Rated T for safety, though it'll probably never get to that level.
First attempt at a multi-chapter something, woohoo.
Harmony in Memory
It had been almost exactly a year.
A year since Professor Juniper had gifted him, Cheren, and Bianca with their first Pokémon. Twelve months since Bianca's enthusiasm over said Pokémon had destroyed his bedroom. Four seasons since the trio had taken the first step of their journey in unison. Three hundred and sixty-one days since Black had met the enigmatic teen now standing before him, a myriad of emotions flitting unhidden across his pale face.
“There... there's something I want to talk to you about,” he beckoned for Black to come closer, then turned on his heel and led the confused boy deeper into the throne room. Down a long hallway they walked in silence before N stopped abruptly.
“It's about when I first met you. In Accumula Town. I was shocked when I heard what your Pokémon was saying. I was shocked because that Pokémon said that it liked you. It said it wanted to be with you.” He hesitated and walked a bit further, fiddling with the Menger sponge at his side. Soon enough he stopped walking and plowed ahead with his monologue.
“I couldn't understand. I couldn't believe there existed Pokémon that liked people. Because, up until that moment, I'd never known a Pokémon like that. The longer my journey continued, the more unsure I became. All I kept meeting were Pokémon and people who communicated and helped one another. That's why I needed to confirm my beliefs by battling with you. I wanted to confront you, hero-to-hero. I needed that more than anything.”
He started walking once again and Black wondered if the movement was simply excuse for N to collect his thoughts. The pair reached a set of stairs and N motioned him to stop while the green-haired boy continued on alone toward a large hole in the wall. Reaching the middle of the raised platform he turned to face Black, the dying sun's rays illuminating him from behind.
“There's no way...” he began, bowing his head. “There's no way a person like me, someone who understands only Pokémon- no...” N chuckled sadly. “ I didn't understand them, either. No way could I measure up to you, when you were surrounded by so many caring friends, both human and Pokémon...”
He walked further and this time Black followed, concerned, as N seemed close to falling through the gap in the wall. The taller boy's toes rested on the edge as he stared out across the illuminated autumn landscape. “The Champion has forgiven me, and... what I do now is something I'll have to decide for myself.” He tossed a Pokéball into the air, releasing Zekrom who greeted the outside world with a loud roar.
For the first time since Alder and Cheren had left with their prisoner, Black found his voice. “N... what will you do?”
N turned to face him again, smile brilliant but sad. “I don't know yet. But Black! You said you have a dream. That dream... make it come true! Make your wonderful dream a reality, and it will become your truth! If anyone can do that... I feel sure it's you.” In an abrupt movement, he swung himself on to Zekrom's back. “Farewell, Black. And... thank you.”
Black's eyes widened and he rushed forward. “No! N, wait!” he shouted. “You don't have to--” He stopped, mid-sentence. Already N was too far gone to hear him.
Black gritted his teeth and rocked back on his heels. The boy he had run into nearly as often as Bianca and Cheren, the man who had been integrated into his life, the enigma he had puzzled over far more than was warranted for the past year had just up and left, vanished into the Unova sky. The lanky teen hadn't even had the courtesy to tell Black where he was going or give him any sort of legitimate closure that he would be satisfied with!
Well, he wasn't the type to let things go. And there was still time to catch up.
“Reshiram!” The white dragon burst out of its Pokéball as if it had been expecting his call. Black had just positioned himself on the beast's back as Cheren appeared at the bottom of the stairs. “Black! What do you think you're doing?”
“I'm going after N!” Black shouted to his friend- his best friend, the boy he had known all his life. “I... I'll be back, Cheren! I promise you, I'll be back! Just wait for me!”
He leaned forward and spoke to Reshiram. “Please, follow Zekrom!” The dragon bowed its head in comprehension and took off, leaving Cheren in its wake. Black could hear him shouting what were probably obscenities as they flew away and bit his lip. He would be back soon enough, he was sure. Then his friend could rage at him to his heart's content.
They flew for what seemed like an eternity. Only a few times toward the beginning of the journey did Black catch a glimpse of Zekrom ahead of them, the rest of the time he simply had to trust that Reshiram had better senses than he. The temperatures at flying altitude were terribly cold; even burrowed in Reshiram's thick coat he felt it. Somehow, though, he managed to sleep through most of the night. When he woke it was to the hazy grey light of early morning, and Reshiram was approaching a small green landmass that Black previously had only seen in an atlas.
As he was craning his neck to the left to get a better view of the land below, a threatening roar erupted from the opposite side causing Black to whip around so fast he nearly fell off Reshiram's back. Before them hovered a massive green snake, coiling its body and lashing out, hissing aggressively. Reshiram stopped its advance into the region, hovering just in front of the monster.
“Reshiram,” Black murmured, trying to keep as quiet and still as possible. “Can you start going down? Really, really, slowly?”
The dragon did not confirm that it understood, but Black felt it begin its descent toward the greenery below. He continued to watch the opposing beast warily, one hand cautiously undoing the clasp of his bag. If I can just reach Braviary's Pokéball... he thought. Reshiram seemed to be picking up speed; they were close enough that Black could pick out individual trees on the forested land. His fingers, still numb from cold, closed around the Pokéball he had engraved with Braviary's name. Triumphantly he jerked it out of the bag and-
Braviary's Pokéball slipped from his fingers and as Black lunged for it, his bag fell off his shoulder, spilling its contents into the nothingness below. The sudden movements provoked the sky snake into darting to attack Reshiram, who plunged quickly down toward the trees. Black overbalanced as the descent quickened and fell off Reshiram's back and into the forest, breaking the canopy and hitting a multitude of branches on the way down. He heard a couple of different things crack and suddenly- pain. Then nothing.
“Move ... … the way!”
“Help … here!”
His head felt fuzzy. Things were going on around him. Something was beeping. His head felt fuzzy. No, I already knew that... People were talking. Were they talking to him? It was dark. No, it's not. Eyes. His eyes were closed. His head hurt. I should open my eyes. He cracked one eye open and shut it immediately to block out the light painfully searing his eyeballs.
“... off the lights! Lower the blinds...”
The light outside his lids was reduced drastically and he tentatively opened his eye again. It still stung a bit, but he gamely forced open the other eye as well. A shock of brown hair hovered into view.
“Can you hear me?” It said. Presumably it was a person.
“Yes,” he tried to answer. His voice wasn't in good shape.
“Do you know your name?”
“Okay, could be.” There was a scribbling sound. Pencil? “Do you remember anything else?”
He lay silent for a few minutes, eyes fluttering shut once again. “N.”
“Okay, what is N?”
“...N Harmonia?” Sleep.
“Is that a person?”
A knock on his door. Black set down the five-pound dumbbells he had been working with and opened it, letting in the doctor who had looked after him for the majority of the past year.
“Doctor Helen.” he greeted the short, slim woman warmly. “Come to finally kick me out, have you?”
Helen laughed. “You ask me this every week, Black.”
“Well I'm going to want to know well in advance. You told me once patients are well enough to live on their own they get the boot. I've been fit enough for nearly a month now.”
Helen sighed and flicked her long brown hair out of her eyes. “You're an odd case though. You appeared out of nowhere, spent three months in a coma and eight in serious rehabilitation. Nobody knows who you are, where you came from, how you got here.”
“Well obviously I came from my mum and dad, you know how that works,” Black said with a cheeky grin.
“Yes, but who are they?” Helen challenged. “I don't mean to be such a downer, but Black- nobody has any idea! Even you remember practically nothing. And we are going to have to kick you out soon; we don't really have the funding to keep you here. A lot of our money is already coming directly out of the Chairman's pocket and we don't want to have to put so much pressure on the budget.”
There was a rather uncomfortable silence. “...I see.”
“I'm sorry. It's just... financial. I- we- do really like you, Black, but you aren't going to be able to stay here much longer.”
“Well. What should I do then, Doctor Helen?”
Helen fiddled with her clipboard. “I... we... were trying to think of something for you to do at the last meeting. There are a lot of jobs out in Slateport, you could rack up some experience to put on a resumé. Or if you want to stick around Verdanturf, I'm sure you could apply to be a stockboy at the market. Oh, and you're about college-age, you could go to up to Lilycove University.”
Black listened semi-attentively. “None of those sound very interesting, really.”
“There is... another option. Most older people don't take it, but it's pretty much a traditional career. Have you ever considered Pokémon training?”
Something flared in Black's mind. “...I think I did that once before. It... seems familiar. Can I try it again?”
“Yes of course! If it has the bonus of perhaps jogging your memory, then I fully support that option! We can set you up with a Pokémon and some gear in a couple days, if that's what you want.”
“Yeah. I think that's best,” Black said slowly. “See you later, Doctor Helen.”
Helen smiled awkwardly and swung the door shut behind her. The moment the latch clicked, Black flopped face-up onto his narrow bed. Nine months at the Verdanturf Clinic and Rehabilitation Centre hadn't turned up any clue to his past. Why now, at this mention of Pokémon training? He had heard about it on a semi-regular basis, of course, but had never thought that he had once been an adventurer. I suppose I might have had Pokémon once. Where were they now? What had happened to them? He hadn't had anything with him when he was found lying in the Petalburg Woods, three limbs and two ribs broken. Not to mention the gash in the side of his head. He touched the scar, located just behind his ear, tentatively. It wasn't visible to the casual observer, but Black knew it was there and it made him uncomfortable. It served only to remind him that he was incomplete, off, different.
Maybe doing it again will help.
“You're allowed to keep some of the the wardrobe you've been using, so I've packed that up for you along with basic rain gear and a tent and so forth. You've got a few day's worth of food, if you run out at some point you can just pop in to a Pokémon Centre and take some of theirs, they don't care as long as you're registered. Speaking of registration, we've had your license made for you. And the Chairman called up Professor Birch and asked him to send over a completed Pokédex, since you don't seem to know the creatures of this region very well. And we've had Nurse Joy over at the Pokémon Centre find a nice, fit Pokémon looking to be adopted, I think you'll be quite pleased.”
“I appreciate everything, Doctor Helen.” Black said, breaking the woman's anxious chatter. He was slightly uneasy, which seemed odd to him. I don't need to be nervous, I've done this before.
They were in the comfortably furnished lobby of the Rehabilitation Centre. Black had already said his goodbyes to the rest of the staff, most of whom had seemed sad to see him leave. Now it was down to this, the final goodbye and the start of a new journey.
“So, here's your backpack,” Black took it from her, hefting it experimentally. “It shouldn't be too heavy for you at all, even with all the stuff in. The 'dex is in the right side pocket for easy access, there's a water bottle on the left and this-” Helen produced a small red and white ball from the pocket of her lab coat. “This is your Pokémon.”
She pressed the button, releasing a small Pokémon in a flash of red light. It gave its green-hued body a vigorous shake and began to prowl around the room curiously.
“It's called an Electrike. It's an electric type, evolves into Manectric. This one's ability is Lightningrod, which means that it will attract electric attacks, but it won't be hurt by them. Instead, it will be powered up. Its current moveset is Tackle, Thunder Wave, Leer, and Howl, but it's pretty easy to teach Electrike new moves. It likes being brushed, there's one in your bag for that.” The little dog-like creature paused in its investigations to lift its leg on a cushy red chair. “Oh... and it's a boy. I'll clean that up, don't worry.”
Black chuckled and knelt down on the floor, tapping his fingers on the carpet. The noise was muted but loud enough to catch the little Pokémon's attention and he hurried over to see what was going on.
“Hey, Electrike,” Black said quietly, turning his hand palm-up so the puppy could sniff it. “I'm your new trainer, how about that?”
Electrike yapped happily and tried to climb up Black's leg, covering the boy in sloppy doggy kisses. “He likes you!” Helen seemed astounded. “He's a good-natured little thing, but always stayed away from people.”
“Maybe... I have a way with Pokémon?” Black managed, trying not to let Electrike lick his mouth.
“Perhaps that is the case.” Helen handed Black the Pokéball. “Do you want to keep him in the ball for now?”
Black shook his head. “Nah. He likes running around. I'll put him back if he gets in the way.”
“Alright, up to you.”
Black stood, noticing not for the first time how small she was. “Well, I guess this is it.”
“Yeah. Yes. I suppose it is.”
“I'll stop by once in a while, alright? No need to miss me.”
“I'm going to anyway,” Helen said quickly, then blushed and looked away.
Black shifted his weight awkwardly, then gave Helen a quick hug. “Bye,” he said, and left through the lobby's automatic doors, Electrike following cheerfully at his heels.
It's rather slow going up to this point I think. I hope I can manage to pick up the pace soon enough.