By Nichole (Neko-chan) Johnson

Author's Note: This story takes place after the episode, "Meowth Rules!" It may not seem to fit in at first but you'll see how it worms its way in there by the end. JJRN fans, enjoy.

WARNING: Lime-scented. If 'love scenes' make you uncomfortable, don't read.

Another desert island. Another endless expanse of golden sand, swaying palms, blue waters and sunshine transforming that one hunk of land into a hidden paradise. Salty breezes caressing bare skin and cool, crystal clear water lapping softly at the sand, waiting to cool the sun's heat from willing waders. An expanse of perfect beauty hidden away from human contact that would have gone unappreciated if not for two people:

"James! You're going to burn your back!"

The young Pokémon thief turned on his side and propped himself up on one elbow, looking plaintively up at the indignant face of his pretty partner, towering over him with hands on hips.

"But I couldn't reach my back with the sunscreen, Jesse!" he argued. Jesse huffed in irritation, causing her swimsuit to shift enticingly. Sitting down on the edge of her beach chair, she picked up the bottle of sunscreen lotion and poured out a big glob in her hand.

"Here. Sit up and I'll do it for you!" she replied, in a voice that left no room for argument. He sat up hastily, not wanting to anger her, and offered her his back. She began to spread the lotion on his back and he flinched, expecting her touch to be as rough as her manner. She was surprisingly gentle though, working the sunscreen into his skin with caressing hands and he found the sensation to be somewhat relaxing…perhaps even a bit alluring.

He blushed slightly at the thought.

"Jesse, this feels great—you could be a masseuse," he commented, trying to divert his thoughts from her smooth hands against his back.

Jesse 'mm-hmm'-ed absentmindedly in reply. She had become engrossed in her task. The redhead hadn't realized how well built her partner was and found she greatly enjoyed running her hands down his muscular back. She blushed deeply, realizing she had been aroused by James' masculinity; an occurrence that had never arisen before and she found it overwhelming and a bit exciting.

James cleared his throat uncomfortably, trying to push his thoughts of Jesse out of his mind. "Um, maybe I should do your back so that you don't get burned…" he suggested uncertainly, hoping to lessen both of theirs embarrassment of the situation.

Jesse started from her daydream state, blushing again at the realization that she had lost track of what she was doing.

"Oh—right!" she agreed hastily, spinning around and giving him her back before he could catch sight of her crimson face. James was just as relieved, being bright red himself.

Jesse sighed in enjoyment as he smoothed the cool lotion on her soft skin, working the sunscreen in with gentle movements of his hands.

"Make sure you get my shoulders. They burn easily," she reminded, deciding to enjoy the backrub and not dwell on the uncomfortable situation. He slid his hands up her back obligingly, and she couldn't help but gasp slightly, a small thrill running up her spine as she unconsciously arched her back, ever so slightly. James massaged her shoulders gently, sliding his fingers under her suit straps to get the skin underneath. She tilted her neck, closing her eyes in pleasure as his strong hands worked away at her shoulders.

Eventually his massage slowed. "I think that should do," he announced in embarrassment, reluctantly taking his hands away. Jesse opened her eyes, wishing he wouldn't stop.

"Um, yes. I think that's enough sunscreen," she replied reluctantly, adjusting her swimsuit straps and averting her gaze from his, hoping he wouldn't notice the rosy tinge of her cheeks.

James looked away also, unable to meet her eyes. He had never quite thought of his partner that way before and was unsure of how to react. He stood up hastily, looking towards the waves in hopes of relief.

A sudden thought struck him. "Hey, want to go for a swim?" he asked, turning to his partner and forgetting his embarrassment. "It's gotten pretty hot out here."

She looked up at him, finally regaining her courage to do so. Then she looked towards the water, watching the waves lap against the beach with apprehension.

"I'm not really much of a swimmer," she answered reluctantly. James put his hands on his hips.

"You could just wade. Come on, Jesse—I won't let anything happen to you," he suggested, offering her his hand. She looked at him, then took the proffered hand, allowing him to help her to her feet.

"We won't go that deep, right?" she asked nervously, letting him lead her to the water. "All I know is the dead-mans' float."

He walked into the surf, motioning her to follow him. Watching the water distrustfully, she stood at the edge of the waves.

"You don't have to worry, Jess. We'll stay right in the shallows," soothed James, taking her by the hand and leading her into the water. She followed reluctantly.

Soon the water was past the diamond-shaped cutout in her red suit and lapping against James just below his chest. She whimpered slightly in the back of her throat, stepping hastily closer to him in fear and grabbing onto his arms tightly. He chuckled slightly, taking her waist in his hands to steady her.

"It's only up to your chest. You're okay, Jesse," he assured her gently, pulling her closer in attempts to calm her. She looked into his eyes for comfort, her own eyes wide with fright.

"James, I want to go back!" she begged, seeming so small and vulnerable, a sharp contrast to her usual strong attitude. He gazed intensely into her blue eyes, wishing he could never let her go.

"I won't let go of you, Jesse," he assured her with deep sincerity. She gazed back at him, calming at the thought that he was there to protect her.

The two of them stood there, mesmerized by the closeness of one another as the waves lapped gently against them in the chest high water. Everything else dissolved around them as they slowly leaned into one another, closing their eyes in expectation.

There was a cry from the beach, shattering the moment. The two looked up, suddenly realizing that the sun had slowly begun to set as they stood together in the waves.

"Hey, are you two deaf?! I said, I found us dinner!" shouted Meowth again, waving for their attention from the top of the sand dune he had been standing on. He huffed loudly in annoyance, disappearing again behind the dune and leaving Jesse and James again alone in the waves.

The two of them blushed in embarrassment, slowly breaking away from their embrace and followed Meowth out of the water, avoiding each other's eyes nervously.

But their hands remained linked, holding onto the exciting new prospect that had presented itself to them.

The moonlight was intensely bright, bathing the beach in its cold silver glow and throwing everything into sharp contrast. A cool sea breeze blew, gently rustling the palms and the embers of the slowly dying fire—the only sounds except for the murmur of the waves.

Jesse stirred from her restless sleep, turning so that the moonlight hit her face just right, accenting her soft, pale complexion and elegant features in its whimsical glow. It seemed to shimmer momentarily, as if the hand of an invisible being had rested its fingertips on her lips, and then the illusion was gone.

Her eyelids fluttered open, blue eyes blinking in the harsh light. Stretching lithely, she sat up, blinking at her surroundings in momentary confusion and sensing immediately that something was missing. She surveyed the small camp, spying Meowth purring lightly in his sleep from across the fire, swishing his tail gently around his curled up body as he dreamt. The firelight flickered momentarily and she realized that James' bedroll lay cold and unoccupied beside the small sleeping cat. She started, uncomfortable at being caught off guard, and climbed out of her own bedroll, staring at her partner's place by the fire meditatively.

A strong breeze blew, sending the glow of the dying fire in an arcing sweep of the sand, and she glimpsed a set of prints leading away from the camp and down to the beach. She looked out to the beach, following the breeze and the fire's prodding glow.

James straightened up from his tedious work, stretching his stiff back. He had been working at the damaged sub for nearly two hours, trying to find the glitch that was causing so many malfunctions in the machinery and so far he had gotten himself nowhere. He sighed, running a hand through his hair—exhausted and at a loss as to what the problem could be.

A cool wind blew at him, refreshing him after his struggles with the damaged machine. Feeling someone watching him, he looked up.

She was looking up at him, indignant and beautiful in the moonlight and dressed only in her black midriff and white miniskirt. Her long hair had been let down, gently blowing about her in the breeze, and she appeared almost surreal as she peered up at him. The Ghost of Maiden's Peak flashed briefly in his mind at the sight of her, and then it was gone, disappearing like memories often did when faced with something so breathtaking.

She stepped closer, brushing her hair behind her almost unconsciously but with a graceful movement.

"Where did you find it?" she called out to him, breaking the night's silence. He slid down from the sub to stand beside her, looking up at the impressive machine with her.

"Washed up on the beach. I've been trying to figure out what's wrong with it," he replied. She turned to him, concerned.

"Have you been up all night?"

He looked back at her sheepishly. "I couldn't sleep," he said simply, regretful he had worried her.

She looked at him indignantly. "You need to sleep," she insisted, taking his hand to lead him back to camp.

He let her lead him a bit, then pulled out of her grasp, dashing ahead of her and standing in her path.

"Stay with me," he insisted, taking her hands. She stepped back in surprise but did not pull away from him.

"James, it's the middle of the night!" she objected, stepping around him and leading him back in the direction she had been going. He pulled on her hands sharply but gently, pulling her back towards him.

"Please. The moonlight's so beautiful on you."

She blushed but tried to shake her hands free from his grasp. "James, we can work on the sub in the morning—we're not in any hurry."

"Jess…" he laughed, pulling her back towards him. She pulled away again, trying to be stern but unable to contain her laughter at his persistence.

"It's late!" she laughed, turning to leave. Catching her by the arm, he spun her around to face him. She stumbled, falling into him.

They stood frozen, gazing at one another in surprise and disbelief. Then their lips met in a kiss, tentative at first, then hasty and full of passion as their long pent-up desires overflowed.

They soon sank to the sand, Jesse's long crimson hair spilling out around her as James began to run kisses down her chin and neck. She sighed with pleasure, arching her back and running her hands through his hair.

Pulling away, he slid his hand along her cheekbone and kissed her lustily, slowly running his other hand down the length of her body. She shifted under him in response, sliding her bare leg against his pant leg, and wrapping her arms around his broad waist, slipped off his black T-shirt. He kissed her neck again, sliding down to her collarbone this time, causing her to gasp again in pleasure and arch her back.

Finally James pulled away, looking down at her with his intense green eyes. Gazing into those eyes, everything else seemed to vanish around her until there was nothing but him. She pulled him down to her again into a long, passionate kiss and everything melted away.

Shading his eyes from the glare, Ash peered out across the endless blue waves, perched precariously on the edge of Lapras' shell.

Misty fidgeted nervously. "Ash, sit down! You're going to fall!"

Pikachu voiced his agreement, tugging at the young trainer's pant leg insistently. Ash looked down at him from his wave watching.

"Fine, I'll sit down, you two!" he sighed in exasperation, plopping down indignantly. Lapras turned its head, seeming to smile at him, then turned back to its endless surfing.

Struggling vainly with a rather soiled and wrinkled map, Tracey looked up.

"If we can just spot a landmark, I'll be able to figure out where we are," the young Pokémon watcher announced. Ash glowered sourly.

"That's what I was trying to do," he proclaimed darkly. Misty shot him an indignant glance.

There was a sudden squeal of excitement from Togepi, followed by a frightened moo from Lapras as the companions were hit with a sudden, strong wave. The three friends cried out in surprise, holding onto the large water Pokémon in panic.

Before they even had time to recover, an island reared up before them, spreading lush and green across the horizon.

Ash jumped up in excitement, forgetting Misty's earlier warnings against doing so.

"Hey! An island!"

"PIII!" squealed Pikachu, desperately trying to hold his footing on the rocking Pokémon.

"ASH!" screamed Misty angrily as the three humans and two Pokémon were tossed into the waves.

Misty spluttered, submerging from the waves and shaking the water from her eyes.

"Well now you've done it, Ash!" she screamed angrily, glaring at the drenched trainer in irritation.

Ash slid lower in the water, looking regretful. "I didn't mean to…"

"I told you that would happen if you didn't sit down!" continued the redhead indignantly. "You never listen to me and I'm always right! If you would just—"

"You are not always right!"

"Hah! I am too and you know it!"

"If you're always something it's a big-pain-in-the—"

"I'm a pain?! Like you should talk, Ash Ketchum!"

"Pi-iii! Pikachu!"

"Maybe if you wouldn't nag me so much, Misty, I wouldn't have to annoy you so much!"

"I am not a nag!"

"Yes you are!"

"Am not!"

"Are too!"

"Am NOT!"


Both turned on the electric rodent. "CAN'T YOU SEE WE'RE ARGUING HERE?!"

Pikachu sweat-dropped. "Pi pi, chuuu…" it moaned nervously, pointing again towards the island.

The two bickering trainers looked up. "Huh?"

"Whoa! How'd we get so close to it?" commented Ash in surprise, the island filling his view.

"That wave must have carried us to it," replied Tracey. Lapras mooed softly from behind them.

Misty looked towards the Pokémon watcher inquisitively. "What island is this, Tracey? Is it on the map?"

Tracey nodded. "It sure is, but I don't need a map to know what island this is. This is Moonlight Island."

"Moonlight Island?"

Ash looked intrigued. "How come you don't need a map? I mean, what's so special about this island?"

"Right. This island doesn't even look inhabited," added Misty. Tracey looked up at the island thoughtfully.

"It's not, Misty. Age-old myths surround Moonlight Island. It is believed that moonlight has magical properties when touching the deserted isle."

Misty looked entranced. "Wow, magic moonlight! How romantic!" Ash still looked stumped.

"Uh, if the island's so magic, then why is it deserted?"

Tracey shook his head thoughtfully. "That's just it, Ash. Legend has it that when hit by the light of the full moon on Moonlight Island, a person's deepest and darkest passions and desires are revealed. That's a very powerful magic that most people aren't willing to mess with, so Moonlight Island remains relatively deserted, except for the occasional honeymooners and unsuspecting travelers."

Ash looked up at the lush island in awe, glittering innocently in the bright waters.

"Wow," he muttered. Misty looked similarly awestruck.

"Pika…" whispered Pikachu, dumbfounded.

Shaking himself off, Tracey pulled himself up onto Lapras' shell. "Come on, you guys. We'd better get going!"

Misty shook herself. "Right, Tracey," she replied, pulling herself back onto the gentle water Pokémon's back. "I don't think this is an island we want to mess with."

Ash remained in the water, staring up into the waving palm trees almost trance-like.

"Deepest darkest desires…" he muttered thoughtfully to himself, watching the sun dance enticingly through the palm leaves.

Misty called to him from Lapras, knocking him out of his reverie. "Ash, let's go! I want to get to the next island today!"

The young trainer shook himself, giving the island one last glance before turning back to his companions.

"Right, Misty! I'm coming."

Meowth looked up from his breakfast as his two partners straggled into camp, bedraggled and covered in sand.

"And where da hell was you two?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow at them inquisitively. The two looked at each other, bewildered themselves.

"Where…were we?" asked James, looking to Jesse for an answer. Jesse shrugged, blinking her blue eyes in similar ignorance.

"Uh, that's a good question."

The cat-like Pokémon blinked at them a moment, trying to figure out what his partners were up to. His eyes went wide in sudden realization.

Jumping up from his seat, he turned from them, avoiding their eyes. "Uh, let's just forget about it and get goin'! Those brats are probably on da move again and we're fallin' behind!"

He dashed off towards the beach, trying to hide his embarrassment of the situation. Jesse and James stared after him in confusion.

"What was that all about?" commented James, blinking innocently. Jesse shrugged, stretching lengthily and yawning.

"I don't know," she answered, scratching her head absentmindedly. "But I've got sand in my hair."