I thought I'd try my writing hand at this. This is my first Pokemon/shipping fic ever, so please be gentle. For these of you who don't know, Palletshipping is the relationship between Ash and Gary. This story is rated R, and although it's not evident yet, I know it will be.
THIS STORY IS CLOSED CAPTIONED FOR THE POKEMON IMPAIRED
This takes place after the Battle Frontier Saga. All the Pokemon championships and challenges, besides gyms, are temporarily halted. This is because even though there are 386 Pokemon known, only 203 have been properly researched. Exploration and other similar issues are forbidden by the government until all 386 have been properly studied. This would prevent an overwhelming amount of new Pokemon being discovered and being used by people with unsavoury intentions. Knowing every detail of the current Pokemon would help neutralize such threats.
Investigating Pokemon means that they must be captured, of course. And the ones notoriously difficult to contain in a Pokeball are the Legendary Pokemon. A Hoothoot and a Ho-oh could not be captured by the same person. A new breed of trainers are needed.
This is how Ash and Gary got to be employed as Investigative Capturers.
Chapter 1: Some Things Never Change
Indigo League. Orange League. Whirl Cup. Johto Silver Convention. Hoenn Championship. Kanto Battle Frontier. 36 badges. Countless battles. One dream.
Ash stopped at the sign on the side of the road. Pallet Town. His humble beginnings, his home. He smiled. It had indeed been a while. He knew he would have to leave again soon on his new quest, but he planned to make every second count.
“Ash! You’re home!“ Delia, his mother, ran out with Mr. Mime onto the porch. Ash ran up the walk and into her arms. Nearly as tall as her, he was able to hold her in a large hug. When they broke apart she let him in the house. He stopped on the doormat and breathed in.
“Ah, yes. My favourite foods. You’re been busy as always, ma.“
“Only for my son. Come on, your friends are in the living room with Professor Oak.“
They entered the comfy room where Tracey, Misty, Brock, and the Pokemon Professor were seated. The first three were on the long couch while Oak was seated in a small chair. Misty jumped up and embraced Ash.
“It’s been so long! How have you been doing?“
Brock and Tracey acknowledged him with cheerful nods, while Ash bowed to Oak.
“Great to see you all.“ Ash hesitated. “I thought Gary would be here…“
Everybody chuckled and Oak said, “He’s running a bit late. Apparently the lab he works at just captured a wild Metagross. You know how rare they are wild, so he had to make the initial report immediately.“
“All right, then. How’s everybody been?“ Ash fell onto the lone armchair and listened contently as Brock explained excitedly how he had opened his first breeding centre. What was so unique about it was that the public could bring their Pokemon to mate with others and hatch Pokemon that suited their needs. Only a few days ago had he hatched an unusually-coloured Trapinch.
“I think it may be a genetic thing with Pokemon, similar to albino humans. It may be the same with your Noctowl, remember him? I was hoping you’d let me borrow him for some research. We will take the best care of him, of course.“ The ex-gym leader looked at Ash expectantly and was apparently delighted when Ash agreed.
The rest had little to report about their day-to-day lives without Ash, but they listened eagerly as he told them how he wandered into an odd land with many Pokemon he knew for certain were unrecorded in Kanto, Johto, or Hoenn.
“The people there called it Shinou. Funny thing is, right after I met the first real government authority there, I got a call from the Kanto government asking me to return, since they had an assignment for me.“
“Must be coincidence. But, Ash, it’s so cool how you’re going to track and catch Legendary Pokemon!“ Tracey commented. “I really hope I get the chance to draw them.“
“You will, if I know you,“ Oak laughed. The rest joined in and the cheery atmosphere was broken when there was a knock at the door. Delia jumped up and exclaimed,
“Oh, I hope that‘s who I think it is! I’ll be right back, everybody.“ She disappeared into the hallway, then swiftly reappeared with a tall, young man. Everybody gasped in delight,
Loudest was Ash, however, and he bounded across the room. Gary caught the lively individual in his arms and brought him close. The two adults smiled fondly while Brock and Tracey grinned, and Misty sighed. She remembered the day when she had asked Ash out, only to be stunned by the answer.
After several moments they came apart and crossed the room to sit in the armchair - Ash sitting sideways on Gary‘s lap. Mr. Mime brought some tea. It was quiet as all sipped the fine brew, and Oak looked at Gary.
“How’s your research coming?“
“It’s quite hectic, I’m afraid,“ Gary nodded seriously. “With the orders to capture and investigate every species of Pokemon, it’s been a flurry of work. I only got here because I’m a Investigative Capturer, so the government decided it would only make sense to partner me with Ash.”
“Of course,” Brock chuckled. Ash smiled sheepishly, but then Misty suddenly gasped loudly.
“Oh dear, did you burn your tongue?“ Delia asked concernedly. Misty only shook her head and pointed at Ash’s shoulder. It took a moment, but everybody realized at the same time, and a collective gasp filled the room. Ash rose his hand reassuringly.
“Pikachu is fine. He’s with Team Rocket --“ Tracey spit out his tea, but Ask ignored it as the miming Pokemon set about frantically scrubbing the rug. “-- They came to me asking if I would lend Pikachu to Team Rocket for a special operation. You all know that the group has turned good and Jessie and James didn’t know it for a while. They needed Pikachu to charge a special battery that will power several towns in southern Johto. It’ll allow access to water, electricity, and heat for thousands. Plus, they’re paying me a lot and we all know that if they try anything Pikachu will give them a good Thunder and get out of there.”
“Well, if you think it’s all right…” Brock said doubtfully.
“I know it’s all right, “ Ash frowned. “He will return in two days, and they know if I don’t see him by then, I can bring Team Rocket crashing down.”
“Let’s hope he gets home safely. It is quite a distance.” Oak set down his cup. “How about a little trip to my lab? I’m sure your Pokemon will be delighted to see you.”
“That sounds good. Supper won’t be ready for a while, so you have at least a hour. I‘ll have to stay and help Mr. Mime, though,” Delia said. The rest approved the idea and left.
Outside, Ash released his Ivysaur, Charizard, and Wartortle. They travelled with the group and when they arrived at the lab, the Pokemon headed into the giant holding area. Ash greeted his motley crew, getting smothered by Muk, tacked by his affectionate Bayleef, and mobbed by his wild Tauros. Gary greeted his Pokemon similarly, though they were slightly more well-behaved. His Blastoise dove into the pool along with Ash’s Kingler.
“I think I’ll take a little walk. Anybody want to come?” Ash looked at the group. After a moment Gary stepped forward and was followed by an ever-clueless Tracey. Misty smoothly stepped on his toe, making him trip.
The two left into the trees, glad to be alone for a while. Neither spoke as they walked amongst the flora. The Pokemon seemed to understand and whenever one came into sight, it stole away into the underbrush.
Ash’s heart fluttered. He had been so busy with Pokemon, he had nearly forgotten his true passion in life. The thing that kept him fighting, helped him win his battles, and brought him to the top. He never realized somebody could be as happy as he was right then.
It was Gary who spoke first. He sighed,
“ It’s been too long.”
“I agree,” Ash nodded slowly. Then they stopped and held each other close. “I’m so sorry about what happened to Umbreon.”
“It was a foolish mistake,” Gary squeezed his eyes shut as he rubbed Ash’s back.
“At least you have your other Pokemon,” Ash said, inhaling the sweet scent of Gary’s neck. “It won’t be the same, I know…”
“ Enough of this depressing chatter,” Gary said, half-sternly, half-jesting. “We’ve got a lot to do in a couple of days. That‘s when things will begin to get serious.“ They kissed lightly before returning to the verdant field by Oak’s lab.