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| Poor Brock was breathing like he just ran a marathon. The lights were finally on, but not until he completed probably one of the most challenging, perhaps most life-threatening feat in his life.
Brock: [to himself] “Ash…Misty…you guys…better be…happy.”
Somehow, Brock had strategically made his way through the maze of laser lights to find his way to the door without touching a single one. Now, after holding his breath during the entire process, he was making up for lost time.
Brock: “Now…to find…[GASP]…the pokemon.”
It was lucky for Brock that the room was relatively small. There were only five shelves of pokeballs around the room, each shelf only one sided because they lined the walls. The only problem was distinguishing his pokemon from the rest of them.
Brock: [scratching his head] “Man, this is going to be a lot of work.”
Brock: “What was that?!”
He thought he heard something, but it was impossible. There were no connecting doors in this room, and the walls separating the room and the hallway were supposedly sound proof. You couldn’t hear pokemon talking through their pokeballs. Still…
Brock: “There it is again. I can’t be imagining this.”
Brock started walking towards the other side of the room, slowly, so he could listen intently for the noise to come again.
But Brock should have looked where he was going.
*Clunk, Zzzt, Bam!*
Brock ran his leg right into a little metal box in the center of the room. Unfortunately for Brock, he set off something from within the box, causing it to emit an electric shock amplified by the box’s metal structure that electrocuted an already ‘shocked’ Brock, causing him to fall like a sack of potatoes onto the floor.
Brock: [charred, sprawled on the floor] “…Pi…Ka…Chu?
Pikachu: [muffled from being inside the box] “Pi KA! Pika PI ka!”
Brock: [sitting up and shaking his head out] “Well that was one crazy way of answering my prayer of finding my pokemon. [to Pikachu] Hey Pikachu! Are you ok, buddy?”
Pikachu: “Pi ka, pikachu pika pika./Yes, but please get me out.”
Brock: “Um, maybe I should get you out of there.”
Pikachu just sweat-dropped.
Brock pulled on the lid of the small box, but it was shut tight.
Brock: “Man! If only I had Geodude, he could pull the lid right off this thing!”
Pikachu: “Pika pikachu pikachu pika pika./All of your pokemon are on the third shelf.”
Brock: “Hey, Pikachu. Do you know where my pokemon are?”
Pikachu: [hand on his forehead] “Pika Cha…/I give up…”
Brock: “I know! [to Pikachu] If I point to one of the shelves and you know that’s where our pokemon are, can you just nod your head.”
Pikachu: [nodding up and down] “Pika pika./Brilliant Idea.”
Brock: “Ok here goes…”
When Brock pointed to the third shelf…
Pikachu: [nodding vigorously] “Pika PI ka!/That’s it!”
Brock: “Awesome! Uh…[looking at all the pokeballs] I still don’t know which is Geodude. Oh well [grabbing all of them], here goes nothing. [Throwing them up in the air] Go, everybody!”
Luckily for Brock, the only pokemon on that shelf were his, Ash’s, and Misty’s. Amidst the extreme crowding in the room at that moment with all of the pokemon out, Brock spotted Geodude.
Brock: “Ok, everybody return except for Geodude. Wha?”
None of the pokemon knew which ball to return to.
Brock: “Oh, just pick a pokeball to go to and we’ll getcha to the right person later. Now return!”
The urgency in Brock’s voice scared the pokemon, so they returned as fast as they had all emerged.
Brock: “Now Geodude, lift the lid up off of that metal box and free Pikachu.”
Geodude: “Geo, Geodude./Why certainly Brock.”
With one swift motion, the lid was open and Pikachu was free. With the one pokeball that remained in Brock’s hand, he called back Geodude and gently hooked his friend back onto his pokebelt. No sooner had he done this than Pikachu jumped into Brock’s arms.
Pikachu: “Pika pika, Pikapi pika CHUu?/Where are Ash and Misty?”
Brock didn’t really understand, but he sensed what Pikachu was asking him. “Pikachu, I have no idea where Ash and Misty are. But don’t fret little buddy, I’m sure they’re ok.” ~At least that’s what I want to believe…~
Pikachu knew what Brock was thinking. He jumped back out of his arms and ran over to the door that led out of the room and into the hallway. He pawed at it and stared back up at Brock.
Brock: [nodding] “Alright Pikachu, I’m gonna need you to lead the way. You think you can do it?”
Pikachu: [nodding solemnly] “Pika./Of course.”
Brock: “Good. [pulling out a bag from his vest pocket] I’m glad I brought this small backpack with me.” He picked up all of his, Ash’s, and Misty’s pokemon and put them in one compartment, while he went to one shelf and started to throw in all of the others into the main compartment.
Brock: “It’s going to be a tight fit, but we’re not leaving one of these little guys behind. [to Pikachu] I’m taking all of these pokemon with us, because I think if we come back in here again, we’re going to be gonners for sure.”
He hurriedly filled his bag with pokeballs, making sure not to leave behind one pokemon as they prepared to go. Finally, Brock turned back toward Pikachu and looked down at the little electric mouse.
Brock: “Alright. Let’s go.”
Ash: “I can’t believe it’s really you!”
Ash and Giovanni had separated from there embrace after a few lingering moments, but they were still standing close together, still in shock and disbelief over seeing the other. Ash’s thoughts were only directed toward Giovanni at the moment, and the great leader of Team Rocket forgot about his status and acted as if he had just transported himself ten years in the past.
Giovanni: [smiling] “And I can’t believe what a handsome young man you’ve become. And a very talented pokemon trainer from what I hear.”
Ash: “What? But how do you know anything about me being a pokemon trainer?”
Giovanni just chuckled. “My boy, it’s all you talked about when you were little. And I watch the tournaments on T.V. all the time. Imagine how proud I felt when I saw my little boy win the Orange Islands Pokemon League Tournament.”
Ash smiled at first, but then his eyes glazed a bit as he looked down with a frown. Giovanni noticed his sudden change in demeanor, and was scared to say a word. Ash broke the silence this time.
Ash: “We’ve really missed you at home.”
It took the older man a while to answer.
Giovanni: “I know.”
Ash: [looking up at him again, with anger] “You know?
You know?! How can you possibly know when you ran out
on Mom and left me when I was only four years old!”
Old resentment was now rising inside of Ash’s chest, creating
a lump in his throat that burned as he tried to keep his feelings inside for once. Giovanni could only look away.
Giovanni: [quietly] “It’s complicated.”
Ash: “Tell me.”
Giovanni: “You wouldn’t understand.”
Ash: “Try me!”
Giovanni looked down into Ash’s eyes, eyes that were not too far from being level with his own. He saw such hatred in those beloved eyes that it ate away at his heart. He took a deep breath and…
Ash: [whipping his head back around toward the cell] “Oh my gosh! Misty!”
Ash came back to reality, forgetting about his father for the time being and rushing back to Misty’s side, silently cursing himself for ever leaving her. When he made it back over to the cell, Misty was lying on her side in a fetal position, but her body was still close to the bars and her face was facing outside.
As Ash knelt beside the girl and began to comfort her through soft words and gently stroking her hair, Giovanni smiled to himself. In his son and the pretty young woman, he saw himself and Ash’s mother many, many years ago. He sighed with a smile, but his expression immediately changed to one of guilt and sadness. He knew he was part of the reason that she was so battered and behind those bars. It was the ruthless way he ran Team Rocket that caused his agents to act so cruelly at times. His own guilt at leaving his family and his helplessness to do anything else caused bitterness to grow inside of him, a bitterness that he displayed over the years with matters concerning pokemon and his employees. In that moment, all of the feelings he’d had of regret over the last ten years simultaneously weighed down on his shoulders. But even though he lost a precious decade, he was going to start anew right at this moment. At least, with a little step forward for now.
Before they knew what happened, Ash jumped back just in time to see the walls of the cell pull away as if each side were a curtain being pulled back before a theater production. The walls were all pulled inside of one thick bar in the back of the cell, and then the bar was pulled back into the left wall of the room, hidden from sight. Ash looked momentarily at Giovanni, who only nodded toward Misty. Then Ash looked back down at her, rushing back to her side and pulling her gently into his lap.
Ash gently rocked Misty back and forth, holding her comfortably but also trying to get her to fully regain consciousness, something he was afraid she may never do.
But he didn’t have to wait very long.
Misty: [slowly looking up at Ash] “Ah, Ash? Is it really you this time?”
Ash had no idea what she meant, but he just smiled, relieved that she was okay enough to speak. “Of course it’s me. How are you feeling, Mist?”
Misty’s soft cheeks glowed pink at the sound of her new nickname and she even giggled softly like a schoolgirl with a new crush. “I’m feeling much better, now that you’re here, Mr. Pokemon Master.”
Ash: [blushing too] “There’s that humor I was looking for. I guess you’re feeling better already.”
Misty: [yawning] “Yeah, I mean I am a little sore, but I don’t really remember what happened…”
Ash: “Ssh. Don’t worry about it. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re ok. Hey, do you think you can sit up?”
Misty thought for a moment. ~I know I can sit up now, but I really like it down here on Ash’s lap, with his warm, strong arms around me…~
Ash was looking down at Misty, who was smiling and blushing profusely.
Ash: [really confused] “Uh, Misty?”
Misty: [snapping out of it] “Oh! Uh, sure Ash. I can sit up.”
Misty began to sit up, but when she was almost fully sitting up, she conveniently ‘lost her balance’ and fell into Ash’s arms.
Misty: ~brilliant plan if I don’t say so myself. Hehe…~
Ash: [flustered] “Oh, uh, let me help you up.”
Misty: [while Ash was helping her] “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so clumsy…”
But they both stopped talking when their eyes met. It was another one of those moments when all time seemed to stop, and Ash and Misty were the only ones who existed in each other’s world. They couldn’t tear themselves away from the other’s enchanting eyes, for it was as if each had the other under a hypnotic spell…
Unfortunately for Ash and Misty, these moments only seem to last mere seconds before…
The two teens immediately looked up toward the man in the red business suit, standing near the center of the room with his faithful Persian at his side.
Giovanni: “I’m, uh, sorry to, um, interrupt, but there’s something I need to discuss with you two.”
Ash and Misty briefly looked at each other and blushed, letting go of each other at the same time. Ash got on his feet and helped Misty up, who was still a little wobbly from her earlier weakness. He led her over to the man, but after a few paces, Ash had to stop. The girl at his side was grabbing onto the sides of Ash’s shirt, pulling him back. Ash looked at Misty, who was shaking all over.
Misty: [voice barley audible] “Ash, wh, who is that?”
Ash looked over at Giovanni, and for the first time, he saw him as the intimidating headmaster of Team Rocket. A chill went down Ash’s spine, not from looking at the Boss, but from knowing that they weren’t out of danger yet.
Ash: [looking slightly down at Misty] “Hey, it’s ok. Come over with me to talk to him. You need to know something.”
Misty: “Wa? I don’t understand.”
Ash: [gently nudging her forward] “C’mon. He won’t hurt us.”
The two walked forward to meet Giovanni. The three began to talk, but they weren’t the only ones to hear their conversation…
In another office, somewhere in another city, in a private home or in one of the corporation’s main headquarters, a lady who appeared to be in her mid-60’s was watching a large T.V. screen. She had programmed it so that she was watching a security camera that surveyed the newest TR station in Mt. Silver Landing. More specifically, she had tuned it to follow the one camera she had ordered the lower ranking Rockets to plant in her own son’s office.
She wasn’t smiling now. Although her hair was still nearly all black with only few specks of gray and it was neatly pulled back into a high bun, the woman’s frown revealed her gently wrinkled face and gave away her true age. This was totally uncharacteristic of her son to be acting so kindly to anyone, but to a little boy? But wait…
M. B.: ~That hair. His mannerisms. His age. Could that be the little boy that my Giovanni left over ten years ago?~
M. B.: [into the intercom on her desk] “Cassidy! Butch! Report up to my office immediately!”
In no time at all, the infamous duo Cassidy and Butch were standing beside the woman’s desk, quickly bowing in reverence to the highest ranking Team Rocket official.
Cassidy/Butch: “How can we serve you, Madam Boss?”
Madam Boss: “Get back to the station at Mt. Silver Landing. Take the helicopter. I don’t care what you do, just get back there immediately! [looking them straight in the eye] And when you do, [pulling them both down by the collar so they were level with her] I want you to terminate the boy.”
Cassidy and Butch both slowly peered over at the screen on the far wall, watching as a very familiar boy with black hair and a girl with red tresses were standing comfortably beside an infamous man who was suspiciously wearing a smile. Cassidy was the first to speak.
Cassidy: [in fear of the woman] “But, but, Madam Boss. Why the boy?”
Madam Boss: [grinning to herself] “Because he is of no use to us, as I thought he might have been before. And [grinning at them] this will be the quickest way of getting your ‘boss’ to come back to his senses. If he doesn’t let him go, it will be curtains for his son.”
A chill ran up and down Cassidy’s and Butch’s spines as they stole a nervous glance toward each other. There was just one more question to ask.
Butch: “How should we ga, go about threatening the boy, Ma’am?”
He knew it was futile in asking her, because he and his partner already knew what would need to be done. It was the only option they would be given.
Madam Boss: [grinning even more] “I think you know what you need to do. Release the creature. I’ll do the rest from here.”
With that, Cassidy and Butch were dismissed, and they wasted no time in getting out of there. They were both afraid, as scared of this creature as they were scared of the monster under their beds when they were babies. But they had to do it. There was no saying no to Madam Boss, who presided over her own son, Giovanni. They knew what they had to do, and just prayed on the way to Mt. Silver Landing that all would go according to plan.