MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
You guys have no idea how much of a relief this is. I've been working on this story for a year. A YEAR! I started this back in November of 2017 to have it ready for Christmas LAST YEAR! I don't know what happened. But, now, I'm kinda glad it took so long. I really do love the finished product.
The reason why I made this a triple-shot is because the word count was so high. I thought breaking it up into three parts would make it an easier read.
I hope you guys enjoy!
Part 1: Home
Ash stared out of the window as the train ran down the tracks. He watched the landscape pass by and looked up at the cloudy sky as little bits of snow fluttered down. He was headed back to Pallet, from his home in Goldenrod City, for Christmas with his mother. It had been sometime since he had been back in Pallet. He moved to Goldenrod after finally achieving his lifelong of becoming a Pokémon Champion, even winning the title in three different Leagues. Those victories earned him the distinct honor of being known as a Pokémon Master. Though the realization of his dream was amazing, he found that the lifestyle was demanding and exhausting. It was two days before Christmas and he could really use the chance to relax and collect himself from the hard year he had.
Especially since the road to becoming a Champion meant that he had to lose the love of his life.
Ash rubbed the back of his head. It had been just over a year since he'd seen her last in person. Ever since they decided to break-up so they could pursue their own goals, separately. That was just one more reason to look forward to going home: to recharge his batteries and give his emotions a break. He hadn't worked out how that last part would work yet, since he and Misty spent so much time in Pallet and everything there would remind him of her. He hoped he would figure it out.
He wasn't that confident in that plan but he held out hope.
After the train arrived in Saffron City, Ash rented a car and drove to Pallet Town. Once he got to his mother's house, Ash parked his car and got out. But he didn't even get close to the door before it flew open and his mother, Delia, raced out of the house and threw her arms around her only child's rib cage, squeezing him with all her might.
"ASH!" Delia screamed.
Ash could barely breathe at his mother's grip. "Um!" He coughed, "Hi, Mom!"
"Can't breathe, Mom!"
"Oh!" She let him go. "Sorry!"
He took a few deep breaths, "No worries. So, I was going to ask if you missed me but that would be a stupid question."
"I wouldn't want to ask such a ridiculous question, anyway. To ask if I missed you! Ridiculous."
"You said 'ridiculous' twice."
"Oh, hush!" she chided. "Anyway, I have a surprise for you."
"I'd guess so," he said. "It's almost Christmas."
"Besides the usual." Delia beckoned Ash to come into the house. "I think this surprise is even better."
When Ash walked in, he saw Brock and Lucy, one of the Frontier Brains of Kanto and Brock's girlfriend, sitting at the kitchen table.
Ash's smile brightened even more, "BROCK?!"
Brock stood up, immediately. "What's up, little brother?!"
They engulfed each other in a bear hug.
Brock hit Ash's back a couple of times, "How you been?"
"Better now," Ash said. They released the hug and Ash looked over Brock. "You been workin' out?"
"Here and there," Brock said. "I was about to ask you the same question."
Ash shrugged, "Single guy. Pokémon Master. What else can I do?" He looked over at the Pike Queen. "Lucy. Great to see you."
"Right back at you, Ash," Lucy said as they hugged each other.
They released the hug and Brock examined Ash further, "What's with the goatee?" he asked.
Ash shrugged, "Thought I'd change my look around. Whadda ya think?"
Brock smirked, "Jury's still out."
Ash narrowed his eyes. "You're a jerk."
"A lot of the time," Lucy said.
"But you love me," Brock said to her.
"For some reason," she replied.
"So, what brought you guys out here?" Ash asked.
"Lucy's never had the pleasure of a Pallet Christmas," Brock said.
Ash's eyes widened as he feigned offense. "What? That's unheard of! How could you, Brock?!"
Brock folded his arms.
"For shame!" Ash shook his head. "Well, it's about time you brought her out here, then!"
"You're right, you're right." Brock smiled, warmly. "And I thought now would be better than ever."
"How come?" Ash asked.
Brock shrugged, "Reasons."
Ash chuckled, "You're weird, brother."
"And that's new?"
"Nope. And I'm grateful that some things never change."
"Some things do," Lucy said. "Three League wins. In one year! That's an amazing accomplishment, Ash. You should be very proud of yourself."
"We're proud of you," Brock said.
"All of us," Delia said, as she resumed her cooking.
Ash smiled and blushed a bit, "Thanks." He looked at Brock and, as nonchalantly as he could muster, said, "Sooooo…"
"Misty's doing fine," Brock said. "Spending Christmas with her sisters."
Lucy burst into laughter while Delia just smiled.
Ash's clenched his jaw and stared daggers at Brock. "Can you NOT do things like that?!"
"Stop being so predictable," Brock said as he headed into the living room, Lucy trailing behind him.
"You're the salt of the earth, Brock," Ash said, following them.
For the next hour, Ash, Brock, and Lucy conversed in the living room about various subjects and watched television while Delia continued to do her work in the kitchen. Ash looked in the kitchen and noticed that his mother seemed to be hard at work for only the four of them to be having dinner. He imagined that maybe she was sending some of the food to someone else. She was, after all, the de facto mother of everyone in the neighborhood, and all of Pallet on some levels.
The doorbell rang and Delia called out, "Ash, would you be a dear and get the door? My hands are full at the moment."
"Yeah, sure," Ash got up.
Ash walked to the door and opened it.
For the first time in a year, Ash was face to face with Misty.
To Be Continued...