Roderick lost his parents before he was even out of his egg; the home in which they and their humans lived came crashing down on them in an earthquake and though his mother and father managed to shield his egg with their bodies, it cost them their lives. The distraught humans who were their trainers took the egg and moved to a new region, intent on trying to start over. The humans, Lenna and Luke, purchased a large plot of land and started a ranch. After their rescue of a Minccino and a Buizel off the streets, they began taking in other infant, abandoned young Pokémon who were not faring well against the wild. After the adoption of Candy, a shiny Buneary, and Sehya, a Sableye, Roderick finally hatched.
The Charmander was not what one would typically expect of a fire type and this became obvious when he grew from infanthood to toddler. Rather than spar playfully with the others, or explore the ranch, he seemed to enjoy sitting underneath Luke’s desk, listening to the human study. A few more years passed and Roderick grew out of the toddler stage and into childhood. That was when Luke noticed the young lizard pulling papers out of the garbage and studying them, as well as how he would try to mimic the way Luke held a pencil. He realized that the little one had very deep potential, not as a battler as was expected of fire type starters, but as an intellectual.
And so he began to educate the little one, schooling him carefully and diligently, and providing heaps of encouragement. The others began to feel rather hurt; being small children, they didn’t really understand what was going on and believed that Roderick was being given special treatment, and special time with their humans. They began to resent him, ostracizing him. All but one. Captain, the Buizel, was more curious over this development than hurt. He made an effort to try to learn more about what was going on between the humans and his “brother” and soon discovered that they were attempting to teach the Charmander their language... or, at least how to read it. The Buizel began to listen in on the lessons by sitting outside the first floor room beneath the open window. He couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but admired Roderick’s determination. He kept quiet about the matter, feeling as if Roderick wouldn’t like being spied on.
Meanwhile Roderick himself was growing sadder and sadder. The others didn’t want to play with him, wouldn’t talk much to him, and instead of including him in their group when they all curled up to sleep, they moved away from him. He couldn’t understand what he had done wrong.
One day, after his humans left the room, Roderick began absentmindedly playing with a set of painted toy blocks left in the corner. A wave of loneliness hit him; he used to play with these with his “siblings.” He placed the last block on top of the tower he’d made before sitting down and beginning to cry.
Captain heard him from outside the window. His brother was crying. This would not do.
So he climbed into the house and hugged Roderick. Roderick yelped, half turned, and then hugged back with all of his might.
He then took his brother by the hand and went to where the others were playing. It took just a short conversation before the others realized that what they had suspected was in fact nothing as nearly as bad as they’d imagined it. Heartfelt apologies were given and received by the eager Charmander.
Time went by. The group grew older, closer. Captain and Roderick became nearly inseparable. The Buizel found a love for battling and evolved quickly, but despite his ability and love for the classic trainer battle, remained goofy and lighthearted. He dragged Roderick on many adventures, sometimes with one or more of the others, all ending in silly childhood disaster. Rain, snow, shine, confined to indoors or out, the group filled each day with fun and games, battling and growing levels at their own paces. The ranch was huge, filled with fields of grass, bits of forest, a river, and a huge tree to play in. Life was never boring.
Roderick was not aware that he was different from the typical Charizard as he grew up, or even that he was different from the typical fire starter. He evolved much later than his family due to the lack of interest in battling. Oh, he liked to watch. Some of the best moments of his life were spent on the sidelines cheering for his siblings. But he himself simply... found no joy in it. He preferred to be exploring, or studying.
Or, as he learned after some time, he loved to make things. The young lizard had an artistic side that he had never really paid much mind to when very small, but one event at the age of ten changed that forever.
While wandering along on top of the short brick wall that bordered the ranch and separated it from the wild, the just-evolved Charmeleon came across three species of Pokémon he had only ever heard of before. Just beyond the wall stood a Combusken, a Pignite, a Monferno, and a Quilava. Turned out that the group had met long ago as kids and had wandered the region together, determined to be the strongest of their kind. The Quilava remarked it must have been fate that led them to Roderick. With him, they made a complete set.
The Combusken, excited to meet one of the strongest species on the planet, offered Roderick the chance to join their group. He didn’t have to leave his home, they reassured, just slip away into the forest to train with them. Together, they’d be able to take on anything.
Roderick mulled it over quietly. He wasn’t into battling but he had never met any other fire types before. He wanted to get to know them, to mingle with those close to his kind. And he’d never make it to Charizard at this rate. All of his friends had hit final evolutions. He was the only one who had not and, on top of this, had a long way to go. Why not train to reach his final evolution and make new friends while at it? It was a shy but happy affirmative that he gave them.
Had he known what he was signing onto, he would have turned tail and run.
The first month wasn’t bad. He returned home every evening bruised and sore, but happy. He was getting stronger. Slowly, but getting there. Even if he trailed behind his teammates, it was still happening. But things quickly went downhill when the others began to want more and more power. And began to become increasingly annoyed with the Charmeleon. Instead of battling, sometimes he would interact with the forest Pokémon they were supposed to be challenging. Sometimes he took notes on what he saw rather than actually fight. Other things rather than power captured his attention and the other fire types found him a hindrance. Insults hurled his way hurt Roderick, but did not deter him. A punch or kick upset him, but did not stop him. He was the way he was; there was simply no changing that. He was afraid to lose his new friends and simply smiled through the hurt, as he and they slowly convinced him that he was an abnormality.
Meanwhile his family was worried. He would disappear for hours upon hours, return home and study for a time, and then barely have the energy to eat before falling asleep. His contact had dwindled with the others so much that he began to miss important signs emerging between two of his “siblings” who had, instead of seeing one another as siblings, had always seen one another as really close friends. Despite the questions, he refused to tell them of the others, as he had explicitly been told that it would be a bad idea if they knew. What if they decided going beyond the wall was too dangerous, after all? To Roderick, who felt so happy now that he had other fire types he thought were friends, was all too happy to comply. Naïveity would be his downfall.
The Combusken, the obvious leader of the group, felt cheated. Roderick was nothing like the powerful, battle-lover he had expected. He was some sort of freak. What Charmeleon didn’t like battling!? What Charmeleon liked to try to read human books!? What Charmeleon squirmed at the sight of blood, feared the dark, feared anything for that matter!? He was determined to shape the young lizard into the ideal fire type... regardless of what might happen.
He confronted Roderick one morning and told him that he was in danger of being kicked out of the group. A distraught Roderick listened as the Combusken calmly told him that he would be allowed to stay, as long as he proved himself. There would be a series of trials, and he would need to pass all of them to be allowed to stay. Desperate to keep his friends, Roderick agreed. And hell began.
The tests were grueling, taxing physically and emotionally. Always a timid one, the group delighted in giving him challenges dealing with his fears: heights, deep water, larger and stronger Pokemon, the dark... anything that might reduce the young lizard to tears. One particulary dangerous incident involved a Dragonite, a dark cave, and the theft of one of the dragon’s jewels. Roderick was up for days with nightmares.
Yet, to his tormenters’ frustration, he passed every one. No matter how beaten, no matter how frightened, Roderick’s speed of body and mind got him through. They were tired of him. In their eyes, he would forever be a failure because of his gentle and nonconfrontational nature. It was time for drastic measures.
The day after the rest of them evolved, they blindfolded the jumpy Roderick with leaves and led him through the forest, so deep that Roderick felt sick. He recognized no scent here, no sounds, nothing at all. He was terrified. But he remained silent, knowing that expressing this fear would result in a smack or a harsh word. It was sometimes hard to tell which hurt him more.
Finally they stopped and removed the blindfold. Blinded by the sudden light after several hours of nothing but dark, it took a moment for him to realize that the others had formed a circle around him.
His final task, to his horror, was to defeat them. Each and every one of them. And they would all attack him at once.
But he couldn’t do it. Even after the abuse, he still cared for them. It was all his fault anyway, so why should he hate them? And he could never harm someone he liked. He could barely harm someone he didn’t like.
So he turned tail and ran.
He would never forget the terror of plunging through the dark forest, Infernape following by tree, and the rest by ground; they were clever, Emboar picking up the rear while Typhlosion and Blazikan flanked him on either side. There was nowhere to run but straight ahead.
And then Infernape cut him off by leaping from the tree onto him, scratching away like a Tasmanian Devil. He managed to fling the monkey off before the others reached him and tried to make a run for it, only to come face to face with a large cliff. He was trapped.
He begged the others as they approached him to stop this madness. Couldn’t they just talk it out?
No. Apparently not.
The beating that followed was so violent that it put the young lizard in a coma. He woke two weeks later at the Pokécenter to find that Captain had managed to track him down, and that he had permanent damage done to him in the form of a leg that never quite healed right and several terrible scars, the most noticeable one being the one that, had it been a few inches to the left, would have rendered him blind in that eye.
Broken over his the fact that his “friends” hated him, but unable to hate them in return, Roderick spent several miserable days recovering. Though it took some time eventually he told Captain what happened. The Floatzel was furious at the mistreatment of his little brother and later scoured the forest looking for the bullies but never found them.
The emotional recovery was long and slow. Roderick found that anyone touching him resulted in a rush of sick terror and flinching involuntarily. He couldn’t be hugged by anyone for almost half a year. He also struggled with the guilt of concealing his training activities from the others, and the fear that they would reject him as his so called friends had.
More years passed. Though it took forever to coax Roderick into resuming his training just enough to evolve, eventually he relented. He stopped battling all together once he evolved and concentrated on his studies and learning to fly. As the group hit their adult years, the Charizard gained back some of the self-confidence he’d had before; he could now fly excellently, and was able, after many years of practice, to read the human language on a fourth grade level. He and Captain were closer than ever, and he was thrilled to see that Captain and Candy’s relationship had become romantic. A couple years later, after trying and failing many times to produce an egg of their own, their young trainer, Joshua, gave them an egg he’d acquired off a traveler. It hatched into a baby Riolu, and the couple raised the infant as if he were their own, with the others being his aunts and uncles. The baby, Felix, soon became the apple of everyone’s eye, and Roderick was honored when, as the little one grew older, he told him that Roderick was his favorite uncle. The relationship between his brother and his brother’s wife was amazingly strong, the two operating as if they were one another’s other half. The rest of the family enjoyed the experiance of helping the happy young couple raise their "son."
Everything was peaceful. Stable. Finally, he was really recovering.
The downfall to that began when Jon, Joshua’s cousin, came to live with them. He brought with him three Pokémon. The Honchkrow stood out among the three, quickly establishing himself as someone to be wary of. There was definitely something wrong with the bird. Not long after taking a disliking to Felix, the little one vanished.
Action was taken as soon as the small one was discovered missing. Roderick, Captain, Candy, and Aleena went to look for Felix, but in a fight with some undead Abra, were teleported away. Roderick and Captain were lucky enough to be teleported away together, and immediately set about trying to find their way back. They survived by working together, just as they’d always had, and eventually managed to pinpoint their location: Goldenrod City. As horrifying as the city was, there was hope. They were closer to home than they’d thought.
And then, the single most horrifying moment in Roderick’s life.
A group of undead Mightyena, determined to get a meal, attacked the brothers in the middle of the night. Despite the fact that Captain had done his best to stay awake to keep watch, they had both been asleep. Their first instinct had been to flee, but this was impossible. Exhausted and sleep dazed, they fought back the best they could, and managed to kill off all of them... or so they’d thought. Out of the corner of his eye, Roderick noticed one final Mightyena leaping from the shadows and for his throat. There was no time for him to react.
His big brother refused to lose him, and intercepted the hound, tackling him. Roderick could only watch in horror as the two rolled around on the pavement, snarling and biting and tearing at each other’s body. To interfere could mean accidently harming Captain.
At last, the Mightyena moved no more. Captain looked not much better than the wolf. He lay there on his back, staring at the sky as his brother gently took him into his arms. He began to babble about how they needed to get to the Pokécenter, convinced that enough equipment would be left operational to save Captain with.
Captain stopped him.
The Floatzel knew he was going to die. There were some very important things he needed to make sure Roderick knew before passing, and trying to save him when doing so was hopeless would prevent that.
Captain told the heartbroken Charizard that Candy was pregnant and begged him to find his wife, his son, and his unborn child, and to take care of them for him. If he couldn’t locate any of the others, at least find those three.
The last thing Captain requested was to be buried beneath the cherry tree where he had confessed his feelings to Candy. He passed away in his brother’s arms, murmuring as he did how much he loved his family, how happy his family had made him, how much he loved Candy, how much Roderick meant to him, and wondering whether his baby would be a son or a daughter.
Dying inside, Roderick carried his brother’s body back home, finding to his horror that the place was empty and destroyed. He buried the Floatzel in the requested area and then grabbed several things from the house before setting out.
He would keep the promise he’d made to his brother and more. No matter what.