Disclaimer: I don't own Pokémon in any regards - the video games, the anime, or the merchandise. I don't own anything worth that much money, sadly. :(

Two weeks later…

'Today's the big day!' Ash told himself as walked in front of a mirror in the room he was in. Pikachu followed closely behind the boy.

The teenage Pokémon Trainer was wearing new clothes that his mother had got for him. He now had a new pair of jeans that were a darker shade of blue and a blue jacket with white stripes running down the center of the jacket and on his arms. He also received a new pair of black fingerless gloves and a new red hat that had a white pokéball on the center of it. Ash never considered himself somebody who cared about fashion or what he was wearing, but he always did enjoy the new outfits that his mother would occasionally get him. He continued to study his reflection, grinning at the image.

"How do I look Pikachu?" He questioned his Pokémon.

"Pi pika!" Pikachu exclaimed as it gave his trainer a grin of his own, letting him know how pleased he was with his new clothes.

"Heh, thanks buddy." Ash replied. He then patted his shoulder, which urged Pikachu to jump onto his shoulder. "You know, I have a real good feeling. This year is going to be our year. We're going to take Kalos by storm. What do you say?"

"Pikachu!" The electric-mouse Pokémon nodded his head in agreement.

Ash chuckled as he walked away from the mirror to go get his backpack. At that moment, he heard a loud knock from the door to the room.

"Ash, are you almost done? Professor Oak and I are waiting for you. Your flight will be leaving soon!" The voice of his mother, Delia Ketchum, reminded him.

"I know Mom. I'm coming." Ash replied as he grabbed his backpack and put it on.

The young trainer made sure he had everything in his pockets and in his backpack. Once he was sure he had all of his necessary supplies for traveling, he opened the door to the room and walked out of the room he was in. Outside the door, he was greeted by his mother.

"Ready Ash? Did you remember to pack extra 'you-know-what's'?" She questioned, smiling brightly at her son.

"Mom!" He grumbled, shaking his head in embarrassment. Pikachu started to laugh, which caused him to feel even more embarrassed. "We already talked about this when we left Pallet Town. Of course I have them!"

"I know, I know. I'm just teasing." Delia giggled to herself. "If you have everything, though, we should be on our way. Professor Oak is waiting outside the Pokémon Center."

Both Ash and Pikachu nodded and proceeded to follow his mother out of the hallway of the Pokémon Center.

It was Delia's idea for them, along with Professor Oak, to stay the night at the Pokémon Center in Viridian City the night before the flight. Ash's flight was relatively early in the morning and traveling from Pallet Town would have caused them to wake up extremely early in the morning: something that Delia knew her son would not enjoy.

She, along with Ash and Pikachu, exited the Pokémon Center. Standing outside was Professor Oak. He noticed the arrival of the Ketchum family and smiled at them.

"So I take it you are both ready?" He asked the trainer and his Pokémon.

"You bet!" "Pikachu!" Both Ash and Pikachu declared in unison.

Their excitement caused Professor Oak to chuckle. "I believe you both. Well, let's get moving. The airport isn't that far of a walk from here, so we'll have plenty of time."

"Awesome. Let's get on our way then!" Ash exclaimed.

Professor Oak and Delia chuckled at the boy's excitement as the three of them began their walk towards the airport.

"You know, I was surprised you expressed in interest to travel to Kalos so fast after you returned home." Professor Oak commented to the young trainer. "Not really surprised that you wanted to travel and go for another Pokémon League: just surprised you had a destination in mind the second you got back. But Kalos should be a good experience for you."

"Have you been there before Professor?" Ash asked curiously.

"Not in a long time, Ash. I believe the last time I was in Kalos was to visit Professor Augustine Sycamore when he first set up his laboratory there." The Pokémon Professor recalled. "Hmm… You're going to go visit him, right Ash?"

"Uh huh. I'm actually meeting up with Serena at his lab once I get to Kalos." Ash told the professor. "Besides, after hearing you tell me a few things about him, I knew I just had to meet him for myself."

"He's a good man. And very smart. I'm sure he will be able to help you when you arrive in the region." The professor told Ash with a chuckle.

When the young trainer first expressed in interest in traveling to Kalos, Professor Oak nearly demanded he go and visit Professor Sycamore. He spent a long time talking about how he was the youngest official Pokémon Professor in the regions. Professor Oak also went talked about his accomplishments as a researcher and the current topic of his research: mega evolution. Once Ash had heard about the man and what his current research was about, Ash knew he had to meet Professor Sycamore at least once. He was looking forward to meeting this man that Professor Oak spoke so highly about.

"I'm a little more curious about how your meeting with Serena will go." Delia commented with a smile. "I remember meeting her once or twice when she was in Kanto and she was an absolute sweetie. You have to let me talk to her once on the phone or something Ash. I'd love to see how she's doing while you're there."

"I will have her talk to you, don't worry Mom." Ash chuckled at his mother's request. He then turned his attention back to the professor. "Do you remember her yet, by the way?"

"Hmm… I tried, but I can't recall her Ash. Sorry." The Pokémon Professor sighed in response. "I still can't remember exactly what summer camp you are talking about too."

"You may need to check up on your memory, professor. If you can't remember that, then there's no telling what else you're forgetting." Ash replied with a laugh. "Who knows? Maybe the next time you'll see Gary, you'll forget his name or something and think it's something stupid."

Pikachu laughed loudly at his trainer's joke. Delia giggled as well. Professor Oak, on the other hand, felt his eye twitch in annoyance.

"For your information, my memory is fine. And I'll certainly never forget what my grandson's name." He grumbled in response. He then recognized something about what Ash said and couldn't help but chuckle. '… Although, it's funny you mention Gary.'

The remainder of the walk to the airport was filled with conversation as Ash, Pikachu, Delia, and Professor Oak talked and joked to each other. It wouldn't be horribly long before they arrived and Ash would be on his plane out of Kanto.

"It's been a while since we've flown anywhere, hasn't it Pikachu? We've usually been taking boats and traveling by sea." Ash commented to his Pokémon.

"Pi Pikachu." Pikachu nodded his head. The electric-mouse was rather excited about flying in the sky and looking out the window to the clouds.

The trainer and Pokémon duo took a second to look at their tickets. They were actually taking a flight to Hearthome City for a connecting flight to Lumiose City in the Kalos region. They were only going to be back in Sinnoh for around thirty minutes before they began their new adventure to a whole new region.

Ash and Pikachu stayed with his mother and Professor Oak for a few more minutes before an announcement called over the intercom in the airport, urging for all passengers on the flight to Hearthome City to report to the gate so they could board the flight. Once they heard the announcement, the group realized that they were going to have go their separate ways.

"Ash…" Delia gave her son a smile as she pulled him in for a tight hug. "You message me when you get to Kalos as fast as you can and let me know you made it there safely and met up with your friend. I expect to hear from you often, okay?"

"Okay Mom." Ash told her with a smile as he returned her hug. Pikachu, who was on Ash's shoulder, joined the hug and rubbed his cheeks against Delia.

"You and Pikachu are used to hearing this, but you two be safe and look after one another. I don't know what I would do if something happened to either of you." She told them. The mother resisted the urge to tear up. This wasn't her first time watching her son and his Pokémon leave on an adventure, and it wasn't going to be the last. In the end, they'd look after each other and keep the other one safe. She knew that… at least, that's what she could tell herself whenever she was worried about him.

"We'll be fine, won't we buddy?" Ash asked his Pikachu.

"Pika." Pikachu replied as he continued to rub his cheeks against Delia affectionately.

Eventually, the mother and son broke their hug. Ash then turned his attention to Professor Oak, who was smiling at the boy.

"I've already sent all of your Pokémon to Professor Sycamore's lab. That way, when you are in Kalos, you can switch them to your team whenever you want." Professor Oak told the boy. "Who knows? Maybe when you get to Kalos, you might decide to take one of them with you on the adventure right at the start of it."

"Heh. Who knows?" Ash chuckled. He then held out his hand towards the Pokémon Professor. "Thanks a lot Professor Oak for everything. I'll make sure to give you a call to when I can."

"Please do Ash. And make sure you catch some new Pokémon. I know Kalos has a set of ones native to only their country, and I know some Pokémon from Unova also live there. I'm curious to see what you may find out there for your team." Professor Oak told him as he shook Ash's hand. "But you need to get going. Your flight is going to be soon."

"Yeah, I know." The Pokémon Trainer nodded in understanding. "I'll message you both when I get there. Thanks again for everything Mom, Professor Oak!"

With those words, Ash and Pikachu ran off towards their gate to board their flight. They looked back and waved goodbye to Delia and Professor Oak, who returned their waves. A few seconds later and both Ash and Pikachu were out of sight, leaving the two adults alone.

"… You know, Ash keeps running off across the world so fast. He's always on some adventure." Delia noted with a smile. "It doesn't even really upset me anymore. He's matured a lot from when he first started his journey."

"I agree. And he's only going to continue to mature as he goes further on his journey." Professor Oak chuckled.

Delia nodded at the professor's comment. She then started to ask him a question. "Did you ever let Ash know about-"

"No." He answered before she was able to finish her question. "I figured it would be a nice surprise for him."

Delia nodded in understanding. A few more minutes passed as they checked a nearby computer for information about Ash's flight to Hearthome City. Once the computer updated the status of the flight and showed that the plane had taken off, the two adults decided to leave the Viridian City Airport together.

'Ash… Pikachu… Have fun, you two.' Delia smiled, imagining the adventure her son and his best friend were going to have in Kalos.

"Ash, is that you?" Serena gasped at the sight as Ash walked off the airplane.

"Yeah, I'm here Serena. And I'm never going to let you leave me ever again." Ash informed her with a smile. He started to walk up to her holding a bouquet of flowers.

The honey-brown haired girl blushed, both from the bouquet and from his comment, but smiled brightly at the boy. "Good, because I'm not going to leave you again. I… I'm so glad you're here Ash!"

Ash stopped walking towards Serena and stared to run. Serena began running as well and the two teenagers hugged each other the second they were next to each other. They looked each other in the eyes for a few second before their faces inched closer and closer to each other.

"Hey Serena? You there?" Calem spoke up.

"Eh?" Serena blinked for a few seconds.

In a matter of seconds, her vision of Ash and her at the Lumiose City Airport vanished. She was no longer with him and was, instead, at the entrance of Lumiose City. Calem was standing in front of her, snapping his fingers.

"You zoned out for a second. You alright?" He questioned.

"Heh, of course I'm fine. Sorry!" Serena replied immediately, blushing slightly. '… What the heck was that? I can't be thinking about things like that, especially in public!'

Ever since she saw Ash on television and began communicating with him again through e-mails, Serena had occasionally found herself day-dreaming about the boy. She had always had a crush on Ash since the summer camp. Now, having come back in contact with him and knowing that she would see him soon, her crush had returned and come back stronger than ever, resulting in her 'daydreams'. They were usually nothing spectacular: they were usually them just meeting up in some romantic fashion. Ash would be this charming, romantic gentleman to her and the two of them would kiss. This dream, however, was interrupted by Calem before it got to the 'kiss', much to Serena's embarrassment.

"You sure about that? Because now you're red." Calem commented, still giving his neighbor a confused look.

"Positive! I'm fine!" Serena exclaimed.

"… If you say." Calem sighed. The boy really didn't understand girls his age – or people, for that matter. It was the main reason why he didn't really have many friends, even before he moved to Kalos.

The two neighbors proceed to walk into Lumiose City. Both of them were moving through the city fast, excited for what was about to happen.

"Today's the day where I finally start my Pokémon journey. I'll get my first Pokémon and finally become a trainer!" Calem exclaimed happily.

"Me too. I'm finally actually doing this. It's going to be a lot of fun." Serena said cheerfully, equally excited about getting her own Pokémon.

"Yeah, but I bet your excited about something else, aren't you?" Her neighbor commented teasingly. "Or should I say someone?"

"I-I haven't seen him in years. I think I have a right to be excited." She replied defensively.

"I know. I'm excited you get to see him again." Calem told her with a smile. He then started digging in his pocket and pulled out a map of Lumiose City. "… Anyway, we should probably focus on getting to Professor Sycamore's lab."

Serena nodded in understanding. The two neighbors continued walking through the city, looking for the building.

"Now boarding Flight 998 with direct service to Lumiose City." A flight attendant at a gate in the Hearthome City Airport announced on an intercom.

Ash and Pikachu grinned at the announcement. Their flight from Viridian City was quick and easy and now they were going to be on their final flight towards Kalos. The two could barely contain themselves as they stood up and joined the line to board the flight to Lumiose City.

The two quickly showed the ticket to the flight attendant and were permitted to board the plane. Ash and Pikachu quickly went through the runway and entered the plane. Once they were onboard, they found their seats and quickly sat in the one next to the window. Pikachu immediately jumped off Ash's shoulders and got up-close to the window.

"Pikachu, pika pi pika!" He stated, keeping his eyes focused on the window.

"Heh, yeah I know. We'll be in the air soon Pikachu." Ash told his Pokémon with a laugh. "Finally, we're going to be in Kalos soon."

"Pikapi. Pikachu pika pika." Pikachu stated as he turned his head back to his trainer.

Ash understood Pikachu's comment about being excited to see Serena. He chuckled in response and patted Pikachu's head.

"I'm excited to see her too." He said, a smile developing on his face. "She said in her last e-mail that she was actually going to pick up her first Pokémon today. I wonder what type of Pokémon she's going to pick."

"Well, looks like you and I are going to sit next to each other on this flight." A voice interrupted Ash's conversation with Pikachu – a familiar voice.

Both Ash and Pikachu faced the source of the voice and looked at him in surprise. A boy Ash's age with brown spiky hair and black eyes sat down and took the seat next to Ash. He was wearing a black collared shirt and had on a pair of brown cargo pants. The boy was also wearing a necklace with a single, silver stone on it. The boy had a smirk on his face as he looked at the stunned faces of Ash and Pikachu.

"What? It hasn't been that long since we last saw each other. Surely you remember who I am, don't ya Ashy-boy?" The boy questioned teasingly.

"Pika!" Pikachu exclaimed happily as it rushed over to the new boy to greet him.

"Hey Pikachu! It's good to see you again." He told the electric mouse Pokémon as he petted him on his back. Pikachu sighed peacefully, pleased with the boy's action.

"G-Gary!" Ash finally managed to say his name. A grin developed on the trainer's face. "It's great to see you! What are you doing here?"

"And it's great to see you too." He greeted his friend and rival with a grin of his own. "And same thing as you: heading to Kalos. Didn't my grandpa tell you?"

Ash shook his head. "Nuh uh. Professor Oak didn't say anything to me."

"Really? Guess he wanted to surprise you or something." Gary shrugged in response.

"What are you going to do in Kalos? Aren't you working with Professor Rowan and doing research for him?" The black-haired boy questioned.

"I still am working with him. Just he and Grandpa thought I should be doing some unique research of my own." Gary answered. "When you told Grandpa about your plans to head to Kalos, he did a little research on Professor Sycamore to see how he was doing and he came across some of the notes the man had published on the concept of mega evolution. He then passed it on to Professor Rowan and I and got me really interested. So, he, Professor Rowan, and I decided it would be a good idea for me to come to Kalos for a little while and do my own research on the subject and see if I can help Professor Sycamore uncover some more of the secrets about it."

"I see." Ash nodded in understanding. He then grinned at his friend and rival. "Mega evolution sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?"

"More than 'cool' to me." The Pokémon researcher replied. His hand quickly moved to his side and pulled out a pokéball. "Some of Sycamore's research suggests a Pokémon like my Blastoise can evolve again? And somehow de-evolve?" He then placed the pokéball back on the belt of his shorts. "This is groundbreaking stuff, and I've love to start studying some of this stuff first-hand!"

"Yeah, I can imagine. I'd love to figure out more things about this too. If I can be of any help, I'd love to do something." Ash stated, expressing his agreement. His expression then turned thoughtful. "Kinda crazy to think that something like this was just found out. I wonder what types of Pokémon I have could mega evolve?"

"Probably a bunch. We don't know yet, and that's what makes it all so exciting." Gary stated.

"Heh, you really are interested in this Pokémon research stuff." Ash commented with a chuckle.

"Of course I am!" The brown-haired trainer declared. "… But enough about me. How've you been doing Ash? I got to watch a bit of the Lily of the Valley conference and I gotta say, you did good out there. Really good." A smirk then developed on his lips before he continued. "Although I will say, that if it was me up there instead of you, I probably would have gone and won the whole thing."

"As if!" Ash snorted, punching Gary in the arm playfully.

The two trainers laughed a little bit before they continued their conversations, catching up with each other and talking about some of their own adventures during Kanto and Johto. Ash was excited to see Gary again and to hear that he was coming to Kalos. He didn't know how long he was going to end up with the Pokémon researcher, but he was more than happy to be able to see him for a little bit and just see what his friend and rival was up to.

In a few more minutes, the plane started to take off and head out into the sky towards Lumiose City. Ash, Pikachu, and Gary were all looking forward to landing and were preparing for the adventure to come.

"Here's the place." Calem announced to Serena.

The two teenagers from Vaniville Town stood directly outside Professor Sycamore's laboratory. Serena was about to study the building in detail when Calem quickly opened the door, entering it. Not wanting to be left behind, she quickly entered the building right behind him. They entered a living-room area and were greeted immediately by a woman wearing a white lab coat.

"Hello you two. How can I help you?" She asked them politely.

"Hello. My name's Calem and this is my neighbor, Serena." Calem informed the woman. "We are here to pick up our Pokémon. We sent a message to the professor to let him know we were coming earlier this week."

"Hmm, let me check with him really quick. Don't worry, I'll be right back." The researcher told them as she walked off through an open door in front of them to another room in the laboratory.

Serena and Calem were left alone in the room with nothing to do but to wait. As a result, Calem started to pace back-and-forth impatiently, his eyes constantly on the room the researcher had went into.

"Just give him a little bit Calem. He'll be here." Serena commented with a giggle. During the past few weeks, she had actually gotten to know Calem pretty well. One thing she quickly realized about him was that he had absolutely no patience for anything. He couldn't stand still no matter how hard he tried. The boy needed to be following his plans and any amount of waiting was just going to make him miserable.

"I know. I just… ugh, I want to meet my Pokémon already!" He exclaimed, his pace increasing in speed.

"Do you know what Pokémon you're going to pick?" She questioned curiously.

"Uh huh. I've had this planned out for months now." Calem replied. He stopped pacing so he could focus on the conversation with his neighbor. "And you? Do you know what you're going to choose?"

"I have an idea, yeah." Serena replied with a giggle.

Calem and Serena continued their conversation on the starter Pokémon for a few minutes. It was finally interrupted by the sound of footsteps. The two turned their heads towards the open door and saw a young man with dark unkempt hair and grey eyes. The man was wearing a long white lab coat over a blue collared shirt and black dress pants. He was also carrying a clear cylindrical box that contained three pokéballs inside.

"Hello, and sorry for making you wait for me." The man apologized when he entered the room. "You two are Calem and Serena, correct?"

"That's us. I guess the e-mails did go through." Calem commented, a wide grin developing on his face. "It's very nice to meet you Professor Sycamore!"

"Yes. Thank you for your time!" Serena added politely.

"You two are really nice, I see." Sycamore complimented the two neighbors as he walked up to them. "It's nice to meet you both. Are you two ready to begin your lives as Pokémon trainers?"

"Yes sir!" Both Calem and Serena replied in unison.

Professor Sycamore chuckled as he pressed a button on the box in his hands, opening it. He then grabbed each individual pokéball and opened them, releasing the three Pokémon inside: Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie. The three starter Pokémon immediately smiled and greeted the two teenagers cheerfully.

"Wow, they all look so cute!" Serena gushed, her eyes moving back-and-forth between them.

"Yes, they are all rather cute. And very capable. I happen to really all three of these Pokémon." Sycamore commented as he bent over and patted the heads of each of them, causing them all to smile. "Do any of you already know which one you'd like to pick as your partner or do you want some time?

"I already know." Calem explained as he walked forward.

The boy didn't have anything against Fennekin or Froakie and he actually thought that they looked like they could become really strong Pokémon one day with some training. However, the boy's favorite type of Pokémon was the grass type and Chespin looked just as nice and strong as the other two. As a result, he bent down to Chespin, smiled at the spiny nut Pokémon, and offered his hand.

"Heya Chespin. It's nice to meet you. How do you feel like coming with me and having an adventure?" He asked the Pokémon.

Chespin's eyes widened at first. This wasn't the first new trainer this Chespin had been offered to. He had been rejected multiple times by trainers who much preferred a Froakie or a Fennekin. To see somebody so quickly decide on taking him made him really happy. As a result, the Chespin grinned brightly and the boy and shook his hand.

"Ches Chespin !" He replied excitedly.

The spiny nut Pokémon then jumped at the boy, knocking him to the ground, hugging him. Calem's eyes widened at the sudden impact, but then laughed as he returned the hug.

"You're pretty strong to knock me over so easily. And nice too." He told him. "I have a feeling we're going to make a pretty awesome team!"

"Ches!" Chespin nodded his head in agreement.

"They already seem to be good friends." Professor Sycamore commented with a smile. The man always liked seeing trainers who cared for their Pokémon right from the beginning.

"Heh, they do." Serena giggled in response. She then walked forward towards the Pokémon. "Anyway, I have my choice too."

As cute as all the Pokémon were in person, she did have a choice in mind before she arrived and she was going to stick with that choice. The girl bent down to face the Fennekin and smiled at her.

"Hi Fennekin. It's nice to meet you." Serena told the fox Pokémon, extending her hand towards her. "I think the two of us would make great friends if you'd like to come with me. Does that sound fun to you?'

"Fenn!" Fennekin exclaimed excitedly as she rushed forward to Serena. She then proceeded to lick the girl's hand slightly.

"It seems like both of you seem to have gotten along with your Pokémon already." Professor Sycamore chuckled as he returned the Froakie to its pokéball. He set the box down to the side and then pulled out two pokédexes from the pocket of his lab coat. "Since you two are just getting start, I have a few things I'd like to give to you. Here's a pokédex for each of you."

"Thank you so much!" Both Serena and Calem said in unison as they took a pokédex each from the professor.

Sycamore then dug further into his pockets and pulled two sets of six pokéballs. He then held them out to the two trainers, one set in each of his hands.

"These are also six pokéballs for you to start catching Pokémon with. There's also the pokéball for your partner as well." He told them.

Both Serena and Calem thanked the man again as they took the pokéballs. They proceeded to put everything away except the pokéball for their starter Pokémon. Calem held out the ball and was about to return Chespin to it, but then decided against it. He put the pokéball away and smiled at the spiny nut Pokémon.

"You can return to the ball later. How about you and I start heading out on-foot together, at least for a little bit?" He asked his partner.

"Chespin!" Chespin nodded fervently, approving of his trainer's idea.

"Wait, are you leaving right now?" Serena looked at her neighbor in surprise. "I thought you were going to stay around with me for a little bit. At least until Ash got here."

"Well… I kinda just want to get my own adventure started. I want to get to Santalune City as fast as I can and start trying to get badges for the Kalos League." Calem told her with a smile. "It's something I've been waiting forever for and I kinda don't want to wait any longer if that's okay, sorry."

"No, don't be sorry. It's fine." Serena shook her head in response. "I was just a little surprised, because I thought you wanted to meet Ash with me."

"Oh believe me, I do. I want to meet any guy who made it as far as he did in a Pokémon League conference!" The boy declared. "However, I'll meet him one day. I know I'll run into you guys sometime later. And when I do, I want to be a good enough trainer that I can challenge him to a battle and actually be competition for him."

"Ches!" Chespin exclaimed proudly as he extended the spines on his head a little bit further, making them sharper. Although he didn't know who this 'Ash' was, he knew that that the idea of battling and becoming stronger appealed to him. Therefore, he was in complete agreement with his trainer.

"Yeah, we'll meet up again one day. I'm sure of it." Serena commented as she held out her hand to her neighbor. "Good luck on your adventure, Calem."

"And good luck on yours, whatever you decide to do." Calem replied, shaking her hand.

A few seconds passed before they broke their hand shake. Calem and Chespin waved goodbye to Serena and Professor Sycamore as they started to head out of the laboratory quickly. It didn't take long before they were out, rushing off towards Santalune City.

"And there he goes: off to compete in the Pokémon league." Serena sighed as she watched him leave.

Although Calem did mean well when he told her good luck, she felt a little down at the mention of 'whatever you decide to do'. Truth be told, Serena had no idea exactly what she was going to do. It was part of the reason why she hadn't become a Pokémon trainer earlier. She wasn't exactly certain what she wanted to do with her life. As a result, the girl was actually a little nervous to begin an adventure of her own, not knowing where the journey was going to take her.

"Ken?" Fennekin looked up at her trainer in confusion, sensing that she was a little distressed.

"Oh, don't worry about me Fennekin. I'm fine." The girl turned her attention back to her Pokémon and smiled at her. "Hey, how do you feel about hanging out for a little bit? I have a friend that should be arriving in a few hours, so would you like to maybe explore Lumiose City for a little bit."

"Fenn!" The fox Pokémon stated in agreement.

"You said a little earlier with your friend that you're meeting a friend named Ash, right?" Professor Sycamore questioned. "Ash Ketchum?"

Serena's eyes widened at the sound of his voice. For a moment, she forgot the man was still in the room. She turned her head sheepishly to face him and nod.

"Yeah. He's an old childhood friend from years ago." She answered with a smile. "Do you know him or something?"

"No, I don't. I've heard a bit about him, though. My colleague from Pallet Town, Professor Samuel Oak, spoke highly of him." The man informed her. "He actually transferred all of Ash's Pokémon over to my lab in case if he wanted to use any of them when he was in Kalos."

"Really?" Serena questioned.

"Yes." Sycamore laughed slightly in response. "If you're going to try and kill some time for a little bit, would you like to meet some of his Pokémon then? I just got them out of their pokéballs myself and got to see what types they were."

The idea of meeting Ash's Pokémon and seeing all the different types he caught really appealed to the girl. She turned her attention to Fennekin and smiled at her.

"What do you say Fennekin? Would you like to meet some other Pokémon?" Serena asked the fox Pokémon.

"Fennekin!" Fennekin declared, agreeing with her trainer's idea.

Both Serena and Fennekin followed Professor Sycamore as he walked further into the lab to the area where Ash's Pokémon were. The girl was excited to see what types of Pokémon Ash had. However, she had to admit, she was more excited to see him soon.

'Just a few more hours…' She told herself with a smile as she continued to follow the professor.

"Helioptile is unable to battle. Flaffy is the winner! The match goes to Meyer!" A referee declared proudly.

A teenaged boy with blonde hair and glasses sighed at the announcement. He grabbed a pokéball and returned his Helioptile. He then turned his attention as his opponent, Meyer, returned the Flaffy to its pokéball. The man then walked forward towards the boy.

"You alright Clemont?" He asked.

The boy, Clemont, sighed in response. "I'm alright Dad. I just got a little nervous in the battle I guess."

Meyer frowned at his son's words. "You can't get too nervous in battle, Clemont. You're going to the gym leader of Lumiose City: you have to be confident and be able to stare down and take on anything your opponents send your way!"

"I know, I know." Clemont mumbled in response.

The blonde-haired boy thought he was going to win this match. He had everything calculated with his Pokémon and his father's Pokémon. Based on all of the hypothetical scenarios he imagined in his head, he thought he had come up with the perfect strategies to beat his father finally. After all, he had seen his father battle many trainers before. He knew he was beatable and he knew exactly how some trainers managed to defeat his Pokémon battle. What he didn't know was that he was going to choke in battle and not be able to follow through with any of the strategies he had planned before the battle.

Meyer sighed as he looked at his son. He knew Clemont was a smart boy and a great trainer. It was the reason why he was training Clemont in the first place to take his position as the Lumiose City gym leader within the next month or two. However, now that they were officially beginning the training, Clemont started to freeze up in battle and get nervous. This ultimately resulted in him losing sync with his Pokémon and, ultimately, losing in battle.

His son needed to become more confident before he could move on as the gym leader of Lumiose City, and Meyer didn't know exactly how to help his son with that goal. He could nudge him in a few directions and tell him things, but it was ultimately up to Clemont to gain the confidence to be able to face him and any potential challengers to the gym. He was confident as an inventor, so it made sense that he would become confident in his abilities as a Pokémon trainer... right?

"I guess we'll call it quits for training today." Meyer told his son. "You take your Pokémon to the Pokémon Center. And after, maybe you could do a few errands for me."

"Okay." Clemont replied. "Do you mind if I take Bonnie with me?"

"No, I don't mind. She's probably in her room, playing with a few of her toys." Meyer chuckled in response. He then pulled out a paper with a list of errands: a few items that he had to get. He needed to go to a few stores across the city and stop by Professor Sycamore's lab and pick up something. "Sorry about this, by the way. I need to get to the store as fast as I can and help out there. They've been calling me for a while now."

"Yeah, I know." Clemont nodded in understanding as he took the list from Meyer. He knew his father was constantly busy from running both his own store and from being the gym leader of Lumiose City. It definitely was part of the reason why he was beginning his own training to become gym leader and replace his father.

"Come by the store when you're done. I should be off work when you finish and you, me, and Bonnie can go out to eat." Meyer offered, smiling at his son.

"Sounds nice to me." Clemont replied, smiling back as well.

With those words, the father and son parted ways from the battlefield in the Lumiose City gym, heading out to accomplish their own tasks.

"Finally, we made it!" Ash declared excitedly.

Ash and Pikachu, upon landing in Lumiose City, got off the plane as quickly as they could and started sprinting through the airport, ready to enter the city and begin their journey. As they continued to run off, Gary followed behind as fast as he could.

"Ash, slow down already. Do you have any idea where you are even going?" He called out to the boy.

"Of course I do!" The black-haired boy replied confidently. "We're heading to-"

The words on Ash's tongue vanished once he and Pikachu finally reached the exit to the airport and looked out into the city. Lumiose City was much larger than the boy had imagined. It was filled with all sorts of buildings and signs. Off in the distance, the two could see the giant Prism Tower, the iconic landmark of Lumiose City and the Kalos region as whole. There were thousands of people walking down the streets and he could see cars moving driving all across the town heading in their own directions.

"Whoa…" He continued to look at the city in surprise.

"Pika." Pikachu mumbled in response, feeling just as surprised as his trainer.

Now that they had stopped sprinting, Gary was able to reach them. The boy noticed their surprised looks and gave them both a look of confusion.

"What are you two so surprised about? Lumiose City is well-known for being one of the largest cities in the world. Heck, it's potentially the largest!" The Pokémon researcher declared. "Did you guys not know this?"

"No." Ash shook his head.

"… Did you do any research at all before coming to Kalos?" Gary asked.

"No…" Ash admitted sheepishly. "I don't think I've ever looked up anything about a region before heading out to one. Have we Pikachu?"

"Pikachu." Pikachu shook his head in response.

'… I should have expected that: don't know why I didn't. I forgot how bone-headed you can be Ash. Always rushing into things.' Gary mentally sighed.

"Well, whatever. We're here anyway. And let's get moving!" Ash declared as he and Pikachu started to walk out of the airport and onto the streets.

"Hold on Ash." Gary spoke up, stopping the boy. The Pokémon researcher pulled out a map and started to look at it. "I don't want us getting lost here and start roaming the city for hours. It'll be the next day before we even get anywhere."

"Very funny. We'd get there at least by midnight." The raven-haired trainer mumbled in response. "Well, anyway, let's keep moving. What direction is Professor Sycamore's Lab?"

"This way." His rival replied as he started to walk to the left of the airport. Ash and Pikachu were quick to follow him. "It's convenient you and your friend agreed to meet up at the lab. That's where I was going to head to as well."

"Yeah, I figured you would." Ash chuckled in response. "What are you going to do after we get there?"

"I don't know exactly." Gary answered with a shrug. "I want to talk to the professor about his research and figure out what I can do to help out. Once he lets me know, I'll probably get straight to work with him."

"I see." Ash nodded in understanding.

The two trainers continued to talk to each other about their plans in Kalos as they walked in the direction of Professor Sycamore's laboratory.

'Wonder if Serena is already there…' Ash thought to himself. He knew the two were supposed to meet there, but he didn't know exactly when she would be arriving herself. '… Hopefully she'll get there around the same time as me! I'm looking forward to seeing her again!'

Eventually, the two trainers reached the laboratory. Ash grinned at the sight of the building before he turned to face his friend and rival.

"Didn't take us that long to reach here." He commented.

"Yeah, because I actually pulled out a map. If we just followed your sense of direction, it would have taken us at least an hour or two to get here." Gary snickered in response.

"Pi Pikachu!" Pikachu started to laugh at his comment. The Pokémon's laughter caused Gary's snickering to turn into full blown laughter as well.

"Oh ha ha ha. Very funny." Ash grumbled in response, doing his best to ignore both of them.

After Gary and Pikachu finally stopped laughing, Ash opened the door to the laboratory. They were immediately greeted by Professor Sycamore, who had just walked into the room drinking a cup of coffee. He looked at Ash, Pikachu, and Gary in surprise for a few seconds before he placed the cup down on a nearby table and smiled at them.

"You must be Ash. Professor Oak told me you'd be traveling with a Pikachu." The man commented with a light laugh. "I was expecting you'd arrive soon. My name's Augustine Sycamore. It's nice to meet you."

"It's nice to meet you Professor Sycamore!" Ash greeted. "Professor Oak told me a lot of things about you!"

"Pikachu!" Pikachu greeted as well from Ash's shoulder.

"All good things, I hope." The Pokémon Professor chuckled in response. He then turned his attention to Gary. "And you must be his grandson, Gary. He and Professor Rowan told me you'd be coming as well and would like to help out with my research of mega evolution."

"Yes sir." Gary replied quickly. He then extended his hand to the Pokémon Professor. "It's an honor to meet you."

"My, you're really polite. The honor is all mine!" Sycamore laughed good-naturedly as he shook Gary's hand. "I have many things I'd like to talk to you both about. Why don't you follow me a little bit further into my lab?" He then turned his attention to Ash. "I received all of your Pokémon from Professor Oak a little earlier ago, but I'd like you to make sure that all the Pokémon are accounted for."

"Yeah, that's no problem at all." Ash replied, excited to see all of his Pokémon again.

The professor started to walk off with the two trainers following him. They, along with Pikachu, were looking throughout the building and studying the architecture as well as the different machines that they could find.

After asking some brief questions about Professor Sycamore's other research, Ash decided to ask him about something entirely different.

"Hey Professor, did a girl our age come by today by chance?" Ash asked. "I have a friend who said she was going to come by and pick up a Pokémon from here today."

"You mean Serena, right?" Sycamore questioned. When Ash nodded his head, the professor smirked in response. "She came by a few hours ago and picked up her Fennekin. She mentioned that you'd be coming and that she would meet up with you."

"Really?" Ash grinned in response. "Where did she end up going?"

The Pokémon Professor resisted the urge to laugh as he, along with Ash, Pikachu, and Gary, entered the room with Ash's old Pokémon. "Right in here."

The two Pokémon trainers were brought into a room that looked like a nature preserve, filled with trees, small caves, and a large lake. Scattered all throughout the area were a variety of Pokémon. Some of them were even Pokémon native to Kalos and Unova: Pokémon Ash had never seen before. In addition to these Pokémon, he saw many of the ones that he had managed to catch. He noticed his Swellow and Staraptor flying in the room the top branches of a tree. He noticed his Totodile and his Corphish swimming in the lake. He would have noticed even more of his Pokémon had it not been for the girl he had now seen standing in the center of the room.

She had honey-like brown hair and had a pink hat over it. The girl was wearing a black blouse and a red skirt with black stockings underneath. She was also wearing a pink backpack. The girl hadn't noticed his arrival yet and was currently playing with her own Pokémon: a Fennekin.

If she had not sent him an e-mail and Ash had just seen her in person, he doubted he would have recognized her. She looked so much different than how he remembered her from the summer camp. However, now that his memory was jogged, he was able to see similarities between the girl in front of him and the girl he was friends with eight years ago. He knew exactly who she was and he couldn't help smile at the sight of her.

"Hey Serena!" He called out to her.

The girl froze at the sound of his voice. She turned her head towards him and looked at him with wide eyes. Finally, she started to smile brightly at the boy and traces of a small blush developed on her cheeks.

"Hey Ash!" She greeted him excitedly as she started to rush over towards him.

Quick Trivia:

1: Ash's comment about Professor Oak forgetting Gary's name was meant to be a reference to the numerous jokes about Professor Oak being forgetful. I was intending on also putting in a joke where Ash questions if Professor Oak knows the difference between a boy and a girl, but I decided to scrap it because I couldn't really think of a way where it wouldn't sound forced.

2: Yes, Meyer is currently the gym leader. There is no canonical proof for this, but it's just an idea I had and decided to run with it. It would explain why Meyer was so willing to send Clemont to an academy to study electric type Pokémon. Also keep in my mind that, like the title says, that my story is one year prior to the canon XY series. Therefore, Clemont is still being trained to become a gym leader. Just a little explanation to that whole scene.

Author's Note: Hi everybody! Here's the second chapter. :)

Not even going to lie, I was stunned by all the support my story received so quickly. I was so surprised that I felt a lot of motivation to continue writing and, well, this chapter was the result. Thank you all so much for all of the early support. It all means a lot to me and I really appreciated all the things you had to say! :)

A few of you sent me in questions in your reviews and I intend on replying to them right after this chapter is posted. You all are free to message or send me questions about the story whenever you have them.

Again, thank you all so much for all the early support you've all given the story! I hope that my story continues to please you all as we get further along with it and more of plans are able to happen. :) that's all I really had to say at the moment. Make sure to review or message me any thoughts and critiques about the story and what you like/dislike. It can only help make the story better and help me become a better writer. I'll begin working on chapter three immediately! Until then :)