Shocked, unable to speak, Jessie slumped against the wall and took a few deep breaths in. She didn't know what to do, what to think, hot tears ran down her cheeks, dripping onto her white skirt as she sat there holding her knees to her chest. What she had just heard rocked her very soul; it shattered her trust in a single second. The walls of the small room felt as if they were narrowing in on her, getting closer and closer. Not knowing what to do, she tried to pull herself together as much as she could before she slipped out of the cold room unnoticed.
The chill hung in the air as she made her way down the long steel corridors and through various empty rooms. The dim lighting of the compound cast dark shadows in the corners of the rooms, making it easy to hide if she were to come across someone. Making it to the main door of the compound unnoticed she opened it and slipped out, entering the wet cave it was hidden in. Staying near the wall she slowly made her way down the smooth corridor; running her hand over the rock she could tell that it wasn't natural, it was if it had been dug out by a machine. Coming to an intersection, she turned left heading down a rocky corridor. No one was in sight; no echoing of any sounds, the only thing she could hear was the faint sounds of Zubat's in the distance, the Zubat's that chased her in this direction to begin with.
She could feel the adrenaline started to wear off, her muscles started to hurt. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand she wiped away the remaining tears from her face. Jessie felt a stitch starting to form in her side, sharp pain that had her holding onto her side as she continued down the rocky path she had chosen. She had been wandering the cave for what felt like hours, no sign of James or Meowth anywhere. Not wanting to risk calling out to them, she stopped for a moment and leaned against the wall of the cave, the cold helping her muscles as she wiped the fresh tears from her eyes as she took a few calming breaths before she continued.
Coming across a small watering hole within the dimly light cave Jessie splashed some water onto her face, washing off the layer of dirt that covered it. She remembered this area; it was right before she got separated from her team. Heading down the corridor that she hadn't been down, she followed it hoping to run into something that gave her hope she was going the right way.
Hearing loud footsteps coming from behind her, Jessie froze and pressed her back against the wall trying not to be seen, a wild Sandslash eyed her off, daring her to move. Kicking up some dirt with its foot the Sandslash began to run at her. Fearing what was to come Jessie let panic take over and she ran as fast as she could, not paying any mind to what direction she went, she just wanted to lose the Pokémon that was chasing her. Feeling her foot collide with a large, hard rock, Jessie felt her ankle twist as she landed on the ground with a thud.
Pain shot through her ankle as she scurried on her backside to against the wall. Grabbing a Poké ball from her pocket she threw it to let her Pokémon out. "Arbok go," she said, the Sandslash stopping in its tracks, preparing for a battle.
"Use Wrap," she called out, watching as Arbok hit its target freezing the Pokémon in its tracks. "Now use Bite." Watching as the Sandslash fell to the ground, unconscious, Jessie used this as an opportunity. "Poké ball go," she called out, throwing an empty Poké ball at the defeated Pokémon.
Watching as the Poké ball shook a few times Jessie eagerly waited until the button stopped glowing and the ball sat still. Smiling to herself she felt proud that she had a new Pokémon. "Good job, Arbok, return." Gingerly getting up she collected both of her Pokémon and put both of their Poké ball's into her pocket. Trying to take a normal step forward, she put most of her weight onto her bad ankle and it gave out on her. Leaning against the wall she used it as a crutch of sorts, making her way down the corridors trying to find a way out and back to her team.
Hours had gone by before she saw the dim sunlight at the end of the corridor. Unable to barely put any weight on her ankle, she slowly made her way forward using the wall for support. Stopping just short of the exit, she leaned against the rock and took a deep breath in. She was exhausted, her body wasn't cooperating, feeling her head spin she tried her best to pull it together and make it the last few metres to freedom.
"So Jimmy, where do you think Jessie is?" Meowth asked, picking a berry from a tree and eating it.
"I'm not sure, hopefully she found her way out of the cave by now, the sun is starting to set," James replied, looking up at the sun as it slowly moved behind the mountain.
"Hopefully, how's about we go claim the cabin down there in the woods and stay there the night?" Meowth suggested, looking at the falling apart shack.
"Sounds like a plan," James agreed, getting sick of carrying the large backpack on his back, having had pain shooting across his shoulder blades for the last hour and a half.
Making their way down the slopes of the mountain and through the thick overgrown vines, weeds, grass, and trees they finally saw the cabin up ahead of them. Putting his bag down by the door James walked around the cabin, checking to make sure that the structure was sound and it wasn't going to kill them in their sleep. Parts of the wooden outer walls were breaking away, half rotted and hanging off, but what was behind them was still in one piece.
Slowly pushing the door open, Meowth entered the small building to make sure it was unoccupied. There were two single beds pushed up against the walls in the corner of the room, a small table with four chairs sat to one side with a place to cook their food close by. There was a small bathroom tucked away in the corner. A fireplace sat imbedded in the wall, a stack of firewood and kindling sitting next to it ready to go.
"Well, surprise, surprise, it's actually clean in here," Meowth said, running his paw over one of the surfaces and inspecting it.
"I think it's a trainer's cabin, it's set up like one," James replied, moving his backpack and putting it down by the beds.
"We should hang this sign on the door, it says occupied," Meowth responded, holding up the sign that he found tucked away behind the door.
"Good idea Meowth. I'm getting worried about Jessie, maybe I should head back to the cave entrance and see if I can find her. I won't venture in too far. You stay here and mind the cabin," James said, getting a gut feeling that something wasn't right.
"Okay, maybe light the fire first before you leave so if it's dark you have a way to find your way back," Meowth suggested, shivering from the coolness of the air as the winter's night began to settle in.
"I will," James agreed as he stacked the fire with some kindling and tossed a few logs on top of it before lighting it. Making sure it wasn't going to go out he headed back outside and through the growth.
Getting to the base of the mountain James looked up to see how much sunlight he had left. He was pushing it going back inside but for Jessie he would do anything, she was his partner, his friend, and his soul mate, the love of his life. It had only been over the last few months that they finally admitted their feelings for each other and every day since James had cherished it.
Looking to see where the entrance of the cave was, James saw something propped up against the wall, half crumbled into a pile on the ground. Getting closer he noticed bright red hair and knew that it was Jessie. Running over to her, he bent down and checked to see if she had a pulse and was breathing. Jessie was covered in a layer of dirt, her white outfit turned grey. Gulping, James tried to wake her, feeling the coolness of her body against his hand.
"Jessie, come on, wake up, please," James tried, trying to get his partner to awaken. Attempting to wake her for a few more minutes James looked to the sky and saw only the rays of the sun peeking out from the top of the mountain, the darkness beginning to settle in.
Picking Jessie up in his arms, James slowly made his way down the mountain, taking care as to not step on any uneven surface that would send them flying through the air. Making it to the base of the mountain, the sun had set, the darkness had come and all James had to go off was the smoke coming out of the chimney of the cabin and the dull light it gave off in the distance.
Carefully manoeuvring his way through the trees while making sure not to snag his feet on any of the vines or weeds, James made it back to the cabin in one piece. Noticing that Meowth had left the door slightly ajar, he pushed it open with his foot and placed Jessie down on the floor in front of the fireplace hoping to warm her up.
Waking to the smell of vegetable soup, Jessie found herself warm and out of the elements of nature with something soft under her head. Opening an eye she looked into the fireplace for a few minutes before trying to move. Feeling pain shoot through her ankle, she hissed and sat up. "Where are we?" she asked, noticing James and Meowth sitting down at the table, eating.
"We're in a trainer's cabin at the base of the mountain," James replied, slurping up the last of his dinner. "What happened to your ankle?" Getting up and grabbing the first aid kit the cabin provided, James sat down on the ground next to Jessie.
"I twisted it when my Sandslash chased me," Jessie replied, slowly taking her boots off to inspect the damage.
"You caught a Sandslash? We had no empty balls," Meowth asked, somewhat impressed.
"I did because Arbok was able to knock it down as it didn't put up much of a fight. The dweeb we ran into yesterday, I took it from him," Jessie replied, wincing slightly as James took off her sock and inspected her ankle.
"I think you've done a good job on your ankle, it's very swollen. The bathroom here is small but it does have a shower if you would like to go get clean before we wrap it," James responded, knowing that Jessie didn't like being dirty.
"I would love a shower, I'm disgusting" Jessie replied, accepting James's help to get up. "Could you get me out something to wear?"
"Of course," James agreed, noticing how physically and emotionally exhausted his partner was even if she was trying to hide it.
Limping into the bathroom, Jessie stripped of her dirty clothing and turned the shower on, getting under the spray of water she let it wash over her body, cleansing her of the day. Her ankle, back, shoulders, and head hurt and she only knew the reason for one of her pains. Washing herself with the soap, Jessie rinsed herself off and got out of the shower, careful not to put too much weight on her swollen ankle.
Drying herself off, Jessie inspected her body for any more injuries that may have appeared. Noticing only her ankle was painful to put weight on, she ignored the other pains and headed out to the main room to get dressed.
""I got out your warm pyjamas for you," James said, turning away from Jessie so she could get dressed with some sense of privacy.
"I think I need my ankle wrapped soon," Jessie said, sitting on the bed to put her underwear and pants on.
"I'll grab the bandage and do it for you," James replied, making sure Jessie was dressed before he turned around.
Sitting on the bed, Jessie let her leg hang down until James knelt in front of her and gently moved it to his thigh so he could wrap it properly. Putting the clip on the bandage after wrapping it around the injured joint, James checked it out to make sure it was secured correctly and not too tight.
"Thank you James, it already feels better," Jessie said, getting up from the bed and sitting back in front of the fireplace with a warm blanket under her.
Handing Jessie a hot bowl of soup, James and Meowth joined her around the fireplace wanting to know what happened in the cave.
Taking a mouthful of soup Jessie let the flavours linger. Getting a potato on her spoon, she chewed it before swallowing.
Waiting for Jessie to finish her dinner, James tried to think of a nice way to ask what happened. He was worried yet he didn't want to push her into talking if she didn't want to.
"So Jess, what got you lost? What happened?" Meowth asked, not taking notice of James's expression.
Putting her empty bowl on the floor, she looked to James and Meowth. "I wasn't paying attention to what way you guys went, I was distracted by my reflection in my mirror and the Zubat's in the cave are hostile. All I now know is that the boss is not who I thought he was and he needs to be punished, I feel disgusted to work for Team Rocket, we need to find a way to bring him down," Jessie replied, feeling the anger and rage building up inside of her as she remembered what happened.
"But Jessie, how are we going to take the boss down, it's nearly impossible," James said, looking at the red head like she was crazy.
"I don't know yet but after what he did, I need to take him down, I need to seek revenge," Jessie replied, feeling the anger simmering from within her.
"Jessie, you're still yet to tell us what happened? What did the boss do that was so awful? How'd you even run into him? What did you find out when you got lost?" James asked, still unsure why Jessie suddenly had a change of heart and was beyond angry.
"Yeah Jessie, what happened?" Meowth copied, wanting to know why the strong headed member of their trio suddenly wanted to leave.
"You better gather close around the fire because this will be a long story," Jessie replied, wrapping the blanket around her shoulders and pulling it close, using it as protection from her feelings.
Gathering around the fire, James sat close to Jessie in case she needed to lean on him for support. He knew that she liked to be strong but since she returned she had been nice to them, a little distracted, and not herself. He was worried for his partner and every passing minute made him that little bit more concerned.
"When I got lost from you guys I wandered down a long tunnel of the cave as I saw some footprints. About half way down some Zubat's attacked me and I ran, I ran so fast and through different tunnels that I couldn't find my way back to where we last saw each other. I tried to retrace my steps but I couldn't remember the way. I came to a crossway of tunnels and I had to pick which way to go, one side was a rocky tunnel that was smelly and the other side was smooth. I went down the smooth tunnel as there was nowhere wild Pokémon could hide. By now I was tired and my legs hurt from running and I didn't want to deal with an attack. I followed the tunnel and it got darker and darker, then when I thought I was going into pure darkness I saw a small light shinning. I followed the light and when I got to the source of it there was a door, and the door was slightly ajar. I entered the door not knowing what to expect and I explored the opening. The corridor I had entered was cold and made of metal or steel, there were doors on every wall, I inspected a few of the rooms that led off and they were all empty, empty and dirty. I heard sounds echoing and I hid in one of the rooms behind a console with the door closed. I think two people walked by talking loudly; they were talking about sending members of Team Rocket out of missions to faraway places to look for a rare Pokémon the boss wanted. They laughed and called it a death mission and that only stupid people agreed to do it. When I heard them leave through the main doorway I got out of the room and went to the end of the corridor and followed it, I wanted to know what they were talking about. Everything around me was the same except for when I got close to the middle of the compound. I head a Persian walking and then the boss's voice; I hid in a nearby room with the door slightly open and listened to what he was saying. Hours went by before someone entered and they started to talk to the boss about past missions." Stopping for a moment, Jessie took a few deep breaths in and slowly let them out. What she heard had scared her, damaged her, and she didn't know who to trust anymore.
"It's okay Jessie, take your time," James said, rubbing soft circles onto Jessie's back.
"The person who entered was older, I was able to peak into the room through the crack in the door, and he had grey hair and was wearing a lap coat. The boss said he was still after a Pokémon named Mew and that only one person ever got close, Miyamoto, my mother. The scientist agreed saying that it was a tragic accident and asked what exactly happened. He said that he sent my mother on a mission up to the Andes Mountain's during winter and asked her to find a mythical Pokémon for him. She looked day and night, she didn't give up, and she knew that the area was treacherous and that many people had died where she was but she didn't care. She was there to please him and to get paid so she could take care of me. An avalanche occurred and it buried my mother alive. The Boss thinks she died slowly and in pain and then he said he only sent her up there because she was his most loyal servant and that he felt that her ability to serve him to the capacity he wanted was starting to dissipate so he got rid of her." Choking on her last few words, Jessie couldn't help the tears that fell from her eyes. Strong arms surrounded her and she leaned into James's chest, listening to his heart beat as she cried.
Jessie didn't know how long had passed before she was able to calm herself down. She felt Meowth put a tissue in her hand and she thanked him, wiping her eyes then blowing her nose with it. Her head had started to pound once more, a vicious migraine starting. Taking a slow, deep breath in she tried to control her breathing. Her throat was dry and it felt like it was on fire, her face was hot and wet, but she felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She knew the truth and she could now do something about it.
"Here have some water Jess," James said, handing her a cool bottle of spring water.
"Thank you," Jessie mumbled, draining the bottle in a few seconds. "I'm sorry I cried all over you."
"It's okay, for you I'd do anything and you know that. I love you and I will help you get retribution," James replied, wiping a tear from Jessie's cheek.
"I love you too, James, and I just want to do right by my mother. I know I was young when she passed away but she was still my mum, I love her and she loved me. My adoptive mother was horrible and didn't care for me at all. If the boss hadn't sent her out on that mission she would still be here with me today and maybe my life would have been different, better even." Blowing her nose again Jessie threw the tissue into the fire which was still burning brightly, keeping her warm. Realising how tired she was she let out a yawn as her ankle shot pain through the surrounding area, reminding her of her injury.
"What are we going to do now that we that information?" James asked, curious to know what Jessie planned, knowing she had thought of something.
"For a start, I'm leaving Team Rocket, you and Meowth can join me if you want." Staring into the fire Jessie waited for the reaction from her team mates.
"I'm going wherever you are Jess, we are better together than apart," James replied, looking to Meowth for what he wanted to do.
"We're a team and we'll always be a team, if you guys are leaving I am too," Meowth added, not wanting to leave the two humans who he considered family.
"So then, as of now we are no longer members of Team Rocket. I'm not even going to tell the boss, he can figure it out for himself when he bothers to remember we exist. We need to go somewhere where he doesn't consider it worthy enough territory, that way we'll be on the down low and can avoid people like Butch and Cassidy. While we hide out we can catch and train Pokémon legitimately to make them the best they can be, no more of this stealing others Pokémon, we're not about that anymore, the joy I felt catching Sandslash today, I want you to feel that too James. We will leave it be for a year or two and then we will start to sabotage his plans one by one, never letting him know it was us. We can get jobs and earn our living, instead of buying all the gadgets we use we can feed and clothe ourselves instead," Jessie said, feeling vindictive yet calmer than she was before as she started to plan their future.
"I do like the sound of that, and if you want Jessie, we can go to the Andes Mountains and see if anyone saw what happened all of those years ago," James suggested, knowing that the thought had already crossed his partner's mind.
"I would like to do that, maybe someone found her and buried her in the cemetery, I would like to pay my respects," Jessie responded, looking down at the floor, getting emotional again.
"We can do that Jessie, we will find out what happened to her, we will," James reiterated, noticing Jessie rub her ankle. "How about you let me check on your ankle?"
"Okay," Jessie replied, moving her leg so it was straight.
Examining his partner's ankle, James took off the bandage and lightly pressed around the bone feeling the swelling. A nice blue and purple bruise was appearing, covering most of the area. "I still think that you've hurt it pretty bad, it may take a few days before the swelling goes down, we should probably stay here until you're able to walk on it."
"We are isolated enough in this cabin for tonight but if the boss comes out of his secret cave compound he will find us straight away," Jessie said, knowing that she needed the time to heal but not in the cabin.
"What are we going to do if those meddling kids and their Pikachu find us?" Meowth asked, always ready for something to go wrong.
"We will just stay inside and keep the door locked. We can put something over the windows to hide our presence in the morning, just until we leave," Jessie replied, feeling a yawn come on.
"For now I suggest that we all try to get some sleep and in the morning we can talk," Meowth suggested, in need of a good night's sleep.
"You head to bed Meowth, I'm going to stay up a little longer," James replied, adding some more wood to the fire.
Sitting in front of the fire, watching as the flames danced across the burning wood, Jessie let out a soft sigh. She was worried, and frightened, not once had she ever done anything like throwing her career away, even if it was on the eviler side. Defying the boss was never on her bucket list yet here she was hoping and praying that it was all a dream and in the morning when she woke up things would be different. She didn't know how long had passed before she felt James wrap and arm around her waist. Resting her head on his shoulder, she let the warmth of his body transfer to hers.
"Do you think that getting revenge is a dumb idea? I just want to do right by my mother, I know it happened a long time ago but I also know that she would want me to do what I think is best for me," Jessie said, mentally going over her plan.
"I think you should do what makes you happy. We can always take some time off and find a place that's far enough away and live our lives, just us and Meowth for a while and then from there we can decide what we want to do," James reasoned, trying to make things easier for Jessie.
"I think in the morning we should go over it with Meowth, some time off might help get things together. I think we would all change and grow in that time and we can always go back to the mountain and find out exactly what happened to my mum before we plan anything." Looking James in the eye, she hoped to see something there, something that would make her feel better about everything that was happening.
"I think a good night of sleep will be best for us right now. You've had a lot to deal with today and you need some rest. I love you Jessie and no matter what we do I'll always be by your side," James replied, closing the gap between them and placing a soft kiss on Jessie's lips.
Kissing James back, Jessie let herself relax, she decided not to let the day get to her anymore and just to enjoy what she had here and now.