A/N: Hey, this is a brand new story that I have had knocking around in my head for sometime now, and it started from just wanting to find a story like this to read- but failing this I just thought I'd write my own instead! I did want this to be a oneshot, but I think I'd like to do chapters instead.
Special thanks to one of my all time favourite authors on this site, Texas Longhorn, who constantly inspires me with his epic writing skills and top notch determination to write for his fans and for himself. He has also been an incredible friend to me, and I dedicate this chapter to him :) I very much hope you enjoy this!
Chapter 1- Meowths Secret.
"Ash! How much further! Why did you think THIS WAY was a good idea?"
Misty was gripping tight on to her light pink blanket as she guarded herself against the bitterly cold mountain winds, her flaming orange hair whipping the back of her neck.
"Misty- it's a short cut to the next city where I can get my next gym badge! Plus a little mountain can't hurt a soon-to-be Pokémon Master!"
He turned to wink at her, and Misty huffed in indignation. It had felt like hours since her, Ash and Brock had left the warmth of the Pokémon Centre, and her legs were tiring against the steep upward climb. She pulled Togepi closer to her, who had withdrawn into her shell. She felt especially cross at herself for trusting his so-called short cuts- but his determination had won the argument.
"Ash!" piped up Brock from the back, "it's getting pretty dark, and we need to set up camp before the light disappears"
"Pi, Pikachu!" Agreed a frozen Pikachu from Ashes shoulder. He too was exhausted from the cold and silently thanked the older member of the group.
"Good idea! I'm starving!"
After a good twenty minutes of numbly setting up camp, they huddled around the campfire to warm tinned soup, thanks to Charizard. They had managed to find an alcove within the rock face of the mountain, which offered some protection from the freezing wind. The conversation, usually banterous and good natured, was scarce and tense, too concerned with keeping warm. Misty was shivering from the lack of body heat her blanket was offering; she was still mad with Ash for taking them such a far off way. "Always got to be different, always got to be 'Ash'".
All three simultaneously jumped to the dragons sneeze. Ash worriedly noted his state- Charizard's fire-lit tail looked smaller than usual and his frame was shuddering. A sting of guilt surged through him and he reached for his Pokeball.
"Charizard buddy... I'm sorry, you must be freezing! Here, get in your Pokeball to keep nice and warm. You should get some rest; the campfire will be just fine for us."
The large dragon-type looked hesitant- he could feel the cold, but he knew his human friend felt it far worse. Just before he could put up a fight- the warm red glow encased the dragons frame as he disappeared from view.
Misty looked on, frozen on the spot; her body was aching from tiredness and what felt like frost-bite. With charizard gone, she felt oddly alone. She drew in her legs and shuddered for what felt like the umpteenth time that night.
As Ash and his two companions were climbing into the tent, wearing as many layers as possible, the relentless cold burned through their many items of clothes. It was extremely uncomfortable for Ash, and he couldn't help but feel a little guilty for bringing them up here in the first place. But something else was niggling at the deepest corners of his mind. He wondered if it was Charizard, since sneezing was considered unusual for a fire type. The thought triggered the memory of when he was just a little Charmander, out all alone in the stormy weather, abandoned, and alone... left to die by his former irresponsible jerk of a trainer. He shuddered in deep disgust. He always felt this way when Charizard was experiencing pain- just like when he was frozen solid over in the Orange Islands. He hoped he was feeling much warmer inside his capsule. Ash turned over, feeling restless and numb, and held Pikachu close to him for warmth, as he drifted off into an awkward sleep...
Misty lay awake, staring at the confinements of the tent, also unable to sleep. She was thankful her little baby Pokémon was fast asleep, and that they were all relatively safe inside the tent, yet she couldn't shift the thought... the feeling that something was lingering in the air... a stray or dangerous Pokémon, perhaps? She mentally shook her head and pushed those thoughts to the back of her head. She hated feeling this vulnerable, it was pathetic. After a while, her thoughts drifted back to Ash, and she furrowed her brow in annoyance. She wanted to wake him up; even an argument with him would keep her distracted, at least. But looking over at his sleeping figure she felt a pang of guilt- he didn't mean to purposely bring them here to freeze, and plus, he looked kind of cute when he softly snored into Pikachu's yellow fur. After a few moments of gazing at the raven haired trainer, she too fell into an uncomfortable slumber.
"Jessie, I'm freezing."
James was shivering uncontrollably, much to Jessie's annoyance. They had been spying on the three twerps for a good three hours in their hot air balloon, which was perched a good hundred yards or so above the campsite.
"Quit your whining James! Don't you think I'M cold too?"
Meowth groaned. Those two had not stopped bickering since they had got here. "Will you too just be quiet and shudup!'
Jessie and James's eyes stung with unexpected pain as Meowths claws burned into their skin; a move that had always stunned them to silence. Meowth smugly smiled to himself at his own genius.
"Guys, remember da plan? Da plan of capturing Pikachu? This time ital work, just trust Meowth!"
The two Rockets exchanged disbelieving glances. They had eventually lost what was left of their waning patience, and rounded threateningly upon their small companion.
"Meowth- can't you just tell us already WHAT it is that you have got planned? If you hadn't noticed, we have failed over and over again at capturing Pikachu- what makes this any different?" asked an irked Jessie.
Recently, the trio had had enough of trying and failing to steal the twerps yellow rodent. For years, nothing had ever succeeded, each plan been ruined and sending them 'blasting off'. The moral within the group was turning sour with each passing failed plan. Yet one day after yet another argument on the subject, Meowth made a promise he would formulate a fail-proof plan. The other two were incredibly sceptical about this, but there was something in Meowths tone that won over their trust towards the feline Pokémon.
Now, two months on, the plan was finally set into motion.
"Patience Jessie, you will know in good time"
"I'll show you a good time" muttered Jessie in a threatening tone under her breath. But she too felt a new sense of purpose with this unknown plan. So far- the talking Pokémon had brought them, and it was difficult for her to admit this, to an excellent hiding place. Meowth's confidence had reassured her that his plan was going well, but the waiting around part had proven the most frustrating. James was getting on her last nerve, and the cold was doing mayhem on her perfectly styled hair.
Suddenly, Meowth perked up. A slow, greedy smile took over his features- a determined excitement overtook his quivering body that had nothing to do with the icy wind chill. The other two Rockets noticed this abrupt change, and the atmosphere changed instantly to pure anticipation, with success lingering in the air, and adrenaline coursing through their veins. Meowth was the first to speak.
Pikachu had awoken, but thankfully had not stirred his sleeping best friend. The cause of his awakening was due to a distant rumbling from far away. It was too quiet for his human friends to pick up on, but for his sensitive hearing it was enough. His body quivered- a sensation he recognised as tiny electric currents that did not belong to him.
A thunderstorm was approaching.
Pikachu has always had an inquisitive nature, so he carefully slipped out from beneath the warmth of his trainer, and ventured bravely outside. The bitterly cold mountainous winds combined with the light surge of electrical current triggered off a violent sneeze, and Pikachu's eyes watered from it. His vision went fairly blurry, but he sensed a presence... he caught a scent in the air, a familiar scent. Realisation hit Pikachu like a tonne of bricks- Team Rocket. He flustered- he had not picked up on this due to the electric currents distracting him. However, his initial feeling of fear was doused by a calming sense of history repeating itself. Team rocket never won. It was this that Pikachu relaxed, but nevertheless rubbed his eyes dry with his tiny paws and began to scamper back inside to where it was safe.
Just as Pikachu was nearing the entrance, out of nowhere, snow began to fall thick and fast, and a violent gust of wind veered Pikachu off course. Thunder roared above in the black skies above, and lightening tore at the oppressive black, illuminating the scene above his master and friends campsite...
"PIKA PI!" roared a frightened Pikachu, calling instinctively for his master. He let off a thunderbolt towards the three shadowy figures in a desperate attempt to send them blasting away.
But nothing happened. Just eerie laughter filled the gaps between the roar of the wind and the deafening clamour of thunder. Pikachu called for Ash again, and this time he could see him, running towards him, a fire burning in his eyes...
Ash was jerked awake by the call of his endangered Pikachu. His first thought was to run outside, but in the mid chaos, Misty too had jumped awake from the mouse's call.
"ASH! What's going on?" demanded a worried Misty. Ash glanced over at her, her messy hair looking deranged against the backdrop of lightening.
"Pikachu, he's in trouble, I've got to go and find him!"
Misty launched herself and caught Ash just before he reached the zip of the tent. "Ash, listen to me, LISTEN! You will freeze to death out there, don't look at me like that, get your jacket on this instant!"
Ash, unable to refuse her command with those large emerald eyes, quickly agreed and hastily grabbed his coat. As he did so, he heard Pikachu again, and with a sickening lurch of his stomach, threw himself out in the midst of the thunderstorm.
"PIKACHU!" Ash drew his jacket closer to him. The wind was cutting into him, and the thick snow burned his face like sharp needles. His vision was obscured due to the thick and fast snowfall, but he was determined to find his best friend...
A moment later, lightening shed light on the dark and stormy surroundings, and he luckily picked up on the yellow fur hidden in the snow.
Pikachu's ears perked up, and he began to run in his master's direction. Even a Pokeball would be welcomed at this point, the small mouse thought in desperation. Just as Ash was about to scoop up Pikachu, out of nowhere a large metallic arm snatched Pikachu from his grasp, and from the force Ash was flung to the snowy hard ground.
It was all happening so fast for the both of them, and he could vaguely make out Misty and Brocks calls. Panic consumed Ash's being, but his battle senses kicked in.
"Charizard! Fly up and catch Pikachu from what must be team rocket, and HURRY!"
Charizards large dragon shape was released into the skies, but he sagged against the bitterly cold weather, the sharp and powerful winds were tugging him backwards. Ash felt worried sick as he watched with fear at his most powerful Pokémon struggling to climb. He frantically called encouragement at his greatest Pokémon, urging him to keep going. Then realisation struck him hard in the pit of his stomach.
"ASH! What are you doing using Charizard! It is sick Ash, you must return it!" Brock had finally caught up with Ash, and despite Pikachu's immediate danger, he knew Charizard's illness would be almost life threatening in this harsh weather.
"Ash, return it! It's flame!" Misty had shouted along with Brock. It was not Team Rocket she feared the most, but the dangerous weather in which Pikachu and Charizard had to face. She felt relief surge through her when the large flying type disappeared once again that evening into the small red capsule. She just knew Pikachu would return safe and sound, like always, but the weather was showing no signs of backing down.
"But Brock,I gotta do something! Pikachu is gett- oh I know! Brock- send out Onix!"
Without hesitation, Brock called out the towering rock snake. It roared with heavy discomfort at the snow and wind. Brock knew that, despite his type difference, Onix was tough enough to take on the relentless weather.
Ash wasted no time on scrambling on top of onix's head.
"Onix", bellowed Brock, "listen to me, go up and find Pikachu, and bring them both down to safety. Go now!"
The rock type surged upwards, the force nearly throwing Ash off balance. He clung on tightly to the rocky hide, and after squinting painfully against the needle-like winds, he spotted after what felt like fifteen rough minutes exactly what he was looking for. The Rocket trio. They were hovering in their somewhat menacing hot air balloon. It was no longer of Meowths head- but simply shaped as an anonymous black bulb. This was unnerving- Ash couldn't help but feel disturbed at the sight of it.
Expecting a net of some kind, he held a penknife in his hand, just in case. He had invested in one long ago; for Team Rocket were not smart enough to think up of anything else beyond this breakable trap.
"Team Rocket, give me back my Pikachu!" He was a good twenty yards or so away, careful not to get too close. He could make out Pikachu trapped inside a familiar looking bell-jar. He awaited the motto.
But nothing happened.
Ash shuddered; it was eerie, no usual balloon, no net, not even the motto? He pushed these thoughts to the back of his head, and steadied himself for the release of the poison snake, or the likewise poisonous gas Pokémon. Again, nothing came. Nothing happened. In fact, the Rocket trio had not moved an inch from when they were spotted.
Ash, deciding this was a perfect opportunity to save Pikachu, quickly turned his attention to Brocks most loyal Pokémon.
"Onix; just go forward and take the Pikachu from their grasp!" he instructed, almost incredulously. Surely, it couldn't be this easy?
Onix nodded his huge skull, and began to move threateningly towards the thieves.
"Perfect..." Purred a perfectly calm Meowth. Jessie and James and been grudgingly following the felines orders since the plan was set in motion. Yet Jessie had to admit; everything so far was working. The electric and water-resistant metallic arm, combined with their equally resistant suits had worked to entrap the twerp's rodent painlessly into the bell jar. The thunderbolts Pikachu was giving off was powering their resources, and an added bonus was Jessie's hair was not suffering from the usual static energy that Pikachu emitted. James had been given instructions to weld down the bell jar to ensure it would not fall off and into the foolish trainer's arms. Jessie was impressed how much Meowth had thought this through, and came to the conclusion that he must have had some outside help. She couldn't help but feel offended- they were meant to be a team... but as long as she reaped the rewards from the boss, she hardly cared how or where Meowth had gotten so smart.
Meanwhile, Pikachu was watching with baited breath at the oncoming assault by his trainer. He was growing more and more anxious; Team Rocket had been successful so far, and it was seriously worrying him. Pikachu's thoughts turned to Charizard- he badly hoped he would be ok. It was a painful experience to watch the much admired beast look so tired... so helpless. Pikachu was ridden with guilt over it- it was unfair how many times his friends had to suffer, all because of him. Anger surged through him, and before he knew what he was doing, Team Rocket thanked him profusely for his help at powering the hot air balloon. Pikachu scolded himself at the lack of his control, and forced himself to keep calm and save his energy. His attention returned to Ash on the Onix. He tightened his tiny fists and prayed for a safe return.
"Pika, Pikachu" he said steely yet silently under his breath.
James had been given strict instructions to initiate an unknown machine using a control pad secretly located in the new hot air balloon. This control pad had gone unnoticed, until a few moments ago. He excitedly inhaled at the prospect of pressing this button, like a child getting to press a button at a crossing. He felt powerful, important even. He pressed down on Meowths command.
He didn't expect what happened next.
The black hot air balloon shot backwards caused by the sheer force. Instantly, he heard Onix roaring in unmistakable pain. James, having fallen to his feet, scrambled up and as a force of habit glanced over at Pikachu, half expecting for it to have dropped, but was elated to see his handiwork of bolting it down had paid off. He then greedily gazed at the scene in the sky and smiled with glee- Onix was now rocking dangerously at the powerful jet of water being fired from directly beneath where they were standing. Meowth was jeering, Jessie was celebrating and James himself was feeling wonderful! Jessie was so impressed, realising that this was the big secret Meowth had been hiding... a machine that delivered powerful blows to Pokémon.
From far below, through the stormy skies, Misty could see the stomach-dropping scene above. She felt physically sick, and was extremely worried for Ashes safety. She felt helpless, for she had left her most powerful duel flying and water type in the hands of the Pokémon centre after a difficult battle a few days prior. She has considered releasing Starmie- her rapid spin would break through the hot air balloon but it was too risky- by the looks of things, Pikachu must be bolted down, and anything to further jeopardise the trapped Pokémon would not work in their favour. She cursed herself and her luck- why? Why did she not wait until her Pokémon was cured until they set off again?
Brock had been holding her hand, feeling just as anxious as Misty. It was a highly distressing scene, watching his prized Pokémon being beaten down by a jet of water, and the snow and wind were not helping matters. He felt an unnerving sense of inevitability creep up inside his very being, the feeling that Team Rocket... may win. This was absurd, but the more he tried to fight the feeling, the less likely it was that Ash would have any hope in bringing the little Pikachu back down the safety...
"Brock", Misty asked, cutting through his anxious-ridden thoughts, "Do you think... do you think Ash and Pikachu will be Ok?"
Brock could not think of any way to answer this. He had always considered Misty as his little sister, a girl to forever protect from harm or danger. The idea that he could not bring any satisfactory words of comfort frustrated him and angered him beyond belief. He also knew how worried sick she was over Ash, risking his life once again, to save his friends. He turned towards her, squeezing her hand tighter than before.
Ash gripped onto the slippery rock with all his life. He was panicking. Panicking he would fall, panicking over his wellbeing of his Pokémon, and panicking... he could not bring himself to think those thoughts. With all his might, he swung himself back onto the giant rock's head and steadied his shaking frame. He realised at that moment that the jet of deadly water had ceased, since Onix had stopped screaming. A silence ringed in his ears, above the noise of the thunder and the raging of the winds. It was a horrifying silence. Tears were threatening to break loose; he could barely believe how close he was to losing his best friend, his first Pokémon, his Pikachu...
But he point-blank refused to give up. Not on Pikachu's life.
"Team Rocket", he cried desperately, "You're not gonna get my Pikachu! Give him back RIGHT NOW!"
He had resorted to begging and a stream empty threats. He was feeling more and more out of his depth. Just then, he saw Pikachu's tiny paws at the glass, his eyes glistening by the reflection of the lightening nearby. His heart ached at that look in his eyes. The loud thunder claps sounded almost jeering, the snow swirling and whistling in the wind like laughter, the lightening; giving light to the inevitable defeat...
A sudden blaze of fire tore through the black skies; Onix swerved out the way just in time and Ash was nearly knocked off from the sudden onslaught of force. Ash struggled once again to righten himself on top of Onix, his arms was blistering from a burn despite the aching numbness.
It was over.
Ash watched helplessly, more helpless than he had ever felt in his entire lifetime, at the scene unfolding in front of his very eyes. The Black balloon was hurtling away at such a pace that the black skies swallowed it up into nothingness. The lightening began to die down, and the thunder became less and less frequent, and the snow had slowed down to a misty drizzle. All this time Ash stood rooted to the spot, staring at the same point, the same point where Pikachu once was, trapped and powerless, inside the bell jar...
A sickening lurch of his stomach overpowered him. He shook violently as crashing, deafening thoughts physically pulled him to his knees. He ached with loss, with defeat, with guilt and fear. Onix, without instruction, lowered his master's distraught friend to where Brock stood. He could see the gym leaders both holding each other in mutual support. Brock reached him first and helped the poor raved haired trainer off his sore head.
"Onix On..." apologised the rock snake sadly. He felt sadness and guilt- since it was his responsibility make sure they both returned safe and sound.
Brock patted him softly. "You did your best, buddy", assured the gym leader, "You need a good rest. This weather and the water have worn you out. I promise to get you to a Pokémon centre as soon as I can."
Onix nodded understandingly, and allowed himself to be swallowed up by the red beam. Brock turned his attention to Ash. He felt an overwhelming sadness for the young boy. He loved his Pikachu dearly, more than most trainers over their beloved Pokémon. After a moment of hushed silence, Misty was first to speak.
"Ash, I thought you were really brave", she said tearfully, for she too felt powerless to the burden and deep sadness of grief. "But Ash, Pikachu will be found. Pikachu will be just fine. You cannot just give up like this; because that's NOT the Ash Ketchum I know and love!"
She didn't flinch at the last word. In fact, nobody did. Ash didn't seem to have noticed, his face hidden underneath his hands. Misty pulled him into a hug, and Brock joined. They mutually understood that this was not the end, but just the beginning of rescuing the beloved companion, Pikachu.