The Darling Buds of May

I'm rocketshipping again, yay! Some adult concepts and kissing, but no sex or language. (What do you mean, you can't believe it?)  The Pokémon characters belong to… Pokémon, I guess.   The various songs and poems aren't mine, either…;) Credits of sorts at the end of the fic.

"The Darling Buds of May"

James composed his pretty face into a soulful expression, and approached his partner. "Jesse?"

"What is it now?" Jesse put her hands on her too-slender hips and frowned forebodingly. "I warn you in advance, if you're going to whinge, that you haven't been forgiven yet for the mess you made of this morning's mission."  She gave her partner the kind of hot blue gaze that reminded him that she could produce frying pans at will, and to watch his mincing step.

Out of pure habit, James opened his mouth for a defensive whine, but for once he choked it back.  It was not, he had to admit, the most promising opening for a declaration of eternal love, but he would only make it worse by defending himself.  And he had accepted that if he waited for his eternal beloved to be in a sweet and receptive mood before he declared his affections, he would be permanently single. And he didn't think he could bear it anymore.

He loved her… how could he not?  She was so intense and passionate in everything she did, whether it was misguided attempts to steal Pikachu, bopping James with a fan, or styling her hair. She was a goddess… Of course, she was a girl, but no one was perfect.

Nevertheless, James might have been content to drift on forever in a kind of erotically and romantically charged celibacy, taking Jesse's blows and embraces in almost brotherly spirit.  But he and Jesse had run into Butch and Cassidy again for the third time, and James had to admit the circumstances had been… unfortunate. If he didn't make his move soon, Jesse might seriously consider the respective benefits of an ambitious, beautiful young woman and… well, the Flaming Moltres.

It was time to do something about his relationship with his colleague, sure enough. And James knew exactly what to do.

"Jesse, I have something very important to tell you."  He paused dramatically. "I want to read you a poem," he declared.

Jesse was shocked into silence for a moment. After a while, she said, with a visible effort at regaining her usual nasty attitude, "You can read? Poetry?"

Meowth, who James had thought was conveniently asleep, began to recite mockingly, "Jack and Jill go up the hill…"

James managed to ignore it.  They would learn what true poetry was…  He struck a dramatic pose, ubiquitous rose in hand.  A spotlight, shining out from nowhere, illuminate him, and a rain of flower petals swirled around him.

       "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" he began.
     "Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
         "Rough winds may  –"

"Oh, James," Jesse breathed suddenly. Her beautiful eyes – sapphires, James thought, with a singular lack of originality, while his own eyes, he smugly reflected, were emeralds – filled with tears.  Diamond tears, James thought, mixing the strained jewellery metaphor even further.  Because he was in Team Rocket and thus had absolutely no idea of artistic restraint, he went on to mentally compare her skin to mother of pearl, and her hair to ruby, no, garnet, because her lips were rubies, and her tongue was rose quartz… oohhh, her tongue…

His thoughts drifted off in quite a different direction to the endless catalogue of gemstones, and it was with a start that he realised his darling had been talking to him for quite a few minutes. Guiltily, he forced himself to pay attention again.

"…you chose that particular poem because you think I'm sweet-tempered?" Jesse looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

Oh.  Oh, no.  Was that really what it meant? James desperately wished he'd bothered to look up the meaning of 'temperate' in the dictionary.  He'd just assumed the poem was about a pretty girl… James floundered, trying desperately not to think of the several times a day his goddess lost her temper over trivialities and started throwing out screams and blows, either at random or, more often, at him.

He wished Meowth would stop sniggering.

"It's because I – I – I see your, um, inner sweetness?" he tried.  Meowth buried his face under his paws and screamed with derisive laughter.  The Rocket boy surreptitiously aimed a kick at him.

"Oh, James." Jesse reached out and took his gloved hands in his. "No one understands me like you do."

Well, this was hopeful, if rather alarming. James squeezed her hands, and decided to move on to Stage B.

"I want to sing to you, too…" he added hopefully, noticing for the first time that they were not, in fact, in their usual log cabin/campsite/balloon, but, for some bizarre reason, in a karaoke bar.  Pikachu, sitting at a table with the twerps, sent him an encouraging wave of its little paw.  James gave them an odd look, and turned back to his beloved.

Jesse was smiling adoringly at him. "Because you feel your deepest feelings for me are better expressed by some crappy pop song or anime theme than just by telling me?"

"Yeah!" he agreed happily, glad she understood.  He reached up his hand to signal to the man wielding the jukebox to begin his song, and was suddenly distracted by all the pretty lights.

"Um, Jimmy? Are you going to begin anytime soon?" asked Jesse. She was still simpering, but her booted foot had started to tap ominously, and James realised that if a song wasn't quickly produced, it might end up tapping on his own backside.

James glanced at the wrist of his glove, where he had written in white texta "Make Jesse fall in love with me."  He was happy he'd provided such a helpful reminder of his intentions, but it didn't help his immediately problem…

What had he been planning to sing again? James ruefully realised that his five second attention span was a distinct liability when trying to win a girl's heart. He searched his memory, but suddenly the only song he could think of was the last one to have been played, which happened to be "It's Raining Men." Of course, it was one of his favourite songs, but he wasn't quite sure what Jesse would do to him if, after such a build up, he sang THAT.

James, with superhuman presence of mind, managed to wrench his attention back to the present situation.

He sent a ghastly look of panic at the karaoke man, who obligingly launched the jukebox into the standby of all karaoke bars.  Fortunately, even though he shuddered at the song itself, it was at least a love song, and James knew the words.  Most of the words.  Well, it was better than nothing. At least it wasn't Eminem or the All Saints.

   "You're just too good to be true," James crooned tenderly,
    I can't take my eyes off of you,
     You'd be like heaven to touch,
     I want to hold you so much…"

By the time he reached the climax, Jesse was looking definitely wobbly-eyed.  James threw his uniform into the air, revealing sparkly tights and a sequined tux jacket, and threw himself into it, gyrating sexily around and singing at the top of his voice.
        "I love you bay-bee, and if it's quite alright,
            I need you bay-bee, something something something night…" He spun Meowth around in a pirouette.

Jesse interrupted him by flinging herself into his arms, knocking poor Mewoth flying.. She felt even nicer pressed against him than usual, probably because of the tights.  The crowd that had gathered around them whistled and oohed. The twerps were applauding particularly hard, except Misty, who was pouting furiously.

"James, I love you too," she said.  "And I know what message you're trying to send me by singing me a gay classic like this." Tears filled her eyes. "It's so romantic and so queer… It's just like when the Pet Shop Boys performed it on those surfboards, or when Bob Downe sang it to Paul McDermott…"

It's a gay classic? James thought in surprise. Well, Jesse would know.  And, after all, most of the songs he knew were gay classics, for some subtle reason that temporarily escaped him.

"I know why you chose Shakespeare, too," she added, happy tears shining in her sapphire – no, he wasn't going to start that again.  He was too surprised that someone who thought Einstein invented the light bulb knew who Shakespeare was.  "You chose a gay classic and a famous bisexual writer to prove to me that you aren't going to sacrifice your sexual identity even though you're open to a monogamous relationship with me, am I right?"

"Sure!" James said happily. The thought seemed to make Jesse happy, and it was much better than admitting that he had no idea what the poem meant or who had written it.

"Oh, James, I love you so…" Jesse dropped her gaze suddenly. "I always thought you were… you know… that you preferred boys…"

James thought about telling her the truth about his usual preferences, and then decided that would be tantamount to suicide under the circumstances. Anyway, he had long ago decided Jesse was the man for him. Then a brainwave struck him. Suddenly he knew exactly what to sing. He gestured at the karaoke man, who somehow knew by instinct what song he wanted, and launched into his next number.

  "I'm a straight, in a gay gay gay world,

      I'm carryin' the banner, tryin' to keep the flag unfurled,
    And even if I've had my eyebrows plucked,
      It don't mean I hang around just to get –"

He was pleasantly interrupted by Jesse's tongue in his mouth, while the crowd whooped.

From the audience, Brock said wisely, "Just 'cos he's happy don't mean that he's gay."

Tracey nodded in agreement. "All his friends seem to take it quite the wrong way." He seemed rather disappointed about it.

Misty wiped her tears away. "There ain't many of us still left alive," she lamented. "All my friends have gone over to the other side."  Oh, well, she added mentally, there's always Marina…  Ash patted her comfortingly on the back.

James, when he ran out of air, reluctantly detached himself from Jesse's kiss.  All he had to do now was… He struck yet another pose, his disco outfit miraculously changing to a rather hideously befrilled wedding gown, complete with peach blossom and yellow scarves in his hair.

   "Yume ga ippai furiru ippai (So many dreams I have, and pretty fantasies)," 
he crooned, rather cleverly managing to sing in Japanese and English simultaneously.
 "Onegai yo uedingo doresu wedding dress (grant me my wish, o wedding dress,)
    "Mama no you ni   sutekina koi (My mother's perfect love, I wonder if such love)
  Mitsukaru kashira (Is something I could find as well?)
     "Todoketai no heart beat wo (I want to offer you my lonely beating heart)
  "Sasayaite   MAKE A WISH (And then I'll whisper "make a wish")
      "Mitsumeteru kizuiteru (Knowing each other, watching each other)
  "Sonna situation (that's our situation)
      "Shijiteru yumemiteru (Believing in love, dreaming of love,)
   "Onna no ko! (I'm that kind of girl!)" James finished triumphantly.
He produced a diamond ring out of nowhere and slipped it on his partner's finger.

Jesse was still a little dazed at the thought that James would sing about his mother's perfect love, considering what she'd seen of his family, but she quickly recovered. She embraced her partner closely. "James," she said brokenly, "Of course I'll marry you.  You are the only girl in all the world for me."

(The magic of a smile, a lovely angel's smile, will make a rainbow of your tears.)

Dedications: to my beloved (and devotedly rocketshipping) Floria, and to all the rocketshipping authors who valiantly use songs or poems regardless of whether they are lyrically appropriate or not. The goddess bless you all, you rock my world. And also in honour of Graeme "Shirley" Strachan, the original straight in a gay world – I can't quite believe you are gone. Vale, Shirl.

The sonnet is by Shakespeare, I have no idea who originally wrote "I can't take my eyes off of you," but it wasn't me, and I took the mind-boggling sappy lyrics of the Wedding Peach theme song (performed by FURIL) from the Techno Girls fansub.  "Straight in a Gay World" is an old Skyhooks song. sniff