I've been reading and writing pokémon fanfiction for a long time now, so naturally I've accumulated a few favorite stories along the way, and just as naturally I'd love to make them easier for other pokéfic fans to find. To prevent dead WIP heartbreak and make this page a little easier for me to manage, I've restricted my recommendations to complete stories. I'll feature works in progress from time to time, too, but you'll want to check the site news for those.
I'm always looking for something good to read, so feel free to shoot me your own recommendations if you like (completed 'fic or otherwise). My tastes should be pretty clear from what you see in the selection below, but I'm perfectly happy to try something outside my comfort zone if it's high quality.
I hope you find something to enjoy here. Happy reading!
Patchouli by Renn Ireigh
Stories: See author's profile
Length: 9 stories, 55,000 words total
Genre: Romance, Drama
Characters: Sabrina, Giovanni, Mewtwo, Morty
Patchouli is a series of one-shots and short chaptered fanfics that follow a fusion of Pokémon Special and R/B/Y canon where Sabrina is one of the gym leaders aligned with Team Rocket. While the heart of the series is Sabrina's relationship with Giovanni, and several of the stories are explicitly focused on that, others instead explore how she comes to terms with her painful childhood and learns to control her substantial psychic abilities. Taken together, the series is a fascinating character study for Sabrina, but Renn Ireigh has just as good a grasp of the other characters Sabrina plays off, and even the small glimpses we get of some of them are lovely. If you enjoy quiet scenes defined by small gestures and by what characters don't say as much as what they do, then this series is for you. My personal favorite entry is the last one, "Equilibrium," which encapsulates a lot of the series' themes and features some great back and forth between Sabrina and Mewtwo.
Communication by Sike Saner
Links: FFN | AO3 | PC | Serebii (And many other sites, too!)
Length: 42 chapters, 189,000 words
Author's Summary: Solonn Zgil-Al, one of the few pokémon able to speak to humans, learns what can happen when certain talents are not kept hidden.
There are a lot of pokémon POV stories out there, but Communication shines for the diversity of species it works with, how it handles the relationship between pokémon and humans, and the care taken in representing a pokémon's point of view. The main character, Solonn, is a glalie, which already makes his life much different from those of the mammalian pokémon you usually see in pokémon POV stories, and Sike Saner never forgets that sense of the alien. Although the story is epic in scope, it proceeds almost as a series of shorter episodes in Solonn's life, beginning with his childhood in Shoal Cave through his capture and life with a trainer up to the extinction of humanity and beyond. Throughout the ever-broadening scope of drama, Sike Saner maintains both a strong sense of character and a robust sense of humor.
If you enjoy this story, you might also want to check out The Origin of Storms, which takes place in the same continuity as Communication and includes cameos from some of its characters.
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokemon Husbandry by Cutlerine
There are a lot of "expanded pokédex" fanfics out there that take the form of encyclopedia entries about different species. Coriolanus Rowland's Guide is the pokédex for terrible people. Whether you want to impress your friends with a rare monster, train a vicious guard to protect your creatively-obtained fortune, or embark on a career in pokémon bloodsport, Coriolanus has your back and all the best questionably-legal tips to maintain your own stable of highly exotic pets.
Pokédex-style fanfics live and die by the strength of their narration and how interesting the fanon the author comes up with is, and Coriolanus Rowland's Guide shines on both counts. The depictions of pokémon are creative and frequently hilarious, from the parasitic ralts to the distressingly murderous vanilluxe, and Coriolanus' unashamedly slimy personality shines through clearly in all of them. Horrified laughter is the name of the game with this 'fic; Coriolanus' recommendations are over the top sociopathic and made funny precisely by how flippantly they're presented. Great if that's what you're in the mood for, but if you're sensitive to mentions of animal/pokémon abuse, you probably want to steer clear of this one.
Legend of Faye by Niesse
One rainy night a trainer arrives at Celadon's pokémon center with a freshly-caught Articuno. The next day she finds out exactly why the nurses were worried about her inexperience.
This 'fic takes a look at how approaching training like a game protagonist might play out in a more realistic pokémon world. This tight little chapterfic, told from the perspective of what are essentially NPC's, delivers a classic story of hubris and its consequences alongside some nice action and tantalizing bits of worldbuilding.
Morphic by Dragonfree
Links: FFN | SPPf | Author's Site
Length: 14 Chapters, 55,000 words
Author's Summary: A group of scientists who have had a little to drink get the not–so–brilliant idea of attempting to create 'Pokémorphs' as described in so many book series, but when they succeed and the news gets out, they are forced to raise the morphs themselves.
Morphic is not your typical pokémorph 'fic, or indeed your typical pokémon 'fic at all. It's primarily about the relationships between the characters and their struggles with growing up half-pokémon, which involves more coping with "powers" that are unspectacular if not actively detrimental than it does adventuring or fighting crime. And when the time does come for the morphs to band together and attempt a bit of heroism, they're quick to find out that, half-pokémon or no, they're still just a bunch of kids in way over their heads.
The majority of this story is slice-of-life, looking at how the morphs relate to each other and the world around them--good if you enjoy the exploration of how a pokémorph might really function and the interactions between the characters, but not if you're interested in a more traditional action-adventure kind of pokémorph tale. Characterization is this story's primary strength, and if you like what you read in the main 'fic, there are a number of spin-off pieces to enjoy featuring the author's favorites in both very silly and very, very serious circumstances.
The Rookie's Handbook to Conspiracy Theory by purple-drake
Links: FFN | Serebii
Length: 2 chapters, 14,000 words
Characters: Lt. Surge, Koga
Author's Summary: Standing upright beside the Humvee was a yellow rat of truly horrendous size. He was struggling to decide if it really was a rat, or a rabbit, or some hideous cross-breed, when he realized ... it was wounded. And eyeing off his energy bar.
This is one of few fanfics I've found that focuses on Lt. Surge, and it does a great job of expanding his character, in contrast to the many stories that portray him as nothing more than a shouty jock. purple-drake gets a ton of mileage out of Surge's vague canon backstory, exploring how he went from serving in the Gulf War to training electric-type pokémon--events which, in this story at least, took place in entirely different worlds. There's plenty of drama to go around as Surge grapples with the possibility of another world existing and tries to keep his newfound mutant rat companion concealed, making this an engaging story in addition to an interesting character study.
"Baton" by Imaginative Clockwork
This one-shot explores Team Rocket from the inside out, jumping from the POV of one member of the team to another in the written version of a long tracking shot in a movie. Although Imaginative Clockwork only spends a couple hundred words with each character, they all have distinct, engaging personalities and different opinions on what Team Rocket is and what it ought to be. For all that it's under 5,000 words, this story has more interesting things to say about the team than many 100k epics, and it's snappily written and quite funny to boot. Overall this is a quick, entertaining, and satisfying read.
"The Best Game" by Phoenixsong
I absolutely love Blue in this one-shot. It totally nails the insecurity underneath his drive to win, and when the plot throws him up against the cheerful, energetic Leaf, the result is both inevitable and hilarious. All in all a cute, bite-sized 'fic about the Pallet trio's friendship (or bitter, bitter rivalry) before they leave for their respective journeys.
"Innocence" by Ember A. Keelty
Links: FFN | AO3
Length: One-shot, 2,300 words
Characters: Hero (PMD Time/Darkness), Grovyle
Author's Summary: A prologue and epilogue to PMD: Explorers of Time and Darkness. Innocence fades fast in the Dark World. In that sense, the former human's amnesia is a mercy — but not an unqualified one.
This one-shot explores the relationship between Grovyle and his partner, starting with Ember's harrowing depiction of their time together in the dark future. After Dialga's restoration, what would life be like for the one who forgot the horrors of the world of frozen time--or for the one who didn't?
This story is absolutely heartbreaking, but the ending was ultimately jossed by Sky--so if you need a little pick-me-up after finishing it, you can always return to the canon for some warm and fuzzies.
"The Ties that Bind" by undersaffiresky
Links: FFN | PC | Serebii
Length: 5,700 words
Author's Summary: It's commonly said that time will heal all wounds, but people tend to forget the deep, everlasting scars it leaves behind.
"The Ties that Bind" is one of the classic tearjerkers of the fandom, in my opinion. A trainer wins the championship at the cost of their dearest companion, and the majority of the story is devoted to the aftermath. It's simple, it's well-executed, and it revisits many classic Kanto locales for an ample nostalgia blast on top of the central tragedy. This story is written in second person, like many of undersaffiresky's fics; if you like the style, it's worth checking out some of her other work--she's written a lot of nice one-shots.