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Mutual

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Another day, another loss.

Jessie had spat and snarled at the unfairness of it all, how they had lost to that stupid twerp again, how they had blasted off into some unknown section of the forest—why couldn’t they have gotten lucky like they had a few days ago and wound up at Sky Resort again? Oh yes, because their luck never lasted, that’s why—and, most of all, at how she had landed on a bristly pile of sticks, scratching up her legs something fierce. If it hadn’t been such a final slap in the face for the day it would have actually been a perfectly aimed landing, but knowing that wasn’t about to lift Jessie’s mood. The rest of Team Rocket were perfectly aware of that, too. James had mumbled some excuse to go gather supplies for the evening and disappeared, Meowth had quickly volunteered to trek to the nearest town and swipe some money and he too vanished, and even Wobbuffet had retreated back to his Pokeball and remained there.

Kicking up the dirt, Jessie let loose a few wordless shrieks of anger, not letting herself voice all of the unpleasant thoughts in her mind. That goddamn stupid little kid, always so arrogant and cocky, never failing to use such underhanded tricks to send Team Rocket blasting off again! Sure, Team Rocket’s tricks were just as underhanded, if not more so, but at least they were honest about their shiftiness. That little twerp acted like he was so much better than they were when in reality he fought just as dirty as they did! The kid was a goddamn jerk, plain and simple, and he was always making them look bad. And Jessie knew that she and the rest of her team were nothing but a joke anymore, a cruel punchline—they were the losers who couldn’t catch even one blasted pikachu, who couldn’t outsmart or out-battle a stupid kid who hadn’t even reached puberty yet. Jessie knew she was a laughingstock to the entire rest of the organization. She acted like she didn’t know, or didn’t care… but she did, and she did.

This was not the life she’d imagined for herself when she had joined Team Rocket.

She let out one finishing curse, short and nearly silently falling past her lips, and straightened herself up, smoothing out her clothes and pushing those awful stray strands of hair back behind her ears as best she could. James and Meowth had certainly seen her at her worst before, many times, and this was nowhere near her worst… but these losses were really starting to get to her, and the last thing she needed was her shaky confidence dragging the whole team down.

She reached into her knapsack for food, her stomach growling. The bag was mostly empty, with only… Jessie pulled out what she had found to investigate. Two stick of beef jerky and that was it. Jessie bit her lip to keep herself from cursing again. She knew very well that eating those would only make her hungrier.  Ignoring the rumble from her stomach, she pushed them back into the knapsack. Meowth would return at some point during the night with cash, and Jessie would use that cash in the morning to buy a nice breakfast for all of them. Her stomach would just have to wait until then.

She still felt upset, even beyond her sensations of exhaustion and hunger, but her emotions were now in check, and while Meowth was likely going to be gone on his nightly quest for hours, James very likely hadn’t gone far at all. “Ah, much better,” Jessie called out in a voice slightly louder than her normal speaking voice, setting the knapsack down. “I’m happy now.”

“No you’re not,” James muttered, stepping into the clearing. Jessie frowned. He had been closer than she was counting on—how much of her near-breakdown had he witnessed?

“Please tell me you didn’t see all of that.”

“Not all of it, no…”

Jessie groaned. On the other hand, it was stupid to hide things from her partner and best friend who could read her like a book. “Well, I am calm now, at least. As calm as I can be.”

“It’s alright.” James was trying to put on an encouraging face, but Jessie could read him as well as he could read her and knew quite well he didn’t really believe that, either. “Things will be better tomorrow.” He turned his head away from her, acting almost ashamed—clearly not matching his actions with his words.

“Oh yes, definitely,” Jessie said, sounding far more confident than she felt. If James was going to fail so badly at being reassuring, she was going to have to step it up for both their sakes. “That pikachu will be ours this time tomorrow.” She smiled, sitting down on a patch of soft grass and stretching, imagining how satisfying it would feel when that little rodent was finally theirs. The thought, plus the soft ground, was making her feel much better. She craned her neck, loosening all of her tightened muscles.

It took a few seconds of stretching and enjoying the content feeling, or at least content in relation to how she had felt earlier, to realize that James hadn’t said anything in response. Puzzled, Jessie turned her head towards him. Their eyes met for a half second before James quickly whipped his head away and stared at the ground, blinking furiously. It hadn’t been enough time for Jessie to figure out the issue.

Come to think of it, James had been acting sort of strange the last few weeks. Not during their Pokémon-snatching attempts, though—he still seemed to be his usual self then. But during those times in between defeats, like now, he had become unusually quiet and standoffish.

“What’s the matter?” Jessie asked abruptly. “You’ve been acting really funny these last few weeks.”

James snapped his head back up, looking back at her almost apprehensively. “Oh, it’s just… well… I’m tired of losing all the time, too. It’s just depressing and… tiresome.”

Jessie arched an eyebrow. “That may be, and I can definitely relate, but I can tell when you’re lying to me. What’s the real reason?”

James gulped. “That… that is the real—“

“Do you think I’m stupid?” Jessie snapped. “You’re blinking a thousand times a minute and you’re stammering, and you hardly ever stammer. Just tell me!”

James very purposely looked away from her and at the ground again. “I’d rather not talk about it, if that’s okay with you,” he mumbled.

Jessie snorted, but said nothing. Didn’t he realize that if he just told her, she could help him work out whatever problem he was having? She could tell he needed space, but she also knew that he’d end up telling her sooner or later anyway. To her, this was just wasting time.

He did know that she wanted to help him… didn’t he?

Of course he did, Jessie reassured herself. Her personality might have been a bit… abrasive, this she knew… but James knew her well enough by now to know that she was rather protective of him. And while she would be the first to admit that her attempts at cheering him up weren’t always the most successful, she sure as hell tried, at least.

If only he’d let her!

Jessie leaned her face down to her knees and examined James, still determined to figure out the problem for herself. James still was intently studying the ground, swallowing nervously and picking at his fingers. It was like he was being interrogated. His eyes flickered to Jessie for another half second before locking on the ground again, his cheeks flushing a bright shade of pink.

…wait.

Oh.

Oh.

No.

It was a good thing James wasn’t looking at Jessie at that moment, because her jaw dropped practically to the ground.

He couldn’t! But no, he did. And Jessie felt a strange smile form on her face. It was a satisfied smile, since she had finally figured him out. It was also a protective smile, smiling at how utterly innocent and sweet he was acting right now, like a schoolgirl. But oddly, most of all, it was a flattered smile. Knowing what—or rather who—was the cause of James’s awkwardness filled her with a strange warm glow, the glow of realizing that despite everything, she could still have this effect on people—and not just anyone, but James of all people, who had witnessed outbursts from her that would have made men twice as courageous as he hightail it away from her as fast as possible.

“I know what’s got you hot and bothered,” Jessie said smoothly, still smiling. That sure got James’s eyes off of the ground and back on Jessie, but her words coupled with her expression caused his face to morph into that of a cornered rattata. Jessie hesitated for only a moment; what she was about to do would be incredibly awkward to explain if she was in fact wrong.

But she knew she was right.

She quickly crawled the few feet of distance between the two of them, gripped his shoulders, and pushed him down, pinning him to the ground with her body as well as her arms.

“It’s me,” she purred.

James’s expression hadn’t changed, save for his eyes growing even wider, if that were possible, but he was now noticeably shaking underneath Jessie’s body.

“No use trying to hide it from me,” Jessie said, her voice still low and smooth. “I’ve seen you sneaking those glances. You’re distracted by me. You can’t help noticing I’ve been blessed with an amazing body. And here I was convinced that you’d never notice… I’m right, aren’t I?”

James gulped, very loudly, but said nothing.

Jessie frowned. “I’m right. You know I’m right. Tell me. Tell me that it’s me. Stop trying to hide it from me! I can read you like a book! Just tell me!”

“Alright, alright!” James’s face had flushed the deepest shade of red Jessie had ever seen. “Yes, it’s you! You have the most amazing ass and amazing breasts and amazing everything and I can’t keep my mind off of them and I can barely keep my eyes off of them! And—and I want my hands on them—I want my hands all over your naked body!”

Jessie, shocked, recoiled from James, freeing him from the ground, although he remained prostrate, looking as if he couldn’t believe what he had just said, either.

“You… what?” Jessie finally choked out.

James pushed himself up, his eyes guilty and mortified. “You wanted me to tell!” he exclaimed, offering both a reason and an apology.

“I wasn’t expecting that much,” Jessie said, her eyes blinking rapidly, still trying to take it all in.

James sighed and looked at the ground again. “And that wasn’t even the half of it,” he mumbled, almost too low to hear, but Jessie heard just fine.

Jessie forced herself to laugh. “Oh, James, it’s alright, really. It stands to reason that I’d have such a strong effect on people. I understand that you’ve only finally started to take notice of my magnificent physique, so you’ve just gotten all caught up in the moment. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it eventu—what in the hell is THAT?!”

Jessie wildly flung her pointer finger at James… or rather his pants.

James looked down and saw exactly what Jessie saw—that he seemed to have pitched a tent down there.

“Oh no!” James shrieked, blushing yet again, trying in vain to cover up the very noticeable bulge.

“Is that what I think it is?!” Jessie was now blushing as deeply as James was.

“I’m sorry! I can’t help it!” James began to awkwardly crawl away, backwards, on his hands as feet, shrinking like a cheap shirt in the wash. Well, he himself was shrinking away, but the erection certainly wasn’t.

“You’d better get away from me!” Jessie shrieked. “I can’t believe you’d do that in front of me, you pervert!”

“I told you, I can’t help it! You’re just… you’re just too sexy!”

“I don’t want to hear it!”

“You did a minute ago—“

“JUST GO!” She shot another look at his crotch. “Has that gotten bigger?! Just—just get that thing away from me!”

James finally awkwardly scrambled to his feet. “Uh… I need to take care of something!” he stammered before running off into the trees and out of sight.

“And don’t come back here until that ‘thing’ is good and taken care of!” Jessie shouted after him, her face burning more from blushing than anger.

…………

Only a short time later, and only a short distance away, James made a very sticky watering job all over the grass and foliage.

Half exhaling and half groaning, he wiped sweat from his brow, having taken care of that problem, but still feeling as if he was about to burst in a different way--from utter mortification.

This was, without a doubt, the most embarrassing moment in his entire life.

“You are an utter traitor,” he growled at his penis, still dripping the last of his pent-up lust. Pent-up was an understatement, actually. Obviously his member had felt very neglected, considering the sheer volume of fluid it had just expelled. It wasn’t the first time James had masturbated, of course not… he had once been a teenager, after all… but until recently, Team Rocket had occupied so much of his time and very being that whatever sexual urges he had were pushed further and further out of his mind. He had actually thought that they were gone entirely, which would have been just fine. Even Jessie—at first—hadn’t done anything to awaken those desires.

Yeah. At first.

That, of course, was what made this whole situation go beyond the realm of awkward and into the realm of “never show my face in public again”. If this had been brought on by anyone else… if he had acted like the horny moron in front of any other human being … anyone after being on the receiving end of his behavior would never want to see his face again, and with good reason. And if it had been literally anyone else in the entire world… who cared? There was only a very small, select group of people whose opinions regarding him he actually cared about.

Unfortunately… Jessie was, of course, at the top of that list.

Even if Jessie did speak to James again after this debacle, there was no way their relationship would stay the same. It couldn’t, her now knowing this. She knew that he couldn’t control his thoughts, or even his physical reactions around her—this was not something that could be just brushed aside!

James groaned in despair this time, reaching down on the ground to pick up a (dry) leaf.

The truth of the matter was that he couldn’t imagine losing Jessie, in any sense of the word “lose”. Still remaining a team but in a “silent partnership” definitely qualified. Yes, Jessie could be brash. And rude. And, well, just plain volatile half the time. But who else could he talk to as openly as her? Sure, there was always Meowth. But James’s conversations with Meowth were quiet different, and served different purposes, than his conversations with Jessie. If he didn’t have Jessie’s listening and, ultimately understanding ear… he’d be lost. Mentally, emotionally, perhaps even physically. He just couldn’t imagine going through life without Jessie by his side as his true companion.

Way for his lust to go and screw that up.

It figures, though, James thought to himself bitterly, carefully and mostly unsuccessfully drying his penis with the smoother side of the leaf, sticky ejaculate still stubbornly attaching itself to his palm. Our partnership was one of the only things in my life I’ve done RIGHT, so of course I’d have to go fudge it up somehow.

The offending organ as dried off as it could be, James awkwardly tucked it back into his pants, his hands still sticky. There didn’t seem to be any rivers or lakes nearby, so the only way to clean his hands would be to find another, larger leaf. Or use some of the hand sanitizer that Jessie always carried around. Of course, he was far too ashamed to show his face to Jessie at that moment, especially for that request that only further shined a spotlight on how uncouth he had been.

Nothing left to do, he reasoned, but to just sit down and figure out how on earth he was going to apologize to her. Extending the olive branch might be useless given the circumstances, but he had to at least try. He sat down, his body sagging under the most helpless emotions that had ever overtaken him. His sticky hands brushed against the grass as he did so, the grass attaching itself to his fingers as he placed his arms to his knees.

Well, at least he knew how to start the conversation. A humble request for hand sanitizer.

…………

Jessie was angry, but she also felt stupid, which just made her even angrier.

Sitting against a tree, she pressed her hands to her head, too many thoughts running through it at once. She had to sort through them in order to avoid a massive headache.

Fact number one—James was a massive prick.

No, no, no, that’s not fair, some deeply-buried, saner part of her consciousness shot back. Jessie didn’t want to hear it.

He’s a prick. And I’m stupid. And he’s actually not a prick at all, I’m just stupid.

Yes, there was no getting around that fact. She was stupid. Why had she immediately jumped to the conclusion that he had a crush on her? For some reason she had assumed he was so flustered due to an innocent little crush… something cute, him fumbling and trying to hide the fact that he’d developed feelings for her.

Feelings. Yeah right. Clearly, the only feelings he had for her were in his pants.

She harrumphed. “So?” she said aloud. “Who cares?” Sure, it wasn’t exactly what she had first assumed, but James being attracted to her sexually was just as flattering. In fact, in the long run, it was better… how awkward would it be to carry out operations when one member of the team had an unrequited crush on the other? Simply finally taking notice of her attractive body was much easier to handle.

For some reason, she still felt angry. No… not angry. Disappointed.

Her eyes grew wide with a horrific realization that the unrequited crush might be in the other direction.

“No!” she growled, anger thankfully taking over again. “That… that prick! How dare he confuse me like this? And—and how dare he get to have some fun out there while I’m just sitting here angry?!”

Ah yes. Another reason why James was an absolute prick. He was out there, somewhere out of sight and hearing, rubbing one off and getting some physical enjoyment out of this. Jessie… was not.

Well, why not?

There was nothing stopping her, after all. James would probably be too embarrassed to show his face around her for a good half an hour, at least; Meowth was out swiping money and never returned from those jaunts until hours later; no one else was there…

Jessie felt her resolve strengthen at the same time as her crotch tingled. If James was going to relieve some sexual frustration and enjoy a nice orgasm, she sure as hell would too.

Leaning back against the tree with her left hand pressed against the ground to steady herself, she boldly plunged her right hand down her skirt, feeling around a bit to find her sweet spot. The whole motion felt not exactly unfamiliar, but very much like she was having to relearn. It wasn’t as if she had never masturbated in her life… she had once been a teenager, after all… but other, more important ways to fill her time had replaced this particular diversion seemingly long ago. She let out a small gasp when she finally found that magic combination, her index finger dipped into her vulva with her thumb rubbing against her clitoris.

She dug her index finger a bit deeper into her body, surprised at how good this felt. Why hadn’t she made this a regular habit? Continuing to explore her inner body, she used her thumb to stroke her clit back and forth, slowly at first but quickly gaining speed and intensity. No use drawing this out—she could clearly feel her body aching for intensity and release.

Oh. Oh yes. Oh yes. She definitely needed to make this a priority. A moan escaped her lips as the pleasure within her bubbled, very clearly near the boiling point already. Jessie didn’t mind one bit. In fact, she relished it. Needed it. Arched back against the tree as well as she could, her throat rumbling with need, her busy fingers about ready to tip her over the edge—

A twig snapped, and a body awkwardly tripped into the clearing.

Jessie shrieked, yanking her hand out of her skirt and scrambling to the side. “JAMES!” Her eyes turned as red as her face was.

James was also backing away, fearfully and instinctively. “I—I’m sorry! I just wanted to ask you for—“

“GET AWAY FROM HERE!”

“I—I swear I didn’t see anything!”

“LIKE HELL YOU DIDN’T!” Jessie felt as if she was about to combust, and not in the orgasmic, sexual way she had felt before James had utterly destroyed the moment.

“Well—maybe a little—but—“

“YOUR BULDGE IS STILL THERE!” Jessie’s throat was hoarse but she couldn’t speak in any other tone right now. Especially when noting that James’s pants problem that he had left to take care of clearly hadn’t been taken care of at all.

“What?” James looked down at gasped, turning even redder. “No! I already dealt with you!” He was now yelling directly at his nether regions.

“You need to deal with that until it’s good and GONE! AND DON’T YOU DARE COME BACK HERE UNTIL IT’S DEALT WITH FOR GOOD, DO YOU HEAR?!”

“Yes ma’am!” James couldn’t have zipped away any faster.

“PRICK!” Jessie yelled after him, trying to catch her breath. Her lungs were frozen, her heart was racing, and her body was shaking with humiliation and rage… mostly rage. Even if he had only seen a little bit of that, it was still far too much. And what was his reward? Another chance to go play with his Pokéballs, that’s what.

With one last scowl, she inhaled deeply and plunged her hand back down her skirt. If James was going to get to come twice tonight, she sure as hell was going to come at least once!

…………

It wasn’t until the sun was fully past the horizon the next morning that James made his way back to the clearing.

He had barely slept that night, his mortification slowly morphing into heartbreak and despair. He had erred so badly that there was no hope for redemption. Of course he was going to try. He had rehearsed his apology to Jessie in his head over and over during the night and into the early morning hours. But he already knew she was going to reject it. Reject him. She would tell him, once again, to stay away from her. And he would… somehow he’d find a way to be okay with that. He couldn’t imagine going through life without her, but after his behavior the past night, it was no more than he deserved.

Being careful to not step on the same twigs that had betrayed his presence earlier, James timidly stepped out of the patch of trees and into the clearing. As it turned out, he needn’t have bothered with a quiet entrance. Meowth was fast asleep against a tree, his tail slowly swishing back and forth in a deep dream. And Jessie was sitting on a fallen log, a large brown bag at her feet, munching on a croissant.

She looked up at James with eyes revealing nothing. “Good morning,” she said coolly.

“Um… good morning.” James took a further step towards the log, not sure if he should sit down or not.

“Meowth had a pretty good haul last night,” Jessie said, motioning towards the sleeping Pokémon. “I’ve already gone out and bought us some breakfast, obviously. Rolls and fresh fruit. Here, help yourself.”

“Thank you,” James said, awkwardly sitting next to Jessie but making no effort to examine the bag. He instead picked at his fingers for a few moments, desperately trying to regather the words he’d assembled in the sleepless night. They seemed to have vanished as quickly as his dignity had.

Finally, he took a deep breath, readying his nerves. “Jessie… about last night. I truly apologize for—“

“Last night?” Jessie shot James a silencing look. “Never happened. You got me?”

James let out a sigh of relief he hadn’t realized he had been holding in. “I am perfectly happy with agreeing to that.”

“Good.” Jessie took another bite out of her croissant, leaning forward and letting out an exhale as well. The streaking rays of the sunrise were breaking through the cover of the forest, striking her arms and cheeks, accentuating her cheekbones. She seemed to lean in even more towards the sunlight, the curvature of her body becoming that much more pronounced. “Now eat some breakfast. I can’t have you hungry all day while we’re trying to get things done.” She leaned down this time, her breasts touching her knees, as she dug through the grocery bag. “These melons look tasty.”

“Yes, they do,” James murmured, his gaze directed not at the bag.

Unfortunately, Jessie had turned up to look at James after offering the fruit, and saw exactly which melons he was referring to.

“Are you kidding me?!” she shrieked, James recoiling away once more, face as red as a beet. “I thought we just agreed that last night never happened! Get your goddamn mind out of the gutter right now or I’ll—“

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ James exclaimed. “I take it back! They don’t look enticing at all! I want nothing to do with them!”

To James’s dismay, Jessie didn’t seem the least bit placated by that correction. “What do you mean by that? You don’t like them? Do you think my melons aren’t up to par or what? How could you tell me a thing like that?”

James groaned, pressing his face into his palms. “Look,” he said in defeat, “do you want me to look or not?”

After a few moments of silence, James cautiously peered up at Jessie, surprised at the lack of response from her. Jessie’s anger seemed to have finally left her face, and she was looking away from James, a confused expression in her eyes.

“I… I don’t know, honestly.” Jessie sighed. “This is all very confusing. Why did you have to notice in the first place?”

“I’m sorry,” James offered uneasily. “I don’t know what to say either.”

“Figures.” Jessie harrumphed again, still not looking at James, but her eyes had a growing hint of frustration returning to them.

“I hate how badly I’m messing things up.” James pressed one hand to his forehead anxiously, knowing that even if he didn’t know what to say, he still had to say something. “Just—when you figure it out—just tell me what you want me to do… please? Whether it’s to look or not look, to stay or to leave, whatever! Whatever it is you want, I’ll do it.”

Jessie finally looked James in the eye again, looking a strange mix of bitter and depressed. “You don’t really mean that.”

“I do. I’d do anything for you.” James’s arms locked from a sudden feeling of vulnerability. It was true, of course, and he knew it was true, but saying it out loud, like that, in this situation… suddenly things felt a lot more emotionally intimate, which had not been his intention at all.

And Jessie, frustratingly, wasn’t diffusing this whole mess by laughing at him, or yelling at him, or even breaking his gaze. Instead she held it, intensely, deeply, her violet eyes wide and tender, as she seemed to be inwardly searching for some sort of understanding. James felt himself tremble a bit. He’d never felt this exposed, this open, in front of anyone. But of course it was in front of her. With her. Because of her. And the awareness that he meant and would stand by everything he had just said to her cemented his returning gaze, imploring her for a response.

Jessie finally drew in a long, uneven breath. “Well then… if you really mean that, then what I want is—“

POP!

SHING!

“Wo-o-o-obbuffet!"

“WOBBUFFET!” Jessie and James shrieked in unison, slamming the offending (and taken aback) Pokémon back into his Pokéball.

Shoving Wobbuffet’s Pokéball into her knapsack, Jessie furiously thrust the bag of food into James’s lap. “Eat your breakfast already. We have a long day ahead of us.” She pushed the rest of her croissant into her mouth and abruptly stood up, moving to gather up their supplies.

James sighed unhappily, reaching into the bag, searching for anything but a melon.