DarkFoxKit: Hey Key, I think it's time to do what a true AN needs to do.

Key2DestNE: Huh? …Oh, right- you mean that…. But won't we possibly lose viewers who just read it for the AN adventures?

DarkFoxKit: Well if the readers come on JUST to read our ANs, then it just feels like they only like our silly little skits than the actual story. I don't like that, especially since half of our reviews is about our AN rather than the story itself. And now we're getting complaints how 'distracting' our ANs are since we don't even talk about the chapter itself. So I think we should tone it down a bit more.

Key2DestNE: …Yeah, I guess I can see tha- oh, we're live… Uh… Anyways… Today's chapter's gonna be about the hot springs- there'll be a couple surprises thrown in, but I wanted to just say, next chapter's also technically this chapter- just a "Meanwhile…" chapter- an interlude, if you will.

DarkFoxKit: Hey, tell them about that at the outro! We don't want any spoilers! … Anyway, HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!


Chapter 8: Team Rocket's Evolution

Ash sighed in relief, feeling his tense body relax in the hot springs. "Ahhh, this is the life…" He leaned back, letting more of his torso get enveloped by the warm water, before he glanced up and saw two familiar faces raising up from the water. "E-eh!?" He quickly sat up, startled. "J-James!? Meowth!? When did you two get back!? I thought you got blasted off again!"

"Actually, we didn't get blasted off very far, just into this lovely hot springs." James answered with an easygoing smile.

"It's rather soothing, isn't it?" Meowth said with a relaxed grin, closing his eyes in content.

"Ashy! You didn't even ask if I COULD join in, hmmm?" Mew snapped mentally.

Ash froze, but only for a second- and he blinked a bit. "W-well, you didn't really ask… I guess you could teleport away and walk over as Nya… If you want, that is- sorry, Memma."

"Yes, and that's just what I'm going to do!" Mew stated, giggling.

"But- but wait, Memma! You're a girl and this is the BOY'S side!" Ash quickly mentally said, realizing his own mental blunder. "Y-you wouldn't be available here!"

"Silly Ashy~" his Memma replied, still giggling, "Female Pokemon are alright in the male hot springs, and vice-versa as long as they don't act like perverts!"

Ash groaned as he slipped underwater, blushing madly just as there was a pink flash in the bathhouse, and in walked a female Meowth, smiling. "Time for a nice relaxing hot bath~"

Meowth's eyes widened as he remembered her during their battle with Cassidy and Butch… And he also remembered when he spoke to her… He couldn't really remember where, but he did remember her mentioning a date… He blushed, trying to hide under the water before he paused. B-but… what about Meowzie? I did all this so SHE could love me… S-sure, she rejected me at the time, but… That couldn't happen again… right? S-she's not that cruel!

Storm the Pikachu blinked as he looked over and said, "Me- I mean Nya, why are you coming into the hot tub? I thought most cat Pokemon hated water."

"Excuse me, little Pikachu, but I'm not like most cat Pokemon. In fact I'd take naps UNDERWATER if I want… and COULD." Nya pouted, crossing her paws as she dipped her feet into the hot water and slowly got in.

Meowth blinked, hearing that as he glanced over. "...N-no kidding?" His eyes were wide, and he quickly sat back up. "I-I love the water too! It's pretty soothing, actually! You… you're the ONLY Meowth I've ever met that loves water too!" I'd be lying if I said I loved COLD water, b-but… She doesn't need to know that!

Nya looked over at him, already knowing what he's thinking. "... Didn't you have another lover at one point?"

Ash had to hold in a laugh from that. James didn't care since he couldn't understand Nya's language and was just relaxing himself. Meowth, though… The cat was blushing bright red. "W-wha!? No, no! I-I wasn't flirting, honest! I-I still LOVE her! I was just saying it was… surprising, is all!"

"Right… well… I heard you've been going through a lot just for her. Tell me something, Meowth… is she really worth it? Do you really think she'll ever truly love you?" Nya asked him with a knowing look in her eyes, leaning back like, well, a cat.

The talking Pokemon spluttered, before giving her an angry frown. "W-wha- how dare you say that, Nya! S-she… she DOES love me! I just… have to get back there once I'm powerful enough to prove I can keep her around, that's all!"

"Right, and I'm a Legendary Pokemon in a Meowth disguise."Nya said dryly, though she gave a secret smile. "Meowth, you have to move on from that girl!"

Storm rolled his eyes at this, grumbling out, "I can't believe I'm even HEARING this conversation!" The Pikachu slowly went underwater, joining his Trainer.

Meowth frowned, stubbornly shaking his head. "N-no way! I… I won't do it, Meow- er, she's too important to me! How did you even know about her, anyways?!"

Nya crossed her arms, frowning. I've seen it all happen in his head. I know her type, she will never come to love him for who he is, and that is such a shame too since he's the type that would never quit and stays true and loyal. It's hard finding Pokemon and humans like that these days… but he's one of them… "Let's just say I feel like I've met her already."

Meowth grumbled, turning away from her and sinking back into the water. "W-whatever… You don't know anything about her, Nya… so don't just judge without seeing her for yourself… How beautiful and kind she is…" Or can be, at least…

"You just keep thinking to yourself about that. I'm going to relax, it's been a while since I got any relaxation." the female 'Meowth' said as she floated on her back in the water, smiling.

Ash eventually had to come up for air, and he reluctantly decided to talk to James, frowning slightly. "So… are you, Jessie and Meowth still going to try and destroy the Diglett?"

James shrugged, shaking his head with a smirk. "Nah, we don't really care about the reward anyway. We have bigger Pokemon to catch, after all… We do have a little surprise for our next battle, though- we only came here to test out our… 'new' Pokemon."

"New Pokemon?" Ash blinked, surprised. "You caught more?"

"... We didn't CATCH more, no, but…" James started to say, before he paused. "... How about we have a little practice battle?" he suddenly asked. "You know… since you're still a twerp and I want to see if I can finally beat you. I could call in Jessie and we could have a double battle, if you want."

Ash blinked again, before he crossed his arms and said, "... Aren't double battles illegal in Kanto?" Then he frowned, shaking his head. "Oh, wait… I forgot that rule was changed recently. I don't even know HOW I forgot, but…"

James grinned, shrugging. "Well, it's your choice, kid. But ya know… I doubt you'd even stand a chance." He gave Ash a cocky grin, elaborating. "After all, you beat us pretty well last time… But this time, we've got a major advantage."

Ash gave him a challenging look, grinning excitedly. "Alright then… you're on. I'll take you and Jessie on in a double battle. How many Pokemon each?"

"Just two for you." James shrugged, smirking. "We each use one to make it fair. Alright, twerp?"

The boy sighed, growing a bit annoyed with that. "Stop calling me twerp and we have a battle." He stood up, wrapping a towel around his waist.

"I'll meet you out on the fields in about ten minutes then." James said as he too stood up and wrapped a towel around his waist. "Come on Meowth, let's go."

Meowth frowned as he came out of the water, glancing back at Nya before nodding. "S-sure." He quickly went after James, occasionally glancing back at the female Meowth.

The Pikachu jumped out and shook his fur, his cheeks sparking a bit. "So am I going to fight them?"

Ash chuckled but shook his head, smiling "Not this time, Storm, sorry. I want to give Dexter a chance, he hadn't had much battle experience since he became a Porygon- and Remi, that Rattata is just itching for a good fight!"

Storm pouted, crossing his arms. "But I'M itching for a good fight too- and aren't I your best Pokemon to do the job? If they've got new Pokemon-"

"Oh come now Stormy, you've been hogging the spotlight for a lot of chapters, give the other Pokemon a chance to shine too." Nya spoke up from the hot springs, still floating in it in content.

"... Nya, what did we say about breaking the fourth wall?" Ash said, crossing his arms sternly as Storm blinked, completely confused.

"What? It's funny! And the readers expect me to do something silly every once in a while~ Hee hee! It's been all about you and Blue lately after all- I needed some spotlight too!" the 'Meowth' said with a giggle.

"...C-cha- wha?" The Pikachu was still completely lost- while he had grown somewhat used to Mew's antics, he didn't understand this 'chapters' reference. "What are you guys talking about? Is it Mew stuff again?"

"You could say that." Ash rolled his eyes, shaking his head in amusement. "Come on, let's go, Jessie and James are waiting for us."

"Wait, what about Blue? Shouldn't we wait for him?" the Pikachu asked as he followed Ash and Nya teleported herself on the boy's head.

"... Well, it's been almost half an hour and he still isn't back yet… So I'm sure we can spare a battle or two." Ash said as he frowned to himself. What IS Blue up to? He's been gone for a while.

"Oh don't worry about Blue, we'll see him later on~" Nya said, giggling a bit as if she knew.

Ash frowned in curiosity, but he shrugged, walking into the dressing room. "Well, Nya, wait out here, okay? I gotta change!"

"Ashy, who was the one who helped changed your diapers before? You don't have anything that I hadn't seen yet, my little boy." Nya said, putting her paws on her hips.

The boy blushed, coughing nervously. "I-it's still embarrassing, Nya! Please, Memma? W-wait out here, okay?"

Storm was laughing his tail off by now as Ash blushed more and more, and Nya rolled her eyes. "Honestly, you should know by now that you don't have to hide anything from your Memma."

Ash by now was a tomato red, and he crossed his arms, huffing. "I-it will still seem weird to other Trainers for a girl Pokemon to be in the guy's changing room! PLEASE, wait out here!"

Nya was pouting in the hot spring while Ash hurried to get dressed and grabbed his Poke Balls. "Nya, Storm, let's go! I'm sure Team Rocket's- er, Jessie and James, are waiting for us!"

The Pikachu jumped onto his Trainer's shoulder while Nya teleported herself on his hat. Ash frowned, glancing up at her. "Nya, what did I say about careless teleportation? You could be caught!"

The Meowth giggled, grinning widely. "Awww, but Ashie, it's so much fun~ I can't stop with just ONE teleport as a Meowth~!"

"You're gonna give yourself away." Storm warned, rolling his eyes. "And when you do, I'll have the right to say 'I told you so'. Remember that, okay?"

"Excuse me, I've managed to avoid most human contacts for millions of years, I can handle myself, thank you very much!" The Meowth glared in annoyance, crossing her paws with a huff.

Ash grumbled, rubbing his forehead as he walked out and headed towards the field. "Okay! You two really need to stop arguing! You're acting like a cat and a mouse!" Nya and Storm stared at him before Ash realized what he said, and he facepalmed. "... Just stop arguing, we're here."

The two Pokemon blinked, glancing up and realizing that they really were at the fields already! James was leaning against a tree, and behind him, Jessie was doing the same thing on the other side while Meowth leaned against the tree, facing them. "Well, look who decided to show up!" Meowth smirked, grinning eagerly. "This is gonna be fun, I can already tell."

Ash blinked before facepalming. "...Are you guys trying to look cool right now? 'Cause it's not working." The instant he said that, the three former Team Rocket members slipped off of the tree, and their faces hit the ground, HARD, as Nya giggled.

"... Okay, so… We're using two-on-two now, right?" Ash asked them, holding two Poke Balls. "It's a Double battle."

Jessie smirked after she hastily stood up and said, "Yes, we have a special little surprise for you too! … Where's that other kid that was traveling with you?"

"He's… I'm not sure, but he's pretty busy right now." Ash said, sighing.

James just shook his head, dismissing it. "Doesn't matter, let's battle with him!" With that, they both threw their Poke Balls and released two fully evolved Pokemon!

Ash blinked, surprised. "W-wait…" He stared at the new Arbok and Weezing in shock. "WHAT!? You mean- you mean THEY'RE your new Pokemon!? Wow… I-I didn't expect that, to be honest! I thought maybe you bought a new Pokemon or something…"

"Don't you mean steal? That IS our specialty after all." Meowth said, grinning.

Standing before the boy was an Arbok and Wheezing, apparently their Ekans and Koffing just recently evolved. Ash sighed, this has him in a bind, but he couldn't back down now. "Alright then, Dexter, Remi, go for it!" With that, he released the Porygon and Rattata, both of them looking battle ready.

"Oh come on! The little snake has become a bigger snake, I see…" Remi groaned, remembering when she bit the Ekans back in the Viridian Forest.

"They must've worked hard to get those two to evolve." Dexter said with a sigh.

Ash nodded, frowning. "Yeah, no kidding Dexter… How long did you guys take to evolve the Ekans and Koffing?"

James sighed, rubbing the back of his head. "It took a bit of time… but… I guess our Pokemon saw how hard we wanted them to evolve, and they just…"

"Whatever, cut the talking, let's get to battling! Arbok, use Glare on that little Rattata!" Jessie snapped.

Ash frowned, a little confused. "I thought you guys nicknamed your Pokemon! And Remi, dodge by using Dig!"

"We decided that nicknames are just a waste of time; and besides, we had trouble remembering them. So we just decided to call them by their species." James said with a shrug as the Rattata hurried and dug underground, avoiding the Arbok's paralyzing glare. "Weezing, pour Smog into that hole, smoke the tiny rat out!"

Ash frowned, glancing at his Porygon. "Dexter, help Remi out by using Signal Beam to hit the Weezing back, hurry!" Dexter nodded, charging up his Signal Beam and pushing the Weezing into Arbok.

Jessie frowned, before smirking. "Arbok, follow the Rattata into the hole in the ground- you've got the advantage, use it!"

Ash knew he had better get Remi out of there fast, there's nothing more dangerous to a rat than a snake in the hole! "Remi! Quick, turn around and use Bite on its head!" Although he couldn't see the battle going on underground, he could hear the grunts and cries of the two Pokemon. About a few seconds later, the ground cracked before Arbok came jumping out with an angry Rattata biting hard on its mouth, keeping it from opening.

"YAY! GO REMI! YOU GET THAT ARBOK!" The Pikachu cheered loudly for the Rattata, punching the air excitedly. "SHOW IT HOW STRONG YOU ARE!"

Remi nodded, giving Storm an excited grin and speaking around her tight grip on the Arbok. "I gotcha, Storm! Don't worry, this snake is DONE!" She then smacked the snake over and over on the head with her tail.

"Come on Arbok! Show that prey of yours no mercy! Get it off you and poison that thing with Poison Sting!" Jessie snapped.

Ash quickly looked over at Dexter, crying out, "Help get her out, use Tackle on the Arbok's face!"

James smirked as he said, "Not so fast! Weezing, use Smokescreen on that Porygon now!" The Porygon's vision was quickly blocked by the smog that emerged from the giant ball's pores.

Ash frowned, growing worried. "R-Remi! Use Iron Tail on Arbok, send it flying towards Weezing, NOW!" he shouted.

The Rattata didn't hesitate before her tail turned to steel and whacked the Arbok like a baseball bat! Unfortunately, the little Rattata wasn't strong enough to send it flying at Weezing, only enough to make it let go of her, and she quickly escaped from its deadly Poison Sting.

"That was close…" Ash said in relief, before turning to his former Pokedex. "Dexter! You use Lock On."

"Affirmative!" Dexter said as his eyes glowed slightly, locking onto the Weezing before him.

Ash smirked and confidently said, "Now let's see if that training with Nya paid off. Use Psychic, now!"

"What!? Your Porygon knows PSYCHIC!?" Jessie screamed in shock as Dexter's body glowed a slight blue and began lifting the Weezing, throwing it at the Arbok!

The woman quickly recovered though, frowning. "No! We're not done yet! Arbok, do underground, now!" Jessie snapped as her snake quickly dug down.

"Now Weezing, it's time, use Selfdestruct!" James ordered with a confident smirk of his own.

Ash's eyes widened in shock. "WHAT!? Remi, use Dig hurry!" He knew he couldn't save Dexter unfortunately- there wasn't enough time… The Rattata quickly dug just before Weezing exploded and Dexter was caught in the blast!

Ash had to get down, and Storm and Nya had to do the same to avoid the explosion. When everything settled down… they saw a fainted Weezing and Porygon on the ground, both of their eyes spiraling. James frowned, a little disappointed, but he shrugged. "Well, one out of two is better than nothing, I suppose… You've got this, Jessie! All that's left is one little Rattata, versus your Arbok!"

Jessie smirked, nodding excitedly. "Yes, this is in the bag!" She pointed at the hole. "Arbok, Poison Sting when you come out!"

Ash glared as Remi and Arbok came out from underground, both Pokemon glaring at each other. The snake opened it's mouth, but Ash quickly reacted, crying out, "Remi, Quick Attack! Dodge the needles!"

The fast little Rattata left a trail of silver as she dodged the Arbok's needles; unfortunately, this was her undoing before she ran right into the bigger snake's tail and it wrapped her up in it!

Jessie smirked, crossing her arms. "This is the end, Ash! Arbok, use Poison Fang on that little morsel, K.O. it!" Ash's eyes widened as Arbok opened it's mouth and it's two fangs began to glow purple before it lunged right down at the small creature wrapped up in it's coils.

Remi's eyes lit up in fear as Ash shouted at her to use Bite. The rat then glared at the snake, growing determined once more. "No… No giant snake Pokemon will get the better of me!" The Rattata then bit down on the giant snake's coils, only she used her fang instead of her whole teeth, and it was much sharper and focused, causing MASSIVE damage! The Arbok yelled in pain as Remi was piercing its skin!

"Remi! Are you using Hyper Fang?" Ash's eyes widened in shock at this, his jaw dropping, before he began to grin. "T-that's… THAT'S AWESOME!" He cheered, punching the air in excitement as Arbok hastily let go of the Rattata, nursing it's wounds. "Now use Iron Tail, finish this snake off once and for all!"

Jessie's jaw dropped as well, and she desperately shook her head. "N-no! Arbok, use Dig! Try to dodge that rat! HURRY!"

The Arbok did manage to Dig, avoiding the Iron Tail that hit the ground. Remi growled as she waited for the Arbok to appear again. But then… they heard singing? "Diglett Dig! Diglett Dig~" "Trio! Trio! Trio~"

"Uh… What's going on?" Ash asked, looking around in confusion. "Are those… Diglett I hear? I thought we were battling…"

Nya chuckled and said, smirking, "Looks like the Diglett and Dugtrio are getting tired of the battlefield. And I'm guessing the Arbok just dug right into their home~"

Meowth, Storm, Remi, and Ash's eyes widened in shock, before the cat turned to his friends. "J-Jessie, get that Arbok outta there! It- it's in the Diglett's home! HURRY UP!"

Jessie blinked, caught off-guard. "Wha- what do you mean by-"

Suddenly there was a huge tidal wave… of dirt, and it carried the three along with the buried and now fainted Arbok into the sky! Ash's eyes widened, and he gulped nervously. "Uh-oh… RUN!" He quickly returned Remi into the Poke Ball before grabbed Storm and Nya and made a run for it to avoid the tidal wave of dirt! But it still caught up to him… Surprisingly, though, it didn't bury him like it did with Team Rocket; instead, he was riding on TOP of it! "WHOOOOA!" He yelped, trying to keep his balance.

Storm grinned and Nya pulled out a surfboard from nowhere. She jumped onboard, crying out, "COWABUNGA! C'mon Storm, Ashie, try it out~! THIS IS SUPER FUN!"

Meanwhile, Blue and Bob were walking out into the field, and suddenly they saw Ash riding the tidal wave of dirt. The boy blinked and slowly said, after picking his jaw off of the ground, "... Yeah, he's… unique alright…" he admitted to Bob as if they were talking about Ash just minutes before.

The construction worker slowly shook his head, completely bamboozled. "I… wha- but how…" After a few moments, he tossed his hat to the ground, stomping on it for a few seconds. "GAH! Alright, fine, you're right, that kid's not a regular Trainer! But what makes you think he's RIGHT about not finishing the dam!?"

"Didn't I tell you already? Take a look at this place…" Blue said to the elder man, gesturing to the beautiful land, untouched by man. Bob blinked, before frowning in thought.

Ash then saw a big lake up ahead, and he gulped, his eyes wide. "... This… is gonna be painful…" The instant he said that, the dirt wave literally threw him, Nya and Storm off and the three of them were flying through the air. "WHOOOOOOOOAAAA!"

"WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Nya cheered, doing a 360 on her surfboard.

"I DON'T WANNA DIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEE!" Storm cried, covering his eyes with his tail.

And with a SPLASH! they fell into the lake. Ash swam up to the surface and hastily picked up his hat that had fallen off during the chaos. "... You know… I never knew Diglett can be so… chaotic."

"Well, you know what they say, Ashie~" Nya giggled, grinning widely. "It was ORGANIZED chaos- the best kind, too~ That was almost as fun as a Mew Game!"

Ash groaned as he put his wet hat on his head and covered his eyes, muttering, "... No more wave rides." He sighed as he swam to shore.

Storm's fur was drenched, and he quickly shook himself dry… only to get his fur all poofy! Ash couldn't help but laugh when he saw the fluffy Pikachu, falling to the ground and rolling around as he continued to laugh.

"You keep laughing and I'm sure my electricity would be dancing on that wet clothes of yours." Storm hissed at his Trainer, narrowing his eyes in anger.

Blue soon came over, Bob right behind him. "Ash! What happened?" he demanded when he approached the wet boy on the ground.

Ash chuckled and said, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. "Uh… it's… just another one of those days for me, I guess."

Blue blinked, before he glanced at Bob. "...You see what I mean, Bob?" He gestured to Ash, raising an eyebrow. "You heard what he just said."

Ash blinked as the construction worker slowly nodded. "Yeah, yeah…" he mumbled. "I heard, I heard… You don't need to prove it anymore, I got it…"

"Uh… did I miss something? Blue, what were you doing?" Ash asked the older boy, tilting his head curiously.

Blue shrugged and said, smirking a bit, "Just another one of those days for me." Ash blinked before chuckling as the older boy's thoughts turned to exactly what he was doing earlier that day…

Key2DestNE: *camera turns back on in the middle of his sentence* …Okay? We're clear, right Mew? We're not stopping the story- JUST the AN adventures! It's too distracting, like putting another toy in another toy box!

DarkFoxKit: Exactly! We don't want to give them a huge appetizer and not have any room for the main course! The majority may not like it, but that's just how it has to be.

Mew: *Was tied up and gagged* …

DarkFoxKit: Erm… A-anyway… Jessie, James and Meowth are still with Team Rocket at this point, but they are starting to question their roles in it.

Key2DestNE: Exactly, and this is gonna do wonders for the trio's characters! Now what'll happen when they finally split from Team Rocket? *winks, grinning* You'll have to wait and see~!

DarkFoxKit: And as for what Blue was doing, that's going to be in the 'next' chapter, which is more of a… 1.5 kind of chapter. You know, this one was told from Ash's point of view and this next one is going to be told in Blue's point of view.

Mew: *begins breaking out of the ropes with her strong Psychic energy.* !

Key2DestNE: Now before we get the tomato storm rained down on us, I just want to say tha- ...Oh boy, she's loose! RUN! *Fox and Key began running for their lives*

Mew: YOU ARE NOT CANCELING MY ONE JOY IN LIFE ON THIS PIECE OF PAPER YOU CALL FANFICTION! *fires a pink psychic ball right at the camera!* *static*