misty and Max and Zoey and Dawn… Which leaves…?”
“Me…” Iris said, finishing Ash’s deduction.
“So… what are our options then?” Ash asked.
“Well, maybe I could sleep on the ground, or on a couch in one of the rooms? I wouldn’t mind, you know…” the chocolate-skinned girl offered.
“Oh no, that’s not gonna happen!” Ritchie suddenly intervened.
“I’ve got a room of my own, with plenty of space for the both of us! You’re not sleeping on anyone’s floor if I have anything to say about it today Iris.” He offered, handing his trainer’s pass to the hotel clerk. A few taps on his computer were enough to confirm Ritchie’s claim, his reservation had come through undamaged.
“Well, that certainly is a generous offer, Ritchie. I gladly accept!” Iris smiled, luring Ritchie into flashing her a boyish grin.
“Well, now that everything’s taken care of… Let’s get going, shall we? I could use a good night’s sleep after everything I’ve been through today!” Misty snapped, snatching her room key from the clerk’s outstretched hands.
“Rooms 327 through 331 are available to you Mr. Ketchum. As for Mister Tara and miss Stevens, 512 is available to you. Have a good night; and my apologies again for your reservatoins.” The clerk finished, nodding to Ritchie and Iris.
30 minutes later all parties had gone to bed. Ash and May shared a room, for obvious reasons, as did Zoey and Dawn. The third room was shared by Max and Misty, which wasn’t very comfortable of either of them, especially after their little run-in at the restaurant. Misty flat out refused to talk to the bespectacled teenager, only threatening him with a not-so-cryptic ‘death by waterboarding’, should he have the nerve to sneak a peek when she undressed into her pajamas. When she got into the right of the two beds that occupied the room, she turned her back to him and went to sleep.
Meanwhile, in the other rooms, both Ash and May, as well as Dawn and Zoey, had moved the two single person beds together to form one big bed fit for two and they were now sleeping peacefully in each other’s arms.
“You know… this bed is big enough for the both of us…” Iris remarked as she settled in under the covers. On the ground below, Ritchie was busy settling himself on an inflatable bed he had pulled out of his bags earlier.
“Oh n-no… T-that’s all right. I don’t mind sleeping on the floor… Besides, I DID offer you my room, didn’t I?” he mumbled, blushing slightly. Iris huffed indignantly.
“Oh come on, Ritchie! You’re competing in the tournament. You NEED a good night’s sleep!”
“And I’m perfectly fine with getting it right HERE!” Ritchie insisted, giving his inflatable bed a soft kick.
“Well, I’m not fine with it, so GET IN!” Iris yelled with the authority of a dragon master as she flapped open the left half of the covers.
Ritchie stuttered and blushed, but every time he was about to form a coherent reply, the blazing look in Iris’ eyes stopped him. With a grunt, he admitted defeat and got in beside the bushy haired girl. The bed was just big enough to fit the both of them, the amount of space too limited to let them both lie in it without touching each other. Iris was wearing a nightgown, and her lower legs were exposed, a fact Ritchie was now acutely aware of as he felt her soft legs touch his own. It caused his whole body to stiffen as he blushed like crazy, unable to say a word.
“See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? I don’t bite, you know!” Iris cooed. She brought her face towards his and pecked him on the cheek.
“Goodnight!” she said cheerfully and closed her eyes as she rolled over, facing her back to the stunned brown-haired boy.
Amazed, Ritchie brought his hand to the spot that Iris had kissed and stroked it almost reverently.
“Yeah… Goodnight to you too… Iris…” he mumbled as he mirrored her movements and closed his eyes.
Chapter End Notes:
Next up, the first round of the tournament begins!