Instinct.

It seemed like such an unimportant word. After all, what human ever truly used their instinct? Sure, occasionally they would have a little 'sixth sense' business going on, but in the end, it was just paranoia. It was too bad that Meowth wasn't a human, and still had some bit of his instinct and pokemon feelings in tact, but the fact of the matter was, Meowth had long ago given up his rights as pokemon when he tried to become more human like.

It really didn't seem so long ago that Meowth's only desire was to become more humanlike to woo a young female Meowth. Suffice to say it didn't work, and when he joined Team Rocket, he forwent his true nature of being a Meowth and simply tried to become a human, despite the impossibility of it. And with Meowth's downfall into humanity, he forgot the most important thing that kept a pokemon alive.

Instinct.

"No! No! Stop!" Meowth cried, struggling against the harsh pull on his arms by a savage Charmeleon and the tight vines around his body by a brute of an Ivysaur. "Please!" he continued to cry, body quivering as he was led deeper into the woods. His body was sore and was graced with many bruises.

Pokemon surrounded the whole area, but those that stood in the way easily formed a path. In the lead was a beautiful, pearl white furred pokemon that, when he turned his head to gaze coldly at Meowth, had a face as black as the abyss. Connected to his head was a scythe that seemed to have an extra curve and length than others of his species, but that made him all the more beautiful. Beautiful death.

The pokemon cawed, grunted, snorted, hissed, barked, stomped and did all manners of things to spook the already scared Meowth. Meowth lowered his ears, tears already falling freely.

"Look at the scardy cat!" one cried, causing Meowth's head to swivel around in contempt so that he could glare at the one who said that.

Despite his tears and fears, Meowth had a temper that could burst at any moment, despite the situation. "Say that again and I'll beat the snot outta ya!"

The surrounding pokemon just laughed, and to Meowth's dismay the Charmeleon gave a harsh wrench on his hands. "With what?" the fire lizard sneered. "With these wimpy little claws of yours?"

"Face it, human," the Ivysaur sneered, tightening his vines around Meowth, "you have nothing."

Meowth felt his blood run cold. Human… the most insulting word that could be used to a pokemon. "Do I look like a human?!" Meowth snarled, thrashing in his bonds as he was dragged forward, deeper still into the forest. "I'm a Meowth! A Meowth!" He ignored his own hypocrisy, knowing that he had done all he could to be more like a human.

Laughter once again rose through the air, but a young kit ran forward. It was a fellow Meowth, and Meowth truly thought the little one would help him, but a sharp swipe to the face crashed any hope that might have started to grow.

"You're disgusting," the young one hissed.

"That is enough," the Absol said, his voice bold and the first time he had said anything since he began to lead Meowth's capturers to who knew where. The Absol gazed at the young Meowth. "His time will come," he promised.

"Time? What do ya mean!?" Meowth snarled. "I haven't done a thing! Lemme go!"

"Hasn't done anything?" the Charmeleon said with false innocence. He turned to the crowd. "What has he done?"

At this, a new excitement fell over the crowd as they began to stamp in a barbaric harmony and shout, "Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!" over and over.

Meowth shook his head desperately. He had never met these pokemon before. How on earth could he have betrayed them?

"Place the Betrayer in the appropriate place," Absol intoned as at last they came to a stop.

Meowth moved his head all around, trying to see where they were going to put him. They had come to a bare spot in the woods, and directly in the middle was a stone slab that probably reached Meowth's middle height wise. Unsurprisingly, Meowth was placed directly in front of the smooth stone, his stomach digging into it as Charmeleon stretched his arms across the slab. Ivysaur had withdrawn his vines, showing that it could have taken only one of them to bind Meowth and drag him away. The extra was just to humiliate.

By this time Meowth was already a sloppy mess as he continued to cry. "Don't kill me, please," he continued to beg, much to the large group of pokemon's joy. "Please, I don't know any of ye."

The Absol took that moment to walk in front of both the stone and Meowth, looking like a judge and jury all at once, but Meowth knew that whatever it was he was being judged for, he was already guilty.

"We are here," Absol began quietly, boldly, strongly, "to judge one who used to be one of us."

Hissing and snarling erupted in the plain and it wasn't until Meowth looked around once more did he realize that almost the whole area was completely covered in pokemon, perhaps even more than before.

"To judge one," Absol continued in his god like voice, "that is neither one of us nor what he has played for the past years."

Meowth's ears jerked up. "Wha?" The call of Human began to ring in his ears again and he let out a hysterical laugh. "You guys honestly think I'm a human? You guys are nuts!"

Meowth's little tirade was cut short as Charmeleon twisted his paws painfully. "Shut your mouth, worm." With steam escaping his nose, Charmeleon gave a nod to Absol to show that he had everything under control.

"You are charged with the betrayal against all your former kind." Absol watched Meowth blink stupidly. "Pokemon," Absol continued in a deadly quiet, anger finally beginning to lace his tone. "You, little Team Rocket pet, are charged with the kidnapping of many pokemon, destroying families, mur…"

"It was orders!" Meowth shouted, interrupting his judge with a frantic scream. "It was orders! My trainer gave me orders and I followed them!" Meowth looked around frantically. "I dare one of ye to say that you didn't follow your trainers orders!" For a moment, Meowth panted in false triumph, believing that he was right and that the others would see it his way.

"Wrong," a new voice hissed. The saying jumping out my skin in fright was the proper thing for Meowth at the moment. From out of the bushes came a long, muscular purple snake. Its head was lowered in shame, tongue flickering out hesitantly as it came to Meowth's side.

"Arbok," Meowth said in wonder, for a moment forgetting where he was as he looked at his old friend.

"Wrong, wrong," another voice intoned, and again Meowth swiveled his head to the trees. From out of it floated another purple being, but this one had two heads and oozed poisonous smoke.

"Weezing?" Meowth almost stuttered, lip quivering as he could feel the urge to cry again. "Guys! Please, ya gotta help me!" he pleaded.

The two pokemon seemed to shrink in on themselves. "No bad pokemon, only bad human," Arbok intoned in hauntingly familiar words. Meowth could remember hearing them when he had been stuck on that giant pokemon island with the twerp's pokemon. The same thing had been said when he had tried to get a much younger Ekans and Koffing to help capture Pikachu.

"Right, right!" Meowth cried gleefully. "No bad pokemon," he agreed. "Only bad humans." He turned to Absol, eyes gleaming still with tears to show that he now understood, but a hiss and a cough of disappointment once again crashed any hopes.

"You have no trainer," Absol said, black eyes piercing. "And you have given your rights as pokemon as soon as you willingly betrayed your own kind."

"I said it was my trainer's orders!" Meowth cried. "Giovanni, he's my trainer!"

Absol shook his head slowly, almost as if he were saying no to a small child. "No, Betrayer," he said coldly. "You have never been captured and held within the cold confines of a pokeball. You gave yourself –your body and soul- willingly to a man dedicated to destroying the very pride of a pokemon. You listened to orders, yes, but you listened to your own orders to try and please your supposed master. In your quest to rid yourself of your pokemon… quirks, shall we say, you became simply a sad being. You can never have a say in the human world with the same rights, nor can you ever hold the strength of a pokemon."

"Strength?" Meowth repeated dumbly, body slumping in defeat, mouth agape.

"The same power that Mew blessed us all with in order to use attacks, evolve… even use instinct." This time Absol nearly glared at Meowth. "If you had not lost that, you would have sensed us coming and realized the danger, Betrayer."

Meowth glanced at Weezing and Arbok, trying to see if they were following this. They both had their heads down and refused to stare at their once friend. "What about them?" he asked. "They stole pokemon as well."

An uproar exploded throughout the whole forest.

Meowth blanched, realizing that was not the smartest thing to have said. Weezing and Arbok were finally staring at him, but it was out of shock, grief and betrayal. They stared for a moment before turning away. They made to leave the clearing, pokemon making sounds or rubbing them in comforting ways before throwing a venomous glare at Meowth. Somehow their glares seemed even more hateful than before.

Meowth felt his throat go dry. There would be no point in calling them back. Even he knew it. "What…" He swallowed, averting his eyes from Absol. "What are you gonna do ta me?"

Absol turned his head around to give a nod at a pokemon Meowth had not noticed before. There were many pokemon throughout the clearing, but they were all back a ways. This one was close, and he seemed to be sharpening his scythes.

"You will lose your claws," Absol said strongly, making room for the Scyther to take his place.

"My…!?"

"What use do you have for them but to steal?" the Charmeleon hissed, placing Meowth's paws in the appropriate spot. "You can't even use a decent Scratch. What level are you anyway?"

That put Meowth's tirade on hold. What level was he? He had never fought, had a battle or had a trainer train him. Was… he still level one? It was a disgraceful thing, being so weak at his age, but Meowth had always used technology, not claws, but that didn't make it any less worse that he was about to lose his hands!

"Not hands," Absol said sharply, seemingly reading Meowth's mind. "Paws."

Meowth gulped, shouts of "No!" not even uttered before, with a fierce cry, Scyther swung down. It took just one clean cut and Meowth stumbled backwards, body stiff with shock as he gazed at the bleeding stumps. It was only until white clawed hands grabbed his arms did he cry out.

A Magmar stood in front of him, her eyes cold and merciless. She drove his stumps into his body, causing the bleeding stumps to cauterize. Meowth shook violently as Magmar released him. He stumbled, still in shock, and threw up.

Pokemon took that moment to shout and cheer, but Meowth was completely unaware of it all. He was stumbling through the pain. Oh, the pain! He had never been in so much agony.

"Help," he whispered before heaving once more.

His plead for help caused another uproar of laughter and jeers, but again Meowth remained almost unaware. A steady claw rested on his head to study him. Meowth looked up into the cold eyes of Absol and gulped as it raised its other claw, but the black claws did nothing but trim his whiskers off, much to his horror.

"Punishment has been given, but I cannot speak about forgiveness," Absol spoke loudly as he released Meowth. The poor cat fell with a sick sob. "Forgiveness can only be given to him by those hurt by him, but no other Betrayal Punishment shall be given out unnecessarily." Absol glared down at Meowth. "Know this, Betrayer," he hissed. "If you continue to steal, we will return and chop off your feet, and Mew forbid, but if you continue to steal it will be your tail and ears. We will leave you there to watch the world move by, and if some kind soul shall take care of you, count yourself blessed."

Meowth just openly sobbed, nodding and shaking as he clutched his stubs closer to his body. "Please… please," he continued weakly.

Absol just stared at him pityingly. "We take our leave now." The strong voice was directed at all the pokemon in the clearing. They knew that if they were to do anything, they would receive punishment as well. So it was with grumbles and victorious growls that the pokemon left, leaving just Meowth and Absol.

"Please… please," Meowth mewled, some small part of him hating how he sounded like a newborn kit.

"May tomorrow's sun bring you a new strength," Absol whispered to Meowth, staring sadly. "You may be weak, but punishment teaches. It is up to you to learn from your mistakes."

Carefully, Absol picked the pitiful Meowth up by his neck and ran back to Meowth's camping grounds. He had been sleeping in an abandoned cabin with Jessie and James, but a quick Sleep Powder knocked them out, leaving Meowth vulnerable.

"Please… please," Meowth continued to whisper, consciousness finally slipping.

Absol gently placed Meowth on the ground outside of the cabin and stared at the unconscious pokemon, his eyes showing grief for the first time. Closing his eyes in a silent prayer, Absol turned away with an assassins grace as he slipped into the shadows, gone for good like Death's silent whisper.

And all the while, Meowth continued to plead, "Please….please," in his sleep as nightmares sunk their icy fangs into his mind.

Please… please.

There is no help for the helpless. Meowth would have known that if hadn't given up who he truly was.

…please.