Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 7:45 PMTitle: Somewhere in the Pikaverse Author: Psi Fi Fandom: X-Files/Pokemon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Archive: Sure, go ahead. Rating: PG, for mild violence Classification: crossover Spoilers: Terma Summary: The Pokemon characters end up in the X-files universe.
Walter Skinner stood before his receptionist desk, his mouth open. The young woman was sprawled back in her chair, sleeping soundly. Black marker covered her face in geometric shapes: a triangle surrounded one eye; a heart shaded her mouth; a swirl spiralled out from the tip of her nose. Skinner's stunned disbelief left no room even for anger at the unprofessional display.
"Kimberly. Wake up!"
The young lady came awake with a jerk. She looked around, confused, before looking up to face her boss. Skinner's features were set in his sternest expression.
"Kimberly, why is your face...decorated that way?"
Seeing Skinner's exasperation, she pulled a mirror from her purse to examine her make-up. The black designs made her gasp, mortified.
"Sir, I don't...I didn't do this!"
"You didn't? Well, go into my office's restroom and clean up. I don't want anyone seeing you like this!"
Kimberly gave a timid smile.
"Yes, sir," she answered meekly.
Skinner followed the woman into his office allowing himself a moment of grim amusement as she hurried to the bathroom. The amusement ended abruptly, when he turned to his seat. A small, yellow animal with red circles on its cheeks was crouching on his desk. It had found Skinner's highlighting markers and was busy coloring and drawing on some files Skinner had left out to work on.
"Stop that, " Skinner ordered.
The animal turned, a blue highlighter clutched in its paw, hand, whatever.
"Pika? Pika chu?"
Skinner strode forward and picked up the rest of the highlighters. He held out his hand.
"Give me that."
"Pika chu," the thing stated, firmly.
Glaring,and with unaccustomed rudeness, Skinner grabbed the highlighter from the small creature. The thing's long conical ears flattened back and it began hunching its shoulders. Skinner was reminded of cats who sprayed to show displeasure. He tapped its shoulder.
"Don't do it," he stated in an even, hard tone.
Pika chu looked up at the tall man with the cool brown eyes. Despite his immaculate suit, the man had a tough, fighting air about him. The set of his jaw and the eyes glittering behind round glasses screamed "master trainer." For the first time, Pika chu felt intimidated.
"Pika? Pika chu?" it whispered, meekly.
Skinner held up one of the markers.
"Did you draw on Kimberly?"
"Pika," the animal promised, shaking its head. Puffing up, it sang, warbling, "Pika chu."
Kimberly finally came out of the bathroom, once again looking pristine and professional.
"Sir, your work!" she exclaimed.
"You can get me some new folders in a moment. What happened, Kimberly?"
"I came into work and found these two...animals on my desk. The other one was round and pink. I sat down and it started singing..."
"Yes, sir, just one word...Jigglypuff. Then you woke me up."
"So this is Pikachu and the other thing is Jigglypuff?"
"Pika," the yellow and black animal agreed.
"That'll be all for now, Kimberly."
"Yes, sir, I'll bring you those folders."
Skinner nodded, sat down, and examined Pikachu. The animal stared back. Picking up the phone, Skinner dialed the basement.
"Agent Mulder, I need to see you and Scully, please."
Skinner began placing the files in their new folders. He handed the colored folders to Pikachu, who examined them intently. The door to Skinner's office opened revealing Agents Mulder and Scully.
"Yes, sir?" Scully inquired.
"Sir,uh, what is that thing?"
"Sit down, Agents," Skinner, instructed.
"Pika. Pika, chu," the creature chirped, happily.
Scully's eyes widened.
"Not really," Skinner corrected. "The only thing it says is Pikachu."
"Pika," the thing snapped.
"Can I pet it?" Mulder asked, fascinated by the tiny animal.
"I didn't try," Skinner answered, dryly.
Mulder reached forward and gently stroked Pikachu between his ears. Pikachu tilted its head, rubbing against Mulder's fingers.
"You two don't know anything about this creature do you?"
"No, sir," Mulder answered, a little defensively, placing a happy Pikachu on his lap. "Why?"
"Because, Agent Mulder, you're the expert on paranormal phenomenon," Skinner answered wryly, explaining how he and Kimberly had found Pikachu.
While Mulder listened, his face lost its vaguely hurt expression and became animated.
"Where's the other one...the Jigglypuff?" Scully asked.
Skinner sighed. "I don't know, Scully. Nor do I know how these creatures got into FBI headquarters to begin with..."
"Pika, pika," Pikachu chirped, as if trying to explain.
"I was hoping this was part of one of your X-files. I would have had more options on what to do about these things. I'm not sure what I can do, except turn them over to the Humane Society."
"Sir, we can't do that! This...Pika chu does show some rudimentary intelligence. I don't know that it isn't an alien!" he argued.
"Mulder!" Scully objected, while Skinner grimaced to keep from rolling his eyes.
"Well, I don't," Mulder protested. "Please, sir, may I keep it with me? I could investigate...even off the record if you prefer..."
"They haven't exactly committed any federal crimes, Agent Mulder...all right, keep it with you and see if you can't come up with anything."
Pikachu perched happily on Mulder's shoulder, staring with interest at people as Mulder walked though FBI headquarters. Scully kept her eyes forward, ignoring the stares of other agents as "Mr. and Mrs. Spooky" headed towards their basement office. Murmurs began, as Pikachu gained notice and she heard more than one sarcastic jibe aimed at the X-files. Before they could make it to the elevator, Mulder and Scully were intercepted by Tom Colton, a hostile agent.
"Hey, Mulder. I thought you were looking for little green, oh, sorry...gray men, not big yellow mice."
"Pika," Pika chu hissed, its ears going back. Mulder reached up and soothingly petted the top of its head.
"Do you want something, Agent Colton?" Mulder inquired with an aristocratic politeness that was both flat and bland.
"Yeah, I want to know what you told Skinner about the Anderson case. See, I know he's guilty and I don't want you screwing things up with your ridiculous theories."
"Anderson is innocent," Scully stated, cooly. "We have solid, forensic evidence supporting that."
"I really can't believe you, Dana. I don't understand why you support this lunatic. He's not an agent. He's a joke!"
Tom Colton stepped closer, nose to nose with Mulder.
"Anderson is guilty. He had motive and opportunity. I will not let you and your crackpot theories let a murderer go free."
Seething with frustration and anger, Colton shoved Mulder backward. Mulder stumbled against a desk and ended up in a pile on the floor. Gasps of shock and excitement filled the air. Pikachu flew off Mulder's shoulder and landed at Scully's and Colton's feet.
"What is this ridiculous thing?!" Colton snarled.
Pika chu glared up at him, his ears going back and his shoulders hunching. Colton and Scully backed off as little shocks of electricity began forming around the large red dots on its cheeks. Mulder leaned forward, intrigued.
"Pi-ka-chu!" it screamed, letting loose with a thundershock. Colton, fortunately, was the only one affected. He screeched and cussed as everyone around him backed away in horror.
"Pika chu, stop!" Mulder shouted.
Pika chu obeyed, going over to Mulder's side.
"Pika, pika?" it asked, patting Mulder's cheek.
Mulder stood and rejoined Scully, who was examining Colton.
"He's fine, Mulder. There's no damage done that I can tell; not even minor burns."
Mulder looked relieved. Colton glared. Everyone started talking, some hurling accusations, some gossiping, and others asking Colton how he felt. Skinner came out of his office.
"What is going on here, agents?" he demanded, sternly.
Mulder looked down, then scooped up Pikachu, holding it protectively. Colton stood, breathing heavily, and began running his fingers through his wild hair, which crackled ominously.
"Sir, I want to file a complaint about Agent Mulder. I was questioning him about a case, when he attacked me with that...that beast!
"That's not true!" Mulder protested.
"Pika, pika chu!"
"Sir, Mulder didn't..."
Skinner was unable to make out anything coherent as different agents began to give their views on what happened.
"Enough!" Skinner snapped. "Agents Colton, Mulder, and Scully, go into my office now! Everyone else, you have work to do. Get to it!"
Skinner stalked back into his office.
The three agents walked briskly in behind him and stood almost at attention before his desk. Mulder cradled Pika chu defensively. Skinner turned to Scully.
"Agent Scully, will you please tell me what happened out there?"
"Sir, Agent Colton confronted Mulder and I about the Anderson case, expressing his opinion that the man is guilty. When Mulder and I disagreed, Agent Colton lost his temper. He claimed Agent Mulder was a joke, rather than an agent, and then pushed him, knocking him over. Pika chu then, I'm not sure what it was. It generated a sort of electric field at Agent Colton, which caused some discomfort, but no visible damage."
Skinner turned a cold stare on Colton.
"Is that true, Agent Colton?"
"Agent Scully's viewpoint is biased, sir. I did push Agent Mulder, lightly. He only ended up on the floor, because he tripped on a desk. It wasn't intentional. Mulder's dangerous theories and attitudes are about to let a murderer walk, which will disgrace the Bureau. You of all people, sir, know how good he is at that!" Colton sneered. "I was upset."
Skinner glared at all three agents for some seconds, then gave Pika chu a hard stare.
"Agent Colton, I'm not your immediate supervisor, so I can't just censure you, as I'd like to. But I will be speaking with him and you will be answering for your behavior. This is the FBI, not a school playground. Whether you personally like Mulder or not, you are both on the same team...the justice department's! I and the other assistant directors demand and will have professional behavior from and amongst our agents. We do not settle disagreements with violence amongst ourselves...there's enough danger of that in the field, we don't need it here. Is that understood, Agent Colton?"
"Yes, sir," Colton stated, his voice strained, having gone pale during Skinner's tirade.
"And Agent Colton? Calling one of my agents a joke, implies that I'm not doing my job. I stand behind all my agents, and the X-files department. You might consider that next time, before you have the arrogance to degrade them in my office, to my face."
Colton stalked quietly out of the office. Skinner turned to Mulder and Scully, sighing.
"Sit down, agents."
"Thank you, sir," Mulder stated, with rare meekness.
Skinner gave him a cool stare.
"Don't thank me, yet, Mulder. We're going to talk about this new pet of yours."
"But, sir, none of this was Pika chu's fault! He was only defending me and Colton wasn't hurt! Ask Scully, she examined Colton."
"Yes, Agent Scully did say he was undamaged. Nevertheless, I want you to find the other thing...Jigglypuff, then take both of those things home. I don't want them here at headquarters, Mulder, since they obviously cause too much disruption. If I hear of any more trouble, I'll insist that you hand them over to the Humane Society. Is that understood?"
Mulder sighed, silently, sensing that Skinner's tolerance was swiftly running dry.
"I understand, sir."
"That'll be all, Agents. Find the other...animal, quickly."
Ash sat slumped on a rock, wearing a look of tired defeat. Misty stood in front of him on the road.
"C'mon, Ash," Misty urged impatiently. "You'll never find Pika chu just sitting there!"
"Bulbasaur!" the plant Pokemon growled, defensively, crouching protectively beside his trainer.
"It's all right, Bulbasaur," Ash intoned, in a deadened voice, only half paying attention to the world around him. "Pika chu is gone, Misty. He disappeared. He could be anywhere."
"So you're giving up?! That isn't like you, Ash...If we can find Team Rocket, we'll make them give Pika chu back!"
"That might be more difficult than you think, Misty," Brock warned as he approached his friends. "I just checked in town and evidently Team Rocket is missing too! Along with all of their Pokemon! I checked where they had their lab and its empty!"
"Team Rocket had a lab in town?!" Ash asked, his fiery optimism resurfacing. "Let's check it out! Maybe we can find out how to get where they went!"
"Ash, that could be dangerous!" Misty protested. "You don't know anything about running a lab...you could get hurt!"
"Ahh, I gotta try! I can't just abandon Pika chu to Team Rocket! C'mon, Brock, show me the way!" Ash cried as he jumped up and ran towards the town with youthful energy.
Mulder gave a tired sigh. He had finally found Jigglypuff in the lab area of FBI headquarters. The staff was almost asleep, when Mulder came in and stopped the song. He had been worried, since he wasn't sure Skinner would have brooked such a disturbance. He had, however, finally managed, with the help of Pika chu, to get the Jigglypuff to come with him. Grateful that it was Friday, Mulder smiled, anxious to study the creatures. He had noted during the struggle to catch Jigglypuff, that, though they each only said one word, the animals seemed to communicate well with each other. Mulder placed the entities gently on the couch.
"Well, guys, we need to get some food. How about some Thai take out?"
"Pika, pika," Pika chu shrugged, amiably.
"Jigglypuff," the small pink creature echoed.
"Cool. Thai it is..."
Mulder ordered some takeout then called his friends, the Lone Gunmen.
"Hey, Frohike, turn off your machine," Mulder ordered, waiting for his friend to comply, before continuing. "Hey, have you guys heard of anything unusual happening in the D.C. area?"
"Unusual, how, buddy?" Frohike inquired, curious.
"I'm not sure..."
"Nothing that I can think of, why?"
"Can you guys come over? I want to show you something."
"Sure, give us twenty minutes."
The Lone Gunmen stared in fascination at the small animals.
"What are they, Mulder?" Byers inquired.
I don't know. We found them at headquarters. Skinner's letting me investigate. You guys haven't heard any rumors about weird experiments or anything, have you?"
All three of the Gunmen shook their heads. The paranoid, government watchdog team had heard nothing.
"Are you sure these are animals, Mulder? They might be some sort of organic robots..." Frohike postulated.
"I don't think organic robots eat Thai takeout, Frohike. These guys are definitely alive, though I will withhold judgement on the animal part."
All four men watched as Pika chu and Jigglypuff continued to eagerly consume the takeout Mulder had ordered. A sudden bright light filled Mulder's living room, causing all three men to look around. Near the door, a line of light appeared, floating vertically an inch above the floor. Mulder drew and aimed his gun as the crack widened.
"Ash, don't go in there!" a female voice cried.
As the light grew, they saw what looked like a lab inside it and two boys and a girl rushed into Mulder's apartment. When the older boy was through, the portal disappeared.
"Oooh! Now, you've really done it, Ash!" The young, red-haired girl fumed. "We don't know where we are and, even worse, we're trespassing!"
"Pika chu!" Ash cried, triumphantly, as Pika chu leaped into his arms. "Boy, am I glad to see you, pal! I don't care what you say, Misty, I found Pika chu, and that's all that matters!"
Misty turned and looked at Mulder, taking in his weapon.
"Um, Ash? That man is armed!"
All three of the youths cried out in alarm, backing away. Mulder put his gun up, raising one hand in a pacifying gesture.
"Hey, easy, you three, its okay. I'm a federal agent. My name is Mulder and these guys are Byers, Langly, and Frohike. Who are you?"
"We're trespassing in the home of a federal agent, Ash! Do something!" The girl demanded, hitting the younger boy in the ribs with her elbow.
"Um, okay..." the boy agreed, giggling nervously, rubbing the back of his head.
Pika chu jumped onto Mulder's coffee table, positioning himself between the two groups.
"Pika, pika. Pika chu," Pika chu chattered, pointing between Ash and Mulder.
"Huh?" Mulder asked, unable to understand the Pokemon's attempt at communication.
"Oh, he was trying to introduce us, sir. I'm Ash. And this is Brock. The bossy one is Misty. We're trying to become Pokemon masters. This is my Pika chu. Um, we're sorry for trespassing...we didn't mean to."
"That's okay. What's a Pokemon?"
The three youths gazed at him in astonishment.
"You don't know what a Pokemon is?!" Misty asked with rude incredulity. "How can you not know what a Pokemon is?"
"Mis-ty!" Ash hissed, feeling for the agent.
Mulder shrugged, answering, "Sorry, I've never heard of them, neither has anyone else I know."
The Lone Gunmen agreed.
"Are they some sort of experiment?" Frohike asked.
"No way! No real trainer would allow someone to experiment on his Pokemon!" Ash protested.
"So, how did you kids get here?" Mulder inquired. "You seemed to be in some sort of lab."
"Team Rocket stole Pika chu. We were searching their lab, trying to figure out where they had gone! We thought they had Pika chu." Brock answered.
Mulder's expression became more severe.
"Pika chu and Jigglypuff were found at FBI Headquarters. Who's Team Rocket?"
"Aw, they're a couple of sneaky thieves! They're always trying to get Pika chu!" Ash complained.
"Those two are so under-handed, I wouldn't put anything past them!" Misty sniffed.
"Although," Brock mused, "they'd have no reason to be at FBI headquarters!"
"Do they have names?" Mulder asked, wryly.
"Oh, yes, sir," Ash answered politely. "Jesse and James."
The four adult males exchanged glances.
"Jesse and James? Are they for real?" Langly asked.
"Unfortunately, yes," Misty sighed. "Oh, and they have this Meowth, that works with them."
"So do all...Pokemon say nothing but their names?"
"Well, usually," Brock agreed. "Team Rocket's Meowth, however, has learned English."
"That doesn't explain how you got here."
"Um, we're not really sure. I just wanted to find Pika chu. I don't know what brought us here," Ash confessed.
Mulder sighed, picking up his phone to call Scully.
James tossed the Pokemon egg up into the air, catching it easily. He lounged next to his partner, who was hunched, crosslegged, over a palm pilot. Meowth lay beside James, snoozing in the warm sunlight. The thieves lay on the lawn of an abandoned house, where they had spent the night.
"James!" Jesse snapped. "Stop playing with that thing and help me triangulate! We have to find that Pika Chu and figure out where home is!"
James scooted away from the tense red-head, eyeing her uneasily.
"Aw, Jesse. That Pika Chu could be anywhere. What do you expect me to do?"
Jesse leaned over and smacked his head.
"I want you to go get me a paper! If the people here have truly never seen Pokemon before, that Pikachu must be drawing attention!"
James started to agree, but then noticed a shadow fall over him. Looking up, he saw an old, well-dressed man, puffing cooly on a cigarette. James roughly shook Meowth awake, his criminal instincts warning him that they would soon be on the move. Jesse glared up at the intruder.
"Well?" she snarled. "What do you want?"
An oily smile slid across the man's withered lips. The smoker gave a long pull on his cigarette, before responding.
"You're a long way from home," he observed. "Perhaps I can be of assistance."
"In exchange for what?" Jesse demanded bluntly.
Cancerman shrugged, not put off by the girl's coarse behavior.
"I'll get the Pika Chu for you and get you home...in return for the device that brought you here."
"What?!" James squeaked with anguish. "Jesse, we can't give him the boss' device!"
"Of course not! What makes you think we need your help, old man. We're Team Rocket!"
"The famous Team Rocket!" James concurred, triumphantly.
"We don't need help from no one," Meowth crowed.
Two men stepped away from the Smoker's car, their faces empty of expression. Both pulled guns, training them on the young thieves. Jesse and James glared, indignant.
"On the other hand," the Smoker continued conversationally, "I could just take what I want...and you would be trapped here. I'm sure you'll find this world quite different from your own. You might look on it as an adventure."
Jesse and James simultaneously reached for their trusted Pokemon, Wheezing and Arbok, dropping the palm pilot and the Pokemon egg that James had been playing with, in their excitement. Wheezing obediently spouted a thick cloud of noxious smoke at the smoker and his thugs, while Arbok sprayed them with a nettle attack. The men dived for the car and, in the confusion, Team Rocket ran off, laughing gleefully.
Cancerman watched them flee, exiting the car. He lit another cigarette, his eyes fixed on the ground, smiling with amusement. The smile vanished, when he heard another car pull up and come to a halt a few feet from him. Alex Krycek stepped out of his car. Spotting the device and the egg, he walked over, picking them up. He returned to the Smoker, smirking.
"Looks like you accomplished the mission," he asserted cooly.
The smoker frowned, angered by the young man's presence and gall.
"Why are you here, Alex?" the Smoker demanded. "The group, or at least our British associate, sent you I presume?"
Alex grinned, a dangerous edge of a smile. Mockingly, he handed over the palm pilot and the egg. The smoker took the device, ignoring the unborn Pokemon.
"I was sent to tell you that a meeting has been scheduled. There've been some new developments. Mulder has become involved."
The smoker swallowed a sigh, no longer capable of being surprised by Mulder's interference in his plans.
"What is his involvement?"
"Apparently, he's given refuge to the second group of travelers that the aliens informed us about. You don't want this?" he asked, once again offering the egg.
The smoker sneered.
"I'll allow you to present that particular prize to the group," he mocked, before turning on his heel and climbing back into his car.
Alex watched him leave, smiling cooly. He slipped the egg into his jacket's pocket. Pulling out his cell phone, he hit the speed dial.
"He has the device. He's on his way to the meeting."
"Good work, Alex," the young man's mentor praised. "The rebels are quite concerned that the device not be collected by the Colonists. Is Mulder's involvement assured?"
"Not yet. One group of travellers is with him now. I don't think he suspects that the Consortium is involved. I'm planning on paying him a visit."
"You managed to obtain some evidence for him?"
Krycek patted his pocket, smirking.
"I think I have something that will intrigue him."
"That's all very well, Alex," the British gentleman admonished, "but it is imperative that these travellers affect our world and our plans as little as possible."
"Don't worry. I'll track them down and make sure they...make Mulder's acquaintance," Krycek assured him.
"You can find them quickly? We must act in a timely fashion."
Though his employer couldn't see it, Krycek gave a wry grin.
"The Colonists hinted that they were theives. I know where theives end up sooner or later."
"Very well, Alex, but be cautious."
"I'll report in later," Krycek announced, thumbing off the phone.
Scully stared at Mulder and his company.
"Mulder, how do you get into these situations?"
"Scully," her partner protested, "these kids need our help."
Brock gazed in awe at Scully.
"Yes, Miss Scully, we certainly could use your help," he drooled.
Frohike frowned and slapped him on the shoulder.
"Back off, kid," he warned.
Scully quelled both the young man and the old one with a sharp look, while Mulder grinned. She turned back to her partner.
"Mulder, even if there is a device that will instantly send these three children home, how do you propose to find it?"
"By finding Team Rocket," Mulder explained. "They seem to get into trouble a lot."
"Sounds like someone else I know," she responded, exasperated.
Mulder gave her an endearing grin, mischief gleaming from his handsome face. Scully smiled back, shaking her head.
"Mulder, how are you going to explain this to Skinner?"
"He said I could investigate. Besides, that device gave these animals access to headquarters. I'm sure we could use that to claim jurisdiction."
"Well, we're going to head out, Mulder," Byers interrupted, knowing the agents needed some space. "Call us if you need us."
"Yeah, thanks, guys. I'll call later."
"Good night, guys," Scully offered.
"Good night," they echoed.
"Any suggestions on how to best find Team Rocket, Scully?"
"No, I don't think we should worry about it tonight. These kids need to get some rest. Misty, gather your things. You can stay at my place and the boys can stay here."
"But!" Misty started to protest.
Scully gave her the Look that she used to keep Mulder in line and Misty fell silent. Mulder smiled.
"Go ahead, Misty," Mulder urged. "We'll see you in the morning."
Krycek lay back on the bed in his motel room, holding up and studying the Pokemon egg. Every once a while, the egg would tremble and under the lamp light a series of fine cracks were forming around the top of the egg. Alex couldn't help wondering what would hatch. Tired, he nestled the egg down into his leather jacket, which lay in a heap beside the bed. Krycek turned out the light and curled up, waiting for sleep to claim him.
Alex sat up, gasping, shaking off the last vestiges of uneasy sleep. Something, a noise or movement, had dragged him from the familiar depths of a nightmare.
"Togepi, togepi," a small voice cooed.
Krycek peered over the edge of the bed, where he had left the egg. A small creature was half emerged from the egg. Small arms and legs were poking from the remaining shell and a head had broken through the top. Tufts of fur formed a crown around the top of it's head. Reaching down, Alex scooped the tiny form up, making it give a startled cry.
"Sshh," Krycek whispered, feeling a little silly. "You're all right."
"Togepi?" the Pokemon whispered, it's huge eyes fixing on Alex's green ones.
"Togepi, huh? Is that your name?" Alex asked, rubbing gently at the top of its head.
The togepi laughed softly, then jumped, landing on Krycek's chest. It threw its tiny arms wide, nestling against Alex in a hug. Krycek laughed, surprised and pleased. Rolling to the side, he dumped the togepi on the pillow next to his head, yawning.
"Go to sleep, Togepi. Tomorrow we have to find those thieves."
The togepi yawned too, either tired or mimicing Alex, and soon it and Krycek were both sleeping soundly.
Mulder sat back, amused, watching Brock and Misty snipe at each other, while Ash focussed his attention on Pika Chu and the other Pokemon. Scully shot him a wry grin, eating the breakfast she had brought to share with them.
"What are you planning on doing next, Mulder?" she asked, hoping to end the bickering.
"We need to look for Team Rocket," he repeated.
"Mulder, if your theory about them being from an alternate universe is right, how are you going to find a pair of teenaged thieves, who have no history and no paperwork?"
"Maybe I can help," a husky voice offered.
Everyone turned to the doorway in surprise. The kids studied in apprehensive awe the dangerous looking stranger. Green eyes gleamed from behind a fringe of dark lashes and a battered leather jacket hung from his lean frame. Mulder stood, fury making his hazel eyes sparkle.
"Krycek," he spat.
"Hello, Mulder, interesting crowd you're entertaining," Krycek smirked.
"What do you want, Krycek?" Mulder asked coldly.
"Just trying to keep you in the loop," Krycek responded, innocently. "Who are your friends?"
"None of your business," Mulder snapped, suddenly worried for the vulnerable children in his care.
Ash, Misty, and Brock exchanged glances, wondering why this man provoked such hostility from the agent.
"You'd be surprised at what is my business," Krycek corrected. "Cancerman is involved, Mulder. You'll need my help."
"Why should I believe you?" Mulder scoffed.
Slowly, Alex drew the togepi from his jacket pocket. He set it down on the floor and it rushed over to the table, chattering away at Bulbasaur and helping itself to food.
"This was left behind, when the thieves you're no doubt looking for lost the device that brought them to D.C. Cancerman found the device that can send these kids home."
"That doesn't explain your interest in this, Krycek," Mulder probed, hiding a wince, suddenly aware of how vulnerable these children were. If they were to disappear, no one but Mulder would look for them and he couldn't even prove their existence.
"My employer, the British gentleman, and I wish to see these kids get home safely...and prevent the Colonists from using the device to get to the other world."
"What makes you think I need your help?"
Krycek smiled, appearing amused.
"I can help you get the device, Mulder. I know where Cancerman is probably keeping it."
"Great," Mulder muttered, knowing it only made sense to accept the former agent's aid. "Who wants the togepi?"
Krycek stiffened, frowning.
"Togepi is staying with me," he snapped.
"You can't keep it, Krycek," Mulder lectured. "It has to go back to its own world."
"Why?" Krycek asked, reasonably.
"Why?! What are you, five or something?" Mulder scoffed. "Because it doesn't belong here! There are no Pokemon in this world, no trainers, no other Togepi. This world isn't its home!"
"I hatched it, I'm keeping it, Mulder!"
Togepi glanced at Mulder in alarm, understanding that he wanted to separate the little Pokemon from the creature who had seen it safely hatched, and fed it, and let it sleep, and played with it. Gulping down a bite of food, it fled from the crowd to hide behind Krycek's foot, clinging desperately to his heel.
"Togepi, up," Krycek urged gently in a soft voice.
Laughing gleefully, the togepi climbed up onto the top of Krycek's foot. With a sharp, careful sweep of his foot, Krycek sent the togepi flying into the air. Mulder and the kids let out crys of outrage. Krycek caught the togepi one-handed, then cradled it against his chest. "You can't treat Pokemon that way!" Ash yelled, but then Pika chu grabbed his arm.
"Pika. Chu. Pika. Pika."
Ash looked at the togepi, who was laughing and cuddling up against Krycek. To his surprise, he saw no fear in the togepi.
"Chill, guys. It's just a game we play," Krycek stressed, rolling his eyes, then grimacing. "It's not always easy to pick things up, when you only have one arm."
"Fine. The togepi's attached to you. Great. Now, about the device..."
"Cancerman is in charge of it. It's being kept at some labs. You have one week before it is turned over to the Colonists."
"And you're going to break me into these labs, so I can get the device, huh?"
"Yeah, Mulder. That's about it. I told you, we don't want the Colonists to get the device, but it'd look suspicious if I or my employer just removed it. No one will be surprised, however, if you break in and retrieve it."
"Oh, so I take the fall and they come after me," Mulder observed with wry anger.
Krycek shook his head, his brow furrowing in irritation.
"No. There's no documentation on the device, nothing to indicate it's existence. No one will come after you, once the device is back on it's home world. Targeting you would draw too much attention, with no result."
"All right, Krycek. You and I will go after the device tonight."
"Mulder, I don't think this is a good idea," Scully warned, drawing Mulder aside. "You know you can't trust Krycek."
"I'll keep my eye on him, Scully, but we have to get that device back. I don't want these children to be the first of a new batch of abductees. Their world could be threatened too, if we don't move fast."
"Mulder, even given the idea of alien invasion, which I find hard to accept, you only have Krycek's word for it that the Consortium has the device."
"Well, if he's lying, we'll find out soon enough. While we go after the device, why don't you see if you can track down Team Rocket? I'm sure the kids can give you a description...maybe even some pointers on where to look."
Mulder walked back over to Krycek and the kids, who were eyeing each other warily.
Krycek smoothed the fur around its head, then set it back down on the floor. The togepi toddled over to Bulbasaur, who pushed more food over to it. Krycek sauntered over and sat down on the couch next to Ash and Pika chu.
"So. What are these things anyway? That thing looks like a plant," Krycek asked, tilting his head at Bulbasaur.
"These are our Pokemon. That's Bulbasaur."
"How do you think you can take care of a little togepi, when you obviously don't know the first thing about Pokemon at all?!" Misty demanded, thinking of her own little togepi.
Krycek turned a cool gaze on the young girl, making her gulp, a drop of sweat forming on her brow.
"What's it to you?"
"We're Pokemon trainers," Brock argued firmly. "And we're partially responsible for them being in this world."
"I'm not giving Togepi over to you lot. That is final and I don't want to hear anymore about it," Krycek growled.
"Pika, pika," Pika Chu chattered, shaking it's head.
"We're just concerned, sir," Ash soothed. "This is a strange world and we want to be sure Togepi will be okay."
"We're going to be together all day. You can tell me anything I need to know about it's diet and things like that."
"There's more to Pokemon than that!" Misty protested.
"Oh, I don't know. It's not like it will be fighting Pokemon battles," Ash contradicted her. "We can teach him the basics."
Mulder and Krycek ducked down, staying close to the side of the building. Krycek had assured Mulder that the security systems protecting the window above them had been disabled.
"How did I let you talk me into this, Krycek," Mulder groused.
"You want the device, yeh?" Krycek asked. "I can get it for you."
"I want to see those kids safely home," Mulder scolded.
"Exactly," Krycek concurred, pulling open the window. He dropped his knapsack, with Togepi peeking out, inside.
"I can't believe you brought that along."
Krycek glanced at him, puzzled.
"What did you expect? I can't exactly drop him off at a babysitter every time I go somewhere."
"Are you sure it's a him?" Mulder asked, amused, as Krycek climbed in the window.
Krycek stared for a moment at Togepi, who was holding its arms out silently. Picking him up, Krycek replied, "I'm not sure they even have genders, Mulder. The kids' answers didn't make much sense."
"Perhaps we can help," a new voice answered, just as Mulder came through the window.
"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!"
"Meowth! That's right!"
Mulder and Krycek gaped at the two teenagers who dropped down off of the desk in the corner of the office they had broken into. Neither appeared to have reached eighteen yet. The girl had long, bright red hair, while the boy's hair was a pale blue. Both were smirking at the grown men. The girl looked around expectantly, then scowled.
"Where are the little pipsqueaks, anyway?" Jesse asked, irritably.
"They're safe," Mulder responded dryly.
"We were just about to go retrieve your device," Krycek told them.
"But we're going to get the device," James boasted.
"Tell those twerps we might be willing to take them home...in exchange for Pikachu," Jesse gloated.
"That's assuming you get the device before we do," Mulder countered.
"Ha! We're the best thieves there are!" James crowed.
"You'll be dead thieves if you don't keep your voices down," Krycek hissed, annoyed.
"Be quiet, James!" Jesse ordered, in a low voice, glaring at Krycek.
Krycek walked to the door, motioning with his head for Mulder to follow.
"We need to move. The security will be back on in half an hour."
Mulder followed, hearing Team Rocket following close behind him. Krycek led the way to a storage room. Mulder looked at the sophisticated lock and grimaced.
"Krycek, if I break into that, they're going to know someone gave me the code."
"You're always getting new sources, Mulder. They might even think your technogeeks got you the information."
"The code is 12121013," Jesse snapped, impatiently.
The men whirled on her.
"How did you know that?" Krycek demanded.
"We have our ways," she simpered.
"We heard Cancerman briefing a new scientist, when we were hiding in the vents," James confessed.
"Shut up, James," Jesse growled, furiously.
Krycek sneered, while Mulder entered the code. As Mulder went in, Krycek herded Team Rocket in the door. Krycek pulled the door until it was almost shut. The room was very orderly, with shelves and drawers attached to the wall. Mulder was scanning the shelves, when Jesse exclaimed, "Ah ha!" and made a dive for the far wall. Krycek grabbed her by the scruff of the neck.
"Ouch! Let me go!" she screeched.
"Calm down," Krycek ordered, pushing her behind him.
"You can't treat her like that!" James thundered.
Krycek stepped up to the boy, hovering over him, glowering.
"Can't I?" he asked sardonically.
James gulped, backing away from the tall man whose pose screamed a warning to him.
"Well, a gentleman should always be courteous to a lady," he whined.
"I'll keep that in mind," Krycek promised, while Jesse scowled, hiding a pout.
Krycek went to the wall that Jesse had made for and found the device. Picking it up, he tossed it to Mulder.
"There you are, Agent Mulder, one device, as promised."
Mulder caught the device, sticking it inside his jacket.
"Good. Now let's get out of here."
The four made their way back to the office, then hurriedly dropped out of the window. When they reached his car, Mulder sighed with surprised relief.
"That went well," he stated, unable to hide his surprise.
"I'm a professional, Mulder," Krycek reminded him patiently. "You're just not trained for this kind of thing."
"Thanks," Mulder grunted.
Jesse and James watched the conversation, backing up slowly so they could disappear. Krycek turned to them sharply.
"Where do you think you're going?" he inquired.
"Um, we..." James stammered, looking for a cool reply.
"If you want to get home, I suggest you stay with me," Mulder advised firmly.
"Unless we get the device back," Jesse shot back.
"You two are going with Agent Mulder and you're going to behave," he growled.
"Team Rocket does not behave!" Jesse bragged.
"Get in the car," Krycek demanded.
Seeing the threat in the assassin's eyes, the young thieves obeyed. Mulder gave a twisted smile. Nothing like being the biggest bully on the block, he thought.
Mulder opened his door, wondering how he was going to find room for four mostly grown men and one young boy. Scully looked up from the couch, where she sat with Bulbasaur on her lap.
"Mulder," she exclaimed, unable to hide her relief.
"Hey, Scully," he greeted, "miss me?"
Scully looked with dismay at Krycek and was astounded to see two young teenagers accompanying them.
"Team Rocket!" Ash spat, glowering. "You dirty thieves..."
"We're not dirty!" James interrupted, offended. "I wash every day."
"Mulder, what is Krycek doing back here?" Scully asked, surprised that Krycek hadn't pulled one of his disappearing tricks.
"You're stuck with me until I know that the kids are home safe and the device is secure from the Colonists."
Scully rolled her eyes.
"It's our device," James sulked. "You should give it to us!"
"Hah," Ash scorned. "You would just use it to steal other people's Pokemon!"
Jesse and James exchanged confused glances.
"Yes?" she inquired politely.
"What's wrong with that?" James asked.
Mulder rolled his eyes. "I'm not giving you the means to blackmail or abandon Ash and his friends."
"Hmph. We'll see about that," Jesse declared.
"Mulder, I think it's time the girls and I left. We can send them home in the morning."
Jesse's eyes widened.
"What makes you think I'm going anywhere with you?" she protested.
Scully fixed her with a Look, making the younger female gulp.
"You're going to stay at my place with me and Misty," Scully asserted in a no-nonsense tone.
Jesse sniffed, "Fine. I don't care."
"But, Jesse, what about...getting the device," James moaned...whispering the last part.
"Don't worry so much, James," Jesse snapped. "I'll see you in the morning."
Krycek watched the girls leave, then turned to Mulder.
"Our thieves aren't very subtle," he commented, amused.
Mulder shook his head.
"Hey! We can do subtle!" James corrected. "We're very talented."
"You're very annoying," Ash countered.
"And you're a goody-good," James sneered.
"Knock it off, you two," Mulder scolded. "I don't want to spend the night listening to you two bicker."
"Better let me have the device, Mulder," Krycek warned.
Mulder handed it over reluctantly, knowing Krycek would keep a close watch on James. He herded the boys into bed, before collapsing on the couch.
Mulder watched, wincing a little, as Krycek grabbed James by the throat.
"Krycek, let him go!" Scully insisted.
Jesse threw a Pokeball. "Arbok, attack!"
"Pikachu, stop Arbok!" Ash commanded, instinctively moving against Team Rocket.
Krycek released the boy, seeing that the situation was rapidly getting out of hand.
"Stay away from my jacket," he snarled.
Arbok and Pikachu ignored the humans, facing off with each other. Jesse laughed.
"Well, since one's developing anyway, I suggest a Poke battle. If Arbok wins, we get the device back now. If you win, the device stays with you...at least until we all reach our world."
"You're on!" Ash accepted gleefully.
"Ash, no! We already have the device!" Misty whined.
"Ah, Misty, don't worry! Pikachu and I can take these guys easily!"
"You can't fight a Poke battle here," Brock tried to reason. "There's not enough room."
It was too late. Arbok used his sting attack on Pikachu and the battle was on. Everyone gathered on one side of the room, watching the battle with varying degrees of trepidation. Pikachu used it's speed and agility to avoid the worst of the nettles. It flung itself at Arbok, ramming into it. The huge snake twisted, trying to hit Pikachu with his tail. Panting, Pikachu evaded most of the blows, but the last one sent him flying into the couch.
"Pikachu!" Ash shouted, dismayed.
Pikachu shook itself, getting back up.
"Pika, pika," it assured Ash.
Arbok drew back for another sting attack, when Pika Chu let loose a thunder shock. Screaming in pained outrage, Arbok drew back. It tried to shoot forward to ram the little electric mouse, but Pika Chu gave another thundershock, stopping the snake in its tracks.
"Arbok, return!" Jesse ordered, furious.
"Hah! Good job, Pikachu!" Ash whooped with delight.
Mulder gazed in awe at the exhausted creature.
"Um, these Poke battles seem dangerous. Aren't you a little young?"
"I'm thirteen!" Ash protested, hurt. "Anyways, it's not really dangerous...not for humans and generally not for Pokemon. Being in battles builds necessary skills."
Krycek brought out the device.
"Mulder, I think it's time to send these kids home."
Mulder nodded and Krycek gave the device to Ash.
"Tell them how to set the device," Krycek ordered Team Rocket.
"Just turn the dial back to the start position," James sulked. "We do take precautions with these things."
Ash obeyed, then pressed the activate button. A portal appeared and they could see a small town, with a large Pokemon center in the middle. Ash, Misty, and Brock cheered. Running, Team Rocket went through the portal, hoping to find a way to ambush the little striplings later.
"Thank you for all your help, Mr. Mulder," Ash offered, warmly.
"Yeah. Yes. Thanks," Misty and Brock agreed.
"You're welcome," Mulder responded, kindly. "You guys take care."
"We will!" Ash promised, running towards the portal. "Good bye! C'mon, Pikachu!"
"Pika pika!" Pika chu responded, waving good bye.
Mulder watched fascinated as the portal closed around the three friends. Scully stared, barely believing her eyes. Both agents started, when they heard Mulder's door close. Looking around, they saw that Krycek was gone. Mulder sighed, a little relieved that the assassin had chosen to disappear without creating a scene.
"Mulder, you get into the most bizarre situations," Scully observed, amused, looking around his apartment.
Blankets and pillows were strewn across the floor, along with fast food cartons. Mulder grinned, placing his hands on Scully's shoulder, giving her a brief hug.
"My life is never dull, Scully," he agreed. "You wanna watch the Outer Limits marathon on the Sci Fi channel?"
Scully agreed, grinning amiably, glad they could enjoy their day off peacefully.
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