A/N: Welcome to my new project! I'm working on several things right now, which is why nothing's really been updated. In the meantime, I wanted to present this: my second attempt at the Poke100 Challenge. My first attempt is still viewable on my profile. To the person who complained about my choice of starter last time: Is this original enough for you?

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokemon. I do, however, own the character Carissa Adamaris, and reserve the right to use her in other stories, both original and fanfiction.

Carissa Adamaris was many things. She was seventeen years old, had a driver's license, and was an avid runner. But she had also skipped so many classes that she was being forced to repeat a year of high school, and so she was adding "absolutely freaking humiliated" to the list, unless she could come up with a plan.

Which she did. In an effort to avoid the humiliation, she decided to add "high school dropout" and "Pokemon Trainer."

Pokemon Trainers were cool. They earned their own way, they battled, and they had these awesome pets. No one had to know that she was being held back a year, they would all think she had just decided to take up training. What could be better?

So, she told her parents and her sister.

Her sister, Mia, gave her a look of horrified fascination. Like she couldn't quite believe that Carissa had arrived at this conclusion, but then again she could, because this was Carissa.

Her parents shared a look, one of those ones that you could swear they're talking to each other. Her dad sighed and nodded, and her mom gave her a weak smile.

"That sounds like it could be good for you," she said carefully. "It could be a lot of fun. We can go shopping tomorrow, okay?"

Carissa grinned. "Great," she said happily. Then, of course, she needed a round of hugs, because wasn't this so exciting?

The next day dawned bright and beautiful. There were some clouds on the horizon, but Carissa was determined to see them as merely rain, not prophetic. Like, at all. Living in Pallet Town, next to the coastline, weather changed quickly but the temperature actually didn't fluctuate too much; she would miss that, she knew.

Mia and her dad took her to get supplies. Mia, who had already been a trainer before going to university, was able to steer her younger sister towards supplies a trainer would need. Their dad, who was an avid camper and hiker, was also able to help point out necessary supplies. Carissa was disappointed that her mother was absent, but she was too busy trying to find still-reasonably-fashionable hiking gear to really think about it. Seriously, when Mia became a trainer, did all her fashion sense get tossed out the window?

When they got back home, her mom was already there, sitting at the kitchen table with a box in front of her. Carissa spared it a curious glance, but then followed Mia upstairs to pack her things.

"Do you really think this is a good idea?" Mia asked. "I mean, you've never even taken the classes…"

"I still remember what they taught us in grade school," Carissa said breezily, completely missing Mia's concern. "It'll be fun! And really, how hard could it be?" She packed her new gear into the new backpack's storage capsules.

Mia sighed. "You know, I really should try harder to keep you from going," she told Carissa. She clearly had her doubts about how well Carissa could handle this, Carissa could see it on her face. "All I'm going to say is, this will either be the best or worst decision you'll ever make."

Carissa made a face. "Wow, dramatic much?"

Mia just laughed. "You'll see what I mean soon enough," she said. Together, they packed away the last few things.

There was a knock on Carissa's door. She opened it and found her father on the other side. "Can you come downstairs? Your mother and I would like to speak to you."

She nodded. "Just give me one sec, I'll be right down."

She almost didn't want to go downstairs.

Now that she was all packed, ready to head out tomorrow, she felt the first twinges of doubt. Was this a good idea, really? Was the reason good? But they'd already gotten everything from the store, and packed, and…well, she couldn't back down now, could she? She had to at least try.

She could feel Mia staring at her, but she didn't turn around. "Alright," she said aloud. "Let's go."

Her parents were waiting in the living room. Her dad had one arm around her mom's shoulder, and her mom was holding the box in her lap. They smiled at her when she came down.

"What's up?" she asked cheerfully, skipping the last stair with a jump.

"Carissa," her mom began. Then she sighed. "I just want you to know how proud I am of you. How proud we both are." She tapped the box gently. "We wanted to give this to you. You can't start without your starter, right?"

Carissa's eyes widened and she squeaked. "Really?" She knew she needed one, but she had assumed they were going to pick one out later today or tomorrow. Was that what her mom had been gone for?

Her dad passed the box to her. "Well, of course." He grinned at her. "Did you think we forgot?"

Carissa took the box, trying to keep her hands steady while she did so, and opened it. Inside, nestled into foam to keep it from being jostled around, was a single PokeBall and a handheld computer—a Pokedex. The Pokedex, she already knew, would serve as her ID and training license, so she was much more interested in the PokeBall, but still…

"Why don't we go out back?" her dad suggested. "Then you can let your starter out, get to know it before you leave."

Carissa nodded and led the way to the backyard. Out there, hidden from the neighbors' view by a privacy fence and under the expectant looks of her family, Carissa couldn't help but hesitate. Just for a moment, so she could take a breath and wonder what her mom had picked out.

Part of her wondered if her mom had picked out something cutesy, like an Eevee or a Vulpix. Or maybe one of the baby Pokemon, like Chingling or Togepi or Pichu.

Another part wondered if her dad had had any say in the decision. He would have likely gotten her some uber protective Pokemon, like Houndour or Growlithe or something.

"I'm about to find out," she murmured to herself. She tossed the PokeBall into the air, releasing the contents in a bright flash of white light.

Light that quickly formed into a round shape on two long legs that ended in talons. Two long, dark, thin necks with heads as round as its body. Two beaks that clicked at her expectantly.

"Mia suggested it, believe it or not," her mom explained after Carissa didn't say anything. "Since you like to run, she thought it would be a good idea to get you a Pokemon that loves to run, too."

"I love it!" Carissa laughed out loud. Then she grabbed the bird into a hug. Both heads squawked in surprise. She couldn't believe it! A Doduo? She had never seen anyone start with one before.

After she was done hugging the bird, she turned to her parents. "Thank you!" She all but tackled them in her excitement. "Thank you, thank you!"

Her sister's words about this being the best or worst decision came back to her, and she smiled. Maybe Mia was right, and it was going to be difficult. But right now, she couldn't help but think this was the best decision she had ever made.