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Fanfic / Symbiosis

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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.

NOTICE: ConstructiveWriter has since declared the original Symbiosis dead and has started a rewrite, titled Symbiotic, that can be found here and here. Please put tropes specific to Symbiotic in its own section below.


Symbiosis contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Misty and Melanie.
  • 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).
  • Adaptational Villainy: Damian turns from a Jerkass trainer to an Axe-Crazy Social Darwinist. The Construction Director making the dam over a Diglett supercolony is a Team Rocket shareholder who tricks trainers into killing pokemon.
  • 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.
    • A little girl was smothered to death by a Muk that didn't know its own strength and that the child needed to breath when they were out exploring.
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  • After the End: Turns out that the Great War led to this and the current setting is after they've picked up the pieces.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Subverted. When sending Ash to school, Poison Lance and Pocket Watch fear that Ash will be ostracized by his classmates because of his subpar language skills. However, because of his encyclopedic knowledge of Pokémon, they don't really care.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Ash is introduced as a terrified toddler, holding on to his father's Mareep. The story then cuts from Ash's toddler years, to his school years, and then to finally the beginning of his Pokémon journey.
  • And Call Him "George"!: The Muk loves humans...Unfortunately he doesn't know that by covering humans with his goop in order to cuddle them suffocates and kills humans. He accidentally kills several members of Elle's family through this, at the behest of Krieg's pokemon. When he realizes this, he kills himself.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The only example so far is Ash; not anti-magical in any form or way that we know of, but able to dodge Agatha's spell by means of a loophole. What prevented it from working was that it requires people to think in the same language as the caster; having a different first language is enough to cancel the spell. Meaning, spells with this or a similar condition might not work on him, or Tommy for that matter.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Ash starts to have flashbacks of his parents' death and Misty having her eyes gouged out by Spearow.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted; Brock and Misty survived the siege on the Hidden Pokemon Village due to wearing body armor. In fact Misty nearly died due to wearing lighter body armor. Ash wasn't even allowed to join the fight due to being an untrained civilian.
  • Armor-Piercing Question
  • Arranged Marriage: Elle had one as a child to James, which is a moot point because she believes James is dead.
  • 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.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Pokemon and pokemon trainers are very dangerous to normal people and they're despised by more traditional families.
  • Asshole Victim: Damian, when he is reduced to ash by Pikachu's Lightingbolt.
    • James' family die in a fire when they tried torturing James into becoming what they want.
  • The Atoner: Professor Oak tries to have more Pokémon trainers to support the League to make up his failure to protect the Ketchum family.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: If seeing Agatha of the Elite Four and Professor Oak are any example, anyone in charge tends to be this.
  • Ax-Crazy: If you are part of a Team, you have good chance of being this.
  • Backstory Horror: Jessie and James were tortured and traumatized in the past.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Meowth can take on stronger Pokémon, is the one who files the reports for Team Rocket, and knows how to game the system.
  • Badass Family: The Sensational Sisters .
  • Batman Gambit
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A Team Rocket shareholder building an illegal dam, finds out about Jessie and James and their destructive habits. He wished that they would show up and wreak some havoc.
  • Beach Episode: The Porta Vista chapter, where Ash, Misty and Brock take a vacation on the beach and Ash helps a man with his failing business.
  • Beauty Contest: Lampshaded by Misty in the Beach Episode, but unlike Canon, because Delia Ketchum is dead, she did win the contest.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted by Melanie, who has a major burn scars all over her. Brock doesn't care.
  • Berserk Button: Pikachu does not tolerate people threatening or insulting Ash.
  • Big Bad: Team Rocket, during the Kanto arc at least.
    • Bigger Bad: The opening chapter implies it to be Ghetsis Harmonia.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Brock and Misty are very protective of Ash.
  • Big Eater: Averted with Ash, who was raised rationing his food. The one time he gets to indulge, Pikachu stops him.
    Pikachu: Only animated characters put more on their plate. So I'm guessing that it would be rude for you to have more. If you're still hungry after this, just go get seconds.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A more covert version where Ash's rescue of Melanie and the hatchlings wasn't discovered until after Brock and Misty stopped the frontal attacks.
  • Big Good: The Elite Four. They also count as the Godzilla Threshold... Except Bruno.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Elle's family is very wealthy and elite, but they all despise each other and oust Elle for becoming a pokemon trainer. Elle implied its common among traditional families. James' family was worse to the point that they had him tortured because he didn't want to be anything like them. Elle notes that many rich families have fully functional dungeons that get used on family members that act out of line.
  • Bilingual Backfire: When Melanie and the team meet, Bulbasaur kept insulting them, calling them spies, idiots, or liars and unintentionally giving away very sensitive information until Ash gave him a piece of his mind.
  • Bitch Alert: Elle's family members, Chiyo and Maki establish themselves as Jerkasses by calling her a slut and talk shit in front of her for the crime of showing up at family member's funeral with guests.
  • Blessed With Suck: A Running Gag with Ash is that it's not always great to understand what Pokémon are saying because they tend to be servile, snarky, or annoying.
  • Boring, but Practical
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: A tragic example, Sabrina was mind raped by Team Rocket to have all her positive emotions restrained, so the negative ones would take over. This leads to her Mind Rape and the death of most if not all of her Gym members (including her loved ones), in a gruesome manner, as well as subjecting countless other people in Saffron City to Mind Rape. She even states later on that there were other casualties of this... And all she could do is watch helplessly, unable to break out until Ash destroys the machine that enabled the process, and then have all her emotional anguish come out full force afterwards. The results are not pretty.
  • 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.
  • Breather Episode: A number of them.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • 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  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. Ash is relieved as it means he not weird.
  • But Not Too Foreign: the names of many OCs suggest this.
  • The Bus Came Back: Gary in the Diglett chapter.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: Inverted with Flint, whom in his Mr. Exposition moment detailing Brock's past, constantly put himself down for leaving the family and not coming back.
  • Call-Back: Many of the psychic Pokémon of Saffron who weren't Killed 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:
    • Giovanni's son being abducted from Pokémon Adventures.
    • Melanie and Erika are cousins who had lost contact with each other (the author points out their physical resemblance as a motivator for this).
    • Word of God says that Damian and Paul are related.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Bruno's Machamp destroyed a mountain when it was intoxicated.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Chase: Mareep fleed from a pack of Houndooms and Growlithes with Ash in tow, outrunning them by sheer force of will.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: Aerodactyl, Xatu, and Wingulls were chasing Brock, Misty, and Eve because they believe their stealing the egg. Ash points out that they think that the civilization that the pokemon think is hidden is extinct so they didn't know any better. Eventually, the pokemon cut their losses after Aerodactyl gets caught and deem it not worth it to keep up tradition.
  • 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 Lightning Bolt.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Pikachu going giggly and power mad over his ability to harness lightning from storms. After Damian threatens to kill Ash, Pikachu electrocutes him and his gang to death, before cremating them with Lightning Bolt.
  • Child Soldiers: The Gym Leaders and Gym Trainers.
  • Childhood Friends: Ash and Gary.
  • The Chosen One: Some Xatu in chapter 39 wonder if Ash is this because he Speaks Fluent Animal and find it too strange, so it must be a prophecy. The other shoots him down.
    Xatu: Not every strange thing is significant. This is just a random oddity.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Ash leaves the comfortable world of the Viridan Forest to join the turbulent and dangerous world of humans and Pokemon.
  • 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.
  • Convection Schmonvection: In the Great Viridan Forest Fire, the flames were so big and so hot that it burned pokemon that were standing hundreds of feet away from and killed the pokemon closer to it.
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ash vs Krieg. Krieg beat Ash's team and then him, despite both him and Charizard having a Traumatic Superpower Awakening. They would have been killed if Brock and Misty hadn't shown up.
  • 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).
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Deconstucts many aspects of Pokémon: Pokémon are shown being dangerous and intelligent, but still lovable creatures. Trainers are dangers to each other as well as to their Pokémon, but there are a few good people. The world is still wonderful, but people have to be careful, and keep fighting the evils in order to make it an even better place than it already is.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Magikarp's arc illustrates why Magikarp tend to go crazy when they finally evolve.
  • Determinator: Mareep gets over his racial speed disadvantage and injuries to get Ash to safety by sheer force of will.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: The Muk. It ends up killing several humans due this.
  • Dramatic Irony: Misty and Brock believe that Aaron is a normal, if sheltered child but Aaron's pokemon and enemies know that he can speak pokemon and that his real name is Ash Ketchum. Everytime Aaron tries to tell them he gets interrupted and with the lastest events, he decides to fully leave them in the dark of his true identity.
    • Poison Lance let Professor Oak believe that Ash died with his parents so Ash wouldn't be sent to an orphanage, unaware that Professor Oak probably wouldn't have sent him to one due to his protective streak.
    • Professor Oak constantly beats himself up for failing to protect Delia Ketchum and her family not knowing that Ash survived and is the new trainer and his grandson's friend.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Muk responsible for the deaths in the manor threw itself into a river once Kreig admits he killed people, rather than putting them to sleep.
  • Elemental Absorption: Ash unintentionally teaches Pikachu how to survive, absorb and wield lighting bolts in a storm in a fight with a crazed Fearow.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jessie and James were so appalled with a Team Rocket shareholder who held a contest tricking trainers to exterminate a Diglett super-colony, that they kill the man.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Ash and Co and later Pikachu would bust Damion's plans due to overhearing his conversation.
  • Emotion Suppression: When Hikaru Buckack mind control Sabrina, he blocks her emotions so they wouldn't risk overriding his control.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Ash has a horrified moment of realization when Brock explains to him why the various teams want Tommy so bad to the point of fighting each other. The explanation of how the villain teams would exploit Tommy, the reveal of that Office Jenny and her superiors deliberately groomed Tommy to unlock the ability, and the sheer devastation of the herd being killed alongside corpses of humans splayed over the burned ground, forces Ash to conclude that he will never tell Misty or Brock or anyone else the truth.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Averted, as Poison Lance would make Ash's winter clothes or have the local Rattata steal winter clothes.
  • Eye Scream: A crazed Fearow planned to eat Misty's eyes.
  • Face Palm: Several times, usually involving Ash.
  • False Friend: Poor Melanie finds out that her friend deliberately sold her out to Team Rocket to invoke a Rescue Romance.
  • Fantastic Racism: Since Pokémon tend to be nearly intelligent as humans, the fact that some humans see them as creatures that need to controlled or exterminated reads off as this.
    • Elle's family and other members of the elite depise Pokemon trainers, viewing it as unclean or worse. Elle was nearly disowned by her family for becoming a pokemon trainer but was kept in to due the family slowly dying out. Her childhood James was driven into insanity by his family before they were killed.
  • Fiery Redhead: Lampshaded by Pikachu when he and Ash were taking the unconscious Misty to a Pokémon center and Ash wonders what she is like.
    Pikachu: Well, she's a red head, so probably mild mannered, with a sweet disposition, and no temper to speak of.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Rival: Gary, who makes Ash his rival for the sake of competition but otherwise has a lot of respect for him.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Averted as it takes aspects of the games, such as winning money from beating gym leaders, and integrates it into the story.
    • Also in the Saffron, Agatha puts Brock and Misty in a white magic protective circle.
  • Gossip Evolution: The narratative describes a set of rumors it heard, some being true, exaggerated or regarded as falsehoods.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Pokémon Rangers of the Safari Zone are hiding the missing child, Tommy from his parents so they could cultivate a Pokeraised child able to speak Pokemon and able to function in human society.
  • 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.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Primeape and Magikarp decided that the former should use the latter as a club.
  • Groin Attack: Played Straight, Discussed, and Inverted with James.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted - Ash trains his Pokémon and has them learn new techniques and tactics to be able to win. His hard work shows.
  • Health Care Motivation: Meowth turned to a Team Rocket hospital to give Jessie and James the medical treatment they desperately needed.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X"
  • 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.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Misty and Brock often swear by Arceus.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Bulbasaur is of the opinion that humans come in two flavors: scum and martyrs.
  • Human Sacrifice: Team Galactic uses one to perform Summon Magic.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: When Brock calls Ash an idiot for endangering himself by going into a dangerous battle, Pikachu gets offended on Ash's behalf because only he's allowed to mock Ash's intelligence.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Delia Ketchum and her husband's bodies were so charred that they had to identified by DNA testing to which was which.
  • 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.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The SS Anne still sinks.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Officer Jennies and Nurse Joys distress Ash by being this trope.
  • 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.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Ash is basically adopted by the community of the Viridian Forest.
  • It's Always Spring: Lampshaded by Ash how his journey has been having very beautiful weather, even as it moves to fall. But there was unusual bad weather in the Saffron Arc
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It was grey, wet and dreary at Atsushi's funeral.
  • 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.
  • Kill 'Em All: Everyone at the Umagoya funeral, except for the main trio and Thomas, dies at the hands of Krieg... who is then killed by Geodude.
  • Kill the Cutie: Brittany. Poor Brittany dies at the hands of the mind-controlled Sabrina.
  • Large Ham: Gary, who takes his own squad of cheerleaders with him and declares Ash his rival because anyone important had a rival that had been a childhood friend.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: And how!
  • Last Request: Mareep's final wish was for Poison Lance to take care of Ash.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Professor Oak literally slept through the Ketchum murders and Poison Lance's battle with the houndhooms. He regrets it throughout the story.
  • 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, and is 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.
  • Mêlée à 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.
  • Mind Rape: In the battle for the Boulder Badge, Ash has Butterfree attack Brock's Onix with his Psychic Powers, only for them to work too well and makes the Onix believe that he's being forced into water.
    • Hikaru Buckack of Team Rocket does this to Sabrina.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Exposition
  • Mundane Object Amazement: Ash was very amazed by the fish in the Cerulean Gym's aquarium.
  • Mundane Solution: Ash points out to Venomoth that he could have solved the hypnotized children problem by having his son, Venonat, guard the children and have himself contact the police.
    • It's pointed out that most wild Pokémon do not know long-term planning.
  • Mundane Utility: A speciality of Poison Lance, but also shown in the Porta Vista chapter where Ash uses his Pokémon 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.
  • Multi-Ethnic Name: Most OCs have names that are a mix of japanese and western names.
  • 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.
  • Mythology Gag mixed with Noodle Incident: There was a herd of Snorlax that was stopping travel along different routes.
  • Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Pokémon names in general when they are translated into human. It gets more fun because the name depends on their evolutionary stage.
  • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Jessie and James protect Ash from the people that would enslave him in their attempt to recruit him and have the credit for themselves.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Damian brags to his friends about his abandonment of Charmander, while Ash and Co. were in hearing distance. Later he brags about his plan to kill Ash and everyone in the Pokémon Center, while Pikachu was in hearing distance.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: While Ash is pretty naive, he does fake some parts so Brock and Misty don't ask too many questions.
  • 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.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Jessie and James get serious, watch out.
  • Original Character: There are many OCs in Symbiosis that fill many small roles in order to move the plot or exchange exposition.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • There are, of course, the ghost-type pokemon.
    • 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. For allowing his and his parents' Murders. 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 after they are finally safe in the Viridan Forest.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Melanie is an example with her burn scars she hides.
  • 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.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The group of trainers working in the Diglett killing contest were already on edge for having killed so many Digletts. When Gary comes in and tries to question the situation, they nearly lynched him in rage.
  • 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.
  • Pressure Plate: Togepi's egg was placed on one in the ancient temple Brock and Misty explore. Once she grabs it, the entire place starts falling apart.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Gym trainers are taught to shield their minds from psychic attacks, but some take it further through the use of the Mists of the Mind spell, which is designed to be complete anti-psychic spell. Anyone who enters the mists that shrouds the protected mind will be lost and unable to leave it without the spell ending.
    Incantation: There is no lighthouse strong enough, the shore cannot be seen by any eyes, all is lost within the mist.
  • 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.
    • The murders in the manor case. Kreig is eventually taken down, but Ellie, her team and family, are all killed barring Thomas and Ash got a beating so brutal that most of his pokemon are scarred by the experience.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: The Safari Zone rangers deliberately hid a child away from his desperately searching parents so they could groom him to becoming a functional Wild Child that they could exploit. The Safari Zone rangers die in droves and their park is ruined when various criminal organizations come after Tommy when they learn of his existence.
  • Raised by Pokémon: It is the very premise of this story.
  • Reality Ensues: How does Ash plan on going to the Indigo League knowing that it's sooner away than he thinks, he's still on the shelf from the aforementioned beatdown from Kreig and he at this point only has four badges (with one Gym Leader out of commission)? The answer is: he doesn't. With the League likely to be put on hold until the logistics of the Indigo-Johto merger are finalized, Ash gets the idea to go visit other regions in the meantime.
  • 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.
    Ash: My species are so weird...
    • Misty would Groin Attack James in a fight.
      • Groin Attacks on James in general.
    • Jessie and James really want Ash to sit through their big presentation/reception for when they recruit him to Team Rocket.
  • Running Gagged: James puts an end to the Groin Attack by giving himself a cup to protect himself.
    • Well partially, people still try it, it just doesn't work
    James: I'm sorry, little lady, but I've been hit there too many times for that to work.
  • Sadistic Choice: Sabrina, before she fell to Hikaru Buckak's mind control, had the choice to either to save her lover Atsushi or her friend, Captain Torch. She choses to save Captain Torch from herself, so he can get help or stop her rampage.
  • Scars Are Forever: Melanie, who has severe burn scars all over her body.
  • 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. It's implied that legendaries used by trainers tend to be Ditto-born.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Bulbasaur been through a lot of terrible things in Orre.
  • 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.
  • Shoo the Dog: Brock and Misty try to have Ash to flee to the nearest Pokemon Center instead of fighting in the raid against the Hidden Pokemon Village. His refusal to follow this order makes all the difference in the world.
  • Shoot the Dog
  • 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.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Bulbasaur, and Ash has his moments too.
  • 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 Naïve: 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.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: Medium. While the heroes do win all the major conflicts, the villains are effective and can get away with their crimes to a certain degree.
  • Slut-Shaming: Maki and Chiyo, Elle's Jerkass family members call Elle a "slut" and insinuate that Elle sleeps with around with both people and pokemon when Elle shows up with guests for the family funeral.
  • 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.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Ash asked the Venomoth why it didn't go to the police.
  • Stealth Pun: Damian has become ash.
  • Summon Magic: Team Galactic uses a Human Sacrifice to summon a mystic monster capable of throwing around Onix. It takes a Heroic Sacrifice to take it down.
  • 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.
  • Taught by Experience: Like most foreign languages, Ash learns how to speak Pokémon through immersion (due to his being raised by Pokémon).
  • Tempting Fate:
    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.
    • Also Misty after the raid on Pokémon Village.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill Muggles: Pokémon try not to kill humans. Justified; as one Diglett points out, "It's the fastest death sentence."
  • 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.
  • Training from Hell: After the raid on the Pokemon village, Ash pleads with Brock to help him make him less of a liability in fights like this. This is the kind of training Brock puts Ash through...and Brock gets frustrated when Ash doesn't complain about the intensity of it all.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: The battle in Chapter 37 was so one-sided that Ash appeared to have gained access to Aura, and Charmeleon forced itself to evolve early into Charizard.
  • Triang Relations: Torch was implied to be love with both Sabrina and Atsushi.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Poison Lance, a weedle, tells off the houndhoom chasing after Ash and Mareep that if they turn away he will spare their lives. The houndhooms laugh in his face, big mistake.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: John, a janitor in Slyph Co., who was commanded to call a number by a Team Rocket plant 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.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • 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. They can't as their backup is neither sick nor injured, they would have no justification for their actions and would get in trouble with their superiors.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Despite being just as intelligent as humans, Pokemon are treated as mindless, dangerous animals.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Brock lets Aaron have it when he goes in the Team Rocket battle despite Brock's orders.
  • While You Were in Diapers: When Poison Lance soundly curb stomps a pack of Houndhoom chasing after Ash and Mareep.
    Poison Lance: Do not feel ashamed of your loss. I was traveling with a trainer long before your parents were eggs.
  • 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.
    • Other Pokémon even discuss how Ash is not like other Poke-raised children, as he can function outside of the wild.
    • Turns out Tommy was being groomed by the Safari Rangers to also defy this, which is why he is so sought out by the other criminal teams.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Team Rocket, Team Magma, Team Aqua, and Team Galactic have no qualms about maiming or killing a child.
  • World Half Full: The world of Pokemon is a dangerous, but wonderful place.
  • You Know What You Did: Elle refused to talk to her grandmather, Chiyoko for years because she acts like an Evil Matriarch and believes her to be responsible for James's death. Chiyoko had nothing to do with it and simply thought Elle was lashing out.

Symbiotic contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Eater: Ash grew up rationing, but when he gets access to the buffet at the Pewter City Pokemon Center he realizes that perhaps other humans don't eat as much as him.
  • Darker and Edgier: Though it's lighter in some aspects compared to Symbiosis
  • Great Offscreen War: Though it happened years ago, the effects of the Unification War that has unified Johto and Kanto into one region are still being felt.
  • Hates Their Parent: Brock resents Flint for abandoning him and his nine younger siblings after their mom died.
  • Predation Is Natural: Though no less traumatic for a young Ash when a pair of Vulpix friends end up coincidentally killing a Rattata he had previously befriended. He's more or less come to terms with it by the time he sets out on his journey.
  • Raised by Pokémon: It is the very premise of this story.

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