Capture the Heart
Author's note: This story is a continuation based on the Pokemon: Diamond & Pearl anime, starting from after the episode "The Battle Finale of Legend!".
Disclaimer: Pokemon is not my idea and I don't own it or any of the characters, obviously.
At the western edge of the underground base, Officer Jenny and Pokemon Hunter J stood by themselves, facing each other. Thanks to Jenny's conversation with Solana, they likely wouldn't be interrupted by the other police officers and Pokemon Rangers roaming the complex. That was just how both women wanted it.
J's taunting words of, "My, how the righteous have fallen," didn't sit well with Jenny. To her, it was a ridiculous sounding statement. The name "Officer Jenny" was synonymous with righteousness not only in Sinnoh, but across the world. The entire family had fought against crime for generations, always trying to make the world a safer place to live in. They did their best to keep the world free from criminals like Pokemon poachers; criminals like J.
Jenny reached up and removed her dark blue hat, a staple of the police officer's uniform that she was so proud to put on every day. "You're saying that I've fallen?" she inquired, dropping the item to the ground. The hat came to rest next to the metal net where Pokemon Rangers Evan and Logan, along with their temporary Pokemon, still lay unconscious.
"Intentionally allowing criminals to escape? Lying to your allies? I'd call that very unbefitting of someone wearing your uniform," J had an amused tone to her voice. "Your obsession has gotten the better of you, Jen."
Not seeming overly angered by the accusations, Jenny began sliding off the white gloves she wore on her hands. "And when did I ever intentionally allow you to escape?" she asked.
"Please, you've seen me use that flash bomb before. You've even seen me pull it out of my sleeve," J was eager to point out, referencing the initial trap of the officers and Rangers that she'd gotten out of. "'Put both hands behind your back?' Very subtle."
Surprisingly, Jenny denied nothing. She finished removing her gloves and tossed them aside. Reaching into the navy blue pack on the left side of her waist, she then pulled out another pair of gloves, black in color. These, however, had thick steel rings between the knuckles on every finger except the thumb. The rings mimicked the effect of a pair of brass knuckles, increasing the damage done when a punch connected while reducing the likelihood of damage to the user's fingers at the same time. "It doesn't matter. We have total control of your base," the policewoman claimed, slipping one of the gloves onto her right hand. "There's no way you'll escape. Whether you like it or not, you are going to prison tonight."
Once she had both gloves strapped on comfortably, Officer Jenny cracked the knuckles on both hands and narrowed her eyes at J. "I'm just making sure that I personally have the pleasure of taking away your freedom. After all the years I've spent chasing you, I just wouldn't be able to live with myself if I let someone else bring you down. Nobody, and I mean nobody, deserves that honor except for me."
J almost felt like applauding the woman's honesty. "Well said," she smirked in approval, motioning with her hand for Officer Jenny to come at her. "Here I am. Come strip me of my freedom...if you can."
Jenny was happy to oblige. She charged at the Pokemon hunter, fists tightened and ready to dish out a hurting. J wasn't going to just stand there and wait, though. Truth be told, she was still a little too close for comfort to the liquid adhesive covering the floor from earlier. Any extra distance between herself and the pink goo would be a plus, and thus she set forth to meet the officer head-on.
The first punch was thrown by Jenny, a simple, straight left aimed at J's face. J would show off some of her incredible agility as she took to the air, avoiding Jenny's punch and grabbing the other woman's right arm with both hands. J flipped over the top of Jenny's body, pulling the officer's arm back with her. The heels of J's boots clacked against the floor as she landed behind Jenny, their backs now facing each other. Then, utilizing her impressive physical strength, J pulled on Jenny's contorted arm and flung the woman over her shoulders.
Jenny may have gone for a ride and landed flat on her face if not for her own amazing reflexes. With her right hand, she grabbed hold of the left shoulder area of J's coat and used her opponent as an anchor. Jenny landed on her feet, now face-to-face with J, and grabbed the right sleeve of J's coat with her other hand. She had brought the Pokemon hunter into a very tight combat situation.
With both hands gripping J's clothing and keeping her close, Jenny threw her bare knee at J's abdomen. J crossed her forearms over her gut to block the shot though, muscling her right arm into place despite Jenny's hold on it. Jenny threw another knee, and then another. Try as she might, she wasn't getting through J's defense. Opting to try something else, Jenny let go of J's coat sleeve and attempted a left hook aimed for the silver-haired woman's face.
Pokemon Hunter J ducked Jenny's fist, spinning clockwise in the process. Then, coming back around, she tried to hit the female officer with a backfist. Jenny leaned her head back and narrowly avoided it, but also lost her grip on the shoulder portion of J's coat. Putting the extra distance to use, J brought her leg up and tried to stomp the heel of her boot into Jenny's chest, but Jenny caught her foot and held onto it.
Not wanting to give Jenny the time to capitalize, J kicked off of the officer's hands and sprung herself into a backflip. Jenny watched closely and moved in at just the right moment. As soon as J's feet touched down, Jenny used a leg sweep that connected and knocked J onto her back. J, however, quickly spun around on the floor and took out Jenny's footing with a leg sweep of her own. The two women rolled around and both got to one knee. Their chests moving in and out with the rhythm of their increased breathing, they faced each other again, unmoving.
The expression on Jenny's face was stoic, focused. J, on the other hand, looked as though she'd enjoyed their exchange. This little detail didn't escape Jenny's perceptive stare.
"You're different," the policewoman stated.
"We both are. It's nice to see you've been honing your fighting skills," J complimented her.
"I'm not talking about that," Jenny insisted. "It's that smile. You've never smiled like that in front of me when we fought before."
"Really? I hadn't noticed," J dismissed the observation with a gentle shrug of her shoulders. "I forget, how long has it been since the last time we went at it like this, Jen?"
Jenny didn't even have to think about the answer. She'd been counting the days since the last time she'd had such an opportunity. "One year, one month and eight days," she said. "Way too long!"
Not waiting around any longer, Officer Jenny got up off of her knee and went back on the offensive. J followed suit. The Pokemon hunter landed a solid kick to the left side of Jenny's body, a shot that Jenny allowed for the chance to get in close and land a knockout blow. Jenny aimed the steel on her gloves at J's cheek and swung, but J swirled to the side and avoided the attack, watching as Jenny's fist nearly grazed the tip of her nose. J was about to drive her knee into Jenny's gut when the officer's elbow suddenly came back around and cracked her in the face.
That hit provided enough of an opening for Jenny to get behind her target. She grabbed J's right arm, pinned it behind her and wrapped her own free arm around J's throat. "Solana tells me you've been going off on your own a lot lately, so much that even your crew thought it was strange," Jenny mentioned, trying to keep the wanted criminal under her control. "Tell me, what have you been up to?"
J used her free hand to try to pry Jenny's arm away from her neck. It wouldn't be hard for Jenny to choke her out otherwise. "I wanted to keep it private, but since you asked, I've been out doing some clothes shopping. You should think about it, too. I'm sure your wardrobe could use an upgrade," J teased the woman.
"Don't joke around with me! Tell me the truth!" the female officer demanded, tightening her grip.
Capitalizing on the momentary lapse in concentration, J drove the back of her head into Jenny's face, forcing the woman to let go of her. J then grabbed Jenny's arm and flung her to the floor. She grapevined her legs around the officer's limb and pulled back on it with her hands, threatening to break it. Jenny clamped her other hand onto the trapped one and yanked back with all of her strength to keep J from snapping her arm.
"Well then, would you believe I was out watching movies?" J continued to mock the question.
"Like you would ever have any interest in those things!" Jenny snarled back at her.
Officer Jenny rolled onto her knees and positioned herself directly over J. She was going to give the notorious hunter no choice but to let go of her. Once she was back on her feet, Jenny slowly began raising her arm, and J along with it, up into the air. When J had reached knee level, Jenny used the power in her legs to boost the criminal above her head with one burst of energy.
Knowing she would be slammed against the ground if she didn't let go, J wisely gave up her grip on Jenny's arm and dropped to a standing position. Now free of each other and in close range, both women came up with the same idea. They each turned and threw a side kick at the other's chest. J's deceptively long legs got the better shot in on Jenny's side, but Jenny's foot was able to make contact with J as well. The two of them jumped back and slid to a stop, both holding the spot where they'd been hit.
Now, Jenny noticed, the expression on J's face had changed. She wasn't smiling as she had been earlier. Instead, she looked serious.
"What if I said...that I'd fallen in love?" J abruptly asked.
Jenny silently batted her eyes at the silver-haired hunter. Surely it was just another false answer to her earlier question designed to get under her skin. The absurdity of this one was just too much, though.
"Now that one I know is a lie," Jenny said, tightening up her gloves. "You? In love? Please! There isn't a man in the world that could tame you."
True. There really wasn't a man in the world that could tame her, J admitted to herself. "You're right, but I could say the same thing about you," she told Jenny. "We're two of a kind, you and I."
"Don't put me in the same category as you," the policewoman objected to the comparison.
"Deny it all you like, but you know it's the truth. I'm sure you've heard the results from times when your sisters and cousins have crossed paths with me," J said, stretching out the arm that had been pinned behind her earlier to return some of the feeling to it. "Those pathetic weaklings would have trouble stopping a petty shoplifter if they ever encountered one."
Officer Jenny looked genuinely upset at that last remark. "My family is dedicated to keeping the peace in this world. Every one of us that puts on this uniform is brave and noble for doing what they do. Don't you EVER speak badly of them!"
"Not a single one of them can measure up to you!" J snapped back at the woman. "You've spent most of your adult life tracking me and you're frustratingly good at it. Tell me, what would you ever do if I were caught and imprisoned? Spend your days handing out parking tickets like the rest of your family? Would you be satisfied with that?"
Though she wasn't sure where J was going with this, Jenny answered the question. "If that's what was asked of me, yes."
"You're deceiving yourself if that's what you believe," J accused her. "You wouldn't be able to stand it. You're too good for something like that. It would be a colossal waste of talent."
"What are you getting at, J?"
"I'm saying what deep down you already know: without me to chase, your life would be empty. You need me, Jen."
There was a tense quiet between the two women. The sounds of Drapion and Arcanine battling had stopped, but neither took notice of it.
Once J's words had enough time to sink in, Jenny gave her the only appropriate response she could. "I am a police officer, and despite what you might think, I am still righteous," she declared. "I will take you down and I will send you to jail. If the end of your Pokemon poaching days makes my life become a little less exciting, then so be it! That's a trade-off I'll gladly accept!"
J wasn't surprised in the least by that answer. Jenny was a stubborn woman that would spout off about her principles to the very end. "Well then, I suppose we should wrap this up," the Pokemon hunter suggested.
Officer Jenny readied herself for the inevitable physicality of what was about to happen. "Let's do it."
In the blink of an eye, the clash between J and Jenny resumed. What had taken place before seemed only to be a warmup now as the two women completely let loose on one another. Jenny threw her vicious fists at J over and over again, trying to land that one punch that could stun the hunter enough to finish her off. Blocking the blows would do unwanted damage thanks to Jenny's special gloves, so J instead swatted them away or moved her head around them.
Jenny would finally get her hit, though, and she took another clean one in order to do it. J slugged her on the left side of her face, but Jenny pushed forward and grabbed a handful of the silver-haired woman's coat. J tried to move her arm down to soften the shot she knew was coming, but Jenny didn't allow her the time. The officer pulled J toward her and dug her right fist into the criminal's abdomen. J doubled over, momentarily stunned by the heavy blow.
Then came the follow-up shot. Still holding onto J's coat, Jenny landed an uppercut on the bridge of the woman's nose. The rings on Jenny's glove smashed through the screen of J's headset and then into the cartilage of her nose, breaking it on impact. J's head flew back, as did the rest of her body, with enough force that she was freed from Jenny's grip, but the damage had been done.
Blood seeped from J's nostrils and dripped down onto the floor next to small pieces of her headset. Somehow, she still had her wits about her. J continued to backpedal as Jenny closed in for the knockout blow, and then she turned the tide of the battle. J played possum, turning her back toward the officer and looking more dazed than she truly was, and Jenny fell for it. The policewoman ate a sharp wheel kick to her jaw courtesy of J's boot. She'd never seen it coming.
Jenny staggered back, and J, her face a mess, went after her. J jumped into the air and twirled around, landing a devastating spin kick to Jenny's cheek. The officer again reeled and J kept on her, hitting her with another spin kick that sent her into the stone wall of the corridor. The Pokemon hunter's educated feet were dishing out some serious damage. Jenny used the wall at her back to keep herself upright. The wheel kick had made her inadvertently bite her tongue. She could taste the blood in her open mouth, and J could see it.
Pokemon Hunter J moved to finish off her prey before she could recover. She jumped into the air again, planning to put everything she had into one final knockout kick to Jenny's jaw. The policewoman was gritty, though. Growling through her blood-covered teeth, Jenny lunged forward and caught J in midair, then threw her back into the eastern wall. Jenny closed the distance quickly to keep J from escaping and began unloading fists into the woman's body.
One of Jenny's punches hit J in the side of her abdomen. Another was blocked by J's left forearm, a blow that was going to leave an ugly bruise. After that, J decided she'd had enough of this position. She needed to get the hell away from the wall and give herself some room to maneuver and fight freely. J slipped by a third punch from the officer and dove to her left to get away. That was when she felt a sudden weight on her boot. Jenny had planted her own foot on top of it.
Unable to regain her balance, J fell to her stomach. Jenny, seizing the opportunity presented to her, lifted her right leg up and stomped down on the Pokemon hunter's left ankle. The resulting sound of bone cracking rang in both of their ears.
"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" J grabbed at her ankle, wailing in pain.
Spitting out some of the blood pooling in her mouth, Officer Jenny took a step back and stared down at her foe. Oh how she loved the sight before her. Pokemon Hunter J, the woman she'd spent all those years chasing, was down and in a great deal of agony, and it was all because of her.
"That looks like it hurts a little," Jenny teased her fallen opponent. Her expression was still as serious as ever despite the joy she was taking in this moment.
J struggled in trying to get back to a standing position, hissing obscenities through her teeth all the while.
"What are you doing?" the policewoman slowly crept toward her. "Don't tell me you're planning to fight me on one leg?"
When healthy, the two women were an even match for one another. For one of them to face the other with a broken ankle was just absurd. J knew that, too, but when the only other alternative was to surrender herself to the authorities, fighting with only one leg to stand on was easily the lesser of the two evils.
Using the wall for assistance, J very gingerly hobbled back onto her one good foot. She was using every mental trick she knew to try to put the pain emanating from her ankle in the back of her mind. Even the pain in J's stomach from the punches she'd taken was a bit of a help; at least it was distracting her from her ankle a bit. A quick test confirmed that she couldn't put any weight at all on the broken joint.
Quietly seething to herself, J scowled back at Jenny through her broken headset. "Don't get all cocky just because you got one of my ankles," the Pokemon hunter warned the officer.
Jenny knew all about the perils of getting overconfident when going up against J, but this wasn't like any skirmish they'd had before. "And what do you think you can do against me with one leg?" she questioned the criminal. "You can't kick me when your only good leg is keeping you upright. What are you going to do? Huh?"
"Why don't you come over here and find out?" J snarled in response.
Shaking her head, Jenny gladly took her foe up on the invitation. She approached J with her fists raised, looking poised to start wailing away with her gloves again, but instead she snapped a quick kick at the woman's wounded ankle.
"AAAAGH!" J cried out, crumbling to her knees. The pain was just too much.
Officer Jenny looked down at the Pokemon hunter in disgust. J appeared so pathetic right now, clutching at her ankle and on the verge of defeat. Jenny couldn't stand to see it. It was time to put an end to this.
J felt a weight on her back, then an arm curling around her throat from behind. Jenny wrapped her legs around J's torso and put all of her strength into clinching her arm against the woman's neck.
"Time for you to go to sleep," the officer whispered into J's ear. She was going to choke J out.
J pulled against Jenny's arms, trying frantically to keep the woman from cinching in the hold. She needed to do something fast. Jenny was in a much better position and she wasn't going anywhere, not with her legs locked around J's abdomen as they were. If things stayed this way, J would undoubtedly be the one to tire first.
"I can't fall here," J silently reminded herself of who she was doing all of this for. Her mind was soon filled with images of Dawn. "If I do..."
Most of J's life had been spent despising other people. She hated her aunt and uncle with the utmost passion for the way they treated her after her parents had passed away. She detested those Pokemon poachers who had used she and Bagon to do their work, even though they had provided her with food and shelter in return. She loathed police officers, Pokemon Rangers and anyone else that tried to get in the way of her jobs. She didn't even enjoy being around her own crew members, though she learned to tolerate them since they were necessary to carrying on the large operation she once ran. For the longest time, she truly wanted nothing to do with anyone.
All of that changed the instant one blue-haired girl wandering around at night in her pajamas started wiping the dried blood away from J's face. It took a while for J to realize it, of course. She'd thought herself to be incapable of wanting to be near other people anymore. She had experienced friendship back when she was attending school as a youngster, but that was a very long time and many unpleasant memories ago. Love? That idea outright disgusted the Pokemon hunter. It seemed like something that only weak people felt because they weren't strong enough to go through life on their own. And yet, here came along this girl named Dawn, and J wanted to see her again. She wanted to be near her. She wanted to hear her voice. Right at this moment, she wanted to grab hold of that girl and never let go of her.
Dawn was that little pest who wouldn't leave J alone after the girl had found her at Lake Valor. That brat who had called her horrible. That girl she just couldn't seem to forget about, no matter how hard she tried. That bright, shining light that had somehow managed to capture her heart.
"If I fall...I'll never be able to be with her," J told herself. "I can't fall here. I can't fall here! I can't!"
Jenny's eyes widened in surprise when the Pokemon hunter planted her right foot against the ground. "Stop struggling!" she screamed at J, waiting for her to give in.
That demand only urged J on more. Slowly but surely, one leg and all, she was raising herself upward. Even with the full weight of Officer Jenny on her back, J was doing it. And she did do it. Much to Jenny's dismay, J was standing again. Jenny rocked herself back, trying to make J lose her balance and fall back down, but the silver-haired woman leaned forward to compensate for the shift in weight. She would not go down.
"Now what? You still can't do anything!" Jenny hollered into J's ear. She was getting ever closer to winning the battle of arm strength and choking the woman out.
"We'll see...about that...!" J growled through her teeth.
Knowing her current position within the corridor, J took one hop backwards on her leg. Then another. And then another, leaning back enough so that Jenny's weight was helping build momentum. One more hop, faster this time. On the fifth and last one, J threw herself and Jenny back into one of the glass panels on the western wall. It couldn't handle the force of the two women slamming into it.
The glass shattered. J fell back against the concrete portion of the wall and was showered with small chunks of the window. Some pieces hit her body and slid off, while others stuck themselves into her hair. A few pieces even fell down the collar of her coat.
For a moment, J just sat amidst the glass shards, staring ahead blankly as she tried to catch her breath. Her nose, abdomen and ankle hurt like hell, the ankle worst of all. Jenny was...somewhere, but definitely not latched onto her neck anymore. J could hear a pained groan coming from the stairwell behind her. She could guess what had happened to Jenny now.
J pushed herself up until she was sitting on the concrete part of the wall, cringing with every little movement her left foot made along the way, and looked down into the stairwell below. Officer Jenny was laid out on the incline of stairs, writhing in pain and clutching at her left shoulder area. She had fallen 16 feet and landed heavily on the left side of her back. The impact with the stairs had broken her left collarbone. Her greenish blue hair was also showing a hint of red due to some cuts on the back and side of her head that were opened by the glass.
The silver-haired hunter turned back around toward the corridor. After one more deep breath, she got back onto her good foot and hobbled over to the net gun she'd discarded earlier. It may have to be used for its true purpose later, but for now J was using it as a cane of sorts to help her walk. She wearily made her way over to the corridor to the east where her Drapion and Jenny's Arcanine had disappeared to earlier.
Wiping away more of the blood that was dripping down from her broken nose, J leaned up against the wall for support as she took in the sight of the two Pokemon. Arcanine was sprawled out on the ground. Drapion was just barely propped up against the southern wall. Neither were moving. Evidently, they had battled to a draw.
Lightly nodding her head, J held out her creature's pokeball. "Drapion, return."
Drapion had given everything it had in the course of multiple battles today, and its master appreciated it. J made a mental note that she would have to give it a treat once this whole mess was over with. As she put Drapion away, she briefly glanced down at the pokeball of her one remaining Pokemon. "Looks like it's just you and I, Salamence," she said softly.
With the assistance of her gun, J slowly resumed her trek toward the southern end of her base. She was now more appreciative of how much ground she'd been able to gain while running before. Jenny had really done a number on her by taking out her ankle, she bitterly admitted. The thought of that frustrating woman brought J's eyes to the upcoming door to the stairwell. The door wasn't electronically controlled like the others. There was no need since the entrance to the hangar at the bottom of the stairs already had such controls.
The Pokemon hunter soon made it to the spot where the door sat. She took a long look at it, trying to decide between hurrying onward and another, less efficient choice. For some inexplicable reason, she was leaning toward the less efficient choice.
"Maybe I'm getting soft," J muttered with a disappointed sigh. Though not happy with her decision, she went over to the door, grabbed the handle and swung it open.
Officer Jenny was still on her back and not moving much. Although the pounding in her face and her collarbone stood out more than the pain in other parts of her body, absolutely everything felt like it hurt after the fall she'd taken. She'd thought choking J out was a move that came with fewer risks than continuing to fight as they had been doing, but that damn woman had shown yet again why nobody had been able to bring her to justice yet.
The female officer was livid, cursing herself for blowing such a chance, when she began to hear a clanking noise coming from the metal stairs above her. She tried arching her head back to see what it was, but the pain in her busted collarbone put a stop to that in a hurry. Jenny hissed in discomfort as she clutched at her left shoulder area again.
"Still alive?" a familiar voice asked.
"Screw you!" Jenny immediately retaliated. It seemed that a certain Pokemon hunter wanted to rub it in a bit, which was the last thing the policewoman wanted right now.
Using the railing of the staircase to brace herself as she hopped downward, J stopped on the step just above where Jenny's head lay and leaned back against the wall, making sure not to put any weight on her left foot. She was still trying to catch her breath while looking over the downed officer.
"Collarbone," Jenny spitefully conceded the main source of her anguish.
"Ouch. I suppose that's a fair trade for my ankle and nose," J said to her, sounding satisfied.
"What are you even doing here? Don't you realize your base is still full of people looking for you?"
"I figured that fib you fed to the Ranger girl earlier bought me some extra time, so I came to check on you."
"I don't need your damn pity!"
"My goodness, fine then. If that's how you're going to be, maybe I'll leave."
With an indifferent shrug of her shoulders, J grabbed the railing again and began ascending the stairs. Jenny was obviously still full of energy. Once the others found her, she'd be perfectly fine.
Hearing the officer utter her name, the Pokemon hunter turned around. "Hmm?"
Jenny looked to be calming down somewhat as she stared up at the ceiling of the stairwell. "You weren't wrong," she spoke.
"Oh? About what?" J arched a curious eyebrow at the woman.
Closing her eyes, Jenny thought back to a particular day not so long ago; it was one that she would never forget for the rest of her life. "That day...I was following up on a tip about where you were. It led me to Lake Valor," she said. "I was there..."
Now the female officer had Pokemon Hunter J's full attention. "You saw that, did you?" J asked, knowing just what she was talking about. "That's unfortunate. It was the lowest point in my entire professional life."
"No, listen..." Jenny insisted, drawing an inquiring glance from the other woman, "...there's something you don't know about that day..."
Lake Valor, the day J's ship went down...
Officer Jenny's scooter sped toward the large body of water. Arcanine ran alongside her, having no trouble keeping up with the vehicle. That ship people had reported seeing nearby sounded a lot like the ship of Pokemon Hunter J and her crew from the descriptions provided.
With the shore of Lake Valor fast approaching, the officer slammed on her brakes and brought her vehicle to a stop right at the shoreline. Scanning the area for that elusive criminal she just could never seem to apprehend, it wasn't long before she spotted something over on the eastern shore. It was J's ship, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, the ship was now lifting into the air.
"Shoot, we were too late!" Jenny fumed. "Come on, Arcanine, we're follo-!"
Jenny cut herself off. What looked like two lightning bolts appeared seemingly from out of nowhere and struck J's ship. Smoke billowed from the ship's exterior. The damage done to it was obviously significant, because the massive machine was rapidly falling toward a raging whirlpool on the lake's surface.
"Wh-...what are you doing? Get that thing under control..." Officer Jenny shook her head, not understanding what was going on. J always had some sort of emergency measure ready to take when things like this happened. Why wasn't she doing anything?
The policewoman dismounted her scooter and stood next to Arcanine as they watched the ship continue to plummet. She could hardly believe what she was seeing. She didn't want to believe it.
"You're going to crash, dammit! DO SOMETHING!" Jenny screamed, her face now showing a look of panic.
She could only watch in complete and utter shock as the ship fell into the violent water and sank, the sound of its engines gradually fading into silence. The ensuing explosion deep below the surface of the lake moments later set off something in Jenny's heart that she never would have thought was there.
Officer Jenny dropped to her knees, breathless. This couldn't be happening. J was...dead? There was no way. She had chased that woman forever. J was too cunning, too intelligent. She could not have just died like that. She couldn't have.
The stunned expression on Jenny's face quickly turned to one of fierce anger. "Don't you screw with me..." she balled her hands into fists and slammed them down into the dirt. "She was mine! She was MINE!"
Jenny snapped. Suddenly raising her head, she tossed her hat to the ground and kicked her shoes off. The officer dove headfirst into the water without even thinking about the danger the whirlpool may pose to her. Luckily, it was far enough away that she wasn't pulled into its flow, but that could change if she got too close.
She swam like she never had in her entire life. With every stroke she went further out from the shore, deeper into the watery depths. Far, far below, she could see the smoldering remains of J's ship. There was no chance Jenny could make it down there without an oxygen tank. Even if she could, everyone aboard had certainly perished in the explosion.
"This isn't funny! Don't you tell me she's dead! She has to be here somewhere! She HAS to be!" Jenny frantically thought.
Then, out of the corner of Jenny's eye, an object in the water drew her attention. Coming from the direction of the whirlpool and drawing nearer. Deeper than she was, but not out of her range. A body?
Officer Jenny couldn't stay there; she was out of air. The uniformed woman swam back up to the surface and caught her breath. It really had looked like a body, she thought. Filling her lungs with air, she dove again to get a better look. It was closer now. The arms and legs were much easier to see. It really was a body. The colors of the person's hair and clothing were difficult to make out underwater. Jenny had to get in closer. She needed to know if it was the person she was looking for.
The body had a black coat. Underneath was a suit of another, lighter color. The hair appeared to be light-colored. Jenny still couldn't make it out. She pushed herself as hard as she could and, finally, she made it to the necessary depth. The body had gloves on its hands like the person she was looking for would, but no headset over its face, a discouraging sign. Ready for whatever may come, Jenny reached out and grabbed the person's hand. Their hair shifted, giving the officer a clear look at the face that went with the body.
There she was. No headset, blood seeping from a bad cut on her forehead, but definitely her. Definitely J. There was no way she had been on the ship when it exploded. The force of the whirlpool had probably carried her right out through the broken windows of her ship and then thrown her body over this way.
Jenny couldn't believe her luck. What were the odds? Well, that wouldn't matter if J ended up dying. She needed to get the wounded woman back to dry land, pronto. She kicked her legs at full speed while pulling J's body behind her. 30 feet to go. 20 feet. 10 feet. 5 feet.
Arcanine was on the shore looking extremely concerned for its master until it saw her shoot out from the water. Jenny took a couple of deep breaths and brought J's head above the surface. She wrapped one arm around the woman's chest and used her other to paddle them out of the lake.
Once she reached ground, Jenny yanked J's body far enough onto the shore that only her feet were still touching water. The Pokemon hunter was disturbingly pale. Jenny put her ear next to J's mouth to check for breathing. Nothing. She placed her thumb against the woman's neck to check for a pulse. Again, nothing.
Immediately, Jenny began performing CPR on the lifeless body.
"Come on! You are NOT dying on me! Breathe!" the officer shouted. She placed one hand over the other on J's chest and began doing compressions.
After 30 pushes, J still wasn't breathing. Jenny locked her mouth over the other woman's and gave a short breath. One more. Still no breathing. She returned to the chest compressions.
J's Salamence came out of its pokeball on its own all of a sudden, startling the policewoman. Seeing its master in such an awful state made it furious enough that it wanted to rip Jenny to shreds. Arcanine moved itself between them just in case Salamence tried to do so, but Jenny never stopped attending to J.
"Salamence, she's not breathing! She'll die if I don't do this!" Jenny pleaded with the upset creature. "I know we're enemies, but I don't want her to die either! You've got to trust me!"
Jenny breathed into J's mouth 2 more times. Nothing. She started another round of compressions.
Though Salamence despised the female officer, it seemed to grasp the situation now. Rather than impeding the revival process, it brushed by Arcanine and sat itself down with its head by its fallen master. Worried cries began streaming from its mouth.
"Dammit, J, Salamence needs you! I-..." Jenny stopped herself. "Just breathe! BREATHE!"
Officer Jenny delivered another short breath to J's mouth. When she leaned forward and did it a second time, she felt something against her lips. Water. Jenny snapped back and watched in amazement as J coughed up the water that she had inhaled from the lake. The Pokemon hunter's eyes looked like they wanted to open, but the woman never quite regained consciousness. Jenny leaned back down and listened for breathing. It was there, she could hear it. Just to make sure she wasn't crazy, she checked J's pulse again. It was also there; faint, but there nonetheless.
J was alive.
Feeling both exhausted and overwhelmed by the ordeal, Jenny fell back to a seated position and brushed the sopping wet hair away from her face. "I did it...she's breathing. She's alive," the policewoman breathed a sigh of relief, perhaps trying to convince herself that what had just happened was all real. She had just saved the life of one of Sinnoh's most notorious criminals.
Salamence was standing up again, nuzzling its head against J's face. To see her breathing made it indescribably happy. It didn't ever want to imagine losing its master. For once, it was appreciative of Jenny's presence and it wanted to show her so. The winged Pokemon walked over to the officer and gently rubbed its head against her arm a couple times before returning to J's side.
"Did Salamence just thank me?" Jenny wondered. Yes, strangely enough, it probably had.
Jenny got back to her feet. At that point, seeing J lying there on the ground, her sense of duty began to kick in. There was Pokemon Hunter J, unconscious. If Jenny called in some backup, she and some others could likely take down Salamence through sheer numbers. Then J would be theirs to apprehend.
It wasn't a bad idea. In fact, it's exactly what Jenny should have done as a member of law enforcement. The only problem? Jenny hated it. Just as the thought of J dying made her sick, so did the thought of taking her into custody when she was defenseless. Jenny didn't want her long sought victory over J to be like that. She wanted to earn it. J deserved better; she deserved a fighting chance.
"Salamence, keep watch over her," Jenny instructed the other Pokemon, then turned to her own. "Come on, Arcanine. We're leaving."
Arcanine didn't try to coerce her otherwise. Jenny retrieved her hat, slipped on her shoes and got back onto her scooter. This one time she would let J go, but the next time they met would be different. The next time, Jenny told herself, she would bring J down for good.
Pokemon Hunter J's mouth hung open in a rare display of surprise. Had she heard Jenny right? Did Jenny really...?
"Like I said, you weren't wrong," Officer Jenny grudgingly admitted, wincing as her collarbone sent another wave of pain through her shoulder area. "When I saw your ship go down, I...look, I'm not saying I need you. I just didn't want you gone."
At that moment, J did something that Jenny had never seen her do before. She laughed. She laughed uncontrollably to the point that her eyes even began to water.
"This...this is ridiculous!" J fell back against the railing while holding her side. The laughter was making her already aching abdomen hurt even worse. "After all we've been through, you save my life, Jen? Ahahahaha!"
"What? You don't believe me?" Jenny snapped at her, annoyed by the reaction.
"No, it's not that..." the silver-haired hunter stifled another round of chuckles that threatened to escape her mouth. "I believe you. You know too many little details that you wouldn't otherwise, though I may ask Salamence about it later just because you doing such a thing sounds so preposterous."
"I would have saved anyone's life. That's the sort of thing a police officer does," Jenny snorted.
"True, but a good police officer wouldn't have left me there to bleed all over myself," J added to get under the woman's skin a little. "Still, I suppose I owe you one now..."
"No, you don't," the officer stopped her in a hurry.
"What makes you say that?" J asked.
Jenny let out a sigh as she tried to adjust her body for comfort. It didn't work well. "You could have brought out Salamence to get rid of me just now, but you didn't. You gave me what I wanted and fought me yourself," she pointed out. "That makes us even."
"You call that even?" J voiced with some skepticism. It wasn't much of a favor when it was what both of them wanted. Jenny had even done as much of a favor by not calling Solana and the others over to assist her in taking J out.
"Yes, I do!" Officer Jenny emphatically answered. "You really get on my nerves, you know that? Hurry up and get out of here!"
Though amused at Jenny's irritation, J was in agreement that she'd spent enough time here. She needed to get moving before the remaining officers and Pokemon Rangers found her. "Fine, if you insist."
Jenny wanted to shake her head as she listened to the clanking sounds of J's right boot and her net gun hitting the stairs, but it wouldn't have been worth the grief her collarbone would give her.
"Hey, J..." the policewoman addressed her foe one last time.
"What is it now?" J asked, not stopping.
Jenny hesitated, but she was able to spit out the words. "You didn't really fall in love, did you?"
That question brought a smile back to J's bloodied face. "And what if I had?" she inquired.
"I'd want to meet whoever it was," Jenny told her. "If anyone were able to reel you in, they'd have to be amazing. Absolutely amazing."
J saw nothing wrong with that statement; Dawn really was amazing. "You know, since I'm such a kind person, I'll do one more thing to really make us even. Just for you, I'll make it out of here without being caught by that Ranger brat," she spoke without looking back at the fallen officer. "That way you and I can keep playing our little game. I'd hate to see you reduced to handing out parking tickets, after all."
The Pokemon hunter continued on toward the top of the staircase. She wasn't sure, but she could have sworn she'd heard the words "good luck" whispered from further down behind her.
It was probably all just in her head, J figured. Probably.
Inside the control center of the base, Pokemon Ranger Solana and the two police officers with her were scanning through various camera shots from all around the complex. If Jenny had been right about J heading back their way, there should have been some indication of her presence by now. A shot of her on camera would be ideal, but even finding that one more of the cameras had been disabled would have helped. At least then Solana would have a general idea of where her target was. Right now, she had nothing of the sort.
While the officers' eyes remained glued to the screen displaying camera feeds, Solana tried speaking with Jenny again via her wrist communicator. Oddly, there was no answer. "What is going on here? First J disappears on us and now I can't get in contact with Officer Jenny!" the agitated Ranger scowled.
"Wait, wait, what's that?" one of the male officers pointed to the bottom part of the monitor.
"Hey, isn't that...?" the other squinted, wondering if he was seeing what he thought he saw.
Still irked by everything that seemed to be going wrong, Solana glanced up at the screen to see what the two men were talking about. It was a live view of the upper portion of the stairwell that led down to the base's hangar, a shot that Solana had been ignoring based on Jenny's last message. She now wished she had paid it more attention. There were two window panels along the top of the stairwell that clearly looked to be broken out. More important, however, was the top half of someone's body that could be seen laid out on the stairs near the bottom of the view.
Solana jumped to the controls and zoomed in on the person. "Jenny!" she gasped.
"It is her! It looks like she fell through the glass..." one of the officers suggested.
"More like she was thrown through it," Solana corrected him. "J is the only enemy left in the base; she had to have done it. She must have been hiding over there and ambushed Jenny!"
"So...where is J going then?" the other officer asked.
Solana was pondering that herself. If J's aim wasn't the control center as Jenny had assumed, she might still be on the western edge of the base. If that were the case and she was following a pattern similar to before...
Then it hit her. While training to work the controls, Solana was made aware of the fact that there was one room in the base that could not be accessed from the control center. What was inside that room was a mystery to the crew. It was something only Pokemon Hunter J herself knew.
"You two," Solana suddenly addressed the officers, "...please go check on Jenny. She looks to be hurt badly."
The officers did as they were asked. They had been instructed to follow Solana's command in the event that Jenny became unable to lead them for whatever reason. Taking their Stunky and Growlithe respectively, the men hurried out of the control center toward the stairwell where the injured woman lay.
Solana now looked up at her temporary Pokemon, Rhyperior. The towering creature had been itching to join the hunt for J. It made that evident by looking like it wanted to crush the screen every time the woman had appeared on camera earlier.
"Rhyperior," Solana said, "...it's our turn. Are you ready for some action?"
The beast emitted a loud roar and banged on its chest a couple times for good measure. It had been ready for a long time. First, though, Solana needed to dish out some new orders to the members of her team that were still able to fight. She was running this operation now.
"Everyone, this is Solana," the Pokemon Ranger spoke into her communicator. "I know where J is headed..."
End of Chapter 10