DISCLAIMER: I don't own pokemon.
One certain young Pokemon trainer is running through a deserted street. He doesn't care that it was raining, and that he was completely drenched to the skin. All he cares about right now is to be left alone, to get as far away from everybody as possible: his best human friends, and even his best Pokemon friend.
After a while, the trainer stopped to lean on a lamppost, trying to catch his breath. He wiped, either his tears or the raindrops falling in his cheeks, even he doesn't know...
When he was back at the stadium, he could tell that everyone is talking behind his back. He didn't know what it was that they exactly said, but he could imagine it:
"Four losses. How humiliating..."
He cringed as these words kept replaying over and over in his head. Then, in a sort of nightmare, he thought of what his friends would say:
"They were right. We've been through so much, yet you still fail to win a Pokemon League," the speaker, a young, tan man pointed out. "What is wrong with you?"
The second of his two friends, a thin, blue-haired girl, added, "Maybe the problem isn't with the Pokemon. It's with you..."
"Monferno, Flame Wheel!" The red-orange primate Pokemon curled into a wheel, with his tail engulfing his whole body in flame. Monferno rolled at high speeds towards his target, an Electabuzz.
The latter Pokemon sidestepped to evade the attack, but Monferno, in control of his spin, rolled right back.
"Electabuzz, use Thunder Punch to stop that weakling in its tracks," its trainer, a purple-haired youth, commanded. The electric-type complied, and hit the rolling Monferno with the paralyzing attack.
The two attacks connected, and Monferno got the worst of it, reeling backwards. Electabuzz then ran after Monferno, ready to land another Thunder Punch, whilst the latter was still stunned.
Monferno's trainer reacted instinctively. He took out his Pokeball and shouted, "Monferno, return!"
The Pokeball's red tractor beam trained on the fire-type, reaching the safe confines of the device. It was in the nick of time, before Electabuzz drove his fist to the ground where Monferno previously lay, creating a small crater.
The trainer then looked up at the scoreboard on top of the stadium. He was down 4 Pokemon, but his opponent still has three in his roster. He then focused his gaze on the yellow Pokemon that, instead of inside ofa Pokeball, was actually by his side.
"Your turn, Pikachu," the trainer said quietly. Even through the din of the crowd, the electric-type heard him, and ran forward. "Iron tail!"
Pikachu sprang, literally, forward, spinning around to try hitting Electabuzz with a hardened tail. Electabuzz blocked it with Thunder Punch. The friction of the two attacks caused sparks to fly everywhere.
Electabuzz was knocked back by the recoil the two attacks caused. Pikachu, however, was more nimble. Just as he landed back on the ground, his trainer shouted, "Volt Tackle!"
Pikachu, his body charged with electricity, dashed forward once again. Pikachu tackled Electabuzz right at the center of the latter's body. electabuzz was knocked back even further, and Pikachu finished him off with an Iron tail to the side of the head.
The trainer of the larger electric-type scowled as he returned Electabuzz to the safety of its Pokeball. "Go, Gliscor!" He then, casually, tossed another Pokeball into the air, releasing his ground-/flying-type Pokemon. "Sandstorm!"
The Fang Scorp Pokemon flapped his wings, and a powerful blast of sand blew from inside them. Within minutes, the whole arena is covered by Sandstorm.
Neither Pikachu or his trainer could see past the storm. Their opponents, however, are trained in this harsh "environment". "Gliscor," his trainer shouted over the roar of the storm, "use X-scissor!"
Gliscor dived towards Pikachu, the latter not knowing where or when his opponent will strike. Pikachu only realised it too late when Gliscor hit him from the left. After? that, even with Pikachu sprawled on the ground, Gliscor proceeded to pound at him with Night Slashes.
Pikachu's trainer could hear the Pokemon's screams of pain. However, the situation was desperate, as it seems only he, his opponent and their Pokemon are the only ones aware of what's happening in the ring. He recalled something that his friend told him earlier:
"Forfeiting a match, even in the middle of the battle, results in immediate disqualification."
The trainer clenched his fists, then took out a white towel from his pocket. He never thought he would use this, but he has no choice now.
Just thinking about the battle was like being hit by a Flamethrower. To the young trainer, who experienced something like that nearly every time, it was much worse. It was too much for him to bear, so he ran away, as fast as he can, to where no one can bother him.
Mulling over his thoughts, the trainer hasn't even realised that the rain has stopped. High above, the clouds parted, revealing bright sunlight. Around him the stores have started to open, but he doesn't notice. He continued southward, out of the city.
On the outskirts of town, the young trainer had a clear view of the sea that was Route 223. Tide has shifted a little due to the rain, making the shoreline quite a bit small.
How long he's been there, he doesn't know. It was like his mind is in a whole different world from his body. He doesn't realise that there's someone calling him, until that someone touched his shoulder from the back.
"Leave me alone."
"Why would I?" The former was taken aback. The voice was that of someone he wanted to hear from for a very long time, yet thought was impossible to be here at that very moment.
The speaker sat down on the stone right near where he was sitting. He turned around around to face the newcomer. Peanut-brown hair lightly touched his face.
"What are you doing here?"
"I was about to ask you the same thing, Ash." She smiled at him, before turning to the sea. "Brock wanted to surprise you by calling all of us here; Misty, Tracey, Max, but then we found out that you were gone.
"We all split up to look for you. Then, I saw you when you passed the cafe I was in. I tried calling out to you, but I guess the rain drowned out my voice." Ash recalled passing a cafe, and he did remember hearing a muffled shout.
"I just want to be left alone."
"I kept hearing everyone talking behind my back. I think that people are starting to believe I'm a failure. And I think they're right."
"Don't say that, Ash. You're not a failure."
"I threw my match. I-"
"-cared for your Pokemon so much that you didn't want them to to see them suffer any longer. According to Brock, that was the first time it ever happened in fifteen years."
"So, I have a reason to cast myself out?"
"No, Ash." She closed her eyes, breathed in the sea air, before continuing. "The people talking behind your back. They weren't talking about you being a failure, they were talking about your being unique."
"Oh, that makes me feel a lot better," he said, heavy with sarcasm.
His companion smiled weakly. She stood up, and held out a hand to him, which he reluctantly took. "Come with me." Only upon feeling the warmth from her hands, did Ash realise that he was still wet.
"Whatever you say, May."
May led Ash, by the hand, back to the League stadium. As they entered through the large doors, Ash was momentarily blinded by lights from the inside, before hearing a loud, deafening noise erupted, all around them.
The first thing that came to Ash's mind when he heard the noise were calls of hundreds of insults directed at him. However, it turns out that what they are hearing is applause. May let go af Ash's hand, and joined the semicircle of the crowd applauding him.
"I- I don't understand," Ash stammered.
Ash's long-time travelling companion, Brock, grinning, walked up to him. "What is it that you don't understand, Ash?" he jokingly asked. He tried putting an arm around Ash, retracting it a little seeing as the latter was wet.
The second of Ash's current companions, Dawn, also appeared. "You were the first trainer in many years to throw a Pokemon match for the sake of your Pokemon," she pointed out. "That's something that everyone here respects."
From out of nowhere, Brock took out a trophy. Ash, his vision dreary for some reason, couldn't read the inscription as the breeder handed it to him. "The League Association presented you with this. Award for Selfless Sacrifice to Pokemon."
"Now, get yourself a change of clothes," Dawn added, "before joining in the closing ceremonies." Both Brock and Dawn gave Ash a playful slap on the back.
"What about the champion?" Ash suddenly asked. "Shouldn't he be the one who is the center of attention, not me?"
Brock shrugged. "You know him. He hates all this attention. He only took his championship trophy, and then he took off." Brock snorted. "To everyone around here, they think you deserve an honor more than he does."
It was lucky that Ash does have a change of clothes. When he joined the party thirty minutes later, he felt an intense pang of guilt when he saw Brock conversing animatedly with Misty and Tracey. What seemed like hours ago, Ash thought that his friends would join the crowd in throwing insults at him.
However, one thing's for sure. As May ran up to him, carrying a tray full of goodies, he would never have to think anything bad about his friends anymore.
May looked like she read Ash's thoughts. She said, in a soft whisper, "Don't forget, Ash, true friends stick up to the end."
ANNOUNCEMENT: Well, today, March 17, ToE4 is now a year old(in ff.net, not here). Dunno if I'm planning anything special for this event, or if anyone actually cares...