James woke the next morning without remembering ever closing his eyes. His head was resting on top of Jessie's head and he could smell her familiar, comforting scent. He had missed her so much.
Sunlight was streaming through the window, but James kept his eyes shut. He was still in that blissful few moments after waking up, half awake, yet still half asleep where everything was perfect, and none of life's problems mattered.
He let his imagination drift off with him and he pictured himself lying in a soft, warm double bed next to Jessie in a beautiful house by the sea.
In a few minutes he would gently kiss Jessie's forehead, quietly slip out of bed and head towards the kitchen, careful not to wake Meowth who would be lying curled comfortably in a basket at the end of their bed.
He would then go about making breakfast for Jessie, exactly the way she liked it, two slices of toast, a glass of orange juice and steaming mug of black coffee. Jessie would wake up to see James standing in the doorway with her breakfast on a tray and she would smile at him, her eyes would light up like they always did when he did something kind for her…
But James could feel himself slowly drifting back to reality, he tried to cling on to the dream but his perfect morning with Jessie was slipping away and the harsh reality of the situation was coming back to him.
Yes, he was lying next to Jessie but not in a luxurious double bed, he was on an uncomfortable hospital bed with barely enough room for both of them. He wouldn't kiss Jessie before making her breakfast. If she managed to survive, Jasper would be the one to take her home, look after her, bring her breakfast in bed and kiss her… James would be left alone, never being able to tell his best friend that he was in love with her, because she was in love with Jasper.
Finally, James opened his eyes. The bright sunlight blinded him for a moment until his eyes became accustomed to the light. Squinting around the room he spotted Dr Redhill writing on his clipboard.
"Hey, doc," James said in a hushed voice.
"Oh! You're awake. Good," he said, smiling.
"How is she?" he asked.
"Well, I don't want to jump to any hasty conclusions, but it looks like she's doing very well. I think her body managed to get rid of most of the Pokémon poison by itself."
"Oh, good," James said, relieved. He felt like a huge weight had been lifted from him, although he wouldn't stop worrying about Jessie until she was awake.
"James?" Dr Redhill asked.
"I wonder if you would try a little experiment with me."
"What kind of experiment?" James asked curiously.
"If you can untangle yourself for Jessie without waking her, come over here," he said with a small smile.
James felt himself blush a little when he realised how intertwined he had become with Jessie. He had both his arms around her, with his head resting on top of hers. She had one of her hands resting on his chest and one of her legs on his.
Removing himself from the tangle of limbs he managed, with some difficulty, to slip off the bed and walk over to the doctor.
Almost as soon as he had done that however, Jessie began to get agitated. She started taking short, shallow breaths as if she was panicking and the heart rate monitor next to her started beeping more quickly.
James looked to Dr Redhill in alarm.
"What's wrong with her?" he asked. "Why is she getting worse?"
"It's nothing to worry about, James. Now I want you to go back over to her and we will see what happens."
James did as he was told and hurried back over to Jessie to comfort her. He slipped back on to the bed and took her hand in his. Only a few seconds after that, Jessie stopped panicking. She let out a long sigh as she felt James beside her.
"I knew it!" Dr Redhill said, grinning.
"You knew what?" James said.
"You are the cure for Jessie's poisoning," he said.
"I don't understand, I didn't do anything," James said, thoroughly confused.
"You didn't need to do anything. I think the poison that Jessie was affected by was completely psychological. In other words, all the pain and panic was in her head."
"So..?" James said, a little confused.
"So the only cure for her was to have someone with her who could comfort her, someone who has helped her through fear and pain before, someone she trusts with her life. That's you James."
"Me?" James said in disbelief. "What about Jasper? He would have been a much better person to help her, he's her boyfriend, he should be here with her." The word 'boyfriend' caught in his throat and he felt an fresh spark of resentment towards Jasper.
"Well, clearly Jasper wasn't the person she wanted. When she was scared, her instincts just took over and she wanted you. Well, that's my professional opinion anyway," he said with a sly grin.
Still a little startled, James hesitated for a few minutes before speaking again.
"I never really knew I was in love with her," James said, out of the blue. "Not until I heard she was sick. I thought what I felt for her was just friendship…"
James tailed off, absent-mindedly stroking Jessie's hair. He was very quickly beginning to see his friendship with Jessie in a whole new light, and if he was honest with himself, it terrified him.
"All this time I've been in love with her, and I was too scared to admit it to myself let alone to her!" he exclaimed suddenly, angry at himself.
Dr Redhill didn't say anything, he just stood there, listening. James was glad of this though, he needed someone just to listen to him thinking out loud.
"I can't believe I nearly lost her. If she had died…"
James swallowed hard as a lump rose in his throat. He couldn't bear to imagine what would have happened if he had lost Jessie. It was too horrible to think about. It made him physically hurt to think of what it would feel like to never see her face again.
"Well, are you going to tell her?" asked Dr Redhill who was now in the corner of the room, sifting through a large pile of files.
"I don't think I ever could. I'd be too afraid to lose her as a friend. She's happy with Jasper, so I'll just have to be happy that she's happy." James said. Easier said than done, he added to himself. "It's probably better that she doesn't know how I feel anyway. I just can't help wondering what would happen if she knew I was in love with her…"
James glanced down at Jessie and to his horror, she was awake. Her head was still resting on his chest but her bright blue eyes were stretched wide as she stared at him, having heard every single word he had said.