Title: The Other Kids From Pallet
Plot, or Lack Thereof: Parallel adventures of the Charmander and Bulbasaur trainers, as well as a good dose of cynical worldbuilding.
Reason for Banishment: Lost steam, and the whole “darker and edgier” shtick ended up being a lot shallower than advertised.
Chapter 0: The Journey Begins
With a sigh, Will turned off the television and slumped into the sofa. Watching Professor Oak’s special on Pokémon was pointless: he had already memorized all the stats on every species documented so far and there was no way his overprotective aunt would let him out of the house until he was eighteen.
It’s so unfair! That jerk Gary and that wannabe Ash are both going tomorrow! He traced the hand-stitched “L” on the cap that his aunt had made for his birthday. I’ll never hear the end of it from those two once they come back.
“Willow~~” a melodic voice resembling his sister’s floated in from the door. “Guess who’s back?”
“Cherry!” In what felt like a single leap, Will had jumped off the couch and bounded into his sister’s arms.
“Hold on there, squirt, you’re getting too big for me!” Laughing, Cherry leaned to one side and staggered, placing her suitcases down before she pulled Will into a crushing hug. “Hey. Didja miss me?”
“Well, duh,” Will answered, squirming his way out of Cherry’s arms.
“Cherry, darling!” Still wiping her hands on her apron, Florinda peered out from the kitchen. “I thought I heard you coming in! You must be starved! I’ll be right out with food, and then you can tell us about your trip!”
“That’s all right, Auntie, I had dinner in Viridian.” Cherry gave her aunt a quick hug. “Uh, about what we discussed over the phone—”
“I don’t want him to go, of course.” Florinda sighed. “I know how much he’s been looking forward to it, and I know you can take care of him.” she sighed again. “But I still worry.”
Cherry sighed as well, remembering the long debate she’d already waged earlier. “Is this a yes or no?”
Florinda sighed a third time. “Will, could you go to the living room and wait for a few moments?”
“Uh, okay,” Will answered, not entirely certain what was going on, but obeying anyway.
About five minutes later, Florinda entered with a cake. “Happy birthday to you,” she sang softly, fighting tears.
“You live in a zoo,” Cherry joined in, grinning and holding something behind her back. “Happy belated, little bro.”
Will felt his heart skip a beat as Cherry handed him a small, rectangular-shaped box. “Is this—” he began, not quite daring to finish the sentence.
Cherry’s eyes twinkled. “Why don’t you open it?”
Breathlessly, Will attacked the box, letting the wrapping fly everywhere as he tore into it. He let out an exuberant whoop as the packaging gave way under his eagerness and he recognized his present.
“A Pokedex! WOOHOO!” Dancing, Will nearly bowled Cherry over and embraced her tightly. “Cherry, you’re the best!”
“You’d better start packing, Will,” Cherry managed to gasp out. “You don’t want to be late when Professor Oak gives out his Pokémon tomorrow.”
“That’s right!” Will let go and rushed upstairs in a hurry, thinking of all the stuff that he was going to take with him, ignoring his aunt’s shouted advice about being a thoughtful packer.
“Morning, Professor Oak!” Will shouted, skipping into the Professor’s lab, blinking at the bright lights. Behind him, a not-quite-awake Cherry trudged along, muttering about not sharing her brother’s boundless energy. “Come on, Cherry, hurry up!”
“Ah, morning!” Professor Oak waved at them from the back of the room. “I’ll be with you in a moment!”
“I told you we were too early,” Cherry yawned, stretching.
“It’s all right,” Professor Oak said. “I knew you kids would be too excited to sleep, so I’ve been expecting you! Both of you getting Pokémon today?”
“Yup!” Will beamed. “I’m gonna be the greatest Pokémon Master ever!”
“And I’ll be getting the practical field experience I’ll need to be a nurse,” Cherry added.
Professor Oak nodded with approval. “Great to see you two youngsters so fired up about Pokémon.” He gestured towards the display that held the special Pokéballs which held the starters. “Right this way, please.”
Will’s expression changed from excitement to dismay as he saw who was already there waiting for him. “Gary!”
“Well, if it isn’t the resident otaku, who’s such a baby that he needs his big sister to come along with him,” Gary sneered, crossing his arms.
“Gary,” Professor Oak began in a warning tone. “I’ll have none of that in here.”
“Sorry,” Gary apologized while his body language indicated that he was anything but remorseful.
“Just ignore him, Will, and pick your Pokémon,” Cherry urged.
Shooting glares at Gary, Will went to the table. “I choose Charmander!” he declared, picking out the Pokeball labeled by a flame, still giving Gary the dirty eye. “He’s the strongest!”
“Ha!” Gary scoffed. “Any real Pokémon expert would know that Squirtle is the most obedient and easiest to train!” Taking big, confident strides, the boy grabbed the Pokeball labeled by a water droplet.
“Any Pokémon would be friendly and loyal if it were treated well,” Cherry pointed out, reaching towards the last Pokeball remaining, running her hand over the leaf engraved on it.
“That’s right,” Professor Oak agreed. “Pokémon shouldn’t just be trained, they should also be cared for.”
The two boys, however, were too busy trying to out brag the other to listen.
“Oh, yeah?” Will challenged. “I’ll bet my Charmander is way stronger than your Squirtle any day!”
“Why don’t we find out!” Throwing his Pokeball in a rather aggressive manner, Gary called out Squirtle.
“You’ll be sorry you said that! Go, Charmander!”
“Oww!” Will winced as Cherry applied the ice pack to his black eye.
“Serves you right for being such a sore loser,” Cherry scolded.
“Shut up!” Will snapped. “Gary was the one who started it!”
Cherry rolled her eyes. “Whatever. Just be glad that Auntie wasn’t there to see it. She would’ve grounded you for life.”
Will slugged Cherry in the arm. “Shut up.”
Cherry sighed, dabbing at Will’s injury, and decided that a change of topic was necessary. “You want to go get breakfast in Viridian,” she grinned at him. “Or do you mind hazarding my cooking?”
Will made a face. “I guess I’d have to get used to it sooner or later.”
Cherry chuckled. “I’ll get a fire going.”
“Nothing but Pidgey, Spearow, and Rattata,” Will sighed, putting down his binoculars.
“Maybe more will show up when they smell my scrambled eggs,” Cherry joked, gesturing to the yellow and white mass frying in the small pan.
Will declined to comment, instead continuing to scan his surroundings. At the horizon, he could just make out the edge of Viridian City. He imagined himself strutting out of the Viridian Gym, badges shining in the sun, then marching towards Indigo Plateau to participate in the Pokémon League, and finally showing Gary just who turned out to be the better trainer in the end.
“Do you think Dad’ll be proud of me?” he wondered out loud, lowering his binoculars.
“I’m sure he is,” Cherry answered after a slight hesitation.
Will took up his binoculars again. “Maybe we can go visit him when we’re in Celadon City?”
Another hesitation. “Maybe.”
His stomach now filled, Will began to inch his way into the taller grass as to stalk the Pokémon he had spotted earlier. Some of them looked small enough for his Charmander to gain experience on, while others were just about the right sizes for him to catch.
One particular Pidgey caught his attention. “Hey, sis,” he called, waving to Cherry.
Cherry looked up from the book she was reading. “What’s up?”
Will pointed. “Come here and take a look at this Pidgey.”
“Just a sec.” Cherry settled next to Will and waited for him to pass her the binoculars. “Yeah, what about it?”
“I think it has a broken wing. Its color is all gray and stuff and it’s acting real weird.”
“Hm, you’re right,” Cherry agreed, observing the Pidgey in action. “And its wing is definitely bent unnaturally.” She put the binoculars down. “So you actually remembered all that stuff you saw in those nature programs?” she smirked. “Too bad you can’t be this enthusiastic about school.”
More concerned about the Pidgey at this moment, Will resigned himself with just a nasty glare at Cherry and snatched the binoculars back. Peering through again, he noticed that the Pidgey was trying to fly away with its good wing and calling for help. However, there were no other of its kind in sight, and the noise just attracted the attention of a group of Rattata.
“Oh, no!” Jumping up, Will ran towards the Ratatta, hoping to scare them away by the ruckus he was making. “Shoo! Shoo! Go away! Scram!”
“Will! Come back here!” Cherry shouted, but Will kept going. Meanwhile, the Rattata were indeed startled by the noise, but instead of fleeing, they banded together and returned Will’s yells with their own clamor. Judging from the fierceness of the pack, Will guessed that he was intruding on their territory.
“I’m not afraid of you bullies!” Will removed his hat and began waving it. “Why don’t you go pick on someone your own size!”
The Rattata responded by chattering even louder, puffing themselves up and making their fur stand on end. Meanwhile, Will inched towards the Pidgey while maintaining intense eye contact on the Rattata.
“You’re going to be okay,” he said as he squatted down and took the trembling bird into his arms. “I’ve got you now.” Still staring down the Rattata, Will rose to his feet and made his way back to his sister.
Dedicated to my annoying but cute little brother, who inadvertently got me hooked onto the game when he got Pokémon Blue for his Gameboy, and then introduced me to the anime when he started following it almost religiously. He also began acting out mini-stories where he was out on his own adventures (and of course promptly wiping the floor with everybody that came his way), planting the seeds for my own version of his story. Much of Will’s personality is based on my brother’s, but Cherry is a heck of a lot more patient than I’ll ever be.
This would have been mostly an exercise in world- building based loosely on Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow and the first season of the anime (since that’s what I’m most familiar with), as well as explore some serious topics that are not really dealt with by the Pokémon universe (at the time; turns out the Pokemon Special mangas covered most of the topics I woud’ve wanted to address in the ‘fic). Here are a few plot points that I played around with:
─Will and Cherry’s father being a top aide of Team Rocket (and they run into him when they infiltrate Silph Co. along with Ash, Misty and Brock)
─Will showing more signs of a “dark side” (overly competitive, wanting to win at any cost, violent, etc.)
─Endangered species, poaching (with real deaths besides the Marowak)
─A kidnapping/slavery ring run by Team Rocket
─Pokémon abuse (physical, emotional, and psychological)