Summary: The world is a big, mysterious place to Jon. He's going to make it his goal to change at least part of that, but first he has to do this Pokedex thing. One step at a time, right?
So yeah, an OC fic. The title is a bit meta, but I don't really want to explain more than that.
I followed Crasher Wake around for probably an hour before we ran into a good strong Pokémon.
It wasn’t that some of them weren’t good enough to protect me. An Arbok once crossed our paths, and Mr. Wake barely put a hand out to stop me before I walked onto its long tail. He let out one of his Pokémon, a great big Croconaw, and I don’t think that Arbok would’ve liked me very much after that anyway.
And there were the Quagsire and Bibarel too. They’re strong, but definitely not smart enough to keep from accidentally hurting me. I think it sort of hurt Mr. Wake to avoid giving me a water type, because when we saw a Bibarel quietly gnawing on some wood he steered us in the opposite direction and didn’t say anything.
At one point we even saw a Noctowl snoozing on a tree branch. But apparently Noctowl are only loyal if you raise them from a Hoothoot, and I certainly wouldn’t have the time to raise a baby if I was trying to catch wild Pokémon.
After seeing a fifth Yanma zoom by, I tried to convince my mentor to get one for me. He wasn’t having any of it, though, and lectured me to only trust a Pokémon you can understand, or something. Sometimes he says stuff I don’t understand.
After that I just kept quiet and waited for him to find something he liked. I hoped that he didn’t want to get me a Tangela or a Psyduck; those Pokémon were kind of lame. Instead, maybe a Toxicroak, the mascot of our town, or a Kecleon to play games with and to help catch Pokémon with surprise.
Finally, after about twenty years of wandering and collecting mud on my trekking boots, Mr. Wake stopped for a Pokémon. As soon as I realized we wouldn’t be fighting off and running away from a Gyarados or whatever, I got pumped. I peeked around the Gym Leader’s sizable bulk and saw what would be my first Pokémon.
A puny Croagunk caught out in the open, dozing off. He (for my first Pokémon would always be another guy, in my mind) had some scuffs and a couple oozing stinger wounds on his arms, but was obviously in good enough shape to be running around. I could see the lean muscles under his skin, and remembered the time I saw one completely throw a Carnivine that had tried to trap it.
I knew I shouldn’t have, but I interrupted my mentor, Mr. Wake, in his efforts to catch the Pokémon. I hurled a handful of mud at it, and like a charm the muck struck right on his nose.
The purple frog was immediately up, and he made this threatening croak from the back of his throat that almost made me regret waking him. Before I could, though, Mr. Wake had hit him with a park ball, and after a small couple of wiggles it stopped shaking.
Of course, on the way back I got lectured. Not only for throwing mud at a wild Pokémon, but also about how to take care of my new responsibility. Make sure he eats, be careful of his mild poison, blah blah… most of this stuff was learned in trainer school, and everybody who was a citizen of Pastoria knew all about Croagunk.
I couldn’t wrestle with him, but we could play just about any game if I spent the time to teach him. Croagunk are very independent, and will find their own food when they’re hungry and even come back to you. There were grasses and herbs that grew in the wild that could remedy a case of Croagunk poisoning, if mixed well. There’s more, but it’s all so boring unless you have one of your own.
Before I knew it, I was out the door of my house for possibly the last time. My brain skipped a step for a second, and everything felt very surreal. I imagined walking back into town, taller, cooler, with a bunch of trained Pokémon, and handing Crasher Wake my Pokédex before heading home and regaling m family with stories of my travels. A hard poke from my side snapped me back to reality, where I had to go walking into the tall grass and apply all that I knew.
With the three poke balls I was freely given and a Croagunk strutting by my side, I felt pretty darned invincible. I grinned and thrust my hands into my pockets, and walked out the town gate whistling a tune to a song that was made of freedom and joy.
~“Okay Croagunk, get ready.” I warned my Pokemon. The blue muscles on his blue arms and legs were tense. He knew the game plan, but I was still stressing out over small details; what if the birds heard him running through the grass? What if he tripped up? How could I hit just one bird with the stone in my hand?
Regardless, I began to size up the shot. With adrenaline shooting through my system, I slowly brought my arm back and up, now aiming for the nearest of the small birds.
With a small grunt, I hurled the rock forward as hard as I could. It arced majestically through the air, and my vision tunneled in on it. Before it even began its downward curve, however, the birds knew something was wrong.
With unnatural senses, many of the birds took off and got out of the way. However, I could see that it wouldn’t help one of the gaudy Pokemon, for it was on a direct-route intersection with the jagged shard.
I cheered Croagunk forward as the rock hit Chatot on the side of the head. The bird was probably shocked at its bad luck as it began falling through the air, spinning in small tight circles. Croagunk was trampling through the grass to get to the bird, but I knew it was over anyway.
I ran ahead of my Pokemon, easily outspeeding him with legs at least twice as long as his own. With my sneakers squeaking on the short, wet grass, I caught up to the little patch of grass where my Chatot had landed.
I pulled a miniature Poke Ball out of my jeans pocket and pressed the button in the middle. The little bird Pokemon, small enough to stand comfortably in my hand lay dazed on the grass, not yet recovered enough to evade me. I carefully picked it up and tapped it against my poke ball, and it captured like a charm. Later, I’d pull out my shiny Pokedex and input some data for it, if it wasn’t already filled.
The sun was up and bright, and I was still walking the beaten path. My socks were a gross grey and green from the morning’s grass, but I continued anyway, because that’s how trainers were.
I’d passed the lake a while ago, where some other kids had challenged me to Pokémon battles. I had begged off of them, saying that my Pokémon were already hurt from the wilderness, but the truth is I just don’t like battling very much.
Wiping some sweat off of my forehead, I looked around me to at least know where I was. It looked like I was just starting to get back on the path to civilization, because there ahead of me started the rocky terrain that led to Veilstone City.
But then something else caught my attention. Off into the tall grass, there was a weird brown animal just chewing at the grass. The reason I noticed it, besides its obnoxious eating noises (even Pokémon usually chew with their mouth shut!), was the second, much bigger head it had trailing where its behind should be. Despite being in its direct line of vision, it didn’t notice me, and I crept up on the silly-looking Pokémon with my Pokédex out.
Once I got within range, the little computer piped up. “GIH-RAFF-AH-RIG, THE LONG NECK POKÉMON.”
Before even the second word had got out, the stupid Pokémon was off and running away. I pouted at the shiny red computer, which was giving me the option to input data. Maybe I could have, if the dang thing wasn’t so loud and obnoxious.
Whatever I told myself, though I wanted a Girafarig. Wake had given me three poke balls to start out with, and for Pokémon that were too flighty they had to be caught before anything could be added to the Pokédex. That Pokémon was certainly of the scaredy-cat persuasion, but it was nothing a good catcher couldn’t handle.
I appreciated some of the tips I had learned from other trainers. Occasionally a bug catcher would pass through in Pastoria, and when all us kids crowded them and stared in awe at their Pokémon they would sometimes tell us how they caught their prey. The rock thing had been one of their ideas, although I doubt I could find a net big enough for a Girafarig.
I decided I would camp out on the grey-red rock tonight, because it was safer and the thought of bugs crawling on me while I slept gave me shivers. After I’d rolled out my sleeping bag and bitten off some jerky, I convinced Croagunk to come outside and sleep on the ground with me, for warmth.
Before I went to sleep, I made sure to check out my newly caught Chatot. Over time it had regained enough sense to understand that it was a trainer’s Pokémon now, I guess, because it didn’t immediately fly away once I let it out. It did stumble on its feet a bit, but it was alright because it was only on my lap.
I pulled out my Pokédex and looked it up. After the grinding mechanical voice filtered out, I saw that there was practically no data on Chatot. Using some rough measurements that involved a squinted eye and lifting it a few times, I input the curious Pokémon’s height and weight into my Pokédex, as well as a couple simple physical characteristics. I would take a picture of it in the morning, but for now it was getting dark and that silly Croagunk had begun snoring beside me.
After making sure to return the bird Pokémon, I rolled over and tried to calm the nerves of my first day enough to get to sleep.
I tried to pull my blankets up over my head, but it wasn’t working. They had to be trapped under my feet then, but lifting them didn’t help. Opening my eyes, I went through a second of vertigo before realizing I was outside, and the sun was up, and I was most definitely not in my bed.
As I pulled the sleeping bag off myself, I heard a crunching noise. I looked over and saw Croagunk, though, over near the tall grass back where we came from.
I called to him, but he ignored me and another crunching noise came from his direction. After walking over, I saw that he was hunched over and eating a purpling Bidoof corpse. The cracking noises were the bones being snapped.
Slightly nauseated, I backed up and decided that breakfast could wait. Instead, I let out Chatot and pulled out my Pokédex again. I snapped a few pictures of the tiny bird in a few poses, including a cute one of it with its head under its wing and still asleep. These pictures would be available to anyone with an updating copy of the Pokédex, and this sort of work was the reason why I had been able to go on this adventure.
I shared a bite of my jerky with the Chatot afterwards. She didn’t really trust me, but had no problem eating broken bits of dry meat out of the palm of my hand.
We packed up and left. For all the excitement I had, this routine was really dull. There were a couple other Pokémon I could expect to see before I got to another town, but the one I wanted to catch was Girafarig. Over the course of the morning and afternoon, I had convinced Chatot to perch on my shoulder without flying off, and Croagunk had ‘helped’ me find some new additions to the Pokédex. After using my last antidote on a suffering Kricketot, I gently told Croagunk that I had all the data I would need today.
But despite what I told my froggy friend, I kept walking slowly through the grass and scanning nearby, hoping to catch another Girafarig having a nap. The sky was orange before I gave up and accepted a challenge from a loud bug catcher. If there were any Pokémon in a mile radius of us, he definitely scared them off with his screamed battle commands and action noises.
With my Chatot safely back into its poke ball, the shocked trainer handed me a few bills and ran off towards Lake Valor. Just a week ago I would have been there at the Pokémon Center, ready to hear about how he once barely escaped a family of Vespiquen or a Burmy used his supplies as shell material. It’s funny what a little perspective does.
I decided to go as far as I could towards civilization as I could before setting up camp. The road was slowly getting more defined, as we approached a common exit point. Once my legs ached too much to keep going, I crumpled myself onto some packed dirt by the roadside and let out Croagunk. He swung his head around, ready to protect me from whatever.
“Hey Cro, go grab some dry firewood okay?”
He sort of turned his head at me. He probably didn’t even know what I meant, so I picked up a loose branch beside me on the ground. “Like this, see. But grab an armload or two, so we can be warm tonight.”
He gave me two clipped croaks for a positive and then lumbered off into the sparse tree line. I could already see him picking up sticks, so there was no worry about not having enough.
The fire seemed to revitalize Chatot, who had been snuggled into a nest in my rolled out sleeping bag. He tweeted a pretty little tune for us, and I whistled the same one I had the other day. We roasted some of the poison-free Bidoof meat and shared between us, letting Croagunk have the purple stuff.
From the bushes, I heard a rustling. I let out a most assuredly man scream, and I would have gone and beaten the source of the noise with my bare hands if Croagunk had not been standing in front of me.
Peering at the offending tall grass from behind my too-small bodyguard, I noticed that it wasn’t a crazy murderer who would eat my fingers like bananas; in fact, it was only a wild Pokémon. No taller than myself, the Girafarig shuffled into view.
I whipped out my Pokédex and caught a picture of the Pokémon before it could escape, but it didn’t seem interested in me. Instead it was subtly nudging towards Chatot, as if the bird wouldn’t notice the comparatively gargantuan giraffe sidling up to it. It poked the Bidoof meat that Chatot was chowing down on, and tried to catch Chatot’s eyes.
It was about then that I noticed something. Two things, actually; this Girafarig was too small to be out on its own, and its ribcage was visible against the orange firelight.
Immediately I returned Croagunk to his poke ball and grabbed my Chatot in one hand. In the other I had hastily grabbed my sleeping bag, and I was marching off into the grass before the young Girafarig could look up from the Bidoof meat.
Chatot gave an indignant squawk, but I shushed her. “We had to get away from it. When people are too close to a Pokémon’s young they get attacked by the angry parents.” I tried to explain it, but Chatot still gave me the cold shoulder. Better that then a hoof-shaped indent on my prettiest and only-est face, though.
Once we were far enough away, we set up camp again. I returned Chatot to be safe, and went to sleep camouflaged with my green sleeping bag in the grass. Conveniently, my tummy rumbling kept my mind off the fact that any Pokémon could come up and steal all my stuff without a problem during the night. I dreamed of delicious pumpkins full of Ledyba who all yelled at me about getting a hobby.