I've met a whole lot of trainers in my journey, but none of them ever caught my attention the way Casey did.
We first saw her when she was attempting to catch a Rattata with her Chikorita. It was pretty clear that she had just begun her journey, both from the low level Pokemon she was going after and the rather basic attacks she and her Chikorita were using. However, what she lacked in experience and knowledge she more than made up for with her determination.
The most surprising part of all, however, was the way she directed her attacks.
As she issued her commands, she would include various baseball terms, as well as narrate the battle in a style reminiscent of a baseball announcer. It was unorthodox, but she seemed to be having a lot of fun with it, particularly when Chikorita managed to deal a decisive hit.
"Perfect strike! Chikorita's smoking tackle attack knocked Rattata right out of the box! This game is over!"
With that, Casey tossed her Pokeball at the downed mouse Pokemon. It was an easy catch, and the Pokeball quickly stopped wiggling.
"Haha!" Another Team Casey win!"
Happily, Casey gave her starter a high five, with Chikorita using its leaf to high five its trainer. Then, in a bemusing (though admittedly kind of adorkable) display, she began to sing the Electabuzz baseball team anthem while Chikorita waved its leaf back and forth like a cheerleader. Having completed her strange little routine, she returned her starter and turned around.
That's when she first saw us.
Immediately, her eyes narrowed, and we worried that she was angry that we'd been watching her. Especially when she cried out and began to charge at us. But then she topped right in front of me, her eyes fixated on Pikachu.
"I don't believe it! An honest-to-goodness Pikachu!"
Even though I didn't have to worry about being attacked by a strange trainer, I had some brand new worries when she grabbed Pikachu and began to hug it, all the while complimenting every aspect of it.
"Hey, easy!" I said worriedly. "That's a high voltage Pikachu!"
I was hoping that this would dissuade her from mishandling Pikachu. Somehow, it only made her more excited.
"You think it would really shock me?!" she asked, without the slightest hint of fear. "What a blast! I always wondered what that's like!" Come on, Pikachu, turn on the juice! Gimmie a taste!"
At this point, I realized that one, this girl had no idea what she was in for and two, Pikachu was feeling uncomfortable enough that it would surely shock her even without her prompting. So I tried to step in.
"No, Pikachu!" I said as its cheeks began to crackle. "She doesn't know what she's saying!"
"Come on, you little rat!" said Casey, clearly not listening to me. "Give me a jolt!"
Realizing that Pikachu was about to unleash his full power on a young and inexperienced trainer, I immediately stepped in and tried to get Pikachu away from her. Unfortunately, it was too late; the two of us got a full power Pika-zap.
"I tried to tell ya…"
"Thanks a lot…"
"Don't mention it…" I said, falling to the ground in pain.
After we had both recovered from that incident, Casey introduced herself, and explained how she'd just begun her Pokemon journey. She also told us about her love of the Electabuzz baseball team, which had fueled her passion for yellow and black Pokemon.
As cool as all that was, I couldn't help but point out that the Electabuzz team was… not the best baseball team in the world, which Casey wasn't happy about at all. I mean, it's not my fault that they've always been defeated by other teams, like the Magikarp and the Starmie. Of course, as a die-hard Electabuzz fan, she kept defending her favorite team even as I pointed out how terrible they are. But it all came to a head when she claimed that the Electabuzz had the best hitters of any team.
"Those guys aren't hitters," I said. "I've seen better swings on a playground."
Okay, so it was kind of a cheap insult. But it's true!
Too bad Casey didn't think so. In fact, I think it triggered her. Actually, I know for a fact that she was absolutely triggered.
"That's the last straw," she said as she clenched her fist. "We're going to settle this with a Pokemon battle! Nobody gets away with insulting my favorite team!"
Now, I may not be a Pokemon Master (yet), but I'm at least experienced enough to qualify as an Ace Trainer. Or at least a soon-to-be Ace Trainer. And I made it very clear to her that she had no chance against me. But she stubbornly refused to listen.
"I don't care how experienced you are!" she yelled. "Nobody makes fun of the team my family roots for, especially a little wimp who knows zero about baseball and even less about Pokemon!"
Now that was a cheap insult. I know a lot about Pokemon! Heck, I won the Orange League! And I know enough about baseball to know that the Electabuzz are in the bottom percentage of all baseball teams! And I am not little! I'm a year older than her!
Needless to say, I immediately accepted her challenge. I could hear Misty talking bad about me, apparently saying that Casey was as stubborn and hot-headed as me, but I wasn't paying attention to her (although we'll be having a discussion about that later on!) All I cared about was winning this battle!
Very quickly, we decided on a three-on-three battle. Immediately, I knew I wouldn't have to use all of my three, although Brock and Misty reminded me to go easy on her, since she was still a rookie (but Misty also asked me to make it quick so we could get to Violet City quicker. Make up your mind already!) Still, I decided to be gracious and let her choose first. Case then sent out her first Pokemon, a Pidgey. Boy, that takes me back to when I started my own journey.
But I digress. Since she was so determined to beat me, I chose Charizard.
Okay, I admit that was complete and utter overkill. But she was asking for it.
Needless to say, it was a very short battle.
"I can't believe it was a total shut-out," she said as her head hung low, clearly on the verge of tears. "Chikorita, return."
Seeing how devastated she was, Brock and Misty both tried to encourage Casey, telling her that she'd done a great job despite losing, especially since she was a rookie. I then told her that they were right, and that we should be friends. But Casey was too frustrated by her loss to listen to anything we had to say, so she ran off with tears falling down her face.
"Must be hard for a tough kid like that to lose," said Brock.
"It's hard for anyone," Misty said in agreement.
I couldn't help but think that they were on to something. It kind of made me sad to see Casey in such a state.
Then again, that is what happens when you challenge a great trainer.
Of course, Casey didn't stay sad for long. Before long she had challenged me to another battle.
"This time, things are gonna be different, Ash!" she said with determination.
"The only thing that's going to be different is that this time, you're going to wind up 0 for 2!" I countered.
"You're not going to beat me!" she called back. "Let me tell you something, Mr. All-Star Trainer! Don't think you're a hall-of-famer just can cause you beat me one time!"
Now let me tell you right now, Casey's taunts didn't anger me one bit. What did make me angry, though, was the fact that Brock and Misty began to root for Casey, apparently deciding that since she was the underdog, she deserved to win the most.
Well, some friends they turned out to be.
"Now!" said Casey. "A Pokémon rematch! And this time, it's a whole new ballgame, fans, as Casey goes into her wind-up! And she delivers!
With that little announcement, she sent out her Chikorita once more. I was unfazed, though, and so was Pikachu.
What? Did you really think I was going to be so mean as to make Casey face Charizard again?
Just once, I'd like to meet someone new without Team Rocket somehow getting involved.
They just had to go and convince Casey that I had cheated in our first battle. And then they had to use one of their weird machine things to capture Pikachu and Chikorita.
"That's Team Rocket," I said, causing her to gasp.
"Your Pokemon will make us rich, girlie!" said Jessie.
"We're tired of being poor sports!" said Meowth.
"How could I be fooled by such no-good thieves like you?!" Casey yelled furiously.
Of course, we weren't just going to let Team Rocket steal our Pokemon. We were going to get Pikachu and Chikorita back!
...Even if that did mean going up against another one of their machines that was endlessly shooting baseballs at us. But still! No way were we going to give up!
"Ow! I give up! I give up!"
...Okay, maybe Casey needed some encouragement.
"We can't just quit and let Team Rocket beat us!" I said, catching her attention. "A Pokemon match is just like baseball! You gotta take whatever the other team throws at you, and hang in there until the last out! And maybe you'll get the big hit!"
Okay, so maybe I've never thought of it like that. But I know that it was exactly what she needed to get back up and win!
...Now, if only I had been able to inspire her without getting a bunch of baseballs to the face.
"Well, this match isn't over till it's over!" Casey declared as she grabbed her bat. "It's my turn to bat! And this time I'm not striking out!"
True to her word, Casey was able to hit every single ball that came her way, sending them flying towards Team Rocket. And once we called upon some of our other Pokemon, it was only a matter of time before our respective starters were released.
"Glad you're back on the team, Pikachu!" I said happily as I caught my faithful partner.
"Chikorita!" Casey said as she caught her starter. "Are you ready to send 'em to the showers?"
Chiko!" the leaf Pokemon said excitedly. It then bounced down and joined up with Pikachu. And with a bit of combined power, the two of them sent Team Rocket flying!
"Looks like Team Rocket's striking out agaaaaiin!" they cried out as they vanished in the distance.
"Goodbye!" me and Casey said in unison. We then smiled as we gave each other a high-five, and I was mildly aware that Pikachu and Chikorita had done the same thing.
I have to say, Casey and I make a pretty good team.
Some time afterwards, we stood together at a fork in the road, ready to go our separate ways.
"Thanks again for accepting my apology, Ash," said Casey. "I never should've let those three crooks trick me into thinking you were a cheater."
"That's okay," I said with a laugh. "They used to trick me when I was a rookie too!"
"You?" Brock said sarcastically.
"But that was a long time ago, right Ash?" Misty said mischievously.
Geez. Can I never rely on my friends?
"If I try, just like the Electabuzz do, maybe someday I'll be a great trainer, just like you are, Ash!"
A great trainer… I'd always thought of myself as one, true. But there was just something about hearing it come from Casey. It was different from when I heard it from a Gym Leader, or from Brock or Misty. Especially Misty.
"Yeah," I said with a smile on my face. "And I'll start training harder, cause you're gonna be tough to beat!"
"Maybe we'll even battle each other in the Johto League!"
Battling Casey at the Johto league was something to look forward to, no doubt. And yet… could I really wait that long? She was so unlike any other trainer I'd ever met, but I just barely got to know her! And what if she didn't get all her badges in time? What if something else happens and we don't see each other?
I know I make a lot of rash decisions, and this one was probably one of the bigger ones. But there's no way I'm letting this chance go by!
"Hey, why don't you come with us?"
Casey's eyes widened, as did the eyes of Brock, Misty, and Pikachu.
"Come… with you?" she said in surprise.
"Yeah!" I replied. To be honest, I was still a bit unsure of the whole idea myself, but I really wanted her to come along. "I mean, it's a lot more fun to travel with friends! Take it from me, I've been traveling with Brock and Misty for a long time, and I'd never have made it this far without their help!"
"That's true," Misty said with a smirk. "With Ash's terrible sense of direction, he'd never make it anywhere."
"Well, you can't deny it would really help you," Brock said, just in time to prevent me and Misty from getting into another fight. "A rookie like you can learn a lot from more seasoned trainers like us. Personally, I think you'd be able to go a lot farther if you come with us!"
"Yeah!" said Misty. "And you'll never have to worry about being alone, because your friends will always have your back!"
You know what? My friends may be a pain to deal with sometimes, but I'm really glad they're here when I need them.
For a moment, Casey just looked at us in surprise. But then it quickly gave way to a smile.
"You know what? That sounds fun! Of course I'll go with you guys!"
As soon as I heard her say that, a huge smile crept onto my face.
"Awesome!" I said happily. "Welcome to the team, Casey!"
"Yeah!" said Misty. "We're going to have so much fun!"
"We're glad to have you along!" said Brock.
Casey grinned, then turned to face me. I blinked in surprise, and for the briefest of moments, my face felt just a tiny bit hotter than usual. Fortunately, it passed quickly, and I grinned back at her. Then we both raise up our hands and give each other a high-five.
I think my journey just got a whole lot more fun.
A/N: So, I've been having a bit a writing slump with An Unexpected Reunion, so I felt I should do something different for a change. And so I decided to try out something that I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I'm hoping that it turns out alright!
Yeah, as much as I love Amourshipping, my favorite Pokemon ship of all time has to be Baseballshipping. I think Casey and Ash have a lot in common together, and they would really work well as a couple. I also think Casey had a lot more potential than we got to see in the anime, so I wanted to see if I can do her justice. And also ship her with Ash.
(Also, fun fact: Ash's dub name was originally going to be Casey!)
Unfortunately, I have very limited knowledge of baseball, which is one of the main reasons I've never tried to write a Baseballshipping story before. So if anyone can help me with that, I'd greatly appreciate it!
Anyway, this story is probably going to have a very different style from AUR, but I still hope it's something that people will enjoy. So if you do, please make sure to tell me! We all love comments after all!