When One Door Closes, Two More Open

On the first day of his journey with his rebellious starter, Ash befriends a Spearow and a Rattata. Ash is seriously injured by Pikachu after saving the young spearow from a Thunderbolt, but the Spearow, her flock, and the Rattata save his life. With not one but two new starters, a strange new ability to understand Pokémon, and a calmer and smarter attitude, a new journey begins.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10779528/1/When-One-Door-Closes-Two-More-Open

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1. First Day, Attacks, and New Friends

Ash Ketchum sighed, setting his backpack down at the base of a tree and getting out the sandwiches and Poké chow his mother had packed them for lunch. His first day of being a Pokémon trainer was NOT turning out like he planned. Due to somehow smashing his alarm clock in his sleep(he made a mental note to keep that thing on the other side of the room from now on), he had been late to pick up his starter. The Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander that were usually reserved for new trainers had already been taken. But Professor Oak had had one left. A Pikachu.

Only problem was that Pikachu hated everyone. Especially Ash. Pikachu had shocked everyone in sight, and refused to get into his Poké Ball, so Ash had been forced to attach a leash to him and wear rubber gloves so he wouldn't be fried.

Once they had gotten out into the woods where no one else would get hurt, Ash had tried to find out what was making Pikachu so angry, but due to the fact that Pokémon could only communicate by saying their names, that didn't help much. Desperate, Ash tried another tactic. Show Pikachu that he could trust Ash by showing that he trusted Pikachu. But once the leash and rubber gloves were off, Pikachu only turned away, then jumped into a tree and pointedly ignored him, the very tree Ash was now seated at.

Ash looked up at the branch Pikachu was seated on. "Pikachu? Would you like to come down here and eat with me? I'm sure you're hungry."

"Pika! CHU!" Pikachu glared at him, cheeks sparking.

Ash sighed again, putting a bowl of Poké Chow down at the base of the tree. "All right. It's here if you get hungry." He looked up again at Pikachu. "Pikachu, I'm trying my best. I may be new at this, but I do want to be your friend. Please, just give me a chance." Pikachu just turned away. "Fine, have it your way." Ash picked up a sandwich, moving further into the field. Hopefully, if he was patient and gave Pikachu his space, the electric mouse would come around soon.

As Ash ate, he watched a flock of Pidgey. He thought of capturing one, but dismissed it, as the odds of Pikachu helping him were probably somewhere in the negative range with the mood the yellow mouse was in. And the idea of trying to weaken it himself was laughable. Considering that even the gentlest of Pokémon were stronger than the average human…well, if he attempted something that stupid, there would probably be a bruise to more than his ego. Instead, he settled for scanning one on his Pokédex, then sat back and finished his sandwich.

A soft scratching noise behind him made him turn around. A small Rattata was digging through his backpack. Ash took out his Pokédex and scanned the little creature.

"A Forest Pokémon, RattataIt likes cheese, nuts, fruits, and berries." the Pokédex stated. Ash smiled. It must want the cheese crackers Mom packed me.

The Rattata started at the sound of the Pokédex and began to back away, eying Ash warily. Ash knelt down, smiling at the purple rat. "It's okay, little guy," he soothed, taking the package of crackers out of his backpack. "What are you doing way out here? You hungry?"

"It also comes out into open fields to steal food from stupid trainers." the Pokédex replied, making the Rattata jump. Pikachu snickered, nearly falling off his branch with laughter. Ash flushed. "No one asked YOU, stupid machine." he muttered.

Turning back to the Rattata, he noticed it was a short distance away, watching him carefully. He opened the package of cheese crackers as quietly as he could so he wouldn't startle it more and held a cracker out to the Rattata. "It's alright, little buddy. You don't have to steal from me, because I'll give it to you willingly. Do you want this?"

It took a cautious step forward, then stopped, its eyes unsure. Somehow, Ash knew what it was afraid of. "Don't worry." he reassured. "I'm not going to try to capture you." It looked into his eyes, trying to figure out if he was telling the truth. Ash took off his Poké Balls belt and carried it a short distance away. "See?" He turned his pockets inside-out to prove he had nothing on him that would capture or hurt the little Rattata.

It relaxed a little, then slowly walked toward him. He held out the cracker again, and it sniffed his hand, then gently removed the cracker, flopping down beside him to eat it. It kept its eyes on him the whole time, though, probably making sure he didn't go back on his promise.

It finished, and he held out another. Again it took the cracker, stopping to nuzzle his hand. "May I pet you?" he asked. He had learned his lesson about picking up and hugging a Pokémon that didn't know him without its permission once and he sure wasn't making it again.

It hesitated, then rubbed against his hand. He stroked its back. It stiffened for a second, then relaxed. Then it did something surprisingly bold for such a timid creature. It climbed into his lap and lay down, letting out a rodent sigh of contentment. Ash smiled, scratching its back gently.

Suddenly he felt something sharp poking him in the back.

…...

Ash gasped and turned quickly, almost knocking the Rattata off his lap, visions of madmen with knives going through his head for a second(he really needed to stop watching horror movies with his cousin Ethan whenever he visited Johto). He wasn't sure to be relieved or worried when he found out the poke had come from a tiny Spearow. They could be aggressive at times, and prone to chase trainers when their territory was invaded. But this one looked only a few months old, and it didn't look angry, only curious.

"Hi, little one." Ash cooed. "Did you see the food? Are you hungry too?" He broke off a little piece of cracker and placed it in front of the little Spearow. It nudged it, then looked at him funny. Ash chuckled. "You don't like that, do you? But I have something you'll like a lot better." He took a bag of potato chips out of his backpack, remembering the day he and his mother had spent at the beach throwing potato chips to the Wingull and how dozens had surrounded them, fighting over the chips. He started to drop one in front of the spearow, but the Tiny Bird Pokémon snatched it right out of his hand, then flew above his head playfully.

Ash laughed and tossed it another one, and the Spearow caught it midair. The Rattata watched in what looked like amusement. After the Spearow caught several more potato chips, it landed on Ash's shoulder and started to preen his hair. Ash was amazed at the level of trust the little Spearow showed. It was like it had known him forever. Ash turned to the tree where his rebellious starter was still glaring at him. "C'mon down, Pikachu! You're missing all the fun!" he called. His starter's expression didn't waver. "Piika Chuu!" it cried, giving him such a hateful stare that Ash cringed. Why did his starter hate him so much?

Just then, the Spearow on his shoulder hopped down, walked to the base of Pikachu's tree, and started chattering angrily in its own language. The Rattata's expression became angry too and it hopped off his lap and glared at Pikachu, though not coming as close to Pikachu as the Spearow had. Ash was worried, hoping that Pikachu wouldn't shock his new friends and wondered; What the heck are they saying?

…...

It was a rather bold move for a young Spearow to approach a traveling trainer, but then again, Kiara was a rather bold Spearow. She had been watching this human for almost an hour, and her curiosity, as well as the human's kind actions, made her want to go over to him and see what he was like. She had always dreamed of becoming a trainer's Pokémon as well, though it wasn't a dream she had ever shared with her parents, or the rest of her flock. But she knew she needed to find the right person, one who would treat her as a friend and not a tool. And this boy might be that right person. Trevor, a shy but extremely smart Rattata, who was a close friend of hers certainly seemed to think so. She had never, ever seen him sit on a human's lap before…

Kiara had always prided herself on being a great judge of character. She could tell the intentions and emotions of any person or Pokémon that approached, and more often then not she was absolutely right.

And this time, she definitely was. Kindness emanated from this human's heart. She could feel it the second she came close to him. He had been a little scared when she poked him from behind, but once he saw what she was, he greeted her with kind words and tasty food rather than harsh, hateful words, Poké Balls, or attacking Pokémon. As she played with him, she felt like she had known him all her life.

As she sat on his shoulder, he called for what must have been his starter, a Pikachu who looked like he hated the world and literally oozed blind anger, to come down and join them. The pikachu simply glared at him with such hatred that it made Kiara feel sick. "As if I'll EVER be friends with YOU, human." the Pikachu growled, spitting out the last word like it was the foulest thing imaginable.

Kiara knew she was at a distinct type disadvantage, but she wasn't one to sit around and let her friends be insulted. "What is your problem? He has been nothing but nice to you!"

Pikachu glared at her. "What is my problem?! I was just fine being free, then this human in a white coat captures me and gives me to this idiot!"

Kiara matched his glare. "He's not an idiot, he's a nice kid! Why are you acting like such a jerk?"

Pikachu growled. "He's a human. They're all scum."

It was Trevor's turn to get angry. And when Trevor got angry, he tended to be sarcastic. "Yeah, he's scum. Because scum is kind and gives you food when you're hungry and pets you and scratches your back. And is nice to YOU even when YOU'RE acting like an ass to him. Sorry for my language, Kiara."

Kiara nodded to Trevor. "You need to be a better judge of character. Try, I don't know, actually getting to know someone before you judge them."

Pikachu gave them a glare that could probably melt through solid metal. "Shut your mouths before I shut them for you. Permanently."

Kiara never backed down when she was defending her friends. It was both a brave trait and a foolish one. "We will once you stop insulting our friend."

Pikachu had had enough. He shot a Thunderbolt at Kiara, one she'd never be able to move out of the way of in time…

…...

Ash grew more and more worried as the confrontation between his new friends and his starter grew more angry. He knew what Pikachu was capable of when the yellow mouse was angry. He feared especially for the little Spearow who was closest, at an extreme type disadvantage and very young. He was moving to stop the confrontation when Pikachu suddenly unleashed a Thunderbolt, aiming directly for the little Spearow. Ash knew instinctively that that much electricity would seriously hurt, if not kill, the young Spearow. Ash panicked, diving into the fray and pushing the Tiny Bird Pokémon out of the way, getting hit by the Thunderbolt in the process.

Pain shot through him, every nerve burning. It was worse than the other shocks Pikachu had given him. And Pikachu didn't stop even when he realized that it was his own trainer under fire; only intensified the attack. As his vision began to dim, he saw a purple blur and a brown one slam into Pikachu, cutting off the attack and heard a female's voice scream "Help! We need help!" Then his world went dark…

…...

Unable to move in time, Kiara braced herself for the attack, knowing she may not survive it. Suddenly, someone pushed her out of the way. A scream made her turn, and with horror she noticed that the kind human boy had pushed her away and taken the attack. Both she and Trevor screamed in horror as Pikachu increased the power on his Thunderbolt, even knowing that it was his own trainer taking the attack.

Both Kiara and Trevor reacted at once, Trevor using Quick Attack on the pikachu as Kiara used Peck. Pikachu cried out in pain and stopped his attack. Kiara took the opportunity to call out for her flock. "Help! We need help!" she screamed, knowing her flock was nearby and would be able to hear her.

It took only a minute for her flock to arrive, her father, who was the Fearow leader, in the lead. Pikachu ran for his life. But the flock misinterpreted the cry for help and started to turn on their human friend.

…...

Ash groaned, his entire body burning from the shock, and opened his eyes, only to wish he hadn't. He was surrounded by an entire flock of Spearow and a single Fearow who he guessed was the leader. Worse yet, they were all glaring at him. Several began to dive at him, and he tried to roll out of the way, only to find that his limbs were unresponsive. He braced himself for the attacks, but they never landed.

The little Spearow he had befriended jumped in front of him, pecking at one of the others that had gotten too close. Ash vaguely felt something else jump over him and saw his rattata friend taking a defensive position in front of him as well.

"Stop!" a female voice cried. "Don't attack him; he's not the threat! He saved my life!" Who was talking? All Ash could see were the Spearow flock, the Fearow leader, and the two that had just rescued him. It sounded like the voice had come from the Spearow he had saved, but that couldn't be. Could it?

Whoever the voice was, it had the effect of stopping the Spearow flock in their tracks. "Where's the threat? Who is that human? What happened?" It was several voices this time, both male and female, and seemed like it came from the Spearow flock. A deep male voice spoke, coming from the Fearow leader. "Kiara, who tried to hurt you? What happened here?" Dazedly, Ash wondered whether the electricity had fried his brain, or if he was in a coma and having hallucinations.

"His Pikachu. For some reason, that…thing…hates him. More like hates everyone." the voice the others were calling Kiara explained. "Trevor and I befriended him, I mean the human here, and that Pikachu, I don't know his name and didn't bother to ask, started insulting him. And me being me, I told him to knock it off and so did Trevor. So he gets angry and shoots a Thunderbolt at me, which probably would have killed me had it struck, but this human pushed me out of the way, and he got hit by the lightning instead!" Her voice rose, and it seemed she was near hysteria at this point. "And that monster…he didn't stop! That human was his trainer, and he just intensified his attack like he wanted my friend dead!" The small Spearow nudged Ash. "Please, you have to help me save him! We can't let him die!" Ash wanted desperately to comfort her, but couldn't move.

Gently, she nudged Ash again. "Human, can you hear me? Are you awake? Please be okay!"

"Kiara, he's human. He can't understand you." a soft male voice interrupted, coming from the Rattata this time. It began checking him over. "He's alive. He's breathing and his hearts beating. I think he's conscious too. Wow, he's burned really bad on his chest and arms. Someone get me a Rawst Berry! It's light blue with…"

"Everyone knows what it looks like, Trevor!" Kiara snapped.

"I'm just trying to help here, Kiara!"

A sigh. "I know. I'm sorry."

"Kiara, you need to calm down." It was the Fearow leader that spoke this time. "Remember what I told you. The worst thing you can do in an emergency situation is panic. You," He nodded towards another spearow in the group. "Go find the Rawst Berry. If you see that Pikachu, give a distress signal. Do not attack alone; that Pokémon is depraved and extremely dangerous. You eight," he motioned to the right section of the flock, "Do a perimeter check. Make sure that Pikachu is not in the area. If he is, take him out. The rest of you; stay with me. Kiara, I need you to help Trevor."

Ash could hear wings flapping as the Spearows went to do their jobs. Kiara turned to Trevor. "What do I do?"

"Well, first we need to…"

Ash struggled to speak. "Kiara…Trevor…I can't move…"

"He's paralyzed." the Fearow leader said. "Sasha, go get a Cheri Berry quick before…" He stopped suddenly and looked at Ash in shock as another Spearow from the flock flew off. "Kid, can you understand us?"

"I…think so." Ash told him weakly. "I…don't…know how…never could before…Electricity might have…fried my brain…or I'm…" He was beginning to panic.

Trevor noticed this. "If you're going to say dead, in a coma, or hallucinating, none of those are true, so don't put yourself into a panic attack. It will make your condition worse. Pokémon can speak, but most humans don't have the ability to hear us. The shock must have given you the power to understand us. Or it somehow unlocked a dormant ability you had all along. Or…"

"Trevor, we need to focus." Kiara said, interrupting Trevor's rambling. "He's badly hurt. We can figure out how he got the power to speak to Pokémon later. Right now, we need to heal him."

"Sorry." Trevor said sheepishly. "I'm going to get some big leaves to bandage up those burns. Kiara stay with him. Talk to him and keep him calm." He ran off.

"Okay. So…umm…human…Wait, what's your name? It sounds awkward to call you human." Kiara asked, not at all used to having a human be able to understand her.

"I'm Ash." Ash murmured, closing his eyes. He was so tired…

Someone sharply nudged him, bringing him back to consciousness. Ash looked up and saw the Fearow leader.

"Kid, we need you to stay awake for us." the fearow ordered gently.

Ash nodded as best he could. "I'll try…" The Fearow lay down next to Ash draping a wing over him. "What are you doing?" Ash murmured, his voice barely audible.

"I'm keeping you warm so you don't go into shock." the leader explained.

"Okay…" Ash whispered, starting to drift off again.

Someone butted against him. It was Kiara, who had climbed under the Fearow's wing and nestled beside him. "Ash, please stay with us. Talk to me. How long have you been a trainer?"

"Since this morning." Ash replied, trying his best to stay awake.

"Do you like being a trainer?" It was one of those questions you regret just as they leave your mouth. Kiara could have hit herself. Today was certainly NOT a good first day of training.

"Meeting you guys…yes. Pikachu…no."

"Don't blame you there. How'd you end up with such a meanie-head Pikachu anyway?" She was deliberately trying to make him laugh and it worked.

"Accidentally smashed my alarm clock in my sleep and got to the lab too late. Pikachu was the only one left."

Kiara blinked. "I'll pretend I understood what you said about the alarm cluck."

Ash laughed again, though it hurt the burns on his chest. "Alarm clock, Kiara. It's a device that helps humans wake up on time." Kiara nodded, though he suspected she still didn't quite understand.

"I got the Cheri Berry. Kaleb's still having trouble finding the Rawst Berry. How's the human doing?" a female voice announced. The fearow leader lifted his wing and Ash saw that the voice belonged to a Spearow who was flying towards them. She landed, dropping the berry in front of them.

"Thank you, Sasha. He'll be alright." the Fearow told her.

"I'm glad." Sasha said warmly. "He did save our little Kiara after all."

Ash glanced up at her in surprise. "Are you Kiara's parents?"

"Yes, we are- Wait, did he just…" Sasha looked at Ash in shock.

"He can understand us, Mama. Trevor thinks the shock did it." Kiara told her.

The Fearow leader laughed. "You just missed that discovery by a second, love. Surprised me just as much as it did you."

"Amazing." Sasha murmured. "Child, now that I know you can understand us, thank you for saving Kiara."

"You're welcome. Thanks, all of you, for saving me." Ash whispered.

"That's what friends do." Kiara told him. She pushed the Cheri Berry near his mouth. "Can you eat this?"

With difficulty, Ash managed to eat a few bites of the berry as Kiara held it steady for him. Almost instantly, feeling began to return to his limbs. They were still extremely stiff, but at least they were responding to him again.

Trevor came running back. "I found the leaves. Were you able to find any Rawst Berries?"

"Kaleb's still looking." Sasha told him.

"We'll go help him." a young male Spearow volunteered, poking another Spearow that was next to him.

"Don't poke me, Jerry!" the other Spearow yelled, pecking at the first.

"Well, I'm not going alone with that mad Pikachu on the loose!" Jerry shouted, head-butting his companion.

"Will you two stop fighting and go already?" the Fearow leader snapped.

"Sorry, Boss!" they replied at the same time before taking off.

The fearow watched them go, shaking his head. Then his eyes widened and he shouted, "Look out!" Immediately after, there was a thump and an "Ow!"

Ash tried to sit upright, yelping as the burns on his chest protested. "What happened? Did Pikachu hurt them?"

The leader gently pushed Ash back down. "No. They're fine. They just had a three-way collision with Kaleb."

Voices came from the other side of the meadow. "You hit my head!"

"No, YOU hit MINE!"

"You were the one not watching where you were going, Carl!"

"Well, I'm not the one that couldn't find a stupid Rawst Berry!"

"Hey, I was actually doing something, unlike you two who were just lazing around!" The sounds of fighting were soon heard coming from that area. Trevor shook his head and went to get the Rawst Berry Kaleb had dropped during the crash.

"They're brothers." Kiara told Ash as if that explained things. Which it did.

Sasha sighed. "I'll go break it up." She rolled her eyes. "Boys…"

"I never behaved like this when I was their age." the Fearow leader grumbled.

Sasha rolled her eyes. "Sure, you didn't, Garrett." she said sarcastically. She pecked him playfully. "You're forgetting I grew up with you." She then flew off in the direction of the fight.The Fearow leader shuffled, embarrassed, and Ash decided it was best to pretend he didn't hear anything.

Trevor ran back, the Rawst Berry in his mouth. He quickly smashed it to a paste, then rubbed it on Ash's burns as gently as possible, apologizing whenever Ash winced. After the burns were completely covered, he placed the leaves on top, pressing them down gently. Ash was amazed at the rattata's skill. "How did you learn how to do this?"

"My mother taught me." Trevor explained. "Pokémon get into battles here in the wild too, with each other and with Trainers. So it always helps to learn which berries do what and how to use them. There's no Pokémon Centers out here."

"Pokémon do enjoy battles, right?" Ash asked, worried.

"Yes. Most do." Trevor told him, looking confused. "Why do you ask?"

"Something I heard on television a few months back. Some small activist group named Team Plasma or something was claiming that we were enslaving Pokémon and forcing them to fight."

Garrett laughed. "Typical human egotism. No offense to you, Ash, because you're not like other humans." he added quickly. Ash wasn't sure whether to be comforted or worried by that statement. "Pokémon are more powerful than humans. There's not a lot of ways you could force us to do something we really don't want to do. Neither gym badges or Poké Balls can control a Pokémon's mind. If we were as unhappy as this Team Plastic, or whoever they are, say, we would have started some big revolution or something."

"I like to battle." Kiara put in. "Someday, I'll be as strong as Father!" The fearow leader chuckled and reached over Ash to nuzzle his daughter. "And Trevor does too, though he thinks too much."

Trevor playfully swatted Kiara with his free paw. "Hey, to win a battle, you need a great strategy. You can't just dive in without knowing your opponent or you'll lose. Badly."

Kiara mock-pouted. "Okay, Mr. Super Genius. Just as long as you don't stand still in the middle of the battlefield thinking while your opponent's attacking or you're fainted. Battles do rely on instinct as well."

Trevor nodded as he finished bandaging Ash's burns. "Done. How are you feeling now?" he asked Ash.

"Better." Though Ash was still feeling a little stiff, the worst of the paralysis was dissipating, and the Rawst Berry was soothing the burns. He still felt tired, but he didn't think he'd pass out on them again.

"I think it should be safe to move you now." Garrett announced.

"Move me?"

"We need to get you to a human hospital. You may still have injuries the berries cannot heal." the Fearow leader told him.

Ash nodded, though he inwardly grimaced. He HATED hospitals. Well, anything that involved sharp, painful needles. But better that than dead.

"Can you get on my back?" Garrett questioned.

"I'll try." Ash said, attempting to stand up. He was still a little woozy and almost went back down again, but the Fearow leader caught him. After a bit of a struggle and the Fearow leader's help, Ash managed to get up on his back. "I'm not hurting you at all, am I?" Ash asked, worried his weight might be too much for the Fearow.

Garrett chuckled. "No. I could probably carry two of you if I wanted."

"Wait!" Trevor shouted before they could take off. "You're forgetting these!" He grabbed Ash's Poké Balls belt and his backpack and dragged them over. He took out a Poké Ball from one of the pockets of the belt and started nudging it. "How do you open this thing?"

"Trevor, be careful!" Ash warned. "If you keep poking that, you'll get sucked into it."

"That's what I'm TRYING to do." Trevor stated as if it were obvious.

Ash blinked in surprise. "Huh? I thought you didn't want to be captured."

Trevor shook his head. "I didn't want to be captured UNWILLINGLY. But I'm willing now. I want to come with you and become your teammate and friend."

Ash smiled. "I'd like that. If you're sure."

"I am."

"The button on the center opens it then."

"Thanks." Trevor said, bumping the center button and getting sucked inside. The ball locked without even a struggle. Kiara pushed the ball back into its pocket and snapped the magnetic button back into place. She dragged the belt over to her father, who picked it up and handed it back to Ash. She struggled to bring the backpack over, so Garrett simply grabbed it from the ground, placing it in front of Ash.

"Ash, hang on tight. If you feel dizzy or like you're about to fall off, let me know." Garrett instructed. Ash nodded and Garrett turned to Kiara. "Kiara, fly alongside me. If he loses consciousness or starts to slip, tell me."

The search party of eight returned just as they were taking off. "Perimeter's clear. No sign of the Pikachu." one reported.

"Coward's probably halfway to Unova by now." another mumbled.

The Fearow leader nodded. "Good. You can all return to hunting, or go back to the nest area if you like, but remain on alert Make sure to respond to any and all distress signals. I'm taking the human child to Viridian and I'll be back shortly."

"I'll come with you." Sasha volunteered.

Garrett nodded and the small group flew off. Ash clung tightly to Garrett's neck, but was careful to make sure he didn't strangle the Fearow.

"How are you doing, Ash?" Kiara called.

Ash glanced over at her and was about to reply that he was fine when Garrett suddenly stopped mid-air. "Hey! Watch where you're…whoa…"

Ash turned around. "What's…" His words stopped in awe at the sight before him.

It was a beautiful bird Pokémon with red and gold feathers and a pure white underside. Atop its head was a yellow crest. As it flew, a rainbow appeared behind it. It stopped about ten feet away from them, stared into their eyes, then flew off in the direction of Viridian City.

Ash found his voice. "What was that pokémon?"

"Ash, that was Ho-Oh." Garrett whispered, still in awe.

"Isn't that a Legendary Pokémon from Johto?"

"Yes, he is."

"What's he doing here?"

"Some say he flies around the world searching for a trainer with a pure heart." Kiara put in. "And legend has it that those who see him are promised eternal happiness."

"Wow. Is that true?"

"I have no idea. But eternal happiness or not, that was still pretty amazing." Kiara murmured.

"Yes, it was."

A few minutes later, they reached Viridian City. Garrett circled the city a few times, looking for the hospital building, but couldn't find it. Then they saw a small rainbow, similar to the one Ho-Oh had made. On impulse Garrett followed it, and to their surprise, under the end of it was the hospital. With a soft word of thanks to Ho-Oh, Garrett flew down to it, maneuvering straight through the double door, Sasha and Kiara right behind him.

Nurses gasped and pointed as they entered. Noticing Ash's condition, one of them ran up and helped him down, leading him to a stretcher.

"Is he your trainer?" the nurse asked Garrett, Kiara, and Sasha, looking shocked when they shook their heads. After making sure Ash was settled, the three left the hospital.

"What on earth happened to you?" the nurse asked, checking him over.

Ash told her his story, leaving out the part about him gaining the ability to speak to Pokémon. Best to keep that on the down low. He decided to only tell the people he knew he could trust one hundred percent about his new powers. He did NOT want to be either sent to an insane asylum or experimented on.

"That's amazing." the nurse breathed upon hearing how a flock of Spearow and a single Rattata had saved a human's life. She wheeled Ash back into the ER so the doctor could examine him.

"Yes." Ash murmured, reaching down to touch Trevor's Poké Ball and looking toward the entrance where the three bird Pokémon had left. "Yes, they are."

…...

Kiara hesitated and looked back as the group flew away from the hospital. Garrett noticed.

"You want to stay with him, don't you." It wasn't a question.

"I-"

"Kiara, I understand. I know you've wanted to become a trainer's Pokémon for a long time now."

Her eyes widened. "How did- I never said anything."

Garrett sighed. "Not out loud, but you've said it with your eyes. I've seen the way you've looked at other trainers and their Pokémon partners. And I knew the moment I saw you defending Ash that he was the one for you."

"Are you mad at me?" she asked timidly.

Garrett turned to nuzzle his daughter. "No, of course not, Sweetheart." he reassured her. "You're more like me than you realize.

She looked confused. "What do you mean?"

"When I was your age, I set off on a journey with a trainer. Her name was Lily. She was the sweetest person alive. Kind, caring, extremely protective of her family and friends. She was also stubborn as a Tauros and had a bit of a temper. Your Ash reminds me a little bit of her."

"Why didn't you ever tell me about her?" Kiara questioned, a little hurt that this had been hidden from her.

It was Sasha that answered. "Because it hurt him too much. When Lily was sixteen, she got very sick. She had a human disease called leukemia. A year later, she…passed away. It devastated your father. He never took another trainer."

Tears were in Kiara's eyes. "I'm so sorry, daddy."

"It's alright, sweetie. But even though it hurt to lose her, a lot, I never regretted joining her that day. And Kiara, I think you should follow your dreams and go with Ash. You have my blessing."

"And mine as well. I love you, Kiara. Realize your dreams, baby. We're proud of you." Sasha told her.

They landed and Kiara cuddled up to her mother, then her father. "Thank you. I'll make you proud. And Daddy?"

"Yes Kiara?"

"When I become a Fearow, I want to have a battle with you!"

Garrett laughed, though his laugh was a little sad. "Deal."

Kiara cuddled up to both of them again. "I love you both. I'll visit lots, and you can meet all of our new teammates!"

After a last tearful goodbye, Kiara flew off towards the hospital and her new future. Her parents watched her until she disappeared through the double doors.

"I'm going to miss her so much." Sasha murmured.

"I will too." Garrett sighed. "It's the hardest part of raising a hatchling; letting them go."

Sasha nestled against her mate. "She had to grow up sometime. It just feels so soon."

"Yes it does. But she'll be happy. Ash is a good kid. He'll take good care of her."

"I know. Of all the trainers she could have chosen, I'm glad it's him."

They flew back to their nesting grounds, praying for a safe journey for their daughter, her best friend, her new trainer, and all the others that would join them.

…...

Kiara flew through the double doors, dodging anyone who tried to shoo her out. She checked every room until she found Ash lying on a hospital bed with a doctor checking his vitals.

Ash jolted upright in his bed. "Kiara, what are you doing here?"

She landed on his shoulder and began to preen his hair. "I want to join you on your journey. Mother and father gave me their blessing."

Since the doctor was there, Ash couldn't reply, so he simply smiled, nodded, and reached up to scratch Kiara's neck.

"Excuse me." the doctor said. "Is that Spearow yours?"

Ash grinned. "Yes. Yes, she is."

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