September 2-3, 2001

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I don't own Team Rocket or any of the original Pokémon characters. However, Neko-chan, Galaxia, Chan-saw, and Kiosuke are mine.

A Flu Good Rockets

By Nichole (Neko-chan) Johnson

PART FOUR

Kiosuke was slow to swim back to consciousness. He had not been having the best of nights.

After a skimpy meal of instant ramen over a piddly fire, he and Neko had commenced to their usual pastime of debasing one another with cutting words, much to the distress of their camp-mate, Chan-saw.

"If you had a scrap of brain in your head, you would've had the sense ahead of time to ask the others if you could borrow one of their Pokémon!"

"Oh, so sorry I'm not up to par, Miss Higher-than-God! If you had any thoughts in your head other than your repertoire of cutting wit, you would've had the sense to send out Chan-saw in the first place!"

"Oh, so now it's my fault! Gee, sorry Kio for giving you a chance to participate instead of hogging all the glory to myself."

"Huh. Glory. Is that what you called it?"

"Screw off, Kio."

"Gladly…Neko-chan."

"God damnit, what did I tell you about calling me that?!"

Kio sighed. Yes, it had been the usual. But it had left the two of them unusually drained afterwards, and with a newer, tangled sort of feeling he couldn't explain. Hurt. Frustration. Something else.

He had gone to sleep shortly after. The night was bitingly cold, and the two of them had curled up on opposite sides of camp in their respective sleeping bags as well as they could in the frigid weather, but he could still feel the ache of cold in his bones.

Now as he slowly came to, he found a strange warmth resting against the curve of his back. Kio blinked in surprise, drawing a sharp breath. What the—?!

The warm bundle stirred, curling even closer under the close confines of the sleeping bag and Kio felt the heat rising to his face in embarrassment. He continued to hold his breath, heart pounding insanely in his ears as he struggled not to wake the other occupant of his sleeping bag.

Calm, Kio, calm, he told himself silently, trying to ignore the warm body pressing up against him. If you so much as breath, she's going to kill you.

Behind him, the other figure sighed contentedly. His heart pounding a strange tipper-tape in his chest, Kio allowed himself a small smile of contentment and decided he would go back to sleep for just a little longer.

"Uh, Kio? What the hell are you doing?"

Kio's gold eyes shot open in horror.

Neko-chan was standing over him, a curiously disturbed look on her face.

"Huh?"

The warm figure behind him stirred loudly.

"Chansey chan!" yawned the plush pink Pokémon, stretching her stubby arms and finding she was pinned and unable to move in the small sleeping bag.

Neko-chan's blue eyes glinted slyly. Sighing imperiously, she stretched lazily herself. "I don't wanna' know," she commented dryly, leaving the two to struggle wildly in the small bag.

Kio groaned in embarrassment. "Chan-saw?! What the hell?!"

"Sey! Chansey chan!" cried the Pokémon pitifully, struggling to extract herself from the sleeping bag.

"I don't care if you were cold! You're suppose to sleep in the Pokéball, dummy!"

"Sey!" _;

After 5 minutes of struggling, the two managed to escape their polyester prison, much bruised and weary from the effort.

Neko-chan looked up from her breakfast of cold toast. "Lonely last night, Kio-chan?"

Kio grimaced in annoyance, grabbing some of the stale bread for himself. "Ha, ha. I think we've all had enough amusement on my behalf this morning."

A charmingly sweet grin split the redhead's face. "She any good in the sack?"

Chan-saw double-slapped her in annoyance.

"Thanks, Chan-saw."

"Seey…"

Neko-chan stuck her tongue out at the Pokémon, but Chan-saw was too busy shoveling food in her mouth to notice.

Kio was silent for awhile, chewing his toast thoughtfully. Embarrassed as he was by the situation, he couldn't help but notice how much the thought of it being Neko curled up beside him had appealed to him at the time. It bothered him and he blushed again at the thought.

Stupid bitch! I hate her, he thought viciously, redirecting his muddled emotions into more familiar territory. He raised his gold eyes slightly, sensing Neko's amused gaze on him, and sent the redhead a cruel smirk for assurance of his feelings.

His heart did a sickening back-flip into his throat.

"So, what's on the itinerary for today, kitten?" he demanded cockily, ignoring the aerobics and summoning up his usual bout of cool confidence.

Neko frowned slightly, gaze shifting imperceptibly. "Dunno', Kio, wasn't that your deal?"

Hah, take that bastard!

Kio pursed his lips thoughtfully, arching a brow. Well. Touché. "Huh. Well in that case, I vote we stop playing kiddie games and take care of the Brat Crew."

"They're not 'kiddie games', Kio. They're diversionary tactics."

"Diversionary tactics, or sick mind games?"

A cruel grin flashed across the young woman's face. She wasn't about to let Kio off the hook.

Or get the better of her.

"And this isn't, Kio?" she prodded huskily. "'Sick mind games'?"

As much as he would have liked to tell her that comment didn't effect him, Kio was unable to hide his unease at her comment. Damn her.

"Really? No idea what you're talkin' about, Neko-chan."

The tactic had worked. Neko puffed up angrily, face red.

"Don't call me 'Neko-chan'!"

Kio shrugged casually, inwardly flooding with relief. Having diverted her momentarily, he decided he'd better change subject while he had the opportunity.

Climbing to his feet, the gold-eyed cadet brushed the crumbs from his pants absent-mindedly. "We should probably get a move on if we want to have a head-start on those kids. They're going to be pretty pissed once they get themselves untangled from those 'diversions' we left them."

Neko rolled her eyes. "Well, duh!" Huffily, she climbed to her own feet, gathering her supplies once again into the sacks they had been carrying.

Kio allowed himself a victorious grin when her back was turned and gathered up his own knapsack.

"Come on, Chan-saw," he called to the pink Pokémon, gesturing for it to follow.

Shoving the last piece of stale toast in her mouth, Chan-saw gave a small noise of acknowledgment and hurried after the tall Rocket.

Rolling her eyes once more, Neko followed close behind.

But the dirty look she shot in Kio's direction was lost on him, and soon dissolved into a muddle of feelings that had been irking her since the night before.

Hate. I hate him! she reminded her confused thoughts.

"I hate them I hate them I hate them I—HATETHEMIHATETHEMIHATETHEM!"

Sighing unendingly, Brock and Misty paused in their walking to stare dryly at their young and extremely P.O.'ed friend.

"Yeah, I think we've grasped the depth of your feelings by now, Ash," grumbled Misty irritably.

"Give it a rest!" bemoaned Brock loudly. Pikachu voiced his opinion as well.

Ash glared at Misty moodily. "Ah, shut up, gigantic chipmunk girl!"

Misty growled threateningly, bunching the stumpy paws of the chipmunk costume as well as she could. Yes, she was still wearing the dreadful thing.

The zipper was stuck.

"I wouldn't talk, you cross-dressing freak!" she screamed, smacking him over the head.

No, Ash was not still wearing a wedding dress. But he was freakish enough without it.

"Both of you cut it out," spoke up Brock tiredly. "We have to figure out a way to exact revenge on those Team Rocket guys."

Talk about your role reversals…

"That sounds like their lines," muttered Ash angrily. In another bout of rage, he began to kick up large clumps of dirt with his shoe, shouting, "I HATE THEM I HATE THEM I HATE THEM!" like some insane mantra.

Brock looked on in depressed silence. "We really need to look into new careers."

Wearying of Ash's massive tantrum, Pikachu fried him with 600 volts of pure electricity and they all continued on their walk once again, dragging Ash's crisp [near] corpse behind.

"What do you think happened to the old Team Rocket?" mused Misty after a few minutes of blessed silence.

Brock shrugged carelessly. "Got sick of massive spaz case over there?" he suggested mildly.

Pikachu sighed in agreement. "Piii!" (Just for good measure, he kicks Ash in frustration.)

"Why'd they have to leave us with the doubly-psycho team?" grumbled Misty pissily.

"We're baa-aack…!"

"No, not again!" screamed Brock in annoyance, cussing loudly.

The two familiar figures of Neko-chan and Kiosuke stepped onto the path, followed closely by the tubby pink figure of Chan-saw. The cuddly Pokémon looked uncomfortable without the familiar weight of the chainsaw in her hands.

Misty pointed one mittened hand at the two angrily. "Hey, you! Get this damned thing offa' me, you sick creeps!"

Neko-chan blinked. "Take it off yourself. It's just a costume."

"The zipper's jammed and you know it!"

Kio burst into insane laughter. "You mean you've been wearing that thing all day?!"

Neko and Chan-saw burst into outrageous giggling, collapsing with the effort.

Misty huffed furiously. "Shut up!" The laughter increased. "It's not funny!"

Out of nowhere, Ash leapt to his feet, still charred a nice crispy black. Only his furiously glaring eyes were visible in the soot.

"You stole my masculine pride!" he screamed insanely, stomping up and down and creating a cloud of…um, ash in the air around him.

At this, Neko, Kio, and Chan-saw only burst into further bouts of laughter.

"Masculine?!" gasped Kio, eyes tearing fiercely. "Kid, you're voiced by a mother-freakin' woman, for crying out loud!"

Even Misty and Brock began giggling at that.

"Shut up! Am not!"

"Piii!" gasped Pikachu, pounding his fists into the dirt with laughter.

"You all suck!"

Neko-chan was the first to recover. "Okay, everybody, let's get back to work."

Everyone paused, then burst into even more outrageous laughter.

Ash was now in tears. "Come on, cut it out!"

Pikachu zapped him once again to shut him up.

"A lion! A-a, Zapdos!"

"Oh-oh, you're a fire-breathing sea monster that has crawled ashore Tokyo Beach to devour Japanese citizens!"

Galaxia shook her head violently, making a face of frustration. Thinking quickly, she arched her hands like paws and made a cat face.

Mondo snapped his fingers in realization. "Ah, you're Neko-chan!" he exclaimed excitedly.

Galaxia nodded furiously.

James scowled. "Well I was close."

"No you weren't," snorted Jesse derisively. James stuck his tongue out at her.

Galaxia took her seat and Mondo eagerly leapt to his feet, turning to face the group. "Okay, my turn, minna-san!"

James scowled. "You're not going to do another impersonation, are you? I suck at impersonations and the last five have been impersonations!"

Jesse grinned cattily, jabbing an elbow into his ribs. "Do anything with food, though, and he'll get it right away!"

"Ow, Jesse, quit jabbing me!" ^ . ^;;

"You're such a whiner, James-chan," sighed Galaxia teasingly.

Mondo simply smiled pleasantly. "Alright. Here goes!" He swung his arm about in front of him, indicating a circle.

"Pizza!" ^_^

"James!"

Mondo shook his head, changing the action so that he was making a large 'O' with his arms, as if he were carrying something large.

"Uh, a fat person?"

"Santa!" shouted James.

"Round?" suggested Galaxia.

Mondo nodded eagerly. Curling his hands in front of him, he made a galloping motion.

Jesse looked utterly confused. "A jockey? Round jockey?"

"Santa jockey!" shouted James. Mondo made a face.

"Horse…back riding?" suggested Galaxia slowly.

Mondo pursed his lips thoughtfully and shook his head hesitantly.

James' tongue was sticking out in concentration. "Um…um, a…warrior? A knight!"

"Knights of the Round Table!" shouted Jesse victoriously.

Mondo shook his head. Suddenly, he made the 'round' motion again with his arms, and then began galloping in a circle.

"Galloping…around?" suggested Jesse weakly.

"Horsing around?"

Galaxia's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Hmm. Horses going around…I get it! A merry-go-round!"

Mondo nodded eagerly. "Miss Galaxia wins!"

"Yippee!"

James was sour once again. "Aw, nuts! I hate Charades!"

"Then go help Meowth make dinner!" snapped Jesse bossily, kicking him motivationally.

"Oh! I'm too sick to cook!" moaned James piteously. He made a show of coughing violently and holding his forehead for fever.

"Baka!" harumphed Jesse, kicking him in the leg.

"Yay, yay, I get to go again!" Galaxia cried happily, ignoring the two Rockets for the time being.

Mondo was crouching over James in concern. "Senpai?"

James pretended to be asleep.

"Jesse-senpai, do you think you should be kicking him when he is ill?"

"He's just faking it, the big baby!"

"Am not!" whined James, blowing his cover. With a tiny 'eep', he went back to playing dead.

Losing her cheerfulness, Galaxia rubbed her temples and sighed. "When are Né-chan and Kio gonna' get back?" she wondered dolefully.

"James-senpai, are you alright? Speak to me!"

"James, quit playing possum already!"

When the laughter had finally died down and Ash had finally reverted to his non-crispy black self, the two groups faced off, glaring or smirking challengingly at one another.

"I hate you! You're gonna' die!" Ash, of course.

"Boy, that was a lame battle cry," muttered Neko in disgust. "Why don't you try something with 'glorious victory' or 'taste my wrath' kinda' stuff in it?"

"Stupid stuff fits him better," said Brock with a shrug. Misty nodded in agreement.

"All of you shut up! Let's battle!" Ash again.

Neko and Kio shrugged gamely, sharing a hardly contained self-satisfied grin between the two of them.

"Is that really all you wanna' do?" asked Neko innocently.

Kio nodded sagely. "I mean, I thought you were a whole lot more pissed at us than that. Shouldn't you try something a little harsher?"

Ash looked stumped. "Like?"

"Uh, I dunno'. A duel, a brawl, some kung-fu displays, maybe a little name-calling."

"Well we already did that! Come on, let's just battle!" yelled Ash impatiently, turning his cap backwards.

Misty jumped in hastily, looking intrigued. "No, wait Ash! I'm interested!"

"You have any more ideas?" asked Brock, interest piqued as well.

Neko grinned slyly. "Weeelll, perhaps a few…"

Ash started crying rivers in the background. "I just wanna' battle!"

Kio turned to Neko, eyebrow raised. "Think they'll go for it, Neko-chan?"

"Of course, Kio-chan."

Misty sighed impatiently. "Okay, you two. Tell us this great idea."

Misty sighed depressingly. "I can't believe we agreed to this."

"It's better than watching Ash make an ass out of himself with his Pokémon," pointed out Brock helpfully. But he didn't look quite so thrilled himself.

"I HATE THIS! I DON'T WANNA'!" cried Ash in a loud baby tone.

"Just keep counting, Ash," groaned Misty dryly.

*grumble grumble* "…67, 68, 69…"

"You think it might be a trick?" murmured Brock.

"Most likely," replied Misty. She looked down at the chipmunk costume. "Anything to get out of this hideous thing, though."

"Pika!" The little electric rat looked positively annoyed.

"And make Ash quit whining," agreed Brock.

"…89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94…"

"How'm I suppose to tell the difference between you two?" remarked Kio sourly, gesturing to the two Neko's before him.

Neko #1 smiled sweetly. "You're not. It's better if everyone is confused."

Kio huffed loudly. He crossed his arms over his chest angrily, shooting a glare to first one and then the other. "Come on, Gastly, help me out here!"

"Nu-uh!" chimed both Neko's in unison, grinning identically.

Kio rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Great. Yippee. Let's party," he growled dryly, turning away in annoyance.

"Chansey!" put in the pink Pokémon comfortingly, patting his leg with one chubby paw.

Kio looked down at the tubby pink Pokémon gratefully. Then he cast the Nekos another dirty glare. "Why couldn't we make two Chan-saws instead? One of you is bad enough!"

Both Nekos smacked him upside the head in annoyance.

"…99, 100!" Ash finished counting, jabbing an arm into the air. "Alright, here we come, you Team Rocket losers!"

"Ash, do we have to go over the 'loser' part again?"

"Shut up, Rescue Ranger-wannabe!"

The three trainers and two Pokémon shared a look of grim determination and set off through the woods in opposite directions.

And now, for a brief repose from the turmoil of this hectic story, we join Meowth and Mondo for a brief lesson of Otaku Japanese, for the lingo-illiterate out there in reader land.

"Ohaiyo, minna-san!" greets Mondo with a bow and smile.

Meowth jerks a paw in the trainee's direction. "He said, 'Hi', you dingbats."

Mondo's smile falters. "Uh, yes. Arigato, Meowth-shíshoo." He smiles again. "Today, we will be teaching commonly used suffixes!"

"Like '-shíshoo'," butts in Meowth. "Dat means 'master', 'cuz Mondo is my slave."

"Ano, Meowth, perhaps you should let me teach today."

Meowth glares at him. "Where's my suffix, slave boy?"

Mondo bows hastily. "Sumimasen, Meowth-shíshoo! But maybe I should—"

"Quiet, Mondo-kun, I've got lingo ta teach!" snaps Meowth. The cat Pokémon clears his throat superficially. "'-kun' is a suffix used between two males, usually one socially superior ta da other."

Mondo sweatdrops. "Ano, senpai, but do you have to be so blunt about it?"

"Quit excusin' ya'self and speak up like a man, Mondo-kun!" Meowth puts a paw to his face confidentially. "He keeps sayin' 'ano', which is like sayin' 'excuse me' before speaking up."

*sweatdrop* "Meowth-shíshoo, now you are just getting off-subject…"

Meowth's not listening to him. "Now '-chan' is a suffix used between friends. Roughly translated, it means 'dear', so usually only close friends 'n such use da term. Which is why Neko goes postal on Kio when he calls her dat."

"And '-senpai' is a polite term roughly translated to 'senior', used when speaking to superiors," adds Mondo quickly, not wishing to be left out.

"Ahm doin' da teachin' here!" points out Meowth lazily. "You give me a backrub, kid."

"Hai, Meowth-shíshoo!"

That's enough Japanese for today. Hopefully you're vocabulary is larger for it, and your brain capacity not smaller…*sigh* Next time we'll see about just letting Mondo host.

Back to the story.

Ash rustled the leaf fronds in front of his face, trying to get a better view of his quarry.

"Damnit!" he cursed, beating at it angrily with his PokéDex. The foliage finally subsided, and he pushed his way through, tumbling headfirst into the little clearing on the other side…

"Chansey!"

…Straight into the plump stomach of a cheerfully grinning Chan-saw.

"Huh?"

Chan-saw smiled happily, swinging her economy-size mallet over her head.

"Chansey! Chansey, chan!"

"Uh-oh…" squeaked Ash, just as the wooden mallet came down squarely on his head.

Chan-saw cooed in delight, swinging the borrowed mallet back over her shoulder, and skipped off back into the dense forest.

"Hey, what was that?" wondered Misty aloud, turning in the direction of the noise. She stepped through the dense brushes, tripping over Ash's unconscious form.

"Yikes! Ash, what are you doing?!" she screeched, dusting herself off angrily.

Ash only managed a moan.

In another part of the forest…

"Ash! Misty!"

Brock turned a 180, then went back to trudging dolefully through the forest scenery.

"Oh man, I'm lost," he muttered darkly, kicking at a rock.

"Hello!" came a sweet voice from behind him, causing him to jump in terror. Brock spun around hastily, only to see the redheaded Rocket member perched daintily on the rickety remains of a wooden fence running along the edge of the forest path.

"Yaagh! You scared me!" he cried, clutching his chest.

The redhead giggled in amusement, swinging her boot-clad legs lazily.

Suddenly nervous, Brock let his eyes trail slowly up her form, unable to stop the slow crawl of a blush spreading across his face. He couldn't help but notice she was just about his age.

And awfully cute.

"Whatcha' waitin' for?" prodded Neko sweetly, leaning forward ever so slightly.

Brock blushed even harder. "Uh…what?"

Neko allowed another chuckle of amusement, hopping down off the fence. "Well, the object of the game is to tag the members of the opposite team, so maybe you should try to tag me."

She stopped to bite her lip cutely. "Otherwise, I might just have to tag you instead, you know."

Brock couldn't help it; he was a guy. And he couldn't help but notice how many different ways the word 'tag' could be taken.

"Um…uh…tag? Of course…"

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence between the two, and then Brock realized that a slight blush had begun to spread across the girl's face as well. She lowered her eyes modestly.

"Um…how about I give you a head-start, 'cuz…I kind of like you," she muttered in embarrassment. She looked up at him shyly with large, stormy-blue eyes. "Would that be okay?"

Brock stuttered glibly. "Um-uh, s-sure. Okay."

Nobody moved for a few seconds, and then the young Pokémon breeder took a hesitant step in the redhead's direction.

You just have to touch her—I-I mean tag her! He assured himself mentally. She's a Team Rocket member, not a pretty girl! And she's not being nice—she's just messing with you!

He was almost to her, within an arms' reach, when those stormy-blue eyes glinted mischievously.

"Wait, I changed my mind," murmured Neko slyly. And suddenly she was no longer there.

Brock spun around in panic, just in time to see the Rocket member swing a large metal harisen* straight into his face.

Neko giggled mischievously, the harisen disappearing from her hand. "Gastly!" she crowed happily, and suddenly the redhead Rocket was gone and the gaseous form of the ghost Pokémon had taken her place.

Laughing furiously, Gastly flew one last victory circle over the unconscious Brock and zoomed off into the woods in search of more victims.

* : a club, usually made of paper, used to 'motivate' students. That's what Tasuki's 'fan' really is.

"Looks like a sitting duck…"

Kio yawned in feigned boredom, stretching his arms behind his head and stepping out of the woods onto the path where the little electric Pokémon sat washing it's paws lazily.

"Ohaiyo, Pikachu-san!" he greeted the Pokémon lazily. "Wanna' play?"

"Pi!" The little Pokémon looked up from it's washing in surprise.

Kio tilted his head, feigning another yawn. "Kind of boring, ain't it?" he commented conversationally, sitting down cross-legged across from the Pokémon.

Pikachu nodded, but eyed the Rocket member with a 'one move and I'll fry you' kind of look.

Kio put up his hands as if to prove his innocence. "Ah, I don't care about this stupid game of Neko's." He stuck out a hand to prove his sincerity. "We just won't tell the others."

Pikachu continued to eye him suspiciously, but when Kio's look of bored disinterest never wavered, he stuck out his own paw and shook the proffered hand.

"Tag. You're it," remarked Kio dully, leaning back on the palms of his hands as soon as the handshake was done.

Pikachu gaped at him. "Chu?"

The dark-haired Rocket shrugged absently. "Hey, I can't help it if I'm a bad guy."

The little electric rat began to spark dangerously. "Pi…ka…!"

Out of nowhere, a large metal harisen hit him unconscious.

Neko-chan stood over the downed Pokémon, shouldering her harisen carelessly. "Hey, no cheating," she remarked.

Her eyes flicked to Kio, who was still lazily stretched out on the path. "That was cute," she commented appreciatively.

Kio opened one eye, studying her thoughtfully to determine whether she had been sarcastic. Neko merely returned the look, plopping down beside him in the dirt with the harisen in her lap.

"Think the others got the rest of them yet?"

Kio narrowed his eyes. "You telling me you haven't gotten any yet?"

Neko shrugged. "I've gotten some." She glared at him pointedly. "Don't give me that—you only got the lousy Pikachu."

Kio scoffed, sitting up. "Hey, do you know how hard it is to tag a Pikachu without getting your ass fried?!"

Neko couldn't help but smirk slightly. "Okay. I'll give you that." She turned her gaze away, watching the wind rustle the nearby trees in a moment of peace.

Kio eyed her suspiciously, the muddle of feelings he had been feeling around her lately beginning to surface once again at her strange behavior.

"Are you Gastly?" he asked suddenly, eyeing her sternly.

She turned to smile at him slyly. "Maybe," she teased, refusing to answer any further.

Kio scowled for a moment, turning away. He watched her out of the corner of his eye, trying to see if he could penetrate Gastly's illusion.

Neko-chan stood suddenly, dusting off the seat of her black skirt. She offered Kio a hand, looking serious and businesslike.

"Come on. We've still got a job to finish."

Still eyeing her strangely, Kio gripped her arm and pulled himself to his feet.

"I hate you, you know," he reminded her as they both turned back into the forest.

Neko smiled smugly. "You might not. I could be Gastly," she replied sweetly.

The gold-eyed cadet gave her a smug grin of his own. "No. 'Cuz now I hate you both."

Neko, or Gastly—whomever it was—rolled their eyes dramatically. "We're flattered."

TO BE CONTINUED…

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