From The Ashes A New Beginning Comes [SS]
From the Ashes A New Beginning Comes 
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Story Intent: Catch (Riolu)
Intended Rank: Complex (30 - 40k)
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Author Notes: This first bit here isn't going to be doing much but helping set up the background setting and helping flesh out some of the changes I've made to the canon; basically helping lead into the bigger changes I've made that wouldn't make as much sense without some prefacing. A lot of things differ here from the Pokemon anime we know - I'm going to do my best to explain changes as needed to avoid complicating things, but some of it just needs to be front-ended regardless.

A couple things to point out on how I format before going anywhere else though; Pokemon, Abilities, and Moves will always be capitalized, unless a character is saying them. I utilize game mechanics here as well, though not all of them and not always as shown in the games themselves. Character names can and will be changed as I see fit. Locations may or may not exist that were in the anime or may be altered. other changes may take place as well. tbh.

Warnings: Vague mentions of 'animal abuse' or whatever the pokemon equivalent is.

Character Count: 37,304 (This does not count anything above the Horizontal Rule)

Satoshi had always loved Pokemon. Always, from the very first moment he'd seen one; on the print of some atrocious little blanket he'd had as a toddler and kept entirely too long - blue with faded yellow stars and dancing Clefairy decorating the soft felt material. It was probably still tucked away somewhere with all his other baby things. The thought made him smile a little, even as busy as he was sorting through books and re-shelving them.

He truly loved Pokemon.

That fact probably had a lot to do with why he was willing sitting in the musty backroom of a laboratory, crouched down on the floor, organizing old science journals. Or perhaps it was the fondness for a certain professor, who currently sat draped haphazardly across a work-desk in the corner of the room, head pillowed in his arms on top of whatever it was he had been working on earlier in the evening. Satoshi smiled a little more as the old man snored softly in his sleep.

A yawn caught him by surprise, derailing his thoughts a moment. How long had he been here again? He took a moment to stretch and catch himself as a wave of tiredness started to come over him. He'd come by in the early morning to see if the elderly Professor had needed help with anything and had been here all day since then. The teen always seemed to get roped into helping the old man with one thing or another whenever his assistants didn't seem to have enough hands for whatever was going on. Feeding Pokemon. Sorting through old boxes. Just keeping Oak company while he went on about editing his latest poetry anthology or the newest scientific journal he'd had published. The young teen didn't really mind being pulled into activities at the lab; it just meant more chances to do things with Pokemon and the kindly man he saw as a grandfather, and neither of those were things Satoshi would willingly pass on.

He's still been here far longer than he'd intended though. The clock on the wall over Oak's desk blinked lazily at him, a reminder he should have probably left much earlier. Especially given how important the next day was going to be. With a sigh, and a quiet scramble of limbs (one of his legs had fallen asleep on him from sitting so long), he gave another long stretch before walking over to make sure the Professor made it to bed himself.

"Hey. Hey Professor." He was careful going to shake the older man's shoulder; Oak still managed to nearly fall out of his chair in a panic, papers lifting up from the table at the sudden movement and nearly falling off the edge.

"Oh! Ah, no, I'll have that report on Oddish cultivation written up right away! Uh, I- oh, huh?" Oak seemed to be out of it for a moment, the fog of sleep still dragging at him. Satoshi wasn't certain what he'd been dreaming about, but it had sounded...interesting, at least. "Satoshi? Why are you here/ What time is it? Oh lord, how long was I out? I'd wanted to get this lab report finalized before tomorrow - I won't have time to get to it for at least a week afterwards with all the new trainers running around."

"It's alright Professor. I got caught up sorting those journals you asked me to and didn't think to wake you up. Sorry about that." He had the presence of mind to look sheepish about it at least. "It's close to 11 I think? Your clocks are always fast or slow so it's hard to tell. You should get that fixed actually..."

"11? At night? What are you still doing here then! Ah, you're mother is going to have my head on a plate! Hold on, let me just - pardon me!" He quickly pushed himself up from his seat and made his way towards the far wall where more of his equipment and the lab's ancient PC sat, alongside an old Telecom. "Let me just call Delilah to tell her where you are. Oh blast, I'm sorry about this. I'd have sent you home hours ago if I'd been awake enough to do so - tomorrow is so important - ah, Delilah! It's Samuel, I'm-"

"Oh Professor! Is Ash there with you? He's been gone all day and he's usually over in your lab when he's gone like this. Is everything all right? He's usually home by now. It's dark out and I was starting to worry I'd need to send poor Mimen after him." Satoshi could see his mother's worried face past the Professor's shoulder, and walked over, gently pushing him to the side a little so he could see the screen and be seen himself. He could see Mimen, the Mr.Mime his mother kept around to act as a butler of sorts, also peering into the screen with a distinctly concerned look on his face. Seems Mrs. Ketchum wasn't the only one worried about his whereabouts.

"Everything's fine mom! Just got caught up helping again is all!"

"Oh! Ash! Thank goodness, I wasn't sure where you went! Especially since tomorrow is your birthday of all days. You really should have been home and in bed ages ago." Her face took on a pinched quality, and he immediately felt guilt start to pour in. She'd obviously been worried about him; more so than she let on.

Oak softly cleared his throat to draw attention, putting on a smile to try and defuse things.

"Again, I apologize for having kept him so long. He's been a big help prepping for everything that's going to be happening tomorrow. I fell asleep myself at some point or I'd have sent him home sooner. As it is so late, he may as well stay. Walking home in the dark isn't the best prospect, especially with all the strange Pokemon activity we've been having recently. There's a murder of Murkrow roosting out front that are especially mean at night - I'm happy to put him up in a spare bed here at the lab. He'll need to be back here first thing in the morning anyway regardless, so it'll save some walking. If it's alright with you of course? I don't want to presume, certainly."

Delilah seemed to think for a moment, before quietly nodding, a small smile replacing the worry lines from earlier. Internally, Satoshi sagged with relief. He hated making his mother concerned for him; she already worried so much about everything else he didn't want to add to it.

"No, that's fine Professor. Just make sure to send him straight home after everything gets settled! I want to meet whatever cute little friend it is you make tomorrow too you know, okay honey?" Her voice tilted, becoming a soft cajole near the end, filled with clear amusement and care. The teen felt his cheeks warm in a small, but pleased blush.

"Of course! You think I'd just leave without saying anything?"

"Well after the disappearing act you pulled today-"


The assembled group all broke into laughter after that, before yawns slowly started to replace them.

"Clearly it's getting a bit too late for these old bones," said the professor. "I'll make sure Ash is comfortable for the night then Delilah, and be sure he gets home safe afterwords. I can promise he'll be fond of what I got him for his birthday as well, so be prepared for him to talk your ear off about that as well when he gets in."

"You got me something else for my birthday?" His curiosity piqued. Professor Oak had already helped him get his Trainer application pushed through, and was going to be setting him up with his Starter. Had he done something else for him as well?

"Of course! I can't have my favorite Lab Assistant going off in the world without something to remember me by, now can I? I swear you do more work for me than the people I actually pay to be here...should do something about that come to think on it...regardless, sorry for the trouble Delilah. I'll send my regards with Ash first thing. Goodnight!"

"Night Professor! Night honey!"

"Goodnight mom! Sorry again! Tell Mimen goodnight for me too!"

The screen blinked out for a moment and then faded to black as the connection cut, and Oak placed the speaker back in place. He turned with a grin, content.

"Well I'm glad that was easier to settle than expected. Now, let's get you someplace to sleep for the night, shall we? I'm certain you'll want up bright and early to get going, so the sooner we get sleeping arrangements made the sooner we can wake up and handle that."


It took them a bit to get the spare roomed cleared enough for the fold-out bed to be reachable, but in the end they managed, and Oak bid Satoshi goodnight before heading to his own room down the hall to catch some sleep himself. It was well past midnight at this point, but he found himself staring up at the ceiling still, sleep alluding him as thoughts started to fill up his mind instead.

What sort of pokemon would he be receiving tomorrow? He hadn't really decided before now. What gift was the Professor going to give him? Would it be something related to being a Trainer, or something else? Would his Pokemon like him? Would he be any good at training it? The thoughts and worries fluttered around in a tizzy for ages before they finally seemed to fade and sleep came to him.

He just hoped whatever happened tomorrow, it would be the start of something good.


"Ash? Ash! Time to get up! Hurry up or I'll let all the other kids in to snag something before you get the chance! Up and at 'em now!" Satoshi mumbled into his pillow a minute, trying to figure out what was going on and cursing whatever it was trying to extricate him from sleep, before giving up and lazily sitting up in the bed. A jaw-cracking yawn escaped him, and as he stretched he looked to see who it was trying to get him up far earlier than he'd have liked.

That 'who' seemed to be a very amused Professor Oak, smugly looking at him from the doorway where he'd been flicking the lights on and off to try and get the exhausted teen to wake up. He knew better than to actually shake the boy awake after nearly taking a soft punch to the face on several other occasions where Ash had fallen asleep at the lab. Satoshi shot him a glare from the bed and stuck his tongue out at him, feeling slightly more playful about it all now that he wasn't quite as groggy. The old man just laughed in return.

"Go ahead and get dressed and head down to the main atrium once you're feeling a little more chipper. I saved some food from making my own breakfast you can have, though I'm sure Delilah is going to have a feast fit for a king whenever you head back that way. We'll get the very last bits of your trainer sign-up finished once you've eaten, and then get you saddled with your partner. And of course your birthday gift! I'll see you in a few minutes!" and with another grin and chuckle the old professor existed the doorway, leaving it open so light from the outside could filter in.

He was still groggy from sleep, but smiled nonetheless at the Professor's antics. The old man seemed to be even more energetic than the teen was a times, despite usually being far more busy with whatever needed to be done; he wondered idly where he got the energy from to keep going like that all the time. Pushing back the covers, he slowly clambered out of the warm comfort, and went about getting ready for the day.

A black t-shirt, some raggedy jeans he'd had for far-too-long, a worn-baseball cap he'd gotten as a gift from a far earlier birthday, and some scuffed up but still serviceable sneakers. Nothing outrageously expensive or stylish, but it kept him clothed decently, and most of the time was good enough for whatever he needed to be doing, indoors or out. He supposed he'd need to pack some other clothes for if the weather shifted dramatically while he was on his own, but pushed those thoughts aside to instead focus on more pressing matters.

Namely, breakfast.

Oak Laboratories wasn't really a series of labs at all; it was more a single large building with some equipment scattered around, and some open areas to tend to Pokemon and visitors alike. The occasional work station was set up wherever there was space to spare for it, and a Lab Assistant or two could usually be found scuttling around doing something or another. There was always something going on here, and there was always something more that needed doing. It was half the reason Satoshi found himself over here as much as he was; Professor Oak was as close to him as an actual grandfather, and had taken him under his wing early on in his childhood. It always felt like the nice thing to do to help his neighbor out with whatever inane or insane thing was going on.

The downstairs was a mishmash of messes and organized chaos; bookshelves, tables, computers and more all vied for space in the floor plan of the main room, a large expansive area where most activity and actual research took place. Upstairs was a more lofted area, with a few rooms around for extra storage or even to house an unexpected guest. Elsewhere downstairs near the back of the building were the more serious lab rooms, where more dangerous experiments and materials were kept, and adjacent but distinct from this was Oak's quarters.

At some point, the whole place had consisted solely of Professor Oak's house and whatever space he could manage for his growing studies, and overtime the larger lab had sort of built itself around the original structure, jutting out of it in odd angles. The roofs didn't quite meet, and the walls were all different colors and materials, and none of the furniture matched anywhere in the whole place, but it all seemed to come together just the same. It was almost a second home to Satoshi at this point, quirks and all, and he felt nothing but comfortable walking down the open air stairs to the ground floor below and navigating the mess towards the back and Oak's kitchen.

Oak had prepared a simple meal for himself earlier, and left some extra out for Satoshi; the old man in question was busy trying to strong-arm the kitchen's ancient coffee maker into working properly, though everyone who frequented the labs knew it would never work right without putting up a fight first. That seemed to be a running them in this place - everything in it, from the people to the appliances were stubborn. Once their minds were set on something, they'd stick to it until the last.

That was another reason he was here after all; he kept coming back, even when he reasonably should have given up on his plans much sooner.

No one thought the son of a poor single mother could become a Trainer, especially with a walk-out of a father. No support. No money. No help. No hope.

He'd really only gotten to test for a Trainer's License at all because Professor Oak had a soft spot for him and had offered to administer it himself to cut costs; something Satoshi was equally as embarrassed to have desperately needed, and pleased the old man had wanted to offer. He likewise wouldn't have been able to pay the required fees for the paperwork and licensing needs afterword if Oak hadn't let him work as an assistant in his lab, though only to do small errands, and only the least dangerous or involved ones at that. It was still enough to pay what he'd needed, and even help get a few repairs done around the Ketchum household that had been put on hold far too long.

His mother had been especially thrilled when they'd finally been able to replace the front door; it was starting to fall apart at the hinges by the time they were finally able to afford to put a new one on.

"So, you ready for today young man? Not everyday someone receives their first Pokemon after all." Oak had apparently managed to get the coffee-maker to cooperate while Satoshi had been busy ruminating and eating, and smiled at him over the edge of his mug from across the kitchen, leaning against a counter-top as he spoke. His eyes scrunched together at the edges where his smile reinforced long-formed laugh lines.

Satoshi felt like smiling too whenever he saw them.

"I think so Professor. I'm still not quite sure which one I'm going to pick though; there are three of them right? And all of them sound, well, amazing! I was watching the League match-ups on TV the other night and got to see a couple of their evolutions fighting, and they were incredible! I hadn't even know Pokemon could get so big..."

It was true; most of the pokemon kept around the lab and surrounding town were fairly small. the biggest he'd seen in person was mimen, and even he only came up to Ash's chest.

A hearty chuckle spilled over the edge of the Pokemon Professor's mug.

"Ah, yes. There are three of them; Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander. And you're right, they're all wonderful choices! Lucky for you that you slept here then, since you'll have first pick of them. Of course, you're also right that when properly trained they'll evolve into some pretty big companions - luckily we have pokeballs to make handling that part a little easier along the way." His smile turned into an almost conspiratorial smirk for a moment, and he stirred his coffee in an almost thoughtful manner, careful to keep his tone casual. "Of course, then there's always your birthday gift to consider. I suppose that might change things some as well...if you want it of course. Wouldn't want to impose if you feel strongly about anything."

Satoshi didn't buy the nonchalant attitude for a moment.

"Why would my gift have anything to do with which one I'm choosing unless...wait, WAIT, is it a Pokemon?! You go me a Pokemon as a gift?" Pokemon were expensive, even the relatively common ones. Usually a wild caught pokemon wasn't something you just handed a beginner or someone not expecting it, so they usually came from breeders, and they cost a premium even on the low end. Satoshi didn't even want to think about how much a Starter or even rarer Pokemon might cost; he'd seen some of the expense ledgers for the lab where Oak kept the order forms for the Starters he handed out every year, and he swore he could feel his piggy bank crying back at his house having just glanced at it.

And Oak had gotten him one? It couldn't be one of the standard ones either if he was worried Satoshi was already attached to one of them so much - it wouldn't matter then. So what had he gotten him?

"I-thats, I mean that's just, I'-..well what is it!?" The outburst seemed to surprise Oak, and he nearly snorted halfway through his sip of his drink.

"Oh, you want to know? It's not anything terribly special, honestly - I just thought I'd like to give you the choice since you've been such a help, and I know you'd do your best with anything I could give you. That and I'm honestly not sure what else I'd do with the poor thing..." He trailed off a little near the end, but Satoshi caught it all the same.

"Not sure what you'd do? What do you mean? What kinda Pokemon is it Professor?" Curiosity was starting to bubble over the excitement now.

Oak looked a little flustered at the question, and cleared his throat.

"Ah, well you see, uh, hmmm. Well it isn't a standard beginner Pokemon, you understand. Or really anything I'd normally recommend giving to a new trainer in most circumstances. But then again, you've never been one to back down from a challenge which is why I was considering it." He stopped a moment, seeming to concentrate a moment to collect his thoughts. "You see I had this Pokemon come into my possession through...unusual means. It seems to have had a trainer at some point in the past, though I can't really find any records of who exactly it was or when. The poor thing was abandoned in the PC system for some time before being confiscated when the Trainer had their licence revoked- or we think that's what happened anyway. Most of the paperwork is gone and it was there so long that several PC upgrades messed with some of the meta-data tied to the Pokeball, so trying to read back the information is proving to be tricky. It's almost as if the Trainer's information has been completely wiped by something, though we're not sure what could have done so."

Oak looked more and more pensive the more he spoke, and Satoshi was right there with him. Someone had abandoned it in the Box System? How long would it have had to be in there for to have the serial information wiped away like that? The Pokemon must have been stuck in there for ages! He could feel anger starting to build up just thinking about it, but the Professor kept going.

"The bottom line is that the Pokemon is basically considered 'Trainer-less' at this point, for all intents and purposes. And as such, it was sent to me, since I tend to store Pokemon that need it, outside of the PC. More so, it means that it's also free to be given a new Trainer if I feel the need to hand it over to someone, and I was considering you. Now, please don't take this lightly. I trust you fairly implicitly which is why I wanted to suggest it; you have a strong work ethic, and you're honestly more stubborn than the coffee-machine here, which I thought might be helpful in this case. This Pokemon is very...headstrong, about certain things. And skittish of people as well in some aspects. It'll need a lot of hands-on care to get it back to something that's comfortable and happy, and while I want to help it, you and I are both aware of just how busy I am with the lab. I just don't have time. But a new Trainer has just that; all the time in the world, and usually the first long stretch of any journey is spent training up a Starter Pokemon. The hands-on involvement of that might do it some good, but I want you to be absolutely certain before agreeing, and don't feel that you need to! If push come to shove I'm sure I can find someone else, and you're always free to pick one of the normal choices as well."

This was....a lot to take in. Oak was offering him a different choice, but it would come with a lot of work, and a lot of problems Satoshi didn't know much about. But then again, the thought of a Pokemon trapped in a ball for who know how long, lost and alone in the PC System made him furious. It ignited something in him; a passion to help. He wanted desperately to help this Pokemon, even if it would be a bunch of trouble starting out. Besides, everything was hard for a new Trainer. You were basically going out into the world with nothing but a few supplies and a wild animal for company after all; so what if this one was a little more wild than most? And since when had he ever been one to back down when the going got tough?

The grin he gave the Professor was genuine, and he pushed his plate away to jump up in a burst.

"I'll do it Professor! No matter what, I wanna help it!"

The declaration sent a wide smile spinning across the old man's face, and he laughed at the younger boy's enthusiasm.

"Well I suppose that settles that then; can't really dissuade you from anything once you've decided on it. I swear, don't even know what it is, and you've agreed to take it - what an Ash thing to do, honestly, haha." He moved across the space of the kitchen and ruffled Satoshi's hair with his free hand, nursing his coffee with the other. His smile never left his face, and it was clear everything was said with deep adoration. The two really were about as close as any actual grandfather and grandchild after all the time they'd spent together.

Oak drained the rest of his drink in the next few minutes, watching Satoshi work himself up and then settle in that same timespan, before placing the mug in the nearby sink to be dealt with later and urging the other to follow him back out into the lab space proper. The open area was just as much mess as it had been earlier, though the assistants had made time to try and clear a path from the front doors back towards the staging area where the Starters were kept and would be presented, in on of the deeper rooms of the lab proper. The machine storing them was in the room just beyond the first big area, and sat surrounded by a number of flashing computers and stacked piles of books.

Satoshi was relieved he wouldn't be the one to have to sort them after this was all said and done.

"Alright, so first thing's first - your starter! I'll introduce you to your 'birthday gift' in a minute, but first let's allow you and your new partner to become acquainted, eh? Go ahead and pick up the ball Ash - there's someone special waiting for you inside!"

"Wait, my starter is special too? Professor you didn't have to-"

"Nonsense! You shut down that train of thought right now - I've honestly had this one picked out for you for a while, and it isn't...technically an exception to the starter choices. They were used for that purpose for quite some time before it fell out of fashion; that the rules were never updated to specify anything is really more of a bureaucratic failing than a loophole exploitation, and really-"

"Professor Oak!" The old man needed to focus. All this talk about legalities was making his skin crawl; he hoped the Professor knew what he was doing.

"Right, right, right. Regardless, there should be no issues with you taking this Pokemon as your partner, and there isn't anything stating I'm not allowed to gift friends and family Pokemon outside of Starter choices either, so your 'birthday gift' should be above board as well. Now go ahead and meet your starter already Ash! They've been cooped up in that ball waiting long enough I say."

Oak motioned towards the raised dais-like machine in the center of the back wall, motioning Satoshi to follow him towards it. He quickly messed with something on the interface, and the clear dome that surrounded the top of the device parted downwards, allowing the center-most portion to rise up, and expose three pokeballs circling the machines center. Another few prods to the machine, and another chamber opened in the center, pushing yet another ball into view. Whereas the other pokeballs were plain, standard versions, this one had an emblem embellished into the top of it, with small decorations placed around the black rim of the device; tiny thunderbolts, with a larger yellow one chiseled into the top emblem.

"Oh! A lightning bolt? I've never seen a Pokeball with designs on it before. Is this Pokemon an Electric-type then?"

"It is indeed Ash, and a rather rare one at that; at least for around here. They're thought to have been nearly hunted or outright caught to near extinction in the wild in Kanto - it actually makes it all that much stranger that it's the Pokemon we found the way we did, though the decorations seem to indicate it might actually be from another region entirely. The whole situation is very peculiar."

"Huh." Satoshi wasn't an expert in Pokemon by any means; there were literally hundreds of species in Kanto alone, and he was just a beginner Trainer at that - he couldn't think of many Pokemon that would fit that description off the top of his head. If it was nearly extinct in the wild here though, that meant it had to be native right? Or at least it was a wide-spread invasive species. Curious, he went to pick the ball up. It felt oddly warm in his hand, and the smooth plastic and metal felt heavy in his palm.

"Now, before you let it out, I just want to give you a few more reminders; this Pokemon hasn't interacted with people in a long time. It was of course let out so we could check if it was healthy after being in the PC so long, but it was decidedly unhappy to have us messing with it. So it may be hostile or outright aggressive at first. I only ask you be mindful of this and careful interacting until it has calmed down around you, at least for the first while. Any Pokemon can be dangerous after all, but-"

"But some Pokemon are more dangerous than others. I gotcha' professor! Promise I wasn't sleeping through all those safety lectures you gave me. Just most of 'em, haha."

"Ha, so it would seem! Alright then, if you're ready, go ahead and let out your new partner. I'm sure you're excited to meet them, even if they'll be a bit grumpy about it." He needed no further encouragement after that, and gently moved away from the Pokeball dispenser to aim at the open floor nearby. His thumb gently moved over to the front of the device, found the button there, and pressed in; the rough texture of the lightning bolts chiseled into the rim caught the skin as he pulled his fingers back to avoid the light beam that sprayed out a moment later. White light cascaded towards the floor for a moment, before turning red, and slowly solidifying into a more creature-like shape. Little sparks and flares like lighting came off into the air, decorative and beautiful when paired with the blast of light from the escaping Pokemon.

A small, round little form, with two long ears; and then suddenly the light flared again as the device closed, and caught off guard Satoshi pressed his eyes together to ward off the worst of the intrusion. It still caused weird shapes to go floating round behind his eyelids for a few brief moment, before he pried them back open to see just what had clambered out of the oddly decorated Pokeball.

It was yellow, and seemed to be sitting on its hind legs, looking back up at him with what could only be described as an adorable scowl (Satoshi hadn't even known something could scowl and still be adorable at the same time). A long ear sat cocked to the side while the other stood nearly straight up, both swiveling to catch whatever ambient noises were going on in the background of the lab; one persistently pointed back at him, almost accusatory, every few seconds. It's little red cheeks puffed occasionally during their staring match, and it shuffled a bit, tiny claws clicking on the linoleum of the floor.

Oh! He recognized this Pokemon!

"A Pikachu? That's...really unusual Professor Oak." He watched the Pokemon begin to turn and twist to look around the area, black eyes darting around the room in interest. Pikachu weren't exactly unheard of, but they'd been nearly poached out of the surrounding area almost twenty years ago. Where had this one come from?

"It is, but not so unusual as your gift is. Now this Pikachu is very special, for a few reasons Ash - but, those secrets are for you to discover alongside them as your journey progresses. Won't learn much if I just spell everything out for you, now will you, haha." He turned away to mess with the pedestal again as he spoke, and Ash had to turn to keep his attention on the yellow mouse slowly advancing on his feet with curiosity while his mentor worked. It sniffed his ratty sneakers, and he shuffled them uncomfortably in response, before the little creature backed away and sat up to look up at his Satoshi's face instead. He looked back at it with some trepidation, but tried to put on a small smile at least. He hoped it would like him once they spent more time together - for now he was mostly just worried it would get angry and decide to shock him.

The machine whirred back into motion again, the center dias spinning around its axis and closing off the divot the Pikachu's Pokeball had emerged from, slowly revealing a secondary divot as it turned. Another ball rose up from this one, with far less flair and decoration than the first. The standard red and white capsule seemed almost worn looking under the fluorescent lighting of the lab - the plastic and metal battered in some places, and scuffed in others. The most noticeable feature however, was the device wrapped around the seam, locking the capsule in the closed position.

Gently, Professor Oak took this one out himself, and stared at it a moment before motioning for Satoshi to come take it. With a gentle twist, the lock slide off the ball, and he held it out to be grabbed. Satoshi could feel the Pikachu, still out, slowly creeping up to watch the proceedings from next to his foot. One of it's paws rested on his calf and he could feel it's small claws catching at his socks.

He gulped.

This suddenly felt a lot more important and, than it did before.

"Go on and take it Ash - it's not just Pikachu you're here to meet after all."

Cautiously, he lets the Professor slide the plastic contraption into his palm, and he let it sit there a moment. Feeling the scrapes in the material, the weight of the device, the thrum of energy under the surface.

And then he released the button, same as before, to another blinding flash of light.

Another small form began to emerge onto the floor, this time much slimmer and taller than Pikachu's silhouette had been. Short nubs, perhaps ears,  appeared on its head, and two dangling appendages did likewise behind those. A crooked tail emerged, and the whole figure crouched as it solidified.

A moment passes, and the light is gone, and there is a small blue creature carefully curled up on the linoleum floor, paws grasped over its head as if preparing to ward of danger. Or a blow. Satoshi could see it shaking where it sat, and reflexively went to move closer to comfort it, only to see it shrink further away as he did so. The poor thing was scared to death.

Something worse than fury began to settle itself in his chest upon realizing that.

He looked at the professor, at a loss for what to do now.

"I- I'm not sure...what is it Profesor? And how can I help them?" His voice sounded thick in his own ears, and the Pikachu at his feet seemed to press a little closer, unnerved by the shivering thing in front of it. It made him feel a little better that he wasn't the only one here not sure how to handle this.

"That, Ash, is a Pokemon called Riolu. It's a baby Pokemon, hailing from the region of Sinnoh, and this just needs to be shown some kindness. Something I don't think it's experienced very much of thus far." he sounded almost sorrowful when he said it, but Satoshi couldn't take his eyes away from the little blue Pokemon to check the man's expression. It was so small...and so scared…

"I-....okay. I think I can do that." Satoshi had been working here at the labs for most of his life. He's been around Pokemon since before he could walk, and he always dreamed of being a Pokemon Master. Well, what sort of Master could he ever hope to be if he couldn't help one scared baby Riolu, right here and now? The thought put some steel back in his spine, and grimly he nodded.

He'd keep this promise. He'd help Riolu no matter what!

Making sure not to crouch down on top of the mouse pokemon crowding his ankles, Satoshi went to his knees, trying to make himself as small as possible. He leaned forward then, almost pressing his face into the floor to get to the tiny jackal pokemon's eye level; its face was still buried in its own fur, hiding. A wave of pity settled in his stomach.

"Hey. Hey Riolu. Can you hear me?" A tiny blue ear swiveled in response, and a watery red eye slits open to look at the preteen from behind a protective limb still draped over the Pokemon's face. Still terrified; fear swam in the red of its iris. Scared, but listening. "Listen, I know you might not believe me right now. And that's fine. You've obviously been through a lot - stuff I probably can't even imagine if I'm being honest. Really scary, terrible things. I'm sorry whoever had you before hurt you so bad Riolu. And I'm sorry that you're still so scared. Things must seem really strange and scary right now, but I just wanted to let you know something important. I'm here to help you Riolu!"

The creature blinks, rapidly for a moment, at the enthusiasm and depth of that proclamation. Did it understand him? Were Satshi's words getting through?

"I'm going to be here from now on, to help keep you safe from bad people like the ones that put you away in the box and left you. To teach you things, and learn from you, and see all sorts of things no one has ever seen before and do things no one has ever done." He pauses a second, trying to gauge the jackal's reaction. It's single exposed eye is wide, and searching, carefully watching him from across the few feet between them on the floor. " If you don't believe me yet, that's okay. But I wanted to make sure you knew that I was making this promise. I promise to protect you Riolu, and be there for you. So that maybe one day, you won't need to be so scared. Until then, take all the time you need. For now though, I'm going to put you away again - being out in the open like this must be scary after being cooped up so long, huh?"

Another pause, as he watches Riolu carefully, trying to discern what it's taking from his words.

One beat.

A second.

And then, from behind it's raised limbs, the barest hint of a nod.

Satoshi has never felt such a feeling of success in all his young life as he does in that one moment. He gives his own nod back, and then carefully hits the recall button on the torn-up Pokeball still gripped in one small fist. Light bathes Riolu's form, and then it's gone in a flash. Next to him, Ash can feel Pikachu pressed against him, its claws hooked in the fabric of his shirt as he stands up.

He doesn't even hesitate going to pet it in comfort; being shocked doesn't seem so bad compared to everything else now.

Professor Oak meets his gaze once he rights himself, and there's the barest hint of a grin starting to stretch the corners of his face.

"Quite the speech there." There's an undeniable feeling of pride behind those words. "So then, What are you planning to do now? Any concrete ideas?"

Ash's answer is given with a grin of his own.

"Of course Professor!" the smile widens, "Become A Pokemon Master!"
JudgeCurator ♦ Arbiter
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