A/N: I know Pokemon are only supposed to be able to use four attacks at a time, so for the most part I'll stick to that. However the anime doesn't always, and as such I can feel justified with varying a little. Kingler's a good example. I'm sure it used at least five attacks when holding the bat through the first round of the Indigo League.

I can't find Marion City (it's town in some versions, but city sounds better) on the Johto map, so I'm throwing it on the way to Olivine City.

This is supposed to be a side-story, and I'm writing it first. It's just easier that way.


The Marion City Gym

Chapter 1 – Brock's Out of Date Guidebook

'Oh my God,' Misty moaned, collapsing on the bench by the fountain. 'We finally made it. It felt like we walked through that desert for like forever.'

'Sure does,' Ash agreed, plopping down on the other end as Pikachu sat between them. 'Man, I'm hot.'

Brock squeezed in between Ash and his Pokémon, leaning back a little to further enjoy the spray. 'Well, we can rest for now. Maybe grab a bite at the Pokémon Centre too.'

'Aargh, let's just sit for awhile,' the girl decided, stretching out her legs as Togepi cheered on her lap, the only one of their company that wasn't "dying of thirst" it seemed.

For a few minutes, they all enjoyed the spray. It was amazing how soothing the cool water was…even after Staryu had showered them on the sand not too long ago.

'Pika?' The electric mouse's ears suddenly straightened as if their owner were listening to something.

Ash turned his head slightly to look at the Pokémon on his shoulder. 'What is it Pikachu?' he asked curiously.

'Pikapi,' Pikachu replied, leaping from his launch-pad and landing neatly on the cement upon two tiny legs. 'Pika.' He pointed North, before following the line of his own finger.

The three humans looked at each other before shrugging and following.

Pikachu stopped at the outskirts of a small crowd. 'Pikapi, Pi-pikachu,' he explained to his companions, before slipping between the people. With a little more manevouring, Ash, Misty and Brock emerged as well.

'Cool!' Ash and Misty exclaimed at the same time, staring at the battle in progress. A Starmie and a Graveler by the looks of things. 'Starmie's definitely got an advantage,' the water-Pokemon trainer added.

'Not necessarily.' Brock folded his arms in thought. 'Remember Giselle's Graveler?'

'Oh yeah…' That had been one of her more mortifying battles.

The pair battling had at least a year between them; the older one was coaching his Starmie, black hair framing blue eyes and a pale face. The other was an inch smaller in height and somewhat stockier. His skin was also far more tanned, and a mass of brown hair sat atop his head.

'Graveler,' he shouted. 'Use Rollout.'

'Starmie,' the other countered. 'Jump and Ice Beam.'

The star shaped Pokemon leapt into the air and spun, covering the immediate ground in a web of ice that slowly spread into a platform…which the rock Digimon immediately barrelled into.

The brunet gritted his teeth as the Rollout slowed. 'Brick Break,' he yelled. 'Shatter that ice.'

The rock unravelled itself and immediately set to chopping the ice-block down to size.

'Use Psychic,' the raven commanded in response, and the shards of ice began to glow and cover the playing field with specks of white. 'Now, Ice Beam!'

'Why doesn't he use water attacks?' Ash asked aloud.

'Ice attacks are just as effective as water types against Rock Pokémon,' Brock explained. 'Especially when aiming for the eyes.'

He gestured at Graveler, who was now trying frantically to claw the ice away from his vision.

'Water Gun,' the other trainer commanded, taking advantage of the situation, and a single blast sent the rock Pokémon flying.

'Return,' the brunette sighed, holding out his Poké-ball, before gritting his teeth and shaking a fist at the other. 'We're not done Koichi.'

'Yes we are,' the other, Koichi, replied, returning his own Starmie with a word of thanks. 'I said only one battle.'

'Hold it.' Another boy pressed his way through the crowd, taller than the previously battling prayer.

The dark haired one sighed. 'I do have to be somewhere,' he muttered in annoyance. 'Unlike the pair of you, I have fixed responsibilities to adhere to that don't involve Pokémon battles.'

The eldest shrugged. 'Well, I have beaten you once,' he said in an almost patronising tone. 'You sure you don't want to defend your honour?'

'What honour?' the other asked rhetorically, before rubbing his brow. 'It's your fault if I'm late.'

'Sheesh, just teleport,' the tall teen grumbled, tossing a Poké-ball. 'Venusaur, go!'

The other grinned slightly as the dual type grass/poison Pokémon appeared. 'You still hung up about that?'

'Old habits die hard. Choose your Pokémon.'

The dark haired boy thought for a moment, fingering the Poké-balls at his hip before selecting one. 'Venomoth, get ready!'

Misty grimaced at that. 'A water Pokémon, and then a bug.'

'Well, flying Pokemon do have the advantage against Venusaur,' Brock pointed out.

Venusaur's trainer didn't seem too happy with the choice either. 'What are you trying to prove with a type advantage?' he grumbled.

'Nothing,' the other said calmly. 'You're the one trying to prove something, and in any case, I've no other Pokémon with me. You can't honestly expect me to send Starmie out again?'

'Point.' The brunette certainly didn't seem happy about it. 'But that Venomoth's a shrimp.'

'If you want Gardevier,' the raven said with a smirk playing on his lips. 'I'll be happy to oblige.'

It was remarkable how quickly the brunette switched tactics. 'Razor leaf!'

'Silver wind!' the other countered as the spiralling green leaves cut through the air. Venomoth flapped its wings in a fluid motion, generating enough force to set the projectiles on a return path.

'Vine whip!'

Vines slapped the leaves away, before shooting towards the moth.

'They're both good,' Brock noted, watching the battle with careful eyes. Ash and Misty watched with equal attention, particularly when the vines were stopped by a Poison Fang.

'Yeah?' The guy who'd been the raven's previous challenger had somehow manevoured himself to stand beside Ash. 'Katsuharu's going to get his butt kicked again. He was better off settling for that one win…albeit it was by fluke.'

'Venusaur!' the brunette, Katsuharu, yelled at that moment. 'Shake it off!'

The Pokémon staggered slightly, before standing again.

The opponent frowned. 'Tell me that's not the best you've got.'

'Of course not,' the other flared, and the raven shrugged again.

'Old habits die hard I see,' he repeated without change in expression. 'Venomoth, Psybeam!'

'Solar beam!' the brunette yelled – and to everyone's surprise, the beam of light crashed into the Psybeam and knocked Venomoth out of the air.

'Gotcha.' The brunette snapped his fingers.

'Silver wind!' the other countered. The generated breeze got the battered Venomoth into the air again. 'Now, Psybeam again!'

'Solar beam?' the other tried, knowing it was hopeless. 'Aargh, Razor Leaf.'

'Stop and use Supersonic!'

The beam of multiple colours disappitated in the air and the crowd blocked their ears on instinct. The raven's lips moved, but this time they failed to hear the command. They saw the consequences however; Venomoth was in Venusaur's face within seconds without a single nick from the Razor Leaves.

When the Psybeam hit full blast and scored a knock-out, they unblocked their ears.

'I didn't know Psybeam could do that,' Ash blinked.

'Well, Poison types are weak to psychic type moves,' the shorter of the two brunettes pointed out. 'And Koichi's too smart to let that Solar Beam hit unless the first Psybeam caused at least some damage. I'm Teppei by the way. The freakishly tall guy is Katsuharu…and the other guy's Koichi. I…guess you could call him our arch-rival.'

'Only because you two made it your mission in life to bug me,' the raven, Koichi, muttered, making his way over too with Katsuharu in tow, both Pokémon recalled. A smile was playing on his lips though, so it was obvious the words were said in jest…however they were said in the past. 'Now can I get home?'

'Geez,' Teppei muttered. 'Just teleport.'

'I prefer walking,' the raven said, before turning to the group of four. 'Friends?'

'Just happened to stand next to them,' the brunette replied with a shrug, before turning to Katsuharu. 'Seriously, you got your butt kicked.'

'Shut it Teppei,' the taller brunette growled in a warning tone.

Teppei simply shrugged again.

'I'm heading off home now,' Koichi said, this time tone leaving no room for comment. Turning to the trio with Pikachu and Togepi, he bowed. 'I'm Koichi.'

Ash held out a hand. 'I'm Ash,' he replied as Pikachu jumped onto the outstretched shoulder. 'And this is Pikachu.'

'Pikachu,' the electric rodent added.

'I'm Misty,' Misty interrupted before her companion could go off on a tangent. 'And I love your Starmie-'

'I'm Brock,' Brock cut in, seeing he wasn't going to get his introduction in if the red-head was allowed to continue on declaring her love for water Pokémon.

There was a hair-breathed pause, before Teppei grinned. 'A Pikachu huh. Pretty useless against Rock Pokémon.'

'Pika!' Pikachu snapped back.

'Pikachu is not useless,' Ash countered at the same moment.

'Here we go again,' Misty sighed.

'Well, I'm leaving.' Koichi looked just as exasperated. 'I need to be home by lunch.'

'Err…see you later.' Somehow, only Brock and Misty saw him go.

'I could use some warming up before my next Gym Battle at the Olivine Gym,' Ash said confidently, pumping an arm.

'Olivine?' Teppei grinned. 'Her Steelix is tough. You sure you can win?'

'Of course I'm sure.' The black-haired boy looked rather insulted at the insinuation. 'You got your Pokémon?'

'Oh yeah.' And the brunet tossed a Poké-ball. 'Geodude, go!'

Brock blinked at that. 'Well, that's interesting.'

'Sure is,' Misty agreed. 'Pikachu has an advantage here, having already battled against yours.' She said it too quietly to be heard by anyone else though…or perhaps it was because the battle was quickly underway.



Quick as Pikachu was, it easily dodged the rock.

'Aargh,' Teppei cried in frustration. 'Try a Dig attack.'

The electric mouse quickly skidded to a halt as the Geodude disappeared underground.

'Now,' the brunet commanded. 'Tackle!'

'Dodge Pikachu,' Ash cried – too late though, as Pikachu went flying through the air in a small arc. 'Pikachu!'

'Finish with Explosion!' the other declared, taking advantage of the situation as the electric mouse crawled to his feet.

'That's the way Pikachu,' Ash encouraged. 'Now, get inside that hole!'

Pikachu dove for cover, just as the Geodude exploded.

'Too late – what?'

'All right!' Ash threw a fist into the air. 'Thunder Pikachu!'

Pikachu followed the demand with a shocking electrical attack.

'That won't do anything.' Teppei folded his arms. 'Geodude is a rock-' He was cut off by the second surprise of the battle. Geodude was grimacing in pain.

'Just a little more,' Ash encouraged.

'Chuu!' Pikachu squeezed its eyes shut as it threw its energy into the blast. Eventually, the electricity faded from the air with a final cackle, Geodude hitting the ground with an unconscious bang.

Teppei glared at Katsuharu as the other stared laughing.

The elder brunet shrugged. 'Hate to say it mate, but you had it coming.'

'As if Koichi isn't enough.'

'Well, he has a point in that we start the whole mess.' He turned to Ash. 'Got any Grass types?'

'Sure,' Ash replied. 'A Bulbasaur and Bayleaf, but Bulbasaur's back at Professor Oak's.'

'Speaking of,' Brock interrupted. 'We ought to be getting to the Pokémon Centre.'

'Hold it,' Teppei yelled after them, before breaking off with a yelp of pain. 'Sheesh,' he added to Katsuharu. 'When did you grow up?'

'Try four years ago,' the other muttered, dragging the other down the road. 'Or did you forget-'

'Thanks Nurse Joy,' Ash said, taking his Poke-balls back as Pikachu climbed onto its usual position at his shoulder. 'Ready for the Olivine Gym?'

'Pika,' Pikachu agreed.

'Olivine City is still days from here,' Brock pointed out, pulling out his Guide-book for an exact figure.

'Oh,' Nurse Joy said curiously. 'You're planning on entering the Johto League?'

Ash turned back to her with a grin. 'Yes Ma'am.'

'Then why not try the Marion City Gym,' the Nurse offered. 'It's fairly new, but it was recently certified by the Pokémon League.'

'Marion City.' Brock, ignoring the source of his heart-break in an almost childish manner, flipped through the pages of his guide. 'Let's see here. It says Marion City's an old traditional place. It says here they even have a historic Pokémon Centre.'

'It's quite a sight,' Joy agreed. 'So is the Gym. It used to be a mansion of some sort. I believe the specialty is Psychic Pokémon. Some trainers aren't aware of the place as the old Guides are still in circulation, but it's quickly gaining a reputation in these parts.'

'Psychic Pokemon,' Ash mused. 'Marion City.' He thought for a moment. 'Well, let's go.'

'I was afraid he'd say that,' Misty sighed, lifting a hand to her fore-head. 'Ash, you do remember how your last battle at a Psychic gym turned out?'

'So what?' the other retorted. 'I won that one.'

'That's because-'

Brock sighed as he watched the two bicker. 'Here we go again.'

Joy laughed, before ducking under the counter, emerging a moment later with a book identical to Brock's own guide. 'Would you like the updated version?' she offered.

'Oh, yes please, and-' He put a gentle hand in hers. 'Your kindness is seconded only to your beauty-oww!'

Apparently, keeping him under control was more important to Misty than a little quarrel with Ash.

Good to know, he thought as he was dragged away.