NOTE: Contains some onesided White/N as well as spoilers for Pokemon Black/White
Touko shivered lightly as a breeze passed through Village Bridge. She hugged herself in an attempt to warm up, briefly wondering what this area was like in the winter if it was this cold in the Fall afternoon. Despite all the time that had passed since she first passed through, she had never been in Village Bridge during the winter. How different it must be...
She frowned and looked around. How unlike him to keep her waiting. He seemed to almost always wait for her in a fashion that she thought was exceedingly creepy at first, yet this time around she was waiting for him. But then again, a year and a half had passed since she had last seen him
She could only hope that meant some sort of change had occurred within him... and could only pray it was positive.
She leaned against the stone ledge of the bridge, looking out at the water. She could hear Koontz singing. She didn't know the language he sang in, but the song put her at ease. Come to think of it, this was the same song she'd heard him sing the first time she came to Village Bridge.
She liked this place. It was peaceful, content
"Did I keep you waiting long?"
She nearly jumped out of her socks. Touko had been so drawn into the view she hadn't even noticed him appear. A boy a few years older than herself with wild green hair in a ponytail
he hadn't really changed at all. Except for something about him. He was the same yet
different. A king with no kingdom
a man with a shattered dream
"A little," Touko said somewhat teasingly, pushing the guilt she felt to the back of her mind. "Honestly, though
the last person I ever expected to get a call from was you. I don't even know how you got my number."
N gave her a guilty smile. "Father - Ghetsis, I mean
he used to tap your Xtransceiver."
Surprising as it was, it didn't come as a huge shock to hear that. It actually explained quite a bit, thinking on it. And if Ghetsis had tapped her Xtransceiever, it wasn't a huge shock to learn that N had to have known her number for quite a bit now. He'd just been responsible with it. She did find it odd that it didn't bother her quite as much as it should have.
The green haired boy leaned up against the ledge next to her and took in the view she had taken in barely a minute ago. "How are your Pokémon?" He asked.
"They're all energetic, as usual. Reshiram plays the big boss, of course, while Chuck and Kamikaze play brownnose to him or her. It's hard to tell with legendaries. Vaati's a hyperactive Swoobat as he'll ever be; he's always keeping Paku on edge
Oh and Titania had an egg not too long ago." She said, referencing her Serperior. She remembered Professor Juniper had honestly been surprised at her female starter. A rarity, she had said. But it didn't make much difference to Touko. Male or female, she loved her Titania.
N brightened at the mention of the egg. "Really? That's wonderful! I'm sure she'll be a great mother to a little Snivy."
"Yes, but she's a nervous wreck. I had to leave her in Nuvema with Professor Juniper she refuses to leave that Egg." Touko said.
"A good mother, indeed." N said with a chuckle.
There was silence for a moment, before Touko finally broke it and asked, "And what about you and Zekrom and the rest of your Pokemon? You're all doing well?"
N nodded. "Yes." He didn't go into detail.
Again, there was silence especially since Koontz had ceased his singing. Touko found herself looking back at the lake, her eyes fixed on the small grassy island in the middle of it. A rustle here and there said that there were Pokemon scurrying about in there. N was probably watching them; listening to them
"Why did you call me?" She asked. "It wasn't just to ask about my Pokemon were doing." And it wouldn't kill you to ask how I'm doing.
He still kept his gaze on the lake before them, but he said, "This place
I never would have expected that a town like this could ever exist."
She forked an eyebrow at him. "A town built on a bridge? I suppose it is unusual but not-"
She was cut short due to N's chuckle. "No, no, not that though, it is impressive in its own right. So many different formulas to work out just to make its existence possible... It really is a work of art."
"Then what didn't you expect?" Touko asked.
The smile on his face faded and he was quiet again, but only for a moment. "When I was small, Ghetsis told me that humans and Pokémon should not coexist. He told me that humans and Pokémon should always be separated, because humans are selfish and don't care for the welfare of Pokémon. The only way Pokémon could become perfect was if they were separated from humans." N turned his emerald gaze over to Touko, a sad smile upon his face. "And then I met with you. You were a walking contradiction to me, because you are human, yet you were the opposite of everything my father had taught me to believe. You and your Pokémon
you bring out the best in each other."
Touko pursed her lips, not sure what to say to that. But even if she could think of something, she wouldn't say it. She wanted him to continue. And continue he did.
"After what happened at the Pokémon League, I left to find my own way; a way that wasn't predetermined by Ghetsis since my infancy. And along that way, I came across this place another living contradiction to what Ghetsis had told me. This is a place where wild Pokémon and humans coexist without any issue. Tall grass on either side, above the water
but no harm is done. Humans don't tear out the grass or net the waters to keep the Pokémon away; they coexist together. Even the Pokémon held by trainers manage to coexist with the wild Pokemon without conflict." He was smiling again, his face bright and eager. "Touko, you were just one person defying everything I had been taught. This is a whole town doing that I never would have thought this was possible."
"'Would have' being the key terms there." Touko said with a small smile before gently adding, "You still haven't answered my question. Why call me here?"
He reached out and grabbed her hand. "To thank you."
"Thank me?" She asked, blushing slightly.
N nodded. "Touko, if I had never met you that day in Accumula Town
Well, I can't say what would be or not because I don't know. But I do know that if I hadn't met you, I wouldn't have a mind of my own now. So I thank you for that," he took her other hand, holding them both tightly with utter sincerity in his expression. "I thank you for everything."
That took her completely off guard. A thank you for all that she had done? A thank you for crushing his dreams and taking his innocence? Looking him right in those forest green eyes of his, she searched for any hint of sarcasm or bitterness. But there was none. He had truly meant it.
"Is something wrong?" He asked as he seemed to notice the look of disbelief and shock on her face.
She shook her head and took her hands back, shifting her gaze away from his. "No
nothing is wrong
I guess I just thought
" He still doesn't understand how a human mind works. "I suppose you could say I don't think I did anything worth being thanked for
And if anything, I think I should thank you."
"For what?" He asked.
She chanced a look at him only to avert her eyes somewhere else yet again. Despite innocence lost, he could still look like a confused child. Touko supposed that if they were having a conversation about inward changes, though, it may as well be as good a time as ever to explain. "N
You had asked me if I had a dream in Chargestone Cave
I told you I did, but I never said what. And even after we had battled, you never did find out what my dream was. I'd like to tell you about it
Touko was pretty sure she could feel a bit of discomfort coming from him. He had so often opened up to her, and he was probably realizing now that he had no idea how to handle a fellow human opening up to him. As a king, people listened to him - not often the other way around. But if that was his thought process, then he was doing his best to try and understand a fellow human as an equal. "I would like to hear it." He said.
"When I had started my journey
I was actually a lot like Bianca," she began. She found herself looking out again at the horizon. Twilight was coming in now
"I had no idea what I wanted to do. Cheren was the only one of us with any set goal in mind. I wanted to figure out what I wanted from my life. That was my dream. And then I met you, N. Listening to your words every time we had met
You always inspired me."
inspired you?" He asked, seemingly baffled. "But you disagreed with me."
She smiled at him; a smile that probably reflected one given by a mother. "Yeah, I did. That didn't mean I wasn't inspired. N
you were so passionate about your ideals. You worked for them, you took action. You fought for what you believed in. And I found myself wishing to be more like you a person with courage enough to fight to the bitter end on behalf of what he believed in. In the end, you helped me shape a new dream for myself. And it was through that dream that I managed to pull through
that Reshiram came and chose me. I know it may be a bitter memory
but thank you."
N gave her a puzzled look, tilting his head in a childishly confused manner. "Why would it be bitter?"
It was Touko's turn to look somewhat flabbergasted. "N
when I defeated you
And then Ghetsis came and
" The words weren't forming complete sentences, but she was just too taken aback; she couldn't see how N didn't view that time as a bad memory.
A wave of understanding seemed to crash upon N as she said her broken sentences. A sad smile graced his lips. "It
it's unpleasant to think about. But not because I lost my dream. I still had it
I just needed to reshape it, to truly understand what I really wanted from that dream what people and Pokémon really needed. The only thing truly bitter about it was
Ghetsis. She thought. He didn't need to finish the statement for her to figure it out. Ghetsis, N's own father, had proceeded to disown him after the battle was lost
Touko had to wonder
how much of N's dream was fueled by the idea that if he fulfilled it, he would gain his father's love? Stuck in a room for his whole life, only with three formerly abused Pokémon at his side
How often did Ghetsis actually go and see his son and actually talk to him? She wished she could ask N
and she wished he would tell her. But N wasn't that kind of person
He was the kind to think of himself last and help Pokémon first.
Again there was nothing but silence between the two of them. What more could be said? They had both said their thanks to each other, but the idea of saying farewell seemed awkward. At least it was for Touko. Because she didn't want to see him leave again
not without promise of seeing each other again.
She was almost afraid to look at him. Was he going to say goodbye? Would this be the last time she would see him.
"Do you know what else I learned over the past year and a half?"
Furrowing her brow, she temporarily forgot the fear of his leaving. She honestly hadn't expected the conversation to begin again. "What else did you learn?"
"That both people and Pokémon aren't perfect and there is no formula for perfection or a perfect world." N told her simply. He gave her a sheepish look, "I know it may sound silly
you probably knew that long before I managed to find out
But I also learned that because all of us are imperfect, that's what gives us the drive to go on and better ourselves. That's why good trainers, like you and your friends
that's why your Pokémon battle for you and enjoy your company. Because by spending more time with people who can truly appreciate them, both parties can become the best they can be. And that's my new dream, Touko. A world in which all humans, traniners or not, and all Pokémon can truly understand one another. A world where humans and Pokemon can be like you and your friends."
It was with that that Touko had realized why he had seemed so different from the time she had last seen him. It wasn't because his dream had been shattered he'd even said so - he just needed to reshape that dream. Nor was it because his innocence was lost from reality crashing down upon him. It was because he had grown up. He was no longer the strange man-child she'd known a year and a half ago. Now he was a young man who had been exposed to the reality of the world, but still determined to follow his heart; still determined as ever to achieve a dream that was in all likelihood impossible.
N had been victim of his father's plan
a plan he had thought he was important to. For God's sake, he'd been thinking he was a king his whole life and to some degree he probably still did think of himself as a king. But he had no kingdom anymore. It had fallen when she had defeated Zekrom with Reshiram
and with the realization of Ghetsis's true intentions. But even though he had fallen, he had gotten back up
And he was stronger for it.
It happened without her thinking at all about it. An automatic reaction that took both of them by surprise.
"What- what are you doing?"
N sounded truly rattled, nor could Touko have blamed him. She was a bit rattled too, having just thrown herself on him and hugging him as tightly as Titania held her Egg. And more than that, she was getting teary-eyed.
?" N asked. It almost sounded like a squeak.
He was frozen, she realized. Since she had latched onto him, he had not moved a muscle. He was
She suddenly pulled away and stepped back, keeping her eyes on the floor and
and she was so confused. Why had she done that? "I
" She felt a stinging on her cheek. She was crying? But why
she wasn't sad
She was actually
So relieved because she hadn't broken him
? But why would that make her just embrace him like that
you hugged me
" N squeaked again.
"I'm sorry." She said again, still not looking at him.
not from another person
" He blurted out.
She found herself wanting to look up at him, but she was also afraid. It was the feeling as if the answer to all her confusion would come to her when she looked at him. And she was afraid of what the answer may be
even though there was no reason to be afraid of that answer
Or was there
? Oh she didn't know!
Touko wiped her eyes, still staring at the floor. She had to raise her eyes eventually
it would only continue to get more awkward the longer she avoided looking at him
She took a breath and then raised her gaze.
N had a somewhat frightened look on him, but it was also one of shock and confusion. Looking into those deep, green eyes of his
seeing that sincere look of not-quite understanding
the answer did come to her. And Touko still wasn't sure if it was something to be terrified about.
"You've never been hugged by another human?" She finally managed to say.
He shook his head, apparently unable to say the word "no."
It explained why he had become like a statue when she had hugged him
it was a completely new experience for him
She wouldn't have thought so. She would have thought those self-proclaimed goddesses might have shown some affection
Yet the thought that Ghetsis wouldn't let them also crawled into her mind. After all, kings don't receive embraces from those of the lower classes
Or perhaps it was more goddesses didn't give embraces to those of the lower classes. Whatever the case, it seemed the 'goddesses' could only ever comfort him from arm's length, forced only to use kind words... She was only making guesses here, but she didn't get a bad feeling from those ladies. She believed they truly did care for N, but his duty to be a 'hero' probably did keep him distanced from those maternal figures. While she questioned their divinity, they looked human. And Ghetsis didn't seem to want his son to have any human contact whatsoever. And Touko could suddenly understand the pained looks the 'goddesses' had when she spoke with them... They had probably watched N grow up in all that pain, yet were forced to keep a distance.
It seemed that in her relief that she hadn't crushed his soul, she'd forgotten that N was
sheltered, for lack of a better word. In some ways, he was still like a child
She hated to continue the comparison to royalty by thinking of him as a child prince. He had grown up; reality had punched him in the face, but he was still so innocent. And more than that, still so unused to true human contact.
Looking back to the floor, her mind raced. So was the answer she'd stumbled upon
was it wrong, then? Perhaps it wasn't what she had initially thought
perhaps she was thinking that out of pity
Pity because N had such a terrible father and she wanted to prove something? If so that was wrong
Was it pity
"Was it unpleasant?" She found herself asking. If it was pity, would she be asking that?
He was quiet. Quiet enough to almost have Touko think he had left. But he eventually said, "I
I don't think it was
Hesitantly, she let her eyes meet his again. It seemed that they were both so unsure
can I hug you again
?" She asked. Perhaps an embrace, one they both were aware of
perhaps that would be the real answer
"I mean, if you don't like it, I'll pull away. But I'd like to
I'd like to hug you again."
He still seemed so confused, but N eventually nodded. "Okay
In a way, that automatic hug had been easier. Touko hadn't thought about it when she'd done it it just happened. But now
so many things were racing through her head
She took a step closer to him; half expecting that he would take a step back. But he didn't. Touko wrapped her arms around him and pressed herself against him. Again, N seemed to freeze up, but only at first. She could feel him loosen up in her arms. And she could hear his heart
It was beating so fast
Or maybe she was hearing her own heart?
" She began, not sure what to say. Or more accurately, she knew what she wanted to say, she just wasn't sure if she should. If she said it
how would he react? A hug sent him still as a statue
so what would the three most powerful words in the world do to him? Touko pulled away from him. He barely moved, apparently not quite able to register whatever it was he was feeling. "Was it bad
it was warm." He said quietly. "Like a Darumaka
"So you liked it?" She asked, a glimmer of hope in her voice.
He seemed to think of it for a moment before nodding. "It was nice
Hearing that, she sighed and smiled. "I'm glad." She couldn't tell him. Not now. He wasn't ready for that
"I'm sorry I surprised you like that."
"No, it's fine." N told her, seemingly gaining back some of his original composure. "It was just
Touko's smile still remained. "Well, I don't think either of us thought this visit would turn into something like this
" She put a hand on his arm, just as a gesture of friendliness much like his earlier gesture of holding her hands.
"I'm glad I got to see you again, N. And I'm even happier to know that you still have a dream. Don't be afraid to ask if you need help. I'd like to see you again." She said to him gently.
He then smiled back and nodded. "Of course."
She let go of him, pausing shortly before turning around and heading down Village Bridge to Opelucid City.
"Touko," he called out.
She stopped, surprised that he would call out to her. Turning her head back to glance at him, she said, "Yes?"
"When you were hugging me
you were going to say something. But you didn't. What was it?" N's voice was calm and steady, genuinely curious. It wasn't at all like the flustered mess from before.
Again, Touko found herself unsure as to whether to answer or not. But she came to the same conclusion. He wasn't ready to hear those words yet. Slyly smiling at him, she said, "You may be a king, N, but I never did answer to you... I might tell you one day. But you have to keep in touch to find out."
As if on cue, Reshiram released itself from its pokeball and swooped Touko up. Even the girl had found this rather unexpected, but to make it look all the more cool she quickly made herself comfortable upon the white dragon as it flew off. She didn't look down towards Village Bridge to get a last look at N. Because it wouldn't be her last look at him. He would follow her on Zekrom, she knew. Maybe not now or anytime soon
Maybe not even for years and maybe not even for the same reason that she wished she could look back at him for... but he would.
"I don't understand you humans, sometimes." She could hear Reshiram's powerful voice reverberate in her skull. "Why not just say you love him? Surely it would not be so difficult?"
With a chuckle, Touko playfully patted her dragon's feathery, white-red scales. "Not for me, Reshi. But he's still like a kid in some ways. He's not ready for it."
She could feel the dragon roll its eyes. "You humans make mating more complicated than it needs to be."
Touko blushed and found herself smacking the dragon something which didn't phase the creature in the slightest. "For a legendary Pokémon you have an awfully raunchy thought process!" She hissed.
"As you humans say, 'I just calls'em as I sees'em.'" There was a smirk in there somewhere. Touko could feel it
But despite that, she found herself smiling.
She had no idea when it happened exactly, but she was in love with N. And hopefully, when he'd grown up just a little more, he might be able to reciprocate those feelings
In the meantime, however, Touko would just have to make sure he didn't start anything crazy again
Which was a fancy way of saying she certainly hoped he would ask for help in achieving his new dream. It was a simple excuse to be by his side
and for now, she could handle just being friends.