Roots // Professorfic
0.1 // Chapter One
0.2 // Chapter Two
0.3 // Chapter Three
0.4 // Chapter Four
0.5 // Chapter Five
0.6 // Chapter Six
0.7 // Chapter Seven
0.8 // Chapter Eight
0.9 // Chapter Nine
1.0 // Chapter Ten
1.1 // Chapter Eleven
1.2 // Chapter Twelve
1.3 // Chapter Thirteen
1.4 // Chapter Fourteen
1.5 // Chapter Fifteen
1.6 // Chapter Sixteen | (2)
1.7 // Chapter Seventeen
1.8 // Chapter Eighteen
1.9 // Chapter Nineteen
2.0 // Chapter Twenty | (2)
2.1 // Chapter Twenty-One
2.2 // Chapter Twenty-Two
2.3 // Chapter Twenty-Three
2.4 // Chapter Twenty-Four
2.5 // Chapter Twenty-Five
2.6 // Chapter Twenty-Six
2.7 // Chapter Twenty-Seven
2.8 // Chapter Twenty-Eight
2.9 // Chapter Twenty-Nine
3.0 // Chapter Thirty
3.1 // Chapter Thirty-One
3.2 // Chapter Thirty-Two
3.3 // Chapter Thirty-Three | (2)
3.4 // Chapter Thirty-Four (Coming soon)
Hey everyone. This is a little idea I had a while ago, and I think it needs a certain introduction before we begin.
As the title says, this is a Professorfic. Specifically, it's about the childhood of Professor Rowan, and how he grew up to be the person he is today. The games/canon gave absolutely no information about this whatsoever, so I had a lot of creative room to work with. The result was, for better or worse, the thread you see today.
Rating: PG-13 for swearing. That's pretty much it, but if there's ever an exception, I'll let you know.
Chapter sequence: I label each chapter as a decimal, so whatever number it is, just imagine the decimal point moving one place to the left. Chapter 1 is written as Chapter 0.1, Chapter 2 is Chapter 0.2, and so on. This means that Chapter 10 will be Chapter 1.0. (Chapter 0.5 is not half a chapter!)
A NOTE ON CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY //
This story is set in 1963, so there will be some obvious differences between it and a story set in today's world. Obviously, people in 1963 didn't have all the super-cool gadgetry we (and therefore, the trainers in the games) have today, but I think that makes the story all the more interesting.
About songs. I don't like to put much music in the writing in general, but some chapters are the exception. What you have to know is that I do take some liberties pertaining to release dates. The story is set in 1963, but a lot of awesome songs were released after that, and I think they set the mood perfectly for some scenes, so I use them. When I do, I'll make sure to put the real release date in an author's note, for those who are interested.
The essence of this fic is based on the games, especially certain characters and situations within them. It's supposed to be a story of how the young Rowan grew up to be a professor, but really, it's much more. I will sometimes stray from the common geography of Sinnoh and its towns for the sake of the story, so if you notice a particular thing that doesn't seem to be in its correct place, rest assured, because everything is 100% intentional.
Spoiler:- PM List (Post here or PM me if you want to be added)::
And here... we... go!
Summer 1963 was the peak of the year, and in more ways than one. Temperatures soared into the 90s, sending half of Sinnoh's inhabitants indoors, and the other half outside. Newspapers and televisions broadcasted the heat of the Space Race, an ongoing competition between them and the Hoenn region. Citizens marveled the newly-invented pokéball, which had only recently appeared in stores.
May 17th was no day in particular for Jubilife City. The sky was cloudless. Traffic was heavy. Everyone seemed to know where they were going, for the most part at least.
In a quieter corner of the city, well beyond the din of big business, was a school, the only one in West Jubilife. Its paint was peeling, and its bell was rusty. The students and faculty were all inside, leaving the building still and quiet. It was here, behind a scruffy hedge in the empty backyard, that a lone Stunky stood shaking.
His purple and beige coloring stood out against the brown and green of the trees. With their every rustle his ears perked, then flattened again. Black eyes darted back and forth, as if diligently searching for something within the playground.
For a few minutes, the only sound was the creak of swings rocking with the wind.
And then, a single cry sliced through the silence.
"THERE IT IS! GET IT GET IT!" Something large and metal collided with the ground, inches away from his leg. The pokémon reacted instantly.
He sprang over the hedge and sprinted forward, almost too quick for the eye to see. The Stunky clawed across the grass and gravel, his target a rusty garbage can standing by the fence. The deafening beat of footsteps behind him drowned out the frantic quivers of his heart. The Stunky skid to a halt in front of the garbage can and made to turn behind it, but there was already someone waiting there.
A strange pair of hands shot out and grabbed the Stunky by the tail. He tried to wriggle free, but their grip was iron. They lifted him like a worthless piece of paper, and he watched as the clumps of dirt grew smaller and smaller...
Michael Rowan stood up slowly. His smile was wide, and there was a mischievous gleam in his blue eyes. He hoisted the Stunky up into the air like a fresh kill, ignoring its squeals and flails.
From the other side of the playground, two other boys ran to catch up with him. The first was blond and bespectacled. The second was a bit taller, and carried a large net with him. Upon seeing the squirming Stunky, he dropped it into the mud.
"Dude... how did you catch that thing?" he panted, wiping a film of sweat from his forehead.
"Yeah that must have been, like, seventy miles per hour!" said the first boy.
Michael shrugged nonchalantly. "Stunkies are stupid. They can run fast and everything, but all you have to do is corner them." He shook the Stunky a little, and the pokémon's cries increased. "Well that was a good use of eleven minutes. It was nice hunting with you today. Cory. Brendan."
The boys all shook hands. Their arms were covered with dirt, leaves, and bruises.
"So you see?" Michael grinned. "I told you this would be better than history!"
"Yeah, I'm sick of learning about this stupid country," the blond boy, Cory, said. "Why should it matter how it began if we weren't even there?"
"Yeah," Brendan agreed. "Mr. Caesar's a total dunce. He doesn't even know what he's talking about, all he does is give us work."
"I say we egg his house on the last day of school," Michael said.
Cory laughed. "That would be so cool! I heard another group of kids was gonna do the same for Mrs. Stanton. And they were gonna spray paint her car."
"Dude, we should so do that. And it's not like we'll get in trouble either, cause no one can give detentions over summer."
"Yeah." Cory's gaze fell on the Stunky. "So what're we gonna do with it?"
"Let's see if it'll shoot musk at us," Michael said. "Come on ugly! Is that all you've got?"
"Shake it a little," Brendan suggested.
Michael bit his lip and shook the pokémon from side to side. When nothing happened, he shook it harder, until the Stunky's torso became a blur. A dim green gas began to emanate from somewhere underneath it, like a car's exhaust. It billowed around the three boys, who instantly began to cough. The smell reminded Michael of rotten eggs.
"Man! Isn't this smell supposed to last for days or something?" Brendan wheezed.
"Weeks, actually," Michael corrected.
"Hey, let's dunk its head in the toilet next!" Cory snickered. "I call holding it."
"Nah, we need to be more creative." Michael said, his nose still buried under his shirt collar. "Why don't we bring it home and use it for experiments or something?"
"Yeah, we'll be like those badass scientists in the newspaper," Cory said. "We can do surgery on it and try to clone it and stuff! We'll have a lot of time over break. All we need is a cage."
Michael beamed. "Awesome. We'll go to the hardware store and get us a cage." He lifted the Stunky so their eyes were level. "Did you hear that, little fella? You're coming home with us." The Stunky shivered.
Instantly, all three heads turned to the direction of the sound. Through his tears, Michael could see a woman exit the building. Her lips were slightly parted, and she was descending the stairs as fast as her two-inch heels would allow.
Cory turned back to Michael, his eyes wide. "Teacher!"
Michael groaned. "Shit! We have to get out of here!"
"Are you kidding? We'll be in even more trouble!" Brendan said.
"That's if we get caught, now lets go!" With the Stunky in hand, Michael turned and sprinted away.
He was a pretty decent runner for his age, able to outrun nearly every boy in his class. The only person who was faster was his older brother, Richard. They'd always be having races, before he left.
Michael's eyes remained fixed on the fence, narrowing on a line of palm trees. Behind them was a section lower than the others, a forgotten construction error he had discovered in the beginning of the year. With the right angle and timing, he could jump over it.
"GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!" the woman shrieked again, but her voice quickly faded.
"Fat chance," Michael couldn't help but whisper.
He neared the fence in a few second's time. Gasping, he drew his arm back and threw the Stunky over to the other side. Then he leaped over the fence himself, using the diamond-shaped gaps as handholds. Brendan and Cory followed suit. When they had all landed safely, Michael jumped to his feet.
"Now RUN!" He grabbed the Stunky's tail and, without a second thought, sped off towards freedom.
Three days later, Michael sat in a quiet classroom, his eyes cast downward. The desk's surface was blackened from years of gum and carving. His mother, Patricia, sat beside him. Her back was stiff and her hands were folded in her lap, her classical business pose. To the left, a large window gave glimpse of a happy outside world. Michael yearned to be there, but it seemed that the authority figures had other plans.
Mrs. Maxwell's space was a little island at the head of the classroom. Unlike everything else in the room, her things were not dirty or worn-down. All her papers were in their designated places. She had separate folders for each period. She never ate in class, so there were no lingering odors around her desk.
Though Mrs. Maxwell was usually calm, she still looked a little crabby after the chase. Michael watched as she scribbled something onto a piece of paper and slammed the pencil back into the holder. When she rose from her seat, her chair skid off towards the wall.
"Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable... and for someone of his intelligence!" She planted herself in a nearby stool, facing them both.
"What did he do this time, Barbara?" Patricia asked, more tired than angry. She was fidgeting with the gold chain around her neck. After all the times Michael had been called in, the two women had become so familiar that they addressed each other by their first name.
"I caught Michael skipping class on Tuesday with two other boys. I went to look for them, and I found them in the playground, harassing a wild Stunky." Mrs. Maxwell turned to face Michael, who made a valiant effort not to look back. After bolting from school that day, neither he nor his friends had heard anything from the school about their misconduct. Yet, when they returned the next day, all three found a notice waiting on their desk, informing them that they were called in for a conference sometime during the week. Brendan and Cory were able to get theirs over with on Wednesday and Thursday, and wash the smell off of themselves and their clothes. As usual, Michael was the only one left waiting.
Upon hearing Mrs. Maxwell's words, Patricia let out a sad sigh. For a minute, Michael wondered if she was about to cry. And as much as he hated to admit it, it scared him a little. His mother wasn't the crying type. But then again, there were still a lot of things he didn't know about her.
"I don't like to deal with these things, Patricia," Mrs. Maxwell continued. "The first time, well okay, maybe he just didn't know his place. The second time, well, I'll have him clean the desks after class. I can even excuse a third for a kid like him, but this is simply intolerable. We've tried every single punishment under the sun - cleaning, writing lines, but nothing seems to be getting to him. I read the rules to my classes on the first day of every year. I always tell them that after they've caused enough trouble, the next step is suspension. So, it hurts me to say this, but I will have to suspend your son for the remainder of the school year."
She paused to let the words sink in. Michael puffed out his cheeks, waiting to be overcome by some sort of emotional response. But the truth was, he didn't feel anything. The word 'suspension' had lost meaning for him a while ago. And besides, it was only one week. What could be so unfathomably important that he simply had to be at school to see it? The last days consisted of nothing but free periods, since teachers were busy with their grade books and assignment records. They couldn't assign any more work either, since it would only add to the things they themselves had to do. So what else was there to miss? A party?
Michael stole a sideways glance at his mother, readying himself for tears or an angry glare, but saw her to be perfectly calm. She was staring ahead with a pensive expression, her chin resting in her hands.
"It's not your fault, Patricia," Mrs. Maxwell was quick to say.
Michael grumbled. The only thing he hated more than conferences was the invisible rule that everyone there seemed to adhere to - it is always the student's fault.
Meanwhile, Patricia was shaking her head slowly, as if she was just as confused as Mrs. Maxwell was. "I try, I really do... but I just don't know what's gotten into him."
Mrs. Maxwell managed a small smile. "It really hurts me to do this, Patricia. Especially since his grades are perfect. I'm really starting to wonder if there may be any outside sources that are causing his bad behavior. How is your relationship with Michael?"
Patricia looked startled by the question. "Fine!"
"How often do you converse?"
"I try to talk with him as often as I can. But it seems like he doesn't want anything to do with me."
Partially true, Michael thought. The only times he didn't like his mother were when she tried to make conversation that didn't want to be made, gluing a fake smile to her face and asking him about things she never used to care about. She did that more often nowadays, so he responded likewise.
Mrs. Maxwell continued. "Has Michael ever shown any interest in extracurricular activities? The science club? Debate team?"
Patricia shook her head again. "No. I offered it to him, but he refused."
"You know, those who are enrolled in afterschool clubs or weekend activities tend to have better performances in school, and a better attitude overall. So, maybe it's time to consider something for your son." For the first time during the meeting, the two women turned to face Michael.
"Well, Michael? What do you have to say?"
"Science club is for geeks," he said simply. "I don't want to build a rocket out of a plastic bottle. I'd rather have the real thing."
Mrs. Maxwell sighed. She went back to her desk and took a long sip from her water bottle. "Well, then there's very little I can recommend for you. Are there any problems at home that may be causing him stress? That can often cause someone to act up in school."
Patricia's eyes widened. "Of course not! Not that I know of, at least."
"What about you, Michael? Do you have anything to add?"
"No." Nothing I'd say to you, that is.
Mrs. Maxwell nodded again. She did this so frequently, it reminded him of a bobblehead. "Another thing I've been noticing over time is that a source for bad behavior can often lie in the type of friends someone has..." her eyes trailed off towards the ceiling, then came down to find Michael.
Instantly, he did a double-take. Cory and Brendan were his two best friends, and nothing would ever change that. They had met on the third day of school after finding themselves in the same detention room.
That day, Michael had brought a pack of water balloons to school, hoping to liven up the usually boring recess hour. Little did he know, two other boys had been thinking the exact same thing. They had all snuck into the building to fill the balloons. They were fighting over water fountain privileges when a teacher came and caught them all.
"Great minds think alike, I suppose," Michael had said, and a bond was forged.
From that day on, he, Cory, and Brendan sat together at lunch, during lessons, and on the bus. Though the two didn't get good grades, and couldn't understand half of their homework, Michael enjoyed being in their company. They would meet on the weekends to play sports in the backyard. On rare occasions, they could wander around the downtown with whatever allowance their parents gave them. They'd also pull pranks on people they didn't like, but it was always something simple, like a fake letter or a quarter stuck to the ground. Sure they goofed off in class sometimes, but who didn't?
"My friends are normal!" Michael countered, staring at Mrs. Maxwell with disbelief. "I don't care about their grades! And you're the one who's always talking about rights. What happened to everyone being equal?"
Mrs. Maxwell shook her head sadly. "You are who your friends are, Michael. I think that if you spent your time with the responsible people at this school, you'd be more responsible yourself."
"So you'd rather have me make friends with the dweebs in the science club just because I have the 'potential'?"
"Don't talk back to her, Michael! She knows what she's talking about!" Patricia immediately came to Mrs. Maxwell's defense. Still no surprise there.
"But my grades are perfect! Look, she even said so herself!"
"It's not just about grades, Mike! It's about your entire personality! Before you entered middle school, you were a sweet little boy. Now look at you! When was the last time you washed your hair?"
Michael reached up and found a small black tuft that hung limp on his forehead. He combed his fingers back, feeling the strands shift and twist away. They were soft, though a bit dirty from all his time spent outside.
"My hair's fine!" Michael sank back into his seat, his cheeks reddening.
For a few moments, Mrs. Maxwell did not speak. Her eyes moved back and forth between the many posters on her back wall. They depicted moronic phrases like "Reading makes you a better person!" and "Bully-free Zone!" She seemed to be weighing an idea on her tongue, arranging and processing it before speaking.
"There's another thing I wanted to discuss with you, Ms. Rowan. As you know... it's that time of year again." Michael closed his eyes and let out a sigh. "Nine-year-olds from all over Sinnoh will be coming to get their starter pokémon from Professor Emerson. Are you going to take Michael this year, or are you going to postpone again?"
Patricia made no response.
"He is thirteen, and most kids his age already have their pokémon. He might be feeling left out."
"I don't know... He can be so reckless sometimes, that I just don't know... That Stunky... what if the same thing happens to his starter?"
"Perhaps having his own pokémon will teach him a thing or two about responsibility? You and Michael can raise the pokémon together. Then, whenever you feel he's ready, you can take him to get his trainer card and it will be legal for him to collect badges."
Patricia looked over to Michael, who shrugged. "I don't want a starter."
"And why not?" asked Mrs. Maxwell.
"Because it's a scam."
Mrs. Maxwell began to shake her head, a laugh escaping her lips. Patricia joined in, probably out of guilt. But to Michael, it made perfect sense.
Obviously, people who gave out free pokémon would be expecting something in return. There had to be some sort of business deal going on. They needed money too. Would it involve a contract? Would he have to advertise their company? Were they just using kids as pawns to raise their pokémon to their full power, then demanding the kids to return them? The possibilities were endless. Michael stared at the palms of his hands for a while, caught in a loop.
"Michael, how could it possibly be a scam?" Mrs. Maxwell said. "It's such a great learning experience. Think about it, we spent all this year talking about the different species of pokémon, and next year, you'll be able to have hands-on experience! It's a vital part of the curriculum."
"I don't want one, I already told you."
"You know, I think we should try this year," Patricia said, giving her son a glare. Michael's heart sank. If something had his mother's approval, it would happen no matter what. "Maybe it's the fact that he's never had a pokémon of his own that causes him to misbehave."
"I hope I'm right!" Mrs. Maxwell let out a cackle. Apparently, it was supposed to be funny.
By some invisible trigger, the two women rose and shook hands, officially ending the meeting. Patricia turned to leave, but before Michael could follow, Mrs. Maxwell put a hand on his shoulder and held him back.
"You're a smart kid, Michael," she whispered. "Don't waste your talents."
There was something in her eyes that he couldn't decipher. Hope? Forethought? She patted him on the shoulder, and he walked off without another word.
The Rowans were lucky enough to have a house just outside the city, instead of being bottled up in an apartment like so many others were. It was back from the days when the family had money, when Michael's father was still alive and his two brothers, Richard and Brian, were still living with them. Michael secretly referred to them as the 'good days', though there had been nothing good about them at all. With three family members gone, all that was left were two strangers.
The house had two floors. Michael's bedroom was separate from the others - a cozy loft placed just above the kitchen. It had one large window overlooking his tiny backyard, and walls that were covered with posters. His shelves were overflowing with records, board games, and other random objects. It was nothing to be proud of, but a room was a room.
The first thing Michael did after coming home was slam his door and flop down onto his bed. He threw his backpack onto the ground, letting all the junk inside spill out.
Suspended for the rest of the year... What kind of idiot does that? And she even said that I get good grades. Moron. Even worse, now I have to survive a drive all the way to Sandgem to get some stupid pokémon from some guy I've never even heard of before. Why can't Mom just suck it up and accept the fact that I don't want to be a freaking trainer?
His train of thought was interrupted by a muffled screech. Michael sprang up.
"Shit!" he whispered. He ran over to his closet and slid open the doors.
The Stunky was still there, in the cage he had bought from a hardware store. It was circling the perimeter uncertainly, its tail quivering. When it saw him, the Stunky let out an accusing growl.
"Shut up, shut up!" Michael kicked the cage a little, and it shrank back into a corner. He had not told his mother that he had kept the Stunky, and was very careful to keep it hidden until Cory or Brendan could pick it up. Patricia was the biggest pro-pokémon rights person he had ever seen, and if she ever found out, there was no telling what could happen.
"Mike? Is everything all right?" came Patricia's voice.
Michael looked at the Stunky one last time, giving it the sharpest, coldest glare he could manage. He closed the doors just as Patricia entered the room. She carried a metal tray and a kitchen towel.
"Yeah, everything's fine." Michael stepped away from the closet and sat down in his chair.
"What was that screech I heard?"
Michael kept a straight face. "Don't know. Probably just something outside."
Patricia smiled a little. "Well, okay. Dinner will be ready soon. And I want you to go to bed straight after that, okay?"
"Why?" Michael said cautiously. Though he already knew what her next words would be, it was a good stalling technique.
"I'll be driving you to Sandgem tomorrow. You'll be getting your starter. Come on, you already know this. You heard your teacher."
Michael did not hide his grimace. "She only said that to make you happy, Mom. I don't want my starter. It's all a freaking scam!"
"It is not a scam, Michael. It teaches you responsibility. This has been one conference too many. It's time you started thinking about your future and what you want to do with your life. I don't want you ending up a failure like..." Patricia paused, her lips pursed. "I don't want you ending up a failure at all, okay? No more arguments. I'll call you when the food's ready." With that, Patricia turned to leave.
When the coast was clear, Michael slid open the closet doors. The Stunky was peering at him through the bars, scared, but silent. He sighed with relief.
"That was a close one. You better keep quiet from now on, you little cretin. Hear me?" Just as he closed the doors again, the Stunky began to whimper. With a groan, Michael opened a door and looked down at the pokémon.
"Are you bored?" he asked.
The Stunky blinked.
"Are you tired?"
The Stunky blinked again. There was an intelligent gleam in its eyes.
"Are you hungry?" he tried again.
The Stunky growled. Michael rolled his eyes.
And then he closed the door.