AN: Well. This here's a oneshot I came up with during the Meowth arc of Black and White. That arc happened to remind me of quite a few things and made me think about others, and I guess this is the result. It's kind of tangent-y, and it may seem strange, but I figured I'd share it. So, here you go!
Of all the Pokémon Meowth had ever kidnapped, stolen, and captured over the years, Pikachu was the one he saw the most of.
It was hardly surprising. Ever since he, Jessie and James had ever laid eyes on the powerful little devil, they'd known Pikachu was special. They'd been pumped with ten thousand volts of the rat's electricity first hand time after time – but nothing was more amazing than the first. Something about the way Pikachu had managed to draw so much energy from a tiny twerp on a bicycle just astounded them. Yes, there was no doubt that Pikachu was a valuable creature to own.
The boss liked powerful Pokémon, and an added specialty was worth bonus points. So naturally, Pikachu was a Pokémon they'd want to pilfer. Unfortunately, the electric mouse and his trainer had a knack for getting out of every pitfall, every mecha, and every trap Team Rocket had dug, built, and set, so they hadn't been so successful.
Today was one of the days where their plan was somewhat working. It was a standard scheme, really; Yamask created some haze and before the twerp and his pals knew it, Meowth had fired the team's trademark rubber grabber and stolen Pikachu away. Soon after that, Pikachu was swiftly transferred to an insulated cage in the Team Rocket jet and they were off, hoping the twerps would be daft enough to forget they had a Tranquil with them for at least a few minutes.
Jessie and James were ecstatic at their current success, and began to chat animatedly about the riches and buffets they would soon have once they sent Pikachu to the boss. Or at least, that's what they would have done, before Unova. Nowadays they were taking things a lot more seriously and it was kind of off-putting. Meowth was now regulated to watching over their hostage, when he heard the rat behind him trying to get his attention.
Meowth was mildly surprised. Pikachu didn't often try and converse with him, seeing as they were bitter enemies and all, but he figured he may as well see what the mouse was pestering him about. "What, furball?"
Pikachu frowned slightly. "Speaking human doesn't make you any less furry than me," he said. Meowth was about to retort, but Pikachu continued. "I just want to ask you something."
Meowth grumbled, knowing the jet wasn't going to be landing that soon and that the resilient rodent wouldn't likely stop bothering him for a while. "Yeah?"
Pikachu seemed happy that Meowth was paying him attention. Shifting his position as to try and get more comfortable in the bars of his prison, he said, "I just find it really weird that you're completely okay with all of this."
"All of this" could mean anything, Meowth thought, frowning. "What do you mean? Flying through the skies at this altitude? Being part of Team Rocket? Capturing you? Buddy, you've gotta be more specific."
"Capturing me, yeah," said Pikachu. He blinked.
Meowth rolled his eyes. "I'm one of the bad guys, pal. I don't got a conscience like you."
Pikachu shook his head, looking a little irritated. "No! I mean… you're a Pokémon. And you're capturing another Pokémon."
Meowth felt himself tense up a bit. If he knew what the electric mouse was getting at – and he had a feeling he did – he didn't want to get to discussing the subject. Especially not with Pikachu, of all people. He glared.
"And why is that weird, huh? Humans capture other humans all the time, for the same reason I've got you: money. Me and my pals want to be rich, and you're the ticket, so that's that," he growled.
Pikachu sighed in boredom. "But that can't be the reason."
"And why not?" What an annoying rat.
The rodent shrugged his paws, as if the answer was obvious. "Well, what can you do with money? Pokémon can't just go to a store and buy something, can we?"
Meowth crossed his arms. "It doesn't matter that I can't go and buy stuff. Jessie and James'll buy everything for us. All three of us are gonna be living like kings."
"Are you?" Pikachu questioned.
Nodding proudly, Meowth said, "Yes."
Pikachu sighed. "I still don't really understand you at all."
Meowth smirked, glad to see that he'd successfully averted talking about that with the Pikachu in front of him. If there was one thing he would never, ever let anyone figure out, it was—
"I mean, for the longest time, I always thought you were just nuts. And then Iris tried to catch you."
Feeling his fur suddenly stand on end, Meowth sent an angry glare the mouse's way. "And why did that make you change your mind, huh?"
Pikachu smirked. "Well, you got really defensive and said you were nobody's Pokémon."
Meowth scoffed. "I'm not!"
"Not even Team Rocket's?" Pikachu asked.
The two eyed each other suspiciously, each trying to draw their own conclusions from each other's eyes. Pikachu sighed, breaking the silence.
"Do you want to be human or something? Is that why you're so weird?"
Meowth grimaced. Flashes of the old days with Persian's gang and Meowzie began to spring up faster than he could repress them, and Meowth shook his head to try and clear it. He shut his eyes in frustration, turning around so that Pikachu couldn't see his face. "What's it to ya?"
Pikachu hesitated before answering. "Well… speaking human couldn't have been easy, right? It must have taken a lot of willpower to do that."
Okay, now he was more than annoyed. "It wasn't easy! And I find it pretty funny that you're interested about that now, since you didn't seem to be all that much before." Of course, Pikachu had completely forgotten that one time back in Hoenn when he'd been about to tell his story to the mouse and that annoying glasses-wearing twerp, before they'd both ditched him all rudely and such. (Meowth had pretty much forgotten about it too, but still.)
Pikachu cocked his head. "Huh?"
Sighing angrily, Meowth waved a paw. "Never mind. Take a class on how to be a proper lady and you'll figure out how to do what I do, dig?"
"But," said Pikachu, confusion seeping into his tone, "whatever you did to learn how, I still don't get why you learned how. I mean, why would you ever put yourself through something as… unnatural as that without good reason?"
Oh for the love of… "Why do you think, pal?"
His eyes were on Pikachu, mistrusting and cautious. The rodent frowned.
"Because… you wanted… to be human?"
Meowth wasn't sure how to reply. On one hand, Pikachu was wrong, and on the other… he was very, very close to being right. But Pikachu wouldn't come close to understanding him, because Pikachu was a normal little rat. Normal in the sense that he'd always be happy on the twerp's shoulder, battling and helping the kid become the greatest master… Just as any other Pokémon should.
"What made you want to be human?" Pikachu asked, his voice getting quiet. It was obvious that he found the situation to be disturbing. Every Pokémon did.
"A girl," Meowth found himself saying, in spite of himself. Great, now he had to recount everything again…
Pikachu was surprised. "Er… really?"
Ugh. "I was a stupid kid livin' on the streets, and she was a pretty pure bred and of course I really liked her. She said somethin' along the lines of 'You'll never be good enough if you're not even human', and then I had to prove her wrong and win her heart. It backfired."
Pikachu's mouth opened, his face contorting into a mixture of confusion and the one Meowth expected; Pikachu was disturbed. "So… you learned to speak human to impress her?"
"Learned to walk, too," Meowth added in a grumble.
"Walk?" Pikachu asked. "Oh… you mean on your hind legs?"
Meowth gave an affirmative nod. "It might be easy for you, tubby, but some of us ain't got it so great."
Pikachu was frowning again. "So it didn't work…" he said.
"Ha! She called me a freak and said I was even worse than before! And then when I met her again, she had the nerve to go and…" Meowth stopped, realization dawning on him. "Why am I telling you this?"
Pikachu shrugged. "I don't know. But I've still got a few more questions."
Meowth put his paw to his forehead. He really wished sometimes that he didn't have such a big mouth. "Do ya, now?"
"Well, you stayed the way you are, after whatever happened with the girl. Why didn't you just go back to speaking Pokémon?" Pikachu asked.
He could sure be ignorant. "You're saying it like she suddenly didn't matter. I told myself I'd become the biggest, richest freak ever, and she'd beg me for forgiveness. So I joined Team Rocket to make it big."
Pikachu raised a paw. "And the logic in that would be…?"
"Shut it! I said I was a dumb kid, didn't I?" Meowth scowled. "This is why I don't go around telling anyone and everyone this, see?"
The rodent sat down in the cage. "Still, I think there's plenty of other ways for a talking Pokémon to make it big, don't you?"
"There are tons of trainers who'd love to have some way to translate what we say. Oh, and the Beartic ranger guy, remember him? Didn't he mention something about wanting to understand them when they got mad so he could help them better?"
…Wow. Humans could be really bad with the way they talked to him, but Pikachu was by far the worst possible conversation partner Meowth had ever had. "That Beartic ranger guy. Do you remember what he did right after he said that?"
Pikachu paled. "He… tried to catch you."
"Right," Meowth said. He crossed his arms and gave the Pikachu a piercing glare. "All casual-like, pretty much ignoring the fact that I was smart at all, he just tossed the ball at me and expected me to throw away my life and follow him around for the rest of it."
Pikachu seemed apologetic. "Yeah… that was a bad example. Sorry, I know, that was pretty bad—"
"At least here," Meowth said, pointing to the floor, "Jessie and James treat me like I'm a person, and not just something useful to have around. And that is more than I've ever gotten from anyone, human or Pokémon."
The electric mouse blinked, finally seeming to get something through his dense head. "That's why you're doing this," he said.
"If I want to keep the little ounce of self-respect I still have and be living the dream, it's all I can do," Meowth confirmed.
Pikachu seemed to be regarding Meowth in a new light, if the rat's bewildered face was any indication. The moment wasn't meant to last, however, as Meowth heard the dull clunk of something landing on the jet's hull overhead. He sighed grimly.
"Sounds like your buddies are here to get ya back," Meowth muttered.
Pikachu quickly recovered from his stupor and grinned. "As always. Are you really that surprised?"
Meowth wasn't given time to reply as the jet's metal exterior was melted away by a Tepig and a certain twerp jumped down from above and collected his starter. Jessie and James were soon at the scene as well, sending out Yamask and Woobat and preparing for battle. Meowth sighed in exasperation, heading to their side to perform their most recent motto.
Some days, he really wished he hadn't become a Rocket. It would have saved him a lot of painful blast offs. But even then, he always knew it was worth it.
He took his place between his two human comrades and put on his best show of being confident. Grinning, he recited his lines of the motto by heart, glad that in recent years he'd actually gotten lines. He'd been a little hesitant to request them, but he'd gotten them without any complaints. It still surprised him that he was that afraid that long ago.
Woobat and Yamask were easily subdued with an Ember and Thunderbolt combination, sending them hurtling backwards through the jet. Predictable, Meowth thought. They never were all that good at battling.
He watched Pikachu obey the twerp and send another bolt of lightning their way, sending them skyrocketing out of the jet and into the sky. Huh, it had been a while since that had happened.
Jessie and James shrieked, marvelling at how close they were this time at sending Pikachu to the boss. Jessie berated James, informing him that they needed at least three times as much fuel next time if they wanted to make their getaway.
Meowth smiled. Despite their failures, promotions, and whatever else, the trio were still themselves. No matter how much Jessie complained and shouted, he knew she still cared for both him and James, and the other two felt the same.
Because with friends like them, he knew they'd been through enough to guarantee a lifetime together, through thick and thin. Nothing would ever change the fact that they were Team Rocket, those three clowns, the trio, all of that.
So what if one of them wasn't human? They treated him like a person. That's all that really mattered to him.
Some days, he really wished he hadn't become a Rocket.
Each and every other day, he knew it was the best thing that ever happened to him.
He was happy. And in his book, that was good enough.