Word Prompts (T2): Tangled (2016-03-02)

It’s never said aloud–at least, not where her brother can hear–but it’s generally assumed that Ember is… a little slow in the head.

“Retarded,” Blake says, just once, before Ash flings all the fury of his tiny six year old body at him. Gary follows soon after in solidarity.

Ember, staring off into space, doesn’t notice until one of the combatants stumbles into her. At which point she blinks, startled, and shouts, “This isn’t supposed to happen!”

It’s loud enough to summon one of the school’s faculty to them, and while the teacher scolds all of the boys, Ember goes back to staring at what appears to be nothing. Of course, that’s not the case, but for the rest of Pallet Town, that’s what it seems like.

Ember Ketchum is generally assumed to be a little slow in the head, seeing things that never appear and reacting to sounds that don’t exist. Intelligent–she has the best grades at school–but she’s definitely… different.

If it weren’t a well-known fact that Ash and Ember are twins, the people of Pallet Town would probably assume that Delia found Ember in the forest; or maybe the other way around. Like one of those stories about legendary Pokemon pretending to be human. Benign, but alien.

And perhaps they’re not wrong.

Here is one thing Ember knows to be true: she is not supposed to be here.

After that, well, nothing else matters. Like an experiment, the presence of an observer–her presence–has altered everything else.

She doesn’t know everything that happened in Ash’s childhood–the Ash that was a character and not her brother–but already she has changed things. Primarily? The twins are approaching their tenth birthday, but Ash and Gary remain friends. Bewilderingly, she and Gary are also friends.

Somehow unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be likely to change anytime soon. Worse, she doesn’t know why.

On the day everyone their age is to get a Pokemon from Professor Oak, Ember fails to wake up her brother. Or rather, chooses not to.

Let him sleep in, she thinks, because if he goes to the lab early, he might not get Pikachu. And if he doesn’t get Pikachu… then what will happen to the rest of the world.

She doesn’t expect to be a hero–doesn’t want to be–but she’ll be damned if she stands in the way of Ash being one.

The Oaks greet them at the lab, impatient but expectant. Gary, having already chosen his starter, is wearing his Squirtle like a very odd backpack. It’s certainly a less embarrassing sight than what Ember remembers from the cartoon–cheerleaders and a convertible, what was he thinking?

But what really surprises her is that the professor has, not just one remaining Pokemon, but two. Frankly, she wasn’t expecting to get one–just to escort her brother to the lab, witness his first meeting with Pikachu, and return home to Delia. Maybe she’d continue her education–become a professor or a doctor–not a trainer.

Maybe the professor, knowing there was an additional trainer-to-be, prepared an extra starter. Though, more likely, it was Gary who reminded his grandfather to have enough. No way would he be starting his Pokemon journey without his two best friends.

Thankfully, Pikachu is one of them; he and Ash get along as electrifyingly as she remembers. The other twin’s meeting, however, is far less energetic.

“I think you’ll like this little lady,” Professor Oak says, fond and indulgent, even as Ember fails to even touch the final pokeball presented to her.

“Come on, Ember!” Gary says, both encouraging and demanding.

“Yeah, there’s no way yours is going to be worse than mine,” Ash adds, before receiving a shock from Pikachu.

Ember reaches out, unleashes her starter, and falls in love immediately.


A/N: … to be honest, I was watching Mythbusters and only realized I missed my post after midnight. So here’s this really late thing…

I was not expecting to write a Pokemon SI!OC… but then I realized… I kind of already brainstormed this here? But in that I used the Japanese names–Satoshi and Satsuki–and I figured, given the English dubs ridiculous translations, they’d make Ash’s twin’s names something punny. Like Ember.

edit: continued here