A week and a half had passed since Black gave up on his dreams.
“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! Black! If anyone can, it's you! Well, then… Farewell!”
It was strange to receive life advice from an enemy, and it was strange how deeply it had wormed its way into Black’s mind and heart. Then again, everything about Team Plasma and the result ordeal had been strange.
Black hadn’t known how to react to any of it; the Gym Leaders pretty much told him how, and he just went with it. It had been easier to go along with what they said than actually decipher what the hell N had been on about, and it was all on his way to the Pokémon League. He’d thought about it long enough to determine that no, Pokémon were not prisoners in need of liberation, and yes, he did want to stop Team Plasma’s overall baffling plot. In the time since N flew off, Black had come to realise that maybe if it had just been N’s rapid rants instead of the combination of his and every other Team Plasma member’s, the whole idea would have made more sense. The idiots couldn’t keep their sinister cover-plan straight.
And in the time since N had left, Black had started to feel guilty. Sure, he’d saved the world from imprisonment by a psychotic and extremely creepy old man and his man-child son, but the look on N’s face when his father started gloating about his upbringing was absolutely heart wrenching. Black couldn’t get it out of his mind.
“The moment when someone loses all hope… I really do love to watch that moment.”
Ghetsis was a creep. He was such a creep that Black thought it would be better to have no parents at all than to be subjected to him.
He hoped somebody else had raised N — those girls who healed his Pokémon, maybe. Or even the ninja, they were less creepy than Ghetsis, and they were ninjas.
“You said you had a dream…”
That had been true. Black had had a dream, one that he shared with White because twins share absolutely everything. They’d heard about Red, who single-handedly brought down Team Rocket, and Gold, who also brought down Team Rocket, and Crystal, who was chosen by legendary Pokémon, and Ruby and Sapphire, and Diamond and Pearl, and basically all the PokéDex holders ever. They’d heard all about them, and wanted to be just like them; travelling the world kicking arse and saving people right and left, with a colour for a name.
“Anything’s better than Hilda and Hilbert,” White said, and it was true. They’d even gone to Professor Juniper and requested to know what their PokeDex Holder codenames would be when they were ten and six years too young. She’d stared at them blankly, shrugged, glanced around, and then said Black and White when she’d spotted a picture on the wall.
They started using the names immediately, and everyone agreed it was an improvement.
Then they set out on their adventure, deciding to race and see who’d reach the Elite Four first. Black was certain that if it hadn’t been for Team Plasma, if N hadn’t decided Black would be his ‘special’ friend and rival, White would’ve beaten him to it.
N was weird, and Black knew he shouldn’t feel so bad. N had tried to destroy the world.
He shouldn’t have been so stirred by N’s remark, shouldn’t have been locked in his room in the middle of some ridiculous existential crisis.
Black understood why Red was rumoured to live atop a frozen mountain, why Gold never stopped travelling, why Crystal, Sapphire, Ruby, Diamond, Pearl, all the others, threw aside their infamous Pokémon Master identities and were probably struggling to live as normal people. It had nothing to do with modesty or fear of failure to outdo one’s self, and everything to do with sucker-punched by reality so hard that everybody looked like monsters.
And that was why Black was still in his bedroom a week and a half later.
“Make your wonderful dream a reality.”
That was why Black didn’t have a ‘wonderful dream’ any more. He had sought the truth, he’d fought for it, he’d forced other people to see it too, and it sucked. Dreams would only come true in the most twisted of ways, people were cruel and selfish, and it was too hard to believe there could be good in a world where a father would raise his son to be the ultimate puppet and gloat about it.
It didn’t matter how much else Black had seen in his travels. All it came back to was —
“He's nothing more than a freak without a human heart.”
— what a sick twisted freak Ghetsis was, and how being absolutely terrible to everyone, especially his own son, had led him so close to fulfilling his sinister dream.
There was no justice.
There was no fairness.
There was no good, and there was no evil.
And Black couldn’t bring himself to dream again.
Dreaming was believing there was better, and it was going to happen. Black knew he was in a dark pit, and that White would burst in and drag him outside, where Cheren would sneer in concern and Bel would plead to know how he was feeling. They’d drag him around until he could dream enough to stay somewhat motivated.
“If anyone can, it's you!”
But none of them would believe in him the same way N did. Which really was kind of messed up, but so was trusting someone enough to put everything you’ve ever known on the line.
That, or N was so delusional he’d thought he couldn’t lose even after having lost every battle they ever had. It was just as likely, or so Black assumed. He didn’t actually know.
Basically, that was the circle of thoughts going through Black’s mind in the week and a half since he’d destroyed Team Plasma, watched N fly away, and given up on his dreams. It was conflicted, it was irritating, and if White weren’t so worried she’d be asking if they were sure Black wasn’t the girl.
And none of it would get the hell out of his head.
In the morning, Black drifted down to breakfast (he had to keep some sense of routine) to find he now had two identical mothers. One of them pulled her disguise away to reveal a highly attractive man.
“I am a globe-trotting elite of the International Police. My name… ah, no, I shall inform you of my codename only. My codename, it is Looker. It is how I am called!”
He was clearly foreign, and he clearly thought Black gave a damn.
Looker asked Black to help him track down the Seven Sages. The idea of having anything else to do with Plasma made Black sick to his stomach, but he said yes and was rewarded with a fishing rod. Looker freely admitted it was a peculiar gift.
“I’ll help too,” White suddenly declared. “Maybe I didn’t bring down Team Plasma, but I do have the badges and —”
“Hoho, the more the merrier it is, yes?”
Looker left, and White sent him that look they’d exchange whenever they were trying not to laugh at somebody else’s expense — the same look they’d exchange when they met N.
People didn’t seem funny any more, so Black looked away.
They ate breakfast, and as Mum was clearing away, White dragged Black to the corridor and whispered, “You know that Looker guy’s gonna try to arrest N next, right?”
“Yeah,” Black replied, though that hadn’t crossed his mind. “So what? N deserves it.”
“Probably, but you’ve been in this really moody funk ever since he ditched. Can’t really blame you, the whole story is a bit…” White pulled a face. “Just, leave the Sages to me, Bel and Cheren. It’ll be awhile before the Elite Four’s up and running again, anyway, so we’ll have to kill time. We’ll get them.”
“And what, stay in my room?” Black snorted. “No thanks.”
“Of course not. You’ve been in there for too long.”
White’s grin was unnervingly toothy. “You go after N.”
Something overwhelmed Black in that instant. Ideas of where N would go, how far Zekrom might be able to carry him before needing to rest, wondering how little N would do to push his ‘friend’…
“Fine,” Black said, coolly as he could. “But only because you’re so insistent.”
“Make your wonderful dream a reality, and it will become your truth!”