Disregard some scenes in the anime for this one. Probably quite a few scenes, actually.
This is a shell of a story. It's like a draft. It's really not done nor is it to my liking, but I've no enthusiasm to improve on it, so here's a half-done story. ^_^. You see, t'was meant to be a five-minute fic, but got so out of hand I thought 'stuff this, I'm finishing it right now'. ^_^.
For those wondering about it, and some have commented - this story is actually finished. It's just not finished as well as it could have been. Half-baked is probably a better term than half-done.
I just thought Brock needed a fic. *grins*
"What are you thinking, Brock?"
Brock's shadowed eyes peered vacantly into the horizon.
"Earth to Brock, hello in there!"
Brock smiled. "Okay Misty, I get the picture."
"You're unusually quiet."
"What are you thinking, Brock?"
But Brock's mind had wandered again. Misty sighed, and finally got the hint; he didn't particularly want to be disturbed from his thoughts.
She went to Ash and whispered that Brock wanted to be alone. Ash looked worried. "Why? Is he sick? Is something wrong? I'd better go find out."
Misty got a little sweatdrop. There seemed little point in telling Ash not to bother Brock when he went immediately to do just that.
"Hey Brock-o!" said Ash, "you okay?"
"I'm okay, I guess... I guess I'd just rather be alone for a little while if that's okay."
Ash was not known for any sort of discretion.
"You need cheering up! I know!"
Brock got a sweatdrop as Ash started fumbling through his backpack.
"Here you go! Pokeball, go!"
Ash opened the Pokeball.
"Vulpix!" chirped the Pokemon.
"Vulpix'll cheer you up, Brock," grinned Ash, "but you know what'd really help, I bet if you went and looked at all the cute girls, that'd make you happier."
"I... don't... want.... company. I just want to think," Brock ground out.
Ash finally left, a hurt expression on his face.
Brock did not see it.
"Vulpix," said Brock quietly, "I wonder what my mother looked like."
"Okay, looks like Pewter City should be just ahead," said Misty. "Can't believe we finally got back here; this map is really messed up."
Brock and Ash grinned.
"Well, at least this time Misty's reading it instead of Brock," said Ash, "when Brock 'reads' it, we get hopelessly lost."
Brock sweatdropped and then said, "hey Ash, are you aware that you just paid Misty a compliment?"
"What?! I did?"
Misty grinned at him in a pseudo-sincere fashion.
"Oh Aaaash, I didn't realise you cared."
Ash grinned and stuck out his tongue. "Bleaaah. You're scary."
Ash reached for his backpack and then sighed. "Hey guys, can I have a drink? My bottle's empty."
Misty reached for hers as well. "Oh, sorry, mine is too."
Brock got out his drink bottle, which was almost full. "You guys really need to plan ahead. Here."
Ash had his drink.
Brock paused suddenly. "Someone's coming. Sounds like a girl."
"He can always tell," said Ash, with a sweatdrop.
It was a girl. She was tall, with long dark blue hair and a sharp face. She passed them on the road, said a quick "Hey, how ya doing" and looked as though she would walk on before anyone could reply. She seemed to be in something of a hurry.
"Wow, she's cute," stuttered Brock, going red. He was distracted for a moment and walked right into a tree on the side of the road.
The girl sweatdropped, but looked at him curiously, blue eyes glinting. Something had seemed strange about his movement. Then she caught onto what Brock had said before walking into the tree, and hurried on.
"She was GORGEOUS," said Brock, disappointed that she was gone. He rubbed his head and winced.
"No she wasn't," said Ash, confused. "Didn't you SEE her? Her face was all weird. Kinda lumpy."
"And that's the worst taste in fashion I've EVER seen," grinned Misty.
"Maybe... I see beyond that," said Brock, his voice low. "And she had a nice voice."
Misty and Ash looked at Brock thoughtfully.
"They're almost at Pewter," said the bluenette to her partner. She then peeled off her 'weird looking face' and sighed in relief.
"If I had to wear that stupid mask for one minute more... I thought they'd never come!"
Her partner, also a bluenette, but this one naturally, grinned. "Ah, don't worry, it'll be worth it."
The girl smiled. "Of course. And I noticed something about Brock that I never picked before."
"Hm? What's that, Jessie?"
"A weakness. He's the weak link in the team, James. We can take advantage of that somehow."
"When he noticed me he walked into a tree."
"Uh... he's clumsy?"
Jessie sweatdropped. "More than that. I'm surprised we didn't notice it before."
James looked at her blankly.
"I'll explain it in plain English."
Misty squinted and saw in the distance... "ALRIGHT! Pewter City's right that way! We're almost there. Another hour or so."
Ash grinned. "Let's go then!"
The bluenette girl from before suddenly fell, landing right in front of them.
"Where'd you come from?" asked Ash, startled.
"Sorry," she apologised, "I was climbing a tree to see if I could get my bearings, but my backpack was too heavy and I fell out."
Misty looked at the girl's backpack. "It doesn't look too heavy."
"I got all this water, see, it's kinda heavy."
The girl took out a huge thermos full of water. Misty and Ash went sparkly eyed.
"Where'd you find the water?" asked Ash, "there's none around here for ages!"
"Oh, there's some about five minutes walk away," said the girl, "I'll show you if you like."
Ash and Misty nodded and went to follow the girl.
"I'll wait for you guys here," said Brock, "I might take a break for a few minutes. We've been walking a long time."
"Pikachu," agreed Pikachu.
"Okay, see you in a few minutes, Brock, Pikachu," said Ash.
"Yeah... see you."
Ash briefly wondered why Brock sounded strained on those last words, but being of a naturally... er, dense nature, immediately put it out of his mind.
His travelling partners walked away, and Brock sat down by the side of the road with Pikachu in his lap.
"Nice to get a bit of peace. I wonder why I'm in such a weird mood today. Maybe 'cos those two don't know anything still."
"Some people know things, though."
It was a vaguely familiar female voice, but Brock couldn't place it. He heard footsteps come up behind him.
"You have a nice voice," Brock said, and turned. The girl there made him blush. "Wow, you're real pretty."
The girl laughed. "Thanks. Hey Brock, I was wondering -"
"How do you know my name?"
The girl walked so that she was facing Brock. Something about the heaviness of her tread...
"You're not a girl!" said Brock, and sweatdropped.
The girl blinked. "Uh... yes I am."
"No you're not!"
"Fine, I'm not. Prepare for trouble, and all that."
That last line was said in the 'girl's' normal voice.
"You're James!" squawked Brock.
"Right," agreed James, "and as we speak, Jessie's got Ash and Misty. Come find them at your old gym if you want them."
"Pika pi!" gasped Pikachu.
James ran off. Brock was totally confused as to why James had dressed up as a girl in the first place for the sole purpose of delivering that message, then decided he absolutely did not want to know.
At that stage, he was more worried about Ash and Misty.
He took off, with Pikachu leading him, leading the way to Pewter City.
"Is anyone in here?" asked Brock cautiously, pushing open the door to his gym.
"Prepare for trouble and make it double!"
"To protect the world from devastation!"
"I don't care about that," interrupted Brock, "what did you do to my family?"
"To infect the world with devastation!"
"Cassidy?" choked Brock, "you're here too?"
"To blight all peoples within our nation!" was the reply.
"To unite all peoples within our nation!"
"Okay, I get the point, the whole gang's here. What do you want?"
The four human members of Team Rocket stood around Brock. They all wore rubber suits.
"The Pikachu, of course," said Jessie, "and we're not playing around this time."
"Where's my family?" repeated Brock, just as firmly.
"Give us the Pikachu and all your Pokemon and we'll give them all back, Ash and Misty too."
Brock gritted his teeth. "Pikachu is not mine to give, and I wouldn't abandon it like that anyway. This seems like a weird method to try and get Pikachu."
"It's not that weird," muttered James, "nothing else has ever worked, so we're just trying to get it to come voluntarily."
"Well, that Pikachu obviously hasn't seen the state of its master to refuse like that," smirked Cassidy, "but I don't think we'll bring him out. I have a weak stomach."
Brock swallowed hard.
"What are you going to do?" asked Butch, tone mocking. "It's the Pikachu or the lives of your family and friends. Surely you wouldn't have trouble making a choice like that."
Brock knew it should've been an easy choice to make, but Pikachu was holding onto his pant leg and making a slight nervous sound in its throat.
He made up his mind.
Of course, as luck would have it, Butch favoured water Pokemon. Brock cursed as his Vulpix fainted under the onslaught of his opponent's Wartortle.
"Now you don't have any other choice," snapped Jessie, "enough with the games. Give us Pikachu."
Brock scowled. "I'm not giving you Pikachu. It's not mine to give."
Pikachu looked up at Brock and swallowed. It knew how much Brock cared for his family.
"Pika," said Pikachu firmly.
"What?" choked Brock. "You can't give up that easily!"
Brock made a grab for Pikachu but the mouse dodged him and ran towards Team Rocket.
"Pika pi pika!" Pikachu called back at Brock. (Think of poor Ash!)
Pikachu jumped into James' arms. The young Rocket stood there for a moment, blinking, before his face broke into a smile.
"Guys, we did it!"
"See," said Cassidy with a smirk, "all you needed was our expert touch."
Jessie looked as though she'd like to pounce on that one, but they had Pikachu now, so she couldn't really.
Pikachu looked miserable but made no attempt to get away. It snapped at Brock "Pi pikachu, pika pi pika!" (I've done my part, now you get Ash and the others!)
Meowth grinned. "Nope, you ain't gettin' off that easily. Dis is Team Rocket's final victory!"
Brock and Pikachu blinked.
"That's right," agreed Jessie happily and started babbling. She was very into dramatics. "Team Rocket's finally won and we're not about to stop here! It's quadruple trouble now that we're all together, and we're going nowhere but up! Give us all your Pokemon. Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light!"
She looked to James, hoping for a similar dramatic speech, and sweatdropped when she saw him sitting, grinning like a child and scratching Pikachu under the chin.
Pikachu looked to Brock in alarm, totally ignoring James.
Brock clenched his fists. He was known for being calm and quick thinking in tough situations, but he honestly couldn't tell what to do.
There was a pregnant silence.
It was broken, suddenly, by a most welcome distraction.
Brock and Pikachu blinked as a flying blue blur zipped past them and rammed Jessie right in the stomach, sending her crashing down painfully.
"What was -"
The blue blur hovered in midair. It flapped its wings more slowly, and now its form could be distinguished.
"A Butterfree!" said Cassidy, surprised, "where'd that thing come from?"
"Pika pi pikaachu!" (Ash's Butterfree!)
Butterfree nodded. "Fleee."
Jessie stood up and scowled. "You stupid Butterfree! You won't get the better of us this time!"
"This time?" Cassidy made no effort to hide her amusement. "You mean, a wimpy little bug Pokemon got the better of you? Hahahahaha!"
Jessie growled, as did Butterfree. The Pokemon tackled the blonde Rocket, sending her sprawling over too.
"Quick, Pikachu," said Brock. Pikachu nodded. Butterfree flew above James and used stun spore.
"I hate stun spore," he groaned, thinking of Jessiebell. James fell and lay paralysed on the ground.
Pikachu jumped out of his arms and ran to Brock.
"Knowing Team Rocket, my family, Ash and Misty are probably somewhere in this gym. Let's go, Pikachu."
Brock and Pikachu ran down one of the hallways of Pewter City Gym, opening doors but being met with empty rooms. They turned the corner and ran right into Ash and Misty.
"You guys!" gasped Brock, but kept his voice low. "How'd you get here? And..."
He was about to ask where his family was, but trailed off at Pikachu's upset squeaking. Cassidy was right, Ash and Misty were much the worse for wear. Misty's face was scratched and had what looked like a large burn mark on her shoulder. Ash had a black eye and by the looks of things, his left arm was broken. It hung at an odd angle. The two both had a fine assortment of bruises.
Both of them looked very tired.
Pikachu was making strange hiccuping noises. It seemed semi-hysterical at the sight of its trainer. Brock was a bit worried; he'd never heard anything like it before. Ash picked up Pikachu with his good arm and stroked its fur reassuringly. Pikachu didn't seem to calm down much, but it at least quietened.
"It's in shock," said Brock, unnecessarily.
"What was it saying, Ash?" asked Misty. She hadn't understood Pikachu's squeaks.
"Team Rocket did this, it's too much, it's too much. It was saying it over and over."
Ash's voice was different.
"To answer your question, Brock," said Misty, "a pink Butterfree broke through the window and let us out."
"It was my Butterfree's girlfriend," said Ash with conviction. Brock nodded.
"I don't know how they found out you were in trouble, but Butterfree helped us out a lot. Now we have to escape."
The others nodded, and took off at a run, although Misty limped somewhat.
"Do you guys know," puffed Brock, "where my family is?"
"At home, aren't they?" asked Misty.
"I think... that Team Rocket... never had... your family," gasped Ash, carrying a sniffling Pikachu.
Brock sighed in relief, and led the other two to the back entrance of Pewter City gym. When he opened the last door, he paused in confusion.
"This isn't right," he said. "maybe my Dad rennovated this part of the gym. But we should be outside right now."
But now Misty could take over. "I recognise this place," she said.
"I don't," said Ash.
"That's 'cos you were unconscious," she said matter-of-factly. "This was where they brought us in."
They could see a long room before them, and at the end a closed pull-up door. Reachable by some scaffolding was a blue lever.
Brock ran ahead, reaching the pull-up door, and Misty called to him.
"Brock, grab that blue lever, that's what they used to shut the door."
Brock swallowed and grabbed the lever, pulling it all the way down.
"Wrong one!" squawked Misty, as an alarm went off and a door slammed down behind them. "That's not the blue one!"
The door they'd come in by was shut. They were trapped. Brock tugged on the lever but it didn't seem to work the other way. He pounded the door in frustration.
"Hang on, I'll climb up the scaffolding," said Misty. She was in slightly better shape than Ash. She moved to it and was about to climb it when the door opened after all.
"They're getting away!" yelled Jessie, running into the room. Apparently she was the only Team Rocket member who hadn't been put out of commission by Butterfree. "I can't let that happen! Go Arbok!"
The cobra materialised right in front of the trio, who shrunk back nervously. Ash clutched Pikachu's body protectively. The small mouse was still in shock and didn't seem to be responding to anything.
"We were so close," whispered Misty, her face looking more worn than ever.
Arbok looked at the small group. They'd defeated her so many times, especially the Pikachu. That same Pikachu was now burying its face in Ash's chest. Brock's Pokemon were all fainted, Ash and Misty had no idea where Team Rocket had taken theirs, and the snake knew she could win. For the first time, a victory against these enemies.
Misty shivered slightly and Pikachu peeked up at Arbok and did likewise.
Arbok then flipped her tail up and pulled the blue lever. Then she moved out of the way.
Jessie stared in disbelief. Misty smiled at Arbok in a kind of stunned gratitude, before taking the opportunity and running outside. She was closely followed by Ash and Brock.
"We'll have to go back some time soon," said Ash, "the second we're in better shape, we'll get our Pokemon back."
Misty nodded. Pikachu just sat quietly. Now that the danger had passed, it had calmed, and felt quite ashamed of itself. Ash didn't seem angry with it, but that made it feel worse that it hadn't put up more of a fight or at least been SOME use.
"Team Rocket's more dangerous than I thought," said Misty, "right now I'm so happy just to be out of there."
"We almost didn't make it," added Ash. "Why'd you pull the bar like that, instead of the blue lever? You could've cost us our lives."
Brock just stood there.
"Well? Don't you have anything to say about that? Geeze Brock, are you blind?!"
Still he said nothing, but Ash fell silent. His friend's answer was clear. It presented itself in Brock's unseeing, shadowed eyes...