Chapter One: This Town Ain't Big Enough...
Most people left home so they had an excuse to get a pokemon. I, however, did the exact opposite: I got a pokemon so I could have an excuse to leave home.
Being a trainer was never one of my goals, but I'm not surprised I jumped on the opportunity when it came up. I was planning on running away from home anyway, so why not have some company while I was at it?
Now don't get me wrong: I'm not some ungrateful punk. I know what I should be thankful for and what my P's and Q's are. That's exactly why I was leaving.
I'd been thinking about it for a long time, though only now had I gathered up the nerve to actually do it. I always had some kind of excuse: that my mother needed me, that she was too vulnerable after my ingrate father up and abandoned us, that maybe I wasn't being logical...always some bullshit excuse to keep me cooped up in that cozy little corner of Pallet Town I was comfortable with. I was always a bit spineless; I could talk a good talk, if you pressed me, but that's all I was. Just a bastard girl with no guts and a big mouth. It was a temptation, but I knew I'd never get around to really doing it, so I never bothered. So I just ignored it.
This lasted for about...oh, a year or so. Up until the time where my mom's car got towed and she had half a nervous breakdown about our financial status, when I realized that we really couldn't go on like this. My mother had a hard enough time supporting us when my dad was pitching in, but now that she was supporting the two of us by herself? No way. I tried to get jobs, but businesses weren't interested in some minor without an education, and what I could get wasn't even close to enough. Neither of us would make it if we both were there.
So that's why I decided to run away: so that at least one of us would make it. I'd take my chances with the world while Mom got to enjoy the relief of half the financial burden. None of the kids liked me, I didn't have any big attachments here...no, no more Pallet for me. I was just doing everyone a favor. It was time for me to go.
...which raised a new problem: how the hell did I get out of there?
I stood there at the edge of town, shifting my feet nervously, fingering the straps of my bag full of everything I'd need for the journey ahead of me all the way to Saffron City. The road ahead was stuffed with tall, matted grass that stretched from one end of the path to the other in a tangled carpet, and in that jungle: pokemon. Rattata and Pidgey, specifically. You'd think a big human like me could just kick aside a little rat or bird or something, right? Ha...yeah, except Rattata could bite through your shoe and foot in one chomp, and Pidgey had a particular love of the eyes, hence their favorite place to scratch and kick sand in. So yeah, I could fend off rats and birds...if you gave me a machette. As it was, however...
But I'd come this far, and I couldn't just go back home. I'd left my note on the table for my mother, who was likely still asleep at this hour (I'd decided to leave at dawn), and if I turned back now, I knew I'd never have it in me to try again. So it was now or never.
Never wasn't an option, which meant I had to go now. Straight through the thicket, all the way to Viridian, through the forest, hitch hike my way to at least Cerulean from Pewter, then get to Saffron, where my new future lie. But to get there, I had to take my first step.
Inhaling a breath through my nose, I closed my eyes as I extended one foot-
"Wait! Don't go out!"
My heart nearly burst out of my chest - I thought for sure I'd been caught, that my plans were ruined - but the older man that ran up had a friendly, it not relieved, smile on his face. "Wild pokemon live in the tall grass - it's not safe to go out by yourself." He looked me over briefly as he panted from the short sprint up to me, no doubt noticing my traveling equipment and not seeing a belt lined with red and white orbs strapped to my waist. "You're leaving town, right? Do you have a pokemon with you?"
I cringed, looking enviously out to the grassy route ahead...damn, I needed to get out of there. The sooner the better. "I...yeah, I'm leaving town, but I don't have any pokemon."
Now that I stopped and thought about it, though, I was starting to realize how badly I'd need one. I'd be on foot most of the way to Saffron, and wild pokemon would jump out at anything that got too close to their territory...that, and all the stories about people who'd chanced it and ended up losing fingers and toes to rogue Rattata were starting to come back to me, and it really didn't do good for my faltering courage and resolve.
The older man shook his head. "That won't do, that won't do at all. You need your own pokemon for protection. I've got it - here, come with me!"
I don't know what compelled me to turn around and go after that guy. The implication of what he'd said just seemed too good to be true, and to be honest, I was kind of frightened at the possibility. I mean, I could barely look after a cat, let alone a sentient creature like a pokemon. But really, I didn't have much of a choice; he was right: it wasn't safe. Going it on my own would be suicidal at best. But then again, I couldn't just take another person with me, and I didn't know where to find a...wait, did this guy just offer me..? No, he couldn't have. But here I was, following him, still not believing my ears but too tempted to resist...
He led me back to a big building on the edge of the neighborhood not far from where he stopped me, at which point I realized this old, joyful man must be Professor Oak. I thought it was odd I didn't recognize him...everyone always said he had a fierce quality to him that would belong to a past Champion, but I didn't see it. He was just an old guy with white hair and an energy level above that of what he should have. Wait, Oak...it rang a bell somewhere else. Who else did I know...
As he led me back inside his lab, the whiny voice, haughty look, and spiky hair reminded me of exactly who else I knew with Oak as a last name: Geki. That is, the most obnoxious, arrogant, preppy pretty-boy prick in Pallet.
He looked surprised to see me, though I failed to meet his gaze to confirm it. "Geez, I should have know: too busy rounding up strays to pay attention to your poor, neglected grandson..."
"Mm, the poor boy. When you find him, be sure to send him my way."
I stifled a laugh at that. Geki shot me a look, then looked back to his grandpa. "Speaking of which, why is she here? I'm getting my trainer's license today, not her. And I thought you said I get a pokemon?"
Oak politely ignored him as he returned his attention to me. "Now then," he said professionally, standing up a bit straighter. "Why don't you tell me your name, miss?"
I paused for a moment, then stuttered, "Uh...R-Rein. Rein Green...uh, sir."
Oak nodded, then walked over to his desk, where he wrote something down on a plastic card, which he returned to show me. "This," he explained, "will be your license. It will allow you to carry up to a team of six pokemon, and will grant you official recognition in the Indigo League as a pokemon trainer. Wherever you're traveling, having this, along with a team of other pokemon, will be a great help to you. It may even open up doors to some opportunities you've never considered...in fact, judging by your expression, I'd say you never even considered this one! Am I right?"
Geki's sniggering pulled me out of my stupor, and I realized that I had been staring with wide eyes and an ajar mouth. I had almost started drooling. My face heated up as I stammered back my anxious reply: "E-er...yes, I-I mean, no...I mean..."
Oak merely chuckled with a friendly smile. "It's quite alright, I realize this may be a bit sudden. But if I'm going to lend you a pokemon, I figure it might as well be official. After all, it'd be a shame to give you one if it's just going to get taken away, correct?"
It took a full second for me to register what he'd said, at which point my head shot up, my eyes as wide as salad bowls, blush forgotten. "Wait...you mean you're giving me a...pokemon?"
Geki seemed equally surprised, though considerably more displeased. "No way, gramps, this ain't fair! This is my big day!"
"And how, pray tell," Oak replied calmly to his grandson, "would it be fair if I let this young lady walk out into the wild by herself with no way to protect herself from wild pokemon?"
Geki couldn't argue with that, though he loathed to admit it for certain. He just stuffed his hands in his pockets and shut up for a little while, which was always a plus. I hated that guy.
Oak looked back to me now. "Anyway...I'll give you a pokemon, along with your license. However, because you haven't taken three-month training course as of yet, you'll need to get a suggestion from the regional pokemon professor in order to get one...which, coincidentally, would be me." He smiled, expression bearing a mixture of pride and friendliness. "Basically, you do me a favor, and I give you a free pass to the world of pokemon. Whether you take up the opportunities out there or not is up to you; either way, it'd be best if you have a pokemon to go with you, wherever you take yourself. Sound fair?"
Fair? Hell, this was even better than anything I could have dreamed of! "Hell yes! I-I mean, uh, yes, uh, sir."
Oak seemed pleased...or amused. Whatever worked. "Excellent! Here, I have a selection of pokemon out on the table here, so you just take a look at them and tell me which one strikes your fancy..."
Geki seemed outraged. "Whoa, whoa, hold on! What about me? Why does she get to go first?"
Oak sighed. "Be patient, Gary. Have a little courtesy for our guest here; I believe her situation's a little more pressing than your own."
What he said could have hinted at prior knowledge of me, but I disregarded it, too busy eying the three spheres of hope and opportunity - within which held a companion, any of which could be my own - on the table thus mentioned. "What are they?"
"Well, why don't you find out for yourself? Bring them out!"
I was hesitant for a minute, handing the first sphere like it was made of glass and it might shatter in my hands, but one push of the central button was all it took to...shrink the sphere to the size of a marble. "Uh..."
Geki burst out into laughter; Oak smiled patiently. "Press the button to enlarge it again, then toss it out in front of you. Be sure not to hit anything."
I nodded, trying to disregard how embarrassing it was to be a rookie. I tapped the button once more, made sure not to drop the thing as it expanded spontaneously in my hands, then tossed the pokeball out in front of me, going for the middle of the room. "Go, uh...whoever you are!"
As if on command, the pokeball cracked in half and spilled white light onto the floor, which eventually shifted and formed into a small, quadrupedal creature with sharp crimson eyes and green skin, a big bulb of some unknown plant type growing directly out of its back. It stretched out with a yawn, stubby little legs extending to their full length, then looked up to me, inquiring in a groggy voice, "Saur?"
I think I fell in love immediately, and not just because it was the first pokemon I'd ever seen both of its kind and that hadn't jumped out and tried to eat me. On top of everything else, it was adorable, and it could be mine. That possibility alone would have been enough to seal the deal, even if the other two pokemon had been the most incredible living creatures on the face of the earth. "Yes. I want him."
Oak arched an eyebrow and gestured to the other pokeballs. "Are you sure? Grass-types are easiest to raise, but there are two pokemon still to choose from over here..."
"No, really. I want him. He's perfect."
Bulbasaur looked rather happy to receive this praise. Oak's lips twitched upright slightly, a ghost of a smile flashing over his features.
As for Geki, he seemed a bit more impatient. "Gramps! I'm sick of waiting!"
Oak sighed wearily. "Fine, Geki, you can choose yours now. I didn't realize you were having a Tauros."
I snickered at this, though Geki ignored me, already swooping over to the remainder pokeballs to make his pick. "Yes! Gramps, which one's Charmander?"
I didn't pay attention after that, going down to my knees to address the little green pokemon staring up at me with curious red eyes. "Hey little guy," I said, offering my hand to him; I didn't know a whole lot about his species or pokemon in general, so I didn't know if he'd want to sniff my hand or hear me talk or what. They seemed a lot like animals to me, but I'd heard that they had the same sentience of people, if not greater. "I'm Rein. Nice to meet you."
Bulbasaur looked a little bit unsure at first, though he eventually did smile, nudging my hand with his head, which prompted me to start to pet his scaly skin. I'm not one for cutesy things, but you have to admit: Bulbasaur are adorable. Look at his little face! Who could turn down that for something probably uglier and less friendly?
Actually, the other two pokemon were kind of cute, too. The first one Geki hungrily grabbed was a small blue turtle, which inquired "Squirtle?" as it looked up to Geki hopefully. Something about this must have been unsatisfactory, though, because Geki withdrew it immediately in a red flash and grabbed the other pokeball, which brought out an orange lizard with a fire on its tail and a small, innocent voice and blue eyes. It, too, looked rather cute, and it must have been the one Geki was looking for, because he was all over it, already preaching on about how badass his "future dragon" would be and how he could "own half of Kanto with this thing!" Neither Oak nor I paid much attention; I was too busy getting to know my little companion, which Oak watched with an odd sort of curiosity and...approval, almost. He wasn't really scary, but there was definitely an element of Oak that I didn't quite get...
After that, Oak gave me my assignment: a package in Viridian I was supposed to pick up and bring back to him. In return, not only would I receive my license, but the very same Bulbasaur I was looking at and petting and oh god I loved him already. I had already picked out a name for him: Tyler. I asked Tyler what he thought of the name, and he smiled and cheered "Bulba-saur!" in reply, which I guessed was approval. I committed the name to memory, because I was going to be using it for a while.
Before Tyler and I could leave, however, Geki jumped out in front of us, his newly acquired orange lizard under his arm, who was trying its best not to burn its new trainer. "Hold it! Let's have a battle to see which of our pokemon is toughest!"
I may have been a pokemon newbie, but I wasn't stupid: any idiot could have told you that a fiery lizard against another lizard with a bulb on its back was bad news. Despite my protests, Geki practically chucked his Charmander onto the floor, who managed to land without falling flat on its face, though there was a black mark on the floor where its fire touched. Despite the obvious disadvantage, both with the pokemon and Geki's experience over the lack of mine, Tyler bounded forward with a "Saur, sa!", thus accepting the challenge. I groaned and predicted the outcome: an absolute disaster. Oak just stepped aside to watch and shook his head with a sigh.
I had played enough pokemon games to have a basic understanding of moves, plus what they did, plus maybe even a primordial variation or two of a genuine battle strategy. Apart from that, however, I was completely lost, which Tyler must have picked up on, as he looked back at me with a confident smile and an expectant look in his eyes. I realized then that he was waiting for me to give him a command. "Uh...Growl!"
My first ever command to a real pokemon seemed like a pretty useless one: Tyler growled more cutely than anything else, and Geki's Charmander didn't seem phased in the slightest. Its trainer let out a laugh and stabbed a finger at my pokemon. "Charmander, Scratch!"
The move was exactly what you'd expect: the Charmander dashed forward, did a jump, and slashed its little claws across Tyler's nose, drawing blood in a trio of fine lines. The guy was a trooper, though, because he took the hit and shoved the lizard back, even before I ordered for him to Tackle it.
The battle was pretty simple, since neither of our pokemon knew any good moves: Tyler rushed in and Tackled as Geki ordered his Charmander to Scratch, exchanging one blow for another in rapid succession. It seemed like my first order had paid off, though, because it seemed - at least, to me - that Charmander wasn't doing as much damage as he possibly could. Granted every Scratch still drew blood, but both he and Tyler seemed...equal. Which was surprising, considering the obvious advantages he held over the quadrupedal Grass-type. He would have been stronger otherwise; if not for the Growl, I might have lost.
As bruises and scratches and bloody marks started to add up, both pokemon were starting to lose their momentum. Pumped and eager for the finishing blow, both Geki and I ordered our pokemon to attack in unison, which led for a full-on collision between the two starters that ended with both of them crashing to the ground in a Scratched, Tackled heap, both of them gasping and covered in bruised and bleeding injuries. They looked totally spent.
I was hysterical with worry at the sight. "Oshit, Tyler!" I cried, rushing forward - Geki blurted something about not going out onto the field, but I ignored him, carefully moving both pokemon bodies apart so they weren't laying atop each other. "Shit, shit! Are you okay?"
Tyler was obviously spent and tired, but he managed to pull himself to his feet, one foot raised slightly up off the ground in a shaky stance. "Bul saur, bulba," he said with a grin, looking down confidently at the Charmander beneath him, who was groaning and rolling onto its side in pain. It was obvious what he'd said: Of course I'm alright: we won. You could just tell by his expression.
My worry faltered enough for me to let out a laugh, scooping up the scratched and battered Bulbasaur into my arms, not minding the small speckles of blood he left on my shirt. It hadn't been ten minutes since I'd met him, but I already loved that little Bulbasaur to bits.
Geki didn't seem so pleased. "WHAT! Are you kidding me? Goddammit, I picked the wrong pokemon!"
I gave him the finger and walked out, accepting a Potion to clean up Tyler's wounds from the aide who had been watching the battle from the doorway, then happily walked back the way I'd come with a spring in my step, a Bulbasaur confidently marching along beside me.
Here I was, Rein Green: local runaway and school dropout, and I couldn't be more proud of myself. Now all I had to do was rush home and pray my mom hadn't woken up and seen the note I'd left on the table: there had been a change of plans.
So, here's my first chapter. Short chapter is short, yes, but all Nuzlocke fics must start somewhere! Let there be awesome!
Lemme know what you think: I'm unusually enthusiastic for this one. :3