Disclaimers:  I don’t own any of the characters, so don’t sue me.  Actually, Tessa is mine.

Author’s note:  This story takes place after the events in “The Past Haunts Us Forever.”  If you didn’t read it, then you might
get confused by some of this story.  This story is set in mostly Jessie and James’s perspective.  For a short time, it’s also in
Brock and Misty’s.




Old Wounds Never Heal



Jessie and James’s marriage was a happy one.  Shortly after James had been released from the hospital, after the shooting, he
had proposed to Jessie.  She had accepted without hesitation.  As a wedding present, the people James had once called his
parents, gave them a house and enough money so that they would never have to worry about money ever again.  Growlie and
Meowth became content house pets.

They had been married for almost a year.  Jessie and James had opened a home for abandoned pokemon.  They built it close to
their own home, only a short walk away, so that they could spend as much time there as possible.  It was a huge success, not
as profitable as some of their other businesses, but it gave them the most pleasure.

Ash, Brock, and Misty had become good friends of theirs.  After they had helped Jessie through James’s hospitalization, they
constantly dropped in on them to see how they were doing.  After several visits, James and Brock became great friends, and
Jessie and Misty were more like sisters.  It took them a little longer to like Ash and Pikachu, after all their attempts to steal that
pokemon, and all the failures.  But Ash and Pikachu eventually came to enjoy the time they spent at Jessie and James’s home.  
They were always welcome and had all been invited to the wedding.


*****


Jessie stood on the porch of her little blue house, looking out at the pokemon that wandered about in the yard.  Meowth was
beside her, curled up asleep.  And Growlie, James’s Growlithe, was playing around with another Growlithe it had met recently
day.  The other Growlithe had been abandoned by its trainer a few days ago, and Growlie had found it in the nearby forest.  It
had almost died, but James had been able to bring it back to health.

It was such a beautiful day.  Jessie liked to look out at the pokemon as they played.  It made her happy to see others happy, at
least it had since she left had Team Rocket with James.

A pair of strong arms encircled her waist.  She smiled, knowing exactly who it was.  Who else could it be?  “James.”  She
whispered.

“And how are you today, my love?” He asked.  He gently kissed the back of her neck, sending ripples of pleasure down her
spine.

“Any day with you, is a great day.”  She murmured, pulling him around so that she could face him.

He looked so handsome, so much better than he did after his hospital stay.  Of course then he had been so pale and weak.  He
could barely sit up for more than a few minutes at a time.  But he had made a full recovery.  The color was back in his cheeks
and his strength had returned.  

He stood before her now, in a pair of jeans and a plain white T-shirt.  Now that they had so much money, they could afford to
wear anything.  But why wear anything that isn’t comfortable.  Jessie, herself had begun to wear dresses.  They weren’t as
short as the skirt of her old uniform, but they didn’t go past her knees.  The dress she wore now, was a simple blue dress
with tiny white flowers covering it.

“You look beautiful, as usual.”  James said, looking deeply into her eyes.

“You always say that.”  She smiled.

“That’s because you always look beautiful.”  He wove his fingers into her long red hair and touched his lips to hers.  The kiss
began softly, growing deeper and more passionate with every passing second, until Jessie had to pull away from him so that
she could breathe.  

“Come on.”  She said, “We have company coming, and we really should feed the pokemon before they get here.”  Jessie
would rather have stayed in his arms all day, but they did have to get the house ready for company.  Ash, Brock, and Misty
were visiting that day, and she liked everything to look as nice as possible when they came over.  

Their visits had become more infrequent lately, with Ash still training to be a pokemon master.  Jessie missed her
conversations with Misty, even though the girl was a few years younger than her.  They talked of everything when Misty
came over, including how Misty felt about Ash.  It reminded Jessie of how she used to be with James, how afraid she was of
getting hurt if James didn’t feel the same way.  But Jessie had told James, and everything had turned out great.  Jessie
constantly told Misty that she should reveal her feelings to Ash, but Misty would just blush and change the subject.

Jessie looked out at the road, wondering how long it would be before Misty and the others got there.  For a moment she
thought she saw something, a shadow a few yards away, but then it was gone.  She shook her head, thinking it was just her
imagination.  Hardly anyone ever came to visit, except for Misty and the others.  They lived in such a remote area, in the
middle of a forest, too far away from any town to get many visitors.  Sure the occasional trainer came by during their
journey.  Some even tried to take the pokemon, but of course they never succeeded.  Growlie was a great protector.  He kept
all the pokemon safe from harm.  The trainers that didn’t try to steal the pokemon were always welcome.  Jessie and James
offered them a place to stay for the night, while the other trainers were promptly kicked off their property by Growlie.

Jessie and James had changed quite a bit since their days in Team Rocket, although it wasn’t that long ago.  They cared more
for pokemon than they had before.  And they were always open to visitors.

James took Jessie by the hand, and led her into the house.  Jessie patted her old Arbok on its head as she passed by it, and
smiled.  It had always been so loyal when they were in Team Rocket.  It deserved to be as happy as the other pokemon in the
yard, but it always stayed by her side, never straying too far from its owner.  James’s Weezing had gotten used to its new life,
after awhile.  Jessie wished her Arbok would do the same.

They walked into the kitchen.  Their house was simple, nothing fancy although they had more than enough money to turn their
house into something spectacular.  But it didn’t matter to Jessie if they had money or not.  As long as she had James, she was
happy.  

At that moment, Jessie remembered that she had something to tell James.  Actually, the thought had never left her mind.  She
had thought about it ever since she had found out, but she didn’t know how to tell James.  She could always just blurt it out,
but that just didn’t seem right.  So she was waiting for just the right moment.  Of course, she didn’t want to wait too long to
tell him.

The moment Jessie walked into the kitchen, she knew something was wrong.  The back door was swinging open.  They never
left that door unlocked.  And by the look of the doorknob, it had been forced open.

“James . . .”  Jessie said, but before she could get another word out, someone grabbed her from behind.  An arm reached
across her chest, pinning both her arms to her sides, as a hand clamped over her mouth.  She kicked at the person behind her,
but it did no good.  Finally, she bit down on the hand in front of her mouth.  Whoever it was let go, and Jessie was able to
look over to James.  

Panic welled up inside of her at the sight of her beloved James.  He was lying on the floor, a bleeding gash in his forehead.  
“James!”  She yelled out.

“Quiet now, unless you want your husband dead.”  Said an all too familiar voice.  Jessie turned her head toward the source of
the voice, and sure enough there was Cassidy.  She was standing over James with a frying pan in her hand.  Then of course,
if Cassidy was in front of her, then it was Butch holding on to her from behind.

“What do you want Cassidy?”  Jessie hissed.

“This is just business Jessie.  The Boss ordered us to come get you.  If you come quietly, we’ll let James live.”  Butch said
from behind her.

“What does he want with me?  I quit Team Rocket almost a year ago.”

“We don’t know.  He just wants to see you.  Now, will you come quietly, or do I finish off James?”  Cassidy replied, raising
the frying pan over her head.

“I’ll go quietly.”  Jessie relented.  She wouldn’t risk James’s life.

Cassidy placed the frying pan on the nearby table.  She reached behind her back and pulled out a pair of handcuffs.  Butch
stepped back away from Jessie.  Jessie just stood silently as Cassidy handcuffed her hands behind her back.  As she was
securing the second cuff, Cassidy whispered into her ear, “I’m sorry.”

For some reason Jessie believed her.

Just as quietly, they walked out of Jessie and James’s little blue house.  The pokemon stepped forward, worried about Jessie.  
But Jessie told them to stay back, to not get involved.  “Go help James.”  She told Meowth as she passed by their old friend.

Meowth took off running into the house, as Jessie was led away from her home, away from the man she loved.  She
wondered what the Boss wanted with her, why he would ruin her new life like this.  She and James didn’t have any
information that could hurt the Boss, so they weren’t a threat to him.  What possible reason could he have for taking Jessie
and not James?


*****


Misty jogged down the road, with Ash and Brock right behind her.  Pikachu was riding on Ash’s head.  It had been months
since Misty had last seen Jessie and James.  And she had been looking forward to this visit for weeks.  They could get caught
up again.  And Misty could finally tell Jessie that she and Ash were dating.  

It had happened one day, Misty had finally gotten up the courage to tell Ash how she felt.  She had decided that she wouldn’t
wait, like Jessie had, until it was almost too late.  She was so relieved when Ash admitted he felt the same.  He wasn’t very
mature, Misty thought he’d react like most preteen boys, but to her surprise he had said that he liked her too.  All of Jessie’s
advice had paid off.  Now she and Ash were going out on dates.  It was nothing serious yet, but if things continued the way
they were going, it might be.

Misty could see the house now.  It was so pretty, with light blue siding and white shutters.  Flower boxes hung in the
windows, filled with pretty blooms.  But as pretty as the house was, Misty felt that something was wrong.  Something seemed
off.  Then she noticed it, there were no pokemon in the yard.  Usually there were dozens, playing around or just sitting
quietly.  But they were all gone now.

“Something’s wrong.”  Misty said to Ash and Brock, as she stopped jogging.  “Where are the pokemon?”

“Do you think something happened to Jessie and James?”  Brock asked.  

But before he had even finished his sentence, Misty had begun running toward the house.  She heard the footfalls of her
friends behind her, but she was more focused on the house.  

She jumped up the steps onto the porch and flung the front door open.  Inside she found the pokemon that had been missing
from the yard.  They were lining the stairs to the second floor.  As she walked up those stairs, she found more pokemon along
the walls and outside the door to one room.  It was Jessie and James’s bedroom.  The door was open, so Misty just walked
past all those pokemon that looked incredibly worried about something, and entered the room.

The sight she saw, scared her.  James was lying on the bed.  The pillow and bedding around his head were covered in drying
blood.  Meowth was sitting beside him, holding a cloth to his head.

“What happened?”  Misty asked, walking toward the bed.

“Can you help Meowth?  James is hurt pretty bad.”  Meowth whimpered.  “And I don’t know what to do.”

Misty took the cloth from Meowth’s paw and looked at the gash on James’s head.  It had been bleeding a lot, but it looked like
it was stopping.  “Go get some water so we can clean him up.  You did a good job Meowth, holding that cloth to his head.  
You helped stop the bleeding.”  She was telling the truth, but she also hoped it made Meowth feel better.  

“Thanks Misty.”  He said as he hopped off the bed and ran out of the room.

When Meowth came back in, he carried a bowl of water in his paws.  He was walking slowly so he wouldn’t spill any.  Brock
and Ash were standing by the door, obviously wondering what had happened to James and where Jessie was.  Misty was
wondering the same thing.

Misty took the water from him and placed it on the bedside table.  She dipped a clean end of the cloth into the water and gently
began to clean the area around the wound on James’s head.  “What happened?” She asked as she worked.

“Jessie was kidnapped.”

“What?!”  Brock nearly shouted.  “By who?”

“Butch and Cassidy.  I heard Jessie call out to James and then I saw Butch and Cassidy bring Jessie out in handcuffs.  Jessie
told us stay back and not get involved.  Then she told Meowth to help James.  So I rushed inside and found James lying on the
kitchen floor, unconscious.  I got a couple of the pokemon to help me get him up here.”  Meowth replied.

“But why would Butch and Cassidy take Jessie, and not take James, or you?”

“I don’t know.”

James sat up suddenly, calling out for Jessie.  Misty gently pushed him back down as he placed his hand to his head.  “What
happened?  Where’s Jessie?”  He asked, pushing Misty away from him.  He tried to stand, but fell back down onto the bed.

“You shouldn’t try getting up so fast.”  Misty told him.  

“Where’s Jessie?”  He asked again.

Misty told him what Meowth had told her and the others.  Once she finished talking, James started getting up again.

“What do you think you’re doing?”  Brock asked.  

“I have to go get Jessie.”  He replied, trying to stand again.  This time he succeeded, but he stood unsteadily.

“No.”  Misty pushed him back down onto the bed.  “You should rest first.”

“But Jessie needs me.  I can’t just leave her.  Who knows what the Boss is doing to her.”  He said, trying to get up once again.

“You’re not going to do her any good if you’re too dizzy to even stand.  You should get some rest first.”  Misty stated.

“Listen to Misty.”  Brock said.  “Tomorrow we’ll all go get Jessie together.  Okay?”

James didn’t look convinced, but he obviously knew that he didn’t have much choice.  He nodded and laid his head back down
on the pillow.  “But what about the pokemon?  Who’ll take care of them while we’re gone?”

“I can.”  Meowth spoke up.  “Ya know I ain’t gonna be much help if I go.  I’d probably just get in the way.  But if I stay here
and take care of all these pokemon, I’ll be helping in some small way.”

“Thanks Meowth.”  James said.

Misty turned to Brock and Ash.  “Come on.  These pokemon look a little hungry.  Maybe we should get them some food.  
Then we’ll all get some rest and leave in the morning.”

Misty looked back at James before she closed the bedroom door behind her.  He was just staring up at the ceiling.  Misty
hoped they could get Jessie back safely.  Who knew what James would do if they couldn’t.


*****


Jessie woke up in a soft bed.  She pushed herself up, to a sitting position.  She didn’t know when, but sometime after they had
taken her away from her home, Butch had drugged her.  Jessie placed her hand to her aching head and noticed that her
handcuffs were missing.  

She looked around at her surroundings, wondering where she was.  Jessie was surprised to find herself in a well-furnished
bedroom.  The bed she was laying on, was covered with silk sheets. Everything was top quality and very expensive looking.  

Jessie stood, unsteadily at first, and walked over to the door.  When she tried to open it, she found it was locked.  

“Trying to leave so soon?”  A voice from behind her called out.

Jessie spun around, surprised, to see her ex-boss, Giovanni stepping out of the shadows at the other end of the room.  His
Persian, normally always at his side, was missing.

“Where’s your Persian?”  Jessie asked.  She was trying to act brave, trying to look as unafraid as possible, even though her
heart was racing with terror.

“That stupid pokemon.  She acted foolish, attacking me so that I wouldn’t hurt that prisoner.  She won’t be attacking me
again, from where she is now.”  He held up his right hand and Jessie saw the bandage.  Jessie felt sorry for that Persian, and
wondered why it would have turned against its master, just to protect some prisoner.

“Why am I here?”  Jessie demanded.

“How could you leave Team Rocket, Jessie?  Why quit?  Just for that idiot, James?”

“James is not an idiot.  He’s sweet, and gentle, and smart.  I love him.”

Giovanni slammed his fist down on a desk.  Jessie could see blood beginning to soak through the bandage on his hand.  “Shut
up!”  He shouted.  He paused a moment, taking in a deep breath and letting it out, before he spoke again.  “How could you love
someone like him, when I could give you so much more?”

Jessie gasped, shocked.  She had never thought the Boss had any feelings for her.  He was always yelling at her about how
incompetent she and James were.  He had hidden his feelings exceptionally well.  But she could never love him.  Never have
any feelings other than disgust for him.  “I could never love you.”  She spat out.  “You are disgusting to me.”

He smiled at her, as he stepped closer to the door and her.  Jessie felt an overwhelming urge to run, but her legs were frozen in
place.  That smile just filled her with fear.  He grabbed Jessie by the arm with a vice-like grip.  She tried to pull away, but he
only held on tighter.

“I’ll give you some time to rethink this.  Either you learn to love me, or I’ll be forced to kill you.  I’d hate to kill someone as
beautiful as you.  But if I can’t have you, no one can.  I know that is an old cliché, but it works quite well in this situation.”  
He pulled her away from the door and flung her into the room.  

She almost fell over, but at the last second, she got her balance back.  By the time she looked at the door, Giovanni was gone.  
She ran back to the door and tried the doorknob again.  It was locked.  Frustrated, she kicked the door.  

Jessie was left alone, to think of James.  She hoped he was still alive.  If he was, he’d come for her.  He’d find a way to
rescue her.  She was sure of that.


*****


They had been traveling for days now.  It felt so strange for James to be traveling again, after such a long time in one place.  
He had gotten used to living in a home, rather than living outdoors.  He was even carrying pokeballs again, something he hadn’t
done in almost a year.  Right now, he only had three pokemon with him, his old Weezing, Jessie’s Arbok, and Growlie.  Of
course, he didn’t like putting Growlie in a pokeball, but it was safer for the puppy pokemon to be inside.  Besides if he was
out, he’d attract too much attention, and they were trying to be inconspicuous.

James could see the Team Rocket base, the one he hoped Jessie was in.  The Boss had bases all over the place.  This was the
closest to their home.  They were approaching it, slowly, not wanting to be seen.

All James could think about, ever since leaving his home, was Jessie.  He wondered what the Boss wanted with her.  Why had
he taken only her, and not James or Meowth?  He wondered if the Boss was hurting her.  If he was, then James would make
him pay.  He didn’t know how, but somehow the Boss would regret ever hurting Jessie.

“Hold it right there!”  Someone shouted, bringing James out of his thoughts.

“Damn.”  He said under his breath.  He turned to face the guards that had, by now, surrounded the four of them.  Out of the
corner of his eye, James saw Misty grab onto Ash’s arm and hold it tightly.  

“James.  How long has it been since we’ve seen each other?”  Said Cassidy as she stepped forward with Butch by her side.

“Just as careless as always.  See how easily we caught you?”  Butch said.

James didn’t reply to either of them.  But Brock stepped forward from behind him,  “Where’s Jessie?”

“You should be more concerned with what’s going to happen to you, not where Jessie is.”  Cassidy replied.

“Take them.”  Butch ordered the guards.

A guard stood on each side of James and the others, and took hold of their arms.  Forcefully, they were led into the base.  
They were taken down into the basement.   It was more like a jail, or a dungeon, than a basement.  Cells lined both walls of a
long corridor.  At the end of the corridor was the door to the Labs, where most of the scientists’ experiments took place.  

As he and his friends were locked into different cells, James wondered if Jessie was okay, and if he’d live to see her face again.


*****


Jessie was sitting in a chair, incredibly bored, and incredibly hungry.  No one but Giovanni had been to see her, and he had
only come that one time.  There was nothing to do in that beautiful room.  And she was desperate for company, any company,
except Giovanni.  

Just then, the door opened.  Jessie just watched as Cassidy entered the room, carrying a covered tray.  Cassidy locked the
door behind her and put the key into her pocket.

“Here Jessie, I have some food for you.”  Cassidy said nicely.

“Why are you being so nice?”  Jessie asked, as she took the tray from Cassidy.  She lifted the lid off the tray and looked at
what Cassidy had called food.  It was nothing but a ham sandwich and a glass of water.  But at least it was something to eat.

Cassidy lowered her head.  “I know we were never anything more than rivals, but I always admired you Jessie.”

“What?”  Jessie was surprised.  She put her sandwich back down on the tray, and stood.

“Even though you were never successful in a mission, you never gave up.  You always stayed strong, no matter the odds.  
You had the courage to tell the person you love how you feel.  And you quit Team Rocket so you could be with him.  I’m not
that brave, no matter how much I pretend to be.  I could never do what you did.”  She looked up at Jessie, a tear falling from
her eye.

“Cassidy,”  Jessie said, putting her arm around the blonde girl.  “You don’t give yourself enough credit.  You are a very brave
person.”  She wrapped her arm around her old rival.

“No, I’m not.  I could never tell Butch how I really feel.”

“You and Butch?”  Jessie asked, surprised.  She smiled as Cassidy blushed.  “You should tell him how you feel.  I’m sure
everything will work out.”

“I’m not as sure as you.  Butch told me once that he would never let anything get in the way of his job, especially a girl.  All he
cares about is Team Rocket.”

“How long ago was that?”  Jessie asked.

“When we first joined.”

“That was years ago.  You never know, his feelings on the subject might have changed.”

“Maybe.”  Cassidy feigned a smile and stepped away from Jessie. “But I didn’t just come here to tell you that I admire you,
Jessie.  I have some news for you.”

“What is it?”

“James was caught, along with your friends, Misty, Ash, and Brock.  Giovanni’s going to go down and . . .”

“Oh no, James.”  Jessie sank back down into the chair.  Her body was shivering, even though the room was warm.  “He’s
going to kill James.”

“No, he’s not.  Not yet, anyway.  Giovanni wants to have a little fun first.  At least, that’s what he told us.”  Cassidy unlocked
the door and opened it.  “I’m sorry, Jess.  I’m so sorry”  

She pulled the door shut after her.  Jessie could hear it as it locked, but she didn’t care anymore.  James had been captured.  It
was only a matter of time before Giovanni killed him.  

Jessie slipped out of the chair and fell to her knees, placing her face in her hands as she cried.  Now what hope did she have of
ever getting out alive?  How would she and James survive this?  She was beginning to lose hope of ever seeing her little blue
house and her beloved James ever again.


*****


The door to James’s cell flung open.  The light was blinding and sent sharp pains into his eyes.  He covered them for a
moment, until they adjusted to the change in illumination.  Before he could take his hand away from his eyes, he felt himself
being lifted to his feet.  He was dragged down the corridor, to another room.

Inside, he was secured to a metal chair.  His wrists were strapped to the arms of the chair, and his ankles were strapped to its
legs.  Then they left him alone in the room.  All he could do was wait.

Eventually, the door opened and a man walked in.  It was Giovanni.  “Where’s Jessie?”

“You don’t have to worry about Jessie.  I’ll take very good care of her, once you’re dead.”  He pulled his arm back and thrust
his fist into James’s stomach.

James’s body lurched forward as all the air was knocked out of his lungs.  He could hear Giovanni laughing.  He coughed,
trying to take in a breath.  After seconds, that felt like forever, he was able to take in a gasp of air.  Then, finally, he was able
to breathe again.

“Why are you doing this?”  James said between coughs.

Giovanni punched James in the face a couple times before answering.  “You know, your mother, although a very beautiful
woman, could never keep her nose out of other people’s business.  Always trying to help someone, and constantly interfering
in my plans.”

Even though his face hurt, he answered quickly.  “What?”

“It was a shame I had to have her and her husband killed.  She was a very beautiful woman.”

James was in shock.  This was the man that had killed his parents?  “You killed them?”

“Not personally, no.  But I hired a man to do it.  I believe you met him.  His name was Damen.”

The mention of that bastard’s name, brought up painful memories for James.  Damen had been his nanny and had physically
abused James for years.  Damen had murdered Tessa, the sister he didn’t know he had until almost a year ago.  She had been
a maid in the mansion he grew up in.  But she was the closest thing he had to a friend, other than Growlie.  She was the only
one that treated him like a person.  And when James found out that she was dead, he knew that Damen had been the one that
killed her, even though there was no proof to say she was murdered.

“You son of a . . .”  James started, but was cut off by Giovanni.

“Now, James, such language.”

“You murdered my family.  My parents, my sister.”

“Oh, yes, your sister.  I almost forgot about her.  Damen was supposed to watch you, to make sure you never got in my
way.  If your sister hadn’t gotten in his way, by trying to take you from your aunt and uncle, he wouldn’t have had to deal
with her.”

James wanted to strangle Giovanni, wanted to kill him.  But he couldn’t.  He was still strapped down to that chair.  And
Giovanni was once again pummeling him with punches, not only his face, but his body as well.  After awhile, he slipped into
unconsciousness.


*****


Jessie was lying on the bed.  Once again she was crying.  She couldn’t seem to stop crying for more than a few minutes.  She
wished she knew if James was okay.  

The door opened, and Butch walked in.  He stood beside the bed and cleared his throat, trying to attract Jessie’s attention.  
Jessie looked up at him for a second, but then placed her head back down on the pillow and continued to cry.

“Jessie?”  He said, in his usual rough voice.  “Do you need anything?”

“No.  Leave me alone.”  Jessie sobbed.

“James is still alive.”  He said.  

Jessie sat up quickly, wiping away her tears, as she stared at the young man.  “He’s alive?”

“The Boss only wanted to beat him up a little.  At least for now.”

“But he’s alive?”

“Yes.”  Butch replied.  

Jessie stood and wrapped her arms around him.  When he didn’t return the hug, she let go and looked at him.  She could see
that he was blushing.  “Butch, you okay?”

“It’s just that no one’s ever hugged me before.  I never thought it was such a big deal.”  He tuned his head away.

“Didn’t your mother ever hug you when you were a kid?”

He closed his eyes for a moment, and jerked his head to one side, as if Jessie had just slapped him in the face.  “I never knew
my mother.  She died when I was little.  My father abandoned me in an orphanage shortly after her death.”

“I’m sorry.”  Jessie replied as she reached a hand out to console him.

Butch recoiled instantly, like he was afraid of her.  “Nothing to be sorry about.  It's no big deal.”

“Of course it’s a big deal.”

“Why?  Just because no one’s ever cared about my health, or whether I died or not?  I’ve gotten used to it.”  He snapped.

“That’s not true.  Someone does care a great deal about you.”  

“Who?”

Jessie regretted that she was telling him.  It really should have been Cassidy that told him of her feelings.  “Cassidy.”

“Cassidy?”  He replied as he walked over to a chair and sat.  “Cassidy cares about me?”  Obviously he was in shock.

“She loves you.”

“But why didn’t she tell me?  And how do you even know?”  He asked looking up at Jessie.

“Cassidy was here earlier.  She told me how much she admired me because I had the courage to tell James my feelings.  But
she’s afraid to tell you hers, because she thinks you don’t feel the same.  She thinks that you only care about your job.”  Jessie
placed a hand on his shoulder.  This time he didn’t recoil away from her.

“I’ve been such a fool.  I pushed her away.  I pushed everyone away.”

“Do you love her?”

“No.  Yes.  I don’t know.  I’ve never felt anything like what I feel when I’m around Cassidy.  I’m so confused.”  He covered
his face with his hands.

“To me, it sounds as if you love her.  There’s still time.  You could always go tell her how you feel now.  You already know
how she feels, so you don’t have to worry about rejection.”

“I don’t know.  I’m not even sure if I really love her.”

“Well, think about it.  You still have time.  Cassidy will wait for you.  I’m sure of it.”  She turned away from Butch, suddenly
reminded of James.  Giovanni had beaten him.  He was in pain somewhere.  Her tears returned and she sank to the floor, her
face in her hands.

Butch came up beside her and helped her to her feet.  He took her back over to the bed.  She sat and looked up at him.  “See,
you know how to show kindness to others, so you do have feelings.”  She feigned a smile and Butch hesitantly placed his hand
on hers.


*****


James woke up in pain.  He was still strapped into that chair, so he couldn’t put his hand to his aching head.  He could feel the
blood on his face, under his nose, by his eyes.  The blood was everywhere.  He could even see some staining his shirt.

The door opened, and James watched as two guards came in and unstrapped him.  They lifted him out of the chair and
dragged him out of the tiny room.  He was taken down the corridor again, and to another cell.  The door was unlocked and he
was tossed inside.

James pushed himself up to his knees as the door was locked behind him.  His hands trembled as he touched his body to see
where he was hurt.  It wasn’t as bad as he had thought.  His nose wasn’t broken, so that was good.  But his ribs were a
different story.  They hurt terribly and a few were probably broken.

A strange sound, like someone breathing in short gasps, attracted his attention.  James looked around, searching for the
source.  In one corner, he saw a flash of movement.  He slowly approached whoever it was in the corner.  Before he could
get too close, the person ran past him in a flash.  

James turned, and now he could see that it was a girl.  The corner she was now cowering in was slightly better lit.  She
looked to be only a year or two older than James, with dark purple hair that hung down near the middle of her back.  She
looked so familiar, but he wasn’t sure who she was until he saw her eyes.  They were emerald green, the same color as his
own.

“Tessa?”  He whispered, saying the name of the sister he had thought was dead.  He was so happy to see her, so thrilled that
she was still alive.  But then he noticed how she looked.

The clothes she wore, were little more than rags, barely covering her body.  He could see bruises all over her.  The injuries
were at various stages of healing.  Some were black-and-blue bruises, some yellowish.  There were new as well as old
abrasions.  She was trying to cover her body, holding on tightly to her rags, as if someone would take them from her.  James
knew she had been hurt worse than he could see, and it had been going on for a long time.  There was something missing in
her eyes, a sparkle, a quality he remembered dearly, her strength.  It was like someone had reached in and pulled out her soul.

James reached out his hand to her, but she shrank back further into the corner.  She was obviously afraid of him, or more
likely afraid of all men.  He didn’t want to scare her anymore than she already was, so he removed his hand, and moved back
away from her.  He sat on the floor across from her, cross-legged.

In a soothing voice he talked to her, hoping he was getting through to her.  He told her who he was.  He talked about his
childhood, about growing up with her as a friend, but never knowing that she was his sister.  James talked for hours, trying
desperately to see that she recognized him.  Seeing her in so much pain, angered him, but he kept his voice in a kind tone.  He
couldn’t bear to see his sister like this.  But he wouldn’t scare her with his anger, even if the anger wasn’t directed at her, but
at Giovanni.

He talked until his voice was hoarse, until he couldn’t talk anymore.  By then, he could no longer hold back the tears that were
welling up inside of him.  He let them out, crying for his sister.  She was lost to him, locked away in her own mind.  Those
bastards had stolen her from him and left her an empty shell.  “I’m sorry Tessa.  If I hadn’t let you see me with those bruises,
you never would have told my aunt and uncle that you were taking me away.  Then Damen wouldn’t have brought you here.  
If only I had stayed hidden in the shadows when you came in that day.  I’m sorry.  It’s all my fault.”  He buried his face in his
hands, even though the tears burned the cuts and scratches on his face.

“James?” said a small voice.  James snapped his head up, to see his sister looking at him.  In her eyes he could see a spark of
recognition.  “James is that really you?”

He nodded, unable to speak.  

Tessa threw herself into his arms and held on to James as if she were afraid that he’d be taken away. “I never thought I'd see
you again.  I gave up hope.”  She cried.

“They told me you were dead.”

“They did kill me,”  She said, pulling herself away from James.  “But not the way you think.  My body may be alive, but inside
I’ve been dead for years.”  She paused, cupping James’s face with her shaking hands.  “At least I was until you came.”  She
smiled slightly, but James could still see her pain.

He didn’t really want to ask, but he had to know.  “What happened to you?”

Tessa looked away from James, as if she was ashamed of herself.  “Damen brought me here.  He said that I was in his way.  
At first Giovanni forced me to work as his maid, but then one day he said that I was as beautiful as my mother.  And then he
said that since I was so beautiful, I could be of use to him.  He said that I could entertain his soldiers.  That's all I was to them,
entertainment.  The way they touched me, made me sick.  I never wanted it.  I fought them, but they were always too strong
and there were always more of them.  After awhile I just gave up.”

“Tessa.  It’s okay now, no one’s ever going to hurt you like that again.  I’ll get you out of here somehow.”

“That Persian of his, tried to protect me, just a few days ago.  She felt sorry for me, she told me so.  But she couldn’t help.  
He got rid of her.  And Giovanni put me down here and told me that he’d had enough of me, that he was getting someone new
to be his entertainment.”  Tessa said.  

James knew that the new entertainment Giovanni was getting, was Jessie.  The thought of Jessie being put through what had
happened to his sister, made him sick to his stomach.  It was all he could do to keep from retching.

Tessa curled up in his arms, holding tightly.  James would get her and Jessie out, even if it killed him.  And he’d get even with
Giovanni for what he had done to them, for what he had done to his entire family.


*****


Jessie was pacing around the room.  Butch had left, saying he would get some more information about James.  She had been
grateful for his visit, if only because it had taken her mind off her own problems for a short time.

The door opened.  But instead of Butch, Giovanni entered the room.  “Well, Jessie, it looks like you have a decision to make.”  
He said, locking the door behind him and pocketing the key.

“What decision?”  She asked, backing away from him.

“Say you’ll be mine.  Consent to be with me, and I’ll let James go free, along with his sister, Tessa.”

“But his sister is dead.”

“Actually, she isn’t.  No body was ever found by the police after the accident.  They just assumed that she was inside.  But
she’s been here the entire time.  For awhile she was used as entertainment by me and some of my best employees.”

“You forced her to be a prostitute?”  Jessie gasped, shocked and appalled.

“Now Jessie, let’s not stray from the topic.  You be with me, and I’ll let both of them go.”

Jessie swallowed.  “If I say yes, then James lives?”

“Absolutely.  You have my word.”

Jessie couldn’t let James die if she could save him.  But there was no way to be sure that Giovanni wasn’t lying.  “Never.”  
She spat at him.  “I would never give myself to something as disgusting as you.”

Giovanni slapped her with the back of his hand.  “Disgusting, am I?  James is a dead man, I’ll see to it personally.  And you
will be mine.”  He grabbed her by the arm and threw her onto the bed.

“No!”  She screamed as she tried to get out from under Giovanni.  But it was no use.  He was much stronger than her, and he
quickly had her arms pinned above her head with one hand.

“Oh, yes.”  He grinned as he tore the front of her dress.

Jessie continued to struggle against him, she wouldn’t give up.  He slapped her again, harder this time.  She could taste the
blood on her lip.  “Why don’t you just give up?  I’ll have you one way or another.”  Giovanni laughed.

“I’ll never give up.  I don’t want my child to grow up thinking its mother is a quitter.”

“W-What?”  Giovanni stammered.  “You’re pregnant?”

“Yes.  James is going to be a father.”

“Well, we’ll fix that right after we’re done here.  One quick little operation will take care of that little problem.”

“No.  You’re not taking my baby.”  Jessie said as she continued her struggle against the stronger man.

He reached down with his free hand, placing it on her thigh, and slid it up under her dress.  She couldn’t believe this was
happening.  Not again.  She thought to herself, remembering that night when her mother’s boyfriend had come into her
bedroom.  Oh God, please not again.  Jessie closed her eyes, not wanting to look into the face of that awful man anymore.

For a moment Jessie thought she heard something, like a thud.  Then, she felt a heavy weight on her body.  She took a chance
and opened her eyes.  To her surprise, she saw Giovanni laying on top of her, unconscious.  Butch was standing by the side of
the bed, holding a dented tray in his hands.

“You okay Jessie?”  Butch asked as he dropped the tray.  The tray hit the floor with a loud clang.

“I will be once you get him off of me.”  She replied in a shaky voice.

Butch didn’t hesitate to push Giovanni off of Jessie.  He gasped when he saw the state Jessie was in.  Jessie looked down at
herself, noticing Butch’s reaction.  The front of her dress was torn, revealing her bra.  She tried to cover herself, but her dress
was torn too badly to be of much use anymore.

“Here.”  Butch said, taking off his uniform jacket.

“Thanks.”  Jessie replied as she quickly took it from him and put it on over what was left of her dress.  “Why did you help
me?”

Butch turned to her as she hopped out of the bed.  “I couldn’t let him do that to you, not after how nice you’ve been to me.”

“What will you do now?”

“Don’t worry about me.  Just go.”  Butch said, gesturing to the door.  

Jessie kissed him on the cheek.  Then she turned and left without looking back.  She had to find James.  They had to get out.  
In her mind, Jessie hoped that Butch would be okay.


*****


Tessa never let go of him, never loosened her grip.  James could see she was terrified.  He couldn’t imagine how much pain
she’d been through.  When they got out, he’d get her some help.  They’d find someone who could help her deal with
everything she’d been though.

The sound of the door unlocking startled him.  He stood quickly.  Tessa hid behind him, clinging tightly to his back.  He
watched as the door opened and Cassidy stepped into the small room.

“Cassidy?  What do you want?”  He asked, remembering that she had been one of the ones that had kidnapped Jessie.

“I came to help.  I was only following orders when I took Jessie.  But the Boss has lost it.  He thinks he’s in love with Jessie
and has her in a room upstairs.”

“Let’s get my friends.  Then take us up there.”  James demanded.

“Okay.”  Cassidy led James and Tessa to another cell.  She quickly unlocked it, letting Ash, Brock, Misty, and Pikachu out.

When Brock and Ash stepped out, Tessa ran behind James, apparently afraid.  Cassidy took off her jacket and held it out to
James.  James took it and wrapped it around his frightened sister.  “It’s okay, Tessa.  Ash and Brock are friends.  They would
never hurt you.”  He tried to reassure her.  Tessa let go of James, but kept close to him as Cassidy led them to Jessie.

They had just turned a corner, when Cassidy began running toward an open door.  The others followed her quickly.  Inside,
James saw Cassidy run over to a figure lying on the floor.  When he got close enough, he saw that it was Butch.  Butch was
bleeding badly, from a gunshot wound to his leg.

“What happened?”  Cassidy asked him.

“The Boss was trying to force himself on Jessie.  I stopped him and let her go.  When he came to, he pulled out a gun and
shot me.  He told me that he would deal with me later, once he got Jessie back.”

“Which way did Jessie go?”  James asked.

“She went left.”  Just as Butch said those words, the alarms in the base started going off.

“Damn.”  James cursed.  Now the corridors would be filled with guards.

“Here, you’ll need these.”  Cassidy said, throwing a bag to James.  

James opened the bag and pulled out his pokeballs.  Only his had been taken from him, not Ash’s or any of the others, for
some strange reason.  He released each pokemon from their ball, first Weezing, then Arbok, and finally Growlie.

Growlie immediately went over to Tessa and licked her hand.  “Growlie, I’m glad to see that you remember me.”  Tessa
smiled, patting the pokemon on the head.

“Growlie.” James said, getting the attention of the puppy pokemon.  “I want you to protect Tessa, okay?”

Growlie nodded and replied in it’s own way, “I will defend her with my life.”

“Let’s go.”  James said.  He turned back to Butch and Cassidy.  “You two stay here.  We’ll come back once we have Jessie.”

He didn’t wait to hear either of them reply.  In an instant he was running down the corridor, searching for Jessie, even though
his ribs ached with every slight movement.  He ignored the pain, knowing he had to get to Jessie, to save her from Giovanni.  


*****


Brock was running as fast as he could.  James was in front of him, leading the way down the corridor, with Tessa right next
to him.  James’s sister seemed so afraid of him and Ash.  James hadn’t actually introduced them to her, since she seemed so
frightened, but Brock remembered hearing her name in conversations.  James often mentioned his sister, Tessa, when he and
Brock talked.  But Brock had thought she was dead.  That’s what James had told him.  But of course, he had also heard that
no body had ever been found.  She must have been a prisoner here since the explosion that had supposedly killed her.  

Brock wondered exactly what had happened to her here.  He had an imagination, so he could guess, and the only thing he
could think of, sent a shudder through his body.  If anyone had done that to one of his sisters, he’d track the bastard down
and kill him himself.  

What a shame.  Brock thought.  Someone as pretty as her, should never be so terrified, in so much pain.  The man responsible
for what had happened to her should rot in hell.  And Brock was sure that Giovanni was the one responsible.

“Jessie must have come this way.  It’s the only way that leads to an exit.”  James said, pulling Brock out of his thoughts.

He heard shouting from behind them, and glanced back.  There were guards chasing them, guns drawn, and aimed at them.  
“James, we got trouble.”  He shouted.

James looked back over his shoulder.  “Damn.  We’ll never outrun them.”

“We can stay behind to hold them off.  You go get Jessie.”  Brock replied.  He pulled out the pokeball containing his Onix.  He
threw the ball in front of them, releasing the pokemon.

Onix spread across the corridor, making a barrier.  Brock and the others, jumped over, and ducked down behind Onix.  The
guards stopped and began firing their guns.  Bullets ricocheted off of Onix’s stone body.  “You okay Onix?”  Brock asked his
friend.

Onix replied quickly, saying that it was fine.  Brock hated using his Onix like this, but he didn’t seem to have much of a
choice.  It was either this, or get shot.  

“Weezing, Smog Attack.”  James ordered.  Dark clouds of smoke poured from Weezing’s body, filling the air on the other side
of Onix.  Loud hacking coughs could be heard from inside the large dark cloud.

“Get going James.  We can hold them off!”  Ash shouted.

“You sure?”  James asked.

Misty replied,  “Go!  We’ll be fine.”

James turned to his sister.  Brock overheard every word spoken between them.  “Tessa, I want you to stay here.”

Tessa grabbed on to James’s arm.  “No, don’t leave me here.”  She sounded terrified.

“It’s okay.  These people are my friends.  They’ll protect you.  It’s just too dangerous for you to go with me.”  James pried
his arm away from Tessa.  

James stood and took off running down the corridor.  Arbok slithered behind him.  Brock watched James go, then turned his
attention to Tessa.  She was sitting against Onix, her legs drawn up to her chest.  She looked so terrified.  Brock wanted to
say something, to make her feel better, but he knew that he’d only scare her more if he did.  She was too afraid of men to
trust him or believe his words.

The smog was beginning to dissipate.  Gunshots again echoed throughout the corridor.  “Weezing, do it again!”  Ash shouted.  

Weezing obeyed Ash, without hesitation, but before he could fill the air with smog, one of the guards had already jumped over
Onix.  He lowered his weapon, aiming directly at Tessa.  Brock jumped to his feet and leapt in front of her as the guard slowly
pulled back the trigger.  A searing sharp pain tore through his shoulder as the bullet imbedded itself in his body.

“Pikachu, Thundershock.”  Ash commanded.  Pikachu concentrated all its energy on the guard.  Its body glowed with electric
heat.  With a mighty push, Pikachu aimed an electric shock at the guard.  The electricity surged through the man's body.  
When it was over, he slumped to the floor, unconscious.

White-hot pain covered the right side of Brock’s upper body.  He had never been shot before, and frankly he didn’t like it.  He
pressed the palm of his left hand to the wound, not wanting to bleed to death.  Someone helped him up.  When he looked up,
to thank the person, he was surprised to see Tessa holding him gently.

“Thank you.”  He said quietly.

Tessa tore a piece of her clothing off.  She hesitantly pulled Brock’s hand away from the wound in his shoulder.  She paused
for a minute, obviously debating with herself whether or not to go through with it.  In the end, she pressed the strip of her
clothing against the wound.  Brock hissed in pain, clenching his teeth so that he wouldn’t cry out.  He looked up at her and
could see the pain in her eyes.  But there was something else, something he couldn’t quite figure out.  It could be gratitude, but
he could have been mistaken.  He smiled at her.  She smiled back, a small smile, but still, it was a smile.  


*****


James sped down the corridor.  He could hear Arbok behind him.  He thought about telling Arbok to go back, but it probably
wouldn’t have listened to him.  It was worried about Jessie, almost as much as James was.

The corridor came to an end.  James opened the door that led into the reception area, where visitors entered the base.  This
room, unlike most of the base, was painted in bright colors, with plants and paintings decorating the walls.  A receptionist’s
desk was at one end, and a wall of windows was across from it.  This room was supposed to make visitors feel at ease.  The
door James had walked through was off-limits to visitors.

James saw Jessie.  She was standing with her back to the glass windows.  James could see, by the view out of the windows,
that the sun had set several hours ago.  But at the moment, he was more interested in Jessie’s welfare.

Giovanni was slowly approaching her, a gun in his hand.  Jessie looked terrified as got closer and closer to her.  “If you won’t
be mine, I won’t let James or anyone else have you.”  Giovanni stated as he raised the gun to Jessie.

James ran forward, not caring about his own safety.  He leapt at Giovanni, crashing into him and knocking his hand to his
side, just as the shot was fired.  James looked to Jessie, just in time to see her fall to the ground.  Oh, God no.  James thought,
his mind screaming in terror.  Arbok slithered over to Jessie and nudged her with its head.  Jessie just lay on the floor, not
moving.

“No!”  James screamed as he threw himself at Giovanni again.

“Looks like you lose.”  Giovanni laughed, as they struggled for the gun still in his hand.  James punched him in the face, as
hard as he could.  Giovanni dropped the gun.

James dived for it as it clattered to the floor.  He stood and aimed the barrel directly at Giovanni, at the man that had stolen his
life from him.  He had killed James’s parents, taken his sister and put her through so much pain, repeatedly.  And now he had
killed Jessie, the only woman James had ever loved.

Giovanni reached behind his back and pulled a knife from somewhere.  James didn’t notice until it was too late.  His mind was
too clouded with rage to have noticed any movement he had made.  James was about to pull the trigger, to rid the world of the
monster that stood before him.  

Giovanni’s hand flew out in a flash, throwing the knife at James.  It imbedded in James’s upper left chest.  A shot rang out,
but getting hit with a knife had thrown James’s aim off.  The bullet hit one of the windows, shattering it.  Giovanni took the
opportunity and escaped through the broken window.

“No!”  Yelled James, as he saw his only chance for revenge escaping into the darkness of the night.

He fell to his knees sobbing.  He was a failure, he couldn’t even avenge the death of his wife properly.  The murderer, the
bastard, had gotten away without so much as a scratch.  In his mind he hoped that the knife wound in his chest was serious
enough to end his miserable life.

He didn’t know how long he had been sitting there, and he didn’t care.  Jessie was gone, he’d never see her beautiful smile
again.  The world could have ended and he wouldn’t have cared.

Then a hand gently grasped his shoulder.  He turned, expecting to see Misty or one of the others.  But instead, it was Jessie’s
face that he saw.

“Jessie?  You’re alive?”  He asked, confused.  He had heard the gunshot, had seen her fall.

She was standing unsteadily, clutching her blood-soaked side with her free hand.  “I guess the bullet just grazed my ribs.”  She
smiled.  “How are you?”

The knife was still imbedded in his chest, but he answered so happily.  “I feel great.”  He stood, taking her hand in his.  In the
distance he could hear the sound of sirens approaching.


*****


“And Giovanni escaped through a broken window?”  Asked an Officer Jenny.

“Yes.  We told you everything, three times.  Now can we go?”  Jessie asked, impatient to get back home.  

They had been sitting in the police station for hours, answering questions.  First, they had been taken to the hospital and
checked out.  Ash and Misty seemed to be the only ones that hadn’t been hurt in some way.  No one had any serious injuries,
not even James.  The knife hadn’t hit any vital organs, neither had the shot Jesse had taken.  Just as she had thought, the bullet
had only grazed her ribs.  Even Butch was okay.  

The pokemon, had all been taken to the local pokemon center and were being cared for by a Nurse Joy.  The ones that had
been involved with the fight against the guards weren’t really hurt, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

When the police had questioned her about Butch and Cassidy’s involvement, Jessie had lied, telling the police that they had
come with James to rescue her.  Before the police had arrived, she and James had decided that they couldn’t let Butch and
Cassidy go to jail, not after all their help.  They had talked to Ash and the others.  Everyone agreed to stand up for Butch and
Cassidy, except for Tessa.  But she didn’t answer any of the police’s questions.

Tessa, unfortunately was still in the hospital, but maybe that was for the better.  After what she had been through, she needed
help to adjust to her new life.  She couldn’t be expected to do that on her own.  The doctors would take good care of her.  
And when she got out, she would have a home with Jessie and James.  

Of course, right now, it seemed that everyone would be living with James and Jessie, except for Ash and Misty.  They were
perfectly healthy, so they weren’t going to stick around.  It was crowded after all.  And now that Jessie knew that Ash and
Misty had told each other of their feelings, she didn’t mind that they weren’t staying.  

Butch and Cassidy would be staying at their house, at least until Butch’s leg had healed, or they got a place of their own.  And
Brock would be staying, until his arm was better.

“Okay.  But if we have any other questions . . .”  Jenny said.

“You can ask us tomorrow.  Right now, we’re all very tired and just want to go home.”  Jessie said, standing up, and holding
her side in pain.  Finally they were getting out of there.


*****


James was holding her hand as they walked onto the porch of their home.  She was so happy to be home with him.  He had
refused to stay in the hospital, just as she had.  Brock and Butch had decided to stay.  Ash and Misty were still answering
questions at the police station.  And Cassidy was still with Butch.  She had refused to leave his side, telling Jessie that she had
finally decided to tell Butch about her feelings.  Jessie had wished her the best of luck.

They walked in the door.  Immediately, they were greeted by Meowth.  “Jessie!”  He shouted as he wrapped his arms around
Jessie’s leg.

“I’m glad to see you too, Meowth.”  Jessie smiled.  If she weren’t in so much pain, she would have leaned over to pat his
head.

“You okay, Jess?”  He looked up at her with a concerned look on his face.

“I’ll be fine.”

“I’m fine too.  Don’t worry about me.”  Said James from beside her, sounding a bit left out.

Meowth glared at him for a second, then smiled.  “Well, I guess I’ll give you two some privacy.”

“Thanks Meowth.”  Jessie replied.

She and James sat on their sofa.  James grasped her hand and lifted it to his lips, kissing it gently.  “I’m so glad your back.”  
He whispered.

“James, there’s something I need to tell you.”  Jessie said.  Now was the time to tell James the news.

“What is it, Jessie?”  He asked, sounding worried.

Jessie took in a deep breath, or at least as deep as she could, with the pain in her side.  She stared directly into his wonderful
green eyes.  “I’m pregnant.”

“What?”  He asked, jumping up.  Just as quickly he sat back down, clutching the bandaged wound in his chest, and wincing in
pain.

“You okay?”  Jessie placed her hand on his shoulder, and giggled.

“Did you say what I think you said?”  He replied.

Jessie could feel her cheeks turning red, and smiled slyly.  “Congratulations Daddy.”

James pulled her closer to him, wrapping his arms around her gently.  He pressed his lips to hers, kissing her as passionately
as if she hadn’t been shot recently.  But she didn’t care about the pain in her side.  Not as long as she was here with James.  
She was happy as long as she was in her own home, with the man she loved.



The End