Symbiosis is an AU Pokémon fic, set in the anime-verse but with a major catalyst in the first chapter that throws off the entire original plot.The story opens in Pallet Town, just after Ash's parents were killed in a fire caused by a mysterious criminal organization. His father's badly-injured Mareep barely escapes with a toddler-aged Ash on his back, being chased by Houndooms. They escape into Viridan Forest, where a Weedle named Poison Lance kills the Houndoom pack, and is just in time to hear the dying Mareep's wish for him to protect Ash. Poison Lance grants Mareep's wish, and the Pokemon community of Viridan Forest raise and protect Ash in memory of the Ketchums, who are remembered fondly for being friends to all of PokeKind. They try to protect Ash as much as possible while balancing Ash's needs as a human. This unique upbringing results in Ash having the ability to speak both languages - Human and Pokémon.When Ash finally came of age, he leaves the forest to become a Pokemon master, travelling under the assumed-name of Aaron Autumns. And while the world he traverses is still familiar, it is also a much more dangerous place with dangerous people.
Adaptational Badass: Everyone. All the Pokemon are - and need to be - decisively stronger than they were in Canon, and because the world is an even more brutal place thanks to the Ascended Fridge Horror, humans need to learn how to fight and kill other humans and Pokemon in order to survive (especially any Gym Trainers).
Adult Fear: Professor Oak loses his student, Delia, and her family due to an unknown criminal organization attacking them in the night. In the night in which Oak was too exhausted to hear the resulting explosion. He had not put any security measures because Pallet Town seemed safe.
Misty is viciously attacked by a flock of spearow in a typically safe area. It was only due to Ash's intervention that she survived that encounter.
Aerith and Bob: Most OCs have names that are a mix of japanese and western names.
Age Cut: The story cuts from Ash's toddler years, to his school years, and then to finally the beginning of his Pokémon journey.
Played with, apparently the magic used in this universe has so many restrictions, that even the most inane things can stop/cancel it.
The only example so far is Ash; he is (as far as we know) not anti-magical in any form or way. What prevented Agatha's spell from working was a Loophole.This one Agatha's sleep spell requires people to think in the same language as the caster; having a different first language is enough to cancel the spell.
Meaning, that spells with this or a similar condition might not work on him, or Tommy for that matter.
Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Brock chews out Ash for getting involved in the siege as it could have gone horribly wrong, but he does concede that Ash made a good call in covertly stopping Team Rocket from killing Melanie and taking the hatchlings.
Brainwashing For The Greater Good: Pocket Watch uses his hypnosis to register Ash into school and put him into speech therapy. He also puts a general mental suggestion for people to not to notice Ash too much
This is Hikaru Buckak's supposed motivation for Sabrina's Mind Rape. One look at the results, and you can tell this motivation's completely full of shit - especially given how Buckak's clearly very unhinged, with the way he revels at Britany's torture specifically.
Sabrina is in the receiving end of the worst and most graphic so far.
Jesse and James could be an example, as they pretty much lost it after being tortured. Not much is known about them before that though.
While the "cute" is debatable , the story suggests that all Magikarpnote Its original/Japanese name is Koiking and it is based on the koi◊ go through this, and finally snap when they evolve.
Brick Joke: When Gary and his squad of cheerleaders depart from Pallet Town, Ash wonders if it makes him weird for leaving town without cheerleaders. Ash finally gets his answer chapters later when Misty and Brock are put off by Gary's fangirls.
Call Back: Many of the psychic Pokémon of Saffron who weren'tKilled Off for Real by Sabrina moved into HopHopHop Town, falling under the care of the local Pokémon appreciation society to help recover from Sabrina's rampage.
Canon Welding: Various bits of Pokémon canon are utilized within the story and some characters' backstories are welded together, such as:
The Caretaker: Meowth, Arbok, and Weezing are this to Jessie and James
Carnivore Confusion: It's discussed, but implied that Pokémon do eat other Pokémon in the wild, as they don't see themselves as the same species. In fact, Poison Lance got popular for discouraging Pidgey from eating local Weedle or Caterpie. Humans as a whole don't eat Pokémon, they raise animals for meat.
Pidgeotto was introduced planning to eat Caterpie.
Became a Brick Joke, as it was how Magikarp was introduced.
Cassandra Truth: When the rumor of Misty and Brock traveling with a rookie trainer(Aaron/Ash) is brought up, it is quickly dismissed as untrue.
Cast of Snowflakes: Many of the minor characters and OCs have fleshed out personality and distinct characteristics.
Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Misty and Brock ask Aaron/Ash why he doesn't call his parents more often, Ash immediately asks why they never call their parents. This immediately shuts them up.
Chekhov's Classroom: One chapter begins with Ash reading a book on how lighting is formed and the Pidgey saying it's Too Much Information. When Ash and Pikachu are fighting a flock of crazed Spearow, Ash uses this information to teach Pikachu how to form Lighting Bolt.
Commonality Connection: A young Gary and Ash become friends due to two situations, when Ash helps Gary win an argument whether a rattata can beat a snorlax and when both of them didn't know how to play soccer. Gary was losing the argument with another kid before Ash came in, so when Gary asked Ash how a Rattata would win, he surprised him by thinking up a rebuttal on the strategy, scenario, and skill of said Rattata and Snorlax.
Cool Big Sis: Sabrina was this to Misty in the past when she used to babysit Misty in league meetings. She's also one to Brittany, her youngest student. The latter one ends with particular tragedy.
Country Mouse: Ash has a bit of culture shock the first time he goes to a city, even feeling a bit claustrophobic.
Daddy Issues: Brock has this with his dad, Flint, for abandoning him and his siblings after their mother died.
Dark and Troubled Past: Ash himself, but but James and Jessie as well. Mentioned within fic to have been tortured to the point of catatonia in the past.
Darker and Edgier: This fanfic - unlike such stories as Poké Wars, The Sun Soul, and Latias Journey - keeps the world of the anime more or less recognizably the same place... only without witholding the more horrific, darker aspects which one would believably expect to exist in a world of Pokemon. The major divergence from canon in Chapter 1 is more-or-less a catalyst for this, as opposed to something that completely twists the metaphysics of the Anime-verse, and the result is that the world is simply a little more Seinen than Shonen, but with elements of the latter still leaking through (thanks mostly to Ash).
Free-Range Children: It wouldn't be Pokémon without it, but it has a catch as young trainers are expected to contact their families.
Freudian Excuse: Used with some villainous characters. However, it is not used to justify or excuse their actions, but to explain why they got where they are. The heroes - and the narrative itself - show no pity for these people, because they're aren't sympathetic-by-design just for having sad backstories.
Government Conspiracy: The Pokémon Rangers of the Safari Zone are hiding something about the missing child, Tommy.
Great Escape: Mareep and Ash's flight from a pack of Growlithes and Houndooms.
Great Offscreen War: Takes a bit of Pokémon Fanon in that there was a war that affected Kanto and the rest of the world, which completely destroyed centralized governments and the reason towns act more like city-states. It's the reason why people can become Pokémon trainers at age 10 in Kanto, which is considered quite strange in other regions. It's also the reason why in some cities, the age of consent is 14 to promote population growth.
Hermetic Magic: The magic used by Agatha in this universe has so many restrictions, that even the most inane things can stop it. Agatha's sleeping spell didn't work on Ash because of conditions of the spell: Agatha's sleep spell requires people to think in the same language as the caster. Since Ash was Raised by Wolves and had to be taught how to speak human, he doesn't think in the same language as Agatha.
Heroic Sacrifice: Tommy's parents sacrifice themselves to crash a helicopter into the monster summoned by Team Galactic and kill it.
Hidden Depths: Gary can be calm, observant, and intelligent when the situation calls for it.
Idiot Ball: Defied as the Nurse Joy of Viridan City shuts the Pokémon Center when it gets attacked by Team Rocket. She stays calm, contacts, and transfers all the Pokemon to the Pewter City Pokemon Center. Lampshaded by the author in the notes:
Author: Damnit Nurse Joy! You're not supposed to be calm and rational in fiction.
Innocent Inaccurate: Ash misinterprets various situations, like why men and women have separate bathrooms. He thinks it's because women want to keep their hygiene secrets, which is why they smell cleaner than men.
Instant Expert: Downplayed, as Ash and his Pokémon can pick stuff up very quickly, but they get better with practice.
It's Been Done: In-Universe, when Ash explains to Misty and Brock why Gary is his rival. Brock face palms at the explanation as apparently people being childhood friends then becoming rivals as trainers has became a cliche.
Last Request: Mareep's final wish was for Poison Lance to take care of Ash.
Living MacGuffin: The Kangaskhan boy, Tommy, is sought out by various criminal groups, is a part of a conspiracy between the Safari Zone and the Pokémon Rangers, Andes sought out by the heroes to return to his parents
Aaron\Ash is this for the Team Rocket trio (but not to Team Rocket as a whole) for the same reasons Tommy is.
Lowered Recruiting Standards: An effect of the Ketchum murders is that Professor Oak gives pokemon to more trainers rather than ones he personally knew and met his standards to increase the number of trainers in the League. It kills Professor Oak inside that he doesn't ever meet half of them again and probably some trainers are abusing their Pokémon.
Marshmallow Hell: The Sensational Sisters all hug Ash in appreciation for saving Misty.
Arnold's mom in the HopHopHop Town chapter as a form of Book Ends: she Glomps him, mistaking Ash for her son, and she does it again when Ash returns her son to her.
Męlée ŕ Trois: In the Safari Zone, we have Team Rocket, Team Galactic, Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Ash's party all struggling over Tommy. Not one of them is on the others' side.
Mood Whiplash: The Lavender Town chapter as it starts with Ash going to Pokémon Tower, playing with ghost Pokémon, and meeting Poison Lance's old friends and ends with Sabrina in Saffron being mindraped by Team Rocket and forced to torture and kill her loved ones - in gruesome detail.
It's made all the more jarring because the chapter jumps between Ash's scenes and the immediate consequences of Sabrina's Mind Rape.
The Movie Buff: Pikachu surprises Ash by admitting that he loves monsters movies, especially since Ash only saw one movie in his life.
Moral Myopia: James and Jessie believe in fairness and equality and are offended at the thought of killing Pokémon. They will also kill humans without remorse on a whim and act as accomplices to various heinous crimes.
It's shown to a sign of great skill to be able to use attacks in mundane, non-offensive ways.
My Greatest Failure: The murder of the Ketchum family is this to Professor Oak, as he mostly relied on his reputation as the former Kanto champion and the safety of Pallet Town instead of having emergency security measures.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Jessie, James, and Meowth are known within Team Rocket as "The Crazies," known for causing massive carnage and leaving a massive body count.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: HopHopHop Town's pokemon appreciation society took in the psychic Pokémon of Saffron in hopes of rehabilitating them of their trauma. The psychic Pokémon's currently uncontrolled powers cause a massive kidnapping incident.
Momma and Poppa of the Safari Zone arc invoke this. They both want to avoid scandal from searching for their son for five years, so they avoid telling Ash, Misty, and Brock their real names... we do eventually learn their last name, however, as during their Heroic Sacrifice, they say how proud they are of their son, Thomas Marshall.
Ash's father is in the story (before being killed), is an important part of Ash's backstory, and yet, he still lacks a name.
No Sense of Direction: in an inversion of the series, Brock and Misty are the ones who are constantly getting the group lost. Ash gets so sick and tired of them bickering where to go that he snaps and leads them the way to city. To be fair, while they don't fare well in the forest, it is played straight for Ash in cities.
No Social Skills: Despite Poison Lance's best efforts, Ash has very stunted social skills and never experienced many human activities.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Unlike canon, Ash is growing in this Fic. Pointed out in HopHopHop Town, where he recives a new outfit from Arnold's mom because he's outgrowing his.
Oh Crap: Ash has a mental Freak Out when Team Rocket reveals they know that he speaks to Pokémon in their confrontation in Pewter City.
Open Secret: Ash's ability is pretty well known among Pokémon. It's safe for them to know since Pokémon can't speak to humans anyways, but this has worked to Ash's detriment when Meowth of Team Rocket found out.
There's also the regular soul-ghost that, if the pokedex is to be believed, may or may not become ghost-type pokemon too.
Ash, when Prof. Oak thinks he is a ghost.
To elaborate: When passing by the remains of the Ketchum household one night, Prof. Oak finds Ash weeping for his parents; Ash is wearing what is described as a white kimono, so Oak wonders if that is his soul, as he never received a proper burial, making him wonder if he failed him twice. 1° For allowing his and his parents' Murders 2° For being unable to help them reunite in the afterlife.
Perception Filter: Pocket Watch puts a light mental suggestion on people to not to look at Ash too closely when he went to school.
Sabrina put a mental suggestion on herself to not notice Captain Torch so he could get help before she went on her rampage.
Please Wake Up: A toddler Ash tries to wake and comfort the dying Mareep.
Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Being Raised by Wolves, this happens a lot to Ash. First example would be when Professor Oak joked about his rescue of Misty. Professor Oak joked that it would have been more appropriate that Ash save her from a Dragon Pokémon.
Pragmatic Villainy: The reason Team Rocket steal Pokémon from trainers is that trained Pokémon are trained and most Team Rocket members don't want to put in the effort of capturing and raising a wild Pokémon.
Pyrrhic Victory: The Safari Zone battle. They ultimately succeeded in protecting Tommy, but the death count of the herd, Tommy's parents, and patrol officers made it bitter.
Rescue Romance: Misty had a crush on Ash for rescuing her; this aspect seems be dropped by the Pokemon Village arc.
She outright states in the Safari Arc that she grew out of her crush as started seeing Ash as a younger brother.
Retired Badass: Poison Lance was Lucas's former Pokémon released into the wild, still capable of defeating Pokémon stronger than him. He nearly put out a forest fire by himself. His greatest ability is his ability to organize Pokémon into action. He is the reason why the community in Viridan Forest formed.
The Rival: Invoked by Gary, who declared on the day he and Ash became trainers that they were rivals. Ash goes along with it because he doesn't know any better. In practice, however, they are friendly rivals and Gary seems to respect Ash's ingenuity, which is why he wanted Ash as his rival.
Running Gag: Ash constantly forgets to register his Pokédex.
Another one is Ash having a case of Culture Clash with regular people.
Second Place Is for Winners: Due to gym leaders being much more powerful in this universe, it is considered improbable for trainers to win against battle-harded gym leaders. Mostly trainers win by reaching a time limit or impressing them by their skill or their virtues.
Semi-Divine: Ditto-born Legendaries, the offspring of Legendaries and Ditto.
The Shrink: Despite being in training, Erika is a type 3. She helped Brock realize that he still has problems with his father's abandonment, that Misty has problems with her clashes with death, and figured out right away that Ash is an orphan.
Shamu Fu: Primeape used Magikarp as club to defend against Meowth
Shock and Awe: Pikachu, especially after Ash teaches him how to harness lightning from storms.
Signed Up for the Dental: In a darker variation mixed with a Deal with the Devil, Meowth, Arbok and Weezing had Jessie and James join Team Rocket because the latter needed major medical treatment and the Team Rocket hospital was the closest one.
Skewed Priorities: Jessie, James, and Meowth were in the middle of completing their break-in of Slyph Co.'s most secure building and nearly succeeded in hacking their system...Only for them to drop everything, jump out the window, and trip all the alarms because they're late for Movie Night.
Skilled, but Naive: Ash is a very skilled strategist and a prodigy Pokémon trainer, but doesn't understand various social mores or dangers.
In Celadon Gym, after Aaron loses his battle, Erika points out that even though he is very skilled, he still lacks the ability to determine when to use brute strength and when to rely on strategy; if he had focused more in the former, he would have done better. He still gets a passing grade and his badge.
Sneeze Cut: Bulbasaur, when talking to Melanie, hopes to meet an idiot who knows how to speak to Pokémon.
Ash Ketchum sneezed in his sleep.
Gesundheit, Pikachu said sleepily.
Speaks Fluent Animal: Due to the intelligence of Pokémon and their social and cultural importance, people who can speak to them are very sought out. The point of the Kangaskhan boy arc is to illustrate why Ash/Aaron has to keep his ability a secret. The local authorities are willing to hide and keep a child away from his parents to unlock the ability. Criminal organizations come in droves to capture the boy.
Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted; according to Poison Lance, they do exist, so he makes Ash appear as normal as possible to avoid their attention.
The Talk: Subverted. When Ash asked what mating was, Brock embarrassingly tried to explain, and then Ash realized he was talking about sex.
Talent Contest: A dark variation where a Team Rocket shareholder, building a dam on illegally gained property, tells a group of trainers that Digletts have killed people in the area and held a contest to win a prize to kill the most Digletts. When Jessie and James found out, they were furious.
Then there was the Beach Chapter where Misty had to win a beauty contest that had a talent/costume portion.
Ash: Oh I can tell them it's not like there are any Pokémon who can talk like humans out there. And if there are other humans who can understand Pokémon out there, there's no way they'd be working with any villains.
There Are No Therapists: Averted as Pocket Watch, a Hypno, has Ash enrolled in speech therapy in elementary school for Ash's developmental problems due to being raised by Pokémon. Erika is the unofficial therapist of the league.
To more formally explain the later, Erika does have a degree and a license — there simply isn't an official position of 'Therapist for the Kanto Gym Leaders and Elite Four.'
These Hands Have Killed: Trainers in the Diglett chapter were on the verge of a mental breakdown due to having to kill many Digletts, who supposedly murdered people. When Gary tries to reason with them, they nearly lynched him.
Took a Level in Kindness: Gary is a lot nicer to Ash than in Canon, and less of a jerk overall (he's still kind of a Large Ham and self-assured, but downplayed). Presumably, the trigger is Oak's changed mindset after the Ketchums' deaths having an impact on his upbringing, as well as having "Aaron" for a good childhood friend who later "moved away" when they were still young.
Unwitting Instigator of Doom: John, a janitor in Slyph Co., who was commanded to call a number by a Team Rocket plan when he sees Sabrina's Abra. He instigated Sabrina's Mind Rape by Hikaru Bukack.
Walking Disaster Area: The Elite Four and the Champion tend to give this off not only because of the caliber of the battles, but also because they have their Pokémon alter the surroundings for the Wild Pokémon Entourage they will no doubt acquire.
He has yet to fight, but Ash/Aaron is being trained with a Simple Staff.
We Can Rule Together: Jessie and James's motivation to recruiting Ash, thinking he would make a great part of Team Rocket. While they focus on Ash, they also show powerpoints and give pamphlets to unaffiliated trainers to recruit them to Team Rocket.
We Have Reserves: Defied, two Team Rocket members on the Safari Zone mission want to kill a few back up members to take their mission supplies, but can't as their back up is neither sick nor injured.
Wild Child: Deliberately averted by Poison Lance, as he made sure that Ash still had human contact to understand social cues. While Ash still can't understand social mores, he is be able to understand and speak human language and be literate. He even sent Ash to school and made sure Ash talked to humans.