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The Journey

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Chapter one
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Pallet Town

It was the dawn of my eleventh birthday when I woke up to the cooing of my Pidgy alarm clock. I rolled over to watch the clock as the little golden Pokémon flapped its mechanical wings and cooed loudly into the semi-darkness of the room. The time was displayed on the Pidgy’s stomach, reading six thirty-seven. I was an hour early, just as I had planned; I needed time to pack my bag one last time as well as get ready. Granted, I could do all that after I got my starter Pokémon, but I wanted to get my journey started A.S.A.P. I was eleven years old; I was tired of having to be trapped in my house with my parents, no matter how much I loved them.

I pressed the button between the Pidgy’s feet and let my arm fall back down to my side. The posters of the three starter Pokémon every kid had hung in their room stood out against my purple colored walls parallel to my pillow. Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander; all such cute, powerful Pokémon – I loved them all – amazing and unique from one another. It had taken me so long to figure out which one I really wanted as my new partner, but I chose one, and I can’t wait to start my new life with the little guy. The world beyond my front door is a strange and mysterious place, and I can’t wait to explore!

Climbing out of bed, I stripped of my shirt and threw it over the foot of my bed near where my backpack was hanging. The bathroom was just across the hall and as soon as the door was shut and locked, I started up the water until it was luke-warm. I threw my pants and boxers towards the door in a pile and stepped into the tub. The shower was quick and I finished in five minutes, stepping out and toweling off before making my way back across the hall with the towel wrapped around my waste. I had my outfit hung in my closet, one my mom had bought me last week for my birthday; I had pointed it out in a magazine that I’ve been looking at for at least a year.

It was mostly black, the pants a jean-like material with dark purple strips down the side of the legs. The jacket was equal parts of purple and black and my belt was solid black. The jacket had a purple and silver Pokéball embroidered on the breast. My backpack was completely purple with the three small pockets on the two sides and the very front a midnight black. I loved the look of it and it fit me very well with my messy black hair and dark blue eyes; it somehow made me look older, more mature. The moment it arrived in the mail and I put it on, I was ready to go. The excitement built up as I looked myself over in the mirror and I knew I was ready to take on whatever the world had to throw at me.

“Victor!”

I turned from the mirror to see my father standing in the doorway. He had a smile on his face and a Pikachu sat excitedly on his shoulder. His messy black hair – much like mine – was pressed down by a cap and his hands were behind his back as he shifted from foot to foot in what was no doubt eagerness. Yes, my father was non-other than the famous Ash Ketchum, Pokémon master. And I was non-other than Victor Ketchum, son of Ash and Misty – Water type master and member of the League Four. An understatement would be to say that my parents were going to be hard to live up to on my journey.

“Victor, mother has breakfast ready,” Father said, taking a step into my room. “But first…” He pulled his hands from behind his back and handed me a small box. He chuckled as I shook it gently. “Don’t open it just yet; I want your mother to see your reaction since she helped buy it as well.”

I nodded and followed my father out of the room and down the hall to the kitchen. Mother was just putting two bowls of Pokéfood down next to a pile of pancakes. Togepi sat on the table, a piece of food already clutched in its little hands. It made a high little chirping noise in delight as I entered and father sat down next to the second bowl. Pikachu jumped off his shoulder and sat down next to the little egg-like Pokémon, raising his paw in greeting.

I sat down across the table from the two Pokémon – who were happily eating – and stacked three pancakes on my plate, followed by syrup. Mother joined us and I smiled at her.

“Happy birthday, sweetie,” she said, messing up my already messy hair as she passed. She pressed a light kiss to the crown of my head and I groaned through a bite of pancake that I had shoved into my mouth. She just chuckled and went to take her seat. “Are you excited about leaving for your journey?”

“Very!” I exclaim, nodding as I swallow. “I hope to become a Pokémon master one day; just like you, dad!”

“And we know you’ll make it, sweetie,” my mom said, her smile growing as I grew more and more excited.

“I’m not so sure,” my dad piped up, smirking as I turn to him with a confused look on my face.

“Do you not think I can do it?” I muttered, heart sinking into my stomach. He chuckled.

“Well, in order to gain title of Pokémon master, you do have to battle and beat me,” he smirked, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’ll have a long way to go by the time you walk out this door till you get to face me.”

“One day,” I said, balling my hand into a fist and letting a smile cross my face, “I will battle you, father! And I. Will. Win!”

Misty laughed quietly behind me and I turned to see what she was laughing at. “He is your son, Ash,” she said fondly. “He sounds just like you when you were his age.”

“He really does,” my father nodded. “Who knows, maybe one day you will be Pokémon master; you defiantly have the same fire I did when I was starting my journey.”

I shoved the final bite of pancake into my mouth and stood, depositing my plate into the sink. I came back over to the table and my father handed me the box again.

“Open it,” he said as I pulled at the string that held the box lid down.

It fell open and I let it fall to the table, lifting the lid off the box. I pulled out a small watch-looking device and stared at it for a moment before realizing it was on. “A Xtransceiver! No way!” I eagerly clipped it onto my wrist and watched it start up, the screen lighting up quickly.

“We thought you could use it to call home,” Ash said, watching as I stare at the screen.

“But how did you guys get this?” I asked, looking from my mother to my father. “You can’t find them in these parts!”

“I have a few friends across the seas and they sent it over to me,” my father said, shrugging one shoulder. “It was no big deal.”

“Thank you so much!” I said, beaming. I looked at the Xtransceiver and noted the time. “Oh! I have to go! Professor Oak is expecting me!”

“Tell Gary I say hi,” my father said over his shoulder as I started toward the front door. I nodded at him and pulled the door open, taking off from my front door and sprinting down the road towards the lab.

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A small crowd of about six other kids stood around the entrance to the lab and Gary Oak stood on the steps, a great, white lab coat hung down to his knees and his spiky brown hair was swept slightly to the right as though he’s been running his hand through his hair. He looked up from the crowd of kids and smiled at me as I came to a halt.

“Why, Victor Ketchum, nice to see you here. Is today really the day you start out on your Pokémon journey already? It seems like just yesterday you were born,” Professor Oak said with a grin.

“Yes, sir,” I said, my heart pounding in my chest as reality caught up to me. I was really going to be getting my first Pokémon today, the one I’ve been dreaming of getting for so long now. “My dad says hi, by the way.”

“How is Ash, anyway?” Oak asked, motioning for everyone to follow him into his lab and waiting for me to catch up and walk next to him. “I haven’t seen him in so long.”

“He’s fine, thank you,” I said, taking a quick look around the lab before turning my attention back to Professor Oak.

“And Pikachu?”

“Perky as ever.”

“Great to hear.”

Gary led the seven of us back into the back of the lab were a table held three Pokéballs. There was a door to the right and he waved us in there, following right behind. The seven of us sat down on the set of couches that sat in three-fourths of a box and Gary stood before us.

“Welcome young trainers,” he greeted, his hands sliding into his lab coat and pulling out a Pokéball. “Today is the day you start a new chapter in your life. You begin your Pokémon journey and go on your way with a new life partner, off to explore what this amazing, mysterious world has to offer and discover the secrets that these amazing creatures have in store.” He held out the Pokéball in his hand and released the Pokémon inside. A little blue ball landed on the floor next to his feet, several long, green leaves unfolding from its head and stretching up towards the ceiling. “This little guy is called an Oddish, he’s a grass type Pokémon and someone you can expect to see in the near future. Hey, Oddish, why don’t you greet the new trainers?”

The little Pokémon jumped into the middle of the seats and spun around, releasing a light pink vapor from its leaves. It was a sugary smelling odor and I breathed it in deeply; some of the girls in the room made little satisfying noises and cooed at the Pokémon as it finished and bounced back to Gary’s side.

“This little Oddish just used Sweet Scent, a move that lets the Pokémon release a savory scent into the air that attracts wild Pokémon within the area. It’s a very useful move when you want to try and catch a new member to your team, but use it wisely. Pokémon like Oddish are out to assist you in your journey and hopefully become some of your closest friends. Today, we want to supply you with a beginning Pokémon to start you off on your journey. You have a choice of Squirtle, Bulbasaur, or Charmander; water type, grass type, or fire type respectively. You’ll each get a chance to come with me into the lab you just walked through and get to meet these three Pokémon. We’ll start with you, Mary, since you arrived first.”

A girl with light brown hair stood from the couch next to me and followed Gary into the room next door. Slowly, one by one, the trainers all followed Gary into the lab next door, leaving me until I was the last one sitting on the couches. Finally, Gary came back into the room and looked at me with a smile on his lips.

“Victor, if you will,” he said, motioning for me to follow him.

I stood quickly and followed him into the lab next door. Three Pokémon stood in the middle of the lab, the Bulbasaur and Squirtle playing together and the Charmander sitting just a little ways off, its tail in its hands as he played with the fire on the tip. I looked at Gary as he sighed, staring at the little fire Pokémon.

“I’m afraid no one even looked at Charmander today,” Gary muttered, watching as the fire Pokémon breathed on its tail, making the flames dance. “He just was sort of ignored this entire time.”

I took my gaze from Gary to glance at the fire type before looking back up at Gary. I started to walk towards the Charmander, who looked up from its tail as I approached, a hopeful glint in its eyes.

“Hey little guy,” I smile, knelling down and holding out my hand for the Charmander to examine. “What do you say? Want to come with me?”

The Charmander just stared at me for a long moment, head tilted slightly to the side. It dropped its tail and it fell to the floor with a small thud, his little hands reached out to my hand and took hold of it, pulling me closer. It sniffed me a few times before standing and beaming up at me, still holding my hand. The fire type let out a cheerful cry and bounced up my arm to wrap itself around my shoulders, the fire of its tail surprisingly not catching my clothes or hair on fire.

I laughed as the Charmander nuzzled into my neck and reached up to scratch its head. “I’ll take that as a yes, then?” I said and the Charmander called out in excitement.

“You know you don’t have to feel bad for him, right?” Gary said, walking over to us and petting the Charmander’s head. “Don’t feel obligated to take Charmander if he’s not the one you want.”

“I’ve thought long and hard about this, Professor,” I said, shaking my head. “Charmander was the one I wanted to pick anyway. It was just meant to end up this way.”

Gary nodded in understanding and turned his attention to the Charmander. “I’ll go grab your Pokéball than and you two can begin out on your Pokémon journey.” He went over to the table and grabbed Charmander’s Pokéball, passing it to me. “I also want you to take these,” he said, pulling out five Pokéballs and handing them to me. “It’s not much, but you might run into a wild Pokémon or two that you want to catch between here and Viridian City. My suggestion would be to purchase some more at the Viridian City Pokémart, you should never be without Pokéballs for you never know when you run into a Pokémon you’d like to add to your team.”

I nodded and put the Pokéballs in my pocket. “Thank you so much,” I said, hooking Charmander’s Pokéball onto my belt and making sure it was secure. “I’ll make sure I take good care of him.”

“I know you will,” Gary said, leading me towards the exit of the lab. “Tell Ash I said hi, and send my regards to Misty as well.”

“Of course,” I said, starting in the direction of home. “Thank you, Professor!”

“See you soon, Victor! Stay safe!” Professor Oak called, waving after me.

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“Let me see which Pokémon you chose!” Misty called as I closed the door behind me and took a step towards the kitchen.

Pikachu bounced towards me and cried up at me, waving its arms at the Charmander that sat on my shoulder.

“Pika! Pika!” It cried, getting down on all fours and bouncing back into the kitchen. I followed the little yellow mouse and heard an excited gasp as I entered.

“Oh! Look, Ash, it’s a Charmander! He’s so cute!” Misty cooed, coming over to get a closer look and reaching out so the fire type could smell her hand. Charmander stood up a little on my shoulder to rub against her hand and she giggled. “I always had a soft spot in my heart for the little Charmanders.”

The Charmander climbed down off my shoulder and walked slowly over to where Pikachu and Togepi sat together by the table. Pikachu raised its hand in greeting, squeaking a cheerful hello as Togepi did a little dance, waving its arms around and cheerfully chanting its name. The Charmander looked between the two Pokémon for a moment before smiling and singing out its name in a high, cheerful tone. It sat down with the mouse and egg-like Pokémon and they all waved their arms around in excited greetings.

“They all seem to be getting along well,” I commented, watching as Pikachu handed Charmander a piece of his food to eat. Charmander took it gratefully and happily ate it.

“What made you choose Charmander?” Ash asked as he leaned up against a wall and watched the Pokémon, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I don’t know really,” I admitted, Charmander looking up at me and waving its arms happily.

“Char! Charmander! Char!” It cheered, standing and running over to me while still waving its arms. I giggled and bent down to pick up the little Pokémon.

“Charmanders are strong and make for a great beginning Pokémon; not to mention when they fully evolve into a Charizard – the thing is a freaking power house. Plus I love fire types, and a flying fire type will be really useful!” I said, watching the Charmander as it blinked at me with that smile still pasted on its face. I placed him on my head and let him get himself comfortable on top of my mess of hair. “I’ve always thought it’d be cool to be able to ride a Charizard. I know you have one, right, Dad?”

“Yeah, I do,” Ash nodded, reaching out his hand for the Charmander to smell before scratching its little head. “It was a pain and a half to train, though. Make sure you’re ready for that and always hold Charmander’s trust.”

“I will,” I nodded, squeezing past my parents and running up the stairs. I grabbed my backpack and put the empty Pokéballs into the front pocket, zipping up the last few zippers and slinging the bag onto my back. I ran back downstairs to where my parents were still standing around the front door. “I’m going to take good care of Charmander, and I know he’ll do the same for me, right little buddy?”

“Char!” Charmander cheered with a nod.

“And Victor,” Misty chimed in, turning to start to head up the stairs. “Your father and I got you another gift.”

I waited with raised eyebrows as Misty ran up the stairs and came back moments later with a little silver wrapped box in her hand. She handed it to me with a grin and I started to open it. I lifted the lid to see a square-ish red device. I gasp as I realize what it is.

“A Poké-dex? I can’t believe it!” I said, taking the device out of the box and flipping the lid open. “I didn’t think they made these anymore!”

“They don’t,” Ash said, chuckling and clapping me on the shoulder. “That actually used to be mine. I had Gary wipe it clean for you so you could fill it once more. It helped me many times on my journey and I figured it could do the same for you.”

“Thank you so much!” I said, giving Ash a tight hug around the waste before pulling back and pressing a button to boot up the system.

“I am Dexter,” a computerized voice stated clearly, a picture of me pulling up onto the screen. “I belong to Victor Ketchum, trainer of Pallet town.” It went on to list all my information and a smile crept across my face as it finished up.

“Thank you so much guys!” I said, pocketing the device and smiling more as the weight of the device rested against my thigh. “I’ll defiantly use it!”

“Well, I hope so! Take good care of it, now, and fill it up just like I did on my journey,” my father said, nodding at me as my mother came up to me and hugged me tightly.

“We’re going to miss you,” she said, pulling away as her eyes watered a bit, a smile still on her lips. “Make sure to call us when you get to Viridian and let us know how the two of you are doing.”

“I will,” I nodded, Charmander cooing on top of my head and raising one of it’s paws.

“You’re going to take care of my Victor, aren’t you, Charmander?” Misty said, scratching Charmander’s head gently.

“Char Char!” Charmander said happily, leaning into my mother’s touch until she pulled away and moved over to my father.

“Be careful out there, son,” my father said, “and catch many Pokémon on your way. They won’t just be your partners, but they will be some of your best friends as time wears on. And know, whatever Pokémon you send back to Gary, we’ll be here to take care of and check up on as well.”

“Thanks guys!” I said, opening the front door and taking a step outside, my parents following me to the front door to see me off down the path. “I’ll call you when I reach Viridian!”

“Bye, Victor!” My mother called out, waving before she fitted herself into my father’s side, his arm curling around her as they waved goodbye.

As I started down the road, the cool morning air blew across my face and messed up my already messy black hair. Charmander was a warm weight half on my shoulder, half on top of my head, his little paws holding on each side of my head so he didn't fall off and his tail wrapped down around my shoulder like a scarf. I know Pokémon were supposed to be in their Pokéballs but father always let Pikachu walk with him, and since I didn't have anyone else to travel with, Charmander seemed like a good companion to have by my side as I began the route out of Pallet. At least I wouldn’t be lonely and I could have someone to talk to, even if they couldn’t answer back the way another person could. Charmander was a good little Pokémon and I was glad that he was mine. I couldn't think of a better way to begin my journey to becoming a master trainer, just like my father.