Separate Ways

Conflict

Jessie sat on the forest floor, leaning against a huge oak tree. She was twirling her long magenta hair absent-mindedly between her fingers as she gazed across the little clearing that she and Jasper had set up camp in. It hadn't been far away from this spot that she had been bitten a few days ago.

Being back in nearly the same place made it feel like nothing had changed. Jessie let herself imagine that instead of being bitten, she and Jasper had just continued walking and set up camp for the night; and instead of spending days in hospital in agony she had fallen asleep in a warm tent. But that hadn't been the case she had lost nearly two days of her life in unconsciousness.

For a few blissful moments, she imagined how life would be without all her complex relationships; where the only thing she had to worry about was doing her job. She loved her job. Was it too much to ask for that to be all she had to think about?

But her reverie was interrupted when Jasper wandered over to her and she was brought crashing back to her overly complicated life.

"Want something to eat?" he asked.

"I'm not hungry," she replied, shortly.

"Are you okay?" he asked her. She could see the concern in his warm brown eyes but she couldn't bring herself to be nice to him. Her every instinct told her to push people away who tried to help her. She had to make an active effort most of the time to be nice to people. The only exception had been when she was with James... but right now she didn't have the energy or the patience to muster up any sympathy or kindness.

"I'm fine. Can I just have some time to myself, please?"

"Alright," Jasper said, looking a little exasperated.

Ignoring this, Jessie stood up and strode over to their little green tent and crawled inside. She kicked off her boots and lay down. Throwing a blanket over herself, she attempted to shut out the rest of the world.

In the dark and the quiet, she tried to go to her happy place. She imagined a huge, green forest filled with the sounds of hundreds of wild Pokémon just waiting to be captured and sent to the Boss.

She was there with her own Pokémon and her companion. But as she tried to imagine who that companion was, she realised she couldn't identify him. She couldn't work out if it was Jasper or James she was with. Maybe it was neither.

The comforting feeling of being in her happy place was fading and confusion and sadness took over instead. With her head still buzzing with confused, conflicting thoughts, she drifted in to an uneasy sleep.

She was woken the next morning by Jasper trying to pull on his socks and shuffle quietly out the tent. She was feeling considerably more positive than she had the night before. Perhaps all she had needed was a good night's sleep to lift her sprits.

She couldn't help but smile as she watched Jasper awkwardly tip-toe around the mass of blankets and pillows that made up the floor of the tent.

"Oh, you're awake," he said, a little tentatively as he noticed her watching him. He had clearly not forgotten how short she had been with him the night before.

"Yeah," she said with a smile. She would never actually say she was sorry, that wasn't her style, but she wanted to make it clear to Jasper that she was in much higher spirits after her long sleep.

"What's for breakfast?" she continued. "I'm starving!"

When they finally arrived back at the camp that night, they had been on their feet for nearly ten hours. It had been a very successful day of Pokémon. Jessie had even caught a purple Staraptor, something neither she nor Jasper had ever seen before. She knew the Boss would be impressed with such a rare colour of Pokémon.

Although she loved the feeling of satisfaction of successfully catching Pokémon, there was a little part of her that missed the challenge of constantly being in pursuit of the twerps and their Pikachu. She, James and Meowth had been tested to their limits every day, trying to invent new Pikachu-proof traps. There had been a great deal of frustration, certainly, but it had been so much fun.

Still deep in thought, Jessie flopped down on to the soft grass outside the tent as Jasper wandered around gathers sticks to make a fire.

"That was a really good day," Jessie said enthusiastically.

"It was!" Jasper agreed. "We make a pretty awesome team, you and me."

"Yeah," Jessie said with a satisfied smile. She would be lying if she said she hadn't grown rather fond of Jasper over the last few months. He had proved himself to be a formidable Pokémon trainer as well as a very skilled Team Rocket field agent, not to mention being a kind and loving companion to her...

Jasper dumped a small pile of wood in the middle of the clearing, sat down beside her and kissed her on the cheek. He lay down on the grass, exhausted, and Jessie followed suit. As he put his arm round her, she realised just how tired she was.

"Hey Jessie?" he said suddenly.

"Yeah?" she said sleepily.

"I've been doing a bit of thinking,"

"Ooh, be careful with that, I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself," she said with a sly smile.

"Shut up and let me finish!" he said, laughing. "Like I said, I've been doing a bit of thinking and I know that you miss James a lot, I get that, but we make an amazing team too. And we're so productive! We must be sending the Boss about three Pokémon a day!"

Jessie scowled a little as she noticed the poorly disguised insult at James and their terrible track record. It was true they hadn't been very good at catching Pokémon, but she still felt a stab of protectiveness over James. Whether Jasper was speaking the truth or not, she didn't like him poking fun at James.

"I mean," he continued, "I've never met anyone as talented as you and I think together we could make the greatest Rocket couple there has ever been. We could go down in history! I want to stick with you for the rest of my life because we are so good together."

With a jolt, Jessie began to realise where this speech was headed. Her heart started racing and she sat up. Jasper sat up too, looked her straight in the eye and said,

"Jessie, will you marry me?"

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