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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

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To say Jeon Jungkook was excited would be an understatement, in fact, on this fine Summer evening of August 31st, Jeon Jungkook would say he is perhaps the most excited boy, no man, in the entire Kanto region if not the entire world. Tomorrow morning, on his 18th birthday, he would finally be beginning his pokemon journey something he had been dreaming of since he turned 10.

“Jungkook you better be filling out your Poké trainer license application,” his mum called out from downstairs breaking Jungkook out of his fantasy of becoming a pokemon master , kicking that traitor Park Jimin’s ass in said pokemon battle and hopefully making out with Professor Bang’s super-hot new lab assistant Namjoon. He groaned looking over the forms that lie untouched on his desk. They had been in that same spot since he just scrapped by to pass the pokemon trainer test two weeks ago. Jungkook wasn’t a test person, even if it was on one of his favourite subjects.

The pokemon trainer license application form was to be approved by the region’s pokemon professor – in Kanto, it was the acclaimed pokemon professor Bang Shi Hyuk. The professor was his former best friends uncle and his neighbour, he had known Jungkook since he and his mother moved to Pallet Town from the Orange Islands 10 years ago.  The license basically said that you were competent to be a pokemon trainer and that you agreed to follow all the rules,

Ever since the end of the war, the rules among becoming a pokemon trainer had got stricter. The age you became a pokemon trainer had been changed, unbelievably to Jungkook according to his mother back in the day kids as young as ten went out on their journey – Jungkook wasn’t too sure that was actually true or if it was his mother was telling stories trying to stop him from pursuing becoming a pokemon trainer but now the age had been changed to 18, since you were considering an adult legally. You had to prove you had at the very least a basic understanding of pokemon with the trainer test and of course, had to fill in the license so everyone knew that you were an official legal trainer and not some pokemon abuser or one of those team rocker thugs.

Jungkook sighed grabbing a pen off his desk and opening the first page, it was just your run of the mill information. Welcome to the world of Pokemon Jungkook rolled his eyes he swore he had read this same page a thousand times already. Skipping he moved onto the next page, it was mostly the basic stuff, contact details, physical attributes, health records, education. He managed to get through most of it until it came to the family history section, his mother was an open book she was born in Sinnoh moved to Kanto at 15 started her Pokemon journey at 18 before settling down at 20 in the Orange Island after an unfortunate accident ended her life as a pokemon trainer. His dad though, he knew next to nothing, he had asked about him once but his mother just said he left to be a pokemon trainer and never came back. The tone she used to answer the question had let a young Jungkook know to never ask about him again. He looked at the page, chewing at his bottom lip tapping his pen haphazardly against the page.  He decided to leave it blank figuring the Professor already knew about his family situation, potentially more than Jungkook himself did.

He quickly checked if there were any other sections he needed to fill in, there was a brief section on your history with pokemon, Jungkook didn’t have a ton of proper training with pokemon unlike some of his peers who went to specialized schools or like Jimin who just went to his uncle’s lab and got to work with the pokemon on his acres of land. No his only real experience was with his mother’s Goldeen and Mr Mime, also a stray Eevee that he took in when he found badly injured on Route 1, he had taken it to the Pokemon Centre to get it help and to see if anyone was missing an Eevee but even after checking with Officer Jennie, Nurse Joy had no reports of missing Eevee’s. After two weeks of waiting and no one coming back for it Jungkook decided to take the Eevee home with him. Since that day it has stayed with him, right now the said Eevee was happily snoozing its head off. Jungkook looked over at the clock, it was getting pretty late and he had pretty much finished his form so maybe he should follow his Eevee’s example and call it a night.

After saying goodnight to his mother and a quick shower Jungkook laid on top of his bed, thoughts instantly going to what the morning would bring. He was finally going to get out of Pallet Town and go out into the world. He was going to become the very best, he was going to make his mum proud and he wasn’t going to just disappear like he supposed father. No, once he had won the Pokemon League and caught every pokemon in Kanto he would come back home and be there for his mum, maybe he’d buy a new house in one of the nicer cities though she always said she liked small towns like this – who knows. He would give his friends the best gifts with the money he would have made as well – he’d buy Sana a trip back to Johto to visit her friends and family, Maybe even try and reconnect with Jimin, if anything could get him to give Jungkook the time of day it would be the acclaim and money that came with being a pokemon master.

He closed his eyes willing sleep to come his way but his stomach was knotting up in anticipation and his mind was literally racing with thoughts of the next day, well later this morning he corrected himself as he glared at the bold red numbers on his digital clock. He groaned rolling over to face the wall, only seven more hours until he would begin his journey, he would get his partner pokemon and they would go around Kanto battling other trainers and getting stronger. He pondered over the question that had been bugging him for the past couple of months. Which pokemon should he pick? Squirtle, the water type – it would certainly come in handy when he got to Pewter City but he wasn’t going to pick a pokemon just because it would be an easy win. Perhaps he would pick Charmander the fire type, after all, it evolves into the coolest pokemon in Jungkook’s humble opinion Charizard but he didn’t want to rely on one pokemon, no he wanted to have a well-rounded team each member an equally powerful pokemon in its own right. He could pick Bulbasaur, the most underrated pokemon out of the Kanto starters. Like Squirtle it would be helpful in the early part of his journey with Viridian, Pewter and Cerulean Gyms having a weakness to grass types but again it would be too easy. 

It didn’t matter, Jungkook thought as his eyes finally grew heavy with the need sleep. It didn’t matter what pokemon Jungkook got, in the end, he’d be happy with any of the choices, any of the starters would be an amazing pick. In a few more hours…… just a few more hours and it would all begin.

 

“Jungkook! Are you awake? You were meant to be at Professor Bang’s lab 10 minutes ago,” Jungkook was rudely awakened by his mum screeching and banging against his door. He instantly sat up, knocking his head against one of his shelves as he did so. He looked over at his alarm clock in complete shock, that traitorous device was supposed to wake him up 2 hours and 10 minutes ago yet there it was on his floor. He glared at it for a good few seconds not bothering trying to figure out how or why it was on the floor no he fully believed that his clock was sentient and did this on purpose to ruin his life.

“Jeon Fricking Jungkook I haven’t listened you talk my ear off about becoming a pokemon master constantly for the last decade only for you to miss out because you couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed,” his mother ranted from outside his room. Jungkook was thankful she didn’t just barge in, not that he was doing anything particularly scandalous but because despite her generally calm and supportive demeanor she was a force to be reckoned with. Also, the “I am not mad I am just disappointed “ speech was well on its way

“I am going, I am going!” Jungkook yelled out sliding on a pair of trackies on, hopping on one foot as he tried to get his foot through. Why did getting dressed take so long? It was wasting precious time. Once he successfully got his pants on he grabbed his trainer licence form and ran out of his room, passing his mother shouting a quick bye mum I love you as he raced out the house.

Despite Professor Bang living beside them, his property was still quite large so Jungkook effectively had to race down the whole street. By the time he got to the front of his lab, the other trainers were already coming out. Of-fucking-course the first one that came out had to be Jimin, why was he even here? Shouldn’t he have left two years ago , it was like he was doing this on purpose to get back at him, for what Jungkook has no idea.  As always the fanfare that followed Jimin was there with bells on, his fanboys and girls standing out the front of the lab chanting “Jimin, Jimin, his our man, if he can't do it no one can,” Jungkook rolled his eyes, Jimin clearly had to be paying these people because why would some grown adults be here chanting for Jimin.

“Late as always Kookie,” Jimin smirked as he finally got down to the street. “I see you reverted back to your caveman roots and decided to forego the shirt and shoes… I would say I am surprised but honestly you’ve always kinda been a Neanderthal,” he said his eyes looking anywhere but Jungkook’s bare chest.

“I am sorry what did you say Chimmie? I can’t hear you all the way up here?” Jungkook said, internally cursing his lack of apparel but he definitely did not want Jimin to know he was embarrassed so he went for the easiest insult in the book and despite the simplicity of height jokes they still got Jimin all riled up.

Jimin’s nose scrunched up and his lips pursed in an annoyed pout. Once upon a time Jungkook would have thought Jimin was pretty adorable when he was angry but now he just thought Jimin looked a little bit constipated.  “Hilarious,” Jimin said, sarcasm and contempt heavy in every letter. “Short jokes, are you 5?”

“No but you look like you might be, don’t worry Jimin I am sure if you wish really hard Ho-Oh might make you a real boy,” Jungkook said cutting him off.  Sometimes Jungkook wondered how Jimin and himself ended up like this. Once upon a time, they were the best of friends which makes this whole rivalry, if you could call it that, even worse. They both knew each other’s weaknesses and they always ruthlessly used them against each other.

“And if you wished really hard you might actually be able to become a pokemon trainer, you barely passed the test and now you are late, you’d be lucky if you even get a pokemon,” Jimin said flippantly, “But I hope my uncle saves one for you, so I can prove to you that without a doubt I am better than you at everything,” he said in a sing-song voice.

“Oh yeah right,” Jungkook said with an eye-roll. “Why don’t you show me what pokemon you picked then?” Jungkook asked he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t kinda curious of what pokemon Jimin had picked. If he had to guess it would probably be a Bulbasaur, Jimin would be the type to take the easy way out so it would make sense to pick the pokemon that would have the easiest run initially.

“Haha no,” Jimin said snarkily turning to his fans with a shit eating grin. “Let's get going,” he said to Jongin who seemingly had stolen his uncle’s convertible. “Smell ya later loser, “ he said turning around one last time to look at Jungkook throwing him a V sign before Jongin turned the ignition on and zoomed away, and like that most of the crowd had dispersed, Jimin’s fans following behind singing out their stupid fan chant. The only people remaining were Sana’s and Eunbi’s families respectively.

“God I hate that guy,” Jeongyeon said as she and Sana made their way down the lab's stairs. Eunbi, Namjoon and the professor following behind them. At that point, Jungkook suddenly remembered he was standing there shirtless in front of his bestfriend and her girlfriend, his other close friend, his mentor and most mortifying of all his crush. He tried to reason with the one brain cell he seemed to have that his body was nothing to be ashamed off, he had put the work in but right now all he could think was “shit abort! abort!”

“Jungkook why aren’t you wearing a shirt? Is this some sort of alpha pissing contest you and Park are having?” Eunbi asked disgust clearly evident on her face. “When I came here this morning I didn’t expect that my eyes would be subjected to such a mortifying sight,” she said shaking her head.

“Hwang Eunbi stop being mean,” Sana said shooting her a look, “And while I am not really sure what is going on here – if I had to guess you slept in and raced here ,I  think you look lovely Jungkook and if I didn’t already have a girlfriend I would totally tap that,” Sana said with a wink. Jungkook stared at her mouth agape as he tried to process the last bit of her speech. 

“Babe I think you broke him,” Jeongyeon said laughing, “And I agree if I had any interest in men, you’d totally be my type,’” she said before shaking her head, “no that is a lie but I would totally pretend to date you to piss Park off,” she said with a laugh. Jeongyeon was Jimin’s original rival, well she was until she left last year to start her own journey. Then Jungkook who up until then had been a former bestfriend now turned nobody got promoted to rival status, he supposes he should have been honoured.

“Ladies I think we heard enough about Jungkook’s lack of clothing,” Professor Bang said, an uncomfortable cough escaping his lips. To his side, Namjoon stood looking over at Jungkook in what Jungkook really hoped was appreciation. “I am assuming Jungkook is here for a reason so –“ he said giving the girls a pointed look.

Eunbi rolled her eyes, “I’ll see you at the Indigo league,” she said with a grin. If anybody else in Pallet Town shared Jungkook’s love of pokemon it would be Eunbi and to hear her say that she would be seeing him at the league well it was a compliment.

“We will wait for you right?” Sana said looking between Jungkook and Jeongyeon, her eyes widening and lips forming a pout, in a typical Sana move she was using cuteness to get her way. Jeongyeon rolled her eyes but nodded along causing Sana to break into a wide smile. “See you in a couple of minutes okay,” Sana said, well promised Jungkook.

Jungkook nodded turning to Professor Bang and Namjoon, the importance of the situation finally settling in. Jungkook stomach was in knots and his palms were getting sweaty, he tried to stealthy wipe them on his pants hoping neither the professor or Namjoon would notice. “Lets head in shall we,” Professor Bang said turning back and walking up the stairs not bothering to check if Jungkook or even Namjoon was following. Jungkook’s stared after him, he wanted to follow after him to be that confident cool kid but his body betrayed him and he was frozen solid.

“It will be okay,” Namjoon said, hearing his smooth voice was very pleasing to Jungkook’s ears. His body defrosted enough that he was able to turn and face his longtime crush – well it was two years which was a pretty decent amount for an 18-year-old if you asked Jungkook. In Jeon Jungkook’s mind Namjoon was perfect, physically he was stunning, warm brown eyes, tanned skin, the cutest dimples, thick lips and even thicker thighs but his beauty, which Jungkook could rave about all day, wasn’t even the best thing about him, Namjoon was intelligent but not intimidating like most of Professor Bang’s lab assistants, he was funny and sweet. Jungkook couldn’t find a single flaw in the older boy.

“Maybe I will find you a spare lab coat,” Namjoon continued, as he started to walk up to the lab. Stopping briefly to turn and look at Jungkook, “Well come on, you are already running late do you really want to waste any more time?” he asked tilting his head to the side an amused smile on his face. Jungkook flushed, nodding furiously as he followed after Namjoon.

No matter how many times he had visited Professor Bang’s lab’s as a child he was still completely awestruck whenever he stepped into it. It was like something from a Sci-Fi movie, the whole place was illuminated by harsh white lighting which honestly hurt Jungkook’s eyes a little bit. Various screens and whiteboards showed complicated algorithms Jungkook would never be able to understand. Lab assistants ran around with all sorts of tools and chemicals in their hands, Jungkook was honestly scarred one of them would trip and hurt themselves. There were three visible chambers that grabbed everyone’s attention as soon as they walked in and of course there were several large bookshelves filled with hundreds- maybe even thousands of books.

 Bang is in his office,” One of the other lab assistants, Suho, Jungkook thinks his name is, called out to him and Namjoon. The man was carrying a basket full of Pokeballs with him, Jungkook would be lying if he wasn’t a little intimated by seeing that many pokeballs.

“Come on this way,” Namjoon said grabbing Jungkook’s hand and dragging him to the left. Jungkook’s eyes widened looking at where he and Namjoon’s hands were conjoined. Jungkook prayed that his hands didn’t start to get clammy again, he could not have Namjoon thinking he was a sweaty person. The entire time they walked Jungkook refused to look up instead staring at his bare feet with vivid interest, this did lead to Jungkook almost crashing into a few things a couple of times but overall he was able to avoid eye contact with Namjoon.

“And we are here,” Namjoon said gesturing proudly to the door. Jungkook tried not to frown at the lack of skin to skin contact, even though he had his reservations (mostly Namjoon thinking he was a sweaty freak) he really liked the skin to skin contact.

“Should I knock or should I just go in? I know he expects me but would it be rude?” Jungkook asked Namjoon. Sure he had known Shihyuk his whole life but it was always as a friend of his mum or as Jimin’s uncle he never really had to deal with him as a professor. It was a weird situation for him, he really had no idea how to act.

 “I’d say just go in but if it makes you feel more comfortable go ahead and knock,” Namjoon said, “If you want I’ll knock for you, so you know you can keep your cool kid persona,” he teased with a wink. Jungkook was left speechless trying to get over Namjoon winking at him. “I’ll take that as a yes then,” Namjoon said and without a moment of hesitation knocked on the door.

Mere seconds passed before Professor Bang called out “Come in,” but to Jungkook it felt like hours. He took a deep breath, sharing one more look with Namjoon who was giving him a thumbs up and opened the door.

Compared to his lab Professor Bang’s office was much more homely, the room was illuminated by warm natural light, the pale yellow walls were filled various frames, some holding certificates of several of his accomplishments in the scientific world others hold fond memories like pictures with Jimin and their family and his old pokemon poetry. The smell of freshly brewed coffee mixed with just a hint of Jasmine filled the air. There were several bookshelves of course but from the few titles, Jungkook spotted they were full of stories. In  the middle of the room Professor Bang sat as his desk, an empty chair across from him.

“Jungkook come in, take a seat,” Professor Bang called out, “Would you like a cup of coffee or tea? Maybe a bicky or two , I am guessing you haven’t had breakfast yet,” he offered, pointedly looking at Jungkook’s lack of clothing to prove his point.

“Uhm no thank you,” Jungkook said taking a seat, twisting his hands in his lap nervously. Normally Jungkook was all for small chat but right now it was just making him more anxious. He just wanted to get his pokemon already.  “I uh, I am sorry about my lateness, it's just I well my alarm fell and stopped working and I was up half the night and oh do you need my forms?” Jungkook rambled, he stood up, well tried to, he didn’t pull his chair out enough and ended up knocking his knees against the table. “Oh shit sorry, “ he said to the table, flushing when he realized he had apologized to an intimate object, this wasn’t going well at all. It wasn’t a complete failure though he did manage to get his forms out on the table even if he did do some damage to himself in the process.

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Jungkook calm down,” Professor Bang said, taking a sip of his coffee, “I am not going to lie your lateness didn’t really help your chances but I know for a fact that hurting yourself isn’t going to help you out in the long run, trust me as you get older you really appreciate having healthy knees,” he said with a chuckle. “But I suppose I understand why you are so anxious, Jimin was just as excited though honestly, he was a lot pushier,” Professor Bang said with a huff.

“Right,” Jungkook said taking a seat again. He was somewhat confused as to why Professor Bang was talking like he and Jimin were still friends. “Uh so can I? Can I get my pokemon now or?” Jungkook asked looking at Professor Bang hopefully. He just really wanted to get started, this morning had been a clusterfuck already and he just wanted to have this part of the day end so he could move on. Also, it didn’t help that Jimin now had a lead on him and he was sure that the shorter boy would throw that up next time he saw him.

“Straight to the point I see, you remind me of your mother at this age, she had the patience of a Tauros when she was young,” The professor reminisced, fondness evident on his face. It always surprised Jungkook just how old Professor Bang was, sure he looked old but not that old. “Right, do you mind picking up my laptop for a few seconds?” Professor Bang asked Jungkook. Jungkook found the request odd but nodded and picked it up none the less.  Professor Bang grabbed his coffee and Jungkook’s forms and placed them on a nearby shelf. The desk was completely cleaned off, Professor Bang nodded seemingly happy with it before leaning down and pressing something under the table. There was a loud whizzing noise before the table split in half and a new chamber arose from the middle of it. In the middle of it were three Poké balls each of them having a marking on top, one that looked like a flame, one that looked like a leaf and one that was some sort of swirl.

“Wow,” Jungkook said breathlessly, he stood up placing the laptop on his chair. He circled the chamber curiously. Professor Bang seemed to enjoy his reaction because a proud grin appeared on his face.

“Well do you have a pokemon in mind?”  the professor asked gesturing to each pokeball like he was some sort of game show host.

Jungkook paused thoughts from last night rushing to the forefront of his mind. Which pokemon did he want to pick? That really was the million dollar question. “I thought about this a lot actually,” Jungkook said, eyeing each pokeball carefully, he would be proud to have any of these three pokemon as his partner but in the end, he could only pick one.  “I think the right pokemon for me is Charmander,” he said seriously, reaching out to grab the ball with the fire like mark.  He pressed it open waiting for his new partner to appear but instead all he had in his hand was an empty ball.

“Ah that pokemon was picked by someone who got here on time,” Professor Bang said with a shake of his head. “and just a spoiler alert so are Bulbasaur and Squirtle,” he added far to calmly for Jungkook’s liking. It wasn’t like he had just crushed his dreams or anything, a little sympathy wouldn’t go amiss here but really what did he expect from a relative of Jimin. Of course, he was an asshole.

“Right so all of this was for nothing, instead of just telling me straight you made me come in here, did the big show with your table only to be lol sike should have got here earlier,” Jungkook said bitterly, his fist clenching by his side, his voice was wavering and his eyes were stinging a sign that he might start to cry out of sheer frustration. Damn his mother from coming from a long line of frustrated criers, why must have been cursed with such a shitty way of managing his emotions.

“I didn’t say that Jungkook,” Professor Bang said softly but with just a hint of authority leaking into his tone, “I was just- “ Jungkook couldn’t really care right now about what Professor Bang was going to say, he just wanted to get out of here. He’d go home and binge on ice cream with his mum while watching terrible romcom movies.

“You didn’t need to, now if you excuse me I’ll be going,” Jungkook cut him off pushing the chair back with his legs, a loud thud was heard when it smashed against a wall. He stood up snatching his forms back off from the shelf. “I’ll see you next year,” Jungkook spat. He opened the door and as soon as he did Namjoon came stumbling in, he obviously had been listening to the conversation. He felt a pang in his chest was Namjoon in on this whole scheme as well. God he hoped not, he didn’t think his heart could handle any more heartbreak today.

“Hey wait,” Namjoon said quickly as he straightened up, “There is one more pokemon right Professor?” he said looking at Professor Bang who was standing there with a frown on his face watching the whole scene with knowing eyes. There is another pokemon? Why wasn’t that bought up to Jungkook before?

“There is, I was going to tell Mr Jeon but it seems like he at the wise old age of 18 knows everything I am going to say before I even think of saying it,” Professor Bang said waving his hand dismissively.  Jungkook chose to bite his tongue figuring snapping at the professor wouldn’t help his case.

“Well in his defence the whole show was a bit much, you could have just told him straight up,” Namjoon said scratching the back of his head clearly not comfortable talking back to his boss. Jungkook’s heart swelled up a little at Namjoon defending him. Could that man be any better? Jungkook didn’t think so.

“It was a lesson he needed to learn,” Professor Bang said strictly, “But I guess I should have thought about it a bit more,” he said scratching his chin. “Jungkook my boy you know I would never purposely be that cruel to you, I’ve known you since you were this tall,” he said gesturing to just below his knee.

Jungkook nodded not saying anything because he didn’t trust his voice right now, he was pretty sure it would be croaky from the emotional rollercoaster that he had been on for this last hour.

“I think Jungkook might need that cup of tea or at least a glass of water,” Namjoon said to Professor Bang. Professor Bang nodded going over to a nearby telephone. “Maybe ask for a spare lab coat as well,” he added, sending another wink Jungkook’s way. Jungkook’s face flushed over as his heart began to race, why was Kim Namjoon trying to give him a heart attack. The professor chuckled as he called through the order to one of his other assistants.

“Now I suppose I should show you this other pokemon,” The professor said, “Now I need to tell you it isn’t your normal starter –‘ he said pressing a few more buttons under the table. Once again it whirred and whizzed as it changed the pokeballs from before replaced by a single pokeball. “I must warn you this pokemon can be a little – well maybe its better if you just see it yourself,” he said after a second handing the pokeball to Jungkook. This ball had a tiny lightning bolt on the top if Jungkook had to guess it would be an electric pokemon. Maybe it’s a Voltorb or an Electabuzz.

Jungkook pressed the button, heart hammering in his chest so loud he could hear it drumming in his ears. He watched as a pokemon appeared, it was a small yellow pokemon. A Pikachu?

“So cute,” Namjoon cooed from behind him. The Pikachu looked between the three humans with interest. Jungkook knelt down and picked the electric mouse type pokemon out, Namjoon was right it was pretty cute. Sure it wasn’t what he had expected but perhaps this was better he had starter no one else had.

“Yeah, it is,” Jungkook agreed. Professor Bang stood back shaking his head as if he was waiting for something to happen.

“This Pikachu, in particular, isn’t very, well it’s a bit rambunctious… you are going to have an electrifying journey that is for sure,” Professor Bang said. Jungkook rolled his eyes ignoring the professor’s warning cuddling the pokémon , apparen,tly that wasn’t the right thing to do because seconds later Jungkook was being shocked and the world was fading to black.