(sequel to The Letter R)


Disclaimer: Yah, it ain’t mine, it ain’t mine, blah blah blah, etc.

Notes: Remember the liberal way I took Jessie’s life and played around with it? I’m doing the same with James, in a way. I am using a few anime references. But not many. Throw out everything you know about James. It makes it easier. I’m also bouncing off of "The Letter R."

Rocketshippers/people who insist that James is not bisexual or gay will be highly offended by this story.

And now, the fic.


As we hovered over the land in our trademark balloon, I looked at the redheaded Jessie sleeping in the bottom, as well as the snoring Meowth. They were sleeping somewhat peacefully. I, however, had been hit with the worse case of insomnia. So I was standing up in the balloon, blowing my lock of blue hair around with my breath and looking out over the land and indulging in one of my semi-addictive pastimes.

I was munching on chocolates.

We didn’t feel like camping out tonight. Not that there had been much of an option. Too much chance of being caught after that failed attack. The Jennys were on our trail, and Meowth had suggested we just stay in the balloon. Ironic, that hovering in a large Meowth balloon was safer for us than camping on the ground. But that’s the price of Team Rocket life.

That’s not the only irony in my life. It’s not the only price I’ve paid because of who I am. Team Rocket isn’t the highest price tag I’ve paid. It’s my only happiness.

Money can’t buy happiness. I could go home, marry that bitch Jessibelle, screw her till she popped out an heir, make my parents happy. But that wouldn’t make me happy.

And I like being happy.

Mmm. Almond nougat. My parents would kill me if they knew I was eating these. Can’t get chocolates back there. Chocolates are for girls. Not proper. Get your fingers dirty. Glad they can’t find me.

Glad I’ll never pay their prices to give away my happiness.


Part 1

The Price of Innocence

I wasn’t an only child. Sure, I was the only child of my mother and father. But I wasn’t my father’s only child. Even now I don’t know all my brothers and sisters.

You see, rich people don’t live by the same laws as the rest of the world. One law they recreated for themselves was marriage. The rest of the world thinks marriage is a sacred vow, that you find a person whom you love with everything inside of you and you marry them, and you vow to love them and only them. That’s not the way the rich world works.

I was about five the night I found out. I had been with my governess all day. I don’t even remember what she looked like—she wasn’t that important, really. She was just a lady who watched me while Mother went to her socials and Father went to his business meetings. I had been put to bed, but I couldn’t sleep. So I went downstairs to get myself a cup of warm chocolate. Even back then, I craved chocolate.

I was in the den, sitting in front of the fire, sipping my drink and watching the flames flicker. It was storming outside, and the crackle of the lightning and the pouring rain was a soothing tattoo on the house, with only the illumination of a fire.

I was sort of spacing at the time, so I really didn’t hear the doorbell the first time. The second time, I heard it. So I got up in my little footie pajamas and shuffled to the door, stretching to open it.

A young woman was standing there, soaked through and sneezing, with a shawl over her. I blinked up at her, and she must have recognized me.

"Master James?" she asked, and then I recognized her. She was the maid that worked here, that lived down the road.

"Betty?" I said. "Hi Betty."

"Master James, is your father home?" she asked, trembling.

I nodded, sipping on my cocoa again.

"Could you go and get him?"

I didn’t know any better. I toddled off towards my father’s study and quietly knocked on the door.

"What is it?" Father asked through the door.

"Betty wants to talk to you."

"Betty? Betty who?"

"The maid."

There was a silence. Then the door flew open and my father stood there, silent and foreboding. He looked at me, then headed down the hall. "Come along, James," he said, in such a cold voice that I knew to quickly catch up to him.

We made it to the door. Betsy was still standing on the porch, soaked and cold. I was tempted to offer her some of my chocolate. But while my father was there, I didn’t dare.

"What are you doing here?" Father said, cold and cruel.

"It’s about the baby. Master, she’s sick. I need to take her to the doctor."

"There is no baby."

"There is, sir. There is one and you know why I’m here."

"I gave you the money to dispose of that."

"I couldn’t sir. It’s not right to kill a baby."

"Once I give you the funds to pay for an abortion, I don’t consider the child my responsibility. I am not obliged to pay for the mistakes my staff makes. I’m not responsible for my help."

"But you are responsible for your child, sir."

I blinked, looking at Betty. Of course father was responsible for me. I was his son. What a stupid statement.

"No," she said, as if she had read my mind. "Not your heir. Your daughter. The child you gave me."

That’s what frightened me. I looked at Betty, then at my father, then back at Betty. Father didn’t have other children. I was his only child. My eyes were wide in surprise, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Tell, him, sir," Betty said. "Tell him that you have other children. Tell him that he’s not an only child. Tell him the truth—that you sleep with many a woman on the staff and then think you aren’t supposed to take care of the children that come from it. Tell him the truth about this world. That rich people don’t have to do what us poorer people do."

My father sort of twitched. He still had that blank look in his face. Then he looked at Betty.

"If you want your job, child, I would advise you to get off my porch and go home."

"Tell him!" she screamed. "Tell him that you have a little girl his age by someone not his mother!"

My father slapped Betty so hard she hit the ground. I gasped in shock. Betty cried. And my father stood there.

"You are fired." He turned and walked back to his study. "James, close the door."

I looked at Betty. She looked so hurt, with her long blond hair and big teary eyes, crying on the porch, having to go back out to try and take care of her sick child…my sister.

I reached in the pocket of my robe. I had a little money. I kept change in my robe pocket. I looked at the crumpled bill in my pocket. A fifty. It was what I planned to spend on candy the next time I went to the candy shop with my governess. But a couple candies were not needed.


She looked up at me. I handed out the sticky bill. "You can have it."

"But Master James…that’s your pocket money…"

I shrugged. "I can get more. Your kid…my sissy…she needs it."

Betty took the crumpled bill in her damp hand and then patted me on top of my blue-locked head. "You’re a good one, Master James," she told me, smiling with those warm brown eyes of hers. I think that’s when I fell in love with brown eyes. "Don’t change for these people, kay? You stay a good one."

I smiled at her. There wasn’t much to say. She wrapped the shawl back over her head and headed back out into the rain. I watched her go. Then I closed the door behind her.

I had lost my innocence about my world once I opened that door and learned the truth about my dad. Small price. The next day, I told my father I had misplaced my candy money. He was angry, and I didn’t get any more for the week. I had to go without my sweets that time.

But it was worth it to know I had done something good.

Part Two

The Price of Concern

A young man can only have a governess for so long. Once you reach the age of ten, a governess is given up for a tutor. As I said, I don’t remember my governess. I don’t remember my tutor much either. I do however, remember when we started on the study of Pokémon and Pokémon training. My parents were going to enroll me in Pokémon Tech soon, and they wanted me ready. I was fascinated by the creatures. They were so skilled and powerful…I wanted one badly. I started to only buy twenty bucks worth of candy a week and saved to get a Pokémon of my own.

I could have just asked Father. It would have been much easier. But I felt I should at least try to earn it. Plus, my father had just set up my future marriage with young Jessibelle and I had to spend most of my time trying to avoid her and that annoying Oddish with its moves. One good Stun Spore left me at her sadistic whims for the rest of the day.

I wanted a Squirtle. Water Pokémon were my secret love. I thought they were gallant and sleek, and the power of a future Blastoise would be wonderful. But Squirtles weren’t easy to come by—especially if I wanted one of the prize bred Squirtle eggs from the prestigious Goldball Farms. They were 500 bucks an egg. I had paid the sixty dollar deposit—that way I would get the best egg.

I saved and saved for months and was ready to go that day to Goldball and pay the rest to secure my egg—the Wartortle mother had just laid four perfect eggs today, and everyone knew that the first eggs were the best. Sure, about twenty would be laid, but the first four were the sweet part of the batch.

I was on my way into the office, carrying the basket I was going to bring that egg home in. It was perfectly padded, made of metal, cool, and a little damp, like it was supposed to be. I was ready. I was going to raise a Squirtle. Today was the day…

And that’s when I saw a man carrying a sack over to the river. I stopped, watching him. He had on a Goldball Farms uniform, so he must have worked there. He was throwing something out. The bag started squirming. I blinked, sure that the bag hadn’t moved. I decided to follow anyways.

Then I heard the plaintive cries from inside, like puppy barks. I scrambled over just in time to see the man walk to the edge of the river and open the bag. Then he reached inside and pulled out a small blind Growlithe puppy. He quickly stuffed the body under the raging stream before the cries continued, and held it there. Then he lifted out a dead, stiff, dripping puppy and laid it on the bank.

Over and over he did this, until five pups lay dead on the bank. He was dunking the sixth under when I snapped. I ran over and slammed my heavy basket over the man’s head. He was startled. He could have taken me out easy, but I had surprised him. I grabbed his arm before he got his wits and ripped his arm up out of the water in a splash. This effectively pulled the pup out enough to let it breathe. I grabbed the still-sputtering pup out the water fully and pulling it onto the bank before I pried his fingers from around the pup’s neck, then gathered it gently in my arms. It was still breathing, but the poor thing was half dead. I wrapped it in my jacket, trying to warm it.

"Hey kid!" the man screamed, finally coming out of the daze. "What are you doing?"

"What do you think you’re doing, murdering these poor little pups!" I screamed back, pressing the pup closer to my chest. It was shivering against me, and I felt it through my shirt.

"The Farms told me to!" He held the spot on his head where a lump was forming. "They’re bastard pups!"

"What?" I didn’t let go of the pup as I fussed.

"Their father was some wild Growlithe with no pedigree. We can’t sell them! They’re not worth a damn thing!"

I reached in my pocket. It was the cash for the Squirtle egg. All 500 bucks. Cash money. Without a second thought, I pulled the wad out and flung it at him. Tens and twenties fluttered around him like a weird leaf dropping. "There! I bought this one!"

He looked at the cash. "Kid, you must be nuts. That pup’s not worth a thing. He’s spotty and half dead. You take your cash and buy a real Pokémon!"

"I don’t want a real Pokémon!" I hollered. "I want this pup and you either take the cash or I’ll clonk you with my basket again!" I waved the basket menacingly with my free hand, where I was gripping it so hard my knuckles were white.

"Fine kid." The man started stuffing the dead pups into his bag, then he picked up the bills and stuffed them with the bodies. "That was good cash, and you wasted it on that pathetic little beast. You’re stupid, do you hear me! Bloody stupid!" He reached out for me, and I nimbly dodged.

Then I snapped back, "Get away from me and my Pokémon!"

Then I stormed home, still swinging the empty basket as I held the pup against my chest. This basket wasn’t good for a fire puppy. He needed to stay against me, to warm up before I put him down. I dumped the basket in the hallway with a large clatter, which caught the ears of my tutor. He peeked in my room, where I had placed the little pup on my bed and was running warm hands over him. He was starting to move around a little, and I could feel a good strong heartbeat.

"Master James, what is that little thing on your bed?" he asked.

"His name is Growlie," I replied. "Tell Cookie to get me a baby bottle full of baby food suitable for a Growlithe pup and bring it here now."

He nodded and walked out the room. I kept rubbing him gently, keeping him warm. Once my tutor brought the bottle, I held Growlie in my arms like a baby and bottle fed him.

This wasn’t a Squirtle. This wasn’t even a water Pokémon. But it was my first Pokémon.

I spent money to get him shots and give him a good house. He grew up gangly and messy, clumsy and loppy. He chewed up Mother’s pumps and peed on Father’s business papers and threw up on the floor in front of the main door just before important officers came over and they stepped in it.

He was a mess. Far from the gallant Blastoise I had once dreamed of.

But he had a Flamethrower attack that sent Jessibelle home crying like a baby every time. And that made him worth all five hundred bucks.


Part Three

The Price of Respect

I never really doubted that my parents were worthy of respect. They gave me things and fed me richly and I always had the best tutors.

But all that changed once the bethroal to Jessibelle was finalized. Before that it was a mere annoyance and she was just a little twittering girl with a very annoying Oddish and an equally nasty Skiploom. Now she was a big problem and a sadistic little witch with two demonic Pokémon.

I fought her back everytime she caught me. She would fling that whip out and hit me across the face till my anger mounted, and I would sock her back until I screamed for Growlie to come and send her screaming home. And everyday her parents would fuss to my parents and I would get lectured. I would stand there, bruises on my face and scowling as I stared at the floor.

"James," my mother would say, "it’s not proper to fight back. She’s a young lady and gentlemen do not fight ladies."

"Yes, mother," I would mumble, touching the lump on my head.

"And," my father would cut in, "one cannot expect it to look good on you to not respect your future wife."

"Yes, father," I would mumble, thinking How can anyone respect that demon?

And they would continue in that vein until they got tired of hearing me say nothing but yes ma’am and yes sir, and they dismissed me off to go tend to my wounds with cold compresses and band-aids, staring at my face in the mirror with my sorrowful green eyes.

I was starting to think that the pattern would continue in this vein forever.

Then she pushed me over the edge one day. I was approaching my 12th birthday.

I was fighting her back, and she was swinging at me, and that little Oddish was whipping me with vines, and the Skiploom was fluttering around and trying to fling stuff on me. I screamed, "Growlie!" just before the Oddish tied me up. Growlie came tearing around that corner, his legs sprawling out from under him just before he caught himself and scrambled towards the trio with all he had. The Oddish let me go, and I flung it away and into Jessibelle. It knocked her right on her round little butt into the fish pond and her skirts flew up over her head and her bloomers were exposed for anyone to see. She looked like a drowned upside down flower

She was thoroughly embarrassed. I didn’t help one bit as she tried to right herself. I laughed so hard I cried. Growlie kept snapping at her petticoat, knocking her back every time she even though to pull herself out.

When she finally got to her feet, her face was as red as her hair as she stood in the pond. "How—how dare you!" She fumed, her hair dripping. "I have never been so embarrassed!"

"I don’t care you little witch!" I hollered back at her.

Growlie snapped at her again and growled, crouched like he was going to bite her. He never bit her, that would be mean. And Growlie might have hated Jessibelle as much as I did, but he wasn’t going to bite her.

The Skiploom fluttered around Growlie in a rage. Now Growlie didn’t attack people, but a little Skiploom wasn’t a person. Quick as a flash Growlie grabbed it in his teeth, and the Skiploom started screaming as Growlie ripped the Skiploom apart with feral rage. The screams didn’t die until the Skiploom did. And at no point did I think to call back Growlie.

Jessibelle stood there in shock as Growlie turned her Skiploom into his lunch. It was a long moment after the last rips when she stomped out the fountain and grabbed Growlie by his collar. He gagged, trying to wiggle loose. "You dumb little mutt!" she hollered. Then she took Growlie and stuffed his head under the water of the pond and held him there as he kicked. My eyes widened, and I took off my left shoe and slammed it hard into the back of Jessibelle’s head. She slumped to the ground, out cold.

No one messed with Growlie and got away with it.

Jessibelle didn’t wake up for almost two minutes. I stood there, watching her, till I heard a shrill "James!" I spun to see my father and Jessibelle’s father standing there. Jessibelle’s father gathered Jessibelle into his arms and tried to wake her. My father grabbed me by the back of my shirt and lifted me clear off the ground. Before I could say a thing he struck me.

"James!" he hissed. "How dare you knock her out!"

"Did you see what she did?" I screamed.

"I saw everything!" he hollered. "That dog is a menace and I’ll have it put to sleep this very day!"

"You touch my dog and I’ll kill you!" I screamed, trying to fight out of my father’s grip.

My father stood there silent, holding me. Then Jessibelle’s father jumped in. "You apologize to her!" he screamed, pointing to the slowly reviving Jessibelle.

"I’m not apologizing to a little thing like her!"

"You do it!"


Jessibelle’s father grabbed Growlie and stuffed his head under the fountain, flinging me away. Growlie started kicking again, and I screamed at my father.

"Lemme go!" I cried.

"Apologize," my father replied coldly.

I whimpered, watching Growlie drown again. "I’m sorry!" I hollered, bursting into tears. Jessibelle’s father let Growlie go, and he scrambled out the water, sputtering like he was going to die. My father dropped me, and before I could get to Growlie’s side, he stepped on my shirttail, holding me.

"If you ever fight Jessibelle again," he replied in a cold voice, "I’ll be the one holding that mutt’s head under in front of you."

That was the last time I ever fought Jessibelle. Growlie was worth too much to me. I couldn’t risk waking up and seeing him dead. So I took the beatings. I played her little sick games. And I took it.

And from then on, the only respect I held for my parents was in public.


Part Four

The Price of Love

I hated them all.

I hated my parents. I hated Jessibelle. I hated any human that crossed me. I spent my days playing Jessibelle’s evil games or hiding in my room, sulking silently. I didn’t see anyway out—I was stuck here forever.

I was reading the paper one day, nursing a very nasty bruise, when I saw there was an opening at a small Pokémon camp. I leapt upon it and left as soon as I could—almost no parental consent. I had snuck the form into my father’s papers and he signed it without even looking at it. Even when he found out about my deceit, he went ahead and let me go. It was only for about a month, and I would be right back in the clutches of my parents. But one month away—it was the answer to my problems, even for a little while.

Talk about your hole in the wall camps. Most respectable rich kids would have never set foot near Camp Wild Onix. But at least no one would really know who I was.

The cabins were eight to a room, with one counselor. Boys in one section, girls in another, but the sections were fairly close and easily mixed up. I had already explained to two girls that they were in the boy’s cabins today. The other six guys in my cabin had left to go participate in activities, and I was still unloading my things into one of the shelves at the side in the cabin I had been assigned to. There was supposed to be one more guy in our cabin, but he was late. I was quietly thinking to myself as I did so. No Jessibelle, no mother and father—nothing of that sort…

"Hey, it’s a camp newbie," a soft voice said. I looked up to see a girl that was about my age—sixteen—with long wavy silvery hair to her lower back tied back in a ponytail and big round brown eyes. Those eyes reminded me of Betty, and they were just as warm and inviting. She was gorgeous. But she was in the wrong cabin.

"My name’s Corey," she said, holding out her hand.

"Girl’s cabins are on the other side of the first aid hut," I said without looking back up. I expected the same thing I had always gotten—a flushed, "I’m sorry" and a quick exit.

"I’m a boy," Corey replied. He held out his bunk assignment, and sure enough, it was marked male.

I blinked and looked up at him. "You’re a boy?"

"Yeah," Corey replied. "Don’t feel embarrassed. I’ve been mistaken for a girl many times cause I keep my hair long." He tossed his bag on the bed. "What’s your name?"

"James," I replied, leaving out my last name.

"Well, once we’re done unpacking, you want me to give you a tour? I’ve been here lots of times. I practically know this place better than my own house."

I nodded softly, and Corey started unpacking as I finished and fished out my Pokémon field guide. I watched him move, and then a thought popped into my head that shocked me.

When I thought he was a girl, I was attracted to him instantly. Now I knew he was a guy. And I still was attracted to him as much as I had been before. I cringed inside. I wasn’t supposed to be attracted to guys. That just wasn’t right. I’d been told that for years. But he was so beautiful…his hair sort of shone under the lights as he moved.

Corey turned to look at me. "You staring at me, James?" he asked quietly.

"Um—no," I stammered, blushing badly and staring at the floor. The last thing I needed was to be ostracized for being caught staring at another guy. Corey shrugged and continued unpacking. And I turned to stare at my book so he wouldn’t think I was staring at him again.

Corey tapped me on the shoulder when he was done. "Ready for the tour?" he asked.

I nodded, dropping the book on the bed and rising to my feet. Corey headed out the cabin, and I followed.

I was still staring at his silver hair.


Those weeks at camp were wonderful. Without the burden of my family around, I had a blast. I hung out with a lot of the guys in my cabin, but sometimes it was just me and Corey. Those times were the best. Corey was a quiet, pensive artist, and he swam like a Goldeen, with his hair streaming behind him like a sleek metallic ripple. I loved being with him, even if the others were around. He was so cool, and almost everyone liked him. But only one thing gave me a damper.

I couldn’t shake those feelings for Corey. If he ever found out and confronted me, I would probably die right there on the spot. But no matter how many times I tried to tell myself this was not only a one sided, but a very wrong crush, I couldn’t shake those feelings one bit.

There was only one week of camp left. It was lights out. I should have been in bed with the rest of the boys. But I was sitting on the pier by my cabin, dangling my feet in the water and feeling tears roll down my cheeks. "Liking Corey is wrong," I kept saying to myself. "It is just plain wrong." As I was sitting there, trying to make my feelings go away, a cold, damp hand grabbed my ankle out of nowhere. I screamed hysterically and tried to kick it away.

"Whoa James!" A flash of silver darted through the water and then I saw Corey bob to the surface and pull himself out of the water, wearing his swim trunks. "I didn’t mean to scare you so badly!" He sat down beside me, dripping wet.

"What are you doing out here?" I asked.

"Like I said, I’ve been at this camp for years. The counselors sleep like the dead. I duck out for a swim every night. But this is the first time I’ve seen you out here. What you up to?"

"Oh, oh nothing," I replied staring at the water so he couldn’t see that I had been crying. "Nothing at all."

Corey took my face in his hand and turned me to face him. "People don’t sit on piers in the moonlight crying and mumbling because of nothing," he said. "Come on, James. You can tell me. I haven’t been hanging around you all these weeks and not figured out something."

I turned bright red in the moonlight. "I can’t—I couldn’t tell you…"

Corey let go of my face and looked at me in shock. "Oh my Mew," he replied. "you like me."

"No!" I shrieked, trying to scramble back. "No way! That’s wrong! Guys just don’t like other guys!" I went on in that vein, babbling out every good reason why I wouldn’t be attracted to him and a couple not-so-good ones. Corey sat there quietly, listening to me shriek, and then he cut in, interrupting me.

"Would you say all those reasons if I told you I liked you?"

That shut me up. My eyes widened as I stared at him. "You…you…"

"Yes," Corey reaffirmed. "I’m attracted to you. And the way you just went on, I know you’re attracted to me."

"But—but isn’t that…"

"Your parents must have told you that it’s wrong, or you picked it up in society. But think about it James. Is it really so wrong? If you forget all of society’s stigmas about two guys being in love with each other, do you still feel like liking me is wrong?"

I didn’t answer at first. Then I shook my head. "No," I said. "It’s not wrong."

Corey leaned over to look me in the eyes. Those warm brown eyes looking at me, open and honest—he wasn’t lying to me. He was really attracted to me.

And he confirmed it when he kissed me. My first, last, and only kiss in my life was from a guy. I stiffened at first, frightened someone would see us. But then I relaxed, and closed my eyes, and started to kiss him back—Mew, it felt good, it felt right…it felt like me and him were the only two souls on earth.

Corey was the one to break the kiss. He kept looking at me with those same brown eyes. I was silent for a second, still sort of confused about what I had just did. "But—but we won’t ever see each other after we leave camp," I said sadly. "I’m going to have to go back home, to that stupid family of mine and the stupid fiancé that hits me…" I realized I had said too much and looked up at Corey in shock.

"I know about that too," Corey replied. "I knew who you were the second I saw your face. I know your last name. You’re a rich kid." He smiled at me. "James, I’m not in any way affected by that. Matter of fact, I know how to take you away from all that."


"My parents are dead. I live with an uncle that half the time doesn’t know I exist. If I leave he’ll never even notice that I didn’t come home from camp. Take me home with you. Pass me off as a house guest. Your mom and dad won’t even notice me—I’ll be that quiet. And as soon as I have everything together, me and you are gonna disappear from your family forever."

"How?" I asked again.

Corey looked at me and said two simple words. Two words that would change my outlook forever.

"Team Rocket."


Part Five

The Price of Rebellion

I did it. I brought Corey home with me. When my mother asked who he was I said he was a friend that was spending a few months here for a visit. And she didn’t say anything else. My father gave me a skeptical look, but he didn’t say anything else. Corey and Growlie hit it off perfectly. Growlie took one look at Corey and bounced up and started licking his face. Corey though Growlie was just wonderful. Lucky for me, Jessibelle and her family had gone out of the country for the next few months. So I didn’t have to hear her asking about Corey.

Corey was right. He kept a low profile. He took up residence in the guest room and half the time no one but me remembered he was there. He spent his days swimming in the pool and painting. We spent out nights planning the Great Escape, as he called it. We had everything set up to disappear perfectly, down to the way we would leave. The river that ran by Viridian and my house, near the Goldenball farms…the boat was out there, and we would row our way all the way to Viridian. Growlie was coming too. After our wild planning, we would spend the rest of the night just talking to each other, learning and divulging our secrets to each other as we munched on chocolates and giggled like two schoolgirls in a dorm room. He was my best friend for life.

Once, he even asked me to pose for him and he painted a small but very gorgeous painting of me that I still have. It’s almost like a photograph in its style.

I look at it now and it makes me cry.

It was two months before we were planning to go. The boat was hidden, the food was starting to be gathered, everything was set up. I was lying in my bed, quietly reading and waiting for him to show up in my room, like he did every night for our planning.

He didn’t show. That wasn’t like Corey. I got up in my pajamas and started towards his room quietly. It was silent in there and the door was shut. I knocked quietly, thinking he was asleep. Then I opened the door. He was under the covers, his eyes closed. I assumed he was sleeping. I walked over and tapped him on the shoulder to wake him up. "Corey?" I whispered, shaking him a little harder. Then I took a good look. His skin was bluish, and there was something tied around his neck, almost as if he had been…

I realized then he wasn’t going to wake up. Those brown eyes were gone forever.

I let loose a scream that would have shook the foundations and held Corey to me, sobbing hysterically. I cried and cried for almost hours. Then behind me I heard the cold voice. He spoke my name in that same tone. The one that had coldly spoken before Betty had been slapped, the one that had coldly made me chose whether me or my Growlie was going to be the victim. And, I just knew it before he even continued, that it was voice that had taken Corey away from me.

"How could you?" I sobbed. "How could you kill him?"

"How could you?" my father said darkly. "What respectable young man brings home a boy like that? What kind of young man are you? He had to be eliminated, for your good." The way he said it made Corey sound like a rather nasty bug that had been crushed under his foot.

I kept sobbing quietly, holding Corey to me. "How would you even know what is good for me?"

"You are a disgrace. You should be disowned."

"I hate you," I hissed, still crying as I lay my face on Corey’s still chest.

"You can hate me," he said. "But you are not going to have that in my house. You are my son, and you will do as I say, and you will never do something like that again." Then he walked out.

Mother had him buried in a nonmarked grave, labeled with a false name. After all, I was

the only one who knew where he had came from, and I was still too messed up from what my father had done to tell anyone. For the next few weeks, I was a wreck. All I did was cry and hiss at my father when he walked in the room, like a wounded caged animal. I was still holding one of Corey’s shirts in my arms, burying my face in it and crying, trying to get that smell of him from the shirt. My father took the shirt from me one night and burned it. The next day, he hauled me off to a psychiatrist and I was issued these little red pills. They were sedatives. Basically my father kept me in a drugged state for months. Every morning he watched me and made sure that I took those dammed things, and he made sure I took them at noon, and he made sure I took them again before I went to bed. My mother could only stand by and watch as I spent my days too drugged up to know most of the time what was going on.

One night, I was laying in my room, staring at the wall, starting to come out of the drugged state. It was right before bed. I knew I was only going to be out of that state for a few hours before my father walked in with the red pills and drugged me for the night. I turned so that I was lying on my stomach, then buried my head in the pillow and stared crying quietly, feeling lost and helpless and suicidal.

There was a soft knock on the door. I turned to look at my door. My father never knocked. He just walked in and set the stuff in front of me. The door creaked open, and I was surprised to see my mother with the pills. I looked at her with those misery-filled eyes of mine, knowing my father had sent her to drug me. She was dressed up in a beautiful evening dress and downstairs I could hear soft music playing. I’m guessing there was a party and my father didn’t want to take the time to step away from his associates to do the deed himself.

Mother took one look at me and burst into tears. "Mew, you’re so miserable!" she sobbed, holding me to her and comforting my motherly. Then she took a look at those offending red pills. "James, were you and that young man planning to run away?"

I nodded, looking at her sadly.

She pulled me close, and whispered to me. "I’m going to leave the room now. I’m going to leave those pills on the table. I’ll wait for about ten minutes. Then I’ll come back. And if you are still there, then I will drug you, like your father wanted me to. But if you’re gone…" She trailed off, rising to her feet. She headed out the door, then she looked at me.

"Ten minutes, James. That’s all I will give you." Then she closed the door.

I scrambled to my feet, dragging out the duffle bag that was still packed in my closet. I looked out the window, then opened it. I carefully set my foot on the ledge, then on the tree branch to see if it would hold my weight along with the duffle bag. The months of being sedated had made me drop a lot of weight, so it held perfectly. I stepped back in the room, looking at those offending red pills. I grabbed them. They could make me some money. Then I scrambled out that window and down the tree faster than I ever had. Lucky for me no one was outside as I ran. I made it to the river and into the boat, which was still floating silently on the water. Poor Growlie—Father had locked him in the kitchen, and it would have been too risky to let him out to come with me. I would come back for him later.

It was a two day journey to Viridian City, paddling at night and sleeping hidden during the day. When I did make it to Viridian City, I stepped out and let the boat float freely down to the sea, carried by the current.

I was a sight. My blue hair was messy and unkempt, my eyes were still sort of glazed as I was getting used to being free of the drugged state. I was lugging that bag, and I looked like a lost little kid.

But I was free.


Part Six

The Price of Luck

I wandered around town for about a week, living off the food I had brought and sleeping in the Pokémon Center. The nurses never noticed that I was there almost everyday in the same clothes—they saw that with a lot of trainers that were on journeys. I was not a trainer however—I was just a lost kid.

I was sitting in the Pokécenter, munching on my last sandwich and worrying where I was going to get my next meal from. This was the end, and I was practically broke. I had thought to grab food, but I didn’t want any of my parents’ money. Any ties to them would have made it dangerous. That, and they kept all my money tied up in trusts I couldn’t touch.

As I sat there, curled up and thinking, I hear a voice chime out. It was a deep, sort of angelic voice. "Hey, Berry top," she called.

I knew she must have been talking to me—I was the only blue haired person in the center at the time. I looked up to see a girl about my age, with long red hair tied back in a braid. She had on a loose red shirt with a small white R on the left side and black jeans, and had a set of Pokéballs attached to a belt.

"Me?" I asked.

"Yeah you." She walked over to me. "You’ve been hanging around this center a while. You new to town or something?"

I nodded. "Yah."

She leaned over. "You a runaway?"

I looked around, making sure that there were no nurses around, then nodded.

"Well, you can’t survive out here forever. The nurses will catch on, with you having no Pokéballs."

Speak of the Murkrow. A Nurse Joy stepped up right there. "Young man, you’ve been at this center for almost a week and I’ve yet to see your Pokémon. Could you please give it to me? It probably needs healing badly."

"Erm, no, it’s fine," I stammered.

"Then you should let it out of its Pokéball, so that it can get some exercise and fresh air."

"My Pokémon doesn’t like fresh air." I muttered, stuffing my hands behind my back. "It’s antisocial."

"Oh, now you’re making excuses," she fussed. "Come on, lemme see that Pokémon right now or I’ll ask your real reason for being here."

I whimpered. My only Pokémon was back at the place I never wanted to return. Then I felt a smooth round object pushed into my hand. "Here," the redheaded girl hissed. "Take this." Moment’s later Nurse Joy pulled my arms around to the front and I discovered I was holding a Pokéball, much to my shock. She opened it and a very pretty Bellsprout emerged, waving its leaves.

"Oh, you have a very nice Bellsprout," she said, patting the little thing on the head. Then she leaned in close. "I can see why you were so shy, young man. Most guys don’t have Bellsprout. Too girly." She gave the Bellsprout a small vitamin boost and headed off.

I looked at the redhead. "Hey, thanks," I said, handing the Pokéball back. "You saved me a bad interrogation."

"Keep it," she replied, dropping the ball back into my hand. "I don’t like grass Pokémon much. I was planning to release it soon as I got something much cooler."

"I still owe ya one." I hooked the Pokéball to my belt and prepared to head out the door. She chased me, catching up to me within moments.

"Where do you think you’re going?" she asked.

"I dunno."

"Where you gonna get your next meal?"

"Somewhere." I continued walking.

"What you gonna do with that Bellsprout?"

"Um…train it some?"

She stepped in my path. "Either you are very stupid or you are in dire need of help. What do you know about Bellsprout?"

"Not much, I’m afraid."

"Then you better come with me right now." She grabbed my arm and dragged me off. I didn’t have time to protest.

She dragged me to a building. The Gym of Viridian City, actually. She knocked twice on the door, then a panel slid open.

"Whatchu want?" a dark voice hissed.

"Lemme in right now, Bruno!" the girl shrieked.

The door opened. "Oh, I didn’t know it was you, Jessie," he replied. "Who’s the runt?"

"New recruit," the girl (who I could safely call "Jessie" now) said, kicking the door shut behind me and then dragging me off. "He’s gonna fill out the paper work." She then hauled me off to a room and started digging through a thick pile of papers on her desk.

As she shuffled through the papers, I looked at Jessie. "I can’t be a junior trainer!" I protested. "I’m not even that good, and like you said, I don’t know anything about Bellsprout…"

"Who said anything about being a junior trainer?" She shoved a booklet at me. "Go ahead, look at it."

I read the cover. "The Team Rocket Trainee Book," I read aloud. Team Rocket…that’s the team Corey talked about.

"So, get to reading, kid." She headed out the room. "I’ll go tell the boss that you’re a member, and he’ll get you outfitted with your trainee gear."

As she walked out, I looked at the book cover again. Team Rocket.

Talk about dumb luck.




So now that’s where I am.

A full fledged member of Team Rocket. I’m free. I’m happy. I’m allowed to be myself.

And I have three Pokémon in my line up. Thought two aren’t the best. A very stupid but loyal Weezing. A now-Victreebel that seems to think my head is its lunch.

And most recently, I found my best friend, as we were camping out one night. I was the last one up when the whimpers caught my ears, and I turned to see him stumble out of the bushes. He was messy, with matted fur, and hungry. There was rope around his neck, dangling with the end hanging loose and had appeared to be burned through. Father must have tied him up. He must have starved him too, and beat him, because he had lashes all over his back. His fur was dirty, but his eyes looked happy, as though he had finally found his goal. He was hungry, weak, and looked about as bad as I did when I stepped out of that boat.

But one look in my eyes and he bounced into my arms, licking my face weakly and barking at me.

Growlie was back.

Back to Fox Tales