Journey 01: Second in Command

(Jessie is assigned a very special mission for Team Rocket. Nothing is what it looks like.)

Jessie's POV

Stop A: Solo Mission

This wasn't what I had in mind when the boss mentioned a special solo mission. At first I was proud that I was chosen for this over James and Meowth, and every other member of Team Rocket. I thought I was being recognized at last, but I was wrong.

I kept staring at Giovanni in disbelief, and he took the fact that I didn't blink and didn't stop looking at him as a sign that I was paying attention. In truth, I have no idea what he said between "listen carefully" and "that's everything you need to know," the beginning and the ending; that was all I caught.

Before I could muster a reply, Giovanni had already left while I continued to stand there as if a pokemon had frozen me. Then I sighed, and the world went back into motion.

I approached the crown prince, the heir to Giovanni's throne; because no doubt this child believes he is exactly that. Though I'm not sure if I should call him a child, he is old enough not to be a child, but he is treated as such and behaves as such.

I took a deep breath and adopted a look of determination. On the way up, everyone has to start somewhere. Admittedly, not everyone starts at the very bottom, some are born lucky and start half way up and others are even born on the top, like him, but I'm not that lucky. Even so, when you've hit rock bottom, all you have left to do is climb up and I intend to climb with all my might.

"Do you need anything?" I ask the one whom I am supposed to serve, shameful as it may be. But I did swear loyalty to Team Rocket, even if it means babysitting this spoiled brat. He looks at me with curious eyes, then approaches. I guess he wants attention.

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There is a knock on the door and I automatically respond to the sound with, "come in."

Cassidy enters, with Butch trailing behind her, and she stares at me with wide eyes before those same eyes turn as wicked as her smile. "You're in so much trouble!"

I laugh; she thinks I'm in the boss' office without permission. "Leave your report on the desk and get out."

Before Cassidy can counter, a commanding voice is heard, "do not make it a habit to stand in my way, move." Giovanni walks past Butch and Cassidy; then spares a short moment to look at their surprised faces. "Why are you standing in my office doorway?"

"The report," Cassidy stammers, holding out a folder.

"Put it on the desk and leave," Giovanni is not in a good mood and I know why. He forgot some of his pokemon on the desk drawer, not that I was snooping or anything, and he had to come back for them, which possibly made him late to wherever he's going.

Cassidy sets the folder on the desk, with an expression of pure shock that evolves into an icy glare directed at me, while I give her a victorious look.

"The pokeballs in the drawer," I take the pokeballs out of the desk drawer and hand them to him. Giovanni takes them, and doesn't comment on the fact that I'm sitting on his chair. "Take care of things here; I'll be gone longer than expected." With that said, Giovanni turns to leave, and glances at Butch and Cassidy on his way out. "If you have nothing else to report, then get back to work."

Butch and Cassidy give out a hasty "yes, sir" and scurry along.

I smile and pet the Persian sitting on my lap. I'm sure Giovanni only let me sit here because Persian likes to sit on his lap on this chair and be petted. It's all about Persian; I'm only a babysitter, or pokesitter for his spoiled feline baby. But today, in the eyes of my rival, I'm second in command of Team Rocket.

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Stop B: Secret Affair

"Traitor!" Meowth screamed at the top of his lungs. "How could you, with him, why him?" The pokemon pointed at me accusingly and I could only blink. I had just arrived at the Viridian City park, the place where we agreed to meet up.

"What are you talking about?" I was back from my solo mission pokesitting Persian, but I told Meowth and James that I was helping the boss with a top secret mission that I could not reveal to them.

"I know you were with him, I can smell him all over you!" Meowth continued shaking his pointing finger at me frantically.

"Did Meowth's hallucinations start soon after I left?" I inquired, directing the question towards James, because quite frankly I couldn't make heads or tails of what Meowth was saying.

"I'm not sure what's wrong. We were fine playing cards a while ago." James sounds very confused.

That confusion worsened with Meowth's continued accusations. "Don't deny it Jessie; you were with him the entire time. I'm a feline; I can smell his scent on you. Special mission? Top secret? Betrayal is what this is!"

I shook my head and decided to ignore the nonsensical accusations. "Go chase your tail, Meowth."

But James has paled considerably, and his face is changing colors, first white as a sheet, then as blue as his hair, and finally red with anger. If I didn't know better, I would say a human just learned how to use Rage. He clenched his teeth and tightened his fist around the pokeball containing Weezing. "How dare he steal Jessie from me?" He released Weezing from its pokeball and spoke in the most commanding, determined and angry tone I have ever heard James use. "Weezing, you and I are going to take out Giovanni on our own. If it gets too rough get out of there and take care of Jessie for me, I'll finish him off with my bare hands if I have to. I'll take on all his pokemon myself!"

"Have you both gone insane?" Honestly, I've always known James and Meowth would be lost without me, but I didn't think being gone for the majority of the day, from the morning until the evening, would affect them so much they would lose their minds.

"You're the one who betrayed us!" Meowth continued his accusations; then suddenly, he paused. "What did you say James? You're going to fight the boss? Are you crazy? It's not his fault; it's all because of Persian!"

"Persian? I don't know what part Persian had in this, but I can't let Giovanni steal my Jessie!" James persisted with his nonsense.

"Your Jessie?" I questioned, though my voice was ignored while James and Meowth continued their argument.

"Steal Jessie?" Meowth asked in confusion. "When did this happen? Why didn't anyone tell me?"

"You were the one who just told me!" James dramatized. "Didn't you just say that Jessie was with Giovanni, as in not just with him, but with him, because you smelled his scent on her?"

At that moment my cheeks started to turn red. I'm not sure if I'm blushing because of the misunderstanding, or more so because of James' reaction to it.

"Not the boss, Persian! She must have been petting him or something!" Meowth argued.

I cleared my throat and mentally willed my face to recover its normal color, though it was no use as it continued to match my hair. "Fine, I admit it, my so called secret mission was babysitting Persian. It's not that I volunteered or anything, Giovanni gave me the mission. Let me make something clear, I am not having an affair with the boss. He only needed me as a pokesitter, that's all."

James breathed in relief, "really?" I nodded and he happily called back Weezing to his pokeball.

I rolled my eyes, "do you think I would have such a small salary if I was going out with the boss?"

I wasn't serious, but James paled again. "You wouldn't do that, would you? I mean really, you don't like him, right? You wouldn't just go out with him for his fortune, right? I have money too, you know! All I have to do is reclaim it!"

"And marry Jessiebelle," Meowth reminded James.

Before any more weirdness was spoken, I raised my hand in a sign of silence. "I am not going out with Giovanni and that's all there is to it. Why would you care anyway?"

James blushes and fidgets uncomfortably. There is a moment of silence in which the tension hangs heavily in the air and then it all comes crashing down when Meowth spots a familiar Pikachu playing in the park. "He's here! Pikachu is here! Let's catch him!" Then life returned to normal, as if nothing ever happened.

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Stop C: Hotel Engagement

James pouted and gave me a sad look, like a baby Meowth in a snowy winter night seeking shelter. I really wish he would stop looking at me as if I slammed the door in the little Meowth's face and went off to kick baby Growlithe. "What's wrong with you?"

Team Rocket had blasted off again courtesy of Pikachu, but James didn't used to get this depressed about it. He sighs deeply and continues to give me that look. "Are you sure you didn't go out with him?"

I'm not sure if I should be hurt that I'm not trusted as much as I should be, feeling awkward because of James' insistence even if I thought life was back to normal when we went after Pikachu again, or if I should just take out my frustrations on James and get it over it. It is the last option that I opt for in my less than pleasant mood, but before I can say or do anything, an incriminating melody fills the air.

James continues to pout, glaring daggers in the direction of my ringing cell phone. I reached for the noisy device in my pocket and looked at the small screen, the word Boss was displayed on it. Any childish arguments James had in mind would have to wait, because, though there is nothing between me and Giovanni except work, it is because of that work that I must answer his call. "Hello?"

"Report to my office immediately," Giovanni hung up before I could reply.

Annoyed, I glared at the cell phone as I closed it and placed it back in my pocket. "I have to go to work."

"With him?" James and Meowth questioned at once, though I know they were referring to two different beings.

"Meowth, you're just going to have to get used to the fact that taking care of Persian is part of my job now." I know he's disappointed, he feels betrayed and replaced. "It's just a job," it's not like me, but the guilt is present and hurting.

"Fine, go take care of that spoiled pokemon. No one likes a freak anyway!" Meowth runs off on his own, at least maybe this way he'll take time to cool off.

"Are you abandoning us, going to the top and leaving us behind?" James asks.

"Don't be ridiculous, it's only a job. I'm not even getting a promotion for it," but I better be getting a bonus. After assuring James, I left to meet Giovanni.

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If I wasn't in Team Rocket, I should have dedicated my life to pokemon grooming, because I'm a great stylist. As I expected, the job Giovanni had for me involved Persian. The spoiled pokemon had taken a liking to me, which is far more than can be said for his previous pokesitters who ended up as human scratching posts.

However, it is not Giovanni's spoiled Persian that I'm currently grooming, but rather his fiance. I must make sure I refer to her as such, because I'm sure the boss would find the term 'future mate' to be too vulgar for a pokemon of Persian's caliber. Her name is Nya, a pampered pokemon of the same breed as her fiance, though her attitude is much better.

Judging by the quality of her shiny fur, the polished ruby on her forehead and the hint of expensive perfume, I can tell she's spoiled, but Nya isn't egotistical at all. She's friendly, obedient and hasn't given me any trouble at all; the only thing that's off is that she looks sad.

After a while of grooming Nya in a hotel room, the boss is really obsessed with his pet to even arrange a hotel room for this affair, Giovanni soon arrives with Persian. I feel like we're matchmakers.

Even if Nya isn't my pokemon, Giovanni is in a way Persian's paternal figure, thus pushing me into the position of being Nya's maternal figure. We're the parents arranging the marriage of our children. The groom will be happy with any pretty girl, but the bride is troubled.

Giovanni pets his Persian, kneeling next to the pokemon and whispering something in his ear, possibly a sort of father son pep talk, a little 'go get her tiger', or maybe even 'make me a grandpa'. I can't help it but to snicker at that last one. I have discovered a new side to Giovanni and I am very amused by it.

"Emergency! Emergency!" A maid comes rushing into the room out of breath. "You must evacuate at once. There's a" she gasps for air, "bomb!"

"A bomb?" Giovanni takes Persian into his arms, the spoiled pokemon is never kept in a pokeball, though I do know he has a golden pokeball decorated with diamonds and rubies, but I've only seen it once and Giovanni probably left it at home. I'm certain Persian, lazy but well trained and agile, can run by himself faster than Giovanni can run while carrying him, but the boss is feeling protective of his baby, possibly to balance out the fact that he's allowing Persian to befriend a female pokemon. "Jessie, get the girl and let's go. We'll find another place."

"Yes, sir!" It's been draining every ounce of will power I have not to laugh, despite the serious situation and the dangerous implications of laughing at my boss. I pick up the female Persian and rush after Giovanni.

The boss is a few steps ahead, running towards the elevator; doesn't he know you're supposed to take the stairs in emergencies? Speaking of stairs, the door leading to them opens and James stands there out of breath. "Jessie, think about what you're doing!"

"What I would like to know is what you're doing?" A suspicion forms in my mind and I'm almost certain that my guess is right. "You planted the bomb didn't you?"

Well, I was almost right. "There is no bomb, but I did send the threat," James admitted. "Meowth was passing by and saw you go into a hotel with Giovanni."

I blush scarlet, gently place Nya on the carpet covered floor and proceed to smack James over the head with all my might. But at the same time, I'm strangely happy that he went through all this trouble for me, even if it will most likely end up causing me a lot of trouble. Prepare for trouble and make it double indeed.

"I've been playing pokemon stylist this entire time, helping her," I point at Nya, "get ready for her date with Giovanni's Persian. The hotel room is for them."

James blinks, "oh... really?"

"Yes really!" I yell. "Do you have any idea how angry the boss will be if he finds out what you did?"

"The threat was anonymous and we kind of messed up the elevators so he might be trapped there for a while." James placed a hand behind his head and stared at his feet.

I slap my forehead, face, palm; "I can't believe this."

"Persian, per," Nya speaks in her pokemon talk that only Meowth understands. "Persian, persian, per per sian."

"She's saying it's best this way, because she doesn't want an arranged marriage, she wants to marry for love," Meowth translates.

Nya gasps in surprise, "persian!"

"Yeah, I can speak the language of humans," though this is an accomplishment to be proud of, Meowth looks embarrassed. "Go ahead and say it, I'm a freak."


"Amazing? What do you mean amazing? Um, why are you looking at me like that?" In a split second, Meowth is tackled to the floor in a fan girl glomp.

"Aw, she likes you!" James sounds amused.

But I know how troublesome this could be. "She's Persian's fiance!"

Meowth squirms unable to escape from Nya. "I don't think Persians are my type. Really, you're a nice girl and all but I already have someone I like." It seems Meowth never completely moved on from Meowzie. But his protests are ignored as Nya continues her fan girl embrace. If the elevator opened up now and Giovanni and Persian came, we would be in big trouble.

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Stop D: A Fine Mess

This is a fine mess, a fine mess indeed. Let us recap shall we? James, Meowth, Giovanni, Persian, Nya and I, are currently at a hotel. Nya is a female Persian chosen by Giovanni to be his Persian's future wife, but she has fallen in love with Meowth instead. Due to his lingering crush on the female Meowth called Meowzie, he does not return Nya's feelings. Or maybe it's more so due to his dislike towards Persians in general, but the point is, the romance is one sided.

At this very moment, Giovanni is trapped along with his Persian in an elevator, believing that there is a bomb in this building that could blow up any second. The hotel staff has panicked and left, but it's only a matter of time before someone starts to wonder where Giovanni is and comes looking for him. Besides, the boss has his cell phone so he could be calling for help while I'm standing here trying to figure things out.

I take a deep breath, "James, this is all your fault!" What should be pure anger is mixed with a strange sense of pride because troublesome as this is, it was done for me. Besides, as a member of Team Rocket, former member of a bicycle gang and all around cool bad girl, I can appreciate a well done false bomb threat when I see one, and this one turned out nicely, save for the fact that I'm caught in the middle of the chaos.

"I'm sorry, it's just that you said you were not with Giovanni, but you kept meeting him alone and this time in a hotel instead of the office, and I didn't realize the hotel was for Persian, and Meowth said it was my own fault for not saying anything sooner and... and... and..." James trails off from panicked excuses to uncomfortable silence.

I breathe deeply again. "You have a lot of explaining to do," it seems I can't decide how to feel about this. First I noticed how much trouble James went through because of me, and now I feel like complaining about him not taking my word for it when I said I wasn't going out with Giovanni.

The echo of footsteps is heard coming from the stairs, followed by a familiar voice. "Hurry, the elevator is stuck in the tenth floor!" I pull James and Meowth out of he doorway leading to the stairs and close the door. Cassidy has arrived, possibly with Butch and other reinforcements, off to rescue Giovanni.

Cassidy is my natural enemy, James is having strange attacks of jealousy, though it's not like he's my boyfriend and this is something that makes me wonder about his feelings, but I don't need more complications right now, and finally Meowth has unwillingly stolen Nya's heart. So far everyone has been making things into a bigger mess, but I know I can't solve this alone.

"James, keep this door closed, don't let Cassidy and the others in here!" I command, "Meowth, I want you to take Nya back to the Rocket Headquarters."

"But," the male feline protests, though the female seems happy with the plan.

"Now!" I insist urgently.

Grumbling, and fighting for his personal space, Meowth leaves along with Nya. The footsteps behind the door come to a halt and the handle begins to turn, but James grabs it on time. "There's no lock," he whispers.

These are emergency stairs so of course there wouldn't be a lock. "Keep the door closed I'll go get something to hold it with," I whisper back.

When you're in trouble, your adrenaline goes wild and your strength increases. I've always been strong, but now I can lift furniture as if it's weightless and pile it up in front of the door with amazing speed. "Alright," I gasp for breath as all the exercise catches up to me at once, no doubt I'll feel very sore later because of this. "Let's save the boss and get out of here. If we rescue him we might escape suspicion," or James might escape suspicion, since I had no part in the entire bomb false alarm, but if he is suspected since we are on the same team I will inevitably be suspected. The two of us rush towards the elevator leaving Cassidy to bang on the door and scream her head off because it won't open.

"James, what exactly did you do to the elevators?" The buttons that are supposed to control the elevator are not responding at all. It cannot be opened, even from outside.

"There's a room in the basement with a computer that controls all the elevators," James explains.

"Then let's go there," I stop frozen in my tracks. "How in the world are we going to get there?" Cassidy is trapped in the stairs and those are the only stairs. There are more elevators, but they're all in the same malfunctioning conditions as the one Giovanni is trapped in.

"Um... Well... Maybe... A rope?" James scratches his head and stares at a spot in the carpet; someone must have spilled something there. There's a cart full of cleaning supplies near by, a maid must have been about to clean it when the news about the bomb spread all over the hotel. Why do I care about such useless details anyway?

"A rope," I repeat, raising my hand to smack James on the head for trapping us in the tenth floor, while the man who signs our paychecks is trapped in an elevator thinking that there's a bomb about to explode. But instead my hand reaches for a pokeball, grasping the sphere where Arbok resides. "Go Arbok!" I rush into one of the rooms and look out the window.

James and my pokemon follow me with confused expressions, "What are you going to do?"

"You are going down to the basement and fixing what you did to the computer that controls the elevators." I emphasize that it is James who will do this. "Arbok will work as a short rope to allow you to climb onto the window in the room below and repeat the process floor by floor," I explain my plan.

"But I don't know how to fix the computer. I bribed a geeky Team Rocket member who's good with computers into hacking it for me," James reveals.

"Why didn't you say so? Call the computer geek and fix this!" I yell exasperated.

James' expression tells me that the situation, which is already a fine mess, is about to get worse. "The deal was that he could leave after Giovanni was trapped to make sure he wasn't caught up in this."

Great just great, I growl in frustration sounding like an angry Electabuzz. The hired hacker is gone and the elevator controlling computer is probably too complicated for anyone who isn't an expert to use. "What a fine mess."

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Stop E: Mission Impossible

We're trapped in the tenth floor, the furniture piled up at the staircase door will only hold Cassidy back for so long, Giovanni is trapped in an elevator controlled by a computer in the basement that neither James nor I know how to operate, and Meowth has left to escort his fan girl to the nearest Rocket Headquarters.

I take a look out the window, no doubt Meowth and Nya must have climbed down from the side of the wall. The decorative carvings would provide enough of a gripping surface for a feline, but not enough for a human. However, with Arbok's help we should be able to escape. But the question still remains, how do we get the boss out? I don't want to leave the credit of saving him to Cassidy. "Think, think, there has to be a way out of this." Did I mention I'm frustrated?

James assumed a thinking pose, with one hand on his chin and the other on his elbow. "In action movies, there's always an emergency escape hatch on top of the elevator."

"The problem is that none of the elevator doors connected to the floors will open, so even if it s possible to get out of the elevator box, it's still a dead end." I begin to pace in circles. Cassidy must have come prepared to cut through the doors, and the noise of furniture being torn apart indicates that in the same way she can cut through that as well. "Cassidy," I rush over and close the door to the room James and I are in.

Footsteps are heard rushing past the door out in the hall. But the metal elevator doors won't be as easy to break as the wooden furniture. Wait, wood... isn't there always a door on top of these buildings leading to the elevator shaft? A wooden door on the roof, not quite as strong as the metal ones on the floors, since the elevator doesn't actually go to the rooftop anyway, the access door is only there for emergencies.

"I have a plan," I announce, and I better come along to make sure it works instead of just sending James. "We're going to the top; there are only twelve floors so it won't take too long. Arbok, lift me to the window of the next floor."

"Arbok!" The long pokemon goes over to the window and I hold on. He stretches his body as much as he can and I make the mistake of looking down. A large crowd has gathered and is being pushed back by a group of look-alike female police officers, possibly all named Jenny. The people in the crowd point up, yell and cheer, as if this was a circus show.

I manage to hold on to the edge of the window of the room above and open it. I enter the eleventh floor and breathe heavily. I have one more floor to go, but I'm feeling the effects of vertigo and don't want to go back outside.

"Arbok be careful!" I hear James calling, and rush over to steady Arbok who is also frightened. James climbs in a shudders admitting, "that was scary!"

"There's one more floor to go," I gulp and pet Arbok, "just one more floor," I'm not sure if I'm comforting Arbok or myself.

"I'll go by myself, this is my fault anyway," James offers.

But I shake my head, recovering my fiery temper, "there's no way I'm giving you all the credit!"

James smiles, as if hearing me talk the way he's used to restores his confidence. "Right, we'll save the boss together and get a raise!"

It's just like old times, we're cheering each other on and dreaming about a better pay. "Then let's go; there's no time to waste. But just in case, send Weezing back to slow Cassidy's team."

"Right!" James calls out Weezing. The pokemon can float so getting back to the tenth floor should be no problem for him. However, he can't carry either of us, we've tried that in the past and it only resulted in both James and Weezing plummeting back into the pitfall trap from where we were trying to escape. Weezing couldn't carry me either; the only one light enough was Meowth.

James repeats the plan for Weezing and the pokemon goes off to do his part, while we continue to climb on to the last floor. Once we're up, I recall Arbok into his pokeball and James and I proceed with the mission. "There should be some stairs that lead to the rooftop," stairs that are not connected to the main staircase and lead only from the twelfth floor to the rooftop. Finding them was easy enough and we climbed up to the roof.

"There it is!" James runs over to the elevator shaft door and tries to open it. "It's locked," this comes as no surprise, but this door isn't as strong as the double metal doors of the elevator so we should be able to break it down.

"On the count of three," James understands and gets into position. "One, two, three!" We dash at the door and collide against it. I feel a sharp pain on my shoulder and I'm sure it's the same for James. The door creaked but wasn't knocked down. "Again!" We hit it twice more and finally we break through, falling into the shaft.

We struggle to hold on to the elevator cables and with a lot of effort manage to save ourselves. "Jessie, are you alright?"

Given the situation and the fact that I'm sore all over, especially my shoulder, no, I am not alright. But none the less I still reply with a tired, "yeah."

I can hear the boss yelling, his strong voice echoing in the elevator shaft. "Imbeciles! Hurry up and open this elevator, there's a strange gas slipping inside. Do you hear me?" Good, it sounds like Weezing did his job very well, because Giovanni isn't getting a reply.

James and I climb down and hop onto the elevator. We lift the top hatch and look down at the boss, how we waited for this moment.

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Stop F: To The Rescue

"You two?" Giovanni is shocked and his surprised expression is wonderfully satisfying.

"Nya is waiting at headquarters, shall we go?" I feel like the heroine of an action movie who was underestimated by the secret organization's leader, but then by a twist of fate, ends up saving his life. Actually that's exactly what I am, except Giovanni isn't in any real danger, he only thinks he is.

Giovanni's expression changes to an angered look. It's as if his ego has been broken by being rescued by us, one who is only good at babysitting, and another who is not good at anything, I'm sure that's how he sees us, or how he used to see us. "Let's get out of here quick." Giovanni lifts Persian, helping him reach the escape hatch and I take the feline and place him on top of the elevator.

Then it's up to James and me to grab Giovanni's hands and pull him up. My sore shoulder protests in the form of pain, and my back isn't too happy about it either. I can see James' face turning red from the effort and I'm sure mine is too. Let's just say that our boss isn't light. He is not fat, but he is tall, taller than James, and according to Meowth well built, don't ask me how he knows, the point is the muscle is heavier than fat.

Finally out of the elevator, Giovanni takes a moment to look up at the cables. He looks displeased; leave it to the boss to be picky and critical of his rescue. James and I are still trying to recover when Persian starts climbing up the elevator cables with his graceful feline skill, heading towards the light of the emergency escape in the rooftop.

Giovanni glances at me, then at James, as if waiting for us to say we have a plan. When neither of us responds, he looks up at Persian. "Persian!" The pokemon calls, as if telling his master to suck it up and start climbing.

Grumbling something under his breath that I don't quite catch, Giovanni starts climbing. He's more agile than I thought, but if he can climb this easily, then why all those silent complaints? I guess he's just spoiled, like his Persian. James and I follow up the elevator cables until we finally reach the rooftop. Weezing is there waiting for James who recalls the pokemon into his pokeball. Giovanni pays that detail no mind.

There are two helicopters circling the area. They both appear to belong to news crews, but one of them approaches and I realize that this is one of Giovanni's helicopters disguised as a news chopper. The helicopter lands on the roof; Giovanni, Persian, James and I hop aboard and we're off.

"Headquarters, yo?" The pilot asks; his hair is so much like mine that for a moment I wonder if I've stumbled upon a long lost cousin. Then realize he's not long lost at all, he simply lives in a far away region and works for another organization that is Team Rocket's ally, Shinra or something. I wonder why he's here.

"I'm sure we were caught on camera by the other helicopter." Giovanni glances at James and me; we're wearing our usual Team Rocket uniforms. "They might link me to Team Rocket..."

For a moment I fear that this will blow up in our faces and that we'll get fired for our little rescue mission because we were not discrete enough. But then James suggests, "you could pretend to be kidnapped and take a vacation."

Giovanni's expression lightens and I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding. "Yes, I'll call up the public relations manager and have him handle this."

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A few hours have passed since we arrived at headquarters. Meowth ran to us desperately asking where we were and why we took so long. He was followed by Nya, who wouldn't stop stalking him.

When Giovanni saw Nya, she was as much of a mess as Meowth, if not more. Meowth had apparently taken the hardest possible path towards the base in hopes of losing Nya, that left him dirty and muddy, but he didn't lose the stalker. However, Nya is agile as it naturally comes to a feline, but she is inexperienced in hiking, thus she ended up in worse conditions, covered in mud and dirt, a few muddy leaves sticking to her.

Giovanni looked horrified when he saw her. "This girl is not good enough for Persian. Send her away." With Nya gone, taking away in a pokeball by a Rocket grunt, Meowth was finally safe from his stalker, but I could tell that the disapproving look Giovanni gave him had hurt.

"I never win," Meowth muttered in sadness, as the boss walked away.

"It's okay Meowth, we saved the boss, maybe he'll give us a reward now," I tried to cheer him up. "You really need a bath by the way."

Meowth gasps, he's not too fond of water, but when he looks at his messy fur he sighs, "I know" and practically drags himself towards one of the bathrooms.

"How much of a raise do you think the boss will give us?" James sounds excited.

"I don't know but I hope it's big!" Even if all of this started as a disaster, it looks like it's going to end well after all.

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Stop G: Vacation

The media believes that the noble Viridian City gym leader is being held hostage by the terrible Team Rocket. Gifts are piling up at the gym's doors, as people prepare to console Giovanni upon his safe return, because it's unconceivable that he would not return safely. The police are working to track down Team Rocket's hide out and rescue Giovanni, who unknown to them is actually the leader of Team Rocket. It seems that every Jenny is looking for him, which leaves pokemon trainers unprotected with the police being so busy.

This is a great time to steal pokemon, but James, Meowth and I are on vacation, so we won't even think about that. Well, Meowth still thinks about it, he's really eager to become Giovanni's favorite and doesn't want to stop his climb to the top. But we're on vacation, in fact, I know all of this because I stopped to look at the television playing in the hotel lobby in Cinnabar Island.

As soon as the bellhop takes our luggage and shows us to our rooms, I quickly forget about the report and once again focus on our vacation. Meowth is trying to be cool by using pay day to tip the bellhop, thinking that our promotion has automatically made him rich and skilled. Meowth failed miserably, but James took pity on him and tossed some coins at the bellhop, hitting the poor boy on the face. Normally I would get annoyed at their shenanigans, but I'm in too much of a good mood, so I'm just amused. Never mind that we'll be broke after splurging our bonus like that.

Pretty soon we make our way to the beach and relax. If I'm ever going to ask James why he got so jealous when he thought I was dating Giovanni, this would be a good time to have him clarify his feelings. The sun is shining, the waves are gently washing over the shore, a soft breeze blows and everything is perfect. Until a huge wave crashes against the beach and Butch and Cassidy emerge from their submarine-tank hybrid reciting their version of the Team Rocket motto.

I'm covered in salty water and my vacation is interrupted, not to mention that I was about to ask James about his feelings, and now I'm not in the mood anymore. "Arbok!" My and James' pokemon have been building sand castles along with Meowth. "Squeeze the life out of her!" I growl, and Arbok springs into action wrapping around Cassidy.

"Traitor!" Cassidy gasps, while Butch tries to free her. Unable to do so, he settles for calling out a Drowsy, which ends up becoming Meowth's scratching post before given the chance to attack. I guess all Meowth really needed was some confidence and motivation.

"Let's go Weezing, they won't know what hit them." James clearly hints that he wants some cover, but it may not be so easy for the enemy to realize this if he doesn't shout out the command. I realize that we're much better trainers than we're given credit for. Weezing understands and covers the area were our rivals are in smoke. James takes a deep breath of fresh air before he sneaks in, while Meowth and Arbok return to my side.

"What is he doing?" I wonder as I hear the sound of building electricity. James returns to my side as well, the smoke clears up and the submarine-tank explodes, sending Cassidy and Butch to blast off again.

"I pushed all the buttons at once," James proudly declares.

"Nice job," I smile and give him a well deserved pat on the back.

Now that the entire misunderstanding with Giovanni is clear, he hasn't brought it up. "James, I've been meaning to ask you something about how you... well... how do you feel about me?"

James blushes and looks away. "What do you mean?"

"Oh for crying out loud," Meowth pouts and waves his arms impatiently, "just admit you like her already, you were totally obvious about it before!"

"Shut up!" James glares at Meowth. I look at James anxiously, then calm down and smile, let him take his time.

End of Journey 01

Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon. There's a small reference to Reno from Final Fantasy VII. Stop B of Journey 01 was inspired by a review from Azure.

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