Jessie fell asleep almost instantly when we got into bed, but I remained awake, a thousand thoughts racing through my mind as I reflected on everything she'd told me.
Jerry: (James) Is the kid going to have to inherit my bottlecap collection?
Tom: (James) Is there anything ELSE the kid could inherit, except unpaid bills at McDonphans' across several regions?
"I can't believe it!" I whispered. "Jessie is going to have a baby...my baby!
Jerry: *flatly* No, we thought it was Meowth's baby. Thank you for your insight, Captain Obvious.
Tom: (Wobbuffet) Jessie, this baby doesn't look like mine!
Jerry: I WAS JOKING!
I'm going to be a dad!"
I smiled at Jessie as I ran my fingers through her sea of crimson hair and gently placed a hand on her stomach. She smiled in her sleep when she felt my touch, and I found myself wondering how she could've been afraid that I'd run out on her.
Guardian's Song: Dear gad, do not make me start that rant again.
I suppose it's because not all children are conceived in love.
Jerry: Um, but you definitely have sex filled with ~loooove~. You go on in excruciating detail about that.
Too often, the man is only interested in sex and not willing to face the consequences of his actions.
Jerry: This IS the Very Special Episode, isn't it?
Tom: Brought t' ya by th' Lifetime Channel.
But I just can't comprehend how a man could do something like that.
Tom: She asks how a guy could do such a horrible thing when she's writin' about career criminals who say it's not their faaaault 'Mummy never loved me as a child' an' 'I NEVER KNEW MY DADDY', respectively.
I dunno, maybe Loser McDeadbeat never knew Mummy an' Daddy never loved him. ~Totally excuses his actions~, right?
Jerry: *in an announcer's voice* This time, on As The Evangelion Turns...
I don't understand how so many men can share their bodies
...Wait, was she tryin' t' be SERIOUS with that glurge?
and be so intimate
Tom: Not everyone shags fer FOUR HOURS. Hard t' be intimate in five minutes.
when they don't truly love the woman that they're with...
Tom: Heck help Cori if she ever learns about th' man who was intimate with his horse.
Jerry: HIS WIFE? A HORSE.
Tom: The prequel t' HIS SON? A SPARROW.
Jerry: Technically those were two different people.
Though now I'm tempted to do a parody of this fic with Cori!Jessie as a horse who was going to have a sparrow.
Tom: *glances downwards* There's a ~tender lovemakin' scene~ somewhere in th' future.
Jerry: *turns green* I DON'T want a parody with Cori!Jessie as a horse!
Tom: Jessie whinnied passionately as I struggled into my Articuno costume -
Jerry: I said, I DON'T!
how they could not want to be a part of their own child's life!
Jerry: We are seriously getting this question from the man who grew up neglected by BOTH his parents?
That's one of the reasons I just couldn't bring myself to marry Jessiebelle (aside from the fact that she was a psychopathic bitch who kept me locked in a torture chamber).
Guardian's Song: One of the few times that Cori's description is COMPLETELY accurate. And, uh, James? If that isn't an entirely sufficient reason to not marry someone, you need therapy. Badly.
Although that does explain a horrible amount about why he doesn't object overmuch to Cori!Jessie's abusive treatment of him.
I knew that my parents wanted me to marry her so that I could continue the family line and give them more heirs, but the idea of conceiving children with that woman is just too repulsive! I could never give myself to Jessiebelle, and I'd never inflict such a rotten mother on my children.
Guardian's Song: Again, one of the few times I COMPLETELY agree with Cori.
She wouldn't be any better than my parents -- she'd boss the children around and pick apart everything they did...maybe even torture them and marry them off to more revolting rich people, all for the sake of family name and propriety. No, I definitely couldn't do something as horrid as that.
Jerry: Um, James? Forget the arranged marriages. The TORTURE is a rather important point!
Tom: But if Jessie did that, she'd do it ~lovingly~ an' ~because of her own Mummy issues~.
Jerry: Please don't joke about that! That would probably happen in these fics if Cori had the chance!
But as I looked again at my beautiful Jessie, resting peacefully in my arms, I was reminded that I'd never have to. She was going to be the mother of my child, not Jessiebelle. I was still continuing the family line, and my parents were going to be grandparents soon, but just like everything else in my life, it was going to be on my terms rather than theirs.
Tom: (James) And we're going to do it filthy, broke, and hungry, just like everything else in my life! Great way to raise a kid!
Suddenly, my thoughts began drifting back to my parents, and my mind became troubled once again. I tried to love them when I was a little boy, and in my heart, I still care about them, but it was hard for love to flourish in the cold place that I used to call home. I remember wanting to make them happy...wanting to do whatever I could to see them smile at me...hear them say, Well done, James! We're proud of you, son! But every time I drew pictures for them, my dad would always say, Dammit, boy! Why can't you get your head out of the clouds and start actin' like a proper gentleman? Every time I picked flowers for them, my mom would cry, Oh, dear! You've gotten grass stains all over your new suit! Whatever will our guests think of us?! Every time I mastered a new lesson and wanted to share my accomplishments with them, Hopkins would always say, Not now, master James! Your parents have important matters to attend to!
Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about my childhood.
Guardian's Song: While Cori's version is mildly melodramatic... the overall picture she's trying to convey is sad. Couple that with an actual psychopathic sadist for a fiancee, and James's childhood was deeply screwed-up.
I just wish there was more discussion given to it than Love And Glurge Will Make It All Better. Because, frankly, neither James nor Jessie knows what a functional family environment even LOOKS like at this point. And Cori is playing it For The Drama, so we can't really brush over that. Cori!Jessie tends to scream and hit when an adult ticks her off - how much worse is she going to be to children who can't fight back? Cori!James doesn't have a good sense of how to properly raise children - is he going to end up repeating his parents, or spoiling the children rotten and never enforcing discipline for fear of repeating his childhood?
Two people from dysfunctional households having children IS actually material for a TL;DR fic, and it's just a damned shame that Cori doesn't take the opportunity to really think it over.
But that would be admitting that Jessie and James are something more than perfect woobies who only err out of angst and can't just solve everything through True, True Love, so that's entirely out of the question. *throws up hands*
I'd always complained that Quentin and Judith were lousy parents, but could I do any better with my own child? Could I really be a better parent than they were?
Jerry: Don't get them engaged to a psychopath, and I'd say you were already doing better. It's a very low bar.
The tears rolled down my cheeks as I closed my eyes and pictured myself turning a cold shoulder when my daughter picked flowers for me or yelling at my son for wanting to show me his drawings.
But I quickly brushed my tears away as I banished those thoughts from my mind. I could never do something like that to my children! If my daughter brought me flowers, I'd tell her how sweet she is and help her find a vase of water to put them in. If my son drew a picture for me, it would be more priceless than a DaVinci, and I'd proudly hang it on the refrigerator with a big magnet.
Tom: Th' glurge! Th' glurge!
If my children did something right and behaved themselves, I'd tell them how proud I am and how good they are. I'd have patience with them when they made mistakes. And I'd always tell them how much I love them. I'd tell them every day!
Guardian's Song: Actually, considering how you two treat your respective True Loves? No, I think you'd scream at them whenever they screwed up, and then offer self-righteous "apologies" about how you shouldn't have screamed, but, well, they just made you do it because you're under a lot of stress and you just couldn't help it because they're so frustrating and -
Yeah. Don't mind me - I'm just saying that this is why I get skeeved by the thought of 'But my FEELS!' people attaining power over anyone. Especially children, who have a fair chance of actually believing what they're told.
I won't make the same mistakes my parents did, I promised myself as I dozed off and joined Jessie in sleep. I may make completely different ones,
Jerry: Oh, THAT'S a great reassurance.
but at least my children will know I love them....
Tom: (Kids) Daddy! Daddy, the police are here again, and a Rattata ate our teddy, and we're hungry -
(James) At least I love you, kids! Doesn't that make up for everything?!
While I was asleep, I had a dream. Jessie was lying in a hospital bed, and I was by her side. She was holding a tiny baby wrapped in a pink blanket in her arms, and her white nightgown was unbuttoned as she let the baby drink her milk. It was the most wonderful sight I'd ever seen.
When she finished feeding the baby, Jessie looked up at me and smiled. "Would you like to hold your daughter, James?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied, extending my arms.
Jessie handed me the baby, and as I held her in my arms and looked down at her, I felt more joy than I ever thought possible. She was the most beautiful baby imaginable. Her hair was a deep shade of purple -- the perfect blend of Jessie's red and my blue-violet,
and a little wisp of it was hanging in her face, just like mine!
Her large, blue-green eyes
Jerry: ...*buries face in hands and groans*
Tom: *grinning* How's it feel t' star in a badfic?
Jerry: *through hands* I am going to take those words and shove them down your throat if Butch and Cassidy happen to have a son at any point in this continuity.
Tom: Aaaagh! Don't wish that on me!
Jerry: Then don't rub this in!
Guardian's Song: I apologize for using the same shove-the-genetics-in-a-blender technique to create you. Apparently my inner badfic writer has more in common with Cori than I'd like. o_o
Jerry: If she's named Jerry, I am LEAVING this sporking. Permanently.
Guardian's Song: There'd be no "Tom", so she wouldn't go for that pun. The baby, whenever she actually shows up in Coriverse continuity, is probably named Amethyst Amaranth Gloriana.
Jerry: We can only hope. ...Wait, I'm HOPING to have to stomach a name like that?!
Guardian's Song: In more seriousness - shouldn't those eyes be BLUE, since the baby's a newborn? And shouldn't the hair color be lighter on a baby? Jeez...
sparkled as she looked up at me and smiled.
Tom: As opposed to screamin', or peein', or pukin' down his shirt.
Jerry: I'll volunteer the screaming and puking.
"She loves you already, James!" Jessie said. "She loves her daddy."
I returned my baby's smile and kissed the top of her head as she began to coo happily. Her hair was softer than silk, and she smelled like roses.
Tom: As opposed to blood and amniotic fluid.
Jerry: Oh, you don't think Jessie's blood and amniotic fluid smells like roses? And French toast, and sunshine, and -
Tom: Now I'M gonna volunteer t' scream an' puke!
"I love you, too," I whispered. "I love you so much...my little angel...."
When I awoke, Jessie was sitting at the edge of the bed and talking on the phone.
"Yes...yes, I can wait a couple of days...Friday will be just fine...Thank you...."
"Who was that?" I asked when she hung up the phone.
"Doctor's office. I was making an appointment," came her reply. She blushed and placed a hand on her stomach. "No way around it now."
"They would've been able to see me today, but the appointment had to be postponed," she continued. "There was another fire in town last night.
Jerry: Uh, has this town considered ANY sort of fireproofing?
It started at an apartment complex downtown, and it spread to their office.
Jerry: Evidently not!
Fortunately, the fire department's Wartortles were able to put it out before any serious damage occurred, but they'll still be closed until the end of the week."
"Then maybe it's a good thing those Wartortles escaped from us," I said.
Jerry: It doesn't count if you only think about it AFTER the fact!
(Cori!TR) Oh, we successfully stole the Wartortles! On the bad side, half the nearby town burned down, but, uh... we couldn't have known? We bet it was that Ketchum's fault anyway! How dare he be there, calling our attention to the Wartortles! Yeah! It was HIS fault! ~We're perfect angels~
"Jessie?" I said, taking her hands in my own and twining our fingers.
"I really am sorry about yelling at you yesterday," I told her. "If I knew about this, I wouldn't have...."
"It's okay, James. Really," she replied. "I said some pretty nasty things, too. I'm the one who should apologize."
Jerry: Didn't you also HIT him?
Tom: Are y' gonna go back an' look?
Jerry: Fair point.
"I guess we were both having a bad day."
She nodded and put her arms around me. I responded by pulling her closer and resting her head on my shoulder.
Guardian's Song: Actual HEALTHY, PEACEFUL RECONCILIATION in a Cori Falls fic! ...Who are you, author, and what have you done with Miss Falls? o_o
After a moment, I felt the sleeve of my shirt getting wet. When I looked, I saw that Jessie was crying.
"Jess? Hey, what's the matter?"
"I'm scared, James," she whimpered. "Now that I've made that appointment, I'm afraid...."
"Of what?" I asked.
"That something may be wrong with the baby," she replied. "I mean, we've been electrocuted and blasted off an awful lot in the past few weeks! What if....?"
Guardian's Song: And an ACTUAL reason for Jessie to be sobbing and worried? Again, what have you done with Miss Falls? o_o
Panic seized me when I heard this, but I couldn't break down. Not now. I had to be strong for Jessie...
I had to be a man.
I'd be fine if Miss Falls conveyed at any point whatsoever that "being a woman" could also contain strength, but... *facepalm*
James is NOT terribly manly. Why does he have to be? Why can't he be strong in his own way?
"Don't worry about it," I told her. "You're tough, and it's still really early. I'm sure the baby will be fine."
Jerry: ...Yes, meaning that the embryo has endured all sorts of calamities during early development.
That is NOT a good thing. That is the exact OPPOSITE of a good thing.
"But what if it happens again?" she asked. "I can't get blasted off now...not with a baby! I don't want her to get hurt!"
Jerry: Well, it probably inherited the genes to be blasted several miles and only get mildly bruised and come away with only mild burns from electrocution.
Her, I said to myself. So, Jessie thinks it's a girl, too. Maybe there's more to that dream than I thought.... "It's okay, Jess. I'll make sure it doesn't happen."
Jerry: Are you now a gynecologist?! Are you going to protect the baby against every birth defect possible?!
Tom: Of course he will! With th' power of ~LOOOOOVE~
Jerry: I feel like I'm in a Harry Potter fanfic gone horribly wrong.
Jessie looked up at me.
"I'll protect you and our baby. I promise."
"But I don't want you getting hurt either, James!" she protested. "All of the punishment you already take for my sake
is bad enough -- I can't let you risk yourself even more! I love you too much for that...."
"Jessie, I'll do anything if it means keeping my child safe. I'd even sacrifice my own life if I had to...."
Tom: (James) You, on the other hand, are Growlithe chow.
Jerry: (Jessie) Oh, hush. Let's just rush through this noble Harlequin Romance script and get through with it so the director will give us a lunch break.
She shook her head. "Don't even go there, James! I mean it!"
"What should we do, then?" I asked. "If we keep following that kid around, we're going to keep getting hurt." Images of Jessie getting blasted off in her third trimester and Pikachu electrocuting our baby
Jerry: Because an embryo floating in a great deal of fluid is TOTALLY not at risk for electrocution. Totally.
Also? You've already been blasted off and electrocuted! Bit late to worry NOW!
And incidentally, regular humans can't survive being blasted off and electrocuted repeatedly either.
*checks online* Ah, here we go. A Taser hits one with 14,000 volts - for a few millionths of a second. So they only give off ~four milliamps, on average, says the link. "Fifty milliamps is generally where you run the risk of dying from an abnormal heart rhythm." Shigeru1313 claims in one of the WRH-fics that a Thunderbolt is 10,000 volts.
Both the show and Miss Falls's fics imply that Team Rocket is enduring those shocks for much longer than a few millionths of a second.
REAL WORLD PHYSIOLOGY =/= POKEMON WORLD PHYSIOLOGY.
Though for most of us, the clue would come when Ash repeatedly gets SET ON FIRE and only gets mildly charred.
came unbidden to my mind, and I shuddered.
"We can't do this anymore," Jessie sighed. "We need to find a different job...a safer job."
No! No! No! You need to STOP FOLLOWING ASH AROUND! That is NOT YOUR JOB! Your job is to be a member of TEAM ROCKET! Not to REPEATEDLY FAIL TO STEAL A PIKACHU!
Tom: *cracks up* We have confirmation! They said it, everyone! They think their JOB'S t' pursue Ash!
Guardian's Song: I'd be a bit more concerned about the obvious delusional thinking here if Miss Falls wasn't so normally adverse to Earth Logic. As is, it just comes off as Jessie and James being terminally stupid rather than, well, incapable of knowing any better.
"We need to get married, too, Jess," I told her. "I want us to be married when our baby is born."
"So do I."
"Problem is, I haven't saved enough money for us to have a decent wedding yet," I continued.
Tom: Can't y' just get an in-an'-out weddin' in Celadon?
Jerry: *flatly* But how could their romance ever surviiiive without a dream wedding? Prepare for Jessie to burst out crying about how she always wanted an all-star wedding as a little girl any moment now...
"And we need to keep saving anyway -- providing for the baby is more important than a dream-wedding. This is going to be trickier than I thought...."
Jessie smiled. "It's okay. We'll manage somehow, James."
I smiled back. "You're right. As long as we stick together, we'll find a way."
Tom: Stop th' fancy, easily-exploded crud an' do nice, SIMPLE cons like SANE people! An' stop pursuin' that Pikachu!
...Wait, why am I tryin' t' use Earth Logic on THIS fic?
Jessie and I embraced once again. And as we sat there together on the edge of the bed, I suddenly got an idea.
"Do you remember Salon Roquet?"
"How could I forget?"
"I think we should try it again," I said. "For real this time...not a scam!"
Jessie looked up at me, and her eyes widened. "You think it could work?"
"It worked last time," I replied. "We had a lot of fun, it was safe, and we turned a huge profit!"
Tom: These twits actually took my suggestion?! Child-raisin' is puttin' th' fear of Earth Logic into them!
Jerry: *morose voice* It won't last for long...
"We also got run out of town after Meowth blew our cover," she sighed.
"But that's my point -- the salon won't be a cover this time!" I told her. "And we wouldn't go back to Celadon City to do it. We could set one up in The Big Orange, or something. Someplace where we're not wanted criminals, and the people actually like us!"
Jessie's face lit up. "You're right, James! That's a wonderful idea!"
"I guess I really am not as dumb as I look," I chuckled.
She blushed. After a moment, however, she became serious again. "But starting a business takes money. Money that we don't have."
Jerry: Wait, how did you manage the first one, then?!
Tom: They can only work miracles on a shoestring budget when Cori ain't goin' fer th' drama. Th' moment she is, oh, we have realistic considerations!
"We could ask the boss for a loan," I suggested.
Jerry: (Old Boss) Yes, you've wasted an enormous amount of time and resources and made Team Rocket a laughingstock because you can't stop your obsession over a single Pikachu. Of COURSE I'll give you a loan to start up your own business!
Tom: (Old Boss) On second thought, your sheer incompetence has made police forces the world over underestimate Team Rocket, and caused the citizenry to think that no one can possibly be a Team Rocket agent unless they wander around like idiots in full HERE LOOK AT ME I'M A PROUD CRIMINAL regalia. So... hm, funding your stupidity DOES have its upsides...
"If Salon Roquet II works out as well as the first one did, we can pay him back in no time. And we'll finally be free to earn our living and raise our family in peace!"
Tom: Because runnin' a Mob-funded business means yer totally divorced from th' Mob, yep.
"I suppose," she sighed. "But I'm just not comfortable with asking something like that of the boss. I'd rather do it on my own."
"So would I, but we don't really have a choice," I said. "Don't worry about it. As much as he complains about us, I'm sure the boss would jump at an opportunity like this to get us off the team!"
Guardian's Song: What the heck am I even reading. Seriously? Giovanni can't fire them? What the -
I honestly can't even figure out the logic here. PLEASE don't tell me the massive criminal organization is unionized! Or that it obeys regular labor laws! Or - she really doesn't grasp what CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION means, does she?!
Jessie smiled again. "Yeah!" she laughed. "We'll be doing him a favor!"
Tom: (Old Boss) You see this? This is a lake. You may jump into it. Upon request, we will provide concrete blocks on your feet to assist you in going down. That is how you may get out of Team Rocket, if merely quitting is below your noble selves.
Now we were both laughing. Things were starting to look up.
Jerry: Including the contents of my stomach. *ulp*