The final chapter of this fic is here, people. I've put a big AN at the end of this chapter if you're interested in reading how this story came to be. If not, I hope you've enjoyed this massive rollercoaster ride with me. It's been a pleasure, my lovely readers. Without further ado, I hope you'll enjoy the final chapter of: When fate comes knocking!
Disclaimer: I don't own pokemon!
Somewhere, in the infinite void, Fate eyed Ash patiently. The black outline of Its body sloppily followed the contours of Its limbs like it would with a character in an old cartoon; it was almost like a child had drawn It. Despite this, Ash couldn't shake the thought that It didn't look odd whatsoever. It had no face, yet Ash could see Its expression clear as day; It was calm, serious, but there was something else too. Ash couldn't quite figure out what it was. Respect? Kindness? Sorrow? Whatever it was, it was directed to him, and he felt proud and sad about it without even knowing why.
'Why have you knocked on my door, Fate?' Latias asked It impatiently. She knew she was playing dumb at this point, but she was genuinely upset It had unexpectedly whisked her away to Its home—a white, endless void—right when she had won the Lily of the valley for Ash. She couldn't even hug-tackle and kiss her trainer before it had happened.
''I'll answer your question in due time, Ash, I promise,'' Fate said in turn. ''But first, let me show you around.''
Fate's voice was odd; it made sense to Ash, but at the same time, it didn't. It spoke, yet it felt like telepathy. He heard Latias, but he also heard Brock, and then Dawn and then Bianca. Its voice seemed to change constantly, but it also stayed the same. He just couldn't comprehend it.
Latias felt a headache rise as she thought about these things. Even her powerful mind was unable to come up with a rational solution. So, she tried to ignore this in favour what Fate wanted to show her.
It turned around and raised Its arms, so that Ash was looking at Its back, and suddenly, Ash could see moving pictures appear in the vast void like floating television screens. They stretched on to infinity, all showing events that had transpired in Ash's past.
'That's me,' Latias gasped. She remembered these events vividly, and the further away she looked, the further in her past the events she saw had transpired in her life.
''Yes, Ash. That's you. What you're looking at is your entire past spread out before your eyes. As Fate, it's my duty to watch over every living being, just like Arceus has ordered me to do,'' It explained kindly.
''I don't understand,'' he responded; but he did, as clear as the sky was blue. What they did together—he and Latias—was an anomaly of monstrous proportions. They had overcome Mayhem together, and he instinctively knew that had never happened before.
''Latias,'' It began, ''I think you know now why I had to intervene so drastically.'' The memories in the void faded as the fake Mega-Latias turned Its body around again to look back into her amber eyes. ''The universe only exists because it has rules she needs to obey. When these rules are not followed, she will crumble, and every living thing will crumble with her.''
Ash listened intently as Fate began to walk away with Its hands behind Its back. He followed It. ''Now, just like this void is infinite, there are infinite universes as well,'' Fade explained. ''For example, there are universes where you're never born, Ash, or universes where you'll find immortality and live forever.
''There are even universes where you are born as a Latios, raised by your mom as a normal human-child after she finds your egg when Team Aqua and Magma try to steal it from your real mom—a Latias—and where you will be oblivious to the fact you're a Latios until you're traveling all the way into Unova with two new companions. From there, you'll visit Alto Mare again with Pikachu to get some answers, where you'll find that the Secret garden has been turned into a peaceful haven for a lot of Latios and Latias alike, with its icy queen being the very same Latias you met when you stopped Annie and Oakley, only to learn a mysterious team has been hunting Latis down for their own nefarious purposes.
''Or there are universes were legendary pokemon are literal gods, where you will save Latios from dying by giving him some of your life power. In turn, you'll get the ability to speak to pokemon. The two dragons will then travel with you through Johto and Hoenn, where you will learn that an evil spirit has set its sights on both Latios and Latias. You'll meet a shiny Rayquaza and the daughter of Lugia too, who'll do everything in their power to protect the twins until they are reunited with their resurrected dad from the Soul Dew.''
Latias looked at Fate owlishly. 'Those last too were… oddly specific,'' she commented. Imagining herself being an icy queen of a herd of Latias and Latios, she began to giggle inwardly. 'Bring me food, servant!' She'd probably claim Ash as her special Latios the minute he floated inside the Secret garden. She wondered idly if that had happened in the universe Fate described to her.
With a dopey grin, she then began to imagine what it would be to travel alongside Ash with her brother still alive, and ultimately, how she would feel when she would meet her dad. 'I think I wouldn't be able to express my joy properly,' she thought. That evil spirit worried her, though. She wondered who it could be that it had such a grudge against her brother and her. 'Maybe an old foe of my father?' she guessed.
Fate waited patiently again until It had Ash's full attention once more. ''Yes, Ash. I was being specific to show you that anything is possible, but even then, all these universes have their own set of rules. I'm the guardian of our universe, and I make sure the rules of our universe are being obeyed.''
Ash stayed silent; he already knew where this was going. 'We weren't supposed to win from Mayhem, didn't we?' he thought slowly.
As if Fate could hear the dragoness, It answered. ''Yes. The universe has gifted you with incredible strength, Latias, just like Ash. But that came at a cost. One of the rules of this universe was implemented then and there; Ash could never win a league. You have a rule yourself, Latias. But unfortunately, that's something I'm afraid I can't tell you. ''
Ash felt odd, like somebody had told him a secret he didn't understand. 'I really can't win a league,' he thought, his expression turning gloomy. 'What will happen now that I did?'
Fate's expression turned serious. ''That's why I called you here, Latias. You and Ash did the impossible: you battled against the universe and you won. But that holds dire consequences. The world will soon start to fall apart, until there's absolutely nothing left.''
The dragoness couldn't believe her ears. They had doomed the world? A panic she didn't know was present started to grip her around the throat. 'What can we do to reserve this?' she gasped. All her friends who she loved so dearly flashed before her eyes, and a couple of tears threatened to roll down her cheeks.
''Well…'' It responded, ''There is a way. I have the power to send you back in time, just before the final battle starts. The only thing what you have to do then is to lose.''
Ash's heart threatened to stop in his chest at the news. ''So, that's it then, huh?'' he whispered, not believing after he'd finally won, he had no choice but to do it over and lose anyway.
''I'm sorry, Latias,'' It apologized, ''There's no other way. Lose to Mayhem and save the world.''
Latias was unable to respond; tears now rolled freely down her cheeks as she thought about the love of her life. 'Ash, I'm so, so sorry. I came so far, but in the end, it didn't even matter.' She couldn't stomach the thought of losing on purpose; the devastation on Ash's face would be too great. She wouldn't be able to live with herself, but what choice did she have?
''Is… is this really the only option I have?'' Ash croaked hoarsely. How could he lose on purpose against Mayhem; how could he do that to Latias? His lovely dragoness had fought with every fiber of her being, and now he had to throw that all away? He was sure he wouldn't be able to look at Latias' face ever again.
It nodded, opting to stay completely silent instead of answering.
Latias felt hollow inside, her pupils big and almost lifeless. She stared at Fate as if she was seeing a ghost and looking straight through It. Her lips trembled as she forced herself to accept Fate's offer, but her body refused. Her heart ached and screamed at her. All of her senses resisted; images of Ash flipped through her mind like a notebook, and she was sure she was going to burst out in tears at any second if she stalled any longer.
''It's okay, Ash. I know how hard this is for you,'' Fate sympathized with him.
Ash was on the ground, a pain he'd never felt before making his whole body numb. It was the feeling of heartbreak; a terrible feeling that had him thinking of Latias while the memories of her burned away like pictures thrown in a fireplace. 'I'm sorry, Latias,' he thought, tears stinging his eyes, 'I'm so sorry.' How could he ever face her after this? He was going to crush his own dream of becoming a pokemon master by making Latias lose on purpose.
At that moment, Latias became furious. 'How is this fair?' she screamed at Fate angrily. 'Ash and I fought so hard! We won fairly from Mayhem. Ash should be the champion of the Lily of the valley right now. This isn't fair!'
Fate cocked Its head, sorrow underlying his next words. ''Life is never fair, Ash. That's how the world works. Some people are always lucky and live a long and happy life, other people will die young while having lived their short life in nothing but poverty.''
Ash's face turned into a cynical laugh while he wiped away his tears. ''That's how the world has always been, hasn't it?'' He stood up and faced Fate, shivering like he was cold. He was unable to do anything else but to stare at It, his muscles refusing to cooperate.
''Latias,'' Fate said kindly. ''Think about all of your friends, the rest of the world. All you have to do is to grab my claw.''
Fate held out Its outstretched hand to Ash, and smiled. The raven haired trainer was sure he felt his hand move towards It on his own, just like an invisible force had guided his lips against Latias back in the pitch while the whole world watched.
Thinking about that made Latias' body fill up with warmth, a warmth that she so desperately craved that she almost swooned. She loved Ash dearly; she promised him she would always be with him—she'd promised him she would make his dream come true.
'Fate is not set in stone.'
''What?'' Fate said, not sure It heard Latias correctly. Her claw had stopped an inch before touching Its, and she was retracting it now.
''Fate is not set in stone,'' Ash repeated more confidently. ''We can create our own destiny if we work hard and believe.''
Fate stared at Latias incredulously for a moment, before It grinned. ''Is that so?'' It questioned, amused.
'Yes. That's the truth!' Latias responded, and at that moment, she knew; like an illusion was lifted from her eyes. 'You were lying, Fate. The world will definitely not crumble if Ash wins a league! So, I will not accept your offer!'
Fate laughed. ''And what do you think Latias would say in your position, Ash?''
There was no doubt in his mind. ''She would've said the same thing because she loves me, and I love her,'' he responded.
''Correct, Ash Ketchum!'' Fate applauded him with a big smile. ''I see now that I won't be able to change your mind. You've bested me.''
Fate slowly started to fade, and in Its place, Latias started to appear. ''The world is yours, Ash and Latias—embodiments of Love.''
It was like Ash could finally breathe again. The moment It was fading, the void melted away too. He was back at the stadium, standing in the pitch while Latias—still in her mega form—was breathing erratically. Her face was just a few feet away of his.
'Ash.' She swooned, and before she could steady herself, he had already cupped her cheeks.
He didn't hesitate a moment. He pressed his lips firmly against hers, silently asking for entrance, which she eagerly granted.
The eruption of cheers from the crowd was ear-deafening. Mayhem was gone, and it seemed like nobody had noticed it, but neither Ash nor Latias cared.
Their tongues danced with each other, their Love such a fiery passion that they might as well have been fire-types.
''I's over, ladies and gentlemen!'' Son Petertom cried ecstatically. ''Against all odds, Ash has defeated Tobias! He's your new, and the youngest, Lily of the valley champion!''
''They did it! They did it!'' Dawn cheered exuberantly, hopping up and down much like how her Buneary would do.
'Incredible. He has finally done it. I'm so proud of you, Ash,' Brock thought, his smile conveying just how proud he truly was.
Bianca was watching with her hands clasped together close to her heart. 'Oh Latios, if you only were with us to witness this moment. You'd be the proudest brother on earth!'
Paul eyed his rival with the utmost respect. ''Amazing, he deserved this win through and through,'' he said simply.
Barry and Conway were both nodding their heads and clapping, the former cheering loudly, while the latter just chuckled.
Lastly, Cynthia's eyes twinkled with excitement. Not only because she thought Ash and Latias were extremely cute as a couple, but also because she knew he'd probably defeat the elite four, and then challenge her for the title of Champion. 'I'm very much looking forward to our battle, Ash.'
Meanwhile, Ash had finally broken the passionate kiss with his dragoness, the soft coo from her all he needed in his life. ''We did it—together,'' he whispered.
''We did it…'' he repeated, gasping. ''WE DID IT!'' he now roared at the top of his lungs, like he finally realized the meaning of those words. He threw both of his arms high into the air, his hands pumped into fists while he watched how the crowd cheered him on.
Latias couldn't keep her excitement in check anymore either, she giggled and flew happily in the air, doing loop-de-loops and barrel rolls for the whole stadium to enjoy while Ash walked around in the pitch like a general who had just won on the battlefield.
He waved at all the people in the bleachers, quickly finding his friends who were as emotional as he was. ''Thank you!'' he mouthed to them, ''Thank you guys so much.'' He'd never felt as ecstatic as he was now. Pikachu jumped into his arms and he hugged his starter pokemon tightly while going down on his knees as he held him close.
''We did it, buddy. We won!''
''Pika!'' the electric-type cried happily. He took his usual spot on his shoulder, and then, Latias picked them both up with her psychic and placed them on her back.
'Hang on tight,' she said cutely as she flew over the bleachers, where hundreds of pokemon fans put their hands up to give the new champion of the Lily of the valley a handshake or a high-five.
Ash leaned over Latias and happily shook their hands as the dragoness made a couple of tracks over the bleachers.
At last, the podium was properly put in place, and Cynthia was already waiting in the pitch with a very big trophy in her hands. Her smile was contagious, to say the least, and she had to keep herself from giggling like a little schoolgirl.
Mr. Goodshow was waiting as well with a microphone in his hands. Ash landed safely in front of them and dismounted his dragoness, who then reverted back to her normal form.
''Ladies and gentlemen,'' Mr. Goodshow spoke loud and clear, ''It is my pleasure to announce this year's winner of the Lily of the valley. Please give it up for Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town!''
The crowd roared again; the earth almost shook as Ash took his spot on the podium. Pikachu was sitting on his right shoulder while Latias floated at his left. Then, Cynthia approached Ash, her smile as bright as the sun as she handed the trophy to Ash.
''Congratulations, Ash Ketchum. You and your pokemon have proven why you are the Lily of the valley's champion today. I can't think of anybody who deserves this more than you,'' she said sweetly and genuinely. She shook his hand and he could see the competitive fire burning in her eyes.
Ash smiled in return. ''Thanks, Cynthia. Make sure you're ready for me. I'm going to give you a battle you won't soon forget once I've defeated the elite four.''
Cynthia nodded eagerly. ''I'm very much looking forward to it.''
She stepped away, so Mr. Goodshow could do his closing worlds while Ash hoisted the trophy high in the air, receiving all the praise from the crowd and soaking it up like a sponge.
Latias looked at him passionately, her Love for him burning as brightly as ever. 'I did this all for you, Ash. I love you, I love you so much.' She looked up in the sky and gasped what she saw. There, in the clouds, was a perfect image of her brother, as if he was watching her from above. 'Oh Latios,' she thought longingly, tears streaming down her cheeks, 'you've been watching over us all this time, haven't you?'
As if he responded to her silent question, the sun broke through the Latios cloud, making it shine brightly. It was full of life, and Latias was sure he could hear her brother speak to her.
'I love you too, big brother,' she thought back. 'I always will.'
She looked back at Ash and hugged him. 'Ash,' she whispered. 'It's over. It's finally over.'
In Alto Mare, a young teen was happily strolling through the streets. Under her arm, she was carrying a plethora of beautifully drawn pictures. When she arrived at her house where her grandfather lived, she called out for him happily. ''Granddad! Granddad!''
''Over here, Bianca, in the living room,'' he shouted back.
''The match hasn't started yet, has it?'' she replied, quickly pouring herself a drink while taking a seat next to Lorenzo. She carefully put the drawings on the table. Lorenzo shook his head. ''It's still another fifteen minutes until it starts,'' he informed her.
''Oh, good. I thought I was running late. I wouldn't want to miss this for the world!''
Lorenzo chuckled at his granddaughter. It had been three months since Ash had won the Lily of the valley. He'd made a full recovery, and while repairs to his kitchen took a bit longer, everything seemed back to normal.
''Tell you what? Why don't we go over those drawings you made until the match starts?'' he suggested.
''Of course!'' Bianca said. She occasionally eyed the television screen anyway, wary if she might miss something. So far, there were only two commentators with an Ambipom and Gliscor discussing who was going to win the match. After all, Ash had indeed defeated the elite four.
In the mean time, Bianca showed Lorenzo all the drawings she had sketched and now fully colored; it depicted all the major events that had happened when she and Latias were at the Lily of the valley. As granddaughter and granddad waited, laughed and conversed with each other, their souls were filled with nothing but happiness and Benevolence.
''Ash Ketchum, you're up in ten minutes!'' the sweet voice of his agent informed him. She was a pretty young lady who had a total crush on Ash. Her auburn hair bounced and waved smoothly to her back. A faint blush was on her cheeks as Ash gave her a smile.
''Thanks, Audra,'' he said. He looked at the glass window where hordes of fans were being held back by security, all desperately trying to get a glimpse of him. He chuckled dryly; Ash still had to get used to that he was a massive celebrity know. Since he was the first guy to come out in the open of his relationship with his Latias, he was seen as an example. Needless to say, a couple of other celebrities followed suit after him.
'It's funny how life can go, isn't it?' Latias said sweetly, having read his thoughts loud and clear.
''It is, Tia,'' he agreed. She joined him at Stargazing, as they had started to call it. Looking at hundreds of your fans, you always saw a couple that shined a big brighter.
Simultaneously, their eyes fell on a small girl in the front row, maybe not older than six years. She was standing there all alone, her eyes warm, intrigued. She was carrying a Froslass plush in one hand, which oddly enough, was burned. One of its sides was completely blackened, but it seemed somebody had stitched it so it wouldn't come off. It was clear to Ash and Latias that the plush was very dear to her.
Hypnotized, Ash and Latias approached the glass window. The girl smiled, and put one of her small hands on the glass. Ash did the same, as if they touched.
''You were always there, weren't you?'' Ash said to the girl, even though it was impossible she could hear him. ''We just had to find you deep inside of us.''
The little girl nodded, her eyes sparkling.
'We never gave up on you. Not even when we thought you were gone completely,' Latias said. 'You gave us the resolve to go on.'
''Fate is not set in stone,'' she spoke sweetly.
Ash and Latias nodded their heads as she started to fade away. ''Fate is never set in stone—as long as you have Hope.''
The little girl's eyes started to water. ''Thank you,'' she whispered, and then, she was completely gone.
Ash looked at Latias. ''Hope… as fragile as a little girl, but powerful enough to defeat Mayhem.''
'No,' Latias said. 'Hope alone is not enough. You need Love as well. Hope and Love.'
''Hope and Love,'' Ash repeated.
He stared deeply into Latias' beautiful amber eyes, and what he saw, was exactly that—Hope and Love. His reply to her came in a gorgeous whisper.
''Then everything I need in my life is you—my Hope, and my Love.''
I can't believe this story is done. Two and a half years in the making, and I can finally put a closure to this fic. I want to thank everybody for reading, following, commenting and adding this story to your favourites. It's all thanks to you I kept on writing this story to completion. Seriously, I couldn't have done this without you guys! :D
When I started this story, I wanted to go for something unique, something that was different than the rest of the altoshipping stories out there. A lot of stories I read was Ash visiting Alto Mare again. I decided I wanted to do it the other way around. Now, this story is heavily inspired by Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Back in 2015, I was a massive fan of that anime, so I wanted to create characters that symbolized something.
Thus, Malice, Mayhem, Solace and Benevolence were born as Guardians of Fate. They're counterparts of each other; Malice and Mayhem are the negative emotions and portrayed masculine, while Solace and Benevolence are the positive emotions and portrayed feminine, even though Benevolence didn't appear in this story.
These emotions represent something as well. I think I can safely say most people are pretty disappointed that after twenty years, Ash still hasn't won a single league. It's outrageous, especially after that disaster that was the Sinnoh league. The writers literally had to pull out a deus ex machina to stop Ash from winning.
Then a thought occurred to me: what if Fate represented the writers of the show? Well, they obviously don't want Ash to win a league, because then the story would be over. Even if they wanted that, the executive producers would refuse, and the writers have to follow the orders of the executive producers. In other words, the rules of the universe.
We know that Tobias was created by the writers so Ash would lose. Nothing more, nothing less. In my story, that's exactly the case as well. Mayhem was created by Fate to keep the rules of the universe in check, and in turn make sure Ash would lose the league. From there, I started to make more guardians. Malice, in this story, represents us, the fandom. We're angry that the writers of the show threw in Tobias in the last few episodes of the Sinnoh arc, because we obviously wanted to see him win.
But we always have our creativity and fantasy, don't we? That's our wife, representing Solace in this story. She loves us, because without us, she wouldn't exist. She'd never hurt us, and together, we created Hope. Hope is the child of Malice and Solace, and represents our fanart, fanfiction and fanvideos. We're proud of it, and we love it as well. As long as we have that, we would never fade.
But Fate is always knocking on our door, isn't it? It's reminding us that it'd never be real. Ash will never win a league, and I'm sure most of us wish Tobias simply wouldn't exist. He killed our Solace and Hope, after all. This whole fic was about redeeming what pokemon should've done ages ago: let Ash win a damn league! XD
I wove that in with altoshipping, because I simply adore Ash and Latias together. Did you know that in the first script of movie five, Latias was actually going to be caught by Ash and travel with him? I think that's why they settled with that goodbye kiss in the end, and why I am 100% certain that it had to be Latias in disguise. :D
Anyway, I want to give a special thank you to Storylover and Thor94, who have been with me since chapter one. Really, you guys, your support means the world to me! I also want to give a big shout-out to ARCEUS-master, who was another huge inspiration to me. I'm not sure if he'll ever read this, but thank you for writing the incredible story that is A new chance at life.
I honestly can say that I'll look back on this fic with immense satisfaction. I had never thought it'd be this big. Originally, the story was going to be ten chapters and I guessed around 40k words. Look at it now: 31 chapters and over a 130k words.
I want to thank all you guys again. I thoroughly hope you enjoyed the story, and please leave me a review! Until we may meet again in new and different stories. ^^