I don't own Pokemon. Not at all. And if I did, I wouldn't be writing stuff about it now would I?


'Loser.'

'Choke artist.'

'Never getting over the hump.'

'Go back to that hick town out east'.

'Scrub'.

Ash Ketchum of Pallet heard it all as he made his slow way back home to Pallet Town in the Kanto Region. The boy kept to himself during the entirety of the trip, hearing the whispers behind his back. Word of his loss in the Kalos League Finals spread like wildfire, and the name Ash Ketchum became a topic of debate and research. A no-name kid from Pallet Town going from Region to Region, winning the badges and participating in the Conference Tournaments for a chance to become League Champion and earn the right to challenge that League's Elite Four Gauntlet. And each time, disappointment.

The first thanks to factors beyond his control in the Indigo League. Ritchie was a good friend though, and Ash deserved it thanks to him not raising Charizard properly at the time.

The next? In the Silver Conference it was nip and tuck. by the skin of his teeth. The battle against Harrison could have gone either way, and he would eventually become the champion anyway. Plus he managed to defeat Gary for the very first time in that tournament.

But...

Hoenn. Unova...

Now this.

The media has heard of the name of Ash Ketchum and hath declared him 'loser'. All that work with Greninja, learning how to fuse... All of that...

For nothing!

Ash grit his teeth as he felt the bus rumble to a stop. Pikachu was by his side, silent and nudging his master and longtime friend. The night after the loss...

The less he remembered that, the better. Some things shouldn't have been said that night... All the cumulation of losing in the Conference Rounds only to come up short.

Clamont and Bonnie hasn't called him back. And Serena...

Oh yeah that's right. He destroyed his PokeGear anyways anyway... It was best if he didn't talk to anyone. He didn't want to hear it again.

The pity.

It was...

Ash stood up and Pikachu hopped on his shoulder, the boy walking past the bus and down the ramp. No words to the driver as the door closed.

"You cost me couple thou when ya lost. Ya blew it." Sneered the driver's voice as it closed, and the bus drove off. So even more people let down.

Letting down...

Yeah. He's really good at that.

Letting down his hometown and all the people who root for him time and again, only to falter. Letting down his friends who believed in him, only to see their hopes dashed. Letting down his Pokemon, who have fought and scraped and bled alongside him, only to have their struggles end in disappointment. It's as if the universe had taken an interest in him and was doing everything it can, to tease him into success... Only to rip it away at the very last moment.

But he was home.

Pallet Town. His home. And his house.

Mr. Mime wasn't out tending the yard. Must be out with Mom on an errand.

Well.. Maybe the better if he just goes right to bed...

He walked on in, finding the key under the flower pot to unlock the door as he walked in. He felt a jolt rush in him and a flash of light as he looked on his shoulder.

"Pikachu..."

"Sorry buddy..." His hands lifted the yellow rodent and set him down. "I guess I've gotten numb to shock now..." Ash went over to the pantry, finding some Pokemon food and opening it. He poured it into a bowl and placed it on the ground as Pikachu went to town, scarfing down. He can't blame him. He hasn't ate since last night.

Ash hasn't eaten in two nights.

His eyes rose up, and saw the medicine stacked on the shelf. He noticed a label. Three of them.

They were...

Ash reached for it, pocketing it as he trudged up the stairs. Pikachu didn't notice as he was too busy eating. He turned towards the bathroom and closed the door. The boy began washing his face, looking up at the reflection. The reflection of a failure.

Of a loser.

He chuckled. Loser. He remembered that sign to Cerulean City so long ago. 'Gary was here. Ash is a loser'. Well, he was right about that. He was a loser.

A loser no one should deal with. It might be contagious.

He unscrewed the top of the bottles, seeing the pills dribble out. Painkillers. And anesthetics in the other. And sleeping drugs in the final one.

Ash washed his face with water, hoping something can change.

No.

Still the same. Only wet.

He took three of each and filled a glass of water, returning to his bedroom. He locked the door.

He couldn't be the best there ever was by losing. By falling short time and again.

It would better if no one knew he was-

The phone began ringing. Ash paused as he looked at it. He scoffed and placed one in his mouth.

It continued to ring.

'Just go to voice mail...' He thought as he looked at the phone like a rotted piece of meat. The ringing stopped.

"You have One. New Message." Beep. "Hey Delia! I heard from a friend of Ash's that he's coming home and isn't doing so hot. If he comes by, tell him I called alright! Thanks again!' Ash's eyes widened.

He knows that voice.

He put down the tablets, picking up the phone and dialing the number from the call history.

"Hello Delia? That was fast, were you in the restroom?"

He was about to speak to another human being for the first time in days. After not eating for days.

"Uhhh hello?

"B-Brock? Is that you?"

There was silence.

"Ash! Hey buddy! Didn't know you came home so quick!"

"you know why." Ash sat on the chair, leaning back. He could hear Brock inhale.

"Ah. Taking it hard huh?" Ash sneered, almost about to hang up and ready to down those tablets until Brock continued. "Hey Ash, me and Misty are up in Viridian City. Wanna meet for Ice cream to catch up?"

Ash stopped, his hand hovered over the tablets before he removed them.

"Uhh..."

"Tell you what, we will pick you up and-"

"No no don't. It's an easy walk for me. I need the fresh air anyway with all the public transportation I have been on. So uhhh... Wanna meet by the Pokemon Center then?"

"You bet!" Suddenly Ash spoke up.

"Wait Brock, how did you hear I was coming home? I told no one about it."

"Some girl in the Kalos Region called in Professor Oak. Name was Serena I think, and then Gary called me and Misty. Listen Ash... I know you're hurting. I say the Final round with Misty and we... we don't have to talk about that but... We can at least catch up right?"

Ash remained silent, mouth agape as he looked at the phone. He could hear the pawing at his door. Pikachu was there.

He gulped, looking at the tablets, then at the phone.

"Hey Brock?" He asked, voice weak.

"Yeah?"

"Am I a loser?" Ash whispered, looking down. He could hear Brock sigh.

"You're not. Ash, in all the tournaments aside from the Indigo one you agve it your all. There's no shame in giving it your best effort. And besides, who can call you a loser? I mean, a bunch of Trainers would kill to have your resume! Sweet Sixteen in Indigo, and sinc ethen you have been at least in the Elite Eight! And Ash... you have made a ton of friends, both amongst humans and pokemon? The people who love you and cherish what you have done for them? And all the adventures you have had, and not just with me and Misty. But with May and Max. Dawn. Iris and Cilan. And those guys in Kalos. The places you have been and the Pokemon you have met. You have done things over the course of several years what people could dream about in a lifetime.

"Can anyone call someone a loser with all the things you have done and witnessed?"

Ash was dumbstruck, sitting down as he took all that in.

"Look... I know what I offer is a moral victory but... time heals. You have been going from Region to Region for a while now. How about a break? A vacation? I know your Mom misses you. I'm not saying quit your journey to become a Pokemon Master Ash, but, everyone needs a break or else they get burnt out."

Burnt out.

Yeah.

Burn out. This feeling...

Ash gulped, and he felt wetness around his eyes.

"Brock?"

"Yeah?"

"Thanks... for the words. They..."

"Thank me in person. Oh there's Misty! Want me to call up a taxi Ash?" The boy looked out the window, seeing the same dirt road he once walked when he began his journey towards Professor Oak. And the scratching and the concerned "Pika Pika" behind the door...

Ash sniffled.

"Nah. It's fine Brock. I'll walk."

"Seriously? Well if that's what you want. We will meet at the Pokemon Center. Maybe that Nurse Joy will recognize me.. Gah! Phone's about to die! See you soon Ash!"

Ash chuckled, for the first time in days. "See you there." He hung up, standing up and opening the door. Pikachu looked up, eyes brimming with worry and concern.

"Pikachu... Pika Pika..."

"It's alright Pikachu." Ash smiled softly, kneeling down and petting the electric mouse's head. "Just had a nice long chat." He turned towards the bottles and placed the tablets back inside, screwing them shut. "You won't believe who called. It was Brock!"

"Pika?!" Pikachu's eyes went wide and his ears went ramrod in surprise. "Pika Pika!" Then he beamed.

"I know. We're going to meet him and Misty in Viridian City just up the road." He picked up his longtime friend and placed him on his shoulder, and they walked out of his bedroom, down the stairs and soon out of the house. He walked out to the road, and Ash looked down the road.

He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. He exhaled and began to walk on a familiar road.

On the road to Viridian City.

The first set of steps he took when he began his journey.

He will see his mother, Gary, and Professor Oak later. He will need to buy a new PokeGear to thank Serena and apologize to her, Bonnie and Clamont.

But for now, he was going to see his old friends.

Time heals. And with the ones he loves, it will only facilitate recovery.

"Remember this road Pikachu?" He asked, walking past the houses and to the main road. "We didn't get along much here didn't we?"

"Pika Pika." He agreed, Pikachu also remembering the memories.

"We had a rough start, and we have had speed bumps along the way. But we are going to take a break from journeying from Region to Region." Ash looked at Pikachu. "I think what we need is a little R and R." The rodent seemed to understand his master's point, nodding.

To think not just a little while ago he was contemplating leaving this world...

"But let's go..." He muttered, seeing the lights of the next town ahead. He could just make out the Pokemon Center. Where his dearest friends awaited him."Back to our roots."


So yeah, I wrote this up in an hour or so in reaction to Ash losing in the Kalos Final against EdgyMcGarySue Alan. He had arguably his best team to date since the Silver Conference, and the writers shit on him. HARD. I'm glad some of the animators are airing the dirty laundry on twitter after the Suits up top made the decision to replace XYZ's writing staff for the Ash vs. Alan episodes for...

The same writing crew behind Black And White. Oh, and Ash's losses in both Sinnoh and Unova. I'm sure you all know how much of aDeus ex machina Tobias was, and don't get me started on that fucking hack Cameron... Alan did not deserve to win. He didn't go through the trials and tribulations, and all the trouble Ash put together with his team. With the Alola Region not having any Gyms, we may not have a Conference Tournament. Ash could have won this League, then go onto Alola to take on a new challenge.

But lol nope. Suits wank off to the yellow rodent because if we lose him, marketability seppuku. Funny thing is, they were planning on creating a new protagonist for the Alola Anime and have Ash WIN. But they clammed up and at the 11th hour got cold feet and spilled their spaghetti.

Suffice to say, I'm done with the anime. I won't bother with Alola, or even buy Sun and Moon for that matter.

Honestly, after coming that far and bonding with Greninja that much but still fall short? I would be down too. After coming up short in every major Conference Tournament and me competing in every. Single. One. After competing and winning every single gym in every single Region? That grind can affect anyone, and we all know the pressures of social media, and what effect it can have on youngsters. So I did take some liberties in adding in Ash becoming famous, or in this case, infamous for making every single Conference Tournament whenever able, only to fall short.

Which means a break is a must at this point. A return to one's roots. I enjoyed this series the most when Ash was traveling with Brock and Misty/May, although Misty has a far deeper emotional connection to me and to Ash since she was his first friend.

Anyways, I'm sure some people of my normal works are angry I didn't update my usual stuff. Well... KSL is in progress for the next segment of chapters. And me and LD 1449 are working on something of a cross. At a snails pace...

Feel free to review and comment. If you have any questions about my lackluster stories outside of this lovely one-shot and Kill, Save, Liberate, feel free to PM me.