A/N: Just a quick oneshot I felt like doing. It's been nagging me for a day or two.
Summary: After Nurse Joy give the Rocket Trio some bad news, Meowth decides to tie up some loose ends.
Warnings: Contains OOCness, somber Meowth, and character death.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot/storyline.
It felt as if his world had ended. He felt the same way he'd felt after being rejected by that Meowsie; his world was spinning out of control, he felt sick, he wanted to cry. Perhaps he did cry a little. But he felt almost numb, he didn't feel anything but his emotions. If he cried, he couldn't tell. He couldn't even remember if he walked back to the cabin on his own feet or if James carried him.
The news hit them all hard. The other pokemon of their group sent him pitying, sympathetic looks, while his two human companions did their best to help him lighten up. His heart was heavy as lead, and his eyes seemed to reflect that. Even the twerps realized something had changed. The last time the trio had appeared to them, they didn't announce their presence with their motto. Meowth didn't say anything, not until he started walking away. Jessie and James hadn't been surprised. They hadn't been surprised when Meowth said it wasn't worth it.
Nothing was worth it to him after they received the news.
They wouldn't have even known if it weren't for Pikachu. The burns were what alerted them that something was wrong in the first place. The burns and the bruises... they were worse than usual. Pokemon heal fast, though, so it was okay... until two weeks had passed and they realized they were still there, and still just as bad.
At first they blamed Pikachu, but it turned out that Pikachu was the one who revealed it to them...
"Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!" Team Rocket cried as usual as the flew off from the power of Pikachu's thunderbolt attack.
The trio landed in a tree where they were suspended in air. They all just hung there, talking about what had just happened and how they would have to try harder next time, then they all got down.
James noticed the constant wincing as they walked towards their base. "Meowth, what's wrong?" he asked the cat, who glanced up at him.
"Meowth!" That was Jessie. "Your arm!" Meowth glanced down at it in an almost-offhand matter.
"It's just a burn, it'll go away. Pikachu wasn't exactly gentle, ya know. He fully-blasted us."
That explanation sufficed for them. He was right, after all.
But then two weeks passed, and even the twerps noticed the serious bruising and the unhealed burns. Pikachu even started refusing to thundershock them, knowing most if not all of those bruises and burns were curtousy of him.
"Hey, you two should really take Meowth to a pokemon center," Misty stated during one attack where Meowth almost passed out.
"Mind your own business!" Jessie barked at Misty while James picked up their wounded friend.
They hadn't even been attacked and Meowth was already down for the count.
Taking Misty's advice, they had taken Meowth to the Pokecenter-in disguise, of course. Meowth had to act like a regular pokemon, though...
Meowth never forgot that trip to the pokecenter. He took that memory to the grave with him. He didn't forget when they got the news either, or the events that followed.
Meowth, Jessie, and James were all waiting for Nurse Joy to come back and tell them the results. After about twenty minutes of waiting, she finally returned. She looked a little sad, and her smile was very pitying.
"Please come to the back with me," she requested, glancing at the other trainers who were resting.
The trio followed, with James carrying Meowth, and Nurse Joy closed the door behind them.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, turning to look at them. "I don't want anyone to overhear us." Jessie and James nodded in understanding while Meowth simply watched the nurse. "I'm sorry, but there's only bad news."
"Is Meowth going to be okay?" James asked. Nurse Joy smiled a sad smile and shook her head.
"No, he's not."
"What's wrong with him, then?" Jessie demanded. "And how can we fix it?"
"You can't." Nurse Joy sighed and gestured them over to a table. "Look here."
They did. It was a scatter of papers, some of the same tests, with the same results. Jessie, having a little knowledge of nursing, gasped slightly. "This...!"
Nurse Joy nodded sadly. "I did several tests for it. They all come out positive."
"No..." Jessie looked at Meowth, a look of sad horror on her face. Meowth and James looked confused.
"What's wrong with him?" James asked, feeling desperate. "What's wrong with Meowth?"
"He has an illness," Nurse Joy replied. "It has no name and no cure. It's actually very rare, but it happens to even the healthiest pokemon."
"What caused it?" James asked, his voice wavering slightly.
"Pokemon are born with it," Joy told him. "The cause isn't known, but we know in most cases it's passed down through genetics. With or without fighting, he would still have it." She glanced at the meowth. "Fighting just alerts you sooner.
"I'm sorry, but after the tests I've run, I can only estimate that he has a month to live."
Nothing was the same afterward. The next day they went to try and steal Pikachu again, but after seeing him, Meowth found he didn't have the heart to steal him.
He was the reason they knew he was ill, after all.
So he walked away. It was all he could think to do.
Meowth's eyes snapped up towards the moon. It was hard to believe in just a little under one week, he'd be joining it there in the sky.
At least... he thought he might.
After all he'd done, he wasn't so sure.
He frowned and stared up at the moon. "Everyone has a part ta play in life," he said to himself. "Jessie 'nd James are da villains, da twoips are da heroes, dat pikachu is also da hero and all da others his little sidekicks... but what 'bout me? Weezin' 'nd Arbok were sent off to protect deir own kind. Me? I'm just sittin' here... Arbok once said dere are no bad pokemon, only bad masters... I ain't got a master, though. What does dat make me? Am I good or bad?"
He didn't know. He knew that he'd become more human for Meowsie, but he was still a pokemon. That's all anyone else saw; a meowth. They didn't see a living, breathing creature with a conscious, with a mind of its own. All they saw was a pokemon, one that just happened to walk and talk. All they saw was a cat-pokemon. A tool.
He looked down on the path below the cliffside he was on and, almost as if by coincidence, saw the group of twerps.
He watched as they settled into the night and slept. He knew, back at their own little campsite, Jessie would be sound asleep while James would, more likely than not, be waiting up. He'd been the more worried of the two, even though he didn't know much about the illness. All he knew was that they were gonna lose one of their most beloved friends. Meowth smiled as he thought about James.
James, despite his slight idiocy, had always been kind of like a big brother to Meowth. Now he was more like an overbearing mother, but for a meowth who'd never received attention like that, he kind of enjoyed it. Sure, he would have prefferred it to be under other circumstances, but who was he to complain?
Jessie seemed try her best to ignore the fact he was ill. That he was dying. In the end, she couldn't ignore the fact. In the end, all she could do was wait and comfort him and James. She was the strongest of the three, no matter how vain she was.
That thought brought a sad smile to Meowth's face. All that time he'd thought he was the most important part of the team, and he finally realized that he wasn't. Sure, he was the brains behind their group, but Jessie was truly the strength and James was definitely the emotion. There was no denying that.
He sat still for a few minutes before declaring, "I got alot ta make up before my time's up."
With that, he stood and walked back to camp, where he was greeted by the ever-worrying James.
The next day, the sun was shining brightly. There wasn't a cloud in sight. Meowth was already long awake, doing his best to cook some fish over the fire he'd made early that morning. He'd caught the fish from a stream nearby and the fire was blazing from the firewood.
For once everything was going right.
When Jessie and James woke up, he was done cooking the fish and had two fish for each of them on two plates. He'd already left to go about his own business. He left a note for them in the sand between the plates, telling them he was okay and he just needed some alone time.
Meowth made his way to Camp Twerp, where they were already packing up their tents. When they spotted him coming, they all stopped and watched cautiously. Meowth noticed their pokeballs at the ready, just in case. He didn't let it bother him.
He also knew better than to get too close. The cat stopped a couple of yards from the group.
"What do you want, Meowth?" Ash demanded. "And if it's Pikachu, just go back where you came from."
Meowth shook his head slightly and rubbed his eyes. He was still tired. Hey, what could he say? He was up until at least midnight, then he got up at the crack of dawn, and he was a cat. Cats slept most of the time, and he was no exception.
"I just want ta talk to yous guys," he said. "Explain a couple things, just dat kinda stuff."
"And we should believe you, why?" Misty demanded, crossing her arms.
"One, Jess 'nd James ain't here, two, we haven't attacked yous guys in about, what... three weeks now?" Meowth thought about that. "Yea, about three weeks... and three, I ain't in any condition ta fight. 'nd when I say 'fight' I mean get blasted away by Pikachu."
Ash, Misty, and Brock all exchanged glances. "Alright..."
Meowth understood their apprehension. He was sure he himself wouldn't believe him if he was in their shoes. "Listen, I wanna ask yous guys not to let Jessie 'nd James get ta ya. In fact, I'd prefer it if yous didn't attack dem. I'm gonna talk to dem latah 'bout leaving yous guys alone, but when I left they was still sleepin', so I decided ta talk to yous guys first."
He watched as they all became cautious again and glanced around. Now they definitely thought it was a trick.
"I also want ta say sorry 'bout everythin' we've done in da past... 'nd I wanted ta say thanks." This got their attention.
"Well, yous guys probably don't remember it, but about three weeks ago I walked away, sayin' dat it wasn't worth it," Meowth started, glancing to the side. "But ya see, Jess 'nd James took da twoipette's advice 'nd took me ta da pokecenter. If it wasn't for ya Pikachu dere, we wouldn't o' found out what was wrong with me."
"Oh, right," they nodded in understanding. "So you were feeling guilt. Well, apology accepted, and you're welcome. Now leave before we decide you really are plotting something."
"Wait, Ash," Misty intervened, then looked at Meowth. "What was wrong with you?"
Meowth winced and looked to the side. "Well... actually, dere's no name for it. But, uh... yous guys won't have ta worry 'bout Me-owth in a week."
"Why?" Ash asked. "Are you leaving Team Rocket?"
"No... I'm not," Meowth replied, frowning. "Jess 'nd James are my closest friends, why would I leave dem?" Meowth shook his head. "No, it's for a different reason."
"So Team Rocket will leave us alone finally?" Misty asked, though her voice suggested she already knew that wasn't what he meant.
"Nyaa... hopefully dey will, but I won't be able ta control deir actions," Meowth replied.
"Then what's wrong?" Brock asked.
"Um..." he glanced at Pikachu, who was watching. Pikachu seemed to understand, as did the other pokemon who were out. He shook his head and said, "Yous guys will figure it out. Yous guys are twoips, but yous guys are smart twoips." He grinned slightly, but his eyes weren't laughing. "Dis is Me-owth's last goodbye to yous guys."
It was a full moon that found the Rockets along with the twerps in a clearing at midnight. Amazingly enough the moon was directly overhead, and its light reflected off the pond to the side.
In the center of the clearing was a little patch of dirt, freshly dug and filled in. At one end of the dirt patch was a stone.
His month was up, but he went peacefully. He was sleeping when he stopped breathing.
He was sleeping when he gave into the illness.
"Meowth" was etched into the flat stone as well as could be done. It was practically carved into it; they didn't want erosion to take his name away.
The twerps left first, but Pikachu stayed behind with the Rockets. He watched the two humans as they paid last tribute to their beloved cat-friend. James laid a blue rose on the grave, his signature item, and Jessie left a small gold coin right below the rose.
Meowth's love for shiny things was obviously unforgotten.
At last the two Rockets left to go back to their camp, and Pikachu approached the grave slowly. He sat down at the foot of the grave. It was small and the perfect size for Meowth.
Pikachu had nothing to leave, but he did have something to say.