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.
A/N: I just couldn't stay away forever. Almost a year after finishing the story, I felt like doing a little more with it, so here's an extra chapter that takes place after the events of the epilogue. There may be more of these to come down the road if I can think up more scenarios worth writing. We shall see.
Oh, and for those who may be interested, the first eight chapters of this story have all been re-mastered over the past half a year or so. The events remain the same, but the quality of writing has been improved upon, so it may be worth checking out.
Okay, that's all. Onward to the new chapter. Enjoy!
Extra Chapter 1
"J! Are you still out here?"
It was another pleasant day in the Hoenn region as Dawn poked her head out the door of the house she shared with J. After heading out on a job and delivering a wanted thief to the Lilycove City police force earlier today, the Pokemon-hunter-turned-bounty-hunter had returned home nearly two hours ago, as evidenced by the fact that her ship was sitting along the side of the house. But, to Dawn's displeasure, she hadn't seen J even once since then.
Noticing that the driver's side door of the ship was still open, Dawn stepped outside. Along the front porch she walked, and then across the grass until she was close enough to peek inside the vehicle. "J?"
Within the ship, there sat the silver-haired hunter, still wearing the white and blue suit she always wore when chasing down bounty heads—sans the helmet, which sat in the passenger seat beside her. A laptop computer that was hooked up to the ship's control system balanced atop J's thighs. She'd been typing away on it with a look of great concentration for a while now, but, with the appearance of someone she was quite fond of, J momentarily ceased her work. "Oh, Dawn," she acknowledged the girl's presence. "What's wrong? Something the matter?"
"No, not really. Just wondering where you've been," Dawn spoke, bringing her eyes to the computer in J's lap. "What are you doing?"
J let out a huff as she looked back to the screen in front of her. "The ship's response time still feels sluggish to me," she said.
"Still?" Dawn asked incredulously. She'd heard this so often from J recently that she was starting to think it was becoming an obsession for her. "Are you sure it's not just in your head?"
"I'm telling you, it's not. I'm going to figure out what's wrong with this bucket of bolts if it's the last thing I ever do," J snorted. Not having a crew to fix these sorts of things for her was a pain, but at least having to perform the maintenance herself provided something to keep her occupied. "Are you done working on your designs for the day?"
"Mmm...I might do a little more later. I just wanted to take a break for a while," Dawn told her. She folded her hands behind her back and leaned over, giving J a look akin to that of a pleading puppy dog. "It's kind of boring on my own, though. I was hoping I'd get to spend some time with someone. Preferably someone who's tall, dashing, and likes to fiddle around with machines. I don't suppose you'd happen to know anyone like that? Hmm?"
J quietly chuckled to herself, amused by Dawn's antics. "Well, how could I ever refuse after that?" she said. After saving her work, she powered down the laptop and set it aside for another time. "Come on, let's go inside and have some coffee."
"Okay," Dawn smiled brightly.
*beep beep! beep beep! beep beep! beep beep!*
A shrill noise emanating from a wristwatch the bounty hunter wore put an immediate halt to any and all plans she and Dawn had. With a look of great urgency all of a sudden, J pulled back the sleeve of her coat and eyed her watch, which displayed a map of the area surrounding their home. When first settling into the house, J had set up a series of sensors in every direction to alert her should anyone encroach on the property. The signals her watch was now giving out indicated that something or someone was triggering those sensors.
"We've got company," J informed the younger girl.
"H-huh? Who is it?" Dawn nervously asked. She and J hadn't had a single guest since they'd begun living here, and, as much as she wanted to remain calm, Dawn couldn't help but feel on edge about this development.
J kept focused on her watch, taking note of a pair of red dots that repeatedly showed up side-by-side on the small screen. With each appearance, the dots were coming closer and closer to their home. But, they also gave away a crucial bit of information about the intrusion. "There's only two of them...about the same size," J observed, knowing the individual sensors would be triggered more often if there was a larger party on the way.
"J, what should we do?" Dawn anxiously inquired.
"You hide behind the ship," J instructed her. "They're coming from the front, so you'll be hidden from view there. Just let me handle this."
Dawn had no problem with that plan of action. There were very few people she'd ever met in her life that she believed could cause J trouble in even a two-on-one scenario. She didn't always agree with what J did, but she never doubted that the woman was exceedingly good at it.
While Dawn followed the advice and hurried for cover behind the ship, J dove into a pile of her gear behind the seats inside of it. She knew that, for the sake of their safety, she couldn't take this situation lightly. Whether now or during her time as a Pokemon hunter, she'd always hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. And thus, when J re-emerged from the ship's interior, she was, indeed, prepared for the worst.
As Dawn peeked out from behind the vehicle, what she saw made her jaw drop. J, remaining seated by the ship's door, had one foot inside and one on the grass outside to keep her balance, and sitting atop her left shoulder was a weapon so large that Dawn initially likened it to a cannon. With a barrel measuring a full foot in diameter, the intimidating-looking creation just reeked of bad news.
"J, are you crazy? That thing looks like it could sink a cruise ship!" Dawn exclaimed in protest.
"Better too much than too little," J justified her choice of weapon. With a quick disabling of the safety, she pointed the barrel toward the approach to their home and stared intensely into its scope. "Get back. They're almost here."
Even before they could see the intruders, J and Dawn could hear the rumbling of an engine that sounded like it belonged to a motorbike. Through the trees it weaved, and before long, it came into J's view—both the bike and an Arcanine that was running alongside it. With the sighting of that particular Pokemon, as well as the wave of greenish-blue hair belonging to the bike's rider, J lowered her gun. The visitor was annoying, no doubt about that, but it was someone she'd been half-expecting to show up one of these days.
As the bike neared their home, Dawn, too, was finally able to get a decent look at the person with her unaided eyes. "J, that's...that's Officer Jenny!" she recognized the woman.
"Not just any Officer Jenny, either," J clarified in a mutter.
With J dead in her sights, Jenny pulled up near the front of the house and switched off the engine to her bike. She dropped the kickstand, dismounted, and just stared for a moment. There it was, right in front of her: that something she'd been needing to see for what felt like an eternity.
"I knew it. It really was you," Jenny spoke, her voice letting on just how consumed she'd been by the question of whether or not J and the mysterious bounty hunter were one in the same. She'd been ninety-nine percent sure that they were, but right now, as she saw J's face for the first time in well over four years, any doubt that remaining one percent represented was erased.
While Dawn looked back and forth between the two women, not sure what exactly was going on, J set her weapon down in the passenger-side seat. She then stood up, exiting the ship completely and giving Jenny an unobstructed view of her. "You know, I could have sworn I destroyed that tracking bug you oh-so-sneakily put on my back when I went to claim my bounty earlier," she said, folding her arms across her chest. "So, do tell...how is it that you managed to follow me here?"
"The one on your back was just to distract you from the one I put on your helmet," Jenny answered her.
Raising an eyebrow, J reached back into the ship and picked up the helmet from her suit. Sure enough, right there on the lower back part of it, a small, white device the size of a pea was stuck onto the headgear. With a miffed grunt, she took the tracking bug, threw it to the ground and stomped down on it. "That's Jen for you," she grumbled. "Have I ever told you how annoying you are?"
"Jen?" Dawn blinked, stepping out from behind the ship now. "You mean...she's the one you told me about?"
"Unfortunately," J confirmed. Since Dawn had asked about the person that J knew and had run into in Lilycove City not so long ago, J had shared with her some of the history between she and Jenny, including why she felt she owed the officer after their run-in during the occupation of her base. Of course, she left out certain details that she felt were unnecessary, such as how she and Jenny had beat the living crap out of one another that night. Dawn seemed to get the idea even without those details, though.
Jenny, meanwhile, hadn't expected anyone else to be here with J, so Dawn's appearance came as quite the surprise to her. "Hey, who is that?" she demanded to know, taking a closer look at the girl. "Wait...aren't you...aren't you that Top Coordinator?"
Unsure of how she should respond, Dawn simply waved to Jenny and managed a smile. "It's...it's Dawn, actually. Nice to meet you," she shakily introduced herself.
Only able to think the worst about why someone like Dawn would be here with J, Jenny shot a furious glare at her old rival. "J! Why is that girl with you?" she snarled, starting to advance toward the woman. Her Arcanine followed close behind.
J was perfectly willing to take the time to explain things to Jenny, but there was a more pressing matter that demanded attention at the moment, that being the area in which the policewoman was walking. "I would stop right there if I were you," J warned her.
"You think you can intimidate me?" Jenny pressed on, ignoring J's words. "Answer me, J! What's going on he-"
"Would you stay put for just a second and listen to me, you hothead?" J interrupted her.
"No, I will not!" Jenny snapped back in response. "You're going to tell me what I want to know right now or so help me I'll-"
As Jenny planted her foot down on the ground, a cloud of a pale tan color exploded into the air around both she and Arcanine. Jenny didn't even have the time to think not to inhale whatever the substance was. The eyelids of both she and her Pokemon began to droop, and the two of them soon collapsed into a forced slumber.
The wind gradually carried the cloud away from the property, after which the driver's side door of J's ship squeaked as it was opened up again. At the time of the explosion, J had pulled Dawn on top of her and shut the both of them inside the ship to ensure that they were unaffected by it. Her quick reaction time had served her well, but the same couldn't be said of Jenny.
"That idiot. I warned her," J shook her head at the sleeping officer.
Dawn's face grew pale as she surveyed the result of what had just occurred. J had cautioned her about going near that spot in their yard before, so when Dawn saw Jenny walking toward it, she knew something bad was about to happen. "J…what…what was that?"
"A mine filled with Shroomish spores. I thought it would be effective for knocking out any trespassers," J briefly explained. "I was right, too. I'll have to invest in more of those things."
"Hey, this isn't the time to be impressed!" Dawn chided her, hopping out of the ship in a panic. "That's an Officer Jenny out cold in our yard! We are in SO much trouble right now!"
Not seeming too worried about it all, J calmly stood up and patted Dawn on her head. "Relax, it'll be fine. This pain in the butt and I go way back," she said, trying to ease the girl's worries. "They might be out for a while, though. I suppose we should take them inside."
J walked over to Jenny, and, with a complete lack of grace, she picked the woman up and draped her over her shoulder. "Jeez, Jen, why are you so light? Doesn't this girl ever eat?" she wondered before turning toward Dawn. "I'll leave Arcanine to you."
"Ehh?" Dawn groaned, not exactly high on her ability to handle the task. "But…but…Arcanine is huge! It has to weigh more than I do! How am I supposed to-"
"You'll find a way. I believe in you," J playfully teased the girl as she carried Jenny toward the house.
Dawn could tell that J was having some fun with her. With an annoyed huff, she bent down next to the ground and tried to take Arcanine up into her arms. As she would quickly find out, however, things were just as she suspected; Arcanine was simply too big for her to move on her own. She couldn't even budge the Pokemon an inch from where it lay.
"That J! This is exactly what I was trying to tell her would happen," Dawn grumbled, reaching into her pocket where her pokeballs were contained. "Well, I might not have the muscle for it, but I've got a good friend that does. Mamoswine, you're up!"
Within the living room of the home J and Dawn shared, there were a pair of sofas facing each other with a coffee table sitting between them. The furniture had come with the place when J first bought it, and she just never had a reason to get rid of it or replace it. In truth, before Dawn had started living with her, she barely spent enough time in the room to notice it. Back then, if she wasn't sleeping or out hunting down criminals, she was too occupied with setting up her security system or working on her ship or doing research to relax around the house.
Since that time, however, the space had become a quaint spot for J and Dawn to spend some quality time together, and one of the twin sofas was where J had opted to dump the sleeping Officer Jenny. Mamoswine was able to bring Arcanine up to the home's entrance and set it down just inside the door, but Mamoswine itself was too big to get through the doorway, so right there slumbering on the floor was where Jenny's fire-type partner remained.
Despite their unexpected company, J and Dawn went about their break as they otherwise would have. Dawn brewed up some coffee for them while J went to change into something more comfortable. After that, the two of them parked themselves across from Jenny on the living room's free sofa.
Minute after minute would pass by, and, roughly an hour after the Shroomish spore mine had gone off, Jenny was still peacefully snoozing away. When J had suggested that Jenny and Arcanine might be out for a while, she wasn't kidding.
Dawn, laying with her head in J's lap and a fashion magazine in-hand, just couldn't bring herself to feel at ease no matter how much she tried. Part of the reason for that was because J's Ariados had perched itself on the armrest of Jenny's sofa and was staring down at the woman as she slept. That Pokemon was such a trickster that it could decide to randomly spit webbing all over Jenny's face at any time. And hoo boy, if Jenny was already in a bad mood, Dawn didn't even want to know what she'd be like if something like that happened.
More so than Ariados, though, it was Jenny's presence that made Dawn nervous. The officer and J weren't exactly acting cordial toward one another upon Jenny's arrival, so even though J claimed everything would be fine, Dawn wasn't so sure. While she lay there using J as a pillow, Dawn continually pulled her eyes away from her magazine to peek over at Jenny, anxiously awaiting the moment when the woman would awaken.
Not one bit seeming to sweat the fact that Jenny was there, J merely sat in place and sipped at her coffee, enjoying the closeness she shared with the younger girl. After catching Dawn in the act of looking over at Jenny numerous times, however, she finally had to say something about it. "You're worrying, and it's painfully obvious," she complained.
Dawn didn't really care about how obvious she was being. She just hoped J was right in saying that she had no reason for concern. "Are you sure this is all going to be okay?" she asked, looking up at her significant other.
"Probably," J offered a shrug of her shoulders. "If not, we'll just find somewhere else to live. No big deal."
As simple as that sounded, Dawn really didn't care for the idea. She'd come to like this place and the scenery around it since moving here, so having to leave would no doubt be disappointing. Trying to keep her mind off of such thoughts, she flipped the page of her magazine and attempted to go back to reading. "Oh, hey…!"
"Mmm? Something interesting in there?" J asked.
Dawn excitedly held the current page up for J to see. "Look! That's the Mawile outfit I designed last month!" she pointed to one of the pictures, beaming with pride. "It looks so good on that Mawile! That's so cool! I can't believe they published it in here."
As J could see, the photo had a full page to itself and also listed Dawn as the designer of Mawile's attire in a footnote at the bottom. "Another step on the road to fame," she said, brushing her finger across Dawn's cheek. "Well done."
In what had become a habit with her, Dawn was cautious about accepting the praise. "You're not going to go into that thing about me being famous again, are you?" she suspiciously eyed the woman.
"What ever could you mean?" J looked away from her, playing innocent. "I can't help it if you're going to become so famous that you leave me one day."
"Ahh! There you go again!" Dawn furrowed her brows in annoyance.
So wrapped up in one another were the two of them that neither noticed when Officer Jenny's eyelids so happened to flutter open. Jenny, still groggy as she first awakened, wasn't entirely clear on what had happened to her. She wasn't sure who it was that she could hear talking nearby, either. One thing she was very certain of, though, was that there was an Ariados staring down at her from above.
Seeing Ariados, a Pokemon she'd always associated with J, helped Jenny to recall exactly what had taken place earlier. Her mood souring after remembering the incident, the officer fixed a sharp glare on Ariados, who, frightened by the look, jumped back and fell from the sofa's armrest right onto Dawn's Piplup, who'd been napping on the floor.
Piplup and Ariados still hadn't quite gotten used to each other yet, and this wasn't about to help smooth things out between them.
"Piplup! Pii piplip pip!" Piplup immediately began squawking at Ariados, thinking the Pokemon had woken it up on purpose.
"Ariaa! Ariados aria!" J's Pokemon adamantly denied any wrongdoing.
"Piplup pip piplup!"
"Ariados aria ariaaa!"
Fed up with Piplup, Ariados spat a serving of its webbing into the other Pokemon's face and ran off. Naturally, an irate Piplup took off after it, and the chase through the house was on.
Meanwhile, Jenny looked to her left where she heard the voices coming from. What she saw at that moment was something so absurd that she wondered if she might be imagining things. Dawn had rolled over and had her arms wrapped around J's midsection, the two of them exchanging playful banter all the while.
"I'm not leaving you."
"Sure, you say that now."
"I'm neeeeeever leaving. You're stuck with me whether you like it or not."
"You mean it?"
"Give me a kiss, then."
Dawn was all too happy to oblige the request as she leaned up and pressed her lips against those of J. Neither of them knew yet that Jenny was awake and watching them, but they were sure about to.
Jenny shot up from the sofa, a look of pure bewilderment on her face. What in the hell had she just seen? J, once the most wanted criminal in the Sinnoh region, and Dawn, a Top Coordinator…kissing? And this wasn't just a quick peck, either. This was serious!
As they heard the movement across from them, J and Dawn immediately broke their kiss and turned to see Jenny gawking at them. Their tender moment had been seen, and they both knew it. J didn't seem to care about what her old rival had observed. Dawn, on the other hand, was mortified that she'd been caught acting like that in front of someone. Her face turning a bright shade of red, she quickly rolled off of J and took a seat next to her on the sofa.
"S-s-sorry! I'm so sorry about that! I-I didn't know you were up!" Dawn profusely apologized.
Jenny paid no mind to Dawn. For the time being, the only one she cared about was J. Determined to find out what was going on, she stepped around the coffee table and grabbed a handful of J's shirt, yanking her upward to get her attention. "J, what is this? Huh? Tell me! Why did you just kiss this girl?" she aggressively questioned her. "And while we're at it, what was that I stepped on before?"
In the past, an act like this from Jenny would have brought on some physical retaliation from the former Pokemon hunter. After her life had changed so much recently, however, J was able to stay remarkably collected in this sort of situation. "Can I set my coffee down first?" she quipped.
"Answer me!" Jenny demanded, in no mood for J's attitude.
"Always so impatient," J muttered. She wasn't sure how many people she was comfortable with knowing about the relationship between she and Dawn, but, in this case, she really didn't mind. She and Jenny may not have liked each other, but there was a certain understanding between them, and J was certain that Jenny would never bring trouble to someone innocent like Dawn. If Jenny wanted to know what was up, J would give it to her straight. "You stepped on a trap full of Shroomish spores, even though I told you to stop. And as for your other question...do you remember when we were inside my base and I hinted that I may have fallen in love?"
Jenny's memories of that day had always been a bit muddled, but remember it she did. "What about it?"
J gestured toward Dawn several times with her index finger, prompting Jenny to turn and look at the girl. Wordlessly, Jenny looked back to J, then over to Dawn, and then back at J again. As the reality that J was implying began to sink in at last, a blank, baffled expression came over the policewoman.
"You're…in love…with…her?" Jenny asked, pointing over at Dawn.
"Wonderful, you finally get it," J mockingly applauded her for figuring it out.
Jenny was too perplexed at the moment to take offense to the patronizing. "But…she's a…"
"A girl, yes," J finished the thought for her. The woman standing before her appeared completely lost, and that fact didn't escape her. "Something wrong?"
"N-no, I just…" Jenny paused, averting her eyes from the bounty hunter as she released J's shirt from her grasp, "…I didn't know you were…into girls like that."
Somehow, that statement didn't quite sit right with J. "Into girls, huh?" she said, taking a moment to think it over. "Honestly, I don't think that's entirely correct. Dawn is the only one I've ever been interested in, so it's probably more accurate to say I'm just into her."
Dawn had to giggle after hearing J speak those words. J had never made her feelings for the girl a secret, but even so, hearing J say something like that made Dawn feel special.
"Just…into her, huh? Wait a minute, that's not the issue here!" Jenny roared, irritated at how things had gotten off track. "What does her family think about this? Do they even know?"
"Oh, Mom's okay with it," Dawn took the liberty of answering the question herself. "We were nervous about what she might say when we first went to tell her, but I get the feeling she sort of knew all along. Plus, I think she's glad that someone reliable like J is around to look after me."
Once again, Jenny was dumbfounded. "Oh," she blinked, keeping her focus on Dawn for the time being. "So…if she's in love with you, then…you're in love with her, too?"
With a bright smile, Dawn nodded her head. "Mhmm!"
Partly out of curiosity, as well as somewhat out of disbelief, Jenny could think of only one thing to ask. "Why?"
"Wh-…why?" Dawn repeated the unexpected question. Truthfully, she'd never given it a lot of thought. "I don't know, there's just…something about her, I guess. She's really sweet deep down, even if she doesn't always show it. And isn't she just so cool, riding Salamence like she does and beating up bad guys? Oh, and she's really cute sometimes, too! Like last night, she rolled over in her sleep and wrapped herself around me like I was a body pillow."
In a rare bout of embarrassment, J reached over and put her hand over Dawn's mouth to stop her from going any further. "Hey! Don't tell her things like that!"
Chuckling at the reaction, Dawn pulled J's hand away from her as she looked back to Jenny. "See? Cute!"
Officer Jenny felt like her head was spinning. Her mouth hanging open, she staggered backwards and collapsed down onto the empty sofa. "This is…too much," she said, her former image of J completely shattered. "I don't even know who she is anymore."
"Get a grip. I'm still the same person that's always kicked your goody-goody butt," J griped at her.
Dawn was more empathic toward the reeling officer. For someone who'd known J for as long as Jenny had, the younger girl imagined it was probably quite the shock to suddenly be confronted with J as she was now. "Umm…w-we've got some fresh coffee in the kitchen. Would you like a cup?" she offered.
"Coffee? Sure. Why not?" Jenny halfheartedly accepted.
"Okay! I'll be right back with some, then," Dawn said, hopping up off the sofa.
While Dawn took her leave for the moment, Jenny raised her head to look at J, and she wouldn't take her eyes off of her. This was all surreal. J, that J, had a girlfriend, and a cute one at that. This wasn't the J she knew. This wasn't the J she knew at all. Heck, she wasn't even leaving her guard up right now even though a police officer was sitting right across from her!
"What? Quit giving me that look," J grumbled.
Jenny wasn't going to waste this chance. So long as J was right here in front of her, there were things she wanted to know—things that had been bothering her for a very long time. "Where were you the past four years?" she asked all of a sudden.
"Oh, that's right. You've probably been dying to know," J teased. Really, she was glad to hear that Jenny still knew nothing about those years. If even the person most dedicated to pursuing her had no idea where she'd been, then clearly she'd done a good job of covering her tracks. "Were you still in Sinnoh when all of those news headlines started popping up about lost Pokemon mysteriously returning to their trainers?"
Jenny was more familiar with those cases than J knew. "I wasn't just there, I was assigned to look into some of those," she pointed out. "What about them?"
J, knowing what sort of reaction was likely forthcoming, had a smug grin on her face. "That was me stealing back all of the Pokemon I'd sold to my clients."
The officer took the news pretty much just as J had anticipated, jumping forward and slamming her palms down on the coffee table. "Are you serious?" she shouted. "Every single thing I investigated in those cases led me to a dead end! You're telling me that was all your doing? You've got to be freaking kidding me!"
J snickered at the woman's outburst as she took another sip from her mug. "I did that for three years, then came over here to get my footing as a bounty hunter," she further explained, smirking in Jenny's direction. "Were you bored without me?"
"Shut the hell up!" Jenny snarled at her. Though she wouldn't admit it, part of her aggravation stemmed from the fact that she really was bored during those years. "I don't get it. Why did you do it? Why give up everything you had like that?"
"Why?" J asked, surprised that Jenny didn't yet understand. "Come on, Jen, isn't it obvious? It was all for her."
For Dawn. Of course, Jenny should have known that after watching the two of them interact up until now. She'd spent most of her life chasing after J, and yet that girl had managed to do what she couldn't: bring an end to J's Pokemon hunting days. It was a bittersweet pill for Jenny to swallow.
"Have you ever regretted it?" Jenny felt compelled to ask.
The answer to that was all too easy for J to give. "Not even once. For the happiness I have now, every second of those four years was worthwhile."
Carrying a cup of coffee, Dawn now came back into the room and set the cup down in front of Jenny. "Here you go."
"Thank you," Jenny quietly spoke as Dawn sat back down next to J. She took a short drink, then stared down at the cup in her hand. "You really have changed. I feel kind of left behind."
"Left behind? In what way?" J inquired.
Jenny wasn't sure she wanted to bring it up, but, the way she was feeling right now, she didn't particularly care about maintaining appearances. "Even though I never had any romance in my life, it always made me feel a little better that at least one other person out there was the same way," she admitted, hanging her head. "Now I'm the only one. Get it?"
This time around, J understood where Jenny was coming from. "As a matter of fact, I do," she replied. "I never could've seen myself being involved with anyone, but then Dawn happened. Life can be funny like that."
"Guess so," Jenny mumbled.
"Stop sulking like that. It'll happen when you least expect it. Just give it time. Oh, but do keep in mind one thing," J insisted. Reaching over to the other side of the sofa, she wrapped an arm around Dawn's shoulder and pulled the surprised girl in close. "This one is mine. Understand?"
Smiling, Dawn nuzzled her head against the woman she loved. "And this one's mine!"
Watching these two showing their affection for one another was enough to make Jenny feel envious. Maybe J was right, though. She was still relatively young and good-looking. Sure, she still threw herself into her work a lot, but maybe, just maybe, there was someone out there that would click well with someone like her. Honestly, if even J could find that special someone, she figured anyone could.
"Oh, I had an idea while I was getting the coffee!" Dawn announced, looking toward Jenny. "Since it's almost evening, and because we'd like to make up for that whole spore thing earlier, why don't you stay for dinner tonight?"
Oddly, Jenny perked up at once upon hearing the invitation. "D-dinner?"
"We want her to stay for dinner?" J narrowed her eyes at the girl. This was definitely NOT an idea that she approved of.
"Yes, we do. Because we're very sorry that the nice police officer stepped on a trap and was rendered unconscious on our property," Dawn spoke slowly so that J got the hint. "Right?"
Dawn was making a point that they wanted to keep Jenny on their good side, and J could understand why. She didn't care for the idea of sharing dinner with Jenny, but fussing about it would only make Dawn upset, and that was never a good thing for anyone involved. "Eat with us this once, Jen. Dawn's cooking really hits the spot. You'll like it," J caved in quickly, reinforcing the offer.
Even Jenny felt that having dinner with J and Dawn would be awkward, but this was a rare opportunity for her. In the end, her stomach won out over her head. "I'm in. What're we having?"
By the time dinner was ready, Jenny's Arcanine had finally awakened and since joined the Pokemon belonging to J and Dawn for a meal of their own. As for their trainers, the three of them had gathered at a square-shaped table in the home's dining room. J and Dawn had always been the only two to use it, of course, usually just sitting across from one another while they ate. The table was large enough to accommodate four people at a time, though, so making room for Jenny wasn't an issue.
The aroma of the food had Jenny salivating in anticipation while she watched Dawn set the main entrée and side dishes out on the table. She could hardly restrain herself from digging in.
"All right, time to eat! Tonight we've got croquettes, some side salad, and, the main course, fettuccine alfredo with some steamed broccoli mixed in," Dawn pointed out the various dishes for Jenny's benefit. "I'm still learning when it comes to cooking, so it might not be the best. Give it a try and let me know what you think, though."
As eager as Jenny was, J actually beat her to the punch. She went right for the fettuccine and scooped a healthy serving of it onto her plate. "You are far too modest. There are people out there who almost never get to eat anything this good," she insisted.
"Oh, come on. It's not that good."
"Want to bet?"
Jenny followed suit and loaded up her plate. It all smelled so tantalizing, but she really wanted a taste of the main dish before anything else. Sticking her fork into the fettuccine, she twirled it so that the noodles and broccoli wrapped around it, and then, finally, she took her first bite. And it was good. Oh, sweet mother of pasta, was it good. As she savored the succulent taste, tears actually started to run down Jenny's cheeks.
"Oh my gosh! Y-you're crying? Is something wrong with it?" Dawn frantically asked the officer.
"No, it's just…it's been so long since I've tasted home cooking," Jenny sobbed with her mouth full. "It's really, really good. And sweet, too."
"Oh, yeah, that's from the lemon juice I added to the alfredo sauce," Dawn laughed. Jenny's crying initially had her fearing the worst, so it was a huge relief to learn that Jenny had actually liked it. She still didn't think her cooking was the best, but if it was so bad that it had brought someone to tears, that would've done a number on what confidence she had.
"See, I told you it was good," J rubbed her correctness in Dawn's face. She then turned her attention back to Jenny. "And you, don't you think you're overreacting just a little?"
"Yeah, what do you usually eat, Jenny?" Dawn asked out of curiosity. She just had to know what sort of food made her cooking seem so good by comparison.
While continuing to stuff her mouth, Jenny spared a moment to ponder the question. "Energy bars, cup noodles…that's pretty much it."
Dawn hadn't been expecting anything too lavish in Jenny's response, but that selection was far less than she ever would have imagined. "You can't be serious."
"I'm a single woman who's married to her job! I've never had the time to learn how to cook," Jenny said in her defense.
"But…just energy bars and cup noodles? Really?" Dawn still found it tough to fathom.
"It's not so unbelievable," J chimed in, not sounding especially proud of what she was about to admit. "My diet used to be roughly the same."
That revelation left Dawn shocked. "What? Even you?" she shrieked. "What is wrong with you two?"
J and Jenny both slumped down and hung their heads at the admonishing. "A lot of things," they answered together.
As Dawn looked back and forth between the sulking women, she couldn't help noting how similar they seemed. The bounty hunter and the police officer; they were like two sides of the same coin. "W-well, anyway, if that's how it is, you can come join us for dinner another time if you'd like," Dawn said to their guest.
Jenny, her spirits raised, straightened up in a hurry. "I can?"
"She can?" J glanced over at Dawn, clearly not on board with the suggestion.
"Sure! A hard-working police officer deserves a good meal every now and then," Dawn smiled.
So touched by the offer was Jenny that she couldn't stop herself from sobbing again. "You're an angel, you know that?" she gushed over Dawn's kindness. "If you ever get tired of this criminal, you can come and be my wife!"
"Hey, what did I just tell you before?" J shot up from her chair in protest of that last remark. "Don't make passes at my girl, you self-righteous witch!"
"What did you call me?"
"You heard me!"
"That's it! Outside! NOW!"
"Fine by me! Let's go!"
The peace just couldn't last forever. While Dawn did her best to calm the women down, two of their Pokemon, Arcanine and Drapion, were actually getting along while they ate together. Old enemies, it seemed, could learn to stand one another after all. It might just take a little longer for some than others.
The sun was already setting once everyone had finished eating. Jenny had gotten her fill, both of Dawn's cooking and of talking to J, and she and Arcanine were ready to head on back home. J and Dawn stepped outside as well to see her off, though J was more interested in making sure that Jenny actually left.
"I put your bike over there," J informed the officer, pointing to a spot at the edge of the porch where the motorcycle sat.
"Got it," Jenny said. She slipped her uniform hat back on, and, quietly, she began walking toward her vehicle.
J was all for Jenny leaving as soon as possible, but, before she went, there was one thing J needed to know from her. "Are you going to tell your chief who I really am?"
Jenny stopped for a moment and looked back at the former Pokemon hunter. Given her duties as a police officer, letting the cat out of the bag regarding J was exactly what she should've done. Then again, unlike her fellow officers, she'd never been one to do things by the book. She'd already endured years of boredom while J was missing. How many more would she have to put up with if J were jailed? And then there was Dawn. Even now, Jenny could see the concern on the girl's face about what would happen to them if J were found out. What kind of devil would that make Jenny if she were to take the love of Dawn's life away from her? Yeah, there wasn't anything to think about here. She already knew the answer.
"Seeing as how you're currently a valuable asset in the fight against crime here in the Hoenn region, I think doing so would be counterproductive to my job," Jenny replied. Whether she actually meant it or was merely using it as an excuse was anybody's guess. "But, if you ever go back to your old ways, I'll be coming for you."
"Oh, is that so?" J gave her an amused look. "I'll keep that in mind."
Hearing that from Jenny was a load off of Dawn's shoulders. "Thank you for keeping quiet about it. That really means a lot to us," she expressed her gratitude to the officer. "Don't forget to join us for dinner again sometime!"
"You bet. How could I not?" Jenny winked back at the girl.
"Did you really have to remind her?" J grumbled as she peeked over at Dawn.
"Oh, come on. It's not often you have a friend visit," Dawn nudged the woman with her elbow.
Neither agreeing with the term Dawn had just used, both J and Jenny corrected her at the same time. "We're not friends," the two of them spoke.
After verbally concurring with one another, J and Jenny shared a silent look, and then the both of them turned away from each other. Jenny smiled faintly. J simply shrugged her shoulders.
With a feeling that everything was clear between them, Jenny resumed walking toward her bike. "See you around."
"Whatever," J muttered.
While Jenny headed away, Dawn giggled a bit at the interaction between the women. "Well, that wasn't so bad, huh?"
"No, I suppose it could have been worse," J reluctantly admitted. "Still, I think I prefer just spending time alone with you."
Sharing in that sentiment, Dawn propped herself up against J's arm. "Me, too. Lucky for us, we've got plenty of time for that."
"Very true," J agreed.
Jenny got to her bike just fine, but, once she got there, the scenery around the house caught her eye. She was so focused on J when she'd arrived earlier that she hadn't even picked up on it. There really was a great shot of the sea from here, and Jenny and Arcanine kept walking further out into the grass to get a better look at it. "Wow, you guys have a nice view from here, don't you?"
J hadn't been paying attention to what Jenny was doing, but now that she saw what area the officer was wandering into, her alert level went through the roof. "Wait, STOP!" she yelled.
"Huh?" Jenny mouthed as she looked back at her.
Too late. It was déjà vu all over again as a cloud of Shroomish spores exploded from yet another mine that had been strategically placed on the property. Jenny and Arcanine staggered and soon fell to the ground, out cold once again.
J slapped a hand over her face, and Dawn grimaced as she looked up at her. "J…"
Much to J's chagrin, Jenny would end up staying the night at their place. Maybe those spore traps weren't such a great idea after all.
End of Extra Chapter 1