Author Note:

Some of the dialogue sounds familliar? It probably is. I've taken the episodes where Ash and Gary meet and have exaggerated the palletshipping potential in them and put my own twist on what goes on in the episodes. This is the first epsiode, but I've made it more involved with Gary being there when Ash meets Pikachu. Hopefully you will enjoy it.

Gary Oak was up early that morning. He moved around the still house, quiet as a ghost. In his bedroom most of his belongings had been packed away and put under his bed. Everything personal that he wanted to bring was in a rucksack by the door, along with the money he had been saving for the last three years, ready to be shouldered when he left. He walked around his bedroom to take a last look around. He would soon be striking out on his own- or as 'on your own' as you could be with everything handed to you and your own personal fanclub.

He was the grandson of Professor Oak, quite possibly the most brilliant pokémon researcher in the Kanto region, and therefore everyone held high expectations for him. 'And why shouldn't they?' the ten year old thought with an easy smile. He knew everything about pokémon, everything. No one could match the knowledge that came effortlessly to him. His grandfather had taught him well. He was going to start his journey and claim the recognition his life had been building up to. He was going to shine. He was going to bring glory to Palletown by becoming a Pokémon Master. He was going to be even more famous than Professor Oak.

But even though his victory was assured, he felt uneasy. He turned over a small arkcanine plush toy with a glazed expression. There were others starting their pokémon journeys today. But only one of them mattered. He was finally ready to start the trip to Pallet. He wouldn't be there for very long- just enough time to be given his pokémon and then be sent on his way.

In a small, ordinary looking house in a small, not very important town there is a boy; Ash Ketchum. His dream is to become a pokémon master, but can someone so young achieve such a mighty dream?

A dodrio calls in the distance; the three feathered brown heads set aside their bickering to welcome the morning. Of course, as soon as their song is over, it's back to fighting amongst themselves…

Ash rolled onto his side and blinked, the dodrio chorus stirring him from his dreams. He lay under his blanket for a full minute, blissfully refreshed, but unsure of what it was he had been dreaming about. It had been about pokémon- all of his dreams were about pokémon. They all blended into each other, so he usually couldn't remember them separately.

Ash's room slowly came into focus as he woke up. Sunlight filtered through the curtains and danced on the opposite wall, lighting up all his pokémon league posters and odd merchandise he had collected over the years, and some presents from his father who was out there, training somewhere. There was a pollywhirl sharpener, an oddish figurine with a cute painted smile, and several magazines detailing the care and training of pokémon. Ash's prized position though was his official Pokémon League hat, which he had obtained through much hardship. He always wore it, along with his simple every-day outfit of jeans, closefitting black polo, and his white and blue jacket. He had recently added some green fingerless gloves to his attire which, aside from making him look super cool, would make handling poke balls easier- so they wouldn't slip out of his clumsy fingers…

'I sure slept well,' Ash said with a massive yawn. His voice was naturally rough, with a hint of huskiness, like he had something in his throat that he couldn't quite get rid of, but he sounded extra croaky that morning. His bed was warm and it loved him, so he was loath to move. He snuggled his face into his pillow forlornly as he felt the sleepiness slowly fading.

'Oh, that's right, I was dreaming about starter pokémon,' he mumbled into his pillow, running his hands through his tousled black hair. He still hadn't decided which one he was going to pick. It was impossible to choose! Bulbasaur's were supposed to be easy for beginners to train, but the squirtle was quite cute… But, surely the charmander topped them all? It could breath fire! Which one would look good for his image as a trainer? He wanted to create a really cool persona with just the right amount of awesome. Suddenly, he had a sinking feeling.

'Oh... Oh dear.'

Ash jerked into a sitting position so hard his head snapped back as he frantically threw of his bedclothes. 'Aw, what time is it!' he yelled at his alarm clock- which lay smashed on the floor. He'd thrown it in his sleep. The little pidgy dangled on its spring forlornly, surrounded by the bits of shattered clockwork. The pokéball it had been nestled in was broken and the sliver-white button that had connected the two halves was missing, probably rolled under his bed. Ash clambered out of the bed forcefully, getting caught up in the heavy duvet as he kicked his way free.

'Where are my clothes?' Ash whined, scanning the floor. There was no time. He had to hurry! Today he was going to start his POKEMON ADVENTURE and he had just SLEPT IN. He would be lucky if there were any pokémon left by the time he hauled his butt to Professor Oak's Research Centre. It was only down the road, but he didn't even know what time it was. He thought back to the television program his mother had told him to watch but he couldn't remember what time Professor Oak had said to be at the research centre.

Ash ran downstairs and darted past his startled mother. She frowned at him disapprovingly, making a start towards him. 'Ash! You're in your sleepy-clothes!' she stuttered, dropping her cooking utensils onto the counter with a clatter. Ash was ten years old; old enough to be given his pokémon licence, but as an only child with a single mother he was doted on, smothered even. 'Ash, wait-'

'Sorry! No time Mom, gotta go!' he yelled over his shoulder. He nimbly ducked under his mother's arms and took off down the road in a blind panic, the back door swinging shut with a creak and a snap, cutting of his mother's words.

Ash pelted down the track at full speed. 'Bulbasaur, charmander, squirtle! I don't care which one I get, just save one for me!' he half-shouted half-groaned. He was the only one on the road, so he didn't have to worry about the fact he was still in his pyjamas. His breath misted in the cold morning air and he shivered in his shorts and thin night-shirt. He saw a large crowd outside before he even reached the centre. He slowed nervously, hoping to slip between the waves of people, but he realised that it was going to be impossible. He peered over the sea of bobbing heads, trying to look for a safe way through the people without getting elbowed.

'Gary, Gary he's our man!' Squealed a bunch of cheerleaders, dressed in short skirts and brandishing pom-poms. As Ash pushed through the crowd they thrust them in his face, repeating the annoying cheer. He raised his hands to protect his face as he worked his way into the mass of people. He didn't know there were that many love-struck teenage girls in the entire region, let alone in Pallet.

'Ahh… Sorry,' Ash blushed as he pushed past them, catching sight of bare skin as the girls pranced around. He wasn't watching where he was going and stumbled into someone as he tried to escape. He landed in the dirt with a thud, raising a cloud of dust.

'Hey, watch where you're going, that hurt!' the person he'd bumped into snapped, turning on Ash. He narrowed his eyes and hunched his shoulders, ready to tear into him, but something made him stop. His eyes flashed with recognition and his frown was replaced by a scornful smile. He took in Ash's disgruntled appearance with slanted eyes.

Ash bristled, peering through his bangs to look up at the boy who stood glaring at him. He had red-brown hair that stuck up in long spikes and was wearing a purple, medium sleeved shirt and grey trousers, stuffed into orange and black boots. A pendant hung on a black string around his neck, yellow and green glass winking in the sunlight. At first Ash didn't recognise the other, but then his eyes widened in recognition.

Gary Oak was the same age as Ash and had lived next door to him until a few years ago. The two had been friends until...until Gary had started being such a jerk! He looked older than Ash, but the truth was they were the same. Gary just couldn't accept it. Apparently, Gary was back and hadn't thought to tell him. He didn't know why that hurt.

'Oh, you must be Ash. You haven't changed at all. Better late than never I guess,' Gary said snootily. There was no doubt as to who this voice belonged to now. Gary stared down at Ash with a superior smirk, making the other boy frown from his position on the ground.

'At least you get the chance to meet me. I wasn't even planning on announcing I was back in Pallet, but somehow everyone seemed to find me.' He gestured to all the people around them and shot Ash a smirk, which the girls interpreted as a cheeky smile, squealing and cooing in the background. 'They all remember me just fine. I'm quite offended that you didn't, after all; we go way back.'

'Stupid...haven't changed…Gary.' Ash growled, standing up. He stood up quickly and attempted to pat the sand off of his butt.

'Mr. Gary to you, show some respect!' the teen said obnoxiously, standing straighter so he could still look down on Ash. He was only a few months older than him and not that much taller, Ash noted, only an inch or two. 'Well Ash- you snooze you lose and you've been last, right from the start! I've got my first pokémon, and you don't,' Gary sneered, placing his hands on his hips and sticking his chest out, importantly.

'You've got your first pokémon!' Ash felt a pang of envy. Damn you Gary, I'm going to be a pokémon master! He thought fretfully.

'Yeah, and if you'd been here earlier you would know it's the best one,' Gary continued. 'You know, I don't even think there are any left. My grandfather gave me the last one.' He looked at Ash, testing for a reaction.

Ash repeated what Gary said quietly. 'None... left?' The colour drained out of his face and he hung his head, his dark hair falling in front of his eyes. Gary forgotten he clenched his jaw trying to stop the unhappiness slowly working its way through him. It was a slow pain that started in his chest and worked its way up into his throat. It hurt like he was going to cry or something. After three years of hard work and vowing to become a pokémon master this was all it boiled down to? Gary got his pokémon first and even got a year head start on him? His eyes watered as if he'd been pinched. He couldn't stop the moisture as it welled up and a small tear squeezed past his defences.

Gary stared at Ash with a mildly alarmed look on his face. He glanced quickly to see if anyone else had noticed Ash's tears. Damn him, he was making Gary look like a bully. His eyes darted back to Ash's face -or his bangs rather- and gulped.

'Hey, hey Ash, are you… okay?' Gary asked gruffly, just making sure he hadn't pushed the kid too far. He had only meant to tease him, jeeze! Was Ash taking him seriously? Gary sighed. He probably owed it to his fan club to be nicer to the loser. 'My grandfather has lots of pokémon,' he said very slowly, the words nearly choking him. He reached to pat the other on the back awkwardly, but his hand was smacked away.

Gary's 'kind' words seemed to have the opposite effect on Ash, who looked him right in the eye with the beginnings of an angry blush, his jaw clenched tightly. 'I don't need your pity!' Ash spat. 'I'm going to be a pokémon master, and if I have to wait longer, then I have to wait longer. It was my responsibility to be here on time, and I wasn't.'

Gary gawped at him dumbly, opening and closing his mouth as if he'd lost the ability to speak, or insult Ash further. Ash turned on his heel and was about to stalk away when Gary's hand shot out and gripped his shoulder. 'Oh no,' he growled quietly, 'You're not going anywhere!'

Gary pulled Ash toward him and leaned his head over his shoulder. His face was startlingly close to Ash's neck. 'You brat... I try to be nice and look what happens...' Gary said tonelessly, his eye twitching. Oh great, now he's mad, Ash thought, bracing himself. He could feel Gary's hair tickling the back of his neck and it raised goose bumps on his already cold skin.

'W-what are you doing! -Hey!' Ash struggled, his limbs flailing futilely.

'Come on, we're going to see my gramps,' Gary said through clenched teeth. 'I hope you realise what a big favour I'm doing you.' He held Ash by the collar of his night-shirt so he couldn't escape, or wriggle out of it. Ash was skinny enough to slip right out of the cotton shirt and tear off back to his house. Hell, he felt frightened enough to do anything; running screaming through Pallet half-naked wouldn't faze him if it meant getting away from Gary Oak.

'Let me go!' he cried hoarsely as he was dragged around the side of the building. Gary was taking Ash in through a gate around the back where Professor Oak's house was attached to the lab. It was a somewhat smaller building with grey bricks and only looked half built, as if the Professor had only thought of his research centre but later realised he needed a place to live too. There were a few wilted potted plants on the wooden steps that led to the back door and a stone crabby ornament holding a little 'welcome' sign.

'Professor Oak hardly ever uses his house' Ash said, forgetting to struggle. 'Shouldn't we have just gone in through the front?' Gary let go of Ash quickly, not realising how tightly he'd been holding onto the younger boy's collar.

'Don't be stupid, I don't want to be seen with you,' Gary said hotly. 'Besides, what do you know about my grandfather? He probably only talks to you out of pity seeing as you're so useless and all.' Gary moved the crabby ornament and found a small key.

Ash spluttered angrily. 'I never asked for your help, you're the one who dragged me by my collar around the back of the centre. And-' Ash scrunched his face up, 'You seemed to like it, too!' He pulled his shirt over his lightly tanned stomach. 'Practically undressed me...' he muttered.

Gary looked at him acidly as he turned the key. 'Gramps, GRAMPS! It's me, Gary!' he yelled through the open screen door. There was a crashing sound, and a muffled curse from inside before Professor Oak appeared, a strange orange powder coating his silvery hair and a suspicious green slime staining his normally spotless lab coat. His eyes were round as he took in his scowling grandson and he blinked a few times.

'Sorry, I was just trying to collect a sample from an obstinate gloom, don't touch the powder, it's stun spore- Gary? What are you doing back here so soon? Is there a problem with your pokémon?' Professor Oak walked outside and squinted at him against the bright sunlight. He opened his mouth to say something and then saw Ash, breaking into a grin. 'Oh Ash, how delightful of you to visit.' He shook his hand and looked him over. 'But, why are you wearing your pyjamas? Is it some new youngster fashion?'

'Eh heh, no Professor,' Ash tried to explain hastily, his eyes flicking between Professor Oak and the sullen Gary, who now refused to look at him. Gary cleared his throat loudly.

'Ah, I see you've found Gary. I wondered whether he was going to tell you he was back in Pallet,' Professor Oak continued and winked at his grandson, who turned away from him with an embarrassed roll of his eyes.

'Ash is here for a pokémon.' As soon as the words left Gary's mouth Ash stared at him with a look of wonder, slack jawed. 'He was late and missed all the best ones. But I'm sure you might have a magikarp for him!' Gary added hastily and admittedly a little nervously. Ash was still staring at him like he had grown another head.

'A magikarp? It that a cool pokémon?' Ash asked with so much excitement that Gary almost felt sorry for making the jab. 'A magi carp's just a dumb old fish, stupid!' Gary explained, smacking Ash upside the head and darting to the side to dodge a sluggish blow.


'Boys!' Professor Oak looked at Gary with disapproval and he could feel a twisting feeling in his gut. All the happiness he'd felt about being special in his grandfather's eyes disappeared. 'Come inside, Ash. Gary, are you coming too?'

'Of course; I wouldn't want to miss seeing what kind of pokémon Ash gets,' he replied sweetly, then shot Ash a venomous look.

'Alright, my first pokémon! Yeah!' Ash yelled, pumping his fist in the air, Gary already forgotten.

'Keep it down, loser. You'll scare all the pokémon!' Gary jabbed Ash in the side with his thumb and walked ahead of him with his nose in the air.

'Keep your hands to yourself, jerk!' Ash muttered, yanking a clump of Gary's hair, earning a startled yelp and another smack.

Professor Oak muttered about manners and the safety of his expensive lab equipment, but didn't say anything to the two. He supposed they had a lot of catching up to do. If they had become hostile towards each other in the last few years they would have to work something out and put it behind them. He had high hopes for the two- which could only be achieved if they worked together. Now there was a novel concept!

He lead them down a corridor into the main lab where there was a raised platform. Three pokéballs were in the centre and Ash ran over right away before Professor Oak could say anything, or warn him not to touch anything.

'I thought about this a lot, Professor! I decided that my first pokémon would be Bulbasaur!' Ash burbled, looking as excited as a six year old at Christmas. He picked up the pokéball and it popped open, empty. 'Eh?' Ash looked dumbfounded. He put the pokéball down. Well, he didn't expect them to be there at all anyway.

He picked up the next closest pokéball. 'Alright, that's okay because my first pokémon will be... squirtle!' The pokéball clicked open and...There was nothing inside. 'WHAT?' Ash exclaimed, dropping the empty pokéball and staring at Professor Oak in alarm.

'Pfft,' Garry laughed, clutching his sides. The guy was an idiot! He felt a small, warm feeling of affection for Ash- remembered from when they actually got along- which he abruptly stamped out. He watched as Ash tried the last pokéball and found that it too was empty.

'Well, you know Ash the early bird gets the worm.' Professor Oak said wisely. He had put on a new lab coat. He nodded sagely, fingering his chin thoughtfully.

'You mean there really are no pokémon left?' Ash gasped, his face falling.

'There is one other pokémon, but there's a problem with it and I wasn't planning on handing it out to any trainer today. You had better wait for your bulbasaur.'

Gary quirked an eyebrow and he stopped fiddling with the microscope. A problem pokémon? One that he hadn't seen his gramps give out? 'No, Professor! I just have to have a pokémon, please let me take it?' Ash pleaded. Gary turned back to his amusement with a snort of disgust. The boy was going to get nowhere with pity. Gary resumed hating Ash, deciding that he would crush him like a bug. I hope you like your dreams, Ash, because I'm going to tear them to pieces. Gary thought with an extra wave of spite. Something small and silvery pinged off of the microscope and he withdrew his fingers hastily, resolving to deny everything if his grandfather asked about it.

Professor Oak glanced at Ash and pressed a button on the side of the stand. The platform moved to allow a fourth pokéball to surface and Ash timidly picked up the ball. It had a little lightning bolt sticker on it; cute, but it probably contained something lame. As soon as it touched his palm the pokéball opened and the pokémon was beamed out. The red light revealed a Pikachu of all things. Hah! What a joke. Gary didn't need to see any more.

'Listen gramps, I'm outta here. I got stuff to do,' Gary said. He stuck his hands in his pockets. 'I've got my pokémon journey to start. I can't waste my time with little brats like you, Ash.'

'Oh yeah, well I'll show you Gary Oak!' Ash said scathingly. He glared at the back of Gary's head as he sauntered back down the hall-way and Professor Oak sighed to himself.

'Only in your dreams, which you won't have for very long,' Gary snorted, quietly. He left without a backward glance and headed to meet the people in his fan club, who were probably waiting with baited breath. His last thought as he left the facility was that he hoped he wouldn't bump into Ash on the way to the pokémon league.