Author's Note: For those of you who remember the Orange Islands arc of Pokémon, the real reason as to why Brock left Valencia Island and Professor Ivy was never flat-out given. That gives an opening for fanfics to explain, so… this story attempts to do so. Disclaimer: these characters are not mine, except for Amanda.
Brock was awake at first light as he usually was. The Pokémon of Valencia Island greeted him as he served them breakfast.
His Vulpix pawed at his feet.
"You need to eat, too," she said in her native tongue.
"Don't worry about me, Vulpix," he assured her.
Brock could understand her well enough by this time, even though she couldn't speak English. And after spending almost two months as a lab assistant to Professor Ivy, he could learn to guess what the island Pokémon were trying to say, as well. He was aware of this rare gift he possessed—a gift that, he hoped, would aid him on his quest to become a great Pokémon breeder. But right now, this gift was telling him that something was amiss with the island Pokémon. They weren't as happy as they usually were; something that Brock had noticed in the past week.
Today was no exception. The Pokémon arrived for their breakfast, but they ate in silence, looking rather sullen.
"Guys, what's wrong?" Brock asked.
The Pokémon exchanged glances among each other, and immediately perked up, happily eating. But Brock was no fool; he'd seen it all before with his siblings and then with Ash and Misty: acting like everything was fine after being questioned about why they seemed upset was a sure sign that something was wrong.
He took his concerns to Ivy.
"They seem really upset about something," he explained. "I thought, at first, that it could be some bug going around, but then my Pokémon would've caught it, too…"
"Possibly," Ivy replied. "But keep in mind, you've been traveling a lot, and your Pokémon could have higher immunity than these wild ones who've never left the island."
"That's true," Brock admitted. "But even so…"
"I'll be sure to look into it," she assured him. "But in the meantime, I have to look into other matters that have recently been brought to my attention."
"How recently?" asked Brock. "Would you say, within the past week?"
"In fact, yes," she said. "You don't happen to own a psychic Pokémon, do you?"
"Not at all," he said. "It's just that…"
"Never mind," said Ivy. "I'm not at liberty to discuss everything I've found out, but… have you heard of Team Rocket?"
"You've got to be kidding…" Brock mused. "My friends and I only battled them a couple hundred times…"
"Team Rocket has its own number of Pokémon experts," Ivy explained. "And I've received some information concerning them."
"Like what?" asked Brock, stunned.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you," she replied. "It's not that you can't be trusted, but…"
"I understand," said Brock.
"One last thing," said Ivy. "I am expecting a package arriving from the mainland by courier. When it gets here, could you leave it on my desk?"
He nodded, and Ivy thanked him and left.
Brock stayed behind, mulling over what Ivy had told him. Everything made a bit more sense now. Ivy had found out the past week about Team Rocket's latest plan, and since Pokémon could easily read human emotions, the island Pokémon must have sensed her concern and became worried in turn.
But what was Team Rocket planning? Brock hadn't seen a sign of Jessie or James since he, Misty, and Ash were en route to Valencia Island two months ago. Not that he really expected to; he knew that their primary obsession was to capture Pikachu, and that even as he spoke, they'd probably be trying again. Of course, Ash and Misty would defeat them yet again.
Brock's thoughts turned to his friends, wondering where they were right now. He missed traveling and seeing all the new sights and meeting the locals… especially the girls. Not that he ever managed to get a word to them; Misty's ear-pulls would see to that. Brock chuckled to himself. He once told Misty that one day, he'd have one ear longer than the other. Misty told him not to worry; she'd alternate ears in the future.
And then there was Ash. Ash reminded him of his brothers: charging confidently into whatever lay ahead… often going in over his head and needing constant bailing out… but Ash was always serious when it came to his Pokémon. He never took them for granted. That was something the Brock knew was uncommon among trainers; he'd seen plenty of them come in and out of Pewter Gym.
Brock sighed. He had come to consider Ash and Misty as two more siblings.
"You'll see them again," assured Vulpix, sensing his thoughts. "I miss Togepi and Pikachu, too."
"Yeah," he said. "Come on... I think the Pokémon could use some cheering up…"
He trailed off as an idea came to mind.
"Vulpix… maybe the Pokémon know about Team Rocket's plan," he said.
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"It's my theory that if Ivy had mentioned something over the phone, the Pokémon nearby would have overheard her, and spread the word," Brock explained. "That explains why they're all upset. Which is where you come in. For some reason, the Pokémon are putting up a front every time I ask them what's wrong. So I need you to ask around and see if you can learn anything about what Team Rocket is planning."
"But Ivy said you're not supposed to know," said Vulpix.
"She doesn't understand the help I could be; don't forget how many times we've battled Team Rocket."
"True…" admitted Vulpix. "OK, then, I'll…"
She trailed off as the doorbell rang.
"That must be Ivy's package," said Brock.
He answered the door.
"Hello, and…" he began, but was silenced by the vision of a young woman standing before him with shoulder length beige hair and a Bellossom by her side. "Uh…"
"I have a package here for a Felina Ivy," she said. "Are you one of her assistants?"
Wordlessly, Brock nodded, half expecting Misty to materialize out of nowhere to grab his ear.
"Well, here it is," she went on, holding out the package, but Brock didn't move.
"Ahem…" said Vulpix, bringing him around.
"Oh, right," he said. "Vulpix, uh… you can… you can go and talk to the other Pokémon."
Vulpix rolled her eyes in amusement and left.
The girl smiled.
"Cute Vulpix… hey, hold on… aren't you the Pewter City Gym Leader?" she asked.
"Yeah that's right…" he said, blushing. "I'm Brock."
"Amanda," she said, extending her hand.
He shook her hand.
"Is that my package?" asked Ivy, coming back. "Why, thank you. It must be difficult, having to go from island to island, isn't it?"
"Yeah, but you get to see a lot of places," said Amanda. "And Bellossum keeps me company. Luckily, this is my last delivery. I've finally raised enough money to quit, and I've already given my notice."
"How nice for you," said Ivy. "Well, if you want, you can relax here for as long as you need before returning."
"Oh, well… maybe I'll stay for lunch."
"Great, then I'll go start it!" said Brock, dashing for the kitchen.
Brock was in the middle of preparing the meal when Amanda walked in.
"Oh, hi!" he greeted her. "I'm about halfway through this…"
He trailed off at the look on her face.
"Brock… I was with Bellossum just now, and…" she shook her head. "I don't know how to say this… I think you'd better see for yourself."
She took him outside where Bellossum was tending to Vulpix, who was quivering in pain.
"Vulpix!" Brock cried, gathering the little fox in his arms. "Vulpix, what happened to you!?"
"That's the thing…" said Amanda. "There are no wounds on her, but she seems like she's hurting. She just limped to where Bellossum and I were, crying."
"Vulpix, what's wrong?" Brock asked.
"My neck…" she whimpered.
Suddenly, she yelped in pain.
"Hold on, Vulpix," Brock whispered to her. He checked the back of the fox's neck and was astounded to see buried in her crimson fur was a strange transmitter.
"What is that!?" asked Amanda.
"It's what made the Pokémon so upset…" said Vulpix, crying. "They all have one… it relays… orders to us… and if we don't obey… it hurts us…"
"Who did this to you!?" asked Brock.
"Ivy… that's why… the other Pokémon tried to… act normally… they didn't want you getting… in trouble with her…"
Brock struggled to maintain his composure.
"Amanda," he said. "Do you have Super Potion with you?"
"Listen… I need you to get a pair of small forceps from the lab. Then, go around the island and take the transmitter out of the neck of every Pokémon you come across and treat them with the Super Potion."
"Right!" she promised, and she ran to get the forceps.
"Come on, Vulpix," said Brock. "You and I are getting some answers."
"Brock?" asked Ivy. "Is something wrong?"
"What did you do to my Vulpix!?" he asked.
"Your Vulpix learned too much, and it appears that you have, too," said Ivy, with disapproval.
"What are you doing to these Pokémon!?"
"Brock, you don't understand…" said Ivy. "I had to do this. Team Rocket is in the process of inventing this same kind of transmitter. Wouldn't you rather we had this technology instead of them?"
"I don't believe this…" said Brock, horrified.
"If Team Rocket succeeds in completing their transmitter, we will have a way to counter its effects. The wild Pokémon responded magnificently to the experiment. Your Vulpix, however, refuses to obey. Brock, I implore you to give me Vulpix, if only for a little while. If I can get Vulpix to respond--"
"Are you crazy!?" Brock yelled, angrily. "You keep away from Vulpix!"
"And how do you intend to stop me?" she asked. "Vulpix cannot swim, so it cannot leave the island. And even if you try to spread the word around, not a soul will believe you."
She seized Vulpix from Brock's arms.
"No!" he yelled.
"Gyarados!" she called, and the water dragon appeared to keep Brock from getting past to save Vulpix.
"Perhaps…" said Ivy. "Perhaps trained Pokémon need more transmitters."
She opened her package to reveal dozens of new transmitters.
"Vulpix, Fire Spin!" Brock called.
"No!" roared Ivy.
But she was too late; Vulpix's flames enveloped the package, destroying all of the transmitters. Ivy loosened her hold on Vulpix enough for the fox to escape.
"Gyarados!" she ordered. "Get them both!"
Out of nowhere, a vine whip appeared, sealing the mouth of the Gyarados shut.
"Brock, run!" called Amanda.
Vulpix leaped into Brock's arms and they, along with Amanda and Bellossum, fled.
"The other Pokémon?" Brock asked.
"They're all fine now," she replied. "I had my Cyndaquil take care of the transmitters, but what about you?"
"You can't stay here now!" said Amanda. "Listen… I came here by Cessna and the pilot's still waiting for me; I can take you back to Cinnabar Island, and it's a quick boat ride to the mainland from there."
"After how you helped those Pokémon, how could I not?" she asked.
"But my provisions… all of my other Pokémon… they're still in my…"
He trailed off as Amanda held up his teal backpack.
"I tend to think ahead," she explained. "So after I got the transmitters out, I searched the rooms until I found this. Everything's there, I double-checked."
"Great, but… hold on… I still need to get Vulpix's transmitter off…"
Amanda handed him the forceps, and after a minute, Vulpix was free.
"You alright?" he asked Vulpix.
"I will be," she assured him.
"Come on," said Amanda. "I can see the plane!"
But before they could reach it, they were confronted by Gyarados.
"Oh, no…" whispered Amanda. "What do we do…?"
"Take Vulpix and board the plane; I'll join you when I get the chance."
"You're going to battle it?" Amanda asked.
"I'm going to try to talk to him," said Brock.
"Gyarados!" Brock called to it. "Gyarados, try to understand. Are you really going to go along with Ivy's plan?"
He saw Amanda carry Vulpix and Bellossum into the plane as he spoke. She still had his backpack, but that was all that Brock cared about. Even if he didn't get off the island, his Pokémon would; that was all he cared about now.
"Gyarados, you are a Pokémon. You understand the plight of the other Pokémon here, don't you?" he asked. "Controlling Pokémon with transmitters is something unacceptable. Why are you accepting it? It's your own kind at peril here, not mine. Will you please let me leave so that I may help you and the other Pokémon?"
"Brock!" cried Vulpix "Ivy's coming!"
"Amanda, tell the pilot to leave!"
"WHAT!?" she shrieked.
"No!" pleaded Vulpix.
"Please! Get my Pokémon to Pewter City!"
The engines of the plane started and it began to leave. Gyarados shifted its attention to the plane, and that was all Brock needed to run past it, praying that he would catch up to the plane before it took off; then Onix could help him aboard.
"Gyarados, get him!" ordered Ivy.
Brock flinched as he found himself in the water dragon's coils. But to his amazement, the Gyarados leaped forward as the plane began to rise and raised its coils until Brock was level with the departing plane. In an instant, the coils loosened, and Brock leaped from the dragon to the plane.
"NO!" Ivy screamed in fury.
Brock collapsed against the wall of the plane, silently thanking Gyarados. Vulpix leaped into his arms, crying.
"Vulpix, it's alright," he assured her. "I'm fine."
"Don't ever do that again!" she cried.
"I don't plan to," he promised her.
The plane landed at Cinnabar Island.
"Well," said Amanda. "Here's where we part ways, I guess… I'm heading home to Johto… What about you?"
"Not too sure…" Brock sighed.
"Brock, is there nothing we can do about Ivy?"
"Amanda, please," he answered, softly. "I don't ever want to hear that name again…"
"I understand… but… about her… what can we do?"
"I don't know… she's right that no one would believe me if I tried to convince them of what she was doing…"
He trailed off, for even as he spoke, he realized that there would be two people who would believe him. But why worry them? No, he wouldn't tell them. But that didn't mean he couldn't see them again.
"Amanda, I'm going to meet up with my friends," he informed her.
"Well, Brock, I hope our paths cross again."
"Likewise," he replied.
"Oh, and by the way…" she said. "I think you're a really great guy."
She kissed him quickly on the cheek, said her goodbyes, and left.
Brock watched her go, the color rising in his face.
"I think I'm in love."
This caused them both to laugh.
But she was only half-teasing him, for she was glad to have the old, happy Brock back once again.