A/N This is a fic that I haven't worked on in about two years, simply because I didn't know where it was going. Just a few weeks ago I finally worked out how I wanted this to end. Talk about writer's block! I have changed a few details, like the name of James's new partner and some of the characteristics of Jessie's. I doubt I'll have many of my original readers, but if I do, hello again. And to my new readers, just hello! Hope you enjoy.
Giovanni sat in front of them, a grim smile on his face.
"Come in Jessie, James," he said coolly.
The two Rocket agents glanced at each other, their own apprehension mirrored in the other's eyes. They stepped inside the long office.
"Sit," he commanded. They obeyed.
"I've just heard something very interesting about you two."
Jessie shifted uncomfortably in her seat. "What have you heard?"
"You and your little friend," he said, jerking his head towards James, "are the lowest ranking field agents in Team Rocket. You have failed to bring me one single valuable Pokémon, and you have been working for me for seven years."
"That's not true!" Jessie burst out. James flashed her a shocked look. Yes, she could be outspoken, but she usually knew better than to raise her voice to Giovanni. "We brought you that Eevee just two weeks ago!"
Giovanni let out a bark of laughter "Ha! That pathetic thing? I said valuablePokémon! That little runt was worthless to me. I had it disposed of."
"You – " Jessie started, her anger becoming more and more difficult to control. But before she could say anything else James kicked her under the table.
The Boss's attention shifted on to James now. James studied the floor, feeling uncomfortable under Giovanni's cold gaze.
"You're intelligent, James. You know better than to talk back to me." He paused for a moment.
"But you're also weak, blundering and hopeless." James just stared at him, wide-eyed while Giovanni continued, "but I am not an unfair man."
At this point Jessie let out a cough, that could have been disguising a laugh of disbelief, but if Giovanni had heard this, he ignored it.
"Based on your intelligence," he continued, "I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and keep you on as a member of Team Rocket in the hope that you might show some spark of brilliance given the right mentor. I want you to go to Sinnoh with Carmen, and maybe there you will actually do something worthwhile. I warn you, James, Carmen will make Jessie here look relatively tame!"
James still sat in silence, staring at Giovanni, but his fists were clenched so tightly that his knuckles were turning white.
"As for you," he said, turning back again to Jessie,
"What?" she spat.
"You'll be going to Johto with Jasper. You may still not know when to hold your tongue but at least you're determined. I trust Jasper won't hold you back like James here."
"He doesn't hold me back!" Jessie shouted, "it's hardly our fault you're so damn picky that you don't want any of the Pokémon we send!"
Giovanni rose from his seat and slammed his hands down on the desk. "Silence!" he yelled. "You will speak when you are spoken to, you insolent child. You should be thankful you still have a job here! If it weren't for me, you and your worthless partner would be out in the cold! You should be thanking me. Or would you rather I just cut you from the team?"
Jessie said nothing, she just stared at her feet, scowling.
"Answer me!" Giovanni screeched.
"I want to stay," she muttered, not taking her eyes off her shoes.
"Good," he said, smiling darkly as he sat back down. "I will give you a month with your new partners to make your way to Johto and Sinnoh and after that I will expect you to send me some Pokémon for once in your lives. Now, get out of my sight."
They rose from their seats but Jessie paused.
"Wait," she said, "you didn't say what was going to happen to Meowth."
The Boss stared at her coldly for a moment and then replied, "Meowth has never displayed the spectacular levels of ineptitude that you have. He will stay here and work for me in Headquarters. Now, I said get out of my sight, I don't want to have to say it again."
And with that, he turned his back on the two Rocket agents and motioned towards the door.
Neither of them spoke until they had been escorted down the 17 storeys and out the front doors of Rocket Headquarters.
"So, that's it then," James said. "He's split us up."
"Yeah," Jessie said shortly.
"I need to go all the way to Sinnoh. I hate Sinnoh. And I don't much like the sound of this Carmen either."
"Mmm," Jessie agreed.
"What?" she replied, not meeting his eyes.
"Are you okay?"
"I don't believe you." Finally she looked up at him. Her eyes were blazing with anger but when she met James's green gaze it quickly changed to disappointment and sadness. He put his arms around her and pulled her in to a hug. She rested her head on his chest for a moment and let out a long sigh.
"We had a good run though, didn't we?" she said, with a small smile.
"Yeah, we did. We might not have been overly productive, but we were certainly creative!"
Jessie gave a sad laugh. "I'll miss you James."
"And I'll miss you."