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bats, bugs, and boys

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Ash woke up in the dark, his hands tied behind his back, and groaned. "Team Rocket."

Somewhere in the dark, Misty groaned too. "I can't believe they fooled us! Again!"

"Those spelunkers seemed so nice, too," Ash said. And all they'd wanted was a Pikachu to light their way - a fire Pokemon would get depressed down in the damp dark of the caves, but electric types don't mind that as much. Ash and Pikachu had been happy to offer their help, but then, well. Team Rocket.

"Where do you think they left us?" Ash wondered.

"Knowing them, right where we were - in the middle of the cave." Something tugged against Ash's wrists, and Misty said, "Oh no, I think I'm tied down!" Suspicious, Ash pulled his wrists back, and Misty shrieked. "I'm tied to something moving!"

"Yeah, me."


Ash tugged again, twice. "That's me moving. We're tied to each other."

"Oh." An echoing cry washed over them, and Misty shuddered so hard Ash could feel it. "That sounded like a Zubat," she whispered, dreadful.

"Well hey," Ash said, "at least it's not - "

Misty shrieked and jumped to her feet, jerking Ash sideways. "Caterpie! Caterpie crawling up my leg! Ew ew ew ew, get it off, get it off!" She got it off eventually, in the process shaking Ash back and forth until he was dizzy. With one last shudder, she sunk to her knees. "I hate bugs."

"I... don't think they're too fond of you either," Ash said blearily. It was hard to tell if he could see straight in the pitch dark, but he sure felt dizzy still.

"They're just so creepy," Misty said. "And the way those eyes are always staring at you... and now it's so dark I can't even see the eyes, so I can't even tell if they're watching, or how many are watching! It's only when they actually crawl on me that I know they're - ugh! We have to get out of here, Ash."

"No arguments here," Ash said, getting slowly to his feet. Misty followed his lead. "But how? We can't see two feet in front of us!"

"You've got fire type Pokemon, don't you? Choose one of them, they can light the way for us."

Ash wiggled his arms back and forth. "How?"

"Oh, right." Ash's arms started moving around without him doing anything; Misty must be doing something. "Here, I think I can almost reach... I'm gonna try and grab a Pokeball off your belt."

"Okay." Something pinched Ash, and he squawked. "Watch what you're grabbing!"

"Sorry!" This time it seemed like Misty had gotten a Pokeball. "Uh... Pokemon, I choose you!" There was a flash of light as the ball opened and out came... well, Ash couldn't tell, because the flash of light had disappeared and it was totally dark now.

Probably not Charizard, then.

"Try another one!"


"Another one!"


"There's gotta be a fire type on there somewhere!"

Just as Ash was getting really frustrated, he heard a familiar, explosive "CHUUUU", and a wall of the cave collapsed in a flash of light.

"Pikachu!" Running was hard when you were tied to someone else, backwards, but Ash and Misty managed it - mostly because Misty could see all the bugs now, and she was not happy about it. They dropped to their knees at Pikachu's side, clear of the cave and breathing hard. "Boy, are we glad to see you."

"You said it, Ash."

Now that he had a chance to turn around, he took a look at the Pokemon Misty had managed to summon: every member of his current team except Charizard. That was impressive. "Can one of you guys cut this rope?" he asked. Blanching when Bayleef looked excited at the prospect, he added, "Just don't cut our arms off!"