GREATEST BATTLE OF ALL PART 10 - Bad is Bad - And It Get's Worse!

DISCLAIMER: I cast thee away - I claim no ownership here.


FEEDBACK: You know the drill by now! :)

NOTES: Okay - for once, I'm gonna write the pokemon as if they're talking! Let me know if this weakens the effect okay?

Trouble in paradise Momma said those words so nice Trouble in paradise We've got trouble, yeah

"Trouble in Paradise" - Huey Lewis and The News

" Move it!" " I'm moving, I'm moving!" " Dey'll be here soon!" " Shut up!" " You're so cruel to us!" " I had a good teacher! Now move!" " What's the rush anyway? The runt quit!" " So? He's still not gonna give up that pet of his without a fight!" " Then why are we bothering? We'll probably just get blown up again." WHACK! " Owww!" " We will with that attitude!" " Grouch." " What was that?" " Uh, nevermind." " Why are we doing this here?" " Because it's the most convenient." " Eh?" " Quiet! The rest may have left but that brats still sleeping upstairs!" " He is???" " Why do you think we've been whispering?" Jessie dusted her hands off and looked around in satisfaction. Meowth glanced at James quizzically. " How is dis any different from what we normally do?" " Because now that pest is off-guard. He won't be expecting this!" Jessie smirked. Meowth shrugged his shoulders, tail twitching in synch. James' stomach gurgled. He rubbed it and looked up pitifully. " Can we get something to eat now?" Sighing dramaticaly, Jessie nodded assent. Giving the Ketchum residence one last lookover, she giggled, a high-pitched sound that grated the ears. " This is going to work," she vowed, eyes flashing dangerously. " It can't fail!" She turned to them. " Let's go get the finishing touch!" One last quick doublecheck, and the trio quickly slipped out the door, James pausing long enough to wipe any evidence of fingerprints from the doorknob.

" Thank you for helping me get the shopping done," Mrs Ketchum said gratefully as she unlocked the front door, carrying a bulging grocery bag in one hand, keys in the other. Behind her, Misty and Brock struggled under the weight of the mounds of groceries in their arms. " N-no problem!" Brock ground out between gritted teeth as he fought to keep the 50 pound bag of potatoes from slipping out of his grasp, while carrying cartons of food on top. Misty nodded assent, unable to speak while carrying the strap of one bag between her teeth. Moving quickly into the house, the two of them unloaded their wares onto the kitchen floor and collapsed into the comfortable kitchen chairs, muscles suddenly weak. " You two go check on Ash for me - I'll take care of putting everything away," Mrs Ketchum said, smiling as she shooed them out. Brock and Misty leaped at the chance to avoid more work and charged up the stairs. Brock rapped on the wooden door to Ash's room. " Hey Ash - you decent?" A grumble answered them and Brock shrugged. Consider Ash warned, he thought slyly, and opened the door. Stepping into the dimly lit room, they spotted Ash dozing on his bed, clad in his usual black t-shirt,but a pair of old grey sweatpants replaced his usual jeans - the sweats allowed more comfort for his ribs which were still taped. His hat hung on a peg next to his nightstand and his gloves lay crumpled on the stand, waiting to be put on once again. Misty giggled quietly. " He looks so young when he sleeps," she whispered to Brock. And so cute too she thought, and blushed. Brock nodded, and looked around. " I wonder where Pikachu is?" Shrugging, Misty went over to the window and opened the curtains to let in some light. Then she noticed something. " Hey Brock? The windows open," she said frowning. " It was closed when we left." " So?" Brock joined her. " Ash probably opened it after we left. Pikachu probably wanted to go out - that's probably where he is right now." " You two are LOUD," grumbled a voice from behind them. Turning around, they saw Ash open his eyes and stretch cautiously. " Sorry Ash," Misty said contritely. Brock motioned to the open window. " Where's Pikachu?" Ash stared at the open window in confusion. " I don't know - who opened the window?" " You mean you didn't?" Brock asked. Ash shook his head. He glanced at his nightstand and his eyes widened in shock. He jumped out of bed, wincing as he twinged his ribs, and fell to his knees before the nightstand, whipping the drawers open and pawing through them frantically. " What's up Ash?" Brock asked worriedly. " My pokeballs!" Ash cried out, abandoning the drawers and slowly lowering himself to the floor, now cringing in obvious pain. Misty sighed in exasperation, reached down, and hauled him back up by his good arm. " You know," she drawled sarcastically." Those ribs of yours aren't going to heal if you keep moving them around!" " But-" " I'LL check under the bed." Laying down on the floor, she lifted the comforter edge and peered underneath, sputtering as she inhaled a dustball. Releasing the blanket and standing up,she coughed. " Nothing there but a bad case of dustbunnies!" she said, wrinkling her nose. Then she saw the panicked expression on Ash's face, she softened slightly. " Ash relax! Maybe Pikachu has them with him wherever he is!" " Or maybe someone came in and took them all!" Ash fired back. Brock stepped between them. " Ash, all your pokemon are friends with Pikachu. And you haven't really let them out in a while. Maybe Pikachu just went out to play with them." " Well, I'm not waiting to find out," Ash declared and sat down on the bed heavily. He looked at his sneakers on the floor for a minute, debating whether or not he could quickly lean over and snatch them up before his ribs knew what he was up to. Heaving yet another sigh, Misty grabbed the sneakers and knelt before him, putting them on Ash's feet and doing up the laces. Ash gave her a weird look and Misty just shook her head. " Don't get used to this, Ash Ketchum," she grumbled. " Your ribs will heal eventually." " I'm not sure if I want them to anymore," Ash chuckled. Misty felt the familiar blush coming to her face and she turned away quickly. " Let's go find the others," she growled, but a warmth spread through her at the disguised compliment. Ash made his way carefully down the stairs, his friends there to support him. Reaching the bottom, he called out," Hey mom! Be back in a few minutes! We're going to see if my pokemon went outside!" Then he waited for the verbal barrage sure to strike. He really didn't feel up to moving around yet and his mom knew it. Another one of those mom-things, he decided. When no answer came, he went around the corner. " Mom?" Suddenly, two familiar silhouettes appeared. " Prepare for trouble," Jessie sneered. " And make it double!" James looked at them patronizingly. " You two!" Ash snarled. " You probably took my pokemon!" " Well, not yet," James said, a little puzzled. "But until then..." " We'll settle for her!" Jessie finished, stepping aside to reveal Ash's mom, tied to a chair with a gag over her mouth. Ash's face flushed with anger and he stepped forward. " Uh uh, not so fast!" Jessie wagged her finger at him. Meowth suddenly jumped down from the ceiling lamp to the table. " Sorry sucker!" he said gleefully, pressing his finger down on a red button. Lights flashed and Brock and Misty felt stiff material wrapping around their arms and legs, haul them back, and pin them to the wall. " Hey!" Ash whirled around and saw his friends hanging from his dining room wall. " What the.." " We planned this little surprise while you were sleeping!" Jessie laughed. " We knew you wouldn't expect this!" James giggled. Ash growled at them and lunged for them. Before he could reach them however, a cage slapped together around him from the side walls and ceiling. He stopped short before the bars, gripping them until his knuckles turned white. " Now, give us Pikachu and we'll leave peacefully." Jessie polished her nails on her outfit in a display of pure control over the situation. " I'm sure eventually, someone will come and set you free." " What are you talking about?" Ash asked heatedly. " You've already got him!" " We do?" James looked at Meowth. " Since when?" " Shut up, idiots!" Jessie smacked them both. Then she turned back to Ash. " Okay, you little brat, for once we're holding all the cards. So give us the mouse. Now." " You mean you don't have Pikachu?" Ash asked, visibly deflating. Now Jessie and James looked confused. " Of course we don't! That's why we set up this little trap!" Jessie snapped. " Well, it was a waste of time!" Misty grinned. " Pikachu's not here!" " But...but..." stammered James. " No!" Jessie shook her head. " This was PERFECT!! We finally had a plan that worked!" Her head snapped up, eyes enraged. Ash gulped. Then Jessie relaxed slightly. " I think you're lying to me," Jessie purred. " And we're not leaving until we get your pokemon." With that, she stalked out of the room, James and Meowth at her heels. Left in the kitchen with the shades drawn and doors and windows locked, the four captives could only look a each other helplessly. Ash sagged against the cage, pain shooting through him. " Ash? You'd better sit down," advised Misty worriedly. Mrs Ketchum nodded her head, prevented from speaking thanks to the gag. Ash sank to the floor, head lowered. " Ash?" Brock asked, barely able to see his friend. " Where is he?" Ash whispered. Where's Pikachu?

The source of Ash's miscontent was striding through a nearby field, pokeballs still safely stashed in the bag slung over his shoulder. Reaching a clearing, Pikachu looked around, saw the entire area was quiet, and nodded in satisfaction. He opened the bag and released the pokeballs, tapping the white button on each, all except one. Pidgeotto, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur materialized in a flash of red light. They all looked up in confusion when they saw no sign of Ash. Pikachu stepped forward. " Pikapi, pipikachu!(Ash is still hurting!)" he said, standing there imposingly. Squritle and Bulbasaur looked at each other. " Squirtle, squirt? (I thought he was getting better?)" Squirtle asked with a frown. " Pika. Pika pipipikachu! (So did I. But he's still sad)" Pikachu told them. " Bulba, bulbasaur, bulba? (so what do we do?)" Bulbasaur asked. " Pideooo!Pideooooooooo! (We can help him win more battles!" suggested Pidgeotto. Pikachu shook his head. " Pikapi, pi pikachu.(Ash doesn't want to battle anymore." " Bulbasaur! (what!)" Bulbasaur stepped back. " Bulbasaur, bulbasaur? (then what are we supposed to do?" " Pika, pikachu. Pi, pika. Chaaa! (That's not important. He feels guilty. For saving my life.)" " Pidgeo? (why?)" " Pika, pikachu! (Because of what happened!)" Pikachu said quietly. Pideotto tapped his shoulder gently. " Pidgeot, pidgeotto. (What he did was brave.)" " Squirtle squirt, squirt. (Only Ash would do that for his pokemon,)" Squirtle said resolutely. " Bulba. (You bet.)" " Pidgeo? (he thinks he's a bad trainer?)" Pidgeotto suddenly asked. Pikachu nodded sadly. Pidgeotto shook her head. " Pidgeotto, pidgeot. Pidgeoooo! ( He's a great trainer. How do we tell him this?)" Pikachu smiled. " Pika pikachu.(That's why we're here. I have an idea.)" The three pokemon looked at him quizzically. Pikachu pulled a fourth pokeball free, and the others shrank back. " Squirtle squirt! (That's Charizard's pokeball!)" " Bulbasaur, bulba! (What are you doing with HIM!)" " Pikachu!Pika pika! (we're going to have a talk with him!)" Pikachu said smugly and hit the button.

They all stepped back as Charizard erupted from the pokeball with a howl that could be heard for miles. Pikachu held his ground. He remembered what Ash had done for him. Ash had risked his life to save him. As Charizard finally finished spouting flames and looked down at him in disdain, Pikachu balled up his little fists. " Pika pikapi.(For Ash.)" he whispered. Then he stepped forward to face the dragon.


DISCLAIMER: Put your laywers back on their leashes, boys - I never once said they were mine!


NOTES: I know this part was a long time in coming and I appreciate your patience. However, I also appreciate the emailed kick-in-the-butt I got from AJ and Shadowcat about getting a move on - thanks! *waves* Now, I didn't like how the "pokemon speech"looked, last chapter, so I did it differently. Tell me which works better for you. And lastly, this is basically my interpretaion of why Charizard seemingly hates Ash - I don't know if it's true or not, but this is what I think, so if it doesn't float your boat, then write your own fanfic!

I get knocked down But I get up again You're never gonna keep me down I get knocked down But I get up again You're never gonna keep me down

"Tubthumping" - Chumbawamba

Ash leaned against the bars of his cage, sucking in a shallow breath of pain at the slight movement. His whole body was sore, the result of his trying to move around before he'd completely healed. And now he was trapped. A soundless snarl etched on his face, he glanced around trying to find something to use to his advantage. From her entrapment against the Katchum wall, Misty craned her head, trying to see what he was doing. " Ash?" She saw the familiar red and white cap bob back and forth. " Ash - stop moving around!" " We have to get out of here!" Ash said heatedly, as he stood back up slowly. He looked at her and Misty could see the concern and worry in his eyes. " I have to find Pikachu before Team Rocket does!" " Where'd they go, anyway?" Brock asked, shifting uncomfortably. The restraints were cutting into his wrists and he tried to ease the tension by stretching his toes to the floor to take some of the weight. Misty turned her head. " I wonder if they're even in the house!" She strained her ears, listening for any clue as to the whereabouts of their forementioned captors. Brock and Ash froze as well, and Mrs. Ketchum closed her eyes to focus her senses. Nothing. " Maybe they left for good," mused Misty thoughtfully. " Well, they couldn't find Pikachu here, so they're probably outside," Brock said sensibly. Ash rattled his cage in desperation. " We've got to get out of here!" he repeated, feeling useless in his plight. But the bars remained cold and unyeilding, despite his heartfelt pleas.

" RRRRRRWWWOOOOOAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!" Flames spewed about the earth, singing the trees, and setting the grass on fire. Stone melted and bubbled under the intense heat.

Pikachu skipped back out of range with the other pokemon and an inner voice questioned his sanity. But he resolutely stood tall and waited for Charizard to stop throwing his temper tantrum. " (Are you done?)" he asked sarcastically. Charizard cocked his head at the yellow mouse. " (Oh, it's YOU!)" the dragon snorted. "(What do you want?)" " (For you to stop being a jerk, for one,)" said Pidgeotto as she fanned her wings at the flames, helping Squirtle to douse the ring of fire. Charizard laughed. " (Oh, this is too funny!)" he chortled, small tendrils of smoke wisping from his nostrils. He glanced around curiously. " (So where's whats-his-name?)" " (HIS name is Ash,)" said Pikachu quietly. "(And he's YOUR trainer.)" " (Not by choice!)" Charizard spat out. Pikachu and Bulbasaur exchanged a look; then the grass pokemon stepped forward. " (Why do you hate him?)" Bulbasaur asked, puzzled. "(He's a good trainer. And he loves all of us, even you! Though I don't know why!)" Charizard crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. " (There is no such thing as a good trainer.)" " (How can you sau that?)" Squirtle came and stood beside Bulbasaur. " (He's always been good to you! Heck, we used to be FRIENDS!)" " I don't know what you're talking about,)" Charizard growled and looked away. Squirtle shook his domed head. " (That's not true and you know it. Trainers think we don't remember our lives before we evolve, but we do. You know that Ash saved your life!)" Charizard remained unfazed. Pikachu stepped forward. Charizard glowered at him. "(And what does the coddled favourite have to say about this?)" Pikachu looked at him solemnly. "(I used to think that way,)" he admitted slowly. "(When I first met Ash, I thought he was like all the rest, and tried to electrocute him.)" The other pokemon looked at each other in surprise. They never heard about this. Pikachu went on. "(But then, he tried to sacrifice his life for mine to a flock of Spearows. They would have torn him apart but all he said was that he wanted me to get into a spare pokeball where I'd be safe.)" Pikachu smiled at the memory. "(He cared more about my life then he did about his own.)" "(One incident does not a case make,)" said Charizard, rather eloquently. Squirtle lifted his head and looked Charizard squarely in the eyes. "(Then how about two?)" he asked. "(When I met Ash, my gang and I played mean tricks on him, and tried to hurt Pikachu. And when Team Rocket attacked, he threw himself over me to protect me from the bomb's explosion!)" Something in Charizard's eyes flickered, and then disappeared.

"(So?)" he said casually, but Pikachu saw his interest was peaked. Pidgeotto flew in closer. "(From one flying type, to another, I'll speak for Butterfree!)" she chirped. "(I remember Butterfree telling me about the time he was kidnapped by Beedrills. He thought Ash had abandoned him, but he redeemed himself by risking his life to get Metapod back! That's when he evolved!)" Pikachu had seen a flash of pain flicker again, in Charizards eyes at the word "abandoned". Understanding flashed in his own.

"(Ash isn't Damien,)" he said softly. Charizard looked up in a panic. "(I know that!)" he roared shooting a jet of flame over their heads. Pikachu and company ducked. When it passed they all looked up again. Charizard's fists were clenched tightly. Pikachu nodded, confident he knew what the problem was. "(You trusted Damien with your life. You loved him,)" Pikachu kept his gaze fixed on Charizard. The orange lizard looked about frantically. This was a side never before seen. Charizard, for all his power and might, had a look of absolute misery shining through his golden brown eyes, and all the other pokemon felt themselves filling with sympathy for the poor abused Charmander he used to be. "(You did your best for your trainer and how did he repay you?" Pikachu asked him again. Charizard's head snapped up, and he howled in rage and anguish, a screech into the air that was filled with pain and sorrow. "(HE ABANDONED ME!!)" Charizard screamed, shooting smoke and flames into the sky. The other pokemon backed up again,but Charizard barely noticed. "( I TRUSTED HIM! I-I EVEN LOVED HIM!! AND HE-)" " Say it!)" Pikachu yelled at him, inwardly urging Charizard to confess. "(HE HATED ME!)" Charizard had molten tears creeping down his face, a sight rarely seen by any fire pokemon. Pikachu's little heart clenched at the amount of pain Charizard suffered through that could induce dragon-tears. "(He hated me, and lied to me!)" Charizard's memories of that time swept over him like a tidal wave and he forgot he had an audience. "(I tried my best! I-I worked harder then any of his other pokemon but he didn't care! He pitied me, and put me in my pokeball but I could still hear him, laughing to his friends as they teased him about having a runt of a Charmander! They called me a weakling!)" He punctuated this last sentence with a ball of fire that struck a tree and blew it skyhigh, sending branches and leaves twisting through the air in a type of macabre, ariel display. "(But they'll never call me that ever again!)" He lowered his head and glared at them the rage in his eyes simmering down until only sorrow was there. "( I won't let them.)" "(THEY, are gone,)" Bulbasaur said quietly. "(You're with Ash and us now, and we'll never treat you like that.)" "(And you're definitley not weak,)" agreed Squirtle nervously, as he eyed the flaming wreckage that had once been a tall oak tree. The other pokemon laughed at him. Charizard felt a corner of his mouth turning up reluctantly, and finally, he snorted once with laughter at the sight of the suddenly-timid Squirtle. As the laughter died down, Charizard felt uncomfortable for having bared his soul in such a way. He shrugge, in an effort to remain nonchalant. "(So now what?)" he asked. Pikachu studied him. "(You know Ash isn't Damien.)" It was a statement, not a question. Charizard averted his eyes. "(I guess,)" he allowed finally. Pikachu watched him carefully for another minute and then clapped him on his rather large foot. "(It's a start!)" he grinned, and Charizard felt himself smiling back. "(I guess I could be a LITTLE nicer.)" "(For Ash, just to see that you don't hate him will definitley make him feel better!)" Squirtle exclaimed. Pidgeotto nodded enthusiastically. "(Maybe he'll start to get better now!)" Charizard's ears pricked up at this. "(What are you talking about?)" he asked gruffly. Bulbasaur turned to him in surprise. "(You mean you didn't know? Ash decided to quit being a Pokemon trainer.)" Charizard nearly fell over in shock. "(What happened?)" The other pokemon filled the dragon in about the events of the last few days, and Charizard felt a growing sense of disgust growing within him. With a start, he realized it was directed soley at himself. If he had battled, he could have won easily - Nidoking was a chump, afterall. And the cliffs wouldn't hurt him - his impressive wings would have seen to that. Guilt wasn't an emotion Charizard was used to feeling and he wasn't sure he was looking forward to experiencing it again. He cleared his throat. "(Let's go knock some sense into him!)" he said, a devilish smile lighting up his face. Pikachu looked at him nervously. "(But not literally, right? I mean, he's still kinda banged up!)" With a roar of laughter, Charizard spread his wings and gathered Bulbasuar and Squirtle up. Pikachu breathed a sigh of relief and sprang onto Pidgeotto's back as she prepared to follow. But before she did, Pidgeotto, turned her head and smiled at Pikachu. "(Now you can stop feeling guilty too!)" she said softly. Pikachu's eyes widened in surprise, but then he smiled and nodded at her. As she left the ground, following the orange dot in front, Pikachu felt a warmth creep over him. It wasn't much, but it was a start. He knew he still owed Ash his life, and he knew that he mgiht never do enough to make it up to his beloved trainer, but having Charizard on Ash's side, would help him a lot.

The flying pokemon landed on the front lawn of the Ketchum residence and with a start, Pikachu realized there was no one inside. He scmapered into the kitchen, the other pokemon hot on his heels, and noted with concern the broken chairs, and overturned table. Wierd-looking pieces of material hung limply from the walls, and Pikachu was pretty sure they had not been there before. "(Where is everybody?)" Bulbasaur whispered to him, voicing the concern foremost on his mind. Pikachu's black eyes narrowed as he scampered over to the cage (where'd that come from, he wondered in passing), and picked up a long skinny object. Squirtle came beside him. "(Team Rocket,)" he growled, staring at the hot pink strands of hair clutched in the tiny fist. Charizard looked around. "(Looks like we missed 'em.)" He turned around. "(But we'll find them.)" he leaped into the air to start an ariel search, Pidgeotto right behind him. Pikachu grinned; even when Charizard had been angry with Ash, he always came to his defense. The areodactyl, the Team Rocket bombings - it was like an unwritten rule that HE could hurt Ash, but let someone else try it, and they were in trouble. The winds kicked up as a signal of Charizards return. "(Found 'em,)" he said tersely. "(Team Rocket was a good guess.)" "(What's wrong?)" Bulbasaur asked. Pidgeotto flapped her wings anxiously. "(We couldn't really tell, but I think Jessie believes Ash is hiding us and won't tell her where we are,)" she admitted. "(They've got Ash, his mother and Brock and Misty all tied up and another really big machine is there too.And so is Gary! Jessie was screaming at him.)" she shuddered at the sight of that pink-haired demon shrieking louder then a Spearow, and twice as annoying. "(She scares me.)" "(Me too!)" Pikachu said ferverently. "(We have to save them.)" "(Yeah,)" Charizard said slowly. "(Ash...didn't look so good. I think he's hurting.)" "(Then there's no time to waste.)" Pikachu scampered to the door, and looked back. "(Let's go!)"


DISCLAIMER: Nope, not mine. Do I look like a millionaire to you?

NOTES: About the title, any artist will tell you some of the basic elements in any drawing include the charateristics I've used in the title. Those three in particular, make a piece of art complete, make it look whole. Without those, a picture can look incomplete, a shadow of itself. Friendship is a lot like that - and since our hero's have a strong relationship, you know these elements are evident, and that when they're all together, they are united, in synch with each other and balanced, with each having their own strengths and areas of expertise that make the friendship complete.

Special thanks to 'Cat for leaving such entertaining messages and some desperately needed constructive criticism. Also thanks to Wyvern who's not afraid to boss me around when I need it, and Articuno, who's kind words made get off my duff and start writing!

'Till the end, I'll be here with you We will go, where our dreams come true All the times, that we have been through You will always be my best friend.

"My Best Friend" - Pokemon CD

Gary was still in shock. When he'd arrived at the Ketchum residence, the last thing he had expected to see was his former rival and company, behind bars and trussed up, respectively. Having knocked and receiving no answer, Gary had entered the kitchen, seen the scenario, and was seriously considering leaving before he got pulled into...whatever it was they had gotten themselves into. " What happened?" he asked scratching his head. Ash shot to his feet. " Ow!" he complained." Gary - get us out of here!" " Um, yeah - right." He inspected the cage carefully, looking for the lock. Misty chuffed impatiently. " Come on Gary!" she snapped. " Team Rocket could be back at any second!" " Team Rocket?" Gary blinked and looked at Ash. " I've heard of them - why are they after you?" " They're not after ME," Ash corrected him. " They're after Pikachu. And have been, for a very long time now." " Okay." Gary found the clasp and turned it. Ash grinned and loped out of the cage gingerly. The two of them grabbed knives from Mrs. Ketchum's butcher block and began sawing at the bands that held Brock and Misty to the wall. Mrs Ketchum sighed impatiently from behind her gag, but waited her turn. Suddenly, smoke billowed under the kitchen door and the group began to hack and choke. " What's going on?" gasped Gary, fighting for air. Ash choked and stumbled, falling to his knees as he pawed at his throat, trying to breathe. Misty and Brock tried valiantly to blow the smoke away from their faces but the noxious fumes overwhelmed them and they too fell quiet. As the silence settled, a chuckle pierced the air. " Saps." " Prepare for trouble!" " Make it dou-" " Shut up!" " Never interrupt the motto!" >SMACK< " But dey're unconscious!" " So?" " Hmmph." The kitchen door swung open and Jessie stood in the doorway, framed by the outside light. " Well, you're right about that," she said studying the limp forms. " So what else is new?" Meoth strolled into the room and kicked Ash's hand with his paw. " I'm always right." " You're also full of it," muttered James, pushing past the two of them. " We've got to hurry." " They're not going anywhere," Jessie sniffed. " But the gas won't last forever," James countered. Jessie nodded. " True." Grabbing arms and legs, Team Rocket began hauling their cargo outside and loading it into the cargo space of a huge van, adorned with the black and red logo of Team Rocket. Ash's mother was left behind, because as Jessie put it: " I have a soft spot for mothers." " It was nice of the boss to assign us one of the official Rocket transports," Jessie grinned. " No more rentals for us!" Meoth cheered. " It's a good thing - for all the rentals we've totalled, my salary will belong to the credit card company for the next ten years!" James grumped. Jessie smacked him lightly. " Relax James. We're finally succeeding, and you're still moping. What's wrong with you?" " Nothing Jess. Let's go." James diverted her attention and crawled into the driver's seat. He didn't feel right about this. It was one thing to attack the pest in the open, and give him a fighting chance. He winced internally at the remembrance of the numerous " blasting off" their duo (oops trio - Meoth wasn't really considered a "pokemon" pokemon) had done at the hands of Ash and Co. But it was quite another thing altogether to ambush Ash inside his own home, while taking his MOTHER hostage. James thought of the numerous bandages wrapped around the punk. While he was injured too. James would never desert Team Rocket to become a white hat, but sometimes he wished that TR had some limits. But he banished those thoughts from his mind and concentrated on driving back to their camp. At the same time, Jessie was in heaven. For once, things were going her way! A plan she had though of, was actually working! " And the boss will be so proud of us! Maybe even give us a raise!" " And I'll be top cat again! Not that mangy Persian!" Meoth spat at the thought of his hated rival. James managed a brief smile. " Maybe we'll be promoted! I really liked being a gym leader." Jessie threw him a brilliant smile. " So did I - until you electrocuted me!" James blushed. " It was an honest mistake," he protested, fighting back a laugh. The three Rockets drove on.

Reaching the camp, they dumped all four of their prisoners to the ground unceremoniously. Procuring a length of rope, James and Meoth proceeded to tie them up again. Jessie splashed water into their faces to waken them. With a glub, Ash came awake first. Misty and Brock took a few more seconds, and Gary came awake with a shout. " That's cold!" " It's supposed to be!" smirked Jessie. " We can't very well show kindness at this stage of our plan, now could we?" " Now's the part where you give in and give up, your Pikachu!" snarled Meowth, brandishing claws. " I already told you I don't know where he is!" Ash yelled in frustration. " And if I did, I wouldn't give him to you!" " Do you think he's telling the truth?" James whispered to Jessie. " I don't see any pokeballs on him anyway." " That's what he WANTS us to think. He's probably stashed that electric rat somewhere close by, just waiting to zap us!" Jessie whispered back. Aloud, she glared at Ash. " Well, it won't work." Her lips curled up in a cruel smile. " We have ways of making you talk." Producing a pokeball, she flashed Ash a thousand watt smile. " Likitung! Supersonic!"

Ash screamed as his mind was assualted and that venemous tongue paralyzed him. Pain flared through his body, white hot coals of fire igniting every wound. Misty and Brock cried out with him. " STOP! Leave him alone!" " Can't you see he's already injured?" Brock shouted. Likitung released Ash and glared at them menacingly. Jessie smirked. " We noticed. We just don't care." Jessie polished her nails again, before looking back at her prisoner. " Time to spill your guts boy!" " Back off Jessie!" Gary snarled. " You should know by now he'll never voluntarily give over Pikachu!" " Ah, but that's what torture is for," Jessie said, a trifle smugly. Gary shook his head, snickering. " I doubt there's much more you could do for him. Ash already threw himself off a cliff for his pokemon - he was prepared for death. You think he's gonna cave to you?" Jessie's cheeks burned and her eyes glowed briefly in her anger. " Maybe the brat can take all I dish out on HIM," she grated. " But what happens if I give the punishment to someone else?" Garys' head snapped up at that but he barely had time to scream before Lickitung's voluminous tongue overpowered him, shutting his mind down as though the pokemon had flicked off a switch. Misty and Brock screamed hatefully at Team Rocket, trying to distract Jessie. James crouched behind her, absently stroking the fur on Meoth's head. Both looked a little uneasy at the lengths Jessie was willing to go to, but neither interfered.

Ash blinked as he started to come to his senses. He was in pain, big time. Head sore, arms killing him...ribs? Oh yeah! he sucked in his breath at the pain. Yep, ribs were still there. He heard a muffled scream and saw Gary on the recieving end of Lickitung's devastating attack. About to scream out, he was distracted by a movement out of the corner of his eye. Turning his head, he thought he could make out a receeding speck Nah. He shook his head slowly and forced himself to his feet. " Jessie! Leave him alone!" " Now are you ready to negotiate?" Jessie purred. " It might be best if you just co-operated," James added. " Then you can get this over with." " I told you! I! Don't! Have! Him! What part of that didn't you understand?" Ash screamed in frustration. Jessie scowled. " Lickitung! Get him!" Ash wobbled on his feet but he bravely faced the large pink pokemon, bracing himself for the searing pain. It never came. A tremendous roar filled his ears and the winds kicked up dramatically. Dirt flew into Jessie's eyes and she dropped Lickitung's pokeball, clawing at her eyes. " I can't see!" James backed away, trying to see what was happening. Automatically releasing Wheezing for defense, he shouted in pain and surprise as he felt a familiar current tear through him and his pokemon. " Pikachuuuuuuuuu!!!"

Misty and Brock squinted and nearly had simultaneous heart attacks when they felt the air rush by as two sharp objects fly through the air and sever their ropes. Vines wrapped around them, helping them to keep their balance in the wind. Ash was on his knees, his bad arm tucked underneath him. His familiar hat was ripped from his head by the winds and he cried out. He watched flames strike Team Rocket's van, igniting the gas tank and sending a massive fireball errupting towards the heavens. Fire? " Ch-Charizard?" he muttered woozily, teetering. Suddenly, a massive hand wrapped around him and he stared at it in surprise. It was orange. He looked up into the familiar, snarling visage of his temperamental pokemon. Believing he was about to be charbroiled, Ash did the only thing he could think of. He passed out.

GBOA - Battle's End

Finally! The end of GBOA - not! I kinda left the ending slightly open - in case I ever decide to continue, but for all intents and purposes, The Greatest Battle of All is now officially over!

Wyvern, Shadowcat, Articuno, Lady Artist and Flares - you guys are essential to my writing process! Without ya, I think I would've dropped the series a loooooooong time ago! And to anyone else who reads this - thank ya muchly!

And now - The Conclusion!

The crowds roared as Ash stepped up to the platform. Hefting a pokeball in one hand, he turned the brim of his cap around with the other, eyes piercing across the field to his opponent. Lips curled up in a confident grin, he reared back, about to throw the pokeball. Holding his position for a minute, he let the sound of the audience fill him with energy, listening to the chant of his name. Ash. Ash. Ash. " Ash?" Ash. Ash. Ash. " Ash?" Ash blinked. The sounds of the crowd disappeared, and were replaced by the sight of Misty standing over him, a look of concern on her face. " Are you okay?" Ash slowly sat up, wincing as he did. Misty halted his upward movement, placing a hand on his chest and pushing him back down. " Did you forget about those ribs of yours?" she asked. Relief shot through her voice, mixed with exasperation at his forgetfulness. Ash grinned shakily. " Guess so." Glancing around him, he blinked again. " Where am I?" " Huh? Oh right! This is Team Rockets van - they had a bunk back here and we decided to put you in it until you woke up." Misty stood up from where she had been perched on the edge of the bed and walked to the back van doors. Opening one, she paused. " I'm glad you're all right." Ash smiled at her. " Me too," he agreed. " Thanks Misty." He watched the familiar blush spread across her face. Then she grinned at him and opened the doors. Standing there, framed by sunlight, was Charizard.

" Waaaa!" Ash backpeddaled frantically until he hit the back of the van, pain flaring through him. Charizard snorted and Misty covered her mouth in embarrassment. " Oh I'm sorry Ash!" she cried before giggling. " I forgot to tell you -" " Tell me what? " Well, Charizard is the one that saved us! In fact, all of your pokemon did!" said Misty, patting the large dragon's arm. Ash stared. " Really? " he asked softly, gazing into the eyes of the pokemon, searching for the truth. Charizard stared back calmly, and Ash felt a kind of hidden message pass between them, a sign of respect no other could see. Then Charizard tossed something at him before leaving. Ash stared at the bundle of blue fabric. " My jacket?" Picking it up, his fingers encountered a hard object and he unfolded the material to reveal his League Badges. " What....." " I think Charizards telling you not to give up yet," Misty said softly. Ash swallowed. Then his eyes took in where he was and he sat up again, groaning theatrically. Misty shrugged. " I'm sick of reminding you to mind your injuries," she said and stepped out of the way to allow him access outside. Ash climbed out of the van and took in the sight. His pokemon were scattered across the Team Rocket campsite. And TeamRocket? Were tied to the tree, covered with soot and assorted debris. He couldn't help it - Ash burst out laughing. " W-what happened to t-them?" he asked, voice filled with mirth. Misty grinned at him and waved a hand at his pokemon. " THEY happened!" Pikachu's ears pricked and he raised his eyes. Seeing Ash up and about, Pikachu squealed and ran at the youth. Ash couldn't help but wince as the little body barrelled into him, but he didn't release his grip. Pidgeotto, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur joined the two in a touching group hug. Ash looked up to see Charizard watching with a faint smile, and again, that look of respect passed between them. " I think I'm about to be sick," muttered Jessie miserably. James and Meowth agreed with her. Ash gave them a cold look before turning back to Misty. " So where's Brock and Gary? Was Gary all right?" " They're both fine," Misty assured him. " Gary was just stunned by Likitung. Your pokemon showed up in time to stop any lasting damage. He and Brock left to get Officer Jenny for those two-" she jerked her thumb at the hapless Team Rocket. "- and Nurse Joy for Gary and you." " I'm fine," Ash waved away her concern. " My pokemon?" " Couldn't be better," Misty finished. Across from them, Charizard snorted in impatience and stomped towards the young trainer, who gulped at his approach. Charizard stood before him, folding his arms and nodding at the badges Ash still had clutched, forgotten, in his hands. " I guess you wanna know what's going on," he said. Charizard shrugged, and Pikachu leaped onto the orange shoulder, indicating which side he chose. Squirtle, Pidegotto and Bulbasaur exchanged glances before joining the two. Staring at his pokemon, Ash wondered what was going on. Then he watched Charizard unfold one arm, and reach out to him. Ash numbly gripped the extended claw and he was pulled into the circle. Squirtle and Pikachu nabbed the jacket and forced Ash to put it on. Bulbasaur reached up with one slender vine to grip Ash's cap and turn it around in his signature style. Pidgeotto opened her claws and dropped 5 small pokeballs into his palm. Misty wiped a tear from her eye as she stared at the scene. " I guess you're returning to the world of Pokemon battling, huh Ash?" she smiled. The young trainer's face couldn't be seen - his hands gently holding the pokeballs as though they were the greatest treasure on the earth. When he finaly looked up, Misty was shocked by the change on his face. Gone was the doubt, the insecurity. Gone was self-hate. Replacing it was a thousand-watt smile, something she hadn't seen on Ash since the accident. " Looks like it," he said softly. He hooked the pokeballs to the side of his belt, marvelling at how natural the action seemed. The pokemon cheered, and Misty surprised him by wrapping her arms around him tightly. Stunned, he brought up his arms in a reflex action, and hugged her back. Then she stepped back, clearing her throat. " It's good to have you back," she admitted. Then she folded her arms, a familiar smirk shining through the tears on her face. " But this doesn't change anything, Ketchum." Ash reared back in surprise at the apparent lack of emotion - until Misty gave herself away with a giggle. " You still owe me a bike!" Ash stared at her - and burst out laughing. He doubled over, tears of laughter streamiing down his face. Ribs forgotten, he laughed long and loud, hearing Misty break down beside him. Pikachu and the others joined in his cathartic release. He slowly straightened, feeling as though his emotions had been drained from him, leaving him feeling lighter then he'd felt in a long time. " You know, I think they've all lost their minds," commented a sarcastic voice. Ash turned and grinned at the familiar voice. " I think I'd have to agree with you Gary!" Brock and Gary looked at each other, and back at Misty, the young trainer and his gaggle of giggling pokemon and shrugged. " I've missed this, " said Brock, watching Ash with a huge smile. His fears that the old Ash was forever gone, disappeared in a flash. Speaking of flashes... Officer Jenny roared up on her scooter, lights flashing. " Where are they?" she asked, the eagerness in her voice evident. She'd been tracking Team Rocket a long time - locking them away was sounding really good to her. Nurse Joy hopped off the sidecar and rushed to Ash, quickly subjecting him to a thorough checkover. Pronouncing him undamaged, she moved on to the other pokemon. " Enough sap!" moaned Meowth as he watched Ash cuddle Pikachu. " Gettin' arrested's soundin' pretty good about now!" " I wonder what they're serving in prison for meals these days," mused James. Jessie shook her head, closing her eyes as Officer Jenny read them their rights. Ash, Brock, Misty and Gary watched as Team Rocket were carted off. " So what now?" Brock asked, directing the hidden meaning of his question at Ash. " I'm not quitting," Ash said, looking at each of his pokemon gratefully. Gary grinned at him. " Good thing too." " Why?" " 'Cause now I'll get my chance to humiliate ya!" Gary stood up and began to walk towards his home. " But some other time." As he left, he couldn't help but remember what had transpired. One thing stood out in his mind though. _Ash is definitley not the wimp I used to think he was_ Gary turned and saw Ash's silhouette, the brilliant glow of the sun casting him in a golden light, and he felt his respect for the young trainer grow. _He's going to do something special with his life. Guaranteed._ " Bye Gary!" Ash waved at his former rival. Then he slumped slightly. " What a day." " I think we could all use some rest," agreed Brock. " And your mom's probably worried." " Yeah," Ash said, closing his eyes with a yawn. Then his eyes flew open. " MOM!!!"

Mrs. Ketchum's foot tapped impatiently against the linoleum floor. The gag muffled her shouts and she was resigned to having to wait for her son to come and free her. When he himself got free. Mrs. Ketchum sighed again. _Kids._

The end! That's it! Finito!

As always, let me know what you think!