During his journey through the Alola Region, Ash suddenly meets Serena, who is taking a break from Pokemon Contests in Hoenn to visit Ash and learn about the power of the Z-Ring. Ash is happy to see her once more, but one night, thoughts and emotions from a time not forgotten begin to resurface.
In the tropical region of Alola, there are many things to enjoy. From the delicious malasadas to the surprisingly varied fashion, there's a little something for everyone, both local and foreign, to enjoy, but if there's one thing that's memorable to both locals and visitors here, it's the white-hot battles that would take place each and every day. Whether it was someone taking part in the island challenge or just a few trainers that wanted to test their strength against one another, you could always find a passionate trainer or four battling their hearts out, but no battles burned hotter than those at the island of Akala, although being a volcanic island might have something to do with that.
All days must come to an end, though, and on the island of Akala, night was more than just a welcome guest with the cool breeze that it would always bring. With night's arrival, the streets and ports that were once bustling with people and palm trees were suddenly quiet and empty. Akala Island was at rest with the exception of one young boy sitting at a staircase just outside of a Pokemon Center somewhere in his pajamas.
"I wonder what she was thinking back then," he thought to himself in a daze as he sat down with nothing but his memories and his own hands to focus on that night.
"Ash?" spoke a soft voice from behind him, breaking his momentary trance. As he turned to look, he saw an all too familiar girl standing behind him. If her honey blonde hair wasn't a dead giveaway, he could certainly recognize her from the purple hooded shirt she wore as her pajamas and the oversized ribbon that adorned her hair in the front.
"Oh, hey Serena," Ash responded, still feeling a little dazed from the thoughts that had haunted him a minute ago. "What are you doing out here?"
"I couldn't sleep at all," Serena replied. "I still can't get my mind off of your battle with Olivia."
"Yeah, that was a tough battle," Ash said with a little more energy as Serena sat down with him at the top of the stone staircase. "All of her Pokémon were very strong. Her Lycanroc was incredibly tough with its speed and Counter attack, but somehow, we managed to pull through."
"Hmm, I'm sure you would've found some way to win against her anyways. You've always been kind of amazing like that," Serena complimented.
"Thank you, though I don't think I would've made it far at all if it wasn't for the efforts of my Pokémon," Ash said with a small laugh and a grin on his face. Serena couldn't help but chime in and join the laughter as well.
"…We've really come a long way, have we?" Serena continued as she looked towards the night sky.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, not too long ago, we were venturing through Kalos together collecting gym badges and competing in showcases, and now, we've been off in different regions pursuing our dreams. You came all the way to Alola to complete the Island Challenge, and I went to Hoenn to compete in Pokemon Contests. We've made so many friends and faced just as many challenges. Sometimes, it's hard for me to acknowledge that all of this has really happened."
"Not for me," Ash retorted while looking at the same starry sky. "Even if I don't talk about them much, I still remember many of the things I experienced during all of these adventures. For example, do you remember when we learned about Sky Battles at that canyon?"
"Oh! How could I forget that?" Serena chimed in as she looked towards Ash."It was so much fun being able to soar through the air. For some reason, being able to fly like that just felt so natural."
"Yeah," Ash continued. "Or what about that time when we first ran into Goomy?"
"I remember getting rained on that day," Serena retorted with a look of slight disappointment.
"Yeah, that's always a hassle. I can't even count how many wet socks I had because of rainy days," Ash said with pride. Serena couldn't help but let out a small laugh when she saw Ash say that with such a confident smile. Ash couldn't help but join Serena and laugh as well before he continued. "There are other things I remember from our adventure as well, like when we dressed up as Pokemon for the Gourgeist Festival, or all the inventions that Clemont made, or that time when you-...,"
"When I what?" Serena prodded, curious about what Ash was about to say before he cut himself off.
"Well...you know, when you..." Ash trailed off, looking away from Serena as his words descended into a mumble.
It took a moment for Serena to figure out what it was that Ash was trying to say. She could only take guesses as to what he was saying as she continued to look in confusion at his nervous expression. Feeling somewhat aware of what he may be talking about, Serena decided to break the momentary silence to confirm her suspicions.
"Ash? You don't mean, back at the airport, when..."
Ash could only give a short nod in response. The revelation finally hit her along with a wave of embarrassment that left her face flushed with a red hue. She could only look down as she took a moment to process her emotions. She felt flustered, a little confused, panicked, and...happy? As awkward as it felt to hear about that moment once more, she couldn't help but smile knowing that the boy he cared so deeply for still remembered that moment, only breaking free of her thoughts when she felt a hand brush over her own.
"You know," Ash said, still staring down the staircase in a nervous state as he continued. "Sometimes, I can't help but think about what happened back then. It was the first time that I had ever experienced something like that."
"Really?" Serena responded to show that she was still listening.
"Yeah," Ash continued as his hand continued further up Serena's own. "I could feel my heart racing like I was in a Pokemon Battle, but at the same time, I felt confused and at a loss over what to do next. It made me feel a little powerless, but it's not like I didn't like it."
As he continued on, Serena could finally give a sigh of relief. At first, when she had finally done it, it had felt right at the time, but as time went on and she continued her adventure through Hoenn, she couldn't help but question her choice at that moment more an more often. She had wondered if what she did was the right choice to make and whether her not her actions finally brought her own feelings to light or just complicated things further for both of them. Just thinking back on that moment before left her flustered, but after hearing from Ash himself about how he felt in that moment, she could feel better about what she did. For once, after so long, she could feel calm when thinking about what had happened then.
"Do you want to try doing it again?"
At least until she heard that.
"W-W-What?!" Serena stammered, struggling to do so much as respond to his sudden request.
"Yeah," Ash said with a more serious expression and tone as he looked at Serena. "Do you want to try...kissing again?"
Serena could feel her brain flatlining completely upon hearing Ash repeat his request. It had took almost all of her confidence just to kiss him the first time, and back then, she only did it because she was convinced that it would be a long time before they saw each other again. To think that he would ask her for another kiss so openly...It was so sudden; she wasn't mentally prepared; she was practically frozen. Her face could only glow a deeper shade of red as she struggled to protest.
"K-K-Kiss?! You don't mean-...I-I mean, c-c-couldn't you ask-...I mean, a-are you all right with-...I-...I-..."
"Serena," Ash interrupted, still keeping the stern look on his face as he leaned slightly closer. "I wouldn't be asking this at all if it wasn't you."
"Ash...How can I refuse when you say something like that?" Serena thought to herself, only responding to Ash with a slow nod with a somewhat serious, yet nervous expression.
With her silent approval, Ash slowly inched towards Serena, being careful not to break eye contact with her as he got closer. As he leaned in closer, he could begin to make out the smaller details of her face from her red cheeks to her quivering lips, but, most of all, from so close, he had a clear view of her glistening blue eyes. Those clear, blue eyes that seemed to gleam with strength and anticipation.
"Ash," Serena whispered. "It's a little embarrassing when you stare at me like that." Ash could only give a slight blush upon being broken from his momentary trance before slowly closing his own eyes.
Both Ash and Serena slowly drew closer to one another, both anticipating what was going to happen soon. With each passing moment, they could more acutely feel the heat emanating from each other and the air from each breath tickling their lips. Three inches turned into two, then one, then one-half, and finally, it had happened. Both had nothing to focus on but the other's warm embrace and the wave of emotions that hit them both after remaining bottled for so long. To them, nothing else mattered to them but that one moment that, in reality, lasted for a few seconds, but felt like an eternity to them. When their lips parted ways and they opened their eyes once more, they could only gaze at each other in nervous silence.
"So...how was it?" Serena asked with a soft smile, still feeling nervous about what had happened.
"It was...," Ash said, taking a short pause to collect his thoughts. "...still a little confusing, but at the same time, it was wonderful, and I think I'm starting to understand why you did what you did before. I don't know why, but...if it's with you, I want to experience more moments like this."
"Oh, Ash...," Serena said as she tried in vain to hold back her tears.
Was it a confession? That didn't matter, for all that mattered to her was that her dear beloved was beginning to understand her feelings for him and has begun to reciprocate them in turn. For her, that was more than what she could ever ask for. Ash could only look on at her, puzzled as to why she would be crying, until he felt her weight collapsing on himself with her arms wrapped around his neck as she braced herself against his chest.
"Serena?! Are you okay? Why are you crying?" Ash said with concern in his voice.
"*sniff* It's okay, Ash!" Serena cried, still struggling to hold back her tears. "I'm just so happy to be by your side again!"
Ash could only continue to comfort Serena as she continued to release everything she had bottled up for so long. As Ash put his arms around her and held her close in his embrace, all he could think about was how long she had been holding in these feelings for and how he would make up for all the time lost.