It had been three months since James had started travelling with Carmen and he couldn't have been more miserable.
On this particular morning his wake up call sounded something like:
"Get up, you worthless sack of Pokémon dung! Do you just expect the Pokémon to walk in to a Pokéball for you?"
James hauled himself up from the cold ground stumbled from the tent, squinting a little as he emerged in to the bright sunlight.
"Pack up the tent," Carmen ordered.
"Why can't you do it?" James protested, a hint of a whine in his voice.
"Because I told you to! And I'm supposed to be teaching you some discipline but it seems to be taking a long time to soak through your thick skull."
Reluctantly James pulled down the tent and started to roll it up. This was not how he had envisioned his career as a Team Rocket field agent.
"Are you just going to stand around and do nothing all day or are we actually going to catch some Pokémon?" Carmen shouted impatiently.
"I'm putting the tent away! Make up your mind," James grumbled.
An hour later, they were creeping quietly though some thick trees. This was the part of the job James didn't mind. At least Carmen couldn't speak to him. They both travelled in complete silence so as not to scare off any Pokémon.
Whilst enjoying the rare silence, James kept his eyes peeled for anything interesting. He was so distracted looking for Pokémon that he didn't see a large tree root protruding from the ground in front of him. He managed to stop himself before he fell, but stumbled a little.
"Great, that's just great!" Carmen spat angrily, flicking her short, dark hair out of her eyes. "You've probably just scared off every Pokémon between here and Johto. Can't you do anything right?"
James would have liked to tell her that her angry shouting was more likely to have scared off the Pokémon, but he couldn't be bothered arguing.
"I can't work properly with you hanging around me anyway," Carmen continued, turning her back on him. "Why don't you leave this to the professionals? Maybe you can go and try catching a Metapod or something. Although that might prove a little too difficult for you," she said dryly.
"Right," James said. He was feeling very frustrated but he knew better than to disagree with her; he would just end up being attacked by one of her stupid Pokémon.
Despite being made to feel like a badly behaved schoolboy, he was glad to be free of Carmen, at least for a few hours.
Setting off deeper in to the forest, and as far away from Carmen as he could manage, James heard a loud rustling in the undergrowth. He turned around to see an Ekans slither out from under the low branches. It crossed his path but didn't even turn to look at him.
He hadn't seen an Ekans in a long time. It made him think of Jessie.
Things were so different when he was with her, he still got pushed around a bit, but at least it was worth it. Despite their frequently failing plans, he had enjoyed every day.
Trying to put his thoughts of Jessie out of his mind, he continued pushing through the trees. It didn't take him long to give up, however. He slumped down against a tree, watching the sun creep lower and lower in the sky, tinting the horizon pink. He wondered if Jessie was having an equally miserable time with her new partner, Jasper.