"Now class, can you tell me what special Pokemon event takes place in Pallet Town tomorrow?" Most of the students were elsewhere, distracted by the clock counting down the minutes on the wall.

"Trainer Initiation!" The teacher smiled as her most eager student threw his hand up.

"Yes, that's right," she giggled. "Can you tell me what makes that so special?"

"All ten-year-old kids get their own starter Pokemon and Pokedex from Professor Oak!"

"That's absolutely right, Becc!" Becc was Mrs. Flamin's top student at the Trainer School even without a Pokemon of his own. Everyday, she let him borrow her own Jigglypuff, which he got along with very well. Other kids, as well as their parents, began to complain that the only reason he was so far ahead of the class was because of her experienced Pokemon. But what they didn't understand was that Becc had a rough beginning and a low income home, which she had to explain to the parents to calm them down. Her explanation, however, didn't appease the principal of the school, telling her that Becc would be dropped this upcoming year since he couldn't meet his tuition and because he had no Pokemon of his own, and he was becoming a reliability to the school itself. Looking into his wide, excited eyes, she couldn't help but smile. She knew she had to be the one to tell him that his time there was over.

The bell rang, and the other children immediately ran out of the classroom, Poke Balls at the ready. Becc sat at his desk collecting his books.

"Becc, sweetie," Mrs. Flamin started. She began to choke back tears as she maintained a pleasant facade, "you can leave your books here today, okay?"

"Yes ma'am, but why? Isn't there a test tomorrow?"

The emotions began to bubble up inside of her. "Yes, but you don't have to take it. You don't have to come back here anymore."

Becc sat down, thinking about what his teacher had just told him. "So you mean," he asked innocently, "I get TWO weekends?"

"No honey…you can't come here anymore. I'm sorry. This school costs a lot of money, and your grandmother just can't pay for it all. Do you understand?" The room felt empty and cold. Neither one of them spoke a word. Mrs. Flamin looked towards Becc for a response, but he just stared at his desk. Immediately, she clutched him and gave him a big hug. "I'm sorry, Becc. We can still be best friends, okay? You can come see Jigglypuff anytime you'd like."

Mrs. Flamin, hoping that the moment had passed, sent Becc out into the schoolyard to play with other kids before the bus came to pick them all up.

In the yard, Becc could see the sun, but felt cold. He loved the Pokemon School. He loved his teacher and all of the Pokemon that he got to see.

"Hey Becc!" Becc turned to see three kids that he didn't quite get along with. They had been his class since he started at the school, but never were quite on par with Becc. "My daddy told me you don't have any money. Is that why you don't have a Pokemon?" The other kids began to laugh. Becc silently went and sat on a swing in the corner of the yard. Without a reaction, the kids dispersed, all except Ross, the main bully of the group. "Your grandmother has a Pokemon, doesn't she? Why don't we battle them against each other? Today, at your house, when the bus drops us off. If you win, I'll let you ride with us to Pallet Town tomorrow.

"Fine, only because I want my own Pokemon, Ross." Ross laughed and went to watch the other kids battling their Pokemon. Becc didn't leave the swing until he heard the bus screech to a stop. The Pokemon were returned to their Poke Balls and all of the children climbed aboard the bus and immediately set off for the outskirts of Saffron City, where some of the richest people lived in the whole region, along with some of the poorest.

The bus came to a halt, and all of the kids stepped off of the bus. Becc, who usually walked the opposite direction of everyone else by himself, was surprised to see that he was being followed by the entire class. He kept his head down as he marched to his home. He was very determined to beat Ross to get to Pallet Town. He knew without Jigglypuff that it was going to be a very difficult battle.

The all reached the house as a large and loud crowd. Becc went inside to the old shack to see his grandmother humming to herself as she began to cook dinner.

"Welcome home, dear. Are these your friends?"

"Hi, Grandma. They came here to watch a Pokemon battle. Can I borrow your Breloom?"

She began to chuckle to herself. "You know that Breloom is too old and weak to fight anymore, Becc. The only one around here with as much energy as you anymore is little, baby Shroomish over there."

Becc turned to see, behind Breloom, was a baby Shroomish that had hatched a couple of months ago. Becc had been to busy with his schoolwork to ever pay any attention to the hatchling. "Is there any way that Breloom could fight one last time? Shroomish is too young to fight."

His grandmother stopped stirring, turned the stove off and walked over to Becc, taking off her necklace. Becc watched silently as her shaky hands removed the sparking jewel from around her neck.

"When I was a young trainer, I got put into a lot of tough spots." She opened his hand and placed the necklace inside. " I found this jewel on my journey, and I've had it with me ever since. It's not a lucky charm, Becc, but every time I felt it jingle on my neck, I remembered everything I've gone through, and it reassures me that everything will be alright. I want you to have it, Becc. Keep it close, and know that no matter how much the odds are stacked against you, that everything that's supposed to happen will. She walked to a chest on the counter and pulled out a dusty Poke Ball. Becc had never seen one like it: it was grey, and instead of a release button, it had a dial. His grandmother turned the dial, opened the ball, and Shroomish was sent inside. She then handed him the Poke Ball, and he walked outside.

Ross was standing in the middle of a large circle of children who were all chanting Ross's name. Becc, shaking walked into the circle across from Ross. The noise died down.

"Finally got your Pokemon?" Becc nodded and held up the ancient Poke Ball. The kids began to laugh around him. "THAT'S your Poke Ball? It's so old!"

Becc's face turned red. He clenched the necklace in his other hand tightly. "Just wait till you see what's inside, Ross!" He twisted the dial, and threw the ball onto the dirt, releasing the baby Shroomish.

The kids, who had gotten quiet, roared with laughter, scaring the baby Shroomish who ran behind Becc's legs.

"Figures the poor kid can't even afford a good Pokemon!" Ross casually tossed out a Luxury Ball, revealing a Shinx. Shinx was the second-best Pokemon at the school, only weaker than Mrs. Flamin's Jigglypuff. "Come on, Becc, I'll let you make the first move!" The laughter died down once more as the battle began.

Flustered and embarrassed, Becc barked his first command of the battle. "Go, Shroomish, use Absorb!" Becc pointed straight at the Shinx, who didn't react at all. Becc looked around at the kids, who began to smile and snicker. Becc looked down to see Shroomish still behind his legs. He knew this wasn't going to be like fighting with Jigglypuff. He stepped behind Shroomish, leaving him exposed. "Shroomish, use Absorb!" Worried, Shroomish looked up at him, and then the Shinx. He hesitantly approached the Shinx, and tried to Tackle it, but fell on his face as the Shinx casually stepped out of the way.

Ross began to laugh as he issued his command. "Shinx use Ice Fang!" Shinx bit into the Shroomish, causing it to faint instantly. He returned Shinx to its Poke Ball. "Looks like I win, loser!" The kids began to cheer as tears filled in Becc's eyes. He threw the necklace into the dirt and ran off. "Yeah that's right!" Ross yelled as he and the other kids began to walk towards the rich neighborhood, "Go back to your nasty shack and cry!" The murmuring died down, and all Becc could hear was the door of his home creak shut, and footsteps approach him.

"Don't worry about those kids, Becc. They're just living on their parents' coattails. How did the little Shroomish do?" She turned to see the Shroomish lying in the dirt. She hurried over to it and returned it. "You need to be more careful, Becc. Shroomish was really hurt and—"

"Why can't I go to Pokemon School anymore?" Becc was sobbing uncontrollably.

"I'm sorry sweetie, I just can't afford it anymore. We aren't rich."

"I know we're not rich! That's why I don't have a Pokemon and that's why we have to live in this nasty house!"

"Becc, I—"

"I can't go tomorrow to get a Pokemon and a Pokedex from Professor Oak, because you're too poor and that Shroomish is a terrible Pokemon!"

She tried to comfort Becc, and began to hand him the Poke Ball. "Little Shroomish here can be your starter Pokemon, okay?"

Becc slapped the ball out of her hand and behind the house. "I don't want that stupid Shroomish, and I don't want to live in this stupid house anymore with you! I hate you!" Running off into the woods, Becc senselessly began to move through the trees as the sun began to set. He tripped over a rock and landed by a stream, where he cried himself to sleep.

Groggy, Becc woke up at what seemed like midnight to the smell of smoke. "Grandma is cooking breakfast," he thought to himself. He slowly pulled himself up and began to head back towards the house, where he could see a faint light. He moseyed ever so slowly, watching the faint light disappear and the air began to thicken with smoke. It suddenly dawned on him that it was a fire! He took off, darting between the trees and he came upon the burnt ashes of what used to be his home. He went through and saw burnt leaves next to a still Breloom. He approached the Breloom and shifted it, but he knew that it was dead. He began to sob over its body. He then looked around to see another body, not of a Pokemon, but of his Grandma. He stopped crying. It didn't register with him for the longest time. He just looked at the grey hair and the nightgown, expecting it to move.

It was a joke. It had to be a joke. When the police came by and began examining the rubble, it had to be some kind of prank. When the paramedics arrived and zipped her up in a bag, he knew that this was a dream. When he sat next to the bag on the ride to the hospital, no sirens, no urgency, he knew she was just sleeping. It wasn't until the men in coats asked Becc if he wanted to say anything to her before they did surgery on her did it dawn on him. He threw up on the floor and collapsed. The men in coats escorted him to an Audino, who helped him into a cot and rolled him away. He couldn't speak, he couldn't think. To say anything to her before she was gone forever. He had told her he hated her and their home. He couldn't apologize. She was gone. She was…dead. It was hard for him to even think the word. Dead. Dead. He threw up again and passed out.

Becc didn't remember his dream that well. He remembered his Grandma being there, but didn't remember seeing her. He could feel her warmth, but not her body, could understand her words without hearing her speak. Even in his dreams she was gone. She was his best friend and his guardian. She loved him, and he…hated her. He woke up to that thought, sobbing from sleep. He suddenly felt arms wrap around him and hold him close. His heart jumped. He couldn't open his eyes, due to the crust leftover from his crying. It WAS a dream, she was holding him. He rubbed his eyes seeing Mrs. Flamer in front of him. He looked around to see himself in a hospital bed and an Audino in the corner of the room.

"I came as soon as I heard, Becc. I don't know what to say." Becc looked out of the window. It was daylight outside, almost night again. How long had he been out? "Right now, I'm checking you out, and you can come spend the night at my house with me and Mr. Flamin, okay?" Instinctively, he nodded.

The rest of the day was a blur to him. None of it felt real. Just a day ago, he was in class, excited about today. He snapped out of trance momentarily. That was right. All of the other kids have already gotten their Pokedexes and have started on their journeys as trainers. He was still here, sick, without a home, without his Grandma. He slowly pulled himself out of the comfiest bed he had ever slept in and made his way downstairs to where Mr. and Mrs. Flamin were. They stopped their conversation as Becc approached the table.

"Hi, Becc, nice to meet you." Mr. Flamin extended his hand only to be met with stillness.

Mrs. Flamin spoke up. "Do you want to join us for dinner, Becc? I'm making Battered Basculin, it's very good."

"I want to go back to my home."

They both looked at each other, and back at Becc. "Honey, there's nothing to go back to. It burned down last night."

"I know." He paused. "But I want to go back."

They all climbed into Mr. Flamin's car and silently drove down the long street off into the woods where Becc had lived. He stopped the car and Becc got out, followed by a silent Mrs. Flamin. He walked towards the house and stepped through what was once the door. He saw the seared outlines of what was once his Grandma and Breloom, both gone forever. He looked down at his feet, trying to avoid seeing where they were. He continued on, feeling a loud crunch beneath his feet. He looked down to see more slightly burned leaves. He payed no mind to it, and continued around the house. He stubbed his foot turning the corner. Becc looked down to see a soot-covered Poke Ball. He brushed it off and opened it. Shroomish came out, yawning from the entire day he had spent in the ball resting up. He seemed to be unaware of everything that had happened around him.

"Is that your Pokemon, Becc?" Mrs. Flamin said from out in front of the car.

Becc watch Shroomish start pacing around, bumping into some burnt wood. He then picked up the Shroomish and returned it. "Yes, ma'am. I'm ready to go back now." He walked towards the car and climbed in. As he was closing the door, he looked down to see something gleaming in the dirt. He got out and picked it up.

It was her necklace. The one that she had given to him hours before she left. He clutched it tightly and put it around his neck. He then climbed into the car and they went back home. Becc barely touched his Basculin, while Shroomish wolfed down his share of Jigglypuff's food.

Later that night, Becc sat in the guest room with Shroomish. They were alone, and it felt alright to be alone with the Pokemon, Becc thought. Shroomish looked endearingly at him.

"We both lost our families, Shroomish."

"Shroom?" Shroomish was midly interested in what Becc had to say as he cuddled up next to him.

"Yeah, buddy, it's just us now." He took off the necklace and hung it to where Shroomish could see it. Shroomish became enticed with the glistening jewel attached to the gold chain. "This is what we have to remember them, Shroomish." He began to tear up. "Everything happened the way it should have, bud. We can't change what happened." He wiped his eyes. "I can't take back what I said, but I can make it up to her, and live everyday, knowing that it'll be okay if we're together. He squeezed Shroomish, who let out a puff of spores. Becc laughed as he and Shroomish slowly drifted off to sleep together.

- - - - - - - - - - —

"Okay, Shroomish, Nature Power, let's go!" Shroomish let out a white beam of light, which then exploded into yellow dust drifting towards the ground. "So apparently Nature Power becomes Stun Spore out in the grass."

"Becc, it's time to go! Put Shroomish in his Poke Ball!" Becc returned Shroomish and his disposition soured. It had been one week since he moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Flamin, and it had been a week and a day since everything happened. Mr. Flamin adjusted Becc's tie as they climbed into the car. Mrs. Flamin turned back from the passenger seat to Becc. "Are you going to be okay, honey?"

Becc nodded. The feelings of pain and sadness came back to him, but the guilt never returned. He could feel the Poke Ball in his pocket, and knew that he could do this, as long as he had Shroomish with him.

They arrived at the gravesite, where several cars had followed them, along with a couple of police cars. Rain was quietly drizzling, tapping the multitude of black umbrellas that huddled around the fresh earth. A large man spoke, and many people nodded. Becc tried to hold back his own tears by clenching the necklace. All he could think about was how he needed to make up for being mean to his grandmother, how he had the responsibility to make her proud. He closed his eyes, trying to think about something else, but all he could think about were the wonderful memories that he shared with her. How she made the best meals, how they always told each other stories, and how her Breloom used to always carry Becc around on its back when Becc was younger.

"Excuse me, young man. Are you Rachael's grandson, Becc?"

Becc didn't look up, but nodded, acknowledging the older voice coming from in front of him.

"Your grandmother was a wonderful lady. She's the one that got me into learning about Pokemon. She was a friend that I would've never traded away."

Becc opened his eyes to see everyone was leaving and heading back to their cars. In front of him stood a man with his face covered by his hat and umbrella. "W-who are you, sir?"

"Oh, my apologizes, Becc." The man removed his hat. "My name is Samuel Oak. I'm the professor from—"

"Pallet Town!" Becc immediately perked up.

"Haha, that's right, young one. Is that a Poke Ball you have there?"

Becc was very nervous. He had always wanted to meet Professor Oak. "Y-yes sir. It's a—"

"Ah, talking is boring. Let's see what it is for ourselves, shall we?" He slowly pulled the Poke Ball out of his pocket. "Oh, a first-model Poke Ball!"

Suddenly, Becc recalled the battle he had had before his Grandma had died, and how all of the kids laughed at the Poke Ball and Shroomish. He immediately put it back in his pocket.

"It's okay, son. See?" Oak dug into his pocket and pulled out a Poke Ball identical to Becc's. He opened it, revealing a Pidgeot. Becc couldn't only stare at the majestic bird as it nuzzled against Oak. "Pidgeot here is one of my nearest and dearest Pokemon." He returned Pidgeot and put the Poke Ball up. "What amazing Pokemon is in your Poke Ball, Becc?"

Hesitantly, Becc opened his Poke Ball, allowing Shroomish to experience his first drizzle. He braced himself, waiting for Oak to taunt him.

"Wow, a Shroomish! A Pokemon all the way from the Hoenn region! As I recall, they love damp areas. He should be very happy right now." He reached down and began to pet Shroomish on the head. "I've personally never seen one myself." Oak stood up, and began to acknowledge Mr. and Mrs. Flamin, who had approached the two. "Ah, and who might you two be?"

"I'm Martha Flamin, and this is Roger Flamin. We're teachers over at Saffron's Pokemon school. We're taking care of Becc right now."

He shook both of their hands. "Very nice to meet you. I was telling Becc here that Rachael was a very good friend of mine." He paused and looked down at Becc. "Then I saw this brave boy here with his Poke Ball, and I couldn't help but wonder which Pokemon was inside." The three of them began to politely laugh, as Becc watch Shroomish burrow into a pile of wet leaves. "I would love to have you three as guests tonight at my place. I'll pay for your tickets on the Magnet Train to and from Pallet Town. Consider it a returned favor for Rachael being the best of friends.

They reached Pallet Town and stepped off of the train. It was much larger than Becc had imagined. Houses were spread along the countryside, with a large lab in the center. They all walked towards the lab, where Oak was waiting for them at the door.

"Welcome to my home and my lab! Go ahead and sit down, I've already prepared dinner." They all exchanged pleasantries and sat down at a large table, where a multitude of foods were spread across. All four of them sat down to eat. "If you need anything to drink, Ambipom here will fetch it for you."

A large Ambipom came in from the next room and set down three glasses of water to each of them. They sat and chatted over the meal, which Becc gazed miraculously around at the different pictures lining the walls. Mr. Fuji, Bill and Lanette: Inventors of the PC, Professor Juniper and even Professor Rowan: people that Becc had only read about in class. There was one picture, though, that Becc didn't recognize.

"Professor, who is in this picture above your head?" Oak turned around and smiled.

"Well that, Becc, is my grandson, from before he became the Viridian City Gym Leader. He was a young boy then, with only an Eevee to accompany him…" Oak began to drift off. "Oh, I'm sorry." He turned back around. "Becc, I'd like to talk to you about something. I knew your grandmother very well, and I've learned a lot about you, and I've even seen your bond with your Shroomish, so I want to give you something." Oak walked out of the room and returned with a briefcase. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a Pokedex. "I want you to have this, Becc. I know Rachael would've wanted you to have one."

Becc couldn't believe it: a shiny, red Pokedex in his hands. He felt its cold metallic body as he popped it open. He turned it towards Shroomish, who was eating in the corner. It immediately came on.

"Shroomish, the mushroom Pokemon," it said in a robotic voice, "If it senses danger, it will scatter spores from the top of its head to protect itself." Becc couldn't believe it. His first Pokedex entry.

"I also have another gift." He popped the locks of his briefcase, revealing three Poke Balls inside. "I have three starters left from a week ago that I'd like you to choose from."

Becc, in awe, picked the ball with the small flame symbol on the top. He accidentally opened the Poke Ball, revealing a small Charmander, rearing to go.

"So you would want Charmander?" Becc eagerly nodded. "Great. It's settled then. I've already discussed it with Mr. and Mrs. Flamin here, and if you're interested, I'd love for you to go and experience the journey of hunting Pokemon for the Pokedex yourself, if you're up for the challenge."

Becc calmed down and looked around at Oak and Mr. and Mrs. Flamin at the table. "I would love to take this journey, not just for the Pokedex, but for Racheal, my Grandma. She gave me this necklace, telling me it always gave her hope during the rough times, and I know I will find it as a source of strength, because I can feel her inside of it, with me even in the tightest spot. Thank you Professor Oak. Thank you Mrs. Flamin. I promise that I will make you all proud."

Mrs. Flamin gave Becc a big hug. "We'll pack your stuff tomorrow. I love you, and I want you to know that you're taking a very brave step right now. It's going to be fun, and I know you'll love it. You know everything about Pokemon. After all, I taught you."

Becc smiled. He watch Shroomish finish its food and wonder over back to Becc. He knew that the two of them were going to do this together. They were going to become very powerful trainers and fill the Pokedex up while Grandma smiled down on the two of them.