In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.


14. 14

Brock was both stone cold furious and immensely relieved. He didn't know whether to strangle the kid happily sipping tea or hug him.

It had been incredibly stupid for Aaron to return to the village. What if Team Rocket had caught him on the way back? What if he had screwed up their plans? He could have been killed. Or captured, tortured, and turned.

But he was safe. And if he hadn't returned Melanie would be dead and the hatchlings would be dead. It was tough to be angry about that. No, actually it was pretty easy for some people, who would be upset that their plan failed and they had needed unasked for help, but Brock wasn't one of those people.

Still he and Aaron would be... having words... about his actions tonight. But it could wait. Everyone was tired. Plus he hadn't the heart to do it in front of Melanie and Bulbasaur.

Bulbasaur was crying into Melanie's side, vines wrapped around her in a grassy hug, and the blue haired girl was petting him with one hand and whispering comforting words to him. Her other hand was tending to the tea.

Misty hadn't come in yet. When she heard that Aaron was inside she had excused herself to wash off the blood and take off her armor. Brock on the other hand only took off his helmet. Melanie was no stranger to blood and death, she wouldn't mind. And Aaron shouldn't be excused from having to witness the ugly side of the affairs they had tried to keep him from.

The boy didn't blink at the gore splattered form of his friend. He set down his cup of tea and shifted his weight a bit, grimacing a bit in discomfort. He didn't seem used to formal sitting. Didn't his parent teach him? Or did they neglect things like that?

"Hey! Do you want some tea? Melanie makes tea good!" The boy said cheerfully.

"Is good at making tea," the pretty blue haired girl corrected.

"Oh," Aaron said, "Sorry. Melanie is good at making tea!"

Brock said nothing. He stepped into a seiza and sat down at the table. Melanie displayed excellent dexterity in pouring him a cup with only one hand. They gym leader calmly picked up the cup of the steaming liquid and took in the aroma of the tea.

"So how was the fight?" The boy from Pallet Town asked cheerfully. Brock's squint twitched.

"Aaron," Melanie scolded, "you're not supposed to ask about those things."

"Oh. Sorry," Aaron replied, blushing in embarrassment.

"It was fine," Brock answered struggling to keep his voice level. Must put off exploding until in private. Must put off exploding until in private. Must put off exploding until in private...

"I'm curious as to why you're here though," Brock said. "I thought we had agreed that you should go to the pokémon center."

The atmosphere was very similar to an angry parent waiting for a child to realize they've done wrong. Surprisingly Aaron didn't pick up on it.

"Errr... heh, heh, heh?" Aaron chuckled embarrassed. "Well I was headed back when something occurred to me..."

"What occurred to you?" Brock's teeth were gritted now.

"You okay?" Aaron asked noticing the gritting.

"Yes, now what occurred to you."

"Well, you know how fighting plans work best when you have things the enemy doesn't know about?" Aaron began.

"Yeesss," Brock replied through clenched teeth.

"Are you sure you're alright?"

"Get on with it already!"

"Sheesh. Alright, alright. Well, I figured that if plans for fighting work best when you have things that your enemies don't know about, wouldn't something you don't know you have make the plan work even better? So I snuck in the back and had Butterfree surprise a bunch of Rockets that were going to do bad things to Melanie with Sleep Poweder. And then I had Butterfree wait up near the ceiling and watch for people with his mind."

"Free!" the bug-type trilled. "Butter. Free. Free. Butterfree!"

"And then Melanie started making tea," Aaron finished. "What's Misty doing anyway?"

"Cleaning up. You know how some people can be," Brock said offhandly. "Aaron can we step outside for a bit?"

"Uh sure. But I think my feet are asleep," Aaron admitted. "I'm not used to sitting like this."

"Here I'll help you," Brock replied gently helping the trainer up. Melanie gave the two a worried glance but Brock shook his head, indicating that it wasn't her concern. She was probably too grateful to the young trainer to chew him out or let him get chewed out for what he did. She looked like she was about to rise but Bulbasaur's desperate embrace reminded her that there were other things to do. Brock helped Aaron outside the cabin. The gym leader made sure to close the doors behind them. The hatchlings didn't need to hear this. And Melanie and Bulbasaur should be left in peace.

Aaron collapsed against a wall, cursing his feet. Why should they get to sleep on the job? He noticed a figure down by the stream. It must be Misty, washing herself off.

"Now," Brock said dangerously, "why did you think it was it was a good idea to risk your life and the plan like that. You little idiot!"

"Huh?" Aaron was taken aback by Brock's shouting. He blinked in surprise.

"You could've gotten yourself killed! You could have messed up what we were doing! This isn't a game! I thought that I made that clear last time we talked!" Brock shouted.

"Yeah. I thought I said I didn't care about that last time," Ash responded. "And I stayed out of your way! I just helped Melanie a bit."

"You could have alerted the Rockets to our presence! And what do you mean you don't care! What about your parents? Your family? Your friends? Do you want to hurt them? Do you? Because that's what you were doing by coming back here and risking your life!" Brock was livid. Didn't this boy know why they had sent him away.

"None of them would complain," Ash shot back. "They all would've done the same thing." Poison Lance and the Ketchums would have done so. "In fact my friends did happen to do the same thing. They stayed and fought!"

"And we've got the training to do so!" Brock retorted. "You don't. What would've happened if the Rockets had captured you and held you hostage. How do you think the fight would've gone if they had shown Misty or I you held a knife-point?"

"That wouldn't happen."

"Oh. And if five Rockets jumped you, how would you stop them from capturing you?"

"I meant held hostage. If they had a knife to my throat and were trying to make you quit, I'd just slit it."

Brock's face went pale, very pale at Ash's last statement. The boy had said it with casual certainty, like he was discussing the weather. What was wrong with Aaron? Was he suicidal at such a young age?

Ash was confused by Brock's reaction. Did he violate some human taboo? Maybe you weren't supposed to talk about killing yourself. It struck the pokéraised boy as weird. If you were willing to risk your life to accomplish something, then shouldn't you be ready to sacrifice it as well? And if you were willing to talk about risking your life, then wouldn't you be willing to talk about sacrificing yourself.

He'd have to wait and see how people acted around the Self-Destruct move, especially if it was ever used to the fullest extent, where it killed the user instead of knocking them out. That could tell him what he was doing wrong here.

Poison Lance never mentioned this stuff to him. Didn't this come up during his travels with Luke? Or was it the whole cultural shifting thing? It would be annoying if he had to update his knowledge on humanity every decade.

"Aaron..." Brock began.

"What? I'd die to save the hatchlings and would die before something I did caused them to be hurt." Ash called Aaron said huffily. "If I had been stupid coming back, then that's what I'd do." Good grief. Maybe it was a good thing that humans couldn't learn moves. Anybody who learned Explosion or Self-Destruct would have to see a psychiatrist.

"Then wouldn't it have better to stay out of the battle?" Brock tried a different avenue of attack. Aaron's earlier line of reasoning was... well Brock hesitated to call it mature, but some might call it so. It would be a lot easier to say if, you know, Aaron wasn't talking about killing himself so casually.

"No. If I hadn't been there, Melanie would be dead!" Ash protested. "I'm a pokémon trainer! I'm supposed to help make the world a better place!" Like Lucas had done in all of Poison Lance's stories.

"You're a kid! You need training before you go risking your life like that!" Brock knew that he wasn't going to get through to Aaron. But that didn't mean he was going to quit yelling. He needed to make feel some guilt or regret about his actions. "You don't know anything about hand to hand combat, first aid, or how to handle yourself in a fight with lethal moves. You've got tactics, I'll give you that, but that's about it. You don't have the training to do this stuff!"

"Then train me!"

Both of them were silent for a bit, simply staring at each other. The faint sounds of Misty washing filled the background. After a moment Brock spoke.


Orange light washed over the forest, dying the ground with the vivid colors of sunrise. The daystar had retaken its rightful place as ruler of the sky and had banished its lesser brethren. It turned its gaze downward, on the forest, spewing uncountable rays of light. They fell through the gaps in the leaves, the gaps in the branches, and through open windows in the village.

Melanie sat, petting the sleeping Bulbasaur in her lap, and watched the sunrise. Her guardian had refused to leave her side after they had reunited when the battle was over. He had dropped the vine hug as he fell asleep and Melanie had then moved him to her lap.

It had been close. She had killed a couple Rockets who had managed to breach the defenses alone. Then someone tapped her on the shoulder, giving her a near heart attack. Fortunately it had been Aaron with his plans for an ambush. An ambush that had saved her and the hatchlings when a group of Rockets barged in. He and his pokémon had made short work of the attacks with some sort of Sleep Powder-telekinetic combination supported by electric attacks. No Rocket made it down the hallway.

If Aaron hadn't come... well, she could easily understand and relate to Bulbasaur's current behavior.

Poor Bulbasaur. Her poor, poor, guardian pokémon. How many evolutions had he turned down already? She knew that, from what she could make out, he was waiting to get Solar Beam, but that wasn't the whole story.

As an ivysaur he would require more food and other resources, something that would put more strain on the village. While they weren't currently taxed, they didn't have the greatest safety margin either. Having an ivysaur would make the margin paper thin.

The League reinforcements would be here soon. The hatchlings might be taken away and given to Barry Vaxsh's family or they would stay here. According to Brock, representatives from the League would be here to talk about the fate of the village. She would probably receive League support and funding, provided she agreed to help the League. Most likely they would ask her to expand the village to include a Ranger outpost or double as a pokémon center.

The village wouldn't need a guardian then. And Bulbasaur would probably move on to his next crusade. And he would keep doing so until he died.

No, Melanie swore silently to herself. She was going to put the plan she had come up with last night into action. Bulbasaur would go with Aaron. Now she just had to make it happen.

Olaf Souh sighed as he sat down on a tree stump. Him, four other grunts, and their assorted pokémon lazed about the clearing, resting after the disastrous attack last night. His Grunt squad had happily gone untouched by the monstrous rock-type and hadn't made it to the village before the retreat signal had gone out.

"So what's the word," another Grunt, Jake, asked. "Are we supposed to withdraw or regroup and await reinforcements?"

"No clue," Olaf replied. "I think they're trying to figure out who we ran into."

Jake shivered.

"Yeah. That's be nice to know. I'm going to be having nightmares about that onix for awhile."

Olaf snorted.

"Ain't that the truth."

"Should we get moving again?" Another Grunt asked. "They might be looking for us."

"Nah, there was only two of them," Olaf replied. "And I don't know how they knew we'd be attackin, but there are other groups they'd be worrin about first. Like what's left of Combat Team for one. No one's going to be botherin us here."

"I wouldn't be too sure about that now, gentlemen." All five Rockets and their pokémon jumped at the voice. Olaf whipped his head around so fast to look at the source that he was afraid he might've snapped something.

It was a man in a brown leather duster and a brown cowboy hat. He was lying down in a cradle made by the natural formation of fallen large branches and small trees. His hat was covering his face, as if he had decided to lie down and take a nap. Bits of dirty blonde hair peeked out from under the hat. Beside him a mightyena was lying down, with a kirlia lounging on top of it.

"Y-y-y-you!" Olaf stammered. "Y-y-y-you're the W-w-w"

"Wandering Ranger. That's right." The lone Pokémon Ranger said. "Now..." The mightyena stood up and the kirlia shifted into riding position. "Are we going to do this the easy way?"

Something nicked Olaf's ear and hit a tree behind him with a twang.

"Or are we going to do this the hard way?" Olaf looked into the brown eyes of the Ranger. Then he looked at the two crossbows in the Ranger's hands.

"Get him!" Olaf shouted in his panic.

For a few seconds the sound of screaming filled the forest. And then it was quiet.

"No paperwork," the Wandering Ranger commented, looking at the bodies of the dead humans and unconscious pokémon. "I love it when they choose the easy way."

Ash, his pokémon, minus Pidgeotto who hadn't returned yet, his friends, Melanie, and Bulbasaur lounged around the clearing, having a noon day meal. The humans all had bags under their eyes, none of them had gotten enough, or in some cases any, sleep. Brock had continued his lecture after agreeing to train Aaron. When Misty had finished washing, they had all gone to bed, sleeping on various bits of furniture and the floor.

Brock kept shooting dark looks at Aaron from where he sat, eating an onigiri. Aaron was busy making sure that his pokémon had enough food. Misty was sitting next to Brock, happily chowing down on her food.

"And I thought he was overprotective," Misty commented between mouthfuls. Brock turned his angry gaze to her.

"And what's that supposed to mean," the former gym leader demanded.

"It's the way you're still mad about what he did," the red haired girl replied. "You're being overprotective."

"He could have screwed everything up!" Brock harshly retorted, keeping his voice down. "You should be upset with him too!"

"But he didn't screw anything up. In fact he saved everything." Misty said. "That's why I'm not really mad at him. And you're not still mad at him for that. You're mad because he risked his life while you were trying to protect him. My sisters got the same way sometimes with gym trainers who risked themselves during operations."

"And why aren't you still mad at him for risking his life!" Brock growled.

"Cause he saved Melanie and the hatchlings. Cause he minimized the risks. Cause he didn't get hurt. Cause I still feel like I owe him one. And because I know he can handle himself." Misty replied, shrugging. "He was able to fight off a rabid flock of spearows and a strong fearow. Plus he's got good wilderness skills."

Brock glared at her. The red head smirked in return.

"Let it go. All I'm saying is, you already yelled at him. No need to be angry with him anymore today. Save it for next time."

"Next time?"

"Good point. We shouldn't be running into anything else like this."

Brock took a deep breath. He might've closed his eyes as well, it was impossible to tell. He reflected on his emotions. Yes, he really wasn't mad about the risk to the plans; he had seen enough to know that no plan survives contact with the enemy. Plenty of gym operations had ended with either him or a gym trainer improvising. He really was mad about Aaron risking himself.

No. That wasn't right. That was just part of it.

He was mad at himself. Mad because Melanie and the hatchlings had almost died. Mad because Aaron had needed to risk his neck to save them. Mad because if fate hadn't been smiling on them Aaron would've died and it would've been all his fault.

Mad because his failure meant that Aaron would continue to take risks in the future.

The gym leader sighed.

A little bit later, while everyone was quietly eating, Melanie spoke up.

"So, what are your plans after this?" She asked the group.

"Well we're going on to Vermillion City so I can get a badge," Ash replied, "and after that I don't know. Why?"

"Well... I'd like to ask you a favor."

"Sure, what?"

"There's this... troublesome thing that I care greatly about that needs taking care of. I'd like to keep it here, but with the changes coming to the village, I don't think that'll work."


"You see this thing is very dear to my heart. And I'm very grateful to it. But I know too much about it to believe for one second that it would stay here in the indefinite future."

Bulbasaur's ears perked up and he turned his attention away from his food and to Melanie. He had a suspicion as to where this was leading.

"You see, this thing is great for guarding and is very loyal. But this village is too small for it to grow properly and with the League coming it won't be needed to help protect the village. And I know that it would eventually wander off again, like it had been doing before it came here. So could you please take it with you on your journey?"

"Sure," Ash said happily. "What is it?"

"It's Bulbasaur you twit!" Misty shouted, chucking a crumpled ball of food wrappings at his head, hitting him right between the eyes.

Melanie, Bulbasaur said in a pleading tone, looking up at his best friend.

"Bulbasaur this village is too small for your bulb to grow," Melanie replied. "And you won't be staying here much longer before you get the urge to continue your journey. I want you to be happy and safe. That's why I think you should go with Aaron. If you're with him then you can't be captured by cruel or evil trainers. He can keep you safe from other humans and help you grow stronger. With him, you won't have to put off anymore evolutions."

She had his number, Bulbasaur admitted to himself. Or what it had been before last night. Now, after the shock he had received, he wasn't so sure. He just didn't want to lose her again.

Please don't make me go, he pleaded.

"Bulbasaur," she said smiling as tears started to well up in her eyes. "You know I can't understand you."

"I don't think he wants to leave you," Ash said hesitantly.

"I know. Bulbasaur, you're welcome in the village anytime. And you can stay if you want. But I know that won't work out. And you know it too. You can always return if you go with Aaron, but I'm not sure there'll be another chance like this."

Bulbasaur looked at her for a moment. He looked at Ash. He looked at the village. His eyes closed as he thought about it all.

Only if he can beat me, he replied, opening his eyes. Remembering that most of the humans couldn't understand him and the one who could pretended he didn't, he made 'come at me' motions with his vines.

"I think he wants a fight," Ash replied eagerly. Melanie smiled and patted Bulbasaur's head.

"Thank you," she said to the plant-type.

Bulbasaur jerked his head towards the woods and then started walking off into them. Ash and his pokémon followed.

Human- No, Ash. Bulbasaur began. Words cannot express my gratitude for your actions last night. If it hadn't been for you, then it ain't likely that Melanie would still be alive.

I'm glad to be of assistance. But I couldn't have lived with myself if I had let anyone get hurt. The pokéraised child replied.

But don't think that means I'm just going to go with you. You've got some talent, true. But Melanie wants me to go with you because she thinks you'll help me get stronger and keep other humans from me. If you're not good enough to beat me then you can't help me get stronger.

Ash blinked. For a second he thought Bulbasaur's last sentence didn't make sense. You didn't need to be able to beat someone to help them get stronger. But then he realized that it made perfect sense. Hanging around humans had made him forget how it worked.

Alright! You're on!

And not just any old battle. I'm going to be attacking you along with your pokémon. I'm not going to try and kill you, but I am going to use lethal attacks.

Fine. Give us a minute to prepare. Butterfree, you sit this one out.

Alright Ash, the butterfly pokémon responded. Could you put me in my pokéball so I don't caught in the crossfire. The answer to the bug-types question was a beam of red light.

Wait, what? Bulbasuar tilted his head in confusion. Why isn't Butterfree fighting?

Cause it wouldn't be fair. And how am I supposed to help you get stronger if I need two pokémon at once to beat you?

I was thinking that I'd pick up tactics and long-term planning off you. I've managed to learn some on my own, no easy feat for a pokémon, but you seem to have a knack for it.

Besides, Pikachu said, smirking and cheeks sparking. He doesn't need more than me to beat you. Ready to fry plant?

Oh, bring it rodent!

Wait! Can I have a minute to plan?

Since you don't have Butterfree, fine. One minute. I'll start counting once you get behind that tree.

Ash and Pikachu darted behind the tree Bulbasaur had indicated.

So what's the plan idiot?Cause if it was only me fighting him it could go either way, but me having to worry about you is going to cost me.

Give me a quick rundown of the fight you would've had.

He would move whenever I had a second to concentrate so I couldn't hit him with an electric attack and I'd use my speed to keep him or his vines from getting close.

You can fire off electric attacks extremely quickly though.

Yeah, but he could shrug those off. Electric attacks aren't very effective. And I need a fraction of a second longer to aim stronger attacks, something he won't give me.

Ten seconds!

He's not trying to kill me... I know what he's going to do. Pikachu, make sure to follow my orders without question okay?

Fine. Time to go!

We're starting! Bulbasaur shouted. Accompanying his words was a burst of Razor Leaves, slicing branches off the tree above them.

Pikachu Speed Burst! Ash ordered. Speed Burst the Agility and Quick Attack dodge combination. Using an unique name left people ignorant of the true nature of Pikachu's actions. To them it simply appeared that he had received a boost in speed, like with Agility, but an unstable one that peaked above Agility's limits.

Pikachu blurred and disappeared from sight. Bulbasaur sighed and whipped his vines behind him. His eyes widened in surprise when they met nothing and he jumped forward.

Pikachu dropped out of the sky, slamming into the ground, leaving deep prints in the soft earth. He cursed and then jumped out of the way as Bulbasaur turned around and retaliated. A storm of Razor Leaves swept through the area, gouging earth and trees. Pikachu dodged backwards, taking cover behind a tree.

Plkachu use Thunder! Ash called out from behind another tree. He was also taking cover to avoid being caught in Bulbasaur's attacks and switching from tree to tree constantly so Bulbasaur would have to look for him.

Bulbasaur waited for Pikachu to come out from behind the tree. He was planning on feinting forward movement the moment he saw the electric type and then hitting him with another burst of Razor Leaves while Pikachu was standing still during the Thunder attack. What he wasn't expecting was a flash of yellow light and a column of electricity hitting just to left.

Dammit! Pikachu swore. He had mastered the 'curve Thunder around the tree' bit. Now he had to master the 'hit the target on the other side' bit. He wouldn't have used it at all if Ash hadn't told him to. He was wasting energy. What was his trainer playing at?

Pikachu Electric Rain! Another combination. Using Agility Pikachu would get up high and use several consecutive Thundershocks, scattering a shower of minor bolts of electricity below him.

Bulbasaur cut loose with another storm of Razor Leaves as soon as he saw Pikachu's shadow. He made it look good, if he was lucky he might actually get a hit. It depended on what Electric Rain was. But it was just a feint. He wanted Pikachu busy so he could attack Ash. The electric type had proven stronger than he had first guessed, if Ash was willing to have him waste energy with the inaccurate Thunder. And he probably had several more surprises like the 'Thunder around a tree' thing.

Oh shit. That's what Electric Rain was. A storm of leaves met a storm of bolts and the leaves were turned into crisps. Bulbasaur himself was able to shrug off the electricity that hit him, thanks to his type advantage, but if Pikachu and Ash were willing to burn energy like this then he was probably outmatched. Time to strike at their weakness.

He ignored the descending Pikachu in favor of firing off yet another Razor Leaf attack. This time he sent two streams of leaves out, one on either side of the tree Ash was behind, trapping him there. The plant-type then charged around the tree, vines ready to catch the human. But the cap wearing boy jumped over the pokémon, catching him by surprise, and started to sprint towards another tree.

Not fast enough. Bulbasaur's vines wrapped around him, pinning his arms to his torso and lifting him off the ground. Pikachu started to run towards the two.

Halt mouse, Bulbasaur shouted. It's my win. I can dodge any of your attacks and take him out at any time. Just surrender you two. He waited for their reply. If they refused, he would just knock Ash out. Pikachu could beat him, but he couldn't catch him.

He wasn't expecting Ash to grin.

Pikachu, Barrage on me and then the vines! The human ordered his pokémon. Bulbasaur started in surprise as his captive called down an attack on himself.

Pikachu had agreed to follow Ash's orders without question. Barrage wasn't even an attack, it was a training exercise, inspired by Pikachu's demonstration on their first day together. It was an extremely fast series of small electric shocks. When he had used it during spars with Pidgeotto and Butterfree it hadn't done much damage, which was the point, but it evidently hurt like a bitch.

Electricity hit Ash and then coursed through him and then into Bulbasaur's vines. The plant-type twitched in pain and surprise. Immediately after another one hit. And another. And another. Bulbasaur instinctively let go of Ash and stumbled back, away from the source of the stinging sensations. Ash fell to the ground.

Ash had been anticipating the attack. Bulbasaur hadn't. That was why Ash was able to recover first. He grabbed Bulbasaur's vines and heaved with all of his strength.

Bulbasaur was strong. But, counter-intuitively, he wasn't heavy. Pokémon were weird like that.

And that was the only reason his plan had a chance of working.

Pull! Ash cried as he threw the plant-type up in the air before it could react. Pikachu use Thunder!

Bulbasaur was helpless, both startled and in the air, and thus was unable to avoid the attack. Yellow light enveloped the clearing as Pikachu fried Bulbasaur with the strongest attack he could use on a sunny day. The plant-type fell to the ground, singed and smoking, hitting it head first.

Thunderbolts! Ash commanded. Pikachu began to throw bolt after bolt at Bulbasaur, hammering his way through Bulbasaur's type advantage. Bulbasaur tried to stand up under the assault, but each bolt forced him back down. Finally he didn't try and get up and the next bolt knocked him onto his bulb.

Ash immediately threw a pokéball. The sphere hit Bulbasaur and converted him to red light, greedily sucking up the plant-type pokémon in his new form and then snapping shut. Its button glowed red and the ball itself rocked for a few second. And then it was still.

We did it. We beat Bulbasaur! And I caught him!

I can live with you putting it like that idiot. Why'd you have me waste so much energy earlier.

To put some pressure on him so he'd attack our weakness sooner. Since he wasn't going try and kill me I knew that'd he'd most likely trap me with Vine Whip. Glad I was right.

Makes sense. By the way...

What is it? Ash asked.

You're never doing anything like that again, got it?

Can't make any promises.

Pikachu sighed.

You really are an idiot.

Ash and Pikachu walked out of the forest to find that that another group had arrived at the village. Evidently there had been a group of Rangers relatively close by and they had come as soon as they had received their orders. Of course, relatively close for a Ranger had an entirely different meaning then it did for normal folks.

There were six of them in total, all wearing brown canvas longcoats. They were sitting, leaning, and standing all around the small village, some playing with the pokémon from the village, others talking to the other humans.

"... and there's one more coming, but he wanted to check somethings out first," Ash heard one of them say as he came nearer. He guessed it was the guy in charge, who was talking to Melanie and Brock.

"Good. You think you could hold the village against an attack like last night's?" Brock asked.

"Of course. We six may not have the raw power you lot had, but we've got better numbers. And there'll be more League people coming."

"What about the seventh?" Melanie asked.

"What about the seventh," the Ranger replied with a smirk.

"Rangers," Brock muttered. He might have rolled his eyes, no one could tell.

"Hey, don't be bad mouthin us when we're here to guard your pretty lady for you," the Ranger replied.

"She's not- Look- I mean- Melanie's- Oh just shut up." Brock was blushing. Melanie was giggling. She stopped when she noticed Ash returning.

"Aaron! How'd it go." She asked the boy.

Ash grinned and held up the pokéball that had Bulbasaur.

"Was anyone injured in the fight?" Melanie asked. "I should probably treat your injuries now. When are you planning to leave?"

"How bout in two days," Aaron suggested. "Does that work Brock?"

"Yeah, that should be fine. Plenty of time to recover and say our goodbyes."

"Bet you aren't looking forward to saying goodbye to your pretty lady friend, now aren't ya," the Ranger drawled.

Ash sighed as Brock began to stutter and deny. Why did his species have to be so weird?

Unlike last night the moon was not full. Not that Vincent Yamamoto noticed. The Rocket commander was too busy nursing his injured hand and leading the remnants of his command. It was a pitiful looking sight. Wounded Grunts and combat operatives supporting each other as they made their way through the forest, pokémon mixed in their ranks.

Vincent thought he saw blue and white light off in the distance, the sort you'd get from an electronic screen or projector of some sort. Using some hand signs, he signaled his men to change directions and follow him.

It wasn't fair, the Rocket commander thought to himself. All of his hard work, clawing his way up the chain of command, everything he had done for Team Rocket was all for nothing now. By fuckin coincidence. There was no way those two trainers had been at the village before the attack, they could not have arrived before yesterday! If it hadn't been for them the operation would have been a success and Vincent would've returned triumphantly with the hatchlings and had another promotion waiting for him. Dammit it all.

He could hear sounds now. It sounded like a movie. Who would be watching a movie out here in the wilderness.

Vincent entered the clearing where the screen was set up, his men forming ranks behind him, the fit and healthy ones directly behind him and ready for a fight. Their pokémon followed suit.

In the clearing there were two humans and three pokémon, an ekans, koffing, and meowth. They had set up some speakers, a projector, a dvd player, and a couple of chairs. From the light of the projector he could make out the features of the two humans. There was a purple haired man and a red haired woman and they were wearing what looked like... Rocket uniforms.

Oh Arceus damn motherfucking hell. Just what he needed. To run into the fuckin Crazies.

"What are you fuckers doing here," Vincent spat. The movie viewers turned to look at him. James reached out and hit the pause button.

"It's Friday night," James said, as if that explained everything.

"Movie night," Jessie continued for him. "It's tradition."

"We ran into a bit of trouble down in Cerulean while in the Saffron building. We nearly forgot about it. We had to hurry up and steal all this before midnight." Meowth finished.

"Shut up pokémon. Don't dirty our language with your tongue!" Vincent shouted.

"Don't speak to Meowth like that," James protested, half rising from his seat. Jessie did the same, and Ekans and Koffing were focused on the newcomers.

"Shut up! You're disgusting, going around with that abomination of yours, treating it like its human. Treating it like it's a friend. You fuckin degenerate losers!" Vincent took a swing at James with his good hand.

Jessie broke his arm before it connected. She had moved so fast that it was simply fact to any human watching. There was no, 'got up', 'grabbed' his arm', or 'twisted' facts in between Vincent taking a swing and Jessie breaking his arm to any human observer.

Vincent fell to the ground, writhing in pain.

"Now that's not very nice," she scolded. "Now you should-"

Jessie didn't finish her sentence before a spray of Acid splattered all over Vincent's face.

"Don't you think about touching them!" Meowth shouted, clawing gleaming in the moonlight. He leapt at the other group of Rockets. Ekans and Koffing followed suit.

It took ten seconds. Ten seconds of screaming and flailing. Ten seconds before all the other Rockets were dead.

Jessie and James looked at each other and shrugged. For some reason their pokémon could be so overprotective.

"I was going to let him apologize," Jessie told the pokémon. "Meh. Let's finish the movie."

The two humans and the blood stained pokémon sat down to finish their Friday night movie.

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