"Maternal" Instincts by Cori Falls

I snuggle into the cushions of the couch as I watch TV with my two
best friends. It's a warm spring evening, and the air-conditioner has
just kicked on, filling our apartment with refreshing coolness and
creating a soft, humming sound in the background. It seems like I
should be at peace, yet my mind is troubled.

My gaze drifts down to the kitten sleeping in my arms, and I find
myself mired in self-doubt. Can I be the father she deserves? I don't
want my daughter, my Charms, to live the kind of life that I've led
-- I want to make sure she never suffers the way I did.

But I'm off to such a bad start -- her mother's abandoned her
already, just like I was abandoned by my parents when I was a kitten!
I don't know why, but I blame myself for that. I really thought
Meowsie had changed...that she finally loved me as much as I loved
her. I guess I was wrong.

It was about a year ago that Jessie, James, and I had met up with
Meowsie again. She was starving and alone on the city streets, and
she told me that she'd left the Meowth gang because Persian was being
cruel to her. The three of us agreed to take her in, and I promised
Meowsie that I'd never hurt her the way everybody else in her life
had. And I didn't -- I loved her with all my heart and soul and
treated her with nothing but kindness. We got married shortly after
she joined us, and then Jessie and James were married a few months
later. We were two happy couples, and everything was perfect. For

It wasn't until Charms was born last month that things changed
between me and Meowsie. I was so happy on the day I became a dad, but
I guess something inside of Meowsie snapped when she looked at her
newborn daughter for the first time. It must've dawned on her that
she was married to the walking, talking freak-Meowth that she'd
always hated, and that she'd just given birth to his kitten.

I'm so repulsive to her that she had to run away, not only from me,
but Charms as well.

I don't really care that she fell out of love with me, but Charms
shouldn't have to suffer because of that -- it's wrong to abandon
your own child, no matter how much you may hate the other parent. I
still love Meowsie, I guess, but I don't think I can ever forgive her
for what she's done to our daughter. I want Charms to have a happier
life than mine, but, like me, she's already been rejected by her
mother. Not exactly the best way to get started. She's still got her
dad (and she always will), but I have to raise her alone, and I don't
know how well I can do that. I'm so afraid....

Charms suddenly curls herself into a ball and nuzzles against me. "I
love you, sweetie," I whisper as I stroke her velvety, cream-colored
fur. She begins to purr softly in her sleep, and I start purring,
too, a gentle lullaby to keep her nightmares away.

And as I purr to my sleeping kitten, I suddenly find my mind drifting
back to something that happened a long time ago. It was one of the
many (mis)adventures that Jessie, James, and I had shared back in our
Team Rocket days, and it was an experience that changed my life
forever. You see, Charms isn't my first child -- I was a parent once

It all started on a warm, spring day about four years ago. Jessie,
James, and I had just arrived in a small town, and we were all out of
money. (Dat seemed to be the story of our life in dose days -- the
boss never paid us much, and even though we were on a tight budget,
we always seemed ta have trouble makin' ends meet for the entire week
before pay day!) Unfortunately, the three of us didn't realize how
short we were on funds until after we'd eaten lunch in a local
restaurant. We didn't have enough money to pay the tab, so guess
what? It was dish-washin' time for Team Rocket!

After about an hour of scrubbing greasy pots and pans, we decided to
take a break (hey, we couldn't risk gettin' dish-pan hands and paws,
now, could we?). But as we seated ourselves at one of the tables and
began to make conversation, we were interrupted by the arrival of the
brats. Well, you know us -- we could never resist giving those twerps
a hard time whenever they showed up, so we decided to eavesdrop on
them and find out what they were up to. As it turned out, they were
holding some kind of speckled egg, and they were trying to guess what
kind of pokemon would hatch from it.

"Did ya hear dat?!" I exclaimed. "Dey're hatchin' a new pokemon!"

"I think he said it was a Dragonair!" said James.

"Or maybe he said Aerodactyl!" Jessie speculated.

"Well, whatever it is, we gotta get our hands on dat egg!" I told

Jessie nodded. "Yeah! We haven't sent the boss a new pokemon in

"He'll be thrilled!" I exclaimed.

"But don't forget," James added, "we haven't even succeeded in
capturing that one little Pikachu! We have a proud tradition of
failure to uphold!"

Well, I know he was only joking with that remark, but Jessie didn't
think it was very funny. (She hated bein' reminded of how dat idiotic
Ketchum kid always seemed ta ruin our plans, no matter how well
thought-out or cleverly executed dey may be!) So, she expressed her
distaste in the only way she knew how -- by whacking poor James with
her mallet and karate-kicking him across the room.

Once she had sent James flying, Jessie leaned down and began to
whisper into my ear. "Okay, here's the plan, Meowth. I found some
disguises in the back room, so James and I will dress ourselves up
and get those brats to show us their egg. We'll keep them occupied so
that you can sneak in and snatch it from them...."

While she was telling me this, James kept trying to nudge his way in
and hear the plan. "Hey! What's up? What are you saying?! Aw, come
on! Let me in! I CAN BREAK TRADITION!!!!!" he whined.

Jessie looked up at him and smirked.

James raised an eyebrow. "Uh, oh. Does this mean...."

Her smirk became a grin as she grabbed him by the hand and dragged
him towards the back room. "Yep!"

"That's what I was afraid of," he whimpered.

(Dat's one of the things I love about dose two. Dey know each other
so well dat dey can always tell exactly what the other one is
thinkin'. I bet dey could have an entire conversation with nothin'
more den dere facial expressions!)

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I quickly followed them. Besides,
I wanted to see what clever disguises Jess had in store for us this


Before changing managers, the diner had been one of those weird theme
restaurants where all of the employees had to dress in costume (The
International House of Sauerbraten, I think), and the disguises
Jessie had found were actually some of the old waitress uniforms.
They looked like something a milk-maid from an old folk-tale would

And if I thought those dresses looked funny on the hangers, they
looked downright hilarious once Jessie and James put them on!

"Jessie, how is dressing like Swiss Miss going to help us get that
egg?" James asked.

"We're not supposed to be Swiss Miss! We're egg-salesgirls!" she
replied matter-of-factly as she helped James lace up the bodice of
his long, brown dress. "We'll paint some fake eggs and put them in
baskets. Then, once Meowth grabs their egg, we'll switch it with one
of ours! By the time those twerps figure out what happened -- IF they
figure out what happened -- we'll be long gone!"

"Good plan," he said. "But how come we BOTH have to be girls? Why
can't I be an egg-salesman?!"

Jessie frowned and began putting on her own dress. "Because these
were the only outfits I could come up with on such short notice...and
I didn't see any waiter uniforms lying around!"


"Stop complaining!" she snapped, tying a large sunbonnet onto his
head. Then, she cupped his chin in her hand and said in a softer
voice, "You look very cute."

With that, Jessie went back to putting on her own disguise.

"So do you," I heard James mutter softly once she was on the other
side of the room (and safely outta earshot). I looked up at him and
saw that he was watching her get dressed. And even though that
sunbonnet was obscuring his face in shadows, I could tell he was


Once Jessie and James were in disguise, they took a bunch of eggs
from the kitchen and painted them in bright Easter colors. Then, the
three of us left the restaurant and took our positions. I hid myself
in the bushes by the side of the road, and Jessie and James went a
little further ahead so that they could intercept the Twerp Trio
before they left town.

And sure enough, we spotted them coming down the road a few minutes
later. Once they had reached the place where I was hiding, Jessie and
James darted up to them.

"Hello! Good day!" the two of them cried in a sing-song voice.

With that, they joined hands and entwined their fingers. Then, they
started giggling and dancing with each other. (I tell ya, it was a
sight ta see -- especially dat James! Even though he was dressed like
a girl, it was so obvious dat he was flirtin' with Jess...and dat she
was flirtin' right back! It was all I could do ta keep from laughin'
out loud!)

The twerps, however, didn't know what to make of it.

"I don't believe my eyes," Ash groaned as he watched them dance

Misty and Brock sweatdropped.

(Well, lookin' again, I guess it was kind of a bizzarre sight. Seein'
two girls actin' so...familiar with each other was bound ta be
unsettlin' for a buncha kids. Dey didn't know one a dose "girls" was
really a guy!)

"Please! Won't you buy our eggs?" Jessie and James said in that same
sing-song voice as they brought out their two large baskets of Easter

"Uh, what kind of pokemon eggs are these?" the little girl asked.

"You have to wait and see! It's a surprise!" Jessie replied.

"Won't you buy some? Please, please, please?!!!" James asked in a
falsetto voice.

"Well, uh, we don't really need any eggs right now," the guy who
never opens his eyes told them. "We've already got one...."

James grinned and raced up to him. "Ooooh! Show us!!! Pretty, pretty
please?!" he squealed.

"Uh...sure," Brock replied. With that, he reached under his shirt and
pulled out the pokemon egg.

Jessie and James "oohed" and "ahhed" as they drew closer and gazed at
the egg.

"Ah! It's pretty!" Jessie cried.

"Lovely!" James chimed in.

"Marvelous!" they said together.

Then, the two of them grinned and muttered, "One...two...."

On "three," they overturned the contents of their baskets on the
twerps and caused them to drop the egg.

That was my cue.

Before it fell to the ground, I rushed in and grabbed it. Not knowing
what had hit them, the brats were left in utter confusion.

"Hey! You're not egg-sellers!" Ash cried.

(Heh! I was wonderin' how long it'd take him ta figure it out! He
ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer, ya know!)

That was Jessie and James's cue.

With that, they tore off their dresses and revealed their true

"Prepare for trouble!" Jessie cried.

"And make it double!" James added.

"To protect the world from devastation!"

"To unite all peoples within our nation!"

"To denounce the evils of truth and love!"

"To extend our reach to the stars above!"



"Team Rocket blast off at the speed of light!"

"Surrender now, or prepare to fight!"

"I think it's this one!" one of the twerps shouted before I could say
my own line.

"Or maybe it's this one!" said another twerp.

Looking down, we saw all three of them crawling about on the ground,
picking up the eggs and trying to figure out which one was theirs.
They weren't even listening to us! (So what else is new?)

"Hey!" Jessie snapped.

"What do you think you're doing?!" James demanded.

The brats continued to ignore us and search for their egg.

Well, this was an insult! Nobody ignores us while we try to say our
motto and gets away with it! So, I walked up to Ash and held the egg
out to him.

"Is dis what yer lookin' for?" I asked.

"Hey! That's MY egg!"

"It was...." Jessie began.

"....Your egg!" James finished.

"C'mon! Let's beat it!" I quipped.

With that, the three of us burst out laughing and darted away.


Team Rocket has cabins hidden along all of the major routes between
cities. These cabins are usually used by agents as a place to spend
the night when it's too far to the next pokemon center or trainer
inn. Agents also use them as safe-houses, places to hide out and wait
for things to cool off in the city after a big heist. Well, for once
luck was on our side, and one such cabin happened to be hidden in the
forest outside of this town. So, that's where we headed, and we
didn't stop running until we reached it.

Once we were inside, we breathed a sigh of relief and bolted the
door. Then, Jessie and James took off their boots and gloves and went
into the bathroom to get cleaned up. After they were gone, I knealt
at the Japanese-style dining table and took a better look at the egg
we had just stolen.

It was a beautiful egg, with red and blue patterns on its delicate,
white shell. What kind of pokemon would hatch from it, I wondered.
I'd seen a lot of eggs before, but never one like this! Whatever it
was, I was sure it would be a rare and special pokemon, indeed!

"What are ya?" I whispered, placing my paw on the shell.

A warm sensation radiated through my paw and up my arm when I did
this. I simply closed my eyes and basked in it.

Jessie and James returned a few minutes later, snapping me out of my
trance. They knealt at the table next to me.

"Heh! Can ya believe it?!" I exclaimed. "Our plan actually worked!"

"It's because I made such a cute egg-salesgirl!" Jessie giggled. She
was looking at me when she said this, but I swear, she was also
winking at James. (Had she heard what he'd said about her earlier?!)

"May be...." I said sarcastically, pretending not to notice her
little flirtation.

James grinned and whipped out his skillet and wire whisk. "Well, how
shall we cook it? Over easy? Scramble it? Or...I know! I could make a
little fried rice!"

WHAT?! After we'd gone to all the trouble of stealing a rare pokemon
egg, he wanted to EAT it?! I know it was dinnertime and that we were
all hungry, but seriously! Was food all that boy ever thought about?!
(Well, I knew for a fact dat it wasn't -- dere was also a certain
crimson-haired, sapphire-eyed girl he always had on his mind, but
still....) Besides, I found that I was growing strangely attatched to
that egg all of a sudden, and the idea of eating it just seemed

Overwhelmed by anger, I grabbed the skillet from James's hands and
whacked him upside the head with it! "ARE YOU CRAZY?!" I snapped. "WE

"Then, what do YOU think we should do with it?!" Jessie demanded,
coming to James's defense.

"I'm gonna hatch it!" I shot back.

"And how do you plan on doing that?" she asked.

I pulled the egg into an embrace and laid myself on top of it. "I'll
warm it with my body!" I told her. And as I held that egg against me,
something happened -- I realized that the warm sensation I'd felt
earlier was the life inside of it. A new life was literally in my

And I knew that I had to protect it...no matter what....


What happened after that was sheer bliss -- I could feel the baby
pokemon growing on the other side of the shell, and I was holding the
egg so closely that it practically became a part of my body! Was this
how females felt when they became pregnant? I can't describe how
wondrous it was, to know that I was going to bring a new life into
the world! (When Meowsie was expectin' Charms, I actually found dat I
was a little envious of her for dis reason.)

Jessie and James, however, didn't share my enthusiasm. They kept
snickering at me and making snide remarks as they watched me
incubating the egg. I didn't let it bother me, though. When they had
a child of their own someday (and believe me, dey will), they'd know
know exactly how I felt...and they'd understand.

Well, once they realized that I was ignoring them, they backed off a
little. James went to make dinner, and Jessie went to take a bath.
Once it was time to eat, though, the taunting began anew.

As soon as James set the three bowls of steamed rice and vegetables
on the table, I grabbed the largest one and began to eat, taking care
not to drop my "baby."

"Still holding onto that egg?!" he said angrily as he knealt next to

"Of course I am," I replied. "If I set my precious egg down, it'll
cool off, and it won't hatch!"

"Hmmmph!" he snorted.

What was he, of all people, so upset about?! James is usually really
sweet and sensitive, and I thought he'd appreciate this new,
nurturing side of me. Oh, well. I guess he was just peeved that I'd
taken the biggest helping of food (which was usually reserved for him
since he had the biggest appetite) for myself. But, hey! I was eating
for two, now! I had a baby to think about!

Unfortunately, he and Jessie just couldn't seem to grasp this

Once I was done eating, I noticed that I'd slopped a little rice onto
my egg, so I decided that it was time for a bath. And of course, the
two of them couldn't resist following me to the bathroom and
continuing to pester me.


"Here we go, my widdle eggy-weggy," I said as I climbed into the
bathtub with the egg and began to scrub its shell with a washcloth.
"While you and I share a nice, hot soap, Meowth'll tell ya a bathtime
story! Once upon a time...." (Widdle eggy-weggy?! I never thought I'd
ever hear myself talkin' like dat! And as much as I hate gettin' wet,
I was sittin' dere in a tub of water, givin' dat egg a bath! I guess
parenthood really DOES do strange things to a person!)

But like I said, Jessie and James just didn't seem to understand

"Ooh, look! He's boiling it!" I heard James exclaim.

I couldn't believe it! Even after he saw how much I loved my egg, he
was still thinking about eating it?!

"Don't forget, I like mine soft-boiled!" he called to me.

Grrrrr! Why won't he get offa dat, already?! I said to myself.

Angrily, I splashed some water up through the air vent and soaked him
IT?!!!!!" I screamed at them.

They just stared at me, dumbfounded.

"M-Meowth? What's gotten into you?!" Jessie asked after a moment of
stunned silence.

"Yeah! I was just kidding!" James added. "You know I hate soft-boiled

I frowned at them and lifted my egg out of the bathtub. "Well, dis is
MY child," I snapped. "And I don't appreciate youse guys makin' fun
of it...or me!"

"I'm sorry! Jeez! Where's your sense of humor?!" James said

"Yeah! Lighten up, Meowth!" Jessie growled.

I glared at them as I wrapped a towel around my egg and left the
bathroom. "Look, just don't come between us," I told them. "If youse
guys force me ta choose between my child or the team, I'm gonna
choose my child!"


"Don't listen ta dem," I said softly as I carried my egg over to the
sleeping area and put on my pajamas. "I ain't gonna let James eat ya.
And Jessie ain't gonna do nothin' bad, either. I'll die before I let
anything happen to ya...and dat's a promise!"

As I cradled the egg in my arms, I could feel the baby moving inside
of the shell. Had it heard me?! It must have! Somehow it knew what I
was saying...and that it was safe with me.

"Alright, enuffa dis!" I said. "Let's just get some sleep now.
Everything'll be okay in the mornin'."

Again, I felt the baby moving inside of the egg. Maybe it would hatch
tomorrow if I kept it warm all night!

"Good night, my widdle eggy-weggy," I cooed to my egg as I curled
myself around it. "Time ta go sleepy...."

From their own sleeping-bags I could hear Jessie and James talking
about me again.

"Wow!" said James. "I never realized Meowth could be so...."

"Revolting!" Jessie cried, finishing the sentence for him.

I turned and scowled at them. "Yeah, keep talkin' trash!" I shot
back. "I'd love ta see how youse guys act when ya have a baby of yer
own! You'll probably be just as bad as me, if not, worse!"

When I said this, Jessie and James looked at each other and blushed.
Apparently this was something they'd both been thinking about (but
wouldn't DARE mention ta each other)!

James buried his face, which was now bright red, in his pillow and
covered himself with his blanket. Jessie frowned at me and quickly
turned away, exhaling in a loud huff as she rolled herself into her
own blanket.

Heh! Maybe dat'll shut 'em up! I snickered to myself as I pulled my
egg into another embrace and drifted off to sleep.


I was awakened the next morning by a vibration coming from the egg. I
was right -- it was almost ready to hatch!

And I was going to be a "mother!"

"Good morning," I whispered, planting a kiss on the shell. "Did ya
sleep well?"

The egg vibrated again, as if in response.

I was so excited! I just had to share my joy with somebody, namely my
two best friends! But my heart sank as I remembered how Jessie and
James had acted the night before. I really wanted them to be a part
of this, but they didn't even care.

I sighed.

Suddenly, I heard a rattling noise. Turning around, I saw James in
the kitchen. He was standing over the stove, cooking breakfast. Then,
Jessie went to his side and began brewing a pot of coffee.

"Good morning, Meowth," she said over her shoulder. She sounded
happy, almost as if there hadn't even been an argument last night.

"Uh, mornin'," I replied, not quite sure what to make of what was
going on.

"Sleep well?" James asked.

"....Yeah," I said tentatively.

They both turned around and smiled at me.

"Meowth, we're sorry about all those mean things we said last night,"
James told me. "You know I'd never cook a pokemon egg...and we think
it's really sweet, the way you're caring for that one!"

"Yeah. We were just having a little fun with you," said Jessie. "We
didn't mean any harm."

Cradling my egg, I walked over to them and smiled. "Apology
accepted," I told them.

Jessie poured two mugs of coffee and handed one to me. Then, James
gave her a plate of toast, and she went to the table. I followed her.

While I was waiting for my coffee to cool, I brought out a soft cloth
and began to buff the shell of my egg.

"So, how's the egg doing?" Jessie asked.

I smiled at her again. "Doin' great! I think it's gonna hatch real
soon!" I exclaimed.

Jessie reached over and placed her hand on the shell. Her sapphire
eyes widened as it vibrated again. "Oh! You're right! I can feel it!"

"Ain't dat the cat's pajamas?!" I said happily as I continued to buff
the shell.

"Hey, James! Come over and see the egg! It's almost ready to hatch!"
Jessie cried.

"That's wonderful!" James replied. "I'll be there in a second...just
let me finish making breakfast!"

You know, they say that when a mother is expecting, she seems to
glow. That the love she has for the child growing inside of her is so
immense that it gives her an air of radience. And at that moment,
that was exactly how I felt! I loved the baby inside of my egg so
much, and now that I knew I could share this happiness and love with
my friends, it seemed to multiply a thousand times over. I was

"Rise and shine, my little eggy-poo!" I said happily. "We gotta lotta
inca-batin' ta do!"

A few minutes later, James finished cooking and put his skillet in
the sink to begin soaking. Then, he grabbed two plates and joined us
at the table.

"Here you go, Meowth," he said, placing one of the plates in front of
me. "Breakfast is served!"

"Huh? What's dis?" I asked.

"Scrambled eggs, of course!" came his reply.

Well normally, I love scrambled eggs -- they're my favorite
breakfast! And James makes some of the best ever. The kind with
melted cheese and just the right amount of milk and seasoning to make
them creamy and flavorful. But as much as I loved James's scrambled
eggs, and as hungry as I was, I just couldn't bring myself to eat
them. Afterall, my baby was an egg, and if I ate eggs for breakfast
now,I'd feel like a cannibal! It would just be wrong!

Overwhelmed by anger once again, I grabbed Jessie's mallet and
smashed James over the head with it. "WHADDAYA THINK YER DOIN'?!" I

But before either of them could say anything, the glass panes of the
window shattered, and a Pidgeotto, a Staryu, and a Geodude busted in.
They charged forth and dive-bombed the three of us, overturning the
table and sending our breakfasts flying.

This could mean only one thing -- the twerps had found us!

The sudden chaos filled me with apprehension. What if my egg got hurt
when they came in for another attack?! I didn't even want to think
about such a terrible thing, and I knew that I had to do anything in
my power to keep my egg from getting broken. So, I scooped it into my
arms and ran for cover as quickly as I could.

Suddenly, however, the twerps came through the door. Then, Pidgeotto
swooped down and snatched my egg in his talons. I tried my best to
hold onto it, but to no avail. It slipped from my paws, and a moment
later, the bird was delivering it to Ash.

"Hey! Dat's MY egg!" I cried.

"Oh, that's funny, Meowth!" Ash sneered. "All this time, I thought it
was OUR egg!"

Well, I tell you, if I was angry before, then I was enraged now!
Where the hell did that little brat get off claiming ownership of MY
egg?! What did HE ever do for it?! Sure, I know he "found" it after
that disaster in Grandpa Canyon, but he hadn't done a damn thing to
help raise it!

Not like I had.

"Help, youse guys! Save my egg!" I cried to Jessie and James. (Dey
may not have been very supportive of me yesterday, but I knew dat I
could trust 'em now...dat dey'd help me rescue my baby from dat
twerp's clutches!)

And sure enough, they got out their poke balls and released Arbok and

It was an all-out battle now.

Weezing initiated the attack by exhaling his black vapors and
creating a smokescreen. The room filled with smog, and the twerps
began coughing and choking. Through the smoke, I could make out
Arbok's form as she charged in and slammed Ash with her tail. When he
fell to the floor, I stepped up to him once again.

"Heh, heh, heh," I snickered as I looked down at my enemy, lying
prone on the ground. He wouldn't get away with abducting my child and
insulting me and my friends! Revenge would be mine!

Unsheathing my claws, I Fury Swiped Ash across his clueless face a
couple of times. It took a moment for the pain to register, but once
it did, he began to scream in agony, releasing the egg and clutching
his face in his hands.

"Nyah! Nyah!" I said tauntingly, sticking my tongue out at him and
reclaiming my egg.

Now that my baby was safe in my arms once again, I made another
attempt to run for cover. But then, I was hit from behind by one of
Team Twerp's pokemon, and the egg went flying again. It looked like
Misty was going to make a grab for it, but Jessie quickly intercepted
her and caught the egg first. Good ol' Jess!

Unfortunately, when she tried to get out of the fray and deliver the
egg to safety, she shared the same fate as me, getting hit by one of
the twerps' pokemon.

It went on like this for several minutes. The humans and their
pokemon, darting madly about the smog-filled room, playing keep-away
with my egg.

Whadda' dose baka humans think dere doin'?! my mind screamed each
time I saw the egg go flying while I was powerless to save it. My
egg's gonna get scrambled! Dey're gonna kill my baby!

Darting into the midst of the fight, I grabbed the egg as quickly as
I could and started running. But then, Ash finally got the idea to
clear Weezing's smog away by getting his Pidgeotto to use a Whirlwind
attack. The bird flapped his massive wings and created a small
tornado. Unfortunately, the force of the wind was so great that it
knocked me off balance. This caused me to lose my grip on the egg and
launch it into the air.

But this time, nobody was close enough to catch it when it began to

The next few moments felt like they were happening in slow motion.
There was a collective gasp from the five humans as they watched the
egg hurtling towards the floor. I knew that I had to do something,
anything, to save it before it landed. On instinct, I charged forth
to catch it.

But I didn't make it in time. Everything around me froze, and my
entire body went numb.

I stayed frozen in place for what seemed like an eternity. I was
afraid to move, knowing that if I did...if I looked, I'd see my egg
broken and splattered across the floor. And it was all my fault. I
promised my baby that I'd always keep it safe and that I'd sooner die
than see it get hurt, but I had failed. I was a rotten parent. Tears
began to well up in my eyes, and I knew that I would never forgive
myself for what had just happened.

But then, I heard everybody breathing a sigh of relief.

Wiping my tears away, I looked and saw Pikachu holding the egg in his
paws -- he had caught it at the last second!

Whew! I said to myself. Thank God dat little rodent was able ta save
it! I never thought I'd say dis, but I owe him one!

But Pikachu didn't care how I felt, or what I was thinking. He walked
right past me, and handed the egg to Ash.

Before I could protest, however, the egg began to vibrate more than
ever...and then it started to glow, too!

This was it!

"Oh! I think it's hatching!" Ash cried.

(Well, duh. Anybody coulda' told him dat!)

The shell cracked, and everybody gathered around for a closer look.

"Oooh! Let me see!" Misty squealed, snatching the egg from Ash's
hands and holding it aloft.

I felt a pang of jealousy when I saw this. She was going to be the
one that was holding my egg when it hatched! And like Ash, she hadn't
even done anything to help raise it! It wasn't fair!

Suddenly, the entire top half of the shell split open, and a tiny
head and a pair of arms emerged. A crown of spikes unfurled on top of
the head, and two tiny feet sprouted from the bottom. The lower half
of the red and blue speckled eggshell remained intact.

"Brrrrrriiiiiiiii!" the newborn pokemon cried.

I had never seen anything like it in my entire life! It was obviously
some type of egg pokemon, but it wasn't a Chansey or an Exeggcute. I
had no idea what it was. All I did know was that it was absolutely
adorable...and that it was mine!

"Aaaaawwwwwwwww!" everybody said in unison as they gazed at the baby.

"Oh, how cute!!!" Misty cried.

"Thank goodness Pikachu caught that egg!" Jessie sighed.

"Yeah!" James agreed. "If he didn't, that cute little pokemon

But then, the five humans exchanged glances and remembered that they
had been in the middle of a fight only moments before.

The three twerps jumped away from us, and Jessie, James, Arbok,
Weezing, and I assumed fighting-stances.

"Hey! We've still got a battle to finish!" Jessie snapped. (We
weren't about ta let dose kids walk outta dere with my new baby,
after all! Not after everything I'd done for it!)

"Yeah! That's right!" said James.

"Let's get 'em!" I cried.

Ash smirked as we all charged him. "Pikachu, Thunderbolt!"

With that, the little electric rat fried me, Jessie, James, Arbok,
and Weezing with one zap. (What's up with dat, anyway? Dere's no way
in Hell dat one mouse can defeat so many enemies at once with just
one attack! Again, it ain't fair!)

After the five of us collapsed on the floor in a giant heap, the Brat
Pack bolted out the door and disappeared into the woods.

"M-m-m-m-my...egg...." I stammered, trying to get to my feet and give

But the recent battle and Pikachu's attack had taken so much out of
me that I just didn't have the energy. As soon as I stood, my legs
collapsed beneath me.

"No...my baby...." I whimpered, beginning to cry. "Dey took my

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was James.

"Don't worry, Meowth," he said softly. "We'll help you get it back."

"Y-ya will?" I asked, wiping my tears away.

"Of course," Jessie said, coming to my side. "You did more for that
egg than all three of those brats combined! You deserve it!"

Fresh tears came to my eyes, but this time they were tears of joy -
my friends really did care about me and my baby!

The two of them smiled at me.

"Hey!" James said, giving me a thumbs-up. "I know we made fun of you
earlier, but we'd never let you down!"

"Yeah!" said Jessie, holding out her hand. "Teammates...and friends

James put his hand on top of hers. "Forever!"

I smiled and put my paw on top of their joined hands. "Forever!" I

Hand in hand in paw. It was the strongest affirmation the three of us
could make. We really were a great team...and the best of friends. I
knew that Jessie and James would do anything to help me rescue my
baby from those twerps.

"Come on!" James said. "Let's go get that egg!"

"Right!" Jessie and I said in unison.

With that, the three of us headed back to town to find the
twerps...and my child.


We caught up to the Brat Pack about twenty minutes later. They were
sitting on a park bench, admiring the baby. MY baby!

Not wanting to reveal our presence just yet, the three of us slinked
through the bushes and made our way towards them. When we got close
enough to listen in on their conversation, we learned that the new
pokemon was named Togepi, and the three of them were arguing about
which of them should be the one to keep it.

"Togepi?" James whispered. "I've never heard of that pokemon before!"

"That's because it's a new kind!" Jessie whispered back.

"Who cares?" I said. "New pokemon, or not, it's still my baby!"

Jessie and James nodded and brought out their poke balls.

"Don't worry, Meowth," said Jessie. "We'll take care of those little

James smiled. "Yeah! They're so busy arguing, they won't even know
what hit them!"

"No!" I told them. "Youse guys saw what happened last time -- my egg
almost got broke! We can't risk it again! I won't let ya!"

The two of them exchanged looks.

"He's right, Jess," said James. "It'd be too dicey."

"Hmmm...good point," Jessie conceded.

Disappointed that there wouldn't be a grudge-match, they frowned and
put away their poke balls. Then, they both turned to me.

"So, if you don't want to fight them, then what ARE you going to do?"
James queried.

"I'm gonna reason with 'em," came my reply.

"Yeah, THAT'LL work!" Jessie remarked. "What makes you think they'll
even listen to you?!"

"Hey! I'm a parent beggin' for my child!" I told her. "And, dey're
the good guys! Dey'd hafta' be pretty damned heartless ta ignore
somethin' like dat!"

"News flash, Meowth! They ARE heartless!" she shot back. "Those kids
don't give a Raticate's ass about us! Never have, never will!"

"She's right," James sighed. "When have they ever been considerate of
our feelings? They'd probably just laugh at you."

"Still, I've gotta try," I told them. "It's the only chance...."


The twerps didn't even notice me as I walked up to them -- they were
still busy fighting over which one of 'em would get to keep MY baby!
(Can ya imagine the nerve?!)

"I think I should keep it because I'm the one who took care of it,"
said Brock. "You were just going to leave it with Nurse Joy."

"Oh, yeah?! Well, I think I should have it because I'm the one who
found it in the first place!" Ash snapped.

"I MOTHERED IT!!!" Brock retorted.

(Yeah, and so did I! Meowth had as much claim on Togepi as the three
of dem! If not, more!)

"Well, I think I should have Togepi because it likes ME best!" Misty
argued. "Right, Togepi?"

"Briiiiiii! Toge-toge!" Togepi squealed happily, smiling up at her.

"See! It's obvious! Togepi has made the right choice!" she said

I tell you, it broke my heart to see that. He absolutely adored her!
And what had she done for him? Nothing! Meanwhile, I was practically
his mother, and he didn't even know I existed! It just wasn't fair!

"No fair! You didn't even do anything!" Ash shouted at her.

My feelins exactly! I thought. (Boy, I never thought I'd find myself
agreein' with dat twerp about anything, but he was right -- she had
no claim on Togepi!)

The three of them started arguing again, continuing to ignore me,
even though I was standing right in front of them. (Talk about dense!

Finally, I couldn't take it any more. "Oh, yeah?!" I said, breaking
in on them. "Well, I did more ta care for him den all of ya put

The brats stopped fighting for a moment and looked down at me in

"Huh?!" the three of them said in unison. They looked like they were
about to crack-up!

I frowned. Jessie and James were right -- they didn't care how I
felt! No matter how much I begged, no matter how much I pleaded or
tried to reason with them, they'd never let me have Togepi.

But Togepi was my child. I loved him with all my heart, and I helped
bring him into the world! I couldn't let these twerps take my child
without a fight.

Just as I unsheathed my claws and prepared to Fury Swipe Ash a few
more times, however, Jessie and James came up behind him.

"You didn't see how much Meowth cared for that little guy!" James
said as tears welled up in his emerald eyes. "They were together when
they ate! They were together when they slept! They even bathed
together! It was touching!"

"Please, James!" Jessie sobbed, burying her face in a handkercheif.
"Just hearing about it brings tears to my eyes!"

Ash looked positively freaked-out, as if he'd never seen them show
emotion before. He probably thought they were just acting.

But I knew that they weren't -- the tears falling from their
eyes...the words coming from their mouths were sincere. Jessie and
James were good actors, all right, but after traveling with them for
over two years, I could read their emotions pretty well. I could
usually tell the difference between the truth and the lies, and now
was no exception -- they loved little Togepi as much as I did now!
They really did want to get him back! And not because he was a new
one-of-a-kind pokemon to give to the boss. When I looked into their
eyes, I knew they wouldn't let the boss have him -- they wanted to
get him back for me!

It was touching to see how much they truly cared. I smiled as I
thought about how good Aunt Jessie and Uncle James would be to my
little Togepi once we got him back. We'd be one big, happy family!

"Uh...I never knew you guys were so sensitive," Ash said, still not
quite sure what to make of them.

"Look, all I want is Togepi," I said softly.

"Uh-huh! Uh-huh!" Jessie and James said, coming to my side again.

"Wow! Team Rocket's acting almost...human!" Misty exclaimed.

Well, now I wanted to Fury Swipe both Ash AND Misty! It's bad enough
that they kidnapped my Togepi, but to insult me and my best friends
on top of that?! It was too much! Sure, we may act mean around those
pests, but that's only because they're mean to us, too! Truth be
told, Jessie and James are the nicest humans I've ever met! They're
the only people who ever accepted me for who I am...and who I could
place my trust in. I mean, James is the sweetest person in the world
-- Meowth has never seen such a sensitive, caring guy before. And
even though Jessie grew up poor, she's got more class than most
anybody I know! A real lady and gentleman, those two! How dare those
inconsiderate little brats say something so rude to them?!

Fortunately, the pleas of my friends didn't fall on deaf ears after
all -- the twerps eventually admitted (rather grudgingly) that we had
a claim on Togepi as well.

"Then why don't we settle this with a pokemon battle?" Ash suggested.

"A pokemon battle?" I asked.

"Yeah! A tournament!" he replied. "Are you in or out?"

Jessie, James, and I huddled.

"What do you think?" Jessie whispered.

"Do we have a chance?" James whispered back.

"It's the only chance we got!" I told them.

The three of us nodded in agreement and turned to face the brats

"Count me in!" I said.


There was a small arena nearby, a semi-sheltered court in the park,
where people could play sports, games, or even have pokemon matches.
And that's where we all gathered a few minutes later.

"Okay, then," said Brock. "We'll have a six-way pokemon tournament.
Whoever wins gets to keep Togepi."

The three of us stared-down the Twerp Trio for a moment. And as those
kids glared at us, I swear I could feel daggers stabbing into my
soul. They weren't just looking at us -- they were judging
us...condemning us!

It was then that I realized we couldn't win this match. Even if we
did prevail against those kids, they would never honor the agreement
and give us Togepi. Why, you ask? It was because they were afraid. As
always, they were looking at us with blind eyes, seeing evil where it
didn't exist. They never saw Jessie, James, and Meowth when they
looked at us -- they saw Team Rocket, and they would never give a
pokemon to Team Rocket!

This forced me to make a painful decision. I had to do
something...anything to prove my sincerity to those kids. I had to
make them understand just how much Togepi meant to me, make them
understand that my intentions were good. I had no choice....

"Wait a minute!" I said. "Dese two ain't got no claim on Togepi, so
dey ain't got no right ta participate in dis tournament!"

Jessie and James bristled when they heard this.

"Meowth, what do you think you're doing?!" Jessie demanded.

"Yeah! What's the big idea?!" James snapped.

I folded my arms across my chest and turned away from them. "I
testify dat dese two didn't perform a single act ta assist Togepi!" I
announced, officially ousting them from the tournament.

"I can't believe you're being so selfish!" Jessie growled.

"Yeah! What about the team?!" James cried.

I turned and faced them once again. "Hey! I told ya last night dat if
I had ta choose between my child and the team, I'd choose my child,"
I whispered.

"Hmmmph!" the two of them grumbled as they stomped away to watch from
the sidelines.

I sighed. It broke my heart to do that to them, it really did. But
now the twerps looked like they actually trusted me a little. If I
did manage to win, at least now there was a glimmer of hope that
maybe they'd give Togepi back to me. Still, it really hurt to see
Jessie and James scowling at me from the bleachers. I couldn't help
but wonder if they hated me now. I guessed I could try and explain
myself to them when the tournament was over, but judging from the
look on their faces, I knew it would probably be futile.

I promised my child that I'd do anything for him, but I hadn't
counted on having to sacrifice my friendship with the only two people
in the world who ever cared about me. Losing the battle was out of
the question now -- if I didn't win Togepi, I'd be left with nothing!

"Okay, then," said Ash. "Why don't we make it a sudden-death match by
using one pokemon apiece?"

"Sounds good to me!" Brock replied.

Misty nodded.

But as I watched the twerps fishing around in their backpacks, trying
to decide which pokemon they were going to use, I remembered
something -- I didn't have any pokemon to battle with! How was I
supposed to win a pokemon battle without a pokemon?!

I turned and looked at Jessie and James once again. "Uh...guys? Can
I...borrow one of yer pokemon?" I asked contritely, doing my best to
show that I hadn't meant to hurt them.

"NOT A CHANCE!!!!!" they shouted in unison.

I frowned. No pokemon, no friends, no Togepi. I was totally screwed.

Great! What am I supposed ta do now?! I said to myself. Come on!
Think, Meowth! Ya can't lose! Ya just can't!

I felt tears stinging my eyes. But as I reached up to wipe them away,
I found myself staring at my...paws.

"Oh, yeah!" I cried, suddenly remembering. "I AM a pokemon! I can
battle for myself!"

(Hey, it ain't my fault I sometimes forget I'm a pokemon! I don't
take orders from humans, and I don't hafta stay in a poke ball.
Besides, I walk upright and use human speech! Who could blame me for
sometimes thinkin' I'm human? But I also think it's got a lot ta do
with hangin' out with Jessie and James all the time. Dey don't treat
me like an animal. Don't get me wrong, dey love Arbok, Weezing, and
Weepinbell with all dere hearts, but dere's just somethin' special
about bein' treated like a fellow human being. I get ta eat at the
table with 'em, I get my own little sleepin'-bag when we go ta bed,
and Jessie even makes little cat-sized outfits for me on the
occasions when we need disguises!)

I felt another pang of sadness as I looked at the two of them,
frowning at me. I had shared so much with Jessie and James -- so many
adventures, tragedies, triumphs, heartfelt moments....Had I really
lost them forever?

Sighing, I looked down at my paws again and remembered that I had to
win this battle...win back my little Togepi! So, I took a deep breath
and stepped into the arena.


"Okay, first up is Brock vs. Meowth!" Ash announced as the kid who
never opens his eyes brought out his Onix.

Oh, great! I had to fight an Onix in Round One?! (Didn't dey know dat
Meowth was weak against rock-types?! Dey must have! Dey pitted me
against Brock cuz dey wanted me outta the match as soon as possible!)
But I wasn't about to let that stop me -- I promised Togepi I'd die
for him, so how could I back away now?

Undaunted by the vicious glare of the giant rock-snake, I tensed my
muscles and unsheathed my claws.

Then, Ash whacked a can with a stick, officially beginning the

This was it.

"Go, Onix!" Brock shouted.

"Go, Meowth!" I shouted back.

Onix tackled me and sent me flying halfway across the arena. Shaken,
but unharmed, I got back to my feet.

My opponent charged towards me again, but I refused to back down.
"Meowth! Give him yer scratch attack!" I cried.

"Okay!" I said to myself.

Meeting the charge of the Onix, I unsheathed my claws again and
slashed relentlessly at his face.

But it didn't even faze him.

"Onix! Rock Throw!" Brock commanded.

Onix smirked and smashed me with his tail.

Brock gave me the same smirk that his pokemon just had. "Your attacks
can't do anything to hurt Onix's stone body!" he said smugly.

"Come on, Meowth?!" I encouraged myself. "Hang in dere!"

I tried to stand again, but my body was aching so badly that I could
barely move. Maybe Brock was right -- maybe it was hopeless for me!

"But Meowth's bite and scratch attacks can't do nothin' against dat
Onix...." I whimpered.

"Briiii! Toge-toge!"

I tell you, that sound was music to my ears! I looked over at little
Togepi, who was sitting on a small platform and watching the battle
unfold. There was a smile on his face, and he was waving his tiny
arms about. He was absolutely adorable!

And that made me remember what I was fighting for. Suddenly, I felt
my resolve returning -- I couldn't let Onix defeat me...I WOULDN'T
let Onix defeat me!

"Dat's right!" I exclaimed. "I'll do it for Togepi!"

But how?

Onix was coming in for another attack, but I held my ground. He was
bigger than me, and he was stronger than me, but he wasn't all
powerful. Even he had a weakness.

Looking around I saw a water spigot on the wall of the arena, and
just beneath it were two buckets of water that the maintenance
workers had left. Water! One of the few things that worked against
rock pokemon. Now I knew what I had to do....

Onix struck at me, but I used my superior agility to dodge the
attack. Then, I retreated and grabbed the two buckets of water,
flinging them into Onix's face and soaking him in one deft move.

Onix reeled backwards, roaring in pain and confusion, but he hadn't
been stopped. The water had given me a few seconds' purchase, though
and I put it to good use!

"Meowth! Fury Swipes attack!" I commanded myself as I brought out my
claws and launched myself at Onix.

Now that Onix's stone skin was wet, it had softened, and my claws
sank into his newly-vulnerable flesh, tearing it to shreds.

Onix screeched one last time and collapsed to the ground.

"Nooooo! Onix, are you okay?!" Brock cried, seeing that his strongest
pokemon was down for the count. Then, he turned a menacing glare on
me. "Throwing water is cheating!" he snapped.

(Yeah! And pittin' me against a pokemon dat I never woulda defeated
without dat bit of creative thinkin' wasn't?!) I put my paws on my
hips and returned the smug look that Brock and his Onix had given me
earlier. "I am merely a parent, fightin' for my child," I told him.

Then, the realization of what I had just done hit me. I single
handedly defeated an Onix...a pokemon that I was weak against! "And
I'm gonna win, too!" I cried triumphantly, making a vee-sign.


Now that I had vanquished my first foe and advanced to the next
round, it was time to take a break.

I wasn't too interested in the battle between Ash and Misty. Even
though Misty was the better trainer of the two, she was at a
disadvantage with nothing but those water pokemon and Ash choosing
Bulbasaur. And then when Psyduck emerged from her poke ball instead
of Staryu, I knew who my next opponent would be.

Heh! Dis battle was over before it even started! I mused.

Then, I focused my attention back on Togepi.

"Hey dere!" I said to him.

Togepi looked at me for a moment and turned back to Misty. He was
entranced by her!

"Togepi? Hello!" I said again. "It's me! Remember Meowth?"

Pikachu, who was sitting on the other side of Togepi, scowled at me.
"Leave him alone, Meowth!" he growled.

"What?! I was just sayin' 'hi'!" I said defensively.

His cheeks began to spark.

"Hey! Don't you DARE threaten me!" I snapped. "I raised Togepi! I
helped bring him inta the world! I have as much right ta be here as
you do!"

Knowing that I was right, he frowned and turned away from me.

I tried a few more times to get Togepi's attention, but it was no
use. He only had eyes for Misty.

Not that it mattered anymore -- her Psyduck had just been beaten by
Bulbasaur. She was out of the match.

Now it was down to me and Ash.


After Misty had left the arena, screaming and sobbing in disgrace, I
stepped forward once again and found myself staring down Ash and

"For this final match, I choose Pikachu," he said.

"And I choose Meowth!" I replied.

Pikachu scowled and started crackling with electricity again, but I
wasn't afraid. I wasn't going to lose. I REFUSED to lose!

To gain some last minute inspiration, I looked over at the one I was
fighting for -- my Togepi. He looked so cute, waving his little arms
and smiling the biggest smile I'd ever seen. Suddenly, all of the
memories of how I'd cared for him came flooding back.

Little Togepi, I said to myself. I can still remember when you were
just an egg and everything we shared....

I had to win. If I lost Togepi now, I didn't know what I'd do!

"For yer sake, Togepi, I, Meowth, will win ya back!" I cried,
charging forth to do battle with Pikachu.

Pikachu frowned and met my charge.

"Meowth! Fury Swipes attack!" I shouted as I brought out my claws. I
was gonna tear that little electric rodent to shreds! There was no
way in Hell a scratch-cat was gonna lose to a mouse! Not today!


Huh? Was Togepi cheering for me?

I looked over at the little guy one more time. He was smiling right
at me! He remembered!

"Awww!" I sighed happily. Finally, he knew who I was!

But when I turned my attention back to the battle, I found the end of
Pikachu's tail pressed to my forehead. Before I could react, he used
a Thunderbolt attack and fried me.

"Unnnnnh!" I groaned as I collapsed to the ground. "I must confess,
I'm a little shocked...."

Jessie and James got up from the bleachers and dragged me from the
arena as the brat began to do a victory dance over me.

"I knew Meowth would lose," Jessie sighed.

"The heroes always get the breaks," James remarked, half-sadly and

As they pulled me away, I looked back at Togepi and realized that I
had lost my child forever. He had been stolen from me, and now there
was nothing I could do to get him back.

"Togepi," I whimpered as the tears I'd spent all day holding back
began to fall. "I hope you'll be very happy with yer new trainer.
Good bye...my little Togepi...."

But Togepi didn't hear me...and he didn't even look as I was dragged


Once Jessie and James had brought me back to the cabin, I crawled
into my sleeping-bag and buried my face in my pillow. Despair
consumed me as I continued to cry.

Why did fate have to be so cruel? At this time yesterday, I had been
an expectant parent, glowing radiantly at the thought of bringing a
new baby into the world. And just this morning, I had been sharing my
joy with Jessie and James, my two best friends in the entire world.

But now it was all gone.

I'd lost Togepi to the twerp! The twerp who hadn't done a damn thing
to care for my Togepi in his entire life was now his trainer. Maybe
(just maybe) if it had been Brock who won him, it would've been some
comfort to me. At least he had cared for the egg!

And to make matters worse, I had been so desperate to win Togepi back
that I'd betrayed my only friends. My worst fears had come to life --
I had lost everything, and I was alone!

Suddenly, I felt a pair of hands on my back. Looking up, I saw Jessie
and James kneeling on either side of me. They were both petting me
and scratching behind my ears. When the tears that blurred my vision
cleared a little, I saw that they were smiling at me.

"G-guys? Does dis mean...."

"Shhhh. Don't cry, Meowth," James said softly.

"Yeah. It's okay," Jessie added.

"No, it ain't!" I moaned.

Jessie lifted me out of the sleeping-bag and cradled me in her arms,
like a mother would cradle her child. This made me start thinking
about Togepi again, and my crying began anew.

"I know it hurts," Jessie told me. "It hurts to lose something...or
someone that you love."

I looked up at her and saw the sorrow in her large, blue eyes. Yes,
she knew how I felt. She knew all too well.

"But no matter how bad things get, you'll always have us," said

"Y-ya mean ya ain't mad at me?" I asked.

"Well, we were for awhile," Jessie confessed. "But we know you didn't
mean anything by it."

"Yeah. You were only doing what you thought you had to," James added.
"What any good parent would do for their child."

James crawled closer to me and Jessie and put his arms around us.
Jessie and I returned his embrace, and the three of us just sat there
in a big group hug for several minutes.

"So, are you going to be okay?" James asked at length.

"I dunno," I muttered. "I dunno...."

Jessie smiled at me again. "Well, who says we have to play fair?" she
said. "They weren't going to let us have Togepi in the first place,
so why should we have to play by their rules?"

"Does dat mean...."

They nodded.

"Let's go find those twerps!" Jessie exclaimed. "We got Togepi from
them once! We can do it again!"

"Yeah! Now that they've won, they won't be expecting us to come
back!" James chimed in.

Suddenly, my mood brightened. "Hey! Dat's right! Who cares about dat
stupid tournament! Togepi is MY child, and he belongs with me!"

"Come on, Meowth!" said Jessie.

"It's time to get Togepi back once and for all!" said James.


When we got back to the park, we found Misty sitting on a bench and
playing with Togepi. Ash and Brock were taking a nap in the shade of
a nearby tree.

"Heh, heh!" I chuckled.

Jessie smiled. "Misty is the only one awake!"

Then, James smiled, too. "This'll be a piece of cake!"

But, we couldn't just charge in and snatch Togepi -- we had to assess
the situation and devise a plan. We didn't want to risk hurting him
or drawing attention to ourselves.

As I watched Misty and Togepi, however, I noticed something. It
looked like he had bonded with her! He'd been strangely attatched to
Misty during the tournament, and I remembered her saying something
about how Togepi liked her best. And it was true -- when Ash and
Brock had tried to play with him, they just frightened him! Then, I
remembered something else -- Misty had been holding Togepi when he
hatched! She had been the first thing he saw!

No wonder Togepi loved her so much! Even though Misty hadn't done
anything for him when he was an egg, he had imprinted on her, and he
thought she was his mother!

But she looked like she was caring for him now. She was cradling
Togepi in her arms, cooing gently to him, and he was loving every
moment of it.

"If James gets Weezing to make a smokescreen, we can just run in and
grab him," Jessie whispered.

"Yeah! Good idea, Jess," James whispered back as he brought out his
poke ball.

"No," I said.

"Huh?" they asked in unison.

"Don't do it," I told them. "Let him stay with Misty."

"Huh?" they asked again.

"Meowth? What are you doing?" Jessie demanded.

"Yeah! Don't you want to get Togepi back?" James asked.

"Of course I do," I told them. "But look! Look how happy he is with
her! If I take him for myself, he'd never be happy. No matter how
much we love him...how much we care for him, he'd still be miserable
cuz he thinks Misty is his mom. As much as I hate ta say it, he
belongs with her now...."

"You'd give him up just to make him happy?" Jessie asked.


James put his hand on my shoulder once again. "You're doing the right
thing, Meowth," he said reassuringly. "You're doing the right thing."

Fresh tears welled up in my eyes. "Den why does it hurt so much?" I

"That's just the way it is sometimes," Jessie told me. "Sometimes
love hurts, Meowth. In order to love, you have to open your heart and
soul completely, and that's not an easy thing to do...."

"....But as painful as it can sometimes be to trust another like
that, the happiness and joy it brings makes it all worthwhile," James

I started to cry again.

The two of them embraced me once more.

"Meowth, you're the best pokemon ever," Jessie said softly. "And one
day you will have a child. A child of your own that nobody will ever
be able to take from you."

"Y-ya think so?"

James nodded. "You've got so much love to share. And your kittens are
going to be so lucky to have a dad like you. After what we've seen
you do for Togepi, there's no doubt about it!"

"Thanks, guys," I sobbed.

Jessie and James said nothing, just held me and scratched behind my
ears until I was finally able to stop crying.

"Now are you going to be okay?" James ventured once again.

I wiped the last of my tears away and smiled up at my two friends. My
two friends who would always be there for me, no matter what. "Yeah,"
I told them. "Yeah. I think I'm gonna be just fine."

"Then let's get going," said Jessie. "It's getting late."

I nodded, but as the three of us headed back towards our cabin, I
turned and looked at Togepi one last time.

Good bye, little Togepi, I said to myself. I'll miss ya, and I hate
ta give ya up, but I know dis is for the best. Ya may never know who
I am, but Meowth will always love ya...and I'll never forget ya....

....And I never have. Now, as I cradle my little Charms, I find
myself comforted by the memories of Togepi.

It broke my heart to give him up, but looking back, I realize it
really was for the best. I had to put his happiness before my own.
It's what a parent does. And if I had to do it all over again, I
wouldn't change a thing...except maybe what happened at the moment
when he hatched. If I could do something differently, Id've made sure
I was the first thing he saw!

Sometimes I wonder what things would be like if it had happened that
way. Would those twerps have let me keep Togepi if I'd been the one
he imprinted on? Would they have given him up if he thought I was his
mother, and the only way to ensure his happiness was to leave him
with me?

I don't know, and I guess I never will. All I do know is that I was
able to do the right thing when I had to.

That hurt me more than anything at the time, but strangely enough,
this memory is what comforts me now.

You see, on that day I changed. I always thought I was selfish, but
my experience with Togepi showed me the truth. I learned that I could
open my heart and love completely and unconditionally. That I could
make a personal sacrifice for someone that I love. I guess I always
had that ability, but being a parent for awhile awakened it in me.

And because I was able to do what was best for Togepi, I know that I
can do what's best for Charms now. Jessie and James were right -- I
have so much love to give to my daughter, and I'll do whatever it
takes to make up for the love she'll never get from her mother.

But I'm not alone. Looking to my side, I see Jessie and James, who
are sharing the couch with me. James is watching the end of his
favorite TV show, and Jessie is sound asleep, her head resting on his
shoulder. The two of them have their arms around each other.

The years have barely touched them. Even though the two of them are
twenty-one now, they still look the same as when they were seventeen.
Except for the fact that they've since traded their Team Rocket
uniforms for wedding rings...and that Jessie's normally flat stomach
is now large and swollen beneath the long, lavender sundress she's

Suddenly, Jessie moans softly and stirs from her slumber.

"What's the matter, Jess?" James asks.

She smiles tenderly at him. "It's nothing," she answers. "Just the
baby kicking again."

James returns the tender smile and places a hand on her belly. Then,
he leans down and showers her stomach with gentle kisses. Jessie
sighs contentedly.

When he's done kissing his baby, James sits up again and presses his
lips to Jessie's. "I love you so much," he whispers.

"I love you, too," she whispers back.

I can't help but smile at the two of them. They're acting just like I
did when I was caring for the egg! I always knew they'd understand
when they had a baby of their own, and they do. James is extatic at
the prospect of becoming a dad, and the impending birth of their
child is making Jessie glow with radience!

But I can tell they're as nervous about this as I am. Just like I'm
worried about how well I can care for Charms, they're worried about
how well they'll be able to take care of their baby. James's parents
made so many mistakes with him, and Jessie lost her mother at such a
young age. This scares them, makes them wonder if they'll do the
same, but I know that they won't.

James is determined to end the cycle of abuse with his children. He
knows that the psychological and physical torment his parents and
Jessiebelle subjected him to was wrong, and he'd rather die than
treat his own children like that. He's going to be such a sweetie to
those kids! And Jessie? I think having children will fill the void
that was left in her soul when Miyamoto died. Becoming a mother
herself will be a healing experience for her.

I can just see them now! James, laughing and playing with his
children, reminding them every second how much he loves them; and
Jessie, cradling them in her arms and singing to them, like her
mother used to do with her. And of course, Uncle Meowth will always
be there to babysit and tell them bedtime stories, too!

I hear a small yawn and look down to see that Charms has awakened.
She looks up at me with her midnight-blue eyes and smiles.

"Hey, dere, sweetie," I whisper to her.

Her smile grows wider, and she begins to purr again.

Jessie and James look over at me.

"I'm sorry. Did we wake her up?" James asks.

"Nah," I reply. "She was asleep all evenin'. She was gonna wake up

He nods and reaches down to pet her.

"Mewth!" Charms says in her tiny voice as she reaches up and curls
her little paw around one of his fingers.

"Awww. She's so precious, Meowth," says Jessie.

"She sure is," I agree.

The two of them smile at me, and I know in my heart that everything
is going to be okay. Being Togepi's parent for awhile taught me so
much, and I know that this will help me be a better dad for Charms.
And the two of us won't be alone -- Aunt Jessie and Uncle James love
her as much as I do. Besides, in another couple of months, they're
going to be parents, too!

I don't know why, but there's just something really comforting about
that. Maybe it's the knowledge that Charms is going to have a little
cousin to play with. Or maybe it's because once again, the three of
us are sharing the same experience. For as long as I've known Jessie
and James, we've always done everything together. We've shared every
joy, every sorrow, every victory and every loss. Everything with us
has been a team effort, and parenthood will be no exception. We'll
raise our children together, making better lives for them and helping
each other along the way.

I think Jessie and James said it best on the day they tried to help
me rescue Togepi:

Teammates...and friends forever.

The End
Special thanks to my friends, Charles "Rocketboy" Reilly, who
encouraged me to write this story, and Shigeru1313, for the beautiful
illustrations and the inspirational conversations about Jessie and
James's children.