A/N: Hello, and welcome to the first fan fiction I actually planned out and wrote. Note for anyone that saw my profile, this is not the fan fiction I talked about there, still working on that. Don't really have much to say, hope you enjoy, looking forward to any feedback.

Ages:

Ash Ketchum: 17

Misty Waterflower: 18

Brock Harrison: 23

May Maple: 15

Max Maple: 11

Dawn Berlitz: 13

Delia Ketchum: 37


Chapter One: Returning Home

Anger. Sadness. Longing. Disappointment. Regret. Confusion. Those were the thoughts going through recent Vertress League Quarterfinalist Ash Ketchum.

Anger that he lost another league against a trainer he could have, should have, beat. A trainer that only had five Pokémon in a full six on six battle. He should have pushed his Pokémon harder not let them fall down so easily, so weak.

Sadness that he actually considered pushing them more than they were able, it wasn't him, he would never. He let all his Pokémon down again. He knew they wanted to win just as much as he had, if not more, and he let them down.

Longing to finally win an official league, the Orange League and Battle Frontier were amazing, but neither were recognized as official or not well known. Oh how Ash Ketchum wished and hoped and trained to win a league. How was he ever to become a Master if he couldn't win a regional Conference?

Disappointment that his skills seems to have vanished traveling to Sinnoh to Unova. For the first time he regressed in league position, regions prior he either improved or stayed stagnant. What happened to him? Why was he so weak, his Pokémon were amazing, they showed so much promise but he had failed to pull it out?

Regret that he did it again, started over completely new only with Pikachu. The foolish notion of trying to recreate the start of his journey had cost his yet again. The only times he actually won something or did something no else had was when he used older Pokémon. The Orange League, he used his new captured Pokémon as well as the Kanto group. Battle Frontier, he brought back all sorts of Pokémon, from Charizard to Sceptile. Sinnoh League, he was the first trainer to knock out not one but two of the legendary trainer Tobias' mythical Pokémon. How? Using a team consisting of his past journeys. Why didn't he rotate throughout the journey, allowing some Pokémon to be strong enough to evolve, they weren't all Pikachu and Bulbasaur, most of them wanted to become the bigger, more formidable opponent. And he failed them.

Confusion in what was next. Sure he could go Kalos with Alexa, get some new traveling companions, and traverse the league obtaining badges. Then he would reach the conference and maybe get to the Semi Finals again before he lost. Maybe it was time Ash Ketchum moved on or did something different, this wasn't way of becoming a Pokémon Master wasn't working and he had no idea what to do now. Maybe it was the way to becoming Pokémon Master and he just hadn't gotten there yet. Maybe it was time to try and something other than Pokémon. Maybe it was time to double down and refocus all his efforts again. Maybe Ash Ketchum should grow up and stop just playing in the awesome, exciting, dangerous, adventurous world of Pokémon. Maybe Ash Ketchum should grow up and take this challenge on a different angle. Maybe it was time Ash Ketchum should give up.

Bringing himself out of his thoughts, Ash had realized he had reached the outskirts of Pallet. Instead of immediately sprinting home or to the lab, he simply walked along at a leisurely pace back towards home. Pikachu, sitting on Ash's shoulder as always, was greatly worried and confused about his best friend and trainer. Ash seems exceptionally down after his Vertress performance. Pikachu too was greatly disappointed, he felt he had been severely hampered by Zekrom in the beginning of the Unova journeys. Coming from victories over opponents like Regice or a tie with Latios to lose to a freshly given starter Pokémon was pitiful. Pikachu still though was more concerned about Pikapi, he'd never seen him so disinterested, so depressed, so disheartened.

Finally reaching the door Ash lightly knocked on the door, ignoring the curious glance from the electric mouse beside when he didn't give a shout for his mom upon arrival. The door opened slightly until Delia Ketchum recognized her son and flung it open and embraced him. "Oh Ash you're home! You did fantastic in Unova!" She praised.

"I guess, thanks mom," he replies in solemn tone, not bothering to comment on the lack of air flow to his lungs. She let him go and led him back inside with promises of food shortly.

"Oh and I almost forgot, your friends all dropped by to congratulate they are waiting for you in the living room," she added quickly. Giving a nod in return Ash prepared himself for the 'Great jobs' and 'You'll win for sure next times,' it all just felt so hollow and meaningless to him. Ash sighed and walked into the room catching the attention of the redheaded Cerulean Gym Leader first.

"Hey! Ash! Great job! And what was the cutie little water type of yours I just have to see it!" Misty exclaimed.

"Oh Oshawott? He's kinda tired from the trip here so he is resting in his ball," Ash replied quietly. Expecting a boisterous, excited, response from the raven haired trainer, Misty is dumbfounded and quietly sits back down. Before anyone else can respond he speaks up again, "Hey guys, sorry I'm not really up for talking I'm going to go to bed night everyone night mom." Turning around before anyone else can say a word, he trudges upstairs and closes his door collapsing onto the bed with the sigh.

~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~

"Well that was… different," Max stated, not knowing how else to describe what happened.

"I don't get it, he seems so depressed, so bored, so upset. I've seen him after this Silver and Indigo Leagues, and it was nothing like this," Misty thought out loud.

"Same as the Hoenn league," May added.

"I have," Brock spoke up, all heads turned to him, Dawn just nodding. "After a lot of his losses in Sinnoh especially in Snowpoint against Paul and-"

"The Sinnoh league, Ash would become this storm cloud of sadness, almost nothing we did would cheer him up. Then almost like he regained whatever self-control he lost, Ash does a complete 180 and is perfectly fine," Dawn finished. The room fell into an awkward silence until Mrs. Ketchum voiced quietly.

"So, how do we fix this?" she asked the Sinnoh traveling partners.

"Well, we usually try and cheer him up as best as possible, also kinda staying out of his way because he gets really irritable during these things. And then we just kind a let whatever 'this' is run its course," Brock explained. Delia nodded thoughtfully and was about to add something, when the doorbell rang.

"Is anyone expecting a visitor?" she addressed the group, receiving negative shakes of the head; she stood up from the couch she was sitting in and walked toward the door.

"So back to the Ash issue, what should we do? I think Mr. Pokémon Master just needs a little one-on-one time with a certain mallet of mine," the redhead suggested only half serious.

"No Misty that would probably make it worse, Ash needs to know we still support him and his dream, although we might need some more help convincing him–"

"I'd be glad to offer some help Brock, and I have my own suggestions as well," a voice from behind them interjected.

"Cynthia?!"


A/N: So that was chapter one, kind of short I know, but the next one should be longer just had to get the Cynthia thing at the end. Also I should point out this is not going to be some depressing fan fiction. As Brock described, Ash's mood swings are abrupt, extreme and short lasting, more will be explained on that later, as it's a major part of the story. I have no plans on an update schedule, so I don't know when the next update will come, hopefully in a few weeks as I have finals the coming weeks. Feel free to PM/Review if you have any questions, I'm all ears.