A/N. Some of the stuff in this is kinda like a rewrite of what was originally going to be the very first chapter, however I did a prologue instead so now this is just the first official chapter, or episode as I prefer to term it. Like most of my fanfic, I'm going to try to draw up a picture of what the Fem!Ash in this story looks like, but I make no promises due to the fact that sometimes I can draw people, but most of time I frustrate myself to no end attempting it. Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you guys enjoy the chapter!
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
Episode 1: The Start of a Journey
Dark brown eyes stared vacantly out of the open window in the kitchen, hands moving idly through their task of preparing breakfast before pausing for a few seconds to brush a stray lock of jet black hair out of the owner's face. The air was unusually peaceful that particular morning, leaving the house largely quiet save for the occasional melodic sounds of pidgeys chirping just outside and while it was still a little too early for most of the people who lived in Pallet Town to be up and about just yet, the sun had long since rose above the horizon.
She was still tired of course, though she could push through it, ignoring her own sluggish body's pleas to crawl herself back up the stairs she had clumsily stumbled down from just an hour prior and go back to bed, but regardless of how one might see it, there was something important she needed to get done, and unless she wanted to be exponentially late she'd need to start getting ready soon.
As the young girl began to clean up, the table already set and the food neatly placed out on the dining room table, the resounding firm steps of her father could be heard, the man looking far worse than she had ever in the entirety of her admittedly short life as he all but stumbled into the kitchen, groaning about coffee or something of the like.
"Good morning." She greeted, her voice calm and quiet, and belaying none of the excitement she actually felt on the inside. The man grumbled some unintelligible gibberish that might as well have been French as he plopped himself down in the nearest available seat in response, some of the caffeine filled liquid spilling onto the table cloth and even a bit onto the man's large hand, causing him to yelp in pain and nearly spill even more of the ceramic mug's contents onto himself. The young girl heaved a sigh, far too used to her own father's antics to truly be bothered or complain about it, and swiftly grabbed a nearby towel to clean up the mess the man had recklessly made. "This happens almost every morning, Dad." She chided him gently, the man swearing under his breath as he gently took the towel from her hands and proceeded to mop up his own accident.
"I know, I know." He sighed, sounding just as resigned as the ten year old felt before tossing the used towel into the sink. She gave him a strained smile, her expression exhausted from just the morning's efforts alone. He knew if this were some other world, some other time line where he was a more capable adult, she'd probably have been allowed to sleep in as much as she liked. But as it was now, they were stuck in their current roles, the young girl who might've been spoiled in another life possibly the most responsible child he had ever met.
"You'd think you'd learn by now not to slam your coffee cup down in the morning."
"Yeah, you think…" He couldn't help himself as another sigh escaped his lips, a hand lifting to rub at his suddenly very dry and sore throat. His voice sounded scratchy even to his own ears, and he couldn't help but wince at the tone of it. "Don't you have something to do today?"
"Hmm?" She hummed in question, washing some of the dishes before she herself sat down to eat. The man waited for a few seconds, allowing for her to put the last of the now clean dishes up before she finally sat down to join him for breakfast.
"Yeah, you know? At Prof. Oak's lab…" The man had always had some difficulty explaining what he had meant, and even getting to the true point of the matter sometimes took more effort than it should've.
"You mean the starter pokémon thing, right?"
"Yeah. That…" Suddenly the air was heavy and an awkward silence had fallen between them without warning. She was used to it however, as used to this sudden and unexpected silence as she was to everything else that occurred in this house. Her father had a bad habit of starting a conversation that could generally go really well and dropping it in the middle due to forgetting what he wanted to say, or just running out of words to say in general. "Um… so… Which one do you plan on getting?"
"I dunno… Whichever one I guess. Gary said he was going for either a charmander or a squirtle. But it's more like first come, first serve with Prof. Oak, so if anyone wants the one they want they'll either need to work it out with the other kids who are showing up or just get there as early as possible."
"Sounds like typical Oak to me. He's always been like that, even when I was your age…"
"That must've been half a century ago."
"Hey! I'm not that old!"
"Whatever you say." And before the man could say anything else, she was up and moving, sweeping around the table in a familiar pattern as she collected the dishes before heading back to the sink to wash them as well.
Honestly he didn't really see the point to her insistency on keeping the house clean. True, at least one of them would be stopping by every once in a blue moon, but this house probably wouldn't see light of day or hear the sounds of feet on wood for a good long while. As bad as it probably was for him, he had no plans of staying in the house, let alone in Pallet Town for that matter, once his daughter had her starter pokémon and was on her way. Delia might've, if she had bothered to stick around, waiting faithfully because she knew that their child, his daughter now, would come home repeatedly, instead of whenever the urge hit her like it had him. However, he wasn't Delia, and he never would be. He didn't have the maternal instincts that had seemingly come so naturally to the woman he had fallen for, he barely had the paternal instincts necessary to act as his daughter's father.
No, he wouldn't be like Delia at all. He would do what he had always done since he had gotten married, found something precious to protect besides his pokémon and his own life. He'd travel, and in his travels he'd hopefully be able to nip a couple of troublesome buds at the root before they truly became a problem to the rest of the world. He had slipped up once already, that fateful night that Delia had left him with a wailing three year old in his arms and not much choice other than to settle down for once in his life and take care of the daughter that she had basically abandoned. The daughter she had sworn up and down she loved, but that she could bring herself to love enough to show it.
Hopefully that was one mistake that wouldn't lead to an even bigger problem, than just a divorce that had never been made official and probably never would be.
"Ash," he stopped her, getting her attention for all of the few seconds needed. "Aren't you going to be late if you don't hurry?" He motioned with a calloused thumb towards that clock that hung on the far wall from them. The soon-to-be trainer stared unblinkingly at it for a few seconds before finally putting all the dishes away, closing the cupboard and removing the apron she had taken to wearing some years back.
"Ah…" She simply replied, her voice deceptively calm as she continued to peer at the clock for a couple of seconds before turning to leave the kitchen. "Off by a couple of minutes Dad, but you're pretty close all the same." The man hadn't gotten the reaction he was expecting, and as a result he pouted, causing the young girl to give a small laugh before she disappeared around the corner, a mini blur of a white short-sleeved hoodie*, a loose-fitting black t-shirt, and a pair of blue capris that she had been insistent on wearing the day prior.
"So what do you think, Charms?" The man held up the small pokéball, covered in scratches and minor gouges from the various times the pokémon held inside had picked up for whatever reason. "Think she'll make it out there alright?" The pokéball seemed to rattle in response to the man's questions, the very surface of the spherical device seemingly heating up as if daring the man to say that his daughter would not survive in the world that lay outside of Pallet Town. He couldn't help but laugh in response to the obvious challenge, rubbing at his face as he seemed to gain a couple of years on himself. "Yeah, you're right. If you thought she was a little Hell raiser back when she was three, she'll obviously be fine. I worry too much."
"Ah! Well, color me surprised. You actually managed to make it here on time for once." Ash couldn't help the small smile that came to her face as she walked past the numerous shelves heavy with various information on the creatures known as pokémon.
"Mornin' Professor," the ten year old greeted with a slight curtsy, the baggy t-shirt she was wearing acting almost like a dress as she all but skipped to a stop. Her gaze landed on the old man standing at what could be considered the center of the room, give or take a couple of inches. He was clad in a dark orange polo shirt, a white researcher's jacket thrown over that with a pair of smart-cut khaki pants underneath and brown leather dress shoes to complete the look. His hair was already completely gray, a testament to his age, but other than that he seemed perfectly fine.
"Good morning Ash, I'm glad to see you up and about before noon for once. How's your father?" The old man questioned, pausing for a few seconds to take his attention away from the girl in favor of rifling through some of his files before turning his attention back onto the younger.
"Same as usual. Burnt himself with his own precious coffee again, just so you know." The professor chuckled in response, remembering all too well said man's sudden addiction to the caffeinated drink best served warm in his own opinion.
"Ah, I see."
"Has Gary come by yet, or is he still with Daisy?"
"Ah, yes. He should be coming over soon, I wasn't honestly expecting anyone until eleven, so you're actually pretty early."
"I see…" Ash's voice dropped to a mumble as she began to slowly make her away around the large room, eyes scanning the many shelves for anything that might catch her interest. "Hey Prof. Oak. I've got a question…"
"Hmm? What is it?"
"Can I have a pokémon other than the three starters?" She asked, looking more at the numerous files and documents that sat cluttered and stuffed together, rather than the person she was actually talking to.
If she were honest, it really didn't matter which pokémon she had gotten in the end, a pokémon was a pokémon after all and as far as she was concerned regardless of whether or not she got one of the main starters or not, she'd still try her hardest to befriend and care for it. However, she still wanted to be a little unique if she could get away with it.
"Well, that depends Ash. What did you have in mind?"
"Nothing special or anything. I mean my Dad's starter was a charmander right? I wasn't thinking about anything super rare or difficult to manage, though I wouldn't mind the challenge per say. Just something… different." She still wasn't looking the elder in the eye, not out of guilt or anything suspicious, that much the researcher knew. It was just how the girl was, sometimes meetings a person's eyes, sometimes not. It all depended on what she found more interesting at that moment in time, and just how wide awake she was to boot. If she were particularly tired she wouldn't actually be looking at anything other than the back of her eye lids if she couldn't keep herself awake long enough.
"Well, I've got a couple of spares. But if I do give you one, you have to promise me that you won't give up just because it gets too difficult."
"I won't, I promise."
"Good. Now let's see…" the man's voice petered of into silence as he began to shuffle around the numerous shelves off in the back for a moment before coming back. "Ah, well, we have a couple… Oh but this one might not be such a good one..."
"Huh? What do you mean, 'not such a good one'?" Ash blinked as she turned to finally face the man, her curiosity peeked as she eyed the pokéball.
"Now Ash this pokémon isn't exactly the best for a beginner. It takes a lot of maintenance. And by a lot, I mean a lot."
"Can at least get to meet 'em. What kind of pokémon is it?" The man sighed realizing quite quickly that regardless of his own wishes, Ash was going to insist on at the very least seeing the pokémon.
"Ugh… Fine, fine, just please calm down Ash. Sheesh, I've never seen you so excited in my entire life! Here." The professor took a few moments adjust his grip on the containment device before finally pressing the button, revealing the pokémon he had been so hesitant on showing to the soon-to-be-trainer.
"Pika!" the pokémon chirped, nothing more than a small, yellow ball of sparking fur. Ash couldn't help but laugh, the small smile on her face growing in size a little as she bent down to greet the little thing.
"Ash, meet Pikachu, the Electric Mouse Pokémon. They're typically very shy around people, but occasionally you'll find one that has a very ah… shocking personality." He explained, warily watching the young girl as she attempted to pet the rather unfriendly pokémon he had caught while wandering in the grassy area just outside of Pallet Town. It hadn't shocked her so far, but the electric-type had turned out to be a rather unpredictable pokémon, and for better or worse it was very liable to attack the ten year old if she over stepped any unknown boundaries the pokémon had set.
"You know I've never seen this pokémon before, but it looks kinda familiar." Ash spoke up suddenly, seeming to take special care as she began to pet the creature just under its chin, both hands rubbing gingerly so as to not upset the creature and cause it to attack her.
"Well yes, Ash. It should look familiar. It's a pokémon that can be found in Viridian Forest, though largely uncommon, but your father actually managed to catch one. I believe however he evolved into a raichu a year or two before you were born."
"Oh! You mean Uncle Thunder!" Ash chirped in recognition, hands continuing to gentle scratch the mouse pokémon as it cooed and sighed at the unconditional affection it was receiving. The other humans had treated rather roughly, pulling at its tail and ears, and poking fun at the color of its cheeks. It had felt only justified that it teach all of the little snot-nosed brats a lesson. However, this human actually knew how to handle it properly. No tugging or squeezing, or even vicious pulling of various body parts because she was far too excited to handle a pokémon, just gentle pets and offered space if it ever felt like she was crowding it a little too much. That didn't mean it liked her however. "Hmm… Ok, I'll take this one!"
"Wha?! Ash! I said-"
"I know what you said, and I want this one." Ash stated, her tone firm and her eyes burning with an unfamiliar determination to get what she wanted. Prof. Oak really couldn't object however, the young girl rarely if ever truly wanted anything of her own, the exact opposite of his grandson, who had grown up with parents that hadn't hesitated to spoil him rotten and shower him with all the love and affection they could despite not being there all the time, if ever. If Ash really wanted to have that pikachu for a starter, regardless of how the pokémon itself felt about it, he really couldn't bring himself to tell her "no".
He still tried anyways.
"But… fine… Here's its pokéball, I'm assuming you're not going to nickname like your father had a tendency to do whenever he caught a new pokémon." Prof. Oak stated, handing over the pokéball as well as a strange red device she hadn't seen before, though she couldn't help but think that she might've actually seen something like it once before. "The red device is a pokédex. Basically an encyclopedia of all the pokémon you could ever meet in the Kanto region. And as you can guess, these six here are empty pokéballs, a little extra kick start to your journey."
"Ah, thanks Professor…" Ash went quiet, interrupting herself with a yawn that she tried to hide behind a hand before continuing. "Eh, I don't know about any nicknames, I might later… or I might not…" She yawned once again, rubbing at her eyes slightly in a clear sign of how tired she must've been at that moment.
"And of course you're sleepy. Well, you might as well get a move on and go back home. Knowing you, you'll leave today and rest wherever the soonest chance you get."
"Heheh… You know me too well Professor. Tell Gary I said 'hi' okay?"
"Sure, sure. Be careful now."
"So how'd it go?" Ash was all tired smiles and sleepy looks as she walked up to her father, her obviously reluctant yellow starter in tow. She had attempted to put it back in its pokéball, but the creature had been stubborn and while Ash could be far worse when it came hard-headedness, she was far too tired to put up any real fight in the end and caved into what the pokémon had wanted quickly enough. It seemed to have paid up however, as the two seemed to at least have some understanding between each other.
"Great. This is my new starter, Pikachu. I might give it a nickname later if it doesn't get used to being called that, but for now it's just Pikachu." The man chuckled in response, a heavy hand landing on the young girl's head as he began to ruffle her hair about, turning into a bigger mess than what it already had been before.
"Go figure you'd go for something other than the main three if Prof. Oak let ya. I'm guessing you also got the pokédex too."
"Good, good." The man nodded his head at the sight of the familiar device. He paused as if to think for a couple of seconds before reaching a hand into one of his many pockets and pulling out a pokéball.
"What's that, it looks brand new?" Ash asked, tilting her head at the surprisingly clean pokéball. Most of her father's pokéballs were worn down and dirtied, various "War wounds" littering the devices from all the times they had been hit, scratched, or picked up by one of his many pokémon. This had none of those tell-tale details at all.
"It's your belated birthday present, and a sort of going away gift. It's just as big an eater as you though so be careful with it."
"Big an eater?" Ash mimicked eying the pokéball as she took if from her father's hands. She turned it over for a couple of minutes, her newfound starter eying the device with just as much curiosity as to the contents as she was.
"Pika?" It inquired, tone rising slightly in pitch as it tilted its head, watching its new "trainer" open the pokéball to reveal an unfamiliar ball of green fur, a little taller and a lot bigger than itself.
A/N. Cliff hanger! I guess… I don't know. It's like 5 in the morning where I am, my throat is scratchy, and I am tired. I wanted to give Ash a different starter other than Pikachu and the main three, but I changed my mind. So the little pokemon friend she got from her father just so happens to be the pokemon I was gonna originally make Ash's starter. But anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this way longer than usual chapter and thanks again for reading! Please leave a review and see ya!
(*)- For those of you who are curious, I know at least a few people have a different idea of what Ash's hoodie might like like, but to give you a good example, for those of you who are familiar with Kano from Kagerou Project, it's his jacket I'm referring to.