Sway to the sound of endless blues

Move to the rhythm of regret

Just for tonight, let's change the ruse

Before we remember to forget

~Eric Stuart Band, One Last Dance~

Hello hello! Another day, another Rocketshipping fanfic. A bit AU, but them being officially together is a little AU. Jessie is married to the doctor who helped her in Kalos, James is married to Jessebelle (not happily), and Meowth finally got its wish to be Giovanni's number one 'mon. "Imagine da bawse..." haha. I don't own Pokemon, any of these characters, or the song snippets I may continue using. Please enjoy!


Stepping out of the limo her former boss had sent for her, Jessie swallowed a lump of nervousness down. Her husband, Pokémon Doctor Astin White, managed to scrape by and provide her with a decent living. Having a limo and a fancy dress hand-delivered to her was an extravagance Jessie had forgotten about. A fancy dress and a team of stylists were provided to make her look her best. Her magenta hair was swept into an elegant braided bun, and she was gently placed into a dress a few shades darker than her hair.

She had convinced Astin not to come because she didn't want him to see her ugly past in all of its twisted glory. He knew she had her secrets, and that was okay.

Most of the other former Rockets had gotten married, started families, and, surprisingly, had turned straight. Their lives of petty thievery were a phase. Jessie had to admit that she had never felt better helping Astin nurse Pokémon back to health instead of causing them agony.

She nearly jumped out of her skin, hearing a voice she hadn't heard in years.

"You look beautiful tonight, Jess." She turned to see her former partner, James, looking very debonair in a tuxedo. She flushed. Astin had told her the same thing, but somehow, it meant slightly more coming from James.

"You…look good, too." It was hard to see him, after knowing what he chose to do after leaving Team Rocket. He had willingly gone back to Jessebelle and married her.

They found the table with their names on it and sat down wearily.

"I tire of these affairs, don't you?" James asked rhetorically, pulling at his bow tie.

"Agreed," she said, not grasping the effect of a rhetorical question. "Where's Meowth?"

"Jess." The look in his eyes was dead serious. "You know he's the boss's favorite now."

"How'd you manage to get away from Jessebelle?"

"You'd be surprised how many men look like me and can pull off a lavender wig," he smirked. "You'd also be surprised by how little they ask for, just to spend time with her." By time with her, he meant time trapped in Jessebelle's sex dungeon, with her manically laughing and chasing them with whips.

Jessie couldn't help but laugh.

"Sounds just like you. But why'd you marry her if she's such a living nightmare?"

"The money is great, Jess. I'm squirreling it away so one day I can be rid of that witch."

"But what'll you do once you're free from her?"

"You know, Jess…at your wedding, I could barely contain my urge to shout 'I object'."

"James…come on, don't do this. I'm happy with Astin. I know you're not happy with Jessebelle, but the money is worth it, right?" Old habits certainly were difficult to kill. Money and her self-image of glamor were all Jessie could fixate on, when she wasn't helping Astin nurse Pokémon back to health.

"One dance, Jess? For old times' sake?" He rose, extended his hand gracefully as his slave driver wife had taught him. James had never known Jessie to turn down a chance for attention, but there was something cautious in her eyes as she took his hand. The pair settled into a waltz, since the only music of the evening would be waltzes and other painfully slow dances.

"Jessie…this feels right, doesn't it?" He gripped her hand tighter, pulling the small of her back closer to his waist. Every place Jessie was touching James felt as though someone had blasted her with a Flamethrower. It did feel right, almost better than being in Astin's arms. Almost. But she was on the straight and narrow path now. She couldn't afford to lose Astin. She nuzzled her face into James's shoulder.

"It does," she whispered. A few strands of magenta escaped her braid and tickled James's neck. If James could have frozen time, only to stay like this with Jessie forever, he would have.

"Jessica," he whispered back, squeezing her ever so gently. "We could run, you and I. We'd make it on our own, just like in the old days."

"James," she muttered, "come on. Please. I have a good life now, being on the straight and narrow." She loved James; she wouldn't deny that. But being with Astin was good; she needed him.

However…James needed her more.

"Jessica…I'm asking you not as your old partner, but as the man you love. Please…run away with me. We'll hide where they'll never find us. We can be happy and comfortable. I have enough money for that, I promise you." She fell silent, and James thought frantically to change the subject. He didn't think he would be able to take it if Jessie refused him publicly.

"You can stand on my feet, Jess," he whispered, sensing her unease with the dance, and she did. His high society upbringing trained him well for these sorts of things; her petty life of thievery, not so much.

"So what've you heard through the grapevine?" Jessie asked bemusedly, and James gave her a wicked smile. He nodded toward a certain orange-haired woman before whispering into Jessie's hair.

"Cassidy's pregnant. Daddy unknown." Jessie gave a light cackle that tickled James's neck.

"I bet Biff is furious," she murmured, and James simply clutched her tighter to him.

"You remember Annie and Oakley?"

"I do," Jessie breathed, and James told her the news.

"They're lesbians. And they're together," he said, and Jessie pulled her head away from his neck to look him in the eye.

"You're kidding," she gasped, and he shook his head.

"Have I ever lied to you, Jess?"

"Whoa…I bet the Boss loved that one," she remarked, and James laughed. The two women in question were renowned in the annals of Team Rocket history, almost always able to pull off the impossible. However, one of Giovanni's personal sentries had caught the sisters in a heated make-out session outside his office door. That was the end of their career.

"You didn't see the fallout from that. Everyone was on edge for weeks after that one." Secretly, James was glad Jessie had left when she did. He only had to clear up his leaving paperwork, but he didn't miss hearing Giovanni's screaming fits. James hated to even think it, but his old boss certainly had a warped set of moral values. Robbery and potential murder were fine, but Arceus forbid a tryst or two between sisters.

The current waltz ended, and James reluctantly released his old partner from his hold, cursing the orchestra for doing their jobs well.

"Wanna get a drink?" he asked, his hand finding its way around her waist, and she smiled.

"Sure." Both of their social drinking skills had improved by leaps and bounds since leaving Team Rocket, and James was familiar with her preferences. Jessie's palate tended to gravitate toward fruit-based wines and vodka, which was fine by him. James could drink any spirit and make it look classy.

The pair nursed their drinks, both silently wishing their talkative partner was here to break the uncomfortable silence between them. Meowth had always known how to lighten the mood.

"Can we go outside?" Jessie's voice broke through James' concentration. "It's starting to swelter in here and I don't want to ruin this dress." She gave a single chuckle and James felt his heart swell at the comforting sound.

"You got it." He pushed open a set of Kalsoian doors that led to a balcony, and Jessie sighed in relief.

"Much better." She smiled and James knew that if she didn't go home with him immediately, he would regret it for the rest of his life.

"So other than the living terror that's your wife, how's rich life?" Jessie grinned widely, hoping she'd push enough of James' buttons that she would get some mockable material out of him. To her surprise, James leaned against the railing, his face pensive.

"I don't have a life, Jessie. Not without you in it." Jessie's knees grew weak, but she forced herself to stay upright. They were former work partners, and nothing more, despite all the times that may have said otherwise. Had Astin not come along, nothing would have made Jessie happier than marrying James, which would have solely been for the increased retirement benefits.

Right?

Drinking in the sight of James drenched in the silvery moonlight, her heart throbbed. This beautiful man could have been hers and she had let him go without a fight, let alone a whimper of protest.

It was simply not the way Jessie did things.

Keeping her back straight and her head held high, she approached James from the side. Jessie let her head loll onto his shoulder and he very nearly jumped out of his skin.

"Why'd you marry her if you wanted me?" Jessie asked, the broken tone of her voice turning all of James' senses numb. Jessie didn't have time to blink before James enveloped her in his arms, clutching her like she'd shatter if he didn't hold tightly.

"Believe me, Jessica, I have never wanted her." He inhaled, letting her milk and honey scent nearly completely intoxicate him. "It's always been you, and it will always be you."

The next question Jessie dared voice was revolting for the pair to think about, but she had to know.

"Didn't you have to consummate the marriage?"

"No," he breathed quickly. "I paid someone off. That witch has never known the difference." James let her out of his grip, but proceeded to grasp her left hand, kissing every finger. He didn't pause above her glistening wedding ring, instead lavishing more kisses on it. "I have several places we could go. She has never been any the wiser. Let me make you happy, Jess." In that one sentence, Jessie realized what she had thought of as happiness was really a front. Her place was with James, by his side, and that was the only place that was acceptable.

"So then, where can we go?" Jessie inquired, nuzzling into James' neck. He was having trouble focusing thanks to his elation.

"You mean it?" he squawked, and Jessie flashed him her famous coquettish grin.

"Dead serious, James," she confirmed. "I hate doing this to Astin, but, well…who are we to fight fate?" James finally let go of the small bit of rationality he had been holding onto and exhaled sharply.

This was finally happening. All the scheming and squirreling away he had done for years had all led up to this gamble and it was paying off handsomely.


Ah-ha! A cliffhanger!

But in all seriousness, where should they go? I have several routes planned in my head, but I'll leave it up to you guys, the readers! :) Please PM me with a suggestion, if you'd like, and after a while, I'll see what has the most traction behind it.

Please review if you liked it! 3