Attention: Since English is not my mothertongue you might find some spelling mistakes or syntax errors. I apologize in advance. My mothertongue is Swiss-German so I normally imagine a sentence in German and try to translate it as well as possible into English, sometimes there is a lack of vocabulary or I don't find a match or the appropriate idiom but I want to improve my English and become a better writer. Another thing I want to make clear is that I use „..." to introduce direct speech! „ are not commas but the German quotation marks, just to avoid confusion.


Training Daze – An Epilogue

Jessie, James and Meowth released each other from their tight embrace. They were overjoyed to know that they had managed to reach the level of agents due to their tremendous operational readiness. Viper gave them an approving nod and asked them to leave the great hall. Jessie took the lead and the recent criminals left the room for the passageway. They smiled at each other, relieved and proud to have made it this far.

„I'd say we should celebrate our achievement", the magenta-haired woman proposed. James and Meowth agreed to her suggestion without hesitation. They really deserved a jaunty detour outside the headquarters and James knew exactly where he wanted to take Jessie out.

„I know a nice little restaurant. The meals there are most savory", James said. He couldn't wait to spend some quiet moments with his newly-minted team mates and become more familiar with them. He didn't know much about Jessie, but her mysterious manner had appeal with him. Where was she from? When did she decide to pursue a career as a Team Rocket-member? There was a myriad of unanswered questions.

The trio slipped into suitable clothing and left their head office direction city.

The restaurant James had chosen was a popular ramen-bar. The location was bright and the walls of the lounge were bathed in a warm ebony and mother-of-pearl, applied with a discreet paint in hues of gold and platinum. The seats were comfortable and leather-covered. Vases with wild poppies and lilies, as well as artistic paintings of brave warriors decorated the beautiful ambience. A waitress led the three guests to a round table in the corner of the restaurant. It was dimly lit which created a pleasant and cosy atmosphere. Jessie wanted to sit down next to James, but Meowth got in their way. He placed himself between his team mates and reached for the menu card.

„I'm starving! What do yous recommend, Jimmy?", the cat-Pokémon asked while leafing through the offers. James pointed at a dish with grilled chicken, shio tare, egg and yuzu.

„It's delicious. I tried it a few weeks ago", James said. Jessie snatched the menu card from under Meowth's nose.

„Now it's my turn. Let me see...what would I fancy?", she studied the current quotation, but after checking her wallet, she decided to go for a simple noodle-soup. James put his hand on her wallet and shook his head.

„Let me invite you, please be my guests", he said. Jessie and Meowth looked surprised. James took out a pouch and laid in on the table. „I think this should be enough", the lavender-haired man assumed. Jessie snatched at the pouch and examined it carefully.

„Where did you make a pile?", she wondered. James sighed deeply. He had to make a confession. He didn't want his friends to grope in the dark.

„I come from a tremendously rich family. We've got money and treasures in abundance. I've been spoiled as a kid and showered with toys and small gifts. Yes, I could say that I had a great and unforgettable childhood", he began. Jessie noticed that James had some difficulties telling his story. Something oppressed him.

„And what is the catch? It seems that your past left a bitter aftertaste", she observed.

„Well, I've been forced to everything possible. My parents had big plans, I had to take violin- and piano-lessons, learn French and Spanish, they wanted to turn me into a notable and prestigious gentleman, but they failed enormously. I ran away, I chose freedom over wealth and wanted to join the Team Rocket-organisation. I thought that this is the only place to attain happiness. That pouch full of money was a grant from my butler, he didn't want me to be shelterless and freeze to death. He was a cooperative butler and my only friend at the old manor, but somehow my parents got him to side with them and he turned into a tedious control freak. I wasn't even able to wash myself or eat breakfast on my own, he tried to feed me and that was too much to bear, I bunked, I needed air to breath", he finished.

„What about you Jessie? Why an agent? Why being part of this criminal institution?", he wanted to know.

Jessie hung her head. Should she reveal all secrets and details of her sad and pointless life?

„My goal was to become a talented and indispensable nurse, work at a nearby Poké-Center and support a successful doctor with my excellent medical knowledge, but I failed Nurse school and found myself wandering aimlessly around the world. I had to admit that roaming about was no acceptable life, so I decided to follow in my mother's footsteps and apply for a training session at the Team Rocket-headquarters. They accepted me after reading my files and the few information I had about my familiy", Jessie told.

„Does that mean your mother works as an agent too?", James asked.

„She did", Jessie's eyes filled with tears, she turned away, trying not to lose her poise. „No one knows where she is at the moment. She went on a mission to trace evidence that Mew actually exists, but she never turned back. Most of the people are certain that she didn't make it", James and Meowth were speechless. They didn't know what to say, whether they should comfort their team mate or just remain silent.

„I'm sorry to hear that, Jessie, but let me tell you something: you're not alone anymore. You got us, Meowth and me. We might not replace your mother and family, but we're friends who care for you. Always remember my promise", he smiled softly at her, Jessie returned the gesture and blushed, but it was too dark for her team mates to see her emotional release.

„Enough of the sentimental stuff, I told you that I'm not a wimp", she wiped her tears away and pitched into her meal. James and Meowth followed suit and relished the delicious dishes.

„Do you think the boss likes me?", Meowth piped up. His face was smeared in sauce and he spat while talking, table manners weren't his strong points, but Jessie and James took it with a great deal of humor and handed him a napkin.

„Why is it so important to you?", James asked.

Meowth leaned back and indulged himself in fantasies. „I want to be his favourite pet, I want him to be proud of me, tickling my head and pamper me. I would be the excellent companion, talkative and witty", Meowth had clear ideas of his life as a Team Rocket-member. He wanted to prove the world that he wasn't a quitter, but an anxiety-free he-cat who was springing a few surprises.

„Time will tell, Meowth. Try your best! I think our organisation has great expectations and I hope that we're not going to disappoint them. Many members I talked to told me about dangerous and almost lethal field trips. Giovanni, our boss, demands maximum concentration and expertise, he disdains mistakes and nonprofessional behaviour. Most of the time he will commission us to steal rarely seen Pokémon for his collection. Do you think we will satisfy his high requirements?", James questioned.

Jessie jumped up, the porcelain plates and chopsticks almost fell on the floor, but James was able to catch them last-minute.

„Did you forget about our agreement in the small clearing? James told us that if we stick together we could make a truly amazing team. I didn't believe him first, but he convinced me and I liked the sound of that", she said.

Meowth seemed confused. „Could it be that I missed the birth of our unbeatable trio?", he wondered. Jessie laughed. „You were asleep, yes", she chuckled.

„I hope you took my promise serious, Jess. I will never let you down, I will always take care of you and Meowth, support and defend you. We need to work closely together so we have to trust each other and you two can count on me, no matter what", James renewed his pledge.

They raised their glasses. „To us! To a redoutable and invincible team", they shouted in unison. Some of the guests turned around, muttering something about decency and inappropriate volume, but Jessie, James and Meowth didn't care. Each of them had somehow been alone all his life, they were hallmarked by bitter disappointment, defenselessness and solitude, but their waiting will bring home the bacon. They were officially a team, a group of ambitious young agents with a clearly specified vision of their own future, they would protect the world from devastation, unite all people within their nation, denounce the evils of truth and love and extend their reach to the stars above.

After having gorged on a fantastic and opulent meal, James paid the bill and they left the restaurant on a full stomach.

On their way back to the headquarters, James noticed that Jessie was shaking with cold, so he offered her his jacket.

„I don't need someone who mothers me, James", she had an obstinate character, but James stuck to his guns.

„Remember when you shared your loaf of bread with us? I think, now it's time to return the favour, take it", he threw his jacket over her shoulders. Jessie nodded silently and slipped her arms into the sleeves.

It was late in the evening and the trio decided to go to bed, because tomorrow, there was an intensive further training on the list.

Jessie and James bid farwell to Meowth. He was a chatterbox, but they were certain that the cat-Pokémon had some aces up his sleeve in terms of organisation and precise planning. He would be the sly brain of the trio, the member who would remain level-headed in hopeless and dangerous situations. He was raising great hopes and combined with Jessie's leadership qualities and James' high commitment they sure would be an enrichment for Team Rocket.

James accompanied Jessie to her bedroom. He stayed standing at the door, sizing his friend up. His partner kept still, she seemed a little bit gauche. Both didn't know how to react. Should she wish him a good night and disappear in her chamber or should she spend some more time with James? They could go out and have another drink, talk about banalities until the early hours. Jessie had to admit that it had been a wonderful evening, James was courteous and considerate when she told them about her mother. He was a reputable young man and probably the only one who could stand her sometimes dogmatic and fervid nature.

„Well then, thanks for your invitation", Jessie tried to stay cool and unfazed, but staring into James' emerald-green eyes got her into a froth. James nodded silently.

„Guess I finally found the right partner", she attempted at a smile.

„I'll do what I can to be of great help", he answered.

„Good night, James", Jessie whispered and wanted to spin on her heel, but James retained her, drawing her closer to himself. A few seconds of eye contact got the message across. He cupped her face and dared to flutter a kiss. Jessie didn't know what happened. She felt his warm and soft lips pressed against hers. Suddenly, their lips parted. James blushed to the roots of his hair.

„Sorry", he stammered, looking down on the floor, dazed and embarrassed.

Jessie was perplexed and slightly bewildered.

„I wanted to kiss you earlier on, but Meowth butted in", James unburdened himself of his intentions. Jessie gave a quiet smile. How could he talk his way out of that one?

„Really?", she was clearly flirting him up.

„Yes", James chuckled and cleared his throat, „but I thought it would give a bad impression if we made out in front of Viper, since he was the one behind the appealing Snorlax-disguise. That would have been slightly inappropriate and I wanted to spare your blushes", James explained.

„Oh, how considerate of you, but believe me, I'm not losing my poise so easily. Well, you might be right about Viper, I think relationships between Team Rocket-agents are frowned upon", was Jessie really toying with the idea of laying the foundation of a possible close link between her and James? She, who had been abandoned and betrayed so many times in the past? She, who didn't trust anybody an inch and who closed her mind to a romantic bond?

James could see the depression and concern in her face.

„Excuse me", he wanted to apologize for his misbehaviour, but Jessie stuck her oar in.

„Shut up, James", she leaned in and tilt her head slightly, signaling James that she wanted a rematch. Jessie kissed her partner once, slowly, she let it last for a few seconds. Then she drew her lips away, but always keeping them close enough to James' so that they were almost touching. James was pleasantly surprised, even though he knew that they could get caught red-handed. He hoped that the dorm rooms weren't equipped with surveillance cameras, because he wasn't going to quit this display of affection anytime soon.

Both of them considered a French Kiss. Jessie inserted her tongue into James' mouth and let it dance with his, moving it in a circular motion. In between kisses, she gently bit James' lower lip, letting her teeth graze his lip as she pulled away. James moved his head down a little to kiss and lightly nibble his partner's neck. He embraced Jessie and gently pulled her towards himself. Jessie put her arms around James' neck, having her fling. She enjoyed his fondlings, their bodies close together. After some minutes, their lips parted, both breathing heavily and blushing scarlet.

Jessie had never done that before. Normally, she wanted to become more familiar with her partner, learning about his strengths and weaknesses, but James magically attracted her. She could already feel this strong bond between the two of them. James gazed into her eyes. He had never felt like this before. He used to be restrained, shutting himself off to women who tried to change his whole personality, to women that were dominant and imperious, but Jessie was different. She was goal-orientated and headstrong, she had that certain ‚je ne sais quoi'.

Jessie averted her gaze from James.

„It was a nice evening, thanks James", she whispered. „I think I'm going to bed now. Don't be smug about that little incident", Jessie added. „I'm here to become a prestigious and greatly feared Team Rocket-member and not to dedicate myself to a hopeless romantic affair", she made it plain.

„Me too", James replied, a perceptible touch of disappointment in his voice. „Let's see what tomorrow will bring. We're going on our first mission as a trio, just you, Meowth and me and I hope it will be a successful one."

Jessie nodded silently. „An offcial trio", she said it out loud, it was hard to believe that they made it this far, but it was true.

„Good night, Jessie", James bowed out and walked down the corridor to the men's bedrooms. Jessie waited until he disappeared in his chamber, before closing the door behind her.

She beat her head against the bedroom door, uttering a scarcely audible sigh. Had this short necking been an exception or was there more to come? She would find out as time goes by. From now on, she, James and Meowth would spend day after day together and who knows, maybe sometime there will be another opportunity, another suitable occasion to make out a meaning of this kiss.