An update at last! Sorry it took so long!
But here we are with Pikachu's chapter- and it's a bit of a longer one.
I'm planning on making the next few chapters a bit shorter, but I enjoyed writing this one. This is the last chapter with Ash being at the lab, and starting next story he'll be in Alola.
Story 11 - Cat and Mouse - Pikachu
'Come on Pikachu!' Donphan cried, stomping her feet– which caused the ground to slightly tremble. 'Give him what-for!'
Pikachu gave the ground type a small smirk, before turning his attention to his opponent in front of him. The Pokemon towered above him, the fire on his head crackling with the heat of battle. His hand closed into a fist, a sharp orange glow covering it as he prepared a Mach Punch.
"Pika!" Pikachu sprang forward into a Quick Attack, darting under the incoming Mach Punch, speeding past the fiery Pokemon. Spinning around, Pikachu felt his cheeks starting to spark as he turned to face the Pokemon, releasing a powerful Thunderbolt. "Chu!"
The Infernape let out a cry of pain as the jolt of electricity hit him, falling to a knee at the force. The fire type opened one eye as the attack died down. He gave Pikachu a small grin as he stood back up.
'Not too shabby,' Infernape said, a smile still on his face. 'Kalos has toughened you up!'
And with that, Infernape took in a deep breath, preparing a Flamethrower.
The wave of flames washed over Pikachu before he could dodge, the intense Flamethrower consuming him. Pikachu's ears flicked back, a part of him waiting to hear Ash's next comands. All he heard was the cheers of several Pokemon as they watched the battle, and it took Pikachu several moments to remember he was on his own for this match.
He charged through a cloud of smoke, speeding into another Quick Attack. The rocky earth was firm under his feet, allowing Pikachu easily charge into great bursts of speeds, even as he tail began to grow heavy. The lightning-shaped tail gleamed with a metallic light, and Pikachu sprang up into the air, swinging his whole body around, the Iron Tail aimed right for Infernape's chest.
He brought a swift Mach Punch up, knocking the incoming attack away from him. Pikachu was sent spinning through the air from the blow, but he simply twisted his body around, forming an Electro Ball at the end of his tail. Not wasting a moment, Pikachu fired the sphere at electricity right after the block. Clearly Infernape wasn't expecting such a quick recover, eyes wide as he was hit, sending him stumbling back at the explosive Electro Ball.
'Get up Infernape!' A Machop who was watching cried, worry in his voice.
'You okay?' Pikachu asked, but Infernape was far from down. The fire type regained his balance, flashing a grin at Pikachu.
'Just fine!' He replied. 'It's been forever since we've had a good spar– that was fun.'
Pikachu could feel the heat of the battle dispersing as Infernape spoke, and the electric mouse took on a more relaxed stance. Infernape glanced over himself, brushing off from dust from the battle, and Pikachu darted up to him. Despite the size different, Infernape held out a closed fist, which Pikachu fist-bumped with his tiny paw. The two grinned at each other one more time, before joining those who had watched the friendly match.
Donphan was glowering down at a Mankey as they approached. 'Pikachu could have defeated Infernape with his eyes closed!'
The Mankey bristled. 'Infernape could handle any rodent in his sleep!'
Pikachu tilted his head towards the ground type. 'Really Donphan? It was just a little battle, not a serious fight.'
The elephant-like Pokemon jabbed her thick trunk towards the Mankey. 'B-but she said that you could never beat Infernape! No one can say mean things about my big bro!'
Pikachu gave Donphan a small smile, darting up onto her back. Her trunk brushed against him, and Pikachu glanced at Infernape. He was shooing away the fighting types who had gathered to watch the match, an exasperated look on his face. Pikachu gave Donphan a small electric shock, which made her giggle.
'That tickles!' She protested, but Pikachu knew she was fond of electricity. Being a ground type, the electric moves couldn't harm her.
'Sorry about that...' Infernape muttered as he rejoined them, several fighting types walking away, muttering under their breaths. 'They tend to take battles a bit more seriously...'
'Looks like you have some fans,' Pikachu said with a grin, and Infernape rolled his eyes.
'Nah, most of the fighting types here just are obsessed with battles– whether they're fighting in them or not. I guess we can get a bit defensive when it comes to who we think who'll win, so they didn't like the fact that we cut it short.' He ran a hand through his fiery mane. 'Where you heading off to now?'
Pikachu sighed, looking around at the ranch. 'Hmm... I was thinking the marshes. I don't think I've seen much of Palpitoad since we've gotten back.'
'Are you kidding me?' Infernape cried. 'This is the most I've since him since Ash first introduced us to his Unova 'mons!'
Donphan let out a small whimper. 'Do we have to go to the marshes? I always sink into the mud there...' She stuck out her tongue in distaste.
'You don't have to come.' Pikachu said, but Donphan started forward anyways. 'I'd just like to see everyone before me and Ash head out again, I've never just been able to sit back and relax at the lab before.'
Infernape frowned. 'Didn't you belong to the Professor before you were given to Ash? Doesn't that mean you lived at the lab before?'
Pikachu's gaze darkened, only making Infernape's frown deepen. Pikachu was luckily saved from speaking on the subject by Donphan, who let out a loud, dramatic sigh.
'Do you have to leave again?' She cried unhappily, stomping her feet as they entered a large meadow. 'You guys just got back!'
'It's only going to be a small vacation,' Pikachu said hurriedly. 'Ash and his mom won a trip to Alola, we not going on a journey!'
'That's what you said about going to Unova!' She huffed, adding a small stomp as they walked on. Infernape remained by their side, his arms lazily crossed behind his head. Donphan's pacing was much slower than his could be, yet he walked behind them. Pikachu patted Donphan as he rode on her back, but he wasn't sure if she felt it– her skin was like armor.
'She does have a point,' Infernape said, stretching. 'It's quite likely Ash will seize this as another chance to go on a journey– it's a region he's never been to before. When you guys leave I don't think any of us will plan on you being back soon.'
Pikachu sighed, now scratching at Donphan's back. 'I know... That's why I'm going around the ranch...' He chuckled. 'Though it is kind of weird not to be next to Ash at the moment.' Pikachu hesitated, then he glanced up at Infernape. 'Just between you and me, I think Ash needs this small vacation– the end of Kalos wasn't exactly a picnic.'
Infernape nodded, but before he could reply, Donphan suddenly took off running. Pikachu was forced to brace himself, struggling to hold on as his ride suddenly became bumpy. He glanced up, watching as he and Donphan charged towards a tan and blue creature.
'Quilava!' Donphan cried, crashing into her friend happily. The fire type was sent flying a few feet back, landing with a groan. Donphan paused, blinking in confusion.
'Hi... Donphan...' Quilava grunted, pushing herself onto her feet. 'Ow... Could you, um... not do that anymore?' She asked quietly, quickly looking away. Donphan stomped up to her, careful not to slam into her this time. 'Oh, hi Pikachu!' Quilava added when she looked up again, noticing the small mouse this time.
'Hi Quilava,' Pikachu said, fur slightly frazzled from the charge, but he gave the fire type a friendly wave. He could hear Infernape running to catch up with them, but Pikachu's head was ringing, so he didn't dare turn around. Donphan nuzzled Quilava happily, who didn't look comfortable at the contact. Her front paws were pressed against her trunk, as if she wanted to push Donphan away, though she didn't.
'Everyone alright?' Infernape asked, glancing between the three of them as he caught up.
'Yep...' Pikachu muttered, still slightly dizzy. 'Just fi–'
Then the net came flying down.
Pikachu merely stiffened as he felt the net wrapping around the four Pokemon, while his companions all let out cries of surprise. He supposed it had been sometime since they had been captured in such a manner, but after all of his travels with Ash, Pikachu was use to this now.
...Maybe he needed to look over his life a bit...
He felt the net lifting into the air, all four of them sagging towards the bottom of the netting as they rose. He could hear the sounds of the other Pokemon as they struggled, and Pikachu let out frustrated grunts as the rope twisted around his tail, digging his fur. He opened his eyes, trying to get a better look at their predicament.
He, luckily, was on top of the pile of Pokemon, his back resting on one of Donphan's legs. Infernape was plastered against the side of the net, one arm and a tail sticking through the netting. Pikachu tilted his head, not seeing any sign of Quilava.
'Qu-quilava?' He grunted. 'Quilava! Are you o-okay–?'
'Ow...' A small whimper was heard below them, the voice muffled. 'Wh-why m-me...'
'Quilava!' Pikachu cried, trying to spring to his feet, only to be restricted by the net's grip on his tail. 'Where are you?'
'Down... here...' Quilava whimpered, and Pikachu looked down at the Donphan he was on top of. The ground type had an apologetic look on her face, and that's when Pikachu realized that Quilava had ended up at the very bottom of the net– all of them piled on top of her.
'Oh my Arceus!' Pikachu cried, but there was little he could do to free Quilava. 'I'm sorry, move guys! Give her some room!'
'Can't...' Donphan muttered, shifting, which only resulted in a whimper from Quilava. Donphan quickly went still. Pikachu quickly looked over towards Infernape, who was studying the net, which was continuing to rise higher into the air. Infernape took in a deep breath, releasing a Flamethrower at the nets. The intense flames were blasted against the rope, the heat of the fire washing over them.
The fire died down, and the net looked untouched. Infernape blinked in surprise, clearly not use to his flames being stopped that easily.
'What it Dialga's name...' He whispered, studying the net closer. He ran a finger across the ropes. 'It's coated in something... Makes it fireproof, by the looks of it...'
Pikachu sighed, then called up to the flying contraption above them– which was lifting the net higher and higher. 'Come on Meowth!' Pikachu cried, knowing that this was the work of Team Rocket. 'Let us out– or else you're going be to facing everyone of Ash's Pokemon!'
Pikachu waited, expecting to hear some sarcastic comeback from the familiar feline– topped off in that accent of his. A frown crossed Pikachu's face when he didn't hear Meowth's voice, or the too-familiar ranting of their motto. This had to be Team Rocket though... He knew a trap like this could only come from their favorite stalkers!
"Not too bad of a haul!" A male human voice called down from above. While slightly familiar, it wasn't the voice of James like Pikachu expected. Pikachu craned his neck up, catching view of a teal-haired man. "I know that trainer told us that the Charizard that nearly attacked him flew out this way... But hey! This lab will have a better haul any day."
Pikachu paled, hoping they weren't talking about their Charizard. He wouldn't fly off and bother trainers– right?
The flying contraption was a strange-looking machine, though not as outrageous as the robots his Team Rocket trio often came up with. In fact, Pikachu barely blinked at the brightly colored device, nor the bright red "R" plastered on the side. The net was draped under the machine, which was taking them higher and higher into the air. He charged up a Thunderbolt, releasing it up towards the machine.
'Agh!' Infernape and Quilava cried, the netting carrying the electric current towards his teammates. Pikachu cut off the Thunderbolt right away, growling in annoyance.
"Hmm... a Donphan, looks strong enough..." A female mused, and Pikachu looked up once more. It blonde-haired woman, with bright purple eyes. Pikachu could care less, except for one thing– this woman was not Jessie. "And that Infernape definitely is a prize!"
"Fer!" Infernape snarled, the fire on his head crackling.
It took Pikachu a moment to recognize the duo. His original guess had not been wrong– these two were members of Team Rocket. But it wasn't his Team Rocket, which made Pikachu's anger grow. Pikachu thrashed, his tail still entangled in the net.
'Cassidy and Clutch!' He growled, recognizing the two members he hadn't since... Sinnoh? Had it really been that long? He glared up at Cassidy and Butch. 'What are you doing here?!'
"Fiesty little thing," Cassidy muttered, not understanding any of his words. "Just a Pikachu though... I suppose it will be worth something as a Raichu..." Pikachu stiffened up. "Anything else down there? I'd like something a bit more valuable..."
"Chu-pika..." Pikachu growled protectively, and he felt the net shifting slightly, and Quilava cried out. The mouse tensed– him being captured was one thing– but his teammates... that was another! Especially when it wasn't Jessie and James gloating over their capture. 'You put us down right now...' Pikachu snarled angrily.
"A Quilava! Now that's as rare as the Infernape!" Cassidy said happily, glancing at Butch. "I've think we've learned our lessons before– Less is definitely more! Let's get out of here before we run into any trouble."
The net jerked as the flying machine started to rise once more. Pikachu turned as much as he could, watching as the ground became smaller and smaller. Soon it would be too far of a fall to jump from– if they could even get out of this net. Pikachu kept looking around, trying to gauge what to do next. They were flying towards the hills, meaning the ground would be a bit closer...
'Infernape!' Pikachu snapped, and the fire type looked towards him. 'See if your Mach Punch can do anything to this net! Quilava, an Aerial Ace might be able to help, and Donphan... I don't want to risk a Hyper Beam with all of us this close, and a Rollout would hit us all... Hmm... see if you can saw through with your tusks.'
'Okay big bro!' Donphan cried, pressing her ivory tusks against the net. Infernape's fists became lit with a Mach Punch. Pikachu couldn't see Quilava, but he could hear her trying to move from under Donphan. It was quite clear that she couldn't pull off an Aerial Ace from where she was at. Pikachu was in the same situation– with his Iron Tail useless with his tail tangled.
'Try Flamethrower instead,' Pikachu told Quilava. 'Not to break free– this is fireproof– but we might be able to get some attention.' He gulped. 'If we can break free at the hills then we can jump out, no problem.'
Pikachu twisted his body, then wrapped his jaws around the net, starting to chew. His teeth weren't built to gnaw through things, but it was the best he could do at the moment. It only took several bites for his jaw to start hurting, but he kept at it. Cassidy and Butch snorted as they watched the Pokemon try to escape, but Pikachu could see the ropes starting to fray from where Donphan was working.
'I snapped one!' Donphan cried happily, though the opening wasn't bit enough for them to get through.
'Good job,' Pikachu told Donphan, who beamed. 'Infernape, start working around there as well. I would if I could... but I'm a bit tied up.' He glanced over his tail, which was looped and tangled through several of the ropes making up the net. Pikachu had tried to free himself, but with the weight on the net had made the ropes become taut– and impossible to shift. The electric type felt helpless as he watched Infernape turn to help Donphan. She was his little sister, he should be the one helping her.
'Does... no one... notice... Team Rocket...?' Quilava asked quietly, struggling to fire another flare of a Flamethrower. 'Big "R's" don't... mean... rejoice...! Ouch!'
'Sorry Quilava...' Donphan muttered.
Pikachu watched as they drifted closer towards the hills, hating as they flew even higher. This was their only chance to get down... But then again the hills were visible from the lab– maybe one of the humans would see them! He glanced up towards the non-Team Rocket... well, they were Team Rocket, but– But calling them that didn't feel right. This wasn't his Team Rocket! What made them think they had the right to take him?!
'A few more,' Infernape informed them as the snapping of a few more ropes could be heard.
'We'll have to be quick,' Pikachu said. 'They might change course once they see the lab. We'll jump once the hills are under us. Donphan, you go first– then go straight for help. Quilava, you're after her, then me and Infernape will go.'
'Okay!' Donphan cried, tearing at another rope. A Mach Punch followed up, slowly breaking through the netting. Pikachu gave a nod as it snapped, and Infernape pulled at the ropes– the hole would be big enough for all of them. He nervously glanced at Cassidy and Butch, who were currently obvious to their escape plan, focusing on driving their device. The first of the small hills were under them, and Donphan wormed her ways towards the hole, careful not to squash Quilava.
'Wait for the next hill.' Pikachu said as the top passed under them. 'It's higher up anyways.'
Donphan nodded, waiting for another hill to pass under them. She nervously glanced down, then looked towards Pikachu. 'J-just jump?' She whimpered.
'It's not too far of a fall,' Pikachu said in a reassuring tone. 'Besides, we're Pokemon! Our bodies can handle more than humans can. Just jump!'
Donphan gulped, looking down once more. She curled up into a ball, and rolled out through the hole. Pikachu slumped down farther into the net since he was no longer on top of Donphan, yelping as his tangled tail was pulled sharply. The aircraft jerked higher into the air with its heaviest member now gone.
'Ow...' Pikachu muttered, hanging upside down by his tail. His tail was still caught in the side of the net, making it so he didn't fall to the bottom. Unfortunately he was now dangling like a Zubat, blood rushing to his head. Quilava let out a sigh of relief, now able to breath once more. Pikachu's eyes widened as he noticed the non-Team Rocket glancing over the edge to see what had happened. 'Go Quilava! Jump now!'
The little fire type didn't need to be told twice. She scampered up towards the hole, paws struggling to keep hold of the side of the net. She glanced down, finding Donphan waving her trunk up at her. Quilava gulped, then jumped as well. Pikachu glanced at Infernape, who was nowhere near the hole.
"Butcher! You said this net was fireproof!" Cassidy cried.
"It is! See– it isn't burnt!" Butch cried back. "And it's Butch– not Butcher!"
'Infernape, go!' Pikachu snapped, but the monkey was making his way towards the hanging Pikachu. Infernape smiled, touching his tail.
'You did get yourself tied up,' He tugged at the tangled ropes, trying to pull Pikachu free. 'Let's see...'
The flying machine started to rise higher.
'Just go before it's too high to jump!' Pikachu growled, wincing as his tail was tugged at. It was clear that he would not be getting out soon. 'I'm fine.'
'I'm not leaving you behind,' Infernape said, his fingers slipping as he tried to free Pikachu.
'Oh, for Mew's sake I'm fine! It's just a bunch of incompetent Rocket members!' Pikachu snapped. 'Donphan and Quilava need you more, just jump!'
"Do we have another net, Bill?" Cassidy's voice could be heard from above.
'See! Soon both of us won't be able to get out– Go now!' Pikachu growled. Infernape glanced over him, hesitating, then he chuckled.
'Alright then– Me, Ash, and everyone else will be right behind you,' Infernape said, heading towards the hole. 'Don't blast them off without us.'
Pikachu grinned. 'No promises.'
Infernape jumped out of the net, and Pikachu glanced down, watching him fall. His head was pounding from being upside down, but he let out a sigh of relief as Infernape landed safely. He had been a bit worried, since they were still rising higher into the air. Pikachu was left alone, dangling in the net. The base of his tail was starting to hurt from being pulled on, but he ignored it. Everyone else was out safely– that was all that mattered.
A Flamethrower was fired from below him– Infernape or Quilava trying to reach Team Rocket. It was too late however, the flying machine too high to be attacked unless someone had wings. Pikachu wished that Charizard was here– knowing just how destructive the lizard could be– but there was no flying types in sight. The other Pokemon were calling out to him, but his head starting to throb from being upside down, and it was hard to make out just what they were saying.
"Pika!" Pikachu let out a startled call as the net was suddenly jerked up, being dragged up towards the flying machine. His whole head was ringing as he was suddenly placed upright, the net still weighing him down. He blinked away the blackness dancing in his vision, realizing that he was now in the machine as he saw Cassidy and Butch glaring down at him. He growled, releasing a Thunderbolt, but the net that was still over him, so absorbed the electric charge. Snarling in frustration, Pikachu tried to break free once more.
"Little pest..." Cassidy growled. Now on a solid surface, the net wasn't pulling on him so much. The ropes around his tail had slackened slightly, and Pikachu quickly seized the the opportunity. Slipping the loosened net off of his tail, he struggled under it, trying to find the opening that everyone else had gotten through. He ignored the sounds of the humans, simply looking for the shredded ropes. "Chu!"
At last he found the frayed ends of the cut ropes, and the mouse slipped through. Free at last, he turned, ready to give Team Rocket his strongest Thunderbolt– when something was slammed over him.
The plastic covering was clear, allowing him to see still everything around him. Wires ran down the side of the container, and Pikachu slammed into the covering. The cover didn't budge, so he let out a Thunderbolt. The wires absorbed the attack, redirecting the electricity and leaving Team Rocket unharmed. Butch leaned down, picking up the plastic prison, grinning down at Pikachu. He growled, tail turning to metal as he prepared an Iron Tail. Butch seemed unworried as Pikachu tried to swing the limb around, and break free once and for all.
"A little cramped?" Butch asked with a sneer as Pikachu found himself barely able to shift in the small container. Iron Tail made his tail very heavy– meaning he needed room to swing it around to built up any momentum to use the attack. In such close quarters Pikachu couldn't pull it off– meaning he had no way out of this container.
As much as he hated to admit it– he was trapped.
"Pi... ka... chu!"
The small container lit up as Pikachu fired what felt like the hundredth Thunderbolt, the wires in the machine rendering the attack useless.
"Give it up, will you now?" Cassidy snarled in annoyance.
Pikachu glared at the blonde, and his cheeks started to spark once more. "Pika... chu!"
"Your Thunderbolts are doing nothing!" Cassidy snarled at the mouse, her voice slightly muffled by the glass. "And that voice of yours is getting on my nerves!"
Pikachu paused, considering her words. It was his voice that was getting annoying? Not his repeated attacks? Well, that was nice to know! Firing so many Thunderbolts was taking it out of him... Smirking up at the girl, he took in a deep breath– and started singing.
"Pi-kachu pi-kachu pi-ka-chu!" He sang. "Pika-pika pi-kachu pi-ka-chu! Pika-pika-pika-pika! Pika-pika-pika-pika!"
"Stop that..." Cassidy snarled at him, the wind from being so high up ruffling her hair. Pikachu grinned, leaning closer to one of the small air holes in the container so she could hear him better.
"Pika-pika! pika-pika" He sang, a bit louder this time. "Pika! Pika! Pi-ka~!"
"Bob! Make this stupid thing shut up!" Cassidy cried.
'Everyone let's go together!' Pikachu sang, a grin on his face. He wasn't sure how long he had been stuck with Cassidy and Butch, but he was glad he had a way to get to them. 'Let's sing together!'
"We need to focus on finding more Pokemon!" Butch cried. "We lost the most valuable of our Pokemon and we can't risk going back to that lab– they'll be on guard on. But we also just can't bring this one rat to the Boss!"
'Heart-pounding!' Pikachu cried dramatically, singing even louder. 'Exciting! Let's go on an adventure! Everyone let's go forward! You'll be alright–!'
"It will be worth something once we evolve it! Now help me get to shut up!" Cassidy snapped, but to her surprise, Pikachu suddenly fell silent.
Both humans paused, glancing at the mouse. The little electric rodent had gone still at Cassidy's words, every limb stiff. He stared up at the humans, his coppery eyes wide. They blinked, confused at the sudden silence. Cassidy approached the plastic container, tapping on it with her knuckles. Pikachu merely flinched, scampering back as much as he could, and she looked towards Butch.
"Maybe it lost it's voice?" He suggested, shrugging.
Cassidy glared at Pikachu. "Whatever– at least it shut up, and it's alive."
They turned their attention away from Pikachu once more, talking among themselves, and the mouse remained silent. Evolution... they had mentioned it earlier– but that had been when he was convinced that they would all get out just fine. The thought hadn't even bothered him... but now he realized that he was trapped with no way out... All it would take was one Thunder Stone pressed against him for long enough– and he'd evolve.
The small mouse flinched at the thought, looking up at the humans once more. There was no Thunder Stone in sight... He was fine for now, he didn't need to overreact... he just needed to find a way out of here...
It wasn't that he hated Raichus– outside of his determination to defeat them, he actually loved interacting with his fellow Chus. Rather, it was the idea of evolution itself that set Pikachu on edge. His tail twitched as the memories rose in his mind, and right away he tried to bury them. Pikachu forced memories of Ash to the surface instead– the places they had been, the battles they've won, and the friends they had made. Anything to keep the rest at bay, something to distract him.
Pikachu wished he could pace, but his prison couldn't even offer that small luxury. Rather the mouse slouched against the wall– not even able to curl up– and closed his eyes. There was nothing he could do but wait for an opportunity to escape to show itself, so he might as well attempt to sleep away the awful memories before they overtook him.
Pikachu was jostled awake, sliding forward and hitting his face on the plastic wall as his prison was lifted into the air. Pikachu groaned, sitting up in confusion. It took the captured Pokemon a few seconds to remember where he was and what had happened, though a scowl covered his face as he did. He sat up with a huff, glancing around.
Cassidy was carrying the container he was in, making no effort to be gentle. Butch was walking beside her, their flying machine nowhere in sight. The sun was in the west, perhaps an hour or two away from setting. Pikachu flicked his ears up– it seemed to still the same day as when he had been taken. His eyes flickered about, not quite sure of where they were at. While outside, they seemed to be heading down a well-traveled road, yet Pikachu saw no signs of any other humans near by.
'Hey,' Pikachu grunted, and Cassidy glanced down at him. When she didn't reply he let out a low growl. 'Hey, you! Ugly face!'
"Shut up will you?" She snarled in annoyance. "Or else I'll give Raticate a taste of you!"
Pikachu grinned, a battle he'd be more than willing to do. He knew he could take her Raticate with ease, he could probably take on several of their Pokemon at once! Not to boast or anything, but Pikachu knew he was a powerful Pokemon. Cassidy and Butch seemed to be unaware that he was Ash's Pokemon, if they even remembered Ash, of course. He wondered if Cassidy would be true to her word if he antagonized her further. The electric type opened his mouth, ready to start singing again, but a new voice drowned out his own.
"What are you doing here?" A female voice spat, and his captors stiffened up. A sneer spread across Cassidy's face, while Pikachu blinked once, quickly turning his head towards who had spoken.
"You three," Butch growled. "You think the Boss would have gotten rid of you clowns by now."
"Pipi-kachu!" Pikachu cried happily, plastering himself up against the wall. Never had he thought that he'd be happy to see these three, but he had just proved himself wrong.
Jessie and James were glaring at Cassidy and Butch, malice in both groups' eyes. Pikachu could almost see sparks flying between the two. He banged his paws on the plastic container, trying to get their attention, but it seemed their hatred for Cassidy and Butch kept their focus.
"For your information, we just got a personal mission from the Boss himself!" Jessie cried, whipping her long magenta hair about. "Outside of Kanto as well! It's been awhile since you're given such a mission, hasn't it, Cassidy?"
James placed a hand on his chest. "Not to mention all we've done for the Boss in Kalos as well! Heard any good word from the Boss as of late, Biff?"
'Meowth!' Pikachu cried to the small Pokemon by Team Rocket's side, who had his claws out, ready for a fight. The normal type paused as he heard his name, finally taking notice of the container in Cassidy's hands. His eyes widened as they met Pikachu's coppery ones, blinking rapidly.
"It's Butch, not Biff!" Butch cried in frustration. "Now why don't you move, we need to get a Thunder Stone from the Rocket Storage, and you're not going to get in our way!" His hand drifted towards a Pokeball on his belt.
"Pikachu?!" Meowth cried in shock. "Is that you?!"
"Meowth, what are you–" She paused, taking notice of Pikachu as well, who was still banging on his prison.
"...Is that our Pikachu?" James asked quietly, gazing at Pikachu.
"Your Pikachu?" Cassidy scoffed. "I doubt it– we snagged this one from Oak's lab. We just need to plop a Thunder Stone on this little rat, then we can hand it off to the Boss. Now get out of our way."
Pikachu flinched at the mention of the Thunder Stone.
"What are you doin' with them?!" Meowth cried at Pikachu. "The only Rockets allowed to take you are us!"
Pikachu gave his enemy a small smile. 'Yeah, apparently they didn't get the memo.' He scratched the back of his head. 'I thought I wouldn't be saying this... but a little help would be nice. I'm pretty sure that you owe me, I've saved your hide plenty of times.' He gulped. 'Th-they're going to make me evolve...'
"Why you..." Meowth's claws gleamed, and he glared up at Cassidy and Butch. "No one makes the Piks' evolve, hear me?! That's our Pikachu to steal, you give him back right now!"
"Ha! And what makes you think that we'd– Agh!" Cassidy let out a cry as Meowth leapt up, slashing at her face with his Fury Swipes. She dropped Pikachu's prison, making him grunt as he hit the ground. The Rocket member covered up her face. "M-my face!"
"I don't see a difference," Jessie chuckled, and Cassidy glared at her.
"Why y-you! Go Raticate! Hyper Fang!" She threw a Pokeball up into the air. Pikachu raised his head up, still trapped within the electric-proof container.
A look of worry passed over his Team Rocket's face. The Raticate materialized in front of them, its teeth glowing, at it charged at Team Rocket. Meowth looked towards Pikachu, then back at his team. A flash of light appeared in front of them, Wobbuffet releasing himself without orders.
The Raticate sank its fangs into Wobbuffet, who began to use Counter. Meowth darted forward, scooping up Pikachu's prison, and he raced back towards his teammates. Pikachu hated feeling like a ball as he was scooped and tossed about, but he kept his mouth shut.
The Raticate was blasted back from the Counter, landing at Cassidy's feet, defeated. She growled, one hand still covering her face as she recalled her Pokemon.
"Mightyena, stop that stupid Meowth!" Butch cried, releasing the dark type.
'You're the stupid one!' Pikachu shouted as the canine bore down on them. Oh, badly he wanted to break free and give it a Thunderbolt. Meowth gulped, looking towards Jessie and James.
"Catch!" He cried, throwing Pikachu towards them. Pikachu silently cursed at him as he was flung through the air, banging against the plastic walls as he was tossed. James stumbled forward, roughly catching Pikachu. He groaned as he was slammed against the walls once more. He saw a few seconds of James' purple hair before the container was straightened in his arms, giving Pikachu a view of Meowth battling the Mightyena.
'That's it?' The Mightyena snarled in annoyance as a Fury Swipes was slashed across his face. 'A challenge would be nice!'
"Oh, shut up!" Meowth snarled back, darting away from his snapping fangs. Pikachu's ears twitched, hearing the hint of fear in Meowth's voice. He glanced up at Jessie and James, who were watching the battle nervously. Weren't they going to help Meowth?
"Come on, send out your Pokemon!" Butch taunted. "We know that Meowth does next to nothing! And that Wobbuffet can't even attack on it's own!"
Pikachu could see a bead of sweat sliding down James' neck, and Pikachu glanced down, noticing that there were no Pokeballs on his belt. Pikachu blinked, confused– where were their Pokemon?
"Well Jess, any ideas?" James asked in a hushed voice.
"Come on Meowth, don't you know anything stronger?!" Jessie cried in distress. The Meowth was doing everything in his power to avoid the powerful attacks from the Mightyena, unable to retaliate. He shot a panicked look towards them, and James reached into his pocket.
"Meowth, time for plan 36-C!" James cried, raising a small object in his hand. Pikachu craned his neck up, trying to catch slight of it. Meowth gave a nod, turning on his heel and racing towards them. James tossed the object towards the non-Team Rocket's, all of them tensing as it hit the ground.
Pikachu watched as the object exploded– releasing a wave of black smoke billowing up from the sphere. The smoke bomb quickly engulfed the area, blinding Cassidy and Butch. Pikachu felt James turning, running in the opposite direction with his teammates next to him. Pikachu simply closed his eyes, hoping the smoke didn't reach them. Luckily his air remained clean, and after a minute a running he dared to open his eyes.
He only caught a glimpse of a familiar Meowth-shaped balloon, before Team Rocket jumped into it, and Pikachu was dropped into the bottom of the basket. The balloon started taking off, and he saw Team Rocket leaning over the edge of the basket, sticking their tongues out at Cassidy and Butch.
"Bye bye losers!" They called down as they flew up. Pikachu rolled his eyes, shifting. The container had fallen onto its side, for Pikachu was forced to stay on all fours. "Good luck with your next catch Cassidy and Butch– not!"
"It's not Biff, it's Butch–!" Butch coughed up at them. "W-wait a sec–"
"Nice work team!" James cried, high fiving Meowth, and pulling Jessie into a hug. "Humiliating those two and we don't even have a Pokemon on us!"
"Hey!" Meowth cried, glaring up at them. Jessie waved a hand dismissively.
"Honestly Meowth, you act more human than anything. That battle sure proved that you've lost touch with your Pokemon side–"
"Wob-ba-fet!" Wobbuffet cried, appearing behind Jessie. She sighed, holding up his Pokeball.
"Yeah yeah, you did fine with the Raticate and such." She muttered, returning him. Pikachu catch a glimpse of the psychic type beaming before he was sucked away into the sphere.
'Um... hi?' Pikachu said quietly. All three Rockets paused, looking down at him, as if they had just remembered he was there.
Meowth trotted up to him, setting the container up right, staring at Pikachu. The mouse groaned, shifting up onto his two legs. He blinked, uncertainly looking over the trio. Pikachu had to admit that he was relieved to be free of Cassidy and Butch, though he wasn't quite sure of what to make of his situation now. But at least he knew that his Team Rocket wouldn't try to evolve him– they had gone out of their way to prevent that before.
"Now what in Mew's name do you think you were doin' with those goons?!" Meowth cried down at him.
Pikachu crossed his paws. 'I sort of had no choice– like when you take me!'
"Why did the twerp let you even come this far!? Don't you guys ever read the script– you're suppose to saved before anyone takes you here!" Meowth declared, and he looked up towards Jessie and James. "Did'ja hear what they're going to do with him? Evolve Pikachu! Not on my watch!"
'Hey! Ash wasn't with me when this happened! Don't blame him!' Pikachu cried.
Jessie crossed her arms. "Him? A Raichu? No thank you– it just wouldn't feel the same."
James started down at him. "So... What do we do now?"
Pikachu shifted– he was in his Team Rocket's hands, contained, far away from any allies, and probably only steps from Team Rocket's headquarters.
"We take him back to Pallet of course!" Meowth cried, and all of them stared at him– including Pikachu.
"Um– what?" Jessie asked, blinking.
'I'm not really in the mood for jokes.' Pikachu growled, sparking his cheeks. He enjoyed the way his Team Rocket scurried back at this action. 'I've kind of had a long day.'
"I ain't joking!" Meowth growled. "Do you think we'd take you to the Boss after those ones were to steal you? I ain't takin' credit for anything those guys did! We'll steal you fair and square on our own clock."
"True," Jessie mused. "I don't want to touch anything they've done."
James nodded. "Besides, we have our mission from the Boss– I don't think he'd be to happy if we waltz back in there so soon."
Pikachu stared at the three of them in shock. 'You're going to take me back? Really?'
The two humans glanced at Meowth for a translation.
"Yes, we'll take you back to your Twerp." Meowth said. "But this don't change anything– got that?"
Pikachu watched them with a critical eye. While not his friends, he knew these three very well. It didn't seem like they were lying, and he didn't see a reason for them to– not when he was already in their hands. Pikachu glared at them, but their expressions didn't change. Satisfied, Pikachu nodded, smiling at Team Rocket.
'Alright then,' Pikachu said, sitting down and leaning up against the wall of the container. 'I'll trust you.'
"There's some words I never thought I'd hear from you..." Meowth muttered, but he turned away. He waved a paw at the two humans. "Come on, let's get this balloon to Pallet, step on it!"
Pikachu watched in a mixed fascination, no fear or annoyance for once as he sat in Rocket's balloon. They angled the balloon in the wind, heading for what Pikachu hoped to be Pallet Town. The three of them worked in silence, only glancing at each other to understand what needed to be done. He had always seen the three bickering that it was strange to see them be as in sync with each other as much as he and Ash were.
Once the balloon was steadily flying they all settled down, Jessie and James talking to each other. Meowth sat down next to where Pikachu sat trapped. The mouse scanned the cat Pokemon, tail twitching at having him so close. He had worked with Meowth a few times before, but that didn't excuse the many times they had hurt him and Ash.
"That's one thing I can understand about you." Meowth said, breaking the silence between them. He glanced at Pikachu. "You don't want to be a Raichu just as much as I don't want to be a Persian."
Pikachu shifted. 'Um... I don't have anything against Raichus...' He pondered on the thought. 'It wouldn't be the worse thing, being a Raichu...' He shivered as the words passed from his lips.
Meowth looked surprised. "Then why are you so adamant about not evolving? Don't want to outgrow the Twerp's shoulder?"
'That's part of it,' Pikachu replied honestly, a faint grin on his face, though it quickly faded. 'I... I don't ever want to feel the sensation of evolving again...'
Pikachu rolled his eyes. 'I was a Pichu once, you know?'
Meowth blink. "Oh... I guess so..." He frowned. "I just never seen much of them Pichus in the wild. Always groups of you Pikachus, though none as strong as you. No other Chu will interest Rocket– don't think you're getting off the hook!"
'Pichu evolve by happiness. In a nest full of other Pichu, and a whole colony around you I suppose it doesn't take long to evolve like that in the wild.' Pikachu replied after a moment of thought. It was strange to just be chatting with Meowth, but after what had happened today it was a nice break.
"Happiness, huh?" Meowth muttered. "If that's how you evolved the first time around then why wouldn't you want it to happen again?"
Pikachu's gazed darkened. 'That's none of your business.'
Unfortunately this only provoked Meowth's curiosity. The cat Pokemon slid closer to the plastic wall, watching Pikachu. "Now you hafta tell me!"
'Ask again and I'll Thunderbolt you.' Pikachu growled, and Meowth flinched at the threat.
"Hmm... Well, too bad for you, I don't think that'll work. You see, me and those two designed this particular trap! Showed the design to the Boss– it's meant to contain electric types. Looks like Cassidy and Hutch got ahold of the design... You're not Thunderboltin' anyone in there!" Meowth said with a grin. "Now tell me, what happened the first time you evolved?"
'I haven't told anyone,' Pikachu said. 'Not Ash. Not my teammates, not even my little sis. What makes you think I'd tell you?'
'Donphan,' Pikachu replied.
"Hmm... Well, if you don't want to tell your friends, then why not tell your enemy?" Meowth said, crossing his paws. "Me and Chimmy have talked several times."
"Infernape," Meowth explained, shifting. "He's had a rough life, I'm sure he'd understand anything that's happened to you. You know... it's best not to keep things in, you know?"
Pikachu's cheeks began to spark, more out of instinct than intention to attack. It was nice to see the way Meowth flinched back– before scooting even closer to the plastic wall between them. Pikachu wondered if he could somehow manage to get a Thunderbolt through the small air holes, but he doubted it. Besides, that might lessen his chances of being taken back to Ash. He'd just have to sit here with Meowth begging for the story.
Perhaps if he just gave him something he'd drop the subject...
'Ash wasn't my first trainer,' Pikachu whispered.
"Wha?!" Meowth cried, sitting straight up in surprise. Jessie and James looked towards them. Pikachu shot the darkest glare he could at Meowth– this conversation was not to be translated. Meowth gulped, knowing that this wasn't something he should cross Pikachu on. "N-nothing..." He told his friends. "C-carry on."
It was a full minute before the two humans were back into deep conversation. Pikachu watched them, head tilted. After all the time he had seen these two together, he was sure that they'd become more than just friends, but so far nothing had happened between them– that they knew of.
"And..." Meowth prompted, and Pikachu glanced back at him.
'...And that's it. End of story. Stupid trainer is of the past, none of my concern.'
"You can't end there!" Meowth hissed. "What happened? What does that have to do with you evolving? Why are you with the Twerp now?"
Pikachu sighed, paw pressed against his head. He had gotten himself into this mess...
'I don't remember too much, to be honest, alright? I try to block it out most of the time. As far as I'm concerned, Ash is the only person I've ever "belonged" to. He is the only real trainer I've ever had. But... but as a Pichu, I was in the hands of another human...' Pikachu flinched.
"That bad?" Meowth asked quietly.
'...I don't know how he got me. Maybe I was a gift or if I was captured... maybe he had me as an egg. I don't remember. I don't even remember his name...' Pikachu shifted. 'But I was in his hands, and that was more than enough harm. He wasn't too bad at first... or maybe that's what I told myself. I was a young Chu after all, with no memories of parents. He trained, though there was no heart in it, and I guess it wasn't harsh either. Things turned worse... once he realized what I needed to have to evolve into Pikachu.'
"Happiness? How is that worse?" Meowth asked.
Pikachu glared at him. 'Imagine: you're a young Pokemon, and the closest thing to a parent you have is someone that doesn't care a bit about you. You just live, you just battle, and then you live. No happiness, no caring, no love. Then one day the person suddenly changes– they start to be nicer, to care. They say "Good job" after a battle, a pat on the head as you eat.'
"I guess–" Meowth began, but Pikachu cut him off.
'They don't stuff you in a horrid Pokeball every night, and instead let you sleep by their side!' Pikachu's voice was growing more and more bitter. 'At last you think they care, that you'll have the bond you see everyone else has! You think your life will finally go well, you get so happy and you evolve and then–!' Pikachu felt a lump in his throat. 'Th-then–!'
'And then you learn that it was all a freaking lie!' Pikachu screamed, his voice echoing through his plastic prison. 'That they wouldn't even care if you died– that you're nothing but a tool for them! You've evolved– they got what they wanted– and now they aren't afraid to show that they don't care!'
"Pikachu–!" Meowth was cut off once more.
'Now they don't need to spend a moment with you– but instead you're locked away in a Pokeball every moment you get!' Tears stung Pikachu's eyes. 'Now they aren't afraid to show you their displeasure, to hate you, to "correct" you when you mess up in battle! To hur–'
Pikachu's mouth had gone dry, and he found himself unable to say another word. Tears ran down the electric type's face, the memories rising to his mind. He closed his eyes, trying to swallow the lump that had appeared in his throat. Meowth said nothing, staring at him with wide eyes. Finally Pikachu found his voice once more, but he kept his eyes shut.
'The Pokeball... All day you're in that Pokeball...' Pikachu whispered, covering his face. 'Trapped... Locked up... the Pokeball... If you're out, it's only to battle... if you lose the battle he'd- he'd hur-' Pikachu shook, skipping over his words. 'Then a-after it w-was the P-pokeball a-again...'
"...Pikachu..." Meowth said, voice soft this time.
'Then one day you're let out of your Pokeball, and it's not him,' Pikachu's voice had become steady once more. 'It's an old man telling you that you're safe now...' Pikachu wrapped his arms around his tail. 'He tells you that everything will be alright, but you don't care... You don't trust... And it's back into the Pokeball. Locked up... Locked away... I was always locked away again...'
"...That was Oak?" Meowth asked quietly.
'Yeah... Professor Oak... He took care of me– though I didn't trust him at the time,' Pikachu's eyes were still shut.
'Did he know–?'
Pikachu dove back into his tale. 'Then you're suddenly given to another kid, and they go on and on about friends and such, but you don't believe them. Why should I believe him?' Pikachu tightened his grip on his tail. 'It isn't until you're laying in the mud, death on your doorstep and with them begging you to save yourself that you realize that they do care. That this stranger is willing to give you more than the one who should have raised you ever did. So you go with them, and pretend that the past never happened.'
Pikachu didn't say another word, ending off just as abruptly as he had started the story– simply sitting there, eyes closed. One coppery eye popped open when he earn something rattling. Meowth was standing over the plastic container, a claw in the lock. After a moment Pikachu heard something click, and the lid was pried off. Meowth tossed it to the side, not looking at Pikachu.
"We'll probably be in Pallet in about ten minutes," He muttered, heading over towards Jessie and James. Pikachu stood there for a moment, but the normal type didn't glance back, simply settled up against James' side. It seemed he had no intention of speaking of what he had been told.
Pikachu climbed out of the container, free at last. He stretched his aching muscles, eyes glued to the floor of the basket.
"Pallet Town, ho!" James cried, pointing off in the distance. Pikachu's ears flicked up in excitement– he had been curled up in the corner of the basket since he had spoken to Meowth. The electric type excitedly bolted forward, leaping up onto the rim of the hot air balloon, looking out. Sure enough, he could see Pallet Town gleaming in the setting sun– Oak's lab on top of its hill.
'Yes!' Pikachu cried excitedly– he had been far away from Ash for far too long now. The balloon began to descend, heading straight for Oak's lab. Pikachu couldn't keep himself still, bolting back and forth between the edges of the basket. Team Rocket watched him in amusement, and Pikachu kept leaping back onto the rim to see how close they were.
"Just a bit longer Piks, then you'll be back with your precious Twerp." Jessie muttered, lazily laying her head into her hand, elbow propping her up.
The balloon soared over the lab, the clearing behind the laboratory spread out below them. Pikachu's paws pranced beneath him, body ready to jump out right now to get back to his team. His eyes quickly locked onto the small group resting in the clearing. He could see a boy with a red cap surrounded a bunch of Pokemon. Pikachu smiled– it was the one he wanted to see most.
"Pikapi!" Pikachu cried out, and the boy in the clearing froze. "Pikapi!"
Ash turned, looking around as he heard Pikachu's calls. Bulbasaur tapped him with a vine, pointing up at Team Rocket's balloon. Ash looked up, eyes lighting up when he saw Pikachu– it was clear he had been searching for him. His gaze quickly darkened once he took notice of Team Rocket however.
"Team Rocket!" Ash cried, and all of the Pokemon with him lowered themselves into a charging position. "Give me back Pikachu!"
"Well–" James began.
"Charizard– Wing Attack!" Ash barked, not giving them a moment to explain. Charizard opened up his wings, racing into the air. Team Rocket's eyes widened, and Pikachu quickly held up his paws.
'Wait!' Pikachu cried to the fire type. 'Don't attack! They didn't take me this time!'
Charizard paused mid flight, wings flapping wildly to keep him in the air through his surprise. The lizard looked at him like he had been brainwashed, and the rest of the team started to mutter to themselves. Ash looked around, confused at what was happening.
Pikachu turned to face Team Rocket, sighing. '...Don't expect me to say this again... But... Thank you. For bringing me back to Ash.'
Meowth crossed his paws. "You're welcome– and don't expect us to do this again. You run back to your Twerp and twerpy Pokemon– and we'll be back for you one day. No matter what."
Pikachu tilted his head. '...You mentioned you have a mission from your boss. Where will that take you three...?'
"That's not for you to know!" Meowth snapped. Jessie and James glanced between them, trying to follow the conversation they could only understand half of. "But it will be out of the region."
Pikachu glanced away. 'Ah... Well, me and Ash will be heading out ourselves soon... I don't know how long we'll be gone... I guess this will be the last time we see each other for a while.'
Meowth paused, as if just realizing this. "...That seems about right..." He glanced at Pikachu uncertainly. They had been here since the start of Ash's journey, it would be strange to be without his Team Rocket's presence. "We're still going to bring you to the Boss one day."
Pikachu smiled. 'Of course,' He hesitated for a moment. 'I guess this is goodbye– for now.'
"...Goodbye then..." Meowth muttered after a moment. "Go back to your Twerp– and if Cassidy and Biff give you any trouble give us a call."
"Bye Pikachu," James said, giving a small wave, nervously glancing at Charizard as he came closer. The lizard flew by, glaring at Team Rocket bitterly, looking ready to attack at any moment. "Don't keep your friends waiting..."
"We'll be fine without a blast off for a good bye." Jessie said in a dismissive tone. "Now leave before that happens."
'Shame, I wanted to do it one more time... but I suppose you were nice enough to rescue me...' Pikachu grinned. 'So I'll let it go just this once. Goodbye!'
And with that, Pikachu jumped out of the balloon.
Charizard swooped down, scooping him up from his fall. He gave one last glance at Team Rocket as he cradled Pikachu into his arms. Charizard growled in Pikachu's ear. 'Had Scamp worried sick, Sparks.'
Pikachu glanced over Charizard's shoulder, watching as Team Rocket turned their balloon around. He had told someone... after all this time, he had finally told someone what had happened.
"Pikachu!" Ash cried, and Pikachu looked down as Charizard came in for a landing. Pikachu leapt out of his arms as soon as Charizard was on the ground– racing towards the one he cared about the most.
"Pikapi!" Pikachu cried, throwing himself into Ash's arms. His trainer held him close, and Pikachu nuzzled his cheek. Ash's Pokemon let out a loud cheer as they embraced, Pikachu pressing up against Ash as much as he could. This was where he belonged– this was where he was meant to be– safe in Ash's arms. By his side no matter what– this is what Pikachu loved.
As he settled himself onto Ash's shoulder, flushing as everyone asked him what he was doing with Team Rocket, Pikachu closed his eyes. He had always thought the memories would come rushing back if he thought of them, that'd they'd seem as real as the day they happened if he spoke of them. But as he sat there with Ash, with his friends, with his family, Pikachu slowly realized that wasn't the case.
The emotions were still there, the hurt was still there, that was something that would never leave– but what had happened then couldn't conquer now. This was his life, this was what was happening– and he knew that nothing could take that from him.
As long as he was with Ash, everything would be okay.
And Pikachu wouldn't have it any other way.
I really like the Team Rocket trio. I always felt like that under different circumstances that they'd be able to be friends with Ash and co. But it I think it would take quite a lot to pry them from their Team Rocket life.
I always thought that there was more than pride that kept Pikachu from evolving, and seeing that he's had some positive interactions with Raichus, I felt that it couldn't be them either that was kept him from evolution.
Which is where I came up with the idea of Pikachu being afraid of evolution itself- that he had a bad experience with it in the past. But since Pichus evolve by happiness I had a hard time figuring out what would cause a bad experience with this. That's where I came up with the basics of his backstory, that it wasn't the feeling or outcome he hated, but rather the reminders of his first trainer. Of the lies that this nameless person, and what he did after. I felt this would not only explain the hatred of him evolving, but also his distrust of Ash in the first episode, and his hatred of Pokeballs.
Pikachu tries to bury his past, his fears, and that includes distancing himself from anything that reminds him of it- evolution, Pokeballs, things likes that. Of course this is just my take on his character, but I hope you enjoyed this chapter.
Feel free to leave any suggestions for future chapters. :)