Hello there! What you're about to read is the start of a the fic that I spent all of November and most of the next three months writing. The central character of this fic is very near and dear to my heart, because she has existed in my mind for years and I only recently got around to writing her down. I do hope you enjoy the fic and don't be too thrown off by the rival's name. He is Silver for all intents and purposes, I just decided to go with a more normal name.
I should also mention that I do have this posted on here and Archive of Our Own. The version posted there will be the best version to read, as it will have supplementary doodles at certain points. They don't add much, but they are part of the story and it's a shame you can't put pictures on fics on this website. Anyway, there's a link to my AO3 account on my profile, so maybe give this fic a shot over there!
If you don't, that's fine. I can't tell you what to do.
Unlike Pallet Town, which churned out one extremely talented trainer after another, New Bark didn't see much in the way of new trainers. The only time New Bark saw anyone new was the occasional person moving in or the experienced trainers looking to navigate the watery path that separated the cozy little town from the Indigo Plateau. One such trainer happened to stay for a few days before his historic venture into the Pokémon League, and what happened while one Lance "The Dragon Master" stayed was glorious. It's a story of love, loss, betrayal, and the frailty of man and his ego.
This is not that story.
Seriously, fuck that guy.
This is the story of a young girl who was born in New Bark Town nine months later and, seventeen years after that, would leave her home town to become one of the greatest trainers Johto has ever seen.
Her journey started the morning she was greeted by her smiling mother and a shiny new PokéGear. "Thanks, mom," she said as she hung the device around her neck and booted it up. "Everything seems fine. It even saved my radio presets, so that's sweet!"
"I'm glad you're happy with it, sweetie," her mom replied. "By the way, that blue is coming in very nicely."
The girl's hand shot up to her hair and started fussing with it. "What, really?" She asked as she twirled a strand around her pointer finger. "Thanks!" The girl and her mother exchanged a smile and a hug and she turned to go back to her room before being stopped.
"Oh right, I almost forgot. Professor Elm wants you to see him in his lab as soon as possible."
She stopped in her tracks and looked at her mother in wonder. "Does he really?"
"Now, don't get your hopes too far up, but yes, Elm wants to talk to you about something. That's all he told me." The mother raised her hands in the air, waving away the barrage of questions she would no doubt had faced had she not specified that she already conveyed all she knew. Her daughter jumped for joy, gave her a quick hug and bolted out the door before anything else could be said.
The teenager ran for the biggest building in New Bark, debating internally which Pokémon she was going to catch for her big Johto journey. She was stopped when she heard someone stumbling in the bushes by the side of the building and, despite her eagerness, made a detour to investigate.
She parted the bushes to find a red-headed boy about her age peering into a window on the side of the lab. "Hey, what're you doing, you weirdo?" She asked. Her question was received with a harsh shush. "You do know the lab's open to the public, right? You don't need to spy or nothing."
"Shut up and leave me alone," the boy replied.
She crossed her arms indignantly and approached him. "Don't you sass me, mister. If I see you snooping around here again, I'll kick your ass for that."
"Whatever. Fuck off."
She glared at him threateningly before leaving to see what Professor Elm wanted.
When she arrived, the scrawny man smiled brightly at her. "Ah yes, you're just who I wanted to see!"
"You bet your ass I am, professor. Now what is it you need?"
"I need you to run an errand for me," Elm explained.
The girl's expression became one of confusion. "Excuse me?"
"Yes. You see, my colleague, Mr. Pokémon, recently emailed me about an astounding find he just made, and he really wants to show me, but I'm just so busy that I can't leave the lab long enough to get to his house."
"Okay, I have so many things to say about that sentence," the girl said. "First, what the hell kind of a name is Mr. Pokémon?"
"It's a pseudonym, first of all, and second—"
"It's dumb, first of all. Secondly, who still uses email?"
"What are you sayi—"
"And how far away could his house be if you can't get there in like, five minutes?"
Starting to get frustrated by this teenager's lip, Elm sighed. "It's just past Cherrygrove, alright?"
"Ah, that makes sense. But wait, there's wild Pokémon on that route. I can't go there."
"And that's where this comes into play." Elm motioned toward a table where three Pokéballs sat. "In exchange for doing this for me, I'm going to give you your very own Pokémon!"
The girl gasped. "Really?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't I?" Elm asked rhetorically. "What you do with it after the fact is up to you, all I ask is that you run this one errand for me."
"You've got it!" The girl exclaimed.
"Now, I'm going to let these Pokémon out of their balls and let you choose which one you wa—"
"I want Totodile," the girl interrupted.
"I know the three that are in there. Chikorita's cute and grass-type, Cyndaquil is cuter and fire-type, but I want Totodile," she explained.
Professor Elm shrugged. "Alright." He grabbed a ball and gingerly placed it in her hands. "This Totodile is all yours."
"Awesome." The girl said. "You won't regret this, Professor! I'll be back in the blink of your nerdy-ass eye with that discovery." With that, she turned and bolted out of the lab with a triumphant grin plastered on her face.
Elm put his finger on the bridge of his glasses and pushed them up. "My eyes aren't nerdy..."
Outside, a Totodile emerged from its home and blinked in the sudden light. It looked up at its new trainer with a confused expression.
"Hello Totodile," she greeted. "I'm your new master, and together, we're gonna kick some ass. Got it?" She picked up the water-type and cradled it in her arms. "After we go get that thing for Elm, we're gonna travel this entire continent, kick some gym leader's asses, become the champion, and basically be superheroes to those that have been wronged. I'm going to be the world's best crime-fighting champion and soon, everyone in Johto will know my name!
"It's Jana time, bitches."
The short trip to Mr. Pokémon's house was uneventful (unless you were a Rattata that got in Jana's way) and in one short hour, Jana found herself on this eccentric genius' doorstep, wondering why he couldn't get off his ass and deliver it himself. Something she made sure to point out when he opened the door and greeted her as "that girl Elm sent." In response to her rude comment, the old man chortled and gestured inside. "You see, I have company, so I felt it would be rude to leave my guest all on his lonesome for so long. Come in and maybe you can meet him."
Jana crossed her arms and shook her head. "No thank you. I'd really rather not be shown your weird sex torture dungeon and your gross friends who get off on that."
Mr. Pokémon's smile faded and he blinked, processing what this girl had just said. "Excuse me?"
Jana cracked a smile at him. "I'm just messing with you. Seriously though, I'm just here for that whatever-it-is and then I'll be out of what's left of your hair."
"Are you sure?" The man asked. "The person who's visiting is actually somewhat of a celebrity around these parts, so I figured you'd be interested in meeting him."
Jana eyed him suspiciously. "Hold on. A celebrity as in a famous person or a celebrity in this weird community of old, bearded white dudes?"
A voice inside the house laughed. "Am I allowed to say both?" He asked. The somewhat shrill voice giving away the speaker's old age relaxed Jana somewhat, and a second old man appeared in the doorway beside Mr. Pokémon.
"Anyway, I'll go get that discovery. Oak, can you please entertain the new trainer while I fetch it?"
"Sure thing," the second old man assured him. After Mr. Pokémon disappeared into his house, Professor Oak extended his hand to Jana. "Hello, I am Professor Oak. And you are?"
Jana took his hand and shook it. "I'm Jana. What's with all the tree names?"
Oak laughed in response. "You are a snarky one, aren't you? Anyway, I can tell this is your first adventure with Pokémon, am I correct?"
"Is it that obvious?" Jana asked, shrinking back slightly.
"Do not worry about it, Jana," Oak assured her. "I can only tell because your clothes are clean. While your clothes say green-bean, your eyes say Champion in the making."
Jana smirked. "Really now?"
Oak nodded confidently. "Oh yes. The last time I said that was to my grandson and his best friend, and one of them did end up becoming the Champion, so I do know talent when I see it."
Suddenly, Jana realized who she was talking to. "Wait, are you saying Gary Oak is your grandson? The three-year Champ is related to you?"
Now was Oak's turn to be smug. "You bet! He sure has come a long way since he was in diapers."
"Wow..." Jana said. "You really think I could amount to him?"
"Absolutely!" Oak said. "In fact, I might have a present for you if you come inside."
Completely forgetting her rude, dirty remarks from earlier, Jana jumped at the opportunity to receive a gift from the Gary Oak's grandfather and went into Mr. Pokémon's house without protest. Before Oak could grab his present, Mr. Pokémon emerged from a back room holding a large orb in his hand. Ignoring the fact that Jana was inside now, the professor approached her. "Jana, this was given to me by good friends of mine who run a Pokémon day care. They believe this may be a Pokémon egg, but judging by the markings on the egg, it's no species I've ever seen before. I want you to take this to Professor Elm, for he may be able to figure out which Pokémon it is." He handed the egg to Jana and she examined it. It was slightly larger than her palm and was vanilla colored with red and blue rings decorating it.
"Uh, huh...So you want Elm to figure out which two Pokémon fu—"
"In less crude words, yes." Mr. Pokémon interrupted.
Displeased with being interrupted, Jana gently placed the egg in her backpack and nodded. "Fine, I'll take it back to the old man. Now what's Professor Oak's present for me?"
Oak nodded and re-entered the conversation. "You seem to me to be a dependable young woman, so I am going to ask you to run an errand for me."
Jana rolled her eyes. "Another errand? How many of these damn fetch quests am I gonna have to do?"
Oak shook his head. "No, dear. This is a special errand that will take you around the world." He produced a small red booklet from his pocket. "This is the Pokédex." The booklet opened and a blue light on it started flashing. "It will record data on any Pokémon you encounter and transmit that data to my database. I want you to meet as many Pokémon as you can so my Pokédex can be as complete as it can be."
Jana took the device and stared at it. "Okay, and?"
"Well, completing the Pokédex will surely take you around the world, and maybe even to the Indigo Plateau if you prove that you are skilled enough." Professor Oak winked at her as he said the name of the place the Pokémon League was located and she caught his drift. He was giving her an excuse to travel the region, beat the gym leaders, and become the Champion he told her she could be.
Her eyes lit up and she smiled widely. "Thank you so much, Professor! I'll be sure to get right on that!"
"Remember to take that egg to Professor Elm first," Mr. Pokémon reminded her as she turned to leave.
"Yeah yeah, I got it." Jana left the small house and started walking home, excited to start her adventure for real. Suddenly, her PokéGear hanging from her neck started ringing and startled her. She answered it with a somewhat annoyed "hello?"
Professor Elm's voice sounded form the other side, frantic and breathless. "Jana! Oh god, this is terrible. We need you back at the lab ASAP!"
"What happened?" Jana asked. The professor's frantic voice was enough to distract her from the fact that he actually said ASAP as one word.
"No time to explain, just get back here now!" Elm abruptly hung up and Jana ran as fast as she could for New Bark, fearing the worst. She was stopped just outside Cherrygrove when she bumped into that red-headed boy she met outside the lab earlier. He looked like he was in a hurry and a panicked look was in his eyes.
"Hey, you're the boy from outside the lab," Jana said. "Can you tell me what happened back there?"
The boy frowned at her. "You got a Pokémon from that lab, didn't you?"
"Don't change the subject," Jana replied.
The boy scoffed. "What a waste. A Pokémon for a wimp like you? I deserve one much more than you did, and I'll prove it!" He whipped a Pokéball from his pocket and tossed it to the ground, where it opened to unleash a small, Pokémon with blue-ish fur on the top half of its body and milky fur on the underside.
"Oh, my first trainer battle," Jana said. "I'll take your challenge and prove I'm not a wimp. Go, Totodile!" She threw her own Pokéball and Totodile sprang out, already all warmed up from beating up multiple poor, defenseless rattata.
"Cyndaquil, tackle it," the boy commanded. Totodile's opponent let out a cry and charged at it.
"Scratch!" Jana yelled. Totodile jumped out of Cyndaquil's way and swiped at it with its claws. Cyndaquil stumbled back in pain and Jana smirked. "Now use Water Gun!" Totodile unleashed a torrent of water from its mouth and doused the other Pokémon in water.
Cyndaquil stumbled back, struggling to stand up. "How does your Pokémon know an non-normal-type move already?" The boy demanded.
"We trained against wild Pokémon, smart one," Jana replied.
The boy glared at her. "That's not fair. Of course you're going to win if you have prior experience. He held out his Pokéball. "Come back, Cyndaquil." His monster disappeared inside its ball and he marched towards Jana. He shoved her down and continued through Cherrygrove.
"Excuse you," Jana yelled. "I'll get you for that." Jana scrambled to her feet and grabbed the boy's shoulder. She turned him around and socked him in the face. The boy stumbled back a few steps before falling on his ass.
"Ouch, that's not fair either," he complained.
"You shoved me first, bitch."
"Whatever," the boy scoffed once more before standing up and running away. Jana looked down to see a card on the ground where he was just sitting. She bent down and picked it up. It was his Trainer ID card. She could only make out his face and his first name before he came running back and snatched the card from her hand. He wordlessly ran off before Jana could say anything, leaving her and Totodile to exchange confused looks.
When Jana arrived at the lab a few minutes later, she found a police officer asking Professor Elm questions just next to a shattered window. Totodile, who hadn't been put in its Pokéball yet, let out a worried noise at the commotion. Hearing the sounds of a Pokémon, the officer turned around and glared at Jana. "You stop right there," he commanded. "Is this the perp, professor?"
Professor Elm shook his head. "No, I gave Jana one of my Pokémon. She's not the thief."
"Thief?" Jana asked. "What's going on?"
"It's terrible," Elm replied. "A boy broke into the lab and stole one of my Pokémon. Now Cyndaquil's missing and I have no idea where he could have gone."
Jana gasped. "Cyndaquil? Professor, what did the boy who stole it look like?"
"Well, he had red hair...and he looked to be about your age an—"
"I fought him on my way back!" Jana said. "He battled me with that very Cyndaquil and cried when I kicked his ass."
"Did he really cry?" Elm asked, bewildered.
"Well no, I made that part up, but I did kick his ass."
"What else can you tell us about him?" The police officer asked.
"Well, when he ran off, he dropped his ID and I read his name, but that's all I could tell you," Jana answered.
"Anything helps," the officer replied. "What was it?"
"Nicholas," Jana said. "His name is Nicholas."
The officer scribbled the name in his notepad and nodded. "Well, that's all I can do for you now. I'll issue an order for the next three towns to keep an eye out for this red-haired Nicholas kid. Have a nice day."
Professor Elm sighed. "Yeah, you too," he said weakly as the officer walked away.
Jana clenched her fists. "I can't believe someone would do something like that! I'm sorry, Professor. If I had known, I would have dragged his ass back here and made him give Cyndaquil back."
"There's nothing you can do now," Professor Elm said sadly.
Jana bit her lip. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
"Anyway," Professor Elm tried to collect himself. "What did Mr. Pokémon have to show me?"
"Right! Oh man, I hope I didn't break it when he pushed me." Jana swung her backpack off and rummaged through it. She pulled out one intact egg and handed it to the professor. "It's an egg."
Elm grabbed the egg and examined it. "Hm, it sure seems to be. I wonder what it could be..."
"That's kind of what he wanted you to find out," Jana explained.
"Oh...well we'll figure it out." Professor Elm gingerly placed the egg on a table and shook his head. "So much to do, so much to do."
"Anyway, guess what happened while I was there?" Jana said, eager to change to a happier subject.
"Professor Oak was there! And he gave me a Pokédex, check it out!" Jana grabbed the device form her backpack and showed it off to Elm, who gasped.
"Professor Oak did what? Th-that's incredible! He is superb at seeing the potential of people as trainers, and he only gives those out to those he thinks could become Champion. So he really thinks you have what it takes, huh?"
"He sure does," Jana said proudly.
Elm laughed. "Well then, I think you should definitely make him proud and take on the gym challenge. You can take Totodile there with you, if you wish."
"Wow, really? Thanks professor!" Jana clapped and Totodile did a celebratory dance.
"Now you take good care of my Totodile, alright?" Elm asked. "I don't want her to end up getting hurt."
"Hey, if I'm really as good as Oak says I am, do you really think you need to worry about it?" Jana asked. "Totodile will rule this region with an iron claw, just you wait and see."
Professor Elm laughed. "That's what I was hoping you'd say. Now, good luck on your journey. It will be long and difficult, so you should probably say goodbye to your mother before you leave."
Jana's smile faded slightly. "Yeah, I guess I should."
Moments later, Jana entered her house to find her mother watching some soap opera on TV. At the sight of her daughter, she turned the TV off and stood to welcome her home by taking her into a hug. "So what was that errand all about?" She asked.
"Let me show you." Jana let out Totodile, who greeted her mom with a happy sound and a playful hop.
"Wow, really? He finally gave you your very own Pokémon?"
"Yep!" Jana confirmed.
"So I guess that means you'll be going off on your journey too, then?"
"Also yeah," Jana said.
Her mom nodded. "Well, I guess there's nothing I can do to change your mind, is there?"
Jana smiled slightly. "Well, no. But I will come back to visit, promise! And I'll call you every, uh, let's go with every couple of days, because I forget sometimes."
Her mom laughed and took her into a hug. "Just do whatever you want to do, alright?"
Jana wrapped her arms around her mom and nodded. "Yeah, I'll do that."
"Now before you go, you have to promise me something." Jana was released from the hug so her mom could look her in the eyes. "If you make it far enough, which god knows you will, don't get too angry at him, alright?"
Jana rolled her eyes. "I'll try."
"I mean it, Jana. Everyone has their reasons for what they do, so try to understand first and get angry later, alright?"
Jana nodded. "Alright mom, I'll try."
"There's my good girl." Her mom smiled and pulled her back into the hug. "Good luck."
Jana's journey first took her to the Dark Cave. On the first night of her quest, a little while after Cherrygrove City, and just a bit after fighting her first real trainer battles, Jana encountered someone huddled in fear in front of the cave's entrance. The sun was going down quickly, so her instincts told her to hurry to Violet and get inside before it got too dark. However, the girl outside the cave looked so distressed, she had to check on her to see what was wrong. When asked, the girl looked up at her and sniffled. "There's a monster in there."
"Oh really?" Jana asked. "I mean, we kind of live in a world of them, what with them being called pocket monsters and all."
The girl shook her head. "No, a monster as in a ghost!"
"A ghost-type Pokémon?"
The girl shook her head again. "No, an actual, evil ghost!"
"Oh really?" Jana asked in disbelief.
"My friends told me that if I listen carefully to the sound of the cave, I can hear a high-pitched, maniacal laughter from deep inside the cave. Well, I went in there just now and the laughter was right in front of me! It was so scary..."
"Did you see what made the noise?" Jana asked.
"No, it was too dark," the girl replied.
"Too dark in Dark Cave, go figure," Jana said. "Okay, well, I'm gonna go check out what made that noise and kick its ass for you okay?"
"Really?" The girl asked with a sniffle.
"Absolutely. It's not nice to scare someone like that, so I'm gonna teach whatever it is a lesson." Without another word, Jana marched into the cave and stopped in her tracks when she realized she just marched into a cave without a light source in hand. She reached into her backpack and pulled out a flashlight. She clicked it on and looked around the entrance to the cave. "Why does nobody ever think to bring flashlights with them?" She asked herself. After a couple moments of standing still and listening to the ambient noises of the cave, she shrugged. "I don't hear anything. Maybe that girl was overreacting." Suddenly, a blue Pokémon flew right by her head, startling her into dropping the flashlight. She scrambled to pick it up and aimed it at the bat-like creature, which was already well on its way. "Oh, it's just a Zubat. Hey, maybe I could use one of you." She continued into the cave, her new mission set: to find and catch a Zubat for her team. The second Zubat she found was challenged to a battle with Totodile. Once Zubat had been weakened enough, Jana prepared to throw a Pokéball, but before she could do so, she was scared into dropping it by an ear-piercing screech.
"What the fuck was that?" Jana yelled. "Who's there?" A strange figure leapt from the shadows and rushed to the injured Zubat's side.
"Don't you dare take my Flappy away from me!" The person screamed as they scooped up the Zubat in their arms and coddled it. The person turned around to reveal a strange girl looking to be just a bit older than Jana with ragged hair, wild eyes, and torn clothing. The girl looked like she hadn't showered in years.
"Who the fuck are you?" Jana asked.
The girl thought for a moment. "You know, I dunno. I think I forgot my name at some point. Living in Dark Cave, you don't really need a name."
"You live here?" Jana asked. "For how long?"
The girl shrugged. "Years, I think."
"Uh, huh..." Jana said, backing away. "So that Zubat is yours?"
"All the Zubat here are my friends," the girl explained. "I don't catch any of them, but they are all my friends. This one's Flappy."
"I see," Jana said. "You do know people can still catch these Zubat, right? If you haven't caught them?"
"I know, and I cry every time someone takes one away from me."
Jana raised her eyebrow. She couldn't believe this conversation was taking place. "So can I catch a different Zubat, then?"
"No!" The girl yelled. "No taking my Zubat friends away from me!" After she said this, another Zubat flew by her and circled her a few times. "Hi there friend!" She said excitedly. "This one's named Flappy."
"They're, uh, all named Flappy, aren't they?" Jana asked. After she got a nod she turned around. "Welp. I'm out of here. There's no helping you. See you never, hopefully."
"Who needs ya, anyway?" The girl yelled as she bounded off into the deeper parts of the cave.
Jana came out of the cave to find the little girl still sitting in the same spot she left her. "So did you find it?" She asked.
"Yeah," Jana said. "It's literally a crazy person. Just keep your distance from Dark Cave and the Zubats, okay?" Confused, the girl simply nodded. "Good, now let's get you home. Where do you live?"
"Violet City," the girl answered.
"Good, 'cuz that's where I need to be. Let's go!"
END OF DAY 2:
"My mom told me to keep a diary of sorts to chronicle the priceless memories I make over the course of my Journey, so I guess I'll be doing that. Except you'll be a Journal, not a diary. Because diary sounds childish and also Journal starts with a J, so I can call you Jana's Johto Journey Journal. Anyway, The first day of my travels was huge! I got to meet Totodile, run an errand for Elm, punch a snob in the face, and finally start my Journey as a Pokémon trainer! It was also really weird though. There's this psychopath in the Dark Cave that calls all the Zubats Flappy and cries when they get caught. I was gonna get one for my team, but I decided it would be best not to have to put up with that bullshit. It was weird.
"Anyway, the second day wasn't much, it was all spent in Violet City. I didn't wanna spend a whole day in this dump of a 'city,' but I didn't have much of a choice. The Gym Leader (who I'll get into later,) told me I had to get through the Sprout Tower before I could get a badge from him. It sucked because the whole place was full of grass-type Bellsprouts. They're strong against Totodile, so she had a really hard time. It made me wish I had gotten that Zubat back there.
"Then the gym leader was a piece of work himself. He spent the whole time going on and on about how electric-types make him angry because they're good against birds and he threw a hissy fit when I beat his dad's 'cherished' Pokémon. They weren't that good, so I don't get why they were so important to him. But hey, I didn't say anything because when you've got a haircut like that, you know your life has gone wrong.
"Anyway, tomorrow I set out for Union Cave and Azalea Town. Wish me (and my art skills) luck, Journal!
"Hm, I should probably mention I'll be doodling in you a lot. Don't mind that.
"Okay, now wish me luck!"
Before you question it, I know Nicholas picked the Pokémon that has a type disadvantage against our dear protagonist, but I honestly couldn't bring myself to make the guy obsessed with powerful Pokémon pick the adorable Chikorita over Cyndaquil. Truthfully, Totodile would have been his first choice, but somebody beat him to that.
Anyway, I do hope you enjoyed this first chapter! If you liked it, lemme know! If you're not sure yet, stick around a little longer! If you didn't, I appreciate that you at least gave it a shot.