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 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 need as a human. This unique upbringing results in Ash having the ability to speak both languages - Human and Pokemon.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 to due Ash's intervention that she survived that encounter.
Aerith and Bob: Most OC 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 pokemon journey.
Played with, aparently 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's; he isnote as far as we know not anti-magical in any form or way, what prevented Agatha's spell from working on him, was due a Loophole Abuse: Agatha's sleep spell requires people to think in the same language as the caster.; having a different first language is enough for the spell not to work. Meaning that language-based spells might not work on him.
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.
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 recived a Proper burial, making him wonder if he failed him twice. note 1) For allowing his and his parents' Murders. 2) For being unable to help them reunite in the afterlife.
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 know about them before that though.
While the "cute" is debatable , the story suggests that all Magikarpnote It's original/japanese name is Koiking and it is based in 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 pokemon of Saffron who weren'tKilled Off for Real by Sabrina moved into HopHopHop Town, falling under the care of the local pokemon appreciation society to help recover from Sabrina's rampage.
Canon Welding: Various bits of Pokemon canon are utilized within the story and some character's backstory are welded together such as:
The Caretaker: Meowth, Arbok and Weezing are this to Jessie and James
Carnivore Confusion: Its discussed, but implied that Pokemon do eat other pokemon 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 pokemon, 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 minor characters and O Cs 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 remarks 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 its 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 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 had 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 recognisably 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 pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 houndhooms.
Great Offscreen War: Takes a bit of Pokemon Fanon in that there was a war that effected Kanto and the rest of the world, which completed destroyed centralized governments and the reason towns act more like city-states. It's the reason why people can become pokemon 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 Pokemon 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 misinterpret various situations, like why men and women have separate bathrooms. He thinks it's women want to keep their hygiene secrets, which is why they smell cleaner than men.
Instant Expert: Downplayed, as Ash and his pokemon 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 Pokemon Rangers and sought out by the heroes to return to his parents
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 pokemon.
Marshmallow Hell: The Sensational Sister 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 Pokemon Tower, playing with ghost pokemon and meeting Poison Lance's old friends and ends with Sabrina in Saffron being mindraped by Team Rocket and forced to torture 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 Pokemon. They will also kill humans without remorse on a whim and act as accomplices to various heinous crimes.
Mundane Solution: Ash points out to Venomoth that he could solved the hypnotized children problem by having his son, Venonat guard the children and have himself contact the police. It's pointed that most wild pokemon do not know to plan long-term
Mundane Utility: A speciality of Poison Lance, but also shown in the Porta Vista chapter where Ash uses his pokemon to help in Moe's restaurant. 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 pokemon of Saffron in hopes rehabilitating them of their trauma. The psychic pokemon currently uncontrolled powers cause a massive kidnapping incident.
No Name Given: 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
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 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.
Oh Crap: Ash has a mental freak out when Team Rocket reveals they know that he speaks to pokemon in their confrontation in Pewter City.
Open Secret: Ash's ability is pretty well known among pokemon. It's safe for them to know since pokemon can't speak to humans anyways, but this has worked to Ash's detriment when Meowth of Team Rocket found out.
Pop Culture 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 pokemon.
Powder Keg Crowd: The group of trainers working the Diglett killing contest were already on edge for having kill so many digletts. When Gary comes in and tries to question the situation, they nearly lynched mobbed him in rage.
Pragmatic Villainy: The reason Team Rocket steal pokemon from trainers is that trained pokemon are trained and most Team Rocket members don't want to put in the effort of capturing and raising a wild pokemon.
Pyrrhic Victory: The Safari Zone battle. They ultimately succeeded in protecting Tommy, but the death count of the herd, Tommy's parents, and patrol of officers made it bitter.
Retired Badass: Poison Lance was Lucas's former pokemon released into the wild, still capable pokemon stronger than him and nearly put out a forest fire by himself. His greatest ability is his ability to organize pokemon 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 why he wanted Ash as his rival.
Running Gag: Ash constantly forgets to register his Pokedex.
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 have 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 a Deal with the Devil Meowth, Arbok and Wheezing 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 very skilled strategist and a prodigy Pokemon 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, and if he had focused more in the former he would have done better. .
Sneeze Cut: Bulbasaur, when talking to Melanie, hopes to meet an idiot who knows how to speak to pokemon.
Ash Ketchum sneezed in his sleep.
Gesundheit, Pikachu said sleepily
Speaks Fluent Animal: Due to the intelligence of Pokemon 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 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 pokemon who can talk like humans out there. And if there are other humans who can understand pokemon 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 being raised by Pokemon. Erika is the unofficial therapist of the league.
To more formally explain the later, Erica 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 the verge of mental breakdown due to having to kill many digletts, who supposedly murdered people. When Gary tries to reason with them, they nearly lynch mobbed him.
Took a Level in Kindness: Gary is a lot more 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.