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.



15. Psychic Time, Part One

Ash looked around as they entered Saffron City. Through the last two weeks, he and his Pokémon had worked their butts off for the Saffron Gym, which he knew would be their toughest Gym yet. Sabrina, the Psychic gym leader, was one of the strongest gym leaders in the League and even the toughest trainers struggled with her gym. There were rumors that she had even been asked to join the Elite Four.

Trevor had managed to learn Shadow Ball with the help of the Pokédex and his Thunderbolt had become more powerful with practice, though it would never be as strong as a true Electric type's. In preparation for the gym, he also did a lot of extra speed training and boosted his Bite and Crunch.

Levi too learned Bite and Crunch, and Ash used the Thunderbolt TM on him as well after finding out it was reusable. Levi had extremely strong attack and defense, though his large size made him slower than some of the others, but he was working hard to improve his speed. He couldn't wait for his first big Gym Battle at his trainer's side.

Kiara had managed to finally master her Steel Wing, and was also helping Venom to learn Aerial Ace after Ash found out he could learn it while looking through the Pokédex. Venom was a quick learner and nearly had it mastered. Much to everyone's amusement, the Pokédex said Judy could learn Aerial Ace as well. Trevor had insisted that it must be a typo or a joke, but Ash looked it up and found out Judy really could learn it, though it was more like a really high jump than actually flying, similar to Hi-Jump Kick, but without the recoil damage if it was done correctly. Trevor had ended up sulking about being proven wrong, and Venom had teased him for the rest of the day.

With the help of the instructions on the Pokédex, Judy was making progress on learning Fire Punch, though she still couldn't keep the flames around her fist up for long. Half the time, they went out just as she made contact with the target and this frustrated her. Ash reassured her that'd she get it in time and made sure she didn't overwork herself. Judy was also trying to learn Aerial Ace, but wasn't having much success.

Aidan had learned Fire Spin and Slash, and was working on learning Dragon Claw, but having trouble getting the hang of the move. But he was persistent and was slowly making progress. All in all, it was a productive two weeks, and Ash was very proud of his team. And he now had more respect for the Pokédex, which was proving itself to be far more than an insult machine.

After a quick stop at the Pokémon Center to heal Ash's team, Ash, Brock and Misty headed towards the Psychic gym, an imposing white building. As usual, Trevor was on Ash's shoulder and Judy and Aidan walked beside him as Loki walked beside Misty.

"This place is a little spooky." Trevor muttered, looking around nervously as they entered the gym. The inside was lit with rows of torches. It looked more like an old temple than a gym.

"Hello? Is anyone here?" Ash called.

"There's something creepy about this place." Misty said a bit nervously. They noticed a green door and walked over to it, peeking through the window. Inside, there was a group of people in white coats. Some were guessing shapes on cards and others were attempting to bend spoons with their minds. Ash wondered if this was the psychic school TJ had told him about.

"Hey! What are you kids doing here?" a man with long brown hair who was wearing a surgical mask for some reason asked.

"We were looking for the gym leader so I can try for the Marsh Badge." Ash explained.

The man looked at him scornfully. "You wish to challenge the great Sabrina?"

"Yes, sir." Ash said politely.

"Excuse me, but what are all those people doing in that room?" Misty asked.

"You know so little, yet you wish to challenge the great Sabrina." the man said scornfully. He held up a spoon with a laugh, making everyone look at him weirdly. He then stared at it, concentrating so hard that his face turned bright red. Suddenly, the spoon bent very slightly and the guy put it down, panting.

"Are you okay? You look like you have a headache." Ash asked, concerned.

The man glared at him. "You fool. That was telekinesis. You can't control a Psychic Pokémon without telekinetic powers." Ash's Pokémon glared at the man, and he backed up a step.

"I've heard of lots of trainers who aren't psychics training psychic Pokémon. Plus, I don't even have a Psychic Pokémon, so I don't have to worry about not being tele-telekinetic." Ash said lightly, doing his best to ignore the insult. Judy smiled, glad her trainer was slowly becoming more confident. "Could you take us to the Gym Leader please, sir?"

Not sure how to respond to the logical and politely said retort, the man finally nodded. "As you wish." He led them to a set of purple doors and opened them. "Here you are." He went to a darkened corner of the room. "Oh, great Sabrina, these strangers have come to challenge you. Though I don't know why you would waste your time on this group of losers." Ash had to grab Judy around the waist to keep her from pummeling the guy at this.

Suddenly a glowing psychic force lifted the man off the ground. A light in the corner turned on, revealing a young blue-haired woman, her eyes glowing red. Everyone gasped and the Pokémon moved in front of their trainers protectively.

"You know I do not tolerate this kind of behavior in my gym." the woman said coldly, glaring at the other psychic. Ash knew she must be Sabrina. "I do not like bullies or people who belittle or insult my challengers or my psychics. Get out of here and don't come back until you are willing to apologize to these people and to me. And if you do this again, you are no longer welcome in my gym or my psychic school." She dropped him in an undignified heap in front of the door and the man opened it and ran for his life.

Sabrina then turned to Ash and his friends. "Hello. I've been expecting you. Especially you, Ash Ketchum. I can sense the power you hold within you." She looked down at Judy, Loki and Aidan, who were whispering to each other. "Judy, Aidan, Loki, I'm not going to hurt any of you, so your escape plan isn't necessary, though I give you points for bravery and creativity."

"What…How?" Aidan stammered, backing up nervously.

Careful not to knock Trevor off his shoulder, Ash bent down and picked up his Charmander, hugging him. "How'd you… Oh, right, psychic powers. Can…"

"Can I understand Pokémon like you can? Not in the same way, but I can read minds, so it all amounts to the same thing." Sabrina explained. Ash mentally smacked himself in the forehead, remembering that TJ had told him she could read minds. Between the Tentacool attack and training, he had nearly forgotten about that.

"Um, I'd like to challenge you for the Marsh Badge, please." Ash told her before something occurred to him. She could read his mind. How was he supposed to work around an opponent that could hear his and his Pokémon's every thought?

"I accept your challenge. And don't worry, I won't look into your mind during the battle. It's against the League rules." Sabrina assured him. She led them to the battlefield, and both she and Ash took their positions on either end. Misty, Brock, Judy, Aidan, and Loki sat in the stands.

"This will be a two on two battle between the Gym Leader, Sabrina, and the challenger, Ash Ketchum. Trainers, release your Pokémon!" the referee called.

"Let's get this battle started. Go, Mr. Mime!" Sabrina called, releasing her Barrier Pokémon.

"Trevor, I choose you!" Ash called to his Rattata. Trevor jumped off his shoulder and stood in front of him. "Use Crunch!"

"Reflect." Sabrina commanded calmly. The Mr. Mime quickly put up a barrier, but still took a little damage from Trevor's attack. "Now use Confusion while he's close." A weak telekinetic force slammed into Trevor, sending the Rattata backwards.

"Shadow Ball!" Ash called. Trevor summoned a sphere of ghostly energy and shot it at the Mr. Mime, doing some damage despite the Reflect.

"Magical Leaf." Sabrina ordered. Leaves surrounded by a glowing pink energy shot out of the Mr. Mime's hands.

"Dodge using Quick Attack!" Ash commanded. Trevor tried to dodge, but the leaves simply followed him, hitting the Rattata and sending him tumbling. "Trevor!" Ash cried in alarm.

Trevor got up. "I'm fine, Ash!"

"Magical Leaf again, Mr. Mime!" Sabrina called.

"Use Thunderbolt to destroy the leaves!" Ash ordered. Trevor powered up a Thunderbolt, incinerating the leaves and hitting Mr. Mime.

"Very clever." Sabrina approved. "Let's see how you handle this! Mr. Mime, Psychic attack!" Mr. Mime's hands glowed and Trevor was lifted off the ground.

"Hit it with Shadow Ball to make it let you go!" Ash called frantically. Trevor quickly shot off a Shadow Ball which hit the Mr. Mime, but was still slammed hard into the ground. "Trevor, are you okay?" Ash called, worried. Trevor got up shakily. Ash was about to return him, but Trevor shook his head, turning to face the Mr. Mime.

"I want to go until I'm out, Ash." Trevor told him.

Ash nodded. "Shadow Ball, full power!" he commanded.

"Match that with a full power Psybeam!" Sabrina called. The Shadow Ball and Psybeam met, causing a small explosion and a lot of smoke. When it cleared, Trevor was knocked out and Mr. Mime was barely standing.

"Rattata is unable to battle!" the referee called. "Challenger, release your next Pokémon!"

Sadly, Ash returned Trevor. "You did a great job, buddy. Thank you." he whispered to the Poké Ball. He tossed Levi's Poké Ball. "Go, Levi!" The huge Gyarados appeared, letting out a roar and glaring at his opponent.

"Use Crunch!" Ash called. Levi lunged at his opponent. Mr. Mime was too exhausted to dodge or set up a barrier, so he was quickly knocked out.

"Mr. Mime is unable to battle! Gym Leader, release your next Pokémon!" the referee called.

"Mr. Mime, return." Sabrina said. "You did a wonderful job." She returned Mr. Mime to his Poké Ball, then threw out the Poké Ball containing her starter. "Go, Kadabra!" The yellow Psi Pokémon came out, smirking at his opponent.

"Levi, use Crunch!" Ash called.

"Teleport, then Psychic." Sabrina ordered and Kadabra disappeared. Levi looked around frantically for his opponent.

"Levi, look out behind you!" Ash cried, but it was too late. Kadabra picked up Levi with Psychic. "Use Thunderbolt to make it let you go!" Ash called. Levi shot a bolt of lightning at Kadabra before being thrown hard to the ground.

"Reflect." Sabrina commanded. Most of the Thunderbolt bounced off Kadabra's shield, but it was still hurt a little. "Now use Future Sight." Kadabra's eyes glowed blue, and both Ash and Levi braced themselves, but nothing seemed to happen.

Ash had a bad feeling about the move, but had no idea what it did. Maybe it was simply a defensive move, or something to help Kadabra evade attacks more easily. He continued on. "Levi, use Crunch again!"

"Teleport, then Psycho Cut!" Sabrina called. Once again, Kadabra disappeared.

"Levi, he's on your left!" Ash called. "Use Thunderbolt!" Levi hit Kadabra with a Thunderbolt, but got hit by some of the Psycho Cut.

"Kadabra, use Recover!" Sabrina called frantically.

"Use Crunch as it's using Recover!" Ash called. Kadabra was able to finish using Recover, but it was too late to block Levi's attack. But though Kadabra was severely weakened, he wasn't out yet.

"Use…" Ash started, but was cut off as a strong wind filled the stadium. A sphere of energy hit Levi, knocking the Gyarados to the ground and making him roar in pain as he took serious damage from the attack. "Levi!" Ash screamed. He didn't even notice Sabrina using the distraction to order Kadabra to use Recover again.

"Now finish it off with Psychic!" Sabrina commanded. Kadabra began to lift Levi into the air.

Ash knew Levi was extremely close to fainting and wouldn't be able to take the attack. "Stop! I forfeit!" he cried, not wanting his Gyarados to be hurt any more.

"The challenger has forfeited! The winner is Sabrina!" the referee called. Kadabra gently lowered Levi to the ground.

Ash ran up to his Gyarados. "Levi, I'm so sorry." he whispered sadly as he returned him to his Poké Ball. Why didn't he figure out what that Future Sight attack did and keep an eye out for it?

Someone placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see that it was Sabrina. "Ash, you're not going to automatically know what every move is or what it does, so stop berating yourself." she told him firmly. "And Levi is not upset with you. Losses happen, even to the best of trainers."

Ash nodded, relaxing a little and Sabrina continued. "Ash, you're a very good trainer, but there were some mistakes you made today." she said, going into "teacher mode." "The first was that you didn't use any defensive or status moves. They may not seem like much, but if used correctly, they can turn the tide in a battle. Also, don't rely so much on type advantage, or what you think is type advantage. It can be a good strategy, but there are ways to work around it."

Ash nodded again. "Thank you." he said gratefully. He was thankful for her advice, though he still wished he hadn't made those mistakes in the first place.

"Everyone makes mistakes. Trust me, I've made a lot of them." Sabrina told him, reading his thoughts. "And when you have telekinetic powers, the mistakes become even more….chaotic." She couldn't even count how many objects she had broken or people she had sent flying when she was angry or startled and didn't have a firm grip on her powers. It had even almost happened today. She was glad she hadn't accidentally harmed her challenger and his friends in her anger at the idiot. Psychic powers could be unpredictable and extremely hard to control. It had taken her years to get to this level of control, and she still had the occasional slipup.

Speaking of which… "Ash, I'd like for you to stop by the psychic school after you heal your Pokémon so you can get some training with your powers and meet the other psychics. It's the building connected to the gym…that room you saw on your way in was just a classroom for adult psychics, not the actual school. Brock, Misty, you are of course welcome to join him."

"But I'm not sure…" Ash started, but Sabrina cut him off.

"Your powers are considered psychic powers, Ash. I know you don't think you're a psychic, but you are." Sabrina said firmly.

"But I can't…"

"Read minds, use telekinesis or see the future?" Sabrina finished. "Not all psychics can do that. That idiot was wrong, and so was your Fearow mentor. Psychic powers come in all different forms and levels of power. You'll see when you meet the others. Please go to the school, Ash. I think it would be good for you."

"Yeah, Ash, you should go to the school like the beautiful gym leader says." Brock agreed, staring dreamily at Sabrina. He started to walk towards her, wanting to ask her out.

She glared at him, her eyes starting to glow red. "Not interested. And don't even think about touching me. As you've seen, I have telekinesis, and I will use it." Brock backed away slowly.

"I may not be able to use telekinesis," Misty said. "But there's another special trick I can do. Making Brock disappear!" She grabbed Brock by the ear, hauling him out of the gym. Sabrina let out a giggle and Ash shook his head before following his friends.


They went to the Pokémon Center and waited while Trevor and Levi were healed.

"A psychic school. I wonder what that will be like." Misty mused.

"I hope the other students there are nice." Ash said. He hoped he'd fit in at psychic school. He certainly hadn't at normal school.

The buzzer sounded for Ash to pick up his Pokémon. Ash put Levi's Poké Ball on his belt and let Trevor out. "How are you feeling, Trev?" Ash asked. "Are you okay?"

The Rattata jumped onto Ash's shoulder. "I'm fine. Sorry I got knocked out. How'd Levi do?"

Ash sighed. "We lost. It was really close, but we lost. Oh well. We'll train for a few more days and try the gym again."

Trevor frowned. "I don't know what happened out there. My Ghost and Dark type moves should have done really well against that Mr. Mime. Ghost and Dark type moves are super effective against Psychic."

"After I lost, Sabrina told me that I shouldn't rely so much on type advantage…or what I think is type advantage." Ash told him. "What do you think she meant by the last part?"

"I have no idea. All I know is that Dark and Ghost are supposed to be strong against Psychic. Maybe it was the Reflect or maybe…" Trevor continued mumbling theories and thinking out loud all the way to the Psychic School. The Rattata wasn't used to there being a problem he couldn't solve. Ash just shook his head at his starter as he pushed open the door to the Psychic School and walked in, Brock, Misty, and his Pokémon beside him.

A boy with silvery-gray hair was waiting for them as they entered the school, an Espeon and Umbreon beside him.

"Hi, I'm the welcoming committee." the boy joked. "Sabrina told me a new psychic was coming in today and I couldn't wait to meet them. I'm Soul, by the way." His Espeon head-butted him. "Oh, and this is Dawn, and that's Dusk." he added, gesturing to first the Espeon, then the Umbreon.

"I'm Misty and this is Loki." Misty introduced herself and her Squirtle, shaking his hand.


"I'm Ash." Ash said, a little shyly. "I'm-I guess I'm the new psychic. This is Judy, Aidan, and- Hey, Trev, someone wants to meet you!" He gave the Rattata a nudge, and Trevor snapped out of his musing about whether he could combine Crunch and Hyper Fang to make a stronger attack and greeted Soul.

"It's nice to meet all of you." Soul said with a smile before turning to Ash. "So what's your ability? I'm empathic, which means I can feel other people's and Pokémon's emotions. It's okay, you don't have to be nervous. None of us bite, well, not most of the time."

"I-I can understand Pokémon." Ash blurted out. It was a relief not to have to hide his ability here.

"Really? That's cool. I can understand Dawn, but that's because she's telepathic. So what about you guys?" he asked, turning to Misty and Brock. "Are you psychics too?"

"If I am, I don't know about it." Misty said.

"I don't think I am either." Brock added. "That won't be a problem, will it?"

"Of course not." Soul was quick to reassure him. "This school welcomes everyone to visit. You won't be able to take psychic classes though unless you're a psychic, but as long as Sabrina says it's okay, you're free to sit in. We're all hanging out by the pool right now. Would you like to meet the others?"

"I'd love to." Ash said with a smile. Soul was really nice and Ash was starting to feel that he just might fit in here.

Soul led them through the school, taking the time to point out where all the classrooms and bathrooms were, then opened the back door to the pool area. They stepped outside into the sunshine. Everyone let out a soft gasp at what they saw.

The pool area was huge and extremely beautiful. There was a massive pool with water Pokémon swimming around, a small garden that grass types were playing in, a snack stand, and even an outdoor battling arena. Trainers and Pokémon were everywhere, swimming in the pool, lounging in the pool chairs, playing with their Pokémon or just talking to one another. Soul introduced them to his Pidgeotto, Elekid, Ponyta, and Butterfree.

Soul tiptoed past a girl with dark brown hair sleeping in a lounge chair with a Cyndaquil sleeping on her stomach and an Abra next to her. "Shh, she's sleeping. Be careful not to wake her." he whispered. "Seth's pyrokinetic and she gets really cranky when she gets woken up from her naps. She's really nice when she's fully awake, but when someone jolts her out of a sound sleep, you might want to run for your life. She nearly shot a fireball at our resident prankster, Gideon, because he dumped a bucket of cold water on her while she was napping." Ash's eyes widened and he tiptoed away from her chair.

"Do you mind if I let my Pokémon out?" Ash asked. Kiara, Venom, and Levi needed a chance to stretch.

"Sure, I mean no, that's completely fine. You can let them out." Soul told him. Ash released Kiara and Venom and went to the pool. He saw a fairly overweight man who he guessed was around eighteen or nineteen with brown hair, a patchy beard, and glasses standing by the water. He was about to ask if it was okay to let Levi out when he man raised his hands and a huge sphere of water came out of the pool, a beautiful blue and black fish Pokémon swimming around inside it. Beside the man lay a Girafarig and a Venomoth fluttered by his head.

"Wow…" Ash whispered, watching as the sphere moved in circles around the pool.

"He's hydrokinetic." Soul said, coming up behind Ash and making him jump. "Hey, Jake, this is Ash, our newest member."

Jake lowered the sphere of water back into the pool and came over. "Hi, Ash. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too." Ash said shyly. Misty and Brock came over and introduced themselves as well. "Your fish Pokémon…what species is it? I've never seen anything like him or her before."

Jake smiled, reaching down to pet his fish Pokémon. "Her name's Amelia, and she's a Lumineon. She's from the Sinnoh region."

"She's beautiful." Ash said.

Misty nodded. "Absolutely gorgeous."

"Is it all right if I let my Gyarados out into the pool? He's really friendly." Ash asked.

"Sure, it's all right with me." Jake assured him. Ash released Levi into the pool, and Levi looked around in confusion at first, then went up to Ash and nuzzled him. Ash scratched the crest on his head.

"Wow, you were right about him being friendly." Jake said in awe, walking closer to look at Levi. "He looks really healthy and strong too." Misty let out Mel and Jake commented on her beauty, strength, and friendliness. "I adore water Pokémon." Jake admitted. "Once I finish my psychic training, I plan to build my own aquarium and put on water shows for people and Pokémon."

Misty's eyes lit up. "That's a great idea! So what Pokémon do you plan to…" She and Jake were soon caught up in a discussion on Water Pokémon and plans for Jake's aquarium. Soul just smiled and led Ash, Brock, and Ash's Pokémon away to meet the other psychics.

A Pokémon battle was going on over at the battlefield, and the group went over to watch. A thirteen year old boy with spiked black hair and wearing a long dark cloak was battling with his Shiny Charizard against a dark-haired girl with a Vaporeon. It was a close match, almost resulting in a draw, but the black Charizard used Seismic Toss, knocking the Vaporeon out.

"Cloudy!" the girl cried, rushing to check on her Pokémon. She sprayed a Revive and a Hyper Potion on it. A Flareon ran up and nuzzled it as it groaned and got up. Scooping up her Vaporeon and gently hugging it, the girl shook hands with her opponent. The cloaked boy gave her a nod.

"Ash, this is Ulrich and Tay." Soul said, gesturing towards first the cloaked boy and then the girl. "Ulrich, Tay, this is Ash. He's the new guy."

Ulrich looked Ash up and down, appraising him before giving him a polite but curt nod. "Hello." he said. "Excuse me, I must see to my Pokémon." He turned his attention back to his Charizard, gently stroking its neck as he gave it a berry and sprayed a Hyper Potion on it. A Houndoom, Umbreon, and Noctowl ran up to him, and he took out some berries and started to give them out.

Tay gave him a small smile. "It's nice to meet you, Ash." she said in a shy, whispery voice. She introduced the group to her team; a hyperactive Eevee named Liam, a Glaceon named Aisu who seemed to keep her distance, and her Flareon and Vaporeon, who were named Flame and Cloudy. Ash introduced his own Pokémon to her. Flame immediately challenged Aidan to a play battle and Aidan was quick to agree.

Ash looked around for Venom, who was no longer behind him, and saw that he was talking to someone's Gengar, Loki beside him. All three were whispering, mischievous looks on their faces.

"Tony, if you three pull that prank, you're the ones who have to clean it up." Ulrich called suddenly. The Gengar looked sheepish.

Ash looked at him in shock. "Can you understand Pokémon too?"

"I can read minds." Ulrich answered, using the same polite but curt tone.

"You can understand Pokémon?" Tay asked Ash. Ash nodded. "That's cool. Sometimes if I try really, really hard, I can read my Pokémon's minds, but I can't do it for too long. It's exhausting."

Soul offered to treat the group to ice cream from the snack bar, and Ash, Tay, and Brock accepted, but Ulrich politely declined. They talked about the classes in psychic school, and Ash found out that there was different classes for different psychic powers. Tay was in the class that the gang had seen through the window in the Saffron Gym as she also had very mild telekinetic powers, while Soul was in a class for people with empathic abilities. There were also classes for Seers(psychics that could see the future), ghost whisperers, and psychics with elemental abilities. Ash wondered where he would be placed. Soul told him that he would be probably be assessed when Sabrina came in that evening.

As they walked back with their ice creams, Soul continued to introduce Ash to other psychics he knew. "Ash, that's David; he's cyrokinetic, and that's…"

Cold, clammy hands grabbed Ash's shoulders from behind. "I see dead people…" a voice whispered menacingly into his ear. Ash slowly turned to see a grinning skull staring straight at him.

Ash yelped and jumped several feet into the air, and his ice cream and the one he had bought for Misty went flying. He went to catch them, but tripped over a pool chair. Looking around, he noticed a teenage boy with spiky blond hair and a Ghostbusters T-shirt pulling off his mask and laughing his head off.

"Oh man, the look on your face…" the boy chortled. A Dusknoir standing next to him rolled its eyes. Judy glared at the teenager as she helped Ash up.

"What was the meaning of screaming like a banshee and dropping ice cream on me while I was trying to sleep?!" an angry female voice yelled at Ash. Ash gulped as he saw Seth, the pyrokinetic who no one dared wake up. Noticing trouble, Misty and Jake ran over.

"I'm really sorry." Ash apologized quickly. "I didn't mean to drop ice cream on you and wake you up. I-"

Soul jumped to Ash's defense. "Gideon snuck up behind him and scared him with that stupid mask of his and Ash tripped."

"Tattletale…" Gideon muttered as Seth immediately began yelling at him.

"Seth, calm down. You're scaring the new guy." Jake said, walking up. Seth's Cyndaquil was also trying to soothe her. Seth quickly calmed down.

"Sorry for snapping at you, Ash." Seth apologized sheepishly.

"I'm really sorry I dropped my ice cream on you." Ash told her. He ran to the snack stand to get her some napkins.

"No harm done," Seth reassured him.

"Sorry, kid," Gideon said to Ash, still with a grin on his face. "I couldn't resist. I'm Gideon and I actually do see and speak to ghosts."

"And he never hesitates to use the mask gag. Even after he got punched by this huge guy he decided to startle." his Dusknoir muttered, rolling his eyes again.

"And Tiny Tim here didn't even defend me." Gideon mock-whined to Ash, elbowing the Dusknoir.

"Yeah, because you kind of deserved to be punched for being stupid." the Dusknoir bantered right back, though his tone was playful. "And don't call me Tiny Tim!"

"Aww, you wound me, TINY TIM. Wound me right here." Gideon joked, putting a hand to his heart.

"Can you understand Pokémon?" Ash asked.

"Just ghost Pokémon. It somehow comes with being able to speak to ghosts. Don't ask me why, because I have no clue. The scientists here tried to explain it to me, but I zoned out. Too boring and I don't really care." Gideon replied with a shrug.

"Here, Ash, you dropped your Dragon Scale when you tripped." Jake told him, picking up the scale Aidan had found.

"Thanks." Ash replied, taking the small blue scale from the hydrokinetic. "I was wondering what that was. Aidan found it while digging on the beach."

"Good find." Jake said. "I got one at the Celadon Mall for after my Horsea evolves into Seadra." Ash looked confused, so Jake explained, "You can use a Dragon Scale to evolve Seadra into Kingdra." Misty's eyes lit up at this.

"Aidan, do you mind if I give Misty the scale you found?" Ash asked. "She could use it for Jeffery after he evolves."

"That's fine." Aidan replied and Ash gave the scale to Misty, who gave him a huge smile and thanked him.

The door to the pool area opened and a girl with blond hair and a Houndoom paw print T-shirt came in carrying a bunch of shopping bags, a Meowth and a Pikachu on her shoulder.

"Hey, Karen! Come meet the new guy!" Soul called.

Karen came over and her eyes lit up with recognition. "Hi, Ash, right? I didn't know you were psychic." Karen had moved to Pallet Town two weeks before her journey had started, and had met Ash, and unfortunately Gary. The two had been friendly enough to one another whenever they crossed paths, but between them both being shy and preparing for their journey, they hadn't really become friends.

Ash gave her a smile, though he eyed her Pikachu nervously. "Hi Karen."

Suddenly, Karen's Pikachu jumped off her shoulder and started heading towards Ash. "Hello!" she said in a friendly tone. Ash backed up a step from the Pikachu that was similar in size and appearance to his former starter as it ran towards him, not registering the friendly female voice in his fear. The Pikachu stood up on her hind legs and looked at Ash with curiosity and concern. "What's wrong?" she asked before coming closer. Ash once again backed up, bumping into Kiara who had landed behind him to prevent Ash from backing into the pool.

"Ash, it's okay. That Pikachu isn't him." Kiara said soothingly. Ash's other Pokémon, Misty, and Brock ran over to him and Judy squeezed his hand lightly as Misty placed a hand on his shoulder. Levi, who didn't know about Pikachu, looked both confused and worried for Ash.

The Pikachu blinked. "I'm not who?"

Ash snapped out of it upon hearing Kiara's voice and the female voice of the Pikachu, feeling both angry at himself and ashamed that he had acted like this in front of the other psychics. "Hey Ash, you okay?" Soul asked in concern, feeling Ash's fear and embarrassment flowing through him.

Ash nodded. "I'm fine." he lied. The other psychics didn't look convinced. Ulrich, who had been studying Ash intently, raised an eyebrow.

"You don't feel fine." Soul said, not believing Ash for a second.

"Worst liar of the year award, you have a new nominee." Gideon muttered. Seth glared at him and jabbed her elbow into his ribs.

"You can tell us." Tay said. "None of us will laugh or anything." The others nodded.

"I-I had a bad experience with a Pikachu." Ash admitted softly. He mouthed, "I'll tell you later," to Levi.

Karen picked up her Pikachu. "Do you need me to take Siria out of the room?" she asked.

Ash shook his head. "No." he told her quietly and then his voice grew a little stronger. "No. It's not your Pikachu's fault. She didn't do anything wrong." Though he was still a little nervous around the Pikachu, she wasn't his former starter and had been nothing but friendly to him. Though it'd be difficult, he needed to do his best to follow Lt. Surge's advice and try to overcome his fear. He took a deep breath and smiled at his neighbor. "Sorry about…"

"Hey, no need to apologize," Karen assured him. "Just know that Siria would never hurt you. She's really friendly and likes everybody." Siria nodded and Ash relaxed a little, mentally repeating Lt. Surge's words.

The group talked a little more, and Ash found out that while Karen was empathic like Soul, she could only feel the emotions of Pokémon. She and her Pikachu shared a special bond to the point where she could understand what she was saying, but she couldn't with any of her other Pokémon. Her Meowth, a hyperactive and goofy female that was named Mischief, became quick friends with Venom and Loki, and by the way they and Ulrich's Gengar were huddling in a corner and whispering with mischievous grins on their faces, Ash had the sneaking suspicion that they were planning the prank Ulrich had mentioned. Ash also got to meet another psychic, a quiet telekinetic named Elena. Brock and Tay began talking about Pokémon breeding, Tay, like Brock, being more of a breeder than a battler, and Misty and Seth were talking about a movie they had both seen. Ash was really beginning to enjoy Psychic school.


It was just before dinner when Sabrina arrived, an older man with dark brown hair with her. She smiled at the other psychics and then noticed Ash. "Hello Ash. I'm glad you took my advice. This is my father. He was the one who built this school."

"Nice to meet you, sir." Ash said.

"Good to meet a kid with good manners." the man said gruffly. "So Sabrina tells me you can understand Pokémon."

"Yes, sir."

"Let's get you a reading, see what classes we should put you in." the man told him. The dinner bell rang, and Soul, Brock, and Misty hesitated, but Sabrina told them to go ahead and go to the cafeteria with the other psychics. Telling Ash they'd save him a seat, they left.

"A reading?" Ash asked, thinking of the carnival psychic readings with the crystal balls. How was that going to tell them what class he was supposed to be in?

Sabrina's father let out a snort. "Not that type of reading. Come with us."

"I know you're wondering why we want you to have a reading." Sabrina said to Ash. "I can sense strong abilities, but not dormant or low level abilities, which is one of the reasons I wanted you to come here, Ash. Some abilities can "tag along" with stronger abilities and if you happen to have a dormant telepathic, telekinetic, or empathic ability, we need to know so it can be trained. Untrained psychic abilities can be dangerous, especially telekinesis."

"I'll get Xero. We'd better do this out here then." Sabrina's father said before abruptly disappearing into thin air.

A shocked Ash looked around and Sabrina burst out laughing. "My dad can teleport and he loves showing off."

Sabrina's father arrived a few minutes later, a white haired man who looked to be in his twenties in tow. "I hate teleporting." the white haired man muttered. Ash noticed that the man's eyes were bright red, which made him a little nervous.

"The red eyes are just contacts." Sabrina explained.

"You ruined the effect!" Xero sighed, then looked at Ash. "I hate my real eye color and red eyes look cool."

Sabrina's father just rolled his eyes. "We need you to do a reading on Ash here."

Aero nodded. "Right." He turned to Ash. "Hi Ash, I'm Xero. Did they explain to you how this works?" Ash shook his head. "Basically, my psychic power is that I can read other people's psychic powers and tell what powers they have and about what level the powers are at. Can you give me your hand, please?"

Ash placed his hand into Xero's and the white-haired man closed his eyes, concentrating for a few minutes. Then he spoke to Sabrina and her father. "He can understand Pokémon and I'm also sensing a low level empathy ability. The empathy ability could probably increase a little with training, but I don't think it will increase too much further, maybe up to mid-level at the most."

"Can he project?" Sabrina's father asked.

"Don't think so." Xero told him. "Not sure what will happen when he's fully trained because I can't read the future, but honestly I don't think he'll be able to, at least not intentionally."

"Okay, is anyone else really confused right now? Or is it just me?" Venom asked, looking at the psychics strangely.

"Not just you." Judy said, shaking her head, and Ash gave a slight nod.

"Here, let me explain." Sabrina said. "Basically, there are three levels of empathy abilities. A low level empath is slightly more sensitive to emotions than the average human and can pick up on them more easily, especially if the emotion is strong. A mid-level empath can sense all the emotions of people around them, and a high level empath can sense emotions strongly and sometimes even project emotions to people around them."

"We can fit you into the Empathy class." Sabrina's father decided. "Hone the empathy ability up a bit, but not too much. Sensing other people's emotions can be overwhelming." He wrote the information down.

Ash looked a little nervous, unsure whether he could control an ability he had no idea he had. "Don't worry." Sabrina assured them. "We'll teach you anything you need to know, and much of it will come naturally."

"I'm going to need to ask you a few more questions before we give you your class schedule and let you go. First, how long have you had your abilities and have you had any prior psychic training?"

"No, sir." Ash replied. "And I don't know about the empathy ability, but I've only been able to speak to Pokémon for a few months. I got it at the beginning of my journey because of…an electrical shock." He didn't know any of these people well enough to tell them about Pikachu.

Sabrina's father looked at him in surprise. "So you weren't able to speak to Pokémon until after you got the shock?"

Ash nodded. "I couldn't understand Pokémon before the shock. Not even a little. I don't know how a shock made me understand Pokémon, it just…" He was pretty sure Sabrina and her father thought he was nuts now.

"Relax kid, I believe you." Sabrina's father told him. He had seen the full story in Ash's mind, as had Sabrina, but they both knew Ash didn't want them to know, so they wouldn't say anything. "Sometimes the mind can do amazing things to protect you from danger. Maybe it happened that way so you could get help from your Pokémon or maybe the ability was just dormant and needed a little nudge. Psychic powers can be unpredictable and can develop in different ways. And similar things have happened to other psychics too, so you're not the only who's come in with a power that's developed like this."

Ash nodded and Sabrina's father continued on with his questions. "Does it hurt you at all or make you tired to use your powers? Do you have headaches or nosebleeds?"

Ash shook his head. "No, sir."

"Good." Sabrina's father said, writing it down. "Can you understand Pokémon as long as you can hear them, or do they have to be close or directly talking to you?"

"As long as they're close enough for me to hear them, I can understand what they're saying. And I even understood what one was saying in a recording once, though it wasn't very clear." Ash replied.

"Okay, you're about the same as the other Speakers who I talked to who were born with it." Sabrina's father said, more to himself then to Ash. "No change in the power despite how it came out, and the ability is stable and needs no training." He finished Ash's class schedule and handed it to Ash. "You're free to go."

"Would you like to go in your Poké Balls or stay out here?" Ash asked Venom, Kiara, and Levi, knowing that they wouldn't be able to easily get in the cafeteria.

"I'd like to stay out here. The pool is really nice." Levi told him.

"Me too. There's…something…. I want to do." Venom said, a mischievous grin on his face.

Ash sighed. "Do I want to know?"

Venom gave the Beedrill version of a smirk. "You'll find out…eventually."

"I'll keep him from getting into too much trouble." Kiara sighed.

Ash shrugged, gave Kiara a hug, petted Levi's scales, and scratched Venom on the head before heading to the dining hall, three things on his mind. How would he defeat Sabrina's gym? What would empathy class be like? And what in the world was Venom up to?

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