Summary : As the 13-year old Granddaughter of Professor Oak, Gina wanted nothing more than to rush through all eight Gyms to reach the summit of the Indigo Plateau. But the moment she heard about all the trouble that her childhood friend Ash kept getting up to, she decided to tag along to make sure that he didn't get over his head. Maybe she'll realize along the way that the journey to the top is more fun with someone else to share along the way?
Pallet Town was nothing out of the ordinary as far as little towns went in the Kanto Region. It was a bit more isolated since it was set just out of the way of the major cities, with a vast swathe of forested land and grasslands where wild pokémon roamed between it and Viridian City. The only things of real note were the laboratory situated on the edge of the town and the Oak Corral behind, which was terraformed into being a habitat for pokémon of all different species and varieties.
The interior of the laboratory was divided between two floors. The upstairs was the research floor, being the embodiment of the technological aspect of Professor Oak's work. It contained dozens of complex machines and computers that handled the vast amount of data he processed in his lifelong ambition to better help society understand pokémon through his research, supported by a reinforced metal floor with the towering windows allowing for a peek into the different environments that spanned the landscape out back.
The downstairs was much more homely as it was where Professor Oak hosted guests and lived. The sunlight touched down through the windows of the living room, leaving the nearafternoon's rays to warm the interior. The clear panes also offered a view down the winding walkway leading up to the entrance of Oak's residence.
A young woman sat impatiently by the window, tapping her fingers against her crossed forearm with an annoyed look her face as she peered outside. The thirteen-year old new trainer wore a purple blouse that led into her blue cycling-skirt, with a pair of black biking shorts just beneath it. Her black eyes were twitching beneath her light-brown spiky hair, the back of which was straightened out so that it flowed down to the base of her neck.
Soft sipping noises and a somewhat satisfied sigh reached her ears, pulling her attention to the older gentleman across from her as he spoke. "Gina, my dear, you really must settle down."
Thirteen-year old Gina Oak stopped drumming her fingers at her grandfather's request and instead vented her frustration out loud. "I still can't believe Ash would be late today of all days!"
Professor Oak laid his drink down on the table between them. "Delia did say that he stayed up late last night because he was excited for today."
Logically, it made sense. You could become an officially licensed trainer at the age of thirteen and set out from home on a journey. But considering they'd been talking about heading out for some time now, Gina was less than forgiving.
"I was excited too and yet I managed to wake up on time," she pointed out. "I knew I should have gone there and dragged him out of bed. Because he was late the other two claimed their Starter Pokémon as well, so now he'll have to be the one to wait until another set of Starter Pokémon arrive."
For new trainers who didn't have existing pokémon, the local pokémon centers often provided ones that were specifically catered to inexperienced trainers. These pokémon were often raised in breeding facilities and conditioned towards being a lot more responsive and obedient. That made it easier to work with them and help beginners learn how to care for them, though their personalities varied.
In the case of Pallet Town, Professor Oak was responsible for that and provided either a Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur. Since there were four trainers from Pallet this time, herself included, someone would be out of luck. She had been the first person to select her pokémon of choice and the other two had already left out hours ago, meaning Ash was officially screwed.
"If you're worried that he won't be able to set out today because he wouldn't have a pokémon to begin with, I can assure you I have one set aside for him," Professor Oak told her. "Now why don't you have a sip of tea to calm your nerves? It's your favorite."
She reached down to grasp the handle of the cup he'd prepared for her as they waited for Ash to arrive. The aroma wafting off it was soothing enough that it almost relaxed her nerves. Keyword being almost. "I'm not worried about that idiot, Gramps."
"Yes. Yes, of course you aren't," Oak said with a hint of humor in his tone. "Never mind, that the two of you've known each other since you were old enough to walk. Honestly, I'm more curious as to why you two have gotten so competitive all of a sudden."
"It's his own fault," she murmured, feeling the weight of the broken half of the old Poké Ball in her sling backpack. She pushed it to the back of her mind while taking a sip of her tea before changing the topic. "Anyway, didn't you say there was something else you wanted to give us before we set out?"
"Ah, yes." He reached into his lab coat's pocket and pulled out a device, setting it on the table. "Ash's Pokédex is still being programmed as we speak, but yours is all set. I think you'll find it quite helpful in your journey."
She scooped it up, flipped the case open, and began to tap the buttons. After a brief cycle through the encyclopedia entries for the different pokémon, she let out a small whistle. "Wow, Gramps. I thought it'd take longer for you to plug in all the data."
He chuckled. "Well, letting Professor Westwood finish all the entries made it so that I could program the database with all the pokémon that we know are in the Kanto Region. Of course, there are still improvements that can be made but it needs more live data to broaden the scope of it. I'm hoping you and Ash will scan and catch several pokémon, so that the data will be transferred over to me for the sake of my research. In exchange, I'll take care of them here for you both."
Aside from what was considered basic facts, it also listed places where the pokémon were commonly spotted and their typing based on the available information. She could just imagine how useful it would be on her journey. Satisfied with what she'd glimpsed, Gina slipped the Pokédex into her hip pouch and nodded.
"I'll catch a bunch of pokémon to help you out, Gramps." She held her head up proudly and grinned. "But I'm keeping the strongest ones for myself, so I can win the Indigo League. Then I'll defeat the Champion and become a Pokémon Master."
He smiled at the proclamation. For a new trainer to place in the Indigo League would be difficult as it was. To overtake the Champion was another story entirely. Nevertheless, he admired his granddaughter's confidence. "Well, I have faith you'll make me proud."
Gina finished her tea and waited around for a few minutes more before the videophone within the lobby began to beep. There was a call incoming. When her grandfather rose from his seat and answered, the familiar face of Ash's mother appeared on the screen.
"Hello, Delia," Professor Oak said. "Has Ash finally awakened?"
"Yep. The moment he woke up he ran out of the house shouting that he hoped any of the pokémon were left." She giggled slightly. "In fact, he was in such a hurry that he didn't even bother to switch out of his pajamas. I'm sure he'll be there soon."
"This I've got to see," Gina said with a half-smile. After all, he made her worry all this time, so turnabout was fair play. She adjusted her sling backpack before heading over to the doorway and slipping into her boots. "Catch you later, Gramps!"
His farewell barely reached her ears as she darted through the door and down the incline towards the gates, where the street connected to her grandfather's residence. The early afternoon sun felt warm against her skin as she reached her bike that was perched against the brick pillar anchoring the half-opened gate. It was there she watched the speeding figure growing closer until Ash finally came to a stop, fighting for breath.
The pajamas he wore were soaked through with sweat, clinging to his skin that was flush from the exertion. He didn't live too far away from Oak's home, but the fact that he managed to sprint all the way there in such a short time was proof that he was in decent shape from his baseball practice. Regardless, the sight of him tired and barely able to stand on his feet left her feeling just a bit of vindication.
After all, he was the one who rejected her offer to wake him up. "Well, well, look who finally decided to climb out of bed."
"Gotta… get my… pokémon…" Ash wheezed between breaths, his chest rising and falling.
A wry smile came across her face. "You know what they say, you snooze you lose. Everyone else has gotten their partners and set out already. Guess what that means?"
His shoulders fell, drooping as realization set in. "There's… none left…?"
"Welllll, Gramps probably has a spare he could give you if you ask nicely…" She twisted her hips towards him so he could see the Poké Ball that was nestled on the holder opposite her pouch. "But it won't be nearly as good as the one I've chosen."
"Which one is it?" he asked, curious as he finally calmed his breathing down.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" She leaned forward with a cocky grin on her face, so close that she could smell the scent of sweat clinging to him. It was nothing new to her. "But maybe if you apologize for turning down my offer to wake you up, I might be willing to let you see it. In fact, we can even help you capture your first pokémon on the way to Viridian City."
Rather than accept her gracious offer, Ash pouted as he leaned back and crossed his arms. "I don't need your help. Not with waking me up or catching a pokémon. I can do all of that by myself."
"Maybe I'd believe that if I wasn't staring at the latecomer wearing his kiddie pajamas on the biggest day of his life," Gina said in a harsher tone, all the playfulness from before gone. "Seriously, quit being stubborn and just accept my help when I offer it!"
"I said I don't want your help," Ash said back in just as harsh a tone. "You're not better than me just because you can wake up a little early, so quit acting like it!" The two tensed as they locked eyes. Electricity danced between their glares in a staring contest where they waited for one another to yield and apologize. Neither did for what felt like moments on end until the sound of someone clearing their throat grabbed their attention. "Goodness, will the two of you just take a moment to calm down?"
Professor Oak had come up behind his granddaughter, leaving Ash to break the glare with Gina to address him. "Professor, is there still a pokémon left for me to take?"
"I have one left for you in my lab on the upper floor," he said. "It's not one of the three we'd normally give to new trainers, but I'm sure the two of you will get along with enough time."
"That's great!" Ash immediately perked up and then turned back to Gina with a confident smile built up on that simple fact. "See! I'll be able to catch my own pokémon with the one he gives me, so I don't need your help now or later in becoming a Pokémon Master!"
Gina felt her eyes twitch. Her entire body shook in frustration as Ash ran up towards her grandfather's home. He did even wait for a response in his eagerness to get started on his journey.
"FINE! BE THAT WAY!" she shouted. "BUT I'M NOT GOING TO WAIT AROUND FOR YOU TO CATCH UP TO ME!"
"THAT'S MY LINE!" Ash shouted back from the door. "I'M GOING TO BLOW RIGHT PAST YOU!"
Furious, Gina got on her bike and took off while subsequently missing her grandfather mutter something about 'being that age' for the both of them. Since she'd already packed what she needed for her journey there was no need for her to return home or anything else. Nothing forcing her to stick around and wait for Ash.
She pedaled hard and fast out of Pallet Town without looking back, spurred on by her frustration at the situation. It was only after she was already past the town limits and nearly more than halfway beyond the open field between Pallet Town and Viridian City that the anger that propelled her simmered down. She came to a stop next to a tree and then let out a heavy, deep sigh.
"Ahhh, I messed up," she admitted to herself, rubbing her temples. "I only wanted him to admit that he needed my help for once, but instead I made it a competition."
The two had known each other since they were kids, what with her grandfather and his mother being as well-acquainted as they were. They played together, slept over one another's homes, and even used to go to the movies together. Ash had a habit of sleeping through the ones that she liked though.
But over the last few months Gina found herself feeling a lot more frustrated with Ash when it came to things she'd normally have just brushed off. Especially when she tried to help him because she actually wanted to see him become a Pokémon Master like he always claimed. Ash loved pokémon, but he wasn't exactly the brightest when it came to them.
In contrast, Gina had often been taught by her grandfather and was already ahead of the curve when it came to becoming a Pokémon Master. There was nothing wrong with her helping him so that he didn't fall too far behind. What better to bring recognition to their little town than for her to become the youngest Pokémon Master in recent history and then him afterwards?
"Oh well, nothing to be done about it now." If she went back then Ash would think that he was in the right, no matter what excuse she made. Her own pride couldn't handle that after she told him off. The only thing she could do was press on and show him that he needed her to get further ahead, which meant catching more pokémon and getting more badges than he could—and fast at that.
"Right!" She gave her cheeks a light, energetic pat before looking around the tall grass for a pokémon to capture. The moment she spotted a curled bundle of purple tails shifting just over the standing blades, she reached for the ball on her belt and brushed her thumb over the button to enlarge it into an active state before tossing it out. "Let's get to work, Squirtle!"
The ball popped open with a burst of light that speared onto the ground and shifted into the shape of a female Tiny Turtle Pokémon. The moment the blue turtle finished becoming solid, she tilted her head while her purplish eyes fixated on her trainer and let out an inquiring, "Squirt?"
Gina pointed to the tall grass. "Go flush them out!"
The Tiny Turtle bobbed her round head before turning around and rushing into the grass on all fours. Incessant and abrupt squeaks were followed by darting purple figures as the mischief of Mouse Pokémon scattered out into the open and fled, except for one. That Rattata looked slightly smaller than the others that ran, but rather than retreating as Squirtle broke through the grass it instead hissed at larger pokémon with its tail standing on end and back arched—it was perfectly willing to fight.
"A brave one, huh?" She smirked. It would do for a first capture if it had the courage to battle a trainer's pokémon instead of fleeing. "You've got guts, but no complaining when you get caught. Squirtle, show me what you can do!"
The Tiny Turtle turned and nodded to her before turning back to the smaller rodent—
—only for the world to abruptly flash and pain blossomed as she was knocked off her hindlegs, left gripping her face where there was a large, red mark. "Tle!?"
As the Mouse Pokémon bounced off its forepaws upon landing some distance away, after rebounding off her Squirtle, Gina noticed the fading wisps of pale energy beginning to coat its body anew and recognized what happened. It had used Quick Attack to take the initiative and was getting ready to do so again.
"Squirtle, tuck into your shell!" She did so immediately, the bony shell expanding to accommodate her head and limbs while compacting her organs. Her speedy response was rewarded by sensation of the small rocket that was the Rattata bouncing off her hard exterior. "Now, Tackle it!"
Throwing herself forward as she stuck her limbs back out, Squirtle rammed her head into the small rodent before it could land. Its smaller body buckled under the impact, leaving it rattled as it hit the ground. By the time it got back onto its feet, the Tiny Turtle lunged for a second Tackle while twisting so that she hit with the edge of her shell at the shoulder.
"RAA-TA!" Rattata cried out in pain as the thick, hardened ivory crashed into it hard enough to send the rodent several feet away. It flopped onto the ground on its flank, but quickly scurried back up and hissed when it noticed her running in for a third hit. Then it used Quick Attack to counterattack before it could be struck, becoming running light that met her head on.
There was a loud thump as the speeding Mouse Pokémon smacked Squirtle upside the head a second time and was left staggering backwards. But she recovered quick enough that she spotted the one-trick rodent as it gathered its energy to try again. She immediately spat out dozens of small bubbles before it threw itself forward as running light, sealing its fate.
The Rattata practically shot into the watery minefield in a straight line, unable to turn midattack. That left it on a crash course that resulted in it being tossed around haphazardly as, with each Bubble popped, small bursts of water and concussive force knocked it about. It eventually hit the ground, wet and trembling.
"You're mine now!" Gina shouted as she threw an empty Poké Ball. The moment it hit, the Rattata's body jerked before the capture process ensnared it by transitioning it into an energy state and sealing it inside. The ball shook weakly before it registered and released a beep to sound the capture was successful. "Gotcha!"
Squirtle grabbed the ball from where it was with her tiny paws. Then she waddled over to her trainer, leaning up on her toes to hand it off with a small humming noise. "Squirrr?"
"I knew you were the strongest of the three Gramps had there." Gina crouched down, taking the ball with one hand and gently patting her head with the other to give the Starter the affirmation she wanted. "I bet Ash won't even catch a single pokémon by the time he reaches Viridian City, let alone one that puts up as much of a fight as this one."
She pampered her Squirtle for a few moments more before returning the Tiny Turtle to her ball to rest, feeling proud of herself considering their success. While a Rattata wasn't anything out of the ordinary, Gina knew that more aggressive pokémon tended to pick more fights in the wild rather than run away, meaning they toughened up or tended to not stick around for very long. That one had guts and was light on its feet, so she was sure with a little work it could be something worthwhile.
Taking a moment to stretch, Gina Oak considered what to do next. She could probably stick around to try and catch at least one more pokémon, but the process of picking out a winner from the more common ones meant that she had a chance to run into Ash at some point. Their argument was still fresh, and she wasn't eager to see his face just yet—at least not without some badges to her name.
"I guess I'll just head straight to Viridian City and challenge the Gym there once I get these two healed up," she decided before getting back onto her bike. It wouldn't be the first time she visited the city while working with her grandfather and, since Ash was going to be on foot the entire time, she'd be able to get there well before him.
That in mind, she pedaled off towards the next step in her journey while a flock of Spearow flew overhead towards the area closer to Pallet Town to roost…