Okay, this isn't even the fic I was talking about in my 2009 In Writing thread, but I've been working on this for a while, too. Yet another Journey-fic from Iota, I hear you cry? Yes, but...with a slight difference, I suppose.

Just read and you'll find out.

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Chapter One – My Father, The Hero

“My name isn’t important,” the short girl retorted, looking away from the main desk and at the crowds of people behind her.

Every single ten-year-old boy and girl in the queue behind her was waiting to receive the creature that would jump-start him or her on his or her journey through the world. Each massive region was filled with mystical creatures called Pokémon.

“Please, little girl, I just want your name,” the young woman at the desk repeated, her dull, limp brown hair hanging down by her shoulders.

“I’d rather not give it with everyone here,” the young girl said, swinging her head from side to side in an attempt to rub her cared for hair in the woman’s face.

There was a creaking sound and then the sound of a door shutting, barely audible over the loud muttering of the other children. They all seemed to know each other, and most probably grew up in the bustling Pallet City.

She had to travel for three-quarters of an hour on the back of a huge flying-type Pokémon to get to the large laboratory in order to gain her beginning Pokémon, no matter what she had to go through. She would not, however, be revealing her name to a woman sitting in an office full of children all day.

A hand was placed on her shoulder, and it became apparent that someone had obviously exited through the shutting door. An elderly man stood above her, examining her features. He looked from her brown eyes, to her brunette hair, let hand down to her neck in a bobbed style.

“Your father told me you’d more than likely be unwilling to reveal your name,” he told her in his wizened voice. “Please, Ashleigh, come through with me.”

When he placed his hand in front of his body to give her the signal to stop trying to argue and resist him in any way, she reluctantly followed him through the wooden panelled door.

Inside his office was completely different than the main reception had been. Almost everything was wooden, and Ashleigh couldn’t help but think that if a fire-type Pokémon was present and had a mishap with an attack, the place could go down in smoke.

“You’d be surprised how many people assume this place would go up in a blaze if there were any fire-type attack’s used here,” he told her with a glint in his eye, as if reading her thoughts. “Your father was one of those. I keep quite a few water-type Pokémon handy.”

“Why did you bring me straight in here?” Ashleigh asked, wanting to get to the point so she could leave as soon as possible.

“I have a special treat for you,” Professor Oak told her, ignoring the rolling of her eyes, “and I’m sure you’ll like it.”

“Can’t wait,” she muttered, urging him to hear it so he would tell her to leave.

Her father had been an amazingly famous Pokémon Trainer, and still was. There hadn’t been a day yet in her life where she hadn’t wished her mother had been alive and present in her life, to push her in whatever direction she held dear.

Unfortunately, Ashleigh could only guess what her mother had been interested in, as her father had never wished to divulge that information to her. Her mother had been dead for ten years, dying while giving birth to Ashleigh.

“As you know, your father no longer leaves his Pokémon here at my lab,” he told her, moving his hands around wildly, as if in an attempt to keep her attention from drifting to the large window overlooking his research fields. “He did, however, leave me a request.”

“Which would be?”

He pulled a small sphere from beneath his desk and clicked a button in the centre. There was a mechanical whirring sound and the ball expanded to a much larger size, revealing the thin grey strip running from the button and separating the ball into two separate colours.

“Inside this Pokéball is a starter Pokémon hand-picked by your father.”

Many thoughts were racing through Ashleigh’s head, but the main one was troubling her as the most likely reason.

Please don’t let it be a Pikachu, she thought to herself.

The Professor who specialised in Pokémon behavioural patterns threw the ball into the air, causing it to almost crack open. The loud cracking noise also released a burst of amazing white energy from the Pokéball, whizzing around the room until it formed into a little blinding shape on the desk.

Ashleigh covered her eyes from the glare. She was used to it from her father’s many battles as the head of the Kanto Battle Frontier, but it had never been this close to her face.

The light calmed down enough for her to peer over her hands and she saw yellow fur begin to form. Her heart leapt as pointed black ears sprouted. Small round pink patches of fur on the face began to appear and she became confused. Pikachu had red fur covering the electric sacks in their cheeks, and their ears weren’t so wide.

The remaining light burst off and the Pokémon left behind jumped into the air.

“Pichu, this is your new trainer, Ashleigh Ketchum.” Professor Oak said calmly to the Pokémon.

“Piii! Pichuuuu!” the Pokémon cried in joy as strands of electricity began to ripple around the small black tail and around the pink electric sacks.

“A Pichu?” Ashleigh was confused as to why her father would give her the pre-evolved form of his own starter.

“I’m as confused as you are,” the old man said, the wrinkles around his brilliantly fierce green eyes tensing up as if smiling with them, “but I can guess his intentions. Your father wants you to have the same beginnings he had. He didn’t start with a traditional starter, and look where he is now. He’s over in the Sevii Islands running his Battle Dimension.”

“I’m so proud,” she said, not attempting to hide her sarcasm.

“I know you probably had your hopes set on a traditional starter like Charmander, or Squirtle,” he apologised, taking her hands with his own rough hands, “but don’t take it out on this Pichu. Your father has taken many measures to ensure you have a safe journey and you can spread your wings. Take advantage.”

“I will,” she lied, not revealing she would rather hide away from the world than become a trainer of the same fame as her father.

Professor Oak handed her five shrunken Pokéballs and the enlarged one that held her Pichu.

“Don’t forget your Pokédex,” he reminded her as she began to stand up. He passed her what looked like a mechanical red handheld game, and she opened it up. “Press the green button.”

She obeyed his request and clicked the large triangular green button.

“Pokédex Settings initiated. Voice recording needed.” The voice was female, yet obviously synthetic.

“My name is Ashleigh Ketchum,” the girl told the device, feeling stupid.

“Ashleigh Ketchum of Naval Rock, Beginning Trainer under the care of Professor Samuel Oak. Smile, please.”

Ashleigh feigned a smile as the camera swung around and clicked, storing the image of her in its memory.

“Now that that’s all over with, aim the camera at Pichu and press the green button once more.”

She followed the old man’s rules and pressed the triangular button once more. A blue stream of light came from the camera and scanned down the electric-type’s body, making the Pichu curious.

A picture of Pichu with the exact same expression appeared on the screen inside the device, and the speakers came back on.

“Pichu, classified as the tiny mouse Pokémon. It is of the electric type. Pichu tend to play with each other by touching tails and sending off small sparks. This seems to be their way of testing the other’s courage. The electric sacks on their cheeks are still quite small, so they cannot hold much electricity without shocking themselves.”

The screen went blank and the speaker turned off.

“Wow,” Ashleigh muttered.

“Take Pichu’s Pokéball for a second while I configure it to your voice pattern,” he told her, and she pulled the larger one from the pile he’d given her. “Now, point the button directly at him, and call out “Return”.”

“Return!” Ashleigh shouted, as the button was pointed towards the creature that sniffed at a pile of letters on the desk. Four thin beams of red energy shot from the button and strapped themselves around a nonchalant Pichu.

As the strands enclosed themselves, they began to spread around his body until she could no longer see him anymore. Once his entire body was covered, the red energy was pulled back inside the Pokéball and Pichu was gone.

“That green button automatically scan’s the Pokémon you’ve aimed the camera at and retrieves locked data on it.” Professor Oak informed, pointing once more at the Pokédex. “The long rectangular blue button underneath it will give you a list of the attacks currently known by the Pokémon you’ve scanned, while the square white one underneath that will contact me so I know you’re wishing to switch your team around through the transporters at a Pokémon Centre.

“Finally, the square red button next to that is a distress signal.” Ashleigh stared at the deep red button, standing out from the bright red of the Pokédex. “That will call any nearby police to your location.”

“Will I need that?” she asked.

“It’s just a precaution. You’ll be given the choice for either police or the nearest Pokémon Centre if you’re unable to get your unconscious Pokémon to one by yourself.”

“I see,” she said, looking at Pichu’s Pokéball. Why had her father really given her almost the exact same Pokémon he had started with? She had to call him as soon as possible and find out.

“I know you probably have some misgivings about Pokémon training, since you’ve seen your father gone most of the time,” he said to her, smiling, “but you really must give it a try. It’s ever so exciting.

“So, it is now your quest to not only become a champion, but to fill the pages of your own Pokédex,” Professor Oak told her, closing a drawer on his desk. “There are many Pokémon throughout the world. Let’s hope you can fill this as I once did whilst creating it and carry on my legacy with your own adventures.”

“Sure,” she replied quietly. “Goodbye, Professor Oak.”

“Goodbye, Miss Ketchum.”