"Raichu," Meowth yelled, "give ‘im a Thunderbolt and finish ‘im off!"
Energy surged around Raichu, further illuminating the scene, as she focused her power toward Ashlying in a fetal position on the floor, unable to escape, and braced for the final blow.
As quickly as the energy surge had begun, it began to fade.For a reason the little Pokémon couldn’t touch, she couldn’t do it, she couldn’t deliver the final strike.She felt very connected to this boy, a connection that seemed the strongest when he called her "Pikachu."
Something about attacking him just wasn’t right.
Raichu dropped to all fours and walked hesitantly toward Ash, amidst a chorus of Raichu-what-are-you-doing’s from Team Rocket.
"Chu?"Raichu asked softly, staring into Ash’s tense face.Images of life at the boy’s side drifting through her mind’s eye:Jubilation at the defeat of gym trainers and wild Pokémon.His courage in protecting her, time and time again.Battling and defeating Team Rocket.
She nudged Ash’s cheek softly, then licked the boy on the nose.
Ash relaxed slightly, opening one eye."Pikachu, you remember?"
"Raira," Raichu nodded, speaking the closest Raichu language word for the name she had given Ash as a Pikachu.
Ash struggled to a sitting position, gathering Raichu into his arms and hugging her tightly.Tears of joy running down his cheeks to mingle with those of pain.
"I can’t believe this!"James exclaimed."Raichu ‘s supposed to be on our side!"
With that, Team Rocket advanced upon Ash and Raichu; but only managed to take a few steps before a massive Thunderbolt barred their path.
"Rai cha..." the mouse warned.
"That’s it!"Jessie exclaimed."Go Arbok!"
"Weezing, go!"James followed suit.
The villainous Pokémon swirled forth from the energy sphere’s of their Pokéballs, poised and ready to attack.
"Hey, leave them alone!"Misty’s voice echoed from the back of the cavern.As she and Brock revealed themselves.
Finally able to get a good look around the cave in the lantern light, Brock spotted the stonesglittering on the cave floor, just behind Team Rocket and their Pokémon.
"Misty calls, Starmie!"Her voice drew his attention back to the battle to come.
Brock grabbed a Pokéball from his belt, plotting his move."Geodude, go!"
"Starmie, tackle!"Misty ordered, pointing the water Pokémon toward Weezing.
Starmie acknowledged, hurling himselfspinningat the pair of floating orbs that comprised Weezing.
"Weezing, smog!"James ordered.To no avail, Starmie struck the poison Pokémon, sending him flying into the cave wall.
Meanwhile, Geodude and Arbok faced off, Brock waiting for the right moment.
"Geodude, go get 'im!"Brock shouted.
The rock Pokémon laid into the snake, raining punches upon him.
"Arbok, bind it!"
Brock watched Jessie intently, seeing her attention shift from him to her Pokémon.
"Geodude, give ‘im the Seismic Toss!"Brock yelled.
Geodude grabbed Arbok by the tail and swung him in circles through the air, readying to complete the attack.
Jessie’s attention was focused completely on Arbok, when Brock made his move:Dodging around Jessie, he ran for the stones, reaching them just as Arbok struck the cave wall, landing near Weezing.
Brock rummaged through the stones, findingmuch to his dismaymany that he didn’t recognize.
"Meowth, what’s dat kid doing over dere?!"The cat Pokémon gave Brock away.
"Hey, get away from there!"James exclaimed.
"Stay away from those stones!"Jessie ordered, as the trio advanced upon Brock.
Thinking quickly, Brock grabbed the stone that appeared to be the most unusual of those before him.
"Ash!Catch!"He yelled, hurling it toward his friend, as Team Rocket leapt upon him.
Brock’s aim was a little off, but Ash still managed a clumsy catch.
"Pikachu," Ash said, turning his attention back to the Pokémon in his lapthe creature that had once been his best frienda friend that, only hours before, it had seemed hopeless to ever see again.His heart raced with anticipation."This ‘ll make you the way you were before."
He clutched the stone hopefully."You ready?"
"Chu," Raichu nodded her assent.
Taking a deep breath, Ash touched Raichu with the stone.
All activity in the cave came to and abrupt halt, as Raichu was engulfed in blinding silver light.
"R-raichu!"The mouse howled, gripping Ash’s t-shirt.
"Hang on Pikachu!"Ash exclaimed, holding the transforming mouse as tightly as he dared.
Within a moment, the light faded as suddenly as it had appeared.
Ash opened one eye, then the other, a smile spreading across his battered, tearstreaked, face as he looked down at the little yellow mouse held tightly in his arms.Pikachu gazed happily up at him, still gripping the folds of his t-shirt in her paws.
Misty sighed with relief and joy, her eyes shining.
Brock extracted himself from Team Rocket and smiled broadly at the sight, the flickering light from the lantern at his feet revealing the sparkles at the corners of his half-closed eyes.
Even Team Rocket’s eyes collectively glistened; but only for a moment, as they realized they were losing.
"Arbok!Weezing!Get up and get them!"They exclaimed in unison.
"Pikachu, d'ya feel up to a battle?"Ash asked, tear weary eyes growing determined.
"Pika," the little mouse affirmed.
"Okay then," Ash said."Pikachu, Thunder!Give Team Rocket everything you’ve got!"
"No!Don’t do that!"James exclaimed.
"Me owth, we’re losers again..." the cat moaned.
Pikachu loosed a massive amount of energy, filling most of the cave with lightning.The attack coming to it’s climax with Team Rocket at its center, blasting them clear through the cave roof.
"Looks like Team Rocket 's blasting off again!"The familiar phrase faded off into the sky as the villains soared out of sight.
"You okay, Ash?"Brock asked, as he and Misty helped the boy to his feet.The sound of sirens and crashing in the trees reaching their ears as Officer Jenny’s force drew near.
"Yeah, I’ll be fine."Ash answered, his attention focused on Pikachu, who stood regaining her energy after the attack.
"Pikachu..." his eyes glistened once more.
Pikachu turned at the sound of her trainer’s voice:"Pikapi..."
Ash held his arms apart.Pikachu recognized the gesture.She turned and ran toward her trainer, changing her stride only to jump toward Ash a few feet before reaching him.
Ash winced as he caught Pikachu, but he ignored the pain.
He had his best friend back, that was the only thing that was important.
Legalities: Pokémon © the zillion people who own the series, none of whom are LH-chan, who just borrowed their characters for a brief thrashing. =^_^=