Baby Steps

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Team Rocket. ( If I did, I probably would have fired them by now for failure to do their job, gross missuse of company materials, and overcharging the company accounts on bombs, ballons and rental vans.)

NOTES: This is my first Team-Rocket-Only fic! Dedicated to Rocket-shipper Shadowcat!

"Well," James sighed, cupping his chin with one hand.

" Another day, another failure," Jessie pressed her fingers to her temples, trying to ward off a headache.

"Could've been worse," Meowth shrugged.

" How?" James snorted. " We got blasted off - again."

" So what else is new?" moaned Jessie.

" We could have landed in a circle of Gyrados' again," Meowth pointed out. James brightened.

" Or a tree filled with Beedrill and Kakuna!"

" We could have crash landed in jail," Jessie finally smiled. Meowth grinned at her.

" See? Dere's always a silver lining! You just have to think of it!"

Jessie reached down with one gloved hand, gently scratching Meowth behind the ears in a rare gesture of

affection. James watched her with pride, happy that she was slowly moving past her ice-princess mode.

" I wonder what the boss will think of this," he murmered. " I think he's keeping a scoresheet about us."

" And those brats are stacking up the winners column," Meowth added. Jessie suddenly looked up.

" What was that noise?"

" Huh?" James barely had time to speak before the underbrush behind them gave way and a rampaging

Rhydon tore through. James grunted in pain as he collided with the pokemon's dense hide, bouncing off

and hitting the dirt.

" James!" Jessie cried, and she whirled around. " You can't do that to a member of Team Rocket!" Rage

tore through her and she pulled out her pokeball, screaming," Arbok! Poisen sting attack!"

Arbok attacked, razor-sharp fangs glinting in the moonlight as he streaked towards his massive opponent.

Liquid bolts of poisen shot out in a deadly stream. Rhydon grunted, feeling the poisen's imapct. But

instead of dropping him, the poisen made him mad.

" Uh...." Jessie quavered. Arbok, sensing his mistress's distress, lunged forward, wrapping his thick scaly

body around Rhydon, squeezing for all its might. But Rhydon was too powerful. With an impressive show

of strength, he broke free and wrapped his own paws arund the snake.

" Arbok!" Jessie cried. " Return!" The snake fizzled into a ray of red light and disappeared. Rhydon

seemed momentarily stunned and then focused his attention to the red-haired Rocket member.Jessie shook

her head. _How had this come about? One minute talking with friends, the next..._

" Fighting for my life!" Jessie jumped as high as she could, snagging a treebranch and pulling her feet up.

Rhydon passed beneath her, crashing into the tree. Jessie dropped lightly to its back and to the ground.

Seeing Rhydon stopped for the moment, she raced to her partner's side where Meowth had succeeded in

waking him up..

" James? Are you all right?"

"....d-did you...get..the l-license..number??" James asked woozily, opening his eyes. Jessie grinned. Then

his eyes widened and he cried out. " Look out!"

James pushed Jessie over and Meowth leaped forward, trying to draw Rhydon's fury on himself.

" Fury swipe!" The smaller pokemon slashed Rhydon's face trying to reach the eyes to disable it as it

charged again.

" Meowth!" Jessie pulled out another pokeball. " Go Likitung!"

The pink pokemon unfurled its giant tongue, stopping Rhydon in its tracks. Rhydon fell over, eyes

spinning crazily.

" Yes!" Jessie smiled and hugged Likitung. Meowth limped over and Jessie actually grabbed him in a hug

too. " Thank you Meowth."

" Anytime Jess."

" What about me?" James asked pitifully as he stood up. He pointed at the Rhydon. " Don't forget your

prize."

" Huh?" Jessie looked surprised - and then her eyes widened in realization. She reached to her back

pocket. " Go pokeball!"

Rhydono dematerialzed and was sucked into the red and white orb. Jessie held it thoughtfully.

" That was a victory," she murmered.

" Dat's cause we worked together, instead of fighting each other," Meowth nodded.

James folded his arms. " See what happens when we work as a team?"

The three of them stared at the pokeball, as the realizations and possible applications worked their way

into their minds.

" I think tomorrow, we go back and capture Pikachu once and for all!" Jessie grinned.

" We put the Team, in Rocket!" added James.

" Dere's always tomorrow," agreed Meowth.

The moon was high in the sky before the three of them actually fell asleep that night, curled close together

in a protective circle. They had learned a powerful lesson that night. And they would never forget it.