A/N: Hey there everyone! Frostbreaker here with another update for all my readers. As always, please R&R and let me know what you thought.

To Shadow Cloud 5283 – Well I'm glad you're enjoying it, sir. Here's the next update. Hope you like!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or original story elements associated with the Pokemon series, manga, or game. All rights go to their respective owners.

Chapter 9: Healing, Present and Past

Three weeks of hell to endure, and nothing but exercise and meditation to pass the time.

I was glad that my friends visited me nearly every day, but that didn't make the time pass any faster. Even though my internal organs seemed to be very robust, it appeared my skin was still very human. This meant I needed antibiotics to counter infection, multiple minor surgeries to make sure all the bullet fragments had been removed (the bastard used hollowpoints), and a hell of a lot of physical therapy. My aura had protected my body, so while the damage wasn't deep, it was still dangerous. Infection was a constant worry for all the staff involved, but thankfully after the last surgery, the danger was out of the way for the most part. This allowed me to get up and exercise more, keeping my body in shape and making sure my muscles wouldn't atrophy too much.

The hospital's food did suck though.

Still, seeing everyone helped the process along. As he promised, Dr. Thresher made a call to provide support to the Sacred Ones so that they could safely come see me. It was now not uncommon to see not only uniformed officers patrolling the building, but also a plethora of Pokemon researchers, and even reporters.

Speaking of the reporters, I had finally agreed to an interview after Amory brought word that the Sacred Council approved it. I had hoped that by just giving the reporters what they wanted, they'd leave me the hell alone. So today, I would be having a press conference of sorts with national media.

"Do I even want to know how you know how to tie a windsor knot?" I asked the Riolu in front of me.

He shrugged. "I like to learn about humans. You all are really interesting." The knot was pulled snug and he folded my collar down over my neck. He looked at me approvingly and nodded. "It's not perfect, but it'll do. Just don't mess with it and you'll be fine."

I grabbed the blue blazer off of the chair behind me and stood up with my arms outstretched to the Riolu, Gardevoir, and Blaziken in front of me. "So, how do I look?"

As I did a quick turn, I found Tessa smiling at me. "You look pretty handsome, actually."

"I agree." Geanne said with a grin. "Very dapper."

I chuckled. "Well if that's your response, I might just start wearing suits all the time. I have to admit," I started, looking at myself in the small hospital mirror. "I do make a suit look good." Just then, a girl with long, spiky reddish-brown hair and soft hazel eyes entered with a smile on her face. "Hey Trish, what's up?"

A man about my age walked in behind her, his short hair a shiny black with a single stripe of white in it. "It's time, Timothy. They're ready for you."

I nodded and gestured to myself. "What do you think, Michael? Do I clean up good or what?"

The human-form Latios rolled his eyes. "Don't get too confident or you'll get a fat head. Oops, too late."

This earned him a scowl from me, but then I grinned. "Well, at least I don't have a streak of old-man's hair, grandpa."

Michael looked like he was about to say something before bobbing his head and shrugging. "I guess I kinda walked into that one. Anyway, are you ready?"

I nodded. "I am. Let's do this."

The six of us walked out to the city after signing me out of the hospital and arrived at an auditorium of sorts, which was teeming with people and Pokemon alike. Security was everywhere, which I was thankful for, and I saw quite a few faces I recognized. Both Professor Oak and Professor Elm made an appearance, as well as who could only be Lugia in human form. I could tell it was him simply by the way he acted, so I walked over to him to say hello.

As I sauntered over with my company, the man looked up at me with a smile. "Why hello there, Timothy. I take it you know who I am?"

I nodded. "People who don't know you will be fooled, but I know you well enough to be able to tell who you are. How is the family?"

"Very good Timothy, thank you for asking. My son asks about 'daddy's friend' all the time now. He's very keen on meeting you at some point." Vincent responded.

I smiled with a single nod. "You set a time and a place, and I'd be glad to meet with him." I then looked over at the auditorium. "Anyway, it looks like things are about to get started. We better get in there."

My company and I split off, leaving just my core group and I on stage, while the rest of the Pokemon that had come were sitting off to the side with a few other trainers' Pokemon. Much like the humans, the Pokemon were chatting amongst themselves as my friends and I walked to the long table that faced the crowd. Already gathered were Brutus, Gunnar, Orpheus, Jade, and Rina. Neeka was also there, as were the Sneasel Twins. I sat down with all of them surrounding me and pulled the microphone towards me.

"Well, thank you all for coming today. My name's Timothy Maxwell. I'm sure all of you here have heard a great deal about me already, but it's clear you have questions. Let's start the conference." I stated with a smile. This of course caused all of the different people to stand up shouting, so I pointed to a dark-skinned woman with black hair in the front row. "Yes, you ma'am."

All the others sat down quietly and she smiled back at me. "Kianna Frost, Northport News. Is it true that you can speak to Pokemon?"

I chuckled and nodded. "Technically, we can all speak to Pokemon. If you're asking if I can hold a conversation with them, then yes...I can."

A pale-skinned blonde woman raised her hand next, so I pointed at her. The woman stood. "Gracie Korr, Channel Nine Kanto. We've all heard about how you arrived in this city, as well as the Pokemon that brought you here. Is it true that you're acquainted with the Legendaries of Johoto?"

I decided that for both their safety and mine, I'd keep the answer half-true. "I've met them, yes."

A man with blonde hair and tanned skin then quickly stood before anyone else, so I pointed to him. He nodded with a smile. "Gerry Thompson, Celadon Inquirer. There have been quite a few rumors going around, as I'm sure you can assume. For example, some claim that you choose to leave your Pokemon outside of their Pokeballs because they threatened you if you did otherwise."

"Untrue." I responded quickly. "It's for quite a different reason, actually. You see, I consider Pokemon every bit people as human beings. That could be in part because I can actually understand them, but also because I've seen firsthand how some 'trainers' go beyond simply training, and have enslaved their Pokemon to do their bidding." I rubbed Tessa on the shoulder affectionately. "Tessa here, for example, was harshly abused by her past trainer, so I took her away from him." I then patted the thick hide of Gunnar. "And Gunnar used to be under the command of Team Aqua. You see I never consider them mine, because just as it would be wrong for one human to own another, I personally believe the same should be true for Pokemon." I waved a hand behind me, motioning to the Pokemon gathered around me. "These aren't my Pokemon. They're friends and family. They're sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, and children."

"Do you mean to say that you dislike most trainers?" the same reporter asked.

I nodded. "I can honestly say yes. If you want a perfect representation of what I think a good trainer is, take a look at Ash Ketchum. He's shown that a trainer can love and care for his Pokemon while still being powerful. The problem is that most trainers I've met aren't like him...not even close. You have to keep in mind that as a whole, Pokemon don't get a choice in what trainer they end up with. In an ideal world, a trainer-Pokemon partnership should be agreed upon by both, and the Pokemon should be allowed to leave if their trainer goes against their own morals. I am however, a realist. I know for a fact that isn't ever going to happen, but that doesn't mean we can't strive to at least make undesirable trainers like that a rarity. Okay then, who's next?" I noticed a younger man near the rear with vivid red hair and a scar above his eye. "You sir, in the back with the red hair."

He stood and bowed his head slightly in thanks. "My name's Jonathan Trebble and I'm a student at Goldenrod University."

I nodded and smiled. "GU, huh? Nice school. What's your question, sir?"

"Well the students and I have also heard some rumors, and we're curious as to whether they're true or not. They're a little personal though." he responded nervously.

I shrugged. "I'm not really sensitive about my personal life, really. What's the question?"

"Well," he started with a nervous inflection in his voice, "we've heard that you're...umm...romantically involved with a Pokemon."

I chuckled and nodded. "Well I'll put the rumor to rest right now." I quickly leaned over and kissed both Tessa and Geanne on their cheeks. I then focused my gaze back on the crowd as hushed murmurs took the crowd by storm. "I hope that answers your question."

"So wait a minute, you're involved with two Pokemon?" the male student asked.

I nodded. "Pokemon society is different than human society; it states that the strongest and most intelligent male basically gets his pick. I'll admit it was a little weird at first, but I got used to it." I sighed and looked out over the crowd again. "I also know that there are a lot of areas that aren't okay with it. There's not a law against it, but there are quite a few areas that are averse to the idea. Let's just say I make sure to avoid those areas. The problem with areas like that is that they see Pokemon as just Pokemon, but if you get to know Pokemon for who and what they really are, you'll find that we're not as different as humans think." As I watched, a woman got up from the audience to leave, causing a large group to watch her as she walked out. I motioned to the door she exited. "Right there is a perfect example of someone that not only doesn't understand Pokemon, but is unwilling to even entertain the fact that we might be less different than most people think." I sighed and shook my head. "Well I'm getting a little tired and I'm wanting to go home, so I think we have time for one more question." I noticed an older man in front that had been pretty quiet the entire time, but it was clear he wanted to ask something. "You there, near the front."

He had auburn hair with streaks of gray and glasses, and I noticed a prosthetic arm as he stood. "My name is Tobias Gresham, and I speak for the disabled veterans of Hoenn."

I stood and bowed my head in respect, with my fist over my heart in a salute. "It's an honor, sir."

The aged veteran smiled. "The honor's mine, son. First, I wanted to say thank you for what you're doing. You're not the first man to have the ideals that you do, but you're definitely the first to project them to the world and defend them. I firmly believe that with more people like you, the wars we've fought in might never have had to happen."

I sat down and nodded again respectfully. "Well thank you, sir."

Mr. Gresham smiled again. "My question pertains to your future: what do you plan to do with your skills and abilities? You've obviously done good already, as your career choice is making news across Johoto...but what is it all heading towards? What's your goal?"

"Well Mr. Gresham," I started as I stood again, "I plan to be the voice and burning fist of the Pokemon whose cries go unheard...their pain and sadness, unheeded. I fight for the ones who can't fight...and if I lose, at least I tried."

"And how do you plan to defend your charges, Mister Maxwell?" the veteran asked curiously.

I smiled as I winked at Greanne. "With words and if need be, fists."

This caused a woman behind the soldier to stand and talk out of turn. "You intend to fight against Pokemon if you have to?"

"If I have to, yes. It's not something I ever want to come across, but if it takes me beating some sense into a misguided Pokemon, I'll do it." I responded with strength in my voice.

The woman seemed unconvinced. "And how exactly do you plan to do that?"

I smirked as I walked away from my chair into the open area in front of the table. "I take it you heard about that human that fought against a Blaziken in Blackthorn, right?" The woman and a few others nodded. "Well, that was me," I then pointed at Tess, "and her. Now I know you're probably wondering what kind of crazy person would even think about fighting a Blaziken, right?" This ushered in another chorus of nods. I whipped my jacket off and unbuttoned my sleeves before rolling them up to my elbows. "Well, this is how." I then activated my aura, letting the black and violet fire crawl over my hands and forearms. This caused gasps and a few shouts from everyone in the audience, Pokemon included. While the humans all mumbled in shock, they immediately shut up when they all noticed the Pokemon to the side all bowing in reverence in some way. I turned my attention to the crowd. "No doubt you're all now wondering why I'm getting bowed to, well I'll explain. This power you see flowing over me is known as Aura...the same kind of power the Pokemon Lucario uses. What most humans don't know is that a Pokemon's Aura is always one solid color...unless an Aura Bond has been performed. An Aura Bond is when two beings able to produce and manipulate spirit auras transfer a little of their power to each other. It is a sign of utmost trust and respect between Pokemon, and it's also a sign that whoever has it is trusted by the Legendaries of our world." I dissipated my aura and let out a breath as I did so. "Speaking of Legendaries, they are a very important force in our world. They watch over and protect it, so I implore trainers to try and befriend one instead of capturing it. They have a job to do that keeps the world moving, and to keep them from doing their job will cause disaster. I'm sure you all remember what happened during the Orange Isles incident...well that's just a taste of what could happen. Just like any Pokemon, they deserve our respect." I then turned to my friends and then back to the crowd. "Well that's just about all the time I've got for today. I'm tired and I'm going home. For any of you trainers that need my services, you all know where to find me. Thanks and have a good day."

It took about another twenty minutes, but I finally got away from the plethora of reporters and curious trainers that were asking questions, and I finally made my way outside. I then sighed. "Now how am I going to get all of you home?"

Geanne motioned to the Pokeballs in the belt at my waist, as well as my pack. "There's more than six of us, so any of us that you place in Pokeballs are going to be warped to your box until you only have six Pokemon left."

"Okay," I said in annoyance of the concept, "I need five volunteers then." Neeka, Rina, Orpheus, Mizuki, and Donahue stepped forward, so I quickly returned them to their Pokeballs and watched as each one disappeared in a small flash of light. I then turned to the rest and did the same, save for Brutus, and clipped their Pokeballs to my belt. It was then that I noticed Michael, Trisha, and Vincent walking over to me, still in their human forms.

The Latias hugged me tightly with a smile. "That was very impressive, Timothy. I'm proud of you."

I chuckled. "Thanks mom." This earned a glare from her, but then she grinned back. I looked at the three and sighed. "Well it's been a long day, so I'm going to head on home. The three of you are welcome to join me for a welcome-home dinner tonight if you want."

Vincent let out a sight of his own. "I am sure that Michael and Trisha are able, but I have business to attend to. It appears the three elemental avians of Kanto are riling up again."

I shrugged. "It happens. Thanks for being here, Vincent. I really appreciate it...and thanks for saving me."

Even in his tiny human form, he still had the presence of a gentle giant. "You're welcome, young Timothy. Take care of your friends. I will contact you before the week is out."

With that he phased into camouflage, and I saw as his body grew to its normal shape before he flew away. I then turned to the two that were left and shrugged. "Hungry?"

We arrived home about an hour and a half later, and I could tell that Brutus was a little tired. I didn't blame him, because he'd been up for almost three days straight watching out for me. I told him he didn't have to...but well, he's Brutus.

As I hopped off the fire Pokemon's back, I patted him on his side. "Thanks Brutus. Go get some rest while I go to the Pokemon Center and get the others." He nodded and walked away as I released the other five from their Pokeballs. "Geanne, Tess, I want you two to come with me. The rest of you wait here while I get the others." They all murmured agreements and we split off.

The walk into town was calm, as was most of the walk back...but it seems trouble was always just around the corner.

"Stop right there, little boy." shouted a high-pitched voice from behind me.

I rolled my eyes and turned around. "Look man, I just got out of the hospit-" I stopped when I didn't see anyone there, then looked down to see, "A midget? Seriously? Team Rocket sent a little person to come after me?"

This caused the pint-sized Rocket to fume as his face turned red. "Stop it! I demand you hand over those Pokeballs right now before things get ugly."

I chuckled. "I don't know. If you battle me, you might come up a bit short." This caused both Geanne and Tessa to giggle.

The man stomped his foot in anger. "Stop laughing!"

I rolled my eyes and sighed. "Fine, no more laughing. In all seriousness though, I don't have time for this. If you don't leave me alone, you're going to end up in the hospital. The last time you assholes came after my friends, I got shot. I'm not going to play around with you like I did them."

The man grinned and reached into his shirt. For all I knew it could be a note he was pulling out, or his underwear. No matter what it was, I didn't care, so I quickly activated Aura and punched him square in the face. I felt his nose break against my fist and when I dissipated Aura, he fell back a few feet, unconscious.

I then sighed and called, "Help, police!" and waited for said officer to respond. Not a minute later did a man in a police officer's uniform run over. He stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing the scene and a very confused expression came upon his face.

"Umm...can I help you?" he asked skeptically.

I nodded and pointed at the downed Rocket. "Yeah, that's a Team Rocket member that tried to rob me. I was able to fight him off by myself, but now he needs a jail cell to sleep in."

It was clear the officer had heard about Team Rocket and may have even had something about them because he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Good enough for me." He then hauled the small man up over his shoulder before looking to me. "Name, address, and phone number please."

"Timothy Maxwell – Lot 47 in Cianwood, Johoto. Phone number is 584-2398." I responded

The officer finished jotting the info down on his notepad and then looked up and smiled. "Alright. Thanks a lot, Timothy. We'll call you tomorrow for a quick bout of questions, and then we can put this all behind us."

I nodded. "Awesome. Thanks officer. I'm going to head on home now." The officer nodded and started to haul his quarry back to the station, so I headed home.

"You should have let me hit him, Timothy." Tessa grumbled.

I chuckled as I rubbed the Blaziken's back. "I wanted to hurt him, not kill him." This caused her to look down in shame and I was now mentally kicking myself. I dropped my hand to her side and held her hand in my own. "Tess, I'm sorry."

Tessa shook her head with a heavy sigh and squeezed my hand. "It's okay, Tim. I'll be okay eventually, I promise. Let's just go home, eat, and go to sleep. It's been a long Arceus-damned month, so I want to relax and enjoy myself now."

I was a little surprised she cursed, but considering the circumstances, I let it go. Instead, I shook my head with a smile. "No...you go get cleaned up. I'm going to make a special dinner...just for the three of us. And then after, we're going to spend time with Michael and Trisha to relax the night away...and if you can be good, I'll let you have a few drinks with me."

The fire Pokemon smiled softly and nodded. "That sounds really nice, Tim." She then hopped up the stairs to the house and walked inside.

Geanne wrapped her arm around my waist and leaned against me. "She shouldn't have had to go through that, Tim. It's not fair."

I nodded. "I know...but you can't tell me you wouldn't have done the same thing."

"I wouldn't have stopped with just one." the Gardevoir responded.

I sighed and turned my head to the side, kissing Geanne's head through her hair. "You remember what I asked you to promise, right?" She nodded. "Good. If something happens to me, you need to look out for her."

"Why do you keep saying that, Tim? You act like you know something." Geanne responded with concern.

I just shook my head. "I keep having these dreams, Geanne. I just get the feeling something bad's going to happen."

As we walked towards the back to greet everyone, Geanne held my arm tightly. "Whatever happens, we'll get through it together. I already almost lost you twice...don't do that to me again."

I held her close as I kissed her head again. "I promise I'll be playing it safe from now on. I won't be taking any unnecessary chances, I swear."

Tessa's PoV

As I let the stinging water run over my body, I attempted to clear my mind as much as possible. For some reason, I had been seeing that man in my dreams the past week or so. The guilt of taking a life – a human life – was starting to catch up to me. I also felt bad about what I said to Tim, because the truth was I wasn't sure I would ever be the same after this. After the hell my last trainer put me through and almost losing Tim...I wasn't sure how bad things were going to get. I mean, when does it end? Can't we just be happy for once? Does the universe hate us or something? It just didn't seem fair for some reason.

Still, I made sure I trudged on because at least with Tim, Geanne, and the others, I had hope that somewhere over the mountain I seemed to be climbing, there was a brighter and happier life. I prayed to Arceus with all my being that I was right...because I couldn't live I a world where things just keep getting worse and worse.

I stepped out of the shower and dried myself before opening the bathroom door, only to be caught in a tight and loving hug from Geanne and Timothy. For some reason, I felt Geanne's emotions. I felt concern, and love...two things I never thought I'd actually feel from another. The emotions overcame me, and I started to cry...not because of sadness, but happiness. Even in my short life, it was wonderful to know I had such loving and loyal friends...and a man that loved me, even with how damaged I was. I still didn't really know what he saw in me, but I didn't care. He loved me, and that's all that mattered to me.

The dinner that Timothy had promised me was wonderful, as I expected. While I had to force the bad images and memories to the back of my mind, I was able to do so because of the love and care he put into making me feel better...and it worked. For tonight at least, I was going to be able to live like I did before that horrible day – as a happy and carefree Blaziken with a wonderful mate at my side.

After the remnants of dinner were cleaned up, we broke out a few different bottles of Tim's liquor stash just as the two Sacred Ones arrived.

"Tim!" squealed the Latias, nearly knocking him over in a hug.

Timothy's PoV

I turned to see the door open just in time to hear a squeal of, "Tim!" from a certain Latias. As always, she nearly tackled me to the ground in a hug, and I have to say that I'm warming up to her strong affection.

I chuckled and stroked the fur along her neck before kissing her cheek. "Hey Trish. It's great to have you here."

"I'm glad to be here, Tim." she responded as she nuzzled my cheek.

I released her and stood to greet her brother with a smile and quick embrace. I then looked at him. "So...did you ever get around to telling Misty?"

The Latias hung his head in shame a bit as he twiddled his claws. "W-well, I was going to, but..."

I patted him on the shoulder. "Well tonight's your chance. Get to Cerulean right now, you've got a date with her at the cafe on the south side of the city."

"What!?" he shouted.

I rolled my eyes. "Your sister's going to be spending time with me and her friends. You're a friend too, but if she gets to spend time with someone she likes, you should too." He started to speak, but I just shook my head. "Don't worry, it'll be fine."

"B-but how did you set this up so fast?" Michael asked, shocked.

I shrugged. "I just made a call to Ash. He made a call to Misty and bada-bing bada-boom, you have a date. Ash knows her pretty well and says if she really likes you as much as you say, she won't have a problem with it."

The Latias eyed me with concern. "Are you su-"

"Yes, I'm sure." I interrupted. "Just go and enjoy yourself. It's about time you spent time with someone you really care about. And before you retort, your sister doesn't count." I then started to push him towards the door. "Your sister will be safe, I promise. Go have fun and drop by in the morning. I want to hear all about it."

Finally, he relented and smiled. "Fine...I'll go have fun. Thanks for this, Tim. I owe you."

I shook my head. "Call it a friendly favor that doesn't require a favor in return. It's a gift to you. Now go, enjoy yourself." He then nodded and flew off, so I shut the door.

The night with the three girls went great, and I was pleased to find that Tessa was actually a good dancer. Yes...we danced. It was apparently one of the skills that were buried deep within what was once my past life, because the movements came naturally, as did the rhythm. As I held the Blaziken close against me, I could swear I could hear her purring or something.

Can an avian purr?

As I continued dancing with her, I noticed that her body temperature had toned down to a near-human temperature. Tessa had once told me that a Blaziken's body temperature directly correlates its emotions, meaning the more calm and relaxed she was, the lower it would be. With that being the case, I was glad to know that my plan had worked and she was relaxed and enjoying herself. As weird as it sounds, the whole time I was in the hospital, I was worried most about Tessa. I mean, she had been the one to kill a man, not me. My bullet wounds had healed phenomenally fast, but the wounds to Tessa's heart and mind were going to heal at a much slower rate.

The day had apparently taken a lot out of the Blaziken since even though she was happy, she decided to turn in early. Geanne agreed and decided to join her, but Trisha was far from sleepy, as was I. Geanne assured me that they'd be okay and instructed me to spend time with the Sacred One and "be a good host". I was still worried about Tessa, but after being practically forced to enjoy myself, I relented and continued spending the night with the Latias.

I was relaxing on the sofa next to Trisha in her human form while we talked and had a few drinks.

"So, how do you think things are going with your brother?" I asked Trish with a grin.

She shrugged. "Well you know how he is. He's a good male and is very kind...but something happens to him whenever the subject of Misty comes up in conversation. All of the sudden he becomes nervous and worried." Trisha then sighed. "I hope he's okay."

"He'll be fine." I responded as I took a drink of wine. "From what Ash has told me, Misty is pretty open-minded...plus it's obvious she already likes him and sees him as a human. That's not to say it won't be a shock for her, but I'm confident she'll still like him all the same. This needed to be done sooner or later though, as it's not good to lie to the ones we care about."

Trisha nodded as she finished off her glass of wine and reverted to her Pokemon form. I had always found it strange that along with shifting her form, she could create clothing along with it. Not that I minded of course, as staring at a naked human girl would have been a little awkward.

The Latias settled herself down on the sofa beside me and lay her head in my lap. I chuckled as I stroked the soft down fur (or feathers...still unsure about it) of her long neck. She let out a cute trilling sound as she looked up at me with her bright yellow eyes. "Thanks for doing that for Michael, Timothy. I wasn't sure if he would ever have done it on his own. He's a little...protective of me."

"So am I," I said with a grin, "but we all need time to have our own fun. Besides, you're safe here. We're surrounded by powerful Pokemon, and no one but us knows you're here."

"Maybe," she responded, "but I'm probably the most powerful one here."

I shrugged. "I'm pretty sure I could take you."

This caused the Sacred One to eye me with a smirk. "Is that a challenge?"

I chuckled as I rubbed her cheek. "Maybe. Perhaps sometime we'll have to set some time apart in a safe place to battle it out."

"I'm not usually much for battling," she replied with a soft smile, "but I'd like to see just how strong an Awakened can be. We'll find some time and a place to do that, if you can promise not to get upset when you lose."

I smirked. "Competitive, aren't we?"

"I guess Tessa's rubbing off on me a bit." Trisha responded with a giggle.

I then sighed as I looked down at the Latias. "Do you think she'll be okay?"

Without hesitation, Trisha nodded with a warm smile. "She will. She has great friends that care about her, and she's strong. She'll be fine...you just have to be patient and loving with her, okay?"

"I can definitely do that. Thanks Trish." I breathed out in relief.

I felt as the Pokemon nuzzled my stomach. "No problem, Tim." She was silent for a moment before I heard her whisper, "Tim?"

"Hmm?" I answered as I looked down at her.

She sighed and shut her eyes. "It's time for you to learn the truth, Timothy...about yourself." Needless to say, I was both confused and excited, so I waited for her to continue. She looked up at me with a nervous expression. "The reason why I made contact with you in the first place was because I was the one charged by Highlord Arceus to watch over you and decide whether you were truly worthy of the title 'Awakened'...but the highlord also gave me the task of revealing to you your past when the time was right."

"And..?" I questioned her.

She looked ashamed. "I'm so sorry, Timothy...but I had to be absolutely positive before I could tell you. After you've shown such care and love to your friends and with the conference with the humans today, I feel you've proven your worth to us." Her eyes opened and she looked up at me. "Your friends Geanne, Brutus, Gunnar, and Tessa already know this, but before you lost your memories, you were a Pokemon Ranger."

I bobbed my head from side to side in thought. "Well, that makes sense. If I'm anything then like I am now, that would be the obvious career choice."

Trisha shook her head. "But that was the point, Timothy. I had to make sure you had changed from the way you used to be." I was confused at this, but she just shook her head. "You were an assassin, Tim...but more than that, you were cold and cruel to everyone, save your Pokemon. You were driven by a desire to instill fear in enemies in an attempt to divert any others from ever doing the same. Your heart was in the right place, but your power corrupted you...turning you into a monster."

I sat quietly for a second and let the information sink in. When I thought about it, it made sense. A perfect example was how I had acted to Tessa's ex-trainer when I learned of her past. I was ready to wipe him off the face of the planet, and leave his mangled corpse as a warning to anyone else who would do the same that he did. Suddenly I wished I didn't know my past...not with what I was.

"Wait, what was your job then if I hadn't changed?" I asked the Latias.

Once again she sighed, but it was a sad and pained breath. "My job was to kill you if you were the same."

"So that's why you got so close to me..." I answered, now feeling betrayed.

Trisha removed herself from my lap and looked eye-to-eye with me. "Originally yes...but I didn't expect to actually care about you. My kind is naturally distrusting of humans, and the incident with my brother and I in Alto Mare made it even worse." At the mention of this, her eyes became filled with tears, but she continued. "My brother died...and it was only by the grace of Arceus itself that I was able to have him returned to me."

"He died?" I asked, now very concerned.

The eon Pokemon nodded sadly. "He was forced to become the new Soul Dew when his power was drained. Highlord Arceus sacrificed some of his own life force to give life back to my brother, and allow him to return to this realm." I noticed as a tear dropped from her eye as she remembered. "I was alone for almost four years, protecting the Soul Dew on my own before Michael was reborn." After a few minutes of saddened remembrance, she looked up with a soft smile. "When my brother came back, we left Alto Mare for somewhere safer...and ended up here. Since then, I've been in debt to Highlord Arceus...and this was my way of repaying him for the favor he did for me and my brother."

I breathed deeply and looked into her golden eyes. "So this was all just a job then."

"It started out as that, yes...but it's not anymore." Trisha replied firmly. "Like I said, I didn't expect to start caring about you."

I held a stern look of my own. "And how do I know that's the truth? You haven't been very honest with me until now."

"As a psychic, I could have simply forced you to accept this...but I'm giving you the choice instead. If I really wanted to make you believe something, I could do it." Trisha responded with a hopeful smile.

I bobbed my head from side to side before grinning. "That's very true. So, what now?"

She shrugged. "The past will always be your past...but the future is still unwritten. If life has taught me anything, it's to enjoy it as much as you can while doing as much good as you can. Lucky for you, you have the ability to do both. Trust your instincts, and just live."

"If I may ask," I started, "why did you have to wait so long to tell me about who I was?"

Trisha smiled and lay down in my lap, so I cradled her against me. "I had to wait until you were secure enough in who you are now to not let who you were define your present and your future. Amory came across a similar issue defining who he was. As I remember it he said, 'The circumstances of one's birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.'"

"Wow," I whispered solemnly, "that's really deep."

The Latias nodded with a smile. "A similar lesson should hold true for you, Timothy. Your past does not dictate who you are. That choice always rests with you."

Contrary to what I had believed, finding out who I was didn't change who I had become at all. There were no revelations, no drastic changes of character...nothing. It was nice to know what my past life was so that the mystery was cleared up, but now that I knew, it really didn't matter to me. I used to think of my memory loss as a debilitation of sorts...but it instead offered me a new lease on life. I was able to become whatever I wanted to be, and I have to say that I'm confident I made a better choice this time.

The future was yet to be determined, but I knew without a doubt that it was mine to decide...and as long as I had Tessa, Geanne, Trish, and the others, I knew the future held a lot of promise.

End of Part I

A/N: Wow...what a journey. Well to all my readers, this is the end of Part I of the series. There will be more to come, I promise. Let me work on it for a bit while you all enjoy my other stories...and if you haven't read them yet, you definitely should. Keep an eye out on my stories for the next installment. Until then, be cool.