March 16th, 2011 (6:40 AM).
This fanfic contains spoilers for Pokémon Black/White! Don't read if you don't want the ending to be ruined for you!
I posted this on deviantART before now, and it received more views and comments than anything else I had done. So, now that I'm giddy with overconfidence, I'm going to post it here. If you spot any mistakes, please call them out: I'm not the best at catching typos.
This is a story about N. It contains no shippings but brief mention of the female player character. This is in a single chapter and will not be added to. I felt I had to write this because it was the first time a character in a Pokémon game had moved me to tears. I hope you were moved by N's story too.
Things You Remember
You remember the time when, as a child, you were taken away from your mama and guided to a forest by the man you thought was Papa. He left you alone in the darkness. You cried and cried for hours, but he didn't come back. You were cold and scared, and you could hear the sounds of the monsters coming closer and closer. All you had were the clothes on your back and the trinkets he had given you. The necklace at your throat was a strange cube with no center. You clung to it, desperate, and eventually fell into an uncertain slumber.
When you awoke, the monsters had appeared. They were bigger than you, and you were scared, and you started to cry again. But the monsters comforted you. They cuddled close to you to keep you warm, and dried your tears. You felt a little less scared, and although you missed Mama, you felt safe in the hands of these powerful beings.
You stayed with them in the years to come. You learned how to speak to them, and although you still thought about Mama and the man you thought was Papa - especially when you held the necklace - you felt more at ease among the monsters than you did around humans. Darmanitan, Woobat and Zorua became your closest friends.
When the man you thought was Papa came back for you, you could no longer understand what he was saying. He made his intentions clear, however, and he ripped you from the family you had created in the forest. He constantly talked to you, even though you could only pick up a little of the meaning, and you stayed quiet, trying to remember how to talk. The man you thought was Papa took you underground, to a giant building that was still in the midsts of construction. He took you to a room full of toys and games and then left you alone. You played with some of the toys, but you were too sad to enjoy it. There was no sign of Mama.
Two women came to your room every day. They told you their names were Anthea and Concordia, and slowly, they helped you regain speech and taught you about the world. You learned how to read and write, and about growing up, and the facts of the world and the planets and the stars. You came to understand the true natures of the beings you lived with. You learned about the forest, and about Pokémon. You learned how they were captured against their will and made to fight for human glory. You felt sad that your friends were treated in such a way. Eventually Anthea and Concordia stopped coming. You were left alone again. They expected you to amuse yourself with the toys. You grew frustrated. You threw the train tracks around the room. You embedded darts in the wall. You kicked the basketball until it went flat.
The man you thought was Papa started sending you new friends to play with. He sent Pokémon this time. They told you tales of their time with trainers; how much they were hurt and abused; how much it broke their hearts. You decided never to train Pokémon, and to only ever be their friends, but they said it wasn't enough; they said it would be better if people were never allowed to capture Pokémon. Then your friends were taken away again.
Before you have any time to get sad, the man you thought was Papa came. He sat you down and told you that you were nearly a man, and so you had to know the truth. You didn't feel like a man, so you didn't say anything, but you listened to his words. He told you about his dreams to separate Pokémon from humans, once and for all, so that humans may never use Pokémon for their own gain. He told you legends of the past, about a pair of Heroes who fought for the truth and for ideals alongside a Dragon who split into two. He said it would be as simple as that; to split the world in two. As simple as black and white. He writes the name of his dream - Harmonia - on your basketball to remind you of it every day. He tells you that you will be the Hero. You began to believe it was true. After all, you knew the truth, and you could speak with Pokémon. You ARE the Hero of Legend.
You began to learn about Team Plasma, who were striving for the same truth. The man you thought was Papa brought you before them and named you as their king, because you are the Hero of Legend. With Team Plasma behind you, you felt you could do anything. You accompanied them to a speech the man you thought was Papa was giving at a place called Accumula Town. You join the crowd as the man you thought was Papa told you to. He said not to attract attention. The man in front of you had Poké Balls at his belt. It made you angry, so you stole one of them without him noticing. You reached for the second but the man you thought was Papa had finished speaking and the crowd was dispersing. And then you met her.
There was something strange about her that you had never seen before. She had a Snivy on her shoulder, but it didn't seem sad; it seemed exceedingly happy. She and her two friends separated, and you decided to approach her. You wanted to hear what Snivy had to say, so you tried to get closer, and she let you. She thought you wanted to battle. It was despicable but you send out the Pokémon you had taken to battle her. The Purrloin was confused, but you assured it you meant well and it agreed to help you. You tried not to let it get hurt, but she won the battle. Her Snivy was happy. It was growing stronger and it was happy. You didn't understand it, so you guessed it was just a strange Pokémon. As she left, you smashed Purrloin's Poké Ball under your foot and released it. It ran back into the city, and you felt you had done good.
You were interested in her after that. You asked Team Plasma to look out for her. You followed her to various gyms. At one point she bumped into you and you heard her Pokémon speak out to you again. You couldn't believe what they were telling you; what they hadn't even told her. But you thought it was impossible. You are the Hero of Legend. There couldn't be two heroes. You left her standing outside Nacrene Gym and sent in Team Plasma to recover the remains of the dragon. You thought it might be what you were looking for. You were wrong, and she stopped you. You hated her for it.
You found her again when your paths crossed in Nimbasa. You thought you should battle her again, just to make sure, so you asked some friends to help you. You intercepted her when she was chasing some of your men, and dragged her into a building. It turned out to be the entrance to the ferris wheel. You had never been on one before, and it was a wonderful experience. The sun was just setting, with the sky turning dark, and while the bright lights of the fairground and the city flooded the view from the bottom, when the wheel rose, you could see nothing but the stars. You had never seen anything so beautiful before. While you were up there with her, you confided in her about your status. She was angry and you regretted it, but you took it upon yourself to battle her. Your friends got hurt but it confirmed what her team knew and she didn't; two Heroes, side by side, and she was one. You are the other. You knew that from the start. Didn't you? You decided to keep an eye on her anyway. You announced she was your friend. That way, she would have to stay close. Because that's what friends do. That is what friends do.
So where are your friends now?
You began to stray further and further away from the rest of the team. You spoke with other trainers and learned that their Pokémon enjoyed being with them. It confused you so much. You had always thought that Pokémon hated being captured and forced to battle, and yet here were so many Pokémon saying the contrary. You weren't sure if your friends from the castle had been lying to you or if the Pokémon here were just strange, but you tried to get away from it, because you didn't know what to think. You had headaches and strange dreams. You began to question what you were aiming for. The man you thought was Papa told you over and over that you were doing the right thing. It should have felt good, but it was empty praise. Each compliment was like a blow to the stomach for you. You only pressed on because Anthea and Concordia told you to, but sometimes they would have bruises or show that they were in pain, and you'd know that the man you thought was Papa was doing that to them. You began to doubt such a man was ever your Papa.
You decided to take matters into your own hands and employed the help of the Shadow Triad. They promised to help you, so you tracked her route and intercepted her at the cave with the floating rocks. When you learned that she wasn't alone, and that there was a professor with her, you got so angry. You hated the idea of catching one every Pokémon, as professors seemed to preach. It was such a sickening, despicable idea that you rejected it with every atom of your being. You found more friends who would help you fight, since you parted ways with those from Nimbasa, and you waited at the end of the cavern. When she showed up, you fought with her, not because you wanted to, but because you felt you had to. There was something deep within you that felt compelled to oppose her. She seemed unwilling but fought well and defeated your friends. Then the stupid professor woman showed up and started spouting some nonsense about how filling her silly PokéDex would be a good thing. You were so maddened, you lashed out, screaming at her in all the rage you could muster. Then you turned tail and ran as far as you could, your heart racing and with tears in your eyes. In that moment, you hated the stupid woman.
She ran after you, but you had already gone.
You retreated to the castle, and hid away in the room you hate so much. You smashed up the train tracks, but managed to control yourself before you had chance to do any more damage. It was days before you left the room again, and only for good reason. Team Plasma, on your orders, had found the Light Stone. The stone said to hold the final essence of the Dragon of Legend. The man you doubted was Papa told you there were two. He sent troops to Relic Castle to search for the other. You took the Light Stone in your hands and never let go. It warmed to your touch and seemed to respond to your presence. You weren't surprised, because you are the Hero of Legend.
Yes, you ARE.
You began to get nervous as you headed to Dragonspiral Tower. The man you doubted was Papa had cited the tower as the place the Dragon had died. At his bidding, you scaled the tower to the very top. There were noises and commotion from downstairs, but you ignored it. The Light Stone grew warm at your touch once more, and you bade it share its secrets. Almost instantly, it expanded over and over, until you were facing a beautiful white Dragon. You were breathless at the sight, and revelled in how it responded to your voice, how it leaned into your touch. It was your friend right from the start. It told you it will always stand by you. Because you are the Hero of Legend? No, because you are the one who awoke him. But you are the Hero of Legend; this you know; this you knew right from the start.
No. This the man you doubted was Papa told you so long ago. No, it wasn't that long ago at all. It was when he told you that you were a man. You didn't believe him about that, because you still felt so young. But you chose to believe him about being the Hero of Legend. Why?
You were broken from your thoughts by her. She of all people had conquered your troops to reach the pinnacle of the tower. She saw your new friend and asked you so many questions that you struggled to answer. She had backup, and you didn't want anything else to do with it, so you sprang onto your new friend's back and you flew away from it all. It felt like running away, but you justified it in your mind. At least, you thought you did.
The man you doubted was Papa grew angrier. He was happy that you had revived the Dragon, and that you could become the Hero and separate Pokémon from humans once and for all. But he was mad about her, that girl, and the fact that she looked like a hero too. You had told her as such, so he was mad at you, too. He hit you. He hadn't hit you since... you couldn't remember, but he was furious, and he hit you over and over, telling you each time that you had messed up, that you had failed him, that you had slipped up and let out our plan. He told you that Harmonia would fall if you slipped up again. You cried that night, and you dreamed about the night in the forest, when you had cried so hard until your friends had appeared to comfort you. Darmanitan, Woobat and Zorua... you wondered how they were.
You didn't have time to wonder. You had to do things right, otherwise you'd be a huge failure and the dream of Harmonia would never exist. You did as the man you doubted was Papa told you to do, and you prepared to take on the Elite Four, and then the Champion, in what would be the last great battle of the era. You found a few friends who were willing to fight alongside your newest friend, who told you its name was Reshiram, and then you were stopped in your tracks. There were two Reshirams. Just as you were about to freak out, one of them spiralled in the air and appeared before you. You recognised him at once. He had evolved, but it was Zorua, your friend Zorua from the forest. He told you he had grown stronger in order to protect the young ones, and that he had become Zoroark as a result. Zoroark wanted to protect you, as he had done when you were a child, and you accepted him onto your team.
You took the Elite Four by storm. You openly scorned their machines and lifestyles, making them frustrated as you easily defeated them. You were pushed on by the thought of the fact that once you defeated the Champion, the world would be separated and your friends could be free. You made it so far, so easily, because of your determination. Finally, you stood before Alder, as the Champion, and with the power of Reshiram - no, with the power of the Hero, the Hero of Legend that you knew you were - you raised the castle from underground and surrounded the League with it. She appeared, and you hesitated, but the man you doubted was Papa stood at the top of the stairway, and you knew you had to do this, or he would be angry. She followed you, so you took shortcuts past your room and made it to the throne room in time to take your rightful place as the king. You were starting to get tired, but Reshiram coaxed you onwards, and you rubbed the sleep from your eyes, daring her to challenge you. Of course she did, and just as you declared your status as the Hero to her, she took out the Dark Stone and summoned Zekrom. You were amazed. Your troops had searched so long and so hard for that stone, on the orders of the man you doubted was Papa, and yet here it was, in her grasp, and becoming the second Dragon.
You fought. You fought long and hard, but she was stronger, and you finally came to understand why. You had been so adamant about your friends being free that you had neglected to notice how she and her friends had grown so much stronger by being together. You looked at youself, and at Reshiram, and at your dear friend Zoroark, and you feel ashamed by what you have become. You were trying so hard to keep that awful man happy that you had blatantly ignored so much; the way Pokémon out there, in the real world, were happy alongside trainers; the way humans and Pokémon worked together to get stronger and create new bonds. You were confused once more. You wanted to split the world in two right there and then, but you didn't want to lose your friends Reshiram and Zoroark, and you didn't want her to be separated from her friends, because they were so, so close. You didn't know what to do. You were lost for words and for thoughts.
The man who was never your Papa came in then, and broke you away from her. You had failed him, and you knew what to expect. He told you that you were a disappointment, that you were a failure, that you were never his child, that you were destined to do badly, that you were just a pawn in his game, that this was all part of his plan, that he had lied to you, that you were a hypocrite, that you were a monster, that you had no heart for you were no human, that you should have died in the forest as a child, that you were the reason Mama died, that you were the reason everything was going wrong, that you were the most ugly, despicable, disgusting, sickening, pathetic, worthless, snivelling, childish, revolting, repelling, loathsome, vile, stupid, weak, lifeless thing on the planet.
He didn't hit you. But his words hurt more than anything. He started to fight with her, claiming she was the reason you had become like this. She had corrupted your mind and blemished the purity of the Hero of Legend. You can't watch. You stare at the ground and close your mind and think of nothing. He's not your Papa. He was never your Papa. And he had just confirmed that Mama was dead. You were all alone, again.
You tell her to continue your dream, because you're so tired now, and you just want to leave it all behind. You're not alone now, but it's different from the times when you had friends in the castle; those friends were forced upon you by the man who killed Mama, and now you had friends who were just that; friends. You are free. Your hands shake. You've never been this kind of free before. You think you're not old enough to be free, but that's not true, because she looks older than you but you're taller, so you must be that old too. Maybe your body is that old, even though your mind feels so young.
You decide to leave this place behind. You're done with it, and you don't want the memories. You're the King, so you disband your kingdom and leave it all behind. You jump onto Reshiram's back and, with Zoroark at your side, you leave.
As you look back at the castle for the final time, you see her face and you remember that one time... that night when you were on the ferris wheel and you looked up at the sky and saw the stars. You want that every night. You want to look up at the sky and always see the stars.
You are finally free.
"You want to look up at the sky and always see the stars." ~ Things You Remember