Dent had to be honest. It was difficult being the quiet, observant, yet fabulous one of the group.
Not that he was complaining. No. In fact, dealing with Ash and Iris had to be about a thousand times more tolerable than what he was used to back home at the Striaton Gym. At least Ash never snuck a Joltik into his bed at night. Or video tapped him singing in the shower for all those girls who never seemed to leave the restaurant to sigh upon.
He didn't mind the latter, but Joltiks weren't friendly if you rolled over them.
Those were always the kinds of stunts Pod pulled whenever there were no challengers and he was bored. In contrast, Corn was the subdued one. He barely talked unless calling out a move in battle or he and his brothers were doing one of their swoon-worthy introductions. He was so easy to be around that it almost creeped him out. And his brother was witty; one of those people who stayed in the background silently waiting for the right moment to make a comment that would embarrass the taste out of you.
So between being muddled by the ladies asking him to serenade them and feeling like he was being watched all afternoons of his life, absolutely; he loved travelling and he loved his travelling companions. Ash was the compelling and constantly varied soy sauce, while Iris was the vivid and energetic spice.
He didn't like to pick best, but spice was always his favorite flavor. It burned his tongue to be around it, yet other times it relaxed into a more timid taste. The daringness one needed to keep wanting more and see what would happen next kept him feeling aroused. Iris, that girl, she just reminded him way too much of that exact thing. She was never like any of those girls at the gym. It made him feel closer to her than Ash, and he was already pretty close to Ash.
Of course, there were other times he felt almost abandoned.
He didn't want to rub it into anyone's face, but why did they not listen to him?
That cat is a demon.
And they chose him over the fabulous Sommelier.
Which brings him to the present: getting his sparkling-white suit dirty while quietly crawling on the ground outside Team Rocket's base, just so he can find out what happened to his friends.
"Good job, Purrloin." Dent looked around from his spot on the floor, what was that? There was no one outside with him, so he could only assume that it came from inside the building. He tip-toed up to the closest door, intending to open it just a crack.
And then it came. "Puuurrr."
The sound sent shivers down his spine. Oh, of course. If Ash and Iris were really in there, the beast would be too. It was embarrassing to think he had completely over thrown that possibility.
Taking a huge gulp, Dent grabbed the door knob and lurched it back gently, only to find that it didn't budge.
Huh? Wow…he hasn't seen a lot of locked doors in his time. Much less a steel one which wouldn't break with a bullet seed. As of now, he found no choice but to continue listening.
What were they doing now? He pressed his ear closer to the metal.
Dent gasped. Oh. My. Arceus. They were torturing Ash and Iris! Team Rocket must've understood the evil behind Purrloin and decided to unleash his powers right in front of them. It would be a horrible taste to just stand there and watch his friends get tortured! Oh, now that monster of a cat was going to pay. Just about to send Stunfisk to fly onto the roof, something wacked him from the back of his head.
Dent looked up at the piece of cloth connected to the string, then his eyes wandered to how it attached itself from the window above him to a safe distance from the ground. And a smirk crossed his features.
It's Masked Sommelier time!
"Let us go!" Iris sent the strongest and scariest glare a 10-year old could give, her hands holding tightly onto the jail bars encasing her and Ash.
"Yeah, Team Rocket!" Ash yelled.
"HA! As if we'd let one of Team Rocket's longest-time nuisances out!" A 6-foot man towering above the cage was casually leaning against the wall, reading the latest issue of Jynx gone Wild.
"Wait a minute, Mary." A scrawny man no taller than Ash held a finger towards him. "So he's the guy?"
"But he's only 10 years old-"
"No I am not!" Ash screamed indignantly. "Why does everyone think that?"
"Um…okay." The giant placed the magazine down on the table open to a page of a Jynx in a rather revealing bikini, before stepping closer to the three. "The point is, Josephine, headquarters wants the brats written off, and that means they're going to be here for a while. Right, Purrloin?"
"Puuur." He wrapped himself against Mary's leg, sending a smirk to the two children.
"I-I can believe you betrayed us!" Iris kicked against the cage, hard. "Better yet, I can't believe the idiot was actually right! You were nothing but a demon that was helping out Team Rocket all along!"
"H-How could you…?" Ash frowned and Pikachu looked disappointed.
The scrawny man laughed. "You kids just have to accept that not everything is all sunshine and rainbows out th-"
"Hey, what was that?"
"That sounded like the clothes line outside, Sir."
"Damn it, don't tell me those wild Pidove made off with our customized electric-proof Team Rocket socks again. I told everyone at headquarters that letting me do the laundry this week was a bad idea, but do they ever listen to me? Noooo-"
"Never fear my friends!" Dent swooped onto the Balcony, the sun hitting his mask so it shined and his cape dancing in the wind. The only flaw in the fabulous scene being the pair of Team Rocket shorts stuck on his head. "For the Masked Sommelier is here!"
Everyone gaped at him. Except Iris.
Josephine shook. "Yo! I paid 30 bucks for that window."
"What he means to say is, who the hell are you?"
"He just said who he was!"
Mary punched him. "Well soooorry but I couldn't hear it over your financial problems."
"My wife works at freakin' McDonalds! Do you have any ide-"
Dent pointed a heroic finger at the both of them. Yes, this was the moment he had been waiting for. The time when he would come in and rescue his dear maiden and monsieur in such an auxiliary flavor of which all movie Sommeliers across the world would be raving about! He jumped to the ground to continue talking. "Now, where did you keep my dear Airisu?" And almost covered his mouth right after.
"Wait, what?" Iris peeked her head from behind the cage.
"U-Uh, I mean: where did you hide my two friends?" Dent regained his heroic voice.
"Wait, dumb question." No, no, no! He was completely messing this up! Dent coughed, knowing it wasn't over yet. "Now let them go, Team Rocke-"
No. This wasn't happening…that voice. That cursed voice was so close to him that it could only mean…
Dent looked down.
With the power of a fear which was greater than when Litwick tried to send him to the Spirit World, or when he was stuck in Gothitelle's time loop, heck even when a Fangirl trapped him in her washroom for two days straight, Dent shrieked and jumped back 15 feet.
Purrloin smiled with a sinister plot matching the gaze of fifty glares from a Charizard, before jumping up to his shoulder, licking his nose passionately.
Dent shrieked again and fainted.
"Dento…? Dento?" Who was that angelic voice speaking to him? Maybe it really was an angel, sent down from above to congratulate him for his good deeds.
"…WAKE UP YOU PAIN!"
Dent groaned and cracked his eyes open. "…Airisu? Am I dying?"
Iris smacked him with the Team Rocket shorts.
"You're such a pain!"
"You know what happened? You just got captured by Team Rocket too!"
At this, he bolted up in shock. "That can't be…but I'm the Masked Sommelier…"
Ash, being the inappropriate one, held up the shorts Iris had thrown to the ground. "Hey, Dento. Mind if I keep these shorts? I've always wanted a pair."
They stared at him.
Iris shook her head, causing stray strands which escaped her braid to cascade on her shoulder. He had always found it fascinating how she managed to keep her massive pool of hair so clean. It already took him at least an hour a day to keep his stubby green hair neat and presentable. Yet hers just always seemed to be that way.
Said girl interrupted his musings of hair-care by turning a shape eye on him. "Why did you come follow us if all you were planning to do was that? Though I can't say I expected any less from you…"
Dent smiled weakly. He had to admit it didn't go the way he had hoped. "I was just trying to help, Airisu."
"Hmph!" In response, she turned away from him with crossed arms. "Well you didn't!"
After that, an awkward silence overtook the cage, only interrupted by Mary's occasional loud perverted laughs from outside the door. Eventually, a new wave of sound made itself known in the form of Ash's obnoxious snoring, and only then did the remaining two realize just how late it was.
'Even so, he can fall asleep so easily, almost like he's been kidnapped a million times before…what a relaxed and somber taste.' Different unexpected varieties; Ash was soy sauce indeed.
The boy turned his head to Iris who still had her back faced to him. She acted sharply around him some times but in others would be sweet and willing to allow herself to be read. He didn't always taste it due to its zing, but he still always came back to it. Dent sighed; just like he was going to do now. "Airisu, are you mad at me?"
To his surprise, she shrugged. "No, not really."
He immediately felt a bowl of relief wash over him. He didn't want spice to be mad at him.
To his bigger surprise, she continued. "It's just…I guess yelling at you makes me feel better. How weird, huh?"
And for the first time since his capture, Dent smiled a real smile. "It's not weird at all. It's kind of like how food changes. One claims to have a favorite taste," Such as spice. "But if they have too much of it, your perspective of it begins to warp. It seems strange and new at first, but you'll grow to understand and hopefully love it again. Things change and just seem weird. You can't help that they do."
To this, Iris grumbled to herself. But he only caught the half smile which bloomed her features.
Dent raised his eyebrow. "Pardon?"
She frowned, "I said you're the one who needs to go change. Your mask is really starting to freak me out!"
"But you never change…"
In case you didn't get it, this was originally a crack-script I wrote on the Wishfulshipping thread at Serebii forums before the Purrloin episode aired. It's mostly my take on the 'what if' aspect on Purrloin really being evil and working for Team Rocket.
I fail at this, so badly.
And yet I'll be writing at least another two one-shots just to torture you guys. I have a feeling I'll lose readers for this per chapter faster than any other story I've written.