Indigo was back within the safe walls of her tent. Granted, the tent’s walls were of nylon, but she perceived them as safe and that’s all that really mattered. She quickly searched for some item of clothing she could throw on. If it was a Rocket hitman’s gun she had heard and she was going to die, Indigo surely wasn’t going to do it in just a towel.
“Indigo? Indigo, are you here?”
Indigo dropped the dress she had just found and peeked out of the tent. “James?”
“Indigo! You’re all right!” James ran to her and wrapped his arms tightly about her. “When I heard the gun shot I thought they… you… Oh thank the Goddess you’re okay!”
Indigo was awash with emotions. She was relieved to finally see James again but then there was the urgency of the general situation, and not the one she was all too aware of through the towel she was still wrapped in. There was someone with a gun out there. Indigo pushed away from James, grabbed him by the arm and pulled him into the tent.
“How’d you know I was here?” she quietly asked, once they were inside.
“I found the site last night. I would’ve joined you but I couldn’t help but notice the presence of the Twerp Trio.”
“Twerp Trio? You mean that wanker Ash Ketchum and his friends?”
James couldn’t help but laugh despite the situation so Indigo quickly hushed him. “Sorry.”
“S’okay. And yes, the ‘Twerp Trio’ as you call them were here. They were lost and needed a place to spend the night. Who was I to say ‘no’? Besides, I wanted to get a closer look at that pikachu you and Jessie seem to have so much trouble catching.”
James grimaced. She knew. While his and Jessie’s failures were pretty much common knowledge throughout Team Rocket, he had wished that Indigo had been left out of the loop. He didn’t want her to know of his reputation as an incompetent boob. “Would you say that Pikachu is an exceptionally rare, high level pikachu?”
“I’d say that Pikachu is a normal garden variety pikachu, albeit a rather intelligent one, and you and Jessie have to be complete morons not to be able to catch it!” she spat, as much as one could in a whisper.
“Did you catch it?” he asked, trying to retain what little dignity he had left.
“Well then…” snorted James defensively.
“I wasn’t trying to catch it!”
“And you call yourself a member of Team Rocket,” he mumbled. It was one of those mumbles one uses to make that final, ego building zinger. The kind that isn’t intended to be heard by anyone other than the one doing said mumbling.
Indigo stormed out of the tent, shrieking. Obviously James needed to work on his mumbling technique. As he sat on the floor of the tent rubbing his stinging cheek, he thought long and hard about what his next course of action would be. For though he wasn’t sure whether or not chivalry was dead, he was certain he would be if he stepped out of the tent any time soon. ‘This is not what I expected to happen,’ James thought. ‘She was supposed to see how much I still care for her and then…’ He sighed heavily. Things were just not going right for the little blue-haired bishounen. He flopped backward onto Indigo’s sleeping bag. If he was going to be there for awhile, he might as well be as comfortable as possible. Through the wall of the tent he could hear her. Though she still sounded irate, James could detect the squeak of tears in her voice. A pang of guilt shot through him. He should’ve held his tongue. Words that normally would have rolled off, or seen as a challenge, were now wounding her deeply. He didn’t understand why this was, but he was determined to find out, even if it meant his life.
“Want to talk?” he asked the young woman.
“Go away!” Indigo sniffed, trying to wipe her face with a corner of the towel that was still wrapped around her without exposing the treasures hidden within.
James quickly walked around the stump she was sitting on. He knelt before her and held onto her shoulders to keep her in place. “Listen, I know you’re pissed as hell about being back in Team Rocket and I’m sorry about what I said and everything I’ve done, but this isn’t like last time Indigo. The Boss isn’t going to let you live this time if you take off! This time he’s not going to care who your fa–” The bright sun had created a shadow across her face and for the first time in all the time he spent gazing upon it he noticed the similarity. “Oh shit!! Shit! Shit! Shit!” he began to freak. I’m involved with the Boss’ daughter,” he paused for a moment and frowned, sticking his tongue out. “Oh how cliché.”
“Um, excuse me,” Indigo interrupted, “but until further notice you’re involvement with me is past tense.”
“Wait a minute…” James continued, choosing to ignore the comment. “He caught us–you know-ing… how come I’m still alive?”
“Because Giovanni didn’t expect you to go all whimpy and whines on him,” Meowth joined in the conversation.
“What?” the humans asked in unison.
“Your dad saw how you was making googly eyes at the pretty boy so he used it to his advantage. How else do you think Jimmy made it into the advanced classes. Certainly not on his own merit, I can assure you.”
“But he is good!” Indigo pointed out. James, who was now sitting next to Indigo’s stump, smiled optimistically at her. “Well you are!”
“A pleasant side-effect, according to da Boss. Once he realized what you was really capable of he didn’t care at all dat Indigo wanted out. He had you.”
“You mean I was going to be the new Boss?”
“Well you was until he realized dat Indigo was your source of machismo.” The feline pokemon laughed at his own words. The laughter abruptly came to an end when Indigo kicked Meowth into the trees. She stumbled back onto the stump, wincing in pain. James scooped up her foot and gently caressed it.
“You know, if I was wearing my boots, he would’ve cleared the forest.”
“I’m sure he would have, and then some,” James reassured. He tickled her foot. Indigo giggled, in spite of herself. A small voice in her head persisted in telling her to push him away; to have nothing more to do with him. It was the only way. If she no longer cared, then he would no longer care and maybe Giovanni would release him from his death grip. But as James moved from one piggy to the next, Indigo became increasingly aware that that wasn’t going to be possible.
James heard a sniffle. He looked up and found his patient was in tears again. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to be a part of Team Rocket,” she started sobbing.
“Oh,” James looked away in hope of concealing his disappointment.
“But I don’t want you to die either.”
“Die? What’s this about dying?”
“That’s why I came back. Giovanni said if I didn’t he’d… he’d…” Losing all control, she collapsed in James’ arms, bawling hysterically. All James could do was hold her and cry along with her. He knew now that Indigo cared about him, loved him like no one else had. She was willing to give up her freedom, her beliefs, her principles all to keep him alive.
“Hey,” he gently said and just as gently pulled her back so he could see her face. He brushed a few wet strands to the side and announced, “We’re both going to run.”
“But James–” Indigo snuffled.
“But nothing. It wouldn’t be right to ask you to stay for my sake, and if you left, I wouldn’t have much of a life to live. You’re all that really matters to me.”
“Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“All right then. When do we leave?”
“How about sometime tomorrow. I think we have a few things that need taking care of today.” He nuzzled up to her and began to kiss away her tears.
“O-kay,” Indigo managed to quietly mutter, just as his lips met hers.