No offense to Alyssa, I just like your name. ^_^. Hey, I need to start giving a couple of those girls personalities and identities, otherwise I can't write about them. ^_^.

The best thing about this chapter is that the best Pokemon there is, Arbok, appears. ^_^.

by Leto
Part 12 - Pay Day

Days passed. Everyone fell back into their normal routines. Team Rocket headed to the coast, to travel to Sea Foam Island to try and find some Shellder. Misty fought battles as a gym leader. Ash signed up for Gary's tournament. Brock made passes at Misty's sisters and refused to get the hint that they didn't like him.

"Lily, your blue hair is so pretty, and so unique..."

"Stop drooling, you look like you're, like, rabid or something!"

"Rose, your pink hair is so pretty, and so unique..."

"Unique, unlike your pick-up lines..."

"Daisy, your -"


"Uh huh?"

"Shut up."

"Yes Daisy. I'll do anything for you. You're so pretty and gorgeous and smart and -"


"Uh huh?"

"SHUT UP!... wait a second... did you say you'll do *anything*?"

Daisy got a slightly mischeivous look on her face, which her sisters recognised well. The love-struck Brock didn't pick up on it, as when he saw a cute girl, his IQ dropped to about 50.


"So Gary, what inspired you to do this?"

One of Gary's cheerleaders was helping him put up posters advertising the battle competition.

"Here, pass us the stapler, Alyssa. Ta. Oh, I think I need more practise."

"More practise? But you're unbeatable!"

"Not exactly," sighed Gary. "Don't tell anyone, but I lost a battle a few days ago."

"Against Mewtwo?"

"No, after that."

"You lost TWO battles?"

"Don't rub it in..."

"So what was the second battle about?"

"I... can't say. Trainer's secret."

Gary wasn't going to give James' secret away. Alyssa smiled at him.

"Well, don't worry. I'm sure you'll do fine in the tournament."

"I hope so. I'm going to make sure I get as much battling practise in as possible."

"How are you going to organise it? Do you need any help?"

"It should work out okay. To get past the first round, trainers will have to beat me. I'll get to battle more."

"Is that fair? You'll beat them all so easily, then there'll be no competitors!"

Gary grinned. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm going to use some of my weaker Pokemon. They'll get some experience and practise."

Alyssa gave him a thumbs up and consequently dropped all the posters she was holding. She sweatdropped and got back to work.


"Mewtwo, try doing a psychic on that tree!"

Mewtwo concentrated.

Jessie and Meowth watched, slightly bored. James had been training Mewtwo a lot over the last few days. When Jessie pointed out that such a strong Pokemon sure didn't need to be trained by *James*, he said that Mewtwo wasn't used to obeying orders, or using a specific attack/strategy.

The tree seemed to melt in a haze of psychic, before exploding in a shower of bark and flaming leaves.



James grinned at his Pokemon, which happily grinned back. Mewtwo was happy because it felt it had made the right choice for a trainer after all, and James was happy because he had a Pokemon which he could raise that was happy to be with him.

"Hey James, why don't we move on now," sighed Jessie, "it's still a day's walk to the coast, and we have to get more Pokemon for the boss ASAP."

"Okay. Ready to go, Mewtwo?"

Mewtwo nodded and hugged James' leg. Jessie rolled her eyes.

"Geez, you wouldn't know you were its master, James."


"You exert no control over it at all. It won't obey you if you're not careful."

"It wouldn't obey me anyway, if it didn't want to," replied James, "I don't have any badges."

"Can't you put it in its Pokeball?" snapped Jessie.

James glared at her. "Jessie, do you always have to be so mean to Mewtwo? Besides, don't you know that Pokemon get stronger if you leave them outside a Pokeball? From walking around and all, they get good exercise, and -"

"Yes, I know, you've told me about twenty times. You're obsessed with this stupid Mewtwo. Put it away or I'll tell the boss about it."

James stared at Jessie in shock.

"You wouldn't do that! If you did that, I'd leave! Then the boss wouldn't be ABLE to find Mewtwo!"

Jessie looked at him for a moment, and then nodded. She felt cheated. And that James would choose to keep Mewtwo rather than stay with her... it hurt.

She took a deep breath and said "Fine, I won't tell him. Stop overreacting to everything! Come on, let's go."

She grabbed James, Meowth and Mewtwo and dragged them behind her.


"Okay," said Ash, "for the contest I'll use Krabby and... Muk, I guess. But wait, Gary has a Kadabra. So I don't want to use Muk. How about... Tauros? I've never really used any of my Tauros. Do you think Tauros would be a good idea?"

"I DON'T KNOW, JUST SHUT UP!" shouted Misty, finally losing her temper after an hour of hearing Ash agonise about what Pokemon to use.

"Well, if you'd just answer me..."

"Fine, I think Tauros is a good idea, or you could try catching a new Pokemon to give your team more variety."

"Yeah, but it's so hard to find a good Pokemon that I like... and I don't really know Tauros' moves yet, so that might not be a good idea. What if it doesn't obey me like Charizard doesn't? Speaking of Charizard, should I try to reason with it? I don't want it to start destroying things and not be able to get it back in its Pokeball if it starts going crazy again. And..."


"Okay, okay," sighed Ash, "I'll try to catch a new Pokemon I guess. What type do you think?"

"Rock Pokemon are good for you, or a rock-ground, because you don't have anything like that."

"Speaking of rock Pokemon, did I see Brock cleaning your bathroom earlier?"

Misty got a sweatdrop. "Yes, and vaccuuming the house, and sweeping the kitchen, and washing the dishes, and cooking lunch, and mowing the lawn and..."

"What's with this sudden obsession for housekeeping? I thought he'd like the chance to just relax!"

Misty grinned and looked at Ash levelly. "I'll give you three guesses why he's doing all this."

Ash suddenly caught on. "Ahh, those three guesses would be Daisy, Lily and Rose?"

Misty gave a thumbs up and the two started laughing.


Professor Oak looked over the Pokemon.

"These are very good, Gary. I just wanted to say I'm proud of you. You're making excellent progress, and I think this tournament's a great idea. You'll make a fine Pokemon Master some day."

Gary smiled. He felt that his grandfather's satisfaction was worth all the hard work he'd put into raising his Pokemon.

"Your rivals are doing well too. Did you hear about the photos of Ash's Pikachu winning the 1999 International Pokemon Photography contest? And how he shut down that fake Pokemon breeding center? And -"

"Yes, I've heard..."

"Actually, I'm surprised that Ash managed to do so well for himself. I'll admit I was sceptical at first, but he'll make a great Pokemon Master some day, don't you think so Gary?"

Professor Oak was asking the wrong person. Gary was quite resentful of his grandpa's interest in Ash.

"I dunno Gramps, he still doesn't know very much about Pokemon after all this time. I don't think he's Pokemon Master material."

Oak smiled, oblivious to Gary's opinion of Ash. "Oh, he could surprise us all yet. I wouldn't discount him just yet."

"I would," muttered Gary, but without conviction. He was remembering how Pikachu's attacks made Mewtwo fall down.


"It's nothing personal," said Jessie conversationally to the cat Pokemon, "but James is paying way too much attention to you."

James had gone to buy food (of course) but Pokemon weren't allowed in the store, so Jessie stayed outside with Mewtwo and Meowth.

"Ahh, I knew you was jealous!" said Meowth triumphantly.

"Shut up, cat," snapped Jessie, hitting him. "I wasn't talking to you."

Mewtwo looked at her curiously, its purple eyes gleaming.

"Anyway, what I'm saying," continued Jessie, "is that you shouldn't take it personally if I'm rude to you."

Mewtwo said nothing, but was thinking 'how else am I supposed to take it? Humans are weird...'


"Dad, stop it! Dad, you're hurting me! Stop! Please, stop!"

He didn't stop.

--end flashback--

Jessie trembled suddenly. For a second, the memory had seemed so real. And she thought she was over it.

"Jess, are you okay?" asked Meowth, with genuine concern. Jessie suddenly looked very scared and he didn't know why.

"Meowth, me meowth?"


("Did you do something to her?"


Jessie hugged her knees nervously and wished James would hurry up and come back. He was only gone for a couple of minutes, but right then she needed a friend.


"Uhh, where do I sign up?" Ash asked the girl at the counter.

"Oh!" chirped the girl. "You're Ash, aren't you? The loser trainer Gary keeps talking about? It's nice to finally meet you!"

Ash cringed. "Uhh... I guess. Who're you?"

"I'm in his fanclub! My name's Melissa! Call me Mel!"

"Hi, Mel. If you don't mind my asking, WHY are you in his fanclub?"

"Oh, Gary's cool. And, there's nothing else to do."

"Huh. I feel sorry for you. Anyway, I'd like to sign up for the tournament, I guess."

"That's great. I think Gary would like to challenge you!" she said brightly, handing him a form.

"And I him," said Ash, and started filling out the sign-up sheet.

"Name: Ash Ketchum
Age: 11
Position: All badges collected... suck on that, Oak!
Home Town: Pallet
Pokemon: You'll see..."


James came out the store, laden with shopping bags.

"I thought you were just going to get a donut!" said Jessie reprimandingly, but she was relieved to see him.

"Oh, but then I saw the chocolate aisle, and the biscuit aisle, and then I just had to pick up a few steaks for tea and steak isn't complete without eggs and vegetables and -"

"Forget I said anything," groaned Jessie.

He grinned at her, and she grabbed his hand as he pulled her up.


Professor Oak read through the sign-up sheets.

"This one's legitimate. Oh, this one looks like an interesting challenge. This person sounds like they have good Pokemon. I've heard of this trainer, he only focuses on strong Pokemon. He'd be a good trainer to battle."

"Who's that?" asked Gary, from where he was reading through more sign-up sheets.

"His name's Damien, I think. Promising young man. Let's see who else... Oh, Ash signed up! Looks like... uhh.... hey Gary, I think he intended for you to read this."

Gary read it and sweatdropped.


"Hey James, I've been thinking, you're right."

"I... am?"

Jessie grinned. "Pokemon do grow stronger from being with their trainers and not in a Pokeball, right?"


"So, I'm going to try it!"

James got a bit of a sweatdrop as Jessie threw her Pokeball, releasing Arbok.

"Arbok might be... a bit awkward to travel with. It's kinda big," Meowth understated.

"And it doesn't know Minimise like Mewtwo does, so it can't make itself small and carry-able," pointed out James.

"Boka..." said Arbok, with a sweatdrop, looking guilty.

But Jessie wouldn't back down, and the group found themselves with another Pokemon. They were beginning to look like a walking menagerie.


Ash stood with Pikachu at his side, as always, ready and willing to battle.

The stadium that the Oaks had rented for the occasion was fairly full. It was an informal competition, but there had been so few of them lately that people were getting restless. Identifying new Pokemon training talent was always interesting.

The stands were full of spectators but the training floor was full of nervous challengers, who were mostly just standing around talking, bragging to each other, trying to psych each other out, finding out about each other.

Ash recognised a few people he'd met before. The Nurse Joy he'd met at the Pokemon League admissions exam, who was heading to Pokemon League but doing a bit of practise battling along the way. Lara Laramie, Rapidash and Growlithe both by her side. AJ, holding a determined looking Sandslash.


"You!" they both said in startled surprise, as they saw each other.

Damien smiled. His Pokemon was probably stronger now, so it might be worth getting back. He didn't have any decent fire Pokemon, really.

"Hey Ash, it's been a long time."

"Damien," scowled Ash, "not long enough."

"Well, I suppose a Pokemon thief doesn't want his victims to see him again."

"What?! Don't be ridiculous. Charmander wanted to go with me."

"I bought that Charmander with my own money. Either pay up or pay the consequences."

"How much?"

"Well, I spent 10 thousand on it."

"Ten thousand?" croaked Ash. "I don't have that kind of money!"

"Ha!" crowed Damien. "Then you'll just hafta give me back my Charmander!"

"You abandoned it," scowled Ash.

"But I still have its Pokeball here," grinned Damien.

"What's all this about?" asked Gary, suspiciously, stepping in between the two. Ash looked like he could've willingly punched Damien out, and he didn't want his tournament to get a bad reputation.

"This kid 'ere is a Pokemon THIEF," said Damien.

"I am not!"

"Ahh," said Gary, "so that's why you got all upset when I asked you if you were part of Team Rocket. It was close to the truth."

"You don't BELIEVE him do you?"

Gary was Ash's worst rival but Ash would prefer Gary to Damien. At least Gary knew how to treat and train Pokemon.

Gary actually did look doubtful. He didn't think much of Ash either but he knew his rival liked Pokemon.

"He stole your Pokemon? Which one?"

"It was a Charmander."

"It's a Charizard now," said Ash, "and I didn't steal it, Damien abandoned it. He was mean to it and Charmander chose to go with me."

Gary shrugged. "Let's ask the Charizard."

"I'm not sure about that..." said Ash.

"Why, you think it'll go to Damien?" asked Gary, with a smirk.

Ash shrugged. He didn't know what would happen, but he pulled out his Pokeball and opened it.

Charizard materialised and looked at Ash out of the corner of his eye.

"Charizard, remember me? I'm yer old trainer, Damien! You wanna go with me or Ash here?"

This whole scenario was reminding Ash somewhat of the Mewtwo fiasco, but Ash really didn't want to lose Charizard. Sure, it was unruly and sometimes made him worried, but he'd raised that Pokemon and it'd been a great one before it forgot him.

"It doesn't remember me," said Ash anxiously, "it doesn't remember either of us, after it evolved."

Pikachu said "Pikachu, pika." (Charizard, it's Damien.)

Charizard looked into the man's face, breathing little puffs of smoke through its nose. So this was the person Meowth had been so unfavourably telling him about.

Damien grinned at him. "Eh, you lookin' pretty good, Charmander - uh, Charizard. You rightfully belong to me, don'tcha remember?"

Charizard looked Damien right in the eye. And then he did remember.


Team Rocket was travelling on foot. They'd passed Fuschia City a few hours ago and were now nearing a familiar place.

"We have to stop here," said Meowth, decidedly.

James and Jessie agreed. They were getting a little tired of travelling, and this was one of the few places where they were actually welcome.

"Cassandraaaaa!" yelled Meowth. Mew cringed, minimised a little and jumped into James' backpack.

The door to the building swung open, and she was there, looking just like she had when they last saw her, six months ago.

A Parasect scurried after it. Arbok looked at it in distrust. It remembered its 'battle' with Paras. Weird things had happened. It had attacked without moving.

Meowth grinned to himself.

"Hey, Team Rocket!" said Cassandra, happily. "I can't thank you enough for what you did for Paras all those months ago! I've been perfecting my special potions from the mushroom on its back, and it's coming along great!"

"Yeah, whatcha doing?" asked James, curiously.

"This latest potion... the one I've been trying to develop for years... it'll heal a Pokemon of all conditions, and restore them to full health. It works on fainted Pokemon too."

"Dat sounds great," said Meowth happily.

"And it was all thanks to you guys! You look tired, you should come in, would you like something to eat?"

"Would we!" grinned James.

Jessie muttered something about him eating three steaks for dinner only an hour before, but James was cheerfully oblivious.



The crowded stadium, of one accord, looked up in shock and covered their heads as the enormous Charizard flew into the air. It flapped its wings and blew small puffs of flame. Its tail was flaring bright.

"I'm not sure, but I think it's made up its mind," ventured Misty from her place in the stands. Misty and Brock could both see Damien and Ash.

She'd decided to skip the tournament, so that Ash could get some more practise in. Also, she didn't want to hear him whining about Gary any more than she had to.

Charizard's eyes glowed and its tail flared up. Then, it roared fiercely.

The spectators were all nervous.

"Call it back, Ash," gulped Gary.

Ash shot a red beam from his Pokeball, but Charizard refused to return.

"You should train it better," snapped Gary. "Now I'll have to get it under control."

Charizard flapped its wings and dove at Damien. The huge flame Pokemon knocked him down, and the young man went tumbling head over heels, until he crashed into the wall at the far end of the stadium.

The Pokemon opened its mouth.

"Quick, Pokeball go," said Gary hurriedly.

A Poliwhirl materialised.

Charizard swung around, tail burning bright. People in the stadium screamed as sparks flew in every direction. It breathed in, and began to heave a burst of flames...

"Water gun!"

Poliwhirl leapt into the fray, between Damien and the Pokemon he had abandoned. It spat water at the larger Pokemon and subdued it somewhat.

"Charizard, you'd better return," said Ash, although he was rather enjoying watching Damien get what he deserved.

Charizard turned and stared at its trainer long and hard.

It nodded.

Ash had won back Charizard.


James and Jessie patted their full stomaches. James noticed that Jessie had eaten just as much as him, despite her earlier complaints about them having just had tea.

Arbok lay on the floor, the outline of a full chicken clearly visible in its throat. It made a hissing noise. It, too, was quite content.

Meowth was sitting on Cassandra's lap, purring. He was acting just like an ordinary cat, actually. Cassandra stroked his head.

"Oh, Meowth," she said, "I should properly introduce you to the Persian, our company mascot. I got it in honour of you, and I give it lots of attention in your place. You guys should meet, since you're almost the same species and all."

'I am NOT nearly the same species as one of THEM,' thought Meowth furiously. Aloud, he said "Uhh, okay."

"Persian!" Cassandra called.

From around the door slinked a Pokemon, the sight of which Meowth hated. He was sure it was looking at him with contempt. But Persian look at everyone that way. It seemed in no particular hurry.

"Meowth," said Meowth reluctantly. (Hi.)

"Persian... prrr!" (A Meowth... how quaint.)

"Meowth meowth?!" (You patronising me?!)

"Purrr. Persian persian." (Neverrr. Now go away from my trainer.)

Persian and Meowth glared at each other with obvious hostility. Cassandra, oblivious, said happily "oh, they're friends already!"

Meowth and Persian continued to hiss insults at each other.

"Pokemon get along so easily, don't they!"

Noticing Meowth's bristling tail, James said "I'm not sure I quite agree with you on that one."

Suddenly, Persian moved, slashing at Meowth and causing the charm on the other cat's forehead to fall off.

"Dis means war!" declared Meowth, and the two cats prepared to fight.


"Damien, Ash," said Gary, "you're BOTH disqualified from this tournament."

"What?!" squawked the two.

"I didn't do nothin'!" protested Damien.

"I don't want creeps like you around," snapped Gary.

"Well, I'm the good guy here, why am I getting kicked out?" demanded Ash. 'Because you don't like me? Real professional.'

"I can't let you stay in the tournament. You traumatised all the spectators. You couldn't control your Pokemon and it scared everyone."

"That wasn't my fault! Blame Damien!"

"What?! I didn't do nothin'!"

"Stop saying that! You did so! You started the stupid fight in the first place."

"Well, Charizard still rightfully belongs to ME anyway!"

"How can you say that?! You ditched it!"

Gary got a bulging vein symbol. He was being ignored. This wasn't working out too well. The tournament was supposed to start five minutes ago.

"I just left it on the rock! I came back for it like I said I would!"

"Yeah, only after you saw how powerful it could be!"

"So what? It's still mine."

"You're a poor excuse for a trainer. You only bother with Pokemon if they're strong!"

"Poor excuse for a trainer?! All good trainers work that way! You're the pathetic trainer!"

"I am not pathetic!"


Before the two quabblers knew what was happening, they found themselves being unceremoniously thrown out the stadium courtesy of Gary.


Persian and Meowth leapt at each other, slashing with their claws and performing the occasional Pay Day. Persian seemed stronger, but Meowth fought with the intense bitterness he held against all Persian.

"Meowth, take this!"

Meowth bit hard on Persian's paw. The other Pokemon yowled in pain and slapped him with its claws.

"Don't damage my face," snapped Meowth.

"Hey, Jessie, he sounds like you!" grinned James, watching. His backpack snickered.

Jessie smacked him but didn't turn. This battle was extremely interesting. She'd never seen Meowth voluntarily fight before.

"Enough with dis."

Meowth grabbed his dented charm and it glowed. He slammed it into Persian and the coins circled its body, slashing it.

"Pay day. Revenge," said Meowth, in its own language.

Persian glared at him.

"Prrr. Persian. Perssian prrsian."


Persian glared at Meowth, who lay battered before him.

"Prrr. Persian. Perssian prrsian."

(You're a disgrace. Leave us. You're no cat or Pokemon.)


Meowth's eyes snapped wide open.

"You're THAT Persian!" he exclaimed.

Persian smirked.

Meowth didn't care why Persian had decided to stay with a human. It was Cassandra; who needed a reason. But, now was the best chance to get revenge.

Meowth launched himself at Persian. He thought of the girl Meowth he thought he'd loved.

Persian found itself helpless under an onslaught of an aptly named fury swipes.

It stared at Meowth with dislike, and a condescending air even though it was covered with scratches and obviously weak.

The red jewel on its forehead glowed and Persian retaliated with a Pay Day of its own.

"Pay Day!" snarled Meowth. Jessie and James thought they'd never heard his voice this furious before. "This is MY Pay Day. The end."

Coins flashed.

Persian fainted.


"Just like you Ash to make a scene," teased Misty, but there was no unkindness in her words.

"One good thing came out of it," said Ash. "Charizard... listened to me. I think it wants to be my Pokemon again."

"Pika!" (It does!)

Brock smiled at the other two. "Well, that wasn't a waste of time after all. And you gave the spectators some... entertainment."

"Did you see the look on Damien's face though?" cackled Ash. "It was all worth it!"

Misty and Ash doubled over laughing, and Brock started walking, but his shoulders were heaving with laughter too.

"Where are you going, Brock?" asked Misty.

"Back to your house."

"Why don't we have a day out? We've been in the house a lot lately."

"Oh, I have to get the ironing done," said Brock.

The other two sweatdropped.

"Well, we'll take a break anyway," said Ash.


That night, as Cassandra was making up beds for Jessie and James, Team Rocket took a rare opportunity to have a break. They lounged on a sofa, Jessie with Arbok draped over her lap.

"Ahhh, TV," said James happily. "How I've missed you."

Jessie grinned. "Okay, let's watch Video Hits."

"Video Hits isn't on at this time of day! Let's watch Dawson's Creek!"

Jessie stared at James in disbelief. "James, you are insane, that's the worst program in existance!"

"What would YOU prefer?"

"There's a good movie on."

She tossed him the TV guide.

"On channel 9?"


"I am not watching a movie full of violence. I've had enough of that, thank you very much."

"Don't be a wimp."

"I'm not a wimp."

"You are a wimp. This is not a movie full of violence."

"Yes it is! I hate it!"

Jessie got a big sweatdrop. "James, I don't think Home Alone could be considered a violent movie. It's rated G."

"That's what they say."

"Yes, that's what they say."

"Why do you want to watch that anyway? It's worse than Dawson's Creek!"

"Home Alone is a perfectly good movie. It's funny."

"Funny? A sadistic little brat running around being overly cute and goody goody. If I wanted that, I'd go chase Ash for a while."

"Home Alone is that?"

"It stars Macauly Caulkin."

"Oh, I had it confused with something else."

James heaved a sigh of relief. That anyone could consider Home Alone a good movie scared him.

Their friendly bickering was cut short as a somewhat battered Meowth entered the room.

"Why're you two sitting staring at a blank TV screen?" he asked.

"We can't decide what to watch."

"Oh, let's see the TV guide."

Jessie was about to throw Meowth the TV guide, when the cat Pokemon suddenly doubled over.

"Meowth, are you okay?" asked James, with concern. "You've looked off colour ever since you battled Persian earlier. Didn't the potion Cassandra gave you work?"

"It worked," said Meowth, but a drop of sweat trickled down his forehead. "I feel fine."

"You're lying," said Jessie, uncertainly.

Meowth gritted his teeth. "I AM FINE."

Jessie and James looked at him, disbelieving.

Meowth rolled his eyes. "Fine, don't believe me."

He stalked out of the room, into the dining room. Jessie and James looked after him, then stared at each other.

"I'll never understand that cat," sighed James.

Jessie rolled her eyes and nodded. She picked up the TV guide and pawed through it some more.

"I still say Dawson's Creek."

"How 'bout the Simpsons?"

"Shaa!" agreed Arbok. "Shaaboka, boka!" (Yes, it's the whacking day episode!)

"It's agreed, then!"

"I didn't agree," began James, but he was outvoted.

Jessie picked up the TV remote.

Suddenly, an unearthly yowl came from the dining room.

"Meowth!" Jessie and James yelled in unison.

They ran into the next room and saw the source of Meowth's earlier discomfort.

"Meowth!" howled Meowth. A howl of pain, but not in a physical sense.

"Meeeowth!" In his current frame of mind, Meowth forgot English, and howled in his true language. All he knew was his original form. A Pokemon. He gripped his charm in one paw.

And his body glowed all over.

Meowth was evolving.

Next chapter
Fanfic page
Main page