What if Ash befriended his three starters from Kanto before his journey began? What if Pikachu wasn't there to begin with…what if Ash was smarter than the Anime portrays him? My take on the classic 'What If' scenario.

Also…because the idea of sending a child into the wilderness at ten years old is dumb…I'm sticking with the starting age of fifteen.

Pokemon: Starting off right

By

KingFatMan25

Pallet Town of the Kanto Region, to most it looks like a simple and small town in the country side, and most of them would be correct. But this town is something else. It is the starting place for all pokemon trainers who choose to start their journey in the Kanto region. It is also the home of the world renowned Pokemon Professor and Poet, Professor Samuel Oak.

Pallet Town is a place where new beginnings happen to those who seek a life of companionship and battle. It is a place where one young man named Ash Ketchum will start his journey to become a Pokemon master, but that is not where our story begins…our story, begins with three pokemon who would find strength in each other and then in the person who would become the most powerful pokemon master…to ever live.

*PSOR*

In a forest far away from Pallet Town, a lone pokemon with light blue skin and green patches slowly walked through the brush. Upon his back was a bulb that seemed to almost breathe in the dime sunlight of the day. This pokemon was known as Bulbasaur and he was searching for a place to sleep. One year ago, Bulbasaur's trainer had abandoned him because he refused to evolve into his next stage. This had scared the pokemon greatly and it wasn't until he found Melanie and the hidden village that he found some form of usefulness. But even this came to an end.

While he had lived with Melanie, he was the protector of the hidden village and would watch over the injured and sick pokemon that came to rest there. But after a year of this and finally letting his shields down, he was yet again forced to face the reality of humans. Melanie couldn't continue to keep up the sanctuary without funding so she was forced to close it down. The pokemon that she had with her were rounded up and sent to preserves such as the safari zone. When she came to collect Bulbasaur the grass type attacked her with a vine whip and ran into the forest.

His face was contorted into one of determination and anger but his heart was filled with sadness. He shook his head and growled at several rattata that were surrounding a fallen berry and was about to settle down for his meal when a small flicker of light caught his eyes.

*PSOR*

A small orange lizard with a flame on his tail growled in determination as his opponent charged him. The pokemon was a dark shade of pink with large rabbit like ears and a large pointed horn on his forehead. The fire type known as Charmander squeaked in pain as the opposing Nidorino slammed into him with strong force. The toxins within the horn released and weakened Charmander significantly. Charmander tried to muster his strength in order to use flamethrower but found himself too weak and fell to the ground. Charmander let a small tear fall down the side of his face as he knew he had yet again failed.

"That's all you can do!?" Charmander flinched as he looked up to see his trainer, Damien. "I can't believe I ever wasted the effort to throw the pokeball that caught you. You are the weakest pokemon I have ever seen. I'm done with you."

Charmander watched as his trainer took out his pokeball and activated the release. Charmander was engulfed with a blue light as his trainer released his ownership of him. The small fire type tried to protest but a snap of the fingers and Damien's Nidorino charged forward and attacked again. This time the horn caught Charmander in the face and left a nasty gash running down the right side of his face. The small fire type cried out as the pain, toxins from earlier, and the betrayal of his trainer sank deep. He simply lay down and waited. It could have been only a few minutes, hours, or even days but Charmander didn't move from his spot.

Finally after two days of staying in the same spot, the battle against hunger finally won out and Charmander slowly got up and walked gloomily down the nearest path.

*PSOR*

A small blue turtle like pokemon with a squirrel like tail groaned as he got up and glared at the group in front of him. Three others that looked like him laughed as he got up and then looked to their new leader. He was similar to his smaller minions but he had a larger white fluffy tail as well as two fluffy ears. His hands now had claws and his skin and shell were darker in color. Squirtle glared at the Wartortle that stood before him. The five of them had once been known as a group called the Squirtle squad but that all changed when Squirtle's second in command evolved and challenged him for the right to lead. The battle only lasted a few minutes and Squirtle found himself faced with two options. The first was to keep fighting and hope for a sudden evolution or the second was to swallow his pride and take off. Sadly, he opted for the second and turned to the nearest path into the forest and ran.

Squirtle sighed as he started to search for food but found nothing. As he walked, he let his mind wonder and found his thoughts falling onto the life he once had. He once had a trainer like so many other pokemon out there but his trainer had been disappointed with his lack of skill so he simply abandoned him. Squirtle had been so heartbroken over this that simply walked around the city limits until he happened upon the group known as the Squirtle Squad. They all hit it off and became a family…or so he thought. The water type shook his head and sighed as his stomach roared in hunger but forced himself to continue on.

He walked a ways until he came to an opening. He quickly searched the area until he felt himself tense up. In front of him was a very weak looking Charmander and it was trying desperately to stand up as a large Pinsir slowly walked towards it with hunger evident on his face.

*PSOR*

Bulbasaur looked at the small fire type with curiosity. The Charmander was obviously a trained pokemon from the scent he had but it was very weak. The fire on his tail was weaker than should have been and there was the faintest odor in the air around the small starter. Bulbasaur waited a moment and let his mind work until suddenly he got a more defined smell…poison. The grass type quickly went into action as he searched for a berry that would help. His mind went wild at story that began to weave into existence.

Charmander was trained, that much was obvious, but he was here in the forest severely poisoned. There were no humans in sight for miles and everything seemed normal. This left only one option…abandonment. Just the thought of it made Bulbasaur's blood boil. He shook his head and rushed into a clearing he knew ran close to the river. Upon arrival he quickly searched the area for the berry he was looking for and breathed a sigh of relief when he found a tree full of them. He quickly pulled several berries from the tree and turned to rush back. As he grew closer, he heard the sounds of battle and quickly skidded to a halt as he reached the clearing. Charmander was still on the ground and a large Pinsir was battling a weakened Squirtle. The water type charged forward and slammed his head into the bug type's stomach only to be met with a powerful slash attack.

Bulbasaur growled and reached deep within himself. His bulb began to glow as his ability overgrown roared to his aide in order to defend the weak. Both Charmander and Squirtle were on their feet and both had looks of determination on. With a cry, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle launched three powerful attacks of fire, water, and grass. The three attacks slammed into the bug type and sent it flying with a powerful explosion.

The three pokemon looked at each other for a few moments before they slowly walked towards each other.

*PSOF*

A young twelve year old boy slashed at a tree branch that was in his way and chuckled as he quickly dodged the back lash. His raven hair was in an untamable mess and his amber eyes sparkled in amusement as he walked through the woods near Pallet Town. Ash Ketchum smiled as a flock of Pidgey and Pidgeotto flew over his head as they searched for food. The boy pushed another branch out of his way as he arrived at an open field that he loved to come to. It was often filled with wild pokemon that were tolerant of Ash and some even went as far as letting the boy play with them.

Ash sat down by a large Oak tree and watched the pokemon run around and go about their daily lives. It was around an hour later that he noticed an orange lizard walking around the edges of the field. Being curious by nature, Ash got up and walked along the edge of the field until he finally was close enough to identify the pokemon.

"A Charmander…I wonder what you are doing all the way out here?" The pokemon looked up and froze. Sure he had seen the boy several times but after what Damien did to him he was very cautious. Ash noticed Charmander's tense stance and crouched down to his level and dug in his pocket. He pulled out a chocolate bar and cracked a portion of it off.

"Hi there Charmander, I was wondering if you could help me eat this chocolate bar. It is very big and I don't think I can finish it." Charmander's eyes flickered to the bar and back to Ash. He would be lying to himself if he said that the bar didn't smell good but he just wasn't sure. After a good minute of thinking, he slowly took a step forward. With each passing moment, Charmander slowly walked closer to Ash and with each step, the boy's smile got wider and wider. When Charmander was close enough he gently reached out and took the offered candy and took a little bite. The sweet taste washed over his tongue and the fire type squealed in pleasure before he sat down and continued to eat.

Ash chuckled and slowly reached out and ran a hand over Charmander's head to which the pokemon tensed up. But once he felt the gentle hand he gave in and leaned in to Ash's petting. Charmander swallowed the final piece and looked to Ash for more. The boy chuckled and broke off another piece but just as he was about to give it to the fire type…a loud blue blur slammed into Ash and hugged the chocolate bar like it was the last one in existence.

Ash looked down at the Squirtle as it hugged and looked to be worshiping the chocolate bar. Charmander was shaking his head and started to converse with the water pokemon. Squirtle looked at his friend and then at the bar before sadly handing it back to Ash. The boy chuckled and broke off a piece of chocolate and handed it to Squirtle who held it up like it was the Azure Flute of Arceus.

Charmander rolled his eyes and looked to Ash and slowly went over to the human. He easily started to lie down and then rested his head on the human's lap. Ash was shocked by this but gently started to stroke the pokemon until it fell asleep. Squirtle was still looking at the chocolate with a wide eyes and a little drool coming out of his mouth.

Ash's thoughts were broken when a sharp voice filled the air, "Bulba! Bulbasaur!" Ash looked to see a Bulbasaur standing at the edge of the field glaring at him with a heated gaze. The pokemon spoke again but when Ash didn't move it growled and charged forward. Bulbasaur lashed out with his vines and struck Ash across the face, leaving a red mark. By this point, Charmander and Squirtle jumped up and put their hands out to stop their friend from attacking the human. Bulbasaur stopped and looked at his friends with shock but growled with a nod of the head for them to explain.

Ash sat back as he watched the three pokemon converse. He knew that they were speaking about him because they would occasionally look at him before continuing with their conversation. Finally after fifteen minutes, Bulbasaur seemed to sag in defeat and simply laid down right where he was. His calculated eyes never left Ash as the other two starters walked over and continued to enjoy Ash's company. Ash could only smile as he patted Charmander and Squirtle…he suspected that Bulbasaur would come around eventually but for the time being…he was happy to have new friends.

*PSOR*

Time Skip of three years

Ash yawned and stretched in under his covers as the first rays of light filtered into his bedroom from the morning sun. He groaned and buried his face into his pillow before suddenly jumping up and exclaimed loudly, "I leave today!"

Normally a child wouldn't be this excited but now that he was fifteen years old, Ash could finally begin his pokemon journey. Ash quickly rushed to the bathroom attached to his room and showered. Several minutes later he was rushing out of his room and down into the kitchen for his final home cooked meal for some time. The smell of bacon and coffee filled his nose as he entered the spacious kitchen of the Ketchum household. His mother, Delia Ketchum was standing at the stove humming to herself as she finished working on breakfast. His mother was still as beautiful as she was in her teens. Her long brunette hair reached just below her shoulders and the form fitting pink blouse and blue jeans clung to her body perfectly.

At the table was another figure and the main provider for the family. His hair was silver and in an untamable mess just like his son. He was a powerful six and a half feet tall and had a roughish appeal to him. A small light green Pokémon with a leaf upon its head sat next to him as she slowly ate her breakfast. This was Ash's father, Silver Ketchum. He was also known as the Legend Killer as per his love of hunting and battling Legendary Pokemon. The pokemon beside him was his ever faithful Chikorita.

Off in the corner was a large lion looking pokemon with dark blue and black fur. Its tail had a yellow star at the very tip and it purred deeply upon looking at Ash. This was Silver's Luxray and the official family pet.

The occupants of the room turned and smiled at Ash, "Morning son, all ready for your big day?" Ash nodded at his father, "You bet dad. I can't believe I'm finally old enough to go on my pokemon journey!"

Silver let a deep laugh go, "That's my boy."

Delia set down three plates of food and poured some coffee, "Have you decided on what pokemon you want as a starter?" Ash's smile made Delia cringe lightly. It was the same smile that Silver got when he was planning something or wanted to spend some quality time with her in bed.

"You don't have to worry mom. I have everything planned out." Delia nodded, "I know dear. With all the books your father has given you I'm not surprised. Your library almost rivals Professor Oak's."

Ash snorted which caused his mother to glare at him, "I have a long way to go before I'm even close to Professor Oak."

Silver downed half his mug of coffee and let his cheeks puff up. He winked at Ash and tried to roar like a pokemon as he let the steam escape his mouth.

Delia smacked her husband on the shoulder, "Silver what have I told you about doing that!"

He chuckled, "Come on Delia you know I do it in good fun." Delia rolled her eyes but smiled none the less.

Ash glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost eight in the morning. He jumped up and quickly put on his jacket, "I will be back in a few minutes." Before his parents could respond he was gone.

Silver smiled at Delia, "You know he won't be here for a while right?"

His wife blushed a lovely shade of pink, "Silver you never get enough do you?"

Silver chuckled and wrapped his arms around his wife, "Of you my beautiful wife…never."

Luxray simple rolled his eyes and went back to sleep.

*PSOR*

Ash arrived at the field he had gone to for the last three years and whistled. Within seconds, three figures tackled him to the ground and proceeded to hug and lick him. "Guys cut it out…I'm pleased to see you as well."

The three pokemon got off of him and smiled at their friend. Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle all knew what day it was and they couldn't wait for their friend to ask the question they all knew the answer to. Ash smiled at his friends and looked at each one of them. Charmander and Squirtle had taken to him right away but Bulbasaur had taken the better part of three months to even accept food from his hand. Not that Ash minded, he loved a challenge and earning Bulbasaur's trust was one of the biggest he ever had.

"Alright guys you know what day it is so I'm just going to ask the question. Do you three want to become my pokemon and join me on my journey?"

Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle called out in happiness and all jumped onto their now official trainer. The four friends laughed and then started on the path to Pallet Town. "You know, I need one of you as my 'official' starter. I don't like picking between you three so how about you decide?"

The three pokemon looked at each other and quickly came to a unanimous decision. Bulbasaur looked at Ash and nodded his head to Ash. "Alright then Bulbasaur it is. I will capture the rest of you the moment I'm registered."

His pokemon again called out as they quickly arrived at Professor Oak's Lab. Upon getting there they saw that a large group of people were standing there cheering as Gary Oak walked out with a pokeball in hand, "Behold friends…the first pokemon of the future Pokemon Master Gary Oak!" The crowd cheered and Gary's personal cheer squad started chanting something.

Ash rolled his eyes and pushed his way through the crowd. His three friends walked around the back to the lab in order to remain hidden. Gary caught sight of Ash and smirked, "Well it is about time you got here Ashy-Boy. Decide to sleep in again?"

Ash shrugged, "Nope, I was up at the crack of dawn. I was in the field again."

Gary snorted, "Letting your mind wonder, what a loser. Too bad you didn't get here earlier; I already have the best of the starter pokemon."

Ash shook his head, "All pokemon have their strengths and weaknesses, even Squirtle."

Gary grew red in the face, "How do you know?"

Ash waved his hand at Gary, "You have only been talking about getting a Squirtle for the last five years. It is kind of scary really."

Gary sneered, "You just wait Ash, once you have a pokemon I challenge you to a battle!"

Ash simply ignored him and walked into the lab. When he arrived at the main room he smiled at the sight of his three friends with their faces pressed up against the sliding glass doors. Squirtle was making faces while the other two looked on in awe.

Ash turned when someone cleared their throat and smiled when he saw Professor Samuel Oak. The man was in a white lab coat and had on tan kakis along with a red shirt. His hair was gray and he had a gentle smile upon his face.

"Ash my boy I'm glad you showed up. Are you ready for your pokemon journey to being?"

Ash nodded and waited as Professor Oak handed him three pokeballs. "You can let them in now."

Ash chuckled and opened the door and his three friends rushed in. Charmander smiled shyly at Professor Oak while Bulbasaur offered a vine in greeting. "It is great to see you all again. I have to say that this is the first time I have had someone start off with all three of you."

Ash smiled, "I'm technically starting with Bulbasaur, but I'm capturing the other two right away."

Professor Oak nodded, "I knew they would be your starters the day you brought them in for a checkup. I'm happy that they are still looking as healthy and strong as ever."

Squirtle puffed up his chest and flexed his arms to which Charmander accidently slapped his friend with his tail. Ash chuckled again and then enlarged the three pokeballs, "Alright guys let's do this."

Ash tossed the three balls into the air and each of his friends jumped at one of them and got sucked into the ball. The offered no resistance and three simultaneous dings confirmed Ash's captures. Placing the pokeballs on his belt, Ash turned to Professor Oak, "Alright Ash, here are six more pokeballs and your pokedex. It has been uploaded with all the information on the known species of pokemon, their attacks, and abilities. Your first gym location will be that of Pewter City. Keep me posted and be safe."

Ash nodded in thanks and walked out of the room. When he got to the stairs he felt himself blush as he witnessed a large group of people cheering for him. His mother and father were at the front of the group and they had a small gift bag.

Ash rushed up and hugged them, "I'm so proud of you Ashy. I just can't believe that you are fifteen and going on your pokemon journey."

Delia started to shed a tear but Silver put his arm around her, "He will be alright dear…he is a Ketchum."

Silver looked at his son, "We got you something Ash." Ash accepted the bag from his father and opened it up. The first thing that came out was a small velvet box that was normally used for jewelry but upon opening it, Ash found himself looking at another pokeball. He looked at his father and enlarged it and chose the pokemon. From it came a small blue pokemon that looked like a lion cub. It had blue and black fur and a star shape at the end of its tail. It yawned and let out a playful mew.

Ash's eyes widened and smiled widely, "When did you capture this?"

Silver smiled, "Just last night. Luxray and your mom's Persian had an egg a few months back and this little one hatched from that egg. He already shocked me so he defiantly has Luxray's spirit. We wanted to make sure he was ready to battle so Professor Oak has been watching over him."

Ash smiled and picked up the small pokemon. It started purring up a storm and licked Ash's chin, "Thank you so much you guys."

Delia giggled, "Ash there is one more gift in the bag." Ash looked and pulled out an envelope that turned out to be a bank statement. Upon seeing the amount his eyes widened and looked at his parents.

"What?"

Silver chuckled deeply, "When you were born your mother and I decided to open a trust fund for you. Whether you decided to become a pokemon trainer of do something else we knew you should be able to enjoy it. So every time I won a battle or competition I would put twenty percent of the profits into this account. Your mother did the same thing with that restaurant of her's and the interest did the rest. You can thank us by winning the Kanto League."

Ash put the card that was with the bank slip into his wallet and hugged his parents, "Thanks you guys. I will make you proud."

Silver patted his son on the back, "We know you will son. We love you."

Ash smiled at this and picked up his new Shinx, "I will call as soon as I get to Viridian City, love you!" Ash turned and started to walk down the path leading out of Pallet Town and onto his Pokemon Journey.

Well, that was fun. This idea came to me at work and I had to write it down otherwise I was going to forget it.

Again this is my take on the "what if" scenario and will feature a very different Ash.

Send in ideas and reviews and let me know what you guys think he should capture as well as the shipping. Ash is fifteen in this story so he will notice girls. Lol

KingFatMan25