Author Notes - I'd like to say I'm not much of a shipper, but my more recent releases have had hints of romance somewhere in them. Maybe that's a side-effect of maturing? I dunno. Granted, I always try to avoid infuriating clichés my romance-centric stories, but still.
Anyway, here's a silly little idea I had. Enjoy, I guess. I wrote this story in the span of a single day.
Now, we all know that Jessie and James's relationship is platonic, unless you read deeply into stuff. With the anime's obsession with the Status Quo, neither will ever 'confess their love' for the other.
But... what if they did do that in the anime? How would it play out? Here's what I think...
JAMES'S ABILITY: OBLIVIOUS
It was a rare day off for Team Rocket. Just a day for them to chill in their base, eat some berries, and have fun prying Mareanie off James's head for the fiftieth time. All the while, Bewear would watch over them to make sure that nothing happened to her babies, biological or otherwise.
Jessie leaned back in her chair, taking her time to read her latest magazine that she nabbed from a store without paying. Though it had exciting stories, she couldn't help but be annoyed by the clickbait-y front cover.
Cover: 'Horrible Abusive Trainer Gets His Pokémon Saved With The Powers of Justice!' Actual story: Some kid was annoyed his Eevee evolved into a Leafeon instead of an Umbreon, and when he said he didn't want him anymore someone (rightfully) took that Leafeon away. Was it a jerk move to dislike your Pokémon just because it evolved into the wrong thing? Yes. Abuse? Not to the level they were claiming.
James and Meowth, meanwhile, sat at the table eating some berries and honey that Bewear had brought in. James fed a lot of his to Mareanie, yelping every time she clamped onto his hand, and Mimikyu ate a couple in that bizarre way only he could.
'AHHH! Get off! Get off! Do something, Meowth!'
'Youse is on yer own, Jimmy.'
And Wobbuffet... was Wobbuffet.
Every now and then, Jessie lifted her gaze from the book and flashed her male partner a grin. Most of them, he totally missed by looking at his Mareanie, much to her dismay.
'Mareanie... please let go.' He pleaded to his overly-affectionate Poison-type.
'She says she ain't ever gonna let go.'
At this point, Jessie couldn't tell if that was Mareanie or James anymore. Refusing to give up, she gave him one more quick grin.
He had finally managed to pry his Mareanie off his arm, with great difficulty. Thanks to Mewton's Third Law, he ended up hitting himself with a lot of recoil. His chest and face slammed into the table with a comedic and satisfying thudding sound.
'Noice one, Jimmy.' Meowth remarked, otherwise not reacting at all.
James lifted his now-very-sore-and-red face off the table, partially wishing he didn't like his Pokémon so much. As he did, his twitchy line-of-sight ended up landing directly on Jessie, right when she was flashing him that one last smile.
Normally, he'd respond by yelling out 'THAT ISN'T FUNNY!' in a whiny voice with double the usual octaves. Today, however, was a little different. He inadvertently stared at her, deep in thought.
That had to have been the sixth grin that she had given him over the past week. And they weren't the usual 'We will steal Pikachu for sure this time!' or 'I enjoy watching you suffer, James' kind of smiles either. The emotion they were supposed to convey were a mystery to him.
Meowth noticed him staring off into space, and laughed. 'Lookit dat! James's deep in t'ought! I t'ought I'd never see da day. Quick Jessie, get da camera!'
A slight chuckle escaped Jessie's lips. It just confused James more. No guffawing at his expense? No insisting that only she could make fun of him? No additional snarky comments? Something was up.
'What? Have ya finally found out what three plus three is?'
'No, I-' He gave Meowth a glare. 'Have you noticed that Jessie's been acting... weird?'
Meowth scoffed. 'It took ya dis long ta figure dat out?'
A shiver went down the Scratch Cat's spine, one that shook him to his very core. He didn't even need to turn around to know that Jessie was, at that moment, giving him the mother of all Mean Looks.
'Not like that.' James said.
'Whaddya mean, Jimmy?' Meowth asked.
'She just smiled at me.'
Now realising what was going on, Meowth snickered. Of course that's what this was all about. He should've known. The talking Pokémon had two options: guide ol' Jimmy in the right direction, or be as unhelpful as possible.
It should be obvious which one he chose.
'Dat is strange.' He said, barely containing a smirk. 'Usually she'd break yer spine just fer lookin' at her wrong.'
'I know, right? And that's not even the end of it.'
'Ooh, do continue!'
It took all of Jessie's willpower not to just beat Meowth into a furry pulp. That cat wasn't stupid. He knew exactly what he was doing! The only reason she didn't snap was because she figured Meowth would make it more obvious for him.
'The other day,' James said. 'She just left that chocolate cake she stole out in the open! She was practically inviting me to take it. I thought it had to be a trap, but nothing happened when I ate it! In fact, Jessie didn't even seem to know it was-'
Meowth clamped his paw over James's mouth, and in a rather terrified and exaggerated manner pointed at Jessie. The woman in question pretended to read her magazine, when in reality she was paying full attention.
'Shut yer trap, James!' Meowth said. 'Youse don't want Jessie findin' out 'bout dat, do ya?'
'Mmmph! Mmn mm hmph!' (Oh no! I don't want that!)
Meowth removed his paw from James's mouth. 'Good. Now continue.'
As infuriatingly simple as James could be sometimes, Jessie had to admit that she loved that about him. So annoying, yet charmingly-childlike.
'When I got undressed yesterday to put on my work uniform, Jessie winked at me!'
The man didn't notice Meowth's eyes suddenly going wide for a moment. The way humans went about this sort of thing would never make any sense to him. Then again, it was probably just a 'Jessie' thing.
A mischievous grin appeared on his furry face. 'Did she say anythin' 'bout yer bod?'
James blinked at him. 'Uh... no. Why would she say that?'
Meowth slammed his face into the table. Just how stupid was this guy?! Every time he thought he had the answer to that question, James would proceed to lower his expectations further.
Jessie's hands began to shake, ever so slightly. Now she was certain Meowth was mocking her more than him.
'I dunno what's up wit' Jessie, James.' Meowth said, giving him a barely-noticeable look. 'What else has she done dat's weird?' He murmured an additional, 'Aside from everythin' else, dat is...'
James stroked Mareanie as he continued to explain. 'All day, she's been giving me this look.'
'A look like dis?' Meowth said, before he imitated that flirty look as well as he could.
'Yeah, that look! But what does it mean? Does she have some wicked plan involving me somehow? Has my shirt been on backwards all day and she didn't tell me because she found it too funny?'
Jessie's grip on her book tightened, so much so that she got dangerously close to ripping it in half. No one in the room sensed the vibes of pure frustration that emanated from her pores.
'And she's been so... nice to me! First it was giving me extra berries at dinner time. Then it was washing my uniform for me. And she hasn't hit me once this week!'
Meowth feigned a dramatic gasp. 'You're right, James. I t'ink somethin's wrong wit' Jessie.'
James gasped too, but genuinely. 'Really? Is it dangerous? Is it contagious?!'
Wobbuffet may have just been standing there this whole time, but if it wasn't for his complete inability to initiate attacks that Meowth would've been slammed by now. Even though he was Jessie's Pokémon, he did not appreciate that cat taking such delightful glee in terrorising James.
Meowth grinned. 'I wouldn't worry too much. I know exactly what Jessie's sick wit'.'
James's eyes grew twice their size and sparkled in the light. 'What... what is it?'
'I'll give ya a hint - it begins wit' an L.'
The Scratch Cat Pokémon had hoped that his little 'riddle' would get through that man's thick skull. His hopes were shot down the moment he got a look at James's confused expression.
'L-Leprosy?' He guessed, not even close to the goal. Not helping his case was the frightened way that word came out.
Meowth and Mimikyu both slapped their foreheads. Mareanie would've if she had any arms to slap with, so she settled with sighing.
'Wobba...' Wobbuffet muttered.
Somehow, James managed to pick up that he was incorrect. 'Lycanrocthropy? Lunatonacy? Ludicolo-itis?'
With every horribly-off guess, Jessie's exasperation with him increased. She could feel her blood boiling. That man could be dense, but this? Could she possibly hit any harder?!
'Um... drained by a Litwik?'
'OH MY ARCEUS!' Jessie screamed, causing James to flinch and miss a turn.
She slammed her magazine onto the floor, and with the most grumpy posture she could pull off stomped her way over to him. Her Mean Look kept him firmly in place, even as his whole body shook and shivered. Several veins could be seen on her forehead.
The angry aura that surrounded her put all the Totem Pokémon to shame. James was about ready to have a heart attack.
'GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL, JAMES!' Jessie shouted at the top of her lungs, every word dripping with rage. 'I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU!'
And with that, Jessie threw up her arms in utter exasperation and left the room to get some fresh air.
James stared off into outer space once again.
'James, I swear,' Meowth said, rubbing his temples. 'If dat didn't get t'rough ta ya, t'en dere's no hope fer youse.'
Taking another quick glance confirmed to Meowth that Jessie finally got it through his skull. His stare was not of confusion, but shock with an ever-so-slight dash of joy.
'Jessie... is in love with me?' He echoed.
'Wob-BA!' Wobbuffet remarked in a surprisingly sarcastic fashion.
James's mind went into full overdrive, trying to come up with the appropriate response. His mind turned up as blank as his stare. Two emotions battled for domination - the horror of becoming her housewife, and the joy of the feelings he didn't even know he had being reciprocated.
'Jimmy's gonna be at dis fer a while...' Meowth muttered, leaning over to steal some of his berries.
'SHE'S IN LOVE WITH ME!' James yelled, in some freaky mix of endless joy and boundless horror.
The sudden announcement took Meowth by surprise, making him fall to the floor flat on his face. James shot up from his seat, his eyes sparkling and his heart panicking.
'JESSIE IS IN LOVE WITH ME!' He yelled again, as if needing to confirm it for the world.
Either because he got up too quickly, or because the joy and horror fighting each other had worn themselves out, James fell unconscious and dropped to the floor.
Meowth picked himself off the floor, and looked down on the knocked-out man. He could hear Jessie spouting some child-unfriendly words outside in between her declarations of love.
'Somehow,' He said. 'T'rough all of dat... I'm not surprised in da slightest. Dat went about as well as I expected.'
Now he just had to wait until Jessie stopped chucking a tantrum, or until James recovered from his horrified/giddy shock. He suspected that neither would happen anytime soon.
With a sigh, he turned to the hypothetical audience. 'Let dis be a lesson ta ya, readers. Don't drop hints an' expect yer friend ta get it. Just tell 'em.'
Meanwhile, Mareanie plotted Jessie's demise.
Author Notes - Okay, seriously, as a woman, I don't get why we have to drop hints and get pissy if the man doesn't get it. The lady can totally make the first move. And in this case, she kinda had to.
A problem I tend to have with romance stories is making them a little too sappy, so I went full-on 'played for laughs' on this one. After all, my goal with this was to portray how this would happen in the anime itself.