Sincerity by Leto
Part 3 - James' view

Well, for now we've given up on the Pikachu. All this trouble for one little electric rat, I don't know why we bother. But then, none of our other plans work either. The plans that fail always have one thing in common... Ash Ketchum was involved.

But, to be quite honest, I don't really care. As long as I keep my job and can stay in Team Rocket, whether we catch Pikachu or not doesn't matter to me. Heh, that's probably why we haven't caught it yet.


It's not exactly easy for me, you know. I don't like what I have to do in Team Rocket. It's hard especially to hear the Pokemon protesting as they're taken from their owners. I've always loved Pokemon. But, you do what you have to do. Or in our case, we don't do it because Ash and company always seem to be around.

At any rate, as long as I can raise my Pokemon and be with Jessie and Meowth, I'm happy enough.

I remember when I met Jessie...

-- flashback --

It was my first day at the Pokemon Tech school and I didn't know anyone. I felt really out of place since everyone was so focused and most were from rich backgrounds... the way they acted reminded me of my family and that was the last thing I wanted to be reminded of.

A few people had been shooting sideways glances at me and muttering things to each other, probably saying that I didn't deserve to be going to the school. I overheard quite a few comments about my hair and a teacher even told me it was inappropriate for the school's image and I should get it cut.

I was walking alone to get some lunch when a girl came barelling up to me and latched onto my arm.

"Uhh, can I help you?" I asked.

She said "you have lunch money right?"


"How about sharing some around?"

"Well, I only really have enough for me."

She straightened up and glared at me. "Don't be selfish!" she snapped. Now that she wasn't latched onto my arm I was able to take a good look at her.

"JESSIEBELL!" I yelped. Several students walking nearby looked at me curiously. Inappropriate behaviour again. I'd been living on the streets too long, I'd forgotten how to act around rich kids. But seeing Jessiebell again brought back bad memories.

"Yeah, my name's Jessie. How'd you know that?" she asked.

"You - you followed me! How did you find me here?"

She looked a bit irritated then. "What are you talking about? I've never seen you before in my life!"

"Then how come you came and demanded lunch money from me?"

"I always do that! Well, I sorta uh forget my lunch money most days."

"You're - you're not Jessiebell?"

"I'm not Jessiebell! I don't even know who she is!"

"But you look just like her... who are you?"

"Weren't you listening?" she snapped. "I told you, my name's Jessie!"

"You don't look like you fit in here," I couldn't help myself from saying, then mentally kicked myself. Inappropriate again! I would get kicked out the school at this rate. They only accepted me as a 'special case', an experiment... I really should watch my mouth.


"You're too belligerent."

Foot goes on floor, not in mouth. Foot goes on floor, not in mouth. I remember saying that to myself over in my head.

Jessie, to my surprise, grinned and said, "You're probably right! Actually, I'm here on a scholarship. I don't fit in with this rich, pompous atmosphere because, well, I'm not."

I smiled back, a bit uncertainly. She was the only person who had spoken to me all day, and she seemed out of place, like me.

"My name's James. What's yours?"


"Did you?"

"I TOLD YOU TWICE!" She smacked me over the head.

"Oh, sorry... er, so, uh, how do you like the school?"

"I'll like it better if you'll share your lunch money!"

I didn't particularly want to be smacked over the head again so I gave her the money. Also, I liked her honesty. The kids at the school were mostly so insincere and pretentious, but this girl, whatever her name was, was something different. I thought that we might become good friends.

-- end flashback --

Ever since then, we would hang around together a lot. The other students would often make a lot of snide comments about us or talk in a condescending voice to us... the two rejects, we weren't rich like they were... but we were happy enough, because we enjoyed each other's company and worked hard towards acheiving our training goals.

One of my biggest regrets at that time was leaving Growly behind when I ran away from home. But I didn't see how I could take him with me. After all, if I was going to be living a rough life by myself, I didn't want to bring him with me when he would be healthier and happier living where he could be properly looked after.

It didn't feel right not having him around. In fact, I had no Pokemon at all. This was another excuse for the other students to look down on me. Jessie was in a similar situation, only she had never had a Pokemon of her own. I had a part time job then, so I saved up as much money as I could get towards buying a Pokemon.

Finally I had enough and I bought the Pokemon I'd set my sights on. And gave it to Jessie. She hadn't expected such a birthday present from me. That was when she got her Ekans, which became her favourite Pokemon. And she gave me Koffing that day, as an 'early Christmas present'. She'd been saving up for months too, but I don't know where she got the money. I read that Koffing are often more inexpensive than some other Pokemon because lots of trainers think they're ugly... so perhaps the price was the reason she chose it. I don't care if some consider it ugly. It's my Pokemon and it was a hard earned present from Jessie, so it's special to me.

Giselle told us we were crazy for getting poison types, and what sort of Pokemon trainers were we, knowing that poison types had few advantages. It didn't bother us. We had our Pokemon and they were perfect for us and to us, even if they didn't win many battles.

Jessie had gone to the school on a scholarship. She and only two others of 1000 who had taken the entrance test had passed with honours and were accepted into the tech. school. She got much better marks than me in our classes, and often tried to help me. I wasn't much good at memorising facts though, but we did our best. Every night, we'd stay up for hours, studying for the final exam.

The teachers would warn her not to hang around me. "Don't be friends with him, your marks will go down." Eventually, they did. I always felt bad about that, ruining her chances, but she said it wasn't my fault.

I felt fairly confident, we both did. The night before the exam, we took the night off for studying. And then we bombed the final exam. I'm not sure how that happened, but every fact I'd spent so long memorising went right out of my head.

I don't think I'm destined to be an intellectual.

After failing out of the school, since we didn't have enough money to keep attending, we were out on our own. But it was okay, although we were very disappointed. Wouldn't you be, if all your fine dreams had gone up in smoke? But we had our freedom and our Pokemon, and the heavy atmosphere of the school was behind us, so we could do what we wanted.

And we did. Jessie had an in, and I had my reputation from when I was on the streets, after running away from home and before being taken into Pokemon Tech, so we were able to join up with a bicycle gang. We did okay. I don't have much opinion about that... it did lead to heavier things.

How we entered Team Rocket... I don't want to think about that so much. But, here I am. Jessie and I are still friends, despite everything and all our differences. Okay, so her hot temper hasn't calmed down and I'm still not destined to be an intellectual but we're a good team.

And as for why I am always after Pikachu... not only is it an unusually strong Pokemon, it's more than that. It's a way of getting revenge on Ash. Ash and his friends are always responsible for our plans getting messed up. The last thing in my life that I want is more failure.

And the look of scorn on their faces... looking down at us, the losers from Team Rocket, the failures, always failures... our Rocket colleagues look down on us, but Ash does more than them because he thinks we're no good. Well, I know that, but I can dream, can't I?

Of course, nobody knows I think this but me. On the outside, I'm pretty clueless. Maybe inside too. I don't know. I don't know. I'll just... see how it works out. And if that sounds vague, that's because it is vague. There's no such thing as a future until the future becomes the present, so I'll see what happens then.

So, for now I'll concentrate on the job at hand. Catching the rarest Pokemon in the world. Maybe that will restore some of our credibility. Maybe then we won't be looked upon as losers any more.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

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